Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

There's nothing racist about opposing the president


C'mon, everyone knows the hullabaloo surrounding President Barack Obama is bigotry in action. The administration's policy initiatives couldn't possibly provoke any authentic anger or protest.

Proving this dastardly motive, on the other hand, has been problematic. But there are ways around this dilemma. Unearth some crazy outliers. Create caricatures. Recognize "code" words. Reduce to absurdity. And presto!

"Surrounded by middle-aged white guys—a sepia snapshot of the days when such pols ran Washington like their own men's club—Joe Wilson yelled 'You lie!' at a president who didn't," declared Maureen Dowd in her Saturday New York Times column. "But, fair or not, what I heard was an unspoken word in the air: You lie, boy!"

Of course, it's fair. If inserting a racial epithet into a quote is wrong, I don't wanna know what's right. It is, moreover, common knowledge that middle-aged white men are bigots. If there's a problem with Dowd's premise, it's that Wilson likely lacks the intellect to string together more than two words per sentence. He is from South Carolina, after all.

Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post began to sniff out this racism when he heard "tea party" folks "shouting about 'the Constitution' and 'taking our country back.' Maybe Obama's health-care plan is an awful idea and his budget is way too big, but how exactly is any of this unconstitutional?"

For argument's sake, let's concede that "tea partiers" are collectively misinformed regarding constitutional law. Does logic not then dictate—nay, demand—that they are motivated by racism? Or perhaps demonstrators are devious enough to feign collective ignorance of the Constitution so they can be surreptitious (but not surreptitious enough to fool Kurtz!) racists.

It's true that things haven't been going smoothly for Change. And increasingly, we hear that anyone who opposes Obama too vociferously is hampered by the thought of a black man as the president of the United States. Conservatives, it seems, never have opposed a president before.

When right-wing radio talk show hosts and bloggers uncovered the past radicalism of green czar Van Jones, who was tasked with steering billions of dollars toward creating "green jobs," progressives immediately claimed racism and McCarthyism. The right, apparently, never has gone after an Anglo-Saxon administration member.

Politico reported that Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), chalked up all this anger toward Barack Obama to racial tensions. "As far as African-Americans are concerned," she claimed, "we think most of it is. And we think it's very unfortunate. We as African-American people of course are very sensitive to it."

"We"? Incredibly, Johnson speaks for tens of millions of African-Americans. ("We" Jews haven't been blessed with that kind of leadership since Moses.)

What's next? Why are all these misogynists targeting Nancy Pelosi? Why are these homophobes continuing to rail against Barney Frank?

Chuck Schumer? You guessed it: the Jews.

Who dictates what level of anger and dissent is allowable? Who decides what a clandestine racist sign looks like? Maybe someone like MSNBC's Carlos Watson, who wondered whether "socialism" is really about the nationalization of industry and hyper-regulation of the private market or whether it's just "becoming the new N-word."

None of this has anything to do with the left's paranoid belief that America is an inherently racist nation. It's just that if you oppose more government dependency and expansion, you might as well be a Confederate infantryman. No, it doesn't matter what you say, because we know what you really mean.

David Harsanyi is a columnist at The Denver Post and the author of Nanny State. Visit his Web site at www.DavidHarsanyi.com.