As President Barack Obama continues to half-heartedly make the case for war to a Congress and public that aren’t interested, some conservatives have snarked that all the principled anti-war activists so prominent throughout the Bush years—Bruce Springsteen, Sheryl Crow, etc.—must have been kidnapped. That’s the only way to account for their silence.
Ed Asner has another explanation, however: They’re all afraid of being called a racist for daring to oppose Barack Obama.
Another reason some Hollywood progressives have been reticent to speak out against war in Syria, according to Asner, is fear of being called racist.
"A lot of people don't want to feel anti-black by being opposed to Obama," he said.
Let’s just sit back and think about this for a minute, shall we. I’ll wait.
Did that soak in? Good. Because it’s one of the most incredibly depressing, incredibly destructive things I’ve ever read.
"A lot of people don’t want to feel anti-black," Asner says. This is, typically, a good thing. Being anti-black—that is to say, being racist—is bad. We should shun such activities in polite society. But what is it that is causing these well-meaning liberals to hold their tongues? What taboo is it that they will shatter? What malicious behavior are they striving to avoid so as not to ruin their reputations?
"By being opposed to Obama."
And this is where America sits in 2013, after having elected, and reelected, a black man to the presidency: even liberals are afraid to disagree with the occupant of the Oval Office because they will likely get called a racist.*
Asner's fear is no idle one. Try to guess why MSNBC's Ed Schultz thinks that conservatives in the House are opposed to military action in Syria (military action Schultz himself opposes, it should be noted). Yup, you guessed it: racism! Try to guess why former Los Angeles Times reporter Steve Weinstein thinks GOP House members are against the airstrikes? Yup, you guessed it: racism!
As I noted several months ago when it was revealed that legislators who feared being called a racist cost the country $4.4 billion in fraudulent handouts to undeserving minority groups, we are in a remarkably weird, remarkably dangerous place as a country. We live in constant fear of being sanctioned with the "r" word. We stifle debate because we don’t want to give anyone even the slightest excuse to tar us with the dread word "racist." When someone marshals an argument filled with original reporting and disheartening facts and outrageous misbehavior, they are accused of stoking racial tensions.
The cost of crying racism may well be a war in Syria most on the left have no interest in fighting.
The saddest part of all this? I can’t imagine it will do anything to stem the flow of spurious accusations that pour so freely from the mouths (and keyboards!) of liberals.
*I can’t help but revel in a tiny bit of Schadenfreude—it’s really unpleasant to live in fear of having honest disagreement disparaged as little more than crypto-hatemongering, isn’t it, Ed?