Things certainly seem upside down all over, don’t they? Looking over pictures of the Bush wedding this past weekend, someone commented that the Clinton’s would never have had a private wedding without the press,
“but if they did, they’d still make sure every story mentioned that the preacher marrying the couple was African-American. The Clinton’s never, ever missed an opportunity to pander or play the race card, although in such a case, it would be seen as noble, rather than racist. But the truth is, when you constantly need to go out of your way to mention someone’s race, or someone’s gender, or someone’s sexuality, it’s because you are conscious of it. And if you’re conscious of it, that means you’re not really “color-blind” or “gender-blind”. In fact, it means exactly the opposite. It means you’re fixated.”
I thought that was a very interesting observation.
Those who know Bush, even the ones who hate him, will tell you he and his family are genuinely color-blind. That is something the Clintons never were. They talked color, used color, played color, and to some extent that is coming back to bite them now, with Obama’s candidacy, as Hillary makes a weird reference to “hard-working white Americans.”
Martin Luther King longed for the day his children would be judged not by the color of their skin but, “by the content of their character.” Strangely enough, that does seem to be the way Bush operates. But the Clintons – another story. With them it was always the big deal that Bill played golf with Vernon Jordan and allowed Jordan to help him out of a jam with Monica Lewinsky, it was a big deal that Maya Angelou read a poem at his inaugural. But aside from Ron Brown, who was killed in a plane crash, you did not see African-Americans working as press secretaries, or cabinet members. Bill Clinton was clearly comfortable in “black churches” (he and Hillary campaigned in them enough) but too, too often with the Clintons, blacks were props used to round-out a narrative.
Are Clintons racist? Nah, I don’t believe so. But conscious of, and fixated on race? Yes, that I’ll buy. In fairness, I don’t know if you can have embraced the politics of 1968 and built a political career on the back of that era, without being over-conscious of labels and pandering to “identities,” but that consciousness was not, ultimately, supposed to be what 1968 was about, and that over-pandering is currently roiling the Democrats.
The over-conscious Democrat president promised a cabinet that “looked like America” but that promise didn’t hold. Contrast that with Bush’s cabinet. There’s talking, and then there’s walking.
But back to the Bush wedding for a second. The second part of the conversation involved that very beautiful limestone altar before which the vows were made. News accounts said it was President Bush’s idea to erect it, which caused a friend to write: “I told the priests about it yesterday and they were pretty amazed. ‘What, is he planning to have mass there?’ seemed to be the general sentiment. It’s not a protestant thing, to build a permanent altar for your home. Hmmm.”
Not being a Methodist, I don’t know how that works. Do Methodists have and use altars? Seems like more grist for the teasing “is Bush going to cross the Tiber like Blair when he leaves office” mill?
Meanwhile, Gerard Vanderleun has more on what is and isn’t racist and cool in the high school lunchroom that is the Democrat party.
UPDATE: See Sissy Willis’ excellent piece backgrounding Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell. I like him. And I like the fact that he and President Bush do not allow their personal politics to color everything they do, or every association they make. I think that’s healthy, and too rare, in America.