How bizarre of Montgomery to accuse me of patronizing African-Americans when it is actually my candor — and thus my respect — that she really objects to. What she cannot accept is the fact that I actually work with African-Americans across political lines and in practical ways to help minority communities that are disadvantaged. This aspect of my biography she distorts as a liberal tic allowing me to invoke the “some of my best friends” excuse of parlor racists. This lame slander is actually necessary to her argument because the reality would put the lie to every negative thing she wants to believe — and wants others to believe — about me, but is incapable of justifying with evidence. The problem for her and for others like her is that I am not a cracker whom they would know how to answer, but a quantity unfathomable to them — a conservative who understands that equality and justice will never be achieved by the racially divisive and infantalizing strategies of the political left.
I do know my opponents, and I understand them better than they think. Contrary to Montgomery, I have named the racial provocateurs “who want to put race at the center of every political conflict and reveal it as the source of every problem afflicting African-Americans.” I have put flesh and blood on each of my claims and have backed them with the evidence to support them. This is precisely what Alicia Montgomery has not done in a screed that relies on global but unfounded statements about who I am and what I am alleged to have said, and which is un-self-reflective and mean-spirited, and which she will one day look back on with shame.
To readers who read Cary Tennis’ coverage of my appearance at UC-Berkeley last week:
On Thursday night, which many Shakespeare-aware e-mailers thoughtfully reminded me was the ides of March, I spoke in the Life Sciences Building at the University of California at Berkeley.
Now I know what it’s like to be Al Gore, specifically to have six armed guards escort one to the bathroom. A very odd experience. In fact, 30 armed police (both uniformed and undercover) were assigned by the university administration to the security detail for my speech, and I hired two additional guards myself. I am not in a position to judge how well the university authorities are able to assess the level of campus threats, but I was happy that every one of them was there. The evening ended when things began to get out of control. I, myself, took the decision to terminate the proceedings before anyone got hurt.
The need for security, as I noted from the platform, was itself a horrific commentary on the state of our campuses. The intention of the 200 protesters was to make certain ideas so toxic that one could discuss them only at one’s peril — moral or physical. As someone who spoke up in behalf of Marxist and communist ideas in the 1950s at Columbia with no such opposition, I can attest that McCarthyism was a tea party compared to this.