Sunday, April 15, 2007

Did Al Sharpton Do America a Favor?

After having let the Don Imus story play out in the media for the past week and seeing just what is taking place I am now prepared to offer some commentary on the issues at hand. And I have to admit that now that raw emotion has cooled some, I have tempered my opinion a small degree and am able to see things in a clearer perspective.

Even though I am no fan of either censorship or Don Imus I don’t believe that the issue is as much a free speech issue as it is a corporate image issue. Should Imus have been fired over this matter? I don’t think that it was something worthy of termination. But since his former employer’s own the microphone, studio and license, then they were clearly within their right to fire Imus.

Don Imus did not have his right of free speech taken away since he can still go out on the street with megaphone in hand and spout the kind of racial intolerance which he has made a living at the past thirty plus years until the cows come home.

When society moves to curb speech and government begins to enforce the standards set by the majority, then that is where the real problem will begin. When a segment of society attempts to silence the voice of the opposition through fairness doctrines and threat of dismissal from the public airwaves due to political agenda that is where freedom begins to come under attack.

It is only by way of these constitutionally guaranteed freedoms that the nation and her people are able to hold the position of being the free people which we are. If we for even a moment allow the advance of any sort of attack on free speech then the silencing of even one American voice is cause for concern.

How then did Al Sharpton possibly do a favor for America as suggested by the titled of this article? It is because of people like Sharpton that we continue to test our legal and judicial system. And by pushing the issue he managed to set some important social gears into motion. Yes, gears which have, like the Tin Man of Oz, been in need of oil for a long time.

Certainly at some point this matter will move beyond the forums of the internet and broadcast news media. It shall move beyond the news rooms of the press and tabloid correspondent. It will move beyond the arena of talk radio, the venue of Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and even the sacred microphone of Michael Savage.

In time a matter of this gravity will be heard vibrating through the hallowed halls of Congress and eventually the Supreme Court of the United States of America. And it is exactly what must happen for if it doesn’t get dusted off and tested from time to time free speech might very well become a long forgotten memory.

Putting our protected rights to the test in the highest judicial forums in the land should not be seen as a threat to those rights but an affirmation that they still exist and are recognized by government as our birthright. It is only when the government is no longer willing or able to hear the voice of the people that the sacred memory and dreams of our founding fathers die.

Any forms of censorship resulting from the actions which have begun to snowball related to the Don Imus comments are things which clearly needed attending to for a long time. The constitutional perfect storm in development now is in fact a new beginning, a rebirth for America.

Don Imus, who spoke with much intolerance during his long radio career, whether out of a sense of twisted humor or true racial bigotry, is simply a vector that has lead to this moment in America’s accounting of its long and clearly divided racial history. His small indiscretion is the tipping point of something which has been brewing in the distance for far too long.

There have always been two Americas. That is wrong and perhaps it is now that things are beginning to change. Perhaps it is one of the rare moments that America is able to take inventory of what it believes.

Perhaps by toning down the racial volume we will be able to focus on just who the real enemy of America is and do something productive on that front. Could it be that by continuing to look down at certain segments of our community when that community has done nothing to deserve that derision we are not able to relate to each other as neighbors and to understand the wants and needs of our neighbor, recognizing that they are identical to our own needs.

Perhaps it is time to stop the hurtful things which divide us as people and work towards ways of improving the quality of life in all communities. Self censorship and self regulation are important words in America today. They take nothing away from us and yet quality of life is improved for all.

No child is hurt when young people are taught to respect elders. No individual is hurt when we all learn to respect women. And by that I refer not to some sort of twisting of things in that woman becomes goddess but rather I speak simply of the respect which would be shown a mother by child. Indeed, the respect that would be shown a sister by brother.

Our society is based on rules and laws which are written in order to maintain the peace and tranquility of the community. You cannot have freedom without the presence of some rules and laws. Without such standards upon which our founding documents are based, anarchy reigns. And our society in America today is not very far from the precipice of anarchy.

It is because of politically caustic and sometimes bombastic people like Al Sharpton who have the courage to make a stand on an issue that things change in America. As the pendulum swings both ways it is time that moderation in all things now begins to come back into the radar of social change.

Don Imus was challenged by an entire community. His employers made a decision basing that decision on finance. That is their right as an employer. But the Don Imus story represents just a small fraction of the real problem. And the focus of that problem is soon to come into the cross hairs of the media.

It is the hip hop recording and broadcast community, largely owned by corporate America and pushed on the youth of America by a small and borderline outlaw segment of the larger community of which Mr. Sharpton is a part, which has been responsible for the socially acceptable degradation of woman.

That I believe is soon to change. Just as vocal people are responsible for the removal of Don Imus those same people and joined by those of other communities are about to descend upon the hip hop community.

For Mr. Sharpton to have any credibility in this matter of respect of those he stands to defend, I fail to see how he can do anything less then to take a strong public vocal position against this segment of the community as a follow-up to the Imus affair.

I believe that the people who are responsible for that degradation of women and the degradation of the entire community are about to feel the wrath of the people. A firestorm of monumental proportion might have the potential of cleaning up America on a large scale.

It is all related to and tied together in a web of criminal intent. Gangsta’ rap leads our youth to a mentality of gang activity which includes gun violence and criminal drug activity.

After all, it was the Gansta’ Rappers who were responsible for popularizing the use of the words “nigga” and “hoe.” It is the hallmark of gangs to be lead by the dehumanizing women objectifying cultic personalities of gangstas’.

Hip Hop gangsta’ culture has tended to be from its inception a culture unto itself violent, profane and intolerant. It is a culture which views itself as superior to and above rule of law. Such a social subculture which is incapable by its very nature from living by socially acceptable norms cannot be permitted to exist for it is a cancer.

Don Imus is nothing as it relates to the problems faced by society today. He was nothing more than a small insect waiting to be crushed. It is the culture of the street thug which was responsible for the creation of the words which caused the downfall of Imus.

But now that the issue is front and center on the table it is time for the blowtorch of truth to be turned up. Any politician in this political season worth his or her salt will want to weigh in heavily in taking the lead on this holy crusade. Talk show hosts such as Hannity need to understand the issue in this light or risk finding themselves on the wrong side of the fence.

The fact is that gangs need to be shutdown in America. Their source of finance, guns and drugs need to be taken away from them because of their criminal intent. The forum needs to be shaped not on political content or political lines, but on what is best for the community.

There is a war abroad the outcome of which is questionable. But what we must be concerned with is what is happening to our country within the geographic confines of our very own boarders.

Al Sharpton by way of his political diatribes has set the ball in motion. Let us not look at this as someone else’s problem. Let us not judge the character or lack thereof of Al Sharpton. Let us use this unique moment in American history to right wrongs before those wrongs destroy not only the black community, but indeed destroy us all as a nation united.

Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007
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