Saturday, February 25, 2012

Warning: Birtherism On Steroids

Earlier this week, an Alaskan citizen filed a lawsuit challenging President Obama's legitimacy as a presidential candidate. Just read an article at Addicting Info about the lawsuit, Lawsuit Claims Obama Can't Be President Because He's Black. Seriously

Gordon Warren Epperly (bet you thought it was Sarah Palin) alleges in his complaint that Negroes and Mulattoes are not citizens, natural born or otherwise, and therefore Obama cannot legally be on the presidential ballot.

A little bit of knowledge leads to people making complete jackasses of themselves. The crux of this lawsuit is Epperly declares that the Negro race and the Mulatto race (and presumably anyone with any black ancestry) were not citizens and had no rights of citizenship until the adoption of the 14th amendment in 1868. 

That's accurate. In 1857, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Dred Scott v. Sanford that anyone with any African ancestry was not a citizen and had no rights of citizenship. However, the 14th amendment (ratified in 1868) essentially overturned Dred Scott (note that the civil war concluded in 1865). The 14th amendment was one of the Reconstruction amendments. Its Citizenship Clause provides a broad definition of citizenship that overruled the Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857) ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court  that held that blacks were not and could never be citizens of the United States.

Mr. Epperly notes in his complaint that as Barack Hussein Obama II is of the Mulatto race, his citizenship status is based on the 14th amendment. It's true that the 14th amendment conferred citizenship status on former slaves and their descendants. But then this nut job goes completely down the rabbit hole, declaring that the 14th amendment only grants "civil rights"and not "political rights." His brilliant conclusion is that President Obama has no political rights under the U.S. Constitution to hold any public office of the United States government.  (By the way, President Obama isn't a descendant of slaves. His mother is Caucasian and his father is African.)

I'm assuming that this means that anyone of the Negro or Mulatto race (he uses such quaint terminology) is ineligible for public office. Oops! Darn, perhaps white women aren't eligible for public office either. They were citizens but without complete rights of citizenship until the 19th amendment was passed in 1920. Did it grant civil rights or political rights?

Epperly's lawsuit is absurd and it will likely be dismissed without a hearing. His legal theories have no merit. I have become immune to most racism; it's difficult to muster much concern over the ravings of idiots with the intelligence of a pair of shoes. 

What does intrigue me is the persistence of racism and the refusal of America to honestly confront that racism and bigotry are as American as baseball and apple pie. there is this desire to pretend that the only reason there is any racism today is because black people won't let it go and keep playing the race card.

A very nice woman on Facebook who is a friend of a friend declared that she thought that there was nothing wrong with displaying the Confederate battle flag. She reasoned that it was about pride in ancestry and that we needed to let the past lie and move on. I agree except for me that means stop flaunting a flag that represents the subjugation and torture of millions of your fellow Americans for more than 350 years. Slavery was hell but Jim Crow was no improvement,and Jim Crow is part of my lifetime. It is my past and the past of millions of black Americans.

The animosity and disrespect shown this president have been unprecedented, as have been the attacks on the First Lady, and even his children. This dimwitted, ignorant variation on birtherism is grounded in racism. I could only shake my head at Epperly's use of the terms Negro race and Mulatto race. 

Epperly is a fool and a racist, and he would be laughable if he didn't have so much company.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day (Sort of)

(I'm tired of politics. It's a temporary fatigue; I can't stay out of the fray for long, but today I'm taking a break.)

It's Valentine's Day, the holiday that divides the haves from the have-nots--those with Valentines and those without.  The haves get chocolate and roses; I've heard rumor that some even get precious stones. The have-nots get a pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream, which we buy for ourselves. However, there is an up side--we don't have to share it with anyone.

I've had a valentine or two but lately I've hit a dry spell; you might call it a drought.  However, I don't think that I'm alone.

I listen to a lot of music. Sarah, my dear friend of more than 30 years, just told me when we were on vacation a few years ago that I sang to myself a lot. I was totally unaware of this. She didn't say if it was annoying or not.  I'm digressing.

One thing that I've noticed is that there are far more sad love songs than happy love songs. Think about it, how many songs do you hear where man and woman meet, fall in love, and live happily ever after? My guess is that these sad love songs are written by and for the have-nots. Love gone wrong is far more interesting than happily ever after.

Of course, a lot of folks don't really listen to the lyrics of songs and don't realize that most love songs are about love gone wrong.  A perfect example is on of my favorite songs by The Police, Every Breath You Take. Released in 1983, it became a staple at weddings! Somehow people interpreted it as a love song in spite of its creepy lyrics. It's a song about a man so obsessed with a woman that he's stalking her. I watched an interview with Sting who expressed his dismay that so many fans still think it's a love song.  Don't believe it's really about a stalker? Watch this video that includes the lyrics. (You can turn off the auto player, just look to the right of the page, find the music player and click on the pause (ll) button.)

Recently heard a song on the radio, Grenade, by that adorable young man, Bruno Mars. It's an example of the most pathetic of love gone wrong songs--the begging song. Basically the message is "I'll do anything for you if only you will love me." I liked the melody from the start but when he got to the chorus, I was totally hooked as Bruno sings, "I'd catch a grenade for you." Is this love? No, but it's certainly madness and he's so adorably cute. I've been in love before but I would really have to give some thought as to whether I would catch a grenade for someone. I don't like things that blow up.

Stalking and unrequited love are big topics in love songs, but my personal favorites are the leaving songs. There's just nothing that gets to me like a "you don't love me any more song," especially when the former lover has found somebody new and the rejected party is bravely going on. There are so many of these songs that it's hard to pick just one, but I'm currently enamored of Adele's lovely voice and her song Someone Like You fits the bill.

The ultimate sad love song, the ones that really make me shed tears into my ice cream (French Vanilla) are those in which one partner with a martyr complex leaves the other, convinced that its the best thing to do for the sake of the other person. How stupid can you get? You don't toss put a perfectly good lover just because you may ruin his or her life someday, especially when it's Kevin Costner. The late Whitney Houston did the definitive cover of the best self-sacrificing song ever, I Will Always Love You (written by Dolly Parton).

I could go on and on, there are thousands upon thousands of songs about love gone wrong which means that although you may be among those who don't have a valentine, you are not alone.  We're actually in the popular group. I'll leave you with a poem that I wrote a few years ago when someone broke my heart. It was a big deal at the time but tonight I'm having trouble remembering his name.

There Is Nothing Original In Suffering

For every poem about love fulfilled,
there are written
one hundred times one hundred of love forsaken.

For every promise of love forever,
Jove’s mirth fills the arch of heaven,
for it is written that love’s perjuries conjure laughter.

Abandoned lovers,
swaddled in denial,
believe aches of the heart
to be a solitary pain,
newly born to the betrayed.

And so poets,
knowing there is nothing original in the sufferings of the heart,
write one hundred times one hundred of hearts mangled,
blinding lovers to a knowledge
much sharper than love broken--
that it has all been done and will be done again.
   --Sheria Reid