Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Strange Case of Alvin Greene

By now you're probably familiar with the controversy swirling around the South Carolina Democratic primary election for U.S. Senate in which a completely unknown candidate named Alvin Greene who, in the words of Ann Coulter:

...beat Vic Rawl, a former state representative and judge, with a whopping 60 percent of the vote in last Tuesday's primary, despite Greene's having no job, no house, no campaign website, no campaign headquarters -- indeed, no campaign. Other than paying the $10,000 filing fee, Greene seems to have put no effort into the race whatsoever.

Moreover, Greene has a felony record for showing obscene pictures to college girls.

The left is in a tizzy, alleging everything from GOP dirty tricks to faulty voting machines to explain Greene's win. Obama senior adviser David Axelrod said Greene was not a "legitimate" candidate and called his victory "a mysterious deal."

I don't know why there's such consternation over this. The obvious explanation is probably the correct one, to wit, in any given election most Democrat voters have no idea who or what they're voting for. They just pull the lever for whichever name sounds most fetching and go have a beer. In the present case, Greene is black so word of mouth probably spread through black communities that he's the guy to vote for, so they did.

That may not be what happened, but it makes a lot more sense than that the guy is a Republican plant (even if he is that doesn't explain why 60% of Democrats voted for him) or that, in an election for the privilege of being clobbered in November by the GOP incumbent, Jim DeMint, Republicans would risk scandal by somehow tinkering with the voting machines.

It really is a shame because when you hear Mr. Greene talk he sounds like a man who is marginally retarded, but the Democrats are stuck with him. They really can't take the nomination away from a poor black man and give it to an upper class white guy like Rawls without getting hammered for the implicit "racism" in such a tactic.

Anyway, as Coulter suggests, it's not the first time it has happened that a young African-American man with strange origins, suspicious funding, shady associations, no experience, no qualifications, and no demonstrable work history came out of nowhere to win an election.


Blaming the Victim

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is one of the most courageous women on the planet. An outspoken critic of Islamic treatment of women she lives everyday under the threat of death. Indeed, her co-producer of a movie on Islam, Theo Van Gogh, was murdered by a Muslim and a note was pinned by a knife to his chest threatening Ali with the same fate.

Ali is a secular humanist feminist which, you might think, would have Western liberals rallying to her support, but alas, she's also critical of Islam, and there's the problem, as Mark Steyn explains:

Ayaan Hirsi Ali's great cause is women's liberation. Unfortunately for her, the women she wants to liberate are Muslim, so she gets minimal support and indeed a ton of hostility from Western feminists who have reconciled themselves, consciously or otherwise, to the two-tier sisterhood: when it comes to clitoridectomies, forced marriages, honour killings, etc., multiculturalism trumps feminism. Liberal men are, if anything, even more opposed. She long ago got used to the hectoring TV interviewer, from Avi Lewis on the CBC a while back to Tavis Smiley on PBS just the other day, insisting that [you can] say what you like about Islam but everyone knows that Christians are just as backward and violent, if not more so. The media left spends endless hours and most of its interminable awards ceremonies congratulating itself on its courage, on "speaking truth to power," the bravery of dissent and all the rest, but faced with a pro-gay secular black feminist who actually lives it they frost up in nothing flat.

The latest is Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times. Reviewing Ayaan's new book Nomad, he begins:

"She has managed to outrage more people-in some cases to the point that they want to assassinate her-in more languages in more countries on more continents than almost any writer in the world today. Now Hirsi Ali is working on antagonizing even more people in yet another memoir." That's his opening pitch: if there are those who wish to kill her, it's her fault because she's a provocateuse who's found a lucrative shtick in "working on antagonizing" people.

The Left used to scoff at the "blame the victim" folks who would minimize brutality against women by saying that they must have somehow brought it upon themselves, but that was when the women were white Westerners and the offenders were white males.

Steyn continues:

In Terror and Liberalism, Paul Berman wrote that suicide bombings "produced a philosophical crisis, among everyone around the world who wanted to believe that a rational logic governs the world." In other words, it has to be about "poverty" or "social justice" because the alternative-that they want to kill us merely because we are the other-undermines the hyper-rationalist's entire world view. Thus, every pro-gay, pro-feminist, pro-black Western liberal's determination to blame Ayaan Hirsi Ali for the fact that a large number of benighted thuggish halfwits want to kill her. Deploring what he regards as her simplistic view of Islam, Nicholas Kristof rhapsodizes about its many fine qualities-"There is also the warm hospitality toward guests, including Christians and Jews."

Oh, for crying out loud. In the Muslim world, Christians and Jews have been on the receiving end of a remorseless ethno-religious cleansing for decades. Christian churches get burned, along with their congregations, from Nigeria to Pakistan. Egypt is considering stripping men who marry Jewesses of their citizenship. Saudi Arabia won't let 'em in the country. In the 1920s, Baghdad was 40 per cent Jewish. Gee, I wonder where they all went. Maybe that non-stop "warm hospitality" wears you down after a while . . .

Imagine that Christians put out fatwas on those who criticize and demean Christianity. How many secular liberals, do you suppose, would be praising the "warm hospitality" of Christianity? How many secular liberals find anything to praise in Christianity as it is? Yet they have no trouble finding things to commend about those committed to a religion which advocates destroying by the sword not only Christianity and Judaism, but the entire Western value system and anyone, like Ali, who criticizes their faith and culture.

To praise for their "warm hospitality" those who embrace a religion that allows clerics to call for the murder of someone like Ali, is something like praising the Nazis, in the midst of a discussion of their attempt to exterminate the Jews, because they cultivated an appreciation for classical music. It may be true that the Nazis had refined aesthetic tastes, but it's a fact that seems hardly significant, or redemptive, in the context of that discussion.