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January 29, 2010

Changing Politics, Harry Reid and A Fool

Derek Shackelford

The political landscape changed last week according to the pundits. The election of Scott Brown to the U.S. Senate forced the Democrats to relinquish their 60 seat stronghold.


The game has changed, it is now 57 to 41 with Joseph Liebermann and Bernie Sanders listed as Independents, though they both usually vote with the Democratic majority. Apparently the Democrats were counting on this seat to maintain their filibuster-proof majority.


The Republican Party has screamed victory with this election because of the consistent Democratic stronghold in the State of Massachusetts. This election has national implications. This has now apparently put a halt to the massive health care overhaul vote the debate now has gone to whether the vote should take place before or after Brown takes the oath of office.


For those who believe the sky is falling and those who believe the political landscape is changing, remember that such things happen all the time. Remember the time the Republicans were the majority? Not so long ago.  Democrats have little or no identity and the Republicans have one even if it appears schizophrenic at times. Take your pick the Democrats with a scattered agenda or the Republicans with no agenda.


Wow, some choice!


So, politicians win, and we the people lose. Yet we try again each time at the ballot box to make our voices heard. It appears that it does not matter whether it is Republican or Democrat, party always seems to trump policy.



With the Dr. Martin Luther King in the backdrop, Sen. Harry Reid (D., NV) recently made news. Unfortunately it was not as being the majority leader and articulating policy. Senator Reid created the stir by making some comments in reference to current President Barack Obama’s candidacy while running for the office.


Senator Reid’s comments went something like this: “A "light skinned" African-American "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one" – would help rather than hurt his eventual presidential bid.


He didn’t apologize until he was reminded. Apparently, he apologized for the comment but didn’t say whether or not he believed it to be true.


Race is such an interesting proposition. We want to erase it and yet we can’t avoid it. We want to dismiss it and yet it appears before us.


What was so disappointing to me was not Senator Reid’s comments but the alleged comments by former President Bill Clinton, who was quoted as saying in conversation with Sen. Edward Kennedy “that just a few years ago, Obama would have been serving us coffee.”


The reality is that people still believe this and then offer apologies when they say it. Yes, we quote Dr. King’s words of being judged by character and not by color, but we use it in time of convenience. Some have said that we live in a post–racial society with the election of President Obama. This is for those who want to avoid the issue of race. We can’t live in a post-racial world. That is like saying we live in a post-gender world or a post-sexist world. It does not exist.



I would be remiss if I did not offer prayers and support for the people of Haiti. None of us ever know when will find ourselves in need. Catastrophes cut across class, race and gender. Somehow it has a way of making us all realize our fragile humanity.


The comments of Pat Roberson should not be even worth mentioning but I can’t resist. Pastor Roberson on his CBN broadcast said that the earthquake in Haiti was a result of something that happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it.


“They were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III, or whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, we will serve you if you'll get us free from the French….And so, the devil said, okay it's a deal. Ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other.”


So I offer this rebuttal, “It is better for people to think you are a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt.” Enough said.


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