Monday, August 1, 2011

The Tale of the Three Wise Men and a Dog (Whistle)

Once upon a time not too long ago - earlier today, as a matter of fact - there were three wise men. Two of these men were noted journalists and members of my generation. The third was a rising historian. I admire their work greatly, which pains me to write this tale.

I've always said that I never wanted people whom I admired to be pristine perfect. I like my heroes with feet of clay, but that doesn't mean I like them to spew cack, which - in view of the recent meltdown as a result of the debt ceiling deal - everyone seems to be spewing right about now. But that's a different tale for a different day.

Because I still retain a modicum of respect for them, professionally, I'm not going to condescend to their level of immaturity and reveal their real identities. Like Jack Webb in the old Dragnet series, the names have been changed, although they're anything but innocent and I don't know why they should be protected particularly.

I was at pains to choose aliases for them. At first, I thought of using Moe, Larry and Curly, but they're really not stooges, per se. If anything, they think the general public who read and respond to their musings on the social network pages they frequent, to be the real stooges, especially if they disagree with them on certain matters and particulary if you happen to be female and disagree.

Then, I thought about Tom, Dick and Harry, and I was almost there, but used in that context, one-third of that triumvirate is made too ordinary, and these are anything but ordinary men. They are men of letters, educated men, sophisticated men, men who make words come alive on a page. So Tom, Dick and Harry, as nomenclatures, were ruled out.

Instead, I choose to use more descriptive names (and harken how the simple nickname for Richard assumes an all new aura when juxtaposed with something more varied.

Let's call them Peter, Dick and Willie.

Peter is an older man, well into retirement age, but still active professionally and nearing his three score years and ten. Dick is in his late fifties and is known for his expertise in a certain area of journalism. Willie is the youngest, an author and historian.

None of the three men in question like the current President of the United States. In fact, Dick wrote a reaction to the President's 2010 State of the Union address, complete with an option soundtrack to accompany the piece. The accompanying music was the theme from Shaft.

Willie, the youngest and approaching middle age, is making a last-ditch pitch to hang onto his boyish charm. Here is how he describes himself on his facebook page:-

Those who know me, only if even here on Facebook, know I harbor several passions: wingnutology ... bashing BHO.

And as if to prove his puerile point and position himself as an alpha male, he goes on to say:-

My friends have told me they've never seen me bash BHO. Huh. Well, how's this: he makes up lies about the Emancipation Proclamation in the interests of serving a pathological hatred of the activist left, the only force that can save his presidency.

Like a lot of people of his ilk - and, yes, I'm looking at you, Joan Walsh, he seemed particularly perturbed about a video issued by the White House showing the President addressing a group of politically minded students at Boston College.

This video caused a lot of consternation amongst celebrity blogging/talking heads, not so much because he, once again, called out a bastion of Progressive journalism, The Huffington Post for Hearst-like hysteria and exaggeration, as much as he referenced Lincoln and referred to The Emancipation Proclamation as a compromise.

"Compromise" has been a pretty dirty word in the Progressive vocabulary dating back forty years to when George McGovern's untried campaign committee steam-rollered any attempt he sought to make which even resembled a compromise on their principles. Forty years after the fact, and the Tea Party have caught on about compromise being something that smells decidedly like poo - yet another similarity the EmoProgs share with the Teabaggers. The list is growing.

Well, as I tried to explain before, The Emancipation Proclamation was a compromise. It had to be considering the time and circumstances. It was later strengthened and fortified in law by the 13th Amendment, but Lincoln wasn't alive to see that.

I'm not a historian. I've never written a book or had an article published by a journal, but I do know that what the President was trying to tell those students was valid information. Our democracy was founded on compromise. Sometimes we compromise too much, which was one of the reasons the Civil War came to be, compromising to the point of conflict.

And sometimes we don't compromise enough, and then you get gridlock and nothing gets done.

A couple of days ago, Dick and I got into a little contretemps about the First Amendment.
It all centred around Jason Linkin's whiny piece about MSNBC's decision to dispense with Cenk Uygar and employ Al Sharpton. Dick interjected into the conversation, bringing up Pat Buchanan and subsequently contradicting himself, as well as showing insufficient knowledge of what the First Amendment was all about.

Excerpts from the exchange:-

Dick:Sorry, but if I'm going to rip them for continuing to emply Buchanan, somebody's gonna have to explain giving Sharpton his own show.

Me: Let them both stay. First Amendment. If we start censuring speech, we may as well have a dictatorship, but then the desire for that is one thing both Left and Right have in common. Politics is circular anyway. Go far enough to the Left and you end up on the Right, as we're seeing. Well, at least the plebs are, the ones who aren't guided by what the Fourth Estate wants them to see and believe.

Dick:There is not a damn thing in the First Amendment that gives somebody a right to be a bigot on television for 20 years.

Me:As for the First Amendment, even the liberal justices on SCOTUS voted for the vile Westboro Baptist Church to protest funerals. Part of the reason we allow bigots to spew in public is so people with common sense can here them and reject them. Not ALL of us depend on the Fourth Estate to do our thinking for us.

And then the piece de resistance in Dick's rejoinder:-

Dick:I have no idea what that Westboro Baptist business even means. You have a constitutional right to say what you want. Even this SCOTUS largely believes that. You do not have a constitutional right to say it on television.

Uuuuuuuuuuuhhh ... OK ... now, being but a layperson, please, can someone tell me if that isn't conflicted? Because free speech is free speech, and nowhere can I find that someone doesn't have the constitutional right to say what he wishes (offensive words notwithstanding) on television.

This is not some teenager, people, writing for his weekly high school paper, this is an award-winning journalist with a national reputation! Jesus, if that's the sort of person seeking to enlighten us, I'm truly worried, and I don't know if I'm more worried about his misunderstanding of the Constitution (on par, perhaps, with Michele Bachmann's) or if I'm more worried that he'd actually want to see someone banned from the airwaves because he was a bigot. Myself, I quite like the idea of bigots being given their First Amendment Rights. It gives more people the opportunity to see how truly derisive their attitudes are, but there you go. A Progressive wanting to ban freedom of speech. What next?

Well, this, a bit of a kerfuffle with Peter. Mindful of the fact that he was an investigative journalist by profession, I posted a link on his FB wall, a Raw Story account of Eric Cantor owning $15,000 worth of shares in a fund set to skyrocket if the US government defaulted. Cantor was effectively betting against the solvency of the government he served as an elected representative. In short, he wanted the goverment to fail, which has got to be somewhat treasonous or, at least, seditious.

I pointed out to him that a responsible media would have had that story front and centre for weeks, and investigative journos would have been crawling all over Cantor like lice, but instead, we get crickets.

His response?

Peter:I've seen it several times, although not prominently. It's an outrage, if true.

A rather lackadaisical response which served to get my dander up, so I replied:-

Me: Don't you think it worth the media investigating? Even if proven wrong, they could have presented their findings to the public and shown proof. If this is wrong, Cantor's being slandered in the worst way, but if it's correct, then what he's doing is tantamount to treason. No, wait. It's far easier for the press and the media to nitpick Obama.

And the answer?

Enough of the preamble, let's get to the meat. As explained, these three gentlemen bear no love for our current President. One, Peter, is a blatant Clintonista. Willie resides in the same Chicago neighbourhood where the President previously lives and still owns a home. Dick is just ... well, his name says it all.

Like all willfully misinformed Progressives, who spend their days and nights thinking up reasons to hate the President and then reasons to argue why it has absolutely nothing at all to do with race, the paths of these three met today in the wake of the debt ceiling agreement.

First, Willie paid homage to what he thought was a particularly clever and perspicacious remark made by Dick: I quote:

Willie:The inestimable Dick: "If the current president had been president in Lincoln's time, he'd still have been having Jefferson Davis over for tea until sometime in 1863 and I'd need a passport to go to spring training every year."

(Mind you, Dick, being a real dyed-in-the-wool Yankee, has been known to refer to Southerners as "goobers.")

Pray, pay hommage to "the inestimable Dick", hosannah in the highest, accompanied by the sound of chest-beating and exclamations of "I am Spartacus!"

That posting prompted a waggish response from a West Coast "life coach":-

Not to nitpick, but he'd be serving the tea to Pres. Buchanan & J.Davis in 1863. Y'know, the slavery thing.

Ah, but Willie was quick to remind West Coast "life coach:"-

Willie:This would be White Obama we're talking about ...

Wait a minute. Take a look at the capitalisation of the phrase "White Obama." I don't need to explain this, the phrase. Somewhere in the background I hear an old man whistling "Dixie" to his dog (pronounced "dohhge"), and you can bet your bottom (Confederate)dollar that dog ain't named Bo.

But that was nothing compared to the conversation that followed as Peter joined Dick and Willie at the cyber Facebook bar to play another round of Piss on the President:-

Willie:Nice comment ... on a thread of my friend ...: "He's a one-trick pony, always has been, and that trick is performing judiciousness, reasonableness, performing the guy who shows his seriousness by being able to agree with those with whom he supposedly disagrees and to disagree with those with whom he supposedly agrees."

Peter:He's the LeBron James of American politics. Comes up awesome in the second quarter of game three.

Dick:That's cold.

Facebook Friend:Cold but true.

Dick:I know, but there's no bigger insult these days.

Peter:Too hard on LeBron, actually. He and Wade will get a championship one day--if they ever find them a point guard and a center. Remember when Obama warned Cantor not to call his bluff? He did, and the president folded.

Dick: Outmaneuvered by Eric Cantor. Now there's change I can believe in.

Now, pardon me. I'm just a simple Southern girl from the country, but I certainly don't see how Eric Cantor - the man whose alleged treason/sedition Peter simply didn't want to know about - bested the President. Or called his bluff. Nor do I see that the President "caved" in any way, but it's the fashion on the Left to say so, and these people are media men, so maybe they know more than I; but what I did catch in all this was the almost overt racism, especially in the basketball analogy and the alpha male passive aggression eager to exhibit their intellectual strength compared to what they perceive as the President's weakness. The weakness a white man traditionally always thought a black man possessed. It's all too easy to see these white, affluent Northern men addressing someone whose skin is a darker hue by the tag "boy." In fact, nothing would give Willie greater pleasure than to do just that, when that epithet clearly should be ascribed to him in his level of immaturity.

Jealousy or just plain outright racism? I'd say the latter, even though I've had Peter, who happened to attend my alma mater, but in the days when it was all-white and all-male and known as the Country Club of the South, patronisingly chide me about seeing racism in every criticism of the President. I'm sure he might be right, but then again, I'm sure he's in denial about his own racist tendencies. After all, as Joy-Ann Reid points out, even Progressives have been known to be racist, and she goes on to say something else which these three gentlemen would do well to heed:-

JFK was among our smartest, most dynamic presidents. But liberals who paint Kennedy as some sort of young Bernie Sanders who never veered from liberal orthodoxy and never compromised with conservatives, or faced the realities of Congress’ ability to limit presidential action are believing a convenient fiction — similar to the fiction that omits FDR’s failure to address racial equality and scandalous treatment of Japanese Americans, or Woodrow Wilson’s glaring racism and “League of Nations” abroad, “ignore the lynchings at home” hypocrisy.

The point here is not that liberals should stand up and cheer Obama’s compromises. People have a right to feel upset or disappointed or however they wish. But those who pretend that Barack Obama is the first progressive president to make those compromises or try and work with his opposition are either ignoring history, or just looking for reasons to demonize this particular president.

Bottom line: no president could stand up to the scrutiny of the purists on the left or the purists on the right. And I suppose that’s the way it should be, since the vast majority of Americans fall somewhere in between.

Well, maybe that's their beef, but maybe it's something more,and I do believe that a lot of criticism coming from the Left is race-based, albeit cleverly hidden behind the mask of "policy" to such a degree that "policy" is almost becoming a code word.

I guess these three wise men aren't so wise at all. I guess they're just three white men, who happened to be jealous and afraid.

Peter, Dick and Willie ... This song's for you:-

UPDATE: Just to keep you apprised, here's Willie's latest take on the President:-

Willie: Joke. If he can time travel, he can be white.

Not only on the Right, but ...

No comments:

Post a Comment