"It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." - Mark Twain
The dictionary defines racism thusly: 1) a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others; 2) a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination; 3) hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.
To listen to U.S. Representatives Charlie Rangel of Harlem and Maxine Waters of Watts, one would think that Jim Crow laws had returned and were in force in every state in the Union. If we oppose them, we are racists. If we oppose President Obama's socialist agenda, we're racists. If we want the Bush tax cuts to remain in place so that our economy doesn't fall into the deep, like California in the midst of a ten-point-five earthquake — we're racists.
If you think that is an exaggeration, consider the fact that in 1995, referring to Republicans who had just taken control of Congress for the first time in forty years, Congressman Charlie Rangel said this: "They used to say 'nigger' and 'spic' but now they just say 'Let's cut taxes.'"
Rangel until recently was chairman of one of the most powerful House committees, Ways and Means, which writes the tax laws the rest of us have to follow. I emphasize "the rest of us" because it has become obvious that Rangel does not believe the laws he foists on us little people are rules he should be duty-bound to uphold in his own financial dealings. This man, who has been in Congress for more than four decades, is charged with not paying taxes on rental income from his villa in the Dominican Republic; failing to report $600,000 in income on his financial disclosure reports; and (my personal favorite) using his congressional letterhead to shake down corporate lobbyists for companies with business before the Ways and Means Committee for multi-million dollar donations for his "Rangel Center" in Harlem.
Maxine "No Justice, No Peace!" Waters coined that memorable phrase after violent riots broke out in her congressional district following the verdict that exonerated several white Los Angeles police officers in the beating of black drug addict Rodney King in 1992. She told oil company executives during congressional hearings that if it were up to her, she would favor nationalization of their companies in order to have the government run them. Now we find out that in addition to being a Marxist, she may also be a criminal.
In September 2008, when it appeared that minority-owned banks might be adversely affected by a government takeover of Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac, Waters, a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, demanded a meeting with then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson's office on behalf of "constituents." When the meeting took place, however, it became apparent that the only real constituent institution in attendance was OneUnited, a bank in which Waters' husband just happened to hold a million dollar interest. (But I'm a racist for pointing that out.)
It all reminds me of the old canard put forth by other professional race peddlers like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. You know, the one that goes like this: proportionately, there are too many black people in prison; therefore, the system must be racist. It couldn't be that the individuals involved committed more crimes, and therefore ended up in jail. It all must revolve around racial prejudice, because to admit that white racism toward blacks is all but non-existent in 21st Century America is for Jesse and Al and Charlie and Maxine to confess that they and their race-pimping ilk are no longer needed in our national conversation on this issue.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama, who certainly doesn't want this political and racial mess hanging over November's congressional elections, told reporters last week that Charlie Rangel is "somebody who's at the end of his career…eighty years old. I'm sure that what he wants is to be able to end his career with dignity. And my hope is that it happens."
Doug Patton describes himself as a recovering political speechwriter who agrees with himself much more often than not. Now working as a freelance writer, his weekly columns of sage political analysis are published the world over by legions of discerning bloggers, courageous webmasters and open-minded newspaper editors.