I have a bad feeling in my stomach. I am a newshound, so getting grumpy about the news is a pretty regular problem. The world seems to be spiraling out of control, but I try to remind myself that every generation of old men have felt that way.
But the events of the past couple of years regarding race in our country are very disturbing. When the Presidential election results for 2008 were announced, most Americans hoped that having a black man in the White House would put aside the whole race thing so we could tackle some of the more pressing issues in the World. But it feels like the exact opposite has happened.
It seems to me that my Boomer generation has done more to mitigate the institutionalization of race and gender discrimination than any society or generation in the history of the planet. We increased funding for inner city schools, bused students to integrate the races, we made discrimination illegal in almost every social and business enterprise, we put quotas on graduation and scholarships, and in every possible way used media to establish a colorblind community. As a percentage of population, our advanced educational institutions are populated in disproportionate numbers by minorities and women.
We can't change human nature, so things like bigotry, ignorance and insensitivity are never going to be eliminated. But as an ideological generation, ours has worked hard to bring about racial and gender equality. Much more so than our father's and grandfather's generation.
But as of today, June of 2015, I have a very bad feeling in my stomach. I sense a creeping social trend toward a second civil war in America. It is impossible to ignore the growing chorus of unhappy, angry and hate filled people, mostly of color, who can't seem to get passed our flawed human condition. From Missouri to Baltimore to South Carolina, the images are the same: some people in America hate this country and everything it stands for.
Our President, who is himself Harvard educated, and incredibly successful, has once again articulated his outrage at 'institutionalized racism' in America. He stood in front of the Country and wagged his finger at us all like we were kindergarten students, and chastised us about our simplistic acceptance of views held by people like Dylann Roof, the crazy young man who slaughtered nine parishioners in South Carolina last week. Can you think of one person who has expressed camaraderie with Roof?
Ignoring all of the powerful statements of outrage across all religious and civic organizations of all races and creeds, the demonstrations of moral outrage and love and support for the victims families, total and complete repudiation of the thoughts and actions of maniacs like Roof, our President chose to use the incident as a political stick to browbeat white Americans for what he perceives as their subliminal hatred of black people.
He didn't specifically call out white people, but who else is he referring to? He couches his comments with words like 'we' and 'us' but it is impossible to imagine he is talking to blacks. That leaves virtually everyone else! Of course he excuses blacks even though his comments were followed just a few hours later by the Ayatollah of Racists, Louis Farrakhan, who demanded we 'bring down' the American flag because those that carry it are the same people who killed those people in that church in Charleston, and the one's "we are fighting!"
And the AME Church audience cheered!
And though most media outlets mentioned his outburst and questioned his seriousness, they rather blithely accepted his bigotry as a reflection of many disenfranchised Muslims and Blacks, and went on to categorize some of the 'crimes' Farrakhan referred to.
It is as though the whole population has been exposed to some sort of unseen, odorless gas and is anesthetized to the degree that we are zombies. Unable to discern truth from lies, reality from fiction, honesty from deceit or love from hate. Or worse, history from construct.
And as the anger is growing on the side of us that have been patient, tolerant, and incredibly activist, it is also simultaneously being fueled by the Leader of the Free World! Which results in a 'us vs. them' situation where the President's supporters are dividing America into camps, sending those who don't accept every over-the-top symbolic action to the gallows! If you aren't on board with destroying every symbol of the Confederate South, you are an apostate!
Obama and his hate filled supporters are acting just like the ISIS Islamist extremists, demanding the destruction of historic symbols because they 'represent' un-Islamic thinking (i.e., white racism.)
The President is implementing his own version of Sharia Law on America. Either you are a believer in the view that bible thumping, gun toting white male America is the cause of all the World's ills, or you are to be banished, politically beheaded, shamed or symbolically stoned by the sycophantic media.
My guess is that if you are a flag flying, white male Christian conservative, you might, like me, feel a little ill right now.