By now, we’re all familiar with the Sherrod story. Andrew Breitbart was sent an edited video that made it look as if Sherrod was boasting to an NAACP gathering about denying government aid to white farmers. The audience laughed complicitly when Sherrod made that confession.
Breitbart held onto that video clip until the NAACP announced that, in the absence of any evidence showing Tea Party racism, it was going to denounce Tea Party racism. In the face of the NAACP’s knee jerk attack to policies with which it disagrees, Breitbart published the video.
It turned out, though, that Breitbart might have been knee jerking it too, since the video turned out to be part of a longer presentation during which Sherrod had confessed that she had abandoned her old racist ways. To the extent that he was trying to highlight NAACP conduct, not Sherrod’s, Breitbart still had a point with that knowing laughter the audience gave during Sherrod’s confession. Be that as it may, it looked as if Breitbart owed Sherrod an apology.
Interestingly, the NAACP was so panicked by the video — despite the fact that it had the entire speech in its possession — that it immediately denounced Sherrod. This was yet another example of knee jerk idiocy, giving the NAACP two knee jerk points, the first for attacking the Tea Party, and the second for trying to disassociate itself from Sherrod before taking 15 minutes to get the facts.
The Obama administration also went into knee jerk mode, explicitly claiming fear of Fox and Glenn Beck. Without bothering to investigate, it humiliated and then fired Sherrod. When the whole video transcript came out, the administration had to engage in a massive belly crawl to Sherrod. No surprise here. Almost two years of Obamaness has shown us that the administration is focused on its goals, but a little hazy on the details.
Obama himself went into knee jerk mode when he castigated Secretary Tom Vilsack for acting “stupidly.” While this was almost certainly true, it was a bad choice of words for Obama who, as you may recall, went into knee jerk mode when, after admitting he knew nothing, he nevertheless castigated Cambridge police officers for acting “stupidly” with regard to the Henry Louis Gates arrest. I’m pretty sure that Obama, if pressed, would describe most people around him as stupid, but that’s another story for another day.
Up until this morning, I would have said that the only person who came out of this little race incident in America was Sherrod. While she has confessed that she was once a racist, she had announced publicly, in a slightly confused but heart-wrenching speech, that she was no longer. For her honesty and remorse, she had wrongly been embarrassed and punished for confessing her sins.
Except that this narrative is not true. It turns out that, remorseful confession notwithstanding, Sherrod is still a race sinner, whose default, knee jerk setting is to cry racism. Check it out. She’s no rose and she’s not repentant. When push comes to shove, Sherrod is every bit as bad as the rest of them.
Race in America is poisonous, not because most Americans are racists, but because the Left believes that most Americans are racists. I am reminded of Maria Van Trapp’s autobiography, which I read decades ago. Before she fell into the hands of the “good” nuns, the ones who achieved Hollywood fame, Maria was sent to a school run by fairly sadistic nuns. These nuns beat the children daily on the principle that children were inherently evil and, whether or not one caught them making mischief, one could assume that they had made mischief, so they should be punished accordingly.
My father had a similar experience with nuns back in Berlin in 1924, when he was 5. His mother, who was not bright, meant to leave him for a week with a Jewish charity while she had to go away. Lord alone knows how, but she managed to leave him with a group of nuns in the same building. They too beat him, and all the other little ones, daily.
Both Maria and my father had the exact same response to the experience of all punishment, no crime: They concluded that, if they were going to be beaten for being bad, whether or not they had, in fact, been bad, they might as well be bad. At least then the beating would have meaning and maybe they’d have some fun along the way.
If you constantly castigate honorable Americans as racists, they will eventually confirm to your standards. That’s all.