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.
Berkeley College Republicans at the University of California have made an analogy using baked goods about legalized race based discrimination. The students were selling cupcakes and other bakery items based on a sliding price scale based on a customer’s obvious skin color. White people were charged two dollars for a cupcake that would be sold to black people for seventy five cents. A woman would get an additional twenty five cents discount. Native Americans would benefit the most with a charge of twenty five cents. A Native American woman gets her cupcakes for free. The price structure failed to mention people with Muslim ancestry. Based on their treatment in current day America I’m sure the Berkeley College Republicans would have to pay Muslims to take a cupcake with their little scenario.
But as an analogy for racial discrimination the Berkeley College Republicans bake sale is woefully inadequate. As an analogy, it fails to take into consideration the history of racism that has existed ever since people of varying skin colors were introduced into this culture and it fails to take into consideration the current racial disparity that continues to impact our culture today. Today, because of a history of institutionalized racism that was sanctioned by each and every level of government in the United States from the local to the federal, the average white family enjoys twenty times the wealth of the average black family. Today, because of a history of racial discrimination that has made it a given that black people are automatically inferior to white people, black unemployment rates run twice the level of white unemployment rates. Black people were enslaved and were considered the property of white people.
This country has a rich history of unfair treatment towards people of color. Our labor was taken without compensation. By law, black children were prevented from obtaining any form of education. The United States Constitution was written the provision that blacks were only sixty percent human and it was legal for white people to consider black people little more than farm animals. And when the slavery of black people was finally ended, there was nothing done to correct the imbalance that has become the norm of this country. Black families were broken up because some plantation owner didn’t see a fellow human being with the same standards for family attachments as white people. Our ancestors were sold and traded by people like so many Pokemon playthings.
The Berkeley College Republicans want to examine the issue from a totally benign perspective that white people are just arbitrarily charged more because they are white. But for that analogy to be accurate the sellers of the cupcakes need to explain why white people are being charged more. They would have to explain that there was a history of cupcakes being made in bakeries that benefitted from the enslavement of black people who made the pastries day and night in conditions that were intolerable and without any form of compensation. They would have to explain that the bakery itself was built on land that was taken from the American natives who were pushed off the land at gun point. They would explain that the profits made from the history of selling cupcakes that were baked using slave labor was used to build white people’s schools and paid for the development of entire white communities that benefitted white people, excluded black people, and became a major component of the gross domestic product. And then, when somebody decided that the enslavement of black people was wrong, that same bakery then decided that it only served white people and wouldn’t allow black people to purchase its goods. But when that was determined to be too discriminatory and black people should be served, black people had to go to the backdoor in order to buy the cupcakes. And it should also be noted that the bakery that benefitted from the free labor of blacks decided that it wouldn’t hire any black people for its employment opportunities. And when it finally decided to hire black people, black people weren’t paid as well as the white people who did the same job and were given opportunities to climb the bakery’s corporate ladder. But the bakery finally got its act together. After all the racial discrimination that for generations took advantage of black people and then excluded black people and then unfairly treated black people, the bakery decided that to make amends, white people have to pay two dollars for cupcakes.
For the bake sale analogy to be correct, it needs to take into consideration America’s history of racial discrimination and its current condition of racial disparity. For some people to walk up and start selling cupcakes on a sliding scale for a day or two might give people the impression that the tepid steps this country takes to try and correct generations of institutionalized racial discrimination of minorities might appear that we are being unfair to white people, especially to white men. But really, the alleged discrimination of some white guy today paying two dollars for a cupcake compares little to the discrimination that others have suffered for generations. Generally speaking, if we really want to compare these alleged racial discriminations, white people who pay more for a cupcake really need to think about how little that might cost compared to all the wealth they control. In the final analysis, two dollars for a cupcake is a small price to pay for everything they’ve received.
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.
Another Republican presidential debate takes place in just a few hours. New to the debating game is Texas Governor Rick Perry. Out of the game is former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is no longer the front runner, ceding that position to Mr. Perry who is currently leading in the polls by double digits. Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann is struggling to survive with some kind of relevancy. And other candidates are scattered throughout the polls trying to get their fair share of attention in what appears to be a mad dash, “Death Race 2000” style to the right.
The popular conservative candidates promise to put America back on track with all kinds of nothing new ideas such as the deregulation of corporate America, lower taxes for corporate America so that it would be more competitive to corporations that operate in other parts of the world, tort reform so corporate America could operate without fear of damaging lawsuits, and changes to the federal government so that it would be inconsequential in the lives of the public. And when these programs make corporate America more profitable, corporate America would hire more people with all the extra cash that would end up in their coffers.
One fact that theses conservatives presidential candidates have forgotten is that corporate America isn’t hurting for profits. It is estimated that corporate America is sitting on trillions of dollars of cash money that is being held outside the country. If that is true, and nobody seems to argue otherwise, corporations are already extremely profitable. How many more trillions does corporate America needs in order to bring a dollar back home to help the struggling economy of the country that made them the profitable global conglomerates that they have become?
It is argued that corporations don’t want to bring this money back to the homeland because of the heavy burden of the higher tax rates on corporate profits. If we want to compete in world markets then we have to have a fair and level playing field. If that’s the case and we need to copy what’s being done elsewhere, why don’t these candidates argue for universal healthcare the way other countries provide universal healthcare to their public? Why don’t these candidates argue that we need to invest more in our infrastructure the way other countries are investing in their infrastructure? Why don’t these candidates argue for educational investments the way other countries are investing in education? Does it not make sense that if we are going to do whatever the rest of the world does for its corporate entities, shouldn’t we be following these same examples for the people?
Instead, while corporate America is promised every handout imagined under the sun, conservatives are promising to give the flesh and blood citizens the cold shoulder under the theory that no flesh and blood body should depend on their government for help. It’s a dog-eat-dog world and we need to practice some tough love in order to get our citizenry to become contributors to our great economy instead of takers addicted handouts. But if handouts and protections are good for our corporate citizens, how come they aren’t just as good for our flesh and blood citizens?
Making people, corporate and flesh and blood alike, at the top of our financial ladder even more profitable won’t have much of an impact on the rest of us. Trickledown economics work only when those that have wealth are required to contribute to the social pie. Corporate America, and other people who are sitting on massive amounts of wealth, don’t come off of that stuff without a fight. Case in point, even though corporate managers see the economy struggling firsthand, these people would prefer to keep trillions of dollars out of the economy because they need more certainty that they can move that money while paying as little as possible. Without some incentive to contribute, most deep pocket entities would keep as much money as possible.
Corporations that operate with impunity will occasionally and regularly fail to rise to a moral or ethical responsibility, but would prefer to operate on the lesser standard of a legally mandated responsibility. A legal responsibility would be something like a government regulation or a court mandated solution. But the conservatives are promising less government and minimal court interference. It is a wealth generation machine that will benefit only a small portion of the public.
In the conservative vision for America, corporations will do very well. But non corporate entities might not be so lucky. A conservative America might bring trillions of dollars back to America, but that money won’t be evenly distributed throughout our economy. It will remain in a few hands and the end result would be nothing noticeable for the average joe. And when we see that all those tax breaks and tort reforms and all those other changes meant to give corporate America a handout didn’t work, we’ll be told that all we have to do is give more tax cuts and more reforms and more opportunities to make wealth to the few and they’ll get even richer while the economy continues to struggle. We followed the tax cuts and tort reform and deregulation formula through the eight years that George Bush Jr. called the White House home. It didn’t work then. It won’t get the economy out of its doldrums now.
While I’m somewhat relieved that a debt deal has been reached and we can put this sordid ordeal behind us to a certain extent, it’s very hard to ignore the fact that I feel politically violated. The people we have voted for to represent our collective interest have allowed themselves to be bent to the wishes of a small but vocal minority. The for right conservatives that call themselves the tea party and their admirers have hijacked the political system and have succeeded in making the fairly routine process of raising the debt ceiling into a Constitutional crises that threatened the global economy. With America on the brink of self-inflicted financial ruin, these people encouraged their Congressional gladiators to shut government down at any and all cost. Cooler heads may have prevailed and the government managed to avoid calamity. But if the details of the debt deal can be believed, the conservatives should be having a hell of a celebration today.
Conservatives claim they are doing whatever they can to protect the economy by destroying it. Any sense of fairness was thrown out the window back when they refused to let anybody keep the tax cuts implemented by former President George Bush Jr. if the wealthy didn’t have the same deal. The right will swear up and down that if the wealthy pay anything more than they already do then unemployment will suffer. So they resisted and refused and low and behold they got their way. The left, lead by President Barack Obama himself, folded faster than Superman in an origami contest.
And then this crazy ordeal was kicked into high gear with the debt ceiling discussions. Emboldened by the left’s cave to their earlier demands they repeated the process. No debt ceiling increase unless we have spending cuts with absolutely no revenue increase. Any plan that included a single wealthy person paying an extra dime to the federal government would be a deal breaker. Too many politicians signed a pledge not to raise any tax revenue and they were going to live by that pledge no matter the consequences. So we got a deal for a debt limit increase that, at least from the left’s perspective, falls significantly short of the mark. Considering the right’s long sought after goal of reducing or eliminating government funded social services for the not so privileged, it’s a perfect bull’s eye.
In all fairness, it should be noted that Mr. Obama and the majority of the left leaning politicians weren’t ready to deal with the hostage taking tactics from the right. The politicians from the right have been radicalized by tea partiers who insist on taking their country back. I always thought that meant they wanted to take it back as if somebody had stolen it. Now, it appears that they simply want to go back to a time when government allowed big business to operate with abandon. These people act like they want to go back to a time where a lot of people had no access to anything resembling modern healthcare. These people want to go back to a time before America had anything resembling the modern infrastructure that makes life so convenient for us. The same infrastructure that we all take for granted.
The right sent a special breed of people to Washington D.C. to represent their interest. These people had no idea what it means to compromise. In their minds, the whole process was a my way or highway proposition. There was never going to be a compromise. The traditional politician that represented the left was caught off guard with this new opposition. If we are to give Mr. Obama the benefit of doubt, he might say that be is working as hard as he can to govern. But it appears that, as the leader of the political left, he is ill-equipped to hold fast to the convictions of his true political base and wants to compromise on most issues in order to give both sides a reason to dislike his form of executive management or the lack thereof. And too many other politicians on the left are beholden to the old way of doing business to buck their leadership.
Like the people on the political right, the political left may want to vote for people who want to hold fast to their convictions to the point of shutting government down. If the left wants to stop the trend of our political reps caving to their peers on the right time and time again, maybe the left should look for its own hardcore politicians that are willing to hold fast to their convictions just as strongly as the tea party right holds fast to its own. Sometimes you need fire to fight fire. And when government grinds to a hard stop and nothing gets done, at least we can say that we didn’t cave on this one. That might make us feel better when the next bridge collapses and people are killed. It might make us feel better when schools across the country close and our educational system goes back to a one room school house style of teaching.
The founding fathers prepared the United States Constitution for every eventuality that a nation could face, with the one possible exception of deeply entrenched political gridlock, rooted in an intent focus on scoring political points instead of doing the will of the people. It is the will of the people, not the will of all people but the will of the majority, that the United States not default on its debt and protect its fragile economy. At this time, the only way to protect the nation’s economy, and arguably the economy of the world, is to raise the debt ceiling so that we can continue to borrow the money to pay for the bills we have already incurred.
I find it appalling that some of our political leaders, mostly from the conservative side of the political aisle, openly operate under the presumption that America defaulting is nothing to worry about. And some of these people even say that we can default on our financial obligations and our economy would become even stronger. What? Like a lot of people, I’ve missed my fair share of credit card payments. Just didn’t have the funds, I forgot, payments got lost in the mail, whatever. My financial health hardly got better because of it. Credit card companies, banks, and other financial institutions don’t hesitate to jack the payments up substantially with a threefold increase in interest rates. Suddenly I found myself paying a lot more just to keep the status quo. People who have experienced defaulting on a bill or two know what the deal is. Not paying bills does little to give people an incentive to loan you money. In fact, believe it or not it does the exact opposite and you wind up paying more in order to get the credit desired. Protect your credit. It’s why companies like Equifax, Experian, TransUnion and other credit monitoring organizations make money selling us services to protect our financial power.
Even the leadership of second and third world countries know the importance of protecting their credit. Greece, a country right on that cusp between second and third world status and nowhere near the significance of the United States, is working to get the financing so that it won’t trigger a series of unfortunate events that could impact the European countries whose finances support the value of the Euro currency and the rest of the global economy. And with a gross domestic product at a little over three hundred billion dollars, Greece is hardly considered a financial heavy hitter. But nevertheless, people are pulling out the stops to bolster that economy.
With a gross domestic product at more than fourteen trillion dollars, the United States is forty-five times the size of Greece, and its impact to the world economy would be like the tidal wave that sank the Andrea Gail in The Perfect Storm. The United States has gone to war with other countries to protect the dollar and to enforce its reputation as the monetary standard of the world. America’s credit is like gold, you can take it to the bank. At least you used to be able to take it to the bank.
Now, some of our political leaders want to make our economy so unstable that cash would need some kind of collateral to back up its value. Why, because some of our politicians insist on curing our debt woes solely by cutting back on spending. How many times have we heard the mantra that Washington doesn’t have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. People want to insist that any plan to solve this crisis must be revenue neutral because getting more money into the nation’s treasury is a problem. Some of our politicians insist on protecting the financial pockets of the wealthy, hereafter to be referred to as job creators, even though these people already sit on top of enough cash and wealth to hire an entire squadron of additional workers to any workforce. The reasoning for not raising revenue simply doesn’t add up. But it is true that Washington doesn’t have a revenue problem. What it does have is a common sense problem.
When I didn’t pay a bill because I didn’t have the funds, I did whatever I could to raise the money to pay it. I did what I could to cut back on expenses and I did what I could to raise revenue. I had a combination of a revenue problem and a spending problem that contributed to my debt problem. And politicians should be willing to do the same thing when our national treasury falls short. Go figure.
Back in 2001, when times were still fairly good, government enjoyed a surplus, but a recession was beginning to form on the horizon, the conservatives sold the American public on the idea that a cut in taxes would generate jobs and keep the economy afloat. Back then, we had a revenue problem and we had to reduce taxes to give more money back to the public. And even though the vast majority of that money went to the job creators (formerly known as the rich), jobs started to evaporate. Now that the economy has tanked, conservatives are now telling us that we have a revenue problem and that the only thing we should do is now cut spending. Unfortunately, as soon as we get our spending under control, against common sense, somebody might start selling the idea of more tax cuts again and we’ll be back in the same boat.
On Thursday’s Morning Joe, political analyst Mark Halperin called President Barack Obama a “dick” for the President’s press conference where he ridiculed Republican’s for the delay in getting a budget deal done. The President compared the conservatives to his daughters saying that Sasha and Malia don’t wait until the last minute to get their homework done because the girls have the good sense to get their work completed in a timely fashion and that the congress should do what’s necessary to work out a compromise on the budget before the United States government defaults on its debt instead of going on vacation with a deadline looming.
Arguably Mr. Obama was rather condescending. He pointed a damning finger at his political opponents and used his unique position as President to bring attention to their foot dragging on something a lot of people feel is very serious. He did what any politician would do when trying to force an unwilling opponent to compromise more than he or she or they might wish, he took his argument to the public. Mr. Obama may not do it as much as others, but as a politician, he can be expected to participate in the blame game just like any other politician.
For Mr. Halperin to label the President with such a slur for doing what politicians do is truly “dick” behavior. In an attempt to explain himself for his rather unique critique as a supposedly respected political analyst, Mr. Halperin says that Mr. Obama was not being helpful to the negotiating process and was merely playing to his political base. Just think of the audacity of a politician like the President trying to show the people most likely to vote for him in an upcoming election that he can be trusted to fight for their political beliefs in this budget showdown.
So if it is true that Mr. Obama is acting like a “dick”, the where is Mr. Halperin’s condemnation of the conservatives for acting like “dicks” as well? Don’t conservatives deserve the same label for trying to play to their own political base? Or does Mr. Halperin feel that conservative political leaders are trying to appeal to the President’s base and liberals everywhere when they make their announcements that any attempt to increase revenue into the treasury is a non-starter? Where was Mr. Halperin when Republican Majority Whip Eric Cantor walked out of budget negotiations? Was Mr. Cantor a “dick” for his grandstanding to the approval of his conservative base?
It is my guess that Mr. Halperin is being very biased in his judgment of what makes a “dick” and what is responsible political theatrics. And I do believe that when he referred to the President as a “dick”, the conservative Mr. Halperin was doing what he could to appeal to his own conservative base. I might be wrong, but I do believe a lot of conservatives approve of Mr. Obama being called a “dick”. But such a label really does nothing to help move things along. So if Mr. Halperin was judged by his own standards, maybe it would be fair to say that Mr. Halperin was just being a “dick”.
In response to Mr. Halperin’s remark, MSNBC has announced that Mr. Halperin will be suspended indefinitely. Liberals will applaud the response while conservatives will cry foul. It’s no different than when Mr. Halperin called Mr. Obama a “dick”. Conservatives applauded the assessment while liberals cried foul. But that’s no different than when the President said conservatives act like irresponsible children who know that their homework assignment is coming due. Liberals will applaud and conservatives will moan. Just like when a conservative negotiator walks out of a budget meeting. Conservatives applaud while liberals howl in protest. And on and on it goes.
The bottom line is that the way things are going we all can be considered acting like “dicks”. We are a country of “dicks” run be a political system that encourages people to act like “dicks”. We are all part of this “members” only club. Mr. Halperin may have been right in his assessment of Mr. Obama, but unfortunately it appears that he was totally off the mark in his assessment of just about everything else in the world of politics. Instead of acting like a responsible political analyst with a bias for their own political leanings and letting the “dick” behavior happen, Mr. Halperin made the choice to show his own “dick”-like behavior.
Maybe you’ve seen the video of Arizona Senator John McCain practically calling a reporter a liar when it comes to the military’s handling of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy effecting gays and lesbians serving in the military (click here to see the video). Mr. McCain was adamant. He didn’t care what evidence anybody could produce to the contrary. Mr. McCain was insistent that the military does not actively search the emails of its personnel to find people who were homosexual. Mr. McCain said he knew people in the military and based on that knowledge alone he would defend the entire military. It was impossible that anybody there would do anything otherwise. People in the military simply do not do anything that goes against policy.
And to think that at one time this man was the conservatives’ best shot at obtaining the White House.
Mr. McCain’s support of the entire military might have been admirable if it wasn’t so bullheaded. He simply refused, or at least said he refused, to understand that there are people in the military who would use military resources to actively find homosexuals in the military who never made their sexual orientation an issue of their service. Mr. McCain didn’t care what anybody said, it simply doesn’t happen. It is totally impossible and any thought of an investigation to determine if anything might be different is a total waste of time and not worth his attention. The military would never do anything to harm any gay or lesbian person serving in the armed forces. It simply isn’t something that people in the military are concerned about.
This is interesting because just the other day every last Republicans serving in the United States Senate voted against any change to the military’s policy towards homosexual serving because of its potential harm to the military machine. There are way too many people serving in the military who are so against anybody wearing their unorthodox sexual orientation openly that they would be willing to abandon their service to their country as a protest to an end to the current status quo. But Mr. McCain will insist that these same people would never do anything to harm the career of their fellow homosexual soldiers. Can you really have it both ways?
I suffer from no illusion that there are people who are willing to give up their military career to keep our homosexual brothers and sisters in their rightful place. A gay or lesbian soldier enjoying the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts is simply not the American way. Too many of us feel that we need to have strong reminders to people who are different in order to keep our mindset of heterosexual superiority.
Everyone knows that homosexuals serve in our armed forces right along with their heterosexual counterparts. Even the people in the military who would like to rid the military of all gay and lesbian personnel know that these people are serving. That’s probably why they would be so willing to break the rules to expose the homosexuals among us. To think otherwise is to pull a maneuver that’s the equivalent of sticking one’s head in the sand or plugging one’s ears with one’s index fingers.
Our military is not an organization of saints. This is the same organization that is associated with the Abu Ghraib correctional facility scandal that exposed the physical and mental abuse of so many Iraqi citizens at the hands of so many military personnel. True, only a handful of military personnel were prosecuted for those crimes. But to think that a few grunts at the bottom of the military chain organized that entire fiasco is to truly underestimate the deviousness of the military machine.
Like any organization of hundreds of thousands of people, the personnel that comprise the military run the gamut of human behavior. That’s why it’s such an asinine statement to say that it is totally impossible that anyone in the military can be bastard enough to destroy somebody’s career out of spite. Personally, I know a lot of people who have served in the military and a good percentage of those people don’t have the integrity to change a light bulb let alone keep their nose out of the affairs of fellow soldiers despite what Mr. McCain might insist on to the contrary.
Believe it or not, I can appreciate the military machine of the Untied States. I like the fact that the mightiest military on the face of the earth is intended to keep us safe. But that intention can be easily misconstrued for an alternative purpose. And just like the military keeps us safe, we need to do our best to keep our military safe. We can’t afford to pretend that corruption in our military is such an impossibility that we cannot entertain the thought of examining evidence that might prove otherwise. Our military deserves better. The people in the military serve to protect the freedoms of all Americans and not just the ones who happen not to be homosexual.
Some people are homophobic. They hate gays and lesbians to the point that they would actively wreck the careers of their fellow soldiers for whatever reason floats their boat. Like all citizens of the Untied States, people in the military are free to hate that which they may hate. But they cannot discriminate against people solely on the basis of that hate. People in the military are just as capable of breaking laws and policies as anybody else. You’d think that somebody who would want to be President of the Untied States would work to protect all its citizens despite their sexual orientation. Mr. McCain proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that we cannot sit back under same false assurance that somebody else can handle things on our behalf.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has declared a state of emergency because of the oil continuing to spill from one of the pipelines that was connected to the Deepwater Horizon rig before it exploded, caught fire, and sank into waters more than a mile deep. The resulting slick, already more than a hundred miles long and forty miles wide, is predicted to dwarf the spill from the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska that happened more than two decades ago. There are already reports that the oil is starting to collect on the shores at the mouth of the Mississippi River.
President Barack Obama has vowed to use every resource available including the military. The Obama administration has assembled top officials from Homeland Security, the Coast Guard, the Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency and announced an aggressive effort to fight the spill.
Mr. Jindal has requested federal assistance for the Louisiana state fishermen, asking the Secretary of Commerce to declare a commercial fisheries failure in order to clear the way for the fisherman to receive something akin to welfare. This is the same Bobby Jindal who became the primary proof that the Republican Party was all inclusive and not just a white boy’s and girl’s club. Mr. Jindal was selected to give the Republican Party’s response to Mr. Obama’s first congressional address. In his response, Mr. Jindal criticized Mr. Obama saying that the proper role of the federal government was not to become larger. Mr. Jindal stressed that the federal government should refrain from unnecessary spending. As an example, Mr. Jindal ridiculed the government for spending precious federal dollars on the study of volcanoes. Why do people in Louisiana need to help contribute for the preparation of a disaster elsewhere?
Today Mr. Jindal is displaying a full reversal. As arguably the greatest oil spill starts to poison Louisiana’s fragile ecosystem along the gulf, Mr. Jindal wants help from the same federal government he ridiculed just a year ago as out of touch with good national fiscal responsibility.
Now that Mr. Jindal needs help for his state, he understands the importance of having a government in a position to help. Gone is all that talk about independence for the people and all those dumb ideas about how government should not be in people’s way. Mr. Jindal wants to take advantage of a government that stands capable to help any state despite the fact. There are a bunch of people in others states that could say why should people outside Louisiana care about Louisiana’s coast? Thankfully, a lot of people understand the concept of government, which is nothing but a collection of people, coming to the aid of our own.
Mr. Jindal’s behavior is similar to the behavior exhibited by many conservatives who suddenly find their feet in other people’s shoes. People who previously spent their lives admonishing others for accepting welfare would have a different opinion when they find themselves in need of help because of circumstances beyond their control. There are people who will proudly wave around signs telling the government not to expand healthcare coverage and to keep its hands off of their Medicare. Some people are too quick to say that we don’t need to help anybody when they have all of the security they could want. But as soon as they lose their job and have exhausted their resources and have used every bootstrap they could find to no avail, people have a totally different understanding of what it means to be in need and why it is so important to have people who have a more inclusive sense of social responsibility.
There is little doubt that if the oil spill happened elsewhere, say it happened in the Pacific off the coast of California, Mr. Jindal would be singing a totally different, compassionless tune. More than likely he would continue the staunchly conservative stand where people believe that our federal government shouldn’t be a government for the people. If it was California that was in trouble, Mr. Jindal would probably do another one of his too bad so sad speeches, but the government of the people, by the people, and for the people isn’t meant to save anybody.
The question is that now that Mr. Jindal knows first hand what it feels like to be in need and have no choice but to rely on the federal government for assistance, you would think that he would have more compassion for people who are less fortunate. But then again, people who lead our governments, whether they be at the local, state, national, global, or anything in-between, above, or below any one of these levels, should come with the foresight and compassion necessary to think about things from a more socially responsible perspective. A state governor should already come prepackaged with a heightened sense of consideration for others.
I don’t know if this was a surprise to anybody with a clear understanding of the black community’s relationship with the Republican Party. But in a speech at DePaul University in Chicago, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele admitted that for the past forty years the party of the conservatives had a southern style strategy that focused primarily on the needs of its white male constituents in the southern states while simultaneously alienating the African American community.
About forty years ago America was in the infancy of the civil rights movement. This is about the time people like Alabama Governor George Wallace was standing in the doorway of Alabama University and made it clear that racial segregation was a major entitlement for the white community. These are the same white people who spat on and harassed black people who sat at lunch carters demanding service. These are the same white people who threatened black students as they tried to attend Little Rock High School. These are the same white people who cheered and applauded when the news hit the airwaves the civil rights icon Dr. King was murdered as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. And these are the same people who wanted to use their political influence to keep the black community from becoming the true equal of the dominant community as much as possible.
Now, considering that this is the attitude of the pool of people serving as the party’s base, what incentive does a black person with strong affiliations to the black community have to support such a political agenda? It’s a fair bet that the great majority of the black people who call themselves Republicans have zero interest in addressing the issues pertinent to the black community. Yes, a nation wide unemployment rate approaching double digits might be pretty important to everyone, but the black community has been dealing with double digit unemployment rates for years. While the national rate might be somewhere in the ten percent range, the black community rate might be up in the sixteen percent range. But this issue of unemployment rates doesn’t register as a problem until it becomes a problem to the dominant community.
Some people will point a finger at Mr. Steele, not the middle one, and say that he’s off his rocker. The Republican Party is the party that freed the slaves after all. Any Republican affiliation with anybody who indulges in racism is totally coincidental and is often considered an anomaly to the larger party and any act of racism is an isolated incident from people who don’t have a single racist bone in their body. True, there might not be a single racist bone, but there are more than enough acts of racism by some high profile conservatives to call into question conservative’s sensitivity to matters of race.
More often than not conservatives will say that there’s absolutely nothing in their party’s agenda to prevent people from the black community from getting their fair share of the American dream. All black people have to do is work hard or get a quality education where they can compete fairly for various opportunities. But as soon as the black community asks for so much as a dime to make black community schools the equal of schools in the white community because the black community schools have been left to fall into such poor conditions, conservatives will say that black people need to stop asking for handouts and pull themselves up by their bootstrap. If black people would only learn to think outside the box and demonstrate some kind of personal responsibility and quit trying to appeal to the dominant community’s sense of social responsibility.
Many conservatives who heard Mr. Steele’s political assessment will simply dismiss him as irrelevant. Many will say that Mr. Steele is simply trying to inject some degree of race into the debate as to why so many of his party constituents see him as such an embarrassment to their cause. Many conservatives will say that their party is truly color blind and is far more effective at helping the black community through rough times with a social responsibility cheerfully referred to as tough love instead of the doting mother kind of love that retards personal growth. Funny how these people don’t have a problem being a doting mother to one of America’s corporate conglomerates that lobbies hard to get a multi billion dollar contract.
Many people will say that Mr. Steele missed the mark. They will say that if anything is holding the black community back it is black people’s insistence for undeserved handouts and special consideration. And that is one way to look at things. It could be called the conservative way of looking at things. But when we see high profile conservatives referring to black people with racially charged terms or descriptions, and so many conservatives continue to support such blatant disregard for the black community, it is a serious misrepresentation of facts to say that these attitudes play no roll in the subjugation and alienation of black people.
Whether or not people see Mr. Steele’s statement as accurate is moot. Whether we recognize it as true or not is little more than a matter of perception. Conservatives will say that there is no foundation. People in the black community will say it is about time somebody in the Republican Party admitted what has been going on for the past forty years or so. Do black people have any reason to vote for the Republican Party? Not really. As far as the majority of the black community thinks, the Republicans appear to be the worse of two evils.