Many of us who did not vote for Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election found some solace in the notion that Obama’s presidency, if nothing else, would ease racial tensions.
The poll numbers suggested the same. In the month of Obama’s inauguration, 79 percent of whites and 63 percent of blacks held a favorable view of race relations in America, something of a high water mark in recent history.
Those paying close attention, however, saw reason to worry. There were forces on the left, the White House included, that were prepared to use Obama’s presidency to drive the races further apart.
Initially at least, this was less the result of some grand master plan than of the collective instincts of various seasoned operatives: Democratic strategists needing to keep their base scared; race hustlers wanting to preserve their power; trial lawyers hoping to hustle up a payday.
None of these operatives could have succeeded, however, without the blessings of a media whose editors and producers had no nobler motive for race baiting than the swelling of their own self-esteem.
I saw this even before the 2008 election when I advanced the thesis that Barack Obama had considerable help with his master work, “Dreams from My Father.”
Apparently, I needed New Yorker editor David Remnick, whose chief hobby seems to be imputing racism to people who live west of 10th Avenue, to set me straight on my motives.
Incensed that Rush Limbaugh had aired my thesis, Remnick allowed that this was not “Limbaugh’s most racist insinuation,” but he insisted that our collective “libel about Obama’s memoir – the denial of literacy, the denial of authorship – had a particularly ugly pedigree.”
This ugly pedigree stuff was news to me, and I have a Ph.D. in American studies with a literature emphasis. If asked, I would have traced the phenomenon to Friedrich August Wolf who challenged, with good cause, Homer’s unique authorship of the Iliad and the Odyssey in 1795. But no one was asking.
My rebuke was something of a norm. The Obama-protective media were prepared to dismiss as racist anyone who challenged anything about Obama, and their audiences, black and white, were prepared to believe them.
This strategy was damaging enough, but it was the street-level agitprop that had the most effect. One incident that deserves more historical attention than it has gotten might best be remembered as “Spittlegate.”
The occasion was a March 2010 tea party-style rally protesting the impending congressional vote on Obamacare. Although members of Congress almost always take the tunnel to get from their offices to the Capitol, that afternoon several members of the Congressional Black Caucus chose to walk through the gathered crowds.
Unable to provoke the crowds into racist words or deeds, Caucus members made up their own. Rep. Andre Carson, one of only two Muslims in Congress, told reporters he heard “‘n-word, n-word,’ at least 15 times, hundreds of people.”
This was unbelievable nonsense. Carson’s walk was captured on multiple video cameras. Andrew Breitbart offered a $100,000 reward for a video on which any racial slur was uttered, and he got no takers.
Meanwhile Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, head of the Caucus, put out a press release saying a protester had spit on him and the Capitol Police arrested the spitter.
This was inarguably false as well. “There were no elements of a crime, and the individual wasn’t able to be positively identified,” Sgt. Kimberly Schneider of the U.S. Capitol Police would tell Fox News about the alleged spitter.
No matter. Within 90 minutes of the walk, the liberal McClatchy Newspapers put out a story headlines, “Tea party protesters scream ‘nigger’ at black congressman.”
Back in Cleaver’s hometown, the Kansas City Star was reporting that “some tea party supporter spat on Cleaver Saturday on Capitol Hill because the U.S. congressman is black.”
If the agitprop could work in full view of the nation’s media, it could surely work in Sanford, Florida. There, in the spring of 2012, with the media applauding, the White House, the Department of Justice and the shabby remnants of the civil rights movement coerced a reluctant state government to try a transparently innocent man for murder.
When George Zimmerman was acquitted, Obama said of the troubled young black man who had viciously attacked Zimmerman, “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.”
Obama capped off his post-trial talk off with a cheerful bromide about America becoming, racially at least, “a more perfect union.” This time, this snake oil wasn’t selling.
After the trial, only 52 percent among whites and 38 percent of blacks had a favorable view of race relations, a calamitous decline, rarely addressed, never explained.
With a complicit media as referee, the power players re-enacted the Sanford game in Ferguson, Missouri, two years later. Once again, the goal was to send a transparently innocent man to prison for 30 or so years.
Now, however, the master planners were getting involved in the agitprop. Even the liberal fact-checker, Snopes.com, concedes, “The grantmaking network founded by George Soros provided funding to some groups that engaged in Ferguson-related protest activities.”
The leftist powers-that-be used these cruelly false constructs to convince black America that a war was being waged on them by white police and ordinary citizens alike.
When the truth threatened the message, the DOJ and the media buried the truth. A casual browser of the news could be forgiven for still thinking that Darren Wilson shot “gentle giant” Michael Brown in cold blood and George Zimmerman did the same to that “little boy” Trayvon Martin.
Worse, the game’s not over. Summer’s just around the corner. The left is busy working the “teddy bear” Tony Robinson story in Madison, Wisconsin, and dreaming of the day when a rogue white cop does, in fact, kill an innocent young black boy.
Corks will be popping that day, maybe even in the White House.
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