The Tim Kreider Perspective

Tim Kreider’s perspective on ‘White People’ could be like ‘the’ awakening for America if we civilians in America and our elected politicians could somehow merge in our own minds the thought process that Mr. Kreider experienced during the article that he wrote about ‘white people’ and ‘White People’ with that of Chris Rock’s thought process when he commented that “I love black people but I hate n—-z”; and our politicians could then use that as a foundation to discuss and address America’s persistent racial problems.  This would work only if the majority of Americans, along with our politicians, could merge in our own minds the Tim Kreider and Chris Rock thought processes.  It would work even better if all Americans could do this.

While you are busy trying to figure out from that first paragraph what on God’s green earth I am talking about, I will go ahead and try to break things down into more simple, clear and understandable terms: but know that it had to be said initially in the way that it was in that first paragraph because the substance of Mr. Kreider’s and Mr. Rock’s thoughts is what constitutes the very fabric of this article.

If you unraveled the first paragraph; fine. But just in case there are some of you who did not, here is what I hope is a clearer version of it.  But in order for you to more easily understand where I am coming from (my perspective), you should (need to) first read the article that Tim Kreider wrote in The Week entitled ‘A letter to my fellow white people.’  Click on the link to read it.

Having said that, here is the, hopefully, clearer version of what was said in paragraph one of this article. Tim Kreider’s way of thinking on ‘white people’ versus ‘White People’ and the pride that he takes in being ‘white’ and being a part of that culture is wonderful and there is nothing wrong with it if all ‘white people’ feel that way.  I find what he said in his article to be both gratifying and intriguing at the same time.

I find it gratifying because I would hope that that is how all white people would feel. That is the way that black people feel.  We take a lot of pride in our culture and who we are.   And we have been working to express that pride and instill it into our children for years.  Sometimes I feel that those white people who are among those who advocate a flipside for white people of every holiday or event that recognizes black people are simply frightened and feeling that they are being left behind.

But this is not something that black people and white people need to fight about. It is something that needs to be discussed from both perspectives and amicably resolved.  In my opinion there is nothing wrong with white people having events and holidays that honor other white people if that is what they want to do.  As a matter of fact they do this already and have been doing it since the founding of our great nation.  The thing is that it should not be a point of contention where they do it to counter what black people are doing; whether they are doing it out of fear or anger doesn’t matter.  That is why the reasonable people need to have discourse around this and other divisive issues.

What white people might find it hard to understand and accept without experiencing that merging of the thought processes mentioned in paragraph one of this article is that, unlike with the history of white people, this kind of historical and open recognition of those that we as black Americans respect and hold in high esteem has been either very limited or totally missing in history books and conversations in the great halls of academia. It is also limited or missing when it comes to the education of America’s young people who will be future leaders and contributors to academia.  In essence, open acknowledgment of the productivity and contributions, other than by way of slavery, that black people have made to America in many aspects continues to be sorely lacking.

I find the comments in Tim Kreider’s article intriguing because I am captivated by how proudly that he talked about the things of white culture and was not afraid to laugh at those things that other cultures might find funny about white people; including one of the things about his people (their dancing) that black people regularly laugh about in our own circles. Yet many of us get angry when white people talk about how we have rhythm: we say that we get angry because of the context in which they talk about it.  In some cases this is true.  But many times it equates to the same kind of involuntary reflex experienced by those white people who fear that they are being forgotten about and they and the white culture are being left behind.

Tim Kreider’s article caused me to reflect once again on how I would like for people to be able accept other people as ‘just people’ regardless of the color of their skin; people who could then talk about white peoples’ quirky, flailing dance moves and laugh about it. At the same time and under the same circumstances, I would like for people to be able to talk about the rhythm of black people and their smooth moves and laugh about it without the concern that their comments might be misunderstood.

My take is that the way that Tim Kreider was thinking when he wrote his article ‘A letter to my fellow white people’ is the same way that Chris Rock was thinking when he commented that “I love black people but I hate n—-z.” I assume that Mr. Rock’s reference to n—-z equates to Mr. Kreider’s reference to ‘White People’.  It might seem to some of you that I am making a real stretch to equate Tim Kreider’s ‘White People’ label to Chris Rock’s n—-z label.  But remember, Chris Rock is a Comedian.

My point is that, obviously, all white people are not the same (i.e., Tim Kreider’s ‘white people’ and ‘White People’) and neither are all black people (i.e., Mr. Rock’s black people and n—-z). In other words – within both groups, some are reasonable and some are not reasonable.  The reasonable ones will listen to both perspectives, try to learn from the other’s perspective and then be open to discussion and reaching a solution through remedies that they collaborate on and craft.  The unreasonable ones will not listen, refuse to see things from any perspective other than their own and refuse to even entertain the thought that a solution exists other than to either eradicate their adversaries or completely reverse the existing circumstances.

I further assume that the unreasonable ones in each group are the ones that Tim Kreider refers to as ‘White People’ and those that Chris Rock refers to as n—-z. Tim Kreider’s article, through implication, made a quick comparison between his ‘White People’ and Chris Rock’s n—-z in order for him to make his point about ‘White People.’  Unreasonable people in both of these groups are going to do what they do; be unreasonable.  No matter how hard reasonable people try they may never be able to get unreasonable people to listen to rather than just hear the words of those with a different perspective let alone collaborate with them to craft a solution to problems.

While all that I have said in this article to try to provoke thoughtful discourse among adversaries on America’s divisive issues might amount to no more than wishful thinking on my part that is what will be needed if we are to even begin to effectively address the problem among the races in America. This racial animus is poignant and apparent between black people and white people.  Yet while it is less obvious among white people and other races, it permeates the entire melting pot of all races in America.

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line

Charles Koch: What’s His Angle?

Multibillionaire Charles Koch has to have an angle when he says that ‘It’s possible’ that Secretary Hillary Clinton would be a better president than a Republican. Although he only said “It’s possible”, that is likely unnerving for those running the Clinton campaign.  It has the sound of a backdoor endorsement of Secretary Clinton for president: he has to have an angle.  But what is it?

What is his angle? Is this some kind of reverse psychology that he is using to chase Democratic voters away from Secretary Clinton because the Republican elite have decided that a Republican candidate, whoever that might be, would stand a better chance in the general election against Senator Bernie Sanders than they would against Secretary Clinton?  Is that his angle?  Is it that he knows that any Democrat whose name is in anyway associated with the Koch brothers is diminished in the eyes of Democrats who support them and that this would deprive them of what might prove to be crucial votes that could make the difference in who ends up in the Oval Office?

What is going on here? He is a Koch.  Surly he cannot believe that Secretary Clinton would make a better president than a Republican.  And even if he did; surly, he would not say it aloud to anyone other than a bunch of other Republicans behind closed (and locked) doors.  He certainly would not purposely publicize it.  Yep, that’s got to be it: that’s his angle; he’s attempting the ole reverse psychology trick!

Perhaps I am being a bit melodramatic but this year’s presidential election is definitely different from any other that we have had in recent history in the way that it is playing out. Given the circumstances of elected Republicans and their leadership openly talking about a contested convention, the not so secret talk about replacing the remaining two Republican nominees with a Republican who did not even run for president if neither of them receives the requisite number of delegates to secure the nomination, the Republican base revolting against the party and the Republican Party precariously balancing on the edge of a complete meltdown this is an extremely important election.  This situation exacerbates the need for Republicans to siphon as many votes as possible from the Democratic nominee.

Things on the Democrats’ side of the race are better (right now) but they too have problems that they are trying to deal with and keep under control. Senator Sanders has remained in the race far beyond the length of time that anyone thought that he would be capable of and has the financial resources to continue running all the way to the Democratic convention.  That is creating a problem with the overall strategic plan of the Clinton campaign.  By now, they expected to be focusing their energy on defeating the Republican nominee.

President Obama’s legacy is on the line and Democrats are fighting to solidify it while Republicans are fighting to destroy it and in the event that they cannot completely destroy it, dilute it to the greatest extent possible. The centerpiece of the Republicans’ plan to destroy the president’s legacy is to repeal Obamacare.  The winner of the 2016 presidential race will play a major role in determining which one of these things will have the best chance of happening.

As voters, we must realize that there is a lot more at stake than the possible demise of the Republican Party or the legacy of President Obama. The ultimate outcome of both of these things is important but the future of America is the main thing that Americans should focus on.

Which of the candidates will choose the best path forward for our country? Which candidate is most likely to lead America forward based on who we really are as Americans?  It is important that we ask ourselves these and any other relevant questions before we cast our ballots for a candidate.  And when we do vote, we should vote for the candidate that we believe will choose the best path forward for our country whoever that candidate might be.

We should familiarize ourselves with the issues and the records of these candidates and then vote for or against them based on those things and not based on sound bites created specifically for the purpose of pandering for votes. If voters do that, then we do not need to even concern ourselves about whether or not Mr. Koch has an angle.  I think that he does but…

Whether you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent, the main thing that I want to do via this article is to encourage you to get involved in the 2016 election. And in November, be sure to get out and vote for your candidate.  In the meantime, to help assure that as many voters as possible participate in selecting the person who will lead our country, encourage your friends, acquaintances and others around you to vote.

The franchise is a precious thing that is important to all of us so let’s treat it that way. As you continue to educate yourselves on the issues and remain involved always remember, your vote is the most important one of all…unless you don’t use it.

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line

Reentry; Politicians Try To Be Themselves While Regularly Traversing Parallel Planes

From time-to-time politicians try to shed their politician persona and be real people; their real selves. But this is a daunting task for them because many of them have been politicians for so long and worn their politician persona on such a regular basis that it has in essence become their skin.  And because most of them are not snakes in the grass – notwithstanding the fact that the reputation that many politicians’ have earned would suggest otherwise, they cannot shed their skin.

Although inside themselves they might empathize with the everyday American and feel their pain, they cannot completely break free of the ever-present politics that exists between the haves and have nots. No matter how much they squirm and twist and turn they cannot shed their skin; they cannot break free of those mega financiers who contribute to their campaigns so that they can truly feel the pain of those of us who cannot afford to contribute anything at all or only between $5 – $50 dollars.

That’s the real problem right now and even if the majority of America’s politicians recognize this problem the great majority of them are virtually unable to react to it in any way that will fix it. It at least appears that Senator Bernie Sanders and Mr. Donald Trump are in a position to and willing to try.  Obviously Senator Sanders would have to be among those politicians who could shed their politician skin to do this but he has already proven, at least to some degree, that he can do so.  And that is why his message is resonating with voters.

Most politicians are openly pandering to the everyday American during this primary voting season while secretly pandering to big business and other big money constituents. They will likely do this same thing during the 2016 general election.  And, most politicians openly say that they intend to address the enormous wealth gap that exists between rich and everyday Americans.  The difference is that some of them want to address it slowly (whatever that means) and via an indirect approach while others want to attack it head-on and right away.

The bottom line is that it has to be addressed. And it has to be addressed in such a way that everyday Americans will recognize that it is being addressed and begin to feel the effects of that change, if not immediately, in a very short period of time.

It is understandable that there are many Americans who are angry and want to attack this wealth gap head-on and right away despite the political impact that it might have on individual politicians and the negative impact that it might have on how congress functions. If you disagree and believe that this is a haphazard statement with no basis in fact then take a few moments to reflect on the bailout of the big banks in October 2008 under The Troubled Asset Recovery Program (TARP).

Think about how these banks conducted themselves after they were infused with capital using taxpayer dollars. After they received this money from the federal government they refused to make loans to homeowners to prevent them from losing their homes.  Although it was not explicitly stated in their agreement with the government that they would help these beleaguered homeowners, the very nature of this loan implied that they would and there is no doubt that they understood this.

Now, since this financial crisis, the top ten biggest banks in America have grown larger and together hold about $10.1 trillion in assets. They are considered too big to fail because if they did fail, it would be catastrophic for the United States and perhaps even the world.  In light of how these banks conducted themselves during the financial crisis, can you even begin to imagine how powerful this must make those bankers feel who currently control the levers of power in these organizations?  Might they feel completely untouchable and perhaps even invincible?

When it comes to selecting a 2016 Democratic nominee for president it is easy to see why the previously mentioned angry Americans would land in the Bernie Sanders camp. He is the candidate that is adamant about sending a strong message to these big banks and other big money interests that their days of running America as they see fit and abusing everyday Americans at the pleasure of big banks and big money are over no matter their self-image of power and invincibility.

Since the beginning of the 2016 presidential race I have supported Secretary Hillary Clinton to become president because of her personal record and my strong belief that she has the best chance of winning the general election. I have no doubt that she would do everything that she possibly could in the overall best interest of America.

What I am not as sure about is whether she will do everything that she possibly can do in the interest of the everyday American. I do not believe that she would not do her best for the everyday American because she is not a good person, does not have a good heart and is dishonest.  She does not deserve the dishonest label that so many Americans have attached to her.

Secretary Clinton, as she has so often stated, has worked hard on key issues that affect all Americans and has fought hard to assure that all Americans are treated equally. My concern is not that some label her a corrupt, heartless politician who does not want to help the everyday American and is in politics simply because she wants to line her own pockets.  Obviously I do not agree with that assessment of her.  My concern is whether she is capable of shedding her politician skin so that she can completely experience the pain that everyday Americans feel which goes beyond that which her politician skin will allow.

Despite that concern, I still support Secretary Clinton and I still believe that she stands a better chance of winning the general election than does Senator Sanders. But the strength of that support has been steadily chipped away at by Senator Sanders’ compelling message.  I can see why so many Americans are inspired by his message and are supporting him.

Former President Clinton was wrong to belittle Senator Sanders by implying that he was peddling a cure-all message for everyday Americans’ problems that would involve simply shooting every third person on Wall Street. Senator Sanders’ message makes sense and, as previously stated, it resonates with a lot of Americans.  I happen to be one of them.

His message makes sense and resonates with everyday Americans because he is saying what we feel, have experienced everyday for years and still experience today. Powerful people, which by definition includes big banks and other big money interests, have proven time-and-time again that they do not respond in the affirmative to anything that they are requested to do, which they do not agree with unless that request is backed by power.

These same people and entities have demonstrated on numerous occasions that the label, ‘it’s always all about the money’, that they have long been tagged with is not a myth. Power seems to be all that they understand unequivocally and respond to with respect.  And a message thoroughly laced with the threat of the use of power if it is not respectfully received is the kind of message that Senator Sanders wants to send them.  He wants to send them a message that says in no uncertain terms to cut the bullls**t, stop fleecing everyday Americans and carry your fair share of America’s financial burden.  They will understand this.

Those associated with Secretary Clinton’s campaign should not be busy demeaning Senator Sanders by downplaying his message; instead, they should think about how and to what degree to incorporate that message into their own.

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line

Has America Been Duped? Adieu, democracy

Have we been duped by politicians for all of these years when they tell us that we are selecting our presidential nominees via primaries and caucuses and then later electing the one that the majority of Americans want to lead America forward? Politicians say no.

They tell us that each political party has long selected the nominee. What they do not tell us is that primary elections exist just to make voters think that we are making the selection, when in reality the party is, and that our selection will stand only if the nominee comes from a pool of candidates that that party feels is worth considering, is worthy to hold the office and stands the best chance of winning in the general election.

Party leaders do this by way of election rules that are so convoluted that very few of their party members understand them and likely many of those who think that they do, do not completely comprehend them. To make matters worse, party leaders by rule allow themselves to adjust these rules at anytime (in the event that the voters’ choice does not meet with their approval) in an effort to assure that a nominee who meets their approval is selected.

My criticism is not to say that this way of doing things is totally unacceptable because I believe that it was originally put into place to prevent voters who are passionate about our democratic system but have become angry and disillusioned by American politics from making kneejerk decisions that could put America on a path from which it might not be able to recover. But, instead, I point this problem out because our system can always be improved upon and we should always be seeking ways to do exactly that.  Times change and we should always be watchful and make real-time adjustments to our system to address that change.  If we do not, we will be run over by it.

Besides, I do not have the slightest inkling of a better system to replace the current one with that would address the nuances of preventing our country from traveling down an ill-fated path from which it might not be able to return while at the same time giving American voters the autonomy to select our leaders that each of us desires and demands.

My mind was jolted into reflecting on how the DNC and RNC handle the stewarding of America’s elections and recalling tidbits of things that I learned long ago about transactional and transformational management/leadership styles by an article that I read in The New York Times. The article was entitled How to Fix Politics and it was written by David Brooks.  Click on the title if you would like to read it.  Anyway, both transactional and transformational styles of management/leadership are needed; the challenge comes in knowing which style is needed and when it is needed.

At this point, American voters seem to be either completely disillusioned by or totally fed up with their party’s transactional management/leadership style of interacting with them. ‘Change’ is here and it is demanding to be recognized.  If it is not recognized then those who refuse to recognize it will be run over by it.

The Republican Party is the first party in America’s two-party system that has obviously been adversely affected and, as a result, invoked voters’ demand for change. This should come as no surprise to any of us since the Republican Party long ago hitched its fortune to extreme right-wing media like Fox News and many right-wing radio talk shows.

Although it has been the recipient of abundant political benefits as the result of this decision, the Republican Party is now fracturing under the strain of a populist rebellion whose roots can easily be traced to extreme right-wing media. This rebellion, if not properly handled, could bring about the demise of the party.  Even if it is effectively handled, at the least, it is likely to set back the party for years to come.

Democracy is messy. And since there seems to be no empirical rules that can be established to completely address all of the nuances that are a part of it and the change that it constantly generates; as voters, we must educate ourselves on politics at least to the point of gaining a general understanding of the power corridors that exist and how to leverage our power.  Since most Americans have neither the time nor desire to try to decipher democracy’s nuances and constant change to ensure that politicians do not abuse their power and dupe us, we should use our power to elect honorable politicians who will do that for us.  Even if we do this, there are no guarantees that things will become better.  But if we do not do it, the odds are very high in favor of things remaining the same or getting worse.

Our democracy requires constant nurturing and our democratic system requires constant monitoring and, when required, tweaking. In order to do these things all Americans must get involved and stay involved in keeping America strong and making it even better than it is now.  Those of us who are of voting age must not become frustrated with the system and give up.

We must instead continue to engage in American politics and make our voices heard while at the same time using our vote to put and keep politicians in office who possess good judgment and who will use that judgment to determine how, when, and for how long to use transactional management/leadership versus transformational management/leadership in interacting with all of their constituents including voters. And as each of us reflects on all of these things and ponder our civic responsibilities as voters, always remember, your vote is the most important one of all…unless you don’t use it!

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line

A Big Mistake, Republican Politicians Just Casing The Joint, Or A Covert Prelude To The Inside Politician?

This article was updated on 4/7/2016 at 12:20 AM to include a link to an article in The Washington Post entitled ‘The conservative gladiator from Kansas behind restrictive voting laws.’

Will the Republican Party and conservative leaders ever stop feigning their concern for and desire to protect the American people from what they spin as the lawless Democratic Party and its freedom-hating left-wing liberals? They continually do this by making one questionable statement after another to justify their obstructionist approach to governance.  They have done it since the time that President Obama was elected.

And they are relentless in their shameless efforts as they continue to make statements like the one by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell when, according to Fox News, he said that the senate would not meet with or hold hearings on President Obama’s SCOTUS nominee because “The president nominates. The Senate confirms.  The American people should have a voice, not this lame duck president out the door.  All we are doing is following the long-standing tradition of not fulfilling a nomination in the middle of a presidential year.”

Or what about the statement that was provoked when, according to an article in The Washington Post by Robert Barnes, Democratic senator Patrick Leahy said “when the Supreme Court is evenly split… it cannot effectively perform its function to serve the people.”? Based on that article, conservatives responded that a divided court is better than one with five left-leaning justices.

The article went on to say that Curt Levey who is the executive director of FreedomWorks Foundation said that “if President Obama were to succeed in shifting the Supreme court dramatically to the left, with the Senate confirmation or recess appointment of Merick Garland or any other liberal, the court would become a rubber stamp not just for the wishes of powerful labor unions, but also for virtually the entire progressive agenda.” That statement begs the question that since over the past 45 years the Supreme Court has had five conservative Justices, has it been a rubber stamp for the wishes of big business (case in point, the Citizens United ruling) and big money and also virtually the entire conservative agenda?  Or…

What about the response from the Republicans that, according to an article in the Associated Press, Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina gave when President Obama urged Senate Republicans to “give judge Garland the respect he has earned. Give him a hearing.  Give him an up-or-down vote.”  Senator Tillis who is a member of the Senate judiciary Committee said; “the president and Democratic leaders aren’t exactly thrilled with giving the American people a voice…, will they join us in doing our jobs on behalf of the American people?  Or will they instead seek to further divide our nation by turning the Supreme Court process into a blatantly partisan back and forth?  Are they going to resort to blocking and sabotaging important legislation and good-faith efforts to help the American people, all in the name of seeking to score cheap political points in an election year?”

What a masterful turnaround. What a great sleight of hand move: with flawless dexterity that, supposedly, will mesmerize voters and leave them clueless to the switch, hang all of your baggage around the necks of those who are exposing your faults and weaknesses and use it against them.  Wow (I’m rubber you’re glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you), how innovative!  That is, unless you are an adult who, somewhere around the first grade was either the victim of that move or witnessed someone else who was and then heard the infamous verbalization of it: I’m rubber you’re glue, whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you.

But many vintage Republican politicians have used this ploy for so long that it is all but impossible to discard it so they use it anyway. If it works, great.  And if it doesn’t, then they just pretend they never tried it and continue to press forward as if they never said any such thing.

What makes this endless verbalization of great concern to protect the American people and assure that they are not deprived of their constitutional rights so sad is that all the while that these politicians are doing this, they are at the same time working to make it harder for bona fide voters to vote. They do this at the pretense of protecting against voter fraud.  However, it has been proven many times over that this voter fraud that they are seeking to protect America against is all but nonexistent.

The Republican Party has been told that this is the case time-and-time again and that they are doing more to prevent legitimate voters from voting than they are to prevent fraudulent voters from casting a ballot. Yet, they continue to press forward.  It is therefore reasonable to assume that they are accomplishing exactly what they want to accomplish and that is to obstruct legitimate voters who want to vote.  Click here to read an article in The Washington Post by Sari Horwitz that supports this assumption.

A prime example of the kinds of problems that this obstructionist approach is creating was reflected in what happened in the recent Arizona primary election. There were long lines at many polling places and Arizona voters were angry and complained bitterly about the conditions that they were faced with during this election.

Maricopa County recorder Helen Purcell, who was in charge of running the election for Maricopa County, said that the situation was the result of a big mistake and apologized. She and other elected state officials said that this would not happen in November at the general elections.  At this point, about all that Arizonans can do is keep their fingers crossed and hope for the best.

This same kind of thing that happened in Arizona has the potential of happening in all of the states around the country with Republican held legislatures because they all appear to be falling in line in support of this item of the Republican agenda. It has already happened in some states during past elections and the strategy is gaining momentum.  Republican politicians and conservative leaders seem to view this as a win-win proposition as long as they can maintain their sleight of hand mojo.

So, is what happened in the recent Arizona primary election just a big mistake, or are Republican politicians just casing the joint, or is this a covert prelude to the inside politician who will set things up so that their Party will walk away with the White House and all of the goods in states throughout the country? It has the makings of a promising template… at least in the eyes of Republican elites and politicians.  Here’s to hoping that it does not work.

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line