Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"No He Can't" by Anne Wortham

And a Word From Governor Jindal

A friend told me about this op-ed piece by Anne Wortham over the weekend and mailed it to me today. I am surprised I had not yet read it or heard of its author. When I googled it for veracity, I found dozens of sources that have picked it up. It really is a must read. At the end of the article is some biographical information about Dr. Wortham that explains why she has the credibility to speak the truth so plainly in times where political truth is anything but plain.

I make no apologies for erring on the side of graciousness in my expressed feelings about the election, but I do find a candor in what Dr. Wortham writes that reminds me why this Patronus Incognitus blog exists and why I cannot let go of my political beliefs for the sake of "getting along."
No He Can't
By Dr. Anne Wortham
Fellow Americans,

Please know: I am black; I grew up in the segregated South. I did not vote for Barack Obama; I wrote in Ron Paul’s name as my choice for president. Most importantly, I am not race conscious. I do not require a black president to know that I am a person of worth, and that life is worth living. I do not require a black president to love the ideal of America.

I cannot join you in your celebration. I feel no elation. There is no smile on my face. I am not jumping with joy. There are no tears of triumph in my eyes. For such emotions and behavior to come from me, I would have to deny all that I know about the requirements of human flourishing and survival - all that I know about the history of the United States of America, all that I know about American race relations, and all that I know about Barack Obama as a politician. I would have to deny the nature of the “change” that Obama asserts has come to America. Most importantly, I would have to abnegate my certain understanding that you have chosen to sprint down the road to serfdom that we have been on for over a century. I would have to pretend that individual liberty has no value for the success of a human life. I would have to evade your rejection of the slender reed of capitalism on which your success and mine depend. I would have to think it somehow rational that 94 percent of the 12 million blacks in this country voted for a man because he looks like them (that blacks are permitted to play the race card), and that they were joined by self-declared “progressive” whites who voted for him because he doesn’t look like them. I would have to be wipe my mind clean of all that I know about the kind of people who have advised and taught Barack Obama and will fill posts in his administration - political intellectuals like my former colleagues at the Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

I would have to believe that “fairness” is the equivalent of justice. I would have to believe that man who asks me to “go forward in a new spirit of service, in a new service of sacrifice” is speaking in my interest. I would have to accept the premise of a man that economic prosperity comes from the “bottom up,” and who arrogantly believes that he can will it into existence by the use of government force. I would have to admire a man who thinks the standard of living of the masses can be improved by destroying the most productive and the generators of wealth.

Finally, Americans, I would have to erase from my consciousness the scene of 125,000 screaming, crying, cheering people in Grant Park,Chicago irrationally chanting “Yes We Can!” Finally, I would have to wipe all memory of all the times I have heard politicians, pundits, journalists, editorialists, bloggers and intellectuals declare that capitalism is dead - and no one, including especially Alan Greenspan, objected to their assumption that the particular version of the anti-capitalistic mentality that they want to replace with their own version of anti-capitalism is anything remotely equivalent to capitalism.

So you have made history, Americans. You and your children have elected a black man to the office of the president of the United States, the wounded giant of the world. The battle between John Wayne and Jane Fonda is over - and that Fonda won. Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern must be very happy men. Jimmie Carter, too. And the Kennedys have at last gotten their Kennedy look-a-like. The self-righteous welfare statists in the suburbs can feel warm moments of satisfaction for having elected a black person. So, toast yourselves: 60s countercultural radicals, 80s yuppies and 90s bourgeois bohemians. Toast yourselves, Black America. Shout your glee Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Duke, Stanford, and Berkeley. You have elected not an individual who is qualified to be president, but a black man who, like the pragmatist Franklin Roosevelt, promises to - Do Something! You now have someone who has picked up the baton of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. But you have also foolishly traded your freedom and mine - what little there is left - for the chance to feel good. There is nothing in me that can share your happy obliviousness.

Dr. Anne Wortham is Associate Professor of Sociology at Illinois State University and continuing Visiting Scholar at Stanford University 's Hoover Institution. She is a member of the American Sociological Association and the American Philosophical Association. She has been a John M. Olin Foundation Faculty Fellow, and honored as a Distinguished Alumni of the Year by the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education. In fall 1988 she was one of a select group of intellectuals who were featured in Bill Moyer's television series, "A World of Ideas." The transcript of her conversation with Moyers has been published in his book, A World of Ideas. Dr. Wortham is author of The Other Side of Racism: A Philosophical Study of Black Race Consciousness which analyzes how race consciousness is transformed into political strategies and policy issues. She has published numerous articles on the implications of individual rights for civil rights policy, and is currently writinga book on theories of social and cultural marginality. Recently, she has published articles on the significance of multiculturalism and Afrocentricism in education, the politics of victimization and the social and political impact of political correctness. Shortly after an interview in 2004 she was awarded tenure.

Now watch Governor Jindal's response to President Obama's address to congress tonight. You'll notice that, as I did back in November, he opens with a gracious recognition of historical progress (though I respect Dr. Wortham's lack of jubilation), but listen to how he goes on to express a different take on the ideals behind the American Dream.

I agree with much of what he has to say but would challenge his repeated use of the phrase "As Americans we can do anything." That statement is not only untrue (there are lots of things we cannot do and should not do), to non-Americans it may perpetuate a "spoiled brat" image that does not help our current situation. I don't think he means it to sound like it does when repeated as often as he repeats it. Aside from that rhetorical caveat, I think we'll be hearing more from Jindal here at Patronus Incognitus.

I saw Jindal on Meet the Press last Sunday as he gave a very rational explanation on why his state would not be taking four billion dollars from Obama's "hand-out." As a former speech teacher, I'll also add that on Meet the Press [full video here], he sounded more like an intelligent debater and less like he was telling a story to elementary students (as he does below). I think over time, Jindal will become a more "natural sounding" speaker as he gives public addresses.

Here's what Dick Morris has to say about the current panic.

Friday, February 20, 2009

"Change We Can Believe In" Part II

Press the arrow in the middle of the screen below...

Only three Republicans lacked the spine to stand up against this mostly liberal spending spree, but maybe those three think a "group hug" is more important than staying true to the fiscal roots that made this nation great. Or maybe they just needed affirmation from the likes of Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) who you heard in the clip say on the Senate floor.

“Let me say this, to all of the chattering class that so much focuses on those little tiny, yes, porky amendments — the American people really don’t care.”

Maybe Schumer's right. Maybe people are so "lost" that they need a trail of pork and beans to help them find their way out of the woods. Let's hope leaving a trail for scavengers works better for us than it did Hansel and Gretle.

Or maybe Schumer is just hoping to leave someone else the bill for all the pork like the Democratic National Committee has done thus far with the $1.74 million cost of President Obama's victory celebration in Grant Park last November.

Meanwhile back at the ranch--I mean--White House...

President Obama's second nominee for Secretary of Commerce, Sen. Gregg withdrew, citing "irreconcilable differences" over the stimulus package, but as this article points out:

"The more important reason was because the president had made it clear Sen. Gregg was just to be window dressing. The Commerce secretary has only one important job, to oversee the decennial census. If illegal aliens are counted as citizens, several House seats could be shifted from the Republicans to the Democrats after the next reapportionment. Cheating is the Chicago Way, but Sen. Gregg is both honest and a Republican. He couldn't be counted on to cheat. So the president announced oversight of the census would be shifted to the White House. This is probably illegal, and it made Sen. Gregg look like a chump. So he did the only thing an honorable man could do.

"With so many of the president's nominees having to withdraw because of ethical problems, it was refreshing to have one withdraw because he had ethics.”


Friday, February 13, 2009

Change You Can Believe In

But You'll Have To Take Our Word On It
Since We Didn't Give You Time To Read It

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Hope is a Thing Best Gently Held

See Update Articles at Bottom of Post.
Hope is a thing
best gently held
for when too tightly squeezed,
like soap,
it slips our grip
and brings us fumbling
to our knees,
grasping all around
and lost
'til Faith is found--
that frayed and knotted rope
that fits the human hand,
that strand of hope
and proof of things unseen
from age to age
and all that's in between.
© Copyright ,2009, TK, Patterns of Ink
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1

I wrote this poem a few weeks ago in an entirely non-political context to suggest that while hope is a fine thing, and life is sad when hopes and dreams seem to be slipping from our hands, there is actually something that "trumps" hope, and it has the power to sustain mankind without depending on a man.

When I began Paronus Incognitus, it was because a certain slogan "CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN" struck me as five words that begged the question, five words that had the burden of proof. As any college debater knows, the team presenting the proposition for CHANGE always has the burden of proof. Gripe as we might about the status quo, there are reasons it's in place, and those who would change it must first prove that the change is indeed an improvement, that the presumed "cure" is not worse than the alleged disease.

So it was and remains my intent to keep a spot light on that CHANGE as it takes place. I want to clarify, however, that it will never be my goal to lose HOPE as I hold that spot light, and in time I trust readers will also sense that it is FAITH (and not any man) that sustains my hope.

"CHANGE WITH IMPUNITY" would be a more accurate slogan. "CHANGE YOU CAN'T STOP AND WE DON'T HAVE TO TALK ABOUT" has thus far been the tone. In fact, truth is, thus far the CHANGE has looked like the same old cast of characters (except this time they have tax evasion issues) proposing the same old liberal "throw money at it" solutions to their understanding of what's broken (without fully understanding it was such bad ideas that broke it in the first place). I was hoping CHANGE would also produce legitimate debate in congress, so far not much actual debate has been allowed since the Dems have the power to proceed without GOP support.

CHANGE should always be under fire so that only the best CHANGE comes about. The trick is not scorching our national HOPE in the process.

But as Charles Krauthammer pointed out Friday, "So much for the president who in his inaugural address two weeks earlier declared 'we have chosen hope over fear.' Until, that is, you need fear to pass a bill."

Irony of ironies,....The most iconic image of 2008 Presidential Election has now itself become a source of controversy as the president hopes fear will help sell a liberal wish list.

"NEW YORK (AP) - On buttons, posters and Web sites, the image was everywhere during last year's presidential campaign: A pensive Barack Obama looking upward, as if to the future, splashed in a Warholesque red, white and blue and underlined with the caption HOPE.
Designed by Shepard Fairey, a Los-Angeles based street artist, the image has led to sales of hundreds of thousands of posters and stickers, has become so much in demand that copies signed by Fairey have been purchased for thousands of dollars on eBay.

"The image, Fairey has acknowledged, is based on an Associated Press photograph, taken in April 2006 by Manny Garcia on assignment for the AP at the National Press Club in Washington.

The AP says it owns the copyright, and wants credit and compensation. Fairey disagrees." [excerpt of article by Hillel Italie, AP National Writer]

And in closing... a few words from the one who got away....

Update: Feb. 9, 2009 Article by Rick Moran:

"[Obama is a] president who, for all his rhetorical gifts, can't seem to muster the words that would give the American people the one thing desperately needed at this point in American history -- hope. That's right. The candidate of "Hope and Change" has decided to be a president who espouses "Fear and Loathing." Fear of financial Armageddon unless we do as we are told and blindly give in to his $900 billion panic panacea for the economy...It is a far cry from the way Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan handled economic crises....Obama does not want Americans to believe in themselves. He wants them to believe in him..."

Is that what S.C. Governor Mark Sanford meant when he said we are headed toward a "saviour-based economy"?

Read David Keene's article: From hope to doomsday "It’s almost as if our new 'transformational' president is himself being transformed into a character from a New Yorker cartoon or, worse, into Jimmy Carter. The optimistic campaign has been replaced almost overnight by a sort of whining pessimism that is, well, unbecoming of a president. Obama keeps reminding those who disagree with him that it was he who won in November. This political defeat has convinced the president that those who oppose his views should simply abandon their views and principles as unpopular, unworkable and destined for the scrap heap of history."

And here's another good column from one of my favorite liberals, Camille Paglia.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

In other news...

I'm not saying there's a fat lady in Minnesota--I'm just saying she ain't sung yet!

In November I shared some thoughts about this topic, and in December, I wrote this post about the Franken-Coleman race, and now here's an update from PAT DOYLE and KEVIN DUCHSCHERE, Star Tribune staff writers:

"In a ruling that keeps alive Republican Norm Coleman's chances of overturning Minnesota's U.S. Senate recount, a three-judge panel on Tuesday allowed him to bring evidence to trial that as many as 4,800 absentee ballots were wrongly rejected and should now be counted.
The decision expands the evidence that can be considered in the recount trial, giving Coleman the opportunity to put more ballots into play in his effort to erase a 225-vote lead for Al Franken....[T]he judges said they will focus on rejected absentee ballots cast by voters who complied with the requirements of Minnesota election law or failed to comply because of mistakes by local elections officials."

There was a ten point election spread between Obama and McCain. This means that 10% of voting Minnesotans took the time to not vote a straight ticket. They pulled the lever for Obama but then deliberately voted against Democrat Al Franken. That is a huge understated fact in this tie that will finally be put to rest when these 4,800 votes are considered. If Franken still wins, so be it, but if he loses, I hope his truest of colors show through confirming the importance of these yet uncounted votes.

Two closing topics: First, I wish I could say my post about the stimulus package was read by thousands and that it had some part in the lack of traction it's gotten since going to the Senate, but the truth is millions of voices decided to call it what it was, and even some Democrats are afraid to put their name on such a blatant non-stimulus, pork barrel, liberal wish list (aka: "One giant leap toward irreversible bigger government"). Some have called it a step toward European Socialism that will do as much harm as good if not drastically overhauled. Here's what McCain had to say about it. The clip below features just one of the mouthpieces that helps us see this bill as hyped-liberal tripe: NANCY PELOSI. This lady has no credibility on the topic of true economic recovery. Have you ever noticed that when "leaders" feel they are on a righteous track that their self-declared good intentions outweigh their good sense? Listen to this unchallenged "flub" (or is it a "flub?" She has evidently said it with conviction in three different venues. It is absurd!)

[The Youtube headline is not mine. I don't think she's dumb (manipulative maybe); I just think she's flat-out wrong whenever her mouth moves. She's right up there with Maxine Waters whose socialistic leanings came through in this Freudian slip. Spoofed here.]

And finally, this has been a rough week so far for President Obama--not disastrous but when four of your most trusted appointments for your most valued cabinet seats have serious tax evasion issues (and are thereby "not patriotic" according to Biden and not as willing to "spread the wealth" as he had hoped they would model)... that's a rough week. (Truth be told, Daschle had more issues than $120,000 in unpaid taxes.)

I think he handled yesterday's "withdrawals" in a commendable way. It's not easy going from a whole-hearted "stand by your man" stance on Monday to "I screwed up by picking Daschle" on Tuesday, and he did it about as gracefully as any politician could. With that in mind, I'd like to close with a reminder that I will continue to pray for his success in all things that benefit this country (not only in this moment but in the long haul).

As I said in the comments of this post: "Something funny occurred to me today. If you consider the fact that America could be put in two groups: those that pray and those who do not believe in God and never pray, and when you consider that by all research, the latter group voted almost totally for Obama, it may very well be that there will be more Christians praying for Obama that did not vote for him than there are atheists who did. If I were him, that would be very reassuring."

"The Country's in the Very Best of Hands"

Update 5:00PM: As if to quickly change the subject, Obama packed a room full of people that he knew would cheer after nearly every sentence (oh, how he must miss the campaign trail) to press again for swift passage of this bill he knows is flawed and misguided. At an attempt to tug on the heart strings of the TV audience (why else have it at 5:00PM?), he introduced a father and son.

"When Gregory Seacrest from Martinsville, VA, lost his job back in August his kids lost their health care and when he broke the news to his family his nine-year-old son... handed over his piggy bank with $4.00 in it and told his father, 'Daddy, if you need it; you take it.' Now, this is not who we are."

I beg to differ, Mr. President. That is exactly the way families pull together; it's how they all pitched in during the Great Depression; that boy was willing to give of his small treasure for the sake of the greater good of his family. Sure his $4.00 is not the solution to his father's lost health insurance, but his willingness to sacrifice and 'do without' is at the heart of what will see families through these hard times in ways the government will never be able to provide. If you're going to exploit a family in need, please at least expose the true heart of the story.

I'm not suggesting that government can play no role in helping such families, but please Mr. President, in this week when you're trying so hard to help us forget that the "grown ups" don't get it, that the experts you've surrounded yourself don't pay their share of taxes and that the banker fat-cats don't know how to cut back on junkets during times when the investments they oversee have tanked, please don't miss the real message that this little nine-year-old conveyed to his father in that moment. "We'll get through this together, and I'm willing to sacrifice to make it happen."

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