Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I am an old white guy.

I have not always been old, but I have always been both white and a guy.

In 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. came to the town in which I lived to continue his battle for universal human rights through peaceful civil disobedience.

I admired Dr. King and what he stood for, and so I marched with him when he marched in my town, St. Augustine, Florida.

Since his death, the black (or African-American, if you wish...in those days they were "colored," or some less polite term), community has struggled to find a leader who could live up to the ideals laid out in Dr. King's, "I Have A Dream" speech.

The problem continually centered around the phrase, "...the content of their character."

The content of the character of those who sought to replace him in leadership was shoddy, at best, and corrupt at worst.

But today, we can officially declare the death of corporate racism in America (corporate in the universal sense, not the business sense).

America has elected and installed "the first black president," Barack Obama.

President Barack Obama was not elected by black people, or brown people, or yellow people or red people (as if those were the actual colors of each of those "racial" groups), but by the American people.

I did not vote for him, and I do not look forward to the implementation of the policies and programs he promised during the run for election.

Nevertheless, elected he was, and elected he will most probably stay.

If the inauguration was any indication, we are in for a strange four years.

Take the "Inaugural Poem," for instance, by Elizabeth Alexander. It was almost incoherent...void of relevance and impossible to embrace.

President Obama sought to assign blame for our present economic woes with, "Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some...," not recognizing any blame on government for requiring loans to folks who could not possibly pay them back.

He also said, "Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land — a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights..."

And, "Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America."

(That "remaking America" is one of the scariest thoughts that he could possibly have thunk.)

He said, "The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward."

(Government...diverting from its purpose as outlined in The Constitution.)

On his stand on the defense of our nation: "As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations." and "Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions."

(Maybe...but I guarantee you that the missiles and tanks, and bombs and rifles and machine guns made it possible to have sturdy alliances and to enhance our convictions).

How about the benediction, led by Rev. Joseph E. Lowrey, which included the inflammatory rhetoric: "We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around (people started to laugh at this point), when yellow will be mellow (more laughter), when the red man can get ahead, man (more laughter) and when white will embrace what is right...Let all who do justice and love mercy say amen,"

Maybe I was wrong. Maybe racism is not dead. Maybe it is being perpetuated by those who were supposed to have been killing it.

Addendum: If the manners of a large portion of the crowd with respect to outgoing President Bush are an indication of where we are in terms of civility, then I seceed from any involvement with trying to side with civil rights. People who are not civil do not deserve civil rights. We did not boo Clinton when he left office, although we detested his presidency, and we don't expect these ungrateful, piggish, lazy, entitlement oriented boobs to openly and unapologetically boo ANY president at such an occasion. Their behavior was inexcusable, unnecessary, unhelpful, un-patriotic, and revealed who they really are.


Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

01 20 09

Thanks for going over the inaugeration speech. I missed it and wasn't pressed to see it, despite its historical significance. Poor fiscal judgement, spending all that money on such pomp and circumstance when the country is broke. But alas, I ramble. Found you on OkiePatriots blog. :)

Joe said...

Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden: Thank you for stopping by.

I have visited your blog, which I found on Okie Patriot's, too, but have not left a comment.

Someone came up to me the other day and said, "Joe, I'd like your opinion on something." I said, "GREAT! I have one on nearly everything!"

So, sooner of later you'll hear from me.

Mark said...

"As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals."

This statement had me confused yesterday when I heard it on the radio. Partly because I wasn't really listening to it and partly and partly because I didn't hear the "As for our common defense" part.

Now that I've read it, can there be any doubt that he was referring to the Patriot act? By saying this, does he mean to repeal the Patriot act? And if so, howq wll he protect America against further attacks? By talking to them? Pfffft.

Joe said...

Mark: I think you got it...he's going to protect us with Pfffft!

David Wyatt said...

Bro. Joe,

Amen to your article, & AMEN to your addendum!

Pasadena Closet Conservative said...

I was terribly saddened and dismayed when I heard the boos from the masses when President Bush took his seat at the inaugural.

And you're right, we never treated President Clinton in such a manner, and never would.

Anonymous said...

Hello???? Obama not only got booed at all or most of McCain's rallies but his death was called for, monkeys were carried and he was called a terrorist. I can't think of anything more despicable. You can dish it out but you certainly can't take it. Get over yourselves.

Tapline said...

Joe, Outstanding post, as usual..A while back I read a post somewhere that spoke to the cause of our present crisis as the cost of OIL. After looking and reading in another post I read we were saving 1 Billion either a day or month, in fuel cost since the cost of Oil has plummeted. No one seems to be touting this as the cause of the present situation. To me it seems to add up a lot...look at the cost of everything since the oil crisis and exactly what it touches......just saying,,,,, stay well......

Mark said...

Just googled and read the inaugural poem.

Not only is it nonsensical, it's also grammatically incorrect.

Next thing you know, she'll win a pulitzer. Why? No one knows.

Joe said...

Mark: Whatever else she is, Elizabeth Alexander is no poet.

pottermom said...

The one good thing I can say about what happened on Tuesday is that we live in a country where change of government leadership doesn't involve assassination or a coup by the military. Other than that I found very little positive in the day.