The death of Nelson Mandela will no doubt result in a sanctimonious circus for the usual suspects on the Left. These people cannot control themselves, so even at funerals they put on a show, intended to display their virtue. That’s how it goes with these things. It is a shame because Mandela’s death could be one of those moments to think about the realities of Africa, but the people who deified him really don’t care about Africa or Africans.
Instead, it will be a week of one-upsmanship on the Left, as they compete with one another to be the most worshipful of a man who was mostly a failure. Chris Mathews is a great example. He lives in one of the whitest neighborhood in America, which happens to be outside of Washington. The Baltimore-Washington area is close to majority black, so a white-only town stands out. Yet, Mathews will lecture the rest of us about race.
Mathews is emblematic of the Left’s relationship to blacks. For the Left, blacks are merely a totem. They are something one worships in the abstract because it riles the enemies of the Left. At least they think it does. In the fevered imagination of the Left, The Man hates blacks and is always trying to keep them down. Naturally, The Man is always a cartoonish version of the the WASP elite, rather than a liberal Jewish guy.
Of course, the Mandela worship has always been about the Left celebrating itself and this funeral will be another example. They love Mandela because they backed him against the bad whites, who were on the wrong side of history. If Mandela had died of a stroke before apartheid ended, he would have been forgotten. It was never about him or his cause. It was always about the narrative in which the Left is always operating.
It is a shame because Mandela really was an extraordinary leader by the standards of Africa. His coevals on the continent competed with one another to be the most maniacally murderous and destructive. Idi Amin was a cannibal, for example. No African country emerged from colonialism and then prospered, except for two. Rhodesia thrived for a time under Ian Smith. The other is South Africa, at least until now.
The fact that South Africa did not follow the same path as every other African state is due to Mandela, in no small part. That’s not to say he was a saint or even a moral person. It’s just that he was not like the typical African leader, who runs his country in the same way local drug lords runs their gang. There was a chance to make the Mandela model the minimally acceptable in Africa, but that never happened and never will now.
None of that will get much of an airing this weekend. Instead it will be the Left congratulating itself for opposing Apartheid and embracing Mandela. It will also be an excuse to revive their passion for Obama. You can be sure our African prince will be there talking about himself, not so subtly reminding the Left why they worshiped him up until last week. The only thing missing will be a wicker man full of white people to burn.
No one will dare mention the deteriorating conditions in South Africa as the black majority slip back into their natural state and set about murdering the white minority. Whatever legacy Mandela could have had will be forgotten after the Left is done with his memory this weekend. In a decade, when the white minority is fleeing South Africa, no one will look back and wonder if it was a good idea to oppose Apartheid. No one will care.