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The Politics of Race

Last week, an article appeared in Newsweek by Van Gosse entitled, “Why Are All the Conservative Loudmouths Irish-American?” The author evidently thought he experienced a eureka moment when the seed of this article exploded in his mind.  He must have equated it with the discovery of a cancer cure or the secret of time travel.

Political discourse that is reduced to race takes civilization back to the dark ages.  It means that no one has a right to say anything unless he or she hails from the right race.  Ideas mean nothing.  Facts mean nothing.  Experience means nothing.  Only the right set of genes confers legitimacy on expression.  It doesn’t matter how smart you are, how educated you are or how insightful you are, if you don’t come from the right stock, you are nothing.

This might work in homogenous societies where few aberrations from the dominant race may be found.  Our society, however, boasts an unprecedented conglomeration of races, colors, sects, religions, tribes and ethnicities—far more than most other nations.  Because of this, racism of any stripe in America is lethal.  Unless we start celebrating unity instead of diversity, we will foment an endless civil war.  Why can’t we simply respect and admire all others rather than compare, evaluate, match, analyze and point out all the deficiencies and shortcomings between groups? 

Some say we cannot forget history.  To me, that means learning from past mistakes, so we don’t repeat them.  But, if it means that we have to rectify all historical wrongs, punish the children of all offenders in history, and judge the past by present standards, then we can guarantee racial strife in perpetuity.

The politics of race is grievance based.  Anyone who thinks our problems will be cured by recycling hurt through revenge, retribution and genocide, wishes the demise of this country.  I remind those who hold such malicious view of the words of Abraham Lincoln. “… that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Together, we live.  Divided, we die.  Journalists like Van Gosse may think they are bringing enlightenment, but they only snuff out the little lights that do exist.

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