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Do we want another Tawana Brawley?

Tawana Brawley

A conservative friend of mine ended his rant with this line – “How many more Tawana Brawleys and Duke Lacrosse teams do we need before we stop railroading and judging people guilty on a whim?” Let me stand back for a second. With regard to the Trayvon Martin case, as I have said repeatedly (here, here, here and here), all anyone in the United States should want, all we should ask for, is for justice to be done. I’ve never called for a speedy investigation. I want a thorough investigation wherein all the rocks are overturned. It is that simple.

I’ve also mentioned repeatedly that we need to focus on the investigation and not the sideshow. For the sake of this post and clarity today, I will address the sideshow. Conservatives have consistently over the last few weeks focused on the sideshow. Several have focused on how the family wants to try this case in the court of public opinion. First, we must try to understand the frustration the family must feel after their son has been shot and the police simply stonewalled them. The police appeared to “kill” the investigation. Secondly, there is no doubt that there are many people and organizations who simply cruise the Internet and look for opportunities to jump on the bandwagon of race-based issues. I would like to think that their agenda is to improve equality in America, but I think we have seej time and time again that their agenda is to elevate their own individual status or organizational status.

I find it fascinating that many conservatives have decided to bring up Tawana Brawley case. Basically, a brief review – in 1987, Ms. Brawley, a 15-year-old girl, had been missing for over four days. She was found near her home in Wappingers Falls, New York, in a dumpster lying in a garbage bag. She was disheveled. Her clothing was torn. She was covered in feces. She had the words, Bitch, KKK and N!gg*r written on her in what appeared to be charcoal. She claimed that she had been repeatedly raped by three white men. Her behavior in the emergency room can only be described as bizarre. She and the family requested to be interviewed in the emergency room by a black officer and this was granted. This was the case that vaulted Al Sharpton into prominence. He was the first black personality to latch on to this case and scream that justice be done. There was a huge public outcry. Many celebrities (Bill Cosby and Spike Lee included) got involved. There was fundraising and there were marches. There was tons of finger-pointing. There were prominent attorneys.  In spite of the characterization that many conservatives have of this case, the outcome was 100% correct. There was a thorough investigation. There was a Grand Jury convened and the conclusion of that Grand Jury was that there was no rape. There was no sexual assault. You can read the rest of the Grand Jury conclusion here.

So, in spite of the mischaracterization that many conservatives have of this case, justice was served. Nobody died. Nobody went to jail unjustly. There was a thorough investigation. There was a thorough review of the evidence. There was a clear and unmistakable conclusion which the vast majority of Americans have accepted as correct – whites and blacks alike. What can we learn from this case is a couple of things. First, the black community, no surprise, is very mistrustful of our justice system. This needs to be fixed. I don’t know how to do it. The perception in the black community is that the criminal justice system is completely and 100% stacked against minorities. There was a Chicago police shooting in which an unarmed female was shot to death.  There was an 18-year-old male who was jailed for marijuana possession who seems to have been allowed to hallucinate and cry out for help for hours in jail before he died in jail.  There’s Alan Gomez, who appears to have been an unarmed 22-year-old who was somehow shot by police. In spite of a thorough investigation, the circumstances of his death remain somewhat mysterious. The official investigation cleared officers of all charges.  There was the shooting rampage in Tulsa which now appears to be part revenge and part racially based. Now, I’m not saying that the police were right or wrong in all of these situations. Instead, what I’m saying is that there is a preponderance of situations in which minorities die and it seems like the overall justice system is not adequately responding to the cries of the minority community. Secondly, as I mentioned earlier, there are individuals and organizations who latch onto these racially charged issues like leeches. They do little or nothing to illuminate the situation. As a matter fact, in my opinion, they muddy the waters. I’ll go so far as to say they should be ignored.

Trayvon Martin

Much of the problem that I see in the United States has developed over a lack of compromise from both sides. Everyone wants to say that they’re right. No one wants to admit that the other side may have a point. Our society is slowly evolving into left versus right, progressive versus conservative, white versus black. In fact, we have to acknowledge that our country is much more complicated than that. We have to acknowledge that we have not solved the problems of racial inequality and social economic inequality in this country. We should recoil at the statements of Rick Warren, pastor of a large mega-church, who asked, “…or does fairness mean that everybody has an opportunity to make the same amount of money? I do not believe in wealth redistribution, I believe in wealth creation.” He’s just repudiated the teachings of Jesus. This is not about socialism. Instead this is about opportunities for all. Currently, in our highly toxic talk environment, there is no middle ground. How can you compromise with the man is supposed to be a Nazi and wants to murder your kids? This is our problem. Extremism. Until we all pull back to the center, our country is in trouble.

So, where does that leave us with Trayvon Martin? In my mind, we’re still at the beginning. We are continuing to patiently wait for the thorough investigation to conclude. Until then, I will continue to hope and pray that justice will be done. It is that simple.

By | 2013-11-03T17:14:22+00:00 April 10th, 2012|Legal, Race|2 Comments

More on the Conservative Tax Rant

There is a lot to talk about today. I thought the President Obama’s speech was outstanding. Many people talked about it (here, here and here). I really don’t want to rehash that. Sarah Palin released an eight-minute video yesterday. The contrast between her and President Obama could not have been greater. There was also this national scene of unity in Tucson. I find it interesting that House Majority Leader John Boehner decided, in spite of a presidential invitation, not to attend. He had a scheduling conflict. He had a fundraiser to attend. This wasn’t mandatory but I think it reveals one’s priorities. I really don’t want to talk about his priorities either. I would like to go back to the Conservative Tax Rant. (see my previous post)

(And to think, we left British Rule to avoid so many taxes)

Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago…..
And our nation was the most prosperous in the world.
We had absolutely no national debt….
We had the largest middle class in the world…..
And Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

We did not leave colonial rule because of “so many taxes.” Instead, we left colonial rule because of taxation without representation. Now you could argue that our representatives are not representing us anymore. I think that’s a fair argument. Who would you blame for that? It seems to me that you should blame yourself. The fact is that we aren’t involved in our political process except for once every 2-4 years where we go and vote. We are unaware of 99% of the votes that are taken in our state capitals or in Washington DC. We simply don’t pay attention.

I’m not sure that I want to go back the way it was 100 years ago. There were no cars, there were no trucks. There were no roads. If you wanted to go from point A to point B, you took your trusty horse or you rode the train. Those were your two options. Most houses did not have electricity. Most houses did not have running water. Cholera, pertussis and influenza killed tens of thousands of Americans every year. Whooping Cough, chickenpox and smallpox remained deadly diseases. Most Americans lived on farms. There was no middle class, unless you are going to count farmers as middle-class. As a matter fact, 1911 is right in the middle of the great migration into American cities. Where is the data purporting that we were the most prosperous country in the world in 1911? Maybe Britain was (having tons of colonies gathering raw materials for your factories has to be good for something), but I doubt that anyone would say that the US was the most prosperous country in the world.

America had no national debt because as a nation we were a third world country. It took us another 30 years to catch up to Britain and France. It took us two world wars before we are propelled into the international scene as the top dog.

So, the author suggests that our utopia awaits when we throw off the yoke of all of these taxes. Sweet! All we need to do to attain this utopia is to move back to the farm and start raising chickens and milking cows. Of course, you can raise cattle. This is the utopia that is being offered – no thanks. I’ll take my modern medicines, which are highly regulated and which have increased our life expectancy by more than 30 years! I’ll take my state and national highway system, which allows me to drive my taxed, highly regulated, seat belted, airbagged, safety glassed, antilock braked, far safer car all across the country. If I decide to fly across the country, there’s a high likelihood that my plane will not fall out of the sky because of regulations and taxes. If, when I get to my destination, I decide to go for a swim in the local lake or stream, there’s a high likelihood it should not spontaneously ignite because regulations and taxes have cleaned up our waters. Heck, for the most part, I can probably drink out of the lake – but I won’t.

This rant, this conservative rant is the conservative movement over the last 40 years in a nutshell. The underlying tone is that government is bad. Nothing can be further from the truth. Too much government can stifle creativity and, a favorite conservative buzzword, innovation. Not enough government can leave the citizens vulnerable to abuses by the powerful. Whether it is poison water, contaminated foods or dangerous products, government protects us from all of these.

More on this rant tomorrow.

By | 2011-01-13T20:14:21+00:00 January 13th, 2011|Domestic Issues, Party Politics, Taxes|Comments Off on More on the Conservative Tax Rant

Beck jumps on the “let da’ house burn” bandwagon

In my previous post, I was accused of painting the firefighters as conservatives (I don’t know who they were and it doesn’t matter). I did nothing of the sort. Instead, my point was that a conservative mindset has been poisoning this country for years. The mindset is simply – I’m out for myself. I don’t want to help anybody else. I don’t want to pay for anybody else. I want to keep all my money for myself. It is from this mindset that you can get a subscription service for fire protection. Those who don’t have the money simply don’t get protection. I mentioned in my previous post that many conservatives were jumping on this bandwagon. Glenn Beck did not miss the opportunity.

From TP:

Now, yet another major conservative has joined the defense. On his radio show this afternoon, leading right-wing talker Glenn Beck and his producer Pat Gray openly mocked the Cranick family. After playing a news clip explaining the situation, Gray adopted a southern drawl and began to mock Gene Cranick’s explanation of how the county’s firefighters refused to help his family.

Beck then went on to complain that “those who are just on raw feeling are not going to understand” that the county’s actions in refusing to assist the Cranicks were justified. He explained that America will be having the “argument” about the case of the Cranicks and that it will go “nowhere if you go onto ‘compassion, compassion, compassion, compassion’ or well, ‘they should’ve put it out, what is the fire department for?’” Beck then went on to say that the Cranicks would be “spongeing off their neighbors” if the fire department had helped them put out their fire. The radio host concluded his rant by saying “this is the kind of stuff that’s going to have to happen, we are going to have to have these kinds of things”:

GRAY: (mocking Cranick’s accent) Even tho’ I hadn’t paid mah seventy five dollahs I thought dey’d put it out. […] I wanted ‘em to put it out, but dey didn’t put it out.

BECK: Here’s the thing. Those that are just on raw feeling are not going to understand. […]

GRAY: But I thought they was gonna put the fire out anyway, but it burned down. Dat ain’t right! […] What’s the Fire Department for if you don’t put out the fire?! […] I thought they’d put out mah fire even if I didn’t pay seventy five dollars.

BECK: This is the sort of argument that Americans are going to have.

GRAY: It is.

BECK: And it goes nowhere if you go onto “compassion, compassion, compassion, compassion” or well, “they should’ve put it out, what is the fire department for?” […] If you don’t pay the 75 dollars then that hurts the fire department. They can’t use those resources, and you’d be spongeing off your neighbor’s resources. […] It’s important for America to have this debate. This is the kind of stuff that’s going to have to happen, we are going to have to have these kinds of things. (more…)

By | 2010-10-06T21:23:15+00:00 October 6th, 2010|Domestic Issues, Party Politics|7 Comments