Repost - More from the Campaign Trail - 2008

Thursday, July 16, 2009

(the working idea of my having this blog of revelation was for it to be a sports blog, or rather, a blog where I could write about everything through the context of sports, use sports as a window through which to view politics and culture and whatever else I felt like talking about. Sometimes it works better than others.)

Play the game.

In 1974, in the United States, African-American families earned about 66 cents for every dollar earned by white families.

So, in 2002, in the United States, African-American families earned about________for every dollar earned by white families.

75 cents? 82 cents? What?

58 cents.

Okay, how about this - for those black families who do have the same income as white families in the United States - they have how much wealth compared to those white families?


I offered those statistics at the beginning of a recent discussion of race in 2008 to a class I was teaching; at the end of class, I asked for written thoughts about the current state of race relations. The plurality of students offered some variation on the theme that things used to be bad in some unnamed past, but now are pretty good (which is a very common American narrative; past mistakes now nearly overcome by the goodheartedness of the U-S-A) or that even bringing up the topic was the real problem, that the only time race ever mattered was when people brought it up.

No one mentioned the above statistics.

Can't blame the students; psychologically, one of the most difficult things to do is change the way one views the world; when objective information that contradicts how we see things crosses our path, the way we cope is by ignoring it.

And why shouldn't the students view the world that way? As part of the coverage of the Democratic National Convention this week, the phrase "post-racial" to define current United States has been used almost as often as "post-partisan" has.

Post-partisan is my new favorite term, replacing "frenemies." One of the Republican talking points this week, as was it in the days after the Democrats retook the Senate in the midterm election, was that what the American public was asking for was bipartisanship.

This is the equivalent of when the wrestling heel uses every nefarious trick he can to press an advantage on the babyface - just cheats with a brazen and wanton nefariousness - but when the worm turns, and the babyface begins to turn the tide and gain the advantage - the heel will drop to his knees and beg for mercy, offering a hand in friendship.

The Republicans will spy on you, out your CIA wife, send you to die in a war that is almost entirely motivated by corporate profit, they will strip your right to vote, steal an election when you do, leave you to die after a hurricane, refuse to let you debate resolutions on the House floor, threaten any dissent as dangerous and unpatriotic, ignore warning shouts as loud as "Bin Ladin Determined to Attack in US", then be unable to capture him 7 years later, despite killing well over a hundred thousand Iraqi civilians and still claim to be the party best positioned to keep you safe; they will deregulate the banking and mortgage industries, watch as record foreclosures disproportionately take wealth from black families while bailing out their corporate partners; while they bailout corporations and handout billions to military contractors they either were, are, or will again be corporate officers of they refuse national health care as "socialized medicine"; they claim to be in favor of "small" government as they build a military larger than the rest of the world and constantly look for ways to legislate what you smoke, what you can hear on the radio, and who you can marry; they lock up suspects without lawyers, they torture, they daily devalue our standing in the world, they will author a tax decrease that only impacts millionaires and accuse you of engaging in class warfare for mentioning it; they have eroded the fundamental bedrock principles of federalism and democracy, cashing in on the blood of American soldiers; they lie and cheat and steal and do so with a fuck you smirk and a "what are you gonna do about it" swagger.

But when they lose...when they're out of power...when the public has clearly, vociferously, in every possible way rejected virtually everything they've done -- when it looks as if the Democrats will have power in both the Executive and Legislative branches -- they (and the corporate media who parrots their thoughts) talk about the importance of post-partisanship.

If the media (and the American public) watched more wrestling, they'd know what to do.

They'd see that chickenshit heel (technical term) beg off, back away, offer a hand in friendship - and they'd root for the Democrats to punch them clean in the throat.

Every speech in the Democratic Convention that hasn't talked about 4 dollar a gallon gas and torture and Katrina and huge tax breaks for the wealthy and foreclosures and the price of a pound of hamburger and a trillion dollar war and oil companies having record profits and the disparity between uberwealthy and working class being beyond Gilded Age levels and "we'll be greeted as liberators" and "we're not in the reality business" and "I want to make the American government so small it can be drowned in the bathtub" and "people need to watch what they say" has been a mistake.

Because wrestling fans understand - if you accept their hand in post-partisanship, they'll slap you with their free hand, pull the brass knucks out of their trunks and split you between the eyes.

There shouldn't be post-partisanship, there should be grand jury investigations. We should attack the Bush Administration with at least the fervor that it's gone after Barry Bonds.

There is no such thing as post-partisanship, there's Republican domination and Democratic accomodation.

There's no post-racial either, but man, do white people want there to be.

My question is always - when did this period where "racism doesn't really matter anymore" begin?

Almost 15 years go, during the OJ Simpson trial - you heard that the real racists were on the defense team. They were "playing the race card" somehow injecting race where race did not belong. They had a white LAPD detective, coming off the heels of the acquittal of the white LAPD officers who beat Rodney King half to death on video, scaling the fence around the house of a black suspect - without a warrant - and appearing with a bloody glove - they had that detective - caught on tape lying under oath, caught on tape discussing manufacturing evidence - caught on tape discussing the vicious beatings he and fellow officers had administered to black suspects - they had that detective respond to the question "did you manufacture evidence in this case" by invoking the 5th Amendment - and it was the defense team who were the real racists, the defense team "stirrin' up trouble."

(Incidentally, anytime that Mark Fuhrman perjury prosecution wants to gear up, I'm ready. Probably the LA District Attorney's office is out on the golf course looking for the real perjurers.)

Was that the post-racial society? Where white Americans suddenly decided their were inequities in the justice system - and those inequities tilted in favor of black defendants? There are more blacks in prison or on parole than in college. Blacks are disproportionately investigated, charged, accused, convicted, sentenced, and held. Is this the post-racial US?

Recently, ridiculously inspid tool Jonah Goldberg criticized ESPN for honoring John Carlos and Tommy Smith upon the 40th anniversary of their protest on the medal stand at the Mexico City Olympics. Goldberg wrote that one of the problems with the protest was that, hell - it was 1968 - that conditions for blacks were pretty good by then and what were they complaining about?

Was that the post-racial US? 1968? The year MLK was assassinated? One year after the Supreme Court case that declared state laws preventing interracial marriage were unconstitutional? 4 years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (opposed by the Republicans) that ended the ability of restaurants or hotels to refuse service to black customers?

Civil rights leaders were told they were agitators. Stirring up trouble. That race relations were fine in the segregated south - the apartheid American south, thanks - that the real problem were northern racial instigators. Was it a post-racial society then?

Goddamn Muhammad Ali. Why can't he just know his place like Joe Louis did?

Goddamn WEB Dubois. Why can't he just know his place like Booker T. Washington does?

Barack Obama's going to be the next POTUS (and honestly, if he loses, the Democrats need to disband or be dropped into the second division like a British soccer team; if their 2012 candidate can win the Presidency of, say Trinidad, then we'll talk about letting them run again in 2016) and that's a good result.

It means blacks aren't 3/5 of a human being anymore. It means they don't need to sit at the back of the bus.

And it means that we probably aren't going to war with Iran or with Russia.

But it won't end the level of disparity that exponentially exists in the US beyond any other western nation - the disparity between rich and poor - and the disparity between white and black.

66 cents for every dollar in 1974.

58 cents for every dollar in 2002.

Those aren't numbers you can whitewash.

White Americans had better hope they aren't ever in the position of the chickenshit heel, begging in a nation where they are vastly outnumbered by racial minorities.

'Cause I've been to lots of wrestling shows with lots of black fans. I'm guessing they'll know what to do when that hand of "reconciliation" is extended.

From the Washington Post:

Obama and McCain Tax Proposals

According to a new analysis by the Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain are both proposing tax plans that would result in cuts for most American families. Obama's plan gives the biggest cuts to those who make the least, while McCain would give the largest cuts to the very wealthy. For the approximately 147,000 families that make up the top 0.1 percent of the income scale, the difference between the two plans is stark. While McCain offers a $269,364 tax cut, Obama would raise their taxes, on average, by $701,885 - a difference of nearly $1 million.

That top .01% have incomes of nearly 3 million a year, for those of you who haven't clicked the above link.

John McCain, in a time where many of us are struggling to afford groceries, wants to cut taxes of people who make 2.87 million dollars a year by $269,364.

Why? 'Cause he's a Republican. And that's what they do.

If you make 600K-2.8 million a year - your McCain cut would be smaller, only 45grand.

And if you make a quarter million to 600K, your break is not quite 8 grand. Obama wouldn't raise your taxes though, unlike the other two groups who are going to get hit.

Anything less than that - and Obama's the one cutting your taxes.

Go look at the chart. Find where you are. Go ahead, be selfish. Sure, you might want to think of those less fortunate than you - you might, if you have the means, look at that chart and say "huh, given where we are, given the condition of most Americans economically - is it really best for most Americans to cut the taxes of the wealthiest Americans more (not just in dollars, obviously - but as a percentage - it's a regressive tax decrease) than everyone else?" Does this seem like the direction we should be going; is this really what we're crying out for - as you see 4 dollar a gallon gas - if you have no health insurance and can't go on vacation and have stopped paying for haircuts (guilty) and question literally every purchase of meat you make at the grocery store or every time you run the air conditioning (guilty - and I have two graduate degrees, a Bar membership, live in the tropics and am cute as all get out) - is the answer to that really - "shit, let's cut the taxes of people making 3 million bucks a year by a quarter million and do it yesterday! Haven't America's millionaires suffered enough??"

Or, if you like - just think selfishly.

Read the Post piece. Find your income bracket and compare the policies.

I'm a college instructor. I won't tell you exactly how much I make, but I'm nowhere near any bracket where McCain's tax plan puts more money in my pocket than Obama's.

Vote your pocketbook in November. Forget about torture. Hell, you weren't tortured, why do you care. Forget how the Bush Administration spied on American citizens. You have nothing to hide - so what if the giant, omnipresent monstrously powerful federal government the conservatives have always spoken so highly of is in your telephone. Why do you care? So habeas corpus, maybe the bedrock principle of all evolved systems of justice since the Code of Hammurabi has been discarded. It's in latin for Chrissake, how could it matter? Sure, we've killed a couple hundred thousand Iraqi citizens and inflamed worldwide passions of young Muslims against us. What are the odds we'll ever feel any blowback from that? And hey - aren't those Iraqi citizens, the women and elderly and children - murdered during this unprovoked war that has almost entirely been about profit for corporations that you don't have any financial relationship with (but the Republicans do) really better off dead than under Saddam? And so what if the Bush Adminisration's ignored the environmental catastrophe, ignored science - effectively said the sky is not blue and water is not wet and if you say different we'll drum you clean out of the government. Don't you know Jesus is coming anyway? Who cares about the planet? The good people will get beamed up and the dirty heathens will burn for all eternity. None of that matters, don't base your vote on any of it.

Just vote your pocketbook. Look at the chart. Think about you.

I'll be voting mine.

And I live in a swing state.

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