I recently wrote about how Ben Carson was being left out of the general election, head to head polling sample questions trumpeted in largely liberal media outlets. This may still seem curious to some since the retired neurosurgeon is solidly in second place in most surveys and now essentially ties Donald Trump in Iowa. But the explanation for this lack of coverage has been supplied in no uncertain terms by no less a liberal authority than the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart over the last few weeks. To understand the disconnect in evaluations which we’re witnessing, though, we need to address another moderately successful individual in a different field of endeavor… Michael Sam.
Sam was the focus of a media firestorm when he became the first openly gay football player to make it to the NFL draft. He became an immediate icon of the Left, showing how the barriers of old world society were finally breaking down and the dawning of a new era of equality was at hand. The response from many of my conservative, football loving associates was a bit more muted. This, the Left assures us, was because Republicans Hate The Gayz. In the end, their hate-mongering campaign must have worked because Michael has stepped away from the sport. (Obviously that had nothing to do with it, but it makes for great politics in some circles.)
How does this relate to Ben Carson, you may ask? I will return your attention to a recent column by Jonathan Capehart where he takes a second bite at the apple and attempts to explain how this black neurosurgeon could possibly be doing so well among the GOP faithful. As a spoiler alert, it has nothing to do with his qualifications.
His analysis is supported by his interview with Leah Wright Rigueur, who it may come as no surprise to discover is a professor of public policy at Harvard. She is also, quite by coincidence I’m sure, the author of the seminal work, The Loneliness of the Black Republican. (An unbiased work if I’ve ever heard of one.) From the Washington Post:
“I think you’re right about Carson and Republicans saying, ‘See, we can’t possibly be racist!’ But there’s also a level of nuance, that’s hard to pin down with white Republican voters,” Rigueur told me via e-mail. “Many of them believe this truly isn’t about race (i.e. using the language of, ‘I don’t see Carson’s race, I just think he’s the best man for the job!’); but at the same time, if you look at the language surrounding support of Carson, a lot of it is racial/racialized (i.e. ‘I don’t see his race, but he’s right on the money about what needs to be done in black communities.’). It’s the awkward nature of colorblindness; when you claim that you don’t see race, when in actuality you do.” …
“I’d argue that a good portion of [Carson’s] popularity stems from his ability, as a black man, to say things that conservative [white] audiences get attacked for.” A prime example is Carson’s criticism of President Obama and the Affordable Care Act at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast. “This is actually not a new strategy — there’s a long history of African Americans rising in popularity and in esteem among white right-wing Republicans, so long as they are willing to say the controversial and uncomfortable things that white conservatives can’t say, especially along racial lines.”
The argument being put forth by Rigueur (and endorsed by Capehart) is at least refreshing in its honesty and the way it describes how the SJW forces have to scramble to explain things which don’t fit in with their preconceptions. Sorting through that quote, the shorter version would essentially read, we like Ben Carson because he can say racist things without being criticized the same way that we, as white people, would be for saying them. The insulting aspect of such an assertion is that the comments cited in the article must be accepted as being racist rather than simply reflecting a different opinion on current events.
It’s unthinkable to the Left that an African-American could be incensed over the tactics of the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s impossible that a black man might be alarmed by people marching in the streets holding their banner and chanting “Pigs in a Blanket. Fry ‘em like bacon.” No black person could be put off by cops being assassinated in the streets. It’s all a ploy and the black person speaking aloud of such things has to be a shill. They’re probably not even a real person. It’s just a token robot for the hateful white racists, hoping to gain favor with the master race.
That’s a fairly tidy argument if you’re a liberal struggling to cram Ben Carson into the pigeonhole you’ve prepared for him on the ideological spectrum. Unfortunately, if you take one more step along that line of thinking you immediately crash headlong into a brick wall. You see, if we are to accept that white conservatives only offer their support to Carson because he says the racist things they dare not utter, then they must, by definition, be racists. But if they are racists, how can they support a black man to be president? Oh no! What’s a liberal gadfly to do? The quick and easy answer is to accuse Carson’s supporters of only pretending to support him. Without that to fall back on the argument goes to pieces.
The fact that Carson is a neurosurgeon and the first person to separate conjoined twins locked at the brain factors not into these liberal assessments. Carson could have not only invented the rockets which took Apollo 11 to the moon but been the first astronaut to set foot on the surface. It wouldn’t have changed a thing. He’d still be an Uncle Tom because he doesn’t conform to leftist orthodoxy. But more to the point, no conservative who gave a tip of the hat to his standing on the lunar surface could possibly be taken seriously. They’re only engaged in some secret plot to prove to everyone that they can fake being colorblind as they pretend to judge a candidate based on their accomplishments in a transparent attempt to hide their racism. To the liberal way of thinking, both the idea of a black leader embracing any conservative philosophy or a white conservative being willing to give them a chance are beyond the bounds of reality.
This brings us back full circle to the case of Michael Sam. While the Left celebrated him, most conservatives I know took a look at his performance in the combine. It was, to be kind, rather questionable. His skills were admirable when matched up against a field of college players, but they were never in the creme dela crème range of those who sign seven figure contracts with an NFL franchise. The reality of it was that liberals were not only willing to hand Sam a Lombardi Trophy before he ever took the field… they were lying in wait to accost anyone who doubted he deserved it. Conversely, most of the rest of us just wanted to know if the guy could rack up some decent points for us next week in our fantasy league. And he couldn’t. But if you commented on that fact you were a racist, a homophobe and every other thing which the Left needs you to be.
And here’s the kicker… if Michael Sam had been the next J.J. Watt and you HAD picked him for your team, as a conservative you would have been told that you only picked him to fool the rest of the world into believing that you weren’t’ a homophobe. In reality, you just wanted to win your match that week, but it wasn’t going to matter.
This is what the Social Justice Warriors will apparently never understand. In their world, a person is defined by their demographics and the response to that person by any individual must be viewed in the same light. If an NFL athlete is black, gay, or both and you don’t put them on your fantasy team, you must be a racist or a homophobe. It can’t possibly have anything to do with how slow they ran the 40. The sad, converse parallel is the presumption that if you support Ben Carson it can’t possibly be because he’s a brain surgeon with deeply held religious values who espouses many pro-life, conservative beliefs. No Republican could conceivably value a human being based on the content of their character. Your support must be rooted in some deceptive plan to show that you’re not the racist you actually are and that you are clearly willing to pursue this subterfuge so far that you’re willing to elect them president to hide your inner evil. The same goes for Carly Fiorina. There is, on Planet Democrat, simply no way that you could value her business acumen, knowledge of world affairs and experience with international industry and government leaders. All Republicans hate women, so you are clearly engaged in a fifth column effort to cover your misogynistic backsides by pretending to support a woman for president.
The liberal commentariat seems to live in this fantasy world of denial every waking hour of each and every day. No Republican is capable of rationale thought. Only Democrats can support women or minority candidates and if anyone else does so they are not only immediately rendered suspect, but the candidate is also clearly an Uncle Tom or a self-hating woman or whatever other insulting term is applied to the politically incorrect rascal.
Just like many establishment Republicans must figure out a way to “explain” Donald Trump and excuse his existence as a frontrunner, liberals are compelled to find a way to define Ben Carson in a fashion which fits within their pigeonhole, demographic view of the universe and write him off as something less than what he is. This process is well and truly underway.
Unfortunately, this is where the Democrats will lose in the end. No rational, conservative football fan I know begrudged Michael Sam a spot on the starting lineup in the NFL because he was gay or for the color of his skin. The guy just wasn’t good enough to make the cut in the NFL and most of us were looking to fill up our rosters with guys who were going to rack up the points. In the end, the people with the skills actually win the trophies. Those are the people who we put on our fantasy teams regardless of their race or gender. They’re also who we back as our political candidates.