“Like draws to like.” “Tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are.”
These are pearls of wisdom, the distilled moral wisdom of “generations and of ages,” as Burke has said.
Yet they have been largely trampled underfoot by our generation.
If there’s anyone in the world of our national political life that is more loathsome, more contemptible, a figure than Al Sharpton, I haven’t a clue as to who that person can be.
Sharpton is an extortionist, a chronic liar, and the worst of rabble-rousers who, through his utterly reckless and racially incendiary rhetoric, has set in motion multiple murders throughout his career.
Innocent human beings have died because of Al Sharpton. More have had their reputations and livelihoods destroyed.
And yet not only is Sharpton a regular guest at the White House, as writer-pundit Debbie Schlussel informs us in, “Hillary Clinton, Rand Paul & Ben Carson Have Something Very Disturbing in Common,” some well-known Republicans have ingratiated themselves to Al Sharpton as well.
Ben Carson, Schlussel remarks, had been “given several chances to denounce Al Sharpton” while on Meet the Press. Upon alluding to Obama’s meetings with Sharpton, Chuck Todd asked Carson whether he believed that the President should be convening with the likes of Sharpton. Schlussel correctly notes that this was “a softball question that anyone with decency and honor would have—and should have—hit out of the park with a, ‘Hell no!’ and a litany of Al Sharpton’s violent and criminal history of race merchantry.”
This, though, is not at all how Carson replied. “‘President Obama,’ Carson proceeded, “should be meeting with lots of people.”
In addition to this timid comment, Schlussel reminds us that Carson spoke at Sharpton’s National Action Network.
Rand Paul has been even chummier with Sharpton. While meeting with Sharpton to discuss “criminal justice reform” in the wake of the Ferguson hustle that began last summer, Paul made sure to use the occasion as a photo op: more than one picture of Paul and Sharpton shaking hands can be found easily enough on line.
During the taping of the 40th anniversary episode of Saturday Night Live, Sarah Palin too posed to have her photograph taken with Sharpton.
The GOP faithful will doubtless seek to justify their idols’ reckless decision-making on the grounds that these Republicans are only using Sharpton in order to advance a “conservative” agenda of one sort or another. But there are several problems with this nakedly partisan rationalization.
First, if it is permissible for Republicans to muck it up with low lives like Sharpton for their own partisan purposes—if, in other words, the ends justify the means—then, presumably, it is permissible for Obama and his ilk to share a bed with Sharpton for their purposes.
In other words, if we can’t draw inferences about the characters of the Carsons, Pauls, and Palins of the world from their association with Sharpton, then it is illegitimate for us to draw inferences about Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s characters from their association with this vile creature.
Secondly, if it was, say, David Duke, not Al Sharpton, that was the miscreant under topic, there isn’t a shot in hell that we’d even be having this discussion. The same ideological groupies—both Democrat and Republican—that spare not a moment to excuse their heroes of choice for cozying up with such a disreputable character as Sharpton would either be as silent as mice or as loud as thunder in waxing indignant.
Truth be told, it is inconceivable that any of the aforementioned politicians, or any others, would come within miles of Duke—even though he isn’t nearly as reprehensible a person as is Sharpton (after all, Duke, unlike Sharpton, doesn’t have blood on his hands).
Thirdly, it isn’t just GOP politicians who have been close with Sharpton. Some prominent GOP apologists in the so-called “conservative” media haven’t thought twice about associating with Sharpton as well.
Schlussel correctly mentions that Sean Hannity, for instance, has been a featured speaker at Sharpton’s National Action Network conferences. Some readers may also remember that not all that long ago Sharpton would regularly appear on both Hannity and Colmes and Hannity’s radio program.
Bill O’ Reilly too hung around with Sharpton: O’ Reilly not infrequently featured Sharpton on The O’Reilly Factor, and he all but bragged about dining with Sharpton in Harlem.
Like draws to like. Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.
Schlussel provides an invaluable service in reminding us of these nuggets of the moral wisdom of generations while cautioning us against being taken in by wolves in sheep’s clothing. But at the same time, she ought to take care to apply this to herself:
Debbie, you see, used to be a frequent guest on Bill Maher’s Politically Incorrect.
And while Maher is not quite as disgusting as Sharpton—who is?—he isn’t all that far behind either.
Like draws to like. Show me who your friends are and I’ll show you who you are.