Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com
Former Senator Jim Webb (D-VA), who announced his candidacy for US Presidency to the enthusiasm of literally no one, had scathing words for GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump. Per The Hill:
“This kind of divisive, inflammatory rhetoric from people who want to be commander in chief is not helpful,” Webb told host Bret Baier on “Fox News Sunday.”
“Don’t be throwing these bombs,” he added.
So far so good, but I have learned when a centrist like Webb uses violent metaphors like “throwing bombs” to describe any political rhetoric he finds distasteful, a false equivalence is bound to follow. And sure enough:
Webb argued on Sunday that a liberal equivalent exists in the recent push to remove all Confederate symbols from government grounds.
“We’ve seen it on the liberal side too with Southern white culture,” he said of insensitivity towards Southern culture.
While much of the “both sides do it!” palaver should be understood as errant nonsense from people too lazy or fearful to address the very real threat to this country posed by radical right wing reactionaries, a veritable cottage industry of centrists pushing their own agenda has emerged to take advantage of it. Here’s an example how it works: “Extremists on the Right want to shut the government down while extremists on the Left are refusing to accept our awesome ideas about cutting Social Security and Medicare and privatizing the schools! Join our No Labels/Americans Elect/Simpson Bowles/Open Primaries movement to put partisanship aside and work toward sensible solutions! (That the rich people funding this endeavor just so happen to favor).”
In Jim Webb’s case, it’s not so much about rich people’s desires. Webb seems to have a real affinity for the loser traitor Stars and Bars flag and other relics of the Old South. He is acting as if the people who have been offended by having a symbol of slavery and bigotry shoved in their faces by the very institutions their taxes support for decades are demanding its removal by those institutions – in the aftermath of a brutal massacre of nine African-Americans by a white guy who waved it proudly – merely as a personal affront to guys like Jim Webb. That is a staggering level of oblivious narcissism on his part. It, unfortunately, does not end with Webb’s flag fetish:
“You’re right – the Democratic Party has moved way to the left,” Webb told Baier when asked about the emergence of progressive politics into Democratic ideology.
“That’s not my Democratic Party,” he said. “I believe that we can bring a different tone to the Democratic Party.”
Webb charged on Sunday that his campaign could find success with America’s working class.
“These are people who have not (sic) been forgotten by both parties,” he said of blue-collar voters. “I think they need a voice.”
There’s nothing new about this supposedly colorblind appeal to economic populism from certain right-leaning Democrats and this has been Jim Webb’s particular jam for some time.
Nondiscrimination laws should be applied equally among all citizens, including those who happen to be white. The need for inclusiveness in our society is undeniable and irreversible, both in our markets and in our communities. Our government should be in the business of enabling opportunity for all, not in picking winners. It can do so by ensuring that artificial distinctions such as race do not determine outcomes.
Memo to my fellow politicians: Drop the Procrustean policies and allow harmony to invade the public mindset. Fairness will happen, and bitterness will fade away.
It’s hard to see how picking angry white Southerners as winners by allowing their hateful symbol to be displayed on public sites funded by all taxpayers advances harmony in the public mindset and is conducive to bitterness fading away. I’m also unsure as to how it helps anyone economically to massage bitter white egos in this way. Then again, has improving economic conditions ever been the point of race-baiting on behalf of white people?