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Racism: Its Obama’s Time ! Vol 60

December 12, 2014

If your easy chair gets harder to get out of every day, you must be a Boomer !

Having been away on a weeks vacation to our nearest communist neighbour, Cuba, I missed out on a lot of articles concerning how the planet was descending into complete chaos. Catching up on my emails, I see articles about ISIL destroying the Middle East, with Iran is playing hardball on the nuclear talks. Putin and Russia have instigated a new global nuclear threat by cancelling some treaties and moving ( or talking about moving ) atom bombs closer to their neighbours. The EU can’t get their economic house in order, fiddling while Britain talks about leaving the euro zone. Closer to home, Congress and the President talk about going nuclear over immigration, the streets are filled with racial demonstrations, and sexual assault is even destroying the reputations of institutions and individuals. I will never be able to look at Bill Cosby in the same way again !

So, are we accelerating down the path into Armageddon ? I completely disagree. Perhaps it was my week away from our 7/24/60/60 seconds media world, but things look pretty good, considering.

Yes, Putin is an ass, Iran a headache, Israel just wrong, China is slowing, and the EU a mess. Thankfully, a lower oil price will solve many of those issues, not right away, but soon enough. As humans, it is in our nature to conflict, and these are really small by comparison with what happened last century. So, the lesson ?

First, seeing Cuba close up was a real reminder that the young today, thanks to that all persuasive media, see what everyone else has, and they want it. The young in Iran, China, Ukraine, Mexico, and India realize that the world of their fathers is holding them back. Wait till Africa wakes up to the pleasures of consumption, and the world will change.

One side note here. There was a great article, which I can’t find or I would name the authors, concerning how the rest of the world can not have the same consumption the west has enjoyed for decades. There is just not enough food, iron ore, copper – the list is endless – to support all that need, irregardless of the effects of pollution. China is a living example. However, technology will deliver a better way going forward, and they will not duplicate the same wasteful path. The article’s conclusion concerned the search for the developing world to try to duplicate the West’s success, and while I agree with the logic, I disagree that the developing world needs to stop. They do not need to duplicate our expensive education system to get educated, or become as obese, or do the amount of drugs/alcohol our culture enjoys. My bet is that they will be smarter.

Secondly, one of my favourite axioms is that you get the human rights you can afford. A few generations ago, we could afford to expand the right to women to be educated, and thus to vote, after abolishing slavery in all its forms. Today, we are seeing the struggle for full equality, in race and sex, gather steam. This is a sign that we, as a society, have the energy and time to ponder these questions, and work on some solutions. This space could not have occurred or been allowed to occur, during the cold war. It is a sign of relative peace in our society, almost a milestone moment we should be celebrating.

Now, being an upper middle class white Boomer, I have some fear that the racial and sexual rights discussions are going to be painful. I like the way society treats me, and I worry that I am being blamed for my part in designing the current structure. So, as long as everyone acknowledges that we did a good job getting to this point in our culture to allow this next phase to play out, great. Blame me, and I will have some resistance !

Which leads to Obama. While I accept that he has to tread lightly, as he is the President of all the people, he is now perfectly situated to speak out on racial issues, and offer some solutions. He is not facing an election, he has the pulpit, his chances of getting anything else done with a Republican Congress is minimal, so why not let this be his legacy ? C’mon man, start a conversation, pull people together, frame the appropriate context for the discussion to occur in. Pull us out of Ferguson, New York, and the NFL, and into a national debate.

By the way, Blacks talk about how, unlike whites, they have to “have the police talk” with their kids. They make it sound like they are forced to educate their kids differently than whites or Latinos. That is dead wrong. I also had the police talk with my two daughters – always be respectful, say sir as they are the authority, obey their commands – if you disagree, we will let the lawyers work it out later. Don’t cover your face, hide your hands, or carry a fake gun ! Lose the emotion, they are just doing their jobs, which I pay them to do.

Obama needs to start listing solutions, as he is perfectly situated to explain them. Free birth control for teenagers to stop the poverty cycle, amnesty for minor drug offences to get people out of our prisons, diversity and training for our police, amending our legal sentencing procedures, all are controversial, but let’s start somewhere.

Imagine ISIL’s troops watching us have an open, frank, honest, civil discussion on our society’s issues ? It would have more of an impact than any cluster bomb.

Next on Boomers – WTF ! , why do love torture ?

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