Hang on to your emotions, hang on to your emotions
When a demagogue inside your head has taken charge
And by default what you say or do is criticized
And this litany of failures is recited a thousand times
Being that this is indeed Sunday, I thought it time for the resurrection of Sunday Lou, especially seeing as how original articles on my site have been few and far between the past two months. The tone of Lou’s song, Hang on to Your Emotions, from his 1996 album Set the Twilight Reeling (one of my personal favorites in his extensive catalog) is very fitting for my various frustrations and insecurities as of late. Of course, it is not my intent to turn this site into my personal forum for the occasional introspective and esoteric examination of my life, though there ultimately will be a bit of that, but by and large, constructive and pragmatic critique of our Imperialist State is what sparks my intellectual passions. Part of my frustration stems from so many recent assaults on our freedom and our common sense by the forces of said Imperialism. So for today, Sunday Lou will be a manifestation of my quips regarding recent political deeds and doings.
Could it be you’ve never felt like that
That your mind’s a cage – inside the cage a cat
That spits and scratches all it can get at
And that’s you, and your emotions
Could it be you’ve never felt like that
Your mind’s a cage – inside the cage a rat
Rabidly trying to get it, you
And your emotions, you and your emotions
When your imagination has too much to say
When that facile voice inside your head says give your life away
You might think to ask – how it got that way
What books it has read – that make it that way
And where it got the right – to speak to anyone that way
Hold on to your emotions, hold on to your emotions (Reed)
The Sherrod Charade:
As anyone paying attention to the News Cycle knows, Shirley Sherrod lost her position at the U.S. Department of Agriculture over a snippet of a speech she gave — edited and released by Tea Party guru Andrew Breitbart — some time ago to members of the NAACP that made her appear to be insensitive to the plight of white farmers: A Racist!!
Considering many of my relatives make their living through farming (they happen to be white as well) and have to rely on the various subsidies through the USDA, I would be quite livid if they were denied fair treatment solely because of their race. Of course, this wasn’t entirely the case with Mrs. Sherrod as she would go on to explain in her speech — the part that mysteriously wasn’t released by Mr. Breitbart — that she realized that simply having blind disdain for a farmer simply because he was white made her no better than the white man who hates blacks simply because they are black. She overcame her irrational hate and actually befriended the farmer and his family and she became a better and more actualized person in the process.
This was a case study — through the personal story of Mrs. Sherrod — of the profound racial schisms that exist in this country and how every single person, regardless of skin color or ideology, is affected by our own misconceptions and lack of humanity and civility toward one another. The moral of the story was lost by the blind reaction of the propaganda and misinformation machine known as Mainstream Media (and yes, even so-called liberal outlets like MSNBC and others are included in that complex). Breitbart was justifiably vilified for doing what he does: distorting facts and reality to suit his ideological objectives. Fox News, as one can imagine, got in the act by doing what they do best and making the snippet of the speech headline material for their easily manipulated viewers. This in and of itself is nothing new nor newsworthy as most rational and objective individuals have long given up and bothering to care or even pay attentions to the crap that spews from Fox News and similar outlets of misinformation.
This whole incident was really a non-issue as anyone with a modicum of intelligence would dismiss the story all together or do some due diligence and find a copy of the entire speech and put it in its proper context to realize the poignancy of Mrs. Sherrod’s story. Of course, that would have been asking too much from Obama and his Cabinet as Shirley Sherrod was unceremoniously axed from her position because lord knows our first President of Color couldn’t bare being labeled a racist by an objective “News” organization like FOX.
It’s really surprising to me the blind reaction and ignorance by the Obama Administration as this was a golden opportunity to open up a deeper dialogue about race antagonism in this country. If anyone remembers way back to 2008 during the Primary battle between Obama and Hillary Clinton, Obama, under fire for his relationship with Reverend Wright, gave an eloquent speech here in Pennsylvania relating his own personal experiences with being a man of color and his quest for finding his own racial identity and that relationship with the greater themes of a long history of racial antagonisms and schisms in this country. Rather than being a rational and pragmatic leader, Obama cowered to the reactionary elements of blind political divisiveness and further marginalized his own unique history to use Mrs. Sherrod’s speech — her whole speech — and personal story as a “teachable moment.”
In a speech shortly after the incident, Obama addressed the Sherrod firing and accepted some responsibility for his shortsightedness “saying the affair was a ‘bogus controversy based on selective and deceiving excerpts of a speech’ which ‘led to her forced resignation.’ Obama added, that ‘many are to blame for the reaction and overreaction that followed these comments including my own administration.’” (Wagner; Politics Daily)
Just taking some blame for the incident was more than I could have hoped for given the President’s previous patterns of eluding accountability for instances of ineptitude that he had direct influence of. Yet the fact that he added “…many are to blame for the reaction and overreaction that followed these comments…,” shows a complete lack of credibility and understanding of pragmatism and accountability. No one was responsible for Shirley Sherrod’s firing except Obama who failed to use common sense and have the many hundreds, if not thousands, of employees at his disposal to actually find the entire speech and realize what a great opportunity it was for not only his administration, but for exacerbating a greater dialogue about race in America; and also the best opportunity he will get to show just how hideous and underhanded his harshest critics actually are. All President Obama accomplished was to give undue credibility, power and influence to Mr. Breitbart and FOX “News.”
Considering the propaganda published and reported by the far right media, President Obama would have had to have fired himself about a hundred times by this point if he had given the ultra-right-media the same respect — in regard to himself — as he gave them in the Sherrod fiasco.
I am constantly shouting from the mountaintops that President Obama is merely the latest in a long line of Puppets who do the bidding for the myriad of large multinational Corporations that dictate our Democracy and Legislation for their Imperialist/Moneyed interests. But in the case of Mrs. Sherrod, President Obama proved himself to be less than merely a puppet of corporatism, but now a “leader” lacking common sense — and a modicum of intelligence — who will bow down to the reactionary ignorance of propaganda machines that themselves exist only to divide us and perpetuate the blind hatred and intolerance of individuals, like our President, who have a wealth of experience to share based on their diverse cultural backgrounds. Rather than just viewing President Obama as a tool for Imperialist interests, I now put him in the category of the common “Uncle Tom” who is willing to sell out his own unique cultural heritage as well as “We the People” for his Corporate Masters.
Sing us away Lou:
When a night city’s breeze blows across the room
And a 5 am moon and sun start their swoon
You hear your lover’s breath
And not a moment too soon
You get to
Release all your emotions, you get to
Let go of your emotions, and now
Release all your emotions, you’d better
Let go of your emotions
Release, I wanna let go
I wanna release, now (Reed)