I'll never forget watching Senator Barack Obama give his Democratic presidential nomination acceptance speech in front of 80,000 screaming fans at Mile High Stadium in Denver. "This is an historic moment in American history," I told my wife. She was still disgusted that Hillary Clinton didn't get the nomination, but understood exactly what I meant.
Regardless of politics, the fact that an African American had received a major Party nomination to be President of the United States speaks volumes about how far this country has come since the days of the Civil Rights Movement. No one could argue this wasn't a proud moment for our country.
As America witnesses the closing of the racial divide, some people refuse to believe that the attitudes that gave us the Ku Klux Klan and Jim Crow are taking their final breath. This refusal doesn't stem from those who long for the days of segregation, it comes from the political left. In other words the people who claim to be the champions of diversity are doing everything they can to make sure the appearance of racism is still alive and well.
Instead of embracing this obvious progress, they are making unsubstantiated accusations of racism against those that disagree with them and do not support the candidacy of Barack Obama. Unfortunately for GOP presidential candidate Senator John McCain and his running mate Gov. Sarah Palin, they have the misfortune of being the Caucasian opposition to the first serious Black presidential hopeful. Simply put, it's not a good time to be the white guy.
As McCain and Palin campaign throughout the country it seems impossible for them to open their mouths without somebody accusing them of being racists. The most recent accusation comes from columnist Lewis Diuguid of the Kansas City Star.
The editorial page writer claims that their use of the word "Socialist" to label Barack Obama is "an old code word for black." Diuguid based his charges of racism on the behavior of J. Edgar Hoover, the director of the FBI for nearly a half-century. According to Diuguid, Hoover "used the term liberally to describe African Americans who spent their lives fighting for equality."
It is well documented that Hoover was a leading force in the anti-Communist fervor that gripped the United States and its government during most of the Cold War. Diuguid wrote that "freedom fighters" such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., W.E.B. Du Bois and Paul Robeson, were labeled by Hoover as Socialists. This is his entire argument why the word "Socialist" is code for "Black." What the Kansas City Star columnist is either unaware of or purposely fails to mention is that Hoover was an equal opportunity accuser.
As the country was overcome with the fear of Communism, Hoover utilized the Red Scare to launch investigations into anyone he deemed a threat to the American way of life. Nobel Prize winning physicist Albert Einstein was the object of a 23-year mission by Hoover to discredit him. Also subjected to Hoover's investigations was the inventor of the Polio vaccine, Dr. Jonas Salk. With Einstein and Salk on his list, does this mean that Socialist is also a code word for Jew? Many significant political and cultural figures were targeted by Hoover. John and Bobby Kennedy, were despised by the FBI director and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt was believed to have Communist ties in the mind of Hoover. How many more codes can Diuguid find in these historical facts? Joining the Kansas City Star writer in his quest to keep the race issue alive, it pains me to say, is a hero of the Civil Rights movement, Rep. John Lewis (D-GA). The twenty-year veteran of the House of Representatives earlier this month had the audacity to compare John McCain to segregationist Gov. George Wallace. "Senator McCain and Governor Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse," Lewis said in a statement.
"George Wallace never threw a bomb. He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights," Lewis added. "Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed on Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama."
What specifically did John McCain or Sarah Palin do to deserve being compared to an icon of segregation? Lewis was right when he said that Wallace "created the climate and the conditions" that led to the murder of four children in a church bombing. Can any fair-minded person legitimately argue that McCain or Palin has said anything remotely as horrific as Wallace did in his career? No.
Unfortunately Congressman Lewis has created an image in his head that a few bad apples at political rallies, which McCain has disavowed countless times, somehow make up the majority of his supporters and the Arizona Senator is at fault. I don't recall the former civil rights leader or Sen. Obama, for that matter, condemning their supporters who showed up at Palin events wearing T-shirts calling the mother of five a C-word. Political pundits have also joined the fight to make sure the race issue never dies. Washington Post Op-Ed columnist Harold Meyerson, just this past week, wrote a column stating that a "desperate John McCain is transporting us back to the wedge issues of yesteryear." Meyerson alleges, through unfounded claims of voter fraud that McCain is attempting to "suppress minority voting". Mr. Meyerson either doesn't read his own newspaper or he is being dishonest in his attempts to paint McCain as a bigot. The free exchange of ideas as well as having a civil, honest and open debate in our country, no longer exists. People who identify with the political right in America or even claim to be an Independent are subjected to a new form of McCarthyism that some have already deemed reverse McCarthyism.
Question and criticize at your own risk.
That is the new motto of the Democratic Party as well as the Progressive movement in the United States. Expect to be labeled a racist, sexist, homophobe, fascist or any term that means hate, if you question or disagree with their ideas.
As John McCain and Sarah Palin have experienced over the past few months, they are damned if they do and damned if they don't.
As the McCain campaign asks legitimate questions regarding Obama's associations with domestic terrorists, vile anti-Semites, and ACORN, and as the campaign disagrees with his policies, especially his economic plans that have been labeled Socialism by various financial publications, the response is always the same: Racism!
No honest-thinking person will deny racism still exists in America. The same can be said for anti-Semitism, homophobia, xenophobia, and -- dare I say -- the growing phenomenon of anti-Christianity. Society will never rid itself completely of bigotry because ignorance will always be part of humanity.
The sad reality is that the political left needs racism. They need it as both an issue and a weapon to discredit those who disagree with them and stand in their way.
They need to keep hate alive.
Paul Miller is a writer; consultant and activist dedicated to issues concerning Israel, limited government and free market ideas. You can read his opinions at pauliespoint.blogspot.com.