Mon, 23 March 2015
All Presidents become targets in the modern world
But this Presidency is different. The Secret Service has acknowledged that the level and seriousness of threats has multiplied since Barack Obama assumed office.
The ferocity of rhetoric has also soared to heights previously unimagined. It is not only the quantity and volume of often obscene shouts that have accelerated. The nature itself of the attacks has gone where nobody had walked during my lifetime.
Thu, 26 February 2015
The challenges to President Obama's patriotism is only the latest of startlingly personal vitriol. Everything from attacks on his citizenship to criticism of his children has become increasingly pointed.
Perhaps it is time to put aside political nicety and state the obvious. The hatred is not the result of policy anger or political fury. That anger and that fury don't cause the hatred. They come from it.
That hatred has a source more deeply rooted in a sad tradition.
Wed, 18 February 2015
The dreary pattern is repeated again. In an unguarded moment, bigotry is made public.
A public official now insists he is not a racist.
We can learn from racism. What we can learn more from that denial, might be a more valuable lesson.
That lesson might be about us.
Tue, 17 February 2015
A minister who fled for his life from South Carolina established a church in Buffalo, New York.
That church, the name of a South Carolina Judge, and the loss of a civil rights case, all join to tell us much of America's racial history.
They also intersect to explain the trajectory of today's Republican Party.
Wed, 14 January 2015
At Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday, Trent Lott gallantly suggested that his old friend would have made a good President. Strom had run for President on a racist platform half a century before.
Conservatives were enraged. They screamed for the scalp of Trent Lott until he was forced to step down as Republican leader in the Senate.
Now Steve Scalise holds a Republican leadership position in the House of Representatives. He participated in a gathering of white supremacists. When the State of Louisiana apologized for the days of slavery, he voted against the apology.
The Party of Lincoln was once ... well ... the Party of Lincoln.
Sun, 17 August 2014
Three decades ago, a young man in Baltimore did not deserve to be shot. He did not deserve a life of partial paralysis. The officer who did not deserve the public censure that became a permanent part of his life.
That case provides lessons we may want to apply to a shooting death, and subsequent police overreaction in Ferguson, Missouri. Justice is needed.
We need to think through what is needed for justice.
Sun, 10 August 2014
Racism is often unexamined except superficially. We skim along the surface of a single assumption. Racists are unspeakably evil. We, and those we include in our circles of friends, are not evil. What could be more clear? They, and we, are not touched by racism, except in our rejection of it.
Most bigotry is not binary, turned off and on as you would a light switch. A line drawn between racism and good will can be fuzzy. Sometimes it is so blurred it is not a line at all. It can be more like a rheostat. The light shines and dims in degrees as the dial is slowly turned.
Few of those who hate the President because he simply does not belong in his position would consider their motivations to be racist. Racism is the province of monsters, on a level with child molesters. In the polite company of Fox News viewers, even those who wear tricornered hats at public gatherings, motives are pure. They must be.
Tue, 27 May 2014
My friend John Myste asks me my diagnosis of urban youth.
Race notwithstanding, Mr. Deming, what do you think of the general work ethic, or more specifically, the motivation to succeed, of the urban youth?
My friend T. Paine seconds the motion, along with the lament:
I would not be able to ask simply due to the racist implications of the question regardless of whether I specified "race notwithstanding" or not."
The life of an oppressed conservative is hard.
Mr. Paine is correct in that "urban" has become a euphemism for African American. That is why he hesitates. A long, long history of stereotypes would make Mr. Paine's hesitation a conservative anomaly.
The short answer to the question of urban work ethic is obvious.
Tue, 13 May 2014
We live in a different world than the one presented to us when I was a kid. My childhood involved Saturday mornings in front of the family television. Cartoons were okay, but kids my age went to westerns and adventure stories. "The Rifleman" and "Superman".
Good was very good. Bad was very bad. The bad guys not only knew they were bad guys, they enjoyed being bad guys. They reveled in it. They laughed as they rolled about in evil, coating themselves with it.
Within every half hour episode, good and evil were definable, easily recognized. The journey toward adulthood involved a gradual discovery that clarity is seldom found in the real world, the grown up world.
Racism was presented to us in cross burnings and bodies hanging from trees. It was white hoods and governors standing in schoolhouse doors.
My bet is that Cliven Bundy never participated in a Klan rally. My imagination tells me that, in his heart, he explains to himself that he likes and sympathizes with those he thinks of as Negroes colored folk. Donald Sterling has a documented history of contentious relations with African Americans. He sees them as unruly and unclean. My guess is that he likes them anyway.