The Tawana Brawleyization of the Democratic Party
If there is a message in the Democrats’ choices of martyrs these days, it is that they have become Al Sharpton.
“There is another class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs — partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.” Booker T. Washington.
Reading the words of Booker T. Washington, or Martin Luther King for that matter, and comparing them to modern day race hustlers reminds us just how far the civil rights movement has deteriorated since the Democratic Party embraced identity politics as their path to power.
US Attorney General Eric Holder ingratiated himself to the American people by calling the United States a “nation of cowards” for its refusal to have an honest conversation on the issue of race. What we’ve learned since then is that he and his party cannot even honestly recite facts. To put it mildly, the Democratic Party has remade itself in the image of Al Sharpton.
About two decades ago, political gurus from the news media and academia gleefully predicted that the Democratic Party stood on the brink of establishing themselves as a permanent majority. These prognosticators based their predictions on the anticipated growth of demographics that traditionally voted Democrat. The proportion of the population that blacks and Hispanics comprise would grow to the point that their overwhelming support of Democrats would present Republicans with an insurmountable obstacle.
The Democrats took this to heart and made themselves into the party of racial grievance, real and imagined. By 2011, none other than the New York Times told us that the Democrats had decided to, “explicitly abandon the white working class.”
Aside from the rotting cynicism exposed by this tactical shift, the problem is that, for it to work, the Democrats have to convince their constituencies that America has not changed since the 1950s. And if it is to keep them in perpetual power, they need to maintain their constituencies as a permanent underclass.
The Democrats choices of heroes and their distortion of facts tells us much about their desperation. During the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, men like Medgar Evers served as its martyrs. Today, they have to manufacture narratives that allow them to canonize delinquents such as Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. And in order to make these young men heroic victims, they had to manufacture narratives that stand in stark contrast with the facts.
Al Sharpton rose to prominence within the Democratic Party by manufacturing just such narratives. Twenty-seven years ago, Sharpton championed the case of Tawana Brawley, a 15 year old girl whom he claimed had been gang raped by six men, including a New York City policeman and district attorney. It was all a lie. But it was the start of something big for Al Sharpton.
This month marks the 19th anniversary of the Freddy’s Fashion Mart massacre. After the United House of Prayer, an African American church in Harlem, raised its rent, Freddy’s Fashion Mart, a Jewish-owned clothing store, passed on a share of the rate increase to its subtenant, a black-owned record store. A landlord-tenant dispute resulted. Al Sharpton racialized and inflamed the situation to the point that one of his followers torched Freddy’s Fashion Mart, resulting in seven deaths.
After a black child was struck and killed by a car in the Crown Heights neighborhood of New York City, Al Sharpton once again seized the opportunity to turn the incident into a black versus Jew conflict. As a result, one of those who took inspiration from Sharpton stabbed and killed a rabbinical student from Australia.
None of these, or any other of his race-baiting has done Sharpton any harm. Instead, they have elevated his standing within the Democratic Party to the point that he is often described as Barack Obama’s “go-to guy” on issues of race.
And the Democrats have adopted Sharpton’s tactic of falsified racial hate crimes.
All forensic evidence supported George Zimmerman’s claim that he was attacked and beaten by Trayvon Martin. Ditto for Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson. But Democrats have Sharptonized the narrative and widened this country’s racial gulf.