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Is this the end of the era of tolerance?

June 24, 2015

The senseless, vicious nature of the Charleston shooting, perhaps more than any other single event in recent memory has opened the floodgates of rhetoric on race relations in America.

The world was privy to both the best and worst of America, and for a brief, illuminating moment symbolized by the march across the Ravenel Bridge on June 21, it looked like the best was going to triumph.

It didn’t.

Some of the knee-jerk reactions to the acts of one murderous little punk can be ascribed to the simple human desire to fix things when they go so tragically wrong. That’s surely what drove the desire to obliterate the Confederate flag. If that makes people feel better then so be it.

It also exposed a deeper, uglier wound in our society, and perhaps in our government.

There has long been an undertone of opinion that this administration harbors some serious racial bias of its own, a bias that is reflected in many of the administration’s policies, even up to and including affecting its desire to defend the country against global aggressors.

That opinion was reinforced by the words of an anonymous administration member quoted in a Washington Post article, who is reported to have said “If you are a white man in America, this country is changing dramatically. You have always been in charge,” said a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity (sic) be candid. “So there is something to white men feeling like something has been taken away from them.”

Any member of the public has the right to his or her own opinion, and there is no doubt that many blacks feel that quotation speaks to the truth.

However, as  a member of our political community, remarks like that and others quoted in the WaPo article and attributed to the President, convey the impression of a mindset that is no less disturbing than the carnage in the Mother Emanuel AME church.

The mindset is that of an administration and of some in black leadership that will never, ever feel that the wrongs of slavery have been or ever can be atoned or compensated for enough until all white people are rendered obsolete. They seem to be stuck in 1859 or 1959 forever.

That’s how feuds are perpetuated and wars get started.

This is not a perfect country, because there is no such thing as perfect people. This is however the country that elected a black president. It was a white man from the South who signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act that helped to make that possible.

It would be a shame if the bully pulpit of the presidency ended all that progress in 2015.

From → op-ed

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