1776 Freedom’s Blog

November 9, 2008

From the deepest depths of Mordor, depression and darkenss

I suppose that the title tells all, the election went to the wrong candidate probably for all the wrong reasons.  There is a sense of foreboding in many quiet corners.  The crystal balls all show storms and disaster, economic chaos and international repudiation.  A sense of urgency moves some to stock up on weapons and ammunition preparatory to the great seizure campaign foretold by the Acts of Congresses Past.  And on the left, hatred for the defeated, animosity toward the fallen and some of the most illiterate rants ever penned.  If you have a strong stomach and can resist violent impulses take a stroll through the liberal blogosphere.  Don’t say you were not warned, much that you will see is offensive but more telling is the degree of ignorance that passes for rational thought there.  Start with the CNN blogs.  If you still have the stomach for it go to any blog that sounds like it might be liberal.  (Do not allow young children to stay in the room with you when doing this, their psyches may be permanently scarred by all the hatred and intolerance you will find.)

My depression  is not because Barack Obama is President Elect, well, a little, OK a lot is.  But, I’ll get over it and, after a suitable grieving period, relaunch myself into the fray.  The true horror exposed by this political season is the total ignorance of so many people of the principles that form the foundation of our republic.  There are millions out there who have voted for a slogan, elected a catch phrase.   People who have no idea of what the slogan means because they don’t understand what it is they want to change or why it needs changing.   I doubt many understood the regime they so eagerly vilified.

There was a time when the Declaration of Independence was taught to every grammar school student.   Our history teachers taught lessons of triumph, progress, inventiveness, ingenuity, courage and prosperity.  We learned that ours is a nation founded unique principles, a magnet for the dispossessed and disillusioned, a place of hope.  We also learned of slavery, the unfair treatment of native peoples and the then ongoing struggle for civil rights.  I learned this last from my father, a Fifteenth Air Force veteran who told me at an early age about Benjamin O Davis and the Tuskegee Airmen.  Were it not for them I might not be here.  Dad never fully abandoned the prejudices of his childhood but when he had the chance to hire a young talented black woman, he did.  She was killed, with her husband in a car wreck.  I never saw him cry before the day of her funeral.   But I digress.  We were taught the totality of American History, not just the catalogue of errors, misdeeds and failures kids are taught  today.   There is little of our accomplishment and almost none of the principles of our founders taught today.

The problem extends beyond the classroom to popular media.  Dueling catch phrases substitute for reasoned discourse.  Ignorance is celebrated, facts declared irrelevant and celebrity accorded undeserved value.  Our young people will accept blather from Snoop Dogg as more significant than a quote from Jefferson.  Reporters think their job is to further the careers of favored politicians and pillory those who dare oppose the current political pop star.  (quote Chris Matthews)  Networks function as propaganda agencies for the politically hip.  Newspapers abandon objectivity.  Print journalists anoint themselves Prophets of the new order, casting aspersions like spells on unbelievers.  Our founders saw a free press as the key to a sound political system even as they used the media to slander one another during campaigns.  In that sense I suppose the press is only honoring their heritage but we had expect better of them.  Print media’s declining revenues and influence are a hopeful sign that somewhere  people want information from news sources and will form their own opinions after reviewing the facts.

We need to reassert our foundation principles, to reconstruct the foundation that until recently supported the Constitution.  It is no longer sufficient to debate and argue among ourselves about contemporary issues.  We need to relate the founder’s principles to the kitchen table issues that drive today’s politics.  Never again should a campaign slogan and catch phrase elect a President of this great nation.

October 12, 2008

Racist rhetoric, propaganda aimed at the ignorant among us.

“We hold these truths to be self evident; that all men are created equal”  This short sentence from our national birth certificate says all that should need saying about racism in this country.  Jefferson wrote those words knowing exactly what he was saying when he elucidated the principles that would govern the new nation.  Jefferson, Franklin and Adams all knew that there are no significant differences between people of different colors.  (If you don’t know, Jefferson, Franklin and Adams were the principal authors of the Declaration of Independence.  The original draft of the document had a section decrying slavery as an inhumane institution.  Congress, acting as a committee of the whole, edited the anti slavery section out of the document.)  That politics preserved the institution of slavery until the Civil War is the fault of the Congress, not a defect in the principles written into the  Declaration.  To deny this requires a deliberate ignorance of our history and the founding principles written into the Declaration of Independence.

Fact: there is one human genome.  Every human being who ever lived, lives now and will live in the future is a member of the same race, the human race.  These are facts, indisputable, absolute and unchanging.  So why are racist views polluting the presidential contest?  The short answer is that people are promoting  candidates by appealing to our worst attributes and the least rational aspects of human nature.  On one side we have the subtle insinuation that not voting for Obama affirms the view that we are a racist nation, divided by the color line.  The corollary is that any black person who votes for the white candidate is a traitor to the race.  The truth is that both premises are false.

I can not criticize any black person who votes for Obama out of ethnic pride.   Our pluralistic society honors ethnic heritage as a valuable element of the national character.  Voting for the first African American presidential candidate is a compelling aspect Obama’s candidacy.  However, people of all colors and ethnicities disagree with Obama’s policy positions just as they disagree with McCain’s.

What is true is that most Americans no longer accept racist mythology.  We have a ways to go before we are a truly colorblind society.  Yet, it is ameasure of how far we have come toward fully embracing Jefferson’s ideal that Barack Obama is a viable candidate for the highest offiec in the nation.  You may disagree with his politics, dislike his positions, be mistrustful of his plans for the future but none of those considerations  include skin color.  The inverse is also true, disagreeing with the man’s political positions is not racist. That residual racism still exists is undeniable.  That the majority of Americans eschew racism is also undeniable.   Neither candidate should tolerate or encourage racist comments from staff, surrogates or supporters.

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