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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Trump

So it appears that Donald Trump's campaign strategy is going to consist almost entirely on playing on the racial and religious fears and resentments of white Americans. How else to explain his laser focus on Obama's birth? I mean, the birth announcement was in both Honalulu daily papers within a couple of weeks of his birth. So I guess the conspiracy goes like this: A bunch of Muslims in Indonesia, or Saudi Arabia, or who knows where are planning on using this baby born in Indonesia, or Kenya, or God knows where as a plant to become president one day to take over the world. So, naturally, they use someone with black skin, kinky hair, and name him "Barack Hussein Obama" because that will make it easy for him to be elected. But, a couple of days after he is born, the conspirators say, "Hey, we better submit a birth announcement to be printed in the Honolulu papers to cover ourselves 40-some years later in case people question whether he was born in the U.S. and is qualified to be president." So they did. Yeah, that's probably how it happened.

Or it could be that, because Obama is black and has a Muslim-sounding name, had a dad he hardly knew that was a nominal, non-practicing Muslim and lived for a few years in his childhood in the predominately Muslim country of Indonesia, many white Americans don't trust him, and so the birther leaders play on that mistrust. Nah, the first one sounds a lot more believable, right?

And now, Trump is coming out questioning how Obama got admitted to Columbia, then Harvard. See http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/trump_interview
Never mentions race, just dances all over the subject withOUT mentioning it, again trying to play on white American's resentment of Affirmative Action. Yeah, like Obama proved to be incapable of doing the work at those Ivy League schools. Obama has been honest about not being disciplined in his early college years in California. He was not the only 18-20 year old to struggle with issues of life direction, identity, etc.--he had more reason than most to struggle with these issues.

I suppose Trump will next question Obama's Christian faith, then bring up again the photo of Obama without his hand on his heart siging the National Anthem, and then... ad nauseum. WHat a great, substantive campaign to be leader of the free world. What a joke.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Loving v. VA

Was just reading up on the case that overturned all bans on interracial relationships in the U.S. in 1967. First, the anti-miscegenation statute in Virginia was used to charge them with ""cohabiting as man and wife, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth." I thought that wording curious. Would make the good title of a book, too. I hope the Commonwealth's precious peace and dignity have been recovered over the past 43 years. Also found that the Supreme Court handed down the decision on June 12, 1967--June 12th is my wife's and my anniversary! And the day is celebrated as "Loving Day" to commemorate the right to marry whomever one loves apart from racial restrictions (now, about those OTHER restrictions!) So I was married on "Loving Day"--cool! (Ours is not an interracial union, but it is an inter-regional one--breading down the barrier between North and South!)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Reading the Constitution Aloud--what to include, what to omit

It is well known that the House GOP leadership began their rule with a reading of the U.S. Constitution from the House floor. Nothing partisan about that. It IS the governing document of our nation. What is revealing about the GOP's intent is the sanitized version that was read. In particular they left out uncomfortable reminder about the egregious immorality of our Founding Fathers, such as the infamous three-fifths compromise and the provision that non-slave-holding states be required to return runaway slaves. It falls conventiently into teh typicla pattern of refusing to discuss anything related to race in pulic in hopes that the problem will just go away if we ignore it.

Of course, I can see the justification in omitting these passages if the intent is to read the Constitution, as organizer, GOP Rep. Robert Goodlatte of Va., said "as it currently operates," (Both of the mentioned omissions were canceled out by the 13th Amendment doing away with slavery. But I also see the point of critics, like Rep. James Clyburn and Hilary Shelton, vice-president of the NAACP (see http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/06/AR2011010602807_2.html?sid=ST2011010603624 for more)that an opportunity was missed to air and discuss the necessary changing of the Constitution to correct for injustices that the majority finally come to recognize. Again, there are two sides, with Original Intent folks pointing to the Constitutionally-mandated amending process as the way that is to be done, whereas more pragmatic "living, breathing document" relativists (like me) see how cumbersome and unwieldy (and politically fraught) that process can be in the face of injustices in need of immediate redress.

Anyway, the race-muteness was erased in one grand, moving moment of political theater as Cibrave vil Rights wounded warrior John Lewis, Dem. Rep. form Ga., rose to recite the aformentioned 13th Amendment. The Gallery roared its approval. The moral: 145 years after it was abolished, there is consensus that slavery was wrong, and freeing the slaves was right. Don't know if we've reached that kind of consensus for any race-related issues since (abloshing Jim Crow, I suppose--although that consunsus took a few decades). I hope it doesn't take quite so long for us to come together on ways to redress continuing racial barriers to equality in housing, jobs, education, health, etc.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Hail Hamilton E. Holmes and Charlayne Hunter!



Fifty years ago today, the above-named brave young African-Americans became the first of their race to matriculate at the University of Georgia, enduring and persevering through a hostile mob, a night-time riot, and a temporary suspension "for their own safety" to become outstanding individual citizens contributing to our society, Holmes as a mideical doctor and Hunter as a journalist. I remember hearing Hunter-gault (her married name) as a correspondent for the McNeil-Lehrer News Hour years ago, not finding out until years later the prominent role she had played, and the courage she had shown, in breaking down the walls of segregation. Holmes died in 1995, God rest his soul.

Heres the link to teh NPR piece that alerted me to the 50 year aniversary (further reading indicates that today may be the 50th anniversary of the court ruling demanding they be admitted, with their actual matriculation following a few days later) http://www.npr.org/2011/01/07/132712913/a-pioneer-looks-back-50-years-after-making-history