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The Birthers’ End Game.

Steve_kleur(2) July 27th, 2009

You really do have to wonder sometimes…..

Lets talk racism. Why not? It seems that even after long strides toward realizing the underlying tenets of our Constitution we still have a long way to go. The last week has seen two very bizarre stories dominating the news cycles which illustrate this point beautifully – Henry Gates and The Birthers.

By now everyone knows both stories so I won’t go into too much detail here but suffice to say that the media has been caught up in the blatantly  absurd story of the Black man arrested in HIS OWN HOUSE, and of the crazies who think that Elvis is still alive…oh, sorry,… that the President of the United States is an ILLEGAL ALIEN.

One sometimes doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

And the strangest part of the whole sad, sorry week came at the end of the President’s press conference on Health Care. When asked the question of what he thought about the stupid arrest of the Harvard Professor IN HIS OWN HOUSE, the President called it, well, “stupid“. And we all sat back and watched the ensuing political firestorm and never once noticed the irony that while we once decried the deception of the former President, we now decry the honesty of the current one. That’s politics I guess.

And that brings us to the Birthers. Yes, those crazies who could have been comfortably ignored if not for the peskiness of some congressman (and one Senator!), who are actually trying to introduce legislation requiring all future candidates to produce proof of citizenship before being eligible to run for President. The mind reels…

So, why do it? Take for granted the following; the elected officials in question are all Republican, the fringe element of their party egging them on are all racists and the legislation in question is going to die a very ugly, very deserving death anyway. So, again. Why do it? Because kids, the end game here is to make sure that the death of this bill is very public indeed. Everyone who votes against the bill will be vilified by this very sick, very vocal political base, the President’s agenda will, at the very least, be delayed if not downright hijacked by the media whirlwind and, (my personal favorite), white, racist congressmen and women get to justify what they have done to their own President and country without once having to refer to the color of his skin. I can hear the platitudes dripping from the mouths of the crestfallen Congressmen now;  ” I don’t understand why this bill was defeated! We were just trying to protect the Constitution, that’s all!”

The script practically writes itself doesn’t it? And , as much fun as it was to watch Chris Mathews completely eviscerate these guys, (and it was a beautiful thing to watch), this debate only underscores the crying need for us to take one more step toward the equality that the above mentioned Constitution envisions for us all.

So, yeah. Still a long way to go…


Have We Changed?

steve_kleur3 May 10th, 2009

It’s odd.

I’ve noticed something over the past few weeks. Perhaps you have too. There seems to be a sea change in the way in which our media covers politics. I’m not talking about format but rather a change in attitude on the part of reporters. News outlets don’t seem to be taking Republican talking points as soothe anymore. In fact, not only are they taking the propaganda with a grain of salt, they seem to be actively investigating and sometimes refuting what is being offered for public consumption by the spin doctors. This is a marked change from the last eight years where it seemed that the major news networks were nothing more than free soapboxes for the administration.

And it isn’t all a one way street for the Democrats either. They too are being called on questionable policy – sometimes by their most staunch supporters. Witness how the Huffington Post is going after the Obama administration for their bank bail out policies. I hesitate to get too optimistic too early in the game but it’s almost as if journalists have suddenly remembered who they are – objective reporters of the events of the day instead of merely shills for the government.

So, what has changed? Well, again, I don’t want to jump the gun here but maybe, just maybe, we have?

Historically, we Americans,  (and Canadians for that matter), are too soon to forget the egregious excesses and abuses of our government. We want to forget about things that make us uncomfortable with our self image of being the good guys on the world stage. But we really have been put through the ringer of late, haven’t we? We have endured and been complicit in;  phony wars, spying on our own people in outright contradiction of our own Constitution, and, most heinous of all, torture. Maybe our collective conscious can’t handle the guilt anymore? Maybe that’s why we are being so vigilant with our elected officials these days.

And how do we feel? Don’t we feel a sense of relief? Aren’t we more optimistic these days? It’s kind of like when you’re driving around lost for hours and then find the right road. You’re not at your destination yet but you know, finally, that you are eventually going to get there.

So, maybe we have changed.  I for one, would like to think so.