Tuesday, January 20, 2015

You With Me?

Some people honestly believe that either you are with me, or you are against me.  Proudly, I have never believed that.  I am one of the most objective and practical individuals that I know, if I do say so myself.  And you know what?  I do say so myself.  I have learned to separate my feelings for someone or something in the best interest of common decency.  There are some ideas that one person holds that another cannot and will not grasp, and those two individuals can still have a lot of common ground.  I get it.  I may not always like it; but I live with it.

If you don’t know what has recently transpired with the police and the Mayor of New York City, then you’ve been living under a rock.  For Pete’s sake, even I know; and I can’t stand to watch the news much anymore.  Anyway, in light of the recent chokehold killing of Eric Garner and the execution of Michael Brown, with a half-Black son, Mayor Bill de Blasio mentioned that he and his wife talk to their son about how to deal with the police. 

Well, you would have thought that the Mayor and his Rastafarian wife had just come out of their bunker in the woods of Maine gripping a manifesto on how to annihilate New York’s Finest.  Instead, all Billy said was “What parents have done for decades who have children of color, especially young men of color, is train them to be very careful when they have ...an encounter with a police officer”.  Is he lying?  You know he’s not.  And you don’t have to be a person of color to know it either.

Unfortunately, that statement could cost him a second term.  The NYC police force wants nothing to do with the Mayor, and they are not shy about it either.  Tragically, two weeks after that statement, two police officers, sitting in their patrol car, were assassinated by an individual who tweeted that he would seek revenge for the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.  Like customary, the Mayor spoke at the funerals.  And in the ‘if you are not with me, you are against me’ mentality, police officers turned their backs on him when he walked by and also during his speech…..at both funerals. 

With NBA players and others wearing T-shirts with the words I CAN’T BREATHE, symbolizing Eric Garner’s final words before his death, protesters took to wearing I CAN BREATHE T-shirts at rallies supporting police officers.  Now, where is it written that the opposite of standing for the rights of the hundreds of innocent people killed by police annually is equivalent to supporting coward police officers who shoot first and ask questions later?  If people speak up about the mistreatment of some police officers against minority in this country, how can it implicitly mean that all police officers are bad?  Why is it that people can’t take a step or two back and look at the situation and say, “I get that when we need help, we call 911 and expect the police to come; but we still have to call out injustice by police officers?”  Of course we rely on them to protect us, (it’s part of the job description), but we also have to find a way to work on the trust between some members of the public and some members of the police force without it being seen as anti-police.

Then there is the Bill Cosby fiasco.  I look at Bill Cosby, and I think “fresh old man”.  I always have, but that never stopped me from enjoying his work.  So on one hand, I’m inclined to believe that maybe he performed some questionable acts on these women.  On the other hand, it just seems fishy that he assaulted so many women, some even decades ago, and no one ever found the courage to have him prosecuted ‘so that he never does that to another woman again’; but all of a sudden, there is a Tiger Woods’ slew of women telling us that he drugged and assaulted them, digitally and otherwise. 

Bottom line, like most things that are taking place in the media, I’m totally indifferent.  But as liberal as I am, there is no way that I would have been in a position to have Bill Cosby knock me out and have his way with me.  And frankly, I don’t care who thinks I’m ‘victim shaming’.  We just have to use common sense.  You don’t go into a man’s dressing room or hotel room, if you don’t know him like that.  I don’t care if it’s Bill Cosby or Barack Obama…..well, with Barack….hmmmmm.  I kid!  I kid!  Seeing a person on TV and knowing him are two separate things.  For Bill Cosby or any other celebrity, male or female, to drug me and have his or her way with me, it would have to be in broad daylight AND in a public setting, and then they would have to conspire with all the strangers in the surrounding space.  ….you get me?

But guilty or innocent, the man cannot be tried and convicted in the court of public opinion.  People are saying that these ladies have nothing to gain by coming forward now.  Well, they also had nothing to gain by coming forward then; so why didn’t they?  However, these same people think that his defenders have so much to gain.  The other day over The Talk, Sharon Osbourne claimed that Phylicia Rashād is defending him for the residual income she stands to gain.  Really, Sharon?  Really? 

Lady Phylicia Rashād has been in the entertainment industry for over 40 years.  And I use the term lady because she is one woman who ALWAYS epitomizes that word.  I have never seen her act unladylike (not that there is anything wrong with that).  But she has known Bill Cosby for over 30 years and worked closely with him for several.  If she believes that she doesn’t know that side of him, then who is Sharon Osbourne to doubt her?  If she believes that people are conspiring to ruin his legacy, why isn’t she entitled to her opinion as much as Rosie O’Donnell is entitled to hers?  The way Rosie talks and acts regarding the issue, one would believe that she was an actual eyewitness.  Yeah, as quiet as Rosie is, she was able to sneak into the rooms, lie quietly next to the couch or bed and observe the assaults.  Phylicia Rashād has been nominated and won countless awards.  She is widely known and respected in the industry and outside.  She is a multi-millionaire.  What is residual income going to do for her?

The slippery slope that comes with everyone joining the side of convicting him, is the public embarrassment they will face, if he is found not guilty.  People tend to rush into these fires without looking.  Just the other day, Joe Paterno’s record was re-established.  Short version:  After Jerry Sandusky was accused of molesting dozens of boys, Joe Paterno and Penn State were robbed of the record of Paterno being the winningest coach in college football history.  When Jerry was assaulting those boys, I wasn’t there, and I highly doubt if Joe was.  I don’t know if he covered up or didn’t cover up anything, but I would imagine that as a colleague and friend, Joe would never believe that the mild-looking Jerry was capable of such acts.  But to take his record, to tarnish his reputation, to punish the college and the athletes for something that Jerry did was a jackass, dunce move.  Ultimately, Jerry went to trial.  Jerry was convicted.  Jerry is serving his time.  It has nothing to do with Joe Paterno, who probably paid with an early death.

Oh January 7, two Islamist gunmen attacked the offices of French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people.  To show solidarity, people began using the phrase, Je suis Charlie.  Days later, numerous rallies all across France were organized as another form of solidarity, supported by many heads of government.  When President Obama did not show up to link arms with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President François Hollande, Conservatives were ready to gently lay his head on the guillotine.  After all, it wasn’t enough that he sent the American Ambassador to France to represent – he had find a way to organize security in a public place on short notice.  It wasn’t enough that every sane person knows how he felt, he had to show up in person to march.  But let him march with Al Sharpton!  Let him just try it. 

And if he had gone to Nigeria instead to show support to the more than 2,000 people killed in the village of Baga by Boko Haram, I wonder how that would have gone over with the Conservatives.  Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan viciously condemned the killings in Paris but was mum about the January 3 – 7 slayings of over 2,000 of his countrymen, and all I hear from Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio is crickets.  In fact, not too long ago, Republican leaders used to mock John Kerry about being too French; now that he too skipped the march, he is not French enough.  In 2003 when France did not support the Iraq War, Republicans in Congress renamed French fries and French toast ‘freedom fries’ and ‘freedom toast’ respectively.

With over seven billion people in the world, we WILL disagree.  War lords cannot go around slaughtering folks who want their children to go to school.  Terrorists cannot assassinate the media for making fun of their God.  Politicians cannot condemn presidents for not marching in a country that they constantly make fun of previously.  Entertainers cannot revile others for sticking up for their friends.  People cannot judge others so openly while their faults are so visible for the whole world to see.  That’s not how it works.  Perspectively speaking, that’s not how any of this works!