Sunday, May 18, 2014

Understanding 'Uncle Tom' remarks

A couple of weeks ago Missouri congressman Bennie Thompson denounced conservative Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas as an "uncle Tom" -- a derogatory term for a black who sides with who is seen as an oppressor, a reference to the days of slavery. And he refused to walk it back.

Some folks want to call him and those who believe similarly that he's a racist or, at the least, engaging in unnecessary racial rhetoric.

Here's the problem: Thompson has a point.

I've known since 1997 that the conservative movement actually pays African-Americans well to support its policies, whether they believe them or not, the point to appear to "white moderates" that the movement has cleaned up its hard-earned reputation of racism. But the attempt has fooled virtually no one, especially these days due to the extreme polarization we see today.

Something I also notice: Black conservatives never engage the black community, especially its community leadership. (Considering that they'd get an earful from most blacks anyway, perhaps it wouldn't be a good idea.) But even more importantly, how many of these folks are actually crafting policy? None that I'm aware of. That's one reason African-Americans don't vote conservative -- they simply see no way to have any voice.

Thompson's diatribe might be extremely offensive to a lot of people. However, he's also right, and people ought to find out why.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The fall of the 'American Spring'

I don't know if you heard or not, but some self-styled patriots converged on Washington, D.C yesterday to demand the resignation of President Obama on what they referred to as an "American Spring," aping the "Arab spring" of a couple of years ago that toppled a number of dictators. They bragged that 10 to 30 million people would show.

And how many did? By one estimate, 126. So if you hadn't heard, well, you weren't the only ones. Maybe they didn't get the memo or something ...

But seriously, apparently these folks live in such a bubble that they don't realize that most of the rest of the nation doesn't hate the president as much as they do.

More to the point, the demonstrators in Arab countries were in their 20s and 30s, in contrast to the baby-boomers who were making a lot of noise here, and were demanding good governance, not the head of someone they see as a mere political adversary.

And something more important: The folks who cry "tyranny" at the drop of a hat are the ones most likely to engage in it down the road. Oh, and did you know that calling for the overthrow of the government is considered treason?

So it's probably a good thing that these fellas got little play. They're not worth it.