It would do wonders for our political discourse if we treated people as individuals rather than running down a checklist of the various groups to which a person belongs before deciding how we feel about him and how we respond to his words and actions. Wouldn’t our lives be simpler if some things were always wrong regardless of who says or does them?
As recent events have demonstrated, the web of identity politics and intersectionality carefully woven by the progressive left is a labyrinth not even the wiliest of Democrats can successfully navigate.
I was twelve and sixteen on the days Bill Clinton was elected then reelected president. The infamous blue dress became a national topic of conversation when I was a senior in high school. All my life I’ve watched with interest as the label “Democrat” has insulated individuals from reprehensible behavior. Women who claim to care about women and their struggles as a sex rallied around Clinton for years, knowingly protecting a womanizer––and, more importantly, a man credibly accused of rape––because he was a warrior in their crusade to continue killing the unborn.
My interest in politics emerged and blossomed when I was in my twenties. At that time, two men sat in the Senate chamber whose pasts should have, and would have, prevented them from being elected to public office had they not had a (D) attached to their name. I am speaking of former senator Ted Kennedy and former senator Robert Byrd.
Kennedy had been dead for nearly a decade before anyone dared tell the truth about Chappaquiddick via film. He was a Kennedy and a Democrat, and thus he had a long career in the U.S. Senate pretending, alongside Clinton, to be a crusader for women despite having left one to drown in his car while he scurried away to craft a story that might save his political career.
Byrd was, of course, a former member of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). Both of these men happily sheltered under the umbrella of safety the “Democrat” label provided them for years and years. They were a member of the right group, and thus their sins were washed away, scrubbed by a media all too eager to stuff their misdeeds down the memory hole. Democrats are quick to offer grace to those who belong to the right group.
More recent examples of grace-by-group-affiliation are the curious stories that emerged from the state of Virginia during––of all months––February, Black History Month. On the heels of his infamous comments advocating for a practice that can only be described as infanticide, it was revealed that Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has a curious past, to say the least.
Northam’s response to a photo on his medical school yearbook page depicting a man in blackface alongside another man in a KKK hood (presumably he was one of them) was a complete debacle. He apologized for it. He then said he wasn’t in the photo, oddly enough, but had at another time worn blackface. He seemed to indicate there had perhaps been an error by the yearbook staff.
He claimed he would embark on a “listening tour,” although to whom he would be listening was never defined, and I believe he canceled the first stop. He remains the governor of Virginia, and there is no doubt the D after his name as well as his willingness to do Planned Parenthood’s bidding helped him weather the storm over the blackface photo and his bizarre, flimsy pseudo-atonement.
Identity Groups Now Matter More Than Character
Prior to Rep. Ilhan Omar’s emergence on the national scene, the message was already clear, and tragic: It matters not what you say or do, but rather to which groups you belong. A “D” after your name buys you cover from your own party and from most of the national media. Not one of the Virginia politicians whose questionable pasts came to light in February have stepped down, despite the women who accused Virginia Lt. Gov Justin Fairfax of sexual assault stating they are willing to testify about their experiences.
I have watched with intense curiosity (that quickly turned to deep sadness) as Nancy Pelosi, other Democrats, and many in the national media scrambled to figure out how to handle blatant anti-Semites in their ranks. Omar is a member of a handful of coveted victim groups, after all. She came to this country as a refugee from Somalia. She is a non-Caucasian and a Muslim. She drips of every label for which the Democrats routinely go to bat.
She is featured, alongside Pelosi, on the cover of this month’s Rolling Stone magazine. She is literally their new poster girl (or at least cover girl), and they have ultimately decided they will provide her the cover they provided Clinton, Kennedy, Byrd, Northam, and others. They will excuse her anti-Semitism because she is a valuable commodity to them, and because they fear the wrath of their rabid base.
The tricky part for Democrats is that Omar’s remarks are highly specific and target a group whose population was literally reduced by six million not so long ago. While, for example, Kennedy’s victim drowned in his car, silenced forever, there are a great many Jewish voters living in the United States who have, perhaps until recently, considered the Democratic Party their home. Consider that Andrew Gillum, who recently lost Florida’s gubernatorial race due in part to his inability to shore up Jewish votes in that state, is steadfastly defending Omar.
Omar presents quite the case of cognitive dissonance for Democrats because many in the party do not assess people as individuals but rather via a lens of group membership, of victim status. Many of them refuse to admit that a member of a victim group they lionize (a Muslim woman who fled Somalia) should be assessed as an individual who deserves reprimands for repeatedly making anti-Semitic statements.
In their dogma, a victim is always a victim and thus cannot be an oppressor. As we’ve learned recently, there is a victim hierarchy, and the “Jewish” label does not trump the “Muslim woman of color” label for Democrats. It is truly an absurd way to approach life (and politics).
There are no winners in the Victimhood Olympics. These games force you to support vile people and vile statements when those statements are uttered by a member of a highly sought-after victim group.
The Apostle Peter explains that the Lord is no respecter of persons. This is the best way forward for American politics, and this applies to both sides of the aisle. Stripping people of the many labels we use in our quest to categorize everyone, instead treating them as individuals and assessing their behavior this way, is the only way for us to untangle ourselves from the ridiculous web of intersectionality in which we are currently snared.