I’ve never defended “Rev.” Al Sharpton and I’m not about to start now. But it has always interested me how the hair on the back of conservative necks stands up in unison whenever Al plays the race card, but never when Allen West engages in the same sort of absurd racializing of non-racial events.
For example, when Rep. Allen West said he was the “modern day Harriet Tubman”, not one conservative, at least not one that I can recall, objected to that highly racial, and divisive, comment. (No modern day politician should pretend to have the courage it took for Tubman to risk her life daily to free slaves.)
Rep. West again, this time on the tanning tax in the Affordable Care Act:
You want to talk about something that’s really racist? They have a tanning tax….I’m not tanning.
First things first: I know black people who tan. I could use a tan. More importantly, governments have always used taxes as a tool for curbing undesirable behaviors. We’ve seen local and state governments propose, and sometimes implement, cigarette taxes and sugar taxes.
Is Michael Bloomberg’s proposed ban on big gulp sodas a tax against fat kids? Only if you believe fat kids are the only consumers of these super sized sodas. They’re not, but what we see from West is this same sort of misunderstanding on how society works and intermixes. To him, it all begins and ends with racial segmentation. If there’s a tanning tax, it means President Obama’s out to get white people. But isn’t that akin to Sharpton saying that a reduction in welfare means the government is out to get black people?
More from West:
Self-esteem comes from doing esteemable things. Sitting at home and getting a check from the government is not going to help your self-esteem. What it will do is make you an economic slave to people living in a far, far, distant place.
He does not want you to have the self-esteem of getting up and earning and having that title of ‘American’
He’d rather you be his slave and be economically dependent upon him.
The guy can’t have a conversation without evoking slavery or race. And white conservatives wonder why black conservative leaning folks refuse to come on board? When someone teaches West to have a policy conversation, as opposed to an inflammatory one intended to rip the scab off old wounds, then maybe, just maybe, some (not me) African-Americans will give conservatism a second look. But right now, West looks like the same kind of pawn for Republicans that Al is for Democrats. So, what’s the point, really?