Monday, January 11, 2010

Harry Reid and the *Remark*

The big hubbub now is over Harry Reid's statement, according to the book Game Change is to the effect that because Obama is 'light-skinned' and doesn't speak in 'Negro dialect', he is worthy to be the candidate for President. This took place sometime during the campaign season of 2008. Many have lambasted him as being a racist for saying it.

I disagree.

This whole episode reveals certain things, both about Harry Reid and about our society.

First, I think this, more than anything else, shows Harry Reid's crass political cynicism at work. What I took from his comments basically was that Obama was 'white-enough' to be elected despite his ethnic background - and he said this to a group of Democratic boosters. So if Democrats have to be convinced that this guy was not a threat to victory, then what does that say about their racial/ethnic views?

Secondly, as a society we are too damn sensitive to everything. Political correctness has overtaken our language - to the point that thought control is being exhibited over us. Anything that could be *perceived* as a slight is discouraged. Basically, Harry Reid spoke a truth, however unfortunate that truth may be, that a stereotypical black man with a stereotypical 'preacher' voice could not be elected in this country right now.

Thirdly, the double standard that exists with the political parties is on display once again. It is true that if Mitch McConnell or John Boehner (or any Republican or conservative) had said what Reid said, they would be finished. Witness the Trent Lott episode from eight years ago. It is a good point, but the Republicans ought to be careful in how often they play this card. It could very well backfire on them.

So where does this leave us? It remains to be seen how this will affect Reid and his ability to get legislation through, but it does leave people with a certain unease, whether it is warranted or not. We have become de-sensitized to violence, but over-sensitized to slights. More's the pity.

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