When I was growing up, “liberal” meant a classical liberal. It meant someone who was devoted to human freedom. It meant someone who wanted the government to be big enough to defend the nation and to help those who really needed help, but small enough that it did not become oppressive and intrude on our everyday lives.
Specifically, “liberal” meant someone who nodded enthusiastically when Dr. King declared that he wanted children to grow up in a country where they were judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. But all that has changed. No, it hasn’t just changed – it has reversed 180 degrees.
Now “liberal” means someone who wants to cut national defense until it is no longer capable of deterring potential enemies, or perhaps not even capable of defeating them if they become actual enemies. Now “liberal” means someone who wants the government to micromanage our lives, even controlling what light bulbs we buy, what toilets we use, and what we can put in our child’s lunchbox. Now “liberal” means one who favors “choice” – that is, the choice to abort an unborn child for any reason, or no reason, but not to receive a voucher and choose which school their child will attend, or even to choose whether to breast-feed.
Specifically, “liberal” now means someone who believes that people are defined not by their character, but by gender, class, and race. What we saw as profoundly illiberal is now seen as liberal. In particular, the emphasis on “blood” – that is, so-called race – we saw as typical of fascists. The Holocaust in Europe, apartheid in South Africa, and segregation in America were fresh in our memories.
But memories fade. They fade quickly when they are not reinforced by history lessons. They fade even more quickly when they are erased by politically correct dogma. Now to be a “liberal” means to believe that race is all-important.
Was Obama’s mother part black?
Everyone knows that President Obama is the child of a black father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas. But now “experts” tell us that his mother might – emphasis on might – be descended from a black man who was enslaved for attempting to escape from indentured servitude in the 17th century.
So what? What conceivable difference could it make if, on his mother’s side, Obama were the 11th great-grandson of a black man? What possible significance could it have if Obama, instead of being 0.5 black, were 0.500024 black?
Who among us can trace our ancestry with certainty back to 1640? Before the advent of DNA analysis, who could be sure of any male ancestor? But even assuming that this story is correct, what possible meaning could it have that Obama’s mother was an infinitesimal part black?
I am a classical liberal, now called “conservative.” To me, Obama’s mother’s ancestry has no meaning whatsoever. But to current liberals – actually leftists – this has profound meaning. An article in the Los Angeles Times is titled, “Obama’s Slave Link.” The author puts great significance on the notion that the president, instead of merely being the child of an African graduate student, may be 1/4096th descended from a slave? Why?
A clue may be found in a remark by Morgan Freeman. Freeman is a superb actor who exudes a quiet dignity that I admire. But as a political commentator, he is no Oscar-winner. Freeman declared that Obama is not our first black president, but merely our first mixed-race president. To Freeman, “black” means pure black.
But wait – is Freeman himself pure black? Is he certain one or more of his ancestors was not white, possibly a slave owner? Before he critiques Obama’s blackness, or lack thereof, is he not obligated to have his own DNA analyzed?
And what about the self-anointed “black” leaders? Are they pure black? Look at Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton, Minister Louis Farrakhan, not to mention Obama’s mentor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Are their facial features and skin color that of a typical black African?
For that matter, what about Obama’s father? He was from Kenya, a nation that underwent many years of British colonial rule, and in addition received many Indian immigrants. Without DNA, who can be certain that Barack Obama Sr. might not have been part white or Indian? That is, instead of being half black, as we believe, or slightly more than half black, as the “experts” suggest, what if Obama is slightly less than half black? What possible difference could this make? Would the Los Angeles Times columnist be thrown into a deep depression?
Can you not see where this line of argument leads? It leads nowhere, except to useless and divisive quibbling about racial “purity” – an absurdity promoted by Nazis and their friends.
Is Veronica Capobianco part Native American?
Veronica Capobianco is a little girl who was adopted at birth by Melanie and Matt Capobianco, who were unable to have biological children. The unwed mother agreed, and even let Mr. Capobianco be present at the birth and cut the umbilical cord. The biological father also agreed and signed the proper papers, declaring that he had no interest in raising or supporting the child.
But then the biological father changed his mind. It was too late to do so under adoption law, but not under a federal law intended to keep Native American families together. You see, the biological father claims to be about 3% Cherokee, which would make Veronica – at most – about 1.5% Native American. Now there’s something of deep significance.
Once again, we see the liberal preoccupation with “blood” as opposed to what is best for the child. And so the three-year-old was torn away from the only family she ever knew, and given to her “father.” Chalk up another “win” for political correctness.
I once knew a man who was well over six feet tall, looked Northern European, and had a German last name. He claimed to be 1/32 Sioux. But if he applied to a university, he would be given preference over other applicants. Why? Is the task of universities to educate minds, or to educate “blood”?
And what about me? Last winter our furnace stopped functioning. The repair man was an elderly Mexican American. He fixed the furnace, sat down to make out the bill, and asked me to spell my name. I did so, jokingly adding that it was a good Irish name. He looked at me quizzically, so I told him my name is Polish. But he continued to peer at me, then said, “Are you related to Pope John Paul II?”
I realized that now that my hair is gray, my high cheekbones and Slavic features do bear a slight resemblance. But, you see, I am a Jew, descended from Polish and Russian Jews who fled from persecution. Obviously, some of my ancestors –willingly or unwillingly – mated with Poles and Russians. Genetic studies of Israelis reveal that in part they resemble the populations from which they emigrated, and in part they resemble other Jews. This fact is of interest to geneticists, but of significance only to anti-Semites.
So what if Obama’s mother was a minuscule part black? So what if many prominent black leaders may have white “blood”? So what if a three-year-old girl is – or is not – 1.5% Cherokee? So what if a tall Caucasian-appearing man with a German name is – or is not – 1/32 Sioux? So what if a Jewish columnist looks a bit like the late pope? In Heaven’s name – literally – who cares?
The Bible and anthropology both teach that we are all descended from common ancestors. A “pure” race is a Nazi fantasy, not a scientific concept. If so-called liberals could return to classical liberal values and end their useless and destructive obsession with “race,” we all would be a lot better off.
Dr. Stolinsky writes on political and social issues. Contact: email@example.com. You are welcome to publish or post these articles, provided that you cite the author and website.