September 25, 2016
This iconic introduction from the glory days of phony wrestling in a steel cage is what the media paparazzi hope will be how the Clinton-Trump debate tomorrow plays out- two political gladiators needling each other over facts, scandals and past comments they regretted afterwards.
I for one don’t buy into the rumble imagery as both Clinton and Trump will spend the bulk of the evening on Long Island checking each other out, fearing a verbal mistake, and appearing earnest to the millions of viewers. Clinton will be an encyclopedia of policy and Trump will coin a few memorable quips. For those viewers hoping that verbal blood will spill will be disappointed. Debates are carefully planned exercises in playing defense, not going for broke Hail Mary passes that bring the crowd to their feet.
If I am right both Clinton and Trump will “win” the debate with little change in the polls and each camp claiming victory. If there is a noticeable breakthrough for either candidate it will be in the areas of posture, voice inflection, facial distortion and signs of boredom. Many pundits have suggested that viewers should turn off the sound and watch the candidates not listen to them.
For pure entertainment value I do hope that one of the two makes some outlandish comment or gets tripped up with the facts. But my request for entertainment shows how the debates and indeed campaigning in our democracy have sunk into the swamp. I wonder how many disappointed viewers will switch to the New Orleans-Atlanta Monday Night Football game in search of a real rumble.
July 28, 2016
We all have sung the national anthem hundreds of times in our lifetime. Most of us don’t need to be reminded of the words by looking at a huge electric board at a sporting event; we hold our hand to our heart and belt out our beloved anthem.
But just as a reminder, I want to zero in on the last two lines of the anthem. We as citizens of this great country pride ourselves on living in the ” land of the free.” Then the anthem ends with the most powerful claim, the ” home of the brave.” Too often we accent the ” land of the free” statement at the expense of the ” home of the brave.”
I get the love of freedom part of the anthem since it defines our core value, and what separates us from so many other countries and peoples. But I do worry that many Americans don’t really respect and appreciate the ” home of the brave” charge made in the anthem.
Being brave is not just for the members of the armed forces, our police and fire officers, EMTs, and those under the radar agents who risk their lives gathering information in foreign lands. No living in the “land of the brave” means that all of us take an oath by singing this anthem to be brave, to stand up to terror, to refuse to be intimidated by those who threaten our domestic tranquility, to stand up for what we believe even in the face of danger.
We have heard a great deal of fear-mongering in the last few weeks that would suggest Americans need to take cover and protect their families and homes from some sort of civil war or internal collapse. Maybe I missed it but I didn’t hear the reminder that we as Americans live in the “land of the brave.” If we are to believe in the national anthem and sing it with gusto, then we need to show our bravery and not succumb to those who would suggest we cower in the face of violence and external threats.
So next time we sing the national anthem, let’s put the emphasis on ” land of the brave” and more importantly live our lives as brave Americans.
July 9, 2016
Most white Americans know black Americans from going to a Beyonce, concert, watching Chris Rock on the Comedy Channel, attending a sporting event or perhaps working with them in the office or factory. Most white Americans never see how the vast majority of black Americans live, especially those who live in urban areas, except when a riot ensues. Even middle class blacks often live in largely de facto segregated neighborhoods or towns because they feel more comfortable around those with the same skin color. In large part Americans usually only see the real black Americans at the mall or an occasional visit to the city.
Most public opinion polls show that white Americans often define themselves as not racist and supportive of black people, and that attitude is correct. We do not live in the 1950’s anymore where Jim Crow laws ruled the day and whites both in the North and the South let their prejudice flow openly. But we do live in a time when there is little connection to the black Americans who are part of the growing underclass, victimized by income inequality and poverty.
Sure some black Americans make it out of poverty, and thankfully there are more and more examples of success stories. But not everyone who is black is part of a success story in this country, and even the successful blacks will tell you horror stories of DWB- driving while black- and being stopped by the police for no reason or hailing a cab only to be rejected while the white person a few feet away gets a ride or the subtle barriers to renting an apartment or buying a house. The list of discrimination is a long one, even today.
If we are to move forward to a truly race neutral country it is up to white Americans to take the time to find out how most black Americans live, not just Beyonce or LeBron James, and how they struggle to make ends meet, how they fear the police and how they believe that the American dream applies only to some, and not them. Certainly blacks need to also connect with whites and create a dialogue and a racial partnership, but for too long whites have ignored the lives of blacks in this country and just assumed that all was OK in the urban environments where hope languishes and fear reigns. It is time to admit that racism exists in this country and that all is not well within the black community. Whites need to step up to the plate and do more than say they are not racist.
May 4, 2016
It is abundantly clear that Donald Trump is not a detail guy or policy wonk or fact checker, but he is most effective and politically savvy when it comes to making horrible accusations or cruel declarations against his opponents or those who are not part of his white America voting bloc. He certainly will not change his strategy once he begins to unload against Hillary Clinton. This campaign will be run in the gutter and largely void of serious dialogue on issues that are critical to the future of this country.
So what can we expect from the Donald and what will Hillary have to deal with as this country wades through the muck until this worst campaign ever is finally over? Here’s a snapshot of Trump’s strategy and Hillary’s lament.
He will follow the Republican playbook and claim that the Benghazi deaths were Hillary’s fault and that she was lying to her teeth – lying Hillary
He will state that Hillary didn’t have the human decency to speak to the families of those who died in the Benghazi raid – heartless Hillary
He will claim that Hillary likely divulged state secrets by using a personal email server and that if not for a Democratic Justice Department and weak FBI she would be in handcuffs – criminal Hillary
He will assert that she is a pawn of Wall Street while he is beholden to no one, certainly no one in Washington – money hungry Hillary
He will charge that she knew about all of Bill’s flings and the shady dealings to make his lady friends go away – cover-up Hillary
He will hint that maybe just maybe Hillary always liked women rather than men and was carrying on a secret life – in the closet Hillary
He will of course question her ability as a woman to be tough, decisive, strong-willed and all within the context in which a woman’s biological and anatomical differences creep into the charges – Hillary as Megyn Kelly
I could go on and on but I think you get the gist of the Trump strategy. One can only hope that Hillary has her own strategy to counteract the gutter and that the American people still yearn for a policy debate on the issues and the future of this country rather than a mud fest. One can only hope, but don’t count on it.