Vol. 5    No. 14
JULY 15, 2010

The Capital City Hues
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EDITORIAL STAFF

Jonathan Gramling
Publisher & Editor

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Contributing Writers
Rita Adair, Ike Anyanike, Paul
Barrows, Alfonso Zepeda
Capistran, Theola Carter, Fabu,
Andrew Gramling, Lang Kenneth
Haynes, Eileen Cecille Hocker,
Heidi Pascual, Jessica Pharm,
Laura Salinger, Jessica Strong, &
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     Back in the 1980s, I had the pleasure of sitting on the South Madison Neighborhood Center board with Will
Williams. Will went on in recent years to become a prominent anti-war activist in the Madison area. Will
served in the Vietnam War and knows first-hand the brutality of war and the hell-on-earth that it is. Will
recounted his experiences and views on war in a film called “The Good Soldier” that was shown most
recently in Madison last May at the Orpheum Theater. Well, I got an e-mail from Will last night informing us that
The Good Soldier has been nominated for an Emmy award because it was shown on Bill Moyers Journal on
PBS. I hope it wins the Emmy and have visions of Will on the awards stage in a stylish tuxedo and donned
with his signature military beret. Congratulations Will on the Emmy nomination!
***
     As the fall election season approaches, the rhetoric and spinning of recent history is swinging into high
gear as the Democrats seek to retain and the Republicans seek to take both Houses in the U.S. Congress in
November. One of the major underlying forces in the Republican resurgence has been the Tea Party
movement, which seemed to come out of nowhere about five minutes after Barack Obama was sworn in as
the 44th president back in January 2009. They have held marches and conventions protesting everything that
President Obama has proposed and gotten passed.
     The Tea Partiers will be an interesting force this fall. A fringe part of this movement is the Birthers who
claim that President Obama was not born in the United States and have demanded that he produce his birth
certificate despite statements from the Hawaiian state government and the hospital where he was born.
The Tea Partiers have been pretty negative and have criticized the President for almost every move that he
has made. The negativity has infiltrated the mainstream elements of the Republican Party to such a degree that
it has a knee-jerk reaction on everything the President does including prolonging the Afghanistan War,
something the Republican Party has traditionally supported.
     During the NAACP Convention, which recently concluded in Kansas City, NAACP President Benjamin
Jealous called out the Tea Party movement and the racist elements within it. The Tea Partiers seem to fear
change and one of the biggest changes they may fear is people of color, including the President, making
change happen in Washington, D.C. with the most diverse Cabinet in U.S. history.
     I fear that this strong sense of negativity and lack of vision will sweep into Congress Senators and
Representatives who will be obstructionists during the last two years of President Obama’s term. The
President has accomplished a lot during the last 18 months, most recently Wall Street reform. While it can be
debated on whether the measure went far enough to rein in the excesses of Wall Street, at least something has
been accomplished. Major legislation is getting passed. While certainly not everyone would agree, I feel the
nation is starting to move in the right direction.
     There are two major issues, in my view, that have caused the President’s favorability rating to slide to 40
percent and have hurt the Democratic Party’s chances in November. One is the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico
that we have been watching endless photos and film clips of for the past three months. This ongoing situation
allowed his opponents to portray him as weak and ineffective and comparisons to Hurricane Katrina kept
coming up. Well it appears that the well has been successfully capped and the endless flow of oil into the Gulf
could be over. A more long-term solution will come in August when the relief holes are completed and the oil
well is permanently capped.
     The other is the economy. Although he came into office only 18 months ago and began his stimulus
program didn’t start coming online until about 14 months ago, it seems that some segments of the electorate
impatiently expect the Great Recession to be over by now. The Great Depression took almost a decade to end,
but now we expect the biggest financial crisis since then to be solved like a fictional plot on an hour-long
television series.
     Perhaps the recovery has begun. Recently the U.S. Department of Labor reported that the unemployment
rate edged down slightly to 9.5 percent and the number of unemployed individuals edged down as well to 14.6
million. If this trend continues for July – September, it could somewhat diffuse the economic issue for the
President and the Democratic Party. While most pundits are predicting a Republican sweep, in the words of
Yogi Berra, it ain’t over until it is over.’ It should be an interesting election season indeed.
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                               Some thoughts