“…I know all things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other. But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you from my mouth!”
– Holy Bible, New Living Translation: Book of Revelations 3:15-16
Emotions are powerful. Emotions coupled with people conferring on specific subjects multiply the force through strength of numbers. But emotion + conference + rhetoric create an almost irresistible sense of theater. Actors want the spotlight, they measure their steps onto the stage to assure they’re in the best light; they count their lines to assure their performance is memorable. They thrive on conflict and suspending the audience’s disbelief. It’s theater’s purpose: suspending disbelief.
That’s what’s happening with the diatribe offered by intellectual giants like Al Sharpton, Maxine Waters, Eugene Robinson and Clarence Page. The first two assure the world they’re in want of liberty and justice for all but spin on an axis of racial demagoguery assured to draw attention to them. It also masks the ever expanding bulges where their wallets are.
The other two are the benign but vocal elements sounding the clarion call to hear the prophets speak from the mount. They decry the lack of civility in open debate. They condemn the vile words and rhetoric offered as statements of prejudice, intolerance and separation of races and religio-ideologies. But they only decry those who speak against their principles. Are they so brilliant and we so stupid we can’t recognize the glory that is theirs and theirs alone? No, not really. They simply have platforms from which they can speak their “neither hot nor cold… lukewarm water”. Their concealed hate-speech has the measured, softening qualities asking for understanding of only their point of view. They see racists under every rock, hiding behind every shrub, lurking in the shadows waiting to drive us backward to a time of overseers and field-bosses cracking whips and lynching anything looks like it’s not from a particular branch of humanity’s family tree.
Maxine Waters can tell Tea Party members they can “go to hell”. That’s okay with Robinson and Page. Al Sharpton can accuse an entire police department and the associated legal structure supporting law enforcement, racists and bigots and xenophobes because heaven forbid Tawana Brawley would lie for personal attention and his profit. Sharpton’s and Water’s rhetoric and grandstanding did as much to negate the progress the races have endured as any Klansman.
So, are racists only Caucasian. Are the only hoods and sheets out there white; or is it possible there might be a few with floral prints, stripes and polka dots? Are the white dray horses the only ones pulling racism’s anger filled cart or could a brown ox pull it or a sorrel colored beast of burden or maybe even a zebra if trained properly?
It makes you wonder.
This vapid call for more civil speech is more than disingenuous: it’s an outright propagandist lie. Nobody remembers who threw the first verbal Molotov cocktail set fire to this structure we call media rhetoric, but whoever it was did us a favor. They opened the country’s eyes and forced people to discuss what’s going on.
That “neither hot nor cold…lukewarm water” has lulled the American public into believing all is right, okie-dokie and hunky-dory in the heartland. It isn’t. Like putting a sleeper’s hand in warm water, nothing good comes from it.
And, sitting around expecting people to not become upset when apparently partisan, “staged” government discourse is spoken (and the players turn their backs on those financing the actors on the stage) is outright stupid. We pay the admission to the performance. We expect and accept debate and a certain amount of conflict. But we expect a level playing field and a mid-game shift to get the benefits the other team had in the first half. Everybody expects equality just like minorities (of which I’m one) do. You call me names you get to be called names.
But nobody listens until the water either starts freezing or boiling. Nobody pays attention until it becomes uncomfortable.
Clarence and Eugene: either condemn all or condemn none. Pulitzers require integrity.
Thanks for listening.