The Democratic inquisition

Democrats set out to tar and feather Bush's Cabinet nominees as racists, overlooking their own racial peccadilloes.

Published January 22, 2001 3:24PM (EST)

On Dec. 14, as the holiday season shifted into full swing, five young men and women, all professionals with bright careers ahead of them, were accosted at gunpoint in an apartment in Wichita, Kan. The assailants sexually tortured and then shot their victims in the head. The sadistic criminals who perpetrated this atrocity were brothers. Only one young woman survived. In a poignant footnote to the tragedy, she had discovered, when one of the criminals stole a diamond ring from a drawer in the apartment where her companions were killed, that her now-dead boyfriend intended to propose to her that very evening. Naked and bleeding from her head wound, the young woman staggered a mile through the snow to safety.

Despite the story's horror, despite its drama, despite its "human interest" dimension, the national media didn't report the murder. The reason: the monsters who committed this horror were black, the victims white. The national media is infected with anti-white racism, and the infection is of epidemic proportions. And apparently the story didn't fit the politically correct national melodrama of black victimhood.

The same epidemic of politically correct, anti-white attitudes pervades local governments and law enforcement authorities. The official position over the killings in the editorial rooms of the Wichita Eagle and the local district attorney's office is that the Dec. 14 hate crime was not a hate crime at all. Why? Because the victims were robbed and the motive therefore was not racism, but robbery.

Matthew Shepard was robbed.

Neither the crime nor the silence surrounding it is an isolated incident. Last April, 8-year-old Kevin Shifflett's throat was slit in broad daylight in Alexandria, Va., a suburb of the nation's capital. No one reported it as a hate crime, and the crime itself was also enveloped in a news blackout -- with the exception of the Washington Times and Washington Post, which covered it as a local story. The reason? Kevin was white, his racist attacker black. But a 2-year-old hate crime, committed against a black man, did become a central feature of the Democrats' campaign against presidential candidate George W. Bush, who was found guilty of association with the incident because it took place in Texas.

Why should these facts surprise anyone, when everyone knows that it is politically correct to hate white people in America? Hatred of whites is a highly developed intellectual doctrine at our nation's most prestigious universities -- whole departments are devoted to it. Hatred of whites is taught in our nation's schools, where whites are portrayed as history's racists and oppressors, and it is inscribed in our nation's laws, which provide racial privileges for those whose skin color is anything other than white.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party is waging a campaign to make sure that hate crimes are identified in the public mind with straight white males. The nation's leading so-called civil rights organization, the NAACP, ran a multimillion-dollar TV campaign during the presidential election insinuating that Bush hates black people and is in league with lynchers because he does not think extending the law to include special protections for gays (as opposed to heterosexuals) is a prudent idea. No Democrat has condemned the racial McCarthyism of the NAACP or of party extremists like Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif.

The Democratic Party has whipped up racial paranoia in the African-American community by lending credibility to the lunatic charge that there was systematic disenfranchisement of black voters in Florida by racists who remain invisible. The U.S. Civil Rights Commission has even staged a show trial to prove something that didn't happen. Witness after witness claimed racial intimidation and then was forced to admit under questioning that they had actually voted. Not a shred of evidence exists that there was a conspiracy to deprive African-Americans in Florida of the right to vote. Yet the NAACP has filed lawsuits making exactly that accusation. And millions of black people have been persuaded by racial demagogues and their liberal abettors that such a conspiracy exists, that the election was "stolen" from them in order that Republicans could appoint racists to government.

The witch-hunting mentality of the Democratic Party is on full display in a notorious Internet column by Paul Begala. "Yes ... tens of millions of good people in Middle America voted Republican," the former Clinton strategist and Gore advisor writes. "But if you look closely at that [electoral] map [showing counties that voted Republican in red] you see a more complex picture. You see the state where James Byrd Jr. was lynch-dragged behind a pickup truck until his body came apart -- it's red. You see the state where Matthew Shepard was crucified on a split-rail fence for the crime of being gay -- it's red. You see the state where right-wing extremists blew up a federal office building and murdered scores of federal employees -- it's red. The state where an army private who was thought to be gay was bludgeoned to death with a baseball bat, and the state where neo-Nazi skinheads murdered two African Americans because of their skin color, and the state where Bob Jones University spews its anti-Catholic bigotry: they're all red too."

One could respond to Begala in Begala fashion: The state where James Byrd was lynched was red, but the county was blue. Both the state and county where left-wing extremist, Muslim terrorists blew up the World Trade Center -- they're blue. The county where a deranged black man slit young Kevin Shifflett's throat simply because he was white and where authorities covered up the racial motivation of the crime -- it's blue. The states where Colin Ferguson and Ronald Taylor killed eight whites and Asians because left-wing race-baiters convinced them they were victims of a racial conspiracy are blue. The counties, nationwide, where the vast majority of murderers, rapists and child molesters live and operate -- those are blue, too.

But far more important is what Begala's outburst reveals about the casual way in which a mainstream political strategist can identify an entire political party -- routinely identified by Democrats, of course, as a "white party" -- as a den of racial killers.

Not since the heyday of Sen. Joe McCarthy has there been a demonization of whole categories of Americans or a national witch hunt on a scale like this. And this witch hunt is now the focus of the nomination process for the new president's Cabinet. It was Democrats who previously politicized and debased the process by which Supreme Court nominees are vetted, turning the ritual into an orgy of character assassination and attempt to make it a political auto-da-fé, and now they have done the same to the process of Cabinet nominations.

Consider the spectacle. George W. Bush has nominated the most diverse Cabinet in American history. He has appointed African-Americans to the highest positions on record. He has appointed a Chinese-American and an Arab-American to Cabinet positions for the first time. He has appointed Hispanic-Americans and African-Americans and a Japanese-American and, of course, women. Yet his nominations are the targets of a Democratic campaign to portray his nominees as racists, homophobes and even Torquemadas in one frenzied historical leap.

And, of course, this has a predictable effect on a reliably uninformed public. Look at the grief pop star Ricky Martin got for performing at Bush's Inauguration weekend opening concert? In normal times this would be a high honor. But in this poisoned atmosphere, Martin must be prepared to have his childhood friend and producer-songwriter partner tell the nation's press that his friend's singing gig is "a betrayal of everything that every Puerto Rican should stand for."

"This is a president," according to Robi Rosa, "who would have people in his Cabinet who would obstruct the exercise of civil rights, human rights, consumer rights, the right to choose, the right to be free of gun violence and the right to a clean environment."

This sounds very much like Mario Cuomo. In 1996, Cuomo told the Democratic Convention: "Ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, the Republicans are the real threat. They are the real threat to our women. They are the real threat to our children. They are the real threat to clean water, clean air and the rich landscape of America."

What are the charges against Bush's attorney general nominee? John Ashcroft is accused of the crime of opposing racial preferences (an opinion he shares with 70 percent of all Americans). According to the witch hunters this puts him under suspicion of "racism." He is accused of opposing a failed program -- forced busing as a means of racial integration -- which has been rejected even in liberal Democratic cities like Los Angeles and Boston, and even among blacks. For this he is accused of "racism." Ashcroft is accused of sympathies for the Confederacy because he didn't condemn the Confederate flag and thought the Confederate cause embraced other issues besides slavery -- yet Democratic Sen. Fritz Hollings raised the Confederate flag over South Carolina's capitol and Bill Clinton signed official proclamations commemorating the Confederacy while he was governor of Arkansas without any backlash. Ashcroft is accused of opposing one black judicial nomination out of 26 such nominations because Ronnie White, the black judge in question, overturned the death penalty of a cold-blooded killer who had murdered the wife of a sheriff in front of her children at a Christmas party. For this, for all this, a man with two decades of unimpeachable public service -- is pilloried as a "racist."

In the atmosphere of hysteria, whipped up by witch hunters of the left, one news channel even billed a forthcoming program on the nominee for attorney general this way: "Bush calls him a man of integrity; critics call him frightening." Begala-ism rules.

The time has come to put to Democrats and the left the same question the hero of America's most famous witch hunt, Joseph Welch, finally put to the senator himself: Have you no decency, sirs and madams? Have you no shame?

By David Horowitz

David Horowitz is a conservative writer and activist.

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