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Friday, July 19, 2013

Talking The Talk, With Suprising Results

It's Friday again, thankfully, and to our complete lack of surprise, there are far more topics to talk about fully than we have space for here.

On a positive note, after Mitch McConnell and the Republican extremists in the Senate got their heads nearly handed to them, Congress - specifically the Senate - actually got a few things done this week. Multiple members of President Obama's cabinet were approved by the Senate, and the Senate even managed to put together a student loan deal that might fix the ongoing student loan interest rate problem. Those were both nice surprises this week.

Ezra Klein, Sarah Kliff, and their Wonkblog teammates released an incredibly thorough and detailed breakdown of Obamacare yesterday at the Washington Post, which we recommend you take a look at this weekend. Greg Sargent, also at the WaPo, pointed out the unsurprising fact that no matter how the right wing stamps their feet and tries poorly to obstruct progress, the battle over universal health care coverage is over. Spoiler alert - the anti-Obama folks lost, for good.

In neither good or surprising news, Detroit filed for bankruptcy this week, the largest city in the United States to ever to do so. It also wasn't surprising that the Texas Legislature had their 20 week abortion ban signed into law by Gov. Rick "I can't remember the third one" Perry. The Texas Leg also went a bit farther, overreaching as they try to create a six week abortion ban - which will likely end up being blown out as such restrictions are unconstitutional.

We were also sadly unsurprised by the racism and ignorance displayed by so many this week, in the wake of the verdict surrounding the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman. Like 'The Talk' about race and judgment that nearly every parent of an African-American child must have with their kids, we knew that no matter what the jury decided in the Zimmerman trial, there would be a lot of talk about race, racism, and exactly what kind of people walk around with semi-invisible bull's eyes on them, in modern America.

What we didn't expect this week was to see the ugliness of race and racism infect an event we'd been waiting a whole year to see, the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.

Two separate incidents riled the inbred redneck portion of the All-Star audience this week: the post-Home Run Derby interview with the winner, Cuban-born Yoenis C├ęspedes, and the singing of "God Bless America" at the All-Star game by American-born, Grammy-winning bilingual singer Marc Anthony.

We may be a little biased, having a professional linguist on our staff, but the idea that C├ęspedes spoke mostly Spanish in his post-derby interview didn't really bother us that much. For the ignorant and intolerant in America, however, the idea that the winner of America's national home run contest chose to speak both Spanish and English was a horror nearly as bad as being stalked to death by a neighborhood watchman with a gun, and an itchy trigger finger.

As Gregg Doyle of CBS Sports made blisteringly clear on Thursday, bilingual Americans are indeed America's future. For all the flak Trayvon Martin's friend Rachel Jeantel got from the right wing about her less-than-perfect English, the fact that Ms Jeantel is fluent in at least three languages is one they constantly overlooked ths week - which didn't surprise us at all.

For all the ugliness we saw and heard this past week, and all the injustice we witnessed, we think it's important to remember what one of our friends of an African-American child told us, when we asked about their reaction to the Zimmerman verdict.

"We had 'The Talk' and he knows how to behave," she said about her young son. "He's a good boy and, God willing, he'll become a good man. All I can do now is count our blessings at the end of the week, and remember those angry ignorant people are the exception, not the rule."

Truthfully, that's all most of us can do in life: Count our blessings, remember the worst people in life are the exception, then get back on the playing field of life and knock the cover off the ball.

Enjoy your weekend.

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