A while back, in the midst of a visit to the barber, I was deemed to be suffering from a rather serious case of white guilt given my vote for Obama in 2008. I was taken aback by the realization that my rather thoughtful approach to candidates and policy had been subconsciously subverted by an overwhelming sense of white guilt. In hindsight, I now see that my opposition to the foreign policy, the financial policy, health care policies and almost every policy of McCain/Palin were not driven by rigorous analysis, consideration or dichotomy of values but merely by my white guilt overtaking my sense of reason.
Apparently, George Will does as he rightly calls me out this election cycle:
Obama’s administration is in shambles, yet he is prospering politically. This may not, however, entirely be evidence of the irrationality of the electorate. Something more benign may be at work.
Perhaps a pleasant paradox defines this political season: That Obama is African American may be important, but in a way quite unlike that darkly suggested by, for example, MSNBC’s excitable boys and girls who, with their (at most) one-track minds and exquisitely sensitive olfactory receptors, sniff racism in any criticism of their pin-up. Instead, the nation, which is generally reluctant to declare a president a failure — thereby admitting that it made a mistake in choosing him — seems especially reluctant to give up on the first African American president. If so, the 2012 election speaks well of the nation’s heart, if not its head.
By George, he’s right!
I mean it’s utterly irrational to vote against Romney/Ryan given their view on health care, on foreign policy and on their fiscal policies. Indeed, to point out that the Ryan budget and policies are wholly implausible from an economics perspective is utterly irrational and actually driven by that crushing guilt , no thanks to President Obama.
As I considered the brilliant insights of one of conservatism’s leading intellects, I began to reassess my guilt in a more reasoned way and I experienced a near epiphany:
I never really liked Jimi Hendrix as a musician given his virtuosity on the guitar or his impact on guitar playing: I just felt guilty — purple haze all in my brain apparently.
I never found Richard Pryor to actually be funny while simultaneously offering a satirical view of society at a time of transition on race: I was just guilting myself to laugh.
I don’t think LeBron James is actually that talented; I just think the white guys on the opposing teams play down to bring LeBron up. You can see the guilt in their eyes every time LeBron slams it down; or Durant; or Westbrook; or Howard; or Jordan; or
Griffin. Oops, sorry about Griffin. Damn you, guilt, their eyes scream as their opponents sail overhead.
I don’t actually like to read Ta-Nehisi Coates or enjoy his writing style; I just have this overwhelming guilt to read stuff black people write. Or listen to Jay-Z: if only he were white, I wouldn’t have to listen to it. My conscience would be clear and I could share my iTunes list with George Will.
And to my wife, who was a bit taken aback by my overzealous response as to my opinion of Beyonce’s attractiveness, I can now say with a straight face and with the conviction of my guilt, that I simply have all this guilt which makes me say things I don’t really mean . Could I actually say that she is hideous : of course not, my guilt overwhelms me to do and say things I really don’t mean.
Damn you to hell, lever finger on election day!
Thanks George. It all makes sense now.