Politics and the New Racism

Upon Condoleezza Rice’s nomination for US Secretary of State, I wrote a number of articles questioning her fitness for the job, given Dr. Rice’s history of being less than forthcoming with the truth regarding Iraq and other international affairs.

As expected, a deluge of e-mail promptly flooded my inbox, accusing me of racism.

The very same thing had happened when I criticized the nomination of torture czar Alberto Gonzales to the position of Attorney General. Then I was anti-Hispanic. Now I’m in cahoots with the Ku Klux Klan.

I am not the only one. Greater writers than I have been similarly accused in the so-called “liberal media.”

The ironic thing is that these same hardcore conservatives who attack me for questioning the right-wing policies and practices of a black woman or an Hispanic man are the same ones who have opposed hate crimes legislation or supported racial profiling.

These are the same ones who tell me that blacks vote Democrat because the Democrats provide them with easy welfare.

These are the same ones who support the death penalty, even though studies have shown that the death penalty is applied in a discriminatory and uneven manner, and is used disproportionately against racial minorities.

And these are the same ones who suddenly realized that Donovan McNabb is not a great quarterback after all, once Rush Limbaugh explained to them that the media overrated the athlete because he was black.

For some reason, they don’t hesitate to play the race card in their own defense.

These people are not stupid. Surely they must know that their accusations of racism are unfounded.

Surely they must know that Condi Rice’s lies are lies no matter whether she is black, white, brown, yellow, or purple.

And surely they must know that Gonzales’s torture memo was repugnant regardless of his ethnic origins.

They are playing the race card because they cannot address the criticisms of Rice and Gonzales on their own merits.

They cannot turn Condi’s lies into truths.

They cannot rename the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US.”

They cannot make weapons of mass destruction magically appear in Iraq.

And they cannot justify torture.

So they call me a racist. They make it personal. Ad hominem attacks are the last refuge of those defending an untenable position.

When will the public see the light and start calling for some real answers?

When will others follow Senator Barbara Boxer’s lead and insist that Dr. Rice explain her numerous self-contradictions, once and for all?

When will they call for the Bush administration to oppose all forms of torture and mistreatment of prisoners, not only in words but in practice?

And when will my critics admit that it is possible to judge people not by the color of their skin but the content of their character?

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