Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – February 10, 2012

And now it is time for the Rick Santorum Show. However, is America really ready for the absolute moral code of Santorum’s Brave New World? Meanwhile that sound you hear is the beating of war drums warning of an overhyped and false danger. The only difference between now and ten years ago is one letter of the alphabet – now its Iran instead of Iraq. And sadly, when Ramarley Graham was killed in an encounter with the New York police, too many people only saw tragedy in that he was killed by the police.

Santorum and the Flying Pigs

At the beginning of this year the prospect of Rick Santorum becoming a leading Teapublican presidential candidate ranked right up there with the possibility of pigs flying. And now Rick Santorum soars through the air accompanied by his own personal flying pork escort.

Mr. Santorum seems to be the prime beneficiary of the conjoined ABM (Anybody But Mitt) and ABO (Anybody But Obama) movements. There is no other way to explain the meteoric rise of a failed United States Senator who was cast out of office by the highest percentage of any losing incumbent senator in modern history.

His message of fiscal austerity may be appealing to the right wing of the right wing. That is right up until the time when they find out that annual trillion dollar reductions in the federal budget will result in the loss or diminution of services that are a part of American life – the arts, the senior citizens, the children, the parks and the food supply will bear the brunt of the first tsunami of suffering.

Santorum’s morality message comes straight out of the Inquisition. He seriously tells women who have been raped that a resulting pregnancy should not be terminated and that a child that is the product of that rape is “a gift from God”. Presumably on the Planet Santorum the rape was the gift wrapping.

Santorum goes on to pledge to lead the charge to outlaw all forms of contraception. Don’t laugh at the idea of possession of a condom being a federal crime. Santorum and his supporters are serious.

As we watch Rick Santorum and his flying pig escort fly overhead we should all hustle to get an industrial strength umbrella. That won’t be rain that is falling.

Not Another War!

Historical reports indicate that immediately after the 9/11 attacks Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld started to campaign for a war against Iraq. When Secretary of State Colin Powell correctly pointed out that no ties between Iraq and the 9/11 debacle had been established he was summarily ignored. A year and a half later the United States entered the bloody morass that became the Iraq war over the next decade with close to 5000 dead American soldiers, over 200,000 dead Iraqi citizens and over a trillion dollars of war of unfunded war expenses.

Now, in a macabre version of “Groundhog Day” we are seeing the same scenario roll out again. Instead of fake reports of yellow cake uranium we are learning about Iran’s nuclear capability that has the “potential” to be weaponized. We are told that there are hidden plants, laboratories and factories that are creating a clear and present danger to the United States.

As diplomatic and financial pressure has been brought to bear, American chicken hawks (the ones that never fight but are always eager to send American troops into one military misadventure after another) are fluffing up their feathers to urge this country into yet another disaster. The prospect of a war against Iran is now “on the table” and almost daily we are hearing the same rhetoric that was used in the run up to the Iraq War.

If we do not learn from history we are doomed to repeat it.

Degrees of Death?

A little more than two weeks ago Ramarley Graham, a nineteen year old African American man from the Bronx was killed in an encounter with the police. The circumstances of his death are still under investigation but it is clear that he fled from the police, was chased into his house and was shot and killed during the ensuing struggle.

Understandably members of his family and is community, saddened by this most personal of tragedies, have expressed their grief and outrage at their loss. What is not so easy to understand is the hundreds of politicians, community leaders and residents who have been willing to march in the streets, demonstrate and demand “justice” for Mr. Graham.

It is not so easy to understand because this weekend more young black men will be killed by young black men than by all of the police in the United States. This weekend scores of young black men will be murdered, maimed and paralyzed and the Ku Klux Klan, Posse Comitatus and the Tea Party will have had nothing to do with it. The perpetrators will almost certainly be scores of young black men. It is not so easy to understand because the Ramarley Graham demonstrators stand silent in the face of the deluge of so-called “black on black” crime with the exception of a fleeting candlelight vigil.

A wrongful killing by the police is unacceptable and should be protested. A wrongful killing by a young black man is also hateful and wrong and should be protested. A death is a death.

Have a great weekend!

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