Friday, January 20, 2017

Eight Years Ago Today, "Thank You" to GWB Published in WASHINGTON TIMES

Today is the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States, Donald J. Trump. Most of us didn't see this coming even two years ago, let alone four or eight. As I mentioned a couple of months ago, I didn't vote for him or for any of the other people on the ballot for president, and instead wrote in the name of someone who had dropped out almost a year ago.

Not everyone is happy during an inauguration, no matter who wins. We usually don't see the level of violent opposition that we're seeing today, which reflects more poorly on the violent protestors than it does on the people they're protesting against, but there will always be people on the other side.

I was on the other side eight years ago, as I was displeased at how so many of the nation's ills were wrongly being blamed on President George W. Bush. I was fortunate enough to have this piece published in the Washington Times. It happened to run on the day that President Barack Obama was inaugurated, but the vast majority of what I wrote was a salute to Bush more than criticism of Obama.

Perhaps some of the people protesting today can put down their smoke bombs long enough to read it.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Nat Hentoff

We lost jazz critic and free-speech activist Nat Hentoff this month. He remains one of my stalwart heroes -- a true individual: liberal on many issues, but not afraid to shake up left-wing orthodoxy when he deemed it appropriate. For instance, this pivotal story from 1992 demonstrates that attacks on free speech often come from the left and not the right. In fact, while this story is coming up on a quarter-century old, and yet it foreshadowed what has become all too common on our university campuses (and, we'll probably see, presidential inaugurations), where conservative speakers are regularly shouted down and their would-be audience members physically restrained from entering the venue, all because they hold different opinions.

Hentoff was credited with the phrase, "Free speech for me -- but not for thee," to criticize those who enrobe themselves in the First Amendment while simultaneously attempting to deny that same right for their opponents. Twenty-five years later, the situation's only gotten worse.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Of Lives and Mattering

I've been looking at this post of mine for several months now, resolving to finish it and post it, just waiting for the appropriate time. The obnoxious, fairly maligned MTV video chiding white males (addressed here last week) makes this seem as good a time as any. It's not going to get any better -- my post, I mean.

The phrase "Black Lives Matter" caused a firestorm, and it begat "All Lives Matter," which was met with equal scorn. After police officers in Dallas were gunned down, many "BLM" advocates clarified  that "BLM" in no way implies "ONLY BLM." Seth Meyers, who a while back decided to abandon all pretense of evenhandedness and go the Full Olbermann, made this point while attacking Rudy Giuliani after Dallas.

I do understand that most who say "black lives matter" do believe that other lives matter, as well, but they also believe that African-Americans are being disproportionately targeted by police. One may agree with that assertion. One may disagree. But at least the conversation can begin from there.

But if "BLM" deserves the benefit of the doubt, then the same is true for "ALM." If people should not mentally add "only" to someone else's "Black Lives Matter," then others should not mentally add "Except Black Lives" to someone else's "All Lives Matter."

Then there are the shoddy Internet comparisons. One argues that saying "all lives matter" is like a fire department hosing down all the houses on the street, not just the one burning, because "all houses matter." Or a surgeon operating on every bone in your body, not just the one that is broken, because "all bones matter." But I look at the lives being lost on the news. Folks, it's not just one house on fire. I see many broken bones, and they're not all one color.

The difference between "BLM" and "ALM" is one of emphasis. Never have so many people who seem to be in agreement argued with each other with such ferocity.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Speaking on Behalf of One White Guy...


Usually, I try not to pile on when there's already a frenzy going on, but in the case of the now-infamous, albeit short-lived, racist and misandrist MTV public-service announcement about "white guys." It was gone almost as quickly as it appeared -- so strong was the antipathy towards it -- but there's so much here to address, even if others have done it.

First off, MTV muffins, people make New Year resolutions on their own. If you try to make a resolution for someone else -- or an entire group of people -- you're doing it wrong.

Now on to a few of the gems these precious puppies found it appropriate to say to us:

"Hey, fellow white guys..." [said by one token]

Don't compare yourself to me at all.

"Here's a few things we think you could do a little bit better in 2017." [different guy]

Wow. Thanks.

"America was never 'great' for anyone who wasn't a white guy."

That's going to come as a great surprise to many people who aren't white guys who've done rather okay.

"Can we all just agree that 'Black Lives Matter' isn't the opposite of 'All Lives Matter"? Black lives just matter; there's no need to overcomplicate it."

Couldn't agree more. I'll be addressing this topic at long last in a later post. There's not much need to become agitated at any way of saying it. Of course, saying "all lives matter" sort of makes it as uncomplicated as can be.

"'Blue lives matter'...isn't a thing...cops weren't born with blue skin! Right? I mean..."

That's cute. You're pretending to think "blue lives matter" is about blue skin. You're pretending not to get it! Right? I mean..."

"Stop bragging about being 'woke.'"

If I ever even CLAIM to be "woke," please drive me to a hospital. "Woke" is a past-tense verb, not an adjective.

"Learn what mansplaining is...and then stop doing it."

"Mansplaining" isn't a word, actually. Sometimes people need to explain things to other people. If they explain when they don't need to explain, then -- guess what -- women do this, too. The "man______ing" phenomenon is the fantasy that only men do things that both men and women do. You (the self-satisfied woman saying this) need to start womanunderstanding.

"If you're a judge, don't prioritize the well-being of an athlete over the woman he assaulted."

Sure, such as in the Stanford case. In other cases, we need to know that an assault actually happened.

"You can be racist with black friends!"

Yes, you're demonstrating that amply right now.

The encouraging thing is how resoundingly this crap taco was trashed from pillar to post immediately after it aired.