Let me start out by saying up front that I listen to Rush Limbaugh, and I never listened to Air America.
I used to enjoy Al Franken when he made his living as a comedian, but I never considered him to be a serious politician or even commentator, so when he decided to take up the left-wing point of view I moved on.
I listen to Rush for a number of good reasons, and I also use some of his lectures as the basis for civics instruction in the home schooling I provide for my daughter. (For those of you who are already typing up smarmy commentaries to send to this column, don't waste your time. I won't read them and I won't publish them. I know what I am doing and I don't need your input.)
All that being said, I was more than a little interested in the attempts to create a furor over Rush's parody of the Peter, Paul and Mary song from the 60s, Puff The Magic Dragon, which in the world of Rush became Barack The Magic Negro to the same tune.
Now, for those of you who don't listen to Rush, before you get on the torches and pitchforks bandwagon, Rush Limbaugh didn't come up with that phrase. It actually was written in the LA Times and that was a response to a Sen. Joe Biden comment that Obama was "clean and articulate," apparently an unexpected development in the world of black politicians for Biden.
So, in the wake of that comment, and the expected response from Al Sharpton, the LA Times prints a column about Obama, which included the phrase "magic Negro" basically on the theme that Obama, with a virtual un-Sharpton image, might just be the first black man who could be elected president of the United States.
It didn't take Limbaugh long to put together a parody of that statement, with the singer sounding very much like the Reverend Al singing through a bull horn, Sharpton's trademark from his street protest days.
As could probably be expected, myopes on the left who pretended not to know where the original statement came from started agitating to do something to Rush for having the audacity to say Negro, and especially to say it in a song parody. As it turns out, the myopes have been totally unsuccessful because while they pretend not to know where the phrase came from, just about every legal American citizen who understands English knows exactly where the phrase came from, and there isn't going to be a Don Imus moment for Rush on the Magic Negro issue.
That is history. Here is what I would suggest Sen. Obama should do if he is serious about his run for the presidency.
Embrace the song. Learn it, sing it, hum it, play it every time you enter a room full of potential donors just like Hail To The Chief is done for the president.
Why would he do this you might ask?
For an answer I have to turn the clock back to the late 60s and the anti-Vietnam War movement. During that time I was a Marine engaged in preparing for, fighting, and coming down from fighting in that war, rather than demonstrating against it, because I had an uncanny ability to foresee the future and I didn't want millions of Southeast Asians to die at the hands of the communists. Unfortunately, I was ignored while the anti-Vietnam War crowd got all the attention and millions of Southeast Asians died at the hands of the communists.
During that time there were many, many songs labelled anti-war, sung by contemporary artists who knew where to make a buck even if they were supporting murderous communists who were were hell bent on world domination and didn't care how many people they killed to achieve it.
Two of the more famous of these songs were the I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin-To-Die-Rag (also known as the Vietnam Rag) by Country Joe MacDonald who performed with the band Country Joe and the Fish, and the other classic, Alice's Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie.
Now, considering that I and about three million of my best friends were applying our uncanny abilities to foresee the future by fighting to save Southeast Asia, and thus the world, from the murderous communists, you might think that we would have been really, really upset with songs like those. But we weren't.
In the first place, we liked good music. We also managed to keep a collective sense of humor. Instead of getting all bent out of shape over these songs, we embraced them! We learned them, we sang them, the musicians among us learned to play them on various instruments, in fact, my unit, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 161 even adopted Alice's Restaurant as "our" song!
We also liked Peter, Paul and Mary very much, especially Mary, and learned all their songs too. The fact was, we, far more than most people who were back in the states protesting against us, truly understood the brutality of war, and while we fought to win, we also understood far better than most protesters just how awful war was as a means of settling disputes.
So we did our jobs, and along the way, sang "Whoopee we're all going to Die!" and "You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant" with total abandon. Whatever intent may have accompanied the decisions to write, record, and perform those songs, if negatively impacting our morale was an objective, it flat out didn't work.
Sen. Obama could have the same result. Here you have a bunch of left-wing myopes, not-so-distant cousins of the Southeast Asian communists who murdered millions of people in their quest for world domination, trying to make an issue out of a non-issue, and along the way making Sen. Obama look like just another thin-skinned, humourless race-baiter.
That second part is a hidden agenda, but if you think about it for a second you'll see that it would work. Sen. Obama could possibly get the Democratic nod if he gets an overwhelming majority of the vote from black Democrats, but if he can't show that he can relate across the entire political spectrum, including all parties and all races, he won't get the general vote, which means he will lose the election.
Personally I think the left-wing myopes are a bunch of racists who really want to keep black people down, all the while they are claiming to be the champions of minorities. But as long as they keep Sharpton and others of their ilk out in front, claiming to be the official spokesmen for the black community, the left-wing myopes know they will always have a division between black and white Americans.
But if Barack Obama takes the opposite approach, and takes Barack The Magic Negro as a theme song of sorts, it will have exactly the opposite affect. It will show that he has a sense of humor, it will show that he doesn't get riled by the small stuff, it will show that he doesn't hold grudges against inconsequential things even if they are parodies of him, and it will show Americans of all other races that he won't be constantly playing the race card.
And it will bring attention to the fact that he just might have the qualifications to be president!
In short, it will make Sen. Obama appear to be a genuinely balanced, human candidate, with a good sense of humor and perspective. It will shoot him light years ahead of Hillary Rodham Clinton, and attract a lot of interest from unaffiliated voters, who really hold the keys to political power in America if they decided to vote.
Think about it. It would work.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007