Irrlevant election issues

The Return of Alderman Davis

One of the things that every child of the 70s can easily identify is a scene from the show “Good Times”.

Florida, James, Thelma, Michael, Wilona and, of course, JJ were weekly visitors to our homes back in the day. Through them, you got a view of the ghetto that seemed more funny than hardscrabble. Although hardscrabble came to visit more often than not.

(Any show in which a character can marry a pro football player and yet still wind up in the ghetto would indicate that.)

The scene above is from a show in which politics came into play. The bald gentleman is Alderman Fred Davis, the elected official that represents the project in which the Evans Family lives. The younger gentleman is an idealistic challenger who has decided that he’s going to take the Alderman on because he thinks that the neighborhood deserves better.

While the challenger runs a campaign seeking to stick to the issues, Alderman Davis manages to win because he’s able to “play the dozens” (crack insulting jokes), and keep the populace from remembering that he actually hasn’t done jack to help them out throughout his time in office. The challenger vows to come back next time, but he also recognizes that he may have to learn how to “play the dozens” to do what he wants to for his potential constituents.

I thought of this scenario this morning as I heard President Barack Obama’s news conference in which he released the long form of his birth certificate for all the world to see.

Doing the best Alderman Davis imitation I’ve seen in awhile, Donald Trump has managed to obfuscate the political debate just enough to keep our eye off of what’s important and put them back on the kind of election issues that are so irrelevant that they make me angry and should make you angry too.

And the fact that he’s being taken seriously as a presidential candidate tells me that just like Alderman Davis’s constituents on “Good Times”, there are folks out there willing to pay attention to his silliness despite the fact that it comes with no solutions.

After three years, you might think that the Birther class, having lost every legal fight they’ve had on the issue, would have decided to give this issue up. I mean, when Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, a woman whose porch light is never completely on, decides that the issue is no longer an issue, everyone should follow her lead.

But when you’re Donald Trump, you’re not everyone else. You’re a different breed of cat, right down to the hair.

Trump, reading the polls that showed that more than a few Republicans have bought into the Birther nonsense, called (and called, and called) for the President’s birth certificate to any reporter who would listen.

Unfortunately, there were a lot of them.

As his star rose among the contenders for the Republican Presidential Nomination for 2012, Trump and his calls for President Obama’s birth certificate got a lot of traction. The din from the rest of Birther Nation got so loud that President Obama felt he had no choice but to answer with the unveiling of his birth certificate.

“This issue has been going on for two, two and a half years now. I think it started during the campaign,” Obama said. “I have watched with bemusement, I’ve been puzzled at the degree at which this thing just kept on going.”

Alderman Davis, oops, I mean Trump, trumpeted his apparent triumph of course.

“He should have done it a long time ago. I am really honored to play such a big role in hopefully, hopefully getting rid of this issue,” he said.

But will it get rid of this issue? Somehow I doubt it. Especially when you consider the fact that significant numbers of Republicans believe that the President is a naturalized and not natural-born citizen.

That belief sure beats actually having to come up with some solutions to our problems, doesn’t it?

I have been saying for a while now that we have entered the age of Ringling Bros & Barnum and Bailey Politics. The clown cars open every few days and more and more clowns come pouring out. Trump is just the latest. To his credit, Obama called him on it.

“We’re not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers,” the president said.

(I’m guessing that this, somehow, is a direct reference to the fact that Trump now wants to see President Obama’s collegiate transcripts.)

Now I could continue to talk around the real issue here, but when gas is $4.04 a gallon for regular here in the City of Brotherly Love, I don’t feel like it. I don’t feel like it because I know that as gas goes up, food goes up and I’m going to be asked to pay $17 for a pack of chicken wings again. Kind of like I was in 2008 when the “ooh, shiny!” issue on the table was the musings of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Let’s call it what it is. This is some racist bullshit and always has been. No other President, presidential candidate, or even a person who’s thought about running for president, has been through the kind of scrutiny that President Obama has.

As much as I would like to see this in some other way, the only reason that I can see for this is the fact that he’s a black man named Barack Obama.

Now I didn’t really expect this kind of crap from Donald Trump if for no other reason but “the blacks” (he gets along fine with us by the way) and their fondness for gambling have managed to keep him in models and toupee glue. But for a guy who has managed to run a casino or three into bankruptcy, he’s got more than a bit of nerve.

I’ll end this by saying something that I didn’t think I’d have to say until 2012, but since Trump and the Birther Bunch are rearing their ugly heads right now, I’m forced to do it early.

We don’t have time for this shit.

Like I said, gas is $4.04 a gallon here in Philly, mostly because the oil companies see the turmoil in the Middle East as their opportunity to gouge all of us. Food is going to go up next. Folks in the Tea Party-controlled House are so intent on cutting off everyone’s access to health care (including the Senior Citizens that they tricked into voting for them. So much for keeping government hands off of Medicare, right?) that they seem to have forgotten our high unemployment rates and the jobs that they promised.

(Notice I didn’t say Republican controlled. The Republicans don’t control it. They made a deal with the Devil in 2010. He’s getting paid now.)

Things are about to get messy.

My hope is that this obsession with all things “shiny” will end in time for us to deal with the real issues our country faces.

But if it happens, that will be the first time.

So unfortunately, Alderman Davis will win yet again.

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Guess what folks….

These two people got married….
And nobody died.

I felt it was important to point that out because the California Supreme Court’s decision to allow gay people to get married was causing too much unnecessary handwringing for my taste. You would have thought that folks were being forced at gunpoint to take same-sex partners for all of the rigormarole.

But neither asteroid, fire, nor Hurricane Katrina the Sequel befell California as a result. Hopefully, the folks in Bakersfield aren’t disappointed. More on them later.

The fact that the apocalypse didn’t begin shortly after the couple in this picture, Phyllis Lyon, 79 and Del Martin, 83 took their vows should serve as a sign that it’s gonna take more than two women affirming a relationship they’ve been in for 51 years through marriage to cause the End of the World. I mean if we calculated 51 years of life for Britney Spears, we’re talking at least 10 or 15 husbands.
But if she got married again, despite her questionable taste in men, no one would lose their minds over it.
And that’s too bad.
I have always felt that being gay is nature and not nurture because if you actually made the “choice” to be gay or lesbian, I’d have to ask you some questions about your self esteem or lack thereof. With what gay people go through, you’d have to be nuts.
For example, did you know that until a few years ago gay people could be arrested for having sex? Yep, that’s true. There were serious anti-sodomy laws on the books, especially in the south. The Supreme Court struck them down and now gay people can have sex just like straight folks.
(Personally, I think that decision came down because someone explained to the men on the court exactly what “sodomy” entailed. Because these laws basically outlawed an act that I’ve been asked to perform by far too many men but won’t get into here, the law got changed.)
However, getting married is still not a universal right for gay people. They can do it in Massachusetts because the commonwealth’s Supreme Court struck down the statute outlawing it.
But on the federal level, President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act, a law that strictly defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. Several states have put similar laws on the books since then.
(Considering how strictly Mr. Bill has followed the letter of the law in his marriage, I find it kinda ironic that he started this ball rolling, don’t you?)
Neither of the guys running for president likes the idea either. Barack Obama likes civil unions, while John McCain likes Samuel Alito and John Roberts. (that kinda tells me where he stands.)
And don’t get me started on the Bush Administration’s push to put this specialized form of discrimination into the Constitution. It’s amazing how a guy can tear up the parts that deal with civil rights and liberties, and try to replace them with a provision that tells gay people “you can’t get married.”
Unfortunately, California looks like it’s headed for a similar constitutional fight. I was listening to National Public Radio this morning and there was a story on how the county municipal office in Bakersfield has stopped performing marriages altogether because they don’t want to marry gay people. A bunch of religious folks have managed to get a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage on the November ballot.
But I find it hard to take marriage that seriously. I don’t see what gay people can do to screw up the institution of marriage that straight people haven’t already done.
I mean Britney Spears has been married twice, and one time lasted 24 hours. Michael Jackson found two people willing to do it with him. I have straight friends who have just about made me turn away from marriage completely.
And besides, how seriously should I take something that can be done by an Elvis impersonator in Vegas at a drive thru window?
I wish all of the gay and lesbian folks in California who will be going to the chapels and getting married the best of luck. I hope it’s all it’s cracked up to be for you.
I especially wish Lyon and Martin the best. If they leave this planet tomorrow, they leave it knowing that they made the ultimate commitment to each other….and to me that’s cool.