Atoning for past sins shouldn’t require us to check our common sense at the door.
Congratulations to Senator Kamala Harris for her selection as Mr. Biden’s running mate. In its way, the selection of a female candidate for the Vice Presidency is as historically significant as landing a man on the moon...the third man on the moon.
The selection of a female or a black American as a national political candidate would have been unimaginable fifty years ago, just as landing a man on the moon would have been unimaginable back in 1919. Sure, Representative Geraldine Ferraro was selected by Walter Mondale in 1984 as his running mate; but that was widely seen as the desperate publicity stunt of a doomed candidate, even at the time. John McCain’s selection of Governor Sarah Palin in 2008 had the same ordure.
Americans dream big, and landing a man on the moon – like electing Barrack Obama as President -- was a development that shocked the world. Adversaries and allies alike shook their heads and had to admit, “Our country couldn’t have done it.” But it’s hard to dream big and sweat the details, and America’s attention span is as short as our dreams are big.
Neil Armstrong was the first man who landed on the moon. You already knew that. Who was the third? Charles “Pete” Conrad. I had to look it up.
Which brings us back to Senator Harris.
There will plenty of time for us to consider her transparent ambition, her insincerity, her -- shall we say -- “ethical flexibility.” Right now, we are told to focus on the “unprecedented” nature of her selection. I suspect that most Americans will respond as I have, with a yawn.
Whether you are the second black American or the third female American, it’s all the same to most of us: You can’t get my attention by changing the packaging on the same old toothpaste.
I said this in 2012, and it bears repeating: America won’t have arrived with the election of our first black President. That was simply the end of the beginning. America will have fully arrived when the first black national candidate isn’t elected, because his (or her) record reveals that they wouldn’t make an effective President.
Everything else is, as Senator Harris explained after calling Joe Biden a racist sex criminal, “Just politics.”
Oregon has its own painful history with race. Not from a Civil War which started when Oregon was a one-year-old; but from catastrophes like Vanport, which happened when my Mom was five.
But atoning for past sins shouldn’t require us to check our common sense at the door.
The fight against racism was a righteous fight, and it succeeded because it was true. By peacefully appealing to the decency of all Americans, our civil rights leaders revealed something about America that had become obscured: When the civil rights of any American are denied, the civil rights of every American are diminished.
But, typical for America, we outperformed even our wildest expectations. We won the only war that could be won: Today, any politician who claimed that any American should be denied opportunity because of race, creed, color, or gender would be unelectable. That
was the war.
After winning the war, the surviving victorious generals looked forward to peace. But some at the periphery found that war suited them, and they set about making it a Forever War.
“Race” became “Racialism”: The idea that black Americans couldn’t compete with the rest of us unless they were given “special” status…kind of like the kids who ride the short bus. Racialism is as destructive as the ugliest racism, but the people who benefit look different. That’s “diversity” to them.
There are still scattered and powerless pockets of racist resistance in America -- much like Japanese Private Teruo Nakamura kept fighting World War II until December 1974. But to keep the country on a war footing forever means accepting a bloated and overbearing government and the carnage of a war that will never end...which suits the Racialists just fine.
You’ve probably never heard of Private Nakamura or Pete Conrad because they are historically insignificant, and Americans don’t sweat the small stuff. By 1974, America had already grown bored of sending people to the moon.
Dan Crowe is from Mount Angel. He has defended more than 100 Americans – including many black and female Americans – at court-martial...and hundreds more as Oregon’s Veterans Advocate.
|Post Date: 2020-08-23 19:38:44|