A Letter To My President

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Re: Your Reactions to Personal Attacks

Dear President Barack Obama:

I am writing this letter to express my amazement and near adoration at your [and Michelle’s] equable persona in the face of unadulterated vitriol from many in Congress as well as from far too many in our country. How you are able to retain a graceful composure and speak in measured terms in response to vile racial epithets is worthy of mention.

I have spent an inordinate amount of time contemplating the human drama and its condition. For the most part, humans pain me more often than impress me. Though not quite a misanthrope, I find it challenging to see the “divine” in the devil called humanity. You and Michelle, however, are a unique combination of grace and equanimity [not to mention intelligence].

But let us be clear, Mr. President, I do not agree with some of the things you have done or positions you have espoused. For the record, I have to admit, I do not agree with everything “God” has done either.

Nevertheless, when I hear or read what your opponents and detractors hurl at you, it is clear that much of it has to do with your being Black as opposed to simply being President. They paint Michelle as an angry black virago and you as the embodiment of how they see black men – someone not worthy of the same measure of respect as your White counterparts.

If their critique is not overtly racist, then there is often an underlying tint of disdain based on your race. What is fascinating is that you never play the race card even when your critics deal it to you.

What I especially respect is that neither of you responded as would an “Uncle Thomas” or as an “Auntie Dash”, but that you reacted like people who personify dignity and self-respect; an example for others of our race. [Except that I would have added a bit more “pepper” to their “Kool-Aid” but I suspect you love people more than I].

Being supremely educated and having a scandal-free family is not enough to shield you from the vomit spewed at you and yours. It is as if some believe, “How dare you be black and not be a buffoon”. “How dare you be black and be the leader of the free world.”

I do not believe in heroes as others do. I am my own hero for who could be a better champion for me than I? Nonetheless, I must admit, I am impressed with you and Michelle as well as your two daughters. I hope that history will not only honestly acknowledge your record but that you accomplished much good in the face of intractable and virulent racism. May history note and emphasize that you two stood as giants who neither truckled nor savaged when too many of us would have done one or the other.

William Feather once stated, “One of the indictments of civilizations is that happiness and intelligence are so rarely found in the same person.”

I say, that one of the indictments of our nation is that the combination of grace and intellect in a black person is so rarely honored, but is feared and loathed as if she or he were neither intelligent nor refined.

Do and be well, my President

Published in: on July 28, 2016 at 4:46 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Gun Control: Stupid is Easy; Thinking is Hard

If I recall my high school Latin correctly, “Si Hoc Ergo Iste” is translated as: “If this, then that.” In other words if this is true, then that [which is something else] must also be true. Where the idea of stupidity comes in, is where a statement is declared but the stupid simply stop short by not applying the same line of reasoning to a similar situation. They fail to do so because critical thinking is difficult at best and arduously and painfully taxing at worst. In fact, it is to be expected that stupidity would be far more common than critical thinking. Now lest you think I am being harsh by using the word stupid, notice what Albert Einstein said about human stupidity: “”Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”

To my point: I have received, on numerous occasions or have heard many times, the following assertion [or some variation thereof]: “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” As a gun owner myself, I find the statement to be offensive to my own sense of intellect. This is often the response many gun advocates present when attempting to explain their resistance to various gun-control measures. The statement is at best witty but as Voltaire stated, “A witty statement proves nothing.” Or the gun statement is at worst and most certainly, damn stupid.

More exactly, of course, guns in and of themselves do not kill people. But people use guns to kill people! That is like saying, “Arsenic does not kill people” — unless you consume it, stupid!! So you keep it out of the reach of children. If you do not, you could be charged with neglect or abuse. No court would accept your defense in not keeping arsenic away from your children if you stated, “Arsenic does not kill people; people kill people [or themselves].”

But getting back to my Latin, si hoc ergo iste. If guns don’t kill people then logically, nuclear weapons don’t kill people. Yet, the United States and several other nations do not want Iran to have nuclear weapons. What would any person with at least some semblance of intelligence think if Iran asserted its right to have nuclear weapons by saying: “Nuclear weapons don’t kill people; people kill people.” Do you think the NRA and its followers in Congress would accept that argument? Yes, but only if they were stupid. But somehow when it comes to guns, that argument seems to have weight even though it is just as stupid. Furthermore, if the above statement about guns not killing people is true, then why not let the mentally ill and criminals have guns? After all, “guns don’t kill people.”

The statement that guns don’t kill people is mindless and insulting to anybody who has at least two cents worth of intellect. Yes, it is a witty statement — easy to recite and requires no thought. It is something the stupid can repeat while thinking they sound profound. No wonder it is oft repeated.

To be sure, there are better arguments one can pose in opposition to gun control legislation [whether the arguments can withstand rigorous scrutiny is another matter] but using the above argument, I would think, should be insulting even to the most ardent gun advocate — unless the advocate is stupid.

Published in: on December 20, 2015 at 8:59 PM  Leave a Comment  
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The Infection Called, “Stupiditis” [an excerpt from the book, “Why They Think I’m Crazy”]

Albert Einstein is credited with asserting, “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former” and Elbert Hubbard, an American writer and philosopher observed, at an earlier time, “Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped.”

I am bemused at why human beings have not managed to render themselves extinct, especially given that stupidity is one of the most infectious conditions known to humanity. The antidote is usually in short supply and profoundly difficult to procure.

These are my observations about this infection:

1] Stupidity accounts for as much tragedy as does malice.
2] Passion can make a stupid idea seem intelligent.
3] Passion can mute intellect more effectively than intellect can guide passion.
4] Opinions are often the most effective antidote for intelligence.
5] Parents [or their surrogates] are a common contagion of stupidity.
6] The difference between a stupid man and a stupid woman is the difference between death by cyanide or death by arsenic.
7] Stupidity is more contagious than intelligence.
8] For many humans, the official cause of death and the actual cause of death differ because stupidity is not considered an official medical term.
9] Stupidity alone can be dangerous; stupidity mixed with power is insanely lethal. It is one of life’s most virulent combinations.

Published in: on March 17, 2012 at 4:08 AM  Leave a Comment  
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