Saturday, September 19, 2009

Dr. Joseph Lowery (Cont.)

Dr. Joseph Lowery and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were co-founders of the SCLC. He is the dean of living civil rights leaders from the 1950's and 60's and has continued his crusade for equal rights until the present. He is also a noted United Methodist pastor and quite a humorist. He recently received the Medal of Freedom from President Obama and gave the benediction at the President's inauguration.

This past Thursday night I was privileged to hear him speak at Young Harris College, a noted Methodist institution in North Georgia. He was introduced by college president, Kathy Cox, former Georgia Secretary of State and candidate for Governor. President Cox noted that she and Dr. Lowery worked closely together on voting rights issues during her years in office and Dr. Lowery spoke of his obvious affection and respect for her.

Dr. Lowery's message for the evening centered around what he called "Chaplains for the Common Good." He spoke of the divisiveness, hatred, ignorance, and racism surrounding us these days. He said that you have to show love to these people to reach them and to have an effect on them. He gave an example of George Wallace, whom he said that he "didn't like," but he "loved" him as his fellow man. He said that during the re-enactment of the Selma march, Wallace summoned him to his hospital bed and asked him to pray for him, which he did. Then he said that Wallace asked him to talk to Ted Turner about the movie which was being made about Wallace's life. Wallace, Lowery said, told him that he could tolerate all of the bad things the movie said of him except the statements that Wallace's African-American assistant hated him and had plotted to kill him. That, Wallace said, was untrue. Lowery said it must have been untrue because if the man had wanted to kill Wallace it would have been no problem for him. At any rate, he said that he called Ted Turner and related Wallace's request to him. After Turner stopped laughing, he told Lowery that it was too late. The movie was finished and ready to release. Turner told Lowery to tell that to Wallace. Lowery said that he told Turner to tell Wallace himself.

Dr. Lowery spoke of election night 2008, when ABC announced that Obama was the winner. He said that he got on his knees and prayed, thanking God for the progress that African Americans have made and for the safety of the Obama family, knowing the battle that they faced. He spoke of his admiration for the President and his pride when he received the Medal of Freedom from the President just a few weeks ago. He wore the lapel version as he spoke and amusingly stated, "isn't it nice." He said that someday he might let his wife wear it.

At the end of his lecture/sermon, Dr. Lowery asked for a show of hands of those ready to go out and be "Chaplains for the Common Good." He gave a short benediction during which he "ordained" us as those Chaplains. Quite an inspirational message from a great man. He had his audience reflecting, laughing, and admiring during the course of his one hour presentation. It was one of those once in a lifetime events, when you have the chance to encounter a legend.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dr. Joseph Lowery

Tonight I went to hear Dr. Joseph Lowery speak at Young Harris College. It was probably the most inspirational message that I have heard in quite some time. Dr. Lowery is a United Methodist pastor, so his presentation was in the form of a sermon. He charged the audience to stand up and speak out for what is right in this time of such divisiveness. If those who know what is right, remain silent, then the rabblerousers, racists, and hatemongers will have their say.

Dr. Lowery spoke for over an hour and then answered several questions from the audience. He was inspirational, falling out of your seat funny, and held the large audience in the palm of his hand. I might add that the audience in this predominately white section of Georgia was very white. In addition to Rev. Lowery's small entourage, there were probably three or four non whites in the audience of more than 200 people.

If you ever get the chance to hear this 87 year old, soon to be 88, do it before it is too late. You will not regret hearing him.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Joe Wilson, Racist?

President Carter has stated that Rep. Joe Wilson's stupid outburst during the President's speech to a joint session of Congress is rooted in racism. I do think that much of the negative response to the President is deeply rooted in racism. The, birthers, the ugly posters and the ugly names, the fear mongering; they are all are related to racism. However, I do not necessarily agree that Wilson's comment is the result of a racist thought process.

Wilson's son has defended him, saying that his mother and father had no racist feelings and their children were brought up to relate to everyone. Some have pointed to his defense of the South Carolina flag and his membership in the Sons of Confederate Veterans as proof of his racist leanings. Neither of these necessarily defines one as a racist. Most true conservatives probably would take issue with a change of a state flag, primarily on the basis of rejecting change. In the South one could add defense of southern heritage. Neither do not necessarily point to racism.

As a southerner, I could join the Sons of Confederate Veterans, because I have several ancestors who served in the Confederate Army. My great grandfather was held in a Federal POW camp at Ft. Delaware, nearly dying of starvation at the war's end. A couple of other ancestors served in the 11th GA Cavalry. I haven't chosen to join the SCV, simply because I do not have an interest in doing so. Yes, there are some wingnuts in the SCV, who are very definitely racists, but not all are so and being a member should not stereotype one as such.

I continue to wonder if Wilson's outburst was carefully planned to bring attention to himself for the purpose of advancing his career and raising money for his upcoming campaign. Almost immediately after the event, he posted a video on YouTube begging for money. What better way to get your name out front, if you are a relative unknown? Politicians are basic opportunists. They will do whatever it takes to keep their elected office. If it means making a scene to get attention, they will do it in a heartbeat. Let's face it. Who does not know of Joe Wilson now?

Monday, September 14, 2009

"Teabaggers" Lie About Their Numbers with Old Photo

It seems the Anti-Obama crowd, i.e. the "Teabaggers," i.e. right wing fanatic Republicans have lied about the number of people attending the anti-Obama rally this past weekend. They used an old picture that has since been recanted, but still circles the internet as fact. They should have "photoshopped" the picture by removing the cranes that were there in the 1990's and added the American Indian Museum. See this article at's truthometer.

Lies get you nowhere, especially in this highly electronic age as so many right wingers have found out already. It is amazing that they continue to try this garbage. There were surely thousands there, maybe 50 or 60 by most sane people's count, but not 2 million. Two million people would have been a lot of people. If there had been 2 million people there, someone might have cared....

Boorish America

Over the course of the last few days we have seen blatant examples of this country's loss of civility and a lack of respect for each other. Rep. Joe Wilson of S.C. heckled the President of the United States during the President's speech to a joint session of Congress. Congressmen have had physical confrontations over the course of this country's history, but never has a member of Congress stooped so low as to yell out "you lie" during a president's speech before Congress. Wilson, half-heartedly apologized, then immediately used his actions to raise money, making one wonder if he planned the incident.

Saturday, Serena Williams uttered a profanity-laced stream of venom at a line judge during the semifinals of the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament. The call was a bad one, but not worthy of such a venomous response. John McEnroe and Illie Nastase before her were prone to yell at officials, but never in such a threatening and callous manner as displayed by Ms. Williams. The the worst of profanity and the threats which Ms. Williams used were totally out of line. She claimed not to believe that the judge felt threatened by her actions, but a large, muscular woman, carrying a tennis racket and yelling such threatening profanity would have made me want to leave the area. Her public statement contained no apology for her sorry actions.

Last night, someone named Kanye West interrupted a young woman's acceptance speech at a music awards show to protest that someone else should have won the category. How boorish can you get? The young woman was 19 years old and proud to have won an award, yet this guy ruined her moment with his rude behavior. Breaking news: President Obama called West a jackass in an off camera moment during an NBC interview. Good call Mr. President.

Since the presidential election several "men of God" have openly prayed for the death of the President. Some have actually said that they hate the man. Can you imagine a preacher actually praying for someones death? I would bet that preachers did not even pray for Hitler's death during WW II. I cannot fathom a preacher saying that they hate someone. Unbelievable!

A scant few years ago, no one would have dared step over the line of civility in public, lest their reputation and careers would have been ruined. In today's world people are almost rewarded for such behavior. Joe Wilson has had his line picked up already by Obama haters around the country and thousands have been contributed to his campaign. Serena Williams will continue to compete in tennis tournaments. Her wrist has been slapped with what for her is a pocket-change fine. Kanye West will probably suffer no consequences at all for his rude behavior. In fact there are probably many who revere him for speaking his mind.

We see rude behavior daily on the street, in gatherings, at sporting events and now in town hall meetings and the halls of Congress. No one, it seems, is adult enough to act civil towards their fellow man. As a child, I was taught to call any adult, Mr. or Mrs., say thank you and you're welcome (not "no problem"), and always respect the feelings and property of others. Few people today seem to have any regard for each other and such feelings will not change, when people in the public eye act as the aforementioned boors have done. Apologies seem to have little meaning. The old adage, act now and get forgiveness later, appears to be the rule.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Another Republican ...

GOP candidate for governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell dropped an F-bomb on his audience during a radio interview. I wonder if he is a family values, Christian fundamentalist, Republican and what kind of excuse his followers will make for the worst of profanity.

Listen here.