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October 24, 2011

Raising Its Ugly Head Again…

Derek Shackelford

Politics will solicit many opinions. One does not have to be a politician to have a thought about the political process.


Take for instance the opinions on local and state governments, Congress and the President of the United States. The political discourse in this country can come from your neighbor, your relatives and even actors/entertainers. This should remind us that just because one is an actor/entertainer does not mean that one may not have something credible to say.


The flip side of the coin is that just because one is an actor/entertainer means that one has something important to add to the dialogue of politics, or the political process. Which leads us to actor Morgan Freeman whose recent comments regarding the Tea Party has caused quite a stir.


Mr. Freeman appearing on the “unbiased” CNN program of the Piers Morgan show was asked by the host: “How has (President Barack) Obama helped the process of eradicating racism, or has he made it worse?”


Mr. Freeman’s response: “ It has made it worse, the Tea Party, which is controlling the Republican Party, has publicly stated that Obama serve only one term; screw the country; we going to do whatever we can to get this black man out of office.”


Uh, oh! Here we go again with racism being tossed around and especially when it is cast with such a wide net.


Let’s get this out of the way right here and right now. Everyone is not racist! At the same point, I am not naïve enough to think that it still does not exist. There is a certain element that has a problem with the president’s skin color.


The problem with the discussion of racism today is how one defines it and what does it look like. It may not look like it did 40-plus years ago. In the same instance, it should not be just carelessly tossed around just for the sake of merely tossing it around. It is not under every rock and around every corner. Mr. Freeman has caught some national heat for his comments and rebuttals from those who disagree.


Which leads us to Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain. Appearing on the “unbiased” Fox News network, he was asked about Mr. Freeman’s remarks.


Mr. Cain’s response: “Well, first of all, I doubt if Morgan Freeman, with all due respect, who is a great actor, has ever been to a Tea Party. Most of the people that are criticizing the Tea Parties ... about having a racist element, they have never been to a Tea Party."


To a large degree this proves that African-Americans are not monolithic people. There are some disagreements and sharp contrasts in the way people think. People do not always think alike, nor should they. Mr. Freeman is entitled to his opinion – as is Mr. Cain. There is evidence to the contrary on both sides of the spectrum that disproves each person’s position.


So, how much will this racism debate linger in this presidential election cycle? Who knows! It has already started. President Obama has been charged with playing the race card and even some have suggested that people voted for him previously to prove that they were not racist.


So, that means other races in the past have voted for presidents in the past to prove this notion as well. Mr. Cain has been brought into the discussion because – not only is he black – he is conservative.


Historically in the last 20-30 years, African-Americans have voted for Democrats when it comes to the presidential election. Some Republicans have suggested that Mr. Cain will not be supported by Independents and Democrat voters because he is black and conservative.


Well, that may be the case; but first things first. Let’s see the Republican Party nominate him if they think he is the best candidate. In the long run, it won’t be race that trips him up. It could be some of the statements that he has made – such as suggesting that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is the model Supreme Court justice in regards to his written opinions, for saying that he wanted to build an electrified fence along the Mexican border with a sign warning that the fence would kill anyone who touched it. He later admitted he was joking, and we haven’t even mentioned the flawed 9-9-9 plan.


So, go ahead Republican Party; nominate him if he is the best you have.


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