Thursday, January 12, 2012

Some minorities rate more than others

Mona Charen notes something that I'd been thinking about. We usually see celebrations any time we see a member of a minority group become the first to do something. But now we're on the brink of seeing a member of a religious minority to perhaps be the first to appear on a major party ticket and the only notice we see of it is some in the media wondering if Mormons are just too alien to win mainstream votes.
The Washington Post proclaimed in a recent headline another historic "first" for the United States — the first female usher-in-chief at the White House. Stop the presses! The accompanying story reveals that the nominee hails from Jamaica, so it's probably a two-fer. Oh, boy.

The Post and other liberal organs are obsessed with firsts. The first female letter carrier to handle the Capitol Hill route will get a mention in the press. The first African-American anything is guaranteed at least a nod. You don't even have to be first to get "first" treatment. The last two Supreme Court nominees have been women, joining a court that had already seated two women (one retired). Nevertheless, the femininity of the candidates was cheerily chatted up. When Barack Obama became the first black nominee of a major party and then the elected president, dignified notice of an historical milestone would have been appropriate. But you know what happened — the media went on an inebriated, extravagant first binge.

Funny how the first-effect only works for some. If Mitt Romney is nominated and elected, he will be the first member of a highly persecuted American minority group to be so honored. Yet no one is celebrating the possibility of the first Mormon president. Anti-Mormon bias, which has proved remarkably persistent over decades, is scarcely ever condemned.
Of course, Mormons tend to be conservative so they don't count.
Mormons are obviously the wrong kind of minority. Oh, they've been persecuted. But through a strong work ethic, self-discipline, traditional morality (Yes, there's an irony there, but get over it.) and group cohesion, they have triumphed for themselves and for the country. The first Mormon president would be a milestone. But don't hold your breath for the applause.