AS I write, progressive Americans are experiencing a collective hissy fit of Wagnerian proportions. It’s a joy to watch. The Supreme Court of the United States of America (SCOTUS) ruled recently that it is unconstitutional for colleges and universities to factor in the race of prospective students being considered for admission. Judging by the hysteria among left-leaning elites, one would think the judiciary had made possible the return of Jim Crow and indentured servitude. The left has made an art form of theatrically exaggerated overreaction.
‘Affirmative action’, whereby women and people of colour are given preferential treatment in employment, college admissions, scholarships, government contracts, low-interest loans and much more besides, has a long history, going back to the presidencies of John F Kennedy and Lyndon Baines Johnson in the 1960s when the executive branch gave it official sanction. In 1969 President Richard Nixon, a bête noire of the American left and a man considered hostile to civil rights, extended affirmative action in federal agencies through Executive Order 11478. However well-intentioned, this toxin has been poisoning America’s cultural bloodstream ever since, setting men against women and dividing people of different races and ethnicities, while at the same time inculcating the cult of mediocrity and identity politics into a nation that was predicated on competition, meritocracy and rugged individualism.
Americans are reminded of affirmative action – oh, how I hate that Orwellian use of language – every time they apply for a job, a loan, a government contract, a scholarship or a place at an institution of higher learning. When I was applying for tenure track academic positions in the 1990s, the first thing I received was a questionnaire asking me about my demographics. I filled it out accurately (white, male, Caucasian, European American, you know the thing), returned it and heard nothing more. My experience is so commonplace and expected that few notice it, let alone find the energy or courage to complain.
However, if you want to see how affirmative action has not only poisoned this great nation but how it might contribute to the destruction of the nation that remains the last, best hope of mankind – or, as Justin Trudeau would have it, ‘peoplekind’ – look no further than Kamala Harris, vice president of the United States and a heartbeat away from becoming the most powerful chief executive on earth.
When it comes to preferences based on identity of one kind or another, it is difficult to know where to start with this insufferable and corrupt woman who may be the next President of the United States of America. First, she is a woman, or at least identifies as one. Second, she is a woman of colour. Third, she is black. Fourth, she is an Indian American woman. And last, but definitely not least, she is a woman of Afro-Caribbean heritage. In other words, she is highly qualified to achieve success in Biden’s America.
The daughter of two college professors, Kamala Harris is poised to become the first female president of the United States for one reason alone: her demographics. She is a very visible poster child for all that is wrong with the system of preferences and favoritism based on identity and immutable characteristics which has replaced the ideals of meritocracy and colour blindness.
Sadly, Vice President Harris is not alone. Those willing to trade their identity for professional advantage are growing in number by the day. Indeed, such individuals are being encouraged and are found aplenty throughout state and federal government, public schools and academia, corporations, and increasingly in law enforcement and the military.
Recently, Harris attended the Essence Festival of Culture, organised by Essence, a magazine aimed at black women. Asked to explain the role of culture in enhancing and securing the achievements of African-Americans, she treated her audience to one of her delectable word salads that have become the hallmark of her vice presidency.
‘Culture is . . .’ she informs us after a slight pause, ‘it is a reflection of our moment and our time. Right?’ she asks, seeking reassurance from her interlocutors. ‘And present culture is the way we express how we’re feeling about the moment and we should always find times to express how we feel about the moment. That is a reflection of joy. Because,’ she adds, in an inexplicable allusion to Psalm 30, ‘[joy] comes in the morning,’ before bursting into that cackling laughter which can engender suicidal thoughts in vulnerable people, including the current author.
She goes on: ‘We have to find ways to also express the way we feel about the moment in terms of just having language and a connection to how people are experiencing life. And I think about it in that way too.’
My goodness! Are those the words of a woman who could have access to the nuclear codes in just under two years? I am afraid they are. They are the words of someone whose rise to legislative and executive power has been determined entirely by the immutable characteristics of sex and race and the calculus of political advantage.
Only a nation which has abandoned the meritocratic values that made it great could produce such a paragon of ineffable mediocrity as Kamala Harris. Only a nation which has lost its aspirations to greatness will continue to elevate men and women to positions of high rank on the basis not of talent, ingenuity, and character, but demographic attributes that check the right boxes and ignore merit, privileging cosmetics over competence. If this madness continues (and it will take a lot more than the recent SCOTUS ruling to make it go away) such a policy will eventually spell doom for America, maybe sooner than you think.