Racism is the practice of according rights and privileges to an individual not based on equality under the law, but rather according to what race that person was born.
It is antithetical to every principle our country was founded on, from the promise of our Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal” to the equal protection clause of our Constitution. It was a malignancy we fought a Civil War to remove. For generations, it has been denounced by every American of good will for the evil that it is.
Yet this dangerous social pathology is now rampant in Washington. The House Judiciary Committee recently adopted a measure on a party line vote to establish a commission with the avowed purpose of enshrining racism into law under the guise of slavery reparations.
The biased composition of this commission is obvious. There’s not a single Republican appointment. It is designed to reach into the long dead past, revive its most malevolent conflicts and re-introduce them into our age.
It’s impossible to imagine a more divisive, polarizing or unjust measure than one that would use government force to require people who never owned slaves to pay reparations to people who never were slaves – based not on anything they did but solely because of what race they were born.
History offers us an inexhaustible supply of grievances and injustices that are powerful enough to stoke hatreds and resentments that can tear any society apart. That is what this movement is all about. It is evil in its effect if not in its intent.
Lincoln often pointed out that our country was born into a world where slavery was an established institution. The American Founders reviled it and placed principles in our founding documents that they were confident would ultimately place that wicked institution upon the course of extinction and would lead to a republic where men and women of every race and background could together enjoy the blessings of liberty.
Equal justice under law means a colorblind society where race simply becomes irrelevant and until recently, we had made tremendous progress toward that vision as a nation.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King expressed the gold standard of racial harmony: that we should be judged by the content of our character and not the color of our skin.
It is the equal protection of the law and the vision of colorblind society stretching from the American Founders to Lincoln and Dr. King that is now under attack by the racist left.
Yes, there are racists in our society. There are racists of all colors in every society; it is the baser side of human nature. But no nation has struggled harder to transcend that nature and isolate and marginalize its racists than have Americans.
Yes, extremely damaging and foolish policies have disproportionately affected Black communities in recent decades. Union-dominated schools that have failed to educate children in inner cities, welfare programs that destroyed families and the withdrawal of police protection from crime plagued neighborhoods are certainly among them. But these policies devastate every community where they are practiced, regardless of race. The answer is to change those policies – not to excuse them because they are ideologically pleasing to the left.
The racist left is content to ignore all of these current ills. It instead attempts to set neighbor against neighbor and American against American on the basis of their race. They say this is healing. It is precisely the opposite. They know it. Indeed, they count on it.
Americans of good will of every race and creed — have had enough of this. They are tired of seeing our children taught to hate themselves and to hate each other. They are tired of seeing our country demonized as racist by those whose first and solitary focus is on race. They are tired of the lie that our nation is systemically racist when it has done more to produce a civil and tolerant multi-racial society than any people in the history of civilization.
It is long past time that every American of every heritage denounces this evil for what it is, and to extirpate from our civil discourse those race-baiters of every persuasion who have polluted our national dialogue and corrupted our national heritage.
• Tom McClintock serves as the U.S. representative for California’s Fourth Congressional District.
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