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Posts Tagged ‘Reagan’

Okay, please help me understand the word clever.  Does it have a negative connotation?  I think the positive side of being clever involves using one’s noggin to find logical solutions to pressing matters.  It’s not rocket science to think that people in an oil-producing region want leadership that market and handle natural resources to the benefit of all the people. 

Gil Scott Heron wrote “natural resources and minerals will control your world” in his 1981 political song “B-Movie.”  I can’t believe I was deep enough in high school to listen to this poetry put to music while President Obama and his friends were likely doing the same in college.  Heron wrote, “The Arabs used to be in the 3rd World.  They have bought the 2nd World and put a firm down payment on the 1st one.”  If you toss in China, old Gil seems like Nostradamus. 

I have always been confused about the real meaning of conservatism.  To me, it means being careful and prudent with public spending and the limited role of government.  Liberals think conservative means to return to a time when life seemed simple and sweet.  Of course, some people forget that their sweet life was actually supported by the exploitation of others but why dwell on details and facts.  Our gas-guzzling sweet life requires that we deal with Egypt, other parts of Africa and the Middle East and these folks don’t want to be handled like children or colonists anymore.  Wow, that sounds very familiar.   

 Heron sang/rapped that America wants nostalgia; not to face now or tomorrow, but to face backwards.  My friends in my community (code for southern rural Black voters) have lived long enough to wax nostalgic about the good old days when you knew who you were and “whose” you were.  The days when kids cared about how they carried themselves, shame was still important and most of “us” were striving to come up.  Oh my, have we become the new Black conservatives and if so, what is to become of us politically. 

I am proud that I listened to radical, yet productive music back in the day—from Gil Scott Heron to Ice Cube and Public Enemy to Eryah Badu’s “Cleva.” On Cleva, Badu sings, “I am alright with me.”  In this non-election year, it would be alright with me if we were “cleva” enough to chill with the other political side on a ‘get to know each other” style because as Guns and Roses sang “there is nothing civil about war.”   It’s about understanding folks. 

 Egypt isn’t tripping as they flirt with civil war; they are just tired of the world not acknowledging that they had the knowledge and culture to build the pyramids 2500 years B.C. and that their region has power on the world stage because we want their oil.  We must interact with them in a respectful way.  We must be cleva.  Time Magazine put Obama and Reagan on their cover recently and the comparison is interesting.  Is President Obama cleva enough to draw on the Reagan, Clinton and other successful presidencies?  With all his commentary on President Reagan, Gil Scott Heron fairly admitted that Reagan “stood tall…when other celluloid saviors were cringing in terror from McCarthy.”  Obama also has a special character…in my opinion. 

 

B-Movie: Gil Scott Heron

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKQd_Ixm-jQ

http://www.gilscottheron.com/lybmovie.html

What has happened is that in the last 20 years, America has changed from a producer to a consumer.  And all consumers know that when the producer names the tune…the consumer has got to dance.  That’s the way it is.  We used to be a producer – very inflexible at that, and now we are consumers and, finding it difficult to understand.  Natural resources and minerals will change your world. The Arabs used to be in the 3rd World.  They have bought the 2nd World and put a firm down payment on the 1st one.  Controlling your resources will control your world.  This country has been surprised by the way the world looks now.  They don’t know if they want to be Matt Dillon or Bob Dylan.  They don’t know if they want to be diplomats or continue the same policy – of nuclear nightmare diplomacy.  John Foster Dulles ain’t nothing but the name of an airport now.

The idea concerns the fact that this country wants nostalgia.  They want to go back as far as they can – even if it’s only as far as last week.  Not to face now or tomorrow, but to face backwards.  And yesterday was the day of our cinema heroes riding to the rescue at the last possible moment.  The day of the man in the white hat or the man on the white horse – or the man who always came to save America at the last moment – someone always came to save America at the last moment – especially in “B” movies.  And when America found itself having a hard time facing the future, they looked for people like John Wayne.  But since John Wayne was no longer available, they settled for Ronald Reagan – and it has placed us in a situation that we can only look at – like a “B” movie.

“You go give them liberals hell Ronnie.”  That was the mandate.  To the new “Captain Bly” on the new ship of fools.  It was doubtlessly based on his chameleon performance of the past – as a liberal democrat – as the head of the Studio Actor’s Guild.  When other celluloid saviors were cringing in terror from McCarthy – Ron stood tall.  It goes all the way back from Hollywood to hillbilly.  From liberal to libelous, from “Bonzo” to Birch idol…born again.  Civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights…it’s all wrong.  Call in the cavalry to disrupt this perception of freedom gone wild.  God damn it…first one wants freedom, then the whole damn world wants freedom.

As Wall Street goes, so goes the nation.  And here’s a look at the closing numbers – racism’s up, human rights are down, peace is shaky, war items are hot – the House claims all ties.  Jobs are down, money is scarce – and common sense is at an all-time low with heavy trading.  Movies were looking better than ever and now no one is looking because, we’re starring in a “B” movie.  And we would rather have John Wayne…we would rather have John Wayne.

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I can’t believe the GOP is taking about the redistribution of wealth and socialism—are you kidding me?  I went to college in the early 80s after doing my best K through 12.  While I am no Condi Rice, Barrack Obama or Hemingway, I did well at country county high and was disappointed to learn that I would be paying for college with student loans.  What?

 

You know the students from families in the middle-income range—to much money for grants but not enough money to write a tuition, room and board check.  If President Reagan thought my parents had the money to fund my education, he should have required them to do so.  To add insult to injury, the guys who played and “cut the fool” for 12 years were in college also—taking remedial classes for a year and a half—wait for it—free!  Because of family income (or lack there of), these students graduated debt free and I ended up graduating with honors and a student loan—the redistribution of wealth. 

 

Don’t get me wrong, it warms the heart to see friends who grew up facing constant adversity as current homeowners, great parents and pillars of the community.  In retrospect, the route I should have taken was to declare myself an emancipated minor with a mall job and qualified for grants also.

 

Like the Obamas, my student loan was/is around into my forties and like Senator Obama, I worked as a community service person.  Check this out: if your student loan was based on lack of family income, the federal government will forgive it for doing that type work, i.e. teaching in a rough school.  But, my loan can’t be forgiven because of my family’s income decades ago.  Really?

 

Republican President Ford signed the Earned Income Tax Credit into law in 1976.  The EITC was designed to offset the burden of payroll taxes for low-income working families and to provide incentives to work.  Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush have expanded the program and I must say helping the working poor get above the poverty level is much better than welfare.  The program taxes one group to give money to another group—Ford, Reagan, Bush and Bush.  What’s the definition of socialism again.

 

Some people feel that the federal government should think Darwinism or the “Survival of the fittest” went making policy.  While these concepts are controversial, socialism v. Darwinism in the congress in the 90s was Cynthia McKinney v. Newt Gingrich.  Congresswoman McKinney and the well-intended liberals argued that the government should ensure a minimum quality of life for everyone while Speaker Gingrich crafted policies that worked toward giving people the opportunity to achieve if they stayed focused and worked hard.  But, if you did not make it; hey, that’s life, law of the jungle.

 

Funny thing: those guys from my community who went to college on Pell Grants are with Newt in their mindsets—and Newt is one of the only conservatives who realizes the political potential.  The money they received for college has been paid back many times over in middle class taxes.  

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