Roseanne Barr posted what many are convinced was a racist tweet, and ABC summarily canceled her sitcom. As Roseanne is considered a Donald Trump supporter and Trump is widely accused of racism, people are loosely smearing Trump as responsible for her, however indirectly.
Maybe I'm defensive about loose charges of racism, but if so, I've acquired my defensiveness honestly, because racism has become the left's favorite categorical smear of conservatives and Republicans. It's not something I'm imagining. I've written about it many times, basing it on my observations of leftists and Democrats in action.
I don't believe that Democrats are racists, but I do believe they cynically exploit racial smears against Republicans as part of their strategy to retain a disproportionate percentage of African-American and other minority voters, without which they would be reduced to a permanent minority party. Considering the closeness of so many national elections, can you imagine the electoral impact of even a small percentage of African-American voters leaving the Democratic Party and voting Republican? Trust me, Democratic apparatchiks believe it — and act accordingly. Their fear leads to such baseless, disgraceful claims as the one about how George W. Bush purposely left blacks stranded on rooftops in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina because they were black and Republicans don't care about blacks.
It has always particularly frosted me that conservative policies are associated with racism even though our policies, historically, expand opportunity and prosperity for African-Americans and other minorities. Indeed, we aspire to colorblindness rather than the individually degrading identity politics habitually practiced by Democrats. We've recently learned, for example, that African-American and Hispanic unemployment numbers are at historical lows. You would think that after a while, word would get out that Republican actions speak louder than Democratic words and there would be a mass conversion of minorities from the Democratic Party to the GOP. Frankly, I'm surprised it hasn't happened already, not just because of the serial failure of Democratic policies and the success of Republican ones but because of the drippingly patronizing attitude Democratic politicians have toward minorities. Why aren't minorities offended by their being used so conspicuously? My guess is that many don't have much faith in Democrats but they've been convinced that Republicans and conservatives truly are racist.
Think about how outrageous my statement is — especially if it is true. But I can't imagine a better explanation for African-Americans consistently voting in the 90 percent range for Democrats. The Democrats' slander, by the way, doesn't just hurt the Republican Party and, by extension, the nation; it also hurts African-Americans and other minorities who believe the lie that roughly half the nation (Republicans) is somehow against them. How can it be healthy for minorities to believe such a lie? How could it possibly lead to improved race relations? Democrats constantly preach about diversity and racial harmony, but they do more damage with their vilification than with their destructive policies, and that's saying something.
Now back to the alleged connection between Roseanne Barr and Donald Trump. Democrats and Republican never-Trumpers are tweeting and writing that Roseanne's disgraceful Twitter outburst should be expected in the Trump era because Trump has ushered in an era of racism — soft or hard, racism nevertheless. Plus, Roseanne is a Trump supporter, so her negatives must attach to him.
I think it's a major stretch to call Roseanne a conservative. She clearly is not a social conservative, and I doubt she's much of a conservative otherwise, but let's just assume, for discussion purposes, that she is a Trump-supporting Republican.
How about the claim that Trump is a racist or has created a climate conducive to racism? Well, the accusers have their talking points, and they can tick them off with the discipline of an A student on exam day, but instead of relitigating those specific statements (or actions, such as Trump's challenging Barack Obama's birth certificate or calling MS-13 gang members "animals"), I'll tell you what I think is at the root of the smear. Trump is now a Republican, and thus he is fair game to be cast as a racist for the reasons already stated. But a bigger point is that Trump's signature policy is immigration enforcement. The left — and an increasing number of open-borders advocates on the right — associates that policy with nativism, which is a euphemism for racism, and with outright racism. In addition, many believe that Trump is an alt-right white supremacist or, at the very least, encourages the support of this group through his policies and language.
I don't believe that Trump is a racist. I reject that his policies, including his immigration policies, are racist, and I don't believe there is a strong alt-right movement in this nation. Call me naive.
The charge is utterly predictable from leftists, but it is regrettable that people on the right are willing to so carelessly malign Trump as a racist and then blame him for the racially charged climate in this country. I suppose it fits the Trump opponents' narrative that Trump is the worst human being alive, someone with no redeeming character qualities, but it is lazy and reckless.
Attempts to blame Trump for Roseanne Barr's ugly statements are the same kind of categorical slur that makes racism a sin. Attempts to denigrate Trump supporters by extension are even more objectionable, and as you can tell, I'm using mild, nonincendiary language here that understates my indignation on this issue.
But as racism is probably the worst sin with which to be branded, people ought to be especially careful not to make such claims lightly. Shame on them for trying to shame the rest of us, for we abhor real racism every bit as much as they do — probably way more, but as I say, my purpose here is not to inflame.
David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book is "The True Jesus: Uncovering the Divinity of Christ in the Gospels." Follow him on Twitter @davidlimbaugh and his website at www.davidlimbaugh.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.