Way back before writing was common, there was a young black politician coming along who was ticketed for big things. The FDR-New Deal coalition was in tatters and the Reagan Revolution was in full swing. Catholics, the so-called Reagan Democrats, were walking away from the Liberal Democrats. Southern whites were heading for the exits. In both cases the underlying issue was race. The Civil Rights Movement turned into looting and retribution, busting up the old coalition that had made the Democrats the majority part for 50 years.
In the midst of what looked like a collapse of the American Left, the search was on for “new” Democrats. The Democratic Leadership Council was founded in ’85 with the goal of reforming the party and unloading the old commies and radicals that scared the hell out of decent people. The search was also on for new black leaders. Lunatics like Jesse Jackson were embarrassing and reminded whites of what went wrong with the Civil Rights Movement. That’s how Kurt Schmoke got his start in politics.
Instead of being a man of the streets, Schmoke was a man from the Ivy League. On paper he looked like the ideal black guy. He was smart, well spoken and civilized. He avoided all the bomb throwing that other black politicians could never seem to resist. Schmoke was a black politician who could go toe-to-toe with the white guys in the board room and the classroom. He was guided into elected office by the Maryland Democratic machine and eventually became mayor of Baltimore.
I recall being at a reception of some sort where Schmoke was ushered around by some big shot Democrats. The buzz about the guy was thick. He was going to be the first black governor and maybe the first black president. Instead he was mayor and never went any further in politics. He entered office as a technocrat who would make the city work. His first was uneventful, but it was clear he was not up to the task of fixing the city. By his second term it was typical black city politics. The pols were looting the treasury and the city services were declining. The people were also fleeing in droves.
The interesting thing about Schmoke, and the only reason I bothered to keep up with his career, is he could never resist the pull of black racial solidarity. By his final term in office, he was dressed like an African potentate. He was sporting a kufi and dashiki. At one point he was flying the ANC flag at City Hall. Gone was all the talk of sitting with the white man as an equal. It was all black power and separatism. He even hired the Nation of Islam for security.
As Obama came along I was reminded of old Kurt Schmoke. The pitch was a bit different as the Cult was ascendent, rather than in decline. Back in the 80’s they were hoping to stave off collapse. In the 2000’s they were talking about realignment and making the Right a fringe operation. Instead of being a clean articulate black guy who would not scare the whites, Obama was a clean articulate black guy who would scare the whites. That’s largely been true, but Obama seems to be following the same path as Schmoke at the end of his time. Today Obama held a hate whitey festival at the White House. He invited all of the usual toothaches from the racial grievance industry.
The decent thing to do now is to let the whole Ferguson matter fade into the past. Race relations is about keeping the peace. That’s it. There will never be a colorblind society. If Obama cared a whit about improving race relations he’d be out front in closing the book on the whole thing. Instead he seems hell bent on causing blacks to riot nationwide. Like old Kurt Schmoke decades ago, he is embracing his Afro side with a vengeance and will spend the remainder of his term inflicting exactly that, vengeance.
This reminds me of something else from the old days. Obama’s sponsors, Bernadine Dohrn and Bill Ayers, were attracted to radical politics because they thought it upset the squares. In their Weather Underground days, they set out to do exactly that. The point of their terrorism was no point at all. They just liked mayhem. That’s what Obama’s Hate Whitey Day looks like. It’s just a way to cause trouble for no good reason. Bourgeois radicalism is just an extended tantrum against the peace and prosperity of the adults.
One final thought. I’m struck by the reaction of whites to all of this. When it comes to race, it has been a long time since whites have spoke forthrightly about the subject in public. On-line and on television I’m seeing some tough words about black crime, black racism and the general dysfunction of black America. That used to be the sort of thing that got you banished to Steve Sailer’s basement. In private, I’m hearing white people speak in ways that would have made Archie Bunker blush. If blacks had the capacity to self-police, they would be wise to muffle their bomb-throwers now and let all this settle down.