Charles Barkley's Comments on Politicians Stoking Racial and Economic Division Hit the Nail on the Head

Charles Barkley's Comments on Politicians Stoking Racial and Economic Division Hit the Nail on the Head
(Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

During Saturday’s March Madness coverage on CBS, former NBA All-Star and current commentator Charles Barkley, who’s not known for being an intellectual heavyweight, made some rather astute comments about the state of political and racial division in the country. He was spot-on, so look for him to be canceled any day.

Barkley said:

Man, I think most white people and black people are great people. I really believe that in my heart. But I think our system is set up where our politicians, whether they are Republicans are Democrats are designed to make us not like each other so they can keep their grasp of money and power. They divide and conquer.

I truly believe in my heart most white people and black people are awesome people, but we’re so stupid, following our politicians, whether they’re Republicans or Democrats. And their only job is, “Hey, let’s make these people not like each other. We don’t live in their neighborhoods. We all got money. Let’s make the whites and blacks not like each other. Let’s make rich people and poor people not like each other. Let’s scramble the middle class.” I truly believe that in my heart.

Barkley is right about that, but it goes even further. We’re also divided along political lines, polarized so we don’t talk to each other and figure out that with just a little bit of common purpose, the slightest connection with each other on a human level, we can figure out the solution to problems within our own communities and states without the bloated bureaucracy complicating it and driving up the cost.

I know this is true because I’ve seen this start to play out in California during both the AB5 fight and the Recall Newsom effort. Sacramento’s Democrat supermajority and their “hero,” Gavin Newsom, have so overplayed their hand in enacting woke policies and draconian pandemic lockdowns that everyone in the middle and working classes are suffering, and many of the upper class and wealthy are suffering too – and they’re finding each other and collaborating to fight back.

I truly believe that if the pandemic lockdowns in California had not been so extended, the blowback against Gavin Newsom and other Democrats would have happened sooner and with at least the amount of passion we currently see, because the full effects of the anti-freelancing AB5 law would have been apparent much earlier (through closures of community orchestras/theaters, sports camps, tutoring, entertainment, and hospitality venues).

Republicans don’t get a pass on this. Over the last decade, Republicans have also had the opportunity to enact their own legislative agenda on things like Obamacare, immigration, education, and tax reform due to their majorities in the House and Senate while having a Republican president, but they didn’t. Why is that? In my opinion, it’s because the more problems they solve, the fewer issues they have to use in outrage-stoking fundraising emails to the base.

It’s incumbent on all of us to remember who and what we’re fighting – and it’s not our neighbors.

(Note: I’ve received numerous messages about my use of the term “not known for being an intellectual heavyweight” describing Barkley in the first paragraph. In no way did I intend to besmirch Barkley; I’ve written favorably about him in the past and love how he calls it as he sees it without worrying about what the other commentators or anyone else think. I don’t believe he’s dumb in any way. What I meant was that most people know Barkley as an All-Star basketball player, not a societal commentator.)

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