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Home > Editorials > Op/Ed: Civility: People Wanted

Op/Ed: Civility: People Wanted

Kenny Burns
Kenny Burns (R) with former Attorney General Joe Curran

(LAUREL - October 17, 2008) - If you have heard me on Doni’s show on WOLB (1010AM) over the past couple of weeks, I have made no bones about who my pick for president is (Sen. John McCain.)  However, to be quite honest, I am disappointed in both sides when it comes to the supporters.

This election in all honesty has shown how ugly white people and black people can be.  On the McCain (R-AZ) side of the aisle, you have supporters calling Sen. Barack Obama a terrorist and a Muslim. For the record, I definitely do not think Obama (D-IL) is a terrorist, nor do I believe him to be a Muslim.  However, I do not think he is a Christian either.  Those accusations are on top of the usual racist rhetoric associated with a black person in general breaking the glass ceiling.

On the Obama side, supporters have been just as bad in their expressions in labeling people who do not support Obama as racist or an Uncle Tom.  The term ‘racist’ has been thrown around too carelessly already to the point that an actual victim of racism has to go above and beyond to prove their case.  It is also in the same dangerous territory of hard right wing conservatives who label people that disagree with President Bush as unpatriotic, even a traitor to the country.  Uncle Tom is dangerous ground as well.  It ranks right up there with calling someone “the N Word.” Oh yes, that word which was buried earlier this year, but still can be heard in some way, shape or form on the streets.  I guess the news has not traveled far yet.

We expect people like Sean Hannity to be ignorant about the real world.  Hannity is the same guy who has expressed unequivocal support for the New York City Police Department when it’s painfully obvious that officers involved in some instances were in the wrong.  I am a supporter of law enforcement, but when Ronnie White, the 19-year-old Laurel teen who was accused of killing a Prince George’s County Police Officer via hit and run, was found dead in his cell, I took a pause.  I waited for the Maryland State Police and Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey to do their investigative work before I spoke one way or the other.  While doing so, I acknowledged that it did not look good for the officers who were responsible for looking over him.

The support tactics of advocates on both sides have reached a point where we have become the very people that we did not want to be.  Issues are not honestly being discussed and racial rhetoric is disappointingly red hot.  A sizable chunk of Obama supporters do not care about what Obama stands for, they just know that he is black and they want him to win.  An equally sizable chunk of McCain supporters are not any better.  They know that Obama is black and they don’t want a black guy as President.  Even though this black guy, Obama, has an Ivy League degree or two.  The question for you in evaluating these two factions is which one is more racist.  I think they are both equally racist, but I digress.

This is an exciting election year, and emotions are running high because no matter who wins the election, history will be made.  But let’s keep our emotions and our rhetoric in check.  The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a peaceful man and he accomplished a lot.  What do you think we are accomplishing when we scream at each other?

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