Post 251: a lesson for all people, all times

Today, one nation’s first black President spoke movingly, brilliantly in a memorial service for another nation’s first black President.

This is the Barack Obama who inspired me in 2008, and again in 2012.

For those who saw this speech through the distorting lens of hatred, of another ideology, you missed the speech of the decade, a speech I think will come to be compared favorably with another speech, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech.  I feel sorry for you.

This speech not only honored Nelson Mandela, it told you a lot about our President’s heart, his motivations, what inspired him to place himself in a position to suffer the vile slanders and unjustified vitriol of the haters of the American extreme right, his raison d’être.

Well done, Mr. President!

13 thoughts on “Post 251: a lesson for all people, all times

  1. You missed the point about Churchill. The ability to give a compelling, motivating speech isn’t any reason to suggest President Obama has any similarity to Adolf Hitler any more than it is to suggest any other good speech maker – a Winston Churchill – must be a Hitler because he could, too. Careful with Hitler analogies.

    As for people suffering, I am not unaware. I also know that the current Republican leadership has a penchant for identifying even more ways to make it difficult to be poor in America, whether it’s reducing SNAP payments so people go without food in or failing to extend unemployment payments at a time people are jobless for reasons not of their making: The poor aren’t all lazy, big screen television watching mooches. I doubt such a creature exists. Who wants to suffer starvation and inability to pay one’s bills or to support one’s children ON PURPOSE? In case the economic deprivations don’t stop the poor in their tracks, Republican legislatures have been making it more difficult to vote, generally affecting minorities and poor the most by the way the Republican-controlled legislatures craft the laws. So far, my portfolio gives me some insulation from the bullies in power, but I went without adequate health care insurance from January 2009 to January 2011 and no insurance from January 2011 to March 2013 (which I had to drop because of cost and the fact it didn’t cover my specific health needs because they were “pre-existing conditions”, something now outlawed by the Obamacare law.)

    If you aren’t racist, good for you. I’m so used to anti-Obama comments coming from people so far right they actually speak of the Civil War (1861-1865) as “the War of Northern Aggression”! That is to say, people who still think black skin somehow makes a person inferior: racists. My mistake to think you might be such a person.

    Of course, you can have your opinions, too. I just don’t see the world through the same lens as you. Things aren’t all wonderful, sunny, and light. People suffer needlessly, wars rage on without end, disadvantaged people are abused any way possible by bullies in positions of power and high responsibility. Life sometimes stinks!

    I chose, however, not to allow myself to be pulled into the abyss of despair that many people see as the state of the world today. It has been worse. It can become worse. I can’t change much about the world by myself, so I vote in every election for people I see as problem solvers and for the least among us. Such people rarely show up in my state, certainly not my Congressional District, so I put pressure on what we have, those representatives who fail to serve all the people of their districts because they serve masters with large piles of money.

    The government is too intrusive but the government doesn’t do enough. It wears me out. Which is it? Also, there is a genuine lack of knowledge about how government works in the USA and what it can or should do. Many people think the President, for example, can write out a decree (or something) and solve their personal issues. Immigration reform, for example. Or they can stop the Affordable Care Act by shutting down the Federal government when any legislative changes have to survive the House, the Senate, then the President. After that, the Supreme Court can wipe a law off the books if they decide it is in violation of the US COnstitution. None of this happens without ladies and gentlemen talking, working out agreements (compromises) agreeable to both sides, passing the bill with the appropriate number of Aye votes in both the House and the Senate, then getting the President’s signature making it law. Of course, there are other paths to law, but all of it depends on compromise, a willingness to defer to the national good over the regional good sometimes, and getting something for the region by virtue of making a compromise earlier on something else so people not for your little bridge to nowhere vote for it because your representative voted for their bridges to nowhere.

    My knowledge of sexist behavior in the workplace is limited to one factory for 36 years. In the early years, male supervisors preyed on women, threatening them with dismissal if they didn’t have sex with them and the like. Over the years, through changes in laws and ownership, people at any level within the workplace who tried sexist stunts found they didn’t have jobs. One guy actually was written up when he turned around, was face-to-breast with a woman taller than he, and he said, “Whoa! Twin Cities!” A stupid remark, but the woman took offense, reported him, and he was written up, put on probation for six months. A handful of supervisors who had sex on company time were fired outright when caught. People in the workplace have annual reviews of the law on such matters in most businesses. It isn’t because employers are so wonderful (though some are…!) but because they face legal action and fines if they don’t deal with a hostile workplace where sexist behavior and bullyism aren’t dealt with. Even calendars with pin-up girls or boys (!) aren’t allowed. I’m sorry your sister didn’t benefit from this more informed and humane workplace. Not perfect, mind you, but no one is left with any sense that being a sexist pig or a bully is acceptable. Even vulgar language fits in the prohibited behavior (which was a tough one to enforce since even the women cursed like sailors, especially during the early days of the factory.)

    Give respect, get respect. Seems simple. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Simple. Be nice. Simple. Mind your language. Sometimes hard, but worth the effort to finally break the habit- which I haven’t, as my posts sometimes show. Of course, I can respect your opinion. I just don’t agree with some of your opinions any more than you agree with mine. Civility is a difficult quality to establish these days in the political climate in which we live. I’m leaving this response on that thought. You’ve worn me out today. That’s my compromise: We can agree to disagree.

  2. I hardly think Winston Churchill can be put on a par with Hitler, although he was certainly no saint.

    I have heard it said that at the Yalta conference with Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt, it was secretly agreed that they would never fight another war on each other’s home land and that any future wars would be on third party territory. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if that were true. Anyone who thinks these people are straight up and innocent needs to wake up and smell the coffee.

    Hey I know it’s your blog but unfair to call me racist when what I am saying could apply whether he has green skin or blue and yellow polkadots. Believe me, I am not a racist. Never have been and never will be.

    I was – and still am – deeply fond and in awe of Michael Jackson and went through a very painful grieving process over what happened to him. Alone – as at the time the only person I knew that was one bit bothered lived 250 miles away. That most definitely would not have happened if I was racist, as many people hated him because he was impressive in so many ways, a phenomenon, super rich, powerful, extraordinarily charismatic and exceptionally talented and BLACK.

    No, it is has doodly squat to do with Obama’s skin colour. It is entirely because I can see that things not going well in America. While I appreciate that many people may be happy that their stock portfolios have doubled, or whatever, there are many others who are not happy at all with what is happening.

    Why are police arresting Christians in parks for giving out free food when there are people hungry. Yes, it’s true, there are vids on Youtube – or there were.

    Why are there so many injustices like this: There are just far too many of them. The Government does seem to give a single hoot.

    I know first hand – and painfully so – about sexism in America. It caused my sister’s premature death in great health and strength at only 59. What happened to her in the US could never have happened here. I can’t really go into details in public. Lord knows it is bad enough here, but it is worse in the US. Women are definitely stereotyped. It’s probably difficult to see it when living in it. For example as I see it, if you are not a sweet, yielding Barbie dolll type man pleaser, then you are a rough tough barracuda, or perhaps you are trying to be something else and just dumb. It’s from the root of cowboys.

    I am not anti-American at all either. I have many American relatives, not just MANY in Utah, but also in Texas, California and New York.

    I just see that what is happening is not good. Stock portfolios doubling, or no.

    Anyway you don’t have to care what I think.

    I just want to tell you not to be too trusting of people who may not be worthy of your trust.

  3. If it’s on the Internet, it must be true, eh?!

    Sorry, but I don’t drink the Kool-Aid of the extremist American right. Why don’t you just put it out in the open and call him a “nigger” so I don’t have to guess what it is you don’t like about him or why you want to think only the worst about him? Or is there some other, non-race-related issue I can’t see?

    Winston Churchill also gave an inspiring speech or two, stimulated people to do things they may not have realized they could do. I guess he’s like Hitler, too, eh?! Must be why the English kicked his ass out of office after the war after he inspired them to do what it took to survive a genuine assault on their freedom.

    I note he also inspired Americans to join a fight most Americans thought was “their (Europe’s) war”. Thanks! A third of a million Americans died to help us avoid learning German, one best learned at one’s mother’s knee. (A good Nazi mother.) And a damn Conservative Nazi PM. Must have been: he gave a good speech or two.

    It was a memorial service, incidentally, as the funeral was this morning. It was STUPID of Obama to participate in a selfie since people like you turn it into death camps and loss of freedom, not just a simple impropriety, like all those people dancing and singing ANC songs and playing musical instruments, loudly. Didn’t you notice anything “different” about how everyone was behaving?

    It’s called a “celebration of life”, a way of remembering a remarkable person in a way we might not do it in England or the USA, being the uptight bitches we are: It wasn’t our service to be offended by, and the South Africans sent off their hero in a glorious, riotous, joyful celebration. Only the uptight bitch remarks of notables like President Obama’s were in the traditional conventions of a European or American funeral.

    When my mother died, we had a memorial service and a funeral service.

    At the memorial service, people told stories about their connection with my mother. She was a person with a lovely quirky sense of humor, so many of the stories reflected that quality: WE LAUGHED OUT LOUD, FOR GOD’S SAKE! SHE WAS A FUNNY LADY WHO DIDN’T WANT US TO BE SAD AT HER MEMORIAL SERVICE, LET ALONE HER GRAVESIDE SERVICE.

    My memorial video for my Mom was in three pieces: photos of her life from childhood till death; a video of her singing a novelty song (“Barney Google”) at a family dinner (I joked with her about playing it at her funeral when we were discussing details a couple years before her death. She got very serious and said, “Yes, I’d like that!”); and “Amazing Grace” on bagpipes behind a lovely, smiling photo of Mom late in life, with her date of birth and death below.

    The family did it’s mourning in the privacy of my home, though we did have a sniffle or two during the video…because we all knew what was coming, having viewed it at home earlier.

    I think people who have this idea Obama is a Nazi-Marxist-Socialist-Pervert-Traitor-Kenyan SOB Dictator are very ignorant about how American Government is set up, with three branches of government, of which the Executive (President) is only one-third. The Supreme Court currently is right-leaning on many issues (abortion, voter rights, campaign funding), with a 5-4 split toward the right of most issues they decide. The Legislative Branch is split between a Democratic Party-controlled Senate and a neo-anarchist right wing nutcase minority within a larger majority of Conservative Republicans and fewer Democrats than necessary to pass any bill unless Republicans peel off from the neo-anarchist minority within the larger majority and vote with the Democrats. If Obama is a dictator, he’s a piss poor one. With my strong opinions (you you with yours), we should be in a gulag or whatever American dictators use to contain people they regard as “dangerous”.

    If he is a Socialist, why the hell has my investment portfolio on the stock market increased in value BY OVER 100% since he took office in January 2009: Gad, he’s a poor “redistributor of the wealth”! Thanks to his poor record as a Socialist (or Marxist), my Social Security check is nicely augmented by my invested money.

    The birther “issue” is so stupid it beggars me to try to imagine how anyone could even believe that bullshit. John McCain was born in the Canal Zone (Panama) when it was under US control. Both parents were American citizens. The Supreme Court ruled he was eligible to serve as President even though, technically, he was born in a foreign country. Ted Cruz (not my choice ever) is eligible, similarly to these to past candidates for President, because his mother was American, even though he had a Cuban (our enemy…yeah, Obama shook Raul’s hand, just as other Presidents shook hands of other enemies at the time: get over it!) father.

    Lies? So Ryan and Romney spoke God’s truth every time they spoke? Some I can excuse because they are slick nudges on the truth- wink! wink! – or just plain ignorant or misinformed: I’ve spoken or written things about which I found I was wrong later. Did I lie? Not if I thought I was speaking truthfully at the time. Honestly, because the extreme right doesn’t give Obama ANY squeak room or benefit of the doubt, I regard everything they say as black or white, no excuses. By that impossible standard, I regard the right as pathological liars, tricksters, most of the time.

    I suppose there are reasons to be paranoid about nearly everything, but I don’t live in fear of things that don’t materialize: Armaggedon; black UN helicopters; US Government taking our firearms if we have to accept minimal character checks at the time we buy our tanks and bazookas for “sport shooting and deer hunting”; some undefined terrible consequences if 140,000,000 or so Americans who were unable to buy affordable health insurance instead of using emergency wards to get their cold medicine; the collapse of this country in debt

    I agree women don’t get their measure of respect and equality in America. I’ve seen women who were more than capable intellectually, in terms of practical knowledge do the work of men who took credit for these women’s work. The men moved up the ladder in wages and position; the women stayed where they were in both regards. I also saw how one such parasite male learned you don’t trivialize the work of a woman who knew manufacturing processes better than he (and how that affected “theoretical build” in unexpected ways). He made the mistake of saying she couldn’t possibly design hose because she didn’t have an engineering degree…. Sure. “All” she did was verify his specifications were mathematically correct and that those little deviations in “actual build” that he didn’t account for in his “theoretical build” specifications (because he didn’t understand these things) were worked into the specification so it actually produced a viable commercial product. She learned about his “no degree” comment. The next time he sent a stack of specifications for her to review, he noted he expected her to point out any changes she felt were necessary on them, and then he’d issue a replacement experimental specification for her to run. “I can’t do that, John. After all, I don’t have an engineering degree.” Before it was over, weeks later and lots of bad specifications and production delays because of poorly written specifications, he caved and acknowledged she was, indeed, capable of doing his work. Of course, he freaked out when her mentioned she was going to retire at one point. He didn’t want her to retire until after he did, several months later!

    As someone who once supervised a department of mostly women and a couple men, I know very specifically that women made better quality technicians because they focused on details of their work, not figuring out how to get a supervisor’s job or a job with another company. They were less likely to call in “sick”, and they were easier to train. I also felt a woman making a quality decision typically made a better decision about the potential outcomes of different flaws. Some were superficial flaws we could pass without cost to the utility of the product, some might cause issues during the use of the product, and others were outright scrap. Women technicians discerned these things better than men, in my experience. Need I say they also were paid poorly for their important work?! (So was I, for that matter, though my pay was more in line with a supervisor’s pay.) The short of it, I’d hire a woman over a man if I had a business because they proved to be more reliable than men in most instances, and more committed to giving a good day’s work.

    Take a look at the legislative agendas of the two political parties. Which one better meets the specific needs of women, and which one votes against things like “equal pay for same work” or access to health care for women’s issues. Polls say women support the Democrats more than Republicans. There’s a specific reason.

    Frankly, this is tiring me out. I doubt I changed your mind on anything, nor you mine.

  4. Obama may well have spoken brilliantly.

    So did Hitler.

    The fact remains that America has extremely serious problems.

    I’m not saying we don’t in the UK, of course we do, but I feel a whole lot safer here than I would there. I did visit the US in 1995 and it didn’t’ feel safe then, but there is nothing that could induce me to live there now.

    Yes, we are deprived of our freedom and rights here, but I feel as wonderful a place as it, it is even worse in the US, and especially for women who don’t seem to have as much resepect, protection and rights as they do here. (I have in mind particularly the Barbie doll syndrome.)

    And when things do go wrong, it is even tougher to get anything done about it.

  5. There are many very real reasons why so many people don’t like him and don’t trust him.

    Surely David Cameron and Obama taking a selfie at a funeral puts them both in a rather bad light?

    Do you know about all the things they are saying?

    Sorry, but I think the last good president America was Kennedy and that was 50 years ago.

    However, I don’t really know enough about our own prime ministers to comment on who I think might have been the last good English PM as I haven’t followed foreign news enough to get near the truth!

    Sorry but i just don’t trust oliticians – any of them!

    I know there must be good ones – but I don’t know who they are.

  6. Pingback: From weggieboy’s blog | Contrafactual

    • That is a strange business! I made comments about it on your reblog, but I’m clueless as to why it reblogged the way it did. Thank you for the reblog, though! I have deep admiration for what you post, and this is one of my postings that I’m glad to share this way. I think our President has been trivialized and demonized by a certain element that should be ashamed they bring nothing to the table but hate.

    • Thanks! Our President doesn’t get adequate appreciation for his depth of compassion, intelligence, or vision because of misguided, hateful people on one side of the political spectrum. It makes me sick, and this speech gave me an opportunity to say out loud and without any doubt that I like the guy, think he will prove to be thought of highly by historians, and that this speech has all the earmarks of his greatness.

Leave a Reply. You may comment using your, Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ accounts.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.