BOOK REVIEW: Juan Williams’ history of civil rights sacrifices and gains proves he knows better

There is still some hesitancy among mainstream media outlets and other civility-compulsives about whether Donald Trump is actually a racist or—out of a cynical appreciation for the expediency of racism—merely someone who talks like one; has acted like one throughout the entirety of his public and professional life; has surrounded himself with bigots from his butler to his administrative staff; and supports racist policies including ethnic cleansing.

This is a distinction without a difference. Sen. Elizabeth Warren got some pushback on the Left for saying something similar.

Is the president racist?” CNN’s Manu Raju asked her. Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: Juan Williams’ history of civil rights sacrifices and gains proves he knows better”

This is a democracy; we get the government we deserve

In my younger, more mentally virile days I could have written a very, or at least somewhat, sophisticated allegory using President Obama to represent all the various recent abuses of local-government transparency as opposed to open records laws written and intended.

Continue reading “This is a democracy; we get the government we deserve”

Racism toward President Obama

Several years ago, at the height of the first wave of gasoline-price hysteria, an older white man came into the convenience store I worked at complaining about a lot of stuff. Real salt-of-the-earth type fellow, had a twang and maybe even cowboy boots on, although I may just be adding stuff I wish were true to my memory upon recall.

The only reason I remember this grumbler, as opposed to the dozens of others that came through each day, was that he suggested, apparently quite seriously, that George W. Bush be strung up and hung ’til death.

The man may be racist, and considering his age I wouldn’t be surprised, but there was nothing racist about him suggesting a lynching of a U.S. president. If he felt the same way about Barack Obama, of course, most people and establishments would consider it totally unacceptable.

The New York Post incident with the cartoon chimp getting shot was the same sort of thing where for eight years George W. Bush was outright drawn as a chimp caricature, called stupid and uneducated — every Texan/Southern stereotype you could think of. We know it would not be acceptable to do the same thing with black stereotypes and Barack Obama (except to call him “cool” and “stylin'”).

You may say, “Well, Barack Obama was never part of the stereotypically black culture, so it would be absurd to mock him in that way.” George Bush is not in any way a cowboy and only marginally a Texan, but it was safe to put a hat on him and set him on a horse for an editorial cartoon.

I’m not saying geographic discrimination is anything like racial discrimination historically, or that a white Southerner is less likely to get a job than a minority solely based on that. But as many racists are there are who hate “that —— spending our money,” publicly I can almost guarantee that Obama will receive less personal criticism than Bush, because it was safe to call Bush an imbecile, fascist, and child molester in ways it probably will never be to criticize Obama, unless you’re Rush Limbaugh or have his fanbase.

You love a thing because of, not in spite of, its shortcomings

I have a friend who works at a local television station. We argue occasionally about whose mistakes are more embarrassing, and I guess by extension, whose job is more important.

“Look,” she says, “I understand you have deadlines, and I’m sure that’s very stressful, but the stuff we do is live. We’ve got to do our jobs correctly to the second because if we don’t, it’ll mess everything up, and everyone will notice. And unlike newspapers, we actually have an audience.”

And she has a good point. Television news certainly has to have a greater sense of urgency because it’s immediate and it’s a performance as much as anything (though I’d like to point out comparing our circulation to any local station’s ratings doesn’t work in their favor).

But I still disagree.

Continue reading “You love a thing because of, not in spite of, its shortcomings”

There are worse things than being the world’s biggest celebrity

During last autumn’s presidential campaign, John McCain ran ads calling Barack Obama the “biggest celebrity in the world” and meant it as an insult – which coming from a senator who’d hosted “Saturday Night Live” and from a ticket that eventually included Sarah Palin, was a bit hypocritical.

But largely accurate. Already Obama seems to have appeared on “Entertainment Tonight” more than Bush 43 ever did; we care about the present Obama’s wife bought and the outfits his daughters wore, even how his daughter reacted when she met other celebrities. We didn’t know FDR was crippled, but we know Obama drives to the left to get to the basket.

Secret Service agents with orders to shoot-to-kill are the only thing keeping paparazzi away.

Continue reading “There are worse things than being the world’s biggest celebrity”

Two things are constant: Change and the Constitution

Today president-elect Barack Obama gets to drop the “elect” and become president-proper. Whether he’ll make a proper president, no one knows for sure, but everyone except bigots and professional partisans certainly has to be hoping he will, out of self-interest if not patriotism.

Change is constant in America, and whatever our nostalgia, once we start preferring the old to the new wholesale, we’ll know it’s the end of us. But that hasn’t happened yet, and whenever we find ourselves exhausted, stagnant or frustrated, we manage to find a source of rejuvenation and come out the other side better for it.

Continue reading “Two things are constant: Change and the Constitution”

Christians remember: WWJVF – Who would Jesus vote for?

If anything I say here offends you, I wasn’t trying to. There are two things you don’t talk about over dinner, but if that extended to newspaper columns, I wouldn’t have much to write. Religion and politics offend easily, and taken together the problem is even worse. Actually, this is my point, that under no circumstances should we put either at risk by mixing them.

Read no more than that, and you’ve read enough.

In 2004 I saw bumper stickers around town that read, “Christians remember November.” And this agitated me to no end.

Continue reading “Christians remember: WWJVF – Who would Jesus vote for?”