Posts Tagged ‘racism’

We’ll have once again put our republic at risk

November 1, 2010

Keep my American Flag off your Foreign car” Saw that the other day as a stick-on decal  on the side of a van. I wouldn’t know where to begin. Probably with the word “my.” When anger and ignorance mix … well we’ll see tomorrow, won’t we.


Tomorrow is election day. Some observations are in order:

First, my voice, as well as the voice of millions,  has been diminished due to the U.S. Supreme Court’s misguided and unwise decision on corporations’ having the same rights as individuals. I’ll buy that when I see a corporation in the voting booth.There is no constitutional imperative to see corporate buying of influence with obscene contributions as a free speech issue, especially when the free speech of others is drowned out.

Tons of money have poured in with no donors taking any responsibility for stuffing the war chests of a most peculiar and unqualified bunch of candidates. Of course when one takes a close look at some of the Tea Party favorites, I’d resist being pointed out too. Maybe hiding  is good.

I’m afraid we are about to get the congress we deserve.

I was listening to the radio today where a panel was discussing how tomorrow is mainly a protest vote. Fine. But aren’t people aware that a vote against someone is a vote for someone else? And do we have a collective amnesia about who that someone else is?

People are frustrated and angry at the slow progress of a messy and unpredictable economic recovery. So they are opting instead for those who were asleep at the switch while their cronies presided over a very controlled and predictable economic train wreck. A train wreck powered by selfish indifference, greed, and a compliant regulatory system.

You want to shrink government, cut spending, reduce taxes? You want to get government out of our lives and let the markets prevail? An economic collapse followed by a huge loss of jobs is what we got most recently as a consequence of such thinking. Does anyone predict a different outcome? If someone cost me my job or my retirement portfolio, I don’t think I’d want to see them sitting in the locomotive at the controls anytime soon … if ever.

You want to extend tax cuts for those making more than $250,000 because small businesses are the job creators? The claim is that economic growth would be stifled with the tax increase. Never mind that 10 years of those cuts didn’t create any jobs. In fact, millions of jobs were lost.

BTW, very few small businesses have a profit of $250k or more. First of all, your revenue would have to be very large … an elite group. Secondly, bonuses are paid, equipment is purchased, employees are hired. Anything to avoid paying taxes at the end of the year. Is it possible higher taxes, or the threat of, stimulates some activity?

If anyone thinks Nancy Pelosi is annoying and a threat to “real Americans,” wait til we’ve listened to John Boehner for a while. It looks as though he could be the next Speaker of the House. If that guy thinks about anything from the position of a statesman, could someone tell me when that is?

Mitch McConnell isn’t far behind as a  man devoid of a stature of governance. His job description, in his words, is to assure that Obama is a one-term president. This is from a congressional leader! I smell the “r” word everytime he opens his mouth … and I don’t mean Republican … and that feeds red meat to the base.

Does anyone else wonder what has become of the Grand Old Party? Has it gone the way of the Pontiac? (Come to think of it, traditional middle class cars: Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Mercury, are being eliminated … as is the middle class itself. Cadillac, Lincoln, Lexus, Mercedes Benz, Audi, Acura, etc., are doing fine.)

In any event, I’ll head to the polls tomorrow and do what I can. Fear has been whipped up. Those with limited information will dance to the music of intolerance and hatred. The trouble is that most of those who choose to follow the extremists will find themselves on the outside looking in. That trojan horse of down-home folksiness will disgorge the monied country club set, and we’ll have once again put our republic at risk.

There is a lot of loud talking

October 26, 2010

A very interesting day so far. Awakened in the middle of the night as a very sharp and abrupt storm moved through. According to the news, the storm is 800 miles long and gaining strength. Not going to be good for many people as it moves east.

Took some time to get some exercise while listening to the Diane Rehm Show, a discussion of the Wikileaks’ latest document dump. The documents reveal nothing more than many of us suspected. If the war was legitimate, well-planned, and guided by wise and informed people, I’d be shocked at what the documents show. But what has been going on over there is what one gets when arrogant fools decide to spread democracy where it isn’t wanted. If you think the insurgency in Iraq is ugly, picture someone moving in an occupying us with their brand of how to live correctly.

Later in the morning was my preparation of a Cuban dish to be served over rice: picadillo. We’ll see how it goes. First tasting hopes that it ages well by dinner time. While doing the cooking, Sirius Radio’s “Symphony Hall” was proving to be an apt replacement for Classic 99, a radio station owned and operated by the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and sold, after many years, to an outfit playing contemporary Christian music. We are now left with no local station playing classical music unless you can receive an HD signal.

Caught a few minutes of Rush Limbaugh … more than enough, actually. I’ve noticed from his program, Glenn Beck’s, and the folks on the Patriot channel on Sirius, that there is a lot of loud talking and sometimes screaming. Let me say that talking louder and louder doesn’t create a credible message.

How may ways can the extreme right twist things around to conceal their complete and paralyzing disgust that there is “one of them” living on the second floor of the White House. But, my God, am I glad Obama won. It’s as though people forgot there wasn’t a viable alternative. Write your own scenario for what this country would look like had the pair of mavericks  won.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve voted for Republicans many, many times and had a subscription to the National Review for years. But that party is gone and the beliefs that went with it. That old party was interesting in governing on behalf of the American people. The current incarnation stands for little that the country needs to be successful in today’s world.)

All it takes is a little spark

May 15, 2010

“Eyes on the Prize” episodes 3 and 4 aired last Sunday. We recorded them for viewing during the week. 5 and 6 air tomorrow at noon in Saint Louis. Still can’t shake two dominant feelings as I watch the retelling of the civil rights struggle: embarrassment and sadness.

The fact that I tended to be somewhat oblivious to the magnitude of what was happening at the time illustrates, to me, how we are historically and culturally conditioned to interpret what we see and hear. Our conditioning also influences what we even bother to pay attention to. All I remember at the time was how mindless I thought the behavior was of those in the southern states. I hadn’t had enough inter-racial experiences to have the visceral reaction I have today.

It was a sad time in our history, and there are vestiges of that same fear and hatred deeply imbedded today. All it takes is a little spark to light the fuse for them to coalesce and bubble to the surface. And there are plenty of folks who still know how to play the game and get those sparks started.

Economic strife, the drum beat of xenophobia, demonizing those who need help, having one of “those people” in the White House, seeing a terrorist behind every bush, imagining that someone is taking our country away from us … all of that creates the perfect storm for foolish, thoughtless, and reckless actions.

I’m staying in!

May 3, 2010

Being under the weather for more than a week following our trip to Italy has had a tendency to tarnish a wonderful experience. Upper-respiratory infection aggravated by allergies, energized by the exhausting 27-hour day coming home, and the effects of jet-lag on any attempts to rest,  have come together to create a unique way for really feeling crappy.

Early this afternoon, we wondered where the plume was coming from as it stretched across our backyard. It turns out that a sudden breeze had lifted oak pollen off of our roof as well as the neighbor’s. I’m staying in!

Sunday at noon, here in St. Louis, “Eyes on the Prize” is being shown in three two-hour segments – one segment each Sunday.  I can’t recall how many times I’ve watched many of the six segments, but the whole thing remains gut-wrenching.  Watching the series is well worth being kept aware.

I’m hopeful for a program on the middle passage where anywhere from 16 to 60 million Africans died during their transport on slave ships. Their was apparently indifference in the record keeping to have an accurate number.

But just watch …

March 25, 2010

If members of a faith tradition are being excluded (see article in NCRonline and those following) because of a particular teaching within that tradition, one has to wonder: Upon what authority is the teaching based? I’m trying to think of an instance where the one whom the Christian tradition claims to follow excluded anyone. Maybe that’s expecting too much of church leaders.

Headlines throughout the day reported threats of violence and death against Democratic members of congress following the passage of the overall of health care  legislation. It would be a stretch to say that the threats are against both parties. A stray bullet hit an unmarked building holding an office of Eric Cantor R-VA, hardly the same.

Over the weekend, Congressman John Lewis and others were given a trip down memory lane courtesy of some tea partyers. Anyone who thinks our nation is in a post-racial era, causes me to wonder what they read (assuming they do), who they listen to on the radio (one can only imagine), what network they watch on TV (surely not FOX News), where they live, who they hang out with, how well they know people of color.

I do have to apologize for not assigning many good intentions to our conservative friends in government and their base. November’s election will be an exercise in measuring how fearful and misinformed our nation’s electorate can be. For the life of me, I can’t understand how a party, guilty of such inept governance and leaving our country in such an incredible mess, would ever be voted back into positions of power. But just watch …

Time and doing what’s right

February 25, 2008

One last check of email before I headed to the kitchen this morning to prepare a beef, leek, beer stew. Not really a long preparation nor a long simmer time, but I did have a meeting to attend, leaving here around 4:15. Good news was to be found in my in-box. The meeting has been canceled. One of the key participants is unable to return from New Orleans in time. We shall reschedule.

New Orleans. A different feel the last few years to seeing or hearing the name of that city. We had so much fun during our last visit there. Most of my visits had been alone for business, but our vacation time there along with another couple was like magic. But now I feel a sadness at the sight or sound of that name.

A friend of mine celebrating his First Mass there following ordination in 2002 was my last excuse for being in the city. He now works at Xavier University and has been affected greatly by what has happened to his hometown.

When we were in theology school together, he and I put together a day of dialogue on issues of race. We called it “Tilling the Silence.” An apt name for the minimal racial and ethnic inclusion within the Catholic Church and its institutions. Our meeting today was for our monthly meeting of the Diversity Coalition of Saint Louis. He would be pleased that something is still going on.

Pulled together in 1996 to launch an affirmative action plan for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, the coalition has hit one stone wall after another. Our focus is primarily in the high schools and parishes. Progress is exceeding slow. The Human Rights Office withdrew from the coalition a number of years ago due to a lack of vision and passion for doing anything requiring dialogue, planning, and action. A frustrating move since the Human Rights Office was the prime mover in forming the Coalition.

Someday, we’ll meet with the current Archbishop to see where he is on the general topic. From what I’ve seen of him, I’d be surprised if he would not endorse a well-reasoned plan to improve racial and ethnic inclusion. The previous Archbishop supported our planning wholeheartedly. But those he charged with responsibility for helping move things forward turned toward power and politics to defuse any meaningful efforts. Every single one of them is now elsewhere.

Black History Month is a good time to reflect upon such things. Time and doing what’s right are on our side if we don’t lose sight of where we need to be going.