Usually I ignore Charles Krauthammer, I really do, because of what I consider to be his meandering prose and dense arguments, but that’s a little difficult since he’s carried in both the Bucks County Courier Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer in these parts. And both papers carried his most recent musings on the ruling by the Supremes in the Ricci case, which I posted about here.
And often, I just try to ignore him and conservatives generally and their triumphalist rhetoric unless it intersects with an issue that directly impacts me and many others, such as health care or energy policy (or unless their lies are so obvious that they shouldn’t go unchallenged). But on this occasion, I feel that I have to say something.
Krauthammer starts with this…
While overturned on Ricci, (Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor) is protected by the four dissenting justices who upheld the side of the case she had taken as an appeals court judge.
As already noted, Sotomayor was compelled to rule as she did in the case because of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, with Hangin’ Judge JR and his pals concocting this new “strong basis in evidence” standard to mitigate Title VII and thus rule in favor of the white firefighters and one Hispanic whose test results were thrown out in Ricci, something strangely ignored by Krauthammer.
The columnist also resurrects the notion that white firefighters were victimized by reverse discrimination in the testing process, when it should be noted that, as pointed out last Tuesday in the Inquirer, “the reverse-bias lawsuit, in its five-year journey to the Supreme Court, delayed replacing New Haven’s flawed multiple-choice test with an exam that can better determine who should be a fire captain or lieutenant.”
I suppose, though, what really got me about his column was the closing…
We’re 45 years beyond passage of the Civil Rights Act. We have a black attorney general and a black president. As with every passing year we move generationally away from the era of Jim Crow, it becomes less and less justified for the government to mandate “remedial” racial discrimination. Which is why Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in one of her last opinions wrote that “the Court expects that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary.”
The import of Ricci, which raised the bar on reverse discrimination, is that it heads us once again toward that day — and back to true colorblindness that was the original vision, and everlasting glory, of the civil rights movement.
And I thought this was an appropriate response…
In the same way that the Right found a crusading hero in Allan Bakke, the plaintive (sic) in the landmark anti-affirmative action case Allan Bakke versus the Regents of the University of California, Krauthammer, Limbaugh, O’Reilly, and Buchanan have found a just crusader in Frank Ricci. With him, they can now craft a mythology around a set of justice claims that will fuel the second Civil Rights Movement–a White Male Freedom Struggle that will ring through all times as it fights to dramatically restructure American society.
Frank Ricci is their Rosa Parks. Instead of a kindly, exhausted, old lady who simply wanted to ride the bus and sit where she so chose, the Right has a dyslexic firefighter who studied for twelve hours a day, employed tutors to read him the textbook, and despite all of these obstacles, still scored at the top of the exam class. His reward? (sic) to be denied his rightful and earned promotion by a group of litigious, petty, underachieving, mediocre black firefighters and their white liberal enablers who claimed that the test was “unfair.” This is identity politics at its worst, a politics that is squarely outside of the American tradition.
When Krauthammer stages his freedom rides, and the movement to which he belongs has its great march on Washington, I will empathize with them. For me, the veil is lifted as I now clearly see the moral righteousness and virtue of their freedom struggle. Justice will come for these aggrieved White men, and I hope it comes very soon.
I also don’t recall seeing any pictures of white New Haven firefighters being attacked with Billy clubs or tear gas at the Edmund Pettus bridge, nor do I recall their homes being raided by Sheriff “Bull” Connor and their arrests for “vagrancy,” nor do I recall seeing them attacked by dogs or water cannons (pictured).
When the civil rights stakes for a group of individuals in this country are a lot higher than merely a “conundrum,” then I’ll favor a legal action to rectify their circumstance. But not until then (Krauthammer is right about the 45th anniversary of the Act, though, which we just observed last week).
Update 7/12/09: Indeed.