Alexander's Column

The 'Keyes problem'

Mark Alexander · Jan. 14, 2000

“Republicans bring out Colin Powell and J.C. Watts because they have no program, no policy. They have no love and no joy. They’d rather take pictures with black children than feed them.” –Ms. Donna Brazile, the black lesbian manager of Al Gore’s “family values” campaign 2000.

Translation: “Whitey brings out Colin Powell and J.C. Watts because they have no program, no policy. They have no love and no joy. They’d rather take pictures with black children than feed them.”

Of course, there is an unspoken rule that abject bigotry is not really bigotry when the offending comment originates with a member of an ethnic minority and is ostensibly aimed at a member of the offender’s own minority. Naturally, liberals in the ethnic majority would not dare utter such soundbites of partiality. Suppose Brazile’s comment was uttered by her boss, rather than his surrogate, or the likes of Dick Gephardt or Tom Daschle. Even the most jaded network talkingheads might take exception.

In addition to the bigotry implicit in Brazile’s statement, it exposes the prevailing fallacy among the liberal elite and their lobotomized lemmings, that “black conservative” is an oxymoron. But noticeably absent from her Republican lineup of “Uncle Toms” is, arguably, the most conservative of presidential candidates now being fielded by Republicans – Dr. Alan Keyes. Perhaps Keyes’s articulate conservatism is so enigmatic to those on the left that at the mere mention of his name, liberals risk imploding into their own hypocritical abyss.

The same rules of exclusion apply to bigotry in the media. For example, in a recent St. Petersburg Times editorial, black opinionist Bill Maxwell wrote, “By all standards, some creatures are just plain strange, making us do double takes because their compositions or habits or appearances defy our sense of logic and our way of viewing reality. Take the wildebeest, the warthog, the hyena, the brown pelican, the Shar-Pei. These animals, seemingly wrought by committee, make us laugh or shake our heads. Another such creature, of the human kind – and perhaps the strangest of all – is the black Republican. Do not laugh. This is a serious matter, given yet another Alan Keyes run – absurd as it may be – for the White House.”

Maxwell continues, “My grandfather, a smart Pentecostal pastor who died five years ago, would have said that Keyes, along with others like him, is ‘out there cuttin’ up ‘round them white folks.’ This was my gramps’ portrayal of black sycophants, whose raison d'être was pleasing their white ‘superiors.’

"After each debate, Keyes declares himself the winner and attacks the press for not praising him. He is not praised because he acts too much like a kid pledging a fraternity he instinctively dislikes. Doubling Keyes’ misery is his pathetic effort to persuade white Republicans to accept him. And therein lies the rub: Black Republicans fail to understand that white Republicans will never accept them as equals. Although they will not acknowledge the truth, white Republicans, like most other whites, view black Republicans as strange creatures.”

(For a condensed translation of Mr. Maxwell’s commentary, see the previous translation of Ms. Brazile’s comments.)

Noticeably absent from Maxwell’s editorial diatribe is any mention of two of his colleagues who are among the nation’s leading conservative columnists – Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell – both of whom happen to be black Americans. But then, we have already covered the theory of liberal hypocritical implosion.

Responding to this assault, Dr. Keyes notes, “Several weeks ago I caused something of a stir by suggesting…that the media simply have no mental category for black conservatives – it just doesn’t ‘compute’ that there could be such a thing. … Liberal inability even to consider the possibility of a black conservative speaks volumes about the superficiality of liberalism itself.

"Mr. Maxwell says that black Republicans are ‘perhaps the strangest’ of all the ‘creatures whose compositions or habits or appearances defy our sense of logic and our way of viewing reality.’ … The story of black Republicans – and, indeed, the best and most characteristic theme of the entire black experience in America – is the story of an escape from bondage into the light of truth and the freedom that comes with truth.

"The black American tradition, deeply rooted in Christian ethical principles, supported the ability to resist the materialistic prejudices that could damage black self-esteem and corrode the sense of moral responsibility. Abandoning that tradition, liberal black leadership has delivered blacks, and especially poor blacks, into the hands of a government-dominated social-welfare network. Self-help and self-control were supplanted by governmental ‘pork’ – ‘fatback,’ as our ancestors would have called it. Equality under the law was replaced by a network of demeaning preferences under affirmative action.

"This system, like slavery, has demanded as the price of admission that blacks surrender to ideology based on economic determinism. … The so-called black leadership has exchanged the slave plantation for the handouts-and-preferences plantation, and our people are tempted to lapse into a softer, but spiritually deadly, servitude. It is from this plantation that black Republicans seek freedom. But many of us who stray from it become incomprehensible – invisible – to the liberal media.

"Mr. Maxwell finds it incomprehensible that a black American could make such a choice to leave the plantation. He is blind not only to black conservatives and the reasons that lead to their political choices. He is blind as well to the chains that still are wrapped around so many souls of those still on the plantation.”

The fact is, Alan Keyes is the most dangerous black man in America because his mere existence threatens the cornerstone of contemporary liberalism – convincing Americans, particularly black Americans, that they must be subservient to their 20th century master – the central government. Keyes the candidate contradicts the essence of liberal politics. Keyes the syndicated columnist and radio personality contradicts the essence of liberal media. Even Keyes the scholar, with his Ph.D. in Government from that bastion of the left, Harvard University, contradicts the essence of academic liberalism.

Clearly the Republican Party needs more “problems” like Alan Keyes.