Sarah Palin is the emblem of what feminism was supposed to be all about: an unafraid, independent, audacious woman, who soared on her own merits without the aid of a patriarchal jumpstart, high-brow matrimonial tutelage and capital, and old-boy liaisons and networking. And that really is all feminism should be about. Equality. What we have seen in shrill reaction from the far left to Ms. Palin shines a giant spotlight on their canard. Their goal is not equality for women, else the rise of Sarah Palin would be welcomed on its merits, irrespective of other political disagreements. There would be no need or attempt to delegitimize her. But the frothing and vitriolic reaction of the far left shows their goal not to be equaltiy, but to be a remake of Western society into a vision Karl Marx would recognize. By exposing the canard and threatening the true goal, Sarah Palin is by her very being an existential danger to the far left.
Republicans ended slavery. The party of Jim Crow and the KKK was the Democratic Party. The 13th (slavery), 14th (privileges and immunities) and 15th (voting rights) Amendments to the Constitution were enacted by Republicans. The NAACP was founded in 1909 by three white Republicans who opposed the racist practices of the Democratic Party and the lynching of blacks by Democrats. In fairness, it was the Democrat Harry Truman who signed an executive order integrating the military - and that was a truly major development. (My own belief is that the military has been the single greatest driving force of integration in this land for over half a century.) It was a Supreme Court Chief Justice appointed by the Republican President Eisenhower who managed to get all nine justices to agree to the seminal decision on the illegality of separate schools in Brown v. Board of Education. After that came the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Act was championed by JFK - but it was strenthened in committee and passed by a Republican controlled Congress over fierce opposition from Democrats and their repeated attempts at filibuster. Women were added to the Act as a protected class by a Democrat who thought it would be a poison pill, killing the legislation. To the contrary, the Republican Congress passed the Act without any attempt to remove the provision. Martin Luther King, Jr., our nation's most recognizable and laudable civil rights proponent, was a Republican. Bull Connors was not.
Nothing that I say here is to suggest that racism and sexism could not be found in the Republican party or among conservatives in American history. But if you take any period in history and draw a line at the midpoint of racist and sexist attitudes, you would find far more Republicans than Democrats on the lesser side of that line. And you would find a much greater willingness on the part of Republicans, relative to the time, in favor of effectuating equality. That was as true in 1865 as in 1965.
Sometime about 1968, the far left wing took control of the Democratic Party and hijacked the civil rights movement. They made civil rights the very foundation of their politics.
While Republicans sought equality, what the far left sought when they hijacked the civil rights movement was something different entirely. The far left fundamentally altered the nature of the movement. They imprinted the movement with identity politics, grossly distorting its goals - a level playing field for all Americans - and creating a Marxian world of victimized classes entitled to special treatment. The far left has been the driver of reverse racism and sexism for the past half century. And as an aside, that is why it is no surprise that, with the emergence of a far left candidate for the highest office in the nation, Rev. Jeremiah Wright should also arise at his side and into the public eye preaching a vile racism and separatism most Americans outside the far left thought long dead in this country. Nor is it any surprise that the MSM, many of whom are of the far left, should collectively yawn at Obama's twenty year association with Wright. Wright is anything but an anamoly; rather, he is simply an outgrowth of far left politics.
The far left did not merely hijack the civil rights movement, they also wrote over a century of American history, turning it on its head. They managed to paint the conservative movement and the Republican Party as the prime repositories of racism and sexism. The far left has for decades played the race and gender cards to counter any criticism of their policies and to forestall any reasoned debate. It is their central narrative. It has done incalculable harm to our nation.
We are either a melting pot wherein "all men are created equal" - the ideal of our Founders for which we have long strived and are ever closer to succeeding - or we are to become a multicultural nation of pigeon holed special interests. We are to become a nation where groups are encouraged to remain apart, defining themselves by their victim class before defining themselves as Americans. Multiculturalism is unworkable - we can see it destroying Europe and Britain - but that has not stopped the far left in America from their embrace of the concept. Nor has it slowed their efforts to weave multiculturalism irrevocably into the fabric of our society.
The far left has been highly effective in painting the modern Republican Party as not merely an enemy of civil rights for women and minorities, but as an old white man's club with room for women, minorities, gays, etc. only in the back of the tent as tokens. The far left has long held themselves out as the true party of equality. They have done so falsely as, by its very nature, identity politics cements inequality.
The far left has long pushed forward minorities and women to prove that they are the party of inclusiveness. On the right, the process has been slower. You had the percolation of minorities and women to major positions through the natural process of time and selection of the fittest. Only the most jaded would ever argue that Colin Powell and Condi Rice did not earn their positions solely on merit. And love her or hate her, Kristi Todd Whitman was both well qualified and a very good governor.
I have long been waiting for a qualified woman or minority to rise to the very top in Republican politics. It is something that would expose the incredibly damaging canard that the far left has shrilly pushed for near half a century. I had hoped Colin Powell would be that man a decade ago. As to Condi Rice, had things worked out differently for the Bush administration and had she not selected the Sec. of State slot (a killer for anyone with Pres. aspirations) I thought that perhaps she would have a good shot at running in 2008. I've been waiting for Thomas Sowell to run for any elected office for decades - and yes, I would consider him for beatification. These are people for whom neither their skin color nor plumbing makes them a victim. These are people for whom neither their skin color nor plumbing sets them apart substantively from all other Americans. And these are people who earned their success by virtue of their excellence rather than the extent of their connections or the distortions of identity politics.
It is inevitable that one of the two concepts I earlier described - a melting pot of equals or a multicultural morass of victim groups - will gain ascendance in America. I have long felt that we are at a crossroads in our nation for precisely this reason, and that the ramifications of how we decide this issue will be existential.
You will note in a post below, I congratulated Obama for achieving the status of the first African American nominee for President. I meant that sincerely, though I have also said before that he is the product of identity politics. He is anything but the post racial candidate he held himself out to be at first. I believe that the policies he would institute in America would represent the victory of multiculturalism. It would alter our nation fundamentally to create not simply a house divided, but a house with many divides.
Will Sarah Palin represent the opposite choice? I think clearly she does. As Victor Davis Hanson said of her:
Thus Sarah Palin's ascendance is meaningful indeed. The rise of Obama and Hillary on the left have pushed us to the center of that crossroads, with the only option being of a turn in one direction or another. McCain's utterly brilliant selection of Gov. Palin as his running mate clarifies the issues completely and makes the choices stark. Because of that, my personal belief is that this election will have ramifications long beyond the next four years. This election holds the potential to be a referendum on the future foundation of our nation. I fear if the choice is Obama and his far left positions, we will never be able to unring the bell. The alternative of McCain and Palin will not bring total victory in this contest for the future of America, but it would be a big step in the right direction and a giant step back from the abyss.
Photo at the top taken from Gateway Pundit.
Sarah Palin is the emblem of what feminism was supposed to be all about: an unafraid, independent, audacious woman, who soared on her own merits without the aid of a patriarchal jumpstart, high-brow matrimonial tutelage and capital, and old-boy liaisons and networking.
And that really is all feminism should be about. Equality. What we have seen in shrill reaction from the far left to Ms. Palin shines a giant spotlight on their canard. Their goal is not equality for women, else the rise of Sarah Palin would be welcomed on its merits, irrespective of other political disagreements. There would be no need or attempt to delegitimize her. But the frothing and vitriolic reaction of the far left shows their goal not to be equaltiy, but to be a remake of Western society into a vision Karl Marx would recognize. By exposing the canard and threatening the true goal, Sarah Palin is by her very being an existential danger to the far left.