Sunday, December 30, 2012

Politics: The corner of Truth and Reality, and step on it

Text and photos by George Molé

Soon after last month's election, the media began to explain to us that President Obama had been reelected largely because African-Americans, Hispanics and other members of minority ethnic groups comprise a growing segment of the electorate--and they support liberalism and the Democrats overwhelmingly.  Most of the media appeared quite thrilled with this state of affairs.  And, of course, polling seems to bear it out.

But maybe it's my good fortune that I tend to encounter people of independent mind.

On a Thursday evening in mid-November, I got into a yellow cab in midtown, almost late in meeting a friend for dinner.  The driver, a black man, was listening to WABC, the AM radio station that carries Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and other conservative hosts.

"You're listening to my favorite station," I said.

"We lost," he said, with an accent I pegged as African.

"Excuse me?"

"If this is your favorite radio station, then I can say to you--we lost."

He meant the election, of course--he was a Romney supporter, and we started chatting about the state of the world. I asked where he was from.

"Nigeria," he said. "I know what inflation is about."

"Well, inflation comes from debt," I ventured.

"From debt!" he almost shouted. "We are at 16 trillion.  Are you hearing me?"

"Oh, I'm hearing you, pal."

"Obama cares," he said sarcastically. "But after 'cares' comes facts. He is giving out the goody-goods. But from where? And the rich men, who they demonize, will not invest."

I glanced at his hack license. His last name was as similar to the last name of the president as it's possible to be.

"Well, let me ask you this," I said. "They say the Republicans have trouble reaching immigrants. What do you think is the answer to that?"

"There are few channels for the message," he answered. He gestured at the radio. "Rush is a very intelligent man. But ABC is liberal. By grace they allow Rush and Hannity to speak, but they are few."

We happened to be rolling past the building on Sixth Avenue where Fox News is headquartered, and he gestured toward it. "Fox is the only channel propagating conservative ideology. We need more. Are you hearing me?"

I not only heard him, I could have wept from hearing him. Free thought, real thought, of the kind you won't see in the media, from a real person of the kind you won't hear about from the pundits, amid the canyons of Manhattan. Almost a religious experience.

Then, more recently, during my work day, I got talking with a man in an outer-borough neighborhood diner.  More intelligent conversation takes place in New York diners, by the way, than on any television chat show.

This gentleman was African-American, a bit older than me, having his lunch at the counter.  After I ordered my coffee to go, he asked me a bit about what I do as a cop, then told me he's an elder at a nearby church.  People talk to him about their lives, he said, and their choices.

"So many different kinds of problems," he said.  "Some of these young women can have three or four babies from two or three different fathers.  I don't know why they think they can conquer these guys by having a baby.  A lot of these girls are still in school, and they can't pay attention because their babies are at home."  The babies, in turn, he said, develop behavioral problems as they grow, and are then given medications to deal with those problems, "which just messes them up."

He seemed exasperated that so many would take paths that can lead only to a life of struggle.  And this led to his view that some government programs provide incentives for those poor choices--for example, by providing increased benefits, and sometimes apartments, for young women who have babies they can't support.

"I try not to be political, Republican or Democrat," he continued.  "But the Republicans talk about people trying to do something, put some money together, start a business, and the government takes it to help people who aren't trying to do anything.  I see what they're saying."

Being in my official capacity, I tried to be noncommittal.  "Well, that's an interesting point," I said.

"On one block in the area you can have 10 apartment buildings," the older man marveled, "with 50 or 60 apartments in each--and they're all Section 8!  Where can that money come from?

The waitress gave me my coffee and my check.

"Come visit our church," the man said, handing me his card.  And I will.

It only takes one pin to puncture the biggest balloon.  Can it be that each time someone thinks for themselves, looks at the world with fresh eyes, says something the media didn't tell them to say, it lets some air out of the balloon of our corrupt liberalism?  And if that someone is a member of a group that the left most arrogantly considers to be in their pocket, maybe the air rushes out a little faster.

Let's hope that 2013 brings us a lot more truth-telling--and if it's just a couple of guys kicking it around in a New York City taxi or diner, that's not a bad start.

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