Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Welcome to the club, Charles!

I've always thought that when I grow up, I want to be a writer like Charles Pierce. No one - but NO ONE - does a take-down better than he does. Todays match-up has him taking Dana Milbank to the matt. But Dana is just one in a long line of folks who are getting their bubbles burst for ridiculous notions about presidential leadership. When Pierce suggests that we're about to read a quote from "Maureen Dowd's Ye Old Shoppe of Daddy Issues," you know its best to just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Here's where Pierce gets to the point:
The country doesn't want a conversation on race, especially one led by the blah president whose simple legitimacy has been under assault since the moment his hand came off the Bible. The country doesn't want a conversation on race unless it is sure from the outset that white people will "win" it. The idea that the president could jump-start this conversation, let alone "give voice" to black people's complaints about (largely) white policemen who are killing them, and not be greeted with the shitstorm sharknado of all time, is so fantastical that it makes me wonder whether I even read Milbank correctly...We're not having a serious conversation about race because, as a nation, we're a bunch of chickenshits who aren't interested in being citizens ourselves, let alone extending that title to people whom we consider less than we are.
Pierce is one writer who never leaves you wondering exactly where he stands. That is a thing of beauty when he speaks the truth so clearly. Put it right alongside AG Holder's bold statement about America being a "nation of cowards" and you get the message.

Pierce's last line is a lead-in to an awareness he has recently had about President Obama's leadership style.
It didn't become clear to me until I heard the president accept his nomination for the second time. He referred to "the hard and necessary work of self-government." Put simply, in so many areas, the president is putting the responsibility of governing -- of Leadership (!)tm -- on us, which is where it should be. We shouldn't need a president to start a conversation on race. We should start it ourselves, in thousands of town halls and church basements and radio talk-shows. But, as a self-governing democracy, we are too cowardly to do it honestly, because it rubs up against the comfortable myth of American exceptionalism. We should make him do things, not the other way around. That's been the fundamental challenge of him from the outset. He's left the hard and necessary work of self-government to a country that simply is no longer up to the job.
Of course, I have been talking about the President's commitment to citizenship and partnership for a long time now...just not with the umph Pierce brings to the table. So...welcome to the club, Charles!!!

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