Wednesday, December 25, 2002

It's HIS day, not ours......



Well, it is Christmas morning, and believe it or not my kids are still in bed. I suppose it is not so inconceivable that my 4 month old daughter is still in bed, but sons Devon and Robbie, (9 and 5 respectively), are still snoozing. We are at my parents house presently, and we will be opening presents, eating breakfast and hitting the road to Lexington in just a little while. Christmas and the holidays are a special time of year, because that is when most people like to gather their families and spend quality time with one another. Some people actually dislike the holidays because of painful memories, or the fact that they have nobody to share them with. I suppose that those of us with large extended families who have to hustle and bustle to see everyone probably think that we have it rough. Or perhaps we say we hate Christmas or dread the holiday's approach because of all of the stress that it brings. I think that perhaps we don't know how good that we have it. I myself made the offhand comment that, "I hate Christmas", because of the stress of planning and purchasing. I really do wish that I could take it back though. We tend to forget what this holiday season is about. Even if we are happy and full of "Yuletide Cheer", the Man that this is all about seems to get pushed to the back burner. Our Lord God who came to earth as the Son of a Carpenter, who later died a horrible death to secure our salvation is sometimes an after thought. His exploits are somehow eclipsed by gift-giving, commerce, and the fictional exploits of a fat guy who slides down chimneys. I wish I had the entire month of December to do over again, I think I would show much more respect to the holiday season and what it is all about. While that time has passed and cannot be reclaimed, I can, however live out today and the rest of the season like I am supposed to. I hear my Father upstairs rustling about, and I think I am going to go upstairs, give him a big hug, and help him cook a Christmas Breakfast. For all of you who are gathered with family, for all of you who are in the midst of traveling, and most of all, for those of you who think you have nowhere to go, and nobody to celebrate with, please remember that God loves you. God Bless each and every one of you, and have a very Merry Christmas. Merry in the sense that we are celebrating our Lord's birthday, and the day that our salvation began.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Be careful there is a Lott at stake


I have watched the events concerning Trent Lott's statements about Strom Thurmond's 1948 presidential race with a burgeoning interest. I thought that when the events were first reported that there would be backlash, and I considered the requests for him to be censured and resign as Senate Majority leader were toothless, yet obligatory. I see now that things are coming to a head and I am not quite sure where I stand on this issue. A lot of people that I have talked to are apalled that he would make statements about Strom Thurmond in general because he has been coined "A racist". True indeed, he may have been, or still may be. But I don't have ill feelings toward Strom Thurmond because he was born in another world. Yes, he is still "Senator No" in regard to a lot of issues but he has made changes. I am not posting this to show any particular support for Thurmond, but I am not sure I am going to allow myself to be bitter toward a 100 year old man. Race relations have changed over the decades in a movement toward equality, however, I see things moving away from fruitful negotiation toward bitter contention. I am not sure of the how and why, but the U.S. seems to be quite a bit more polarized in recent years. I hae been watching some of the discussion groups on BET.com swell with angry feelings of disbelief about Lott's interview with Ed Gordon. "Why should we trust him?" "He is just apologetic about being caught!" That seems to be the common theme. I am not going to argue anyone's point, however, I think we should wait before we turn our backs on his "mea culpa" without properly weighing our actions. Had Trent Lott known what misfortune was to befall him for making those statements he would not have made them. In a certain sense I think he may have understimated the sensitivity of Blacks, as well as the number of people who would rally in response to his statements. I also think that he underestimated the precarious position he put himself in by going on BET to "set the record straight." I do think that there is some good that will come out of this regardless of whether or not he steps down. I think it goes without saying that he would not have wanted to go on BET had he not been in the hot seat, but perhaps this will make him more cognizant of the presence of blacks and women. Trent Lott was not wholly accepted by his own party before his faux paus, and things are even more tense with the GOP because of this. But, we also need to decide whether or not this is a good time to talk about issues that are germane to minorities on the whole. I think that perhaps we will have a more objective ear in the wake of this controversy. Additionally, I don't think that this is the time to use racial issues as blackmail. In other words, ridiculous issues such as reparations, (which I don't agree with, don't think should be brought up, and know will never pass), should not even be considered. But we should look to our "legitimate lobby" to remind both the GOP and the Democrats that blacks do have something to contribute so therefore don't cast sympathy legislation to appease us, rather lets work together to make things better for EVERYONE. Ed Gordon asked Lott about his voting record regarding Civil Rights, extension of the Voting Rights Act, and money for the MLK commission, as well as voting for MLK's birthday to be a holiday. It seemed that he was genuinely embarassed about his record, and having it read for him. In all reality, perhaps he doesn't have the supposed disdain for blacks that we all call racism, but perhaps his racism was his indifference. I think the key idea is that if someone has been indifferent and has an "eye-opener", they can perhaps change and do good things. As an average everyday citizen I want the same things that everyone else wants. I want to fulfill all of my needs, I want to fulfill some of my wants, and ultimately I want my children to be better than me, and have more than I had. I suppose that it is futile to say something as trite as, "I only want to see one race, the human race." I see this not because of inherent racism on any one person's part, but rather because we all see each other as physically different. I see nothing wrong with blacks, whites, asians, hispanics, and whomever being proud of their individual races. But, I would hope to live to see the day that my children won't be judged as having something handed to them before someone has seen the depth of their intellect, or the diligence in their work. I would like to see the day when white people are not judged as racists before they have time to speak their mind. We hold so many suppositions and prejudices inside that we don't even realize are there. These are taught from our families, our friends, and from our environment. In that regard this is the reason that I don't hate Strom Thurmond, I just look at him for who he is, and where he came from. Right or wrong he is who he is. I don't have to support him, I don't have to vote him, but I don't have to hate him either. That is the first step for me, hopefully more people will try to do the same thing. I hope Trent Lott is careful of the next step that he makes.

Colin Powell is one of my heroes....back off!




Here is a cut and paste of a response I made in Rachel's Weblog about Colin Powell. A guy called him a coward, can you believe that?


This comment is for Emperor Misha, in response to your statement that,

"Colon Powell is an unmitigated, worthless, useless, good-for-nothing, double-speaking, waffling, cowardly, nadless, limp pecker of a jerk and those are his GOOD qualities."

I respect your right to your opinion about this man's abilities as Secretary of State, or diplomat, or U.N. consult. Most politicians are waffling and double-speaking, but to classify him as cowardly, or nadless is a complete misstatement. I am not sure if you have ever served or not, or if you know what the markings on Powell's Dress green's symbolized, but a patch on the right shoulder coupled with a Combat Infantryman's badge, Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, Bronze Star, and Purple Heart would automatically negate the idea that he is cowardly. Waffling?...maybe. Overly Cautious?...perhaps. But maybe it is with good reason. Colin Powell is not an America who "speaks French without having sampled the wine" when it comes to Foriegn policy. "WE (oui) need to bomb them...We (oui) need to send troops....We (oui) need to attack them and occupy that territory...We (oui) won't lose that many people if we attack, and if We (oui) do it will be worth it. Many times some of the most ardent supporters of War, troop mobilization support the military effort from the same position that they support their favorite NFL team. Granted I can't boast the same accolades that Mr. Powell has, because he is truly a great military man. But I have served in an active duty Infantry Unit during Operation Desert Storm. I am in the National Guard presently and I am eyeing the troop mobilization orders warily. If I am called up I will gladly go, but I do not relish the idea of war. Anyone that does is either: A. Out of their damn minds. or B. A CNN Ranger. I don't question my Commander-in-Chief, and I will always honor the oath I swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, against all enemies foriegn and domestic. But I have been part of the We (oui) which is more commonly the "They" to most CNN Rangers. I remember coming back to Ft. Stewart in May of 91' and listening to people say, "We (oui) should have gone on into Baghdad and removed him from power." Easier said than done. I am sure that Saddam would have known that his time on earth was over and would not have thought twice about using VX, Mustard, Tabur or Sarin on us. To tell you the truth while I did proudly serve I was and am scared to death of chemical weapons. But remember We (oui) have the means to protect ourselves right? Wrong. Anybody in the miilitary who has gone to NBC school knows that NBC defenses simply lessen or prolong the inevitable...especially against Nerve agent.
Well, I am rambling right now, but the bottom line is, there are many of our politicians on both sides of the aisle that fit the description you originally offered for Colin Powell, but I don't think that it fits him. Just my two rambling cents.

Dkelsmith
(I believe in WE, but once was THEY)


Posted by Dkelsmith on December 17, 2002 10:00 AM

Friday, December 13, 2002

doublepost deleted
I was just thinking that it is very unfortunate that Republicans have been typecast as racists. Unfortunately most Americans, blacks especially, have short memories. We don't seem to remember who the party of Emancipation was, nor do we remember whose part'y's majority voted for the Civil Rights Act 0f 1964 as compared by NONE of the Southern Democrats doing so. Al Gore's dad voted against the act, yet Gore had the audacity to speak at an NAACP function and claim that his dad lost his seat because of his support of civil rights legislation. Not only did he vote against the Act of 64, he even attempted to send the Act to the Senate Judiciar Committee with and amendme to say, "in defiance of a court desegregation order, federal funds could not be held from any school districts." In other words he wanted there to be no penalties levied if people told the government to mind its own business in regard to desegregation rulings.

Black people in the Deep South pride themselves in saying that the Civil Rights Movement started there. However, it is sort of sad to see that a 6 or 7 hour car trip could mean a world of difference into how well you were treated. I do admit that there are racists of all colors everywhere, and the world is still an imperfect place. However, I still believe in the inherent goodness of the human spirit. Shortly after my Dad returned to the United States from France he was stationed at Ft. Knox. This is 1956 mind you. He came to Alabama to help my mother pack household goods and then he left to report for duty. My mother came up 3 weeks later by bus. The bus stopped in Elizabethtown and she got off and called for my Dad to come get her. She then went to a restaurant, (which is still there as well as the owner), and asked for something to eat at the door. The man replied, "Sure thing, Darling". My Mom said, "Is there somewhere I should sit? The man said, "Uh yeah, you ought to sit in the booth seats, those are a lot more comfortable than the regular tables or the high tops." My mom paused and said, "Yes, but I mean where?" The man looked puzzled for a minute and then it dawned on him. He said, "Oh...you can sit anywhere you like." After he brought her some water and took her order he said, "Where are you from, honey." Mom said, "Alabama", and he said, "Oh I see."

Things have changed for the best, but the sense of entitlement was fed by the pandering of Democrats who successfully created an identity for themselves as "The friend of the downtrodden." I think the Typecasting occurred in the 70's and the eighties. The widening divide between rich and poor and the tax and small government philosophy of Reagan made poor people bitter. So we think of Republicans as being rich, opportunistic racists. I think it is undeserve. Of course I don't have anything against Republicans, "some of my best friends are Republicans". But the idea sticks, and when a moron like Lott makes a statement there is a huge backlash because of all of those harbored fears and distrustful cautions. So, in that regard the Republican Party has been typecast and I don't know what can be done. I guess we know how Ned Beatty feels. Even if he was doing a Broadway Production of Guys and Dolls we would still say, "Hey, isn't that the guy that got tossed across the log in Deliverance?"...Squeal like a pig, boy!