We’re about to be schooled in the Obama School of Identity Politics. His first selection for the Supreme Court may be a mediocre jurist who’s been overturned about half of the time, and may be a mean motor scooter, but, by the Prophets beard, she’s a two-fer: A woman, and a Latina. Let all the people rejoice, let all the people count their racial and ethnic blessings.
In the grand scheme of things, Sonia Sotomayor will probably do alright on the court. After all, she’ll be replacing the zero David Souter. So at least in the mediocrity department, the Court will remain in balance. What is alarming is the world outlook on display. And it is the president’s, as well as Sotomayor’s: race and ethnicity above all.
From the Wall Street Journal’s editorial, this quotation from the nominee says it all:
“…a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”
Now we don’t really know if Sotomayor is a “wise Latina woman.” She is Latina, so she’s got the important part down. Hearkening back to feudal times, she has it by birth, not by any merit.
The philosophy that places one’s ethnicity above reason, logic, and, yes, even empathy, is heinously out of place in today’s world. It violates the primacy of reason and conscience of the Enlightenment. It violates the essence of the Christian message, from Paul’s letter to the Galatians (3:28): There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Paul knew nothing about Hispanics; Spain was at the time a pagan province of Rome. But he clearly knew about factions, and about the prejudice that the Jews had against outsiders. Was Paul lacking in “empathy” for the gentiles who joined the Jewish Christians? Was Jesus himself lacking in empathy for the despised Samaritans? No, of course not.
The lesson is clear: one does not need to be a member of any particular group to have “empathy” towards those in that group. And it is sadly clear from her statements that Sotomayor will be prejudiced in favor of those who share her heritage. It is too bad that the Christian message of equality has not sunk in with this woman, or, for that matter, with Barack Obama.