Reality Check for the Fantasists

Did the Republican Party finally get their fill of crazy in Michigan on Tuesday? Rick Santorum’s defeat in the Michigan and Arizona primaries after nearly a month of front-running momentum seemed to say so. In sports lingo, Santorum went for the “heat check” in the previous week by railing against college educations, JFK, and the separation of church and state. Turns out, he didn’t have the burn he thought he did, and the vote tally ended up pouring cold water over his aspirations of defeating Mitt Romney in Mitt’s home state.

It had been close – polls showed the two men running neck-and-neck until recent days when Santorum’s true colors started pouring out of his mouth. Rick revealed his beliefs that colleges and universities are liberal indoctrination factories populated by “snobs.” He also attacked the impassioned ideals of a man who not only isn’t alive to respond, but remains one of the most popular and beloved U.S. presidents in our history. John F. Kennedy’s words made Rick Santorum want to throw up, he said, because JFK had the audacity to suggest that no church control the American government, and that a man’s religion not be a barrier to participating in that government. Those ideas apparently make Rick Santorum violently ill.

Santorum’s aversion to non-theocratic American law should come as no surprise to anyone at this point. He has been clear and open that his faith is the basis of his world view, and his interpretation of that faith marginalizes women, homosexuals, non-Christians, Christians of non-Santorum-endorsed denominations, blacks, and non-Americans. The only surprising revelation arising recently is that his right-wing fantasies drift much further into the dark than even most Republicans are comfortable with. By attacking higher education, which many Republicans (including Santorum) benefited from, he went beyond attacking the public school system that the GOP has learned to loathe and went after a keystone of American success stories. By attacking Kennedy, he went beyond the dislike of all things Democrat and aimed at fallen president and a genuine American icon whose assassination is still remembered as a live event by many Republican voters.

The question must now be asked, after the voting GOP base has serial-dated a half-dozen hopefuls, if the insincere and out-of-touch Romney succeeds by being the least bizarre Republican candidate. The fantasists who crave a permanent religious conservatism, in which women are enslaved by biology and laws are transcribed from scripture, have now seen the flaws in Rick Santorum. The other handful of hopefuls who have come, gone, or chosen to senselessly linger each also had a moment of fervent support that dissolved once the reality of their own power fantasies came to light. The Republican base is begrudgingly coming to terms with fact that their array of candidates repels much of the general public because those candidates say out loud things intended to be whispered. That’s the reality, and there’s nothing that can change it at this stage.

Romney still hasn’t made a case for his candidacy. He’s letting his opponents do it for him by being themselves.

 

The opinions expressed in this post and throughout RedBrownandBlue.com are intended to encourage civil discussion and invite well-reasoned alternatives. You can participate in the conversation by finding us on Facebook or Twitter. We also encourage you to drop us a line by writing to the Editorial Director at jake@redbrownandblue.com. 

Jake Negovan drives Red Brown and Blue to be an outlet for progressive political opinion that leads to the betterment of life for the real, multicultural population of the U.S. and the rest of the world. His columns address the issues faced by our country as we continue growing toward a society of equality. More about Jake can be found on the web at jakejots.com or on Twitter@jakenegovan.



Should Race Matter to Colleges?

The news broke on Tuesday morning that affirmative action would be challenged again before the Supreme Court of the United States. In Fisher v. University of Texas, the Justices will hear the argument of a white applicant who believes she was denied admission to her college of choice because of her race.

Elevation of this case gives supporters of affirmative action plenty to worry about, considering the conservative bent of the present-day Supreme Court. The expectation/prediction/fear of many is that the Court will overturn their 2003 decision in Grutter v. Bollinger which upheld the use of affirmative action in college admissions to achieve a racially diverse student body, and instead fall more in line with the 2007 decision of Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, which claimed achieving racial diversity in the classroom was not the role of the state. Justice Elena Kagan announced she would recuse herself from this case, further diminishing the counterbalance to the modern Court’s inhumane conservatism.

Putting all legal precedents and possible ramifications aside for a moment, this case is an embarrassment to the American justice system. The plaintiff’s core argument is that she should not have been refused admission to the college she wished to attend. The racially charged claim of “reverse discrimination” is a sad excuse used by certain white people who have become accustomed to getting their way too often and then suddenly don’t. What the plaintiff, Abigail Noel Fisher, fails to understand, and what the legal forces propelling this case to the high court refuse to concede, is that being denied because of your race is a different thing than not being accepted in favor of other qualified students who are minorities. The first is racial discrimination. The second is a side-effect of anti-discriminatory policies. Other students were selected, and no more room was left at Miss Fisher’s preferred school. It should be noted that Miss Fisher was in no way denied a college education. She simply didn’t get to go where she really wanted to go. Same story that faces thousands of college applicants every single semester who don’t blame it on black people.

See, Miss Fisher had a way into the school that would have circumvented any involvement of race. The University of Texas employed an admissions policy to automatically admit students who graduated in the top 10% of their respective class, regardless of race or any other consideration. That policy created a means of admission for the majority of freshmen accepted to the school. Unfortunately for Abigail Fisher, her grades placed her in the upper 12% of her class. Close, but no cigar.The remaining slots were distributed at the discretion of the school’s admissions board who, in the interest of creating a diverse student body, considered factors including race, economic background, community involvement, and academic performance. Miss Fisher was not selected.

Without having reviewed elements of the case argued in lower courts, this writer has difficulty believing that Miss Fisher was denied admission BECAUSE of her race. As stated above, being excluded because of one’s race is an entirely different matter than being passed over in favor of someone else who isn’t white. Unless her admission file at UT is stamped explicitly as DENIED, REASON: WHITE PERSON, any number of factors could have led to her exclusion. Under current law, no one in the United States is guaranteed a college education, no matter what preparatory steps one may have taken on the way to high school graduation. Miss Fisher’s suit seems to presume otherwise and, even worse, accuse minorities of stealing her right to choose her collegiate destiny.

The apparent weakness of the plaintiff’s argument combined with the ideological disposition of the Justices raises serious questions about the Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case. Rather than a pressing matter of concern for the American people, this looks like an opportunistic stab at affirmative action policies at a time the Court feels it has the votes to kill such policies. The only way for the Court to save face after dignifying this suit with its acknowledgement would be a brutal, shaming defeat of the plaintiff. That appears unlikely to happen. Because of the conservative leaning of the Court and the previous decisions rendered by the sitting Justices, a defeat of the defense seems far more assured.

The education provided by universities today does little to impress. More and more employers report graduates who appear unprepared for employed life. Minds are not tempered or challenged by American universities, but pushed through a systematic exchange of dollars for degrees. Despite the questionable job preparation though, college attendance does provide two important benefits. One is the degree itself, that simple piece of paper that opens the door to elevated incomes. The other is the cultural enrichment created by pooling individuals from different geographic regions, religions, sexual orientations, economic standing, and, yes, races. Eliminating affirmative action programs for college admissions limits minority access to the first of these (perpetuating historically below-average incomes) while also reducing the opportunity for all students to experience the second.

By taking on this case, the Supreme Court is poised to use Miss Fisher’s misguided sense of entitlement as a means of causing further damage to the quality and equality of U.S. education.

 

The opinions expressed in this post and throughout RedBrownandBlue.com are intended to encourage civil discussion and invite well-reasoned alternatives. You can participate in the conversation by finding us on Facebook or Twitter. We also encourage you to drop us a line by writing to the Editorial Director at jake@redbrownandblue.com. 

Jake Negovan drives Red Brown and Blue to be an outlet for progressive political opinion that leads to the betterment of life for the real, multicultural population of the U.S. and the rest of the world. His columns address the issues faced by our country as we continue growing toward a society of equality. More about Jake can be found on the web at jakejots.com or on Twitter@jakenegovan.



Let’s Talk About It

Red Brown and Blue is ALWAYS looking for writers interested in contributing material to the site. Are you angry about the way our Congress is held captive by special interests? Are you fed up with the unequal treatment received by women, minorities, and low-income families? Are you frustrated by the refusal by some elected officials to recognize the long-ago affirmed reality that separate is inherently unequal? We seek intelligent, forward-thinking individuals interested in writing about those concerns and ways we can work to change things for the better.

Red Brown and Blue would like to invite people of all backgrounds, ethnicities, lifestyles, religions, and ages to write about living, working, and trying in today’s United States. More importantly, we want you to speak about how things can be made better in our nation and around the world for all people, based on your own experience and point-of-view.

If you are interested and think you have what it takes, please write to jake@redbrownandblue.com and tell us a little about yourself. We’ll reply directly as soon as we are able with more details.

We look forward to hearing from you!

 

The opinions expressed throughout RedBrownandBlue.com are intended to encourage civil discussion and invite well-reasoned alternatives. To join in, please visit our Contact Us page and drop us a line.



War on Religion? Women Aren’t Buying It.

People in the United States who consider themselves religious, particularly women of that group, should be angry with the Republican party. By continuing to equate faith and Biblical adherence with policies that are anti-female, anti-gay, and intolerant of anything outside a very selective and narrow interpretation of scripture, the GOP helps give Christianity a bad reputation. The continued antics of the extreme right paint Christians as unforgiving and completely antonymous with compassion.

Republican mouthpieces are choking the airwaves this week with cries of religious persecution, claiming that President Obama’s mandatory order to extend health insurance coverage of contraceptive medicine for all women violates the right of religious organizations who do not support birth control. The claim is shameful and ridiculous. (more…)



Santorum and Synchronicity

Religious Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum won nomination contests in three states on Tuesday night, just a few hours after a federal appeals court in California overturned controversial ballot initiative Proposition 8, which had prevented gay and lesbian couples from legally marrying. His victories also come on the same day the Susan G. Komen organization lost a key executive, who resigned under a cloud of public criticism for allowing conservative, anti-woman political agendas to end their partnership with Planned Parenthood. The synchronicity of these happenings form an ironic juxtaposition, because while each Republican hopeful espouses roll-backs in women’s reproductive rights and champions continued discrimination against homosexuals, Santorum is the most strident on both fronts. (more…)



Super Bowl

These contests tend to play out along a familiar script. Each side has its own fans, rabid in their loyalty. The talking heads spend weeks and months before the event prognosticating outcomes. Marketing expenditures rise to millions and millions of dollars. Finally, when the big day arrives, things turn out a bit anti-climactic, the buildup seeming far more exciting than the payoff. The winner often runs away with the win instead of facing a real threat from the opponent and, at the end of the night, half of the people paying attention are disappointed while the other half are celebrating. The celebratory half get bragging rights the next day but otherwise nothing changes the day-to-day lives of those who spent so much time anticipating the final score. (more…)