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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dr. Laura: Racist or Just Tacky?

I have to admit that my gut instinct was to assume Dr. Laura was innocent. She's no racist. I've listened to her show for years. Therefore, when I'd heard there was a flap over her use of the N-word, I thought, "Geez, so much ado about nothing."

I listened to the segment, and discovered two things:

1. Dr. Laura wasn't trying to be racist; she was trying to tell a woman to stop assuming curious white people are demeaning her somehow by asking about what it's like being black in America. It's true, too, we really want to know what black people think and feel. Sure, maybe it's a bit of an over-generalization to assume that blacks, as a group, think any certain way about anything. But we've always been told that we just can't understand what it's like to be African American, so we want to find out why.

2. Boy, I was really uncomfortable just listening to that word being said over and over. I grew up in the Oakland, California area, and that was a word white people just didn't say. It made me uncomfortable hearing my old Southern relatives use that word, even though they were trying to compliment someone. My grandfather was once watching The Dating Game when he commented: "That gal sure is pretty for a (sic) N-word woman." It made me really upset. Yet, my grandfather also had good friends in South Africa who were black and would travel all the way to Modesto, California to visit him. He had a large collection of African art objects on display in his home, beautiful Benin heads made of polished wood. The whole thing really confused me, but, aside from referring to black people that way, he was very liberal on racial issues. When my brothers and I tried to explain that one shouldn't speak that way, he went into a long explanation that the N-word was just how he'd learned to refer to black people and it didn't mean he had anything against them. Weird, I know, but he was fairly typical of people in that generation.

I don't believe that Dr. Laura has any hatred of African Americans in her heart. Still, it's only been forty-five years since the Civil Rights Act. The memory of racism is very fresh in people's minds, and the word stings. It stings me, and I'm white-- ghostly, almost phosphorescently white. She was wrong to use the word, especially to repeat it the way she did, but she's no racist. She was just very, very tacky.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Halfway Through Obama

I must admit, that's a fairly optimistic title. Still, things seem to be swaying that way, with even many former Obamaphiles jumping ship. When Europe's leaders have to scold a U.S. president for overspending, we're in it neck high, my friends.

Obama's problem is, and likely always will be, that he talks like the mainstream and governs like a socialist. He knows the majority will never swallow government health care, the socialization of GM and the banking industry, and the waste of untold billions on stimuli that don't stimulate. Americans know that government exists not to run our lives but to allow us the freedom to do so ourselves. Obama has taken exactly the opposite course. He admits to the unpopularity of his ideas by couching them in conservative-esque language.

The mid-term elections will most likely restore a conservative majority to at least one of the two bodies in the legislative branch. If this doesn't happen, I would advise the Republicans to pull an Al-Gore and check carefully for fraud. Why is it that the Democrats always accuse others of voter fraud, but whenever it actually happens (a la ACORN), it's them doing it? (That was a rhetorical question. I'm sure you can answer it yourself.)

I, unlike many of my right-wing fellows, do not believe Obama is evil or part of some vast conspiracy. He's just wrong. He lies because that's what politicians do to achieve their goals, at least in too many cases. I'm sure his copy of Rules for Radicals is well worn and quite dog-eared. Still, as hard as he tries to convince us to the contrary, we can see right through him. He is, and always has been, a looney liberal. He belongs back in the halls of academia, not in the White House. It will take an act of stupidity on the part of the Right to keep him in office. That scares me; there's nothing Republicans do better than fumbling the ball one yard from the goal line.