In my previous OpEdNews article, I stressed the importance of making the 2016 presidential election a referendum on the lethal public hypocrisy now devouring our democracy -- and, most importantly, our planet. Of course, it's easy for liberals to jeer at Republicans' flagrant hypocrisy in supporting endless welfare for the rich while denying even food stamps to the poor, or insisting ad nauseum we "support our troops" -- until veterans' benefits fall due
But liberals' own hypocrisy is less obvious -- at least to liberals -- and arguably, far more toxic. For it simply excludes honest public discussion of supremely important issues -- like climate change -- where liberal hypocrisy rivals anything in the conservative aisle. Even worse, it undermines any real credibility Democrats might have in seizing the moral high ground against today's morally monstrous Republicans. A certain Jesus, I recall, talked of removing the beam from your own eye before pointing to the mote in your brother's. While a better portrayal of today's reality is that both parties have beams lodged in their eyes -- and Republicans virtual redwoods -- Dems lose all credibility by hypocritically failing to acknowledge that their own beams are enormous. To the extent voters (without sufficient nuance, in my view) find both parties equally worthless.
And one truly toxic -- indeed, systematically toxic -- form of liberal hypocrisy is how thoroughly liberals, under the guise of political correctness, have degraded the heritage of Jesus' avowed disciple Martin Luther King.
We all know Reverend King had a dream. That's become a trite, anodyne truism, a conventional piety repeated ad nauseam. What we forget about that truism -- what the Obamas and Hillary Clintons of this world want us to forget -- is his truly revolutionary follow-up words, the real substance of Dr. King's dream. At the risk of wounding the politically correct (a risk I take quite gladly), I'll repeat his whole, justly celebrated "dream quote" here:
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
For me, the appealing radicalism of this statement -- and doubtless the chief reason King bridged racial, ethnic, religious, and gender lines so effectively -- is its laser focus on what counts most in human beings (especially political leaders): "the content of their character." And, above all, that in making that judgment of character, he asks no special breaks for blacks, or any other historically oppressed group. All are to be judged by the same unsparing standard.
Clearly, the last thing King intended by his words was to give moral cover to irresponsible, self-seeking political opportunists who build careers on exploiting membership in historically oppressed groups. And, given his own deep concerns for economic justice, especially not for those who exploit their "oppressed group" cover to enforce oligarch agendas oppressive to all. I suspect King, committed to fundamental justice, would see very little progress in our now admitting blacks to the oppressor class -- or in the common suffering of people of all races, genders, colors, and creeds under "equal opportunity oppression."
Anyone who, like me, still quaffs deep inspiration from Dr. King's dream, thinks it a nauseating betrayal of his memory that we idolize Barack Obama for his character feat of having enough melanin, or Hillary Clinton for having a uterus. Yet that politically correct perversion of King's stirring moral insight has brought us a self-seeking black champion of an insane status quo and is likely to bring us a female one. Unless we -- in the name of mere human survival -- begin to demand character in our presidents.
Presidential champions of insane "all of the above energy" policies, corruption as usual on Wall Street, a conceptually incoherent "global war on terror," unreformed universal spying, secret trade deals castrating democracy, and police state suppression of a free press and dissent -- grossly fail the most critical character tests. Yet these are Obama's self-serving policy commitments (self-serving because they build his "career creds" with oligarchs at expense of the common good), and nothing in Hillary's record -- or, above all, in her close Wall Street, military-intelligence, and fossil fuel industry ties -- suggests they're not equally hers. Yet so insidiously destructive are these policies that they place humanity's very survival at risk. I think it's completely within bounds to call defenders of these insane status quo policies "enemies of humanity." Or -- given our police state's central role in enforcing their policies -- simply "tyrants."
Yet the politically correct, who've sacrificed concern for character to identity politics -- to our likely doom -- hysterically cry foul if someone calls Obama "oligarchs' Uncle Tom" or Hillary a "lipsticked capitalist pig." A very strange scruple when our nation's fundamental law, the Constitution, arguably says we may shoot tyrants. What a weird reflection that a nation founded by rebels against tyranny may die -- and kill humanity in the bargain -- by its outright reverence for tyrants, provided they're duly PC! Especially when the vision of Dr. King -- a hero we memorialize by a national holiday -- was that, cured of blinding prejudice, we should be mentally free to judge.
Among those who should be judged are politically correct liberals themselves, who in their simple-minded equation of "oppressed minority" status with virtue, have done our now-moribund republic no end of mischief. As if it were a virtue -- and not a twisted form of race or gender bias -- to treat possession of sufficient melanin, or a uterus, as an index of political sanctity. As if it were a feat of character -- and not reproachable voter laziness -- to do no research whatsoever into candidates' voting records and stances on key issues, and elect them because they happen to have the politically correct skin color or gender. And as if electing a first black -- or woman -- president were a moral imperative outweighing, say, world peace, economic justice, or the survival of our species on this planet.