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Soapbox Fi Mi


  • This is good arm-chair projection or what? I happen to be on the national mall on yesterday to go to the museums and the black Family Life meeting.
    The unreported issue is how the gracious interactions of both groups on the national mall.
    I spoke with many tea party folks about what got them there. I spoke with folks as far as Florida, and Oklahoma. These folks have genuine concerns and the president being black is incidental to the protest. I left with a genuine good feeling about the vibrancy of our democracy.
    When our only view is through the prism of race and gender, we see through a glass darkly.

  • I can’t help but feel the same way, George. And it has taken a while for me to truly believe it. Who could imagine that today in this world, there are still those in America who see black citizens as second class or worse. I read an annonymous comment some time ago that appeared following an article about President Obama’s trip overseas. It was from a man who said he was ashamed that our country was represented overseas by a black man. How can anyone say such a thing? We all saw how thousands came to hear and applaud our president when he spoke throughout Europe. He is immensely popular in many countries, where those who see him now view America as more enlightened, more evolved. The kind of school-yard bullying we see from some of our citizens attending town hall meetings and marching to Washington with their mean-spirited signs spewing hatred and in-your-face ugliness is shameful. It seems in America there are those who will never put behind their entrenched racial bias. You know and I know that Joe Wilson would never have spoken to a white president of the U.S. the way he did to President Obama. These people can’t get over it. Why else would a mob of uninformed, white people from mostly southern states pick themselves up to carry signs demonizing our president in such vicious ways? And calling Nancy Pelosi a Nazi and saying Jesus is the Messiah, not Obama. When did President Obama, who is a born-again Christian, ever say he was the Messiah? And if any one person in the crowd in Washington on Saturday had been asked to define “communism” or “Nazi” or “socialism” they would be totally stumped for words. Oddly enough, a few conservative African-Americans attended the rally. An article about the “march” in our local newspaper today quoted a black Republican as saying that African-American politicians had an “affinity” for socialism. After what they have suffered, an “affinity” for social justice is hardly surprising. Yes, I believe some of these town hall participants are just scared. They’ve been fed so many lies by the likes of Sarah Palin (death panels), and Republican members of Congress (government-run takeover of health care). They are worried. I felt so sorry for one sweet-looking woman at a town hall meeting who was asked a question about the idea of “death panels” and she said in a highly spirited response “I won’t let them. I’d fight.” How can those who tell these folks such lies about euthanasia for older citizens live with themselves.
    And Chris, nobody said it is our “only” view. Many viewpoints have been examined as to this unusually virulent nastiness we are seeing. It has taken a while to fully appreciate what is behind it.
    And the full Biblical text you quoted is:
    “When I was a child, I spake as a child,
    I understood as a child, I thought as a child:
    but when I became a man, I put away
    childish things. For now we see through a
    glass, darkly; but then face to face: now
    I know in part; but then shall I know even
    as also I am known.”
    Until we see Jesus’s face and understand all, the best we can do as imperfect human beings is to put away childish things and grow up.

  • Sandra,
    Thanks for your illustration. But I have yet to see any evidence to the contrary. We need to use Mlk’s standard of not judging people by party affiliation, but by the content of their character. When we look at the substance of the argument and understand that democracy calls for a vibrant exchange, we will not react to surface issues, but to the substance of the argument.

  • I agree, Chris, that democracy benefits from a frank and open debate over conflicting ideas, but I am sure you will agree that the so-called health care debate has not always been within the bounds of civil disagreement. I also dispute your statement that “the president being black is incidental to the protest.” That statement flies in the face of the facts. Polls show that Obama’s support among white Americans, which was never very high, has dropped sharply during the current crusade against him. Furthermore, just look at the crowds of raging protesters; can’t you see how universally white they are? Look at the Republican representatives in Congress; do you see any diversity there? How can you deny the evidence of your own eyes? Have you been misled by the tokenism of a black Republican chairman?