Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Politics of PC

Over the past few days, I’ve tried to sit back and take a look at the Imus “scandal” as a politician might, since we see some jumping in to weigh in on the situation. I find the whole thing part amusing and part disturbing. What I have concluded is these elected officials, especially the ones who have said anything about it, have no idea how to relate to the people. They are trying to figure out a way to make a statement and be as all inclusive as possible, so they don’t lose potential votes.

The People know how we feel about Imus. We all maintain our convictions, some of us think that it was wrong, good for him being fired, too bad for him being fired, everyone should say that, only black people can say that. I maintain it’s still all up for debate; however, we all stand by what we think. We have no problem identifying with ourselves or each other. We all want to talk about it. But the people we vote in office to represent us and make our laws have no idea what to say; they don’t know what it’s like being us.

Barack Obama thought what Imus said was bad (although he said it too late for some, but not soon enough for others), and that the whole negative culture was bad. Except for when he met with Ludacris, when that was put on hold, but after the meeting, his sentiment resumed (right?).,luda112906.article Hillary Clinton thought she could relate to her potential voters by running down there real quick-like and pandering to their feminine side. I’m willing to gamble she would have cared less had Imus hadn’t helped put them into the public eye, but it’s the thought that counts, and Hillary does now (also among Hillary's thoughts on this issue is while Don Imus can't speak freely, maybe Timbaland, the rap/hip-hop producer can.,0,4204774.story?coll=ny-uspolitics-headlines ). It’s a small shame that there are colleges all over the country achieving great things that Hillary won’t be able to celebrate. I am officially starting the rumor that she is going to Duke after this visit to promote social issues there, and invite the Lacrosse Players That Didn’t to be her guests. Maybe if enough people circulate it, she’ll do it. You know, she’s relating to us.

It worries me a small amount that censorship might be legislated. We don’t need another Fairness Doctrine, because who draws the line of what’s acceptable? A person may agree with my views, but certainly not 100%. We are all individuals, with our own opinions, and who may speak for one person may not speak for me. So where does the line get drawn, and who does the dividing? First its Imus, then could be hip hop, then comedians, then art, then what? And who decides?

And what of art? When you see hip hop “artists” talk about Imus, they say he can’t make the comments because he is white, and it's their art with their hearts and souls in it. It’s different when it’s part of their culture. The political correctness is astounding. It is totally biased, but the media doesn’t call them on it. The media let them have their say, and go on about promoting their defective and dysfunctional lifestyles. But Imus is a comedian, isn't that an art form? I know some really un-funny people. The few public black speakers to come out have been deemed Uncle Toms. Even most of the black community is outraged at the hypocrisy. Some are afraid that white people will get over their “white guilt” and grow resentment over black people’s privilege to say things and do things that white people can’t, because it’s deemed socially unacceptable. That further fuels the racial tension in this country.

The black community is still in their first stages of democracy. Most of us will live to see the first black president (which is no way is an endorsement for Obama). There are people who remember when schools were segregated. Their are more "firsts" to come. And I can’t understand why these things aren’t being talked about, but this negative light is shed and the racial tension grows.

I remember when Aerosmith did a video with Run DMC for MTV, “Walk This Way”. It was great with the song rapped and Aerosmith screaming the chorus line. It’s rather symbolic when you watch the video with them in two separate rooms and they break the wall down between them. I remember then rap being a fun thing, it was silly. Rap was helped along by Blondie, with Rapture in 1980. And that went away soon, and rap changed to this gangster mentality with crack, hos, guns, bitches. Bone Thugs N Harmony’s best song on the album was “First of the month”, talking about selling crack to people paying for it with their welfare checks.

People are sending death threats to Sharpton and Jackson. They want them to talk to MTV, VH1, BET, etc. and get rap off the air. They want to go after Tom Joyner, for the common bigoted remarks that are heard on his radio show. (couldn’t we just have labeled Imus a bigot and moved on?)

But they shouldn’t, as they shouldn’t have gone after Imus, because at the end of the day, who legislates our freedom to speak? I mean, we could live in Russia . Can you imagine Cindy Sheehan getting very far if our government were like that? I feel bad for them over there. I don’t want to see it like that over here. There is a time and place for everything. You can’t go yelling fire in a crowded theatre, everyone knows this. But censorship can be a very bad thing, and the power that goes along with making the rules can be very easily abused.

We’re better than this, as Americans. At the end of the day, it’s what we all have the privilege of sharing with each other. 9/11 showed us that we have the ability to pick ourselves up and move on. Our skin is thicker than this. 9/11 happened only more than five little years ago. Have we grown so soft between now and then?

John Kerry is considering another running for the president, but based on Global Warming (and nothing on this "scandal") and John McCain says he thinks people should be forgiven. We all know where Hillary and Barack stand on this, which is in the middle of "somehwere" and "nowhere". When the biggest issue for these politicians is how much money was raised for their campaigns in the first quarter, I think that is a clear view into where their priorities are. It scares me that the only politicians to weigh in on the issue are among the most polarizing ones. And since we all now know where they stand, based on your right to speak freely, which one will you be voting for?

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