Opinion: Daily Journal

Candidate’s post about race has no place in political discourse

A vile strain of racial tension has infected our national discourse.

Cable “news” and radio talk shows add to the rancor, which is traceable.

Policies and rhetoric from the highest levels of our government have left us unprotected from those who poison American ideals with bigotry and raw hate.

An example from a mayoral candidate in Charlotte is as scary as it is nauseating. Not surprisingly, North Carolina has again gained national attention.

And, again, it’s not the welcome kind.      

The candidate, Republican Kimberley Paige Barnette, made it a point last week to declare that she is indeed “white.”

As The Charlotte Observer reported, Barnette turned to Facebook to post: “VOTE FOR ME!” “REPUBLICAN & SMART, WHITE, TRADITIONAL.”

N.C. GOP Chairman Robin Hayes would typically not comment on a local race.

But in this case, he did.

“Any suggestion that a candidate is more or less qualified for political office based on their skin color alone, is offensive to North Carolina Republicans and we condemn it,” Hayes said in a statement. “This type of suggestion has no place in our public discourse.”

Of course it doesn’t. But in today’s America, the message resonates with a swath of voters, who use it to fuel their hate-filled fires.

Barnette, who is 53, has removed the viral post, the Charlotte paper said. Barnette, wrote The New York Times, apologized if she offended anyone. She said she wasn’t suggesting she was a better candidate because of her skin color.

But she mentioned it anyway.

Sadly, some still think the reprehensible acts that sullied the streets of Charlottesville are isolated, disconnected from the hearts and minds of common America.

They would be very wrong.

Probably emboldened by aforementioned segments of our leadership in Washington, D.C., American citizens have become disturbingly audacious and reckless. With laser-like precision, they spew all sorts of vitriol — targeting race, ethnicity, religion, the Right, and the Left.

Our most recent former president is a frequent target. Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un aren’t.

Hayes was right for condemning Barnette’s post.

“We believe that bringing people together starts with the Republican belief that government should deliver critical government services in a colorblind way,” Hayes said in the statement, “in a society that judges all people by the content of their character, rather than the color of their skin.’’

Hayes is quoting the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

It’s part of King’s historic “I have a dream” speech. A speech, by the way, that King made in 1963.