October 27, 2009

Purple Hearts

Work can make strange bedfellows sometimes.

Case in point: Who knew that my good friend & former co-worker from my very first job back in New York City would turn into the wildly successful West Coast blogger, The Truth Laid Bear?

Now, if you look at truthlaidbear.com, the first thing you'll probably notice that he and I have WILDLY different political views. I'm a die-hard Howard Dean-iac, and he's one of the founders of the "Top Conservatives on Twitter".

But, like I alluded to in a recent tweet about Andrew Sullivan, these are the kind of conservatives I can deal with: they're principled, but rational. We can debate & disagree, while still agreeing that we all have the country's (and, consequently, each other's) best interests at heart.

So, even though I think many, many conservatives hide behind the military as an excuse for any number of, shall we say, questionable decisions, I know my friend is sincere in his beliefs and in his support for the soldiers themselves.

And, as a child of a family with deep ties to the Army & Marine Corps, support for wounded vets is the very definition of common ground.

As our president likes to say, there are no Red States or Blue States, but the UNITED States of America.

That said, Mr. Bear recently brought this project to my attention: Project Valour-IT. It's a charitable campaign designed to raise money to provide laptops & other enabling technologies for severely wounded war veterans. He mentioned to me that they'd gotten a ton of support from the conservative blogsphere, but it's virtually invisible to the left side of the social media universe.

Fellow liberals & progressives - I encourage you all to take a look, spread the word, and make a donation. Regardless of your politics, these are people in need. Show your hearts.

October 02, 2009

Two Americas

Last time I checked, wasn't the City of Chicago and, for that matter, the whole State of Illinois, still part of the United States of America?

So why are all of these conservatives cheering because AMERICA, not just Chicago, but AMERICA, lost the bid for the next Olympics?

Oh, right. I forgot. It's because Obama lobbied for it.

I'm reminded of an incident way back when I was in high school. I was driving home late one night after visiting a classmate who lived in the Northeast corner of Baltimore. Since I lived on the exact opposite side of the city, I had a bit of a drive ahead of me, so I wanted to stop & get some gas. There were no brand name stations around, but I did manage to find one mom & pop-ish full-service station still open at 11PM.

So, I pull up to the pump, and the guy in the station waves to me, saying "I'll be there in a second."

So I wait. And I wait. And I wait. And another car pulls into the station. The guy comes out of the booth, pumps gas for the other car, and then goes back into the booth.

And I wait. And I wait some more. And then the guy looks out of the booth and smiles, saying "Oh, did you want some gas?"

I said "I get the picture" and left.

Do I even need to say that I'm Black and this guy was white?

What I could never fit my head around was this: I was coming to buy gas from him. I was going to literally put money in his hands.

But no. He doesn't want MY money. He doesn't want anything to do with me. He would rather hurt his own business than help me in any way.

Cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Now, am I saying that all opposition to Obama is racial? No, not really.

But what I AM saying is that a lot of opposition to Obama is just as irrational, crazy, and self-destructive as racism.

They don't want him talking to their children so he can tell them to stay in school. They don't want him lobbying for an American city to host the Olympics.

They don't want him anywhere doing anything for or with or about anyone.

It may not be race-based, but, if I can use a computer programming analogy for a moment, it sure has the same methods and interface as racism.