Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tiger Woods, Michael Steele, Governor Bob McDonnell

Finally Tiger Woods has teed off and returned to playing golf. The pundits have been off the hook in analyzing what his return means; how he will play, what kind of reception will he receive, what his mental state will be, how he can save the planet...ok maybe not that, but you get my drift. Actually, I had expected to hear all this stuff and sadly, wasn't disappointed. Like many folks, I just wanted to see Tiger play golf again. I could care less what his family situation is because, well, it's just none of my business. He has to take care of that with his family, not me.

It really burns me up when everybody and their brother becomes an armchair marriage counselor and head doctor. The best line came from Billie Payne, the Chairman of the Masters, who berated Tiger in his State of the Masters Address, (I use my interpretation of his statements liberally here) for “disappointing my children and grandchildren,” and what a horrible person "the Tiger" is now.

Ok, let's get this straight. Payne didn't seem to mind that Tiger has helped rake in the money and attention for the golf world as soon as he picked up a 4 iron. We have clergy who sexually abuse and take advantage of children; teachers who do the same; parents who "act out" in front of their children; politicians who do damn near everything - yet a GOLFER is the gold standard by which all others are measured? Please.....To be sure, what Tiger did was not good. But to play “holier than thou,” is just as wrong.

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While I'm on a roll, let's talk about Michael Steele, Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Ok, Michael has definitely made mistakes and drawn some serious negative attention to the GOP. A lot of this attention is not the type that endures you to the stogy party elders who ultimately determine your fate.

I like the fact that Michael went in to shake up the status quo, because the party needed it. As a black republican, I welcomed a “flame thrower” leader to say, "we are here too, and I'll be damned if you ignore us or play “we really want you in our party, but not too close", games.

Michael had a great opportunity to be that kind of leader, but now, with the sharks circling both inside and outside the party, his window has just about closed. Too bad. He had a real chance to make changes within the party. My fear is, now that he has not succeeded, will the party be reluctant to give another minority the chance to lead again and return to the status quo? Only time will tell.

The sad part of this is that the GOP had a tenuous hold on few minority souls as it was. I’m afraid, right or wrong, how this situation with Steele pans out, may determine how many continue to stay with the Grand Old Party.
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Last but not least, let's talk about republican Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia. What the hell was he thinking? A proclamation honoring Confederate History Month - ok, but without a mention of slavery? Oh, I guess he didn't think about it. Another racially insensitive action by a republican politician. And you wonder why the party is viewed as "minority unfriendly."

Every time one of these events occurs, it makes black GOP folk cringe. I for one will not make any more excuses for the boorish, insensitive behavior by folks in the party.

And no, I don't give a damn if democrats do this stuff too - it makes no difference, because I'm not a democrat.

The Republican Party has the right kind of philosophy to help create a prosperous country. But that's only on paper. Until the visible leadership, and state committees do not get a pass here, starts acting in a manner representative of all people who call themselves republican -black, white, Latino or Asian- this party will not grow. It will remain, as is the perception now, a one dimensional party. What a shame.