Thursday, March 06, 2003

Sista Souljah?
The CW about taking on the "Reverend" Al Sharpton continues to grow, with lefty Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank now calling for someone to step up to the plate- "His own record really is just shocking," said Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., who is supporting fellow Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry for president. "Al Sharpton bragged about not paying taxes. If this came out about any other candidate for president, that would be the end of the candidacy." (AP wire story) Frank has a VERY legitimate point, but given the "Reverend's" ability and willingness to play the race card one can only imagine what would befall the Democratic contender who takes him on. TNR makes the case that it is Kerry who HAS to do it.

In my opinion, it is in the best interests of the Party for at least one candidate to call Sharpton out. The man is a disgrace to the Party, and beyond that he has ZERO qualifications to run for President. He has NEVER held elective office and his fame is derived from being a racial agitator, often times for fictitious causes. But beyond just taking on Sharpton in the immediate sense, it would also signal a willingness of the Party to move beyond racial politics, to some degree. All too often minority politicians resort to the race card to neutralize opposition.

It has come to a point where in some instances one cannot openly criticize a minority politician without being labelled a racist. One can look back to the tenure of DC Mayor Marion Barry and remember how his critics, and the law enforcement officials who caught him on tape, were called racist. Recently in NY, Roger Green, the leader of the Black and Hispanic Caucus, has been alleged to have improperly accepted rides to Albany and other favors from a contractor, in potential violation of the law. Members of the Caucus rallied around their leader and Green himself labelled the allegations "an attack on all of us." (see here) It's obvious that the "all of us" to which he refers are black legislators, as if somehow exposing his potential wrongdoing is a racist act.

It is unfortunate that some black politicians chose to hide behind their race in a sleazy attempt to immunize themselves from criticism. The rules of conduct that we expect our leaders to follow do not, and should not, be different based on race. For there to be a lower standard for black or other minority politicians would be tantamount to admitting that they cannot meet higher standards. Now, isn't that racism?


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