Paul R. Lehman, American Democracy: Truth, Falsehood, Falsehoods as truths, and Reality (Part two)

May 14, 2017 at 11:50 am | Posted in African American, American Bigotry, American history, Bigotry in America, birther, black inferiority, blacks, democracy, discrimination, Disrespect, Donald Trump, Elizabeth Minnick, equality, Ethnicity in America, European Americans, fairness, happiness, Human Genome, justice, justice system, law, liberty, Pledge of Allegiance, Prejudice, racism, respect, segregation, skin color, skin complexion, social justice system, socioeconomics, The U.S. Constitution, white supremacy, whites | 1 Comment
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PART 2

Often time, when we see someone with a missing limb, we think about the disadvantage that missing limb is for the person. However, what we often do not realize is that if the person was born with the limb missing, then it was never considered by that person to be a disadvantage because to him, the missing limb is normal. The young European American man was born into a society that conditioned him to view society as a normal European American along with the social biases towards African Americans and other people of color. His perception was to him natural and normal. With all the freedoms and privileges working in his favor, little wonder the young European American identifies himself as a white man. Despite the numerous civil rights protests of African Americans and other people of color, many European Americans failed to realize that the objectives of the protests were for the protesters, fellow Americans, to share in the same rights, liberties, and privileges enjoyed by the European American citizens. Each protest brought by African Americans was a deliberate effort to enlighten the European American citizens that something was wrong in American society and that American was not living up to its creed and mantra of freedom and justice for all.

The problem, as we can ascertain from the young European American, is that with each social gain by the African Americans and other people of color, he believes some of his privileges are being lost or taken away. For example, when the Supreme of the United States ruled that school segregation was unequal and that integration must be instituted in an effort to remedy the problems it caused, many European Americans believed that they were losing their right to segregate themselves. Although none of the civil rights acts and laws ever mentions African Americans specifically, the fact that they were the citizens being denied their rights, made them appear as the enemy to many European Americans. The facts concerning all the civil rights laws enacted under protest by African Americans underscored the rights of all citizens, not just those of people of color.

Nonetheless, the fact that the changes taking place in the world and especially in America became more noticeable to the young European American due to the advances in cyber technology. His idea of America being a white man’s country was starting to be challenged by all the social changes taking place. The one change that served as a major indicator of change in American for the young European American was the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States. All his life he had been conditioned to view the African American as inferiority and lacking social value. Now all of a sudden, an African American is President. For him, too much was being lost too fast.

The young European American has been conditioned all his life to believe the falsehood to be true. We know from the works of people like Edward O. Wilson and Elizabeth Minnick that people can be conditioned to accept falsehoods by way of having heard it over numerous times and/or by trusting in a leader of a group and believing through a blind trust. That is, people can be conditioned to giving serious thought to anything their leader says while continuing strong support to that leader. For example, during the presidential campaign, Donald Trump made the statement that he could shoot someone in the middle of a public street and not loses a single vote. His thinking suggested that his followers did not give thought to what he said; their loyalty was to him, the individual. Unfortunately, that characteristic of the thoughtless American seems to fit many Americans who cannot or refuse to recognize the falsehoods masquerading as truths in American society.

To understand the difference between the European American’s perspective of reality and that of the African American based on both their social conditioning is like they are walking down a street and both see a piece of class in the grass. The European American sees the sun shining on the glass while the African American sees the sun’s reflection from the glass. They both are looking at the same piece of glass, but each sees something different. If we were to ask them what they see, their answers would both be correct. The fact that they focus on different aspects of the same piece of glass represents the problem with their not being able to communicate constructively. If both cannot understand and acknowledge the fact of their two different perspectives, effective communication is impossible.

The reality for the young European American man consists of viewing America as only a European American society. That is when phrases such as “the American people,” or “we the people,” or any references to Americans are used, the mental picture the young man receives does not include people of color. People of color, especially African Americans are not considered real Americans to the young European American; they are simply allowed to live in America. That perception to him is real and true based on his beliefs and social conditioning.

With respect to the truths and falsehood of the young European American, no change is possible unless or until he is able to replace his falsehoods with facts and reality. The difficulty in the European American acknowledging reality, however, is that the European American’s beliefs are based on falsehoods, so everything he says and does reflect that falsehood at its base, however, he cannot accept his reality as being false. The reason for his inability to accept the falsehood goes to his experiences living in a biased America. All his life Americans institutions from segregated schools and churches, to preferential jobs and education, have underscored his sense of privilege. So, to deprive him of what he sees as rights for him, he sees as a form of abuse and punishment. To make matters worse, society tend to point to the African Americans as the source of his distress.

Paul R. Lehman, American Democracy: Truth, Falsehood, Falsehoods as truths, and Reality (Part one of three)

May 8, 2017 at 3:56 pm | Posted in African American, American Bigotry, American history, black inferiority, blacks, Civil Right's Act 1964, Constitutional rights, democracy, desegregation, discrimination, Disrespect, DNA, education, equality, ethnic stereotypes, Ethnicity in America, European American, European Americans, fairness, happiness, identity, integregation, justice, law, liberty, life, Martin Luther King Jr., minority, Prejudice, President Obama, race, Race in America, racism, segregation, skin color, skin complexion, social conditioning, the Black Codes, The National Museum of African American History and Culture, The U.S. Constitution, tribalism, U. S. Census, whites | 2 Comments
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PART ONE  

A young European American (white) man in his middle to late twenties was being interviewed on a television show; he was dressed in a suit and wore a tie. What he said during the course of the interview was in effect, that he was a white man, and he wanted to see America regain its rightful place as a white man’s country. He was apparently upset because he believed that he was losing his power, influence, and privileges. From the expression on his face, it was apparent that the young man believed in what he was saying, and believed it to be the truth. Some Americans might be surprised by what the young man said because they do not believe that he was speaking the truth. Well, what exactly is the truth as far as the young man was concerned? The problem of truth began with America’s beginning.

Before we can begin a discussion about truth, we need first to have a working definition of truth. We might suggest that truth, in a statement, is represented by fact or reality. In another sense, we might suggest that truth is relative to the individual regardless of facts and reality. So, where does that leave us regarding truth? How can both suggestions be accurate? The key to the answer has to do with how we view facts and reality.

What we find in American society is evidence that truth is viewed as both relative to the individual and based on facts and reality. Here is how it works. Society first proclaimed certain truths, then proceeded to ignore them, inventing falsehoods in their place and convincing the people to accept the falsehoods as truth. Now that the falsehoods have been uncovered, the people do not want to accept the truth. To demonstrate how this happened, we need to look at history. We begin with the words from the Declaration of Independence:” We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The first thing we note in this statement is the word “truths, “which carries with it the semblance of facts and reality. We generally accept the sincerity and honesty of the word truth. The next phrase is equally important to our understanding of truth as being “self-evident “or clear and acceptable to all. We have no reason to suspect anything being amiss about what follows this first phrase: “that all men are created equal.” Well, if we know anything about early American history and the founding fathers, we know that the author of those words, Thomas Jefferson, as well as other founding fathers, were slaveholders. How can one believe in the equality of all men and be a slaveholder? Easy enough make slaves less than human. But what about other men and women who cannot enjoy the equal rights of the wealthy European American men? Simply write laws that control their freedoms.

In the phrase that follows, three words stand out: “endowed,””unalienable,” and “rights, “and all invite interpretation. The first word, “endowed” can be interpreted as a gift or something provided to the individual. The next word, “unalienable” can be defined as not transferable to another or not capable of being taken away or denied. The term “rights “can be defined as freedoms, entitlements or justified claims. Following this introduction of privileges that cannot be denied and are freedoms available to all, we learn what they are: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These rights and those contained in the Constitution are called civil rights. All American citizens are entitled to celebrate and enjoy them. We could examine each one of these rights to show that all Americans have never experienced them in reality because of two important things associated with American history: slavery and bigotry. The institution of slavery made certain that the words of the preamble to the Constitution would never ring true: “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice….” The remainder of the preamble loses its value when we realize that “justice” was never established while a system of slavery was in existence. After slavery, laws were instituted to retain control of certain groups of American citizens.

The young European American man who considered himself a white man represents the reality of a falsehood being believed as truth. He is not being an extremist or extraordinary with his assertions, he is simply saying what American society has conditioned him to believe. The social conditioning he has received all his life is at its core a system that fosters a belief in European American (white) supremacy. So, regardless of what the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution, or even the Pledge of Allegiance says about all men being equal with all their civil rights, including liberty and justice for all, reality provides those truths for European Americans only.

The system of European American (white) supremacy was invented and instituted by the founding fathers and woven into all America’s social institutions. What was unknown to the young European American man was that the system in which he was nurtured and conditioned was based on a falsehood. The system of European American (white) supremacy was based on the false concept of reality consisting of two races, one black, and one white. The European American (white) race was presented as being the model for humanity as well as America’s standard of beauty. European Americans generally do not picture themselves as belonging to a race. People who do not look like them belong to a race. Another characteristic of being European American was that they were to consider themselves as the center of the universe, superior to all people of color, so their only equals were other European Americans.

To ensure that the concept of supremacy was received and perceived as ordinary and normal, the government instituted segregation, which meant that European Americans could live their entire lives without having to interact with a person of color. Discrimination was instituted to ensure that European Americans receive privileges above and beyond what was offered to people of color, especially in education, jobs, health care, salaries, housing, and the law. In all these areas, the African Americans were denied opportunities to participate as first-class citizens and denied their civil rights.

Paul R. Lehman, Removal of symbols of ethnic bias show signs of social change

May 24, 2016 at 3:53 am | Posted in African American, American Bigotry, American history, American Racism, Bigotry in America, blacks, democracy, discrimination, education, equality, Ethnicity in America, European American, fairness, justice, justice system, law, Media and Race, minority, Oklahoma, Oklahoma education, Prejudice, President Obama, Race in America, skin color, social justice system, textbooks, The Oklahoman, Tulsa, Tulsa Riot 1921, whites | 1 Comment
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One of the general misconceptions many Americans have today is that ethnic prejudice is a thing of the past and only vestiges of it remain. For evidence of this social change some point to the removable of the Confederate flag from some Southern state flags as well as a number of statues and monuments that underscore the hatred and bigotry felt by many European Americans for African Americans during and after slavery. Another sign of attempts to remove symbols of ethnic bigotry on many college and university campuses is the removing of names of known bigots from buildings and other structures on the campus. For many institutions, this act of name removable represents a great and serious undertaking because many of those names belong to people who were considered deserving of the honor of recognition at the time they were displayed. What has changed to cause the removable of many of theses former honored contributors from their place of recognition?

One answer can be found in history, but not necessarily the history written in school books; school book history was tailor-made to support the ethnic bigotry of the day. Much of the actual history resides in the old newspapers and journals of early America. What that history tells us is that ethnic bigotry was considered normal; to not be a bigot was considered not normal if one happened to be a European American (white). So, when people of the early American past were given honors via placing their names on buildings and other edifices, little attention was paid to or reference made to their ethnic bigotry. Such was apparently the case with the University of Tulsa naming one of its structures after John Rogers.

In an article in the Oklahoman (5/20/2016) “Building controversy provide cautionary tale,” on the “Opinion” page, the writer tells about the removal of Roger’s name from a TU building, not just any building: “University of Tulsa officials recently decided to remove John Roger’s name from TU’s college of law, which he helped found, because of his 1920s association with the Ku Klux Klan.”The fact that the building was the college of law which Roger helped to found gives us some additional insight as to the mindset of the people of Oklahoma during this time. The article underscores the fact that “racists views of the Klan were not out of line with the thinking of many respectable people, across the nation, during Oklahoma’s early decades.” Few European Americans gave notice to the abuse, violence and death the Klan visited on African Americans. Since many of the up-standing, civic-minded, Christian, European American citizens were also Klan members, not many Oklahomans were told about the destruction and death caused by many of the good citizens of Tulsa in 1921 when the Greenwood area was demolished. The Klan has always stood for European American (white) supremacy and the inferiority of African Americans.

What we refer to today as a bigot was not considered bad or evil or even unpatriotic for early European Americans; as a mater of fact, the Klan for many European Americans was seen as an anti-crime, civic-minded, “temperance organization.” Many of its members included bankers, businessmen, lawyers, educators, and even clergy. Helping to promote and maintain the Klan’s views while passing them on to the children, were the text books. The article cited this reference: “Consider the 1914 biology textbook at the center of the famed Scopes ‘monkey’ trial in Tennessee. Based on evolutionary theory, that book matter-of-factly declared there were ‘five races or varieties of man,… ‘“The article continued by listing the Ethiopian or Negro, the Malay or brown people, the American Indian, the Mongolians and finally, “the Caucasians represented by civilized white inhabitants of Europe and America.”

The article underscored the importance of the text book: “That children’s text book advocated eugenic, and said of supposedly inferior people, ‘If such people were lower animals, we would probably kill them off to prevent them from spreading.” Such was the mindset of many of the European American Oklahomans in the early 1920s according to the article. However, in another article in the Oklahoman (5/6/2016) ‘These were everywhere,’ tells of the many Klan klaverns in Oklahoma before and during the 1940s. This article tells some of the Klan’s activities as in the following reference: “A story in the Nov. 21, 1920, edition of The Daily Oklahoman describes Klansmen terrorizing residents in Guthrie, threatening farmers, business owners and residents in the city’s black quarter with death.” Also it included: “According to the story, the Klan forbid cotton growers from paying pickers more than $1.25 per hundred pounds picked, and blacks were threatened with death and burning if they asked for a higher wage.”

The Klan article showed a map of Klan chapters in Oklahoma in the early 1940—it was home to 102 chapters. The article concluded with the findings that “The Southern Poverty Law Center recognized 10 Klan-affiliated groups last year in Oklahoma.” Although laws have changed over the years, many attitudes and minds still embrace the once normal bigoted psyche. The lingering hate and fear of African Americans in some Oklahomans might easily be assumed from the fact that all seventy-seven counties voted against Barack Obama two times—2008 and 2012. Obama was not liked by many European Americans before he had a chance to assume his office; the reason given for his unpopularity was not his skin color but his political party.

We can certainly applaud the efforts of the University Tulsa to remove symbolic references to our biased past and support them in their actions. We can also applaud the efforts of the Oklahoman’s article discussing the removal of John Roger’s name from TU’s law college and shedding some light on why the removal is important. One of the most challenging aspects of American society today is to understand that because the normal mindset of European Americans is biased towards African Americans and other people of color, “basic morality and common sense” must be redefined without the bias. For us to assume that ethnic bigotry simply fades away into the woodwork over time would be wrong; removing it takes great effort mainly because many people do not realize they are biased.

Paul R. Lehman, Group identity, not Party, the key to Republican victory

November 10, 2014 at 5:54 pm | Posted in American history, American Racism, Civil War, Congress, democracy, Democrats, entitlements, equality, European American, lower class, minority, political tactic, politicians, poor, President, President Obama, Race in America, Republican Party, socioeconomics, the Republican Party, upper class, whites | 1 Comment
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The results of the recent election came as a surprise to many people because they thought that many of the issues touched the lives of enough people until they would go to the poles and cast their votes in support of the people who would look out for their best interest. Unfortunately, in many instances, that was not the case and many people were disappointed. Had they given serious thought to what has been taking place recently in politics relative to history and group dynamics, they would have not been surprised.
What were at stake in this election were not so much the issues, but the survival of the group—the conservative European Americans (whites) against change. With the creation of a white race, the ruling class of Anglo-Saxons also made manifest certain beliefs, attitudes and conditions that would represent aspects of the race (group). Regardless of the numerous aspects of group membership, loyalty, dedication, and unity were required under any condition, even loss of personal goods, property and religious practices. So, the importance and protection of group membership was understood to be the top priorities from the beginning. For European Americans, loosing their white identity would be like excommunication from the church or being shunned from the family. For some European Americans, having a white identity was/is the only thing of social value they have.
Since the election of Barack Obama as President, the wheels were set in motion to eliminate and discredit him. We all can recall the words of Sen. Mitch O’Connell before Obama had taken office to prevent him another term. We can also recall the affect that attitude had on the Congress that led to it being referred to as the “Congress of No.” What was not made clear to the public was why this negative attitude and disrespect towards the new President was necessary. The answer is change; Obama’s election as an African American signaled a change in the group dynamics of America’s social structure. The social value of African Americans had never been a real concern for European Americans since they created, represented, promoted and controlled the “white race” and its standards of normalcy. That normalcy included only European Americans in the group. Obama represented a threat to the group’s unity.
The plan set in motion for the recent election followed the plan in effect since Obama’s election—blame him for everything, and praise him for nothing. In essence, Obama was made the target and represented evil, doom, destruction, despair, and of course, change. His name was to become synonymous with everything that can and does go wrong in society and the world. When anything occurred in society, Obama critics found a way to place the blame on him: problems with immigration, border security, foreign policy, the national debt, climate changes, Ebola, and a host of other things. So, when the recent election ads began to show up, no one was surprised that Obama was who the candidates were running against. The office the candidates were running for were not really of consequence, the party identity was the most important concern, and the code word for unity was Obama.
To underscore the point that group unity was the most important concern of the Republican Party we have only to look at the campaign advertisements of the candidates. Regardless of the office the candidate was running for, the important code word—Obama was found in it. The reference to Obama in the ads was not necessarily directed to Obama but the candidate’s affiliation with Obama and/or his policies or actions. This plan of making Obama the target was not only used on the national level, but also in state and local elections.
The importance of group unity took precedence over common sense issues as in the case of a number of states including Kansas, Arkansas, and Nebraska where the minimum wage issue was on the ballet and passed. However, the candidates who were against this issue were voted into office. The irony in these cases cannot be avoided—why would a citizen vote against his or her own best interest on one hand and for it on the other? The answer seems to be that group loyalty takes priority over personal interest.
In addition to the republicans holding to their group unity plan, even a number of Democratic candidates chose group loyalty over political party membership. In a number of races on both national and state level some democratic candidates distanced themselves from President Obama; they did not want their constituents to think that they supported Obama. They wanted to show their group members that they were still part of the group although they represented a different political party. They knew that the battle for their group was not so much the election victory, but the group victory to hold off social change.
What many of the voters never realize is the fact that they have been and continue to be exploited by the ruling class or “Titans” of their group. According to Theodore W. Allen, author of The Invention of the White Race, this group of poor and working class European American people who vote against their own best interest are used as:
“the Great Safety Valve, the system of racial privileges conferred on laboring-class European-Americans, rural and urban, poor and exploited though they themselves were. That has been the main historical guarantee of the rule of the ‘Titans,’ damping down anti-capitalist pressures by making ‘race, and not class, the distinction in social life.’ This more than any other factor, has shaped the ‘contours of American history.”
For Allen, the plan of the ruling class of Anglo-Saxons has always been to keep an actual gap between themselves and the lesser member of the group while exploiting them, but making them believe that their membership in the group offered them a feeling of superiority over other non-European groups—that is their reward in exchange for their votes.
Another irony of American politics occur when African Americans are accused of using the so-called race card to gain somewhat of an advantage over an opponent; the fact of the matter is that whenever the race card is brought into play, the European Americans benefit because race is a code word used to marshal their safety valve—group members.

Paul R. Lehman, We are not coming back, says Rabbi Pruzansky, because of Obama.

October 7, 2014 at 8:22 pm | Posted in African American, American Dream, American history, Congress, democracy, Democrats, discrimination, employment, entitlements, Equal Opportunity, Ethnicity in America, European American, fairness, freedom of speech, identity, integregation, liberty, life, lower class, Medicare, minority, politicians, poor, President Obama, Respect for President, state Government, upper class | 1 Comment
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In a recent article entitled “We Are Not Coming Back,” by Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, a Jewish Rabbi from Teaneck, New Jersey, he laments the state of affairs in America and places the blame on President Barack Obama, totally disregarding facts, history, Congress, and common logic. His article appeared in The Israel National News. We will take a look at this article in an effort to enlighten the Rabbi.
The claim the Rabbi makes via Obama’s election is that “We are not coming back.” What specifically does he mean? Where would we come back to? Times when we had dirt roads, when women could not vote, when we had outdoor toilets, back when Jews and other lesser Americans were being discriminated against? Because the article begins with an illogical statement, we can safely assume that the remainder will be opinions and conjecture regarding the state of affairs. We are not disappointed in that respect when the Rabbi noted that Mitt Romney lost the presidential election because he did not get enough votes, but then added:” That might seem obvious, but not for the obvious reasons. Romney lost because the conservative virtues – the traditional American virtues – of liberty, hard work, free enterprise, private initiative and aspirations to moral greatness – no longer inspire or animate a majority of the electorate.” He does not include justice, fairness, charity, compassion, care for the poor and helpless in his virtues—things that America is known for around the world and at home.
The reason he gave for Romney’s loss to Obama “was because it is impossible to compete against “free stuff.”Under ordinary circumstances we might give him the benefit of the doubt, but he began to employ code words of the right-wing conservatives that point an accusing finger to people of color as well as poor people as villains rather than victims:
Every businessman knows this; that is why the “loss leader” or the giveaway is such a powerful marketing tool. Obama’s America is one in which free stuff is given away: the adults among the 47,000,000 on food stamps clearly recognized for whom they should vote, and so they did, by the tens of millions; those who – courtesy of Obama – receive two full years of unemployment benefits (which, of course, both disincentivizes looking for work and also motivates people to work off the books while collecting their windfall) surely know for whom to vote. The lure of free stuff is irresistible.
What the Rabbi fails to point out is that long before Obama, President Reagan attacked the unions in an effort to destroy them—he fired 11,000 Air Traffic controllers. In addition, he made it easy for businesses to file reorganization bankruptcy which caused workers to loose their salaries, employment benefits, retirements, and health benefits, along with other perks. Add to these conditions in the workforce, the introduction of NAFTA. In addition to the jobs that were lost through union busting and bankruptcy, many employers started to move their businesses outside of America, thereby displacing thousands of working Americans.
We certainly recognize that some people will play any system that is created to help people in need, but to characterize all the people needing food stamps and unemployment insurance as recipients of “free stuff” are un-American. A worker cannot receive unemployment insurance unless he or she has worked and contributed to the insurance fund through the employer. So, what is society to do with the American citizens who are in need? Ignore them? That is not who we are as a society.
We also noted that the Rabbi did not mention the “free stuff” the government gave to the banks, corporations, and industries, while the Congress failed to pass a minimum wage. Even one of the world’s riches men, Warren Buffet, complained that his secretary paid more income tax than he.
So, according to the Rabbi, the “giveaways” and “free stuff” represent the first reason for Romney’s defeat. He added that Obama’s actions also helped to point out the second reason: “That engenders the second reason why Romney lost: the inescapable conclusion that the electorate is ignorant and uninformed. Indeed, it does not pay to be an informed voter, because most other voters – the clear majority – are unintelligent and easily swayed by emotion and raw populism.”Although this comment was meant for liberals and democrats, it also represents the people who continue to vote against their own best interest, especially in the red states.
A known fact in America today is that the majority of the wealth is owned by one percent of the population. We also know that the average wage has not gone up along with inflation. Because of the wide gap in income, we know that the middleclass is disappearing. So, people are working more and making less. Still the Rabbi noted:
Obama could get away with saying that “Romney wants the rich to play by a different set of rules” – without ever defining what those different rules were; with saying that the “rich should pay their fair share” – without ever defining what a “fair share” is; with saying that Romney wants the poor, elderly and sick to “fend for themselves” – without even acknowledging that all these government programs are going bankrupt, their current insolvency only papered over by deficit spending.
What are people to think when Congress wants to not raise minimum wages, cut health insurance, not fund workers compensation, but continue to give tax breaks to the wealthy? What the Rabbi did not mention, however, was that today, the economy has recovered from the 2008 fall, banks and businesses are making large profits, the unemployment rate is down to 2008 level, and the deficit has been cut in half. So, why preach doom and gloom?
None-the-less, the Rabbi sadly predicts a win in 2016 of Hillary Clinton because she will follow Obama’s lead. He closes with the statement: If this election proves one thing, it is that the Old America is gone. And, sad for the world, it is not coming back. The problems we face today are there because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living.”How illogical and irrational can one be? America and the world are constantly changing.
The Rabbi places all the responsibility for all the ills, as he sees them in society, on President Obama. Any person with knowledge of history and government knows that in a democracy we have three divisions of government, not a dictator. No, we are not coming back, and indeed, we should not even think of going backwards to whatever he had in mind. The Rabbi should gather his facts and history then provide for his audience with positive information that can be used to build on, not tear down and despair over. The Rabbi should be ashamed of himself.

Paul R. Lehman, The picture of President Obama and a banana reflects negatively on the sender

February 11, 2014 at 1:18 am | Posted in African American, Constitutional rights, democracy, discrimination, Disrespect, equality, European American, freedom of speech, justice, Prejudice, President Obama, Race in America, Russia, skin color | 2 Comments
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The phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words” has been around for a few hundred years and it still has relevance today. The concept of the phrase whether it is one thousand or ten thousand words concern not only the picture itself, but also the creator as well as the producer and user. Each has its own reason for the picture’s value; so, the image that constitutes the picture is not the only concern of the viewers. In an article from the Guardian, “Russian MP’s Obama with banana picture sparks racism debate” (2/9/14) a discussion concerning racism began. The picture in question is a doctored photo of President and Mrs. Obama; the picture has been changed to make President Obama appear as though he is chewing on something while he stares wide-eyed at a banana that seemingly is before him.
The article noted that “The subject of racism has become the focus of a public discussion in Russia after an MP from Duma caused outrage by posting an image of Barack Obama that was photoshopped to include a banana. It continued by stating that “Irina Rodina, an MP from Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party and a triple Olympic champion figure-skater, posted the picture on her personal Twitter account.” Rodina apparently saw nothing amiss with the picture she claims was sent to her from friends in the U.S. She was quoted as saying “Freedom of speech is freedom of speech, and you should answer for your own hang-ups.”
If we take the time to look at the photo, we can recognize that the image of President Obama has been altered, so that he does not appear to be in a normal state, but a contrived one. His eyes have been made to seemed fixed on a banana magically suspended in from of him. We do not know what the person who altered the photo had in mind, but a suggestion might be that an effort was made to associate the President’s image with that of a monkey or something similar that likes to eat bananas. The irony of the photo is that many people like and eat bananas, so why try to focus attention on the image of President Obama looking at the banana unless it is an attempt to try and make a denigrating statement regarding him. In fact, because the photo is so contrived, the effect probably rest with the question it raises—why?
The answer to that question never is given because the charge of racism came quickly to the front. The article noted that “The incident was widely discussed in the Russian press, with many commentators coming to the defence of the MP and figure-skater.” We agree with a person’s right to free speech, so as far as Rodina having the right to Tweet the photo we have no argument. Our concern is to why? What was the objective? We do not know because no one, including Rodina has said. What we do know is that most educated and informed individuals generally have a working knowledge of their actions, especially if they are deliberate.
The article reported that the United State ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, was not pleased and believed “that Rodina was guilty of ‘outrageous behavior which only brings shame to her parliament and country.’ A spokesperson for the U. S. embassy quoted Thomas Jefferson in response to the tweet: ‘Bigotry is the disease of ignorance.’” The response is appropriate in this instance because to identify the photo as racist is to support the concept of multiple human races, which in turn feed the illusions of bigots. The ignorance associating people as members of a race because of their color, religion or beliefs is like saying that fresh water from different parts of the world is different just because it changes from country from country. We know that certain things can be and are added to the water, but take away the additives and it is all the same. So it is with people.
When something so contrived as the President Obama picture is offered to the public, the logical response is to simply ignore it and let it pass, because that is not what the presenters want to happen. They want to raise the ire and alarm at what they know can appear degrading not only to the President, but to the country as well. By acknowledging the photo, the viewer gives in to the trap and brings attention to a cause that is lost and dying—racial superiority.
Rather than the picture being viewed as disparaging and denigrating to the President, the fact is that the ignorance of the people who created, produced and promoted it is underscored. The use of the word racist does not fit the situation, although the people responsible for the picture might think so. By accepting the term racist, the blame for the action can be displaced among the larger group of like-thinkers. The appropriate word is as the embassy spokesperson noted from Jefferson is bigotry. The bigot has to accept personal responsibility for his or her actions, not the group. Obviously, seeing the photo will generate questions, but by letting it pass, since nothing positive is to be gained from an angry reaction, does not give comfort to the instigators.
Yes, we can agree with the phrase that “a picture is worth a thousand words” but we need to always keep in mind that the picture did not create itself, and there has to have been some motivation for the production. We are correct to question the purpose of the photo as well as the expectations of different viewers to the photo. However, once rational and reasonable people understand that the use of the photo is for negative propaganda, we can then remove ourselves from any attempt to call attention to it. When some people have lived their entire lives internalizing a myth, then no amount of common sense or facts can change their biased minds.

Paul R. Lehman, A President Obama critic exposes his thinking and that of his like-minded group in a mock Divorce Agreement

November 11, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Posted in Affordable Health Care, African American, American Bigotry, American Racism, Bigotry in America, blacks, Christianity, democracy, Democrats, discrimination, Disrespect, equality, Ethnicity in America, European American, fairness, GOP, justice, Media and Race, Obamacare, Oprah Winfrey, Prejudice, President Obama, Race in America, Republican Party, Respect for President, the Republican Party, whites | 2 Comments
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President Obama’s haters go to any lengths to try and recruit like-minded people. The internet and other social media outlets are their transmissions of choice. In an effort to underscore the problems with the perceptions of these Obama haters, the follow email is offered as an example of proof of their total lack of reality and full-fledged lack of reason. Nothing has been altered relative to the text or content of this email.

DIVORCE AGREEMENT–
WRITTEN BY YOUNG COLLEGE STUDENT
The person who wrote this is a college (law) student.. Perhaps there is hope for us after all.

DIVORCE AGREEMENT

THIS IS SO INCREDIBLY WELL PUT AND I CAN HARDLY BELIEVE IT’S BY A YOUNG PERSON, A STUDENT!!! WHATEVER HE RUNS FOR, I’LL VOTE FOR HIM.

Dear American liberals, leftists, social progressives, socialists, Marxists and Obama supporters, etal: We have stuck together since the late 1950’s for the sake of the kids, but the whole of this latest election process has made me realize that I want a divorce. I know we tolerated each other for many years for the sake of future generations, but sadly, this relationship has clearly run its course

Our two ideological sides of America cannot and will not ever agree on what is right for us all, so let’s just end it on friendly terms. We can smile and chalk it up to irreconcilable differences and go our own way.

Here is our separation agreement:

–Our two groups can equitably divide up the country by landmass each taking a similar portion. That will be the difficult part, but I am sure our two sides can come to a friendly agreement. After that, it should be relatively easy! Our respective representatives can effortlessly divide other assets since both sides have such distinct and disparate tastes.

–We don’t like “spreading the wealth” so we’ll keep ours and you can spread yours all you want.
–We don’t like redistributive taxes so you can keep them.
–Since you hate guns and war, we’ll take our firearms, the cops, the NRA and the military.
–We’ll take the nasty, smelly oil industry and the coal mines, and you can go with wind, solar and bio diesel.
–We’ll keep capitalism, greedy corporations, pharmaceutical companies, Wal-Mart and Wall Street.
–You can have your beloved lifelong welfare dwellers, food stamps, homeless, home boys, hippies, druggies and illegal aliens.
–You can give everyone healthcare if you can find any practicing doctors.
–We’ll keep our Judeo-Christian values.
–We’ll keep “under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance and we’ll keep “In God we trust”
on our money.
–You are welcome to Islam, Scientology, Humanism, political correctness and Shirley McClain. You can also have the U.N. But we will no longer be paying the bill.
–We’ll keep our Bibles and give you NBC and Hollywood.
–You are welcome to the liberal judges and the ACLU.
–You can keep Oprah, Michael Moore and Rosie O’Donnell. You are, however, responsible for finding a bio-diesel vehicle big enough to move all three of them.
–We’ll keep the hot Alaskan hockey moms, greedy CEO’s and rednecks.
–You can make nice with Iran and Palestine and we’ll retain the right to invade and hammer places that threaten us.
–You can have the peaceniks and war protesters. When our allies or our way of life are under assault, we’ll help provide them security.
–We’ll keep the SUV’s, pickup trucks and oversized luxury cars. You can take every Volt and Leaf you can find.
–We’ll keep “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “The National Anthem.”
–I’m sure you’ll be happy to substitute “Imagine”, “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing”, “Kum Ba Ya” or “We Are the World”.
–We’ll practice trickle-down economics and you can continue to give trickle up poverty your best shot.
–Since it often so offends you, we’ll keep our history, our name and our flag.

Would you agree to this? If so, please pass it along to other like-minded liberal and conservative patriots and if you do not agree, just hit delete. In the spirit of friendly parting, I’ll bet you might think about which one of us will need whose help in 15 years.

Sincerely,

John J. Wall
Law Student and an American

This email is from a person who is representative of people who see themselves as civil, Christian, patriotic, and who understand law, politics, human decency, responsibilities associated with living in a society, common sense, fairness, justice, democracy, and honesty. We waste time and energy in attempting to communicate or argue (intelligently) with like-minded people. No firm ground or base exists on which to build a rational discussion.

One wonders why this person is so angry and full of hate, prejudice, fear, bigotry and confusion, because with all the things he believes are going against someone like him, trying to help him would be a lost cause. Life for Wall must be a miserable experience since it appears that most of his time is spent in finding fault in other people. The name on the email, John J. Wall, seems appropriate in that the ideas and opinions expressed seem to belong in the setting his name suggests.

We should not overlook the people who forwarded the Wall’s email. Their sentiments were ones of joy, happiness and hope for Wall’s future. Wall is seen as some type of hero or new leader because of the criticisms and name-calling relative to President Obama and his supporters.

After reading this email from Wall, the only reasonable feelings that impact us are ones of sadness and compassion for the writer. He lives in the greatest country on the planet, enjoys the freedoms and privileges protected by our Constitution, yet lacks the where-with-all to enjoy and appreciate what he has. Trying to reason with Wall and his friends would be next to impossible because they probably believe that God is a Christian, conservative, Republican who wrote the Bible just for them, and in American English.

Paul R. Lehman, President Obama’s critics show lack of knowledge in how government works

October 22, 2013 at 8:52 pm | Posted in Christianity, democracy, Democrats, Disrespect, fairness, GOP, justice, Oklahoma, President, President Obama, Republican Party, Respect for President, The Oklahoman | 1 Comment
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A very sad and unfortunate fact today is that many of President Obama’s critics do not understand how their government works or the job of the president. Many of them think he has the power of a dictator or king; some even think of him as a super man who can do all things simultaneously. In any event, the fact that they use their free speech to ridicule President Obama actually has the opposite effect. A few examples should demonstrate the point. The examples are three letters published in The Oklahoman’s “Opinion” section of that paper.
The first letter was written by Charlie Taylor of Norman, Oklahoma (10/11/13) who stated that “If President Obama had what it takes to be commander in Chief of the best military in history, if he had even 1 percent of the integrity, class, patriotism and guts shown by the lovable, beautiful veterans of World War ll, Obama would be at the World War ll memorial every day….” We need to pause here before we continue this sentence and examine just what Taylor has said. First, he questioned President Obama’s intelligence and ability to serve as Commander in Chief, a position that goes with being President as if the office was vacant. Next, he questioned President Obama’s integrity, class, patriotism, and intestinal fortitude as consisting of less than 1 percent. No word was said about how these qualities of character should be displayed or not displayed; as far as Taylor is concerned, President Obama does not have them. And if he did have them, how would Taylor measure the 1 percent?
Taylor’s sentence is conditional in that it begins with the word “If” and demands a “then” conclusion to make it effective. So, according to Taylor, if President Obama could meet all the qualifications listed, then he would be at the World War ll Memorial doing what exactly? Well, the Commander in Chief would neglect all his other duties while “…escorting them [the veterans] as they tour the grounds and reminisce about their feats and buddies. He would be thankful for the honor of pushing their wheelchairs.” Taylor definitely shows his understanding and knowledge of how our government works, especially the executive branch.
In his letter (10/12/13), Charles Nichols of Oklahoma City showed his extensive knowledge of politics and the presidency. He stated that “The primary difference between the two parties is that Republicans want a minimum shutdown affecting a few people as possible and the Democrats want a maximum shutdown hurting as many people as possible.” We do not know where Nichols obtained his information, but now we know why there were problems agreeing on reopening the government. Nichols offered more information to support his contentions. He stated that “The proof can be seen by Barack Obama’s action to close down such things as the veterans cemeteries that hurt no one and cost nothing.” Well, now that Nichols has proven his points, we can move along to more serious things like Obama’s lack of religion.
The final letter was written (10/12/13) by Larry Phillips of Walters who believes our society is in trouble because President Obama has no religion and wants to take it away from everybody. Phillips began his letter by stating that “I’ve heard it said that the Obama administration is the most anti-religious of any administration ever. I beg to differ. It’s the most anti-Christian administration ever. It doesn’t seem to be concerned with Islam, Hinduism or any other religion except Christianity.”So, now we see President Obama as the number one anti-Christian, and this information is based on what? We are not told how that information was obtained, but we are given more information. Phillips stated that “It won’t be long before a minister won’t be able to preach the word of God from the pulpit without fear of prosecution.” From where does this information come? Why is it that President Obama always end his speeches with the phrase “God bless America” if has no religion? Wait! Phillips has the answer: “It’s already happened in Canada; we won’t be far behind.” So, we will follow in Canada’s footsteps. At this point in the letter Phillips seem to shift his attention away from President Obama to pass judgment on a number of other concerns: “Political correctness will be the downfall of America. Stating God’s commands will soon be labeled as hate speech, punishable under law. We’re losing our right to free speech in the name of political correctness and our fear of offending someone.” Phillips, evidently, had no fear of offending President Obama. He concluded by stating that “This is no longer a nation under God. We are declining at an alarming rate. It’s time to become spiritual warriors before it is too late.”
In a democratic society, addressing social problems are a constant necessary with which we learn to live. However, the tone reflected in the three letters above indicates a sense of doom and gloom in our President and society. President Obama’s critics seem to see him as a super man or a demon or both. In any event, they seem to think that society will be destroyed because he is President. The concept of our three branches of government seems to be lost on these letter writers who probably represent many more like-thinkers. To them President Obama is the beginning and the ending of all America’s problems. Some have tried to place the blame for the fear and hatred relative to President Obama on the fact that he is a democrat, and some of that is perfectly acceptable, however, thing like integrity, patriotism, intestinal fortitude, and class have little to do with his political identity, but fall directly on his character.
When we take the time to examine these letters carefully, what we discover is that the letter writers are really reflecting their own qualities. They are participating in what psychologists call projection: “to make a thought or feeling seem to have an external and objective reality, especially to ascribe a disturbing personal thought or feeling to others.” The lesson to be learned here is in our passing judgment on others we should be certain to use both knowledge and wisdom: “knowledge knows that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.”

Paul R. Lehman, The GOP’s war against Obama fueled with hate and fear

September 16, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Posted in African American, Bigotry in America, blacks, Congress, Disrespect, equality, European American, fairness, justice, Media and Race, Prejudice, President, President Obama, presidential election, Republican Convention, Respect for President, whites | 1 Comment
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When Barack Obama was elected President of the United States of America, conservative elements of the GOP went into shock. All their plans and victories at the local, state, and nation levels were now in question because the totally unexpected had happened. Never in their lifetime did these conservatives believe America would elect an African American for president. So, after the shock wore off and even before Obama made it to the Oval Office, they gathered together to plan how to undo the damage to their master plan by getting rid of Obama.

Whether one considers Obama’s ethnicity or political party the reason for the GOP‘s wanting him to be removed, the fact still remained that he must be removed. Part of the problem resided in the fact that Obama won the election, a phenomenon that was never supposed to happen. What went wrong? Some people believed that the country suffered a brief period of insanity because people in their “right mind” would have never elected an African American President. So what is the reason behind wanting to remove Obama from office? Part of the answer lies in what Obama represents rather than Obama the individual.

When Africans were introduced into slavery in America, the image of the slave as property had to be established, maintained and promoted in order for the system to operate effectively. The first order of this business was to strip away any and all human and personal worth of the African slave. This effort was made effective by removing any vestiges of the slave’s former life and history and remaking him as a less-than-human thing or property. His names, Negro, black, slave, etc… give no indication of a language, geography, culture. All his new names placed him in the system of slavery, and the only value he exhibited was either via work or the market place (auction block). His being represented nothing that the majority society viewed as deserving respect or value.

Although the idea of democracy as stated in America’s “Declaration of Independence” 1776, declared that “all men were created equal,” nevertheless, America forgot to include the African Americans and other slaves as men in the 1787 “Constitution.” They were listed as “three fifths,” a person. The problem that resulted from these concepts of democracy and slavery juxtaposed created two additional concepts: 1, many Americans knew that African/African Americans were human being like themselves, but was made less so by society, not God or biology. 2, Many Americans accepted the concept of African/African Americans being less than human regardless of the fallacy. Although Americans in both the North and South shared in both concepts, more Americans in the North accepted the 1st concept while the majority in the South shared the 2nd. Today, the two concepts are represented in politics with the Democrats identified with the 1st concept, and the GOP representing the 2nd.

Since the Civil War, the two concepts of the African American have been germane to the progress of American society as represented in the various Civil Rights Acts. Unfortunately, laws do not change individual concepts, so although society though government and science has attempted to correct the injustice and fallacy, many people hold on to the 2nd concept religiously. Their reason for holding on to the concept is based in fear of losing their place of prominence in society. That is, if the African Americans are equal to all people, then they, the people representing the 2nd concept, are less than privileged—they lose value.

So, when Obama was elected President, the GOP felt the immediate blow to their belief system and social status. Damage control had to be the first order of business.  The objective they set regarding Obama was to make him appear totally unfit to be President by any means necessary. The efforts to discredit him as inept did not work, so they took another approach, to make him not one of us—someone alien, not American, a foreigner. That campaign is still in progress. In addition to not being American, these critics accused President Obama of being a socialist, communist, Muslim, and a host of other things that might cause him to appear unfavorable.

With a continuous barrage of negative charges against President Obama, the GOP believes they can convince enough people to their way of thinking in order to defeat President Obama in the election.  The fact that Obama, an African American, is President is a reality the GOP cannot accept, not because of Obama personally, but because of what he represents—a changing America. The change that is taking place in America is a change that takes away the prestige, privilege, and power that was once associated with being European American (white).  The battle now is for the GOP to try and forestall as much change as possible; hence, the phrase “we need to take back our country.” Because Obama represents change, he also represents the enemy, and the enemy must be destroyed. Former President Bill Clinton said during his speech at the Democratic Convention words that address the problem: “Though I often disagree with Republicans, I never learned to hate them the way the far right that now controls their party seems to hate President Obama and the Democrats.” Hate seems to be the fuel that propels their actions.

We should not think that the battle against Obama is weakening.  Obama’s election to President did more than indicate a positive change in America, it also brought to light the many bigots that were hiding behind façades.  One irony that was created by the election campaign includes European Americans who say they differ with Obama’s politics, but get accused of being biased against him. Their complaint is similar to the African Americans who get accused of voting for Obama only because he is African American. When the GOP declared war against Obama being re-elected, they colored the field with prejudice, so identifying the European Americans who simply differ with Obama’s politics get caught in the mix. Sorry.

Many members of the GOP believe strongly that their party will be victorious in this election. One commentary by Victor Davis Hanson compared the election to the classic story “The Tortoise and the Hare,” with Obama being the hare. He stated that “The country is also not quite ready to confess that it went a little crazy in 2008 and voted for the embarrassing banalities of ‘hope and change’ offered by a little-known senator with a thin resume and little national experience.” He continued by offering some scenarios that might befall Obama and Romney and concluded with “Barring a real recovery or sudden war, the steady, plodding Romney tortoise is ever so slowly winning the race against the flashier—surging, yet always fading—Obama hare.”

So now the country “went a little crazy” for voting Obama into office because it was duped by his con game. Maybe this time around the country will “go a little sane” and look at the issues and elect the best man for the job. In any event, a change is coming, and any change that diminishes hate is a good change.

Paul R. Lehman, President Obama’s critics on “You didn’t do that,” get it wrong

August 12, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Posted in Bigotry in America, blacks, Disrespect, equality, Ethnicity in America, fairness, justice, Prejudice, President, President Obama, Respect for President, whites | 2 Comments
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The “Opinion” writer for The Oklahoman wrote an article recently in which the focus was on a number of individuals—Erie Halliburton, Steve Jobs, Sam Walton, Steve Wozniak and  several others—as examples of businessmen who supposedly were successful through their efforts alone. The article was an attempt to cast aspersions on President Barack Obama’s comment that underscored the fact that no one living in a society becomes successful totally on their own. Many of the President’s critics have “jumped on the band wagon” with regards to his comment. They tried to use his statement to denigrate him by showing individuals who have been successful in business through their efforts only.

Anyone with an iota of common sense fully understood the President’s comment, because in addition to making the statement “You didn’t do that,” he also gave some very clear-cut examples of what he meant. Nonetheless, the article entitled “Walmart, Sara Lee, iPod…Who built those, exactly?” shows just how foolish and simple-minded some people can be in their misguided ignorance.

The article focused on each man and told how each became successful. For example, the article began with the quote: “You didn’t bake that,” and continued by relating how Charles Lubin worked and built his business—Sara Lee. Next, the article stated “You didn’t frac that,” followed by the story of how Erle P. Halliburton began his business and turned in into a gigantic success: what Halliburton started in Duncan, Oklahoma in 1919, with a borrowed wagon and a team of mules, “now employs more than 70,000 people in 80 countries.”

The article continued to identify a number of successful people in business with the intent of proving the President wrong. The writer mockingly noted “Yes, Mr. President, you did say that –in the Roanoke speech—declaring, ‘If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.’” The writer then actually admits to taking words out of context: “And, yes, these words can be taken out of context to score political points.” The writer proceeded to take them out of context: “Yet they precisely reflect the Obama worldview that nothing significant (global enterprises, fracking, the Internet, etc.) can happen unless the government makes it happen.”

The writer of the opinion did not realize that the examples offered in this article proved President Obama’s point. None of these people could have been successful if they lived on an island with few people, no roads or lines of communication, no manufacturers to provide equipment needed to create a business, no people to purchase the goods and/or services produced. In essence, what the President said was correct—the gifts made possible and available to individuals living in a society are vital and necessary for the making of a successful business.

The arguments put forth in criticism of the President’s statement totally ignored his point–as members of a social community all members contribute to its well-being. The focus of the President’s statement was not on the governments—local, state, and national—impact on an individual’s business success, but on the contributions of those communities in being part of that success. Unless an individual can lay claim to producing the materials that went into the manufacturing of his/her goods or services, creating the advertisement, clientele, marketing, distribution, and  delivery of the business, then the concept of doing it all by one’s self is a myth. Lubin did not grow or produce the ingredients that went into making his cheesecake, somebody else did that.

What the writer forgot to include in the examples of the successful business people was the process involved in becoming successful. That process would have shown all the necessary goods and services that contribute to the businesses’ success. The President was correct in paying tribute to all the men and women who used their mind and talents to create the ideas and plans for their businesses, but we know that building a successful business is not a one person process.

The point President Obama made in stating “You didn’t do that,” is simply what he meant in the context of people living in a society. For all the President’s  critics who try to make his comments appear to discredit successful business people and attempt to insert the influence and impact of the government as the main source of success, they are just plain wrong. If anyone believes that one person can build a successful business alone, they need to first understand that the primary objective of any business is to make a profit. How does one make a business and a profit alone?

President Obama in making the statement “You didn’t do that,” was simply trying to underscore the power and opportunities available to the individual living and working in a society together with others. His critics try to find fault in the statement by claiming he is not giving praise and credit to the individuals whose ideas, hard work, and dedication helped to bring them success. Their image of a successful person resembles that on the rough and tough individual who all alone met challenges and overcame them, like the earlier pioneers. They forgot that even the Lone Ranger had a companion in Tonto. The President presented a picture of the individual with an idea working in a society that is supportive of the individual and his or her ideas. In essence, in a society is where people can experience more success by working together rather than each individual trying to go his or her way alone.

What was it about the President’s statement that his critics didn’t get?

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