Saturday, March 29, 2008

Let It Be

I read that the reason white people don't get Reverend Wright is because white people have not had to sort out the issues of race.

Oh yes, some white people had to sort that one out. Come to Alabama. For those of us born in the fifties, we've been sorting that out all of our lives.

We live together in peace and prosperity. We have attitudes but we have common causes: our children and our God. People who love their children and honor and respect their neighbor do not hate. We worship.

This isn't about misunderstanding; it is about not caring. We care about our children and our God, and that is common purpose enough for living together. Gandhi was right. Reverend King was right.

Two suggestions:

1. Ask Reverend Wright to appear on a Sunday morning with a panel of theologians from all religions and ethnicities. Let them ask him questions about Black Liberation Theology.

2. Create a YouTube channel called "The Conversation" for the people to contribute their thoughts and memories of the race issues in America and the world. Mainstream media by fact of concentration of power must not manage the limits of a converation that must be honest.

Leave the campaigns out. No ads. No sneaky posts. Make it a conversation among people, one at a time, two at a time, whatever.

Ask the hateful, ask the faithful, ask the powerful to let it be.

Brain Dead Liberals and Other Extremists

David Mamet wrote an excellent article on why he quit being a 'brain-dead liberal' in the Village Voice. He explains

I took the liberal view for many decades, but I believe I have changed my mind. As a child of the '60s, I accepted as an article of faith that government is corrupt, that business is exploitative, and that people are generally good at heart. These cherished precepts had, over the years, become ingrained as increasingly impracticable prejudices.

Dean, Pelosi and MoveOn do not represent the Democratic Party any more than Reverend Wright, Michelle Obama and Black Liberation Theology represent the black faithful in America. They are both examples of extremism. We need competency in the white house, not another eight years of extremism. The infatuation with the minority view of extremists is how we got ourselves into this mess. More extremism is simply fighting in a burning house.

Extremism and extremists are the death knell of the Democratic Party. If ever we have needed moderation in our actions and words it is now, but the media will not enable it because anything said in low tones with deliberate thoughts does not play well.

I am voting for Hillary because she has the best grasp of the policies and the problems. Obama and Michelle are students of the school of Black Liberation Theology. I am liberal but I am not brain-dead. When told to take Wright's comments in 'context', I find even more scary rhetoric. When told to read Obama and Michelle's writings, I find more separatism and inability to articulate a united vision.

Take it all the way to August and beyond. Senator Clinton, it is time to quit parsing and worrying about who you will offend by speaking truth to bigotry. The bigots won't vote for you anyway. Instead of worrying about who you will offend, speak loudly for those you must defend. They will vote for you.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Hijack The Conversation

The Conversation is too important to the people to leave it to the politicians except where the politicians are people. :-)

Open a YouTube channel for The Conversation. Ally ally in come free.

I lived the 1960s in Alabama. Some lived more of it in Boston, Watts, Detroit, all the cities that burned.

Some lived it in Poughkipsie. Everyone has a story. Video is cheap.

Tell the story of the people. Have The Conversation on YouTube.

We must recite our tales to find our common fears.
We must understand our tales to find our common God.

Tell it all, brother!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Hillary Says Vote for Obama If He Wins the Nomination

It's a matter of loyalty. If she says vote for Obama, I will....

.... as soon as he can explain Black Liberation Theology to the rest of the faithful.

We are told we cannot hold another man's religion against him. True for some. Not others.

How otherwise can one reply if another holds it against you?

This is a real hurt, Senator Obama. This is a real wound. Is it your intent to spend the duration of your term closing that wound?

Or fixing the economy, the environment, the war, the housing crisis, the cleanup (FINALLY!!) of New Orleans, you know, FIX STUFF.

In my generation, we believed we had taken down the ropes. Two very powerful forces were at work: the media and our shared belief in God. Black Liberation Theology hammers our souls on the anvil of our shared beliefs.

Is it a goal of your administration to take our souls off the anvil, or to hammer harder? When the anvil breaks the hammer, what is between them remains undone.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Having A Conversation

Shelby Steele made points worth making. It is the black perception of themselves as victims (we keep being told that politics are about perceptions) that is the strongest link in the chain that binds them to the past. Senator Obama cannot change being black, but he cannot make the campaign about "The Conversation" without distracting the electorate from issues of more immediate importance to the electorate as a whole: the war, the economy, and the environment.

A conversation has to be two way. Consensus is compromise. If Senator Obama's supporters want to discuss race, they can't just complain. They have to offer solutions.

Reparations? No. That won't change anything. It leads to the same victim mentality that keeps the issue of racism on the table. So precisely what will be considered 'the end of racism in America'? I don't think the textbook definitions from sociology help here, Joy Behar not withstanding. The fact of Senator Obama's successes suggest we are past "oppression of a minority by a majority", a phrase she used to make the claims that blacks cannot be racist.

Puhleeeze... ask Hispanics about that one.

Guilt-proscribing definitions won't further The Conversation. We have to change The Conversation from the past to the future and that means we need to talk about our shared goals.

Perhaps a change of term is needed. Try this: white America does not fear black America. It is intimidated by black culture. Our government does not practice racism if the laws on the books are enforced. But nothing can change the preferences for culture except appeal and excellence.

So now white America might ask itself: what about black culture is intimidating?

I will not vote for Obama. He lacks the depth of character I require for a President at this time. On the other hand, no one is prying my Temptations collection out of my lily white hands. I'm not giving them up. Black music has black soul and black soul is a very powerful force for good and comfort.

Is it really about hate or fear? We've shown we can get past fear. When the ropes came down, when the signs came down, when the neighborhoods integrated, when the mixed marriages became non-notable, we put down fear. I'm not saying there are no racists and that we have eliminated fear. Racism is a disease. It can't be eradicated but it can be made statistically irrelevant and manageable. Polarities are not resolved; they are managed.

Fear has to be conquered by individuals. There is no universal solution.

Hate? Each generation has to decide for itself one person at a time just as they have to understand their fears. The difference is hate inspires violence. Wherever we can use the tools of culture to reduce hate, we must. This must be the goal we share. Culture can be a means. Ask Whoopie Goldberg. Ask Sinbad. Ask Reverend Wright. Ask Obama.

Hate? My advice? Lay it down. Then pick up the prize of love and celebration of distinctions. It isn't enough to quit fearing or hating. In my opinion, racism ends the day we walk into our daily lives and instead of accepting someone for being black or white, we revel in it, we enjoy it, we love it. It isn't about loving them despite who they are, but because of it.

Here's the fun bit: this many years later, we all still know who Tonya Harding is. Few remember Kerrigan and almost no one can pronounce the winner's name.

When politics become entertainment, the news media becomes a ring master. Beware of tigers and clowns.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Democrats United By Our Stupidity

If we let this nomination be about race, we are stupid.

If we let this nomination be about Bill Clinton, we are stupid.

If we let this election be a web blog conversation instead of a campaign to win, we are stupid.

If we lose THIS election to the republicans, we are blithering professional A-lister STUPID!

They could run together and the Democrats could have the White House for sixteen years. Any Democrat who can't work out what kind of real change that would be shouldn't be in the Democratic Party.

It isn't hard to be stupid but it takes practice to be good at it. I know it sounds stupid, heck it is stupid, but wow, should we make stupid moves that give us the White House for 16 years or stupid moves that give it back to the Republicans after the last eight?

How stupid can we be before it qualifies as brain-dead?

Well, you have to pick your stupid moves too. And wow, can we be stupid in the Democratic Party!

He can't win the general election.

She can. Together they can run the table and show in one election the power of the right choices by people who REALLY DO hold the good of the country above their own.

Now THAT would be REAL change.

The Swift Boat

It just keeps getting uglier. Some one posted the following today on one of the news sites. The quote is from a professor who teaches Black Liberation Theology, Dr. James Cone whom Reverend Wright cites. You can google him for Cone.

Black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him. The task of black theology is to kill Gods who do not belong to the black community. . . . Black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy. What we need is the divine love as expressed in Black Power, which is the power of black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject his love.

Maybe there is a context for this. I'm not sure it matters. Lanny Davis, a hard nose attorney, posted this as the two questions Barack Obama will have to answer before or during a General Election.

1. If a white minister preached sermons to his congregation and had used the "N" word and used rhetoric and words similar to members of the KKK, would you support a Democratic presidential candidate who decided to continue to be a member of that congregation?

2. Would you support that candidate if, after knowing of or hearing those sermons, he or she still appointed that minister to serve on his or her "Religious Advisory Committee" of his or her presidential campaign?

Therein is the crux of what Obama has to explain in conversation. For my colleagues who use the Internet to promote Obama, like it or not, this is what you are involving yourselves and the technology in. One wants to believe Obama is not involved in this theology, but he will have to answer those questions. Some one really should have vetted all of this before the Democratic National Committee allowed this to go this far. Howard Dean is toast no matter how the election fares.

One astute reporter said it best noting that Obama did not grow up as poor or oppressed: he won't be defeated for what he is, but he may be defeated by what he pretends to be.

We tell ourselves we won't be fooled again. Then we are.

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