Comedian Bill Maher’s controversial commentary has been making big news lately, especially his beat down of the media’s defense of the Israeli boycott movement.
Less noticed, yet equally significant, was his monologue a week earlier defending former Sen. Joe Biden’s interaction with segregationist members of Congress decades ago.
Maher inadvertently did something he would otherwise be loathe to do: He explained how our forefathers could still have redeeming values, despite the fact that many were slave holders.
Maher is frustrating in a manner similar to his nemesis, Donald Trump.
Each can say things that in the same paragraph are both incredibly profound and remarkably insensitive.
Maher’s monologues on his HBO show this month were a prime example.
At one point, he seriously wished a recession upon the nation simply so that it would derail Trump’s reelection. Maher typifies this country’s coastal elites who feel the moral need to tell the deplorables in the heartland what they should eat, what they should drive, what type of straw they can use, and how much their gas tax should be increased.
Maher can sit so smuggly on his high perch because the implementation of those policies would have no effect on his rich lifestyle. He’ll still have his HBO show regardless of whether Joe sixpack in Ohio gets laid off and can no longer put food on his family‘s table.
But then there is the Bill Maher that you have to respect.
His former show was aptly called “Politically Incorrect,” because Maher is the left’s most effective critic of its own P.C. hypocrisy. He was one of the first leftists to insist that, yes, we must be leery of Islamic fundamentalism and call it what it is.
He highlighted the left’s double standard in supposedly championing free speech and rights for women and gays, while they stayed silent as Iran was hanging gays, or women in Pakistan were raped without accountability.
He calls out radicals who seek to quash free-speech on campuses.
His Aug. 9 show monologue was among the best I’ve heard.
He took to task Democrats trying to bury Biden for having had the audacity to work with congressional members across the aisle, or even with vile promoters of segregation within his own party.
He chided young millennials — who’ve been told by their helicopter moms that they are the greatest gifts to the world — that if they were born rich and white in 1780, they too would probably have owned slaves. If they were running for office in Barack Obama‘s era, they probably would have opposed same sex marriage, as Obama did.
He pointed out that people evolve, and that they should have the right to do so.
He also wisely noted that future generations will look back on today’s self righteous moral arbiters and consider them Neanderthals for acquiescing to numerous mores that are totally accepted today, yet one day will be frowned upon.
I don’t think Maher realized it, but he was inadvertently providing a plausible explanation as to how Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, James Madison and other slaveholders could still have been outstanding, world-changing revolutionaries in their time. They were born into a world where slavery was the norm. And not just with whites owning blacks, but blacks owning blacks in Africa, Asians owning Asians in far corners of the globe, and whites owning other whites in indentured servitude.
This is significant, because so many within our new generation have been indoctrinated by our schools and the media that this is a nation born of racism, sexism, and so many other awful predicates.
In fact, presidential candidate, Beto O’Rourke, has made that a theme of his campaign.
It’s frightening how unpatriotic this new generation is. A YouGov poll noted more than a quarter of millennials say they are not proud to be an American. Over 60% believe the U.S. is sexist and racist. What’s more disturbing is a Gallup Poll showing only a small percentage of Democrats (32%) are extremely proud of their nation.
Yes, slavery existed when this nation claimed independence, and for 70 years thereafter.
Just as there was slavery — globally. But it was the glorious Constitution of this nation that established the underlying principles that the state exists for the benefit of the individual and not the other way around. Those ideals prompted the Union to eventually sacrifice hundreds of thousands of its countrymen to slay the scourge of slavery.
Centuries from now, historians will look back at this era and see a world that was divided between good guys and bad guys.
The bad guys were the hostile monarchs and totalitarian forces, including Nazis, Communists and intolerant religious fanatics.
The good guys worshiped the American Constitution and established nations wherein freedoms of the press, worship and speech became the bedrock of society. The fact that slavery was common at our founding, does not diminish the fact that this nation was exceptional.
Yes, Joe Biden made deals with segregationists. That didn’t make him a racist or erase all the good things he did in his career. Maher chided all of those hypocrites who seek to do so.
Maher would cringe to know that his magnificent monologue can also be used to explain how many of our nation’s Founders, who changed the world so profoundly for the better, could also have been part of America’s greatest sin.
He unintentionally took the wind out of the sails of those who would label this a racist nation and ignore all of its positive impacts, simply because the folks who lived in that era also lived by the norms of that era.
Steve Levy, former New York state assemblyman, Suffolk County executive, and candidate for governor, is now a distinguished political pundit. Levy’s commentary has been published in such media outlets as Washington Times, Washington Examiner, New York Post, Albany Times, Long Island Business News, and City & State Magazine. He hosted “The Steve Levy Radio Show” on Long Island News Radio, and is a frequent guest on high profile television and radio outlets. Few on the political scene possess Levy’s diverse background. He’s been both a legislator and executive, and served on both the state and local levels — as both a Democrat and Republican. Levy published Bias in the Media, an analysis of his own experience, after switching parties, with the media’s leftward slant. Levy is currently Executive Director of the Center for Cost Effective Government, a fiscally conservative think tank. He is also President of Common Sense Strategies, a political consulting firm.