Elder Patriot – Shelby Steele is an author, columnist, documentary filmmaker, and a Robert J. and Marion E. Oster Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He specializes in the study of race relations, multiculturalism, and affirmative action.
By all accounts, Steele is a man of scholarship whose travels and studies have led him to embrace our Constitution, which is something he writes that Progressives and Democrats do not.
Steele earned his educational credentials prior to affirmative action becoming the law of the land. And, this past week Steele let loose on the “hysterical anti-Americanism” that today’s social justice warriors espouse in a Wall Street Journal op-ed entitled “The Exhaustion of American Liberalism.”
“Unlike the civil rights movement of the 1950’s and ‘60s, when protesters wore their Sunday best and carried themselves with heroic dignity, today’s liberal marches are marked by incoherency and downright lunacy – hats designed to evoke sexual organs, poems that scream in anger yet have no point to make, and an hysterical anti-Americanism.”
“America, since the ’60s, has lived through what might be called an age of white guilt.”
Steele concludes that:
“White guilt is a mock guilt, a pretense of real guilt, a shallow etiquette of empathy, pity and regret.” He correctly notes, “Whites are not assailed in the night of feelings of responsibility for America’s historical mistreatment of minorities.”
“White guilt is not angst over injustices suffered by others, it is the terror of being stigmatized by others; it is the terror of being stigmatized with America’s old bigotries – racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia.”
If Steele’s assessment is right then it is what led to the election of the most manifestly anti-American president in our nation’s history, Barack Obama. Devoid of leadership experience, long on Marxist ideology, absent any accomplishments of his own, and steeped in the politics of race there can be no other reason that White America voted for Obama.
Steele acknowledges this fact when he writes:
“Moreover, all the actual guilt in the world would never be enough to support the hegemonic power that the mere pretense of guilt has exercised in American life for the last half-century.”
According to Steele, the election of Donald Trump in the face of the Left’s hysterical meltdown charging President Trump with pandering to America’s old bigotries – racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia – represents an important paradigm shift in American politics:
“All of this suggests lostness, the end of something rather than the beginning.”
“… the Trump election suggests an exhaustion with the idea of white guilt, and with the drama of culpability, innocence and correctness in which it mires us.”
Steele wrote that this is a sign, “The jig is up. Our new conservative president rolls his eyes when he is called a racist, and we all — liberal and conservative alike — know that he isn’t one.”
“Today’s liberalism is an anachronism. It has no understanding, really, of what poverty is and how it has to be overcome. It has no grip whatever on what American exceptionalism is and what it means at home and especially abroad. Instead it remains defined by an America of 1965 — an America newly opening itself to its sins, an America of genuine goodwill, yet lacking in self-knowledge.”
During their campaigns for president, Hillary Clinton pandered to the hysterical social justice warriors and America’s past while Trump forged a new bridge to the future – one where America moves on from its past forges a better, more opportunistic, more prosperous life for its citizens.
That’s called leadership.