Are there no heroes left in America anymore?
President Obama turns out to be an incompetent fraud who has never actually read the U.S. Constitution. Edward Snowden tucked tail and fled to Siberia. Washington Nationals star Ryan Zimmerman can no longer be relied upon to scoop up a crazy bouncer just inside third base line, pirouette and throw like a laser into first baseman Adam LaRoche's mitt.
And now, we learn, the Rev. Al Sharpton has been working for The Man all along.
No matter how much he insists that he was just one fat cat keeping tabs on all the rats around him, truth is Mr. Sharpton was a low-down, double-crossing lying snitch from the start.
In a truly epic report released this week by TheSmokingGun.com, the great pompadoured race pimp, elocutionist and shake-down artist was exposed as a paid FBI informer going back decades. Based upon federal affidavits, transcripts and other documents, TSG outlined Mr. Sharpton's extensive career as a stool pigeon turning evidence on some of the most notorious mobsters operating in New York at the time.
"In those documents, investigators vouched for him as a reliable, productive, and accurate source of information about underworld figures," TSG wrote in its meticulously reported and well-written account.
Mr. Sharpton was particularly valued, the feds cooed, for "playing dumb" while wearing a wire for the FBI. Mr. Sharpton was also adept at handling a Hartmann briefcase tricked out with a bug for secretly recording wise guys.
Even as Mr. Sharpton was publicly railing against authorities and helping Tawana Brawley build her rape hoax lie that would destroy the reputations and lives of several cops, Mr. Sharpton was serving as a snitch.
Whatever happened to honor among thieves?
Of course, Mr. Sharpton will still be remembered for his colorful antics such getting thrown to the ground by Roy Innis on "The Morton Downey Show" or the time he shouted at an audience member, "You a punk faggot!" He will be remembered for his harangues against the police and endless deadbeat skirmishes with the IRS.
But now he will also forever be remembered as "Confidential Informant No. 7" — an indelible stain even worse than "Client No. 9."
How is it possible that a character like Al Sharpton has survived for so long as some kind of legitimate public figure in America?
To the conservative press, Mr. Sharpton for years was an enormously entertaining thorn in the side of Democrats. When he has run for his party's nomination, he stood out as the most thoughtful, provocative and well-spoken candidate in the field. In a debate line-up crowded with the likes of Joe Biden, John Kerry and Bob Graham, Mr. Sharpton would steal the show.
Since those days, Mr. Sharpton has sold out and become a reliable party mouthpiece.
Far more complicated is why the liberal, "mainstream" press has legitimized Mr. Sharpton despite the damage he does to their credibility. Do these people simply think this is how "black" people behave?
How does a network such as MSNBC give a prime time show to a guy who struggles through the teleprompter like a grade schooler learning to read a Dr. Seuss book? Do MSNBC executives just think that is how "black" people read? Perhaps they should try getting to know a few more "black" people.
Mr. Sharpton responded to the blockbuster revelations with his typical flair and obfuscation, insisting he should be thrown a ticker-tape parade for combating crime in New York City.
"I think it was very interesting that many of us are condemned for not fighting crime and now we're condemned for fighting crime," he said Tuesday. "It is interesting to me, as we deal with the whole criminalization of many in our community, that the premise of a lot of this media is that I should have been with the mob rather than with the government."
It is a fair point, Mr. Sharpton. And the answer is that you are the one who chose to devote your life to vilifying the government, police and authority in general as a bunch of hateful, white rapists out to destroy blacks and the poor.
Now we come to find out you were in cahoots with whitey all along. So, no longer are you just a low-down, two-bit huckster. You are a lying, cheating, double-crossing low-down, two-bit huckster.
And like the great American entrepreneur we now know you are, Mr. Sharpton, you were shaking them down on both sides of the street every step of the way.
• Charles Hurt can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @charleshurt.