Biden Buffaloed: A Tale of Two Black Massacres

"I don’t know why we don’t admit what the hell is going on."
— Joe Biden in Buffalo, N.Y., May 17, 2022.

Joe Biden’s disgusting speech on the Buffalo murders ranks as a particularly foul one, even by Biden Administration standards.  It might even have been better to have asked his vice president to deliver some words of her own. She hardly could have insulted the victims and nation more than he did.

Biden is particularly maladroit when discussing race. His tales about defying “Corn Pop” would be amusing if he didn’t hold them out as character testimony. As vice president, he accused Republicans, before a largely black audience, of wanting to put “y’all back in chains.” During the 2020 campaign he claimed that black people who didn’t vote for him “ain’t black.”

In pushing racial politics Biden insults both the race and the nation. Selecting as his running mate Kamala Harris, whose flaws were well-known even then, should have proven fatal to his candidacy—and likely would have if his opponent waged an effective campaign over the course of 2020. Nominating Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court because he committed to nominating a black woman, among other things, was an insult to her.

The Buffalo insult is not as egregious as these others but is nonetheless instructive:

Our nation’s strength has always come from the idea—it’s going to sound corny, but think about it: What’s the idea of our nation? That we’re all children of God. All chil- —life, liberty, our universal goods—gifts of God. We didn’t get it from the government, we got it from—because we exist, and we’re called upon to defend them.

Now is the time for the people of all races, from every background, to speak up as a majority in America and reject white supremacy.

What is problematic here is that he calls for people to assume majority status as members of various groups (“all races” and “every background”) and “reject white supremacy.” The attack on white supremacy is not conducted by people acting as Americans but as members of races and other groups.  With this group mentality Biden can only exacerbate race relations because he is, quite literally now, incapable of thinking beyond race. His campaign made quite explicit his determination—i.e., his fanaticism—to govern in race-based terms, for, as he said in his campaign, racial equality, equity across the board,” whether “[t]he country’s ready—and if they’re not, it doesn’t matter . . . .”   

Thus race (along with sex) was the leading public criterion for filling key positions, such as the vice president, Supreme Court justices, secretary of Defense, and other Cabinet-level seats. The far-left politics was taken for granted. Progressive ideology means that individual virtues are quite secondary to other considerations such as one’s obvious or declared group identity.

Which brings us to white nationalism and “replacement theory.” We all know the answer here. Once governance and policy are guided by minority race and ethnicity identity politics, white identity will naturally assert itself. How could it not? Race-conscious policies produce more race-consciousness all around; they will not reduce it. And if all the various identities are called upon to assert themselves as a majority against white identity, what should we expect?

First and perhaps worst, it will come about through self-defense. If government policy is to ignore black crime, its victims will fight back. In many instances this will mean white assertiveness and even white crime. Anti-Biden politicians need to realize what their obligation is here and work to prevent recourse to vigilantism. To do this effectively, however, they will first have to ignore charges of racism. Biden is not the pioneer of race-conscious solutions, but he is the most rash.

One should attend to the leftist Asian-American organizations that, contrary to their own interests, support Biden and his policies. These groups will not criticize anti-Asian quotas at selective schools and universities but instead argue for more overall “diversity,” meaning recruiting and admitting more black applicants. By their silence they allow Biden to blame the rise in anti-Asian crimes and harassment of whites, when the increase clearly comes from blacks. No good can come of such dishonesty. Notable, too, is the way these groups wilfully ignore such belittling of Asians and Asian-Americans when it comes from Biden, such as when he refers to the Masters Golf Tournament winner as “a Japanese boy.”

These Asians have turned themselves into eunuchs and concubines of the leftist establishment, just as the shrinking number of whites who support Biden have done. These whites must abase themselves to remain in their seats at universities, in law and business, and in learned societies. 

While denouncing “replacement theory” as a conspiracy theory, Biden appears quite unaware that the term came into prominence as a result of the insightful Progressive academics John Judis and Ruy Teixeira. Demography is destiny, in particular when that destiny involves nonwhite immigrants and native blacks. As America grows more nonwhite, they argue, the Democratic base grows stronger. So what most Americans perceive as a border crisis, with trains of immigrants storming the southern border, is taken by these replacers to be a political freebie of hordes of Democratic voters. 

This is the Left’s “replacement theory,” pushed by the Democrats and winked at by the Bushes and their ilk who find, in the same phenomenon, reason to cheer the arrival of cheap labor for their supporters and friends.

Finally, Biden tops off all of this by having the audacity to refer to all Americans as “children of God.” Of course that would apply to all human beings. But if Biden and his fellow progressives have one subject about which they are even more fanatical than that of race, it is expelling traditional or orthodox religion from the public square. When it suits them, of course.

And one should also keep in mind their celebration of gender fluidity, which means that nature itself is no longer real or essential. A December 16, 1908 letter to President Theodore Roosevelt, the historian Henry Adams observed that the “authorities used to say that Parliament had the power to do everything except make a man of a woman. Some day we will put that into the Constitution as an Executive Power—not requiring confirmation by the Senate.” This logic all  anticipates Progressive Woodrow Wilson’s attack on the Declaration of Independence and his replacement of its natural law with Darwinian evolution and its dominance of some types and races of humans over others.

On top of these race-conscious policies and woke worldview, Biden is ever the nasty partisan, following the practice of Harry Truman and Franklin Roosevelt, both of whom eagerly compared their Republican opponents to the fascist enemy being fought abroad. 

Fortunately, the American political tradition has a powerful resource to counter Biden’s racial rhetoric as well as his other progressive inclinations. Abraham Lincoln’s brief (about 900 words) remarks at a Sanitary Fair in Baltimore on April 18, 1864 illustrate how to conceive and put into practice a policy concerning the massacre of black soldiers and their commanding officers at Fort Pillow after that battle was lost. 

Lincoln raises a question for his audience, who had volunteered their services and funds for medical supplies and assistance for Union wounded: What is liberty? Whose liberty do we seek to preserve and enhance? A sheep and a wolf, Lincoln relates, would define liberty quite differently. A shepherd who defended the sheep against the wolf would be denounced by the wolf as a tyrant. The wolf would plead for his “liberty” to eat the sheep.

Lincoln does not say it, but he certainly puts into the listeners’ mind the notion that the shepherd also has his own self-interest in mind here. Doesn’t he also want the sheep for his lamb chops? The political lesson here is that citizens need to govern themselves. They cannot expect a good shepherd to do this for them. Lincoln knows he is no good shepherd, though he (and George Washington) came close. Americans will have to govern each other, knowing they are all various mixtures of sheep and wolves. Lincoln treated his felllow Americans as free men and women. Biden is a moralizing crank at best; a wolf of a shepherd at worst.

Lincoln concludes his brief remarks by reporting  the details of that horrible massacre at Fort Pillow. An overwhelming Confederate force led by Nathan Bedford Forrest (who became the first grand wizard of the KKK) had wiped out the black unit, their white officers, and about 200 white soldiers less than a week before his speech. Most of the slaughter and executions took place after the battle was over, when prisoners were as helpless as sheep in wolves’ mouths, one might say. So what was Lincoln, the good shepherd, to do?

Before any retaliation against Confederate prisoners (the Union soldiers can be wolves, too), there must be an investigation. He alluded here to the ongoing and fierce debate over whether blacks should serve in the Army at all. Part of that debate centered around the fact that everyone knew blacks would be treated horribly by the enemy if captured, as they were reportedly in this instance. Lincoln asks the audience of caregivers and charitable people what should he do, noting “I am responsible for it to the American people, to the Christian world, to history, and on my final account to God.”

This is how Lincoln spoke with citizens of the slave state of Maryland, who were to vote on a new, anti-slavery constitution later that year. Without then declaring for one policy or another, Lincoln got his audience to feel the humanity of the black prisoners and their white officers, put to death by brutal means, as the investigation would later determine.

Lincoln was able to get his white audience to look on black Union and white Confederate prisoners as equal human beings—and thus grasp the central principle of American political life: equality. 

That is the lesson of the massacre that Lincoln taught his audience at the time and it remains for us today if we could but understand it. But for Biden, such killings are no more than a political opportunity, for he holds no principle—least of all the true American principle of equality—dear. He can’t even recite the language of the Declaration. For him there are just groups of voters, some friendly, others not, to reward and punish, flatter and damn as needed in his pursuit of power. 

As he provokes them further, Biden doesn’t know how dangerous the beasts can be, both for his side and within the entire American nation.

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About Ken Masugi

Ken Masugi, Ph.D., is a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness and a senior fellow of the Claremont Institute. He has been a speechwriter for two cabinet members, and a special assistant for Clarence Thomas when he was chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Masugi is co-author, editor, or co-editor of 10 books on American politics. He has taught at the U.S. Air Force Academy, where he was Olin Distinguished Visiting Professor; James Madison College of Michigan State University; the Ashbrook Center of Ashland University; and Princeton University.

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