Tag Archives: The McLaughlin Group

Seriously?

My lovely wife and I were in Palm Springs this past weekend, celebrating our 28th wedding anniversary, when she said, “there’s your next blog.” She even suggested its title. We had been conversing about current events, throughout our mini-vacation, and my wife noticed we inevitably would ask ourselves the same question at the end of many of our discussions. One morning after getting our caffeine fix, at a local independent coffee shop, the missus finally made her suggestions known to me. We were leaving the establishment when I pointed to the colorful sticker affixed to the door. It donned the colors of the rainbow and stated, “diversity is welcome here.” My wife and I both immediately said, “Seriously?”

We didn’t understand why the coffee shop would purposely solicit the homosexual community, to be their customers, seemingly above everyone else. I initially felt a little discriminated against, since we were mere heterosexuals, but then I remembered those cake decorating businesses that caters to everyone except homosexuals. I guess fair is fair. However, when I owned a business I was thankful for anyone who was willing to be my customer. Anyway, it has been well over a year since the last time I let my wife influence my writing, and actually name my blog, so I figured it was about time I’d honor her request and allow her to do it again.

Last week a massacre took place inside a Charleston, South Carolina church. A young, White gunman opened fire, during a Bible study, shooting 10 Black parishioners: killing 9 of them. Apparently, some people think the despicable attack was against Christianity since the act of violence happened in a church. Seriously? I think the senseless crime was obviously racially motivated. The shooter, Dylann Roof, allegedly shouted racial epithets, while committing the murders, and his Facebook page and a website contains racist rants and photos of him wearing white supremacy attire. If any offence was ever to be labeled a “hate crime” I would think this one would certainly qualify; however, I’m generally opposed to using that term because all intentional murder derives from hate.

Also tragic, but of course on a much smaller scale, is the way such horrific events are politicized after the fact. The gun control and mental health debates quickly surface, but they are usually forgotten once the victims are laid to rest. This time there is an added dimension, to the political arena, since there is now a crusade to remove all Confederate flags from the capitol grounds of several Southern states. I’ve never claimed to be a history buff, so I’m not exactly sure what their flag is suppose to convey. I do know the Confederate flag’s design looks pretty sweet on top of The General Lee: the ’69 Dodge Charger co-star of The Dukes of Hazzard. Regardless, I would have to agree that if the Confederate flag construes a message of hate, towards the Black community, then it most-certainly should’ve been retired at the time slavery was rightfully abolished.

However, I adamantly disagree with those who profess that the recent shooting has set this country back in terms of our race relations. The atrocious actions of one sick individual does not erase several years of racial progress. I also fervently disagree with Eleanor Clift’s assessment, in wake of the devastating aftermath, when referring to the Charleston congregation’s decision to forgive the murderer. The McLaughlin Group panelist said, “This congregation and the Black community there is being extraordinarily gracious in forgiving – I’m not sure if that were a White congregation and a Black shooter if the Whites would respond quite so graciously.” Seriously? I worship at a predominantly White church, and I’m quite sure if the roles were reversed the majority of the flock would react in precisely the same manner.

I don’t really understand racism. My high school graduating class, of around 300 students, consisted of two Blacks, one Indian, and the rest of us, who were many shades of White; therefore, I’m hardly an expert on race relations. To single out an entire race though, or a religion for that matter, as being “less than” seems asinine to me. I might not be able to fully comprehend the past oppression of Blacks, but I do know a thing or two about reverse racism. When I was attempting to open a music store in my small hometown, during the mid-nineties, I became aware of just how difficult it can be for a White man to start his own business in this country.

I had researched the music store industry, contacted plenty of distributors, and found an excellent location for my establishment. I then formed a business plan and presented it to the city’s Chamber of Commerce. They approved the plan and agreed a music store would make a nice addition to the downtown area. I went to the bank, with my outstanding credit history in tow, to request a loan for the startup costs. After a pleasant meeting with the bank lender my request was denied. The representative solemnly and reluctantly informed me that I would not have any problem receiving the funds if I was Black, or a woman, or better yet if I was a Black woman. Seriously?

Fortunately, a special person was in the financial position to be able to loan me the money (and at a much better interest rate). The aforementioned type of reverse racism will continue to exist as long as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and affirmative action continues to exist. Likewise, this great nation of ours will never entirely rid itself of racism until all Whites consider minorities as their equals and all Blacks are willing to stop reminding the younger generations of their ancestors’ past years of persecution. That will never happen. Seriously!


Something So Disturbing

The other day I was in my car and minding my own business when I observed something so disturbing that several hours later I still could not erase the frightening image from my memory. The more I thought about what I had seen the more it kept haunting me. I couldn’t help but ask myself an array of questions after witnessing the harrowing occurrence, and I continued pondering the situation until eventually I felt like I should share the alarming experience with my wife. She wasn’t nearly as freaked out by what I had noticed, but she did understand my concern. I’m sure most people probably wouldn’t have given the matter a second thought, but to a curious and analytical person such as myself the phenomenon was very unsettling. What I saw was a person driving an older model minivan with numerous dents, at least on the driver’s side, and a handicap license plate affixed to the vehicle’s back end. Although the thought of being handicapped can be unnerving that is not what made my skin crawl. It was the seven bumper stickers randomly placed on the back of the van that were so distressing. The political statements featured on all seven bumper stickers unmistakably had one common theme with two of the more friendlier stickers declaring, “pro-America, anti-Obama,” and “worst president ever.”

I suppose at this point some of my Republican friends are pumping their fists in the air and yelling, “Right on!,” while many of my Democrat friends are most likely saying, “what a loser.” I’m not here to debate our President’s policies or his job performance (not today anyway), and I certainly am not going to attempt to figure out who the worst President in our nation’s history is although I did hear George W. Bush referred to as that a time or two during his presidency. Apparently our country has had about 14 years of the worst president ever. Anyway, what I find so troublesome about “minivan guy” is what I perceive to be as someone so proudly consumed with hatred, for another human being, that he desires to have those feelings of anger known to anyone and everyone around him. I realize the chances are pretty slim of this guy’s vehicle being his “pride and joy,” but seven similar bumper stickers gracing the back of any one van seems quite excessive. He should at least add a few of the classics into the mix like, “my child is an honor student,” “I brake for garage sales,” and “my other car is a Ferrari,” so he doesn’t appear to be so monotonous and grumpy.

I am guessing the aforementioned gentleman spends the majority of his time at home watching Fox News, so actually it was good to see him out and about. I have never seen Fox News. My household does not have cable or satellite television, but I’m sure I wouldn’t watch that “news” show even if we did because it is my understanding Fox News is severely slanted towards conservative viewers although I have heard some Republicans refer to the station as the “only news.” That reminds me of another bumper sticker, decorating the angry man’s van, which read, “I don’t believe the liberal media.” I doubt if he has even watched a liberal network for his “news” before, so how could he have ever had the opportunity to believe the liberal media anyway. It’s really not that difficult to differentiate between fact and opinion, but many people tend to hear only what they want to hear instead of listening to all of the facts. My advice to everyone would be to watch your free local television stations for the most accurate and unbiased news. In addition, I would recommend ignoring the opinion pages when perusing a newspaper. Those often scathing letters to the editor and editorial pieces are simply other people’s opinions, and I don’t need to read them because I already have my opinions.

That being said, even though I’m an overzealous channel flipper I do admit to pausing on The 700 Club, starring Pat Robertson, every great once in awhile when I need a good laugh. I have found this program to be the epitome of biased “news.” The show’s Co-host, Terry Meeuwsen, usually will report on a specific topic and then she’ll ask the former Republican presidential candidate what he thinks about the situation. Mr. Robertson’s typical response is either, “Well, if Obama” or “Because of Obama.” Whether the duo is speaking on the important issues of the day or discussing seemingly harmless topics such as food, sports, entertainment, or even the weather, eventually President Obama is the only one to blame in Pat Robertson’s opinion. Let us not forget Mr. Robertson once claimed that the death toll from 911 was God’s response to the homosexuality running rampant in America; therefore, I put no stock in what Pat Robertson has to say on any issue.

Contrary to Pat Robertson, I have the utmost respect for former GOP and Reform Party presidential candidate, Pat Buchanan. I am aware Mr. Buchanan is a contributor on Fox News, but I am referring to the sensible and open-minded Pat Buchanan I admire as a regular on The McLaughlin Group. It’s not too difficult for me to be fond of this guy because his more recent political views almost always mirror mine. I do not base my opinions on what Mr. Buchanan says, as a panelist on the long running PBS show, but I am thrilled when he agrees with me on the subjects they are discussing. The conservative author and syndicated columnist’s views, on many subjects, appear to be opposite of those held by his Republican counterpart, Pat Robertson. Pat Buchanan will question and sometimes criticize President Obama’s policies and job performance, but he is quick to praise the President when he believes it is well-deserved.

Similarly, I strive to seek out the validity on both sides of any given issue before shaping my opinion. The optimum goal of this blog, when discussing any controversial topic, is to share my thoughts with you (whether you agree or disagree with them) and try to explain how ultimately I arrived at my steadfast opinion. I refuse to be so angry and so unwilling to consider all the facts, when contemplating an issue, because I don’t want to somehow miss the actual truth along the way. I never want to be like the “minivan guy!”