Port: If everything is racist, then nothing is

I wonder who wins amid the cynical accusations of racism against anyone dissenting from left-wing orthodoxies that have de rigueur in "woke" American politics? Probably the actual racists, don't you think?

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Rob Port

MINOT, N.D. — You know who the winner was in Aesop's fable about the boy who cried wolf?

The wolves.

In the end, they got the sheep.

I wonder who wins amid the cynical accusations of racism against anyone dissenting from left-wing orthodoxies that have de rigueur in "woke" American politics?

Probably the actual racists.


There is a left-wing movement to declare the U.S. Senate's infamous parliamentary maneuver, the filibuster, a racist tactic born of white supremacy. The Democrats currently hold a thin majority in the Senate, one supported only by Vice President Kamala Harris' tie-breaking votes. They want to rob the Republicans of the most effective way to oppose the majority party's agenda.

The basis for the filibuster-is-racist argument is that it has, at times, in its fraught history, been used to oppose civil rights and anti-slavery legislation.
An absurd argument. A filibuster is merely a tool. Blaming the filibuster for the ends to which it is sometimes deployed is like holding hammers in contempt because they're sometimes used in murders.

Democrats certainly haven't been shy about using the filibuster while in the minority.

“The filibuster has deep roots in racism, and it should not be permitted to serve that function, or to create or to create a veto for the minority. In a democracy, it’s majority rules," is what Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has to say in 2021 . In 2017, though, she wasn't quite so willing to embrace majoritarianism.

"I want to make it completely clear — no ambiguity — I will filibuster," is what Warren said when she was opposing the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch under the Trump administration and a Republican majority.

White Democrats used the filibuster to oppose black GOP Sen. Tim Scott's police reform bill.

Was that racism?

Our progressive friends plan to target moderate Democrats who are resisting the end of the filibuster, and accusations of racism will be central to the effort. They aren't even pretending like this is anything more than a cynical political ploy.


“The pressure that we are going to put on [Sen. Kyrsten] Sinema and [Sen. Joe] Manchin is calling [the filibuster] racist and saying that they are, in effect, supporting racism,” Al Sharpton told Politico . “Why would they be wedded to something that has those results? Their voters need to know that.”

That's egregious, even by the hyperbolic standards of wokeism.

Ending the filibuster is short-sighted. There are no permanent political victories. One day Republicans will control the Senate again, and the Democrats will rue the day they killed the filibuster.

But phony accusations of racism are worse in that they muddy the waters around actual racism.

Lumping people who merely disagree with Democrats on policy in with actual bigots is doing the bigots a big favor.

None of us should want that.

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Rob Port, founder of, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at .

Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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