Friday, April 20, 2007

Last Weeks' Column by Jeff Gardner

My friend Jeff Gardner gets it right almost all the time, and usually in 600 words or less. His Albuquerque Tribune column reproduced below is no exception. He keeps returning to the theme that the success and popularity of guys like Imus and Al Sharpton says more about us than it does them.

He is quite right. Imus has been around since the 1970s. I used to listen to him in the morning while going to work in Stamford, CT, back in 1973, when he was on ABC Radio (AM). While one of the first "shock jocks" he was funny and did not take himself too seriously. By today's standards his material was pretty tame. Neither did he go too far over the top like he seems to feel has been necessary in later years.

Both Imus and Sharpton, as well as corrupt anti-American politicians like Bill and Hillary and the entire stream of leftist smear merchants, say more about us than them. These types have always been around. But when We the People had brains, self-confidence and integrity, we left them where they belonged: doing their cheap, transparent hustles in the street, or behind bars when caught breaking the law. It would not have occurred to us to actually buy their provocative, self-serving lies and slurs. "You can't fool an honest man," as they say.

Sadly, we have lost our way. We have gotten sucked into the self-absorbed, ego-addicted, narcissism of the left, who as a group, only exhibit any sense of morality when it suits their situational playbook - in other words, they are completely disingenuous. Thus we have despicable sleaze merchants like Maury Povich and Jerry Springer getting rapt TV audiences and high ratings, while molesters and killers like Michael Jackson and OJ Simpson walk free.

As you and I are painfully aware, serial felonious offenders like Bill Clinton and Ted Kennedy have been freeloading off us for years with complete impunity, while blatant hacks like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are elevated by their peers to positions of leadership. And there are plenty of people magnitudes worse than these ready to roll us as a nation if we don't get it together pretty soon. Hillary comes immediately to mind, with Ahmadinejad, Kim Sung Il and others circling menacingly in the shadows.

I am not optimistic. Read on.

Color blind? Why do we tolerate Sharpton's racism, but harangue Imus?

By Jeffry Gardner Friday, April 13, 2007

It's a curious space and time continuum we're whipping through these days. For example, the Associated Press' Web site headlines the night of April 11 read:"MSNBC drops Imus simulcast"
"Prosecutors drop charges in Duke case." Here we find race unifying two unrelated but consuming stories.

At the heart of the Don Imus morass are his racist remarks in reference to the Rutgers women's basketball team. His attempt at humor has been repeatedly repeated, so I won't repeat it here. However, we must note this is hardly the first time Imus and his cast have wallowed in the sewer.

I've never gotten Imus. He's always struck me as a hammer, who views every issue as a nail. To his credit, I suppose, he's been insulting to all manners of race, gender and faith. He's made a career out of being crude and mean. That he's maintained some status on talk radio says more about us, I think, than him.

It's more than a little ironic that Al Sharpton - a man with his own despicable record of race-baiting - has paced the moral outrage against Imus. Sharpton's repugnant recitations have hastened more than one crowd to riot in New York City, resulting in actual death and destruction. Despite Imus being a jerk, his words to date have mortally wounded no one. Still, these two deserve each other.

Race was also a factor in the misapplication of justice against members of the Duke lacrosse team.

Certainly the booze-soaked, off-campus party, complete with strippers, provided the opportunity for trouble and for one of the progressives' favorite rallying cries: "Hate crime!"
Yet, while the players' decisions to get hammered and bring on the dancing girls didn't speak well of their judgment, they didn't make them mad-dog sodomites, either.

Trailing in the polls, Mike Nifong, then district attorney for Durham County, N.C., was looking at moving straight into private practice before he stumbled into this fiasco. No stranger to politics, Nifong would have been blind not to know that blacks and single mothers made up a huge proportion of his constituents.

It's no stretch to believe that Nifong, who is white, felt these two constituencies were ripe for manipulation and as likely to prejudge the well-off white boys as a white jury would be to prejudge a black defendant in a John Grisham novel.

Nifong read the political landscape accurately and was easily re-elected, a result that - once more, I believe - says more about us than it does about Nifong.

Perhaps the public's long tolerance of Imus' insipid ramblings has been an angry reaction to the Sharpton sorts, who've long abandoned the desire to work toward a color-blind society and, instead, make a living today by keeping us divided along racial lines.

One imagines listeners saying, "I love Imus; he tells it like it is." He doesn't, but neither do Sharpton or Nifong. Sadly, though, they seem to be the only voices we hear.