CENTRISM 101:Adolph Reed Jr., First Published …


Adolph Reed Jr., First Published in The Village Voice, Nov. 12, 1996

Their lapdog defense
of Big Bill highlights liberals’ willingness to sacrifice the poor and
to tout it as tough-minded compassion and an act of courage. Even before
Clinton won the Democratic nomination in 1992 this trait was visible,
especially among those policy-jock types who had begun to sense the
possibility of a Clinton victory and their impending opportunity to
consort with power. I got my wake-up call from a poverty-researcher
colleague who, on the eve of the Illinois primary, impatiently dismissed
my objections to Clinton’s having just executed black, impoverished,
and brain-damaged Rickey Ray Rector. She blew me off as naive for not
recognizing that any Democrat who hoped to win the presidency would have
to support capital punishment. “Easy for you to say,” I thought, but,
regrettably, was too polite to say out loud…

I’m sure that these good liberals would have explained away their
participation in that dehumanizing characterization as a strategic move;
their intention being the advancement of humane social policy within an
unfavorable political climate. However, their behavior exposes a deeper
truth about the political commitments on which this strain of
liberalism rests: This is a politics motivated by the desire for
proximity to the ruling class and a belief in the basic legitimacy of
its power and prerogative. It is a politics which, despite all its
idealist puffery and feigned nobility, will sell out any allies or
egalitarian objectives in pursuit of gaining the Prince’s ear.