Category: The Black Perspective of Views of America By Helen Burleson
By helen on Jul 25, 2009 | In What's Going On At DUS, The Black Perspective of Views of America By Helen Burleson
Sgt. James Crowley Did Behave “Stupidly”
By Helen L. Burleson, Doctor of Public Administration
I happen to be a fan of police officers based on my personal experiences with them. I have taken to the extreme the motto, that they “serve and protect.”
Once when I lived in Washington, D C, a wasp flew into my car. I stopped right in the center of traffic and beckoned to the policeman directing traffic to come get the wasp out of my car to avoid losing control of the car causing a multiple car accident that could have resulted in a fatality to someone. Later, when there was an invasion of the poisonous and deadly, brown recluse spider, I called a policeman into my home in Chicago to kill the spider for fear the spider might bite my infant son. As a young teacher in the City of Chicago, and an evening graduate student at Northwestern University, I again called upon the police to protect me. Parking my car behind my home on the west side of Chicago, two men came through the passageway between our building and the one next door holding a gun. Frightened for my life, after I was safe in my home, I called the police to report it. The police offered and did have a squad to meet me at the entrance to the alley behind my home each night when I returned home. My next positive experience was when my teen-aged son violated curfew in Olympia Fields, a small upscale Illinois village, with only two Black families in residence at that time. My son had gone to spend the night with a classmate in another village only to realize that his getting up early Sunday morning would disturb that family. We were a medical family and rounds had to be made before going to church on Sundays, thus the reason for my son’s late night departure.
Here’s where the story gets interesting. My son was stopped by the Olympia Fields police. He was told he was violating curfew. When asked why he was out so late and where he lived, he was believed when he gave his address though he had no identification with him. The police officer simply told him not to violate curfew again and to hurry home. Knowing that there have been very different and negative outcomes when young Black males are stopped by police, I called the OFPD the next day, asked to speak to the police chief and complimented him on the training given to the force and commended the officer for his gentlemanlike behavior. I also told him that because I would have called to complain had my son been disrespected, it was only fair that I call to compliment sensitive and caring police work.
Because the police demonstrated effective, efficient and sensitive training, I vowed and gave the police department an annual treat every year at Christmas time, until at age 78 when I became unemployed and was financially unable to continue the practice.
I have gone into great detail to explain why I am such a fan of good police work. Unfortunately, my experience is not typical of so many of my Black brothers and sisters.
First of all, policemen have more discretionary power than almost everyone in American society, including the President of the United States. At a police action, the officer can assume the role of judge, jury and executioner when he shoots and kills someone. In too many instances, the policeman is exonerated and given the benefit of the doubt. All policemen, like the rest of the population, are not honest. Most are. The few rogue cops give the occupation a bad name. Rogue cops use their drop guns to justify self defense. Rogue cops also plant dime bags of drugs at a scene to justify a drug arrest.
Now, let’s look at Sgt. James Crowley, not only did he behave “stupidly,” he apparently also seemed to take on some of the characteristics of an unfulfilled person seeking vengeance because it was averred that he was called a racist. It seems to me that only a racist is deeply angered by being so identified. Those who are not racist, simply ignore the charge as being unfounded. Failure to read one’s Miranda rights, if this is true, is a violation of the law. Refusing to give one’s name and badge number, may not be a crime but it violates ethics. A citizen has the right to ask for and get that information.
Now we learn that Sgt. Crowley is a diversity trainer recommended for this position by a Black person. This compounds the problem. Obviously, the training is either incomplete or ineffective. Such training should include the cultural differences and mores of ethnic groups. In the Black community, when one is frustrated and exasperated, one resorts to a common practice which is referred to as “signifying,” “playing the dozens,” and using a term, “yo mama.” Had Sgt. Crowley been adequately trained he would have known what he was being subjected to and would not have bitten the bait. Sgt. Crowley was armed and had a badge to hide behind. Professor Gates was defenseless and vulnerable; he had no way to defend himself other than to play the dozens. Further, Dr. Gates had crossed the International Date Line, crossed time zones and may have been suffering from jet lag. Returning home from China and not finding everything the way they should be was another cause for frustration. Of course, Sgt. Crowley had no way to know these details, but a wise officer properly trained in diversity would have tried to diffuse the situation, thus de-esclating and bringing the level of tension down.
Further, in listening to Sgt. Crowley, he stated that he was alone and indicated that he felt threatened. Confucius says one picture is worth a thousand words. According to the picture, when Professor Gates stepped out onto the porch there were at least 2 other officers present, one of whom was Black. Yes, he was alone with Professor Gates when he was in the professor’s home where he was given proof of the address on the driver’s license and that Dr. Gates was affiliated with Harvard; that should have ended the situation.
The fact that Sgt. Crowley went into a home alone when there was the possibility of “two Black men” who could have been armed and dangerous, is an example of poor police judgment, in other words, S T U P I D I T Y.
Let’s face it, Sgt. Crowley allowed his emotions to run away with him and to me he appeared to want to teach the “highly educated” professor a lesson by showing who really had the superior power in the situation. In order words, I can imagine that he thought no matter how educated you are, you had the nerve to call me a racist and talked about my mother. Step outside. Why? He had learned all he needed to know when he was inside the home. It appears to me the resulting arrest was the satisfaction that would make the Sergeant’s bruised ego feel whole.
Let’s all be rational. Let’s all put emotion aside. This situation calls for objective logic, not personal or subjective reacting.
I feel that Sgt. Crowley should be required to take additional courses in diversity because he does not have the temperament to serve the public effectively and efficiently. Crowley tarnishes the name and reputation of policemen everywhere; and this is why Black people especially disrespect the police and fear that their abuse of power can result in false imprisonment and even death. This is not something that White people, in general, have to fear, thus they do not understand the disparity.
I am in favor of elevating the status of police work to the level of professionalism with much better training in behavioral psychology and better pay in order to attract the brightest and the best because of the discretionary authority and power which they hold.
We do need an honest dialogue about racial profiling because it does exist in America. It is insidious, incendiary and inhumane. The President of the United States does not need to apologize to anyone for calling a spade a spade.
We need to move on. Get over it. Our country has too many serious problems with the economy, with wars, with both a failing education and a failing health system, and with providing equal justice under the law for all of her citizens. Let’s stop yakking and jaw boning and take care of our serious business. “We have miles to go before we sleep.”
By helen on Jul 19, 2009 | In The Black Perspective of Views of America By Helen Burleson
GETTING IN TOUCH WITH OUR HISTORY
By Helen L. Burleson, Doctor of Public Administration
There is so much of history that is either overtly or covertly undisclosed. We need to put on our Sherlock Holmes glasses to ferret out the vital contributions of Americans of African ancestry. Most Americans of African descent and Americans in general are unaware and thus do not know. Those who do know, those who control the media, manipulate the media in ways that favor those who look like themselves. This is no accident. When a people know their true value and true worth, not only do they have higher expectations of themselves, they demand higher appreciation and compensation for their goods and services.
The people in China used to be referred to as “sleeping giants.” One can see what can happen when a people awaken. China now is a force to be reckoned with and as investors, China has invested and loaned so much money to the U. S. economic structure, that were she to pull her funds out, the repercussions would be short of catastrophic.
An informed and educated people, not only advance their own causes, but they advance all of civilization.
Americans of African descent are asleep. They are asleep at the wheel and that is why the car is veering and falling off a cliff. Because we are asleep at the throttle, our children are going astray and they are falling further and further from the tree. Each generation is responsible for transmitting societal culture and values to the next generation. In the African American community we have lost 2 generations. Yes, it’s easy to make the charge, but what do we do about it?
First, we start with education. Education about controlling our birth rate by responsible means is the goal we must set. Giving birth only to the number of children we can afford to support and educate is the start; this means planned parenthood. Planned parenthood means we have two mature, caring and INFORMED parents. Such parents spend quality time with their offspring providing them with the experiential background that sets the stage for lifetime learning and self-actualization. Every value in life must be taught in the home by the first teachers – the parents – the value and benefit of a quality education, personal responsibility and the discipline to make positive and appropriate choices, economic values of financial responsibility that emphasize living within ones means and saving for that proverbial rainy day, personal worth values that deemphasize conspicuous consumption and materialism, self esteem values that stress the importance of integrity and maintaining a strong family image based on socially acceptable behavior, health values that emphasize wise lifetime choices of good nutrition and physical fitness in order to live a healthy and productive life, spiritual values that engender self respect and respect for all things human and non human, and emotional values that prepare one for self improvement and recognition of when intervention is required.
Now laying out this blueprint for the awakening, we must get control of our children. My one word definition for LOVE is DISCIPLINE. Discipline does not mean corporal punishment. Disciple means taking the time as soon as there is awareness, starting in infancy, teaching right from wrong. Distinguishing right from wrong is what develops conscience. This conscience is based on the standards set by this family. Parents must not be afraid to say, “Not in our home, not in this family, not on my watch.”
During these hard economic times, parents are faced with challenges not known by most since The Great Depression, but we survived that and we will survive this. We want to come out of this current economic crisis with families intact. This means more demands upon parents, and parents must be vigilant. We must let our children know that nothing crosses our threshold that was not purchased by the parents. How do guns and drugs get into homes without the parents’ knowledge? Yes, both parents are working, if we are fortunate enough to have two parents in a home, but, that is a mind set. If the proper family values have been delineated and enforced, only the boldest and most incorrigible will defy the rules of the home. That presents another set of problems where outside intervention may be called for. By and large, the lessons learned at the parents’ knees are not soon forgotten.
Parents must stand up and take back the reins if they have lost them. The excuse of children having children is just that, it is not rational. Back in the days of our grandparents and great-grandparents, girls married at 14, 15, and 16. They married early because there was little for girls to do. There were no jobs for women. During an agrarian economy, women were needed to help around the farms and when the babies came, the babies were taken to the fields with them. Then the children, as soon as they were able, worked in the fields along with the parents. The more children a farmer had meant the more hands to work the farm. The school year was also designed to respond to the growing and harvesting season.
Things have changed and we must change with the times. There was no such thing as juvenile delinquency at that time because the children were right there beside the parents, sharing in the survival of the family. Today, especially, in the inner cities, children do not work side by side with their parents. Though many jobs arrange for one day set aside to take children to work, that’s just a singular opportunity to see how the bread comes to the table. It’s a nice gesture, but it is not a long term solution to address the problems of what to do with children after school.
Total education reform must consider parent work schedules. We might consider having parents arrive home before the children do so parents are there to greet them. Book bags can’t conceal the heavy arms that too many children are packing today. How ideal would it be to have the children come in, sit down with the parents to have dinner, to discuss their respective days, and then have the children do their supervised homework.
We need to return to the days when we had a sense of community. In many communities there were block clubs. Many block clubs formed neighborhood watches with stickers indicating that neighbors were watching. Block clubs also sponsored activities for the children of the block. Even in high rise communities, clubs can be organized by building with the same motivation to watch out for each other and to supervise children’s activities. Poverty is no excuse for not caring. Poverty is no reason why people cannot organize.
If we are to save our children, we are going to have to do it block by block, community by community. It is not too late and “YES WE CAN!”
The saying, an idle mind is the devil’s workshop is appropriate for today’s households and communities. Latchkey children coming home to an empty home, in an unstructured environment, turn to the streets and street activities to fill their idle time.
It might sound corny, but some of our ancestors’ values are worth dusting off and given a new go. Teaching our children their family and ethnic history are great tools for providing them with the ammunition they need to buttress themselves and to fortify themselves with good values, self worth and self esteem. This is why it is so important to get in touch with our history.
Wake up people, we must no longer fail our children and ourselves, history demands as much. It is time for our slumber to end.
By helen on Jul 10, 2009 | In The Black Perspective of Views of America By Helen Burleson
AIDING AND ABETTING THE ENEMY
By Helen L. Burleson, Doctor of Public Administration
Valley View Swim Club seems to me to give comfort to and aids and abets the enemies of the United States of America. All of this is being done in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, a suburb of the “City of Brotherly Love.”
At the time when our current president, President Barack Obama, is out of the country trying to repair and rebuild our reputation with the world’s people, Valley View is demonstrating why we are so despised by much of the world.
We had our reputation severely damaged during the 8 years of the past Administration, leaving us vulnerable to the wrath of our enemies.
The very open and raw display of racial hatred was evidenced when a group of Black and Hispanic children from the Creative Steps Day Camp were denied the use of the swimming pool at the club despite the fact that they had paid $1,950.00, and had a reservation to use the pool.
We are supposed to be “the UNITED States of America.” Valley View projects an image that not only are we not united, but we discriminate based on race and color. The very statement that the Black children would change the “complexion of the club” purportedly stated by some adults in the presence of the children was the basest possible example of man’s inhumanity to man.
This is why we have been known by many appellations, “The Ugly American,” “The Crazy American,” “The Arrogant American.”
If this is an example and prototype of democracy, why on earth would any country try to embrace it as a better way to govern. There are disruptions, and classic examples of governments in several parts of the world turning on their people, and ostracizing, segregating and even murdering their citizenry. We are being urged by some members of our Congress to get involved and declare extreme condemnation of those governments. In other words, those Congresspeople want us to continue the practice of meddling in other countries’ affairs. How do we justify that when we don’t guarantee life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to all of our own citizens, especially our innocent children? Why would anyone want to traumatize and demoralize children? Why would anyone want to break their spirits during their formative years when they, for the most part, look up to adults as role models to pattern their lives after?
Remember Abraham Lincoln told us “that a house divided against itself cannot stand.” We are divided and this poses a security risk. If we are divided, we are then weakened. If we are divided then we are not respected, and thus we are not protected.
North Korea is a classic example of a country that is thumbing its nose at us, prodding us and trying to provoke us because they feel that because of our divisions, we are vulnerable.
Congratulations, Valley View Swim Club of Huntingdon Valley, PA! If that was your intent to show the world the ugly face of racism, you succeeded!
By helen on Jul 8, 2009 | In The Black Perspective of Views of America By Helen Burleson
HONORING MICHAEL JACKSON
By Helen L. Burleson, Doctor of Public Administration
I choose to honor Michael Joseph Jackson, not because he was the “King of Pop” or considered to be the greatest entertainer of all times. I choose to honor Michael, the man. Michael, the son. Michael, the brother. Michael, the uncle. Most important of all, Michael, the father.
No one could have heard Paris Katherine Jackson, Michael’s middle child, and his only daughter at the ceremony celebrating his life, without being deeply moved. In this day and age when there are so many absent and negligent fathers, the Jackson children by their own body language and words have avowed that Michael was the best dad anyone could have ever had. Paris told how she loved and missed her dad because he had loved her ever since she was born. How many children can honestly say that.
What about the recent revelations of fathers in high places who are carrying on affairs and neglecting their children. One well known father took Fathers’ Day to visit his mistress in another country, abandoning his sons on one of the most important parent-child bonding days of the year. Unless a father is in the military and unable to come home, every child expects to spend Fathers’ Day with his or her father. When we walk the hallowed halls of Congress, we find too many fathers who have transgressed living in duplicity and causing anguish and heartache for their families.
To all the critics of Michael Jackson, I ask if they are really qualified to cast the first stone. Certainly there are several in Congress (past and present) who cannot.
People all over the world loved and admired Michael Jackson. Are we to feel that they are all foolish and uninformed? No, some people are realistic enough to know that no one is perfect. Such people are not judgmental and they look for and find deeper qualities of character to admire.
Michael Jackson had some charges lodged against him, but no court found him GUILTY of anything untoward. One mother who accused Jackson of misconduct was found to have previously tried to blackmail another person for money. Anyone can accuse anyone of anything, and celebrities and wealthy people are more targeted than the average person. One young accuser later confessed that his father pressured him to file charges for monetary gain. Michael once paid a large sum of money to prevent a traumatic, long-drawn out proceeding. Just as some people confess to crimes they have not committed, some people take the easy way out rather than endure the discomfort of having their lives disrupted. Unless a person has been convicted of a crime, the presumption is that that person is innocent until proven GUILTY. Most children learn that in elementary school when they study American government.
I also find it ironic that some of the very people who have been so vociferous and vocal in condemning others are later found to be GUILTY of the same behavior. To paraphrase Shakespeare “…the lady (man) dost protest too much, methinks.’
There are many reasons why I am honoring Michael Jackson, he was a humanitarian and generously, but unobtrusively contributed to many causes. The list is too extensive to detail here, however, he is cited in the Millennium Issue of Guinness World Record Book of having contributing more to charity than any other pop artist. He is referred to there as the King of Charity. He is listed under Most Charities Supported by a pop star with a staggering 39 international organizations, including the Make A Wish Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Mainly he gave anonymously, not seeking publicity; he gave from his heart. It is estimated that he may have given $500,000,000.00 ($500 million) to charities in his lifetime.
Which one of his critics can say that. Certainly not the bouncy, boisterous newscaster on cable TV, who has fallen prey to prescription medication.
Though I recognize Jackson’s creative genius, I am honoring him for being a loving father and for his demonstrated concrete concern for all mankind. He was altruistic and a practicing humanitarian.
By helen on Jul 6, 2009 | In The Black Perspective of Views of America By Helen Burleson
HO HUM! THE SOUR GRAPES DUO ARE AT IT AGAIN
By Helen L. Burleson, Doctor of Public Administration
If one uses a basketball analogy as one derides those who were victorious over you, the transparency is CLEAR. Enter stage left, Sarah Palin announces her resignation as Governor of Alaska. Stating no coherent reason for her departure after serving 2 ½ years of a four-year term, she went out swinging. Her behavior and deliverance was more akin to a breathless baseball player. Swinging her bat, she hit hard at those who not only have superior intellect to her, but also were victorious in achieving their goal. Palin makes up in mastering sarcasm and the great put down what she lacks in knowledge and acumen. She has no time to educate herself about effective governance and world affairs, she is too busy assuaging her exaggerated, unjustified ego. Purportedly doing what is best for Alaska, she avowed that she didn’t want to be a lame duck governor, for many of them spend the tax payers money travelling abroad under any pretext. I guess she thought we didn’t notice that she said she has just recently gone to Bosnia to visit the troops. Of course, she also didn’t notice that there has been a lot of recent publicity about her husband, Todd’s affiliation with the AIP (the Alaskan Independence Party) whose mission was to secede from the Union. Sarah, thus, made it plain that she was proud to be an American. Another swipe that she thought we did not notice, but, we did! Then she attempts to hide behind her special needs child, Trigg as part of the reason why she is resigning. Then she dropped the bombshell on us that everyone should be like Trigg. Statistically, there are not many people born like Trigg, so what does that say about the world's population? What does that say about the intellect of someone who wants to be vice president or president of the United States.
Sarah Palin, as a poster child, is a typical product of American education as we know it today. She has made it very popular and acceptable to be under informed. To understand Sarah, I recommend that you get the movie, “Being There” starring Peter Sellers. Be sure to watch to the end because near the end of the movie, you will see the parallel.
Now, stage right, on the 4th of July comes, the war hero who knew how to get bin Laden and swore that he would get bin Laden if elected president. Is it because we didn’t elect him president that he won’t get bin Laden for us. This makes me think of the child when he sees he’s losing, takes his marbles and goes home sulking. What I don’t understand is why Senator McCain’s, pride in America hasn’t caused him to rid us of our greatest enemy, Osama bin Laden? He knows exactly what we should do about Iran. He forcefully expressed that WE should make it plain that WE, the American people, stand with the people of Iran. He emphatically refuted the fact that to do so would not be interfering with Iran’s internal affairs.
You have lost credibility, Mr. McCain. You apparently don’t know anymore about how we should behave by involving ourselves with regimes in Iran than you know about how to get bin Laden.
The only thing I want to hear from you, Mr. McCain is, ‘I’ve got bin Laden!’ For then I shall be able to sleep peacefully at night knowing that you have captured bin Laden and I have nothing to fear anymore.
By helen on Jun 25, 2009 | In The Black Perspective of Views of America By Helen Burleson
WHO RUNS MEDICAL CARE IN AMERICA?
By Helen L. Burleson, Doctor of Public Administration
The simple answer to the question is the insurance companies.
It amazes me to hear physicians complain about government interference in medical care. No one should know better than physicians, that THEY do not make all the medical decisions, NOW.
Hospitals are run by MBA’s and non medical people who have degrees in public health or hospital management and administration, and have no medical training. The model they employ is the business model. Doctors have to discharge patients based on how many days a patient can occupy a bed. The decision to discharge is made by the administrative policy. Quality control is a term used by hospital administrators. Simply stated it means how much money can they make for the hospital. Obviously they use cost benefit analysis and not well patient analysis. Of course, hospitals have to make a profit or they cannot survive, but the human element must not be overlooked.
I urge physicians to be honest. They do not have the control over their professional practices as they did in the past. They should support President Obama’s attempts to overhaul medical care in America so they can practice based on their Hippocratic Oath and not on the command of a hospital administrator. Under the Obama health plan, doctors would have more autonomy based on best guidelines for patient care. Physicians need not fear for their income. When the health care system is improved, their incomes may actually increase because there will always be people who do not want to sit in an emergency room or in a crowded HMO waiting room.
Speaking from personal experience, in 1976 I had surgery. My physician, who had been on staff for many years and was highly respected by the administration and the nursing staff, kept me in the hospital a few days longer because I was running a slight temperature. I was a Medicare patient. Almost concurrently, my niece, a public school teacher, who had the same type of surgery was discharged after three days in the hospital despite the fact that she was experiencing difficulty. Her physician was not as well known to the people who determine the culture or politics of the hospital. I was twice her age and had absolutely no complications or discomfort after major surgery. My niece had complications that lasted for an extended period of time.
I have a cousin suffering from advanced MS (multiple sclerosis). As a school principal she was required to have coverage by the medical insurance company chosen by the Chicago Board of Education. In addition to being misdiagnosed in the early stages of her disease, she has been pushed around from pillar to post from hospital to hospital from nursing home to extended care facilities. During the early phases of her hospitalization she was given both physical and occupational therapy and was able to lift her legs slightly and had progressed to the stage of being able to lift her cutlery to feed herself. Later, when she was discharged from the hospital she was put in an extended care facility where she also got physical and occupational therapy. Later the treatment was stopped because her insurance wouldn’t pay for it. She also had to leave the facility when her insurance benefits ran out. The nursing home threatened to seize her home for payment of her enormous medical bill. Transferred to a less expensive nursing home, she received no therapy and thus she had no quality of life. She was put out of that nursing home because her insurance would no longer pay because they said her prognosis was poor and she had no chance for improvement or recovery. The only thing that keeps her from being a vegetable is that her brain functions well and she can speak fluently and coherently. This is because in addition to having a Masters degree, she also has supervisory credentials. At 54 years of age, my cousin has no future.
Because the basement in her home flooded during her hospitalization, she was unable to return to her home because of mold infestation.
Fortunately, her Godmother, opened her home to my cousin. The insurance company that refused payment for her to remain in a 24 hour nursing home facility is now paying for in-home services which consist of therapy, and 24 hour aide coverage. I’m still trying to figure out the rationale.
My niece and my cousin, both employed by school boards, contributed to their medical programs, and both were treated unfairly. I, on a “socialized” medical program, Medicare, get excellent medical care. The only little inconvenience I have is sometimes I have to wait to see a specialist. Does that bother me or affect the quality of my life? No. I have my own physician whom I selected and she makes my referrals to see specialists when I need to.
Is Medicare perfect? No. Is fee for service medical care perfect? No. The minute that fee for service patient enters the hospital system, the private physician has to conform to the rules established by the administrative panel.
Between the two, my “socialized” program is the better and I am satisfied.
To the American public I say, do not be dissuaded by those whose primary purpose is profiteering. The insurance companies have grandiose buildings where they operate and these facilities were not paid for because of eleemosynary interests.
There must be universal health care for all Americans equal to what members of Congress give themselves that we, the taxpayers, pay for. If we do not get what is best for the rest of us, then those few should lose their privilege and we should refuse to pay for it!
By helen on Jun 24, 2009 | In The Black Perspective of Views of America By Helen Burleson
PRESIDENT OBAMA IN EQYPT
By Helen L. Burleson, Doctor of Public Administration
President Barack Hussein Obama addressed a large audience, many of them students, at Cairo University. The audience appeared to be receptive, at times giving him rounds of thunderous applause; and, at other times they appeared to be more reserved.
In interviewing members of the foreign press and citizens of the countries involved as the objects of his discourse, most stated the address was a resounding success. A few, understandably, were less enthusiastic in their assessment.
Now we hear from voices within our own country, and most of those interviewed felt that the speech met its mark. We will always have those who have prejudged anything President Obama does, come out from under the rocks like preying mantis, ready for the assault.
One minor “wanna be celebrity” was critical of the fact that “he did not mention Democracy once.” MSNBC proved the falsehood to be just that when they replayed at least three instances where President Obama spoke of our Democracy.
Because life is so complex, I like to state things in very simple terms based on many of our shared experiences. Let’s look at what farmers do. Most of us know the process by which our food is grown. First the farmer prepares the soil by tiling it, in other words turning it over and aerating it. If it is virgin soil, he may have to remove rocks, rubbish and occasionally small boulders. Once the soil is readied, he spreads the seeds, spacing them carefully to allow for the maximum development of each plant that the seed will yield. Unless Mother Nature showers the new seeds, the farmer has to water the seeds to facilitate germination. Periodically, he repeats the watering process and spreads fertilizer, if he has not fertilized the soil at planting time. After a period of time, the seeds form roots and sprouts before turning into full grown produce yielding plants.
Let’s apply this simple law of nature to the speech given by President Obama. This was not meant to be a policy statement or a position paper. Had it been either, it would have been hypocritical and signaled to the friends he was trying to cultivate, they he had already devised a strategy and had reached a conclusion about the outcome of his ideas. Instead he apprised the concerned parties that solutions must be sought by talking and listening and negotiating from a position of respect and inclusion. In other words the United States was not going to impose actions or solutions upon a group of people capable of solving their own problems with the necessary give and take to reach consensus.
Some local pundits complained that there were no specifics. Of course not, had he given specifics, it would be his analysis of what he felt they should do. That is the very approach that has caused America to be mistrusted in that part of the world. The very purpose of his discourse was to demonstrate that the U S had no preconceived notions, solutions, or answers because that would be dictating and imposing our will upon a people. The only factor approaching imposition was his declaration that there should be a two state solution where both Palestinians and the Israelis could coexist.
The President also stressed that military might alone will not solve problems. To assuage fears of permanent occupation or colonization, he stressed that all U. S. troops would be withdrawn from Iraq by 2012.
He let it be known that open communication, honest dialogue and transparency are needed to attempt to resolve disputes.
Though he said the U. S. stands solidly with Israel, he emphasized that the U. S. wants Israel to respect the rights of the Palestinians to exist in the area without Israel developing more settlements. In this instance he was acting as an impartial mediator asking each to look at what they can collectively do to share the same land in peace and harmony.
The President very wisely acknowledged that we, Americans, have not always been right in some of the decisions and actions we’ve taken. It is this kind of honesty that engenders respect and trust. People who refuse to acknowledge the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat those mistakes. President Obama pushed the plough forward by stating this is a new day and we are seeking new and improved solutions to problems that have plagued society for many years.
The President’s speech was more of a mission or vision statement reflecting the optimism, the hope and the dream for a world at peace.
Those who are more knowledgeable and unbiased heard, understood and appreciated, not only his tone, but the content of his speech.
Like any wise farmer/philosopher, President Barack Hussein Obama has tilled the soil and planted the seeds for new growth in the Middle East and indeed around the world. Farmers tend to be philosophical and they know they can not control everything in the growth process. There is a time to sow and a time to reap.
President Obama deserves the highest praise for attempting, through diplomacy and a soft touch, to reach the hearts, minds and souls of a people in need of forging a new direction. He started the process, the solutions and resolutions are up to the people of the Middle East.
By helen on Jun 21, 2009 | In The Black Perspective of Views of America By Helen Burleson
AMERICA MUST REMAIN NEUTRAL
By Helen L. Burleson, Doctor of Public Administration
For the United States to weigh in on the situation in Iran would seem a little like the pot calling the kettle black.
Let us go back to Chicago, August 23, 1968 during the Democratic National Convention. Thousands of people, many of whom were young students, protested the unpopular war in Vietnam; and thought the ideal place was the DNC Convention where the selection of the countries leaders were to be decided.
Having a hidden agenda, the late Mayor Richard J. Daley, the father of the current mayor of Chicago, gave the Chicago Police Department the order to "shoot to kill" the demonstrators.
I watched in horror on television as the Chicago police launched the most brutal and vicious attack that I have ever seen. Though I was alone, I kept crying out loud, those are our children, those are our children, why are they brutalizing our own children like that. It was as though the police were so psychologically revved up that they were maniacal in their fervor and fury.
This action resulted in 8 young people being arrested for a variety of charges like curfew violation and unlawful assembly without "permits." The eight were Rennie Davis, David Delinger, Bobby Seale, Tom Hayden, Julius Froines, Lee Weiner, Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman. Bobby Seale, being denied the opportunity to select an attorney of his choosing, vocally protested this right being denied him, was ordered bound and gagged while in court by Judge Julius Hoffman (not related to Abbie). Later Bobby Seale's case was separated from the others, thus the infamous title "The Chicago Seven."
Though I have no proof of this, it was widely rumored that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was in Milwaukee on his way to Chicago leading a poor people's march to demonstrate at the DNC Convention. Dr. King was alerted to the mayor's order, and thus remained in Milwaukee.
It is my personal opinion that once passions had been aroused in the Chicago policemen, all of their hatred, their biases, their contempt, and their deep seated emotions unleashed, could not draw back or reel in their emotions despite the fact that they were confronted by a group of largely white college students. The Mayor had assembled 12,000 Chicago policemen, 6,000 Illinois National Guardsmen and 6,000 U. S. army troops for the "purpose of maintaining order."
The vicious cycle had started, the next altercation and example of our own inhumanity was at Kent State University at Kent, OH where students were fired upon randomly.
The next in this season of man's inhumanity to man was Jackson State University in Jackson, MS. Bullet holes can still be seen in dormitory buildings. This is something, I personally witnessed when I traveled a few years later to Jackson, MS.
Now, I ask you, where do these atrocities give us the right to voice any negative feelings about what's going on in Iran. The last person in the world to criticize President Obama is Senator John McCain, the war hawk. McCain has not lived up to his patriotic duty to deliver Osama bin Laden to us. He promised during the campaign that he knew how to get bin Laden and he would get bin Laden. To my knowledge, we don’t have bin Laden yet. McCain should spend his time and energy “getting” bin Laden who is a greater threat to us than what is going on in Iran.
President Obama, again, demonstrates his even temperament and his sound judgement to say as little as possible. The last thing we need at this time is for the world to remind us of how we dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, the only country in history to use atomic energy for destructive purposes. We certainly do not need them to remind us of our own history of violence perpetrated upon our own people.
For those who are critical of President Obama's "inaction" please review American history.
My conclusion for the United States to remain neutral is based on FACT, how you arrive at your decision for the United States to interfere is up to you.