Tuesday, June 23, 2015

One Word (a different one)

The President will undoubtedly be castigated for (also in harsh vernacular) calling a spade a spade. But it is far past the moment for us to be polite about our prejudices. After enduring a seemingly endless series of racially motivated attacks, we have now been witness to the most heinous of crimes. It serves as vivid reminder of the horrors inflicted on blacks in the south more than a half century before.

By using the N word, the President was voicing the frustration and anger of a black man and of a leader of a country which has not moved nearly as far, or as fast, as his election would suggest. His words are intended to wake us to that reality, and not  let us continue to reside in that fictional place where hatred based on skin color is but a historical relic.

Politics is always about being cautious in one's statements. We have seen this play out in the days since the nine deaths at the church.  Republican leaders around the country test out the political temperature before dipping a toe into the water on the question of whether a state flag, which flies as symbol and reminder of our worst instincts, is to remain aloft.

President Obama, either by calculation or emotion, has exposed a wound which remains raw and ugly. The President is to be applauded for having the courage to speak a truth which can and should be called what it is. We must confront this problem head on, so that a half century from now the events of recent days are not still being repeated.

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