Tag Archive | racism

Both sides in America’s great divide

I had promised myself I wasn’t going to spend money to see the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor fight. McGregor is a great mixed martial arts fighter and proud Irishman but a perpetual shit-talker who took the low road in promoting this fight. Floyd Mayweather is one of the best boxers the sport has ever produced but is a wife-beating jerk no sane person wants to make richer.

But some friends invited me to meet them for the fight and I enjoyed seeing Conor McGregor’s last fight with them, so I met up with them at Hooters of Farmingdale on Long Island.

There is no charming way you can tell your wife you are going to Hooters. I have disliked Hooters because I think if you want to go to a strip club you should man up and go to a strip club. Hooters wants to treat its waitresses like strippers but not pay them like strippers. But I wasn’t going to argue against a night out.

The great racial divide in America was easy to divine looking at the dining room of Hooters, which is a better place to take the pulse of the nation than The Palm Court at the Plaza. I think I saw two tables that were not racially homogenous. There was no bad blood that I saw. No one had any harsh words for anyone else, but the essential tribal nature of human life was on full display. Some of the white customers had t-shirts that read ‘Fook Mayweather,’ poking fun at McGregor’s Irish brogue while insulting the experienced boxer. When Mayweather won the fight, a black customer at a neighboring table stood on his chair to gloat.

America’s house is definitely divided, even the Hooters on Long Island. I was expecting there to be more quality fights in the parking lot than on the pay-per-view screen; likewise with the crowd at the fight in Las Vegas. It didn’t play out that way. There was no violence at the Hooters at the end of the night, just people settling their bills and going their separate ways.

We all like to think that we’re the open-minded exception to the pervasive divides of our time, but we all have an intrinsic need to draw our lines and take an accounting of our allies and enemies. You are forced to choose sides in life once fists start to fly, even if you are disgusted with the whole sham.

I certainly wanted McGregor to win. No self-respecting Irishman would root against him, no matter how obnoxious his pre-fight conduct was. But wanting him to win and expecting him to win are two different things, and the odds were such that I would happy if he lasted more than a few rounds.

After a long undercard and several helpings of wings and appetizers, it was time for the fight. McGregor went 10 rounds in his first ever professional boxing match with a fighter who is arguably one of the best ever. Mayweather came out of years of retirement to fight one of the best combat sports starts of today who is more than a decade younger. They both walked out of the ring with their heads held high, and rightfully so.

After the bout, both fighters were gracious and respectful. It was heartening to see these men be civil after spending months insulting one another. Then again, they had exploited America’s great racial divide to make millions of dollars on a fight that had no business taking place.

The crowd dispersed to either curse or celebrate the fortunes of their proxy combatants, but those fighters came away the big winners. And therein lies the more telling divide: the millionaires in that fight have more in common with each other than they do with anyone who shelled out for the pay-per-view. A foreigner who was on welfare five years ago and a black man who can barely read rode this race-baiting shit show all the way to the bank and had the last laugh on the rest of us. That’s the American way.

A Dog That Didn’t Hunt This Time

The most deplorable thing about the general election was the awful choices voters were handed. The wife of a former President and a shady real estate mogul best known for hosting a reality television show? There was no way the outcome could be anything less than embarrassing. Each candidate deserved to lose.

There’s not much negative about Donald Trump that he didn’t say himself. He refused to even read the news during his campaign, brushing aside the pleas of his staff that he prepare for debates or learn about the world he was asking to lead. He’s arrogant and vulgar and his life is a monument to bad taste and delusions of grandeur. He’s been wrong about almost everything. But he was right on illegal immigration and crime and America is so desperate for people to speak at least partially honestly on controversial topics that this paid big dividends at the polls.

Hillary Clinton is an intelligent person with political skills and a mastery of the law and public policy. While there’s no doubt she got to where she was in large part because she is a former first lady, she’d be a formidable candidate and no question the most qualified by experience on the ballot. No one doubted her intelligence or her skill. But her career has been marred by repeated short-sighted judgements based almost solely on political calculation. In the end Hillary Clinton outsmarted herself.

The Clinton campaign followed the conventional wisdom of American politics that says accusations of racism is the Kryptonite of Republican candidates. Anyone so shamed with that scarlet ‘R’ is supposed to meekly apologize for whatever infraction they’ve committed, and sulk off to political purgatory. Trump threw that political calculus out the window and if fortune smiles upon our republic it will be his enduring legacy.

Trump set the stage early with his stand against illegal immigration. It was considered radical and extreme because he delivered a speech with his usual bombast. But the Democrats’ year-long overreaction to Trump’s stand against illegal immigration was their biggest gift to him.

You can’t solve a problem by pretending it doesn’t exist or trying to demonize those who want to fix it, even if your opponent is an ignorant blowhard. Illegal immigration on the scale we have now suppresses wages, brings criminal aliens into the country, poses serious public health risks, and often places unfair burdens on state and local governments forced to provide higher levels of service for populations that pay little or no taxes. You would have to be a reclusive millionaire not to see first-hand some of the negative effects unchecked immigration has had on our country. Somehow the view from Trump Tower was better than that from Chappaqua.

[N.B.: The idea of building a wall to solve the immigration problem shows just how clueless Trump is. Many if not most illegal immigrants enter the U.S. legally and then overstay their visas and Mexican cartels have shown themselves extremely adept at digging tunnels.]

Instead of serious policy solutions to issues of immigration and crime, Democrats delivered pompous moral lectures and in doing so they helped hand the election to Donald Trump. While it was impossible to cast a vote for either candidate, it was fun watching the premature Clinton victory celebration dissolve into a weepy pity party.

But what Trump supporters will soon realize is that they’ve been sold a false bill of goods. Trump is no real populist, and he’s aligned himself with religious conservatives hostile to science. It’s good to no longer ignore realities that were verboten in American political discourse, but Trump has never been interested in helping working-class Americans before. He’s a snake oil salesman. His willingness to speak a few harsh truths somehow overshadowed his bulwark of lies and empty boasts.

But the game has been changed in at least one positive way: The valid concerns of working-class Americans can no longer be shunted to the nether regions of the Internet by smearing them as “racist.” That’s the silver lining of Trump’s victory; it may be the only one.

New York City Eats Activist Mayors for Black Brunch

It is frustrating to see gifted people throw away opportunities and waste their talents, and that’s the impression I get when I read about New York City’s current mayor, Bill de Blasio. Mayor de Blasio set out to be a more liberal Fiorello LaGuardia but may go down in history as the white David Dinkins.

Our mayor is in trouble because he’s pursuing a very liberal activist agenda and New York mayors never really get a mandate to pursue a liberal activist agenda.

The problem isn’t that New York City voters aren’t liberal, it’s that New York City is comfortable enough with its liberal political leanings that the large cultural issues that consume debate in the other parts of the country have long ago been settled here. Gay civil unions in the city started more than 20 years ago. In New York even the Republicans are all pro-choice. New York City’s gun laws are among the strictest in the nation (unconstitutionally so in my opinion).

So a liberal Democratic mayor who has big ambitions to make waves on social issues is largely going to be preaching to the converted and, more importantly, not focusing on actually running New York City.

Running the city takes the full attention of City Hall. New York City has a larger population than some states. The New York City Police Department is larger than some nations’ standing armies. There is a large public transit system that is at the mercy of the State of New York government, an enormous educational system and a multitude of public services and complexities that need constant management and planning.

When a mayor becomes enamored with causes beyond the very real world applications of running New York, they quickly lose their bearings and earn the city’s scorn. This is what has happened with Mayor de Blasio. While he was swept into office with high hopes and a lot of progressive promises, his attempts to be an activist mayor have left the city in need of a no-nonsense manager again.

Our more recent past mayors fell into this same trap. Rudolph Giuliani squandered his political capital on trying to position himself to run for higher office. Michael Bloomberg went off the rails trying to police our diets.

Mayor de Blasio seems to have done himself in on several fronts, but most importantly is that he appears willing to undo the work that Rudolph Giuliani did in cleaning up crime in New York. He voiced support with those protesting the police and let protesters shut down parts of the city. His treatment of the police has been so shoddy that cops turned their back on him en masse when officers were killed in Brooklyn by a #BlackLivesMatter-inspired madman.

This perception doesn’t entirely match reality. The crime statistics don’t say that New York is sliding into the crime-ridden morass of three or four decades ago. But de Blasio had already painted himself into a corner. He aligned himself early with activists who see racial bias in everything the police do; he doesn’t have the luxury of speaking truth to the activists who helped elect him. Not content to simply stop traffic in protesting the police, the #BlackLivesMatter movement started targeting diners in restaurants that they deemed “white spaces” in BlackBrunchNYC protests.

As a parent of girls whom I expect to enter the New York City public schools, de Blasio’s efforts to degrade the standards on gifted programs and elite high schools terrify me. The best defense for my girls’ future will happen in 2017 when we get a chance to make Bill de Blasio a one-term mayor.

Don’t Hate On Ching Chong Ding Dong

Ching Chong Ding DongThe latest target of the endless outrage fest perpetually playing out in social media is Stephen Colbert, who is an unlikely villain.

Colbert made himself a persona non grata when he decided to lampoon Daniel Snyder, the owner of the Washington Redskins football team. Snyder, who has come under increasing pressure to rename his team, announced that he was starting a foundation for Native Americans (a.k.a. American Indians, a.k.a. Original Americans, a.k.a. Redskins).

Colbert countered this by announcing the foundation of the “Ching Chong Ding Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.” Ching Chong Ding Dong is a minstrel-like Asian character Colbert performed on his show. It was obvious and over the top and top-notch comedy.

Colbert manages to make his point without going overboard or bludgeoning a point to death, usually. But the point was missed by a few folks. A #CancelColbert effort was launched via Twitter, and the effort made the news. Colbert’s act was satirical and if that’s very obvious from watching the bit. How someone can come away from that thinking he was trying to insult Asians is beyond me.

The piling on of opposition to the Washington Redskins is tired and has gotten silly. Colbert’s agitation, while correct to point out the desperate and pointless publicity efforts of the Redskins’ team owner, is another in the chorus of followers trying to out-lefty each other on the issue. Sure the Redskins team name is offensive to a lot of people, but complaining about offending Native Americans is pretty hollow coming from people who are living on their land. We’re not seeing offended non-American Indians heading back to their ancestral motherlands and signing over their property to needy Native Americans, so the hating on the sports teams that are so offensive is small potatoes, and late small potatoes at that.

But that’s not the point. Clearly Colbert is on the side of those who think the Redskins name is offensive and should be changed. He was comparing his effort to start a foundation in the name of an offensive character to Daniel Snyder’s efforts to help American Indians while defending a team name that many of them find offensive.

The effort to get Colbert canceled is a sign that “anti-racism” has hit a new low point of self-defeating fanaticism. Multiculturalists have gone so insane that they have started to cannibalize their own. If the liberal Colbert can be denounced as a racist, who can’t be?

The effort to get the Colbert Report canceled will fall flat on its face, but that people could honestly be offended by Ching Chong Ding Dong speaks more to the ills of our society than any antiquated team name.

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