Collecting scalps at what cost?
I’m torn on saying anything about this, but think the better part of valor requires me to speak up on this.The Shirley Sherrod debate reminds me of Rush Limbaugh trying to buy the St. Louis Rams. For three days after the announcement reporters, news anchors, “legitimate” “journalists” brought up several Limbaugh quotes that painted him as a racist. For three days these “legitimate” people in the news — not pundits, not analysis, but news anchors, reporters, etc. — pressed on until the deal was successful sabotaged. Only then did reporters care to point out that after twenty years on the radio, all the quotes used to bash Rush Limbaugh had been fabricated by the left.Then there were the fabricated incidents during the health care protests in Washington where tea party activists allegedly spit on black members of Congress and used the “N” word. None of that actually happened.Andrew Breitbart promised he would do to the left what the left has been doing to the right for years. He is gathering quite the collection of leftwing scalps and will forever warm the hearts of the right for the ACORN takedown alone. I’m glad he is on our side.That said, I think Shirley Sherrod has been unfairly characterized as a racist. In the Breitbart video, we hear Ms. Sherrod discuss meeting with a white farmer who clearly wanted to make sure she knew he was superior to her. And we hear her say she decided she’d help, but only do so much. And we clearly hear her say she decided to send him to his own kind — a white lawyer.What we only start to hear before the video ends and where the conversation goes is Ms. Sherrod realizing the issue was not black vs. white, but a matter of the poor.In fact, Ms. Sherrod and the white farmer are now friends. The farmer and his wife are defending Ms. Sherrod for saving their family farm. It seems the video cuts out as Ms. Sherrod is about to make a profound point — the dynamics of black versus white have changed in the South.As a local city councilman in Macon, Georgia, I deal with this all the time — both among white people and black people. After decades of racial disharmony, people are realizing there is more to each other than skin color, however hard it may be to see past that.We’re making progress. There will always be racists because there will always be sinners. We, all of us like sheep, have gone astray. Maybe Shirley Sherrod is. But it seems in the video clip presented Ms. Sherrod was penitent and recognized that her initial impressions were wrong. That does not give her a pass in life. There are still questions about her.But in this instance, if this is all there is and it seems it may be all we have to examine, we shouldn’t be collecting her scalp. We should be hopeful for more people willing to realize the world does not revolve around race.What is, however, disturbing is the White House. It has kept Kevin Jennings on the payroll despite his sordid past, hatred of the scouts, and advocacy of a radical gay rights agenda. The White House was perfectly happy to keep Van Jones around for a good while. The White House is perfectly happy to use a congressional recess to put Donald Berwick in charge of Medicare. But a low level Ag Department employee? She had to be tossed. So much for loyalty.If there is nothing more to Ms. Sherrod’s remarks, I think we’ve made a mistake. But above all else, it is hilarious to watch the White House scrambling out of fear for Andrew Breitbart and the new propensity on the right to fight back in the same way and with the same tactics the left has used for so long.And that is a point we need to make and is quite relevant and should not be missed by people wringing their hands over this on either side.The left has used race as a weapon for a very long time. They have devalued what racism means – which is a terrible shame if you actually care about stopping real racism or remembering it in our history. The word now connotes disagreeing with the left instead of what it actually means.Had Ms. Sherrod been white, she’d be vilified in the press, fired, and probably have trouble thereafter seeking work. The NAACP would be passing a resolution condemning the Department of Agriculture as racist. This is what we have become in politics because of the unrepentant race-baiting on the left. It has become a tit for tat war of retribution. We see that on the Journolist as reported by the Daily Caller today. When Jeremiah Wright was in the news, the leftwing reporters on Journolist plotted to change the subject by declaring various figures in and around the Bush White House, including Karl Rove on the inside and Fred Barnes on the outside, “racist.” They wanted to scream racism not because the people to be attacked were in fact racist, but because it would be a useful way to change the subject.That war has casualties on both sides. Ms. Sherrod is the latest. It is not fair. But that’s how the left plays and the right must fight on offense or not fight at all. It disgusts me to have to say it, but that is so very sadly where we are. As long as the left gets a pass on this all too easy game, the right has to fight back.