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I have written, and read, quite extensively regarding the struggle in which black Americans have engaged for the last 300 years in the United States. What struck me last week is that the paradigm may now be shifting in a way heretofore not seen, nor expected.
After seeing many of the polls regarding Roy Moore and Alabama last week, it appears that black voters generally, and female black voters specifically, may have started the tide turning against those who would run for public office on a Trump-inspired, sexist, racist, unapologetically xenophobic platform, betting that the least informed, educated and civic-minded of us would allow them to ride into office on a wave of nationalistic hatred.
If I am right, then black voters are historically positioned to assert themselves for the benefit of us all in the coming elections. They did it in 2008 when they helped to elect Barack Obama. If they can keep their momentum, they can do it again, and provide a service to their country that may not believe is deserved, but will certainly be noticed.
Dear Conservative Americans
We here at the Islamic State (praise be to Allah) also known to you as ISIS or ISIL want to reassure you that we have no intention of coming to your country to attack you. We realize that many of you think we are already there, since that phony ex-CIA agent on Fox, Wayne Simmons (recently arrested for impersonating a CIA agent), told you about these so-called “sleeper cells” all over your country. We got a really good laugh about that, but recently realized that none of that is necessary.
This revelation came after the most recent attack by one of your “deranged lunatics” (you know, since that is what you call your Christian terrorists), upon a Planned Parenthood facility. We realized that rather than spend all the money on travel, suicide vests, bomb-making laboratories as well as the explosives themselves, plus risking our own lives on the transport and detonation of these devices, that our work would be redundant.
We could never bring as many guns into your country as you already have. We could never import as many haters of your government as you already have. We could never, in a thousand years, kill as many American as you kill in a year, all by yourselves. The kind of hatred and distrust that you have for yourselves could never be duplicated by a few thousand ISIS members, so why bother?
We do have our differences though. We, at least, are willing to die for what we believe in, whereas you are only willing to kill for what you believe in. But hey, even the best of friends can’t agree on everything!
What is it that you say? “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”? It appears that you have done just that. You have helped us tremendously by constantly invoking our sacred name (praise be to Allah) and spreading fabricated terror about us, all the while helping us do our sacred duty (praise be to Allah) by doing it for us.
Nobody hates Americans and America more than you sacred Second-Amendment patriots, and we thank you for it.
From our God to your “God,” we thank American Conservatives for making our job easier, and allowing us to concentrate on killing Syrian women and children!
Allahu Akbar motherfuckers!
There’s a lot of noise being made out of the fact that James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers took away the trophies his sons were awarded for participation in a school sporting event. He claimed, quite smugly, that he didn’t want his boys to receive any sports related awards until they had “earned” them. This was of course followed by the multitudes sending him various forms of attaboys and other congratulatory vacuousness on social media, crowing about how well he was raising his boys and suggesting that if more parents made their kids actually earn their sports trophies then global warming would cease, wars would come to a halt and most diseases would be eradicated from earth. You know, everything would be better…
Folks, we’re talking about sports. And little kids. Little Kid Sports.
To my mind, the only way to earn a trophy in sports is to win games. Many of them. But when you win a game, you haven’t met a minimum standard. You haven’t beaten the minimum score required to be declared the winner. You only have to beat the other guy by one point. If the other guy doesn’t score a single home run, touchdown, basket or goal, then you are declared the winner just by scoring one. You just have to do your job correctly, once, and you are the champion. If you are lucky enough to be in a league were all the other teams suck, you just need to suck a little less, and you get a trophy.
In my college classes, when an instructor says that s/he is going to grade the class on a curve, they are basically saying that the entire class did so badly that the highest score in the class will now become an A, and all the other grades will be relative to that one. It means that everyone in the class basically sucked.
That is how sports are scored every day. Its the ultimate form of scoring on a curve. You don’t have to be very good at it. You just have to be better than the other guy who showed up. And you only have to be better by one point. To revive my college analogy, it’s like getting an A on a test upon which you scored only a 55 because no one else in the class got more than a 50.
And please don’t resurrect the idiocy of telling me how it teaches teamwork and leadership and everything else. It teaches nothing but unbridled, selfish competition, the evidence of which is the fact that we place so much emphasis on trophies. When is the last time you heard a great leader write in his autobiography that if it wasn’t for high school sports, he would never have gotten where he is. It’s bullshit.
Let the kids have the damned trophies. They don’t mean a damned thing and getting or losing them is not going to have one iota of impact on their lives. What are you gonna make them “earn” next? Food, hugs, kisses, love?
My various writings in defense of those of other cultures, races and points of view which sometimes vary greatly from that which my pale-faced, conservative brethren tend to hold, can at times cause some of those who have recently discovered Dictionary.com to fire missives my way with a recurring theme of “self loathing”, as if to help explain the defects in my own apparently miss-spent life.
This piece is directed toward those who have done so.
Since you asked, I decided that it was time to respond that it is not me whom I loathe, my slogan-of-the-week repeating friends, it is you.
You see, I am quite satisfied with my lot in life, which allows me the moral heft to challenge those of you who hide behind that with which you were born, simultaneously wearing it on your shirtsleeve as if it were a coat-of-arms, proving some high rank or accomplishment when you, often, have none which would give you license to hold yourselves to such lofty societal hights. You brag about what you were handed at birth because you’ve done little since and, therefore, have little else to be proud of, other than some “heritage” or serendipitously occurring skin color. It is reminiscent of Al Bundy’s recurring braggadocio about winning one football game at Polk High, by simple virtue of the fact that he can’t think of another thing about which to brag.
To start with, I have raised two now-grown children into fine adults, with their own stable, nuclear families and good careers, with no issues of divorce, drugs or infidelities. No one in my family has ever been arrested. I also have a teenager with straight A’s in a gifted school who is on a path to an ivy-league college.
I started out a working man, washing cars at a car dealership and learning to repair and sell cars. Recently, I sold a company I started from scratch in 2008 for an amount approaching seven figures. I have owned a waterfront home on the Gulf-of-Mexico and my own private airplane and sailboat. I single-handedly piloted a 45 ft yacht around the Caribbean for 9 days with my family and flew a single-engined airplane from Minnesota to Florida, solo. I later flew that same airplane, solo, from Florida to New Jersey as hurricane Francis approached from my tail.
I have started, bought, sold and managed internet companies, aircraft leasing companies, construction companies, automobile companies, landscaping companies and real-estate investment companies. I have sometimes failed in my endeavors but more often than not, succeeded quite nicely, thank-you.
I have acted in community theater to acclaim, having had no formal training or acting lessons. I was given the lead role in two out of the three plays I’ve been in and had my share of standing ovations.
I have written two well-received books about management and am working on a third about racism in my lifetime. I write prolifically on all manner of subjects.
I started college at 50 years old and am now an MBA with less than two years remaining in my post-graduate education before completing my dissertation and receiving a Ph.D.in Managment.
Sorry folks, I have nothing to loathe about myself. I am quite confident that I have not squandered my time here on earth. And it is that confidence which allows me to look back at myself and see the privileges which have been afforded me in sharp contrast to the lack of privilege that others with far greater talent, courage and skill have suffered.
I spend no time whatsoever patting myself on the back or holding myself above others due to the simple expedient of certain molecules of deoxyribonucleic acid which happened to align in a particular way to make me a white male. To put it another way…I didn’t build that. It was built for me. And whatever privileges with which you were born were also handed to you.
I don’t defend others due to anything remotely approaching self-loathing. I do it out of self-love.
A week that started with mourning over 9 people killed by pure, unadulterated racist thought and ignorance that ends with the upholding, again, of the ACA (Obamacare to the uninformed), the right to fairness in housing and among other things, the rights of gays to marry. This was amazing to say the least.
But there was one other thing that not all may have seen or heard. Last night, June 26th, President Obama gave a eulogy for The Rev. Clementa Pinkney at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, who was gunned down over a week ago.
Now, folks, I don’t care who you are, but you need to do yourself a favor and listen to this speech. It is 40 minutes long, but it ends in a most fascinating way. It ends with Barack Obama leading the congregation in the sweetest, most extemporaneous sounding rendition of Amazing Grace I’ve ever heard. Now I say that it sounds extemporaneous because I’m not so naive as to think that presidents utter a single word that isn’t written for them and scrutinized over and over before those words are spoken, but this was so pure, so sweet, so courageous and so apparently heart-felt, that I’m willing to consider that possibility that he decided to do it on the spot.
The authenticity we find in this guy is incomprehensible. If you listen to it, he’s off-key, misses some notes, at times he’s hesitant to be the loudest voice, hoping others will fill in the gaps…nothing like the polished and perfected sound-bitey things that spill from the lips of most presidents, including Obama. In 59 years of my life, I have liked and disliked lots of presidents. Not one has ever made me cry. This one did.
YOU CAN SEE THIS EULOGY HERE It is broken down into segments.
Now, those who know me know that religious sentimentality is not my cup of meat. What was so striking here was the conveyance of human kindness and thoughtfulness from him to those mourners. It was obvious that Obama chose this moment to use his high office to take a shot at being a black preacher, allowing and, in some cases encouraging the “yes sirs” and “um hm” and other utterances from the congregation so typical of those churches. It was one of the most moving speeches I’ve ever heard from Obama, and he sets the bar pretty high for speeches.
What struck me afterward was a bit of melancholy though. How, after having heard the love and emotion that he allowed himself to show us last night, the vulnerability that he displayed in that church, the willingness to drop his presidential facade that abandon himself to his speech and that song, how, how, can anyone consider replacing him with Hillary Clinton?
I know that I’m giving you whiplash here, and for that I’m sorry. But that’s what came over me last night as he ended his speech. We, as Liberals, have shown the world that we’re willing to take a chance on someone who displays intelligence, understanding of complex issues, and the ability to speak from his soul. We’ve shown that we have the courage to elect a leader who started in a humble place, the often ridiculed “community organizer”. We’ve shown that we have the courage to elect a man whose name was considered too foreign and Muslim-sounding to be electable, and, after 6.5 years, we’ve been proven prescient in having done so. We were right about this guy folks. He really is a Great President, and will go down in history for having had the courage to pass health care, kill Osama bin Laden and the other hundreds of things he’s done, sometimes at huge political risk.
But now that we’ve been to the mountaintop, now that we’ve seen that there are better people out there than run-of-the-mill political automatons, now that we’ve seen that we can do better, how can we now consider replacing this brilliant guy with Hillary?
We stepped out of a shiny, new Tesla to get to this party. Are we going to leave in a used Oldsmobile?
I wonder if those who make excuses for the hate that clogs their arteries would have the courage, the moral heft, the integrity, to forgive someone who has hurt them. And then welcome back.
Those who watched television last night saw the bail hearing for Dylann Roof. Those who were paying attention heard the victims families say things like “we forgive you” and “may God bless your soul” and other such utterances of forgiveness.
Who the hell does that?
I mean, to all you Christians out there, you conservative Christians, the white ones especially, can you believe that someone who has had family members gunned down in affirmation of the hate that blacks have claimed, and whites have denied, for hundreds of years, would forgive the specific person who did the affirming?
Hmm, could it be that these people, these blacks who are secretly hated by so many whites as lazy, uneducated, drug-addled and socially inept, have the sophistication and moral grace of not only a Martin Luther King, but a Mohandas Gandhi? Could it be that these people understand the power of loving their enemies more than the immeasurably more intelligent and worldly whites of this country?
Are you shitting me?
With grace comes courage, at least in my experience. That courage is also evident in the interview I heard with one of their former pastors when asked if there will now be more security at the church in light of this disaster. His astounding answer was “no”. There will be no metal detectors, no security guards, no restrictions to entering the church. He said that all are still welcome.
How many of us, living in gated communities behind multiple alarms, guns and other evidence of our fear of black people, would display this degree of courage? How many? How many of us tough guy white guys, with our guns and fake patriotism and contrived machismo, would have the courage to remain vulnerable in order to allow our friends and communicants to feel the freedom to enter the church of their choice, immediately after having had 9 members of our families killed?
Amazing how the weakest of us can teach us what courage really is, huh?
I saw one more in a long line of videos of a cop screaming at a kid in a car for filming him as the cop pulled the kid over. One curious thing that this particular cop mentioned or demanded was that the kid “respect my authority and stop filming”. This made me start thinking about things like respect, where it comes from, and who is entitled to it.
I’m not going to go into platitudes like “respect has to be earned” and all that banal garbage, but I am going to comment on those kinds of concepts.
It seems that, when I was growing up, cops were local guys, men (mostly) from the neighborhood. No different than the mailman or the guy who worked in a grocery store. He was a guy with a family who needed a job to support them. The job he had chosen was that of a cop. When he wasn’t working, we’d see him around the neighborhood in his street clothes and treat him like anyone else in the neighborhood. If we liked him, we were nice to him. If we didn’t, we avoided him. Just like everyone else.
His uniform, like the uniform of the local garbage man, was not something that demanded respect. They were simply his work clothes. When we saw him in his uniform, we didn’t respect him any more than before. We just knew that he was on his way to work. If we respected him, it was he, not his uniform, that garnered that respect.
What seems to have changed is that now cops seem to be anonymous control machines. who claim some entitlement to respect. And many members of the public appear to have consented to this entitlement. After 9/11, particularly, “first responders” were held in disproportionately high esteem due to the sacrifices made by those who were climbing up while others were climbing down. This is not hard to justify, as there was apparently a great deal of bravery displayed on that day, and the credit should be given when it is due.
The difference, however, between those cops and every other cop in the world is that they demonstrated their entitlement to respect through their bravery. Most would agree that demonstrations of extreme bravery entitle the demonstrator to a higher level of respect than others of his ilk. And so it is.
The fact that other cops may identify and feel some comradeship with those who climbed the World Trade Center that day does not mean that the rest of the public feels the same way. Nor should the average cop on the street feel any entitlement to any degree of respect for that reason alone.
What many of the public refer to as respect when being confronted by a cop is actually fear. We all know that cops have an enormous amount of power over us. Between their weaponry, their training, the fact that they can fabricate violations and likely have their brethren back them up, the fact that they can find out where we live, what we may have done wrong in the past, who our friends are, who we called on our mobile phones, in addition to, potentially, where we will be sleeping that night, is something that makes most people, justifiably, nervous. They display deference to cops for the simple reason that they know that if they don’t, they could end up in an uncomfortable predicament through no fault of their own. That’s not respect-it’s self-preservation.
So, to those cops who believe that they are entitled to respect simply because they wear a uniform and a badge, I will say, no. I am perfectly willing to respect what people do, assuming that those actions are worthy of respect. I refuse to respect them because of what they wear or based on any misplaced assumptions of un-demonstrated bravery or ostensible authority.
Sorry, not gonna do it.