Category Archives: Race Relations

Memos From My Spy Mission

Spy

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE – Moe Berg was a mediocre backup catcher in the big leagues for 15 seasons.

Yeah, so what, you might ask? What makes him any different than any other bullpen receiver with a .243 career average who can’t even crack the roster of the all-time Jewish baseball team?

It was peculiar, in the years leading up to World War II,  that teams of major league all-stars – featuring the likes of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig – would travel to Japan and a relative no-name like Berg would somehow be on the roster, only to wonder off on his own instead of hanging with the team.

There is, or was, a running joke about Berg. It went that he could speak X number of languages — five, seven or 12 — but couldn’t hit a curve ball in any of them.

Turns out, Berg – educated at Princeton and Columbia Law School — was doing some pre-war work as a spy, a role that he took on full-time during the war and served as fodder for several books and a 2018 movie titled “The Catcher Was a Spy” (the name of one of the better-known books).

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That’s quite a life, and has me longing for my own spy mission, which would be to be dropped behind enemy lines in the burgeoning Civil War for the soul of our nation.

Since we can almost script out the narcissistic speeches of your president (not mine), which are part Hitler Lite and part Rodney Dangerfield “I Can’t Get No Respect,” it’s not even interesting to me anymore.

And I’ve said all along, it’s not the entity that calls itself the president I have the real issue with anyway. It’s those who put him where he is, allowing this country to devolve into a riots in the streets and a pandemic that the administration was not out in front of from the jump.

My ongoing theory that the coalition that put your president (not mine) in position to stain the White House – beyond Russian hackers and staunch Republicans — were racists looking for payback after eight years of a biracial president, those who could not stomach the idea of a female president to the extent that that a womanizer and sexual abuser was the preferred option and people who are so ignorant that they are just so easily seduced by arrogance that they fall prey to the cult of personality?

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But, without proof, how would I know, right? I need to be a spy behind enemy lines. I need to be a fly on the wall while they talk amongst themselves.

The chance to get my Moe Berg on came recently when I finally accepted a repeated invite to join a Facebook group of backers of your president (not mine).

I’m not going to reveal the name of the group, as they have a strict “no trolling” policy (odd, since the person who kept inviting knows who I am and where I stand on this sad situation).

So, despite being tempted by the hour, I suppress my urges and stay quiet in the group.

But I take notes.

A lot of them.

In general, the posts are not overtly offensive. It’s a lot of the flag-waving bologna that they think makes them more patriotic because they dare not think outside the lines.

It is the responses in the comments below the posts that confirm how much venom these snakes have their bite.

I’m writing this on June 26, the first day of the Green Phase we are lucky enough to be in because of the work of a Democratic governor, around 1 p.m. There is a post about Joe Biden – who they call the “Biggest Idiot Democrats Ever Nominated” (the first letter of each word spells out Biden’s last name … rim shot) — coming to Pennsylvania and being greets by like three supporters of your president (not mine).

It prompted ingenious remarks like: “Time to send Sleepy Joe to a retirement home in Wilmington, he’s done enough damage to America for a lifetime.”

How so, I wonder? Didn’t say. You get a lot of that on there. More in the way of pronouncements than backing it up with factoids.

Another actually asked why Biden keeps coming to Pa (after they chide him for staying in the basement, even though their immortal beloved hid in a bunker), when it’s obvious that both candidates are going set up shop in all swing states.

The response from the page administrator was “because they are trying to tell the rest of the country that battleground PA loves Biden … And WE all know that just ain’t the facts!”

Actually, page administrator, a poll released 24 hours earlier showed Biden with a semi-healthy lead in Pennsylvania. But, well, I guess that is nullified – or reduced to “fake news” – by using ALL CAPS.

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Then there was a “Keep America Great” meme for the 2020 reelection bid. It had two American flags crossed, almost fascist style, and this quote from your president (not mine): “I don’t have time for political correctness and neither does this country.”

That prompted a high number of “likes” and “loves” and this gem of a comment: “One of my many reasons (why) I voted for him. You fix anything without seeing it and correcting it for what it is.”

Wait, what?

Next was a picture of Hillary Clinton with photo-shopped dreadlocks that said she was the new name and face of Quaker Pancakes and Syrups and it called her “Aunt JaPresident.”

Yeah, we’re in the rabbit hole now.

Break out the white sheets.

It gets worse.

The memes aimed at Carly Fiorina for saying she was going to vote Biden (“Mitt Romney in a dress”), Jerrold Nadler (“he justs want to hold subpenis”), Bubba Wallace (“a race CARD driver”)  and Colin Kapernick (“don’t mess with Betsy Ross”), in which his Afro was particularly wild.

There is a meme of two lesbians reading: “Let me guess … (He) is not your president.”

There is a meme with a quote from a recent tweet from your president (not mine) saying: “Republicans are the party of LIBERTY, EQUALITY and JUSTICE for ALL. We are the party of Abraham Lincoln and the party of LAW AND ORDER!”

Again, with the CAPITAL LETTERS – equating to someone thinking yelling makes them right – and again with the twisting and turning of the Abraham Lincoln nonsense when Lincoln would crawl out of his grave just to vomit at the way his name is being used.

Of course, the page administrator commented: “YES, we are!”

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There is an oddly cropped picture of Derek Chauvin that goes from the waist up, not showing his knee on George Floyd’s neck, and a reminder than he was a Democrat in a city run by Democrats (like most cities).

There is another cropping out the crazy hair of your president (not mine) and photo-shopping up his face enough to make him look semi-human.

Lastly, there was a video clip of a black man decking a young white (or Asian woman) female. The accusation that it was for not kneeling at a protest, but the grainy video was inaudible and she was wearing what looked like a winter coat (suggesting it wasn’t from the recent spate of protests). You never ever hit a female. I get that, but they can’t say 99 percent of all cops are good and not acknowledge that the vast majority of black men wouldn’t act this way, either?

And these comments … wow!

I could report them, and have the page taken down, but that would blow my cover.

Here are a few lowlights (poor punctuation — and profanity — left in, destroying my editor’s instincts) in this give and take:

-Poster A: “That my friends is a nigger. Say what you want.”

-Poster B: “At last someone with the balls to say it!!!They need fuckin’ destroyed before they ruin the country.”

-Poster A: “These dumb fucks need a history lesson. Slavery didn’t start here it ended up here and there are more rights for blacks in this country than whites the problem is they want everything for free and to play the race card because that’s what the Democratic Party has been feeding them since the late 30’s”

-Poster B: AMEN!! And the more we allow them to play the race card and get shit for free the more the problem gets perpetual motion in the action of bringing this country to its knees.”

And there was more, proving that Facebook’s Faux battle with hate speech can only be effective without a colonoscopy with the pages supporting your president (not mine).

Examples:

“Give them their own state! In 5 years they will kill each other and then take the state back!”

“Start shooting their asses”

“put that stray dog down … he won’t be missed”

“I don’t wanna say what I’d do to that POS!!!!!!”

“It coming people. Wake up fast! Notice most of them pick on women and old people.”

“That’s what they do folks. Wake up out there.”

“Again I’m asking that someone PLEASE send me a video of a bunch of white kids beating on a black kid!!! I don’t know if they just don’t video it or it doesn’t happen?? I know I have seen a dozen of these videos. I think I’m questioning who the real racists are!!!”

“String him up!”

Yep, here I am, behind enemy lines. It’s a dirty business. I can see why Berg turned down a Medal of Freedom after the war. He probably just wanted to take a shower and forget it ever happened.

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Political Food Poisoning

Food poisoning

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE – Starved for some cerebral sustenance, I found a show on Hulu called “The Food That Built America” that wove American history with the stories of the innovators that brought much of what we take for granted today – Coke, ketchup, chocolate, cereal, KFC, McDonald’s, etc. – into what we eat without a second thought.

As fascinating as it was, I almost didn’t get beyond the first 5-10 minutes because I was nearly nauseated watching how rancid meat was sold on the streets of yore, causing all sorts of disease.

The thing with red meat is that when it no longer stays red once it goes bad. Instead, it turns this grotesque green or greenish brown, and develops a smell that almost hit me through the television screen.

I couldn’t help but think of this when the entity that calls itself your president (not mine) defied the medical experts and attempted to hold one of his Hitleresque rallies in Tulsa.

The state of Oklahoma is one of those seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases, but the plans went forward. The rally was originally slated for the same day Juneteenth, and in the city where a massacre of a black neighborhood took place in 1921.

Moved back a whole day (eye roll), with all the arrogance your president (not mine) can muster, the rally went forward.

But the steady diet of red meat thrown the crowd, the size of which fell short of predictions, was more of the spoiled variety.

It was no longer red, and it aroma made normal person sick to his or her stomach.

Moreover, the sparse crowd was asked to wash it down with water that would make that of Flint, Michigan taste like Poland Spring.

There was no mention of the murder of George Floyd under the knee of a policeman in Minneapolis. The media was blamed for the lower-than-expected turnout, as were left-wing “radicals” in the streets (so-called far-right nutsies were out there, too, but didn’t seem to have the cojones to do more than tote their weaponry and flex).

Inside, the blame game was played. The me-first diatribe included blaming the surge in COVID-19 cases, oddly happening in mostly red states, on … too much testing.

Acting like a third-grader on the short bus, your president (not mine) referred to the scourge that has already claimed more than 100,000 American lives as “Kung Flu” (yes, it started China, but there was time to prepare).

The red meat gone bad came in such gems as suggesting a one-year prison sentence for burning the American flag, which means it is seen as an act of treachery.

Oddly, your president (not mine) offered a contradictory stance on taking down statues of Confederate generals – or changing the names of Military bases named for them – as those generals. Those were all traitors as well, and took it one step beyond burning the flag, as they raised one of their own in battle and your president (not mine) sees no problem with these flags still being some sort of twisted part of American heritage.

Maybe there is sentimentality here. Maybe your president (not mine) was stationed at Fort Benedict Arnold. Never mind. Never got that far. Pres. Fake Bone Spurs never served anywhere, a fact that seems lost on his sycophants.

While the kickoff to his campaign was a kick in his ass, let’s stay measured here.

While it is all encouraging, I can’t get too excited about it.

We’ve dug this grave before, but no corpse was in the coffin.

The media, the same media that was guilty in the way the 2016 election went down by readily supplying more free coverage than Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders combined. It was likely because it was seen as a detour from sanity – as a mere 15 minutes of national shame – and they wanted to be there to record every hateful word that was uttered for posterity.

What was underestimated was how a good portion of white America feeds on the steady diet of red meat being served.

Resentment built at the election of Barack Obama in 2008 – revealing itself in a drastic rise in militia groups, the Tea Party and the Birther movement that your president (not mine) bankrolled – and exploded like an atom bomb.

We are still dealing with the fallout, with the nuclear winter.

And followers are left with no other option but to consume grotesque food and poison themselves.

Sad.

DonaldTrumpRallyTulsa

 

Lesson Learned While Cutting School

Police patrol, stop sign

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE – Senior Cut Day?

It was too good to be true.

Cutting class, and school, was such a perfected specialty of mine that other kids at Northeast High would come to me for advice on how to pull off their own daring escapes, whether they be inside or outside the building (and how and where they could best go undetected – like the underground railroad – once they made it).

I don’t remember the reason why the day existed in late May of 1983. I’m taking an educated guess it was the same day as the Senior Prom, but that fete was only for the 150-200 rich and famous of the 1,000 kids in my class, so it was a free pass for everyone else.

You didn’t need to tell us twice.

A free pass? Took some of the fun out of it, but let’s drive around a crank up the Def Leppard.

Def Leppard

We even convinced a black friend of ours dating back to grade school to also cut and drive around with no particular place to go or be.

Somehow, we ended up outside the mega-sized movie theater (in a senior moment here, I’m blanking on the name) that used to be in the far Northeast – an area that was then a bit more, uh, less colorful – than the lower northeast.

The lines were forming outside for the third of the Star Wars movies – Return of the Jedi, or some such nonsense – well before the first matinee. In those lines, were plenty of minors who should have been in school. Some smaller kids were with adults. The teens, though, were in groups.

It was a school day, and there was a police presence, but the police were clearly looking the other way on truancy.

Except when a patrol car pulled up alongside my beat-up 1974 Chevy Malibu and in the parking lot across the street. I tried to pretend it wasn’t there, but the officer’s glare spoke volumes. Three white kids with one black kid? In that part of the city, at that time of day?

Clearly, if we weren’t already guilty of the crime of the century, we were planning it.

I’m not going to bend the truth and say what came next was a case of brutality, but the following interrogation bordered on harassment. Abuse? No. Abuse of power? Absolutely.

I can’t help but think that the whole thing would have unfolded differently had our black friend, with ID revealing an address in North Philly, had not been in the backseat.

Racial profiling, anyone?

The officer probably suspected he was our dealer when, in reality, he was more “straight” with the use of illegal substances than any of us. He also needed the most convincing about hanging with us that, and was shaky about going into unfamiliar terrain.

Given all that is coming out in the open about the two Americas and the way they are policed, we were lucky to walk away — in era where the shadow of former police commissioner and mayor Frank Rizzo (below) loomed large — with a stern warning.

Rizzo

Despite my rather obvious ethnic features (see pic below) that would belie an attempt at saying I went to a school of mostly Irish Catholics, I told the officer I went to Father Judge (I knew from one of my hockey friends who attended the boys-only Catholic school that they were off for some reason).

HSGRAD

One of my friends with a more obvious Jewish last name and a more tame Jewfro than what I working (see above), confessed that it was Senior Cut Day at Northeast (leaving me to stick to my flimsy Father Judge story all alone). The officer was still dubious about my black friend in the backseat, but when he couldn’t find evidence of wrongdoing or that my car had been stolen, he reluctantly told us to leave and not come back.

Why am I relaying this story, which is rather benign in the light of the George Floyd case that was merely the final straw on the camel’s heavy back? Because I remain convinced, all these years later, that the whole confrontation would not have happened without  a black friend in the car.

And this was 1983.

And on Senior Cut Day, we learned more about the harsh realities of the world than if we had been in school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gale Force Winds

Gale Statement

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — Another day, another call for Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale to either rescind this comments in the wake of the national protests over the George Floyd death under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, or to flat out resign over them.

I’m going to shock you here a little bit, but don’t count me among the chorus.

You want him out? Do it the old-fashioned way — just like I hope you do with your president (not mine) and his many minions in elected office, at all level — and vote them out.

Once that door closes, he will have nowhere else to go.

And that will be the ultimate revenge.

I have it on good authority that Gale, knowing he will be permanently be the in the minority among the three elected spots among the commissioners, has joked that he has a job for life.

Let’s put the joke on him, and pull the plug then.

No need to do it now.

Gale spoke his mind. He revealed his true self, which was not a surprise, really. He has marched to the drum beat — chewing up and spitting out all the generic Fox News talking points — since he has been in the public eye.

No one really cared — or noticed — what he shared on Facebook (we’re “friends” on there) or passed along on Twitter.

Why do it now?

Pigs grunt. A pig grunted.

End of story.

It is his right, as an American citizen to do so, just as it was Colin Kaepernick’s right to take a knee and for everyone else to take to the streets in protest since the Floyd atrocity that — as horrific as it seemed — was the straw that broke the camel’s back, in terms of systemic police brutality.

There is a core group of people, drawn from the same demon spawn, that Gale is clearly trying to score points with by saying what he is saying about Black Lives Matter and Antifa. He doubled down with decrying how the City of Philadelphia, over which has no say as an elected official, pretty much erasing Frank Rizzo — the former police commissioner and mayor — from history (I don’t agree with that, either).

Let him be their hero.

Let him be our zero.

It’s almost laughable, really.

Trust me on this one. I’ve met this guy a few times. I’ve encountered mannequins with better personalities.

They say some human’s brains are not even fully formed until the age of 30. Gale is 30, and he still lives with his parents. Can’t you just picture him in the basement with his little “Don’t Tread On Me” flags on the wall?

Maybe all this is about — this unoriginal cut-and-paste from the likes of Steve Bannon — is a nothing but a cry for attention.

As tempting as it is, don’t give it to him.

Don’t give him any more oxygen.

It’s already a shame with share it.

Feel bad for this little boy lost.

Let him find his own way, post-election, when he doesn’t have his alleged “job for life” anymore.

As what has been proven by the last few weeks of Americans of all colors and creeds demanding their country back is that there are far bigger fish to fry than Joe Gale.

 

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Flag on the Field

KaepReb

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE –  I wouldn’t do that if you paid me a million dollars.

Who among us hasn’t used that saying?

Truth is, there is not much most of us wouldn’t do – short of something hideous and sadistic – for that kind of a payday.

But I can name two acts that my conscience would never allow.

One is to wave the Confederate flag, that of the side of the traitors, either proudly or to make some sort of a pointless point.

The other would be to take a knee during the national anthem — even though I strongly believe Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” has been, and remains, a better long-term fit, but I won’t go there (even though I just did).

The only difference is that I can understand, in the abstract, why the latter act (like the black power fist, sitting in or the flashing the peace sign) – all public displays of a peaceful protest – would spur one with a different life experience than mine to feel compelled.

None of those are hate speech.

The Confederate flag, well, that’s another story.

The two bloodiest wars for Americans, with more than one million casualties (deaths and wounded) each were the Civil War and World War II.

If you don’t believe me, look it up. I’ll wait.

You back? OK.

It goes way beyond that, though.

It was how they died. A lot of the weaponry was no different than what was used in World War I, and a lot of the battles were fought more up close and personal.

Many of the deaths were slow and painful, coming via infection after limbs were sawed off when wounds refused to heal.

Then, there was the psychological toll, one that we are still calculating in fits and starts.

In some cases, the Civil War pitted brother versus brother. In many more, it was cousin versus cousin.

There were – and still are – many ways to understand what the Confederacy was fighting for, as they will tell you it was a way of life that someone else was telling them not to live and for states’ rights.

But let’s not talk falsely now. The hour is getting late (Dylan reference).

The way of life, the states’ rights yarn, was about one thing: Slavery.

And the slaves were black, brought here in steerage from Africa for decades.

The prime source of income for the South (i.e. Confederacy) was cotton, and the slaves bled their figures raw picking cotton for, well, nothing. They were slaves. Their families were separated, sometimes when children were less than five, or they never existed as family units as all.

It would be unfair to say they were second-class citizens, as they weren’t citizens at all.

Up North, even as they also reaped the economic reward of the cotton trade, this whole centuries-old act wore so thin that a brutal and bloody war seemed inevitable.

And so it was.

I’m not sure why, in 2020, there would be any other need to display – out in the open and proudly – the Confederate flag than to pledge allegiance to racism.

I’ve been told it’s more about the right to do it, if they want, but that falls directly under the definition of prattle.

Often waved alongside that of the Swastika flag of World War II enemy Nazi Germany, which makes even less sense (as if that were even possible), we see it.

We often see the “Don’t Tread On Me” flag, which has meant many things to many different people since the 18th century. At present, it seems to be where patriotism flows into jingoism, but not as offensive to all-out flags of hate speech – at least not yet.

It doesn’t need to be.

I was startled – and aghast – in the summer of 2016, when we took a Pennsylvania road trip.

The first stop was Gettysburg, where the seminal battle of the Civil War was fought on July 1-3 in 1863.

There were some Confederate flags there – whether or T-shirts, bumper stickers, paper weights, mugs etc. – for sale (especially on the outskirts of town). I guess that could be expected, while not condoned.

As we drove through the rest of Pennsylvania, though, it got a bit strange. Weaving through some small towns on the way to our other destinations (Johnstown, Pittsburgh, the stupid place where the ground hog comes out once a year, etc.), I continued to see plenty of Confederate flags — from porches, pickup trucks and tattoos.

So many, in fact, that I had to remind a much younger Sofia – and myself – that we were, still above the Mason-Dixon Line.

It was a sign – or flag – of the times.

The times of doom.

A certain entity – an entity I will neither refer to as a “man” or a “person” – was mounting what was a controversially successful bid for The White Horse, and this so-called “human” was running plays out of Hitler’s playbook by throwing chum to a staunch base fed up with a black (biracial, actually) president for two terms.

Following a route that their GPS systems first took them, which was to join Tea Parties, they made another sharp right and let their patriotism crash into a wall of jingoism.

The saying, “Make America Great Again,” was too hard – on either side – to ignore.

Against this backdrop, in the summer of 2016, Colin Kaepernick – then the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers – didn’t stand for the national anthem of a preseason game.

When asked about it, he told reporters it was in protest of how blacks were treated in the United States.

After some backlash about disrespecting veterans, which seemed a bit off-point, he began to kneel instead of sit on the bench and stare into space (poor optics, if nothing else).

Players around the league soon joined, giving the presumptive Republican candidate more red meat.

To this day, while I’m with Kaepernick on both his right to peacefully protest and the basics of his cause of racial injustice, I’m not 100 percent convinced the whole thing wasn’t a tantrum because he was bumped to No. 2 on the depth chart behind a white quarterback.

He didn’t help himself during the whole controversy by wearing socks with cartoon pigs depicted as police officers to practice (more bad optics), and it should be noted that he is biologically biracial and was raised in an upper middle-class adoptive family.

One – either a person of color who has a had it tougher or a white person from the right trying to drive a truck through his argument — could successfully ask: “What does he know about it?”

However, President Obama was also biracial and raised by his white grandparents outside the ghetto walls. That didn’t stop the Confederate flag-waving hate machine – including a birther movement wondering if he was a Muslim and not a Christian – from churning its wheels.

That didn’t stop the current person who calls himself your president (not mine) to exploit it all to his advantage  (including tirades against Kaepernick, who hasn’t played in three years and probably never will again, and other players who exercised their right of free speech and supported him”.

Would I personally kneel? No. Not for a million dollars. But it is interesting to note that those most critical of him – and others that your president (not mine) demanded be “fired” – condone, at least on some level,  are the same who take no issue with displaying the Confederate flag.

That’s different, they say.

It’s free speech.

Standards, anyone?

Once you got two, you got none.

Kind of like flags.

 

 

This Is Us In The U.S.

Won't Comply

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE – Reggie Brown.

That’s the guy’s name.

No, I’m not talking about the former Eagles’ receiver who had a couple of decent seasons after the departure of Terrell Owens and before the trio of DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant.

I’m am also not talking about the inventor of Snapchat or the children’s illustrator.

Instead, I am referring to the world’s greatest Barack Obama impersonator.

Brown (pictured below) was introduced to a national audience by Bill Maher shortly after your president (not mine) was elected. Brown used the platform of Maher’s nationally televised show on HBO to roll through what were then some of the “greatest missed hits” of your president (not mine).

Reggie Brown

The segment was called “What If Obama Said it?” and, man, it was a textbook case of using comedy to reveal a seriously underlying issues of racial hypocrisy that began bubbling on the surface – like the fires of Centralia – when Obama was first elected.

These simmering feelings turned acceptable when your president (not mine) fanned those flames with birther movement and then successfully ran for president by pushing those same buttons with the large print at rallies that would have made El Duce blush.

Brown’s performance that night – using the verbatim rants of your president (not mine) in Obama’s voice — ranged from the sexist Access Hollywood tapes that seemed to get lost in the shuffle in the election run-up to a multitude of other obnoxious remarks (i.e. about John McCan not being a war hero because he was captured and referring to Frederick Douglass as if her were still alive) that were not  befitting of a president in any civilized time and place.

Perhaps Maher was shortsighted, like many of us “snowflakes” on the left, thinking your president (not mine) would somehow grow into the position and stop uttering such immature nonsense.

After all — wink, wink – there are “good people on both sides.”

Instead, there has been serious shrinkage.

A whole lot of it.

And Brown (check him out on YouTube), as a regular – or semi-regular – would have be able to illuminate this overriding serious issue, whether it be as simple as who plays golf more to who really acts like a dictator with executive orders.

Consider it a lost opportunity, but it can be placed in the gone-but-not-forgotten file.

We still see it every day, this ongoing case of America in black and white – not to mention the tan suit Obama was vilified for wearing while your president (not mine) drags toilet paper on his shoe up the stairway to Air Force One.

We saw it when Michelle Obama was taken to task for “telling our kids what to eat” in her official First Lady cause of battling childhood obesity. Meanwhile, the current wife of your president (not mine) preaches anti-bullying while her own husband preaches from a divisive bully pulpit eight days a week.

I often look at that picture of Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem and take inventory of the viewpoints it reveals. To some, he was disrespecting the flag our forefathers died to protect. While I’m not quite sure they gave their lives to protect a piece of cloth as much as the other working class kid next to them in the foxhole, I can get it to the point that I could never personally kneel.

But I can respect that others see it as a form of peaceful protest of some serious issues – serious issues of  an America locked in a cultural tug of war over double standards.

Kaepernick

I have always said that once you have double standards, you have none. I’m sure someone said it first, and more eloquently, but I’m claiming credit for now.

I know, I know … We have bigger fish to fry right now, trying to survive an historic pandemic, than who said what first about hypocrisy.

But this disparity – this sickening Color War – rages on.

And on.

Citizens, largely Caucasian, are storming the Bastille, demanding their little lives return back to normal way before it is safe to do so.

These protestors are stomping their feet, and toting their AK-47s (not sure how that factors into their “argument,” but I suppose anything goes when it’s not founded in logic anyway), all around the country.

But Ground Zero seems to be Lansing, Michigan. That just so happens to be where Gov. Gretchen Whitmer sets up shop.

Whitmer was considered a leading candidate for the bottom half of Joe Biden’s presidential ticket, but her brand has been sufficiently damaged to the point that she is now on the “B” list just for doing the prudent thing and trying to keep all her constituents, even those who would shoot her on sight, safe.

Hard to believe the ying-yangs protesting are smart enough to know they were being exploited by some sort of nefarious effort to have a VP candidate tip the scales in a vital swing state.

But it is easy to believe that if the protesters were people of color – African-American, Hispanic, Arab, Asian, etc. – that the same double standards between Obama and the current fool’s fool who calls himself your president (not mine) bubble to the surface.

We are talking about people – you know, our friends from the White Right – waving a flag of treachery (Confederate) that shed American blood in its quest get buzzcuts again.

Protest Flag

We are talking about people getting so much into the faces of police, the same police that took on a new level of rightful respect after 9/11, that their spit is probably going to their faces on their clothes.

Those who are actually carrying American flags, either with or instead of enemy flags, are seen routinely letting them drop to the ground (but Kaepernick can’t a knee in their eyes).

But, well, it’s the First Amendment when they do it, right?

They get a wink and a nod from your president (not mine), just like the “good people” from that side who invaded Charlottesville like termites.

Meanwhile, as Covid-19 is infecting people of color, there are no plaudits from on high for their suffering in silence.

People wonder why the United States is suddenly ranking first in the world in cases and scratch their heads.

Why?

Really?

Easier answer: We are anything but united. And we have a leader who does lead, as he thrives in the vast divide.

That is why.

This is us in the U.S.

And The picture — people who don’t want to be tread upon asking to be tread upon — is not a pretty one.

Image: US-HEALTH-VIRUS-PROTEST

Protestors try to enter the Michigan House of Representative chamber and are being kept out by the Michigan State Police after the American Patriot Rally organized by Michigan United for Liberty protest for the reopening of businesses on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Mich., on April 30, 2020.

 

 

 

 

Bad To The Bone

Fatso

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — The official definition of the “witching hour” is when witches — or magicians, ghouls, Republican senators and other demons — are said be at their most powerful.

That’s the myth, the folklore.

The reality is that the witching hour is when we wake up in the middle of the night and our minds are clear enough to be haunted by our own bitter realities.

Unanswerable questions, many about futures we can’t control, ravage the brain.

I was hit with one so immediate this past week that not even my home remedy – sneaking downstairs for some old “Sopranos” episodes – could make it right.

The question was this: Am I a bad person?

Here are three examples, hot off the presses, that had me wondering:

Andy Reid – Much of Eagles Nation has forgiven and forgotten the specifics of the Reid Era here. They instead focus on the general success between 1999 and 2012.

But not me. I remember high hopes repeatedly dashed, and the seasons that ended in despair.

I invested too much – in time, emotion and money (season ticket holder) — to be stranded at the altar again and again and again.

Maybe some forget the feeling of having their hearts eaten out that were then met with the subsequent kick in our collective gut when Reid would act smug and indifferent during postgame press conferences.

Even when mishaps (dropped passes, missed tackles) weren’t directly his fault, Reid’s standard line was “it begins with me.”

Fine, Andy, you wanted the blame, you got it. I would have told you so if they let me to drive you to the airport when you left town.

Why, then, would I – or anyone else who bleeds green – root for Reid to have success elsewhere?

There was no worse scenario than his new team, the Kansas City Chiefs, winning a Super Bowl when he didn’t do it in Philly after all those years of knocking on the door without finding a way to kick it in.

When we finally got it done two years ago, some of the edge was taken off. Still, when the Chiefs reached the big dance this year, I became a temporary fan of the opposing San Francisco 49ers.

Truth be told, I am more than a little bit angry with the end result (particularly the touchdown that wasn’t a touchdown) and irked by all the glad tidings for Reid around the Delaware Valley.

Bad person?

Self-vote: Yeah, sigh, I am. It’s not like he tried to lose big games here (it just seemed like it).

Iowa Caucuses – I have been a detractor of the overall primary system for a long time, and my criticism begins with the disproportionate role little Iowa plays in the process.

I wrote all about it in my Sunday column a month or two ago, but I never could have imagined the Monday meltdown that will leave the final tally with an asterisk.

The root cause of the chaos was the already silly caucus process being further complicated with some second-round scenario that was clearly over the heads of those Iowa straw-chewers to comprehend.

While the good news is that this is probably the last we will see of the Iowa Caucuses, and maybe even Iowa getting to bat leadoff and set the pace – as it has been doing, despite clearly not being a gauge of America’s diversity (it’s well over 90 percent lilywhite, for example) – the embarrassment for the Democratic party could prove to be colossal.

Bad person?

Self-vote: Nope, not at all. A little bit of vindication is good for the soul.

Rush Limbaugh – The right-wing AM Talk Radio host revealed that he is terminally ill.

If you are waiting for tears, keeping waiting.

I understand the man may have had a job to do, sort of in the Howard Stern shock jock sense, and that he may or may not have even meant half the hateful things he was saying.

But listeners – many with pea brains – accepted his postulating as fact.

And he knew it.

And he kept on spewing his garbage — ironically losing his own hearing, so he couldn’t even hear himself anymore.

 

If we are truly mired in a modern day Civil War, one in which lives (i.e. Heather Heyer) have been lost, Limbaugh is a general in the militia that fired the first shots (albeit away from the fray while on his bully pulpit).

It could be said that there would have been no coming of your president (not mine), without Limbaugh – among others – laying the groundwork.

No wonder Limbaugh got the Presidential Medal of Freedom the other night.

Limbaugh

Hard to believe, though, considering this is the same person who called Iraq War veterans subsequently opposed to the war “phony soldiers.”

Then again, this prize was given to him by the phoniest of soldiers, one who got out of Vietnam with phantom bone spurs.

Like your president (not mine), Limbaugh built his empire on lies and half-truths.

Consider that Polifact rated Limbaugh’s on-air statements as either “mostly false” or “pants on fire” at a rapid-fire rate of 84 percent, with only a mere 5 percent registering as “true.”

While a lot of his false statements are about climate change, we are also talking about someone who continually degraded President Barack Obama with racially charged innuendoes – calling him (and Oprah Winfrey) “uppity,” etc. – and who compared NFL games to showdowns between black gangs.

He also said actor Michael J. Fox was exaggerating his Parkinson’s disease in an ad for stem cell research.

I wonder if he’d like some of that stem cell research for himself now? Maybe he is just exaggerating his symptoms.

Take the high road? Not this so-called snowflake. It’s all low road here in Gordonville.

Bad person?

Self-vote: Abstain.

This column first ran in The Times Herald on Feb. 9, 2020.

A System Without Much Justice

16Muhammad-Cover-articleLarge

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — So now we find ourselves in the cold and cruel month of February, a month where a victory is a day we see the temperature safely enough above freezing that any precipitation will not cause hazardous slippage on the roadways.

Otherwise, what’s it good for?

Here’s something: It’s Black History Month.

While its origins go back to a one-week attempt in 1926, and another in 1929, it was first proposed and celebrated as a full month at Kent State University in February of 1970.

Yes, that Kent State in that same year.

Three months later, on May 4, four white Kent State students were shot and killed by members of the Ohio State National Guard during anti-war protests.

For those who decry that it is inherently unfair to have a month dedicated to studying the history of one race, the Kent State shootings are an exact example of why we are not there yet.

Widely remembered, and promptly immortalized in Neil Young’s song “Ohio,” it served to render the slaying of two black students at Jackson State University in Mississippi as a footnote.

By the mid-1970s, Black History Month was gaining enough momentum that President Gerald Ford made it official, at least symbolically, in 1976.

But, in schools, teaching black history was sporadic. The choice was seemingly up to the original teacher.

I happened to be in sixth grade in the 1976-77 school year, and my teacher, a black American, had already been making it part of his curriculum for several years.

I have to admit that it was mind-expanding to learn about the likes of Harriet Tubman, George Washington Carver, Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King.

I had several black classmates that year, as my grade school was among the first to be part of a busing program (schools in Philadelphia had been integrated for years, but that was in name only, as most neighborhoods were not only isolated by race but also ethnicity).

For these new schoolmates, some of which I’m still friends with to this day, I’m sure it was a welcome break from learning about Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Christopher Columbus and all the rest.

Learning about slavery and important dates and figures in black history was important — and certainly age-appropriate – for grade school.

The next step – for older students — would be for dealing, straight on, with difficult issues hard to ignore.

At the top of the list is the disparity between the races when it comes to crime and justice.

The United Nations studied the topic, and it filed a report in 2018. Among the troubling results were that black Americans were nearly 6 times more likely to be incarcerated than whites.

This was most evident in the so-called War On Drugs, which created a 100-1 sentencing disparity. Of the people sentenced to jail for drug-related offenses, 74 percent are black. That translates to being 13 times more likely to go to jail, as opposed to receiving some other sort of disposition that relates to a slap on the wrist – a second chance – by comparison.

It would also seem that justice is not colorblind when it comes to the part about being innocent until proven guilty.

According a report released by The Innocence Project last summer, blacks are seven-times more likely than whites to be wrongfully convicted of murder and three times more likely than white people to be wrongfully convicted of sexual assault.

The point is also being driven home by the film industry.

Late in 2019, “Just Mercy” hit the theaters and is still playing at some.

“Just Mercy” tells the true story of Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx), who was wrongly convicted of murder in Alabama and is assisted in his defense. by a young Harvard-educated attorney named Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan).

It was well-received by critics, and Foxx was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for supporting actor, and it did moderately well at the box office.

There have been others on the topic in recent years, including “When They See Us” (2019), about the Central Park Five and “If Beale Street Could Talk” (2018).

But the most famous movie about innocent people being wrongfully convicted remains “The Shawshank Redemption” (1994), where the central figure is a white man (with a black sidekick).

Yes, there is “To Kill A Mockingbird” (1962, and set in the same Alabama town as “Just Mercy”), but it features a white lawyer as the protagonist battling to exonerate a black man.

Streaming services, and Netflix in particular, is loaded with documentaries focusing on the wrongfully accused.

Meanwhile, the television news will occasionally show someone being released from prison, based on new and/or suppressed evidence, after decades.

Not only can the redemption fail to replace the lost years, but those cases are few and far between (or else they wouldn’t be news items when they do happen).

And the reality is that it only seems to apply on a one-way street.

It’s a fact that is cold and cruel, just like the month of February.

This column ran in The Times Herald on February 2, 2020.

A Right Turn Down A Wrong Road

Rally Heads

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — It’s that time of the year again.

Time for New Year’s resolutions.

With five-plus decades on the planet, I have been through them all – losing weight, gaining muscle, not losing my mind (as much) during Eagles games, gaining perspective, etc.

This year, I’m shooting for something a little bit different.

Instead, I’m going to see how the other half lives. I’m going to give it a go as a conservative.

No worries, fellow liberals, I’ll be back in time to vote against their president (not ours) in November.

New Year’s resolutions only last as long as the first whiff of a real Philly cheese steak (not what is passed off as such out here in the suburbs).

But, in the intervening months – or weeks, days or minutes – let’s see how it goes.

It is certainly a simpler lifestyle having this view, one where I can just line up all the talking points in a row and dutifully march in line behind them.

Example: Anything nasty their president (not ours) has done up until this point, before becoming president and since, can easily be explained away.

He was chosen by God.

Who can argue with that, right?

It implies he is not only absolved of all sins – past, present and future – but that all decisions are blessed by the almighty.

Sure, there is no tangible evidence to back this up. Usually, people who claim to be messengers from God are tossed into asylums, not the Oval Office.

And if any lefty wants to get into details about what he has done wrong, the new me can just say it’s all fake news and/or a witch hunt that’s all orchestrated by the same mainstream media that helped invent his campaign in the first place.

What about all the mounting evidence of incompetence, and incoherence, let alone evidence for impeachment?

No worries.

Deflect and distract.

Fight any forms of nuanced thinking.

That’s their job, not mine.

Don’t tread on me? Hell yeah, I’ll even buy that flag and plant it in my turf.

I’m the true patriot here.

Show empathy toward others, I’ll promptly call you a snowflake (while crawling toward my own safe space for being called a “deplorable” or if you recently wished me “happy holidays” instead of a “Merry Christmas”).

If they persist with their elitist check mates, I’ll lob a “What about Obama?” hand grenade.

When they ask for specifics, I’ll just double down and say “all of them.”

And then, when all else fails, there is the old standby: Benghazi, with a side dish of Benghazi and a desert of even more Benghazi.

Top it off with a “lock her up.”

See how easy this is?

See how much fun?

The next mass shooting? I’ll just shrug it off, callously, and say it could not have been stopped – even if there is evidence that it easily could have been with a routine background check, or waiting period, on the assailant.

Greta Thunberg? Ha. Too small to make a difference. Plus, isn’t she autistic or something like that there?

Plus, she’s Swedish, not American.

Plus, there is the old standby of waiting on a deep freeze and cracking wise about Al Gore (even though a cold snap in our little corner of the world is not reflective of all that is happening elsewhere).

Knowing that everybody plays the fool – sometimes – I can just say all the science isn’t in, or go to the slight moderation that there is no proof that the scourge is man-made. After all, there is always a crackpot contrarian at some third-rate unaccredited college still saying that the earth is flat or that there is not proof that tobacco causes lung cancer, right?

If those dogs won’t hunt, I’ll channel the mind of the average conservative who knows, full-well, that climate change is real.

“Doesn’t matter to me,” I’ll say. “By the time the planet is unlivable, I won’t know the difference because I’ll be dead.”

And that’s it, right there, in a nutshell.

I could go into being pro-life while being fine putting babies in cages.

I can just say they are “illegal” (when they are the children of parents seeking asylum in a country where the path to citizenship for brown people is vastly different than it was for white people during the industrial revolution).

Beginning in 2020, for as long as I can take it, I am going to be the synonym of being conservative, despite Bible quotes to the contrary.

I’m going to be selfish.

If all is good for me in my stock portfolio, all is good in the ivory tower.

Can I pull it off?

No, sigh, I can’t.

Upon further review, forget it.

As easy as life would be to trade being kind and sensitive for being blissful and blind, I don’t want to live that way for even a millisecond.

I’m good the way I am.

Happy 2020.

This column ran in The Time Herald on Jan. 1, 2020

Vick In The Thick Of It (Again)

Michael Vick

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — Love and hate.

Two powerful words that are as used and abused as much as any in the English language.

For example, you don’t’ really love the food at a certain restaurant, and you don’t really hate when people act rude in public.

Love and hate has to be more personal.

I hate Neo-Nazis, for example.

I love my family, my friends, and the music that has been the soundtrack of my life.

I love dogs (cats, too, but particularly dogs).

And I love the Philadelphia sports teams, but the Eagles top the list.

This brings me to the great quandary, and controversy, still swirling around one Michael Vick, the former NFL quarterback.

While Vick made his name with his game with the Atlanta Falcons, the quarterback became a lightning rod when his role in a dog-fighting ring was exposed.

He went to jail for 21 months, and his name – as it should have been at the time — was mud.

Vick served his time, and was signed by the hometown Eagles.

That’s when things got pretty interesting.

Some fans turned in their green gear. Their love for dogs was so powerful that they could no longer root for a team that could employ such a person.

Others, figuring he wasn’t going to play much anyway, tried to shrug it off.

Myself, a lifelong Eagles fan? To say I wasn’t happy about it at the time would be an understatement.

For one, just from a football perspective, they needed a fourth quarterback on the roster like I needed a fourth hole in my head.

Plus, well, look what he did those poor dogs.

After one year here of saying the right things, while not really coming across as being overly convincing, Vick ended up not only being a standout on the field for the Birds in his second season, 2010, but a genuine good citizen off of it.

When he led an amazing comeback win in the Meadowlands, the one that ended on DeSean Jackson’s walk-off punt return, it kind of personified his comeback to being a productive and law-abiding citizen and family man.

Vick has since retired, gone on to be a better citizen than many others — including Donovan McNabb (two DUI arrests in Arizona, one of which caused an accident).

Vick has worked for the cause of animal rights while also establishing several charitable foundations for at-risk youth.

Vick has been a positive role model to those who have done wrong and now try to do right, showing that a life can be turned around.

For that, he was named an honorary captain for the upcoming – and relatively nonsensical – Pro Bowl on Jan. 26 in Orlando.

Firestorm instantly ignited. It was 2009, the year the Eagles signed him, all over again.

In my inbox, I received e-mails from Change.org (they have me on file for being a crazy radical who has signed petitions in the past).

One asked for my support in removing Vick as a captain.

The other was to support keeping him.

Even though a pickup game in the park between middle-school kids is more interesting than the Pro Bowl, the question was fairly significant.

And it has some resonance this time of the year, where families put aside differences and New Year’s resolutions are made.

Which petition did I sign?

The choice was pretty easy.

Keep him as captain, I said, lest we ski down an endless slippery slope – putting us into a gray area of serious issues of black and white and selective forgiveness – that we don’t want to get into but probably should.

In a country where the system of crime and punishment is broken (recidivism rate of almost 77 percent within five years of being released), Vick should be heralded as a success story of how it should work.

But, because his victims were dogs – and I love dogs, too – Vick is judged more harshly than if he, say, committed a violent crime against even a woman or child.

We live in a country where someone who bragged about fondling women was elected president, and where charges of sexual child abuse against Catholic priests and those using the football brand of Penn State – get swept under the rug.

People get all weak in the knees over stories about the few white supremacists who changed their ways so much that they want to remove their swastika tattoos.

But a black man in a white man’s world? Not a chance.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, to his credit, has refused to yield to the pressure to remove Vick as honorary captain.

Good for Goodell.

How about you?

It is a true question of love and hate, and it’s a chance to let love in and let it win.

This column ran in The Times Herald on Jan. 5, 2020.