The US-Mexico border wall is worth standing up to. We have some experience and momentum to leverage from Standing Rock. This odious toad of a genuflecting tyrant deserves a ire rebuke where it matters.
I have known Van Jones since I met him in early 2000 at the seminal “Creating Our Future” conference and retreat at Walker Creek Ranch. He has evolved into an incredibly powerful and poignant speaker who at this point now stands alone as a voice for what historically has been known as Progressivism. I am sharing here two minutes of Van explaining what I think should be the mission statement of, if not the Democratic Party, the Occupy Movement. In the two minutes he speaks, he deftly rebranded liberalism, renaming it Progressivism (which is technically correct IMHO). He said that loving America is loving _Americans_. Sounds obvious, but I think that’s a new one, and he can claim it. And I hope he runs with it. He recast the debate in terms of Emma Lazarus, implying that the true America is embodied in the “mother of exiles” nature of the Statue of Liberty, and in so doing redefined the key buzzword at the heart of the debate of the day: “patriotism.” He stood up to the Tea Party and the increasingly radicalized right in a clean, clear, proud-yet-humble, unambiguous way. As the “other” icon of this great land, Uncle Sam, I am proud-yet-humbled to be associated with him. And, for the record, I would consider the following words to be as appropriately associated with me and what I stand for as they are with Lady Liberty.
The New Collosus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
You know, I’ve never liked the shock jock world. Insulated as it is from the real elbow jabs of mixing it up that harshly in person, the radio version of being the biggest loudmouth is kind of like the raging drivers who only act that way because they’re behind the wheel. No one can hit you back. And if there’s one thing in the world of media communications that’s consistently underestimated by those of us who lament the passing of planet earth, it is the degree to which all of us human beings continue to be operated by our lizard brain.
I’m not saying we have to run the world from the brain stem, it’s just that without a lot of yoga and massage, in one form or another, that’s where things normally end up. Not that it’s all Lord of the Flies, but we better be honest here: we’re capable of being the most horrible and brutally monstrous animal of all the animals. Slapstick, practical jokes, insult humor, mob mentality, lowest common denominator, the rat race, dog eat dog, the world is really not funny. Why? Because we so easily can put our whole brilliant apparatus – and by default usually do – at the service of a largely fear-based, dinosaur-style brain. So there’s a lot at stake in stoking those fires.
They’re cheap laughs. Hit ’em when they’re up. Hit ’em when they’re down. Just hit ’em. Me, I learned early on to check myself. What’s so funny here, I would ask. I get no pleasure from seeing the kid end up crying and run off alone. I feel something really hollow inside when I join the bully on the block. I don’t like Rush Limbaugh or Bill O’Reilly or Newt Gingrich or Jim Scarborough, and I’d even be willing to exile Howard Stern if I could lose the rest of them. I just think once they’re gone we won’t miss them. And while I’m still a few One-A-Day vitamins away from being a true blue-haired old lady, I am starting to agree with my Grandma Pearl that the biggest problem facing America is a lack of civility. We’re just not nice. Whether it’s the jerk who just stole my parking spot, or all of us collectively and how we act abroad, the image of the American as a total jerk is not doing hardly anybody much good any more. Like I say, we have to check ourselves.
So when this hater Imus spiels his spleen like he did, I am already predisposed to rule: “Dude. You are fired.” But when I think about this country even a little, and think about what Rosa Parks or Jackie Robinson were able to accomplish, there is nothing I am more proud of America for than how our country managed to honor these heroes (except perhaps what they did in the first place). And there is nothing I am more ashamed of than how much racism has existed and continues to exist. It’s a 300+ year old scandal and what we continue to see and see amplified is that it’s killing our country, both figuratively and literally. And when you think of what it must take to be a young black girl in this country, and make it to the college basketball finals, only to have one of the most well-known, talented, articulate, highly-paid radio personalities call them “nappy headed hos (whores)” – well! It blows my mind that the discussion is about whether to fire this man! The discussion should be about whether to lynch him.
I know. Lynching is bad. Bad for black people. Bad for white people. OK. But at least somebody should hit him. I mean physically hurt him somewhat. He has a total bully pulpit, millions of dollars, he’s king of the talkers, and this is what he uses his super powers for. That’s a special violation. So please understand that it’s for those reasons, in addition to the fact that he’s made a career of being mean, that I say: Hang him! Exceptions are OK once in a while. It’s fair turnaround.
Anyway, whatever, I give up on the physical violence. But he should pay for it, and we should not let him or the cultural zeitgeist move on until he does.
And what the hell is going on anyway? What evil voodoo are these old hippie-like pseudo-cool white men channeling?
Speaking of which, here are my votes on four public comments today regarding this issue:
YES = Hillary: ‘I’ve never wanted to go on his show and I certainly don’t ever intend to go on his show’…
YES = Obama calls for Imus to be fired…
NO = Rosie on Imus: ‘Thought police’ are coming…
NO = Edwards On Imus: ‘I Believe In Forgiveness’…
And here is a transcript from a 60 minutes Mike Wallace interview:
MIKE WALLACE: You told Tom ANDERSON, the producer, in your car coming home that Bernard McGuirk is there to do “n—–” jokes.
DON IMUS: Well I’ve n– I never use that word.
MIKE WALLACE: Tom?
TOM ANDERSON: I’m right here.
DON IMUS: Did I use that word?
TOM ANDERSON: I recall you using that word.
DON IMUS: Oh, okay, well then I used that word, but I mean– of course that was an off the record conversation– [LAUGHTER]
MIKE WALLACE: The hell it was!