AN INTRODUCTION AND ANALYSIS
It’s not about being all things to all people.
It’s vastly more than that.
For several years, I have been writing socio-political and socio-cultural commentaries on a variety of issues and themes. Some have been controversial; some have garnered much disagreement from readers and viewers; conversely, some have garnered much approval. That’s how it should be: you can’t please all of the people all of the time, just some of the people some of the time.
For instance, take the O.J. Simpson case from 1994 to 1995. Simpson was known to most fans and casual observers as the great Heisman Trophy running back from USC who entered the world of sports broadcasting and movie acting after a stellar Hall of Fame NFL career. He was a household name, the most infamous public figure in a murder case since Fatty Arbuckle and Lizzie Borden.
Simpson’s case was a lesson in domestic violence, racial divides, affluent privileges, high-profile lawyering, Hollywood influences, interracial relationships, and so much more.
Those elements are basic components of the American culture to a large extent. Those elements affect the young and the old, regardless of race and gender. What’s that term: it’s microcosm. By the way, in that microcosm, the man is still guilty of double murder, regardless of the verdict in the criminal case. Just mentioning to set the record straight.
Therefore, as an editorial columnist-commentator, your job is that of an honest broker. In essence, your official service is not to necessarily tell people what to think, but to at least tell them what to think about. And to expand and expound on crucial issues through a critical lens.
We are living in such an expansive and evolving age.
So take note as we enter the following stream of consciousness:
Just check the White House where President Barack Obama resides. When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, who would have thought a black guy from Chicago, via Hawaii, would have this address: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., right by the Japanese cherry trees and Washington Monument. And with a progressive, black First Lady in Michelle Obama following in the footsteps of flamboyant predecessors Eleanor Roosevelt and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis.
Still, can the Obamas beat the Romneys (Mitt and Ann) come the first Tuesday in November? The unemployment rate will have much to say. It will be a huge, determining factor come this autumn. If ever there was a “pocketbook election,” this would be it.
With that, sometimes you feel as if you are going 100 mph all the time, day in and day out. When you finally find a moment’s worth of peace, you turn to the media for interpretation and analysis, usually from CNN, Fox News Channel or MSNBC.
The media, ultimately, are our filter. However, it’s ultimately up to us to discern the good, the bad, the ugly for ourselves . . .
And can we please find those weapons of mass destruction? No, I guess we never did — 11 years later in 2012 after we finally found a long-awaited exodus out of Iraq.
Furthermore, in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky-Penn State child-abuse scandal, the impetus is in place to alter the laws on such horrific crimes. Should child molestation perpetrators be treated like murderers — as in no statute of limitations. If not now, then when. As Dr. King said back in the 1960s, now is the time.
Nowadays, because of (1.) technological advancement and (2.) increased emphasis on ``talk,’’ mainly because of cable television, radio and the Internet, readers and viewers are seeking information about why and how? As in why does a certain element affect your daily life and how does it affect your daily life.
We are confronted with issues such as cloning. Do you want your child cloned? Or more personally, how about yourself? Or how about a famous person? Should we clone a Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky or Bill Gates, or do we dare say: the late Steve Jobs. His life affected millions around the world, as we saw in the international public display of mourning. Is it progress or is it macabre if this undertaking comes to fruition.
And what about genomics? We understand DNA better; the double helix is more than a couple of interwoven strands to most people by now. We can buy stock in companies such as Celera, which mapped the human genome.
What does all of this mean to the average American? Will it help in curing devastating diseases, assist in solving birth defects? Can it lessen our pain and sorrow, especially when dealing with a condition as traumatic and debilitating as Alzheimer’s disease.
We have a so-called digital divide; well, what about a genomic divide. Will this new technology also aid the poor, and not just the rich? Perhaps, we should follow the money trail.
Apparently, the sky’s the limit on this issue — negatively and positively.
No wonder former First Lady Nancy Reagan advocated this research. She obviously believed the research would be a godsend for those in a similar predicament as her late husband and former President Ronald Reagan, who suffered from Alzheimer’s.
Other issues to consider include racial profiling.
Is it necessarily anti-civil rights for police to detain someone based on race? Is race an element of probable cause? If a certain race or creed exhibits a predilection for a certain wrongful or unlawful behavior, then is it truly racial profiling?
Moreover, don’t we all utilize racial profiling to some extent every day anyway? Most Americans wouldn’t admit it, but I dare say many of us already profile those of Middle Eastern descent because of 9-1-1. Does the antenna suddenly zoom upward for American citizens at airports?
Summarily, in the wake of Sept. 11, perhaps we need racial profiling in some form. Needless to say, the debate continues following the terrorism attacks.
If you see someone who looks and dresses in a non-conformist vein, don’t we profile them. We, as in black folk, white, Hispanic, Arab, whatever. But, no, most of us wouldn’t dare say that in public, unlike noted news/political commentator Juan Williams.
And what about affirmative action? Is that racial profiling once you strip away the veneer? Are you profiling someone for a particular job or endeavor or pursuit with race as a criterion?
OK, you work in a corporate office. One day you suddenly realize that there are no Hispanic employees in the room. You, as the office management, say we need some Hispanic workers. You say we need to reflect the ratio and diversity of a given community landscape. Is that racial profiling, albeit in a more positive context.
What about individualism? If Joe Q. Public blows his $300 tax rebate, then that’s his business. If John Q. Public invests his money wisely, then also so be it.
Speaking of individualism, does a person have the right to father children he ostensibly can’t pay for or support, without fear of retribution or recrimination.
What do the taxpayers say? They are the ones who would foot the bill should the children end up on the welfare rolls. If the government is passing out welfare checks for illegitimate children, shouldn’t the government have a say in the procreation process, too?
Are we finally fed up with liars and cheats in public office? Or do we just accept anything-goes as long as our favorite politicians vote ``the right way’’ and make sure our trash is picked up and the street potholes are repaired (been to Washington D.C. after the infamous blizzards of 2009-10 lately?).
What about personal issues and perspectives? I consider myself a ``conservo-moderate,’’ which essentially means moderate on most social causes but conservative when the topic is fiscal responsibility. It also means a libertarian view when the topic is personal choice. As long as you’re not harming others, then we should exercise freedom of will.
Death penalty — Yes, we need it.
Affirmative action — Yes, we also need that.
Abortion —Yes, a woman should have the right to choose.
Social Security privatization — Yes, taxpayers should have that option especially in a less-than-vibrant economic climate.
Big tobacco lawsuits — There should be some kind of limitations; people do smoke on their own accord, their own volition. Addiction aside, it’s called freedom of choice (or will or maybe willpower).
Music — Some of it should be allowed; some should be disallowed. If some so-called music-makers say censorship encroaches upon their First Amendment sensibilities, then so be it. Hey, you can’t falsely scream ``Fire’’ in a crowded theater, either. Therefore, some music is so destructive and deleterious that it places many of our citizens — especially children — in harm’s way. Hear that, gangsta rappers, many of whom are hypocritical on this issue. Speaking of gangsta, have you heard that 50 Cent is a Republican, according to the Federal Election Commission. Who knew?
Yes, indeed, these are some issues to think about.
Just a few words from an honest broker.