Valentine: Political correctness trips up columnist
Helen Thomas, the now-former columnist for Hearst newspapers, is an easy target. She's been in the crosshairs of my ire on more than one occasion. She's as leftist as they come. At 89-years-old and the longest-serving member of the White House press corps she has seen presidents come and go since Eisenhower.
Her columns have been the typical drivel of a liberal lunatic, replete with acrimonious carping against all things conservative while bemoaning that even our current president is not "progressive" enough.
And make no mistake, Helen Thomas is -- was -- a columnist, not a reporter, as many have called her. Her job for Hearst was to sort through the facts and present them through the prism of her political ideology, much to the same end as this column; only this column actually makes sense.
Why then is everyone so upset that Helen Thomas voiced an opinion about Israel's right to exist? You may not agree with it -- I may not agree with it -- but it's her opinion. That's what she does.
Her points that drew the most fire were, after stating that the Israeli Jews were occupying Palestinian territory, she suggested they "go home." "Where's home?" the questioner asked. "Poland, Germany, and America, and everywhere else."
After 50 years on the White House beat Helen had finally stepped in it. How dare she suggest that the Jews leave Israel. The White House Correspondents Association issued a rare statement castigating Thomas and Hearst accepted her resignation "effective immediately."
Former Clinton aide Lanny Davis went for the jugular. "If she had asked all blacks to go back to Africa," Davis asked, rhetorically, "what would White House Correspondents Association position be as to whether she deserved White House press room credentials -- much less a privileged honorary seat?"
Former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer piled on. "If a journalist, or a columnist, said the same thing about blacks or Hispanics, they would already have lost their jobs," Fleischer asserted.
Nice try, guys. There's a bit of a difference between a group of people who, hundreds of years ago, were dragged to this country in chains and held in bondage and a group of people who voluntarily migrated since 1948. I know, I know; the Holocaust. It's intellectually dishonest to conclude that since so many Jews were slaughtered during World War II that somehow the survivors have a right to take over someone else's land, if that's, in fact, what happened.
That's the part that remains in dispute. That's why everyone is always fighting in the Middle East. That's why I spend precious little time talking about the Israeli situation. It's fruitless. The Arabs hate the Jews. The Jews hate the Arabs. What's new?
What's new is when a columnist -- someone who writes her opinions for a living -- comes down on the side of the Palestinians the Washington chattering class goes nuts.
This isn't about Israel or Palestine or the Middle East. It's about political correctness. It's safe to say that some of those in the White House Correspondents Association who penned their hasty repudiation agree wholeheartedly with Helen. They're just afraid to say so and that's the most frightening and disturbing part of this whole affair.
This is why political correctness is so dangerous to our republic. Certain groups and alliances come together as arbiters of speech. This unelected, unaccountable body takes a paring knife to acceptable language and a meat cleaver to the Constitution.
Ironic, isn't it? That same political correctness with which Helen Thomas has been so enamored over the years has now come back to bite her in the buttocks.