Friday, April 30, 2010

If I Were Your Girlfriend: Sisters, Just Give Us a Hint

If I was your girlfriend
Would U remember 2 tell me all the things U forgot
When I was your man?
          --Prince, “If I Was Your Girlfriend”

It all got started just like this.

As I prepared to leave the house, I just stuck my head into the room where my wife sat to let her know I was leaving and inquire if there was something she needed me to bring back. But she gave me the stink eye. You know the one—one eyebrow raised, one eye squinting, and her mouth pursed with the corners downturned into a frown.

Immediately, I knew I had done something, but I didn’t know just what; I’m always unwittingly doing something. So my mind kicked into rewind, and I thought back as far as second or third grade trying to figure out what I had done to upset this woman, but I only drew a blank.

So I made the mistake of asking her why she seemed upset with me which only seemed to irritate her further. As I turned to leave, she practically growled at me, “Think about. I’m sure it will come to you.” And I did think about. I thought about it all the way to my car, all the way up the street, and around the corner, but then something else caught my attention, and I forgot all about it.

However, a while later as I stood in line at the store, almost serendipitously, I overheard the conversation of the woman standing behind me. Not that I was eavesdropping, but she was wearing one of those obnoxious Bluetooth things that everyone seems to be wearing now.

From the tone of the conversation, she appeared to be talking with a friend, a woman. And it appeared that she and her significant other were having some kind of problem, the nature of which I was not able to ascertain, in their relationship. In fact, they had been having this problem for quite some time, and she was about ready to throw in the towel on the relationship.

But it was not this particular problem in question that made her so ready to end the relationship; it was his approach to solving the problem. You see, he had the nerve to ask her just what he needed to do to make her happy. And she was highly peeved that instead of just figuring it out for himself, he should turn to her for the answer.

But this is the thing. It seemed like her girlfriend to whom she was speaking with on the phone knew all about the problem. In fact, from the part of the conversation I could hear, it appeared she knew about the problem in great detail. Yet, he, the significant other, did not; he seemed to have no inkling what was wrong.

Now, I don’t want to get into any broad and sweeping statements here. And I certainly don’t want to speak in any essentialisms like women do this and men do that because some times I have those days when my Jockey briefs are all in a wad, but let me take the time out to just ask sisters, “What’s the matter with a brother just asking?” Is that so wrong? Why leave it to us to figure the thing out all by ourselves because admittedly, we can be a little slow sometimes.

And I don’t claim to speak for all the brothers, but just those who are trying to get this thing right. I’m talking about those brothers who are trying to get keep their home game tight, the house macks who ain’t planning on going nowhere because they haven’t been out there in the streets for so long that they couldn’t even survive in the wild. They have become domesticated.

But just tell us all those things about us that you tell your BFF. Tell us all those things you tell your sister. Tell us those things that tempt you to call into the Gayle King Show on Oprah Network. Tell us those things you daydream about that cause you to giggle for no apparent reason. Tell me what you are thinking when I catch you staring at me when you think I’m not looking, and I ask what are you staring at and you smile slyly and toss your hair a bit and say nothing.

Even tell us those things about ourselves that we need to know even though those things might our feelings. But tell us kindly and with a kiss. Ain’t nothing wrong with a little directions; after all, we are in this thing together.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

White Noise: The Deafening Cacophony of Silence from the Right Could Be the Death Knell of the GOP

white noise  --noun  Also called white sound.  a steady, unvarying, unobtrusive sound, as an electronically produced drone or the sound of rain, used to mask or obliterate unwanted sounds.  –

“In the end, we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.   –Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Did I ever tell you that at one time, for a very brief period of time, I wanted to be a playwright?  Yes, when I was an undergraduate. I took this class entitled “Reading Drama, Reading Life,” and successive readings of the plays of James Baldwin, August Wilson, and Joseph A. Walker moved me to become a playwright.

So, in a weekend of frenzied and inspired creative energy, I wrote my first play.  And on Monday, assured that I had just composed a virtual masterpiece, I presented the play to my professor who read it intently, said he found it quite good, but he offered one criticism.  The characters talked too much. 

In my zeal to write touching, affective dialogue, I had ignored the silences.  As my professor told me on that morning, in drama as in life, sometimes what is not said is as important as what is said, if not moreso.  It is in those silences, those vast lacunae between what is said and done and what is left unsaid and undone where true meaning and intent often resides.

But I have already talked too much.  I have already given too much time in building this grandiose metaphor.  Allow me to put it all in perspective.

For months now we have heard this cantankerous clamor of un-contrite cynicism from the right.  This wall of white noise has become such that it has began to define the right.  But this is the thing.  I don’t believe everyone on the right concurs with those sentiments being expressed by what I take to be a very small but very vocal, very loud minority.  In fact I know they don’t.

On a daily basis I interact with right-leaning and staunchly Republican friends and colleagues who are as dismayed as I by the rhetoric seemingly driven by racial animus and resentment.  They come to me in private and lament the voices now speaking on behalf of the GOP. 

They then shake their heads and dismiss themselves from my presence.  Some even seek me out to apologize though I am not certain what a personal apology to me means in the whole scheme of things.  But outside the closed doors of my presence, outside the four walls of my audience which hides their secret shame, they say nothing;  they cross their fingers, and they whisper a silent, fervent prayer that everything turns out alright.

But such is the posture on the right now.  Such is the attitude of the GOP.  So desperate is the GOP establishment to return to power that they have cast their lot with the most base, fanatical, and fringe elements.  And the louder this minority becomes, the more sensational their rhetoric becomes, the more attention they draw to themselves, the more the right acquiesces. 

Even in this fringe’s more egregious assertions and actions, those who know better, those who claim the moral high ground for themselves, say nothing and even seem to be frightened to confront this beast of their own creation until the beast finally has taken over, making any rational, well-meaning discourse and decision making impossible;  they now find themselves enslaved by this beast.

But what they do not realize is that at some point, those rational, sensible people looking on from the sidelines, those maligned groups spurned and trampled by this beast—African Americans, Hispanics, and other minorities--, and those who have simply grown tired of the bombastic rhetoric, will look upon the GOP’s reticence, timidity, and cowardice and in the deafening cacophony of that silence they will realize true meaning, motive, and intent, and they will simply turn away.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Myron Rolle Has a Character Problem: Why the NFL Will Forever Be Losing

Allow me to take the time to introduce you to Myron Rolle.  Mr. Rolle is a young, African American man, and scholar/athlete who we should all be very proud of;  he is perhaps one of the best this country has to offer.

As a student at Florida State University, Rolle finished his degree in Exercise Science in two and a half years with a GPA of 3.75, and then immediately began pursuing a master’s degree in public administration.  As an athlete, he is just as incredibly gifted and started on the Florida State University football team at safety for three years, winning both All-Academic and All-American honors.

Despite his incredible intellectual and athletic gifts, though, in the most recent NFL draft, no team chose Rolle until the sixth round which was a major disappointment being that if he had left school last year, he had been projected to be chosen in the top forty-nine players.

So, why did Rolle fall so far in the draft?  You see, Myron Rolle has an incredible character problem.

The first hint of his character problem came in the fall of 2008.  His team was scheduled to play Maryland State University, but the date of the game coincided with his chance-of-a-lifetime to compete for the honor of being a prestigious Rhodes Scholar.  So, what did Rolles do?

He decided to go to the interview, and after the interview was complete, he took a chartered plan to Maryland to catch up with his team.  He arrived late, but he still arrived in time to play in the game.  Of course, this started tongues a-wagging, as prognosticators across football-dom began to question his commitment to football.  How dare he miss a football game for something so petty as a Rhodes Scholar interview?

And if you think people were shocked that he should do such a thing then, they had to just pick themselves up off the floor when it was announced that he was one out of thirty-two young people in the country to be awarded the Rhodes scholarship, and not only that, he later announced that he would forego the 2009 NFL draft and the chance to make millions with just the stroke of a pen just to attend school at the renowned Oxford University in England.

What?  Just the thought of that!  And because of that, he fell from the top forty-nine to the six round of the draft, costing himself millions of dollars in the exchange.  The NFL establishment actively questioned his character in a round about way.  One NFL coach even asked him during an interview, "How does it feel to have deserted your team back in Maryland?".

Allow me to ask you a question, please.  Ain’t this the biggest crock of poo you have ever seen in your life?  With all the personal and character problems professional athletes are having these days, the NFL should welcome a young man like Myron Rolle.

But I don’t blame the NFL;  I blame Rolle because he went about the whole thing wrong.  When he came back from England, the first thing he should have done was to cover himself from head to toe with garish tattoos, and by all means, quit speaking that good English,  using complete sentences and stuff. 

Next he should have gone somewhere in a public place and gotten pissy drunk, then shown the first available group of young college co-eds his penis.  Maybe he could even have roughed on or two of them up so they would know he was serious.  Then as a finale, he should have gotten caught smoking crack in a hot tub full of hookers.

I’m willing to bet your dime to my dollar that then the NFL establishment would have welcomed him with chants of “ONE OF US!, ONE OF US!”, and then the questions of whether are not he had the type of character which would allow him to fit in with the rest of the league would have been answered. 

Don’t You Dare Touch the Animals, but Women Are Fair Game: Why Does Nike Continue to Do Business with Ben Roethlisberger and Other Athletes Who Have Abused Women?

What do Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods, and Ben Roethlisberger have in common?  Well, perhaps three things stand out.  All are highly regarded professional athletes, all have very lucrative endorsement deals with Nike, and all seem to treat women with only the most utmost disdain.  Let’s take a look at a few cases in point.

If you recall, in 2003 a female employee of a hotel in which he was a guest accused Bryant of sexual assault.  After some coercion, Bryant admitted sleeping with the young lady, but denied that it was assault. 

After some sloppy and irresponsible police work that allowed the victim’s name and other very personal information to be leaked to the press, the victim was understandably reluctant to testify, and charges were later dropped.  But Bryant did settle the civil suit brought against him by the victim out of court for an undisclosed sum.

Though Bryant did make a written apology, he never took full responsibility for his actions.  Nike did not suspend him, but scaled back their marketing efforts utilizing Bryant momentarily, but as soon as the dust settled and the incident dropped from the very short public memory, they went right back to him.

And let’s not forget the recent case of Tiger Woods.  No, Woods did not sexually assault anyone, but after an incident at his home in which his wife allegedly assaulted him after learning of an adulterous affair, restaurant hostesses, waitresses, strippers, and porn stars all came out of the woodwork claiming to have had sex with him.  Not only that, they had the bawdy text messages to prove it.

Though most of Wood’s other major sponsors dropped him, Nike remained loyal though they scaled back using his image, and when he returned to golf after about a six month hiatus getting his personal life straight, Nike marked that return with perhaps the most ingenious marketing scheme ever featuring a stoic, silent Tiger Woods staring into the camera as a voice over of his deceased father questioned his motives and mindset.

Now we can get to the case of one Mr. Ben Roethlisberger.  Now, again because of shoddy, inept police work, the details are kind of cloudy in the two allegations brought against, but one thing is certain;  Mr. Roethlisberger likes to drink to excess, and he is very proud of his penis.

In each of the two allegations, the young ladies report a drunken Roethlisberger first exposing himself to them.  And I have never seen Roethlisberger’s penis;  perhaps it is a majestic, chubby little fellow, and he has every right to be proud of it and show it off.  However, this behavior is wholly unacceptable.   

Additionally, the young lady making the second allegation reports that Roethlisberger forced intercourse on her even after she told him that it was not okay while two off duty police officers acting as his bodyguards ran interference to keep her friends from coming to her aid.

It seems to me that anytime you pair up professional athletes and policemen, you have to lock up the women folk because absolutely anything is bound to happen. 

In all these cases professional athletes took advantage of women in some way.  And in all these cases Nike did not terminate their lucrative endorsement deals.  But do you remember NFL quarterback Michael Vick?  Soon after charges were filled by officials in Vick’s 2007 dog fighting case, Nike summarily terminated his endorsement deal citing the morality and personal conduct clause in his contract.

You might argue that Vick was actually convicted of a crime while the others have not been, but keep in mind, Nike terminated Vick’s contract after he was charged, not convicted.  And not only that, a little money spread around and Keystone Cop like investigations by the local police departments caused the charges to go away. 

And even if the other athletes in question were not convicted, enough evidence exists of their misconduct and blatant mistreatment and disregard for women to seemingly activate the morality and personal conduct clauses in their contracts because their behavior has cetainly been, at the least, morally reprehensible. 

Even NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Roethlisberger six games after reading the police report and the 572 page report issued by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations detailing Roethlisberger’s actions in this last incident.

But this is the upshot of it all.  Nike is perhaps the most powerful sportswear corporation in the world;  they dominate the market.  And though Nike has done some wonderful things toward the progress of women athletes and women’s athletic programs throughout the control, they have dropped the ball when it comes to policing the conduct of the athletes of their payroll in regards to women.

And because of Nike’s worldwide presence and influence, its inaction reveals the seemingly diminished value it places on the lives and well-being of women and girls.  You could make the argument in the case of Tiger Woods that in his discretion, the only people hurt were his wife and family, but in the same instance, his case tacitly makes the statement that money and power gives one license to treat women as they choose.

Even now I am perplexed as to why women, women’s groups, and their supporters have not called for a boycott of Nike or besieged its corporate headquarters in an effort to determine why Nike would terminate its business relationship with an athlete for mistreating animals but not for mistreating women.  They seem to be looking on passively, waiting for the other shoe to drop.  

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Blog Talk Radio: The African American Body Image Episode: When We Look in the Mirror, Just What Do We See?

Do me a favor, please.  Go to the mirror and take a good long look at yourself.  What do you see?  Take a good look at your facial features, your hair, your body type, the lines in your face, the various scars, and tell me what you see.  Are you pleased at what you see?  How does this affect you interaction with others?  How does this influence your attitude and outlook on life?

I know that my questions are a lot to hit you with this morning, but my questioning does serve a purpose.  Theory posits the human body as a historical narrative, a broad palimpsest—a scroll written on and over innumerable times—that invariably proceeds us.  Even before we open our mouths, even before we have the chance to speak for ourselves, to allow others to get to know us, our body with its various adornments and embellishments is always already presenting its own biography.

The question then becomes just how much this body narrative affects us in our day to day lives.  Just how much does this narrative coincide with our own self-image?  Just how much does this narrative dictate our actions? 

The African American Body Image is the theme of our discussion tonight over at Freedom thru Speech Radio on BlogTalkRadio.  Please join me and my co-hosts RiPPa of The Intersection of Madness and Reality and The Janitor of The Urban Politico.  Also sitting in on the panel tonight will be @MelzieC of The Curvy Girl Chronicles, Tondalaya from Club Cushions, and our old friend Nic McClean of My Fabulous Boobies.

The show starts at 8 PM EST.  You can listen to the show by accessing our BlogTalkRadio platform by clicking here, or you can listen or comment by dialing in through our dial-in number, 914-803-4881

Don’t miss out because this promises to be an informative, entertaining show, and don’t listen alone;  please run tell your friends.  And, as usual, the most important voice missing from this conversation is invariably your own.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

New and Unique Uses of Gravy that You Probably Never Even Thought Of

Okay, I’m still doing the whole raw fruits and vegetables and whole grains thing I mentioned last week.  I did have to make a few adjustments, though, to keep my system from continuing to go haywire.  And, I must admit, I did have a few weak moments in which I ate something I shouldn’t have, or I freaked out about not being able to enjoy some of those foods I most enjoy.

For instance, one day this past week I went into the deep freezer to check on my emergency pork chop stash…  Wait a minute.  You don’t have an emergency pork chop stash?  I do.  Or at least, I did.  I kept mine way in the back right underneath the Eggo frozen waffles just in case some natural or man-made disaster threatens the world’s pork chop supply, or in the case of nuclear winter, I figure I will have the last pork chop known to man, and then I will be made king.

But anyway, my wife had given my emergency pork chop stash away, and for a minute or so, I had a major anxiety attack, but I took a few deep breaths and said a few “WOO-SAHs”, and I managed to get over it.  But then I developed a strange obsession with gravy.  That’s right, gravy.

For the rest of the week, all I could think about was gravy.  I even had this dream in which I was having a conversation with Oprah, and we were sipping gravy from these delicate little tea cups.  But in a week in which gravy was the foremost thing on my mind, I thought of some unique uses for gravy which I will share with you.

You can use gravy to stick stuff together  When I reveal this one, you are going to be made that you hadn’t thought of this already.  But when I was in first grade, we did this project with my first grade teacher, Mrs. Lane, in which we made our own paste, and then we made these paper mache animal figures. 

And what did we make this paste out of?  Water, flour, and a little corn starch.  And what are the ingredients for good gravy?  Exactly!  Now you and I are there.  We are seeing eye to eye.

So, you could just whip up a big batch of gravy and start sticking stuff together.  You can even use your gravy/paste to wall paper a couple of those rooms you’ve been wanting to wall paper.

Sisters, you can use gravy to seduce your significant other  Listen, sisters, because I am getting ready to drop that knowledge on you.  This is what you do.  Whip up a good batch of gravy.  Then take a little bit and smear it on those pressure points just like you would perfume.  You know those pressure points—the inside of your knees, the inside of elbows, the inside of your wrists, and behind your ears—that heat up as your body temperature rises and intensifies the smell of the fragrance.

When your significant other comes home or comes over, just give him one of those tight soul hugs and let him get whiff of that gravy.  Now, once the smell of that gravy hits his olfactory glands, even if he is the most dedicated vegetarian, his primal instincts will keep in, so just hold on, baby.  He’ll turn into some ravenous lovemaking beast.

 You can use gravy to relax after a long day  Last year when we went on vacation, my wife spent an absolute fortune on some kind of mud bath.  Spa personnel submerged her in a tub filled with warm but supposedly sterile mud (How do you sterilize mud?) that was meant to draw the impurities out of skin.

The whole thing seemed a little far-fetched to me, but couldn’t you achieve the same thing with gravy?  All you would need to do would be to fill your tub with nice, warm gravy, and climb right in.  And this is the biggest selling point.  You could put a plate of biscuits right there on the side of the tub, and as you are relaxing, as those impurities are fleeing your body, you could swish a few of those biscuits around in the gravy and have yourself a nice snack.  Mmmm.

You can use the gravy to entertain your children  I remember when I was a child, we had this thing called a Slip-N-Slide.  With the Slip-N-Slide, you would attach a water house to this long sheet of plastic, and when you turned the water on, the water would come through these little holes strategically placed in the plastic making it very slick.

Then we would get a good running start and slide the length of the plastic.  It made for hours and hours of fun, but most importantly, it kept us out of my mother’s hair for a while.

But in this day and age, water has become a scarce resource.  We just can’t waste water like that anymore.  But wouldn’t gravy serve the same purpose?  If you spread a long plastic tarp with gravy, wouldn’t gravy be sufficiently slick?  In this way, you can do your part in preserving one of our most precious and necessary resources while keeping your children entertained for hours.  It’s a win-win for everybody involved.

You can use gravy to entertain yourself  I must admit that I was kind of disappointed that this last idea was taken, but it is a good idea nonetheless.  Who knew that people were actively “Gravy Wrestling”?  But evidently this activity is limited to the United States.  Perhaps other nations are just too stuck up to engage in such activities, or they have enough sense not to waste time or resources.

Anyway, you and your significant other can fill a plastic kiddie pool with gravy, and either naked or in bathing suits, engage in a little physical activity—gravy wrestling.  And when you get all tired and hungry, you can go get those biscuits left over from the whole bathtub episode to wipe each other down.

And for you more adventurous, outgoing types, you can even host a gravy wrestling party.  If you are single, you can invite a bunch of your single female friends and some of your single male friends over for a gravy wrestling party.  You could put everybody’s name in a hat and whoever name a person draws is who they wrestle.  In that way, you are providing the entertainment and putting people together all at the same time.

We here at the Max Reddick Institute for Gravy Research are always looking for good ideas as to how we might use gravy in service to mankind.  Do you have any ideas?

Need to know just how many chickens to take to the doctor with you under the new GOP health plan? This site allows you to determine just that.

Well the GOP finally unveiled their health care plan.  Well, sort of.  Last week, the likely Republican candidate who will face Senator Harry Reid in the Nevada senate race, Sue Lowden, suggested that we return to the old barter system so that health care might be more affordable to more people.  In her example, she used chickens. 

So, in other words, you go to your doctor, and you pay him in chickens or butter or corn or just whatever you seem to have a whole lot of.  But Rachel Maddow can explain Lowden’s plan better than I can:

Certainly, the question then becomes, well if I am going to pay for my medical care in chickens, just how many chickens do I need to bring with me?  Well, someone has done the math for you.  A site entitled The Lowden Plan will allow you to choose any medical procedure you might be facing, and it will tell you exactly how many chickens you need to take to the doctor’s office with you to settle your bill.

So, need to make sure you have enough chickens to afford getting that brain tumor removed?  Just click here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

See the Zora Neale Hurston biographical documentary Jump at the Sun free online until May 31st

Another one for you fellow bibliophiles. California Newsreel is allowing free viewing of the Zora Neale Hurston biographical documentary, Zora Neale Hurston: Jump at the Sun, which can be previewed in the short clip above. You can assess the complete film online by clicking here. The film won an award for the Best Educational Film at the 27th Annual International du Film sur l’Arts.

Viewing of the video will remain free until May 1st. After May 1st, the video may be purchased through the California Newsreel site.

h/t Prometheus 6

Black Women Are the New Black and That's Not Particularly Good

Sisters, let me take a just a minute of your time to just talk to you.  It seems that you’ve come under some intense scrutiny but not in a good way.  And I ain’t trying to join in, but I was just on the sidelines looking on, and I thought I should say something.

All of a sudden, all the various media seem more than a bit overly concerned with the marital status of successful Black women.  According to the media, available, suitable African American men are in short supply, and successful black women are out there languishing, hoping against hope for a man, a good man or, perhaps, just any man to make their lives complete.

Admittedly, I have this loony, quirky, out of control imagination, so when I hear the media continue to beat this dead horse with a stick, a get this image in my mind of a amorphous, glassy eyed, zombie-like mob of successful Black women roaming the streets of any major metropolitan area, arms out-stretched in front of them, moaning “MEN!  MEN!” ala Dawn of the Dead.

But this narrative is nothing new;  some version of it has been around for as long as I have had consciousness.  In fact, this deficit narrative of “successful Black women can’t find no man” goes hand-in-hand with its brother deficit narrative of “the black man in crisis.”

And I am not saying real issues do not exist within the two groups;  however, in studying and reporting on these issues affecting these two groups, broad generalization takes the place of any real explication.  The situation and circumstance for a few individuals or subgroups became a synecdoche taken as the situation and circumstance for the whole.

Regardless, the level of scrutiny seems wholly unprecedented.  From time to time, Black males have come under a microscope but never like this.  The difference in this instance, however, seems to be the amount of money to be made and notoriety to be gained explaining and providing commentary on just how unhappy successful Black women are and how they might be cured.

Wednesday night’s Nightline program was but the latest in a seemingly ad nauseum cavalcade of similar articles, blog posts, and television programs.  I may be mistaken, but the publicity surrounding the publication of Helena Andrews book, Bitch Is the New Black, just happened to open this powder keg.  However, according to Andrews, the book was intended entirely as satire with her and her group of friends and their efforts to find love in the DC metropolitan area at the center.  Think an ebony version of Sex in the City.

However, through a masterful marketing campaign, Andrews garnered quite a lot of attention.  From what I understand, she had a movie deal for the book even before it went to press.  With the potential for that much money and attention just waiting to be had, naturally folk began to jump aboard this gravy train.

Suddenly, people and entities concerned with the plight of successful Black women seemed to emerge from the woodwork.  Articles began to pop up almost everywhgere in the print media.  Recently, even Economist magazine published an article on the issueEconomist magazine?  When did Economist became so concerned with what seems to be a social issue?

In addition, I believe that at this point, every major network has done some kind of special report.  In fact, I read somewhere that Chris Hansen is doing a television series entitled To Catch an Available, Suitable, and Single Black Man.  Well, I’m lying about that just trying to get attention again, but you get the gist.

And a few brothers have even gotten in on the act.  Comedian Steve Harvey suddenly emerged as some kind of relationship counselor, though I’m unclear as to his exact qualifications.  He even has authored a best-selling book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, and get this;  he just launched a dating site for African Americans.

Actor and author Hill Harper has appeared more thoughtful and introspective in both his book, The Conversation, and personal appearances discussing the issue.  He seems really dedicated to affecting change.

However, that’s in stark contrast to Jimi Izrael of tight t-shirt fame whose bombastic, self-serving text seems to depend on purely base and sensationalized conjecture in an attempt to merely sell books and does not contribute anything worthwhile to the conversation. 

And just as an aside, is it just me or does Jimi Izrael seem to be always wearing the tightest t-shirts known to mankind?  It always looks as if he is walking around in a big, tight onesie.  I’m beginning to think that smedium is really a size.  Maybe I’ll choose a store in the mall and ask where the size smedium t-shirts are kept.  But I digress.

So to continue, we’ve discussed this issue in minute detail on our blogs and BlogTalkRadio programs.  I’ve even participated in such a program on a BlogTalkRadio show I co-host, Freedom thru Speech Radio, and it has proven to be our most successful program to date.  So we are, in fact, fueling that interest even as we decry it.

And let me say this now.  I don’t claim any special expertise in this matter;  I’m just a brother who through a series of fortunate events, a bit of favor, and a whole lot of tenacity, made it good.  But I’ll just tell you what I tell my two daughters, and that’s what I learned through living and personal observation.

The statistics are real.  The numbers are real.  Black successful women and Black women in general are at a statistical dis-advantage.  But this goes for both men and women—if you base your happiness on a source external to you, if you base your happiness on being able to find a woman or a man, if you are waiting on someone else “to complete” you, you will be forever losing.

You are essentially born with everything you need to be happy.  And if you cannot look inward for happiness, if you are not happy with yourself, you cannot make anyone else happy.  If you do not love yourself, you cannot really love and be loved truly and fully by anyone else.

The whole upshot of this narrative is that we are being told what we need to be happy.  Even though we may be happy with ourselves, even though we may be alone but not lonely, we are told that this is not acceptable.  But I really and truly believe, do you, continue to work on you, and everything else will work itself out.  

In the Land of the Blind, the One-eyed Man Is King: Could Republicans Be Hurting Themselves by Supporting Rubio over Crist in Florida?

In the Florida senate race Republican primaries, an October poll showed Governor Charlie Crist solidly ahead of conservative and former Florida state house speaker Marco Rubio though Rubio seemed to be gaining ground.  However, the same poll revealed that in the match up between Rubio and the probable Democratic challenger in the general race, Kendrick Meeks, independents and moderates would more then likely swing their support to Meeks.

So, what did the Republican establishment do?  Still furious with him for supporting Present Obama’s stimulus plan even though this state sorely needed the stimulus funds, Republicans from all quarters threw their support solidly behind Rubio who then quickly overtook and surpassed Crist in the polls.  But keep in mind that this is only the Republican primary.

Now deserted by his former party who seemed so enthralled with him in better days, Governor Crist is considering running as an Independent.  And polls show that if Crist were to run as an independent, in a three way race between him, Rubio, and Meeks, he would most likely be the victor.  

Let me take the time to make this observation for you in case you have not been keeping score.  According to polls, Rubio probably cannot win that Florida senate seat.  So, what does the Republican establishment do?  They double down on Rubio, and send a number of prominent Republicans and party leaders into the state to further endorse Rubio.  Because, I guess, that's what you do when the odds are against you;  you beat even more.

If I may quote that great American poet, Forrest Gump, “I am not a smart man,” but even in my state of depressed mental capacity, I can see that this makes no sense.  However, I can readily ascertain the motives behind their actions;  you see, Marco Rubio is the Tea Party Movement’s candidate, and because the GOP is being driven primarily by the whims of the Tea Party Movement, they must follow the Tea Party Movement’s wishes, even if those wishes don’t make much sense.  And herein lies the rub.

Let me ask you a question.  Do you think it was necessary for the GOP to embrace they Tea Party so ardently?  Oh, I can completely understand why they did it.  After President George W. Bush’s abysmal eight years as president and the subsequent drubbing they took in the 2008 elections, the GOP was without direction.  They were bereft of ideas. 

They were like a room full of blind women and men, milling aimlessly about, bumbling and stumbling into each other.  And along came the Tea Party Movement.  The Tea Party Movement was not much better than the GOP when it came to ideas.  But they did have a palpable, if not racially motivated, rage, and their antics knew no bounds, and the media seemed absolutely captivated by them.  So, the GOP grabbed up their canes and their seeing eye dogs and rushed off blindly behind them.

In a period when the nation most needed solid, well-reasoned leadership, the GOP instead chose to follow.  And it all seems like fun and games now, but let me make this bold prediction.  In about five years or so, the GOP will rue the day they allowed themselves to be seduced by the Tea Party Movement. 

Just like right now in Florida, they find themselves having to take more and more untenable positions and make more and more questionable decisions because of their allegiance to the Republic of Tea until that day when they have driven away the moderates and independents and find themselves all alone in a room full of kooks. 

But, hey, as the old saying goes, “In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king.”  It’s just too bad that the GOP cannot see where it is going.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Republican Party Has Mistreated African American Voters, Senator Lindsey Graham Is Gay, and Other Terribly Obvious News

Sometimes “the news” is so utterly obvious that I find myself shaking my head and scratching my behind at the same time, because this is what I do when I am befuddled, while trying to figure out just what makes it news in the first place. Has this ever happened to you?

For example, remember last week when some poll came out that determined that the Tea Party Movement demographic was primarily Republican, white, married, male, married and over forty-five?  Did we actually need a poll to determine that?  That’s news?  Couldn’t we have just looked at a few photographs of a Tea Party protest and made an educated guess?

But I guess today was simply a slow news day because a few of the stories to come out today seemed painfully obvious to me.

In the first instance, Tuesday night in remarks delivered at Depaul University embattled Republican National Chairman Michael Steele announced that African Americans have not been given a very good reason to vote Republican.  And this is news?

Perhaps the real exercise here is determining if Steele unwittingly told the truth in saying something he should not have said that the party will take him to task for later, as is his usual habit, or if Steele has somehow grown a backbone and stood erect and decided to just tell it like it is.  Hmmm.

Speculation from those I have talked to on this end ranges from Steele having to make a humiliating and obsequious retraction by week’s end, as is his usual habit, to an angry, disgruntled Steele getting touch with his inner Tupac Shakur and giving the GOP the middle finger.  I wonder if he has Republi-Thug Life tattooed on his chest.  It would be so cool if he did.

Senator Graham is gay?  You mean a somewhat effeminate fifty-five year old life-long bachelor just might be living an alternative lifestyle?  Who would have thunk it?

But I have long had the notion that Senator Graham just might be gay.  The only thing is I never thought much of it.  In fact, until recently when he seemed to fall under the evil spell of the far right as has most of his party, I had a healthy respect for Senator Graham.  It didn’t matter to me if he was gay;  that’s his business.

However, Gheen is positing this whole spookish, CIA notion that as long as Senator Graham is gay and in the closet, others will use his alleged homosexuality as leverage to coerce him to vote as they want him to vote.  Another example of completely inane statements spoken at a Tea Party rally, but is it news?

Lastly, Jon Stewart of Comedy Central’s Daily Show has spent an almost inordinate amount of time and effort pointing out the hypocritical, cynical, disingenuousness of Fox News.  But is that really news?  Is that something that is so utterly obvious?

Perhaps the fact that fact that Fox News commentator Bernie Goldberg finally had to acquiesce and admit the truth after being confronted with video evidence is the real news;  someone at Fox actually can tell the truth.

But anyway, Stewart’s crusade against Fox does make for good entertainment.  I’ll leave you with the latest clip of him giving Fox the old tried and true FU once again:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Bernie Goldberg Fires Back
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A HIV-positive pedophile is set to be released from prison. It is almost certain that he will re-offend. But what can we do?

Let me take a second to set up this scenario.  Let’s say you have teenage daughter.  She’s about fifteen or sixteen.  Now, your daughter is generally a good girl, a nice, pleasant young lady, but she’s working through a few emotional and self-esteem issues as adolescents are wont to do.

In helping your daughter through her issues, you find yourself tired and exasperated, but then it gets worse.  Your teenage daughter is diagnosed HIV-positive, and on top of that, you find that she exposed herself to the virus through unprotected sex with an adult who knew he was carrying the virus at the time of the affair.  How do you feel?  What do you do?

That’s a shameful narrative;  however, the most shameful aspect of this narrative is the fact that I did not make this up.  It’s true.

After police arrested Nushawn Williams on a crack cocaine charge in 1997, he admitted to police that he had had unprotected sex with perhaps 300-400 women, and continued to have unprotected sex even after finding out about his HIV-positive status in 1996.  [See a 1997 Newsweek article on the case.]

At least twenty-four HIV cases could be traced directly back to Williams though police state that the number could be much higher;  no one really knows.  The age range of the victims is wide;  however, most were teenagers, and at least six young women were impregnated by Williams. 

Now, Williams is set to be released from jail after serving the maximum twelve years.  Or at least, he was about to before New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo moved to block him from being released under the authority of a New York state statue that allows the civil confinement of sex offenders.

According to the Cuomo’s office, Williams suffers from a mental abnormality that prevents him from realizing the depravity of his actions and almost guarantees he’ll repeat the same behavior when released.  However, there is no guarantee that Cuomo will be successful in keeping Williams off the streets, and because he has served his time, there is a chance he may be released.

But this is a problem the courts are actively dealing with.  It has been proven that sex offenders, especially pedophiles, are usually repeat offenders.  But once they have served their time in prison, once they can no longer be held, just what is to be done with them knowing that they more than likely will simply find other victims and continue until they are caught again. 

Nushawn Williams’ case is more pressing because of the virus he carries;  the consequences of sexual contact with him may be much more than just psychological.  But what can we do?

What can we do or what should we do with people like Williams?  Is it fair to hold a person far beyond the end of their sentence?  Should we release them even though we know that are likely to offend again?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket [Video]

I was playing around on You Tube and ran across this short clip.  I'm posting it for you fellow bibliophiles and James Baldwin fans.

The Virginia Gun-Rights Rally and the Media: When the Exercise of Inalienable Rights Goes Wrong

I need you to do me a favor this morning and answer a couple of questions this morning.  For one, what is this seemingly uniquely American fascination with guns?  And next, why does the media seem lose their mind whenever someone does or says just any old foolishness and blow it all out of proportion?

Nothing gets my hackles up any more than hearing someone say with any degree of emphasis, “I know my rights!”  If I were to gauge the numbers by the frequency of times I’ve heard this statement of late, you would think we were a nation of constitutional lawyers.

However, if you take the time to listen to the groans and supplications of these poor citizens whose rights are in danger of being trod underfoot, you’ll likely find either a person or group of people cloaking themselves in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as cover for some untenable position that either makes no earthly sense or that if they used any modicum of common sense, they wouldn’t be pursuing anyway. 

Witness this short clip from the gun rally held in Virginia on yesterday:


Did that gentleman just say“Oh, hell no!”?  Oh, hell no what?  Because I was thinking, “Oh, hell no!  Is he really wearing suspenders with a belt?”  You can’t do that.  That’s a major fashion faux pas.

But really.  What is all the fuss about?  What government is trying to enslave him and his compatriots there with him?  Isn’t that what he said?  Certainly this can’t be about guns because I have no recall of anyone threatening to take their guns from them or rescind their gun rights in the recent past.  In fact, President Obama just signed into law the order that allowed them to show up in the park with their guns in the first place.

Oh, I see now said the blind man.  This whole thing is only marginally about gun rights, but really, in the main, is simply part and parcel of a continued and deep consternation on the part of some citizens because they still have yet to accept that the country is being led by a black man.

That whole gun rally this was nothing more than a thinly veiled and somewhat inept threat of violence on the part of a group of people frightened to death of change and either unwilling or unable to admit and work their own individual hang-ups and foibles.  And I keep hearing, “We want our country back!”, but who is this “we,” and who has taken the country in the first place?

Furthermore, according to reports, there were only about a couple hundred protesters, at the most, present.  So why the horde of media?  From what I understand, there was perhaps more media people present covering the protest than protesters actually protesting.

Doesn’t the media understand that when they show up in droves to cover such an event, they only encourage other events of the type.  If the media doesn’t show up, it’s a bunch of paranoid nut cases parading around a national park with firearms.  But once the media arrives, it becomes a media event.  That’s almost like creating a story then falling all over yourself to cover it.

Please don’t get me wrong.  I believe that the United States Constitution is an absolutely remarkable document given the depth of thought and foresight displayed by the founding fathers so long again.

However, one thing the founding fathers left out was a sound caveat warning how wrong the rights might go in the hands of irrational fools.  

Monday, April 19, 2010

All the President's Men: Is Reverend Al Sharpton the President's New BFF?

There is this postmodern theorem that states that whatever is considered revolutionary or subversive at the moment will invariably be subsumed into the prevailing power structure to be used toward its own ends. In other words, what is radical and revolutionary and subversive today will eventually yield its countercultural virtues and loyalties to that very thing it wishes so ardently to destroy.

More than a little amused, I have been quietly watching the Reverend Al Sharpton’s flirtations with the Barack Obama administration. Early on in President Obama’s historical campaign, both Sharpton and the Reverend Jesse Jackson tactfully and tactically indicated that they would hang back a bit to determine Obama’s posture toward the African American community.

However, many wondered if more than a little jealously was at play, and Reverend Jackson seemed to make it almost obvious with his remarks that he wanted to “cut [Obama’s] nuts out.” But then he made up for it with the image of tears of supposed joy streaming down his face on election night.

But Sharpton did eventually jump on board, and he campaigned hard for Obama. And when the president finally assumed the office, Sharpton was one of the first he received in the oval office.

And on a later date, as President Obama’s commitment to the African American community and a Black Agenda was being argued, Sharpton emerged from a meeting at the Whitehouse with the president and other black leaders who in their remarks seemed to suggest that President Obama didn’t need a Black Agenda. In facing and taking on the challenges of the nation, he is, in actuality, facing and taking on the challenges of all people to include African Americans.

That seemed like a sharp departure from all of Sharpton’s previous rhetoric. But my eyebrow really went up when Harvard professor and lawyer Charles Ogletree, the president’s former mentor and friend, announced Al Sharpton’s new role as administration ally, President Obama’s voice in the street, “a conduit between the disadvantaged and powerful leaders.” Pretty high-falutin language, huh?

This is problematic because Sharpton’s greatest worth to the African American community is in the role of agitator working from a position outside the power structure to keep it reasonably honest and fair in its dealings with that community.

Never mind the perm and the jogging suits and the big gold medallions of the good old days. No one can whip up an indignant protest like the Reverend Al Sharpton, however self-serving and self-aggrandizing he might seem.

No racist or corrupt politician or government official or police chief or CEO wants to look out their window to see a permed out Al Sharpton marching down the street, bullhorn in hand, leading a crowd of protestors whipped into a frenzy by his rhetoric.

Furthermore, the media loves Reverend Al, and he returns the love every chance he gets.  It seems that he never met a microphone or a television camera he didn’t like. But whatever you might say about him, he does use the media to his greatest advantage in taking on those issues and cases no politician would touch; he has, in many aspects, became the voice of the voiceless.

However, now he gives that all up. At one time he fought against the man; now he is the man’s right hand man in the streets. If you think about it, though, it was a masterful move on the part of President Obama. By courting Reverend Al, he kills two birds with one stone.

On the one hand, by bringing Reverend Al on board, he negates a powerful and potential voice of protest from within the African American community and reduces that community’s ability to hold the administration accountable.

Of course, Tavis Smiley is another voice of powerful and potential protest, but a number of African Americans, if not most, are cynical of Smiley’s motives, and should Smiley get too loud, Obama has Al Sharpton to attempt to keep him in check.

What do you think that whole other Black Agenda Summit hosted by Sharpton was about this weekend? It was to counter the Smiley hosted We Count!: The Black Agenda Is the American Agenda Summit. Reverend Sharpton is already on the job.

You know, I cannot figure out if our Uncle Al has sold out or bought in; I am actively trying to figure that out now. But it appears that for the time being, the revolutionary, subversive Al Sharpton has been thoroughly and completely subsumed.

What do you think of the Reverend Al Sharpton’s new role in the Obama administration? Do you think he is selling out or buying in?

Also see:  It's official, Al Sharpton finally becomes the HNIC: Sharpton touted as Obama's man in the streets!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Few Random but Important Life Lessons from Max Reddick

Day by day I am getting older and older. Who knows? By now I might even be old and just not know it. The signs are everywhere. The other day someone referred to me as “a middle-aged gentleman.”

And my doctor insisted that I get my prostate checked because every man “my age” should do so. In a cruel twist of fate, I did get the little short doctor as opposed to the doctor who played basketball in college when I went in to get my check-up, but this diminutive man had deceptively huge hands.

Also I got a colonoscopy because of my family medical history. The next day the doctor emailed me pictures of the inner walls of my colon. I would have been okay with him just telling me that everything was okay. What the hell do I do with pictures of my colon walls? Post them to Facebook?

Anyway, one good thing about growing older is the wisdom you manage to amass over the ages. I’m perhaps still a big fool, but I’m not as big a fool as I used to be. Let me share some random but nonetheless important lessons I have learned over the years.

Do you remember that young lady or that young man you had such a crush on in high school? When you see them at your twenty-fifth class reunion, you will be glad that she or he wouldn’t give you the time of day. Almost the whole of my high school tenure, I had this crazy crush on a certain young lady. However, throughout high school she wouldn’t give me the time of day. I don’t want to embarrass anyone by using real names, so we’ll just call her Bootzilla. I just wasn’t cool enough for her. Anyway, a few weeks before my twenty-fifth high school reunion, my mother informed me that she had stopped by the house, left her number, and requested that I give her a call.

So, I called, and we had a pleasant conversation. But after that initial conversation, she insisted on calling me almost every day. I sensed that something was wrong because she was way more excited about seeing me than I was about seeing her. Now, I don’t talk about people. I don’t believe in calling anyone ugly because there is beauty in every human being. But in the same instance, I talked to her for about a hour straight at the reunion, and I am still trying to figure out just where her beauty was. Maybe I missed something.

Men, trimming your toenails are an important part of good grooming. I had an aunt who would always fuss at my uncle about clipping his toenails. According to my aunt, my uncle’s toenails were so long and sharp that they would tear her good sheets at night. It was all fun and games then, and I had a few laughs at my uncle’s expense until I had my own long and sharp toenail episode.

When I was in graduate school, my directing professor called me in for a informal meeting. Since I didn’t have any classes that day, I just threw on some shorts and some flip-flops and went on in. Well, while she was talking, she glanced down in the direction of my feet, and her face suddenly twisted into the look of abject terror. Curiously, I looked down to see what had scared her, and I too recoiled. My feet looked like huge eagle feet. They were all crusty and ashy looking as if I had skateboarded barefoot to campus, and my toenails looked like short but sturdy knives.

Since that time, I have gotten a regular pedicure whether I needed it or not.

If you see someone with a grimace on their face coming out of the bathroom holding their stomach, don’t go in! Recently during a doctor’s appointment, the nurse sent me into the doctor’s office unisex bathroom to give a urine sample. However, just as I was going in, this tiny little lady with this huge frown on her face came out holding her stomach. Well, not suspecting anything, I went in anyway.

No sooner than the door shut behind me, I knew I had made a tremendous mistake. The stench was so very overwhelming that I know with some sense of certainty that that little lady couldn’t have done all this by herself; there had to have been four or five huge, burly, hairy back men in there with her helping her out. So, with one hand I am searching for the doorknob and with the other hand I am looking for the light switch in case those four or five lumberjacks are still in there. However, I am having no luck at all, but just as I am about to give up and let the funk take me, the nurse heard me scratching at the door and let me out.

If your wife tries to talk you into joining her on a raw fruit and vegetable and whole grains diet, do not do it; no good can come from it. My wife suggested that we go on some raw fruit and vegetable and whole grains diet that this fruitcake at work told her about. According to my wife, the diet would clean the toxins out of our systems. Of course, I wasn’t with it, but she kept bugging me and bugging me until I finally gave in.

About two days into this whole thing, and my digestive system is like the bullet train; whatever goes in one end reaches the other in record time. Several times I was tempted to cheat, but since I had promised by wife I’d stick with it for at least a week, I stayed the course. However, on the fourth day I’m sitting in my office choking down this spinach salad with raisins and purple onions covered with this all natural peanut butter dressing when I feel myself getting light-headed and I pass out. Ironically and for some strange reason, though, when I finally came to, I was in Kentucky Fried Chicken, and since I was already there, I decided to buy me that three piece meal deal.

Well, I get back to my office, and I am eating this thing like it is my last meal. But as soon as all that greasy fried chicken and fixins’ hit my stomach, my stomach twists into some kind of complicated Boy Scout knot, and I run to the bathroom with an alacrity that I didn’t even know I still had. And minutes later as I am emerging from the bathroom holding my stomach and my face all twisted into a frown, here comes the dean.

What knowledge have you gathered over the years that might be beneficial to others?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Common Sense Ain't So Common (Warning: This Is a Rant!)

Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Please indulge me this morning. If you have followed this blog for any period of time, you know that I am not one to rant and rave; in fact, people who know me, both on-line and off, frequently compliment me on my aplomb, my ability to keep my composure and not go off and cuss somebody slap out even when going off and cussing somebody slap out would be understood given the situation and the level of asininity.

But a soulbrother can take only so much, so this will be a rant. However, the good news is that I am unable to sustain anger over a long period of time—being angry tires me out—so this will more than likely be short. “But what has you so agitated?” you ask. This morning common sense, or more precisely the seeming lack thereof, has absolutely frustrated me to no end.

My maternal grandfather did not have much formal education; he only managed to reach the fifth or sixth grade before familial responsibilities forced him to quit school and go to work in the fields. However, he was, in many aspects, the most intelligent person I have ever met.

Back in the day, he was like a negro Socrates or Aristotle or something. Whatever book knowledge he lacked, he made up for through empirical knowledge, through keen observation of the world around him. He listened more than he spoke, and each new experience, each lesson he learned, he filed it in the back of his mind. And when the time came for him to apply that information, he reached deep into the recesses of his mind and applied it to the task at hand. He called this common sense.

When I was growing up, he used to always tell me, “Flukie,”—that’s what he called me because I was a bit uncoordinated as a child—“book sense without common sense is almost as bad as not having any sense uh-tall.”

Since that time I have had the privilege of being around some of the most brilliant people in perhaps the world. Daily I interact with veritable geniuses and people with a gang of degrees from some of the best universities and an alphabet soup of letters behind their names. And daily I wonder how in the hell some of these people manage to be so utterly intelligent without even the slightest hint of common sense.

The most mundane tasks befuddle them. The simplest directions must be explained to them in the minutest detail. Any little disruption of their daily routine sends them into a tailspin. If I might again quote my learned and esteemed grandfather, “They don’t use their head for nothing but a damn hat rack.”

So that I might be perfectly honest and fair, I know that without a doubt that I am perhaps one of the most absent minded people walking. I constantly forgot things like my gym locker combination and my phone number, which is certainly plausible since I don’t call myself anyway. I constantly misplace things like my wallet and car keys. And just last week I actually left the house wearing two different shoes, but you cannot underestimate the difficulty of discerning a brown loafer from a black loafer in dim lighting. It did feel somewhat funny on my feet though.

But, nevertheless, I do take time out to think. I do take time to look at the problem from every possible angle before I decide on a solution. I do try to use my capacity for abstract thought to read between the lines and fill in the information or the steps that are seemingly missing. I do take the time to ascertain meaning and motive before I throw a hissy fit and point accusatory fingers at those who have simply mis-spoke or who are not specific enough in their utterance. In other words, I try to simply use common sense.

Wouldn't the world be a better place if we all took time to do this? Wouldn't you feel less frustrated on a daily basis on a daily basis if people just took time to think? Wouldn't you have more time on your hands if you did not have to spend so much time trying present a common sense argument to people who use no common sense uh-tall?

Ah, now I feel much better. I got it off my chest. And I feel a bit better. I apologize to anyone I might have offended. This rant was aimed at no one in particularly. Well, yes it was but they are not speaking to me anyway, so what the hell.

So, let’s have one big virtual group hug, and carry on with our day. I’m going to get me a Slurpee, then sit back and finish getting my mental mind right, so I can finish what I was working on before this foolishness jumped off.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Could the 2008 Presidential Election Have Been John McCain’s Waterloo?

At one time, I had a great amount of respect for John McCain. I didn’t agree with him on much, but I did respect him. Perhaps I bought into the whole maverick image seemingly created by the media. Perhaps McCain did as well. But anyway, I felt that he always voted with his conscience on most issues and not along strict party lines.

Out of all the candidates in the 2000 presidential election Republican Party primaries, I thought John McCain to be the better candidate. And when George W. Bush and Karl Rove and his ilk threw a wrench in the works in South Carolina by suggesting that McCain fathered an illegitimate black child with a prostitute, I could only grit my teeth with the knowledge that such an honorable man as McCain, a straight talker and veteran, should be defeated by such dishonorable, despicable tactics.

Of course, Bush went on to a questionable and contested win in the presidential contest against Al Gore, and John McCain returned to the senate. I’m sure that McCain was bitter; he had to be. But he carried on dutifully and without complaint.

In 2008, by the time McCain had secured the Republican Party nomination for president, I was actively campaigning for Barack Obama; however, I still felt somewhat happy that McCain had been able to secure the nomination. But perhaps, securing the Republican Party presidential nomination was the high point of McCain’s political career because then it all started to go downhill.

From the time McCain gave his infamously horrid speech in front of the puke green backdrop to his concession speech, his campaign, and maybe his political career, was doomed. First of all, ironically then candidate Obama had early success tying McCain to the George W. Bush presidency; in a cruel twist of fate, the man who had defeated him by unscrupulous means in 2000 resurfaced to defeat him once again.

And then he selected Sarah Palin as his running mate thinking she would give him the best chance to win. However, as soon as it became apparent to most of the nation that she’s as absolutely dumb as a bag of hammers, the moderates and independents he needed most to have any chance of winning fled in droves. Yeah, she fired up the right, but in the same instance, I don’t think she garnered any votes or support for him that he would not have gotten already.

The town hall style presidential debate held at Belmont University, which supposedly played to John McCain’s strengths, perhaps defined McCain’s presidential campaign—an old, tired, bewildered man wondering around on the stage seemingly looking for inspiration and direction.

After his defeat, I guess I expected McCain to return to the senate again and play his position just as he had done before. I expected him to be the decent, honorable public servant that voted with his conscience that I had always imagined him to be.

Instead, upon his return to the senate, he found his party pushing hastily and vigorously toward the right, and he decided to follow. And in doing so, he adopted this “just say anything to win” posture. In an effort to stay politically relevant and viable, he contradicted most of his earlier positions. He looked pathetically inept and desperate as he switched from one position to another on issue after issue.

However, now not only does he look inept, now not only does he look desperate, he looks simply defeated. In his effort to retain his senate seat, not only is he running from his earlier positions; he is running from himself.
In an effort to appeal to right wing conservative voters, he stated that he was not and has never considered himself to be a maverick.

 Huh? What? Well, after years of publically claiming the label, after years of running for office on the label, after writing an autobiography which featured the label prominently in the title, he claims that he actually never was what he said he was, nor did he say he was what he said he was. It’s all like a surreal mavericky political Jedi mind trick.

Up until the 2008 presidential contest, John McCain had served his country and represented his district honorably and with distinction. However, at the point he realized that the terms of his continued service had changed, at the point he realized that his continued service would require him to sell his soul in tiny, excruciating increments, perhaps he should have just thrown in the towel. Now he just looks like the over-the-hill athlete, the punch drunk fighter that continues to compete long after his prime.

Had he chose to retire following the 2008 presidential elections, had he chose not to seek office again and go back to Arizona as a civilian, his defeat would have just been seen as an unfortunate end to an otherwise stellar career. However, his insistence on continuing on means that even if he wins reelection, the price he will have had to pay will have eroded whatever honor and dignity he has left. The 2008 presidential campaign will not be seen as the high water mark of his career, but the beginning of the end—his own personal and political Waterloo.
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