His point here is evergreen but feels timely on Loving Day.
My one quibble with what he says is that I don’t think the left sincerely believes things are worse now than ever. Even the fringier Democrats in Congress would acknowledge that modern America is more inclusive than it used to be — if the question were squarely put to them. How could they not? The sea change in public opinion on gay marriage, for instance, is a matter of simple statistical fact.
But Maher’s right insofar as you’ll rarely hear a progressive volunteer that progress has been made. To acknowledge progress is to invite complacency about injustices that remain, or so they seem to believe. Most will do it if they’re cornered, knowing that they’ll sound nutty if they insist with a straight face that America in 2021 is more racist than it was in 1950. (There are stalwarts who’ll venture to make even that argument.) But it has to be dragged out of them. The closest they get to acknowledging it spontaneously is when they complain that X is the “new Jim Crow,” whether X happens to be Georgia’s new voting law or increasing a local police budget or what have you. That’s an admission that the very recent status quo was, uh, not Jim Crow.
Although since they seem convinced that the country is forever in the process of reverting to that era, I suppose that’s a cold comfort.
There may be an age dynamic to it too, as wokesters skew young. I doubt that Jim Clyburn, say, would be as quick as a DSA type to deny that meaningful progress has been made, having lived through what he’s lived through.
In any case, I assume progressives would say that conservatives have the same problem in reverse, admitting that racism remains a problem for the country only when confronted about it and otherwise carrying on as if it isn’t. Here’s Maher, whose full-spectrum exasperation with the left becomes clearer week by week.
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