Washington — On Nov. 7, Joe Biden stepped up to the mic somewhere beyond the confines of his basement and solemnly declared, "Let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end here and now." He was not talking about President Donald Trump's referring to him as "Sleepy Joe." Nor was he rebuking the president for joking about his repeated confusion over where he was when he delivered his latest address. Was it from Tulsa, Oklahoma, or from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, or was he still in his basement? Joe was calling for an end to everyone's foul language and blood-curdling threats uttered along the campaign trail. And in the privacy of one's own home. Well, for once, I am with Joe. Let the demonization end now.
I, for my part, will apologize to Joe for mentioning his past lapses into plagiarism. I shall even apologize for calling him a cheat. It looks to me like he was guilty as charged, but let bygones be bygones. I shall even let indiscretions recorded on Hunter's laptop be handled by the authorities. Once again, let bygones be bygones.
However, there is one matter I hope Joe will apologize for. He called Donald and those who have supported Donald racists repeatedly while campaigning. He also called them xenophobic and white supremacists. And there was, among his Democratic friends, talk of the Republicans' homophobia and misogyny. In keeping with Joe's Nov. 7 declaration, how about apologizing for those moments of demonization, too.
Yet, I am afraid that it is going to be difficult for the Democrats to swear off obloquy and name-calling, because most Democratic leaders believe their Republican opponents are racists, misogynists, white supremacists and, probably, imperialists. You know, Christopher Columbus was the first Republican.
I actually have some Democratic friends. Some are distinguished Democrats. They have given me the highest compliment a Democrat can give to a Republican. They have told me that they know I am not a racist. It is an exemption that they do not extend to many Republicans and certainly not to Donald Trump. Though I remember a testimonial I got from a Black cab driver roughly four years ago when I was covering Donald's first campaign.
As we sped away from the Trump National Doral Miami, the driver thought he heard me on my telephone alluding to Donald's bigotry. When I had finished my telephone conversation, he politely told me Donald was not a bigot. I informed him that my remarks had been misinterpreted. He continued by telling me that much of the staff at the hotel were Black, and even the head of security was a Black man from New York City. I was touched by his loyalty to Donald and insisted that I had been misunderstood. Neither I nor my interlocutor on the telephone thought Donald was a racist. I tipped the driver handsomely.
I have thought of that conversation frequently when the charge that Donald is a racist comes up. In fact, I have thought of it when I have heard other Democrats hurl charges of intolerance against Republicans. In Michelle Obama's congratulatory message to Biden, she reminded Biden of the millions of Trump supporters who, in the recent election, turned out to support "lies, hate, chaos and division." What did Michelle Obama hear coming from Democrats? "The truth, love, calm and integration." Her complaint is nonsense.
It may shock Democrats, and even Joe Biden, to hear that, in some 50 years, I have never heard a racist statement in my office or from any of my associates. I cannot say the same for when I am out and about in the general public, but I can say that when I do hear a racist remark, it is rare. I would say whole years can go by and I never hear a racist thought. Americans do not talk like that, nor do they act like that. Put another way, there is no systemic racism in America. This critical race theory is a lot of claptrap and only prolongs bigotry.
If Joe is serious about what we can now call his Nov. 7 Declaration, we can now extend our elbows across the aisle in peace and harmony. We can now refer to each other as wrong-headed or simplistic, but we are not going to be abusive. Joe has decreed it.
R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator. He is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and the author, most recently, of "The Death of Liberalism," published by Thomas Nelson, Inc.