Tue, 26 May 2009 16:13:44 +0000 – By S.E. CuppConservative Commentator/Author, "Why You're Wrong About the Right"
There's that ubiquitous word again -- "historic." It seems to follow Barack Obama wherever he goes...
After telling the world that he would choose someone with "empathy," Obama has announced that Appeals Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor, a Hispanic woman, is his choice to replace Justice Souter on the Supreme Court. Women and Hispanics the nation over, rejoice. There may soon be someone on the bench who will put you first. Literally.
Sorry, white guys. Ms. Sotomayor is, quite simply, not your gal. For one thing, she doesn't think you're anatomically or ethnically qualified to do her job as well as she is.
In 2001 she told a crowd at the University of California, Berkeley, "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." White guys, blame the ups and downs of the genetic lottery.
She also doesn't think it's possible - or even a valid exercise - to attempt to transcend race and gender as a judge. "I wonder whether achieving that goal is possible in all or even in most cases. And I wonder whether by ignoring our differences as women or men of color we do a disservice both to the law and society." If you thought electing Obama meant living in a post-race America, think again. And ladies, get those bras out - it is officially 1969.
Finally, she's hoping women and minorities win more and more prestigious judicial appointments. As for the women and men of color already populating the benches around the country, she says, "Those figures and appointments are heartwarming. Nevertheless, much still remains to happen." Hit the back of the line, white guys.
But to all the forgotten, pasty, sun-deprived, uterus-less men of America, there's good news yet. It's not white guys that a worldview such as this hurts most -- it's women and minorities.
What Sotomayor and other political activists are saying when they advocate for women and minorities to be placed in positions of power -- even if they've earned it, and especially if they've earned it -- is that gender and skin color are more important than intellect, compassion, reason and experience. This is the exact opposite of what we try to teach our children about the world.
Sotomayor worked her way out of the Bronx projects, past a diabetes diagnosis, and through Princeton and Yale to become the youngest judge in the Southern district of New York. And yet, the country shouldn't aspire to put more candidates like that on the bench, but instead to appoint more women and minorities? What incentive, then, does a Hispanic woman have to even bother going to school, when the bona fides that matter most are the ones she's born with?
Both the women's liberation movement and the civil rights movement sought to transcend sexual and race politics. The idea was to stop judging people on the color of their skin, or their gender, and instead on their actions and their accomplishments. When Sotomayor or any other activist chooses to promote her gender or ethnicity as some kind of currency, it is telling the world that not only does her ethnicity and her gender make her different, but she thinks it actually makes her better.
The hypocrisy of liberal identity politics, of course, is evident any time an empty seat requires a political appointment. Obama's vacancy meant, for the left, that a black candidate should fill his seat - and Roland Burris did. Hillary Clinton's vacancy meant, for the left, that a woman should fill her seat - and Kirsten Gillibrand did. On the left, voters are told they should want someone who looks like they do to represent them.
But when conservatives, and particularly Christian conservatives, vote their faith - say, by electing George W. Bush or supporting Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee - it is nothing less than bigotry, a lack of sophistication and, somehow, an injustice to the voting process. Voting on skin color or ethnicity is valid when there's a "D" after the name, but voting on values is not if there's an "R" after it.
Ms. Sotomayor has a reputation for being combative and temperamental, and has drawn criticism from her former clerks and colleagues. And Senate Republicans are sure to go after her liberal record. She's hardly the kind of centrist or crowd-pleasing appointment that Obama has thus far seemed to prefer, a gesture that the far-left is sure to appreciate as a long-overdue acknowledgment of their existence. She is, in short, poised to bring President Obama the thing he is always least prepared for -- resistance -- even if an eventual confirmation is a given.
Whether Sonia Sotomayor is "historic" or not shouldn't really matter. Nor should her ethnicity or gender. When a person suggests that white men are less qualified for a job than Latina women, we call that racism and sexism. Apparently Sotomayor - and President Obama - call that "empathy."