3.22.2010

For Want of a Statesman

Is there not one principled man or woman within the Republican Party willing to step forward and take responsibility for the rabid and violent masses running roughshod over our country? Is there not one person in the GOP who found the uncivil actions of the mob this past weekend, reprehensible and worthy of condemnation?

Or is this what politics and public discourse have become, foul name calling, spit hurled amid threats of violence against those who harbor differing opinions?

Is America just one violent incident away from an attempt to tip over the melting pot that we sorta celebrate as the foundation of the American Dream? Is the dream dead? Or perhaps I should say, are the dreams dead, the American one and Martin's vision of America? Has it died, too?

No one of a certain age in this country is surprised at hearing the words nigger and faggot thrown at us, just because. The only thing missing this past weekend, were the angry police, attacking dogs and fire hoses. Maybe that's progress, ya think? This kind of behavior was at one time codified in law, and continues to be taught as gospel in huge segments of the population. This behavior, if you can get close enough to talk to some of them view it as their god given first amendment right to exercise against us or our ideas. They have a right to say anything and in any way they choose because they were born to this right.

But this is not first amendment. This behavior is not written into the Constitution. This is not protected speech under the law. What happened this past weekend was the exercise of white privilege and the inherent belief that Black and Native Americans are inferior and are therefore subject to the whims of the perceived majority.

The perceived majority, (and I use that term only to reflect that white people are disappearing as quickly as real Black people), has never apologized for anything. The perceived majority has never acknowledged the actions of the past. It refuses to recognize that what this country is today is built on a foundation created from the blood, sweat, tears and determination to survive of people of color. Oh yes, the majority apologized to the Japanese, even paid them to be quiet-reparations for unjust internment that lasted what, five or six years at the most?

Native Americans have never really been absorbed into the fabric while Black people, well we stand out on the fabric like sequins on a party dress, impossible to hide or blend in. Other ethnicities have come to America, and been met with the same vicious discrimination, but with a difference. These other ethnicities, the Irish, and the Italians and the Polish and Slavs, all have white skin, a natural camouflage that eventually allowed them access. So they stepped up and over us, and joined in the “coon-hunt” because we can't blend in, ever.

Anyone who has ever looked at pictures of the 4000 some lynchings that took place in this country and wondered how could so called good people take part, need look at what happened in DC this past weekend at the Tea Party rallies and understand. And for the record, lynching has never been outlawed in America. People simply stepped up to stop it. But who is stepping forward now?

What was different about the past, is that there were people who were willing to come forward, to take the reins and say “enough.” There were people who were willing to lead by both word and example out loud, reminding their mob that we are all children of somebody's god.

There were men who were willing to say “I'm sorry” and know innately that “I'm sorry” would not diminish their character or statesmanship, but would, on the contrary, enhance it. They were not perfect men, by any stretch of the imagination and usually took part in some of the foolishness themselves. However, they were decent men and principled men, tempered in the fires of morality and justice. They knew when they crossed the line and when to step back.

These men didn't stand in the well of the Peoples' House and rant, attempting to substitute lies and profanities for truths and statesmanship. True statesman don't catcall their fellows or verbally attack Presidents, nor condone the cretinous actions of the mob toward the so called opposition.

Real statesmen don't employ a blame the victim mentality, hiding behind hollow words and excuses. At least in sports, the players still shake hands after the game is contested and a winner has been declared. After the game the players and coaches go on television to talk about what went wrong, but not to blames or to castigate the other team. The coach takes responsibility. The players take responsibility for their actions.

Why are there no coaches in politics? Why are there no statesmen or women stepping forward to squelch the ugliness of their followers? Thuggery should not be tolerated in the halls of congress or on the streets of America, especially when directed at other Americans, because in this game, we are all American.

This country is not your country, it is not my country, it is our country. Like or not, we will live and we will die together.
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