Continued from The Republican Race Problem –
One of the sticking points with conservatism and race is our faith in the Constitution. For a long time, the Constitution did not serve blacks in particular very well. This, due to the unavoidable compromises necessary to bring different states into a single union. We do need to gently remind doubters, however, that, much like the Constitution, conservatism has become an all inclusive philosophy and Republicans, an all inclusive party. And that they are open to anyone who loves freedom and small government. Even Democrats have evolved from a period of blatant racism to, well, something else. If they can do that, the Party of Lincoln™ has a much bigger head start and has evolved to a state of ‘beyond race’ well ahead of Democrats.
Unfortunately, my idea from The Republican Race Problem for mending racial fences and cutting off Democrats at their racial knees was ignored or rebuffed by McCain’s utterly incompetent campaign staff. Perhaps it would have had little effect with Obama being half black, but it would have planted a seed, one that would have already begun to sprout, given Obama’s clumsy and unfortunate handling of Gatesgate.
But the “apology” for seeing people as individuals, rather than minorities, is not all that we can do to retake the debate and shut down Democrats on race. There is something more substantive. I call it the One Human Race Act.
The back story. During the 2000 census, a nice young guy came to the door and starting asking census questions. When it got to the race part, something I didn’t expect, I asked “what business is that of the government?” He stammered and stuttered and said “well, none, really, but I have to put something”. I said “Put human. I’m from the human race”. He replied “Uhhh, that’s not a category. Is it safe to assume your caucasian?” “Not terribly safe for you!” We chatted for awhile, he insisted he was only doing my job, I insisted there was simply no good use for the data, that it was simply immaterial to how many people are living where. And I held my ground. He said that people would call relentlessly to get the data. I said “let them, they won’t get it.” And they didn’t. It didn’t take but a few phone calls, laced with a few charges of racism to make that problem go away.
Not long afterwards, on a visit home, I had an interesting discussion with my 5th degree liberal belt father about how to solve racism. My argument was that the fight against racism itself was keeping the small amount of racism left alive, that to get beyond it, we needed to claim victory and move on. That we needed to remove race from the dinner table and remove it from government. While he firmly believed in the fight against racism, he had little resembling logic to rebuff my argument, even bending slightly from his entrenched position. Not that I was right, mind you, but that *maybe* I had a point.
Flash forward nearly a decade and my multiple-background baby is born, ideally into a world less racist and stupid than that of 2000. Alas, no. The hospital insisted on knowing the race of my baby on behalf of the government. And I insisted on putting ‘human’. I had no desire to see my baby labeled as this or that simply because she had a little of this or that in her and that let me to The One Human Race Act.
What is the OHRA? It’s the end game against racism. And a potential way out of the Viet Nam like quagmire into which Republicans have stumbled like so many drunks into a ditch. It would ban all use of race data in government, possibly through Constitutional amendment, with the only exceptions being in the areas of law enforcement and justice. This means removing it from census data. Removing it as a method of gerrymandering districts. Removing it from any and all non essential applications. It would also mean the end of affirmative action and some confusing, even unconstitutional aspects of Title VII.
But, it also means a Republican victory on racism and a way out of the race maze. Clearly, the 20% of Americans who call themselves liberal will give birth to several farm animals over the idea of ending the war against racism. But the 40% of independents might just see the reasoning in it and take a step back towards the conservative side. This is the perfect torch to put into Michael Steele’s hand, should he accept the challenge to lead us there. It’s bold and the blowback would be beyond anything we’ve seen from the extreme left. An attempt to move beyond race would be viewed by the illogical left as the purist form of racism and thoroughly destructive to race baiting. But not by the logical middle. And they should be the only people with whom the right needs to concern itself. Maybe then, some of our politicians can get back to feeling comfortable in their own, often pale, skins and stop blurting out things that can only make you hang your head and go “oooooooph”.