Saturday, July 01, 2006

All the -isms and political discourse

I'd love to claim prescience, but I didn't anticipate how timely this would have proven.

Earlier this week when seven Guilford County commissioners, all white, voted to fire county manager Willie Best, who is black, claims of racism spilled forth from some of Best's supporters, most notably commissioner Skip Alston. While Best's opponents left their motives open to interpretation by intially refusing to explain their votes, Alston certainly sensationalized the situation by throwing the rotting corpse of Jim Crow high into the air. In this morning's News and Record, some commissioners voting against Best gave some reasoning for their thinking. A non-assertive approach to county matters seemed to be prominent in creating the discontent with Best. This did not deter Alston who still maintained that Best's race did him in.

David Hoggard attended Thursday night's meeting and could definitely feel the tension in the air. He blames both black and white commissioners for displaying a "hatred for each other the likes of which made me cringe in my seat." He calls the scene a "racial train wreck" and believes the damage will be long-lasting. I believe Hoggard may be right where political leadership is concerned, at least for the near term, but I don't think it will ripple through the average citizens who pay little attention to the proceedings of county government.

I'll go to the Left Coast to point out another straw man created by Jon Carroll, who just doesn't see any reason to get so worked up over the New York Times' revelation of the SWIFT program. Carroll writes that GW Bush showed outrage earlier this week to stir up the anti-semitic wing of the GOP base. I'll let Carroll's words speak for him:

Also, the name of the New York Times contains the word "New York." Many members of the president's base consider "New York" to be a nifty code word for "Jewish." It is very nice for the president to be able to campaign against the Jews without (a) actually saying the word "Jew" and (b) without irritating the Israelis. A number of prominent Zionist groups think the New York Times is insufficiently anti-Palestinian, so they think the New York Times isn't Jewish enough.

As they comment on two different issues, Alston and Carroll both place emotion over reason. Instead of offering a defense of Best's job performance, which may well be justified, Alston snatches Jim Crow from the grave. Carroll is just downright flippant, a good example of Parker and Stone's San Francisco smug. Most of us South Park fans know how that one turns out.


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