Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Bush Hatred and Racism

I heard somebody express the opinion today that nothing could explain the government's slowness to respond to Katrina besides Bush's racism.

It's hard to know how to argue against this. In fact, sometimes I think Bush's enemies say it because it's so inflammatory that rational discussion can't possibly follow it. On the other hand, one shouldn't credit Bush's enemies with so much calculation. More likely, they say (or strongly imply) that he's a racist because they believe it. Once again, however, you're in the position of not really knowing how to respond.

I wonder what goes through the minds of people who make this "argument." Do they think Bush sat around literally saying something like, "Oh, it's just a bunch of blacks; we don't really have to do anything unless things get really awful?" Or do they think Bush's alleged racism is more covert, unconscious, hidden in a place where he himself cannot grasp it? (That would probably attribute more depth to Bush's personality than his opponents have been willing to grant him.)

Either way, it's remarkable how little evidence Bush's enemies have that he's a racist. They say it as if it must be true (how could it be otherwise?), but the assertion isn't based on any fact. What kind of evidence is the slow response to a hurricane -- one after which the governor of Louisiana was slow to ask for help and put the machine of Federal assistance in motion in the first place? Bush was arguably slow and inept initially, but a racist? How does one follow from the other? The fact is that the assertion that Bush is a racist is a thoughtless prejudice frighteningly close to racism itself.

Let's remember that initially Condi Rice was ridiculed for the insensitivity of going on a shopping spree in NYC in the first days after Katrina. When it became apparent that the administration's slowness could be exploited by the Lunatic Left for so much more and that Bush could actually be accused of racism, Rice's faux pas was quickly forgotten for obvious reasons. Her skin is the wrong color, after all. And nobody in the "mainstream" media has been brazen enough to call her an Uncle Tom -- yet. In this ugly climate, nothing would surprise me, however.


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