Cory Booker & the Power of Dialogue

Cory Booker, U.S. Senator (D-New Jersey), is one of many Democrats who attempted to torpedo the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. The Senator did so with sarcasm and misrepresentations. After falsely accusing Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, Booker was found guilty by his own confession, just before Kavanaugh’s accusers were found lying. Earlier, Booker broke Senate rules in his attempts to skewer Kavanaugh, something the Senator later called heroic, characterizing himself as “Spartucus.”

These days Sen. Booker is interested in banning meat, legalizing marijuana and promoting publicly-funded universal abortion on demand. He is also a big fan of the Green New Deal, calling everyone concerned about costs ‘liars.’ Booker also jumped on the Jussie Smollett uproar, calling it a lynching. Now that it looks like the alleged attack was staged, Booker is silent, but he has another project in mind!

Sen. Booker wants to open a dialogue about race in America. Mr. Obama, so successful encouraging racial reconciliation, is very enthusiastic about Sen. Booker’s invitation to dialogue.  Here is an example of how Sen. Booker dialogues:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xswrcQEy_-M

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Sen. Booker misrepresents the President’s remarks in this snippet recorded one year ago. He uses that intentional misrepresentation to attack this woman, the Sec. of the Department of Homeland Security, employing over-the-top-language to condemn her. Notice, he condemns her because he says she is not sufficiently outraged by the President’s remarks.  Presumably, Booker wants her to be furious about Booker’s misrepresentations, not what the President actually said.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wmdyof_n0TI

Sen. Booker is not looking for a dialogue. He reminds me of the many interactions I’ve experienced with enraged men of color who talk about dialogue but insist on being the only ones talking.

My first encounter with such an individual took place in 1972 when I was a freshman in college. A government-sponsored student attended our small college that year.  He was a sociology major, a man of color, and he invited me to dialogue over a few beers while sitting on the floor in the dorm hallway.  He made it clear I was to cover the cost of the beer, and it had to be an import.

I had never interacted substantially with anyone of color other than a few Hispanic guys and a few Native Americans, all high schoolers living in our small town in California. There were tensions and a couple fist fights but nothing amounting to racial rage or declarations of war.

However, in college the ‘dialogues’ took on an entirely different tone. This was the age of radicalism, riots, tremendous violence and hateful rhetoric. (Worse than we see and hear today.) Non-violent racial reconciliation and reform were the messages of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his followers, but most everyone else was fired up about the Black Panthers.  And so most of the rhetoric was fired up too.  That was my experience in the dorm hallway.

It was immediately clear I was not participating in a dialogue. I was berated.  I was told I could not have an opinion because I had no experience with racism.  I was shouted down and called a racist. I was blamed for slavery and discrimination. And I was insulted.  Naturally, I declined the next invitation to dialogue.

After several more of these ‘dialogues’ in following years, I decided to find people who were not ranting radicals, people who were sincere about identifying problems and offering real solutions, people who were not given to rage and accusation, people who were focused on real reform and reconciliation. They were and are the people who helped me learn and grow in constructive ways.

Sen. Booker is not among them. Sen. Booker is still sitting on the floor in the dorm hallway.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

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