Thursday, January 2, 2014

3 Lessons from the Harris-Perry Controversy

Last Sunday was not a good day for MSNBC.

Ben and Andelynne Romney adopted a baby. That act of love earned them the cackling, gleeful scorn of prominent liberals. On live TV. This isn't complicated. The comments by Melissa Harris-Perry and her panelists were both embarrassing and pathetic. Still, there are three important lessons to be drawn here.

1) Prejudice comes in many forms
Imagine the outrage that would have followed... a TV panel of prominent conservatives suggests that (New York Mayor-Elect) Bill de Blasio's African-American son was the product of a 'token' political calculation... unrestrained fury would follow. And rightly so. In their rant however, Harris Perry and co. have encapsulated a small but spreading infection in American liberalism – the encroachment of emotion over logic and decency. It's clear that liberals disagree with many tenets of conservative philosophy. Nevertheless, in today's America, a thinly veiled hatred sits far too close to the heart of liberal discourse. Motivated by anger, many liberals have thus come to regard prejudice as a wholly subjective concern - something that conservatives consistently support and that liberals unfailingly oppose with moral purity. The actual truth is self-evident. By rendering a small child as a political object, rather than as a member of an American family, Harris Perry and co. have engaged in an unambiguous racism. Their not so subtle mantra rings loudly - all minorities are necessarily liberal and all conservatives are inherently racist. This is political Endocarditis.

Remember folks, just as it has no logic, neither does racism have a specific face. Whether from the mouth of a conservative or a liberal, whether it comes with a smile or spitted fury, our reaction should be the same. To condemn it absolutely. What was said was shameful.

2) Conservatives don't have a monopoly on stupidity.
Regrettably these comments don't stand alone. Instead, they reflect a deeper grain of ludicrous remarks from other liberals in 2013. Churning in the melting pot of idiotic remarks, we've had Bashir's comments on Palin, Clinton on Benghazi, Rep. Waters on sequester, Harris Perry (yes, again) on kids, Toure on immigration reform and the President’s summit of rhetoric - 'keep your plan'. These examples have reinforced a simple truth – casual stupidity pays no heed to political colors.

By breaking from logical assessment, too many otherwise intelligent liberals have discredited their agenda. While passionate debate is critical for America's well-being, we also need to accept that debate is worthless when it’s devoid of intellectual sensibility. Most of all, we need to realize that unchallenged stupidity helps no one. Idiotic remarks denigrate American political life and fracture the bonds of our society. Of course, there’s a simple remedy here – unless you’re going to contribute meaningfully, just stay quiet.

3) Conservatives must do more to address minority concerns.
Conservatives mustn't allow themselves to be distracted by this incident. It's not pleasant. Just as too many liberals view minorities with arrogance, it's also obvious that conservatives need to build far better bridges with non-white voters. Until conservatives get serious about inner city politics, for example, many Americans will continue to ignore the GOP. The election data tells its own tale. Unless conservatives become more competitive with minority voters, American conservatism has a bleak political future. Recognizing this reality, conservatives should regard what’s just happened as a challenge rather than a cause for celebration. A challenge towards a more inclusive future. Just as the Romney family has shown love to be colorless, so too must modern conservatism be limitless in its aspiration and concern.

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