It was always a mistake to treat the ravings of a man who once told African Americans that Mitt Romney would “put y’all back in chains” as having credibility on racial issues or history. When then-Vice President Joe Biden uttered that hyperbolic lie during a 2012 campaign speech, that sort of calumny against Republicans seemed to embarrass even partisan Democrats.
Republicans skewered his claim that a GOP stand on financial regulatory policy was the harbinger of the return of slavery. But Democrats mostly shrugged their shoulders and put it down to the crazy uncle role Biden seemed to play in the Obama administration.
Nine years later, the same man (now acclaimed by his corporate media cheerleaders as the avatar of decency and honesty) is still toeing the same line. On Tuesday, he gave a speech about the dispute over new voter integrity laws sponsored by Republicans, and Democrats’ attempt to rewrite voting regulations on a national level.
The result was, if anything, an even crazier version of his “chains” speech. Speaking at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, his assertion that Republican voting laws are “an attempt to suppress and subvert the right to vote,” comparable to “Jim Crow,” was equally hyperbolic. He also went on to say, “We’re facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War. That’s not hyperbole, since the Civil War.”
His frequent use of the word “literally” and his attempts to deny that he is using hyperbole make one wonder if he knows what these words mean, or if the content of the legislation he is denouncing has ever been explained to him.
Election Integrity Is Not Fort Sumter
Requiring a photo ID to vote is a measure supported by 80 percent of Americans, including large majorities of Democrat and minority voters. Other election integrity laws would limit practices that were virtually unknown or frowned upon before the coronavirus pandemic, such as mass mailings of unrequested mail-in ballots, vote harvesting, and unlimited early or drive-by voting schemes. To suggest such measures are the equivalent of the Confederates firing on Fort Sumter is an argument so transparently false that it shouldn’t require serious discussion.
Since the narrative about Republican “voter suppression” — a phrase stretched to mean anything that might involve the smallest inconvenience for a potential voter — has become an essential part of Democrats’ electoral toolkit, these distortions are now largely unchallenged by corporate media outlets. The president received less pushback from his media allies for his mendacity about voting than even the cursory dismay his “chains” rant received in 2012.
But it would be a mistake to view this blind support for Biden’s hyperbole as mere partisanship. Like the tragicomic “escape” of Democrat members of the Texas state legislature, Biden’s speech is a form of political theater more than anything else.
Gaslighting Racial Language Is On Purpose
Still, Democrats’ willingness to falsify history and pretend voter ID laws are somehow the same as a bloody rebellion over slavery is not an accident. It must be seen in the context of a rhetorical war the left is waging on the teaching of American history itself. It may play well with the loudest wing of Biden’s party, but (as the results of the 2020 election showed) it is actually turning off the voters Biden pretends his preposterous claims are helping.
The revisionist movement to “reimagine” American history as a tale of unbroken racism, white supremacy, and oppression of minorities has been germinating in academia for decades. But it was not until the Black Lives Matter movement gained popularity and The New York Times published its “1619 Project” in 2019 that it made real inroads in the American public square. After the post-George Floyd panic about race and the “fiery but mostly peaceful” Black Lives Matter riots, the full-scale assault on America as she knew herself was unleashed.
Agitators toppled statues and invoked the Civil War. But they seemed insensible to what actually happened from 1861-65. The real insurrection fought over slavery was quashed at the cost of more than 600,000 American lives.
Critical Race Theory Undermines the Civil War
The war and the passage of constitutional amendments ending slavery and guaranteeing due process and the right to vote didn’t complete America’s journey toward more complete freedom begun in 1776. But it was an indispensable step toward that goal, and would have been impossible without the sacrifices of Americans who had no personal stake in the quest against slavery.
The recent popularity of critical race theory discounts that sacrifice. But to point this out or question any part of the left’s new catechism of apologies and reparations is to be exposed to redoubled charges of racism.
Those gaslighting the country to justify lies about history are at the same time seconding the gaslighting and lies about voting laws from Biden and other Democrats. Ironically, the same people who minimize the importance of the Civil War (because of a racialist agenda that denies the arc of American history toward freedom) are trumpeting its significance to magnify election integrity disputes. Unfortunately, these falsehoods resonate with those on the left who have come to believe their political opponents are actual fascists.
Still, this effort may be failing among the minorities it pretends to represent. By promoting ideas like “equity” — which demands equality of outcome, quotas, and racial discrimination rather than equality of opportunity — Democrats undermine the achievements of the Americans they claim to help. It is little surprise that black males as well as Hispanics and other minorities were more open to Donald Trump and his opportunity message, as well as his disgust with a political establishment that African Americans know has betrayed them time and again.
While those who want to beat their breasts for their privilege may cherish these lies, those who would opt out of the racial drama of perpetual victimhood may provide the escape hatch. Let’s hope so, because the chattering classes want to use these toxic ideas to tear down both American principles of liberty and its tradition of free and fair elections.