The Usual Suspects
Despite what the gloom- and doomers say, 2003 will be a great year
2003, no matter what the gloom and doomers say, will be a great year. Prosperity will permeate the nation, the stock market will recover, Saddam will cash-in his chips, the North Korean crazy will cave, unemployment will fade, the media will be more strident but less credible, and the Democrats will field a herd of political pygmies to run for president in 2004. And for sure, "ethnocates", divisive advocates for one ethnicity??.will overpopulate articles and op-eds in ethno-pandering newspapers and magazines as they cope with the increasingly assured re-election of President George W. Bush.
Published on LatinoLA: December 29, 2002
The term "ethnocate" is created here to describe that genus of "social activist", rare but loud, mostly black and Latino, who under the guise of advocating for "our people" are really shameless exploiters of their own ethnicity, purporting to promote "rights" and "needs" of their ethnic brothers and sisters??..at the expense of almost everybody else. Ethnocates are oblivious to the income tax collection/spending process, most have found shelter in "non-profit groups" funded by gullible donors and do-gooder foundations or threat-frightened corporations. When criticized or questioned, they don?t hesitate a nanosecond to denigrate even those of their own background who happen to disagree with their self-appointed leadership or methods. We all know lots of them; and those who dissent from them are instantly labeled as "Uncle Toms" or "Vendidos" or something similarly insulting!
Some weeks ago I suffered unsought notoriety and received, through the less risky third-party method, serious criticism for dumping on the all-Democrat Congressional Hispanic Caucus. I was inspired by their unanimous vote (except for one truant non-voter) against giving the President authority to proceed with the Iraq crisis as he saw fit. This platoon of the Usual Suspects that vote against almost anything promoted by George W. Bush were joined at the time by the Black Congressional Caucus (surprise!), accompanied by particularly shrill commentary from Anti-Bush Usual Suspect charter member, Maxine Waters of California and slightly more composed wording from Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, then Black Caucus Chair, and colleagues Rangel (NY), Conyers (MI), et al.
What bugged me so much was not their vote, per se. It was the accompanying chorus of anti-Bush rhetoric which they took pains to get printed or aired on cable news channels. They found no trouble reaching an accommodating media. There they enjoyed abundant sympathy for their anti-Administration effort by cooperative reporters, columnists or pundits.
Several subsequent events ensued which really opened the gates of discontent and resulting divisiveness from the Usual Suspects. Their "nay" votes notwithstanding, and to their undoubted dismay, President Bush still received the strong approval of both the House and the Senate through resolutions of support for his proceeding on Iraq. Reinforced by this support at home, Mr. Bush went before the United Nations and literally influenced that previously waffling and reluctant body to get tough with Iraq on disarming itself. His domestic legislative triumphs were followed by a stunning 15-0 unanimous vote by the United Nations Security Council to proceed with forcing Iraq to comply with U.N. resolutions.
This international victory of November 8, 2002. despite the carping and back-biting from the French and Germans, drew in even Syria and disappointed Bush critics at home. This win for Mr. Bush was even more spectacular when viewed in concert with the stunning victory for the President a scant three days before. The November 5 midterm election results meant the recapture of the Senate by the President?s Party and a gain of seats in the House, both unforeseen by and crushing the predictions and hopes of the Usual Suspects!
But there was more disappointment to come for our gang of malcontents?..though they would gain in numbers as a result. The Majority Leader-to-be of the newly won United States Senate, Trent Lott of Mississippi, was to commit one of the most self-destructive public blunders in years, an unintentional but career-busting statement that seemed to recollect, favorably, the abomination of racial segregation that was alive in the United States more than five decades before.
From the political woodwork, out of television screens and on front pages and editorial sections, we the public were drenched with bile and bitter recrimination and, sadly, even pent up hatred in response to Lott?s public words. The core grouping of Usual Suspects, the Congressional ethnocates, black and Latino, led the outpouring of racial allegations against Senator Lott. At first the blacks seemed to claim sole ownership of their victim-hood from white "racists" but they were soon joined by luminaries from "show business", the press, the back-biters-in-chief, Bill and Hillary and their flunky, Terry McAuliffe, and pious pundits from the left and right. The piling-on on the hapless Senator Lott was an amazing thing to witness, incredibly loud and rife with hypocrisy.
The Suspects also dusted off and dragged out the separatist outrages which took place in the years before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or the Voting Rights Act of 1965 during their "get Lott" spasms. They wanted to see if bad memories of the past could somehow be converted into more current racism stains on Republicans. These attempts to apply CPR to antique sins by the more "anti" of the anti-Bush and anti-Republican of the Usual Suspects were pretty much a bust.
Bringing up the rear, late to pile-on, were the Latino civil rights fraternity and sorority groups, breathlessly saying, "me, too", "me, too", as they vied for recognition and parity with the pros, like Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton! Non-Hispanic Houston Chronicle writer Patty Reinert, based in Washiinton D.C., without leaving her area code, phoned and nailed as anti-Lott the usual Latino "reps" in her Rolodex. "Lott Angers Latinos" her article screamed??.backed up by quotes from Washington-based self-appointed Latino "spokespersons" like MALDEF, the National Council of La Raza, LULAC and, of course, Mssrs. Gonzalez, Reyes and Rodriguez, all Congressmen from the President?s home state. Latinos were now on board with Maxine and the "Reverends", Jackson and Sharpton (has anybody ever inquired as to who ordained them?).
The Usual Suspects had also now expanded to include some folks that hit the media markets earlier with just a plain old classic Hollywood anti-war drive in October. It was headed by foreign policy experts like ardent Clintonista Barbara Streisand, tiresome Martin Sheen, aging Susan Sarandon and "Meathead" Rob Reiner (who has apparently suffered a downward shift of a lot of his "meat")! But their anti-war bit was intellectually rejected by Americans as they voted on November 5 for pro-Bush candidates. But undiscouraged; the "get Lott" protest became an acceptable alternate gig for these overpaid, ungrateful drones who seem to ignore how low their residuals would be in Baghdad, Kabul or Islamabad. They chose to forget that tens of thousands of uniformed young Americans, here and overseas, are busy protecting their collective skanky derrieres; i.e. we are at war!
But again, George W. Bush, emulating Snoopy?s Lucy, fooled and embarrassed Charlie Brown by pulling the football from its place-kick position, just as he swung his leg! Charlie Brown here is, of course, the collection of Usual Suspects. These poor frustrated folks were left with their figurative negative placards of "get-Lott", "get-Bush", and "get-Republicans" drooping and useless, as Senator Lott resigned his leader post and remained in the Senate. Worse for them, squeaky-clean Senator Dr. Bill Frist, MD, was unanimously elected in an historic conference call vote??as the incoming Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate??.all in a matter of days! Even the mere suspicion that President Bush and Co. had anything to do with this bloodless defusing of what the Suspects thought was a sure blow at their unaccepted President?..had to drive them crazy.
Now, at the cusp of a new year, with the certainty of a wonderful future, America is still a bit nervous because so many of its people have never known real threats from people who hate them??folks like Al Quaeda or Islamic Jihad or a kooky North Korean with a nuclear potential. We have grown fat and happy and lulled into apathetic acceptance of the miasma of reality TV, including 32 inch TV pics of color copulation, gas guzzling SUV?s, ubiquitous cell phones, dirty politics, overflowing jails, "recreational" dope, low voter turn-outs and a media that never sees the positive in American life.
Only the veterans and families of Vietnam or Korea or WWII know well the horrors of a major war. The Gulf War Veterans and today?s Afghanistan vets also understand what war in the Middle East may mean. But how many of the Usual Suspects have the same experience or the feelings about America as our veterans do? Not many, I?m afraid. Yet it is the veterans and those still in uniform that most appreciate America for its core goodness and the idea that freedom cannot be over-protected. They know that some fear and uncertainty is part of dealing with real threats but that hesitation or delay can get you killed! We are blessed with a President who believes the same.
And again frustrating the Usual Suspects, the vast majority of Americans know that adults and pros are in charge again in the White House and the Pentagon. We have a tradition of over 200 years in that we trust our leaders; these are not times to abandon tradition. And as we enter 2003, 15 months after 9/11, seven out of 10 Americans approve of our Commander-in-Chief and his leadership. We are the unquestioned head of the free world and possess the most powerful economy in the history of man. And we are reminded daily that as much is expected of us abroad as we demand of ourselves. That is the burden of leadership.
So let us accept that our great nation still has flaws and it is our collective obligation to point them out to our leaders and to HELP with their resolution. There is so much to do, here and abroad?.and we need to assist our leaders with avowed moral support; we are their reason and the basis of their strength. If the Usual Suspects insist on whining and wallowing in their discontent, if they persist in divisive action, if they won?t HELP with solutions but prefer their negative projection, let us ignore them and proceed with confidence into living one more great year of opportunity. And as the last act of 2002, let us all give thanks that we are privileged to live in the last, best hope of the world, the United States of America.
?Les des?o un fel?z y pr?spero 2003!