Thursday, July 22, 2010

"So Long, 2010! I'm Moving Back to 1961! A Simpler Time."

I haven’t written a blog in a while. But I’ve been having a back and forth with a friend from my past in San Francisco who was one of my favorite people during that time of my life. It’s been a spirited and healthy back and forth and I love these kinds of exchanges because they give me a chance to “finer” tune my argument and remind me that semantics matter.

We’ve been having an email exchange about a segment on the Glenn Beck Hour in which he had a relative of Martin Luther King on his show as a precursor to his upcoming rally at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial – the same place that MLK delivered his “I Had a Dream” speech.

Essentially, Glenn Beck, in what I consider to be a blatant case of revisionist history, is trying to paint himself and his brand of conservatism as the torch-bearers of MLK’s dream. That somehow and in some way, in some strange up-side down, “Freaky Friday”, other-worldly alternate reality, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and their ilk are actually the direct descendents of MLK’s mission and Barack Obama and other African-American civil rights “activists” are actually the destroyers of MLK’s dream.

Seriously… for real. This is actually happening, and friends and family members of mine that watch the cast of characters at FOX and listen to Rush Limbaugh, etc. actually go: “Yeah. Absolutely! We’re the ones who embody MLK’s dream! Of course. Back in the day, MLK was a huge conservative who would have totally been embraced by the Fox News audience and if O’Reilly was doing his shtick back in the ‘50s and ‘60s, he totally would have been on the King bandwagon, absolutely!”

There’s sooooooo many reasons why this line of reasoning is completely and utterly absurd and almost insulting. But in some strange way it’s actually an interesting sign. In some strange way, the current conservatives of today are actually more liberal than those back in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Crazy to think now with the likes of Coulter and Limbaugh and Beck; but it actually proves the theory that socially, the country, as a whole (aside from the extreme right-wing and the Fundamentalist Evangelical Christians) is, socially speaking, moving towards the Left. Socially speaking, we are a Center-Left country.

But politically, we’re a right-wing country. And we’re not a center-right country, we’re a waaaaaay right-wing country… we’re way, way, way away from the Center. So a Moderate/Centrist Independent like me doesn’t really have a home, politically speaking. The Democrats, for the most part, are just as conservative as the Republicans (save Kucinich, Grayson and Sanders). For the most part, the Democratic Party is filled with corporatist sell-outs and “Blue Dogs” that, in most instances, side with the politically far-right wing Republicans.

The problem is that, where there are some Liberals, Moderates/Centrists in the Democratic Party, there are NO Liberals or Moderate/Centrists in the Republican Party. They’re all politically conservative. But they’re not all socially conservative. Some of them, those with more a Libertarian streak, aren’t necessarily against certain social issues that are considered “liberal.” A few Libertarian Republicans are for the legalization of marijuana and prostitution. There’s also been many a gay Republican who has engaged in homosexual acts – and that ain’t exactly in line with “family values.”

Just on a personal level, most of my “Conservative Republican” friends have gay friends and are cool with gays at least having “civil unions”, they smoke (or have smoked) weed, have done hardcore drugs and have crazy “liberal” sex. So, they’re not exactly 1950s or 1960s conservatives. Which is my exact point – the country has become more liberal since back “in the day” and even those of my conservative friends aren’t necessarily so conservative when it comes to things like sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll and gay lifestyles.

But that’s because I don’t really have a lot of Fundamentalist Evangelical Christian friends. I have friends who are “Conservative Republican” Catholics… but, come on, let’s be real – Catholics know how to party like any card-carrying liberal, okay. Let’s be real! But, apparently, MLK, who was a Southern Baptist, has some hardcore Evangelical relatives and they have found an affinity with Mr. Lapsed Catholic Former Alcoholic Turned Mormon Beck.

Those folks are CONSERVATIVE!!! With a capital C! They ain’t kiddin’ around! They’re the real deal. So when they go on Beck’s show, they fall in line with the Fundamentalist Evangelical hardcore CONSERVATIVE (socially and politically) bandwagon and, since they look like MLK and sound like MLK and are related to MLK – then they add validity to Beck’s assertion that he’s the real heir to the MLK Dream.

This is where things get kind of confusing for me because I’m someone who gets edgy whenever anyone goes waaaaaaaaaay to the left or waaaaaaaaaay to the right. But now everything is all over the place because we have African-Americans who, because of a fundamentalist style religion, think that someone like Glenn Beck is more in line with MLK than Barack Obama and members of the NAACP – including cats like Jesse Jackson who actually marched WITH King.

WTF is going on??? Again, what world are we living in now? Thanks to Beck and Limbaugh and the entire FOX News apparatus, we have truly entered “The Matrix.” And here begins: The Story of Shirley Sherrod. Here’s what happened:

A guy named Breitbart, who is a member of a splinter of the Tea Party Movement called the Federation or the Express or the WWF or the Lollipop Guild…??? Anyhoo, he gets accused by the NAACP (which is, I dunno, some black thing… and y’all know how THOSE people are [wink-wink]) of having Tea Bagger members that harbor racist tendencies and should “denounce and reject” these unholy infiltrators.

WHAT?!?! Seriously, what part of holding a sign of Barack Obama as an African witch doctor with a bone through his nose can be misconstrued as racist??? Again, what world am I now living in? Of course the 99.9 percent of white folks holding signs like “No Pubic Option” aren’t racist! Contextually challenged, perhaps -- but racist. Naw, dawg! They totally down with brown, brah! They all ‘bout King’s dream, brah! Especially in Tea Party hotbeds like Arizona – the home of true conservatives like John McCain who is six degrees of Kevin Bacon from Sarah Palin (yes, by way of “Saturday Night Live”, you can totally trace McCain AND Palin to Kevin Bacon – it’s ASTOUNDING!!!) where MLK Jr. Day is not considered a national holiday.

But we get it because MLK was actually a Communist/Socialist to the Conservatives of his day. But don’t tell a Liberal like Glenn Beck that because he gets all “oh no you di’int” when MLK-haters like NAACP emeritus member Julian Bond brought up the inconvenient truth that MLK had once discussed that a “quasi-socialist” style of government would probably work better for America. Because, after all, to a Liberal like Beck, MLK is his home-boy!

HOWEVER, what does all of this have to do with a woman named Shirley Sherrod? Well this Breitbart guy from previous paragraphs, in an attempt to point out the NAACP is just as racist as any Tea Bagger – he shows a video of Ms. Sherrod in which she “confesses” to denying the full force of her powers to help a white family save their farm while serving in the USDA under the Obama Administration.

Well, the good folks at Fox News had a field day with this one! A black woman engaging in racial discrimination against poor white farmers – some Maoist, Socialist, Afro-Centric, Black Power radical burrowing into the very fabric of the Obama Administration like some Al-Qaeda sleeper cell – oh yeah, this was a job for the Foxanators!!! And they were on it!

From the time Breitbart put out the, clearly unedited video, the entire Fox army from the “news” section of the operation to the “opinion” folks like Beck, O’Reilly and Hannity (and even those adorable kids in the morning on “Fox and Friends” with their Ken and Barbie spunkiness!) they were “explaining” to their well informed audience that, once again, the far-leftist, Maoist, Socialist, Afro-Centric, Black Power, Jeremiah Wright apostle and Kenyan born Muslim illegitimate president in the White House (and is it really still the “White” House any more, really???) is chock full o’ racist black folks with Socialist, Maoist, Afro-Centric… etc., etc., etc., tendencies.

And within hours, Shirley Sherrod was on the radar and became the next in line to get the axe from some lower ranking member of the Obama Administration – and thank god they fired her before Glenn Beck went on the air because clearly, as the current voice of the Civil Rights Movement and heir apparent to the legacy of MLK, if he would have gotten a hold of Sherrod… well there would have been hell to pay, fo’ shizzel!

BUT WAIT… HOLD THE PRESSES!!! There’s more to this story??? WHAT??? And really, why bother following up on this story before giving Sherrod the boot??? Fox News already said it: SHE A RACIST!!! SHE HATE WHITE PEOPLE!!! They said it on “Fox and Friends”, they said it on the “news” portion… from like 12:30 to 3:30; Hannity covered it, O’Reilly covered it, Laura Ingraham chimed in… and if any stone was left unturned, Limbaugh covered it! The story was done! Everything that was needed to be reported was reported. They said it on Fox – therefore it is fact!!!

Except for the fact that 1) Sherrod was relating an anecdote from – 1986! And she didn’t join the USDA until 2009! 2) The story was about the turning point in her life when she realized that, although she felt the white farmer was being patronizing to her and she had all the power in the world to deny him help in saving his farm – she had a “come to Jesus” moment and realized that the issue isn’t about black and white, it’s about poor and wealthy – haves and have nots. It’s about helping out folks that need help, regardless of the color of their skin. It’s about rising above racial barriers and helping people that need help. 3) She put the full force of her office behind the cause of these farmers, helped them save their farm, and became lifelong friends with the white farmers in question. 4) CNN interviewed the farmers and they, unequivocally, denounced and rejected Fox News and the narrative they “jammed down America’s throat.”

Now you’d think, after all that reporting was done by CNN, the Obama Administration would have changed their tune IMMEDIATELY!!! But, remember several paragraphs back when I wrote that the Democratic Party is just as Conservative as the Republican Party and everyone went “Er-uh! Wha??? Hrrrr? Noooo!” Well, since that Maoist, Socialist, Communist, Afro-Centric, Black Power… yadda, yadda, yadda president takes his cue from the right-wing media over there at Fox and Friends…

Well, this is when my head explodes! How am I supposed to make a reality out of all of that??? It used to be, back in the day, when racists were racists, liberals were liberals, conservatives were conservatives, black people robbed from white people, and white people strung up black people with a noose – and those were great times! When we were a younger, more na├»ve – a kinder, gentler America.

But today – forget it! So, I’m going back to live in 1961, when things made sense and the world was a simpler place. Apparently, there’s no email or Facebook in the neighborhood I’m moving to… so, ya know… but hey, I think a postage stamp is like .2 cents, so that’s a plus! (Oh, and everybody is White, so I got that goin’ for me as well!:-)