1sunfight’s Weblog

May 23, 2010

And the Job Hunt Ends – For Now

As the job market began to accelerate and add jobs to the economy my phone began to ring for job interviews, not all of the jobs were plumb jobs, the kind you write home about, but entry level jobs that are at least a way into a company and a step onto the corporate ladder for the climb up it.  I may have taken one of them had I been offered one, just to keep a roof over my head, food on the table, and keep my car from getting repossessed , although it is questionable that some of those jobs would have accomplished that, until I could find a better job.

When it comes to many of the entry level jobs I interviewed for it left me beyond shocked at what Corporate America considers a living wage for its entry level workers and/or unskilled labor, some of it borders on modern day slavery, or at least as exploitive as those written about by Charles Dickens during the Industrial Revolution.  But, it is not just the wage that is offered for some of the jobs; it is also the level of background checking that I found appalling for sustenance jobs that offer few skills to help the low level employee better themselves for the corporate ladder climb or in the marketplace in general.  Answering phones and making phone calls for a business is vastly different than a high level security job, like an FBI agent, yet they are being treated equally in Corporate America with the amount of background checking.   Thankfully I did not have to take a job that paid $7.25 to $12.00 an hour with anal checking background check, but it has opened my eyes to the plight of the unskilled worker and the gross exploitation by Corporate America of them, even within the United States.  My experience with Corporate America in my job search has left me with the knowledge that it has an entitlement issue that is as a repugnant as those seen during the Industrial Revolution and the Plantation Economy of the pre-Civil War south, even with a wage it appears Corporate America believes they have the right to ownership of its employees.

Just as I had begun to believe I was never going to find a job and accept that my fate was going to have me crawling back to my parents begging to live with them, which is what I would have had to do given my parents really did not want to take me back in or really believed that the job market has been that austere, fate lead me to where I needed to go.

I do not remember sending this business my resume, but when I spent at least four to five hours a day searching for a job it is no wonder I do not remember where I send all of them off to, even with a job hunt folder.  But one day a week and half ago, as I was doing my routine job hunting, the phone rang.  I did not answer and let the machine get the call; no message was left, but I did get an e-mail from the same phone number.  It was for a job interview with a software firm that I accepted for the Wednesday of the following week.  That Wednesday came and I went in and interviewed for a job that I really had no idea exactly what it would be for other than a sales support analyst, which from reading other online job descriptions of the same job could mean just about anything, since none of them are the same, some are nothing more than an administrative assistant in a sales department, with others requiring wide ranging complex duties.  I went in with the attitude that I am going to present myself with what I have and what I can offer the business and if it is meant to be, then I will get the job, if not, then keep looking.

As it turned out the business I was interviewing with is a small business owned by three men, one American and two Brits, who have a niche product for universities and need someone who has a wide range skills and talent that matched my skill set and interests perfectly.  My jack of all trades approach to doing business with my interest and experience in teaching software use online and ongoing education of the product is exactly what they needed as they look to grow the business and add online training and education on to their business in order to remain competitive.  Of course, there will be other duties, I will be an administrative assistant, a marketing assistant, sales, and data entry when necessary, but the position will allow me to use all of my skills, develop others, and be on the ground floor for creating departments that may include job creation, which will make me more valuable in the marketplace in the future, or I may stay on.  My brother took a job as a mechanical engineer with a small business during Reagan’s recession and it grew from a tiny business, like the one I am in now, to employing 300 people.  Alas, his job did not pay him that much when he came on, like what I am being offered now, but is more than what Corporate America is offering many.  He says his salary did rise as he stayed on and the business grew.  He expects the same for me.  Alas, the job and owners seem to be a good fit.  I start tomorrow after not working for fifteen and a half months.

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May 15, 2010

John McCain Ad: Complete the Danged (Death Star) Fence

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May 9, 2010

April Jobs Report: Best Gain in Jobs in Four Years

Filed under: Economics,Financial Crisis,politics,Uncategorized — Julie P @ 2:18 pm
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It appears that the recovery is starting to really take hold.  In April, employers added 290,000 employees to their payrolls and since the start of the year there have been a total of 573,000 jobs added to the economy.

“It clearly shows that this economic recovery can no longer be a jobless one,” said Bart van Ark, chief economist of The Conference Board, a leading research firm.  “Companies apparently are finding they can’t squeeze out any more output without adding workers.”

The report also includes a separate survey of households that it uses to estimate the unemployment rate, which increased to 9.9%.

The rise in the unemployment rate is actually a sign of improving perception of labor market conditions.  The increase was due to an uptick in job seekers who had previously been discourage and dropped out of the job market.  There was a jump of 805,000 workers returning to the labor force in April alone.

Surely this is all good news.  It appears that the job market recovery is in its acceleration phase and if my phone ringing for job interviews over the last two weeks is an indicator, I am going to have agree.  But I am going to have to point out that we still have a long way to go to a full recovery.  In two years the US economy has shed 8.4 million jobs, not as bad as the number lost under Ronald Reagan, but it is still a significant number of people.  It is going to take years to put everyone back to work and get the unemployment rate to full employment.  It took Ronald Reagan six years to accomplish that, and if you want to be picky, the nation really was not at full recovery until Bush, Sr. was in office.  I have this to say about President Obama, he will get re-elected in 2012 if he gets the unemployment rate down by putting the nation back to work.  But, trends like this are going to have to continue for the rest of this year and over the next two years.  A lot of people need jobs.

On a personal level I think the job market is picking up, my phone has been ringing for interviews and I am getting requests for them via my e-mail as well.  The problem that I am encountering is that the competition to get a job is fierce.  On two occasions I turned up at job interviews where there were a dozen people vying for a job.  On one other occasion there were eight people there interviewing for one position.  Finally, I went to a job interview that was an open house, by invitation only style, where forty people were there.  One of the people flew in, courtesy of his son who works for Delta, from Seattle to interview with that business.  People need jobs right now and they are willing to go to any length to get one.  This upcoming week I do have a job interview scheduled for Tuesday with two strong follow ups.  Personally I think I will be able to find a job as the job market continues its climb out of the abyss, but I am still very, very worried regardless.  I am up against a lot of people and my unemployment benefits will run out at the end of June without another extension.  I think Congress will give extensions again this year only because the unemployment rate is so very high.  For myself if that does happen I will get the final tier of federal unemployment benefits of an additional six weeks, then I will have to apply for the final 20 weeks with the state.  That will take me through the remainder of the year and with a job market finally adding jobs I think I will be able to find a job, but I think it may take the rest of the year to do it.  I am more optimistic about the job market, but I am not optimistic enough to think I will find something by the end of June.

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April 26, 2010

Crayola Thanks the Tea Partiers

Filed under: Humor,politics,Tea Party,Uncategorized — Julie P @ 3:21 pm
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Sorry about that copyright infringement thing.

April 23, 2010

Black Code, Arizona

Filed under: Mexico,politics,Racism — eartothaground @ 6:51 pm
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In the late 19th century, after President Andrew Johnson ended congressional reconstruction, former-Confederates like Bob McDonnell passed laws in the southern United States which limited the rights of newly emancipated and enfranchised black men and women “legally”.  They included literacy tests in order to vote, fees to attend public schools, and poll taxes.  Poor whites were allowed to circumvent these laws which applied to them, too, allowing them to feel like they were part of the wealthy majority culture by “grandfather clauses”:  if the person applying had a grandfather who’d voted, they were exempted from the tax or tests.  These laws were called Black Codes, because they were designed to stop black people from participating in the citizenship of the United States.

Welcome to Arizona.

The Arizona state legislature last week passed a law which makes it illegal to be undocumented.  That means that I as a black mexican american citizen of the United States couldn’t run to the car wash or the grocery store without my birth certificate, because I look “illegal”.  This Brown Code is a celebration of a whiter nation because it also requires government agencies to enforce racial profiling.  Michael J. Fox could walk through Arizona without a second glance, but he was once an illegal immigrant to the United States.  The difference between the two of us?  Melanin.  The law that is sitting on the governor’s desk today is the codification of racism, as were the Black Codes after the civil war.  Like the Confederates of old (then called Democrats) who sought legal redress for their military and ideological and moral losses, the neo-conservatives in Arizona (now called Republicans) are seeking legal security that the United States will continue to be a nation of European-descended and controlled dominance after what they perceive to be a racial loss to President Barack Obama.

The Black Codes danced in time with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which limited the number of immigrants that could come to the United States for employment from China.  They were the precursors of legalized segregation immortalized by the famous “separate but equal” Plessy v. Ferguson SCOTUS decision in 1896.  Legalized segregation gave birth to numerous avenues of discrimination and codified racism, none the least of which was the Bracero program which shipped immigrant labor from Mexico north when it was convenient and south when it was not.  And here we sit today with modern racists trying to sweep up and sweep out all the brown people under the guise of “immigration reform”.  This current legislation requires police to ascertain documents of citizenship from people without any reasonable suspicion except that they are darker skinned.  It is reminiscent of the pass laws which died with South African apartheid sixteen years ago, where black and brown citizens of that nation were required to carry papers but white ones were not.

It will be of some note whether Arizona Governor Jan Brewer decides to once again codify racism by signing the legislation into law, thereby putting her name down with Governor Wallace, or simply refuses to act and lets it “pass into law”, thereby washing her hands like Pontius Pilate.  Either way, much like the Black Codes and legalized segregation, this law will be struck down by those who have read the Constitution of the United States, and who believe that the ideals expressed by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence are the providence of all citizens of this nation.

As President Obama recently stated, “the blessings of this country belong to every single American,” regardless of skin color.

Even in Black Code, Arizona.

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Things That Chap My Hide

At the end of January 2009 I lost my job.   At first, like many people who lose their job, I did not think it would take me more than six or seven months to find another job.  As it turns out I was very, very wrong.  It is nearly fifteen months and counting that I have been without a job and it looks as though there is no end in sight, so when I read over the following I just fumed.

Two years of unemployment benefits just isn’t enough for some jobless Americans.

Though Congress has extended unemployment insurance to an unprecedented 99 weeks, the safety net is not proving sufficient for hundreds of thousands of people who say they simply cannot find a job in this weak economy.

Currently I am in the third tier of federally extended unemployment insurance that means that I have been made eligible to receive 78 weeks of it.  For some, that is a long time, for me it is too as I have been looking for work diligently for in that period and really want to work, but cannot find work.  I am bored beyond belief and have started to suffer from long bouts of depression and worthlessness.  On that note, 78 weeks is too long, on the other hand, 78 weeks of unemployment benefits is not enough.  I still do not have a job.  I cannot live very long without some kind of income, even if it is unemployment insurance, although unemployment is not covering all of my bills anyway.  It is a very good thing I had a decent amount of money saved going into this, or I would have had my car repossessed long ago.  $1,100 to $1,200 a month is grossly insufficient.

Up to a million people could find themselves with neither a paycheck nor an unemployment check by year’s end, according to preliminary estimates by advocacy group.

Of those one million, I would be one of them assuming I get the final fourth tier of federal unemployment insurance, and if I get the final 20 weeks of state unemployment benefits that I would have to apply for with the state in order to get.

“If you are subsidized to stay out of the workforce, many people will,” said Alan Reynolds, senior fellow at The Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.

Spoken by someone who has a job in this job market, since it is not happening to them they have no way of knowing what it is really like to be unemployed today.  It is unfortunate for those of us who are unemployed that people like him influence power brokers who have the power over me to tell me if I can get more extensions.  Clearly, these people think I am lazy and do not want to work.

Even though the economy is creeping back to health, employers have not resumed hiring.

I have personally experienced seeing very few jobs available or times when I have seen next to none available.  To exacerbate the problem there are 5.5 people for every job available.  I have gone to job interviews where there are 14 people in the reception area waiting to be interviewed for one job, still others with 28 people.  I have gone to information sessions at the university I graduated from where there have been 200 people trying to get the internships available with the CDC.  Yes, I have put internships into my job search.

Others, however, argue that the reason there are so many people still out of work is because they have unemployment benefits to fall back on.  If they weren’t getting, they’d be forced to get a job.

“People think that when benefits run out, most people will still be unemployed,” Reynolds said.  But “most will accept jobs that are less than ideal shortly before benefits run out.”

The reason, Mr. Reynolds, so many people are out of work is because there are not enough jobs available.  It is not rocket science.  However, since you have a job you just do not know what it is like.  This week, as an example, I have been looking for a server or delivery job in the food and hospitality industry.  No one is hiring.  There are not even burger flipping jobs available.  In the last week I have burned up a tank of gas looking for a job only to get rejected to my face versus over the phone or via e-mail.

Though Labor Department statistics say there are 5.5 job seekers for every opening, Reynolds said there is work available if people are willing to relocate or take jobs in a different field.

I have interviewed for jobs in other states, as well, in my job hunt, and I have looked across a wide range of fields and occupations.  Tell me, Reynolds, where are these jobs that you speak of, if we the unemployed choose to take just anything anywhere?

Even if Congress does extend benefits one more time, the jobless should expect that one to be the last, said Phillip Swagel, business professor at Georgetown University and former Department chief economist under George W Bush.

It is attitudes like this that add stress to my job search in this tough job market.  Assuming I get the fourth and final federal unemployment tier I can survive through Thanksgiving, without another extension it is September or October.  If I get the final state extension I can survive until January or February of 2011.  It is the not knowing, all of the uncertainty, and the tick, tick, tick of the clock winding down that is making my life so hard.

The jobs picture is starting to brighten, Swagel said.  The use of temporary workers is up and employees’ weekly hours are up – both signs that companies should start hiring soon.

Funny, I was talking with some restaurant managers who said they are not only fully staffed, but are overstaffed.  If someone should leave the person may not be replace.  I heard similar at country clubs I have gone to.  As for temp workers, good luck with that too.  I have gone to temp agencies and have experienced employees physically turning their back on me, or tell me – as I look for work in another occupation and field –  since I have no experience anywhere in my background they will not even attempt to place me.

“We are getting close to the point where there shouldn’t be more extensions, “ Swagel said.

Shouldn’t is the operative word.  Businesses are not hiring and there is no should in that.

How Long Should We Help the Unemployed?

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April 17, 2010

WWW.HillbillyReport.Org

Filed under: Humor,Palin,politics,Tea Party,Uncategorized — Julie P @ 1:11 pm
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Waiting For the Other Shoe To Drop

Over the course of President Obama’s presidency I have been watching the right’s reaction to having Barack Obama as the president, as their president, and it was clear from the moment that he won the general election they were not taking it well.  For a long time I have been chalking it up to many things, but mainly that the right are very bad losers, but I knew in my heart that there is more to it than that.

Since Obama won the election I have been watching the right over react, first it was with running out and buying guns and ammunition with the false fear that, “Obama is going to take our guns.”  It does not matter that he never said he wanted gun control or to take away guns from Americans, but there was a rush on guns and ammo to the point that an ammo shortage was created.

Since Obama won I have watched his former rival in the presidential contest continue her pattern of playing the victim and blaming everyone else for it.  She started her sermon “Obama is a Marxist/Terrorist/you’re a victim because of him (and later added Speakers Pelosi and Reed) and because I tell you are” in the campaign and has not stopped.  I watched her quit her governorship and launch a career based on nothing more than continuing those speeches, which is like throwing gasoline onto the fire of a very frightened and angry right wing.  She likes to use a lot of fear, and self righteous rhetoric to attack Obama with.  She likes to use violent imagery when talking about Obama and our speakers of both houses, plus the Democratic majority.  She is fueling hate and making a living at it, at the expense of Obama and more than half the people in America who voted him.

Since Obama won I have watched FOX News go on 24/7/365 days a year campaign, we are going to do whatever it takes to make Obama a one term president, even it means fabricating stories and outright lying about him.   I have watched the ant crawlers at the bottom of the screen “promoting” a special show “Obama A One Term President” for hours at a time.   I have witnessed FOX News become the Tea Party Channel.

I have watched the rise of the right visa vie the Tea Party and have listened to their use of terms like “liberty,” “freedom,” “tyrant,” “tyranny”, and other words from the American Revolution, which somehow makes them the final authority on it.  I have listened to them speak as if they are the only ones who know what freedom is and that they feel they need to “restore America to their brand of freedom” not realizing that they are contradicting themselves.  I listen to them speak for our Founding Fathers as if they are channeling them.  I listen to them warp the message and meaning of the Era of Good Feelings when myths were created about our Founding Fathers, the Enlightenment, and the Revolution that were designed to keep a new country together because we had no history.  But, unlike that time period that was steeped in nationalism, I only hear the Tea Party’s exaggerated jingoism.

Since Obama won the election I see people taking guns to Tea Party rallies, or signs that read “did not bring their gun – this time.”  I hear their calls of Marxist, of Socialist, of Fascist, of “liberal,” and I hear their hyperbolic anti-government message.

Since Obama won the election I have heard Tea Party organizers call for the hanging of a congresswoman in the state of Washington because they do not like her politics.  I have witnessed Sarah Palin become their unofficial leader and tell them to “not to retreat, reload” and put rifle crosshairs over congressional districts of Democrats who she wants to see get defeated in the mid-term elections.  I see Teabaggers deny they are not inciting violence; it is a “political revolution,” or “voting”.  I see the Tea Party trying to hijack the Republican Party and evict moderate Republicans, because they do not represent real conservative values, aka “RINOS”, people who are Republican in Name Only from the Republican Party.  I see the Tea Party trying to force their political philosophy on to a legitimate political party and send everyone who does not embrace their beliefs packing, so much for a big tent party, so much for freedom.

Since Obama won the election I have seen the Tea Party penetrate one state government, Oklahoma, wanting to start a state militia to protect themselves from the Federal government’s intrusion into a state’s sovereignty.  It was that morning not so long ago that when it all started sinking in, the over the top out of control, the far right are going over the edge.  Not only are they sending messages, intended or not, that they want violence, but wanting to start a state militia for the previously mentioned reason smacked of violent civil war, or something that over the edge and extreme because the far right lost the general election by a sound margin one night early in November of 2008 and that man and both of the houses are doing what the majority voted them into to do that night.  It began to sink in that they are unable to accept that simple truth and because of this things are going to end, and end badly.

Then it happened, and then I was reminded by former president Clinton today about:

Bill Clinton Wolf Blitzer Interview (video)

Clinton Warns Against Violent Anti-Government Attitude

Former President Bill Clinton said he sees parallels in the mood of the country now and on April 19, 1995, when the bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City killed 168 people while he was in the White House.

“There’s the same kind of economic and social upheaval now,” the former president told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in an interview to air on Friday on “The Situation Room.”

“Then you had the rise of extremist voices on talk radio. Here you have a billion Internet sites,” Clinton said.

And while the hard-core, anti-government radicals are still a minority, “they can communicate with each other much faster and much better than they did before. The main thing that bothered us since the time of Oklahoma City was that already there was enough use of the Internet that if you knew how to find a Web site – and not everybody even had a computer back then, but if you knew how to find it, you could learn, for example, how to make a bomb.”

“Now everybody has got a computer, Web sites are easily accessible. And you can be highly selective and spend all of your time with people that are, you know, kind of out there with you,” he continued.

Clinton said the Oklahoma City bombing – then the worst terror attack in U.S. history – was the “last in a series of very high-profile violent encounters” during the 1990s between anti-government activists and authorities.

Clinton said that the country is better protected to prevent such an attack now than it was then but when asked if the anti-government mood now is more intense than in the 1990s, Clinton said, “Now there are all of these groups, you know, saying things like the current political debate is just a prelude to civil war, all of that kind of stuff.”

In an interview with the New York Times on Friday, Clinton warned of the affect that angry political rhetoric might have on anti-government radicals like Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, pointing to Rep. Michele Bachmann calling the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress “the gangster government” in speaking to a tax day Tea Party rally on Thursday.

“They are not gangsters,” Clinton told the newspaper. “They were elected. They are not doing anything they were not elected to do.”

Clinton said demonizing the government with incendiary language can have effects beyond just rallying a crowd.

“There can be real consequences when what you say animates people who do things you would never do,” Clinton told the newspaper – pointing out that McVeigh and his conspirators “were profoundly alienated, disconnected people who bought into this militant antigovernment line.”

But Clinton said he didn’t want to draw too tight of an analogy between then and now. And that it’s not his intent to stifle criticism of government.

“I’m not interested in gagging anybody. I actually love this political debate,” Clinton said.

“Most of the Tea Party people, though, are explicitly political. You’ve got to give that now,” he said. “Forget about whether we disagree with them or not. It’s really important to be able to criticize your government and criticize elected officials. That doesn’t bother me.”

“Most of them have been well within bounds,” Clinton also said. “And they’re harsh but limited criticism, in other words, they’re not advocating violence or encouraging other people to do it.”

“But I just think that we have to be careful,” the former president added. “We’ve been down this road on more than one occasion before. We don’t want to go down it again.”

It is like waiting for other shoe to drop.  It is like waiting for the far right to explode, only this time bigger.

Tea Party Attracts National Attention

Oklahoma Tea Parties and Lawmakers Envision Militia

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April 10, 2010

An Unbroken Imperial Line

Filed under: GOP,politics,Tea Party — eartothaground @ 11:37 pm
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It is often said that Japan has an unbroken imperial lineage… what isn’t said is that for hundreds of years, the Emperor had no power.  Michael Steele would know a little about that.  The men who controlled Japan during its feudal period kept the figurehead around for religious and ceremonial reasons, but relegated him to the stands while they kept a tight reign on the game.  Nominally loyal to the Shogun, the military leaders known as daimyo fought amongst themselves for power, wealth, land and prestige.

Today’s Republican party echoes of that distant and disjointed past really loudly.  They keep Michael Steele around for show.  That’s how he got elected, his losses in almost every other contest he’s participated in notwithstanding.  He is the Emperor drawing the eye with his “hip hop” style and his “street wise” manner.  He’s trotted out to show the inclusion of the GOP, to give a dark face to the Tea Party, and to demonstrate inclusion.  But he has no power.  The money behind the elephant is going elsewhere.

And the lieutenants are squabbling.  The Daimyo that pledge their loyalty are shoving and shifting, fighting for billing and bankSarah PalinNewt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Eric Cantor… all these have designs on the Shogun’s title, because the Shogun is weak and about to be cut from the herd (can you hear me, Senator McCain?)  They are smiling in each other’s faces, all taking swipes at President Obama, hoping to gain the loyalty of foot soldiers and soul merchants to make their run at the presidency.

A witness to history would suggest that in their battles to gain prominence, they are damaging themselves and their “allies” because the worst in each of their characters is revealed.  At the end of the day, the Emperor sits there, a voyeur to the squabbling with absolutely no impact, and hence, no import.  That’s why they let him stay.  He draws the eye and is a useful distraction.  His continued reign over the GOP will allow them to say, in much the same tones used to reference Japan’s unbroken imperial line, that Republicans are diverse and inclusive, too.

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April 8, 2010

The South Fails Again

Filed under: GOP,McCain,Obama,Palin,politics,Racism,Tea Party — eartothaground @ 1:48 am
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And what he didn’t say . . .the North won the Civil War.  Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential election.  Democrats in Congress won the Health Care Reform battle, and are poised to do the same on energy.  Duke won the NCAA Championship this year, as did UConn.  While these are all facts, there are literally thousands of people who are not happy about them.  Stanford fans are frustrated that their team held UConn to 12 points in the first have but couldn’t win the game.  Butler fans are gluing their hair back in from that last desperate half-court miss.  Congressional Republicans are planning to “Repeal and Replace” the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  John McCain and Sarah Palin are still out on the campaign trail.  And Governor Robert McDonnell of Virginia has proclaimed April to be Confederate History Month in his state.

Lee surrenders at Appomattox.

While it is not for me to dismiss the history and family pride of those who’s forebears believed that this was a nation for white people to own and black people to work, I heartily disagree.  And while it is not for me to say that the ideas of states’ rights which were tied to the battle of grey-suited warriors to free themselves from Republican tyranny and federal oppression is wrong, I agree much more with John Jay’s assessment that “Nothing is more certain than the indispensible [sic] necessity of government; and it is equally undeniable that whenever and however it is instituted, the people must cede to it some of their natural rights, in order to vest it with requisite powers.”  I must, as a mature student of history, acquiesce to the fact that the story of the Confederacy is someone’s grandfather’s or grandmother’s story, and while they disagree (or don’t) with those views, they have a right to represent their history the same way I have the right to represent mine; to find those pieces with which they agree and find pride and cherish and celebrate them.

However, Gov. McDonnell is a one-sided celebrant, and herein lies the problem.  He makes no mention of the enslaved victims of the Confederacy, those on whom the burden of states’ rights onerously fell like a crushing weight.  He neglects, then, my grandparents in a way which has historically sought to invalidate their humanity by rendering them, as Ralph Ellison so eloquently denounced, invisible.  It is this racism of blindness which continues to trouble us in 2010.

Telling only part of the story is a lie of omission which perpetuates and exacerbates many of the current political and social ills of our day.  We saw this with the health care debate; we see it with Sarah Palin’s continued uttering; we see this with the Tea Party movement, both in its displays and its coverage; we see it with the stimulus package; on a daily basis, telling only the part of the story that helps us is the accepted norm.  Governor McDonnell, though, has just said something very different to the black people in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  He has just said that they don’t exist, by not including their participation in the Confederacy.  Though most of that participation was bad, and should serve as a reminder of the democratic ideals on which this nation was founded, there were black men, enslaved men, who fought in the Confederate army.  Are they not worthy of recognition?  There were black men and women who greeted the defeat of the Confederacy as liberation, as an entrance into full citizenship and the beginning of their acquisition of the natural rights they’d been denied.  McDonnell has said by his omission that the Confederate ideology of chattel slavery of African Americans wasn’t “significant for Virginia.”

Flying the Confederate flag for many southerners is an honoring of their ancestors, a reading of their historical maps as they make their own journeys. But just as Congressional Republicans won’t be able to repeal health care reform, Palin and McCain are going to lose again; Butler can’t take one more shot; Stanford can’t make one more block; and cheering the Confederacy while denying black folks won’t help the South rise again.

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