Thursday, May 15, 2008

Racism, 9/11, Obama oh my! ..... a classic ramble

I've been slacking so heres an old school ramble covering a few topics, hope you enjoy.

It's no secret that I support Obama, its no secret that his race is going to play a factor in the general election. The question is how big a factor? It's a tough thing to poll because even if asked anonymously the vast majority will say that race isn't their reasoning, even if it is. It should also be no surprise to people that there are still plenty of racist fucks in this country, and it's absolutely not a north south thing, but I would put money on a urban/rural divide when it comes to racism. Shit I live in New York, along with California we pretty much define white liberal america, at least in people's minds. But I don't live in the city (and yeah NYC is simply The city) I live in upstate NY, in a dying little town called Elmira. This town hit its peak when it got connected with the Erie Canal, so that should give you some hint as to how long its been in decline. It's pretty much your typical small town USA, although we do have a rather shocking amount of crime for a small town (about 30,000), 80% of whom are honky's like me, er more accurately they share my skin tone, most of them aren't the least bit like me. Most people here are just struggling to get by, economics have been our chief concern since long before bush came into office, although recently crime has also been climbing our list of concerns. Ok, that was off topic, but at least you have a little background on where I come from.

So while NY can be thought of as a liberal state thats mostly due to the city, head up into my neck of the woods and you'll find a lot more rednecks than yuppies. And I live in a moderate size town, head into the hills and it you'll find some crazy ass rednecks waiving confederate flags, the irony of which seems to entirely escape them. Oh and thats a perfect example of how keeping the confederate flag in an american history museum makes sense, to try to claim that they guy with a shotgun in the back window and a confederate flag waving from his antenna is promoting anything but hate is bullshit. I'm not saying to ban it, that would only increase its popularity. I'm saying that as a country where assholes will question a presidential candidate's patriotism (which is pretty fucking stupid in the first place) based on whether or not they wear a chinsy flag pin on their lapel (unbelievably stupid) then I think we should be calling out those who fly the confederate flag as hating america. They claim it's not just about racism so then its about going to war with america, its about tearing this country apart and hoping to create a new nation from the ruble of the one we live in now. Thats great. But remember I'm the one who hates america because I said going to war with Iraq was a stupid idea, oh and they had nothing to do with 9/11.

Speaking of 9/11, I've never been much of one for conspiracy theories, I find them amusing but usually are at least as full of holes as the "official coverup" they are trying to expose. Some such as the JFK assasination simply leaving wondering the truth because I don't for a minute believe Oswald acted alone, the film may be grainy but it clearly shows that the president was not shot from behind. Then their's the folks who think the moon landing was a hoax, it wasn't, and while I thought they raised interesting questions, I easily found out the answers to the questions and they make sense. Then there is the biggest conspiracy theory of recent time, 9/11. For years I have said that I think our government could have done more to prevent it, such as read the memo titled "Bin Laden determined to strike in the US," I don't think thats an outlandish statement. But when people tried to claim that our own government planned and executed the attack I quickly switched off, sure they've profited immensely off it, sure he never would have won a second term without it, but seriously? I'm a pretty rabid bush hater but even I can accuse him of that. But I think it gives credence to them when we hear statements about how we could use another attack. I doubt they would do it, but if they knew of one of the right scale being hatched, might they turn a sharp eye towards November by turning a blind eye to a threat? I can't say it would shock me.

So whats all this have to do with race? not much, I warned you this was going to ramble.

The thing this country does have going for it is that we don't want to be racist. The label of racist is a pin that almost no one in this country wants to wear, especially people with any kind of standing in society. There are plenty of racist fucks out there, but most of the overtly racist ones are sitting at the bottom of the totem pole and its easier to blame people of another color who are in the exact same boat as you than to blame the rich man who probably has the same skin tone. The irony of which is that the problems of the broke ass redneck in the hills are mostly the same as the problems of the poor black man in the city, both of which are entirely different problems than the millionaire in the suburbs who needs to figure out how to hide his money to avoid paying any more taxes than he can get away with. The republicans were able to play the poor white folks like a fiddle, using racism as a bow to make them fuckers howl, but without explicitly saying it, masterful work honestly. I personally want to just rip into these fucks who think that being white and ignorant is a good thing. I want to bitch slap any school board that wants to teach creationism as Science. I want people to understand that education is the key to everything, we are falling behind as a nation because we are not prepared for the global economy. Education is about no just reading and writing it is about understanding who we are, where we came from, our struggles and our accomplishments. We need to educate ourselves about our differences so that we can see that they pale in comparisons to our similarities. Education needs to teach us how to learn, and most importantly how to find the truth. With 20 seconds on the internet most kids can find any piece of information that we could quiz them on. That type of trivial info is meaningless. I want to teach kids to think critically, so pick out the bullshit and call it bullshit when they see it. Only by this route can we raise kids who will encounter racism and call it out for the bullshit that it is. We need to continue to look down on the racist, race is not a problem, diversity is our singe greatest asset as a nation. We embody the best of what the world has to offer, at least we can do that if we want. The other option is to lean out your car window and yell racial slurs to teens who have gotten involved in our other greatest asset, democracy. The choice is ours.

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