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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Dancing in the Blood of Trayvon Martin

The death of Trayvon Martin has brought to light a number of issues that have long been known but unspoken. First, young Mr. Martin's body was barely cold before the usual gang of race hustlers, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Louis Farrakhan, stampeded towards the nearest news camera to express their collective outrage about the incident. At face value, the rhetoric spewed by these hucksters would have one believe that Mr. Martin's death at the hand of George Zimmerman signaled America's regression to the racial policies of the Antebellum South.

Were the circumstances not so tragic, that assertion would be comical.

President Barack Hussein Obama who, you will recall, is an African-American, expressed his sympathies to the Martin family and his opinion of the situation. To evoke images of a racist past in the era in which African-Americans have risen to such prominence today, is to bring to question the motives of the players that are rushing to capitalize on yet another tragedy in a pathetic attempt to remain relevant.

Al Sharpton, more infamous than famous as a result of the Tawana Brawley Scandal, seems not to realize that his very presence invalidates whatever argument he supports. His continuous race-baiting and perpetual finger pointing at the white community exposes him as nothing but a whiny, contemptible, attention whore.

Jesse Jackson, whose racism has long been known, and whose lies are legion, is doing his best to reclaim those halcyon years when his threatened disapproval caused purses to open and money to flow into his pocket. A mere shadow of his former self, he resembles nothing so much as a boxer who has extended his career far beyond his prime and is now more of a testament as to why you should not fight.

And finally, Louis Farrakhan, the leader of The Nation of Islam and admitted catalyst of the murder of Malcolm X. Long a self-proclaimed enemy of this country, Farrakhan has made a fortune by spreading hatred and discontent, all the while cloaking himself with the guise of "religious leader." Regarded outside of his circle of influence as a kook with delusions of grandeur, Farrakhan nevertheless manages to gain the ear (and the cameras) of various news agencies, resulting in perpetuating mutual suspicion between the races, insuring that he maintains his position of power within the Nation of Islam.

Separately, these radical has-beens are just sad remnants of an era in which giants like Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X walked the Earth. They are much like the Japanese holdouts that appeared for decades after WWII; still fighting a war that everyone else had put behind them in order to get on with their lives.

Together, they serve as an example of all that is wrong with race relations; no one can let go of the past, no one can accept the apology of a nation that has repeatedly admitted its wrongdoing and has made a monumental effort to atone for it, and no one can be allowed to move beyond the old paradigm of white guilt and black anger.

Sadly, the entire controversy surrounding Trayvon Martin's death has resulted in one rather ugly development; the New Black Panther Party offering of a bounty for George Zimmerman 'Dead or Alive.' This, more than Mr. Martin's death, threatens to create animosity between the races that has not existed for better than thirty years. Forgetting for a moment that such a thing is illegal, to escalate the conflict on racial grounds has the potential to initiate the law of unintended consequences to a degree that would dwarf the worst events of the sixties.

Then again, not everyone would suffer from such a crisis. Indeed, such a crisis could launch Messrs. Sharpton, Jackson, and Farrakhan back into the limelight.

Of course, that could be the goal.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Random Thoughts on Civil Discourse

    One of the great tragedies of our age is the loss of the art of civil discourse. No doubt, it is a result of the degradation of our education system, but whatever the reason, its loss is more than just a loss of a means of communication; it is the first step on the road to violence. There was a time when two people could disagree and remain friends. They could coexist with their conflicting political views because the world, their world, was so much larger than ours. They had interpersonal relationships with neighbors, friends, their children's teachers, and others. Not every disagreement became a matter of national importance. It wasn't necessary to win, it was only necessary to be heard. And to listen. Occasionally, some common ground was reached, and then there was harmony.

    Nowadays, it seems that everyone subscribes to the 'scorched earth' method of argument. If you cannot convince the other party to your way of thinking, they must be destroyed. Worse, there is a definite coarsening of the narrative. Whereas in the past, the discussion may have become heated, it was generally accepted that ad hominem attacks, name-calling, and personal insults were a sign that one had lost control and, by default, lost the argument. Today, it seems that such things are almost a weapon of first resort. Even in the political arena, it is not unusual to hear candidates smear one another in such a manner that, in another age, would have resulted in a duel.

    Above and beyond that, there is a double standard regarding who may say what. Witness the controversy surrounding Rush Limbaugh's comments about Sandra Fluke. Now, it must be said that, whatever your opinion about birth control and who pays for it, Limbaugh's remarks were crass and uncalled for. Don't get me wrong, I admire Rush's ability to articulate an idea, and his abilities as an orator are excellent, which makes his foray into crude behavior all the more baffling. Perhaps he was being honest when he said that his attempt at humor fell flat. Whatever the reason, a man of his station should be above such pettiness.

    That said, there can be no question that, had someone of equal fame, but leftist political views said something similar, there would barely be so much as a rumble about it. I know this sounds absurd, but I have history to back me up. When Ed Schultz called Laura Ingraham a slut,  there was a brief furor, a quick apology, and it was over. And when Bill Maher referred to Sarah Palin as a "dumb twat" , the silence was deafening. In that particular instance, those that claim to be 'feminists' had a golden opportunity to become relevant again. Had they expressed the same degree of outrage towards Bill Maher as they are towards Rush Limbaugh, it would have proven that they were above the 'Left/Right' Paradigm. Instead, they have sacrificed their facade of objectivity in favor of supporting those that, rude and crude though they may be, are more aligned with their political beliefs than Rush will ever be.

    But I digress...

    Civil discourse in which two or more parties vehemently disagree requires three things; education, a quick wit, and a mastery of language. My absolute favorite example of this is an exchange between The Earl of Sandwich Lord Montagu and John Wilkes. The Earl, incensed at something or other that Wilkes had said, told John Wilkes, "You will die, sir, either on the gallows or from the pox," said Montagu. To which Wilkes replied, "That depends, sir, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

    Now, there can be no doubt that there was passion, hostility, and anger passed between the two, but the elegance of language in Wilkes' retort displayed a quick wit and a mastery of language absent from today. The closest that I can see from where I sit, is humorist P.J. O'Rourke. I love his assertion that, "Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys."

    Perhaps if the vitriol were delivered more intelligently, we could ignore who said what and concentrate, instead, on what was said.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Andrew Breitbart

Generally speaking, when it comes to the death of a celebrity, I'm indifferent. But Andrew Breitbart was different; Instead of taking the easy route and climbing on the pro-liberal, anti-American bandwagon that seems so prevalent in Hollywood and Washington DC, he stood his ground and faced down those that sought to demonize all that is good and right. Even though that that path would have rocketed him to riches as it has so many lesser men, he chose, instead, to get in the face of the elitists and expose their lies and hypocrisy for the world to see. He was, in many ways, the last of a breed of journalists that were more dedicated to the truth than ingratiating themselves with the rich and powerful.

Liberty has lost one of its champions, and we are all diminished as a result.