One step forward and two steps back

“Today’s GOP is not racist, as Harry Belafonte alleged about the tea party, but it is deeply troubled — about the expansion of government, about immigration, about secularism, about the mainstreaming of what used to be the avant-garde. People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, once pronounced herself a lesbian?) This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts — but not all — of America. To a cultural conservative, this doesn’t look like his country at all.”Richard Cohen, Washington Post

That one paragraph in an editorial about Chris Christie has set off a storm of criticism across the internet.  I couldn’t figure out it’s placement within a discussion about how Christie fits into the Republican Party with the current heavy influence from the Tea Party.  Even after reading his explanation, I’m still confused as to how that all fits into his column.  He says that, “What I was doing was expressing not my own views but those of extreme right-wing Republican tea party people. I don’t have a problem with interracial marriage or same-sex marriage. In fact, I exult in them. It’s a slander” to suggest otherwise. “This is just below the belt. It’s a purposeful misreading of what I wrote.”

I’m not going to pile on him like everybody else as I respect everybody’s right to free speech here.  I also understand that right to free speech does not absolve the speaker from criticism of what he/she says.  Maybe Cohen would have been much better off by stating, within his column, that he was attempting to express the views of the extreme right-wing Republican tea party people as he stated in his explanation.  There are no such context clues within his column that would lead an average reader to that conclusion on their own.

We’ve come a long way since Loving v Virginia, and there is no need for us to have to cross that bridge again.  As evidenced by the story about the White supremacist who’s DNA test revealed he had sub-Saharan DNA within his body, we are all pretty much one and the same inside.  The only difference is the concentration of melanin within our skin.  If anything, we should celebrate the fact that the mayor-elect and his wife are raising their family within a loving home.  As often as I hear whining about single parent homes, this is at least one elected official who appears to be active in raising his children.  We need more examples of that and less of the gag reflex crap.


7 thoughts on “One step forward and two steps back

  1. “(Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, once pronounced herself a lesbian?)”

    That’s the only thing I find shocking. I think josef would agree with me when I say….you either is or you isn’t. The switcheroos blow the “born gay” argument out the window.

    Maybe she should have pronounced herself confused?

    I’ve always known Christie to be flexible in spite of his large girth. (ISH)

    When our AJC liberals were attacking him, I pointed out his more progressive views. Didn’t sway them from their attacks though.

    Although carrying the label of Tea Party, I don’t see Lee or Ryan as members. Regardless of what Democrats and the media proclaim, the Tea Party supporters are, themselves, pretty diverse in what constitutes good government.


    • I know people who have kids and then decided to ente a same sex relationship. I have no idea if it was something they repressed until they couldn’t do it anymore or if it is a case of just loving someone else. I won’t judge as it doesn’t affect me or my family.

      I couldn’t figure out what Cohen was truly attempting to communicate about Christie, but he is a solid conservative. He’s just not one of the loud nutcases. He is more practical and pragmatic in my opinion.


  2. My first question is who is Richard Cohen; I’ve never heard of him (of course, I assume he writes for the Post). I, too, think it’s a bit of a stretch to see how this actually relates to Christie, since to my knowledge, he’s never said anything of the sort or even close.

    From reading through what I could find about it, I sort of get the impression that Cohen wasn’t saying these were his views; he was projecting what he thinks somebody else’s views are. A visit to any blog’s comment section is a daily lesson in what that brings you.

    I have a friend on the baseball blogs who used to be a sportswriter up north and he says that he was flat out told, that his main job was to stir up things and get a reaction. The more reaction, the better his bosses liked it, whether it was on target or not. I think that may be what’s happening here (of course, I don’t know that for a fact). It’s an attempt to get readers and a reaction. If so, they succeeded.

    When I was a boy, my Grandpa often told me, “Boy, never miss a chance to keep your mouth shut”. If only the world would heed that advice.

    On the NYC Mayor, I hope he and his wife are happy as clams (as I do for all people) but other than that, I don’t live in NYC, so I don’t give a rip who they elect as their mayor or who he/she is married to. I got my own backyard to worry about. More folks just need to mind their own business.


  3. I read it as a description of the views of cultural conservatives, not as necessarily a statement of Cohen’s own views. When you said he got a lot of criticism, my first thought was that Republicans may have accused him of smearing them. I don’t know why I read it differently from so many other people, but my reading was closer to what he said later he meant.
    Rereading it, I don’t see anywhere where he made the offensive statements as though they were necessarily his own. He ascribes these views to “today’s GOP”, “people with conventional views”, and “a cultural conservative”.


    • I just read the whole Cohen column. To me it seems obvious that he was describing Republicans who vote in the Iowa caucuses or the South Carolina primary. The relevance to Christie is that such people won’t vote for Christie, so he has no chance to win those delegates.


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