Tuesday, June 05, 2007

You don't have to say the N-word to be a cracker

To set the stage, Charlie Sykes is conservative radio host here in Milwaukee. He has an ongoing feud with several black politicians in the city, particularly a specific member of local government who actually deserves to be feuded with. In addition, he likes to bash the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal, the local metro paper - this isn't such a bad thing as the J-S sort of deserves to be bashed for bad coverage. He's also been successfully sued for libel.

And, while he seems to enjoy playing moral arbiter for the greater metro area, he's an adulterer who left his wife and children for another woman. You can bet that didn't slow him down when Bill Clinton was being bashed for getting a blow job though.

Anyway, the other day the J-S ran an editorial saying that felons should be allowed to vote. They even went so far as to say that people released from prison on probation should also be allowed to vote.

I happen to believe that once a person's time has been served, they should be allowed to integrate back into society - and that means being allowed to vote or not vote if they choose. By no means do I believe that those serving time should be allowed the privilege of voting while serving their punishment. That - to me - seems reasonable, but I'm perfectly willing to listen to other viewpoints because there are many sides to an issue like this.

Here's where Charlie boy and I diverged. He was clearly intent on eliminating any real conversation on the subject - most subjects actually - and felt it important to toss out handfuls of bilious statements.

Going from a relatively reasonable point of believing it's not right to allow felons to vote and certainly not those still on probation, Charlie Sykes asked repeatedly who do the listeners think is behind this massive push to enroll felons as voters? Never mind that there hasn't been any push of the kind and the editorial was the lone voice on the subject.

I'll save you the suspense, of course it's the liberals.

So, after several minutes of Charlie Sykes and some callers talking about how 'those people' would all vote Democratic and it's all a jaded move by liberals to topple the righteous regime of conservatism, I had to call in.

Of course, I never get past the screener.

"What do you want to say?"

"I want to say it's a bit disingenuous to not express what Charlie is really trying to say."

"What do you mean sir?"

"I mean, when we're saying that felons will most likely vote Democratic, we're really saying black people."

The screener boy responded with a not-to-surprising 'define sexual relations' statement that Charlie never said black people. He was right of course. Charlie never did say that black people released from prison shouldn't be allowed to vote because they would vote liberal - but you don't have to say the 'N-word' to be a cracker.

Why is it so hard for people to logically defend their arguments?

The screener went of to say that there have been studies done by the Democrats that show that a majority of felons would likely vote Democrat if they had the chance and that's why the liberals want to sign them up.

Huh? What study was that Barney Fife?

Never mind the bullshit about all these major studies done by the Democrats, how about the common sense of the freakin' argument? If the majority of felons would vote liberal, and the majority of the felons in our system are black...does it not stand to reason that we're most likely referring to blacks.

Anyway, that's really all I have to say. I'm just so very tired of the hate-spewing right wing. But, I'm not surprised by the cowardice of Charlie Sykes and his screener boys.


Laura said...

Most radio talk shows will only accept calls from people who support them rather than have a real discussion - real discussions are "boring" and take time and don't do well with commercial breaks...

"By no means do I believe that those serving time should be allowed the privilege of voting while serving their punishment...."

I agree here. I also find it hypocritical that the the US Census counts inmates as part of the district of the prison, rather than their homes, thus taking resources away from the areas where these people come from (mostly poor areas). So they're recognized when it's convenient...

Some states do allow felons to reinstate their voting rights. I know Illinois does not, but it's certainly something that can be changed legislatively at a state by state level.

Shawn said...

'...real discussions are "boring" and take time and don't do well with commercial breaks...'

That's it exactly. I'm shocked to find there's hypocrisy in politics and the political entertainment media.

thephoenixnyc said...

Not letting people who have served their time is one way in which theyare not allowed back into society. Even if they are not likely voters it sends a message them.

Its one thing that keeps recidivism rates at about 75%. If society doesn't want these people back, they think, then I will go on living outside of it.

Shawn said...

PNYC - True. How can we expect to re-integrate people into society if we don't allow them to participate in the most peaceful, inclusive act available in our country - the ability to vote? But Republicans and conservatives can't think beyond punishment - it's too scarey for them.

Steve B said...


Are you more upset by this guys failure to speak plainly, or by his generalization regarding ex-felons?

Cuz the "Republicans and conservatives" crack is a bit of a generalization.

I consider myself a conservative, but I agree completely that parolees should be able to vote, but incarcerated felons shouldn't. Kind of common sense.

I imagine a lot of conservatives would agree.

There are also a disproportionate number of hispanics in the prison system. So, rather than "blacks", he could simply be referring to minorities. Which is still a reprehensible "those people" kind of comment.

Maybe the thought is that progressives are more likely to want to soften up prison life by allowing all sorts of rights and priveledges that a more traditionalist/conservative view might think defeats the purposes of incarceration as a punishment.

Shawn said...

Steve B. - Mostly I'm venting because Sykes repeatedly does similar things. He starts with a reasonable statement and then goes five steps beyond to set up a straw man to bash liberals and Democrats.

It would be easy to do the same and say something like, 'that's why people get so mad at lawyers,' but that would have nothing to do with anything at hand.

I tend to be a liberal on most issues and I don't mind standing up and expressing my reasons for feeling how I do on issues. I also don't mind listening to other views as long as they are reasoned out. Sadly, it's been my experience that many conservatives - particularly those in the entertainment media - don't play the same way.

Also, I should say that believing that incarceration should be punishment and not a vacation isn't a view solely held by conservatives any more than believing in a God is. That - by the way - wasn't intended as a jab, but rather a claiming of a piece of the common sense pie on behalf of liberals. We will share the pie with you and might even bring ice cream if the conversation promises to be good.


Shawn said...

Editor's note: Steve B. likely comes to us by way of the Journal Broadcast Group, perhaps while doing a weekly Google of 'Charlie Sykes'...