Monday, December 1, 2014

The Dathans in our midst

Many of you remember the character of Dathan, a “chief Hebrew overseer” played by Edward G. Robinson in the movie “The Ten Commandments.” One Egyptian official mentioned that he was “willing to sell [his] own mother” to remain in power, as he was assigned to find a prophesied deliverer among the Hebrews in order to keep them in bondage to the Egyptians. Of course he correctly identified Moses as such, and Moses ended up being banished.

And when Moses actually came back demanding the release of the Hebrews, guess who opposed him to the end? Dathan — even though he left with them during the Exodus.

I bring this up because folks are wondering why blacks aren’t rejoicing in the election of Tim Scott and Mia Love, the first black Republican U.S. Senator elected since Reconstruction and the first black Republican woman to get elected to the lower chamber of Congress respectively. They understand that the political right that runs the party and that both subscribe to today has always opposed their progress, so they really don’t care. Moreover, Love has said that, when she gets to Washington, she intends to undermine the Congressional Black Caucus.

Good luck with that, Mia.

One thing that shouldn’t need to, but apparently must, be said: The first African-American to achieve high office has always — always — been politically liberal. So by the time a black conservative gets anywhere the novelty has worn off. Moreover, when an African-American gets to such a lofty place it's assumed that things will change, that the halls of power will be more accessible to people of color.

So what does this have to do with Dathan? Well, consider that black conservatives often make a lot of noise about challenging the black establishment, which is probably how they get attention in the first place. But they prove ineffective because blacks don't put up with them for a second, not to mention that if they even try to engage other African-Americans they would be chewed up and spat out.

So what does the ascension of Love and Scott mean? Nothing, whether short- or long-term.

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