My Cat Has Trained Me Well

I have had a lot of cats in my life but it was not until my latest, Jinxie, that I found out that my cat has trained me to do her wishes.

That is Jinxie watching what I am doing on the Internet.  Whenever I get on the computer, it seems, she jumps up on my desk to see what I am doing.  She loves to walk back and forth in front on the computer screen while I am doing something.  I have no idea why, but she does it a lot.

One of the things I have always known about cats is that they have a lot of attitude.

This is Jinxie saying to me, “What do you want?  Why are you bothering me?”  She does this a lot, and yet, I never seem to learn.  Cats are really good about telling you when you are annoying them.  Have you ever tried holding a cat that does not want to be held?  You lose, big time!  You will be weeks getting over all the scratches they can inflict.

This is a “cat tree” I bought Jinxie, a place where she can look out onto the world and survey it all.  Note her slightly opened eye as I took this picture.  She was warning me not to bother her.  This happens to be her favorite place to sleep as well.

When I first got Jinxie I discovered a type of treat she really loves, chicken “Greenies.”  I thought, foolish me, that it would be a wonderful idea to keep some in my beside table so I could give her some, whenever.  Cats have an incredibly good sense of smell, excellent sight too.  She noted that I had the Greenies in my bedside table and would casually wake me up at 1 or 2 in the morning telling me to give her some treats.  I did.  It took my wife to point  out to me that I had no complaint about her waking me up as I had given her reason to do so.  I stopped giving them to her in the bedroom and decided she would get them exactly twice a day, first thing in the morning and 9PM with nothing in between.  There is one exception to that rule.  She gets treats immediately after I clip her claws for good behavior.

But here’s the thing.  Right before she is scheduled to get her treats, my cat is my best friend.  She cannot get enough of me, rubbing up against me, be right next to me, and so forth.  But once she has gotten her treats, she wants nothing to do with me!  I immediately become a pariah.

My idea of cats is that they should love being held and petted.  My cat’s idea is quite different.  She is not interested for more than 30 seconds in being held and petted.    She will fight to get away after 30 seconds or so.  But, once she has jumped down she might stop right there and camp out at my feet or at my side.  There is no way to tell when she will do this of course.  Jinxie loves people.  She just doesn’t want them touching her except on her terms.

My cat has a really cute way of saying she wants you to let go of her, she reaches out, always with her left paw, and ever so lightly taps me on my face.  That is always her signal and she always gets what she wants.  See what I mean about her having me trained.

It is ironic how a creature that weighs a mere 8 pounds has so much power over me!


Free Trade?

About 100 years ago American industrialists were able to get the U.S. Congress to wage heavy tariffs on most imports.  But with the advent of a world economy that sort of thing fell into disfavor.  People wanted to be able to buy things that were not produced in the U.S. at reasonable prices.  Additionally, the U.S. wanted to be able to sell goods in world markets without foreign government interference.   This worked until around 1980 when world markets redefined themselves.  It is also when Japan became a world leader in markets the U.S. had formerly dominated, electronics and automobiles.

For the American consumer, at least until now, that has been a good thing.  American companies who made inferior products to those produced in other countries, either had to step up or be put out of business.  We can see the result of American industrialists not meeting the challenge when Chrysler and General Motors would have gone belly up had it not been for a huge infusion of government funds.  GM shed a number of its cars, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Saturn, and Hummer, so that it could better focus its advancement of its other brands, and, at least at this point, they have done well.

The U.S. used to be the world’s largest exporter of steel but now imports much of its steel.  Why?  After World War II, America’s steel companies failed to modernize their plants, and foreign nations, such as Germany, were more efficient in the steel making process which in turn allowed them to produce cheaper steel.

Since the mid-1990s, however, a new economic power has entered many world markets, China.  Unlike other industrial nations, the Chinese government subsidizes their industry.  To wit, the U.S., the technological leader and until recently leading producer of electric generation through wind power, has suddenly fallen on hard times.  The heavily subsidized Chinese products are far less expensive than their U.S. counterparts.  This, I submit, is exactly where a heavy dose of tariff is called for.

But there are any number of very powerful U.S. corporate interests that would challenge such a tariff, complaining, maybe rightfully, that it would hinder their ability to sell their product on the Chinese market.  One such corporation is Ford Motor Company which has recently built its 7th plant in China.  They would almost definitely holler that any tariff would comprise a restriction of trade, and claim such to be illegal.

While I sympathize with Ford, I believe there has to be a compromise found to level the playing field.  Some will make the cry that this is a case of isolationism, proposing new tariffs.  But at some point it is the job of our government to protect U.S. corporate interests against unfair trade practices such as the Chinese are pursuing.  It is not reasonable to expect that the emerging renewable energy companies can even stay alive, let alone compete, when they are asked to go it alone against a government such as China.

A Few Things I Do Not Understand and Need Explained

Health Care Reform a.k.a. Obamacare — Under the new health care reform, millions of Americans will be sending many more millions of dollars to private insurance carriers to cover their health care costs.  How does a new revenue source for private companies hurt America?  How will it ruin our health care system, as claimed?

Reducing the Size of the Military — Democrats think we spend too much money at the Department of Defense and say a smaller military is the answer.  Why is it I do not feel equally as safe under that plan as I do now?  How does that improve our national defense posture?  Republicans claim it is just a leaner more efficient fighting force.  How?

Reducing Taxes — Mitt Romney says he will reduce taxes on the middle class by 20%.  How is that going to work considering our increasing national debt?  He has not proposed reducing the size of government which is where all that money goes.  This is like saying, “I can afford the monthly payments on my Rolls Royce even though I only earn $20,ooo a year.  Believe me!”

Pro-Choice vs. Pro-Life — Why are we still trying to legislate morality?

Death Penalty vs. None — In this case, why are “pro-lifers” in favor of killing people?  Isn’t that just a bit inconsistent?

Ending Federal Funding for Public Television — Is Sesame Street really just a liberal thing or do all children benefit from it?  What left-wing ideas are Antiques Road Show, Nova, American Experience, etc. promoting?

Subsidizing Oil Companies — Really?  How do you justify that?  I really don’t get it.

Subsidizing Corporate Owned Farms — Same as above, really?  I mean, really?

Government Ethics — Every non-politically appointed government employee must adhere to a strict code of ethics.  Why are politicians exempt?  In reality, should we not expect the Secretary of Defense to adhere more tightly to ethical behavior than his office manager, or his office manager’s secretary?

Public Education — Why do we expect our students in public schools to get the same level of education when the per student cost of education is four times higher in the private sector than the public?  How will vouchers fix that? (The average cost per student in the public schools is a little over $5000 while at a private school it is over $20,000)  How are our public schools repairable when we are not willing to pay for the level of education we want?

Regulating Wall Street — If Wall Streeters are a bunch of foxes, and we are the chickens, who is supposed to protect us from the foxes if there are no regulations and therefore no regulation enforcers?  Don’t foxes love to eat chickens?

Too Big to Fail — Republicans constantly avow free market ideals.  But is not one of those ideals allowing for corporate failure when the corporate entity becomes inefficient and/or corrupt?

The Liberal Press — If the liberal press is so powerful, so persuasive, how did Bush become President?  How does any Republican ever win in those states dominated by the liberal press?  Is it possible the “liberal press” is largely a myth?

Patriotism — Are Republicans and conservatives naturally more patriotic than Democrats and liberals, or is that just another myth?

Who Can Come to America — Imigration quotas, by nationality, were set in 1922 based on 1900 data.  Why are we still using that data to decide who can emigrate?

Feel free to add to this list.

Whose God Do You Believe In?

I think the most personal thing anyone has are his religious beliefs, his personal philosophy.  It is something that we humans have held dear since before recorded history.  We find it useful mainly because it gives meaning to our lives.  Even an avowed atheist has atheism as his core belief system.  It is a religion unto itself, and atheists have banded together, just like those who believe in a god, to profess their beliefs.  And that is exactly as things should be.  Every person has a right to his belief regardless of what anyone else thinks, regardless of how abhorrent some may think them.

Americans have an almost unhealthy pre-occupation with religion.  Too many spend countless hours trying to convince others of their religious wisdom, and their general righteousness.  To that end they become, to some degree, intolerant of religions other than their own.  Sadly, this intolerance, and ignorance, has hit an almost fever pitch with too many Americans when the subject of Islam is brought up, and the belief of Muslims.

I was brought up in the Roman Catholic religion and led to believe that it is the one right and true religion on Earth.  I have since learned, fortunately, that not only is that not true, but it is not even close to the truth.  But the autocratic method that the Catholic Church used in its doctrine did not allow for other religions to be in keeping with the teachings of Jesus Christ, or so they said.  That too, of course, is a bunch of bunk as I came to realize that the man named Jesus had in mind a reformed Jewish church and no designs of starting a new church.  In fact, those who had known him when they preached in the lands removed from Palestine simply referred to the beliefs that Jesus taught as being “the way.”  None even once thought of himself as a “Christian.”

Before Christianity there was Judaism, many Asian religions, and the religions of the first inhabitants of the Americas, the Inuit, the North American tribes, the Aztecs, Incas, and Mayans, to name a few.  Even those religions of pre-Christian times of the Egyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, and many others, all had a single highest god, with lesser gods all around.

Religions, even those that are regarded today as having been pagan, had loyal and devout followers, who, lacking other information, found their religion fulfilling.  They were good people who were generous, kind, good parents, good leaders and were so because of, or in spite of, whatever religion they practiced.

History teaches us that those who are in high political positions tend to be far less religious than they portend to be.  The best leaders recognize that their own personal religious beliefs will align only with a small minor of those over whom they govern, and because of that, they speak of religion in the most general of terms and seldom refer to their own religious upbringing.  They recognize that speaking in terms that the majority agrees with is their best way of controlling their population.  Good leaders have always known this.  Machiavelli wrote a book on it, “The  Prince.”

That brings me to the concept of God.  Everyone has a concept, usually and largely derived from their personal experience and upbringing.  The only question that needs to be asked is “Is your God the same God that Muslims pray to?”  And by extension, is your God the same God another other religion believes in?  For me, that necessarily has to be answered “yes!”

A number of years ago I was introduced to the concept of “the God of my misunderstanding.”  That is, it is impossible for me to define God, to thoroughly understand God, so I am bound to misunderstand God by definition.  That quite simply means that I am required to accept another person’s belief of God regardless of how contrary it is to my own.  But, that also relieves me from having to accept any person’s, or group’s, definition of God and how to follow God.  I do take the God of my father as my God even though I have absolutely no idea of how he saw God.  And since my father is dead, I have no way of ever knowing.  But my father is one of the finest human beings I have even known and so I desire to believe as he did.  He was a Unitarian by upbringing, but the only day I ever saw him in a church was when he was in his coffin the day he was buried.

I have one basic and simple request of everyone, please keep your religion out of my life.  I expect us to have differences, sometimes big differences.  But religion being what it is, I have no right to arrogantly insist that I am right or that you are wrong.  We Americans love to think of ourselves as a well-educated group of people.  But that has not stopped us from being ignorant of other religious beliefs, and in that, being intolerant.  I know for certain that the overwhelming majority of Americans have no idea of what Islam is all about, of what Muslims believe.  I include myself in that group.  But I am smart enough to recognize that the actions of an extremely small and militant group of people calling themselves Muslims, is hardly representative of the beliefs of Muslims in general.  To the contrary,  I think the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful good people who have no use for the violence proclaimed in the name of the God they pray to.  But that God is the same God the very conservative evangelical American Christian pray to.  It is the same God liberals believe in, that Jews believe in, and that probably any other monotheistic religion believes in.

My point is a simple one.  Do not let the defined God of any other person draw you into their fight, their beliefs, their misconceptions, without due research on your part.  You will find that your God resembles that of many other people, but in no way will that God be identical to any other person’s, by definition.

Education’s Biggest Problem: Getting Students to Learn, Teaching Them to Study

I am a pretty smart guy.  I have been told so my entire life even though I oft-times doubted it.  I did graduate from college, and then got a graduate degree from Harvard.  But, I did not even come close to achieving my potential.  The reasons for this belief are numerous but are rooted in my primary and secondary education.  At no time during those years was I ever taught how to study, and more importantly, how to deal with failure.

For the past five plus years I have been involved with primary grade school children.  They are expected to learn more, and at an earlier age, than I ever was.  But the most confounding problem for them, and the teachers, is getting any particular student to learn what is being offered.  A minority of student learn in spite of adverse situations and in the absence of being told how to study.  They, the fortunate few, will succeed regardless of circumstances.  But for most students, learning is an ongoing challenge but I contend that it is more of a challenge than need be.

Before I ever finished my junior year in public high school, I realized that any chance I had at getting into college meant I needed to change something.  To that end I convinced my parents to send me to a prep-school where distractions were minimized and I was able, mostly on my own, to gain the grades needed to get into not just any college, but a good college.  The problem was, and I found this out during my first semester in college, was I had absolutely no idea of how to study.

Studying is not natural.  Human beings have ingrained in them the natural desire to eat, sleep, and reproduce.  Everything else we humans need must be gained either via experience or education.  While experience is a fabulous teacher, saying we take experience as a teacher, our ability to study and learn something is neither natural nor guaranteed.  But proper studying need not be a trial and error sort of endeavour.  There are people who are well-versed in the art of study and its application.  The problem is, this knowledge is not being made available to our children, particular at early ages when it is the easiest to apply and practice.  In stead, children are largely left to their own devices.  A young person really has no idea of a successful way to study.

I remember in my young years often feeling overwhelmed by school assignments.  It was not unusual for me to either do them incompletely or not at all.  Too often I was so clueless of how to start that I gave up before I even tried.  Other times, I would have a study assignment of some sort and have no idea of how to retain what I was tasked to study.  By the time a test came I was frantic to do well and too often failed.

Studying is something that requires scheduling which is not natural to humans in general or to children in particular.  Within that there needs to be a plan.  The plan necessarily means breaking up an assignment into parts, completing it as best possible, and returning to the classroom with a list of written questions to bring back to the teacher.  But these ideas are not only not taught to students, they are not even hinted at.  This may be our public education system’s biggest failing.  The thing is, it can resolved easily and without a large insertion of time and money.  It simply needs to be added to every school’s curriculum in every year of a child’s education until he graduates from high school.

One thing every student is confronted with is fear, both of failure and of negative criticism.  A student who needs to ask a question does not do so because it is his belief that his question is “too dumb” or that his having to admit that he has absolutely no idea what a teacher means by what he is saying will be poorly received.  It is incumbant on schools systems to make the learning process as easy and comfortable as possible.  Inherent to that end is giving the student a written form of how to do things.  For example, the student does not understand what the teacher has been explaining.  On his written booklet is a highlighted question that deals with this exact problems and two, or more, ways to deal with such a problem; either the student makes the statement in the moment that he does not understand at all, or, goes up to the teacher immediately following the lesson and states his concern.  Buttressing this is the teacher reassuring the student from the beginning of the class year that such is the good and proper way to deal with problems.  Such problem solving becomes an education unto itself and enhances the education process.

Dealing with problems is something people experience their entire life.  But a healthy approach to dealing with problems is not a natural process but rather a learned thing.  Leaving such experience entirely to trial-and-error is both extremely inefficient and unnecessary.  Simply by teaching such principles at an early age helps every person with living successful and manageable lives.

Getting Sober In Your 20s

I have long thought about writing on this subject but have been reticent about “outing” myself.  But that has changed.  In January of this year, 2012, a young woman who I was friends with lost her battle with alcohol and prescription medication.   A little bit about her:  She was 31 years old at the time of her death.  I had known her for 3 years at that time and we had become close, closer than I even knew.  She came from a good family of substantial means.  She was a Yale graduate and a navy veteran.  She was tall, lean, well-liked, and by all outward appearances, in great health.  She was very athletic, able to run a marathon.  But in the end, all that was simply window dressing to a serious problem.

I have been a member of Alcoholics Anonymous for almost 14 years now.  I could easily have convinced myself that I did not have a problem with alcohol as I was never an everyday drinker, I had a job that I had held for a long time, and by all outward appearance, I was doing pretty well.  That just was not the case.  My inner turmoil was tremendous and had been that way since I was a teenager.  Whenever I felt an unpleasant emotion or unpleasant situation descending upon me, I would use alcohol at a means to blunt those feelings.  I also used the excuse of drinking to be “more socialable.”  And I really believed that was true!  But the truth was, I was failing to deal with my fears by covering them up which allowed me to do things that scared me.   That is, by any stretch of the imagination, not a healthy way to deal with problems.  In point of fact, it only serves to make the problems worse.

When I stopped drinking my only reason was to gain peace and sanity, neither of wich I had.  I did not believe I had an alcohol problem, but if the Alcoholics Anonymous program would help me with a legion of other problems I had, I would do it.  Fourteen years later I can say that regardless of what I believed all those years ago, my life today is fabulous because I made a commitment to stop drinking and to closely adhere to this 12-step program.   For as much as I hated life back then, I love it now.

My young friend who died early this year had a future as bright as anyone could want.  But I firmly believe she had some inner demons that kept dragging her down.  And within those demons was one in particular that told her that because she was so young and so healthy she could have another drink.  But that was the big lie.  For whatever reason, her last drink killed her.  And the truth is, it did not have to be that way.

I remember my 20s.  I was drinking hard and it never occurred to me that I either had a problem or that my drinking could have killed me.  It was not that I felt invincable, but that I refused to consider my actions as being all that dangerous to my own health and welfare.  Worse, it never occurred to me that it was having a hugely negative effect upon those people in my life, but it did.

I see young people coming into Alcoholics Anonymous all the time, as young as 17 I have seen.  It is extremely difficult for those people to believe that it would be best if they never took another drink.  Their concept of drinking is that it is something everyone does and that they are going to be just fine.  They cannot imagine being out with their friends who are drinking and not drinking themselves.  They are victims to peer pressure and their own faulty thinking.

Here is something to consider.  Have you ever made the statement, even to just yourself, that you need a drink or that you have to have a drink?  Most people would have to honestly answer that question with a “yes.”  The follow-up question necessarily has to be “why?”   Almost without exception, if a person is being entirely honest, the answer is going to come along the lines of having to deal with uncomfortable feelings or situations.  And then the honest person must ask themself how taking a drink is going to help that situation.  And the honest answer is, it will not!  The strong sober person deals with those feelings and situations head-on, without feeling it necessary to anaesthetizing themself.   They will actually view taking a drink as getting in the way of good progress.

Webster’s Dictionary defines sober as “straightforward: serious; plain or subdued; devoid of frivolity, exaggeration, or speculative imagination.”  I particularly like that last definition because it harkens unto “magical thinking.”  That is, the belief that if I take a drink I will somehow be better at something.   That, of course, is totally illogical, but that is also very common thinking.  Everyone does it but it is never right.

People in their 20s, the “Gen-Y” people, are prone to this magical thinking mostly because they lack the experience of life to tell them that the truth lies somewhere else.  It is not their fault.  It is just something every person must go through.  It is really easy for a person in their 20s to deny that they have any problem with alcohol because, as the thinking goes, they are too young to have such a problem.  That, of course, is pure b.s.  A problem drink is any drink that is taken in lieu of something else.

Anther thing, while people in their 20s and 30s may not believe they are immortal, they usually believe they have a lot of time in front of them and that they need not concern themselves with some of their immediate problems.  That somehow, those problems will work themselves out or that they will simply grow out of them or that they are just going through a phase.  All of this happens when anyone, regardless of age, is in denial about their root problems.

I feel certain my friend who died was in denial about her vulnerability to her problems with alcohol.  I think everyone uses denial at some time in their life, if not frequently, because a problem or situation feels overwhelming and that somehow, by denying the problem, it will eventually go away or fix itself.  From my own personal experience, I can tell you absolutely that this is just a big lie we tell ourselves. It is never ever true.

To those people who are in their 20s and 30s I ask that you consider if you have ever wondered if you have a drinking problem, or if it has ever been suggested that you might have one, that you take that extremely seriously.  Consider if a doctor suggested you might have skin cancer, would you ignore that in the hope that it would just go away?   Of course not!  Problem drinking is a medical problem in exactly the same way.  It is also, by definition, a spiritual problem.   I promise that those of you in your 20s and 30s, if you were to go to an alcoholics anonymous meeting you will not be in the presence of a bunch of old people who are one step removed from homelessness, although such people certainly attend such meetings.  In fact, you will find there is an entire portion of Alcoholics Anonymous devoted to young people that includes meetings that are mostly attended by young people.  There is a whole group of young people in Alcoholics Anonymous who refer to themselves as “never having had a legal drink,” and yet they have stayed away from alcohol for many years.

If you think you have a problem and want more information, feel free to contact me via email here, or, you can always find a central office of Alcoholics Anonymous listed in phone books and on the Internet regardless of where you live.

My hope in posting this it that it will give pause to young people to at least consider how they drink.  Even the slightest suspicion is worthy of attention.

Is America Ready For a Black President? Racism in America

Your first response might be, “where have you been for the past four years?”  I sincerely believe that Barrack Obama got elected because of a coalescing of the minority voter.  Obama was able to bring out many voters who may not have otherwise voted.  The question is, will those same voters come out again for him, or will he have to rely more heavily upon non-black America?   This whole paragraph reeks of racism.  Webster’s dictionary defines racism as, “1) The notion that one’s own ethnic stock is superior. 2) Prejudice or discrimination based on racism.”  To that end I assert that all humans are necessarily racist.  It is not a matter of choice, but of being a human being.  Fortunately, most of us manage to overcome our racist tendencies.

I grew up during the beginnings of the civil rights movement.  I was in the deep south when Martin Luther King was assassinated and was witness to the riots that followed.  The ensuing years saw major cities in the U.S. experience race riots which often times resulted in the burning of large portions of those cities.  For the most part, Americans accepted that the old racial policies were wrong and worked to make changes.  But here in the north, Boston, a more insidious form of racism existed.  It was a type of racism where white parents insured their children did not attend predominantly black schools, even if they were the closest schools.  Boston’s response to this problem was to bus black children to schools in white neighborhoods.  I was, of course, a huge failure.

Prior to 1980 the Democrat Party relied on what was called “The Solid South” to win presidential elections.  Since the Civil War the southern states voted almost as a block for whatever Democrat was running.  That all started to change with the Civil rights Act of 1964.   Southerners had used Jim Crow laws to circumvent the Constitution in assure blacks of their rights.  Worse, southern courts consistently upheld those laws.  Northern Democrats were behind the 1964 civil rights act, and this started a shift of from conservative southern Democrats to the Republican party.  While he was not a southern Democrat, Ronald Regan was head of the Democrat Party in 1960, and only shifted after the civil rights act.  While no one can say for certain why any one person switches party when they do, timing certainly seems to be telling.

In 1970 Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said of pornography, “I know it when I see it.”  I think that applies to racism as well.  The question is, is today’s Republican party racist?  I think the answer to that is: “no!”  But the hard question that has to be asked is: “Why is the Republican party unattractive to black America?”  I think the answer to that is, the perception of the average black person is that the Republican party will not work in their best interests.   Then you have to ask the average Republican his perception of the average black person.   I do not think for a second that the average conservative is overtly racist but that does not exempt them from racism.  The American population, according to the U.S. Census, is roughly 30% minority.  But minorities represent only about 12% of the U.S. Congress according to Scholastic Magazine.

How do I know that?  In 1968 I was sent by the army to receive my basic combat training at Fort Polk Louisiana.  While there, I encountered a large number of blacks for the first time in my life.  I had grown up in an entirely white Massachusetts town and only came into contacts with blacks when I spent my final two years of high school in New Jersey.   When Martin Luther King was assassinated I was of the belief that he was a subversive radical.  I cannot tell you exactly where I had gotten such an idea except to say that my perception was shaped by the society in which I lived.  That society was colored by FBI reports which gave a very negative view of Dr. King to white America.   That small amount of racism that existed in me is painful to me to this day.  But it also tells me of how easy it is to miss the racism in our own person.

Racism in America today is not only alive but thriving as witness laws in southwestern states that allow police officers to question the legal status of a person based on his color, his native language, or his heritage.  This shows me that Americans not only still allow racism, but are willing to make it somehow legally acceptable.  If the blatant use of racism is acceptable how far a stretch is it for much more subtle forms of racism to exist.

Madison Avenue is renowned for its ability to sell anything, ice to Eskimos for example.  They were so good at it that a law had to be passed that outlawed the use of subliminal messages in background music and other forms to get people to buy things.  But that law does not forbid the use of extremely subtle racist language to be used in advertising.  The selling of a president is all about advertising.

America does not want women in the senate, 51% of the population is represented in the U.S. Senate by 17% of its membership.  And although 30% of the U.S. population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, is of a minority race, only 12% of the U.S. Congress is a minority, according to Scholastic Magazine.

And so where, you ask, is the racism in this year’s presidential election.  The phrase “Obamacare” is absolutely racist.  While it was Obama who championed health-care reform, it took 535 members of Congress to pass it.  But what opponents of this reform have done is attach this black man’s idea to the negative connotation of welfare, and by extension, blacks on welfare.   It does not matter that the two are unrelated, those opposed have necessarily made a link.  At this point I quote Justice Stewart, “I know it when I see it.”  I see it, and it disgusts me.

Blacks are the original American minority, not of their chosing, but still.  We will at some future date have an Asian American run for president, an America who had parents born in India, born in Mexico, born in Iran.  We Americans really need to get used to the idea that people are going to run for public office who are Americans first but who happen to have a background based outside the United States, and that is the way it is supposed to be in a truly free and equal United States.