Cavalier Is Not The Same As Incorrect

Please imagine the sustained uproar — especially from those opposing President Trump, and particularly those in the press — if the president had said to black people not voting for him, “You ain’t black.”

Now cut the word black, and substitute brown, red, yellow, or white. Please imagine the sustained uproar then.

Now substitute any religion or subset of a religion.

How about Jewish? Muslim? Buddhist? Hindu? Greek Orthodox? Catholic? Baptist? Presbyterian? Lutheran?

How about women? men?

Or pick any ethnicity.

The justifiable reaction may include these:

¯ Mr. President, why do you believe that people must vote for you because of their race, religion, sex, or ethnicity?

¯ To put it more generally: Do you further believe that people must hold particular political beliefs or otherwise think a certain way because they fit into a particular demographic category?

¯ Do you believe that some people who fit into any such category aren’t able or sufficiently able to think for themselves or form their own opinions?

¯ Or do you believe people’s genes, or some people’s genes, determine their thoughts?

¯ Or is this it? Do you want some people to think for themselves in the voting booth only if that means voting for you?

¯ What will you do if they publicly support someone else?

¯ Do you believe that any government official has the power to decree who fits into any particular demographic category based on the person’s thoughts? If so, please show us the law granting such power.

¯ Would such law violate the First Amendment?

¯ In short: What are you thinking, or aren’t you thinking?

Any of these questions of the president would have been justified if — if — he had said to black people not voting for him, “You ain’t black.”

What may have made the president’s remark — if he had made it — even worse is that the use of nonstandard English in these circumstances may not have come off well.

The president, of course, did not — did not — make this remark.

The person who made this remark is Joe Biden, the Democrats’ likely presidential candidate and the president’s likely 2020 general-election opponent.

Where is not just the disagreement with, or objections to, Biden’s remark but also the sustained uproar over it?


Does the absence of sustained uproar surprise you?

Whatever the reaction, Biden later said his remark was “cavalier,” and he shouldn’t have made it.

But those are different from believing the remark was incorrect.

Many liberals — not all, but many — believe what Biden said.

This is a reflection of at least two things.

First, this president and some other non-liberals have reached out to blacks, delivered in important ways, and are making significant progress in earning support from blacks. Many liberals know this progress makes winning harder for them.

Second, the behavior of many liberals is nothing new. They’ve long exhibited a particular form of intolerance toward blacks — and not only blacks — who don’t hold “correct” political views.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas — please see the column of June 12, 2020 — is among the more prominent targets of such political correctness, yet he’s far from the only one.

It doesn’t happen only to national figures.

A couple prominent in Chautauqua County in recent decades spoke of how hard it was for them.

You might have never known it from the never-ending cheerful and effective presence of this now-deceased pair, yet it was hard for them.

The courage that many show in the face of — and, yes, in defiance of — the “cavalier” is heroic.

Dr. Randy Elf believes in freedom of thought, and not just for people who agree with him.



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