That NEW Adage

A pressure-relief valve about God, and just about everything else.

I’ll Just Stay on the Couch.

My pop called me yesterday and told me that NBC (msnbc) had demoted Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann for, I guess, inordinately biased commentary during coverage of the Republican National Convention. They did this at the urging of the GOP. Wow.

So, Republican officials are so bothered by partisan coverage that they go to the trouble to (and have the power to) have the two top msnbc anchors publically embarrassed in this fashion?

I don’t deny that they are, in many cases over there, in the tank for the Democrats — and Obama in particular. The aforementioned, as well as Rachel Maddow, David Gregory, and many of the guest pundits, don’t hide their leanings.

But my point is this:

FOX News does the same thing! Hannity, O’Reilly, Brit Hume, FOX and Friends, and practically all their guests don’t just lean TO  the right, they lean ON it. Heavily. In fact, Hannity has basically said that it was his job to make sure McCain gets elected. In order to get a real picture of how the race is really going, you have to do your own homework and look at all of it.

I have a point of view. YOU have one, too. Being on teevee doesn’t excuse one from being human, it seems.

For me to join a party — either one — means that I have to swallow a lot of stuff I wouldn’t eat at gunpoint. To call myself a Democrat, I would have to be cool with folk like Maddow and Maher ridiculing me for my hard and fast stances on Creationism, God, gay marriage, and abortion. I would have to deny the very existence of “sin” and play ball on a team populated by atheists, anarchists, feminists, and folk who have no moral compass whatsoever.

To call myself a Republican, I would have to be at ease riding on a bandwagon alongside people like this. And with people who live on my very own street who drive by me while I work in my own yard and stare at me as though I am made of the stuff I am spreading on the grass! To call myself a Republican, I would have to align myself with many people who would claim to serve God while harboring hatred in their hearts for anyone of a culture or ethnicity different than theirs. I would, generally speaking, have to be like the Jesse Lee Petersons, Ken Hamblins, and Larry Elders of the world and act as though racism is either non-existent, or entirely black folks’ fault. I would have to look the other way when they do things to people that I find heartless and un-Jesuslike.

 Yesterday’s move crystallizes the problem I have with those in power on the Right. They spent months decrying Obama’s lack of experience, and in a purely — transparently — political move, selected a very nice lady with five children and conservative views who had presidential qualifications slightly better than my high school guidance counselor! And just as they tried to make me think that stuff running down my back was rain (Iraq being part of the search for 9/11 justice), they tried — with astonishing, dismaying success — to tell us that Mrs. Palin was the absolute best choice to very possibly be President. I like her. I really do. But I like my mama, too, and she ain’t qualified to run this country!

The thing is, when black folk down the line have been up for high-profile positions, the first and last thing brought into question was their qualification. We have had to jump through a million hoops (even to the point of having to take tests in order to vote!), to become coaches, general managers, business owners, college students, and doctors.

You can say whatever you want about whether Obama has the right political positions as far as taxes, abortion, homeland security, or health care, but you can’t argue (convincingly) that the man isn’t qualified through his education and public service history to be President.

No one was talking about “Executive Experience” until Palin got selected.  Republicans say it so much that they forget that McCain himself  has none. By that reasoning, Palin should be running for the head job!

Another thing: I am 6′ 3″ tall, and over 240 lbs. All my adult life, I have had to play the role of “Mr. Nice Guy” in order to put white folks at ease. Black folk are generally not intimidated by size. When I go into a store, or into a business situation, unless I am in a hostile environment, I make an effort, mostly unconsciously, to not be mean-looking. I don’t want to perpetuate any stereotypes.

Obama has had to run as well as he has without resorting to the same tactics Hillary and McCain used against him. He has the added burden of being tagged with the “Angry Man” label. Michelle, his wife, has likewise been hit with the “Sassy Black Woman” tag. While both sides use ads that exaggerate the position of the other, there has been that extra little bit of spice in the GOP spots.

And the convention was filled with the kind of divisive rhetoric that makes a lot of people like me not really feel welcome at the party. I know this was just fine with some on the convention floor…

I’m sorry. When I close my eyes and think, “Republican,” (not “conservative”) I see “Sean Hannity” with his “Great Americans” and his leading questions designed only to corner and squash his opponent. I see Karl Rove — who should be in jail — Ollie North — who should be in jail — and that racist Mark Fuhrman — who shou — you know what I mean. How do they always end up as guests on FOX?

The Democrats had their share of ad hominem stuff, too, but as objectively as I tried to be, it seemed that the Republicans shoved the knife in deeper. I want people to deal with the issues, not see who can make the snidest, cleverest remark. Especially when one side cries “foul” and has people on the other side fired for trying to play by the same crooked rules! And they call the Democrat thin-skinned.

The extreme jingoism, masked as patriotism, was unsettling to me. “DRILL, BABY, DRILL!!!!” “USA! USA! USA” “GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!” (and NOplace else) They claimed Obama had a Messiah complex, but it suuure looked like there was some flag-worship/monument-idolatry going on in Minnesota. And what was up with the 9/11 video in the background?  Would a Democrat have been able to use that footage as a badge of honor in that fashion? Rhetorical. Don’t answer.

It was all “win at any cost.”Why else would the party of traditionalists and evangelicals who think that a woman’s place is best in the home raising her kids choose a woman with a whole slew of young-uns and the busiest job in her state? For the first time in history? When the other side had millions of angry, disenfranchised women with nowhere to go? That was a brilliant, slick move. And it is working. I don’t fault you for supporting her. But if Obama had a degree in journalism and mayored a town of five thousand, he wouldn’t have made it past Iowa! Can you say “flip-flop?”  Maybe if he pronounced his name, “O-Bamma” like Alabama…

It is as though there are two separate countries at war with one another to decide who will get to exercise power. It really saddens me.

Yes, Olbermann makes me cringe. But Hannity makes me want to fight!

The point is that to get into bed with either party means compromising certain of my “Essential Issues.”

So, rather than do that, I’ll just stay on the couch.


September 10, 2008 - Posted by | Abortion, Barack Obama, Christian Life, Christianity, Conservatives, Democrats, FOX News, Hillary Clinton, Hypocrisy, Jesse Lee Peterson, John McCain, Larry Elder, Liberals, McCain, Obama, Politicians, Politics, Pro-Choice, Pro-Life, Race, Racism, Rant, Religion, Republican Convention, Republicans, RNC, Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity


  1. Did you also notice all the signs at the GOP convention that read “Country First”? Not that all republicans are christian, but that sounds a little idolatrous. I know it’s really just another thoughtless political slogan designed to stir up some emotional tie between republicans and patriotism, but that kind of mixed up priority (in my opinion) really bothered me.

    Call me a non-patriot, but my sign reads “God First!, Family second, …” Honestly, country would be lucky if it made my top 5.

    Hey, Dan. Thanks. Yeah, I saw those signs. I forgot to mention them. And the pressure to wear flagpins reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where the gay guys pressured Kramer to wear the AIDS ribbon…

    Comment by Dan | September 10, 2008 | Reply

  2. Dan has a great point … far too many Christians forget that our first loyalty isn’t supposed to be to this world, much less this nation.

    Derrick, this is a BRILLIANT post! Frankly, I’m fed up and tired of discussing the election because of the rank idiocy that’s posing for discussion (lipstick is the new hot issue?), but this post sums up just about everything perfectly.

    Far too many Christians have bought into the idea that God is a Republican, and that therefore Republicans are good … even if they know that not all Republicans are Christians.

    Bowing down to worship the red elephant is no better than bowing to a golden calf, I’d think.

    Thanks, WKL! Yeah, I always appreciate it when someone tries to look objectively at what I am saying, because I always try to remove (as much as I can) my personal biases from my opinions. Christians are to be known by their LOVE and by HUMILITY. And I didn’t see a lot of that with all the flag-waving and exclusivism.
    God Bless, Derrick.

    Comment by wickle | September 10, 2008 | Reply

  3. Derrick,

    You had some really good reasons for not voting Democrat, but when it came to not voting Republican it seemed your decision was based on an assumption that Republicans have a monopoly on racism. If the Republican party encompasses most evangelicals and the Democratic party contains most of the atheists, agnostics, and evolution loving anti-God crowd, then which one would you guess has the most racists in it?
    Evolutionist believe (if they are consistant in their beliefs) that one race is more advanced and further along in the cycle than the other. Darwin believed this.

    I’m a Republican, but not because I agree with everything they say and do. I don’t. I’m a Republican because they are the party that most reflects my values. Which one most reflects yours?

    Here’s a couple of hypothetical questions I would like to pose.

    It appears that your issue against the Republican party is that it consists of people that you believe to oppose you. Let me ask you this. Would it really make a difference in race relations, if McCain were in office?

    Will it make a difference in regards to gay marriage, abortion, God in our society, creationism, all the things you mentioned before if Obama makes it in office?

    Comment by Jeff | September 10, 2008 | Reply

  4. Hey, Jeff! You’ve given me a lot of homework for 12:05 AM!
    Let’s go.

    I am NOT a Democrat.

    I suspect that a Democrat would tell me that I’ve listed very good reasons not to be Republican, too! I didn’t go into all the stuff about how I think the GOP (in general. I’m generalizing here, of course) leaves people who are really in need to fend for themselves. Plus, I dealt with all the Affirmative Action stuff before, and only touched on it here, i.e. “heartlessness.”

    I don’t for a minute think that there are no racists who call themselves Democrats! But at least they TRY to help, however misguided. At least they give a nod of the head to those who cry out for fairness, equality, and help.

    Republican racists seem to be more willing to be seen as they are. You can hate me, but if you give me a small business loan, or provide me with a decent education, I will take it!

    You wrote:
    If the Republican party encompasses most evangelicals and the Democratic party contains most of the atheists, agnostics, and evolution loving anti-God crowd, then which one would you guess has the most racists in it?
    Evolutionist believe (if they are consistant in their beliefs) that one race is more advanced and further along in the cycle than the other. Darwin believed this.”

    I think your premise is flawed here. First, I think the term, “Evangelical” is a loaded word that symbolizes a particular KIND of Christian. I think there are a lot of Christians who are not identified by that relatively new term.

    Second, I think that evolution IS racist, but I also think that MOST who claim to live by it don’t know of its racist origin and foundation, and therefore may not hold to its tenets down the line. Just as many Freemasons don’t know it is satanic.

    I think, and I will probably make this statement a post of its own, that my problem with the GOP as it pertains to racism, is that they GIVE AID AND COMFORT TO BIGOTS! (Caps for emphasis) I live in a lower-middle-class, three bedroom house neighborhood that is snow-white. We are the only minority family. And nearly all of these people, who glare at us as we peacefully live our lives, who ignore the births of our pickaninnies (until forced to say hello), who avoid us like anthrax, who MARVEL at what good, quiet neighbors we are, are proud, card-carrying, flag-waving Republicans. Their trucks sport confederate flags. Their bumpers sport Bush/Cheney stickers.

    I have lived in this world. I have seen this stuff all over America, in my former military units, and I have heard all the code language.

    I have said it before; your party is the party of choice of the Aryan Nation, the Sons of the Confederacy, and most other garden variety racists. Why is it that most of he Southern states are RED states?

    Those people, some of whom go to my church, are members of these country clubs I sometimes have to “serve” in. I have been ignored by people who claim to worship the God I do. And as I have been escorted to the back of those buildings to the quarters, I have seen rows and rows and rows of white faces lining the walls while the only blacks I see are either cooking or sweeping. And I would venture to guess that the overwhelming number of those people are the same ones who lined the convention floor in Minneapolis.

    You wrote:
    I’m a Republican, but not because I agree with everything they say and do. I don’t. I’m a Republican because they are the party that most reflects my values. Which one most reflects yours?”

    I am not a Republican because, while they do claim to reflect some of my values as relates to sexual purity, they do not reflect the values I have in terms of caring about what happens to those on the bottom in this country, and they do not reflect the heart I have in terms of how to get them OFF the bottom.

    They do NOT, as a group, reflect that Christian value that says that there is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, slave nor free… There is a felt if not seen attitude that whispers that the different need not apply.

    And as with this “lipstick” crap(!), there seems to be an attitude that “We will adopt the Feminist tenets as long as it helps us get elected. We will cry ‘Sexist’ every time a jab is taken.” I see an attitude that says that any culture other than the traditional, clean-cut, apple pie, Fourth of July, flagpin flaunting, bluegrass music loving, “Middle-American” culture is NOT welcome. So I will take my ball and go play somewhere else.

    Jeff, there are people who claim to love God (not the KKK, who burn crosses, and talk about “Good, Christian, White people…”) and move out when blacks move in. They go to churches (Bob Jones U.?) that preach against interracial commingling. They go to churches where deacons were posted at the door to keep Negroes from coming in. These people are still alive. There are “evangelicals” who work in corporate America Monday through Saturday who do everything they can to ensure that minorities don’t cross their paths in a real way. They take their kids and resources from public schools and from any note of real diversity.

    Jesus said for us to care for the poor and the widows. He said that if you do harm to the most insignificant human being — for whatever reason — you do that harm to HIM. That is not a Republican value. It has no been in evidence the last months.

    I am not a Democrat because they do not adequately reflect my values, either.

    Being a minority, I cannot simply pick the lesser of two evils, because I can find no lesser one. I still vote, though. But it will not be said that I and Sean Hannity, or David Dukes, or Hal Turner, or Andrew Clarksenior helped elect the same cat! I will not team up with those who would have me remain lesser educated, lesser compensated, and lesser valued. I will not team up with those who have only a Faith By Voice and not by deed. Can’t do it.

    If McCain got elected, aside from there being a lot of further-angered disenfranchised people (in light of the controversies in the previous two elections), race relations would continue on the same course.

    Just as during eight years of Bush, gay rights have advanced and abortions have increased.

    The church, not the government will be the agent of whatever change happens. This is my ever-increasing belief.

    People want jobs, and they want some money left over for food after they put a week’s pay into the gas tank. They want their kids to have AMERICAN-quality educations. And they want to be able to go to the doctor when they get sick.

    People who have flags on their front lawns generally don’t have to worry about that stuff. But Harlem, South Chicago, Compton, Watts, Orange Mound, Binghampton… This is America, too.

    Who will speak for they who have weak voices? Who will work for they who wear flip flops and don’t have straps with which to lift themselves?

    Who Cares?

    Comment by maxdaddy | September 11, 2008 | Reply

  5. Oh, another thing;
    I think that the “Race” thing is what keeps a lot of black folk from being Republicans. I think it carries over into things like the Death Penalty, crime enforcement, employment, etc.

    Black folk don’t like taxes and crime. But we feel that things are unjustly and unfairly applied. We want to work, but certain people have an innate leg up while others are left at the starting line with cast iron shoes on.

    The Perfect Party would be one where people believed in safety, employment, equal access and opportunity, caring, racial and economic diversity, personal responsibility, and moral uprightness.
    THAT I would join!

    Comment by maxdaddy | September 11, 2008 | Reply

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