The left flank of the Democratic Party, as ignorant as it is dogmatic, has been crowing over Kamala Harris’ “victory” over Joe Biden in the recent debate among contenders for the party’s presidential nomination.
Having decided that any Democrat who in the past maintained civil relations with senators from southern, segregated states was a traitor and should now be a pariah, it excoriates Mr. Biden and embraces Senator Harris.
But it is common knowledge, as Juan Williams and other black writers have pointed out, that leaders in the civil rights movement strove to communicate and, as far as possible, work with these very senators.
Nor were they the only political antagonists who in the past maintained warm personal relationships despite fierce partisan disagreements. Republican Orrin Hatch and Democrat Ted Kennedy, Republican Ted Stevens and Democrat Daniel Inouye, and — most relevant here — Joe Biden and John McCain maintained productive relations with each other.
In fact, it was Joe Biden who presented John McCain with the 2017 Liberty Medal right after their respective caucus leaders had sternly warned them, in nearly identical language, not even to sit together. Biden’s comment about this was: “All politics is personal. It’s all about trust. I trusted John with my life.”
It goes without saying that nobody at NBC, which managed the debate, thought to ask Senator Harris how she justifies maintaining civil, perhaps warm personal relations with the vocal contingent of antisemitic Democrats in the House of Representatives.
Perhaps that is because we already know her answer. It has been given by, among others, Senator Warren and Mayor Buttigieg: any criticism of the House Democrats who have made antisemitic remarks proves that the critic hates blacks or Muslims, or both.
We are living in a new Dark Age, in which dogmatism and race-thinking conquer all.
Edward Alexander is professor emeritus of English at University of Washington.