Whether on the battlefield or on the gridiron, it is said “the best defense is a good offense.” While legendary professional football coach Vince Lombardi is probably best remembered for the quote, it is one savored by the military as a strategic offensive principle of war. It promotes proactivity rather than passivity in order to disrupt an enemy’s focus, ultimately hindering its ability to mount an opposing attack.
We are witnessing application of this strategy on almost a daily basis today in Congress where our legislators repeatedly muddy the waters of reasonable debate, hurling criticism after criticism against those opposing their positions on various issues. Rather than debate issues, the offensive strategy we see initiated is the charge of the “ism” brigade by which opponents are deemed guilty of racism, sexism, or whatever other “ism” can be thought of at the time.
There was a Republican delegate who, having witnessed enough of these charges, recently rose to defend his party in the legislature of the Commonwealth of Virginia – Nicholas J. Freitas. Perhaps he was motivated by congressional Democrats’ most recent failed effort to pass a voting rights bill, having launched a campaign across the county accusing Republican opponents of racism. While the bill would have ensured future Democratic election victories by undermining election integrity, Democrats claimed their Republican opponents were seeking a return to the Jim Crow laws of an earlier era. Given the opportunity to speak as a “point of personal privilege,” Freitas delivered a very eloquent three-minute response to the seemingly endless charges of “ism” brigades.
The delegate began by pointing out that one thing he has never done is to question the motivation of others in that body who disagreed with him on policy. He has never accused those on the other side of the aisle as being racist or sexist or un-Christian or a bigot, simply for having such policy disagreements. However, the other side has not extended Republicans a similar courtesy. They make these outrageous “ism” claims, totally lacking evidentiary proof thereof.
Freitas added, “This has been the repeated narrative coming from certain members of the other side of the aisle. And there’s been a lot of times we just sat here politely and took it. Mr. Speaker, not this time. I’m tired of it; my constituents are tired of it. … When these claims are made … they are made in part against the people who elected to send us here. And I don’t know a single person here in this Chamber that I would define as racist or sexist or bigoted. … So let’s have a robust policy discussion. But if you’re going to question the faith of the intentions of anybody who happens to disagree with you on policy, then you don’t get to lecture us on compassion, tolerance or an open debate.” Freitas received a standing ovation for his remarks.
Liberals of all shades are guilty of such race-baiting. One recently doing so accused Dr. Ben Carson, conservative black former HUD secretary, of crying “white tears” for voicing his opposition to President Joe Biden’s announcement he would nominate a black woman to replace U.S. Supreme Court Justice Steven Breyer.
Freitas obviously said what many conservatives have strongly believed based on liberal politicians’ preference to malign opponents rather than debate concerns about their bills. It is an ironic tack for Democrats to take. After all, they are the party of the notorious black hate group, the Ku Klux Klan. It was their party that, for over a century, promoted an anti-black agenda seeking to prevent post-slavery blacks from being elected to office. The first 23 blacks elected to Congress were all Republicans. Also interestingly, despite Democrats’ racism claims, today the Republican Party’s biggest fundraising stars are blacks.
Democrats have been so hyped up on “ism” charging they have, in fact, even used the claim against their own who have failed to vote with them. When moderate Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., failed to vote with fellow Democrats to abolish the filibuster, they were called racists.
In January 2021, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., proposed a rule change to eliminate the use in a document titled the “Rules of the House of Representatives” of gendered terms, such as father, mother, son and daughter, mandating the use of gender-neutral alternatives instead. While this was a silly effort to appease the far left, Pelosi would have done better for herself and her party had she mandated eliminating the use of claims of “isms” against political opponents to avoid debate, fostering an environment more conducive to substantive debates on issues rather than launching personal attacks.
The video of a frustrated Freitas reaching the end of his rope of tolerance to admonish Democrats’ use of “ism” battle cries to obfuscate legislative discussions is telling. While his speech on the practice was made to a limited bipartisan audience within the Virginia legislature, hopefully it will come to Pelosi’s attention.
Pelosi has announced she has no intention to retire and will run again this year for her seat. In an imperfect world, should she somehow return for another term as speaker, if Republicans fail to retake the House, she needs to reconsider her role in terms of what Freitas has said. The speaker’s role is one of getting bills passed that are in the best interests of the public, encouraging bipartisan support to do so. Accordingly, it is a role that should encourage the speaker to focus Congress on holding substantive debates on legislation – not on conducting mudslinging attacks against opponents.
In colonial America, town criers walked the streets, making public announcements, declaring the time and assuring the townspeople “all is well.” Today, in challenging their Republican opponents, Democrats refuse to debate issues, preferring to take on the role of the town crier in shouting out claims of racism. As Freitas noted, Democrats unfairly make that charge, not only against their Republican opponents but against those who voted them into office as well.
Voters have had enough of this as they recognize that mounting an “ism” offensive is, in itself, offensive. It does nothing to focus on real issues to educate the public. All in America is not well if such false claims continue to be heard from the charge of the “ism” brigade.
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