Ignoring the Monster in the Room Won’t Make ‘Frankenstorms’ Go Away

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The Big Picture/
By Glynn Wilson

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — I’m thinking of my friends in Eastern Seaboard states today who brace for a “Frankenstorm” over the next couple of days.

High pressure over Greenland is keeping Hurricane Sandy from veering out to sea while the first big cold front of the year moves down from Canada and rides the jet stream east, bringing snow and ice. If the combination of a hurricane and a nor’easter were not bad enough, a full moon is also driving Atlantic tides higher.

This storm is unusual and dangerous, coming at the tail end of hurricane season and beginning of winter storm season, “so it’s kind of taking something from both — part hurricane, part nor’easter, all trouble,” says Jeff Masters, director of the private service Weather Underground.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates that 60 million people will feel this Frankenstorm’s effects.

So baton down the hatches, my friends, and be safe.

Meanwhile the cold front is moving down South as well. Temperatures will be in the 30s at night in Alabamaland this week. Don’t forget to change the air filter in your heater and keep warm.

Don’t Forget to Vote Nov. 6

But the weather is not the only thing on my mind today as I sip the hot hazelnut and pet the dog. There are only nine days to go before the all important presidential election on Nov. 6.

While President Barack Obama had a commanding lead in the electoral college, most of the key swing states and was above the margin of error in the national popular public opinion polls a few weeks ago, the national media’s trumpeting of Massachusetts Mormon Mitt Romney’s slight victory in the first presidential debate has closed the gap and actually made the race closer.

It’s still not as close as they would have us believe, but with the prospect of computerized election theft, it is too close for comfort. So make plans now to show up at the polls and vote next Tuesday. Don’t forget.

Race Matters

If race did not matter in America, I submit that this race would not even be close. If Obama were white, he would be reelected in a landslide.

He ended the Iraq war and got Osama bin Laden, after all, and he has behaved with nothing but class as president and commander in chief. He began the process of rebuilding our economy and getting things moving again after the worst recession since the Great Depression.

It’s hard for me to believe that a majority of the American people really want to go back to do-nothing, laissez faire Republican economic policies that only favor big multi-national corporations and the very rich.

So to paraphrase Tina Turner, what’s race got to do with it?

Unfortunately, alot apparently.

The Army Corps of the Associate Press is reporting that 51 percent of Americans now express explicit racist attitudes, up from 48 percent just four years ago.

But they do not have an explanation for why. I do.

If you are old enough to recall what happened in the 1960s, when the national news media helped make racism socially unacceptable in the aftermath of the civil rights struggles when Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, you may recall how people stopped using the “n” word and many blacks got elected to office for the first time, even in Alabama and Mississippi. We were on an upward trajectory of racial harmony in this country. What happened?

Starting with Ronald Reagan’s campaign for president in 1980, a new kind of coded racism began to creep back into our politics — and the media let it happen.

It waned again in the 1990s, but it was kept alive by crazy, right-wing nut jobs on talk radio like Rush Limbaugh. Then along came Fox News, and by the time Karl Rove helped get George W. Bush into the White House, there was an entire cable television network where closet racists could turn to have their prejudices reinforced on a daily basis in the full light of day.

At the local level, the management at newspapers such as the Birmingham News never stood up for civil rights in the early days. But they got onboard the national bandwagon over time, until Fox News and Bush came along.

Moving back to my home town just a few years ago, I could not believe what I was seeing when the News spent two solid years shoring up its circulation base in the white flight suburbs by making fun of the black mayor of Birmingham on a daily basis, until they finally hounded him into prison. If the News wanted to find someone to blame for the poor economic plight of now bankrupt Jefferson County, perhaps they should have investigated the bankers. They not only talked Larry Langford into a massive balloon debt situation to build a new sewer system to prevent pollution of the area’s rivers, they also helped finance a shiny new building for the Birmingham News downtown. Not that they will report this on themselves, but the debt service on that new building has to be one of the main reasons the Newhouse corporation decided there was not enough profit in the daily newspaper anymore and decided to stop printing it every day.

Perhaps the business section staff should have been following stories about what the investment bankers did to Ireland and Greece, instead of running all those Alabama Power, BP and ExxonMobile press releases every day. They have now staked their entire future on the traffic they are going to get from the racist Republican blog commenters who have taken over their Website at al.com.

Somehow I don’t think that’s going to turn out well for them.

Since a majority of the population of Birmingham is not white and not racist, and there are a fair number of smart, educated people here who follow science and health news and such, a better economic strategy would have been to upscale their content and go after people who are actually interested in reading well written, factual reporting, not funny drivel that feeds the base desires of the ninth grade-level reading crowd.

If Romney wins reelection, they will be happy for a few months — until the economy collapses again just like it did under Bush.

Running against the government is no strategy for fixing government.

We Need Honest, Reasonable, Serious-Minded Leadership

As Judge Bob Vance told a room full of mostly white Democrats in Oxford the other day, we need “honest, reasonable, serious-minded people to serve as (our) representatives to do the job they were elected to do.”

I believe Barack Obama is such a man. I say he deserves another four years to finish the job. If working class whites would put aside their racism and vote in their own economic best interest, we might live to see a time of peace and prosperity in this country again.

But if Obama wins reelection, he better get to work on doing something about climate change due to human induced global warming. Otherwise we’re going to see more and more of these “Frankenstorms.”

Ignoring the monster in the room won’t make it go away.

© 2012 – 2015, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.

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