I am "an old Jewish white man." I am also Father, Grandfather, and an ex Husband. How else or who else could I be?
I have an opinion about everything! A few of these follow. I have publicly verbalized almost all of my opinions, and it has not helped my career at all.
I am in fact only: "The sum total of my experiences."
I did grow up thinking that the United States and its people were mostly the good guys. I gave my country four years of Air Force service believing that I was to a certain extent participating in "a noble cause." The intervening years have made me rethink that attitude.
Since our minor involvement in The Wars in Europe and Asia we have managed to put our sons and daughters in situations where they were killed and wounded, a bit more than once or twice in only the last sixty plus years.
We have participated in armed conflict in: Korea, Lebanon, Dominican Republic, Vietnam, the Iran hostage rescue, Granada, Lebanon, Panama, Kuwait, Somalia, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Philippines, Liberia, and Iraq. All of our Presidents during this period were white and Christian and mostly middle aged or older. Does that statement make me a Sexist? Racist? Ageist?
I know, I know, in each of these instances we were the good guys, doing what all good guys do: We killed or tried to kill a gazillion of the bad guys. How noble of us.
We bombed, napalmed, and set out to use many of the weapons we had built "just in case." Why, you might ask? It was at least to a certain extent because we are always the good guys, and we could, and no one was willing to stop us!
I have mostly been thrilled with the Obama Presidency; it has brought for me, as well as so many others, an America that has regained its promise of "liberty and justice for all."
I am excited about the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. We badly need someone like her.
To digress, but to make a point, about twenty years ago I witnessed a panel discussion with four female media people, one, a Brit said something like this: "I am a producer of television content at the BBC. I am sick and tired of presenting programming ideas to five old WASP men." Was this a racist comment? I think not. These women were commenting about those "men" at the BBC who made all of the decisions regarding programming, and they were in fact all old and all men.
It was a long time ago that I said something like this regarding programming: "Here I am, a forty something Jewish man from New York trying to decide what stay at home moms would watch on television at four in the afternoon in Oklahoma. "
Was this a "racist comment? Was this a sexist comment? Was it about age?
The First Amendment to the Constitution "cuts both ways." Judge Sotomayor has said things that upset the "Talking Heads" from the Right, and Rush, Newt, and the Rupert Murdoch spokespeople from Fox News have vilified her for what she has said.
With the advent of all sorts of recording devices you can be sure that whatever you say, wherever you say it, it will undoubtedly be recorded somewhere and be used against you by your enemies, whomever they are.
Do we in America really have freedom of speech if every time anyone in the public arena makes a statement or in casual conversation says anything that can and will be taken down to be used against them and probably used out of context.
It is not only what Judge Sotomayor has officially said in her rulings and writings, it is sadly about those things that she has said in jest and in casual conversation as well. She is great, she has accomplished so much, and the criticism of her should be limited to substantive issues like her rulings and her writings.
The following excerpt was in the New York Times:
Judge Sotomayor was involved many years ago with the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund.
I can hardly believe the following comment made by Curtis Levey, executive director of The Committee for Justice, characterized as a conservative legal group active in judicial nominations. "While it's fine to let your Puerto Rican heritage influence -- or any heritage for that matter -- influence your positions when you're on a board, it's quite a different story when you're a judge, and I wonder whether she knows the difference."
Would Mr. Levey been happier had Judge Sotomayor stayed home and baked cookies and played canasta instead of being politically active? Is this not in a way similar to the McCarthy question of "are you now or have you ever been a member of any organization?" She is after all "a person."
The pillar of societal virtue, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, accused Judge Sotomayor of being a "racist."
If you would like to limit free speech in our country, suggest to Blacks, Jews, Christians, Greeks, Asians and other races and ethnicities to stay away from groups espousing or supporting anything. Why not condemn members of the League of Women Voters, Jews for Jesus, and the DAR?
The "gotcha" game perfected by great journalists of cable television should not be "allowed" to interfere with free speech of individuals. What we have become because of this "gotcha" stuff is very, very sad. America needs something closer to the unvarnished truth than we get from CNN, FNC, and MSNBC.
I offer a solution to the upcoming Senate confirmation hearings.
Do Not Allow The Confirmation Hearings to be Televised!
Have them immediately available in text form only. Have someone read the testimony delayed on television and see what will happen.
This is based on what I see as all politicians' desire to show off to their constituents rather than garner information when they are on television. Were these elected officials interested in answers, they would submit their questions in writing in advance and ask for answers in writing as well. Only follow up questions or requests for clarification might be televised. Most of these people are interested in asking questions, not listening to answers.
Never ever forget that television is indeed "the mother's milk of politics." Money serves what most in Congress are interested in, which is getting re-elected.
Now a seventy something pain in the ass.
Start your workday the right way with the news that matters most. Learn more