July 2009


Coming to a conclusion on a situation based solely on the race of an individual, and ignoring, or not bothering to learn any and all other factors which may impact that conclusion, is the technical definition of racism.

Obama, by his own admission, lacked the facts in the Gates issue, yet he formulated an opinion, and weighed in on the controversy, while standing on the greatest bully pulpit in the world. He reacted with very little thought, did not bother to learn the facts surrounding the arrest, and based his opinion solely on the race of the individuals involved.

Barack Obama engaged in racism.

Pundits and apologists everywhere, are trying to downplay or explain away Obama’s reaction, but the facts remain the same.

Barack Obama, acting in his official capacity as President of the nation that peacefully elected him to the office, engaged in public racism, and today remains unapologetic for his actions.

The race of the person engaging in it notwithstanding, racism is racism.

I’ll admit it…I have been a Michael Jackson fan since that first boy-girl party I attended back in Junior High, when I kissed Julie Nieves while dancing to “I’ll Be There”.

“You and I must make a pact,
we must bring salvation back.
Where there is love, I’ll be there.”

I hear that song, and I’m right back in Julie’s garage, hearing Michael through the speakers of her GE record changer…one those jobs that closed up like a suitcase. I think my mind adds in the pops and scratches from that old 45 when the song comes up in my iPod rotation.

I wonder if Julie, now a grandmother, remembers that as well as I do.

I had a little bit of a problem explaining the hoopla surrounding Michael’s death to my kids; at ten and thirteen, they have no working knowledge of just who Michael Jackson was. Something they may have in common with Joseph Walter and Katherine Esther Jackson’s seventh child.

I tried telling them about the old days, the old music, but 1971 is an alien concept to them. I tried explaining how those pops and scratches somehow made the music more meaningful. That didn’t even make sense to me…but they did….”what’s a 45?” asks my thirteen year-old.

I couldn’t tell him about Julie, how her Mom’s perfume smelled on her, and how my heart pounded as we brushed our lips together.

“Don’t you know baby yeah!
La, la, la, la, la, la, la!”

I spent hours watching the coverage of Jackson’s death this past week. Feeling mixed emotions, I was surprised to find out that his career had continued beyond that point in my life when a new release by MJ was an automatic addition to my music collection. I nearly felt guilty, as if my having abandoned him was somehow responsible for his fall from grace.

I was saddened as details of his life emerged. I knew, as we all knew, about the chimp and the oxygen chamber, about the surgeries, the molestation accusations, the alleged abuse at the hands of Joseph. I didn’t know about the immense loneliness, the drug abuse…I guess I could have figured it out, had I given it some thought, but I didn’t…I just didn’t.

I was shocked at the reports of his emaciated body; 5’10” Michael weighed 112 pounds at the time of his death. Shocked at reading that he was bald, wearing a wig to cover what remained of his natural hair, described by the LA Coroner as “peach fuzz”. Shocked to read that his hips, thighs, and shoulders were covered with needle marks.

I don’t want to think about that. I don’t want to remember Michael Jackson as the man he saw in the mirror daily.

I want to remember that garage, and the magic woven by the elf-like wunderkind with the sparkle in his eyes. I want to remember the scratches and pops in Julie’s 45, and the way she laid her head on my shoulder as the closing bars of our song played on.

I want to remember the music, and how that music made me feel.

So long Michael…I hope you have found peace.

Just listen to the first thirty seconds.

That was roughly two weeks ago, about four days after the first shot rang out in Tehran.

Fifteen days later, Obama calls the removal of Manuel Zelaya “illegal”, and joins Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro in condemning it.

What about Honduras’ sovereignty?

Isn’t it up to Hondurans as well to decide who the Honduran leaders will be, or is that a right preserved for Islamic theocracies, and not Latin democracies?

We “avoid the United States being the issue inside Iran” as the Mullahs brutally beat back calls for reform, and jump in with both feet to defend Zalaya’s overt attempt at overthrowing the Honduran Constitution?

One year ago…

President Bush would have spoken out immediately, in defense of the right of the people of Iran to speak out against the very real possibility of a corrupted election, and called out for the immediate stop to the beatings and shootings, instead of suggesting that the beatings and shootings of citizens by government forces weren’t any of our business.

One year ago…

President Bush would have praised the Honduran Congress, Supreme Court, and the Honduran people for their level-headed, orderly defense of the Honduran Constitution, holding them up as the brilliant example of a Constitutional Democracy that they are.

Today, President Obama gives taciturn approval of an Islamic theocracy’s right to beat and kills its citizens in the streets of their capital, for the crime of protecting the outcome of an election. Today, he calls the constitutional defense of the rule of law in a Latin American country “not legal”, and joins Chavez and Castro in supporting a President removed from power by the unanimous vote of Congress, in accordance to that nation’s Constitution, and as decreed by the Honduran Supreme Court, for repeated violations of his nation’s Constitution.

Then again, one year ago…

We didn’t own banks.

One year ago…

The President didn’t fire Detroit CEO’s.

One year ago…

There weren’t a dozen or so shadow figures called Czars whose power and reach no one quite understands.

One year ago…

We weren’t a dozen votes away from nationalizing 15% of our gross domestic product.

Not that many years ago, Ronald Reagan said that freedom was “never more than one generation away from extinction.”

He was speaking to us, and we obviously didn’t listen.

Change we got.

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