Limbaugh in Wonderland…..
Simply stated, progress is moving forward. Regress is moving backward.
No one would confuse brand new NBA Commissioner Adam Silver with the popular actor Chris Hemsworth –Thor, Marvel’s The Avengers.
However, this past Tuesday, Mr. Silver dropped Thor’s hammer down upon the embattled Los Angeles Clippers’ owner – Donald Sterling (née Tokowitz).
At Tuesday’s highly anticipated, pre-arranged news conference, Mr. Silver stated that the NBA’s internal investigation had concluded. He also announced the following sanctions against Mr. Sterling for his racially insensitive remarks: a lifetime ban from the NBA, a $2.5 million fine, a prohibition on Mr. Sterling’s presence at any and all NBA-related activities, and the immediate initiation of a process which will result in the NBA’s Board of Governors forced-sale of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Mr. Silver made a historic and precedent-setting move. Since professional sports in America has often foreshadowed equality in our society over the last several decades, Tuesday’s result must be considered progress. However, examples of regress as it relates to racism in our great nation remain plentiful.
Look at politics in 21st century America. How many racially insensitive names has President Obama been called over the past five years? Name one other U.S. President who has ever had his American citizenship debated, his legitimacy as leader of the free world openly questioned, or been demanded to produce his own college transcripts?
There is only one name on that list; his. Mr. Obama’s political enemies intensely dislike him – which is fine. This is America, after all. You have the right to speak your mind. However, words matter. Saying what you want to say can bring consequences. Sometimes, those consequences can be quite severe. Ask Mr. Sterling. What if the Sterling ruling was applied to our political system? Which Senators would be out? Which Congressional members would have to resign? Which pundits would have to revise their resumes?
Access to healthcare benefits through either the Affordable Care Act or Medicaid expansion is a life-or-death issue. The denial of access to the ACA or Medicaid disproportionately impacts minorities, women, and children in this country.
If a man can receive a lifetime ban from a professional sports league for some racist comments, then what is the penalty for those who have fought tooth-and-nail for years to deny Americans from securing insurance for themselves and their families?
What is the penalty for those who seek to restrict Constitutionally-protected voting rights for minorities, women, and college students? Shall we wear our clothes inside-out, too? Should we wear all black? How would that help affect change for these episodes of regress?
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: we seriously need to talk. ASAP.
Oprah Winfrey called the Sterling scandal yet another example of a “plantation mentality.” I concur, but it’s deeper than that. NBA players in general – and the LA Clippers in particular – are millionaires.
Millionaire athletes wield significant power. They will not allow themselves be mistreated individually or collectively. But what about the masses? Middle class Americans don’t have the same power. The working poor don’t have the same power. We rely on our elected leaders to represent us and to speak for us. What happens if they don’t honor their oath of office? Yes, they’re supposed to guide us towards progress – and we’re supposed to hold them accountable when they instead perpetuate regress. But increasingly, they don’t; and we don’t.
Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly pretend that we live in a post-racial era; but they know that isn’t true.
They simply aren’t interested in the racial bridge-building America desperately needs. They falsely claim that racism is a thing of the past. They both make tens of millions of dollars annually to promote regression; not progression.
In the real world, people know that you cannot cheer for America while cheering against the President. The two are completely interwoven. You either root for them both – or you root against them both. That’s common sense.
Throughout its history, progress has made the United States extraordinary. Regress just makes it ordinary.
Donald Sterling has become an object lesson for us all. He had all the tools necessary for an extraordinary life: wealth, intellect, and business acumen.
Yet, he chose to live an average life filled with prejudice against non-whites and white people who dared to befriend these non-whites. In spite of having to pay the largest federal housing discrimination lawsuit in American history at $2.75 million, Mr. Sterling largely got away with this behavior for over 30 years.
Of course, it eventually caught up with him. By the way, he plans to fight the NBA over the LA Clippers. This isn’t over yet.
I know some folks get tired of discussing race, but Donald Sterling and Cliven Bundy prove that America still needs to confront this issue openly and honestly.