Spin City

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In a tour-de-force of journalistic swordplay, columnist Mark Steyn makes a powerful point:

Bill Clinton may be the first black president, but Colin Powell and Condi Rice will never be hailed as the first black secretary of state or the first black national security adviser. For the Barbee-Wootens of this world, you cease to be black when you refuse to prostrate yourself before identity-politics orthodoxy.

By “Barbee-Wooten,” he is referring not to a tall, blond, Wookie hybrid, but to Daphnee Barbee-Wooten, board member of the Hawaii ACLU which rescinded its invitation to Clarence Thomas to speak at a First Amendment conference. It seems the ACLU did not like what he was going to use his First Amendment rights to say. “I’ll defend to the death your right to say what you believe — somewhere else.”

This article, however, is not penned to respond to Klaus Barbee-Wooten. Instead, consider Steyn’s point: have you heard it trumpeted in the mainstream press that Colin Powell is the first black secretary of state?


Have you heard it trumpeted that Condoleeza Rice is the first black national security adviser?


You may have heard it mentioned, but you have not heard it trumpeted — i.e., made into one heck of a big deal — by the press.

The reason for this, of course, is stated in Barbee-Wooten’s opposition to Clarence Thomas: Powell, Thomas, and Rice are not “the right kind” of black people.

The Left — and its media puppet — do not approve of the views of Clarence Thomas, Colin Powell, and Condoleeza Rice — any more than they approve of Thomas Sowell or Walter Williams. And so the media will simply pretend that Powell and Rice do not exist.

And Steyn, by the way, gets it exactly right in stating the reason that the Left must ignore those “uncle toms” who don’t fit the Left’s desired stereotype of victim groups:

Identity politics is left-wing apartheid — a way of dividing the citizenry into competing interest groups, beholden to a strong central government as an arbiter of largesse. …

In San Francisco, all grade-school children have to help make the banners for the Gay Pride parade, but heaven help any little moppet who wants to sing “All Things Bright and Beautiful” in the school concert. As the Scout campaign proves, it’s not enough to be inclusive: the New Tolerance demands you take sides — against Boy Scouts, practicing Christians and anybody else who gets in its way.

The Left is in love with the State — i.e., the government — because it is only the government which has a monopoly on force. If the Left were reduced to implementing its agenda the right way (no pun intended), it would strive to change peoples’ minds by reasoned debates, by argumentation, and by example.

Nope. Not the Left. The reason, of course, is that this would never happen. No amount of discussion is going to encourage the majority of the human race to flagellate itself for daring to think for itself, nor is argumentation going to sway 51% of parents into approving of their children’s education in homosexual activism. And so the Left takes over the institutions of power, and voila — now you’ll toe the Lefty line, or else.

Condoleeza Rice is an intelligent woman. She started college at 15 and graduated at 19 (and hey — she’s a Domer, with a master’s degree from Notre Dame). Colin Powell is an intelligent man — who has stood up to the vested interests by encouraging a constitutional and sensible American foreign policy. No more rabid, Clintonian supercops. Powell is a soldier who understands the soldier’s lot, and the proper function of the military. He is also the son of Jamaican immigrants. Is the Left now anti-immigrant? Clarence Thomas is a talented judge who interprets the law as it is, rather than as he wants it to be. And by the way, he grew up dirt poor in Georgia — and worked his way to the Supreme Court.

So three cheers for three prominent and deserving — and black — Americans, whom the Left would rather have you ignore.

Mr. Dieteman [send him mail] is an attorney in Erie, Pennsylvania, and a PhD candidate in philosophy at The Catholic University of America.

© 2001 David Dieteman

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