Robert W. Merry writes at The American Conservative that the Left is in crisis because, as he says, they are out of menaces to scare voters with. He writes (abridged):
Few writers today on either Right or Left can come close to matching Shelby Steele in the depth of his thinking or the pungency of his social commentary. He is a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution and the author of the 2015 book Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country. He is also—and this is significant in understanding him—a mixed-race American whose black father married his white mother in 1944, a time when such marriages brought a lot of social disdain, even hostility. He grew up in Harvey, Illinois, a working-class town just south of Chicago, where his father, a truckdriver, was kept down financially because of racism in the local Teamsters union.
Consider his response when Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, on the Senate floor, sought to thwart the confirmation of her colleague Jeff Session as attorney general under President Donald Trump. It was, wrote Steele, an example of “so many public moments now in which the old weapon of stigmatization shoots blanks.” To bolster her attack, Warren read from a 30-year-old letter by Coretta Scott King on racial justice. Wrote Steele: “There it was with deadly predictability: a white liberal stealing moral authority from a black heroine in order to stigmatize a white male as racist.”
Reacting to the aftermath of National Football League players refusing to stand for the national anthem before games, Steele considered the protests “forced and unconvincing….as if they were mimicking the courage of earlier black athletes who had protested.” In contrast to those earlier protesters, he wrote, these new ones demonstrated “no real sacrifice, no risk, and no achievement.” Steele welcomed the backlash to that frivolous protest and wondered if white Americans had finally “found the courage” to “judge African-Americans fairly by universal standards.”
But now the Left is in crisis because it is running out of menaces to fight. “The Achilles’ heel of the left,” writes Steele, “has been its dependence on menace for power.” As long as it can raise the call against such things as “systemic racism” and “structural inequality,” it can leverage those evils for power, as it has been doing for half a century. But now a mortal threat to this power formula has come into view: “The left’s unspoken terror is that racism is no longer menacing enough to support its own power.”
That leaves anxiety-riddled liberals seizing upon hate in a kind of last-gasp effort to retain power.
Read more here.
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