It is time — past time — for Democrats to stop claiming that they celebrate and promote diversity. They don’t.
For starters, as a growing number of people have pointed out, the cast of characters running for president on the Democratic side is all old and white.
Yes, yes, the party will nominate a woman, but she’s old and white, too.
Not that age, skin color, ethnicity or even gender should be measures of diversity. Real diversity is about skills, experience and especially principles and philosophy. As those with a measure of common sense have wondered, if you have a group of people who look different but all think the same, what kind of diversity is that?
Democrats, in general, insist that diversity is about appearance or “identity.” Hence, when it comes to public sector jobs — police, firefighters, teachers — they are much less concerned about qualifications than that departments “reflect the racial makeup” of the community. They claim it’s not about quotas, but it is.
In elections, candidates’ minority status — black, Latino, gay, female — are more important than skills and experience.
Hence a political resume that would have been laughed out of contention if it had belonged to a white male was considered just fine when it was for a first-term U.S. senator who was half African-American.
Similar thinking will prevail at next year’s Democratic convention, which will nominate a candidate tainted by enough scandal, incompetence, political opportunism and outright dishonesty to send a Republican back to private life. But Hillary Clinton is a female Democrat, and that is what matters most.
Clinton, herself, when asked in a debate how her presidency would be different from a third term for President Obama, said that being a woman would be different enough. That was a meatball question, and all she could do was play the gender card.
That kind of “diversity,” combined with allegiance to the Democratic playbook, puts you beyond criticism, illustrated by the countless times that substantive, issue-oriented criticisms of President Obama were labeled racist.
So, based on that standard, one might conclude that Democrats would at least give the Republican presidential field some credit for diversity. The candidates range in age from their 40s to 60s and include a woman, a couple of Latinos, a black and an Indian.
But you would be wrong. All of them diverge from progressive thinking, and that kind of diversity cannot be tolerated. If you don’t think as they do, you are a legitimate target not just for civil disagreement but personal insults.
The women of “The View,” who would erupt in righteous anger at anyone who made negative comments about their appearance, were happy to trash Republican candidate Carly Fiorina’s appearance as looking “demented” because “her mouth did not downturn one time.” Joy Behar compared Fiorina's expression to a Halloween mask.
All of which has to do with what when it comes to presidential qualifications?
Dr. Ben Carson, the African-American who now leads in the Republican polls, represents what one elitist called “the brainless excesses that now darken the heart of black conservatism.” Apparently you can’t be racist if you’re mocking a conservative.
The feverish derision of Carson’s flat-tax proposal can be summarized as: “He’s a brain surgeon, but he can’t do math.” Or the version that translates the “racist dog whistle”: “He’s just another dumb black guy.”
True, Carson has yet to provide enough detail to show that there is at least a good chance that government revenue wouldn’t drop if his plan took effect.
But it is hilarious to see the knives come out about his alleged lack of math skills when our sitting president gets essentially no heat from the mainstream media for egregious mathematical errors regarding his signature legislation, Obamacare.
Obama promised that it would save the average family $2,500 a year. He said that by next year, 21 million people would have signed up for it. He said it would not add “one dime” to the deficit. All wrong – catastrophically wrong.
Does that mean he’s a president who can’t do math?
There is Marco Rubio, son of Cuban immigrants. The New York Times did a couple of big “investigative” stories about how many traffic tickets he and his wife had received, which for him amounted to an average of one every five years.
The paper also scolded Rubio for a series of “imprudent” decisions regarding his personal finances. It apparently was never curious about how Hillary Clinton could, by her own description, be “dead broke” after eight years with her husband in the White House, receiving salary and benefits worth more than $350,000 a year, every expense covered by taxpayers, a lifetime pension and free health care for life.
This kind of intolerance for diversity of thought extends far beyond the presidential race, of course.
Critics of the Kentucky county clerk, Kim Davis, couldn’t be satisfied with making a valid point – that if she could not in good conscience issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage, then she should have resigned.
They also had to get viciously personal, mocking her appearance, weight, ethnicity, alleged lack of intelligence and personal life. It was the kind of bullying that gets school kids in trouble.
And these are people who constantly claim that it is only the conservatives who disagree with them who are “haters.” They worked overtime to make Davis an object of hate.
They don’t welcome diversity. They try to crush it. And they ought to admit it.
Taylor Armerding is an independent columnist. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.