are known to employ selective forgiveness. Last Tuesday's “Rock the Vote”
debate among Democratic presidential hopefuls solidifies that conclusion.
Aside from the usual attempts to be hip (including discussion of marijuana
and who is best to party with), the most revealing incident in the debate
was when Al Sharpton questioned Howard Dean on his October comment about
the Confederate flag. Dean was quoted in the Des Moines Register as
saying, “I still want to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags
in their pickup trucks.” He later apologized for the remark.
Apology not withstanding, the other primary candidates were quick to jump
on the Dean-haters wagon. Sen. John Kerry told the media Dean is “pandering”
to the NRA and to lovers of the Confederate flag. Wesley Clark also chimed
in, saying, “Every Democratic candidate for president needs to condemn the
divisiveness the Confederate flag represents.”
In Tuesday's debate, Al Sharpton (never a man to forfeit the chance for an
applause line) also berated Dean for his comments, saying the former governor
sounded like Stonewall Jackson. In earlier comments, Sharpton said he was
“surprised and disturbed” by Dean's quotes.
where the inconsistency comes in. Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and the National
Association for the Advancement of Colored People are conveniently mute when
it comes to demanding that Dean withdraw outright from the race. They'll
verbally chastise him – even strongly – but that's the limit of their attack.
They refuse to demand his removal.
Why? Because he has “liberal Democrat” in front of his name.
If you hearken back to December of 2002, you'll remember a similar situation
involving then-Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott. Lott, a Republican, said
at Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday party that the country would have been
better off if Thurmond had been elected president when he ran during the
late 1940s on a segregationist ticket.
to say, the liberal uproar was ear splitting. Demands for Lott's resignation
came from nearly every corner of the Democrat Party. The NAACP's Kweisi Mfume
claimed, “Sen. Lott's statement is the kind of callous, calculated, hateful
bigotry that has no place in the halls of the Congress. … Sen. Lott should
resign from the position of majority leader-elect.”
was equally irate. In a December 2002 appearance on CNN's “Crossfire,” Sharpton
said, “[Lott] ought to pay for what he said. He should step aside.”
that to Dean's treatment. In Tuesday's debate, Sharpton openly admitted that
he doesn't think Dean is a racist. He told Dean, “I don't think you're a
bigot, but I think that (Dean's comment) is insensitive, and I think you
ought to apologize to people for that.”
Mr. Sharpton? No demands for resignation? No fiery “he ought to pay for what
he said” rhetoric? Only a mild request for an apology?
to me Sharpton and the NAACP would consider Dean's Confederate flag reference
far more offensive than what Sen. Lott said. But such is not the case. While
the comment will undoubtedly hurt Dean's standing in the polls amongst Southern
voters, many of them black Americans, the liberals and media will largely
ignore his gaff. Lott, on the other hand, was ousted from his position as
Senate minority leader.
smell a double standard from this collection of liberal elite? If you're
a liberal, you're automatically a lover of diversity, freedom and the American
way, so comments about the Confederate flag couldn't possibly be racially
motivated. If you're a conservative, you're automatically classified as a
racist bigot, because someone who believes in conservatism couldn't possibly
want racial equality.
their past actions, Al Sharpton and the rest of his liberal friends have
only one choice: Demand that Dean withdraw from the race. After all, if a
Senate leadership role is too high for a “divisive” figure like Trent Lott,
shouldn't the presidency be too high for the “insensitive” comments of Howard
Tuesday's debate revealed how selective the Democrats are when it comes to
race. They refuse to support such great African-Americans as Alan Keyes,
Clarence Thomas and Janice Rogers Brown, but throw all their support behind
white, wealthy and aristocratic males – such as Dean – who happen to adhere
to liberal principles. This isn't a step toward eliminating racism in America;
it's a step toward upholding it.
It's time we realized how selectively forgiving the Democrats have become and call them on it.
David N. Bass writes for World Newspaper Publishing and has a regular column at AmericanDaily.com, ARationalAdvocate.com, and RenewAmerica.us.