Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Beckoning - What Dream are they Restoring?

For month’s conservative radio host and Fox News commentator Glenn Beck has preached about this divine providence, which he calls a “Restoring Honor Rally”. I suppose he heard the thunder roar and the lightning flash just before God spoke to him, like Mosses, giving the message to reclaim Civil Rights. He claims the date was not chosen intentionally for the rally to take place on the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Much like the Pied Piper he will lead his flock to this hollowed site for them to witness a miracle while delivering this message to the cult. Maybe we will see him part the waters of the reflecting pool down on the Mall or turn the water red. Naturally, all the leaders of the right-wing agenda will be on hand including many of the modern-day Citizens Council member’s known as the Tea Party, who will be the receivers of this message. Then, the flock will go forth and spread God’s word, given to Beck, like Johnny Appleseed to further their goal of taking back their country.

The “Restoring Honor Rally” message, they say, is intended to “celebrate America by honoring our heroes,” according to the event’s website. I can’t profess to know who their heroes are but from the bigotry of their ideology its possible they might wear robe’s. They also say with respect to the Tea Party, their most vocal supporters, claim the movement is not a political party. They say, it is a set of ideas, which include government not spending more money than it takes in, people are taxed enough already, and the government needs to be reminded to act within the limits of the Constitution.

The rally, they say, is intended to deliver a message that character, patriotism and honor are qualities that have distinguished the American people from the inception of our country. What is extremist about that? Nothing! However, they, Beck in particular have called the President a racist and say’s he hates white people. Less they forget he was raised by white people and is half white. They have also compared the President to and call him a Nazi.

So let me state clearly that Glenn Beck and the others have every right to hold this absurdly titled "Restoring Honor" rally on the majestic grounds of the Lincoln Memorial that belong to all Americans. At the same time, reasonable people of tolerance and inclusion, the rest of us, have every right to call the event exactly what it is: an exercise in self-aggrandizement on a scale that I would compared to the thousands of Klan members parading down Pennsylvania Avenue that day Aug. 18, 1925.

As the growth of the Tea Party movement clearly demonstrates, millions of Americans feel alienated from their government, distressed about the economy and frightened of the future. Therefore, it is safe to assume that some people will attend this rally because of a sense of racial grievance and an urge for some kind of payback. This is where it becomes dangerous because this country has a horrifying history of people who take such messages and do horrible things in the name of ideology. I am reminded of McVeigh, Oswald, and of course James Earl Ray.

The most offensive thing about the rally is the blatant suggestion that the event will "reclaim the civil rights movement" making the false assertion that the struggle for civil rights was about winning "equal justice," not "social justice" and had no economic component to it. It appears that the participants are saying that white American’s are suffering from the ills that were inflicted upon poor people, and African American in particular for century’s, which could not be further from the truth. This version of history is flat wrong and if they can recall people of this ideology was on the wrong side - then and appear to be now.

From the beginning, King's activism and leadership were aimed at securing not just equal justice but equal opportunity as well. When he was assassinated in 1968, King was in the midst of a Poor People's Campaign aimed at bettering the economic condition of all underprivileged Americans, regardless of race. Therefore, this attempt to rewrite the history of Civil Rights is shameful at best and disrespectful at its worst because it is simply to seek a repeal of Civil Rights, reintroduce literacy tests, and an attempt to resurrect the “Ghost of Jim Crow”.

I am old enough to have known Jim Crow and what I see contained within the message is eerily similar to that which I witnessed during what they call the proud era of segregation. The legacy of this type of thinking can be directly related to and stoked by fear mainly, I believe, because of the hue of our president. This ideology is rooted in everyone other than those of a certain hue’s ideology of supremacy to which derives from Manifest Destiny, which I believe is what they mean when the say “We want our country back”.

A few days ago, Beck said “Whites don’t own Abraham Lincoln” and “Blacks don’t own Martin Luther King.” “Those are American icons, American ideas, and we should just talk about character, and that’s really what this event is about. It’s about honoring character.” Lincoln and King will always have their places in American history for the significant achievements and ultimate sacrifices they made particularly for African America, Blacks, and Slaves. I do differ from that statement because African Americans do own the legacy of Dr. King. I hope this guy does not appear before the crowd in a bicorn hat, with one hand tucked into the front of his jacket as he presents his skewed message.

When the show is over and you watch the footage of news coverage, take notice to the crowd and notice the complexion of its makeup. Lastly, the one promoted Black, a relative of Dr. King, is a convenient pawn in this diabolical scheme to which I say, although her right, it does not demonstrate the content of her character, as it relates to the reality of this groups agenda.

When it is all said and done, and the day is over, the Lincoln Memorial will still be the place where Dr. King gave the most memorable speech of all time. Those who came will still be searching for answers, will not have seen a miracle, and the host will still be a legend in his own mind.

The John T. Wills Chronicles

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bring The Troops Home

We often hear our leaders and politicians, particularly Republicans, talk about freedom of speech. My question is when are they going to make sense and begin to talk about this thing called reason. This article is one that I hope will cause you to consider such reason and logic as it relates to the quagmire of these WARS that, frankly, we cannot win and let your voice be heard. Say LOUDLY, if you support the troops - BRING THEM HOME - all of them.

I am extremely passionate about this topic because I speak from the perspective of someone who has carried an M-16 and have experienced war. In addition, my patriotism is validated by the Veterans Administration via compensation as a victim of war though a classification called disability. So I am not one who sat on a beach, did not serve honorably or one who watched it on the news from the sidelines talking about protecting America.

I can recall back in the day there was a popular song, “War”, recorded by Edwin Starr that had a poignant line that asked, “What is it good for? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.” I concur with that sentiment wholeheartedly as someone who went to the land of the little people, as we use to call it – Vietnam. One of the fallacies then was “we were winning the war”. I never came to that conclusion being a live witness to that debacle, as history tells us it was. The reason for that war was suppose to stop Communism. Today, the reason, if it remains the same for more than a week, is to stop extremists. Sound familiar?

I don’t profess to be as smart as those charged with administering the war in Iraq or Afghanistan but what I do know is this: “you cannot conquer a people who are unwilling to be conquered”. For thousands of years many mighty nations have tried and all have failed, which is why Afghanistan is called the “Graveyard of Empires”. Our army is no doubt the mightiest army the world had ever known, yet these ragtag groups of guerrillas are beating us with slingshots. By that I mean, they have nothing but what they can carry to use against us.

I concluded that we are strangers in a place in which we do not understand the lay of the land or the people, and like Vietnam it is an untenable situation. We have lost too many lives and it is time to bring our troops home – NOW.

Over the years, there have been policies that have proclaimed wars on this or that. For example, in the 1960’s President Johnson proclaimed a “War on Poverty” and today there is more poverty than it was then. Nixon proclaimed a war on “Cancer” and today there are more forms of cancer than ever before. Ragan declared a “War on Drugs” and today there is a larger drug problem than ever before. Bush declared a “War on Terror” and today, eight years later, no end in sight. So I say, when they declare a “War on something” little success is achieved. I suppose its good propaganda but in these cases there has been no victory.

Let me close with this thought. The money that is spent on these wars in one week could solve the staggering unemployment crisis, which is near 10% and for African American’s it’s more than 15%. If we look closer, more than 50% of African American youth and nearly 50% of African American men are unemployed. The number of people in American without health insurance is near 50 million and growing. The infant mortality rate is off the charts and America’s percentage of people infected with HIV compares too many Third World countries. Then there is homelessness, healthcare, crime, and hunger right here in the US of A.

We need to end stop wars and use those tax dollars being spent on it here at home. So if you support the troops like I do, then bring them home.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

When is the Right Wrong?

When I was growing up I was taught that there is such a thing as right and there such a thing as wrong, in spite of the wretched horrors of a system known as segregation that was the law of the land. As I grew older, I learned that it depends upon your perspective or agenda as to what was right, wrong, or moral. My minister would say when you pray and if you think your prayer was answered; no is also an answer. However, relating that to today’s conservative perspective, NO is not the only answer.

This would also apply to some of the language used by those on the right who want us to believe it’s true because they say it is. For example, Evangelical Christian minister Tim LaHaye said on Mike Huckabee's Fox News show “the policy initiatives put forth by the Obama administration are bringing the country closer to the apocalypse". The minister was asked to further his assertion by the former Arkansas Governor, and possible 2012 White House contender, asking him "Are we now living in the end times, from your perspective?" LaHaye's response: "Very definitely, governor."

Was this view coming from a religious perspective or just used as a fear tactic which has been effective the past decade, and longer, to seduce the faithful? Another conservative politician made this statement to which I presume was designed to produce the same reaction. “For the first time in American history, we have a man in the White House who consciously and brazenly disregards his oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution. That’s why I say the greatest threat to our Constitution, our safety and our liberties, is internal. Our president is an enemy of our Constitution, and, as such, he is a danger to our safety, our security and our personal freedoms.

Such is the level to which conservatism has sunk in some quarters.

“Law and Order” music plays…

History reposts that people with extreme thinking have caused havoc upon the lives of people and in some cases nearly destroyed the world in support of a particular point of view. I need only ask you to remember Germany during the mid 1930s and World War II or the precursor to what we now see that was then called the Citizens Councils that represented such ideals, as the Clan’s political arm.

These folks, the faithful if you will, preach a strict belief in the constitution, yet they want to change it to suit their agenda. For example, they want to change the 14th Amendment that makes a baby born in American an automatic citizen, which is directed toward a single ethnic group. The Tea Party supports a candidate for Senate who thinks the passage of the Civil Rights Act was a mistake while saying a business should have the right to deny service to anyone based on their ethnicity. They talk about separation from the government, which means succession, with talk about “Taking back our country”.

They say these efforts are for the rights real Americans. I wonder if this means going back to a time when, for example, people of African descent were 3/5 a man and women had no rights at all according to the original constitution.

One of the most vocal proponents of this concept is reflected in a recent poll concluding that she is the leading candidate for president in 2012 and the woman who writes notes on her hand for correctness, which were not correct. This is just a Though Provoking Perspective that I hope might cause you to ask When is the Right is Wrong.

This agenda should make a rational person very concerned. If not, consider these two scary words - President Palin.

The John T. Wills Chronicles
Just a Season