The Saturday Night Live tribute to Former President Barack Oabama was truly touching to me. In a nut shell, Cicely Strong and Sasheer Zamata, standing under a black and white portrait of POTUS #44, summed up my relationship with Mr. Obama with an emotional rendition of “To Sir, With Love”, the moving song sung by Barabara “Babs” Pegg, played byLulu, to thank her teacher of school and in life Mr. Mark Thackeray, played by the talented Sidney Portier, in the movie by the same name.
In the beginning I had my doubts about Mr. Obama. He wasn’t a hard hittin’ homie ready to make shit real enough for the black community in my book. He was too busy trying to appeal to people who had no intention of ever being appealed, the conservative right and the social establishment controlled by the people who say they wish for all of us to be racially generic. I resisted his cool demeanor. I was insulted by the way he would try and placate any fear of black favoritism by keeping the black community at arm’s length for the most part.
But Mr. Obama had a game to play and he couldn’t do the things he was able to do if he got hunkered down in a racially charged fight by standing on one side of the racial divide or the other. There were bigger fish to fry in the limited time he held the keys that unlocked the deepest secrets of this kingdom. He focused on doing his best for everybody in the most non threatening way he could. I understood that was what he felt he had to do back then. I understand just the same now. But now I guess I have a little more empathy for his position, although I would like to think that if I was in the same position I would do things differently. And that’s probably why I would never be elected President of the United States (as if that feat was ever in danger of actually happening).
And to see him turn the cheek on all the people who would use whatever position of influence he or she possessed to belittle him in ways no President of the United States ever suffered. He’s the achievement of every black individual and every black celebrity and every black person of pride and every black person who’s the first to achieve anything rolled into one. He was able to break into the most exclusive club on the planet open to every citizen of this country. He became the first black POTUS. And that is something no conservative, politician or critic, will ever take from him for as long as anyone has a reason to remember the social construct known as the United States of America.
I have to admit I had a stiff upper lip when I heard the news that Donald J. Chump would become the 45th President of the United States. I also have to admit that I wasn’t looking forward to a Hillary Clinton as POTUS either. The majority of her speeches were dull, she appeared to be aloof in too many public appearances, and she should have done a better job with a lot of her campaigning. But given the choices I think the lady was clearly the best and most qualified person for the job of running our collective’s business when compared to Mr. Chump. A lot of people felt that she had it in the bag. But a lot of people were also saying that a lot of her supporters were in danger of taking this past election for granted. The results speak for themselves. When the results manifested late that early November Tuesday election night, I tried to console myself in the comforting thought that we were warned. We the people of the United States had a chance and we blew it.
Ever since that night I was able to look into the unwelcoming abyss called the future with President Trump with acceptance; the kind of acceptance that resembles the resolve of Captain Kirk riding his starship into the jaws of hell. And I’m not talking about Captain James T. Kirk who had always managed to cheat death at the last minute. I’m talking about his father, Captain George Samuel Kirk, played by Chris Hemsworth in the rebirth of the Star Trek franchise. George Kirk was captain of the USS Kelvin for all of twelve minutes. But he welcomed death as his inevitability when he rammed his ship into the Romulan vessel from the future. When you know the gig is up you have no choice but to ride that last ride through.
So yeah, I had a sense of acceptance. The future is cast and the chips are steadily falling where they may. I may not like it. But I will not go gently into that night like a little self absorbed bitch. Chin up. Head high. I watched as the Borg Queen told me that my world was ending and there was nobody coming to save me from what the American political system had wrought. I watched the clock wind down to the Trump inauguration. I watched as the true to life personification of the Omen’s Damien attains the throne of the world for the sake of his hellish father’s bidding. I watched the protest gather momentum yesterday over the world as people demonstrated to remind the Trump administration as to where the true power resides. I watched it all without looking back to what we were losing and what we are giving up.
And then to wind things up this weekend of the beginning of the end, for the first time in years, I actually took the time to watch Saturday Night Live as it broadcasted from New York City. I was impressed with the quality of the show. Over the years I have seen videos and outtakes and bits and pieces of skits over the years. But last night was the first time in years I actually was up late on a Saturday night and I bothered to turn the television to NBC to watch the show. I couldn’t even tell you the last cast I saw. I know it was post Eddie Murphy. Maybe it was when Keenan Thompson became a regular. Regardless, the show was guest hosted by Aziz Ansari and it was the funniest I’ve seen from SNL in forever. And Big Sean was the musical talent. I’m embarrassed to say that I have never taken the time to listen to this artist. I will be trying to learn more about him in the immediate future. I thoroughly enjoyed the show, and if that was just a sample of what they’ve been doing lately I’m going to have to make a special effort to set the DVR for future episodes.
The show was winding down with only a handful of minutes left to spare. Coming back from commercial the show reopened with Ms. Strong standing on a darkened stage, highlighted under a single spot light, in front of the portrait of Mr. Obama. Without any fanfare or distraction the music starts and Ms. Strong sings, “Those school girl days…” Immediately my attention level piqued a couple of notches.. It had been years since I’ve even thought of this movie. But I suddenly remember Sidney Portier standing in front of those white English kids helping to prepare them for the future. They were better prepared than many of them thought was ever possible. The group of students that started out as nothing more than future residents of the penal system, began to see the world through the eyes of people ready to take responsibility for their fate with a seriousness that evaded them before. And they had the black American to thank for their newfound perspective. The somber tone of the song enveloped me. “How do you thank someone that has taken you from crayons to perfume?” It’s not easy but I will try.
My eyes started to well up. For eight years I had the luxury to just sit back. I thank you Mr. Obama for giving my family and I as well as all of my friends, my co workers, my associates, my neighborhood, my fellow citizens of this country and the world, an example of leadership and of dignity that has become rare and special. I thank your wife, the essence of black royalty and the world’s first black First Lady. I thank your daughters Sasha and Malia for enduring the spotlight that had become their world and seeing it through to the end with a maturity that is exceptional for such young people. I thank your mother in law for being there to help you through everything the world has put you through. But most of all by far, I thank you for your service! No one could have done better.
Life always gets busy. At least it does for most people. You think you have time to do all the things you want done. You want to contribute to the community. You want to contribute to your household. You want to be there for your family. You want to contribute to that Ford dealership so you can buy a new Mustang Boss. You want to exercise and take care of yourself. You want to maintain a blog. You want to exist to the point that you grow old and realize that you really can’t do it all and something’s got to give. And you start to realize, that amongst other things, a blog really isn’t all that important in the grand scheme of things. If I stopped contributing to my blog as much, I’d free up a little time to do some of the other things that I would later one day realize weren’t all that important to do either.
I knew one day I’d write another post. I just didn’t know what it would be about. Would it be about undocumented Latin American children coming across the border? Would it be about a politician hell bent on keeping black people from voting? Would it be about the Affordable Care Act and how it has helped millions of people obtain healthcare despite some people’s best effort to invalidate President Obama’s signature achievement? Would it be about some white guy took a shotgun and shot a young black woman in the face through a door in the middle of the night because he was so afraid for his life? Would it be about some fat assed politician who stood idly by while his closest cronies got together to illegally shut down a major thoroughfare into New York City? Some of these topics and many others came pretty close to pulling me back to the keyboard.
But as quickly as I thought about writing something I would dismiss the thought. I’d to back to my overwhelming thought that it really wasn’t all that important for me to say whatever to the world. Given enough time I would simply go back to watching the news and continue to sit on the sidelines as the world went to hell in a hand basket.
Then I heard Rula Jebreal call out MSNBC and the other “lame stream media” outlets for their skewed coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict currently unfolding half a world away in Gaza. During her appearance on the relatively new Ronan Farrow Daily program, Ms. Jebreal accused the MSNBC network and the entire news network establishment of being supportive of a destructive Israeli policy by giving too much airtime to Israeli officials and not nearly enough to representatives of the Palestinians. Mr. Farrow tried to defend his network’s coverage, but Ms. Jebreal would not have any of it and continued to pounce. When Mr. Farrow replied that there have been Palestinian voices on the air, Ms. Jebreal countered that the Palestinians would be on for thirty seconds while they would devote entire segments of air time to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
As I listened to Ms. Jebreal I had to admit to myself that she had a point. I’ve always thought that the news media simply refused to address the underlying issue of what caused the Palestinians to fire their rockets into Israeli territory. The way the story is often portrayed you’d think that the leaders of Hamas, the organization currently governing Gaza, just woke up one day and decided to try and wipe Israel off the face of the earth with relatively crude rockets that would make a Scud missile look sophisticated by comparison. Along with Israel’s Iron Dome defense system that has been credited with literally shooting so many of these rockets harmlessly out of the sky, the idea that Hamas thinks it could destroy Israel out of some ideological fixation on its destruction is extremely simple minded.
The real reason the latest round in this never ending conflict was started goes back to issues revolving around the lack of mutual recognition for each other’s right to exist as well as border security, water rights, Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, and the control of Jerusalem and holy sites. Because of an inability for Israeli and Palestinian people to come to terms with these issues, Israel imposes its will onto the Palestinian people by force. The Palestinians live under a military blockade that has caused the vast majority of Gaza’s businesses to close. Thousand of factories were closed and tens of thousands of people were put out of work. Poverty is rampant. Unwilling to continue to live under such woeful conditions the Hamas organization retaliated with rudimentary rocket fire. And Israel retaliated with the latest lethal tools of war courtesy of the United States military industrial complex.
Now by no means is anyone here saying that Palestine is right and Israel is wrong. There is plenty of blame to go on both sides. But it should be noted that the number of innocent Palestinian children that have been killed in Israeli’s retaliatory air strikes far outnumber the number of Israeli soldiers killed as they invaded Gaza in a ground assault. And yet, the media will try to convince us that Hamas simply wants to destroy Israel for the sake of ancient doctrine. If that’s truly the case then the people of Hamas are truly the epitome of stupid, and I seriously doubt if that’s truly the case.
It appears that Israel is controlling the conversation. They always have. It is their contention that everything was fine until the Hamas rockets started falling. Now, the entire Jewish state is at risk of being wiped out unless completely devastating force is used to quash the dissent. The Israeli representatives will say that they have no choice but to annihilate the rebellious Palestinians and the media are just too eager to buy into that argument. Where is the counter argument from the Palestinians? Basically, it is my understanding that this is the question, this is the point that Ms. Jebreal was trying to make. In response to Ms. Jebreal’s passionate outburst, MSNBC cancelled all of her future appearances on the network.
Now this is where my goat gets got. By far the vast majority of my news comes from MSNBC. While it is by no means perfect, I prefer the more liberal bias of MSNBC to the rabidly conservative commentary of FOX News or even the dribble of news reporting from CNN. I’ve watched MSNBC back in the days of Keith Olbermann and Dan Abrams. I will admit that I listened to the network with just a certain amount of skepticism. Not everything you hear on television is true. But it was a lot better than the network promoting their fair and balanced approach to railroading anything that isn’t the most right winged political agenda possible. I always thought that it would be FOX News that would fire people for not toeing the line. FOX News would hardly let one of their fair and balanced commentators or contributors go off their carefully crafted script. Maybe Alan Combs would be their lone, soft spoken, exception.
Obviously Ms. Jebreal was not toeing MSNBC’s line and MSNBC has the right to turn down her future services for it. My rant is not to say that MSNBC is not so entitled. But in their single minded focus on making sure their contributors speak from a single perspective with respect to this Israeli-Palestinian conflict MSNBC has lost the focus of the bigger picture. This is the only network that can take a right winged conservative like Joe Scarborough and left winged liberals like Rachel Maddow into a single formula for the entertainment and education of the masses. MSNBC had the better reputation for giving multiple views on an issue. But that reputation is now tarnished when MSNBC joins FOX and CNN and all the other media outlets that are on the Israel propaganda band wagon when they punish Ms. Jebreal for being sympathetic to the Palestinian’s plight.
MSNBC proves that it is no different than any other media outlet. They all have a job to do and that job is to make money. And since there is far more money backing the well to do Israel than there is backing the ninety percent poverty stricken Palestine any media outlet would be foolish to allow anything to jeopardize that revenue stream including the truth. Israel wants people to believe that they are just defending themselves regardless of what’s really going on. Anybody who makes the suggestion that there’s another side to this story and it should be heard just as loudly is just asking for trouble. The truth will always take a backseat to somebody’s political agenda no matter what news outlet is used for the delivery medium.
Yes MSNBC has hired activist Al Sharpton to be their talking head. Mr. Sharpton’s reputation for speaking up for people who are being railroaded by the establishment is well known. MSNBC wanted to capitalize on Mr. Sharpton’s reputation to strengthen its appeal to people who can sympathize with the downtrodden. The network went out of its way to develop an environment of political progressivism. The network even promoted itself with the tagline, “What Progressives have been waiting for”.
But when MSNBC is given an opportunity to truly develop its own reputation for speaking up for the downtrodden in Palestine it does just the opposite. Truth be told, if this latest attempt to put a leash on journalism is any indication, progressives will just have to continue waiting.
Conservative presidential contender and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney said that he gets reports about what women want from his wife Ann Romney and Ann Romney says that women worry primarily about the economy. In a roundabout response to that statement, liberal CNN commentator Hillary Rosen made the statement that Ann Romney has never worked a day in her life. And the political fireworks followed immediately. You would have thought Ms. Rosen had spent the last three days using her television appearances to call Ms. Romney a slut.
What Ms. Rosen probably should have said was that Ms. Romney has never spent a day in her life outside the home earning a living. She didn’t have to. She had a husband who was comfortably worth nine figures. Mr. Romney estimated his personal worth somewhere in the neighborhood between a quarter and a third of a billion dollars. With that kind of dough to make a family budget I’d stay home at home too. Let somebody else run that rat race if they want but I’d stay at home and raise my kids with the help of my maids, cooks, chauffeurs, gardeners, and all the other people I pay to help keep my two mansions, one on the east coast and one on the west coast, together. And let’s not forget all the people that helped her keep things together at that third home called the Governor’s mansion. That kind of life doesn’t sound all that hard!
I’m not saying that Mitt and Ann Romney had it easy. I’m sure they had difficult times in their life. When one of their five or so boys was seriously sick or injured I’m sure they responded to the stress of that situation with the same worry and anxiety of many parents. That would have been hard. But one thing that many parents don’t have is the resources that come from having a quarter billion dollars in the bank to help make sure the family has everything needed to assure quick recovery. Ms. Romney may not have had it easy, but she had it a lot easier than a lot of people who have to go through the same type of situation or other stressful situations.
In the rush to condemn Ms. Rosen’s statements, people have said that every mother works hard and every woman deserves the respect of others. And that’s true to an extent. Many women do work hard to raise their family and/or to work outside the home. But for many women who have to make the choice to stay at home or to go to work, the choice made is one that is often thrust upon them out of necessity and not because they have the luxury of having options. For many families, the mother stays at home to raise the family because the cost of daycare is simply too high and unaffordable. For other families, the mother has to work and raise the kids because the family needs the income. The number of women who are making the choice between the two worlds simply because they weighed their options and decided on one instead of the other are truly a fortunate but tiny slice of the whole pie.
Now, it might be just me, but I really don’t think being a mom is an automatic pass to sainthood. Maria Antoinette had a few kids. I don’t think that information helped her out when somebody was deciding whether or not she was going to face the guillotine. And a lot of people may not remember that on Gilligan’s Island, Lovey was the wife of Thurston Howell III (hard to believe but he was not modeled after Mitt Romney I’m sure) and the mother of Thurston Howell IV. Who thought she worked hard? Casey Anthony was a mother who got drunk and partied while her little girl’s body rotted in a ditch under a mound of snow. I seriously doubt if “hard worker” is the first thing people think of when they think of these women.
Please note for the record that I am not trying to say that Ann Romney is a bad mother. I’m sure she’s a wonderful mom who would do her best for her children. But for anyone to say that Ms. Romney can testify on what is and what’s not important for all or the majority of women in the country, I find that hard to believe. I’m sure she’s a wonderful representative for all the women with multiple mansions that never worked outside of the home to earn a living and yet have king’s treasure as a piggy bank. I’m sure that’s her circle and she would be an excellent weathervane to indicate what those women think
But there are a lot of women that Ms. Romney cannot speak for. I know she can’t speak for my mom who was busy raising ten black children and went to work as a nurse. I know she can’t speak for my life partner who stays at home to raise my son and help him through his issues. I know Ms. Romney can’t speak for my sisters, my aunts or any of the women from my family. I know the issues that these women face are nothing like what Ann Romney faces and vice versa.
At least I think that’s what Ms. Rosen was trying to say. She obviously did not use the best words to say it. And now, people want to point a damning finger at all liberals and tie Ms. Rosen back to President Barack Obama. But just like Ms. Romney doesn’t speak for all women, Ms. Rosen doesn’t speak for all liberals.
But I think it’s important to note what David Axelrod, Mr. Obama’s chief campaign strategist for his current 2012 bid for the White House, said on the matter when he was prompted by a CNN reporter to comment on Ms. Rosen’s statements. Ms. Rosen doesn’t work for Mr. Obama or anyone or organization that represents the Democratic Party. She actually works for CNN. Whatever she says is more an indication of how CNN thinks.
For every political action there is an unequal opposite reaction. This bastardization of Newton’s third law of motion is becoming more and more true with each passing day. It seems that whenever something happens that somebody doesn’t like, the response is an overwhelming reaction meant not to neutralize but to overwhelm the happening into the opposite direction. And when the overwhelming reaction happens, somebody somewhere will start working overtime and double-time to overwhelm that reaction with another reaction that will drive the political winds back to their favor. And the escalation continues.
The reaction to overwhelm reaction starts small. But the constant shifting of overwhelming forces is now causing political turbulence that will grow in strength as it oscillates back and forth until the whole mechanism threatens a critical collapse.
Political compromise is no longer an option. People who are strong in their political convictions are no longer satisfied with recognizing the opposing view. Anyone who thinks differently is the enemy in this age of you are either with us or against us. In fact, compromise is one of those political stances that people has polarized people. For some politicians, the constituency has made it crystal clear that any talk of compromise will not be tolerated. It is all or nothing. And if the politician cannot adhere to this simple dictate, the constituents will find someone who will.
Opposing forces are now the norm. The United States political system has become an old fashioned wrestling match between good and evil. Anybody who agrees is good and anybody who disagrees is evil. And the only thing that matters is who can muster enough force to overwhelm the opponent for the three count until the next match. The only difference is that when the wrestlers did it, most people in the audience knew who the good guys were and supported him or her accordingly. In the political ring, things have gotten a lot more complicated.
When Barack Obama won the election to become President of the United States, he was able to do it with a political force that was described as something unheard of before. Young people were involved in the effort to get Mr. Obama elected. Minority populations got involved. On Election Day there were lines of people everywhere coming out of the woodwork to vote for America’s first black President. It was overwhelming.
As a reaction to that collection of people, the tea party gained enough political strength to nullify those people and to swing things back to their favor. The following mid-term election saw conservatives take a larger share of Congress and a number of governorships around the country. Bolstered by their success, conservatives started processes to undo anything and everything they disagreed with. The conservatives made it their primary goal to negate everything Mr. Obama and his supporters did. Goodbye healthcare reform. Government needs to get out of our lives so the wealthy can have the keys to the candy store.
As a reaction to that reaction, Occupy Wall Street is now gaining steam and is pushing back. The push to give more tax breaks to the top income earners and change laws so that corporate America can become even more profitable so even more wealth can be concentrated into a tiny sliver of the populace is now being confronted by a tidal wave of people that make the tea party look like a kiddy pool. And as a reaction to that reaction, corporate America and the political establishment are employing the publicly paid for police as brute force to restore respect for public order. And eventually, the temporary brute force of the police will meet a force that will overwhelm it. Hopefully, that force will be orderly instead of chaotic.
We can’t continue down a path of fractured intolerance. People need to understand that we have no choice but to try and work our political problems out together. Compromise and cooperation are part of the solution when we disagree. They have their place in politics just as debate and disputes have their place. There will be times that disagreement becomes deep and compromise becomes impossible. But that shouldn’t be every freaking time we come together. That should become the exception instead of the rule. As long as we continue down the path of intolerance and confrontation and opposition we are bound to keep riding down this path of mutually assured destruction.
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.
Texas Governor Rick Perry’s busted over his family’s lease at Camp Niggerhead. Mr. Perry, already on the ropes for his inability to make consistently coherent sentences of meaning during a presidential debate, really doesn’t need the added scrutiny of possibly being racially insensitive. The Texas Governor is learning a very hard lesson about how different politics can be when running for President. Shit you thought was over and buried years ago seem to bubble up to the surface like a backed up septic tank when you’re running in this league. And the smell can be very putrid and potent and it will grab everybody’s attention like a bitch slap at a wedding reception. And the competition is always circling around like sharks sniffing for just a hint of something to sink the teeth into in order to drag the wounded down to his or her political demise.
Mr. Perry is learning firsthand what it means to be in this league. Camp Niggerhead was a gift to his rivals. After dissatisfaction with conservative contenders Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Newt “Doggy-Dog” Gingrich, Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman, and whomever else had the misfortune of jumping into this crowded pool, conservatives practically begged Mr. Perry to throw his ten gallon hat into the ring and Mr. Perry was happy to oblige with a grand entrance that saw him rocket to the lead of opinion polls.
But his luster began to tarnish almost immediately. His debate performances showed him woefully unprepared and somewhat confused about conservative policies. Mr. Perry forgot that conservatives don’t care about the children of undocumented foreigners in our midst. Some of these people are the type who would cheer a man dying because he made the unfortunate mistake of not being able to afford healthcare. These people cheer Texas putting to death more people than the rest of the states combined. He wants to educate the children of undocumented workers? Mr. Perry may have been a charmer, but there isn’t enough swagger in Texas to make this cowpoke acceptable as the presidential nominee for conservatives. Mr. Perry may have been Maybe conservatives have had their fill of off the charts charm with little substance from watching the Sarah Palin show. Camp Niggerhead is only the latest in a series of unfortunate events that made Perry unacceptable as a presidential contender.
The black Mr. Cain heard about Mr. Perry’s troubles back at the ranch and in true political shark form he sank his teeth into this story. As the only black contender in the game at this point, Mr. Cain would have a unique perspective on the name of Mr. Perry’s old stomping grounds that doesn’t apply to the others. The black man who said black people have been brainwashed anointed himself as the primary spokesman to comment about Mr. Perry’s racial insensitivity. In an interview on Fox News Sunday, Mr. Cain said that there isn’t a more vile, negative word than the nigger word and for Mr. Perry’s family to leave it on a rock at the entrance of their leased space as long as they did is just plain insensitive to a lot of black people in this country.
Instead of jumping onto the “Perry might be racially insensitive” bandwagon, the other political contenders decided to leave this story alone. Who knows where they go to do their camping get away. Camp Niggerhead is no big deal. Camp Coon’s Noose and Camp Tar Babies Can Take Their Asses Back To Africa might just be the tip of this iceberg. Michele Bachmann, who made the misfortunate mistake of claiming she had anecdotal evidence that the HPV vaccine that Mr. Perry approved for young girls throughout Texas caused retardation, wouldn’t even touch this story. In short, conservatives didn’t care. It’s only a racial epithet after all.
The next day Mr. Cain was singing a totally different tune. On Monday, Mr. Cain did a total one eighty and said that he didn’t care about the camp. He said that he understood that Mr. Perry said he painted over the rock with the word that was so offensive just twenty four hours earlier and that was the end of that. He didn’t care and the story was over. Who yanked Cain’s chain?
Generally speaking many conservative simply don’t care about racism. It’s never a problem to see that somebody on the right might be racially insensitive. The problem is the person who identifies the person who might be a racist. Racism is to many conservatives what catnip is to many cats. They enjoy it and it can be somewhat intoxicating. It’s like a dirty little secret that they can share amongst themselves to show how well they fit in and how they really do understand the need to protect traditional values that seem to run along the lines of white privilege. It’s why we see so many conservative politicians caught with their hand in the racially insensitive cookie jar.
And when one of their racist club members gets a little too careless, conservatives are more likely to rally around that person instead of ostracize them. They become a solid brick wall of protection for racial intolerance. And in his attempt to run Mr. Perry down, Herman Cain ran into that solid brick wall like Wile E. Coyote chasing the road runner. These conservatives are more offended by the alleged political correctness of people pointing at their racism than the racism itself. And for Mr. Cain to keep poking at this hornet’s nest could backfire significantly. Better to let these sleeping dogs lie.
And Mr. Cain wonders why the vast majority of black people are brainwashed to stay away from the GOP.
A little while ago I was listening on the radio to an interview with a conservative political pundit discussing whether or not the tea party is a harbinger of racism. You’ll have to forgive me. The interview was something like three weeks ago and the man’s name escapes me. I remember he responded with the usual, “that’s a great question.” He then went into a story about how in the early days of the tea party’s national recognition, there were some people who would come to the tea party rallies with signs that could be considered at best racially insensitive and at worse outright racially provocative. These people were approached and were asked to remove their sign because this wasn’t the image the tea party wanted to project. With few exceptions the people complied. This was supposed to be an example of how the tea party works to stop racism from infiltrating its ranks.
But while listening to the article I thought of two questions that should’ve been asked. The first question I thought the interviewer should ask was why would so many white people with a bone to pick with racial minorities feel comfortable boldly and openly expressing their affinity for racism at a tea party rally? Is it possible that with a focus on political solutions to issues that appear to favor the white community at the expense of other minorities, is it possible that such bias in its approach to protect the status quo that protects traditional American values that tolerates or even worse nurtures racial disparity speaks to people who are racists at heart? I think that’s a good question.
No other national political organization has done more to sow racial discord than the tea party. Instead of seeking deeper racial understanding the tea party wants to say that the status of our racial condition is nothing that needs to be examined and is not a factor for government. When tea party politicians like Kentucky Senator Rand Paul campaign with messages saying that business owners have a constitutional right to be as racist as they want to be, when tea party politicians say that property rights trump people’s right not to be denied products and/or services based on nothing more than the color of somebody’s skin, people with a racism in their heart see a kindred soul who understands the need to protect racism at the expense of racial harmony. That sounds good to many people who happen to have businesses and/or property and a hatred for black people. While people control the vast majority of wealth and businesses in this country so it’s a no brainer that they would support such a policy. For the government to do anything to correct the wealth imbalance is socialism run amok. A racist would be stupid to lend their support to anything else.
My second question was what would be the difference if somebody who is truly racist is holding a sign or not? To a person who has been the victim of racism it wouldn’t matter if the racist has on a shirt or is holding a sign that irrefutably reveals their racism. A racist by any other name or by any other identification is still a bigot. So when the tea party supporter says that they ask racists to remove their signs, one interpretation of what they are saying is that your racist sign is not welcome, but you the racist are welcome. Whether the company has a sign that says whites only or not, if the policy is not to offer service to black people the result is the same. While the sign might be offensive, it is not the real problem. The real problem is the person who feels entitled to hold the sign.
The tea party tells its members that it is okay for them to be racist, they just don’t want to give everyone else the benefit of having the racism they support out in the open. They are more than happy to keep racism on the down low so that they can make the false claim that the party is not out to sow seeds of racial disharmony. They are just trying to market a political stance of conservatism that is racially neutral but favors corporate America, another institution that is supposedly racially neutral, but somehow benefits the white community far more than it benefits the black community.
After listening to the interview I came away more convinced than ever that the racism of the tea party is thick and is here to stay. They may no longer come to the rally with their sign depicting Barack Obama as a lying African or as a witch doctor with a bone through his nose. They might not come to the rallies with the signs that have blatant racial epithets or racially insensitive remarks. But many of the people who did hoist those signs above their heads for everyone to see are still calling themselves members of the tea party. The tea party is chock full of people who are more than happy to wear their racism on their sleeves. For some of us, we don’t need a sign to clue us in to their true nature. Whether or not they hold signs over their heads all the signs you need to see who these people are and how these people think are still there.
I was disgusted when I watched the video clip of the last Republican presidential debate and heard some people from the audience cheering at Ron Paul’s suggestion that we should change our social priorities so that we let people who are without adequate medical insurance and who are injured and in need of help die. Mr. Paul says that we are a free country and that freedom means we have the freedom to take risk. The supposition is totally false because it’s not like we have the same choices, the same options to say yea or nay to health insurance.
Whether or not you have coverage is largely a matter of luck. It’s possible that you did everything you could to be responsible. You went to school, studied hard, got a degree at the top of your class, and went to work for a company like Enron, only to watch your career, your savings, and everything you worked for evaporate in thin air. Or you could have worked faithfully on the Pontiac assembly line at General Motors. You could have watched helplessly as the management approved crappy cars for production year after year until the company becomes a mere shadow of its former self. Then the day comes when your job is axed and you find yourself out on the street and your only skill is attaching steering columns to dashboards or whatever. The following year you suffer an accident and in Ron Paul’s vision of the world, you should’ve made better choices. Too bad, so sad, maybe a church or a charity will help you out. You should’ve been more responsible.
It is a fact of American life, that we all have the same chances for opportunities of success. The way things are going, the only way we the people will pursue life, liberty, and happiness is if we have the deep pockets to have all the resources necessary to weather any financial setback that comes our way. Instead of living at the mercy of fickle employers who’d be more than happy to lay off employees by the tens of thousands we need to be responsible and learn to do for ourselves. But then again, if we take the risk of trying to be more responsible and do something for ourselves and it doesn’t work, we should’ve been more responsible. It’s almost a no-win scenario.
It was sad to see Mr. Paul’s solution to our social problems was for all of us to do more to become less socially oriented and more individually oriented. But it is nothing we haven’t heard before. Mr. Paul isn’t the first person to say that people looking for some kind of help should take more responsibility for themselves. It’s the same message Barack Obama has given the black community way before he became President of the United States.
Many moons ago, Mr. Obama gave the black community the same message about responsibility. Despite the fact that unemployment in the black community is higher, despite the fact that on average wages for black people lag behind our white counterparts, despite the fact that the average black families only has a fraction of the wealth of the average white family, despite the fact that black families don’t have the resources to help their kids get a higher education, despite the fact that many black people live in communities without the infrastructure and investment of our nearby white counterparts, Mr. Obama said that black people need to take more responsibility for what’s happening in our lives. For black people, what’s the difference between this and what Mr. Paul said?
Today, Mr. Obama is fighting hard to keep his job even though it looks like the writing’s on the wall. The stubbornly high unemployment rates are casting a long, hard, dark shadow over Mr. Obama’s future. The enthusiasm is gone out of his political support and he’s doing everything he can to get it back. He has even gone so far as to make steps to woo black people like his recent appearances on Tom Joyner’s radio program. Indeed, that was the same Mr. Obama who has been stiff arming the black community with his callous rhetoric like black people need to be more responsible or he isn’t trying to be the President of the black community. Now Mr. Obama sings a different tune. But are black people willing to listen?
In his bid to become President, Mr. Obama managed to win the hearts of the black community without making a single solitary commitment to the issues impacting the black community. His appearances in venues geared towards black people were extremely rare. And when he did show up, he used language of contempt that all but directly said that we could not and should not count on him to do anything for us.
Three years ago Mr. Obama didn’t give black people much hope. The black community never got the assurances he gave to other communities. Mr. Obama went to Joe the plumber’s neighborhood and talked about spreading the wealth around. We were told to quit belly aching and show some responsibility. I hope everyone in the black community remembers those words.
If Ron Paul changes his tune and comes back to say he’s ready to support whatever programs it takes to help people in need, I’d have to take his change of heart with a ton of salt. We’ve seen his behavior and we’ve heard his rhetoric. He doesn’t want to help those who can’t help themselves. That’s at his core and I appreciate him giving us a glimpse into what he thinks and who he truly is. If he desperately wanted the White House and thought if he said something different he could win our support. And if that happens, I could believe he had a change of heart, but why? To me, the office of the President is too important to take a chance like that.
Mr. Obama has shown us what he thinks as well. He was given the job of President and it looks like he squandered it. Three years ago he all but told the black community he wasn’t going to help. Today we see that he was a man of his word. And now he says that he’s going to do things differently in the future. His given speeches saying there’s more work to do and he’s ready to fight on behalf of the people. He’ll even tell black people he’s ready to work for us as well. He must be desperate. And when people are desperate they will say things they may not really mean. And that’s a problem that developed by his own doing. He spent the better part of three years ignoring the black community. What makes me believe he’s ready to do something different now? The office of the President is too important to take that chance.
Has it been almost a year already? I have to admit that I haven’t been writing with the frequency I once did. My nearly daily entries have waned to nearly weekly in some cases. But it has been almost a year since we’ve had the chance to read an entry from The Black Sentinel. I was more than happy to see the email saying that she had a new entry. I returned to her blog to see a brand new post after almost a year. My how time flies.
The new post was named “Trickle Down Knowledge” and featured a picture of the participants in the last Republican presidential debate. I was stopped in my tracks trying to exercise a little prejudice by imagining what the article was about. The title was an obvious play on “trickle down economics”, the title of the mostly conservative economic theory that if we take steps to make the wealthy even wealthier they would reciprocate by using their new levels of über abundance to help the rest of us. This seems to be the main message of popular conservative politics these days where candidates promise corporations the perfect environment for business with little government regulation, little fear of judicial interference, little impact from unions or any other organization to challenge big business, no minimum wage, and anything else that promises to benefit corporations at the expense of the rest of us.
It is understandable that these presidential candidates would support such economic theory. These people vying for the presidency are all much wealthier than the average joe. These people push economic and social policies that are bound to serve themselves very well. And no matter which one of these people wins, they all will share in the bounty. But what I really don’t understand is why people who are struggling in their day-to-day would support this corporate welfare on a silver platter.
I find it frustrating to see everyday joes actually advocate that we should cut tax rates so that we can justify cutting back on our investments in education and infrastructure and in our ability to provide for the benefit of all. It is far better that we keep our money to ourselves instead of helping each other improve our collective living conditions.
As a national collective, we think America is the best country in the world. But when some of us think of the concept of us coming together as a nation to develop social programs for the betterment of all of us, America is no longer a collective but a collection of individuals with no social responsibility to help each other. In fact, quit waiting for somebody to help you because if these people had their way, ain’t nobody coming to help. Quit waiting for some kind of handout because the only people who deserve a handout are the people at the top of our financial pyramid who don’t need it at all.
So people who don’t want to see the success of people at the bottom of our social structure look for government representation that epitomizes their social beliefs and wants. If you think that it’s a problem to have a social net that protects everyone and not just the wealthy, then you’ll look for representation that will look to protect the wealthy at the expense of everyone. It’s better to make cuts in education, supposedly the foundation for success, rather than raise tax rates that would help ensure that all of our children receive an education that would prepare them for our collective future.
And so the people in the picture represent the cream of the crop for this kind of thinking. Government is the problem and these people promise to run government under that philosophy. There are conservatives who support education. There are conservatives who understand the need of a balanced approach to taxation. There are conservatives who understand the need to keep government responsible to everyone and not just the wealthy. But such moderate conservative leadership could never succeed in today’s anti-Obama at any and all cost environment.
In today’s conservative environment, nationally mandated government healthcare cost jobs and is just a small step away from socialism and communism and everything that goes against capitalism. But the same mandate from a state level of government is perfectly acceptable. We are told that government interference is keeping companies from being successful, even though today’s corporations are making more money than ever in the middle of an economic crisis. Obama care is what’s keeping America down, but America was going down before Mr. Obama even took office. What gives?
The truth of the matter is that few are taking an honest look at the political situation and are making their choices and philosophies on nothing but rhetoric and long held but unsubstantiated beliefs. If cutting corporate taxes created jobs we’d have tons of jobs by now. Cutting those taxes further isn’t going to create a single job. Cutting investments in education and keeping the populace ignorant isn’t going to create a single job no matter how much rhetoric we hear to the contrary.
People need to read and to learn for themselves. Simply looking for people who do nothing but recite rhetoric isn’t the answer. Listening to somebody recite all the differences between pit bulls and hockey moms doesn’t help. What helps is information. Taking an educated approach to the issues and taking a thoughtful analysis of the solutions being proposed is bound to be a more thoughtful approach. If nothing else it should lead to a better understanding of what’s going on.
Now if you’ll excuse me I have an article to read. It’s been a year since The Black Sentinel has written an article. I need to see what exactly has brought her back on the scene.