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Steve Lunetta: Playing the race card

Posted: July 19, 2009 5:23 p.m.
Updated: July 20, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Uncle Earl is probably my favorite relative. His penchant for seeing through the political haze and grasping the reality of a situation is an endearing trait that makes him fascinating to listen to - and read.

Earl once ran for political office here in the SCV but lost after declaring his opponent, Henry Mayo Newhall, a "raving populist Whig with Millard Fillmore tendencies." Whatever that means.

Earl was over helping me tune the old Mustang and, of course, the discussion soon turned to politics and the state of our national affairs.

Earl gets pretty revved up during these discussions, as does the Mustang.

Earl: Did you hear about the hearing last Thursday in the Environmental and Public Works Committee?

Me: You have got to be kidding, Earl! The real action in the Senate was the Judiciary hearing with Supreme Court Nominee Sotomayor! Why would I even care about the EPW Committee?

Earl: My boy, because the Democrats showed what they are really about. Dems claim to support diversity and oppose racism but they are often the first ones to point out racial differences and stereotypes.

A great example of this happened with our own lovable Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) as chair of the committee.

Me: OK, Earl, let's hear it. What is the gap on those spark plugs?

Earl: The committee was hearing testimony regarding the new Cap and Trade legislation. This legislation is intended to put us on the road to clean energy with very little regard to the financial impact it will have on American business.

Harry C. Alford, President and CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, was present to discuss the contention that the bill is actually a job-killer. Of course, this would be a topic of great interest to a chamber of commerce.

Me: So?

Earl: So, this is where the fun started. Senator Boxer decided to read into the official record some statements from other organizations. The first is from the Pugh Charitable Trust that essentially supports the Caps and Trade legislation. Mr. Alford sits quietly and listens.

Me: You are boring me, Earl. Pass the half-inch box-end, please.

Earl: The next is from the NAACP. Mr. Alford rightly asks why the NAACP statement is being read into the record. This is where Babs really gets into it. Alford insists on knowing why a black organization, with no apparent knowledge of economic or business activity, is allowed to have a say in the hearings. Babs presses on without realizing the danger she is entering.

Me: Heh. A Democrat sticking her foot in their mouth is like a Chevy breaking down. You know it's going to happen and nothing can prevent it.

Earl: She goes on to read a statement from John Grant, the CEO of 100 Black Men of Atlanta. Once again, Alford insists on knowing why a statement from another black group is being brought forward. Babs merely says, "They passed it." Alford retorts, "He should have been invited!"

Me: So, Senator Boxer was using statements from racial groups, who have no experience in business or economics, to counteract the statements of an expert simply because he was the same race?

Earl: You got it! Babs played the race card and Alford took extreme exception to it. He said, "All that's condescending, and I don't like it. It's racial. I don't like it. I take offense to it. As an African-American and a veteran of this country, I take offense to that!"

Me: Pass me that lug nut, Earl.

Earl: And the more Babs tried to back-track her way out of it, Alford got angrier. He went on to say, "We are referring to the experts regardless of their color. And for someone to tell me, an African-American, college-educated veteran of the United States Army that I must contend with some other black group and put aside everything else in here - this has nothing to do with the NAACP and really has nothing to do with the National Black Chamber of Commerce. We're talking energy, and that road the chair went down, I think, is God-awful."

Me: Senator Boxer sure made a fool out of herself. She seemed not to care that Alford was a guy who knew what he was talking about - she only saw his skin color.

Earl: That's the whole point, my boy! That's how Dem-o-crats think. Instead of thinking of people as individuals, they think of people as groups. Or tribes.

She said, "Just as there are differences in my community." What community is that? The pasty-faced female liberal racist community? I'm sure not a member of that group.

We conservatives are not perfect, but at least we judge people not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

Me: Wait a minute. That sounds very familiar ...

Earl: If Martin Luther King were alive today, he'd surely be a Republican. And he, like Alford, would never allow a Senator like Barbara Boxer to marginalize him because of his race.

Steve Lunetta is a Santa Clarita resident. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. "Right About Now" runs Mondays in The Signal.


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