Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bobby Rush Plays the Thomas Card. Congressman Bobby Rush of Chicago was playing a race card yesterday when urging people to accept the Rod Blagojevich's nomination of Roland Burris for the Senate seat held by Barack Obama.
"I would ask you to not hang or lynch the appointee as you try to castigate the appointer. Roland Burris is worthy," Rush said.
But which race card was Bobby Rush playing. In mainstream political commentary, "the race card" is viewed as a racial reference that African-Americans unfairly use to gain advantage over whites. But that's ridiculous. What 250 years of slavery, another hundred years of segregation, and a couple generations of racial discrimination means is that America is practically drowning in race cards. So it's important to be specific about which race card Bobby Rush was playing.

John Kass of the Chicago Tribune claims that Rush was playing the Jesse Jackson/Al Sharpton race card.
Grown-ups have seen such theater before. The only things missing were cameo performances by those two prolific race card players, Al Sharpton and Chicago's own Rev. Jesse Jackson.
I'm sure people could find these kinds of references to lynching from Sharpton's involvement in the Tawana Brawley mess. But claiming that the rejection of the kind of ethically questionable and manipulative race play being made by Blagojevich is analogous to lynching doesn't sound like Jackson or anything Sharpton's said since he first ran for President.

Instead, Bobby Rush is sounding more like Clarence Thomas. Here's Thomas from his Senate confirmation hearing after his pathetic conduct toward Anita Hill was revealed.
"This is not an opportunity to talk about difficult matters privately or in a closed environment. This is a circus. It is a national disgrace. And from my standpoint, as a black American, as far as I am concerned, it is a high-tech lynching for uppity-blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas, and it is a message that, unless you kow-tow to an old order this is what will happen to you, you will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. Senate, rather than hung from a tree."
That's one of the many conservative race cards. Conservatives also play "color-blindness," the Bell Curve, and a host of other race cards against African-Americans. "Barack the Magic Negro" is a race card that Rush Limbaugh particularly enjoyed playing. In the case of Clarence Thomas, the conservative idea is that liberals who engage in critical treatment or moral condemnation of African-American conservatives are doing the moral equivalent of a lynching. Bobby Rush and Roland Burris aren't conservatives, but Rush is doing essentially the same thing when he claims that liberal rejection of Roland Burris would be "lynching."

Playing a race card in support of a corrupt figure like Blagojevich is no surprise. How many pro-Blagojevich cards are out there? But it's not the kind of card that either Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton would play.

No comments: