Good news, everybody!
Turns out it’s not racist to require voters to provide identification after all.
Not only that, but it turns out Critical Race Theory is no big deal: it’s just about teaching kids about the history of slavery and race relations in the United States.
These revelations are brought to us courtesy of whatever you want to call the monolithic bloc of elected officials, journalists, opinion-mongers, academics, celebrities, and corporate shills who are responsible for the development, deployment, and maintenance of the predominant cultural group-think.
You can call it the Establishment, the Machine, the Cathedral: whatever you like. They’re the same people and organizations, by the way, who up until a week or two ago were insisting that voter identification requirements were even more racist than the (Democratic) Jim Crow laws of the early 20th century, and that Critical Race Theory was a necessary corrective for an intractably racist America.
About a month ago I wrote a post (Narrative Infallibility), about the lengths to which the establishment will go to defend not their ideals, but their own invincible rightness in holding whatever particular ideals they happen to be defending at any given moment.
Walt Whitman might say: “Does the establishment contradict itself? Very well then it contradicts itself, it is large, it contains multitudes.”
True enough. But here’s the crazy thing: the establishment will never concede it’s contradicting itself.
Voter identification laws were, for example, utterly racist and disgusting in the very, very, very recent past.
“What I’m worried about is how un-American this whole (voter identification) initiative is,” Biden said at his first real news conference back in March. “It’s sick. It’s sick… This makes Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle.”
Barack Obama also compared the Georgia voting laws to Jim Crow.
The establishment took their marching orders (or perhaps they had already issued them and Biden was merely marching along). Failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacy Abrams called voter ID laws “Jim Crow in a suit and tie.” She said the Georgia law in particular “suppresses voters” and “criminalizes compassion.” House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn told Jake Tapper that “what is taking place today is a new Jim Crow, just that simple.” A Roll Call podcast dedicated to the topic was entitled “Jim Crow 2.0.”
I could name check most members of Democratic leadership, cite editorials from most newspapers, and quote dozens of corporate executives, professional athletes, and celebrities: it was Jim Crow all the way down.
This despite the fact that the various voting reform laws being proposed in various states were all already active in many other states—including states that have been in Democratic hands for decades.
For what it’s worth, the original Jim Crow laws did indeed include measures to suppress black voting. They also enabled lynchings and de jure segregation. And they were all dreamed up, drafted, sponsored, and passed by the Democratic Party.
So voting ID requirements were pure racism… until suddenly they weren’t.
On Monday, the Washington Post ran an article entitled, “Stacey Abrams and the Democrats’ evolution on voter ID.”
“Stacy Abrams and the Democrats” have had two distinct positions on voter identification laws. One: they’re racist and everyone supporting them is racist. Two: they’re totes cool, you guys, and we have always supported them!
The two positions can’t be reconciled, so the logical question is: were the Democrats right earlier this year, or are they right now?
Sorry, trick question: Democrats are always right.
According to Fox News:
“Voters without a driver’s license or state ID must surrender their personal information and risk identify theft just to receive an absentee ballot,” Abrams said while plugging her “Stop Jim Crow 2” website in opposition to Georgia’s election reform legislation. “And then there are the 200,000 Georgia voters who don’t have either ID and the punitive free ID that’s not free when you factor in the cost of transportation and the cost of an underlining document.”
(It’s not free because you have to go get it, and that can cost money. Not only isn’t it free, it’s punitive.)
And yet here we are now:
“No one has ever objected to having to prove who you are to vote,” Abrams said on CNN last week. “It’s been part of our nation’s history since the inception of voting.“
In other words, based on its failure to gain enough support from voters, the Democrats simply changed their position on the issue and then declared that they’d never had any other position on it. Democrats didn’t evolve on voter ID: they were always unwavering in their support for the thing that was, just a few weeks ago, equivalent to lynchings and segregation.
With CRT, their position remains the same—they’re for it—but based on its failure to gain support from voters, the Democrats have tried to redefine the issue.
I won’t bother dragging you through all the support that CRT has had from Democrats and their allies in recent months (but here’s one little reminder of how rabidly it was defended). Instead, let’s just hop on over to a transcript from last Sunday’s Meet the Press:
(Cast of characters, according to host Chuck Todd: “Washington Post White House bureau chief, Ashley Parker; Democratic pollster, Cornell Belcher; Republican strategist Brad Todd; and PBS NewsHour chief correspondent, Amna Nawaz. By the way, both Brad and I’s middle name is ‘No Relation’ on that front.”)
Is not having though a unified sort of, you say it’s sort of, what are the issues that the party stands for, right? That seems to be the missing piece here, Amna.
Yeah. And specific to this idea of critical race theory, I have to tell you, I just spent some time reporting on this county in Virginia about an hour outside of Washington. And- and to your point, this is something that is mobilizing people and resonating very deeply. It was about a 100 degree day. Dozens and dozens and dozens of parents, mostly white, in this largely affluent county, showed up to a school board meeting—for many of them, the very first school board meeting they’d ever attended—specifically because of this one issue.
That’s important to note, that you mentioned critical race theory a couple times. This is a parent-led backlash at the grassroots level.
But it’s manufactured —
— and then sort of —
— elected officials —
— the fire was lit.
I disagree. I think it started because parents have had it with the education bureaucracy after Covid. They’re fed up with it. They tend to trust Democrats when it comes to education funding, but they trust Republicans on education accountability. I think that what the backlash you’re seeing on critical race theory in schools is another example of parents trying to hold educators accountable.
It’s coordinated. It’s aggressive. It’s intentional, right? This is, this is part of the, the tribalism play. The critical race theory is yet another tool in the, in the, in the racial tribal bogeyman’s toolbox to drive and inflame tribalism, which Republicans think helps them in, in elections. This is—this is—this is Trump 2.0. This is, it’s a, it’s a continuation of this, right? Critical race theory is an, an arcane sort of ideal. Why is it front and center right now? The same reason that Mitch McConnell attacks Stacey Abrams when she came out for the, for the, for the voting bill. It is racial. It is tribalism. We’ve seen it grow under Trump. And this is part and partial of it. And they think this helps ignite their base. There’s no way this is not grassroots. And, Brad, you know this is organized and is being paid for.
The Thursday before that, CNN hosts Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon had a chat of their own on the subject of pushback to CRT:
“I had somebody today say, ‘I’m just worried. I don’t want people lecturing my kid like hey you’re white, you’re bad,’” Cuomo recalled. “Why do you think that’s what it will be? I said that’s the only problem, is your perception.”
“Why wouldn’t you want your kid to understand the roots of slavery and the legacy of slavery, how it has played out for enslaved people throughout the years?” Cuomo said, suggesting that critical race theory merely involves teaching the history of slavery.
“You don’t think that telling people that [their ancestors] were beaten and sold and lynched makes them feel bad?” Don Lemon replied, speaking about the pain that this history brings for the descendants of slaves.
“That’s the whole thing about what privilege is. People don’t like to have their pleasure interrupted, their peace interrupted,” Lemon went on. “Having people come to the realization, especially ancestors of slaves, that they were enslaved, and that they were beaten and they were sold, they weren’t able to accrue wealth, that they weren’t able to go to school, weren’t able to vote, do you think that makes them feel good?”
“The folks on the other side, stop making it about you, and be curious instead of judgmental,” Lemon concluded.
And the Friday before that, MSNBC host Joy Reid had made some similar comments:
Open question to those who are afraid of ‘critical race theory’ (which isn’t being taught in K-12 schools; it’s a course offering in law schools, but you clearly are conflating it with the 1619Project.) What do you WANT taught about U.S. slavery and racism? Nothing? Or what?
And on June 11, Robert Reich tweeted: “The so-called ‘party of free speech’ is now trying to ban educators from teaching about the anguished role racism has played in the shaping of America. We can’t stand for it.”
See the theme here? Pushback to CRT is just Republican smoke and mirrors, a manufactured outrage meant to get their own base all keyed up and angry. CRT is just about getting public schools to teach about slavery and racism in America. That’s all!
Except American public schools were already teaching about slavery and civil rights. They have been for decades.
Here’s Ibram X. Kendi (author of the best-selling How To Be an Anti-Racist) explaining his take on it during a June 12 podcast entitled “Critical Race Theory Is a Convenient Target for Conservatives:“
Critical race theory emerged among lawyers and legal scholars who recognized that despite being in this post–civil rights America, racial inequity and disparity still existed and persisted. For them and for critical race theorists, the aim was to examine those structures, those laws, those policies, so that we can uncover the structures of racism. And obviously, critical race theory has extended out to other disciplines. Personally, I think that Republicans specifically chose to attack critical race theory because they felt that they could define it more easily than other terms. Since they couldn’t come out and say, “Oh, those people who are challenging systemic racism are a problem.” They couldn’t say, “Those anti-racists are a problem.” So they’re defining critical race theory at the same time they are attacking it, and critical race theorists are like, “That’s not how we define it.”
First, I’m not aware of any conservatives opposed to examining structures, laws, or policies to identify any embedded racism. Second, the existence of racial inequity and disparity is certainly a legitimate topic for scholarly investigation, and I’m not aware of any efforts to block such academic pursuits.
But note how innocuously Kendi slips in “critical race theory has extended out to other disciplines” without any further elaboration. It’s a subtle bait and switch, and one that’s been embraced by all the machinery of the left.
The bait is that critical race theory is just an academic area of interest to a bunch of lawyers and legal scholars (and “critical race theorists” who are apparently neither lawyers nor legal scholars). The switch is in that throwaway line about CRT having spread out to other disciplines.
How does the examination of structures, laws, and policies in search of embedded racism manifest itself in disciplines outside law and academia?
There are two moral panics afoot in America right now: a moral panic on the left that America is systemically racist and must be completely remade, and a panic on the right and in the center that the left is trying to tear America down.
That the center has sided with the right on this has now created a political panic on the left: a panic that the majority of Americans don’t consider their country a systemically racist hellhole in need of an extreme makeover.
The right may be mistaken to lump so much mischief under the umbrella of CRT. Joy Reid may in fact have a point in suggesting that some Americans are conflating CRT with the 1619 project. But when everyone on the left is now marching in lockstep on racial themes, it’s not surprising that Americans who don’t share that racialist outlook would seize on some phrase or other to encompass the whole movement, even if it’s not quite le mot juste.
Joe Biden and high-ranking members of his administration (including the Attorney General) have been sounding off on the threat of “white supremacy” for months, despite the fact that white supremacy is found exactly nowhere in American public life. Look at the mandatory “equity and inclusion” courses being foisted on employees of major American corporations—Coke’s “Be Less White” kerfuffle is a prime example—and institutions. Look at the way the cultural left continues to make everything—everything—about race.
There is now, increasingly, considerable pushback to all this obsessive racialism. Many of those pushing back aren’t entirely sure what it is they’re pushing back against, beyond the fact that it’s racist and divisive, aggressive and often attended by violence. And they’re only pushing back because they feel themselves being pushed.
To suggest that the real problem here is that those rubes and simpletons are lumping it all together under the wrong nomenclature, in part because those dastardly Republicans are getting CRT mixed up with the 1619 Project and anti-racism and the War on White Supremacy, misses the point pretty spectacularly.
Which is probably no accident.
Imagine you and I are wading along the beach together. Suddenly the waters begin to recede dramatically.
“Wow,” I say, “I think when the water goes out like that it means a wavy is coming. We better get to higher ground as fast we can!”
Does it matter than I called it a wavy instead of a tsunami? Are my concerns misplaced because I used the wrong word? Is it even relevant that I call them wavies instead of tsunamis because that’s what my Lutheran uncle called them, and Lutherans are famous for misleading people on the names of oceanic phenomena? In short, what’s the more immediate problem: my use of language, or the 30-meter wall of water headed for us?
Shall we stand here and talk a little more about it so you can straighten me out on things, or should we get our asses up to higher ground as fast as we possibly can?
It’s certainly possible, even likely, that many people are using Critical Race Theory as a stand-in phrase for any number of things that aren’t Critical Race Theory. The racialist left knows this, and it also knows that it’s unable to defend those things with arguments those critics would find satisfactory. So instead of defending the indefensible, they’ve chosen to get pedagogical on nomenclature.
Again: on voter identification, they lost the argument on the merits so decided to pretend they’d always supported it. On fanatical racialism, they’re losing the argument on the merits, so they decided to pretend their critics misunderstand the issue.
And on the Wuhan lab leak theory (the subject of the “Narrative Infallibility” post I linked to earlier), recall, they lost reality itself and so simply declared a different reality.
Like I said: Democrats are always right.