Take A Breath

Hell, take two.

And call me in the morning. Isn’t that what they say?

Maybe it’s two beers. Something like that.

Anyway, this article by E.J. Dionne has a promising title (Let’s End the Score Settling). I don’t often agree with Mr. Dionne, and I usually find it hard to keep reading whenever I run into the words equality and social justice in the same paragraph. But in my new (and perhaps all too temporary) incarnation as a voice of reason and mutual understanding, I read the whole article, keeping my breath slow and steady throughout and trying to keep my mind quiet. I tried (in Fran Lebowitz’s terms) to listen, instead of wait.

The problem with “teachable moments” is that the term sets up one group of people as teachers while another group is consigned to the role of pupils. In a democracy, that’s troublesome.

In the conflict between Henry Louis Gates Jr. and police Sgt. James Crowley over Gates’ arrest at his own home, all parties in the national conversation believe they should be the teachers. The theme is, “No, you listen to me!”

So, predictably, very little listening takes place.

Verdict on Dionne’s article: Much to disagree with, but overall there’s a lot of common ground. Let’s try to give everybody the benefit of the doubt on Gates-gate and just move on.

And now this article by Andrew McCarthy, which presents its own challenges for any would-be  peacemaker. It dispenses with the more extreme symptoms of BHO Birth Certificate Derangement Syndrome, but raises real questions concerning Barack Obama’s honesty and credibility. I wonder if many liberals will be able to read it all the way through, no matter how many breaths –or beers– they take.

The point has little to do with whether Obama was born in Hawaii. I’m quite confident that he was. The issue is: What is the true personal history of the man who has been sold to us based on nothing but his personal history? On that issue, Obama has demonstrated himself to be an unreliable source and, sadly, we can’t trust the media to get to the bottom of it. What’s wrong with saying, to a president who promised unprecedented “transparency”: Give us all the raw data and we’ll figure it out for ourselves?

McCarthy’s questions deserve a listen; those of the “birthers” probably do not. Still, I thought the WS Journal got a little carried away.

The birthers are likely to be with us for as long as Obama is president–and because of them, it is more likely that this will be for the next 7½ rather than just 3½ years.

Because of them? Hmm, I think there’s a little more to it than that.


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