Sunday, February 24, 2008

Michelle Obama gets Pride! What Nerve.

Now that a week has gone by the "P-word" pronouncement by Michelle Obama has been beat down, dragged around, sympathized with and pretty much abandoned by Michelle. That "P-word" is the issue of pride finally, in America.
Well what are the poli-social implications of this fall out? Why couldn’t Michelle instead of backpedaling respond like Mary Mitchell of the Chicago Sun Times? I followed this story because I had the exact same response as Michelle in about the exact same words. Naively, until I was sucked into the maelstrom of opinion, I did not know I had thought anything wrong. I thought the thought quite effortlessly and innocently.
Finally, I too, like Michelle felt I could be proud of my country. I felt I could cross over from being a team USA wannabe and fan to being a fan that is part owner, part of team USA and yes maybe I could even take the field as a player who might have a shot at 1st string.
Now I have pride in my Cleveland Browns but on the real? Those are Randy Lerner’s Cleveland Browns. I’m just a Big Dawg drinking beer in the dawg pound. I revel in their wins scream and shout and agonize over the penalties, inexplicable losses and even team relocation without a potent voice.
Maybe my new ownership status in the team and such is fantasy, because home-girl Cindy McCain and even some Black-folk writers can not understand nor empathize with any part of “finally proud” thus pitting themselves in opposition to her, but in my opinion mostly against her new found pride and mine. The problem is not that they disagree, it’s that they are happily oblivious to the obvious deep divide between themselves and the Obamas and thus between their American experience and mine. Many times I tire of being the voice of dissent by default as Michelle Obama was.
Sometimes I think that because I was born here in the USA I have basically the same outlook as all Americans when it comes to American identity. Then I realize that some Americans may always be owners some may always be fans and the tell tale signs of melanin, kinky hair and subculture determines many an outcome in life and politics.
Yes there is a major difference between McCaines and Obamas and it looms ever larger in deference to the “elephant in the kitchen,” determined to raid the fridge nightly leaving empty cartons of truth, reality and justice in its wake.
Senator John McCain’s great-great grandfather, William Alexander McCain was in the Confederate Army. He owned a 2000-acre plantation in Carroll County Mississippi and also had 50 or so slaves. Mr. McCain’s grandfather, John Sidney McCain Sr. was an Admiral in the United States Navy and had quite an illustrious career. John Sidney McCain, Jr. was a four star admiral in the United States Navy who served in World War II through the Vietnam War.. Doesn’t all that tradition just make ya, I dunno, sorta proud?
How can an owner with ownership tradition and privilege backed by the “us” constitution founded on the U.S. Constitution and ownership worldview see through the eyes of a fan? What does the owner know of long lines, freezing weather, high concession stand prices, the cost of credit to make ends meet… oops sorry I mean the cost of parking or taking the bus with a family of five all to see the game, and participate only as “the twelfth man?”
Does anyone know how long it takes the attitude and outlook of a slave owner to dissipate and not affect his progeny? Would you say about as long as it would take the effects of slavery to wear off of the slave’s progeny? I’m just sayin that sometimes “the apple don’t fall to far from da tree” and John McCain was a damned good fifth generation soldier.
Cindy Hensley McCain’s outlook on life and politics began ( It helps to sing "Rich Girl" by Hall and Oats to this part) as she was born into the world Cindy Lou Hensley, heiress. She was born into the Hensley and Hensley Company fortune. Her late father Jim Hensley founded the company in 1955. Hensley and Hensley Company is one of the largest companies in Arizona selling brands of Anheuser-Busch beer.
Hensley was apparently into illicit hooch, horses and gambling and made a lot of his money bootlegging, post prohibition. A 1948 federal criminal indictment charged, the Hensley brothers made over 1,000 false entries concerning the sale of thousands of cases of liquor.. James and brutha Eugene Hensley were convicted on federal conspiracy charges "with the intent and design to hide and conceal from the United States of America, the names and addresses of the person or persons to whom the said distilled spirits were sent, and the prices obtained from the sale thereof."
Eugene was sentenced to one year in a federal prison and a $2,000 fine. James' sentence was suspended and he received one-year probation and a $2,000 fine. Apparently that did not seem to stem the flow of mad cash into the Hensley coffers. This is capitalism at it’s best and the American Way full throttle if you are an owner.
Cindy McCain said “I am proud of my country. I don’t know about you? If you heard those words earlier, I am very proud of my country.” Honey, of course you don’t know about me. Your husband doesn’t either, so how can either of you represent me? Don’t you know it’s not that I have no pride in this country, and Michelle was not saying that either. When will you acknowledge some can afford to have more pride than others in a land where owners tend to be freer than fans on game day.
I n the wake of the Jena Six, the Japanese internment, the Rosewood Massacre in which an entire African American town was wiped off the map by mob justice, the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, Jim Crow laws and on and on one’s sense of pride surely in part depends on whether one is owner or fan.
Not only is our country still systemically, socially, rhetorically divided by race, by the “haves” and the “have nots” vis a vis class and color there is no solution in the immediate future because for many this is the way it should be. “Leave the elephant right there and pass the peanut butter please” some will say.
As the Democratic race heats up for Ohio I must rethink my initial conclusion that Hillary would be just as good as Obama. Can she really empathize with my love-hate relationship with this country and bring about change? Or will her change be business as usual for the fans of America?
For details and a spit on McCain and the liquor lobby check out the Phoenix New Times News, Haunted by Spirits by Amy Silverman and John Dougherty Contact John Dougherty ( at 602-229-8445 or at his online address:
Contact Amy Silverman at 602-229-8443 or at her online address:

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