It’s easy to be outraged when you read about recent racist going-on in states like Arizona and South Carolina. The offenses are so egregious that they’d be laughable if thy weren’t real — Lightening the faces of schoolchildren in a mural? One serious candidate for governor calling another candidate (and President Obama) a “raghead“?
Really? This is what America has come to?
Looking around the Internet you’ll find a lot of pixels spent decrying how terrible it is, wondering why people feel it’s OK to do this sort of thing today, and generally exuding an air of smug superiority that they are so much more enlightened than those awful racists.
I wrote this a few years ago. Exactly how much has changed?
Racism exists even in the deep-blue zones of San Francisco. We do better than most, but even here we still struggle. Look around your friends, neighbors, and co-workers. You probably can point to a bunch of people whose families come from India, China, Japan, Europe, and similar parts of the planet. Blacks and Latinos though? Not so much.
And no, I am not naive enough to think that there’s a simple solution to the problem. Just saying that before you point a finger, think a bit abut how it could be pointed back at you.
We, the United States of America, your top quality supplier of the ideals of liberty and democracy, would like to apologize for our 2001-2008 interruption in service. The technical fault that led to this eight-year service outage has been located, and the software responsible was replaced November 4.
Early tests of the newly installed program indicate that we are now operating correctly, and we expect it to be fully functional on January 20, 2009. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the outage.
We look forward to resuming full service and hope to improve in years to come. We thank you for your patience and understanding.
I spent the evening watching Obama’s historic speech in a packed hotel room in downtown San Francisco. I got home to find close to 100 posts piled up in the “Politics” section of my feed reader. With that amount of text flying, it’s virtually impossible to find anything to say that’s truly original, and there are far better writers than me who will turn out much more lyrical paeans to Obama’s speech.
So I’ll just share one part of the speech, that made my jaw drop amidst all the cheers and even a couple of tears:
….part of what has been lost these past eight years can’t just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose, and that’s what we have to restore.
We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country.
The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than they are for those plagued by gang violence in Cleveland, but don’t tell me we can’t uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals.
I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in a hospital and to live lives free of discrimination.
You know, passions may fly on immigration, but I don’t know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers.
But this, too, is part of America’s promise, the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.
Obama called out what are arguably the four most divisive issues in American domestic policy, and talked about trying to find common ground on them.
A less gutsy politician wouldn’t have done that. And in fact the speech could have been just fine without that section. But no, Obama went the extra mile and took all four of them head on.
Election Day is less than 70 days away. Bring it on. We’re ready.