Hank Williams, Jr. made a very thoughtless, politically incendiary comment about President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden comparing the two to Adolph Hitler. ESPN, Mr. Williams’ most public employer who has used the singer to open up the Monday Night Football broadcast, reacted by immediately pulling Mr. Williams’ opening theme song asking the audience if they were ready for some footbaaaaawl.
No doubt the defenders of conservative politics and anybody who would attack the President will be quick to say that liberals made the same comments about George Bush, Jr. when he was President so it’s just hypocrisy that everybody wants to jump on Mr. Williams’ back now. ESPN is selectively trying to infringe on Mr. Williams’ freedom of speech. But the big difference is that nobody who worked for ESPN with an opening theme song said anything about Mr. Bush. Mr. Williams did. So the comparison is rather absurd.
It was unclear if the yanking of Mr. Williams’ act was a permanent thing or just a one time shot. The dust of the situation had yet to settle and all people could do is wait. But we have our answer. ESPN announced that it has severed its relationship with Mr. Williams. Mr. Williams counters that he has severed his relationship with ESPN because of the company’s attempt to infringe on his freedom of speech and therefore he’s leaving and has decided to take his theme song with him. I guess Mr. Williams thinks all those Monday Night Football fans were tuning in to see his videotaped, computer graphically enhanced special effects concert and were only hanging around for the game because there was nothing else to do.
It’s been years since I’ve bothered myself to watch a Monday Night Football game. Football just doesn’t hold my interests the way it used to. I think that’s a good thing. But when I did, I was well familiar with the theme song and did my share of sang a longs with Mr. Williams. I didn’t give Mr. Williams’ political views any thought. It wasn’t until he volunteered to put his views out into the public so spectacularly that caused some of us to question his beliefs and his values.
And the idea that Mr. Williams’ right to free speech is being infringed is really off the mark. No one knocked on his door and took him away to a concentration camp for rehabilitation. Nobody took away his property. Mr. Williams is free to say what he feels and how he feels as long as he doesn’t slander anyone or infringes on anyone else’s rights. His rights are still intact. He’s free to take his views and his song, if it does truly belong to him, anywhere he wants. Would anybody be surprised to see Mr. Williams going over to FOX, changing a word or two of his theme song and ask the television audience, Are you ready for O’Rileeeeeeey?
But people forget that the ESPN Corporation is a person too and it has rights as well. It has its own freedom of speech and it has the right to say who can and can’t be affiliated with its public image. For anyone to say that Hank Williams, Jr. has the right to say how he feels and ESPN should be canned for responding to that is actually being hypocritical. Why is it okay for Mr. Williams to say how he feels about shit and then turnaround and say that ESPN doesn’t have the right to say how it feels about his shit? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Mr. Williams can take his theme song elsewhere. ESPN can take its show elsewhere.
And for the record, high profile liberals who criticized Mr. Bush did suffer the consequences. Back in 2003, just before the United States launched its invasion of Iraq, the American country band The Dixie Chicks was performing a concert in London when they said that they were embarrassed that their President, Mr. Bush, was from Texas and was opening a new front in the war on terror. Many of their country music fans were offended and thought the group was unpatriotic. They lost half their audience and they didn’t even call him a Hitler wannabe. I’m assuming it was the conservative half. They were attacked with a massive response of hate mail, death threats, and the public destruction of Dixie Chicks CDs and other paraphernalia. Would anyone say that all of those people protesting the Dixie Chicks were infringing on the band’s freedom of speech? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
The Dixie Chicks had to bounce back. When they lost their more conservative fans, they picked up other fans who weren’t necessarily fans of country music, but wanted to support a group with the courage to speak their convictions. Mr. Williams will do the same. He may have lost a lot of people who saw him as the opening act of the football show. But he’s bound to pique the interests of conservatives who could not care any less about football. Trust me, it’s only a matter of time before we hear something like, Are you ready for Sean Haniteeeee!
And there’s no doubt that ESPN is going to lose a few fans as well. A lot of people are under the perception that an attack on anyone who criticizes Mr. Obama is an attack on conservatism everywhere. People who think that ESPN should be supported for not letting Mr. Williams get away with attacking Mr. Obama with impunity. All of a sudden I have an interest in watching a little Monday Night Football. If anybody ask I do believe I might be ready.
The difference between FOX News and National Public Radio (NPR) is like the difference between night and day. While FOX thrives on colorful commentators who are for the most varying degrees of very conservative thinking and many who wear their over the top bigotry on their sleeves, NPR’s tries to present an image of discretion with commentators who appear to be more thoughtful and measured with opinions based somewhat on facts instead of inherent prejudices. While FOX commentators can look like escapees from a Jerry Springer episode, NPR commentators can look like educators and professors giving lectures on the science of cause and effect. It’s hard to believe any individual can walk the line between these two extremes and do either one very well. Juan Williams is certainly not that type of individual.
Truth be told, I’m not that kind of individual either. I’m sure if I got into a debate with anybody about some of the issues I happen to be passionate about I’d lose my composure quicker than a Muslim in downtown New York, New York can lose any semblance of having civil rights. But that’s probably why I’m not looking at any employment on NPR anytime soon, even though they have at least one job opening at the moment.
I often found myself at odds with Mr. Williams’ opinion on issues, especially the ones that pertain to the black community and other minorities. In my far from neutral opinion, Mr. Williams was habitually toeing the line for the racially generic majority. I found it frustrating that Mr. Williams regularly suggested that the people in the black community need to stop trying to affect change as a collective to expose racial disparity and should do what they can for themselves. It was typically Mr. Williams’ opinion that black people should stop trying to operate as a social collective and take an everyman for him or her self approach. He’s another one of those people who believes that the best way to combat racism is for us to pretend that racism doesn’t exist. I hate that shit!
Mr. Williams was terminated for engaging in another debate on FOX with Bill O’Reilly about the Muslim’s in our midst. Mr. Williams made a comment that he is irrationally afraid of Muslims in their Muslim garb and starts to worry about terrorism. While this might be fodder for the people over at FOX News, according to the management at NPR, Mr. Williams’ statements undermines his credibility as a news analyst at NPR.
People are protesting on Mr. Williams’ behalf. There are cries that his First Amendment right to freedom of speech has been violated. It sets a dangerous precedence when journalists are fired for what they say or how they say it. But few people were making this argument on behalf of journalists when Rick Sanchez was fired from CNN after making his statements about Jon Stewart and how the Jewish community controls so much of what happens in media. Nobody had a problem when CNN took the steps necessary to distance itself from Mr. Sanchez. Why are so many people now getting so upset when NPR does the same to protect its brand? Yes Mr. Williams has freedom of speech. But doesn’t NPR itself has its own freedom of speech and deserves the same benefit of doubt?
Obviously, there is a big difference in standards for journalism between these two broadcast companies. But to drive that point home even further, twenty four hours after Mr. Williams was terminated from NPR, FOX News announced that it was offering him a three year contract totaling two million dollars. From what I understand this was a seriously significant pay raise. Mr. Williams will make out like a bandit. And to show his appreciation to FOX for his rescue, I for one have little doubt that Mr. Williams will become even more colorful and opinionated with his statements of compassionate bigotry.
Interestingly enough, Mr. Williams joins a long list of people who use the excuse that their just being honest as a defense for their prejudice against racial minorities. A lot of people I don’t particularly care for have been rewarded for their bigotry. After his statements about the women’s basketball team at Rutgers University, Don Imus was fired and ended up getting an even more lucrative contract as a replacement. Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman was terminated and then rehired at a significant increase in pay for his racist rant against his son’s girlfriend. Given time, Laura Schlessinger will be rewarded for her nigger filled rant against a black person calling into her show. And now, Juan Williams is being rewarded for his racist statements. No doubt FOX will give him his own show sometime in the future as long as he continues to toe their line.
I really, really tried last night. But no matter how hard I tried to stay awake, the sandman would not be denied. I fell asleep about nine Central Standard Time, about ninety minutes before Senator John McCain gave his concession speech. I had fallen asleep on the couch and woke up to go to bed when I heard Mr. McCain’s voice. I don’t remember exactly what he was saying, but I heard enough, he was conceding. It registered on my sleepy brain that Mr. McCain, but I don’t think it registered that Mr. Obama won.
Ms. Peacemaker and I started tracking the polls about six thirty in the evening. Mr. McCain was first on the board with eight votes to Senator Barack Obama’s three. I think that was the last time Mr. McCain was in the lead. At one point, the polls had Mr. Obama with about one hundred electoral votes to Mr. McCain’s thirty eight. Mr. Obama pretty much was enjoying a two to one lead.
Now, I don’t know what officially makes a political landslide, but the 2008 election should be considered a prime example on the national scale. But all night long the people monitoring the election claimed that the race was close and that Mr. Obama failed to flip some crucially needed traditionally Republican voting states. When there were two hundred electoral votes for Mr. Obama and ninety for Mr. McCain, a few minutes before I lost consciousness, I figured all Mr. Obama needed was to win two more states, Florida with twenty seven votes and California with fifty five. With awareness quickly fleeing away I knew it was pretty much in the bag. It was virtually impossible for Mr. McCain to overcome his more than a hundred vote deficit and pull off an upset.
Regardless, I woke up to an expected surprise! The forty fourth President of the United States will be the first President who is not known as a hundred percent Caucasoid male. President Barack Obama will be the first visible minority President. More than two hundred and thirty years after the birth of our nation we finally have a little racial variety in our highest executive office. The historic nature of the occasion is monumental.
But then again, the challenges ahead of him and the rest of America are truly monumental. No President has ever come into this office facing the variety of problems that await Mr. Obama. Yes we may have had a President that had to face a great depression early in the twentieth century. Yes we may have had Presidents that had to guide the country through wars. But now we have an economic crisis of its own monumental proportions, a war fueled by differences in ideologies in two countries, a healthcare crisis with so many Americans losing everything including their lives, global competition as well as global animosity for the previous administration’s unilateral global policies, and so much more. We voted for the black man to lead the country after the last white man screwed it up so royally.
Voting for Mr. Obama is only the first step. He is not a dictator of a nation but a leader. His predecessor, President George Bush, was at one time fond of saying that he is the decider who controls the fate of this country. But if this election has done anything it has drilled home the fact that it is the collective people of America that are the deciders of this country. The President might feel like he, or surely one day she, can operate with personal impunity, but he leaves the rest of his or her party to face retribution. It wasn’t Mr. Obama who was the greatest contributor to the defeat of Mr. McCain but Mr. McCain’s association with an immensely unpopular President who explicitly and implicitly said that he didn’t give a shit about what the American public thought.
Mr. Obama goes into the presidency with the momentum of the world behind his back. This great victory was achieved with a great deal of effort and coordination of people around the nation. Mr. Obama cannot do it all alone. He needs the help of the American people and he needs to stay accountable to the American people. A lot of people supported Mr. Obama because they felt he was truly the best man for the job. But on the other hand, there are a lot of other people who voted for Mr. Obama simply because we felt he was the lesser of evils.
If anything can be learned from the story of George Bush it is that the support Mr. Obama may enjoy today can evaporate quicker than a snowball in the hottest pit of hell. He needs to remain focused and he needs to remember who he serves. It was the people who donated the most to his political effort. A lot of people wanted to see change. Business as usual is not an option. Two years from now there will be another national election and the Democratic Party that is firmly in charge of the legislature and the executive branch will be held accountable. I strongly suggest that he, nor anyone else in politics, doesn’t continue the tradition of taking the people for granted.
For days, weeks even, Republican vice presidential nominee Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has been given a free pass by getting complete and intensely favorable coverage of her coronation into the upper echelons of national politics without much of the scrutiny that would cover such ascension. Since Republican nominee Senator John McCain’s public announcement of his running mate pick on Friday, August 29, a move scheduled to minimize the impact of the favorable ratings bounce in the opinion polls immediately following the Democratic National Convention held in Denver that climaxed just the night before.
While the Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama has been derided by his opponents as grossly inexperienced for the job as chief executive officer of the country, Mr. McCain, who himself has never operated as an executive in any government capacity but somehow suffers not from any label that he has limited experience, picked a woman who, at the time of her selection, had less than twenty months of governorship experience of the least populated state in the nation. The only other executive experience Ms. Palin had was her two term stint as Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska with a population considerably less than seven thousand.
In order to minimize the fallout from the Hail Mary selection of Ms. Palin, the Republican presidential campaign organizers have been limiting Ms. Palin’s exposure to scrutiny. While reporters are allowed to ask her questions, she’s never placed in a situation where she has to answer. In the past nearly four weeks, I have only seen two reporters who have been blessed with access to Ms. Palin. There was the much ballyhooed interview with Charles Gibson of ABC News who was careful to handle Ms. Palin with the softest of kid gloves even though he still managed to expose her as having limited understanding of international issues with a question about the Bush Doctrine and its interpretation that America has the right to preemptively attack other nations perceived as threatening. The other interview was the romper room rebound with Sean Hanity of FOX News with his infuriatingly sympathetic questions and mannerisms in a one on one interview with Ms. Palin that would make tell us where the bad man touched you look like an Abu Ghraib style interrogation.
But something wonderful happened yesterday. In New York, New York to develop some understanding of foreign affairs and to gain some credible international exposure, Ms. Palin was to do a photo shoot with her sitting down with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and Columbian President Alvaro Uribe. At the last minute before a photo op, campaign aides tried to ban reporters from the meetings. The McCain-Palin team only wanted photographers at the meetings with a few world leaders. But the news organizations finally said no. If reporters weren’t allowed then there would be no cameras. Suddenly realizing that their gravy train might jump the track there was some negotiation and a single producer was allowed thirty seconds to accompany photographers. The McCain-Palin campaign downplayed the altercation calling it nothing more than another one of their misunderstandings.
I’ll admit that one producer for thirty seconds is rather trivial. But the simple fact that the news organizations didn’t simply roll over like they have been accustomed to doing with Ms. Palin is a huge step in the right direction. If I was running a news agency I would have pulled my cameras and my reporters off of the McCain-Palin campaign as soon as they made it obvious that they want coverage only on their terms. News agencies are only to be used for propaganda purposes and not for any in depth reporting. Such manipulation of the press as tools of propaganda has become the norm over the past seven plus years with the Bush administration. And without press coverage it would be difficult for anyone to get the exposure necessary to win the White House. If any presidential candidate wants only favorable exposure from a network then they can buy it.
The idea that such political candidates seeking the White House can completely dictate terms of news coverage is alarming. The methodology a political campaign uses to win an office is the same methodology they will use to run it. A political campaign that wants to hide its candidates from public scrutiny can hardly be considered transparent and open for examination. We have been sold the idea that Ms. Palin is ready on day one and that she has a world of executive experience and that she will be a game changing reformer in Washington’s political circles. But if the past nearly four weeks are any indication we should be able to see that Mr. McCain and Ms. Palin are nothing but warmed over manipulators looking to take every advantage while offering little in return unless it is on their terms.
On Tuesday, September 9th, I caught the tail end of a discussion monitored by John Roberts between Paul Begala, former political aid to President Bill Clinton, and Alex Castellanos, a former consultant to Mitt Romney’s campaign for the presidency. Mr. Roberts was standing in front of the two men who were appearing together, side by side on a giant floor to ceiling television monitor.
Mr. Roberts asked Mr. Begala how come Senator Barack Obama cannot make it more clear to people that Governor Sarah Palin is actually misleading the public over the significance of her involvement in stopping the bridge to nowhere. Mr. Begala charges that it is because the press refuses to do its job. Mr. Begala said, “It is the media’s job, when a politician flat out lies on this bridge to nowhere, to call her on it. Or this matter of earmarks where she’s attacking Barack Obama for having earmarks when she was the Mayor of little Wasilla, Alaska, six thousand people, she hired a lobbyist who was connected to Jack Abramoff, who is a criminal, and they brought home twenty seven million dollars in earmarks. She carried home so much pork home she got triganosis. But we in the media are letting her tell lies about her record.”
When Mr. Begala finished Mr. Roberts pointed to Mr. Castellanos, “Okay, we’re going to let Alex respond to that. Flat out lies Alex?”
Mr. Castellanos replied, “Let’s be a little gentle. Look. Every elected official in this country works under the system we have which is we try to get a little bit of your tax money back. You just don’t want to leave it all in Washington. The amazing thing about Sarah Palin is that when she became Governor she actually stood up and said no. And she made changes and she took a strong stand. That is rare and that never happens.”
There was more back and forth between Mr. Begala and Mr. Castellanos when Mr. Roberts broke in with, “We still have fifty six days to talk about this back and forth…”
Mr. Begala interrupted, “You see this is the problem. We have this false debate when we ought to have the agreed upon facts.”
The camera switched over to Kiran Chetry at the anchor desk who told people if they wanted to check the accuracy of the candidates’ statements they could go to a couple of websites. In other words, don’t expect any fact checking from the people at CNN. The network is doing its best to keep the political race close and as competitive as possible despite facts like a vice presidential candidate is lying about her record and is blatantly hypocritical about earmarks. As her supporter Mr. Castellanos himself said, this is the political environment we find ourselves operating in these days. A little gentleness would be appreciated. When it comes to earmarks, Ms. Palin should not be throwing rocks in her glass house.
On Friday morning, the former Mayor of New York, New York, Ed Koch made an appearance on CNN and he was asked his opinion on Sarah Palin. The Mayor said that the woman bothered him because, among other things, she used her political office to try and have books banned from the library in Wasilla. When the librarian refused, Ms. Palin tried to have the librarian fired. Right after he said that, Ms. Chetry challenged him and said that CNN found proof that it never happened. Mr. Koch argued that he didn’t know where they got their proof but there is evidence to show that Ms. Palin tried to have books banned and people fired. Ms. Chetry repeated that CNN is on record and have proven beyond a doubt that Ms. Palin never did that. The two went back and forth until the network had to cut for commercial. Mr. Koch was thanked for his appearance.
When they program continued, Ms. Chetry wanted to make the network’s position clear. The network had proof that books were never banned from the library and no librarian was ever fired for not removing books from the library. Ms. Palin did try to use her position to remove books and fire librarians, but since she was unsuccessful the actual events never happened. Ms. Chetry apologized for any misunderstanding. If this is news reporting then it must be its darkest hour.
CNN was once billing itself as the most trusted name in news. CNN is probably still using that tag line. However, now the network appears to be doing its best to blur the lines between facts and reality. Whether someone in politics tried to do something or not is not important. If they weren’t successful then it didn’t happen. No one who is concerned about their reputation for honesty would claim such a narrow and rather asinine interpretation of actual events. Yet CNN appears to be ready to stoke controversy for the next fifty odd days or so in order to keep people tuned in. But if you want to know actual facts, you have to go elsewhere.
It should not be a political candidate’s job to prove that his or her opponent is lying. It is the responsibility of the press to assure that the candidates stay truthful. When a political candidate lies about his or her record it isn’t the job of the other candidate to root the untruths out. The more our trusted news sources do to generate controversy the more the public is misled. The majority of the people won’t check other sources.
If the news programs don’t report the facts then many people will go without factual reports. When news anchors defend deviant behaviors then they increase public support for deviants. Phony debates and the blurring of facts are good for increasing the number of viewers but do nothing to educate people who need education in order to vote for what many people consider the most important job in the world. In that respect, no one should be so quick to blur the lines of reality in order to increase ratings and therefore the value of the network.
We might have fifty odd or X number of days to figure out who is the best to run the country. But the misinformation being supported now will be the foundation for people’s decision making in the voting booth in November. With the stakes so high, a series of global crises that could lead to world wide catastrophes, we need to be doing everything we can to assure that all the facts are laid out as soon as possible so that people can better exercise their judgment.
I caught a little of the Democratic National Convention in Denver and even less of the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul. I saw the Democratic nominee for the presidency, Senator Barack Obama, give his acceptance speech in a standing room only stadium of eighty five thousand plus seats. I saw the Republican nominee for the presidency, Senator John McCain, give his acceptance speech in a stadium of about fifteen thousand seats. The crowd at the Democratic National Convention was a racially diverse bunch with something like thirty some odd percent of the delegates of African American heritage. On the other hand, the Republican National Convention looked like a 1950’s Happy Days meets Lavern & Shirley reunion with a black people participation running along the lines of one point five percent. Thirty six black delegates out of more than twenty three hundred.
Now with just about one sixth the attendance at its national convention and only one race of people represented with audience participation about ninety eight percent white, I wake up this morning to hear that John McCain has a slight lead over Barack Obama. If that’s not enough, John McCain has a record of voting with his Republican Party and President George Bush ninety percent of the time. People say they want to change this political environment that has our economy, military, education system, our reputation, our housing market, and just about everything else you can think of on a national level in the toilet and getting shit on constantly. But now I’m supposed to believe that more than half the people polled these days think that our best bet for changing course is Mr. McCain.
After two terms with George Bush I can’t believe the American public would be so stuck on stupid. To make the same mistake again for a third time, and to expect different results, is truly madness. People at the high end of the income spectrum don’t need another tax cut. They have all the funds they need to fill up their Bentleys and their super class luxury yachts. What in the world they need another tax cut for? Exxon-Mobile made tens of billions of dollars last year. Why do they need another tax cut? Warren Buffet and Donald Trump did well. Bill Gates did well. Cindy McCain made out like a bandit. Why do they need another capital gains tax cut? Is it to help her go buy another house or two because nine just isn’t enough?
Mr. McCain promises to open up our coastlines to more petroleum drilling. He’ll open the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve to more petroleum drilling. He’ll open your backyard to more petroleum drilling if that’s what the oil companies wanted. But drilling for more oil and keeping the price of gasoline cheap doesn’t do anything to give people an incentive to develop new energy alternatives or to conserve energy or curb wasteful energy expenditures. After eight years of having two former oil men in the White House, who allowed oil executives to develop America’s energy policy, I’m supposed to believe that over half of America is ready to reward the oil companies for their service to the American public by giving them access to even more potential inventory? I refuse to believe that our national collective short term memory is that short.
After eight years of having a President of the United States who was a strong, mediocre student with his average grades, over half of America is ready to now ready to vote for Mr. McCain, a man who wasn’t exactly a Rhodes Scholar when he graduated from the Navy academy. In fact, Mr. McCain wasn’t even a mediocre student. Out of eight hundred ninety nine students who graduated in his class, Mr. McCain came in sixth from the bottom. Mr. McCain graduated with a rank of eight hundred ninety four. Mr. McCain actually managed to avoid graduating in the upper ninety nine percentile. The man didn’t have enough moxie to graduate above the bottom one percent of his class. Am I supposed to believe that the majority of America wants another half-ass in the presidency?
I don’t have a problem believing that there are a lot of people out there who are hoping with all their heart that John McCain gets into the White House. These are the same people who’d be willing to vote George Bush back into the White House for a third term if they could. These are the same people who would be willing to give the Captain Edward J. Smith, the arrogant and complacent captain of the tragically doomed RMS Titanic, one of the United States Navy’s new high technology Ticonderoga-class Aegis guided missile cruisers. These are the same people that would let Michael “Brownie” Brown stay the chief of FEMA while black bodies are floated through the streets of New Orleans. These people have a lot to gain with a third Bush term even while the rest of the country is heading to hell in a rocket powered hand basket.
But I’m supposed to believe that the people of America are ready to put Mr. McCain, Mr. Bush junior, into the White House to change the political course of this country after eight years of Republican executive leadership, with six of those eight years with a complacent Republican legislature. In order to change the track of the current Republican leadership, America wants to put another Republican in the White House. I’m supposed to believe the news when they tell me that John McCain has not only tied Barack Obama but has taken the lead because of the bounce of his selection of Sarah Palin as his presidential running mate?
I refuse to believe that the people in America would be so foolish. This race isn’t even hardly this close. The majority of the American public are not that narrow minded. I believe that the news agencies and networks are trying to make a horse race of this political routing to sell some kind of political melodrama to keep people tuning in. At best, maybe one sixth of the public would vote for the McCain and Palin combo over the Obama and Biden duo. I would hope that the American public isn’t so gullible to think that Mr. McCain is going to change this country. Mr. McCain is another train wreck waiting to join the pile up that’s already happened. He promises more tax cuts that benefit the rich more than they benefit anyone else, more war with more of our soldiers dying, more disparity, and more of all the things that have us in the mess we’re in now. I seriously hope that the vast majority of America is smarter than the polls say we are.
Jesse Jackson should have known better. He whispered over to his co-guest, Doctor Reed Tuckson, making a few choice words about Barack Obama. Mr. Jackson knows better than most how some people would love nothing more than to catch him in an unguarded moment. His voice was low. He knew what he was saying could be very embarrassing if it was ever made public. He knew his words would come back to haunt him if the cat was let out the bag. But Mr. Jackson could not help himself. After going on record to give his politically correct assessment of Mr. Obama’s comments about the black community and about black men in particular, when he thought the camera and microphone were off line, Mr. Jackson made a rather base comment about Mr. Obama talking down to black people and how Mr. Jackson wanted to castrate the presumptive Democratic nominee.
Now, everybody who’s anybody is coming down on Mr. Jackson and his hate of Mr. Obama. One black pundit made the comment that Mr. Obama’s sermon on black fathers must have hit a little close to Mr. Jackson’s home since he has his own child born out of wedlock. Somebody else made the comment that Mr. Jackson is simply jealous of Mr. Obama’s popularity or his ability to actually become the nation’s first black president when Jesse Jackson’s campaign fell insignificantly short. Other people made the comment that this is just more evidence of the dysfunctional nature of the black community and/or the Democratic Party. Even Mr. Jackson’s son has distanced himself from his father’s comments. But is anybody thinking that this is just the latest off the cuff opinion of a black man who happened to have been offended by another black man who made disparaging remarks about the black community?
Mr. Obama and his wife Michelle have two beautiful girls, Sasha and Malia. I can imagine the Obamas throwing a birthday party for one of their daughters and asking some high profile person that their girls admire to make an appearance and say something to commemorate the occasion. I can also imagine that high profile person going to the birthday party and saying something about how little black girls need to learn responsibility and quit getting pregnant without getting married. Any little girl can be a fool and become a mother. But getting knocked up doesn’t make a black girl a black woman. All it will do is ruin her life and the lives of her family members. We don’t need to contribute to the statistics that say black girls are known for their whorish behavior. Black girls need to be focused on their future and the future of the black community.
Chances are pretty good that Mr. and Ms. Obama wouldn’t appreciate someone making such statements at his daughter’s birthday party. Although there is a popular belief that black girls are more likely to get pregnant and be somebody’s baby mama, why in the world would someone make such accusations of the Obama girls? Mr. Obama would be offended and would probably make a statement expressing his outrage and disappointment with such a topic at what should have been a happy occasion. And Mr. Jackson, a black man who does not work hard to distance himself from the black community, probably took offense that Mr. Obama reinforces such assumptions about black men and their irresponsibility to their children.
Ever since Mr. Obama made his infamous statements about the irresponsibility of black men and their lack of a commitment to their children, I have made it a point to notice all the black men in my black neighborhood who have taken responsibility for children in their lives. There was the black man who was walking through the alley holding a toddler’s hand. There was the black man carrying a bag of groceries in his left hand, holding a little girl’s hand with his right hand, while another slightly older girl skipped along behind them. There was the brother sitting at the bus stop with a baby in a stroller. In all these examples, it was a black man with a child or with children. But instead of these men being used to define the black experience, instead of the role of the black father being acknowledged, we prefer to focus our attention on the malfeasant.
It angers me to see the malfeasant that is the definition of black fathers on Father’s Day. It angers me that a former community organizer who happens to be black and should have an idea of the diversity of the black experience, is focused on the politically popular negative stereotypes of the black community while he panders to the wholesome image of the white community. And if it angers me, a black man who takes his responsibility to his black children, family, neighborhood, community, etcetera, it should not be too hard to imagine that it angers other black people as well. It should not be hard to imagine that it angers other black men such as Mr. Jackson.
Personally, I’m glad to see Mr. Jackson react strongly enough to make a suggestion, when he thought he was off camera, that he wanted to castrate Mr. Obama. Honestly, sometimes I feel like I would like to castrate him as well. But whether or not we agree with Mr. Jackson or not, instead of the black community supporting another black man caught on tape reacting to the negative image of black people promoted by the dominant community, we again turn away and utterly condemn another man who demonstrates a sincere concern of the black community. Mr. Jackson may have been vulgar and the vast majority of us would like to take him out back to the political tool shed. A lot of people are disappointed and are saying that the Reverend Jesse Jackson, like the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, is just a bitter old man unable to let go of a bygone era. But personally, I understand Mr. Jackson’s frustration with Mr. Obama enough to say, at least off camera, that I’d like to buy him a set of heavy duty scissors.
Fox News Channel displayed a graphic referring to the Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s wife Michelle as “Obama’s baby mama” on Wednesday, June 11th, in just the latest of a growing list of racially insensitive references to the African American candidate. The reference was made during an article with conservative columnist and Asian mouthpiece Michelle Malkin regarding whether or not it was fair to target Michelle Obama during the political campaign.
In the past three weeks, Fox News anchor E.D. Hill has apologized for referring to the affectionate onstage fist bump shared by the senator and Michelle Obama as a “terrorist fist jab” and Fox contributor Liz Trotta has made grossly insensitive remarks calling for Senator Obama’s assassination. And if I had a dollar for every time somebody on Fox confused Senator Obama with terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, or has gone out of their way to use Mr. Obama’s middle name of Hussein, as in Saddam Hussein, I would be guaranteed not to ever worry about the price of gasoline or anything else for that matter. This is just another example of Fox’s impression of fair and balanced reporting. Fox actually practices a system of blatant offense, followed by an oops, and then an insincere apology.
In her defense, the Manchurian Candidate, oops, I meant to write Michelle Malkin, replied that the reference was never spoken over the air and therefore had seen no gratuitous cheap shot taken against Michelle Obama. Actually, since it was displayed on air I have no doubt that Mao Tse-tung, oops, I meant to write Ms. Malkin, had seen the cheap shot. What Charlene Chan, oops, I meant to write Ms. Malkin, meant was that she did not hear any cheap shot taken against Ms. Obama. Mr. Sulu, oops, I meant to write Michelle Malkin, is more than happy to play Confucius, oops, I meant to write confused, and engage in the type of amateurish, kamikaze journalism that has become the standard operating procedure at Fox.
Regardless, any reference to a black woman as a “baby mama” is intended as a racial slur. Never before has Fox, or any other news network, has ever referred to the wife of any political candidate as a baby mama. The callousness of the statement is truly blatant and disrespectful. It is used as a reference to a non white, unmarried woman with a bastard child and an unhealthy relationship with the father of the child.
One of the problems Senator Clinton’s run for presidency ran into was the ingrained sexism of the American culture. At one particular campaign stop, someone from the audience yelled to Ms. Clinton, iron my shirt. In debates, while men were being referred to by their surname, Ms. Clinton was often referred to as simply Hillary. A lot of women are angry with the way Ms. Clinton was treated on the campaign trail and are ready to take their anger out on Mr. Obama. However, it now appears that Barack Obama, through the association of his wife Michelle, is about to experience the unique combination of racial and gender bias that is the exclusive burden of the African American woman.
Without any real footing to attack Barack Obama on issues, opponents of the senator will attack his associations. The entire experience with his former pastor Jeremiah Wright has taught the Democratic nominee to sever his relationships when they prove to be too distracting. But the one relationship Mr. Obama cannot discard so easily is the relationship with his wife. It is more important to Republican supporters and white privilege protectionist to do whatever it takes to keep the Obamas out of the White House.
Soon, there will be suggestions of a future where black people will be hanging out on the White House front porch playing loud music from the presidential limo and watermelon prices going through the roof. Did someone say something offensive? They will be more than happy to follow up with an apology to Barack Osama and his baby’s mama for any totally unintentional offense. No derogatory references were ever intended to anyone who eats fried chicken and drinks malt liquor and smokes Kool filtered menthol cigarettes.
Pat Buchanan, the most despicable personification of racial bigotry, asked point blank do the American people want the “exotic” Mr. Obama and his family in the White House. These white people, and the nonwhites who want to prove their devotion to white privilege like Fu Manchu, oops, I meant to write Ms. Malkin, will play every race card to drive home the point that the country is risking a black man getting into office. As Fox contributor Liz Trotta says, “It’s a very colorful political season and many of us are making mistakes and saying things that we wish we hadn’t said.” You would swear up and down that these people have never encountered black people before.
But then again, after Kim Jong-Il, oops, I meant to write Ms. Malkin, had accused Rachel Ray of being sympathetic to Middle Eastern terrorist because she wore a scarf in a Dunkin’ Donut advertisement that supposedly looked like a keffiyeh, the traditional scarf of Arab men, what can anyone expect from the blatant racist of the Fox News channel.