In the United States something called “the race card” is often played to settle an argument before anybody can dissect the real issue too closely. We saw it happen when Johnny Cochran played it in the O.J. Simpson murder trial to discredit a police officer’s testimony. A more recent example involved Professor Gates in Cambridge, Mass., screaming both race discrimination and privilege at the same time as he was being hauled off by a pissed-off policeman.
In fact, under President Obama, the race card seems to have risen to new heights, but that is for another posting.
In Canada, it does not have the same resonance. What plays well here, however, is “the victim card”. We seem to be a society obsessed with finding victims, and usually victims in a collective identity rather than an individual one. If you are aboriginal, a Jew, a Muslim, a black, a Hindu, a gay, a woman, handicapped, homeless, etc., you will at one time or another been identified as a victim because of that status. Naturally, following such identification are the suggested public policy solutions to either sustain your victimhood (the homeless) or to rectify it (gays).
Clever political operatives always know how and when to play the victim card to their advantage.
In an earlier posting, June 23, I cautioned Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn about the danger of playing into Jennifer Lynch’s public relations campaign to portray herself and her Canadian Human Rights agency as the victims of the likes of Messrs. Steyn and Levant:
My suggestion to Levant and Steyn is to cool the sophomoric name-calling you regularly employ. No more “Commissar Lynch” or “Queen of the censors.” This only plays to her position that you folks are unreasonable and “unbalanced”, and that she is the real victim.
And stop attacking her about her spending habits and making her out to be a ninny. She has both inertia and an uninformed parliament on her side, and even if they are informed, there are enough of the bleeding-heart liberals to tip the balance to keep CHRC exactly as it is, or, worse make it bigger and more powerful. It happened in the bastion of conservatism, Alberta, and it could happen in Ottawa.
You keep up the personal attacks and you may be, as they say, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
Since neither one obviously reads my utterings, or if they do, simply dismiss them because I am not one of the fully-fledged members of their cheerleading squad, they continued, bull-in-china shop fashion, to personally attack Ms. Lynch.
Well, according to this posting by Levant, the breezes are beginning to blow the other way. A former free speech supporter of Levant’s, an influential westerner, and, importantly, according to Levant, one of the card-carrying liberal left he waxed on about getting onside, Janet Keeping, has broken ranks and has attacked Levant for his personal broadsides against Lynch.
What does Levant do? Of course, he now attacks the credibility of his attacker, accusing her of that new philosophical no-no, “false moral relevance.”
Keeping’s column may open the doors to other journalists, editors and other opinion shapers who have to date held their noses by siding with obnoxious Levant on free speech. If Keeping has the balls to break ranks to defend the victim Lynch, how can others be so crass as to not rise to the occasion and balance out the personal attacks?
And, if they do, it will not be possible for politicians to safely dismantle the CHRC.