BENEATH THE SPIN ERIC L. WATTREE, SR.
WE CAN'T BLAME A LACK OF KNOWLEDGE ON THE WHITE MAN,
BECAUSE KNOWLEDGE IS FREE
A lady told me that I contradicted myself in last week's article. She said I indicated that if we learned to think more efficiently, we could resolve our own problems, and we wouldn't need the government. She then pointed out that efficient thinking requires education, and education requires government assistance. I asked her to think about what she had saidthat education requires government. I then suggested that she's laboring under an erroneous assumptionknowledge is free, so we're capable of educating ourselves. All we have to do is want it. I went on to tell her that it would be nice if government would educate us, but at best, our current system is a taxpayer subsidized babysitting service, and at worst, a tool used to indoctrinate Black youth into thinking that they're useless.
But as I listened to my words coming from her mouth, I didn't like their sound. I came off sounding like one of those Larry Elder-type turncoats who make a living by calling Black people whiners for expecting the services they deserve from our government. So I want to clarify any misimpression that I might have left in that regard right now. The fact is, our government should help to educate our children, and Black people, or any other citizen for that matter--have a right to get everything they can get from this government. The government is a pie that we all contribute to, and the political process is about is getting as much of that pie as we can manage to obtain. Therefore, if Black people tend to whine (the rich also whine, but they call it lobbying), it's only because we've traditionally found ourselves pushed to the side while everybody else eats the filling from the pie, and we're left with crumbs. So last week's article was about becoming bakers, and making our own pie, instead of depending on others to negotiate how many crumbs we're allowed to have.
So the difference between my position and Larry Elder's is, where Larry says that Black people should be ashamed of asking for what they rightfully deserve, I say, tell 'em to go to hell--we have enough potential in the community to tell them to keep their crumbs. There's a big difference between our two points of view--one will have you looking down at your feet, while the other allows you to look out over the horizon.
We're much too vibrant and creative as a people to have to live the way we're living, and we don't have the time to wait for the government's help. We've gotten caught up in a lifestyle where we're simply existing from day to day instead of engaging the tremendous talents that would allow us to rise to the very top of this society. Our problem is not about what the White man is doing, or not doing for usour biggest problem is about our mindset, and how we think of ourselves.
I've previously discussed how whenever scientists measure intelligence in man, or any other species, the very first thing they look for is creativity, and Black people are clearly among the most creative people on this planet. The very same creative eloquence that Martin used to ignite a yearning for justice among men all over the world, and Charlie Parker, Ray Charles, and a host of others used to develop a Black musical tradition that went from playing washboards and beating on trash cans on the side of the road, to creating the most complex and universally embraced form of music in the world, can very easily be focused to not only resolve our problems, but resolve the problems of all mankind. We've got to recognize our creativity as a cultural treasure that can be used to cure cancer, help man to explore the universe, and resolve world disputes. We've got to recognize that we are the people of the futurea people that God has groomed to know pain and suffering, in order to make us uniquely qualified to relieve pain and suffering. That is our destiny, and we must embrace it.
We're currently using our creativity to mask the pain that we've suffered in this societyand after what we've been through, we were due a few years of partying, rest, and relaxation. But now it's time to suck it up, to slow down and contemplate who we are as a people, and assume our rightful place in the world community. And the first step in doing that is to redefine our cultural mores.
We've got to replace being cool, with being knowledgeableand the only way we're going to do that is by changing the values for which we reward our children. What children want more than anything else is to get the approval of their parents, so we've got to teach them early in life that what impresses us most is what they know, not how closely they can mimic adult behavior. Instead of waking little Johnny up to show Uncle Willie how well he can "break it down", we need to wake him up to show his uncle how well he can do an algebra problemand Uncle Willie should always have a dollar or two to give him once he gets that problem right. That way Little Johnny learns early in life that knowledge is the key to success.
I've said this to people before, and I've been told, "Why set Little Johnny up for disappointment? His school is not going to prepare him to go to collegeand even if it does, where am I going to get the money to pay for it?" But that's the least of our problems. Our major focus should be to get our young people to fall in love with the pursuit of knowledge. Once we've done that, nothing can stop them from obtaining it. The opportunity to go to a top university is a wonderful thing, but it's not everything. Knowledge is free, and there's just as much knowledge in the corner library as there is at Harvard University. It was my experience in college that I did most of my learning at home anyway. When I went to school, all they did was told me what books to read, and what chapters, and thereafter I was tested to see what I'd learned. But in any event, it's the knowledge that's important, the degree is secondary. Granted, a degree is necessary to get a jobunless you have the knowledge to create one. But that said, I'm sure that if we make a commitment to come together as a community to promote excellence, we'll find a way to get our young scholars educated. I'm convinced that we have enough churches, civic organizations, and rich entertainers who are in need of Black dollars to remain rich, to get our young people educateddegrees and all.
Our community will also benefit in a less obvious way from this endeavor. Knowledge is contagious. Those parents who don't have the education to help their kids with their homework, can allow their kids to educate them. Helping our children with their homework is not only an excellent way to bond, but an excellent way to help re-educate ourselves. It gives us an opportunity to go all the way from elementary school through college all over again, or, for the very first time. And with the right mindset, it can be fun. I've learned to look at algebra problems are actually puzzles, and my kids and I use to have a ball spending hours trying figuring them out.
Try figuring this out with your kid: There's 3000 miles between Los Angeles and New York. Train A left L.A. going to N.Y. at 8 a.m. traveling 65 mph. Train B left N.Y. coming to L.A. at 10:45 traveling 85 mph. Where will they meet, and at what time?
I want to interact with you, so when you figure it out, I'd like to hear from you so I can discuss your experience in a future article. Let's stop talking, and start doing. Who knows, your child may be an engineer or mathematician, just waiting to be inspired. Wouldn't that be something? It would sure make my life worthwhile.
Eric L. Wattree
Friday, December 28, 2007
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
BENEATH THE SPIN * ERIC L. WATTREE, SR.
It never ceases to amaze me how Democrats can allow conservative Republicans--a group whose only reason for being is to undermine the poor--to co-opt the love of God as a political issue. I once read a bumper sticker that said, "The Christian Right is neither Christian, nor Right." I remember thinking at the time, what a profoundly concise statement of fact--Shakespeare couldn't have said it any better. It's unbelievable what these thugs have done--they not only stole Christmas, they stole the Messiah himself. So instead of caving in to the conservative theft of Christianity, every Democrat in
Ok, I know--that sounds like a ridiculously partisan statement, and admittedly, I'm far from a Biblical scholar. In fact, I'm not even truly what most people would call a Christian--that is, unless they examined my heart. But I can read, and all the supernatural stuff notwithstanding, I am a great admirer of Jesus as a progressive, a teacher, and philosopher. So I stand by my position--Jesus Christ was a liberal, and I challenge any Biblical scholar in the world to prove me wrong.
The people who promote these sort of issues are mean-spirited personalities who have become expert at hiding their bigoted proclivities within the Christian community. They pretend to be Christians so they can hide their prejudice, and penchant for demonizing others within a protective cocoon of spirituality. Claiming to be Christians allow them to say, "Oh, it's not me who hates Blacks, liberals, gays, Democrats, and everybody from
So I guess that just about says it all, Brother Bush. You may be able to live in comfort after vetoing child healthcare in the shadow of Christmas, but let's see if you can die in comfort, in the shadow of our Lord.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE, SR.
PELOSI BRIEFED ON TORTURE IN 2002?
NO WONDER IMPEACHMENT IS OFF THE TABLE
On Sunday, December 9, 2007, the Washington Post reported that in September 2002 four members of congress were briefed on “enhanced interrogation techniques” (sweet talk for methods of torture) by the CIA. According to the report, the CIA provided a second briefing the following month, and 28 additional briefings over the following five years. Among the congressional delegation that was briefed was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif). Other members of congress briefed by the CIA were Jane Harman (D-Calif), who replaced Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV(D-W. Va.), Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.), and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.).
Among the “techniques” that the legislators were briefed on was the infamous form of torture known as “waterboarding”—a method of torture that simulates drowning. In waterboarding, the victim is strapped to a board with his feet above his head. A clothe is placed over his mouth and nose, then water is poured over his face. This causes the victim to have the sensation of drowning, and is intensely horrifying.
According to the report, “Waterboarding as an interrogation technique has its roots in some of history's worst totalitarian nations, from Nazi Germany and the Spanish Inquisition to North Korea and Iraq. In the United States, the technique was first used five decades ago as a training tool to give U.S. troops a realistic sense of what they could expect if captured by the Soviet Union or the armies of Southeast Asia. The U.S. military has officially regarded the tactic as torture since the Spanish-American War.”
In spite of the fact that waterboarding has been clearly recognized as torture the world over, witnesses to the congressional briefings reported that at least two of the legislators asked if more severe measures could be taken. Pelosi refused to respond to her reaction to the briefing, but the only clear objection to the methods being used came from Rep. Jane Harman. Ms. Harman, who replaced Rep. Pelosi in the briefings in January 2003, filed a classified letter protesting the interrogation program. She was unable to protest publicly because the program was classified. "When you serve on [the] intelligence committee you sign a second oath -- one of secrecy," she said. "I was briefed, but the information was closely held to just the Gang of Four. I was not free to disclose anything."
This report goes a long way towards explaining Pelosi’s insistence that “impeachment is off the table.” In my article DEMOCRATS FIGHT OFF REPUBLICAN VOTE TO IMPEACH CHENEY, I ask the following questions:
“If Pelosi is willing to be dragged through the mud for bucking the will of the American people to protect Bush and Cheney, whose agenda is she conforming to? One might say she's afraid of a possible backlash as a result of pursuing impeachment. But shouldn't she be even more afraid of angering her constituents? So if she doesn't fear the wrath of her constituents, the most liberal constituency in the country, whose wrath does she fear more?”
Now we can answer that question decisively—she was afraid that if she pursued Bush and Cheney’s impeachment, her quiet acquiescence to a blatant war crime would be revealed. Her actions, or lack thereof, renders her just short of a co-conspirator—if not a co-conspirator, in fact.
This is yet another example of how the politicians, on both sides of the isle, are betraying the American people. It is clear that Bush and Cheney must be impeached to vindicate the American people before the world. As I’ve pointed out previously, Bush and Cheney must be impeached in order to restore the dignity and respect that the United States once enjoyed in the world community. By allowing these two to get away scot-free with all of the death, destruction, and mayhem that they've unleashed on the world, we're, in effect, ratifying their behavior. We'd be telling the world that we approve of what they've done in our name--and if we do that, America is through as a purveyor of justice and democracy in this world.
If the United States is ever to regain its former stature in the world, it behooves the American to distance themselves from these monsters. We must impeach, arrest, and thereafter, offer them up to the world community for war crimes. And once that’s done, we should extend our most sincere apology to the people of this planet for all of the destruction we've allowed the Bush administration to commit in our name. That is the one and only way that the United States will ever again be safe from terrorism, and the only way it will ever regain its former stature in the world community.
But now, it seems, we have two other tasks—we must get rid of Pelosi, and find out how in the hell the fourth estate allowed this story die in just one day.
Eric L. Wattree
Friday, December 07, 2007
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
BENEATH THE SPIN ERIC L. WATTREE, SR.
A NEW NORM HAS BEEN SET IN THIS COUNTRY . . .
A NORM THAT SAYS THE AVERAGE CITIZEN DOESN'T COUNT
During the Reagan administration the American people made the mistake of becoming more enamored with an individual than they were the laws of this land. As a result, America failed to act decisively to curb Reagan's criminal behavior in office. Now, over twenty-five years later, that failure has come back to haunt us. America now finds itself on the brink of disaster and badly in need of a moral compass, but what we're left with is a status quo that was set with criminal intent, and a new norm that says the average citizen is unimportant. The ultimate irony of this is, the primary architect of America's downward spiral is now revered as a hero.