Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Goose, Gander: The Media's Selective Outrage; Racism vs. Legitimate Criticism

Published today in The Philadelphia Inquirer. It appeared much as I sent it in, and so I will provide it for you here:


For eight years, the most despicable things were said about President George W. Bush, who was slammed as a liar, a moron, a Nazi (or Hitler himself), and Satan. All who reelected him in 2004 were dismissed as idiots.

Did R. Danielle Egan ("Racism underlies rage at Obama presidency," Wednesday) or Tony Auth (cartoon, Thursday) decry these attacks with equal zeal? Did they balk when people portrayed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as a Stepin Fetchit character, joked about giving Bush more pretzels so he would choke to death, or prayed that Vice President Dick Cheney would suffer one final heart attack?

Is this what we have to look forward to for the next 3 1/2 years? Anyone who points out ACORN's shenanigans, disagrees with massive government spending (from both parties), or questions changes in health care is being called a racist. This is a blatant attempt to change the subject and to intimidate decent people into remaining quiet.

Are there racists in this world? Yes, too many of them, and they come in all colors. But suggesting that any criticism of President Obama is racially based is utterly reprehensible.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Eight Years.

Many, many people have their personal 9/11 stories. Here are mine.

-- Just hours after the attacks, I began thinking of the man who operates a convenience store near my house. I had interviewed him for a research paper I was working on in college -- one that contrasted the management and operation styles of local convenience stores. Because he is of Middle-Eastern descent, I started to worry that some violent, terribly misguided goofball would show up and begin starting some trouble. I headed up that way.

When I arrived, there were only a few customers in the store, and the man's wife was returning from a pharmacy across the street, where she had purchased a portable television (no doubt to keep abreast of the incoming news). I was unsure of how, exactly, I was going to suggest that they close down their store or take similar precautions without coming across as insulting or needlessly alarming.

The customers had all left, and I was about to say something when the man said, "Did you want anything? Because we're about to close." I sympathetically told him he was probably doing the right thing, and then made my exit.

-- On that September 11, there was a blood drive scheduled at a nearby church, one at which I had planned to donate that day, anyway. Well, in part because of the news flooding in throughout the day, and the Red Cross pleading for help, by the time I got there the place was packed. A local school group was in line -- whether or not they would have been there under normal circumstances I do not know -- and the queue weaved up the stairwell and out the door. I hadn't gotten near the front of the queue when a volunteer said, "Sorry. We've had so many people come in that we're out of supplies."

Probably a problem they wish they had every day, huh?