Gingrich a Grinch

I have held off saying anything for as long as I could. I have been …meditating …on how to talk about …Newt.

You know, as in Gingrich. The now-leading GOP presidential candidate hopeful.

I nearly ran off the road when I heard his comments on the radio – something to the effect that poor kids have no work ethic because they don’t see anyone who works, and that they should become janitors in their schools, or maybe junior janitors.

My first thought was, “How arrogant! Has he been in a poor neighborhood, where parents often work 2-3 jobs, usually minimum wage with no benefits – and still can’t make ends meet? Has he been in poor neighborhoods dominated by slum landlords who charge exorbitant rent for habitats that are one step removed from shanties? Has he been in neighborhoods where there is no local supermarket and where many people cannot afford cars, so children are forced to eat horrible food gotten from the local corner store …which also charges too much?

I would bet not.

But then, I thought along a different line. If the children in poor neighborhoods became the janitors, where would the current janitors work – people who are trying to make a living and provide for their families?

Did he think of that? Would he even think to think of that?

The fact is, Gingrich, like so many white and privileged people, relies on stereotypes and generalizations. He, and others like him, speak on what they assume to be true. The “poor people” of whom he speaks (he and people like Limbaugh, Hannity, Bachmann, Coulter and others) are not even worthy of a personal investigation of why they are where they are, and how difficult it has been to get out and move up in a society which spurns them.

The fact is, many kids seldom see their parents because those parents do have a work ethic and they work their fingers to the bones, at the expense of their families. How many poor kids have come up saying that their parents worked two and three jobs, that their mothers were so tired after working that they would sit at the kitchen table and fall asleep? No, everyone doesn’t have the same work ethic, but some of them do not because they have given up. They have tried and tried to get good employment, to no avail and have stopped trying.

All kinds of people these days, who would not call themselves “poor,” or wouldn’t have called themselves “poor” before now, know what it feels like to try to work and get rejected, over and over. After a while, people stop trying.

Gingrich might be an intellectual, but he’s an insensitive and calloused and prejudiced intellectual who has no business wanting to be president of a country where there are more and more people who do not have work.  A president is supposed to care for everyone, including “the least of these.” Donald Trump defended Gingrich’s statements, and said Barack Obama had not done anything for “people in the ghetto.”

Oh, how the cries of “socialist” would have been even louder had the president put his focus there!

Michelle Bachmann says that “the American people” are gravitating to the views of Hannity, Limbaugh, and people who, I suppose, think like Gingrich. Clearly, “the American people” of whom she speaks are white, privileged Americans who think the poor – primarily black and brown people – are not worthy of time or respect.

Gingrich was out of line. His arrogance is repugnant …and surely, “the American people” would not want such a divisive character to lead this country, the so-called, “land of the free and home of the brave,” poor people included.

A candid observation …

Gingrich a Grinch © 2011 Candid Observations

“Our Blacks?”

Ann Coulter has the ability to get underneath my skin. I admit it.

But she outdid herself this week as she talked about black Conservatives. She was defending Herman Cain, praising him and other blacks who are Conservatives, saying that “our” blacks, meaning black Conservatives, are better than “their” blacks, of course alluding to Liberals.

It sounded horribly crude, racist, ignorant, and vintage Coulter.

“We,” black people, are not owned by any group. The era of us being owned is over, and has been, since the 19th century. We are no longer pieces of property, to be bought, sold or discarded at will. Coulter’s language seems to be ignorant of this reality.

That more African-Americans have been adherents to the Democratic Party since the days of FDR does not mean we are brainwashed, either. African-Americans, as well as working, blue-collar men and women of all races, have tended to gravitate toward the party which has successfully advocated, or seem to have advocated, on their behalf.

The Republicans, again since the days of FDR, have tended not to be so interested in that kind of advocacy.

Make no mistake, African-Americans, as well as working Americans of all races, are not dumb. We recognize that there is “de facto” advocacy and “de jure” advocacy; we know that politicians, whatever their party, will say anything to get elected. They will identify their base, play to it, and then do what they want once elected.

But Coulter, and any other Republican who might be so insensitive to spout such an ignorant statement, is not in the position to 1) refer to any African-American as though he or she are property, and 2) make a judgment call on who is better.

After the election of Barack Obama, there was the hue and cry that racism in America was gone. Most of us knew that was not the truth, but every now and then, someone will say something or do something that brings the reality of our putrid racial reality front and center.

Ann Coulter managed to do that with her outrageously presumptuous, disrespectful statements this week.

Surely, even some Republican will step up and say publicly that she was out of line … because she was.

That would be a candid observation.

Lynching Doesn’t Apply to Cain

I find that I do not like the all-too-casual use of certain words.

During the presidency of Barack Obama, we have heard the words “Nazi,” “communist,” “fascist” and “socialist” used loosely to describe what him and his administration.

And now, this week, we hear the word “lynching” being applied to the debacle that Herman Cain finds himself in.

I am offended.

I was especially offended when Ann Coulter used the word. This woman seems to have no compassion for anything or anyone whom she deems as “Liberal.” But she has no right, as a privileged and bigoted white woman, to use the term “lynching.

What is going on with Herman Cain is politics, pure and simple. Politicians make it an art form to destroy each other on their quest for power. Unlike Coulter, I doubt that the “leak” of Cain’s supposed acts of sexual harassment came from Liberals. I would put money on the leak having come from some frantic Conservative who cannot believe Mr. Cain has moved up as quickly as he has.

But is this a lynching? Do people who use that word know what a lynching was? It was an act of American terrorism, pure and simple, performed primarily on black men by white people who could lynch with impunity, with no fear of reprisal from any level of government.

Fourteen year old Emmett Till was lynched – pulled from his bed in the home of a relative and taken out by white men, who beat him and gouged out one of his eyes before they threw himn in the Tallahatchie River, weighing his body down with a 70 pound cotton gin. Why? Because he reportedly whistled at a white woman.

Sam Hose was lynched, for killing the person for whom he worked in self defense. His owner hadn’t paid him in a year, but Hose wanted some of that owed money and time off in order to go see his ailing mother. His owner – Alfred Crandford – refused. The two got into an argument the next day. Crandford drew a gun on Hose and Hose threw an ax he had in his hand and hit Crandford, killing him. Crandford’s wife later said that Hose had raped her while her husband lay dying. A mob went after Hose and found him …and lynched him…taking the skin off his face after cutting off his ears, fingers and genitals. He was doused with kerosene and set afire, hanging from a tree, while about 2,000 white onlookers watched. Parts of his body, including parts of his heart, liver, kidneys and knuckles – were sold. People defended their action, saying it was necessary in order to protect white women.

So, when someone like Coulter says that Cain is being lynched, my spirit recoils. For Cain himself to even allow that terminology to be used speaks volumes. Cain is going through what any and all politicians risk when they enter the ring. The object of politics, or political campaigns, is to win. Opponents will look for, find and use whatever they can to destroy their opponent. It comes with the territory.

Mr. Cain has stayed away from “the race card” until now, and for him to allow use of this term, “lynching,” is troubling. Now he wants to stand on the fact that he is a black man in America. But guess what? This sexual harassment charge has nothing to do with race, and everything to do with him being a man. Men have been known to sexually harass women, or their actions have been known to be interpreted as such.

He would have come off better owning up to whatever he did, putting it all “out there,” and moving on.

That he didn’t, and resorted to using a word that represents so much pain, injustice and ugliness in American history, is a sad commentary indeed.

A candid observation …