Saturday, December 27, 2008

“Barack the Magic Negro”

The Republican party continues to show that it is totally out of touch with anyone except it's extreme right wing base. Chip Saltsman, candidate for chairman of the RNC distributed a CD containing the cut, “Barack the Magic Negro,” to members of the RNC as part of his campaign. The CD was produced by Paul Shanklin, who produced the material for the Rush Limbaugh show a couple of years ago.

You can listen to the song here and make your own decision as to its worth as good political parody. To me, good political parody should be a good laugh at the expense of the person or issue. This one does neither for me. I didn't laugh and I usually do if the joke is good, no matter who it is about. The CD's title, "We Hate the USA," speaks volumes as to it's content.

Whether this CD is funny or not, Saltsman used poor judgment in sending it out as he did. I suppose he thought that his peers on the RNC would keep the CD to themselves, and it would be their little secret. However, he forgot that he might have opposition. He was "outed" by current chairman, Mike Duncan.

If I were a member of the RNC, I would have real trouble electing this guy to any office. He might be capable of pulling anything out of his bag of tricks and bringing great embarrassment to my party at a time when this is the last thing that it needs. Racism has long been a problem for Republicans. This episode doesn't help that image at all, and Saltsman has shown that he has no sensitivity to the issue.

For many years I worked with a man, whose rule about such things was to think about what it will look like in tomorrow's paper, when you make a decision to take an action. Mr. Saltsman and his fellow Republicans need to heed this advice, although I can't imagine them doing so. Over the course of the next four years, they will be doing everything they can to gain some ground on Obama and the Democrats and many, like Saltsman, and his apparent mentor, Comedian Limbaugh, will do anything for attention. Name calling and false accusations are their specialty, and, despite what leaders like Colin Powell and even John McCain have said, it will continue unabated, until someone throws these people out with the dishwater.

Update: I just found this article by Peter Yarrow, co-author of "Puff the Magic Dragon" in response to "Barack the Magic Negro." The "song's" lyrics were written to the tune of "Puff..."

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Freedom of Religion Not an Issue If Christianity Isn't Involved?

In an earlier post I discussed the Massachusetts Bay Colony, separation of church and state and freedom of religion. At the time of that post a story that concerns the latter topic was unfolding in Georgia. In my home state court policies apparently prohibit the wearing of headgear in the courtroom, supposedly for security reasons. A young Muslim woman was refused entrance to a courtroom because of her hijab.

She apparently never tried to forcibly enter the courtroom, but spoke an expletive, when told she had to remove her headgear. She was handcuffed and taken in front of the judge, who sentenced her to ten days in jail for contempt. Although she was strip searched and jailed, she was released before the day was over. Exactly, why she was arrested and held in contempt is unclear. If I had to guess, it would be because she was black and a Muslim.

This isn't the first time this type of incident has happened in Georgia and it hasn't happened only to Muslims, but also to Jews. The ACLU is looking at it. Bob Barr the Republican, turned Libertarian has also spoken out. It is a freedom of religion issue, but I haven't heard a single outcry from the "War on Christmas" folks.

If the judge had told a Christian that crosses weren't allowed to be worn, because they could be used as a weapon, the cry of foul would have echoed across the land like thunder. Comedians O'Reilly, Hannity, and Limbaugh would have been incensed. Christian groups would be protesting at the Capitol. Every fundamentalist pulpit would be ranting this morning. The "secular progressive" devils (liberals) would be behind it all, and the world would be coming to an end any day now.

Not a peep. All is quiet and all is well, except of course, for the all important and continuing "war" on Christmas. I suppose that freedom of religion isn't really an issue in this country after all, unless, of course, it involves Christians.