vendredi, janvier 18, 2008

Yes, it is disconcerting to hear that Barack Obama spoke admiringly of Ronald Reagan. For many people, particularly African American people, (remember the myth of the "welfare queen"?) the Republican President doesn't bring back cheerful memories.

But should we really care? My gosh, can you think of the truly awful men and women he or another candidate might have used as a role model?

It's late, and we won't.

It must be painful for the candidate to hear the black author Shelby Steele comment that whites are choosing him because he is a bargainer, a blank slate on which to write, a person who doesn't really know himself. Whites find the racial problems tiring, and so they welcome a black candidate who seems not to have lots of racial baggage.

I have to say that I wondered, as I heard Marti Moss-Coane chat with Steele, if he was correct-or if this was another example of a generational divide. On one edge of the chasm-those who still advocate for identity politics. On the other side-a generation who sees, and hears in Obama, a commitment to seeing the other persons point of view.

We'll find out-hopefully not too soon. No reason for this race to end in Nevada!

PS: I'm going away to NewYork for a few days, so won't be posting, probably until Monday.

Remember on Monday why we have a vacation-time to volunteer, to serve, to remember we are a community.

mercredi, janvier 16, 2008

Vox pop?

We've been hearing about the crushing weight on the middle class (let's not even bring the poor into it) for decades. It seems like every year or so there is another well-researched rant on the subject of economic inequality-the huge gap between the wealthy and...most of the rest of us.

So what I'd like to know is: why did it take us so long to get angry about this? We know many people are suffering as the price of gasoline heating oil goes sky high and homes are in foreclosure and the economy is contracting. We've known wealthy folks are making huge profits and we are not.

But we seem to have a predisposition to believe the playing field is level when it is not. And we seem to want to believe our government has our best interest at heart when the people who have the power often don't.

Is this the year for a populist Prez? I doubt it. I doubt a lot of independents would vote for Mike Huckabee, or for John Edwards.

BUT it may be the election when the middle class finally finds ITs voice--and roars.

mardi, janvier 15, 2008

Who heard her scream?

Think about how many times you see a picture of a lovely teenage girl-or a young woman on the home page of your Internet provider. It seems as though we've had a spate of such pictures recently. Viewing their photos, the smile beamed at the camera, the wide eyes, the radiance of youth, one can't help but feel a connection to them.

They aren't up there because they are sportswomen or volunteers or politicians yakking about a gender gap. These are women who have been murdered, usually in some awful way.

Of course, middle-aged and older women are killed, too, by psychotic criminals, or furious husbands, or lovers. They just don't have the sex appeal of the pretty teenager or 20 something. It is shocking to say that-but it is also true.

We have a semi-erotic attachment to violent death here in the US, particularly the violent death of women.

As Bob Herbert reminded us in a Tuesday NYT editorial, we are a society that tolerates a frightening level violence against females.

I am still grappling with the awful fate of Maria Frances Lauterbach and her eight month old unborn baby. They are still looking for her alleged assailant.

Why was there no one in the Marine at her base at Camp Lejeune to protect Lauterbach? Wasn't there anyone who saw the threat posed by her alleged murderer? Where were her parents, her superior officer, clergy, psychologists?

Why haven't we find better ways of protecting women in danger? In a country with our social networks, we ought to find the situation appalling-particularly in the Marines, a community where discipline and order are essential. But if a society condones such hatred, then even its "sanctuaries", aren't safe. So it proved for Maria-and for her child.

lundi, janvier 14, 2008


Hillary may be a lot of things, but she isn't stupid. Her comment about how the Civil Rights Act wouldn't have become law without President Lyndon Johnson was seen as a swipe at the memory of Martin Luther King. Having read it over and over again, I truly doubt that's what she meant. Why would she seek to minimize King's legacy?

Instead the statement felt irrelevant and confusing-or a glimpse into Clinton' s compulsive desire for the Oval Office. It lacked the cheerful malice of Huckabee's attack on the Presidential candidate who just happens to be a Mormon-don't they believe Jesus and the Devil are brothers?

If you get in their way, the Clintons can be scary. If they don't watch the tendency to wage a war of destruction by surrogate at anyone who stands in the way of something they desire, then we may forget all the good things Hill and Bill (separately) have done-not just for African-Americans but for America.