Is America living the reality of what some social critics warn about escapism?
By David A. Franklin, Jr.
I am leery of anyone who claims that racism does not exist in present-day America. We see it, we feel it and some of us are touched by it whether overtly or covertly but it is taboo to talk about it; it is antisocial to express it. Is America living
the reality of what some social critics warn about escapism? These social critics say that the powers attempt to control society rather than actually bettering the condition of the people and they do this by providing a means of escape. Any
attempt of open discussion and frank dissection so as to face the stinking reality is repressed, stifled, contained, and kept in check. Mention racism and you hear a loud deafening “Oh no, you didn’t!”
One can correctly claim that this social sore has experienced some amount of healing over the past century, evidenced
by many positive experiences cumulating in the results of 2008 elections when the first African American president was convincingly elected. An endorsement by over 64 million voters and 349 electoral votes compared to his opponent’s 163 electoral votes. But we can in the same breath and with the same conviction admit that while this is welcome, while
it is obvious that majority of America of every ethnicity, creed, and age are ‘color blind’ and are advanced thinkers there remains the relatively few – a group that is large enough to spoil it for the country.Those proverbial “one bad apple” spoil the whole bunch and these ‘apples’ permeate not only the ordinary populous, but is widespread in seats of
governance and herein are the following:
1. America has become a “Mass Incarcerating State” which boasts the majority of prison inmates as poor, uneducated black and brown a fact that speaks to a ‘punishment policy’ where certain persons receive harsher punishment for the same misdemeanor. This situation feeds the Prison Industrial Complex worsened and is supported by the political influence on private prison companies. Florida holds first place and is the leader of the pack where as far back as in 2004, political parties in the state received almost 20% of their total contributions from private prison companies and their affiliates. As recent as in this month (April, 2012) Florida’s Governor Rick Scott vetoed a bill which would send non-violent drug offenders to rehab after serving half their sentence in jail, claiming it is “a public safety issue”. A Republican State Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff of Ft. Lauderdale was the sponsor of that bill emphasized that these are non-violent offenders but Mr. Scott was deaf to the obvious.
2. A key feature of those incarcerated is education or lack thereof. Here again present day reality is reminiscent of those of pre-emancipation era when it was illegal to teach slaves to read and write and in post-emancipation in the South when it was illegal for free blacks to be educated while in the North (although it was not illegal), there were no
provisions made for them to be educated. Present day, there are woefully inadequate provisions made in inner-city communities for education. We see a continuum – undisturbed, unabashedly maintained and sustained by the powers that be.
The Current-day Situation:
For in excess of 150 years, civic inclusion has been the imperative in Western political existence. America has declared itself as the epitome of a freedom-loving environment for peoples of the planet to emulate. Continued undesirable
utterances and actions of some, overtly and covertly displayed by some belie America’s self-righteous claims:
Mitch McConnell and his single most important thing the Republicans want to make Obama a one-term president. A wish echoed by so many of his House and Senate Republicans and their surrogates in Congress and State Governments. Not to work to bring the country to viability and one nation under God with liberty and justice for all. ·
Pat Robertson – televangelist “ God is no fan of President Obama”instead of using his rare and one and on relationship with the Godhead to bring some blessings on America through this recession ·
Mitt Romney the chameleon with the ability to change color whenever the environmental conditions dictate who although he included individual mandate in his Romneycare purporting it would stop ‘free riders’ who do not buy insurance and who would become a burden on the taxpayers does not see President Obama’s healthcare plan as equal because Mr. Romney marches to the drum beat of the destructive and selfish thinkers of his party and not to the dictates of his own conscience (if he has one). ·
Advocates of the destruction of Planned Parenthood have robbed poor women of all races of preventive health care which they cannot afford ·
Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and other leading Republicans wanting to “take America back”. They are the fortunate in the society –fortunate in being provided good education, opportunities to excel in adulthood and business - contributed to by the environments in which they were born, nurtured and raised. They subscribe to the thinking of the white man I personally witnessed saying in a store in New York during the 2008 election period that “a black monkey could never and should never be in the White House”. This man expressed his opinion and belief in a very crass manner but the innuendoes of the learned and those in lofty positions translate the same.
President Obama has changed the ‘norm’ and disturbed the status quo. Some in the Democratic Party who we know as Blue Dog Democrats subscribe to this twisted view of one’s entitlement to success which excludes some and includes only the precious others. During 2008 through 2010 Blue Dogs worked alongside their Republican cohorts against progress so as to create destruction on anything the President put forward. They simply believe that he does not belong.
He does not belong as was in the case of the 15 year old black kid who in November of 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland was walking in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood and was beaten near to death by two Neighborhood Watchmen one Jewish and the other white. According to court documents, these vigilantes drove up next to their teen victim got out of their vehicle, and surrounded him. They threw the defenseless youth to the ground and proceeded to beat him with a hand held radio. A third person kicked him in the face and pinned him to the ground. He was searched even though he told them he had nothing on him and did nothing wrong. He did not belong as is the case of Trayvon Martin.
The President does not belong in the top job of the country as in the case of minorities in the workplace. The EEOC was established in July of 1965 which legislated a ban on discrimination in the workplace but “racial differences in employment remain among the most enduring forms of economic inequality” (D. Pager – 2009, Discrimination in a Low-wage Labor Market). The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows as recent as March 2012 in men 20 years and over the white population the unemployment rate of 6.6 is contrasted by 13.8 among blacks or African American men in the same demographics. It is the continuum from contrasting education opportunities, of hiring preferences based on who you are or who you are not.
All of the above negate America’s claim of superiority in the world in the areas of liberty and justice for all, civil inclusion, as being the beacon on the hill providing light to its own people and to the other nations of the world. The current reality of racial history is nothing short of barbaric!
Anyone reading this saying I am playing the Race Card. Yes I am…. It is a card that needs to be played towards an awakening of the global conscience and a call to action to address the travesty which has become America’s actuality.
Dick Cheney’s heart is in the right place - the professionals did a good job but he continues to speak through his mouth which seems to be at the opposite end of where it should be.
I was trying to use the most appropriate word to attach to his “unmitigated” utterance and the following came to mind: effrontery, audacity, nerve all of which are quite apt, but I will stick with “gall”. He does not have the authority – moral, professional or otherwise to say that this presidency is an “unmitigated disaster”
Let us talk ‘disaster’. For fear the good VP, Mr. Cheney forgets I will list but a few facts to jog his memory.
1. Budget Deficit:
During his tenure, he over-saw eight years of Budget Deficits. He effectively converted the surplus left by President Clinton to a massive debt. And do not forget he is to be blamed as much as the President at that time since it was obvious then as it is now that he was the back-seat driver of that Presidency. “worst economic growth in the past 50 years
2. The effects of Tax Cuts:
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) found during his tenure, tax-cuts geared to keep money in the pockets of“job creators” accounted for at almost 50% of the deficit. But he and his cronies continue to tout his tax cuts, spewing the myth that jobs will be created and cutting taxes will increase tax revenues. Neither of which happened - as a matter of fact, the opposite is the experience. 3. Job Creation: On January 9, 2009 The Wall Street Journal said "Bush on Jobs: the Worst Track Record on Record." “The dismal 3 million jobs created under President Bush didn't merely pale in comparison to the 23 million produced during Bill Clinton's tenure. In September 2009, the Congressional Joint Economic Committee charted Bush's job creation disaster, the worst since Hoover:”
4. Poverty: The Bush/Cheney “Reign of Ruin” saw a dismal drop in the incomes of the American worker but more money in the pockets of the top 1%, and increase in poverty. As at 2008 the poverty rate was at its highest level in a decade and a half since 1994 and the number of uninsured shot up to 50.7 million as household incomes dropped because of job-loss, NOT job creation as Bush and Cheney had ensured the American people.
5. Income Inequality: Mr. Cheney’s reign caused income inequality equivalent to that experienced in 1929 – the Great Depression. Mr. Bush promised on February 12, 2004 that "we cut taxes, which basically meant people had more money in their pocket." But the graphs above, complements of the CBPP and the Congressional Budget Office
clearly indicate whose pockets were lined with money.
6. Free Ride and Colossal Windfall for the top 1%:
In the early 1990s the number of Americans who reported incomes in excess of $200,000 but legally paid no federal income taxes was fewer than 1,500. In the year 2000, the first year of Bush/Cheney reign it went to 2,300, by 2007 it enjoyed a 479% increase and skyrocketed to 11,000 and in 2008 just one year later that figure doubled to 22,000.
Mr. Cheney I will refrain from listing the successes of this Presidency for a later date since I wish for you to digest your own record and if you mix your negatives with President Obama’s positives it is a sure formula for unmitigated indigestion.
By David A. Franklin, Jr.
What can be said about modern-day GOP? Let us ‘deposit’ a reality check…
1 . They are intellectually bankrupt and they are beholden to their Corporate Masters
2. They treat women worse than they do animals and relegate them to insects/caterpillars failing to accept that the
God they so vehemently claim they serve, populated this earth on a hierarchical basis - humans occupying the top of
the animal kingdom
3. They are moral empty vessels preaching one thing and doing the opposite. They preach, advocate and attempt to
moralize getting government out of your lives while simultaneously undertaking to torpedo government into
every bedroom in the country and in every uterus in the land.
4. As far as having original thoughts on anything - they are not blessed with originality. They continuously and
unabashedly adopt Fox News Channel's extreme talking points word for word, thought for thought without even
injecting a comma, a question mark or a full stop - period!
Republicans, or no… let me say, the Republicans who are in the open talking and espousing “Republican values and norms” in this 2012 hunting season (for the White House) are in a drunken stupor. This from drinking the corrupted tea served at the Tea Party and by imbibing the venom of the extreme right, all this intensified by the fact that they just plain refuse whether by design or ignorance to accept the facts – to acknowledge reality.
They not only fail to admit to themselves that Barack Obama has accomplished more positives in under 4 years than the previous GOP administration did in its entire eight years but are disseminating their skewed interpretation of facts flavored with lies. Candidates are either not brilliant or are blinded by the unquenchable desire to be in the White House that they will not bend one iota to listen to the public outcry. “Jobs are what we need” not lessons in moral behavior, not counseling on abortion, not arguments on birth control. The people have been socialized on those societal and shared
issues from birth over several generations and so embedded in their DNA is the ability to think for themselves, choose for themselves and therefore need no direction let alone from elected individuals (or hopefuls) These individuals must be schooled to understand that their sole purpose is to see to human resource empowerment, to an efficiently run fiscal (not the moral) governance and to see to fair and just law enforcement to name a few items on their job description.
Not only the Presidential hopefuls but the governors and state houses in GOP dominated legislatures are behaving as if God died and left the GOP in charge. The fact of what is their prime duty and focus and the direction in which they are expected to channel their efforts totally eludes this bunch – they dodge this reality.
As far back as early 2011 (pre Occupy Movement) I wrote a piece stating that only the voice of the people will prevail but GOP is deaf to the people’s voice, blind to the reality of the suffering of American families and dumb in their
interpretation of what normal people the world over call reality. Singling out one major variable in the negative economic
impact for elementary analysis – high gas price which is being credited to Obama’s management or lack thereof. As a consumer and a layman and not claiming to be even a lay economist my question is, and I am sure that of many
Americans:“What is the difference in the equation between now and in 2008?”
1. June 9, 2008 - Retail gas prices rose above $4.00 per gallon
2. June 15, 2008 - Speculators pushed up the price of crude oil and consumers suffered
3. July 7, 2008 - Gasoline went to a record high of $147 per barrel and the US average price per gallon of regular gas
went to $4.11
4. Later th at year, oil price fell to below $120 per barrel and the Federal Reserve rate was at 2% and gasoline
fell below $2.00 per gallon
Currently, some factors which seemed to have caused this decrease in price are in place and even better than in 2008
1. Fed rate is being kept to 'near zero' projected to be so until late 2014
2. Early this morning (April 10) Brent North Sea crude for delivery in May is $121 a barrel
3. New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate crude states a price of $101 a barrel
Now the real fly in the ointment the speculators will have to stand up and be man enough to take the blame. This year has seen gasoline futures up 22%. The speculators in my layman’s perception push up prices by predicting future levels of consumption ‘lay-waiting’ the consumers’ pay check and mortgaging the life-style and the basic existence of ordinary working Americans. Doing an excellent job of disemboweling the consumers’ individual future and the future of the entire nation. The major contributor to the current high gasoline price is because Greedy American (synonymous with the GOP) are hedging their bets against the success of the country and job outlook for working America primarily
protecting their wealth who like Governor Romney (the possible next president) stash in off-shore banks so that the only
beneficiaries is they and their families and not the country.
A peculiar brand of patriotism don’t you think?
GOP your (reality) check just bounced, it has been dishonored!!!