"Not all Republicans are racist, but all racists are Republicans," said almost every die-hard American liberal/progressive since the 1960s.
This offensive and disgraceful smear is a conversation ender that the American left has dispatched countless times when debating their political opposition, even on issues totally unrelated to race. It's also a phrase casually bantered about in liberal social circles.
The first part of the phrase is meant to soften the blow of the subsequent insult; but, the overall message behind the phrase is clear: Republicans either are racist or tolerate racism.
Calling someone, or an entire group, racist should never be done casually or without careful consideration. It is a deeply hurtful accusation to throw at people who have no overt or subconscious racial bias or prejudice. As Republicans, we pride ourselves on toughness and not allowing ourselves to be easily offended. In this case, we can not allow such slander to simply slide off our backs.
Engaging in an exercise of social division, condescending liberals attempt to paint all Republicans as dumb, racist, sexist, misogynist and uncaring. Each allegation is as offensive as the one before.
I am not suggesting there aren't bigots who wave the Republican banner. However, I am declaring that narrow minded discriminators exist in all political movements and proudly display their allegiance to Democrats as well.
If you don't want to take my word for it, spend an evening at a Teamsters or municipal workers union member meeting. Some of the most disgusting, racist, sexist words I have ever personally heard uttered came from the swearing mouths of hardcore, third generation Chicago union members who have never voted for a Republican in their life and would rather eat dirt than start now.
Such verbal filth doesn't just come from the stereotypical working class guy drinking too many beers with his boys. It also comes in a more subtle form from the mouths of upper, middle income parents who firmly believe in the economic and social policies of liberal Democrats; but, tell their children to lock their doors in the grocery store parking lot when a black teenager walks by.
Racism isn't limited to words, either. Plenty of Chicago's most politically active liberals are the same people I see clutching their purse a little tighter when they walk past a pair of Hispanic men. I notice Chicago's "lakefront liberals" and city employees move to neighborhoods miles from the heart of the city, where almost no non-white families live. Chicago and many other big cities did not have large Republican electorates during the "white flight" years of the 1950s, 60s,70s and early 80s. Even today, Democratic households are moving into the suburbs and you'd have to be naive to think that has no correlation to the movement of non-white residents away from the city center into traditionally western European neighborhoods.
And as for homophobia, some of the ugliest words uttered at gay men come from the pulpits of historically black churches and Hispanic and Irish Catholic Church alters. These Christian church pews are full of generations worth of loyal Democratic voters; yet, they nod along as gay men are called "abominations" who are "condemned to hell."
The hard truth is that racism, sexism, homophobia and intolerance of all types existed and exists in both major American political parties. Unfortunately, the bigots who seem to be the loudest, most embarrassing and best at grabbing the spotlight are Republicans. Sadly, when they spew their intolerant views, there are Democrat voters quietly nodding along with their Republican rivals.
So why do Democrats ignore the racists in their ranks and exploit the presence of racists in ours? Partially because we allow them to and partially because Democrats look for excuses to avoid engaging in real political dialogue.
Republican self pride keeps many of us from expressing how deeply offensive liberal accusations are to us. We don't like to bitch and moan about political correctness or ask our political foes to temper their words. That needs to change. We can not allow slanderous statements like the one I used to start this post go unchecked. Just because someone believes in limited government and maximum individual liberty does not mean he/she is prejudiced or hateful toward any group. Just because someone has a GOP bumper sticker does not mean they have a loaded rifle in the back seat next to a Bible. These are ugly stereotypes, a word the American left supposedly reviles.
Just as with any other group of close minded people, liberals that choose to slander are simply fearful of those whom they do not understand or disagree with. Liberal commentators and comedians alike often choose to throw salacious charges at conservatives simply because they are tired of debating the issues of taxation rates, deficit spending, healthcare reform, government programs, education reform, gun rights or national security among others. If a liberal can't understand why someone, who has had different experiences than their own, would disagree with them on a topic, they simply manufacture and assign a fanatical motive onto their opponent to explain it away.
Both sides name-call and hit below the belt in America's never ending political drama. However, only die hard lefties proclaim themselves free of all bias and prejudice only to turn around and stereotype their opponents. They bestow upon themselves a position of intellectual superiority that allows them to justify their ugly caricaturing of Republicans. Liberal proclamation of "moral superiority" only adds to the smugness inherit in their riffs.
There is no justification for falsely accusing people of things for which they are not guilty.
Bigotry and intolerance is wrong. Racism is wrong. Sexism is wrong. Homophobia is wrong.
So is classifying your political opponent as any of those things as a cheap way out of a real discussion.
There are real villains in the world who hold deeply prejudiced views. Let's reserve our anger and resentment for them and stop fabricating new social enemies where none exist.
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