Hitchens Splendidly Rips Apart the President’s “Enemies” Remark
… twelve days ago in Slate.
Keep in mind that this dissection is carried out by a supporter of President Barack Obama. Christopher Hitchens voted for the president and, elsewhere in this article, states his readiness to defend the president and his policies during the campaign. (Hitchens points out that he was pre-empted from doing so by … well, the president’s inexplicable unwillingness to do so himself).
Much worse, though, was the president’s remark last week, made on a Univision radio show, in which he expressed disappointment with Spanish-speaking voters who proposed to “sit out the election instead of saying, ‘We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.’ ” Almost everything is wrong with this statement. The first is its awful tone: a crude appeal to ethnicity and to a spoils system of reward and punishment with which to accompany it. The second is the unspoken but highly dubious assumption that Americans (or future Americans) of Mexican and Cuban and Guatemalan and Salvadoran origin can all be collectivized under the lump headings of Hispanic or Latino. The third is the patronizing supposition that this putative bloc is somehow owned by the Democratic Party. And the fourth—to restate my objection above—is that it legitimizes any politician who couches his or her appeal in ethnic or tribal or confessional terms. Again, and whoever opens it, such an auction will always be won by the sectarians. Why, it could almost be called divisive.