Governor Palin's new book, America By Heart, hit bookstores yesterday, and already the far-Left crap has hit the fan. Richard Cohen of the The Washington Post, who himself has been accused of inappropriate, anti-semitic, and sexist behavior, has chosen to point his finger at Governor Palin in what surely appears to be an accusation of racism. He who shows little regard for the United States Constitution seems to lack a basic understanding of the country he calls home as he seeks to attack her because she would dare criticize Michelle Obama for saying, during the 2008 campaign, that for the first time in her adult life she was proud of her country. Somehow that criticism makes her a racist in the eyes of race baiters like Cohen. In his article, "Palin needs a history lesson," he writes:
Sarah Palin teases that she might run for president. But she is unqualified - not just in the (let me count the) usual ways, but because she does not know the country. She could not be the president of black America nor of Hispanic America. She knows more about grizzlies than she does about African Americans - and she clearly has more interest in the former than the latter.
His ridiculously asinine and ill-informed assessment of Governor Palin's qualifications aside, Mr. Cohen's failure to understand America is both embarrassing and insulting. Granted, I'm no history expert, but the last time I checked there wasn't one America for Blacks, one for Hispanics, one for Whites, and so on. There is, however, the United States of America, a place that is the envy of the world, where those who are blessed to live here have the opportunity to work, prosper, and thrive. That's the America I see and the America Governor Palin sees. Clearly, it is not the America Richard Cohen sees. From his perspective, America is divided into sections of people based on race, and because he sees the world in this way, he expects others, namely Governor Palin, to see it as such and to walk around with a negative view of this country. Not going to happen.
Noel Sheppard of NewsBusters backs me up in this. He offers the following:
And therein really lies the problem in the liberal media. Folks like Cohen and his ilk still see many Americas all divided by race and ethnicity.
This divide will only disappear when the Cohens of this world see America as one and stop using race as a political tool.
Sadly, I don't expect that will happen in my lifetime. How about you?
No, I don't expect such a change in my lifetime, either. Too much is at stake--for the Left, that is. If they actually stop race baiting and working the victimhood approach, they might actually have to deal with the issues and face the facts. That would totally isolate them from the vast majority of Americans who love their country and are tired of hearing people apologize for it.
As America By Heart just came out yesterday, I am not yet able to speak on the entire book; however, my understanding is that Governor Palin does discuss the Founders, slavery, and racism. Also, Jedediah Bila's review states that Governor Palin includes inspirational words from such people as Booker T. Washington and Martin Luther King. Nonetheless, she gets criticized for using so-called racially charged language because, as we saw during the campaign, questioning the Obamas' association with Reverend Wright or Mrs. Obama's suspect comments about America are off-limits. The lyrics, "Can't Touch This" come to mind.
I'll be the first to state that America is not perfect. We have made huge mistakes in the past; my ancestors could attest to that truth. However, who can deny that America has indeed been a shining city on a hill, a land of opportunity, and a force for good in this world? Just two years ago America voted for the first half-Black president, this in spite of his gross lack of experience, radical associations, and relative anonymity. I'd like to ask Cohen which America he believes voted for Obama. Was it Black America? Was it Hispanic America? Could it have been White America? Which America is President Obama presiding over? Since he imagines more than one, I reckon he has answers to such questions.
See, people like Cohen habitually zero in on race and the mistakes of the past and exploit them. He enjoys and cultivates the culture of victimhood that is the brand of the Left. Anyone who deviates from that mindset, who dares to believe the best in America, who dares to even live in the present where race is concerned, is somehow racist, unaware, or both.
While Michelle Obama's words should be mind-boggling to anyone who lives in this country or has benefitted from the benevolence of this country, they surely have no place coming from someone who is a part of a campaign to lead this country. Nonetheless, he chooses to defend her because--imagine this--she is the descendant of slaves. Huh?
It's appalling that Palin and too many others fail to understand that fact - indeed so many facts of American history. They don't offer the slightest hint that they can appreciate the history of the Obama family and that in Michelle's case, her ancestors were slaves - Jim Robinson of South Carolina, her paternal great-great grandfather, being one. Even after they were freed they were consigned to peonage, second-class citizens, forbidden to vote in much of the South, dissuaded from doing so in some of the North, relegated to separate schools, restaurants, churches, hotels, waiting rooms of train stations, the back of the bus, the other side of the tracks, the mortuary, the cemetery and, if whites could manage it, heaven itself.
It was the government that oppressed blacks, enforcing the laws that imprisoned them and hanged them for crimes grave and trivial, whipped them if they bolted for freedom and, in the Civil War, massacred them if they were captured fighting for the North. And yet if African Americans hesitate in embracing the mythical wonderfulness of America, they are accused of racism - of having the gall to know more about their own experience and history than Palin and others think they should.
I could honestly puke at what Cohen attempts to do here. My ancestors also were slaves. I descend from the family of Harriet (Ross) Tubman, a fact that I hold in high regard. Believe me, I am not one to forget where we came from, but the awareness that I carry involves as much a pride of how far we've come as it does where we've been. Michelle Obama received Princeton and Harvard educations and was living the good life, even before her husband was nominated to run for the presidency. Would Cohen have us believe that America was not good to her?
Cohen's comments truly speak to where he stands in his view of this country. He mentions the "mythical wonderfulness of America." Mythical, really? He makes the accusation that Blacks are deemed racist if they don't subscribe to that mythicism. Interesting, because I don't hear that. I didn't hear Governor Palin call Michelle Obama a racist at all. Actually, what I hear is Cohen calling someone racist for refusing to deny the wonderfulness of America. So Governor Palin is supposed to apologize for being proud of her country? In Cohen's warped mind, such patriotic pride disqualifies her for the presidency.
Even more interesting, he comes to Michelle Obama's defense at the start of his article by stating she wasn't really saying what Governor Palin criticized her for saying, but then he goes on to agree with what most of us heard her say--that America has not been a very good place. If Mrs. Obama didn't mean to say that, why then does Cohen defend that position?
Richard Cohen ends his article this way:
Did she [Governor Palin] ask about her [Michelle Obama] background? What it was like at Princeton? What it was like for her parents or her grandparents? I can offer a hint. If they were driving to Washington, they slowed down and stopped where the sign said "colored" - and the irritated Palins of the time angrily hit the horn and went on their way.
I read this to say: the nerve of Governor Palin not checking up on poor Michelle Obama to ask how bad things were at her Ivy League institution in this horrible country. And the nerve of her not asking about her ancestors. Even more, the nerve of Governor Palin not being born "colored." How dare she be born White. Apology required, lady, or no presidency for you, at least no presidency of Black or Hispanic America. Now, where those two places are located, I don't know, but apparently Richard Cohen does.
Here's the end of the matter: Governor Palin is an American and proud of it. She does not believe in apologizing to our enemies or to ourselves. She believes in American exceptionalism and that here, in the greatest country on the face of the Earth, the same principles and policies benefit all Americans regardless of race or gender. She does not embrace different sets of beliefs for different sections and categories of Americans. Whereas the Left always sees things in terms of black and white, Governor Palin truly doesn't. They deem this a problem because they want the division, they rely on it, and they promote it.
On the contrary, the Governor believes that we can progress as we elect leaders who are committed to moving America forward by embracing common sense conservative policies that benefit all. And those who put themselves in position to represent this country ought to unapologetically believe the same. If they appear not to, they risk getting called out, and they should be. Governor Palin is not afraid to do just that. This ought to go without saying, but I'll say it once again anyway: this fearlessness doesn't make Governor Palin a racist. It makes her an American, and a proud one at that.
(Thanks to numerous C4P editors and contributors for assistance)
Update by Doug: Lori Ziganto further "refudiates" Cohen's nonsense here.