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©Jack Cashill - August 14, 2013

One need look no further than the rodeo clown incident at the Missouri State Fair to understand why race relations in America are fraying.

For making fun of the president, a rodeo clown has been suspended for life and all his clown colleagues have been ordered to sensitivity training.

Sensitivity training for clowns? That concept would make even Orwell’s head spin. Aren’t clowns supposed to make fun of people, even presidents?

I do not recall anyone ever getting scolded for making fun of George Bush at a public event. A few years back, for instance, while researching a book on California, I witnessed San Francisco’s annual Bay to Breakers run.

This event was something of a treasured San Francisco tradition, so much so that then mayor Gavin Newsom ran in the race as did many other celebrities.

This being San Francisco, clothing was optional. (Newsom wore his). So too was any sense of ordinary decency. Many of the runners carried signs or displays, often vulgar, mocking then president George Bush.

The sign that I remember most read simply, “No more Bush.” What made it memorable was that the naked woman carrying it had shaved her pubic area to reinforce the message.

As I was standing near the top of a long hill, the woman was walking and holding the sign proudly over her head. Much of the audience cheered.

It reminded me of a KKK rally except, of course, that mocking the president has never reminded anyone of a KKK rally until Obama was elected.

No one apologized. No one threatened the mayor’s job. No one was dispatched to sensitivity training, a first step on the road to serfdom and full-blown re-education camps.

Although clearly disrespectful and distasteful, the woman was exercising her First Amendment rights, and the city provided the platform for her to do it.

Since Obama’s emergence, however, all criticism of the man is suspect, and any criticism in less than perfect taste is presumed to be racist.

Five years ago, many Americans voted for Barack Obama for no other reason than to bridge the racial divide. Even those who did not vote for him took some comfort in his victory thinking that, if nothing else, race relations would improve.

If they had been paying attention, they would have known this was not going to happen. The turning point came on Father’s Day, June 15, 2008.

Candidate Obama took his campaign to the 20,000-member Apostolic Church of God in Jesse Jackson’s home turf, the South Side of Chicago.

Obama’s message was unequivocal. The New York Times took a day off from worrying about the separation of church and state and headlined its article on the talk, “Obama Sharply Assails Absent Black Fathers.”

To murmurs of approval from the almost entirely black congregation, Obama preached, “If we are honest with ourselves we’ll admit that too many fathers are also missing.”

Lest the listeners think Obama was speaking in general, he added, “You and I know this is true everywhere, but nowhere is it more true than in the African American community.”

Obama then spelled out the consequences, including the fact that boys who grow up in fatherless homes are “twenty times more likely to end up in prison.”

As Obama soon learned, he spoke out of turn. Jesse Jackson—what with his love child and all--took Obama’s comments as a personal and professional insult.

A few weeks later, awaiting a remote interview with Fox News, Jackson made his feelings known on a hot mic. "I want to cut his nuts out," Jackson whispered. "Barack, he is talking down to black people."

This was all most people were allowed to hear, but there was more. Almost universally, the media edited out the participle phrase that followed “black people,” specifically, “telling n***ers how to behave."

Always insecure about his lack of roots in African American culture, Obama got the message. Going forward, he would not tell anyone how to behave except, maybe, Republicans. The results have been tragic.

In the month of his inauguration, 79 percent of whites and 63 percent of blacks held a favorable view of race relations in America.

By July 2013, those figures had fallen to 52 percent among whites and 38 percent among blacks, a calamitous decline, rarely addressed, never explained.

“In things racial,” Attorney General Eric Holder told Justice Department employees during a controversial Black History Month speech in February 2009, “we have always been and we, I believe, continue to be in too many ways essentially a nation of cowards."

Duh! How could Holder expect otherwise? To express anything but progressive cant on the subject of race is to jeopardize your career, even if you’re a clown.

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Editor's note: For a more complete account of this phenomenon, read Jack Cashill's amazing book, "Hoodwinked: How Intellectual Hucksters Have Hijacked American Culture.


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