I am not going to mention healthcare today. Well, I won't mention it again, today. Support for Obama's plan is slipping quickly, so great job to all of you who have been contacting your representatives. If it fails, maybe a real discussion of true reform can begin, rather than an expansion of government and a political wishlist (kind of like the stimulus bill was).
Sorry. No MORE healthcare today. I mean it.
But what to talk about? I mean, we could discuss the weather. Here in New Jersey it's been violent storm after violent storm. In fact, it's been raining so much here, I keep expecting liberals to start telling me we're experiencing Global Drying.
But, while driving home yesterday in a typhoon, I noticed two things that really, really bothered me. Number one was a person who is going to have a lot of trouble getting their business off the ground. One day, I will join the technical elite and have a camera built into my phone, but far be it from Blackberry to have that in this little puppy, so until then, I will have to settle for TELLING you what I saw.
Apparently, somebody wants you to hire them for Air Condioining repairs. Now, this was no hand-written sign. No siree, they must have spent a pretty penny to print this one up. Yet, either I am completely unaware of a product called Air Condioining, or the sign maker, printer, and anybody else whose eyes happened upon this masterpiece cannot spell worth a damn.
So, there I was, with near zero visibility, getting angry at advertisements. Then my pet peeve came on the radio. No, not the 1-800-Kars-4-Kids commercial - that one gets the station changed within one note of the jingle - but a different pet peeve. I'm sure you've heard them. You know these commercials where the actors pretend to be the radio show you're listening to, as if you're really going to fall for that and it's really going to give the product more credibility? You know which ones I'm talking about. These are the commercials that begin, "Welcome back to the show! We're here with our guest...." or some fake, supposedly witty banter between co-hosts that touts tonight's TV lineup or some obscure product or service. See the problem here? I'm so annoyed by the fact that they think I'm stupid enough to not realize that the show I'm listening to JUST WENT TO BREAK or, for that matter, that the hosts of the show have changed, that I have no idea what product they're selling.
Okay. Maybe it's just me.
But it comes on a day when I'm trying to distract myself from the White House happy hour that is supposed to solve all the world's ills. See, my problem here is that I have not been presented with a shred of evidence yet - even circumstantial - that points to the fact that Professor Gates' arrest was racially motivated, yet plenty - eyewitness reports, 911 calls, videos of Gates ranting about race issues prior to this incident in which he accused the entire state of North Carolina of being racist - that show that maybe the accusations of racial profiling are false. I will cede that we don't know what was said between the two men inside the house, definitively, so I won't make any statements that are absolute. I'm just going by what the evidence points to.
Of course, the cop in the news today for emailing somebody calling Gates a "banana-eating jungle monkey" and trying to claim that that was not done racially is a jackass and deserves whatever disciplinary action comes his way, but I fear he will be used to make the case that Crowley is also a racist because if one Boston cop is, then all the cops in the area must be. Think that idea is crazy? I had somebody tell me the other day that the Gates arrest justified the reasons she left our country. When I asked what those reasons were, she replied, "Well he was arrested because he was black wasn't he? Or do the newspapers lie?"
I won't even get into the second question, but I did make my arguments for what was known about the case at the time. Inferring that I was naive, she explained that there were always two sides to the story. When I asked at what point in coming to her conclusion that Gates was arrested just because he was black had she considered Officer Crowley's side of the story, she deleted all of her comments and removed herself from my blog.
My only point in bringing this story up is that there are plenty of people who want this to be about race, who feel it justifies their position that America is evil, that whites are evil, that cops are evil. These people will use this Justin Barrett email to advance their agenda and continue to drive the wedge deeper between the races, when the truth is, he is nothing but a standalone jackass.
But driving the race wedge deeper is exactly what Obama did when he blindly supported Gates and insinuated, without any knowledge of facts, that the cops were racist and that they acted stupidly. Now, some of you are going to say, "Oh, you're just some white guy, what do you know?" Well, all I know, is that I think when anybody in a position of power expresses opinions - especially opinions that can be damaging to reputation, career, life in general - without knowing facts, it is a bad idea. Immediately after it happened, the arguments began and people started to take sides. Accusations began flying. Once again, if you did not like the way Obama handled the situation, you were a racist (which, by this point, I think all Conservatives are used to, because that's just what Liberals call us if we disagree with Obama in any way, shape, or form).
And yet, while Obama traipses around the world apologizing for America, he could not bring himself to apologize for what he'd said. Nobody was asking him to apologize for discussing racial profiling, but for making accusations without any facts. Now, it's happy hour at the White House, with hourly reports of what beer each will drink, where they will sit, what they will be wearing, and if there are 1/2 price appetizers.
What's really potentially damaging about this story, though, beyond the step backward it took us in race relations, is what's happening to the woman who called 911. She's got the media at her door. She had to hold a press conference. People want to know why she isn't going to be at happy hour. Here is a woman who did nothing but call 911 because a concerned neighbor thought a crime might be ocurring and she isn't being left alone. How many people will think about this woman in the future if they witness a crime? How many people will hesitate to call 911 or not call at all because they don't want to be dragged through the media? How many people will refuse to give a description of the potential perpetrator because they fear getting dragged into a lawsuit over racial profiling? How many people will be harmed not because the public is disinterested, but scared to help?
This whole situation is a mess. I hope Obama, Gates, and Crowley can drink all our problems away.
J.E. Braun is the author of Paranoia, a 9/11 survivor's tale. Jim survived 9/11 but his life did not. Follow one man's journey through post-traumatic stress as he attempts to rediscover what once made life worth living. 10% of profits from sales of Paranoia will be donated to the Twin Towers Orphan Fund (www.ttof.org). For more information, visit www.jebraun.com.