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The Editor's Corner by John Robertson, Ph.D.
I’ve been amazed at the volume and irrational words coming out of the mouths of folks who are supposed to be our
Congressional leaders at it related to immigration, the oil spill disaster, the terrorist threat and on and on. When verbalizations
get so bizarre, my clinical training gets me to thinking I better start looking for a diagnosis to deal with this irrationality. But
you know, it gets even more basic than that. As someone said earlier in the healthcare debate, there is a need for some “adult
supervision”. The problem is that I can’t find any adults who are in shape to “supervise”. It reminds me in some ways of
the novel, “Lord of the Flys”, where the weak are picked on and stigmatized. In the meanwhile, most of us are trying to keep
our heads above water and make it- a day at a time.
As Americans we’ve always espoused the notion of being an inclusive people as in” bring me you tired, your hungry”, etc.,
but often this ideal has fallen way short of the reality. So that while the founding fathers were drafting a document about all
men being created equal, most of them had slaves sweating in exploited labor and lives, to build the wealth of these white
men. Moving ahead two hundred years, there is a segment of America resisting change, in a frightened and frightening manner,
being frightened and responding illogically to situations, falling back on their concept of the Constitution, gun-toting, threats
of violence and outright racism to compensate for an imagined loss of privilege. Some would call this last statement pulling
the “race card’. I see it in a way a former supervisor of mine, Hugh Butts defined racism as pro-white, anti-black paranoia.
There is a resentment that someone “different” and oh dear, somewhat Black could take over the reins of this great country
and dare to propose changes that our previous leadership were blind, unwittingly or purposefully blind, to the society’s ill
that needed to be addressed. I don’t see the issue that pundits and politicians keep pounding in the news, that the American
people are “angry”. It smells to me more like fear. The fear and feeling of inadequacy that a mere upstart could have the
nerve to want such things as healthcare for the entire nation or education for the broad populus. How dare he! We can’t have
that! Its too expensive! Why he gave the banks and Wall Street all that TARP money, but nothing to small business or the
homeowner staring foreclosure in it face. I ask where was all this outrage when President Bush led us from a budget surplus
in 2000 to the largest budget deficit in our nation’s history?
And this so called anger, the feeling of inadequacy, is not just extended to Blacks, but is most virulent against Whites who
have the audacity to side with the “Obamination” or whoever they want to vilify. Much of this anger has come form segment
of the nation that sees America as their nation, not that of Black, Latinos, anyone “different” and who would like to see those
different from themselves merge into their version of America, taking on their American values.
However, the strength of America has been her diversity, that mix of colors, creeds, religions, genders and sexual preferences
that has allowed us to strive to become a “more perfect union”. We forget the revered Pilgrims of the Mayflower were the
unwanted, cast-offs and rejects of European society.
It is my hope that White America, the neo-cons, Teabaggers, bought politicians and militia mavens, remember that we went
through a terrible period of cultural paranoia in the 1950s McCarthy hearings. I hope that we give change – a chance and start
building up our country as Americans, not a Black against Whites or Red states against Blue states. I thought that’s what we
fought the civil war for nearly 150 years ago. Lets get it together America!