Commentary: Blind Guides
Referencing the Pharisees, his most prominent nemesis in first century Israel, Jesus counseled his disciples to: “Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”
Timeless advice. Perhaps never more so than today.
But unlike Jesus’ day, when a speaker’s audience was limited by the laws of acoustics, today’s media permits words spoken in a room or shared on a media platform to reach the eyes and ears of hundreds of millions, magnifying the amount of damage which can be inflicted by ill-advised and often self-serving utterances. There are far too many examples to mention on each side of the political aisle, but two recent stories in particular captured my attention.
The first relates to the CEO of Delta Airlines, Edward H. Bastian. Shortly after the Georgia Legislature passed an act reforming Georgia’s election laws, Mr. Bastian spoke out against the reforms. In a memo to Delta employees, Mr. Bastian stated:
“After having time to now fully understand all that is in the bill, coupled with discussions with leaders and employees in the Black community, it’s evident that the bill includes provisions that make it harder for many underrepresented voters, particularly Black voters, to exercise their constitutional right to elect their representatives. That is wrong.”
It would have been helpful if Mr. Bastian had provided some specificity as to which of the many provisions within the bill would limit Black voter participation. We know it wasn’t the closing of the polls at 5PM, a provision widely reported which proved to be false, or the elimination of absentee ballots, another false characterization. Nor was it the elimination of early voting opportunities or the ability to vote on Sundays. Those opportunities still remain, with ample time provided to exercise them.
He may have been referencing the provision banning the distribution of refreshments within 150 feet of a polling place or within 25 feet of any voter standing in line. While this provision gained much attention in the media, it is a rather ordinary prohibition against electioneering within a specified distance of polling places, existent in nearly every state. Should those going to the polls require refreshments, there is no prohibition on the distribution of food and soft drinks outside of the 150-foot zone.
In truth, the Georgia provisions were not inconsistent with what is done elsewhere throughout the nation, with the primary difference being that a few individuals, including the CEOs of Delta Airlines and Coca Cola, deciding that it was in their best interest to speak out against the Georgia election reforms, following the lead of the President of the United States who labeled them “Jim Crow on steroids,” in order to avoid the wrath of the woke mob. One might have hoped that Mr. Bastian could have either displayed a little courage or taken the time to spell out the specific provisions within the Georgia law which would “make it harder for many underrepresented voters, particularly Black voters, to exercise their constitutional right to elect their representatives.” But both courage and clarity are rare attributes these days. It is much easier to simply apply a label to that which you have chosen to demean and move on, assuming that the application of the label will be sufficient to dispose of the issue.
And then there is Patrisse Khan-Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter. Ms. Khan-Cullors, a 37-year-old activist, recently purchased a home in Topanga Canyon, a predominantly-white community a short distance from Malibu with a Black population of less than 2 percent, for $1.4 Million. While that alone might raise a few eyebrows, public records show that Ms. Khan-Cullors has been on a real estate buying binge, purchasing four homes in the U.S. alone for $3.2 million while talking to real estate agents in the Bahamas about the possible purchase of property in a luxury resort where Justin Timberlake and Tiger Woods both own homes, (https://nypost.com/2021/04/10/inside-blm-co-founder-patrisse-khan-cullors-real-estate-buying-binge/).
Many wondered how Black Lives Matter would spend the $90 Million in donations they received in 2020. In its 2020 Impact Report on the operations of Black Lives Matter Foundation, Ms. Khan-Cullors stated, “Many elected officials remain fearful of the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ and refuse to act with all that it takes to sustain Black lives and Black joy,” (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/black-lives-matter-raises-90-million-2020/).
A self-identified Marxist, we may have expected Ms. Khan-Cullors’ action plan to sustain Black joy to have been somewhat more collectivist than her behavior demonstrates. Certainly reason enough to question this self-styled civil rights leader’s motives.
The greatest threat to the nation, greater than the threat of China or deadly epidemics, is our national addiction to the sound bite, glomming onto whatever meme or catchphrase has captured the day and then treating it as if it is an established truth. It rarely is. The truth is usually far more complex. But we’ve become a nation of suckers for such representations, producing just the sort of lemmings which are most susceptible to blind guides.
And what does that produce other than the breakdown of civil society as race hustlers and other merchants of counterfeit truth command the nation’s primary channels of communication; now even possessing the ability to silence alternative perspectives through a combination of denying access to social and other media and public shaming. For the good of the nation, this must stop. A nation once known for its common sense has been led to the edge of a precipice.
— Victor E. Thayer,