“What’s particularly disappointing is that the authors are clearly trying to understand people with a perspective different from theirs and are simply unable to pull it off. “

That’s Glen Reynolds (better known, of course, as the Instapundit), reviewing Naomi Cahn and June Carbone’s book Red Families v. Blue FamiliesThis seems right on point with my frustration with many liberals recently.  I often feel like I can’t tell if they are being willfully dense or are really living in such a closed world that they simply cannot understand anything else. 

Slate’s Political Gabfest podcast reviewed this book a few weeks ago, and their understanding of “red states” (aka The South) seemed to be based on nothing further than the movie Deliverance.  They literally had no concept and no idea what life in the south is like (it’s pretty close to life in the north, but with different accents and buildings are further apart); their descriptions involved rampant shotgun weddings and teen brides.  Not that those things don’t exist (well, I’m skeptical about the shotgun weddings), but they don’t exist any differently from the way they do in other states.  There are cultural differences, but they are no where near as simplistic and downright cartoonish as the Slate gabbers seemed to think they were.  The differences between individual families are far broader.  (I’ve lived in New Jersey, Georgia, and Tennessee.)
 
It’s not even that they are not trying to understand; it’s that they are and they simply don’t understand that life is not a stereotyped cartoon outside of the world that they know.  
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The Post-Racial Society Begins . . . in the South

Until I read this article, I didn’t even realize that Nikki Haley was Indian.  Because, like most of the United States, I just don’t normally think of those things unless it is pointed out and made a big deal out of.  She’s just a woman running for governor.  And Bobby Jindal is just a man who is governor. 

What explains the success of Jindal and Haley in their respective states? In posing this question, I hint, of course, at the South’s lingering reputation for racial intolerance; and who can deny that the two states in question have not always been at the forefront of America’s historical striving for racial amity?

One answer is that these two politicians are consummate conservatives in a milieu that rewards political conservatism, and that their success is a validation of their ideology and intelligence. Their ethnicity, in other words, is an irrelevance. This view was expressed, in effect, by a friend—a law professor in Tennessee—when I asked him why he thought Indian-American conservatives were doing so well in some Southern states: “There are lots of Indians in the South, and they work hard and do well. Why wouldn’t people like ’em, especially when they work hard at politics and espouse conservative, capitalist, pro-family views?”

Naturally, it is unwise to make any generalizations based on the emergence of Jindal and Haley alone, but their success is striking, given that Indian Americans comprise barely 1 percent of the U.S. population, and are not found in overly large numbers in either Louisiana or South Carolina. A generalized observation that we can make, however, is that the GOP—being a relatively new establishment party in the South—has fewer institutional barriers to fresh faces. There are no GOP “machines” there, in the manner of the Democratic ones in New York or Illinois, and there aren’t, also, the massive expenditure hurdles of the kind that exist in California.

This would be no surprise to most transplanted northerners we know that, while the south can be abrasive in certain ways, particularly to those unfamiliar with the local customs, the days of true racism in everyday life are long gone.  Well educated, conservative southerners, in particular, freed of the stereotypes that dog the liberals by demanding that victimization remain, are far more interested in someone who supports their values than in someone who looks like them (whatever they may look like). 

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-06-09/nikki-haley-poised-to-join-bobby-jindal-as-indian-americans-running-deep-south-states/2/

What would a “real black president” do?

I would expect that he would do one of many things, depending on the type of president that he is and situation.  Because I believe that black people are individuals who can think for themselves.  Bill Maher, however, thinks that all “real” black people are a cartoon stereotype

“I thought when we elected a black president, we were going to get a black president. You know, this [BP oil spill] is where I want a real black president. I want him in a meeting with the BP CEOs, you know, where he lifts up his shirt so you can see the gun in his pants. That’s — (in black man voice) ‘we’ve got a motherfu**ing problem here?’ Shoot somebody in the foot.”

Now, I realize that Maher is just a shock jock without the radio show, and we’re really just giving him what he wants by paying attention to him, but I really want to know when society is going to stop finding these types of stereotypes funny or “edgy” or whatever adjective is describing Bill Maher these days.  We’ve had two black Secretaries of State.  We have a black Attorney General.  We have numerous black CEOs, bosses, neighbors, and employees.  A black man (yeah, he’s real!) is the president of the United States.  None of them act like a cartoon stereotype. 

The other day I caught the movie “Soul Plane.”  (Dont’ ask why.)  While it had a few funny parts, the whole theme was that, if there were a “black” airline (why, 55 years after Brown v. Board of Education, would we even want such a thing?), it would be like this cartoon stereotype (but with more degrading images of women).  If I could count all of the times that I’ve heard the N word in my life until then, it wouldn’t be as many times as it was said in the movie (and I live in the south).  Throughout the weekend, I’ve been trying to think of something that I could say about this movie that wouldn’t be racist, and I couldn’t.  If I believed that blacks were really like they were portrayed in the movie (which I absolutely do not), I would want segregation, too.  And I’m sure that the producers of that movie weren’t a bunch of honky redneck southerners. 

Why do people keep snickering and accepting these ridiculous portrayals of black men?  How much does this impact our ability to move past thinking judging people by the color of their skin?  And why does this stuff keep coming from people who are supposed to be “enlightened?”

Looking for Hate in All the Wrong Places, Part II: A Walk in the Park

(Note: Part one of this piece is here)

     

Here’s what I didn’t see at the Chattanooga Tax Day Tea Party.  I didn’t see a single person questioning the president’s birth certificate.  Although I went deliberately looking for it, I saw absolutely nothing that indicated or implied violence. I not only saw no racism, I saw no references to the president’s race whatsoever.  There were no depictions of the president as The Joker (although I’m still unclear about why that’s offensive), a monkey, Hitler, or a witch doctor.  I neither saw nor heard any hint of vulgarity, save for one speaker who mentioned that the group has been called “teabaggers.”  I didn’t even see a confederate flag, and, in this area, it’s hard to drive down the interstate without seeing one of those.    

No one made threats (besides those of retribution at the voting booth), no one threw eggs, no one was arrested.  Beyond any doubt, no one crashed this Tea Party.  The most hateful sign I saw was one carried by a 12-13 year old boy, a quickly made creation of poster board and a black marker, which stated “Keith O. is the worst person in the world.”  (Just in case you’re not one of the approximately 6 people who watch Keith Olbermann’s show, he does a regular segment naming someone he disagrees with as “the worst person in the world.”  That is, he does this when he’s not giggling like a schoolgirl that people he disagrees with are transgendered or deserve to be called misogynistic names.) On the whole, it was like any other springtime event in the park.  The crowd was mostly elderly folks or families with young children; they sat in camping chairs or on blankets, some with umbrellas to hide from the hot sun.  Children and adults played Frisbee or tossed footballs, kids cooled off in the nearby fountain.  The perimeter was dotted with booths: vendors sold buttons and tee-shirts, local restaurants supplied food and drinks, candidates for office sold themselves.     

 
 
 

A few folks were on the kooky side, no doubt.  One man wandered around in a Captain America Halloween costume, complete with lumpy muscles, holding a sign which stated “Cut Spending Immensely Demons of Congress.”  Another, dressed as Jesus, if Jesus had been known to wear a dirty bathrobe with a leather belt and Birkenstocks, held a sign that read “Jesus: Libertarian.”  A man dressed in motorcycle leather, representing the Constitutional Defenders, preached some rather dubious tales of alleged liberty violations to all who would listen.  A group of several elderly mall-walkers held a sign proclaiming “Don’t Tax Me, Bro!”     

 
Jesus + Captain America= Awesome!

 Although we had no crashers, we did have a tenacious group of counter-protesters.  Well, “group” might be too strong a word; a college-aged hipster and a middle aged woman waved signs that said “Tax the Rich” and “Troops Home Now,” while another young man or two meandered about nearby, apparently too shy (and by shy, I mean embarrassed) to join in.  These folks were periodically confronted by elderly men, clearly veterans, who asked them if they had served, pointed out that they have worked for what they have, and otherwise told them what’s what.  The oldsters supported their right to speak, though, and no hard feelings seemed to follow.     

Even while disagreeing, they still got along

   

We didn't have crashers, but folks were certainly ready for them Even while disagreeing, they still got along

   

Counter-Protesters- Cute!

   

The event was unbelievably well-run.  Numerous volunteers, many in tee-shirts that read “Tyranny Response Team,” wandered the crowd.  They forbid politicians from politicking away from their booths, handed out booklets containing the Declaration of Independence and Constitution like they were Gideon New Testaments, and warned against yelling when the conversation between the counter-protesters and vets got louder to avoid being drowned out by the din.      

The speakers were mostly ho-hum local media folks.  The winner of an essay contest read his piece, someone spoke on the Second Amendment, another on the Fair Tax, another on liberty.  A ladies choir sang.  The crowd was so polite that I often felt bad about walking around to take pictures or updating my Twitter feed during the speeches.  The announcer warned us to respect the children and families by keeping our signs and comments polite and not to engage any crashers, but, in this crowd, there was clearly no need for concern. One the whole, the event was incredibly nice.  It was not a bit like the protests of my beloved sixties depictions, and it was nothing at all like the hate filled images that anti-tea partiers would like for you to believe.  It was, I dare to say, even a little bit boring.  More like a fair than a rally, more like a local park event than a protest.  I’d take kids to it in a heartbeat.  Heck, I wouldn’t take my grandparents, because they would come off too rowdy and vulgar.  (To be fair, they are Italian).  I went looking for bad behavior; I found absolutely none at all.    UPDATE: This piece is published in NewsBlaze here.  If you’re wondering where the right place is to look for hate, look no further than the French Quarter following a fundraiser for LA republican Governor Bobby Jindal, where a young volunteer and her boyfriend were savagely beaten in an attack that was apparently politically motivated.  I’m sure ABC, NBC, CNN, and Bill Clinton will be right on it.  I’m sure that all of the Dems in Congress are going to condemn it, just as soon as they get around to it . . .

Looking for Hate in All the Wrong Places

I’m somewhat sorry to admit that I’ve never actually been to a Tea Party protest.  In fact, I’ve never been to any protest at all; they’re just not my style.  Oh, I admit that in my younger days, I was somewhat intoxicated by the allure of hippie-dom, but it was all superficial.  My first year of college coincided with then-President Clinton wagging the dog in the mid-east, and the ensuing rumors of potential war led to many fantasies of growing my hair long and sitting around burning (my male friends’) draft cards while singing songs from Hair.  But then 9/11 came along, and I started answering the few pitiful attempts at anti-war protests with snide comments about whether we should wear our burkas on the way or just change when we got there. 

So, especially now, when I wear suits every day and have a professional haircut and a distinguished-sounding pair of letters following my name, I just can’t see myself standing in a crowd waving a clever sign at a protest, even for a cause in which I deeply believe.  I’m just plain more of the strongly worded blog post or pointless arguments with my friends sort of gal.  But, I do want to join the numbers who are showing their support for this cause, and I do want to be able to say that I took part in something that may prove vital to my children’s and grandchildren’s futures.  More importantly, I need to know what it’s like.  Friendly reports have made it out to be as many wishes and sunshine as the Obama Presidency was supposed to be.  The pure pathetic-ness of reports that aim to contradict tends to back this up.  But there are contradictory reports as well (although unsubstantiated or just plain wrong), and I can’t say for sure unless I”ve been, with my eyes open. 

So, this Thursday, I’ll be tea partying with the best of them.  I won’t carry a sign.  I never was any good at coming up with clever slogans, anyway (witness the name of this blog), and my handwriting is atrocious.  Most importantly, though, I want to ensure that my hands are free for working my camera and smart phone.  I want to document every part of this event.  I will be particularly on the lookout for anything that so much as hints at the bad behavior of so many accusations, and promise to document it to the teeth.  I’m not the most outgoing person, but, if I see anything that so much as hints at racism or calls to violence, I will make an attempt to speak to the person and find out his or her thoughts.  There have been allegations that the not so loyal opposition will be attempting to libel and discredit; this, too I will attempt to suss out.  

I live in the south, in a truly red district.  We are exactly the unenlightened rubes in flyover country that liberals love to loath and scorn.  If there’s anything to see, I can’t imagine that I won’t see it.  If.   I don’t expect to see anything like this, or this, or this, but if I do, you have my word that it will get documented here.  Check back for results.

Update: Published this as a story at NewsBlaze.
Here’s a link to the event that I’ll be attending.

“Taxes may not be the root of all unhappiness, but they do result in some very sad citizens.”

From the Wall Street Journal:

Does living in a blue state make people blue? It seems so, according to a new study in Science magazine that ranks states according to their happiness. The study finds that New Yorkers are the unhappiest people in America and their neighbors in Connecticut come in a close second, followed by Michigan, Indiana, New Jersey, California, and Illinois. And the happiest states? Drum roll, please…Louisiana, Hawaii, Florida, Tennessee, and Arizona.

My family moved from New Jersey to Georgia when I was 6, and then Tennessee when I was 9.  For years, as a dumb little kid, I thought that as soon as I was able, I was going to high-tail it back up to the happening city life and away from all the dumb southern rednecks. As I matured a bit, I realized how wrong I was.  Southerners were not dumb (some are still rednecks); they were far more pleasant in most cases than my New Jerseyian brethren.  And life here, compared to what I could be up north- couldn’t be better.

Change we can beleive in

The South used to be a Democratic stronghold.  Now, not so much. 

Blacks once consistently voted for the party of Lincoln.  Not anymore. 

Tennessee was considered a swing state as recently as 2000- now it’s so red candidates don’t even bother trying. 

How long until gays give up on the Democratic party that clearly feels no need to keep promises to them?  Could Obama spark the change? 

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was asked twice during Thursday’s press briefing about the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Both times, he reverted to his standard talking points on the subject.

When would the White House push Congress to repeal the policy, asked on reporter?

Gibbs reiterated the president’s support for repeal, then added, “He does not think the policy is working in the national interests and is working with the Joint Chiefs, the Pentagon, and others to bring about a change in that policy.”

Another reporter noted that although Gibbs keeps saying the president is working for repeal, he had been told by staffers for the chair of the subcommittee (probably the military personnel subcommittee) that the House repeal bill isn’t likely to come up for a vote until next year.

“Sometimes the legislative process doesn’t move that quickly,” Gibbs responded.

Update: Gay Patriot more, including a round up of reactions, and:

Hey, Gays Who Support Democrats:  You are suckers.  Hopeandchange, hopeandchange!

 

Indeed. 

Up-Update: From Politico (Via Ann Althouse) Gay groups grow impatient with Barack Obama