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Election 2012, Liberal, National Stories

Why Chris Mathews is the Bravest Man in Politics

Election day 2012, MSNBC host Chris Mathews went rouge –again.  I must admit, it was a beautiful thing to see. During a segment of NOW with Alex Wagner, Mathews proceeded to take over the opening segment and over talk the host, her guests and anyone who didn’t agree with him. While many other political pundits have given the GOP a pass on the race baiting and sleazy tactics like unfair Voter ID laws, threating  billboards and long lines at polling places for early voting conducted during this campaign. Mathews cut off Alex Wagner and shouted out, ” If you are watching this show and haven’t gone to vote– you’re an idiot, turn off the TV and go vote.” 

Mathews repeated his call to action during his Hardball program at 5pm and made the point that people who put all these obstacles in front of certin portions of the population were betting the people won’t respond. Mathews satated youth, women, elderly and minority voters should stand up, participate and be counted — no matter what. I applaud Mathews for having the guts to admit the racial undertone and voter suppresion was visible,  loud and clear in this election. I often disagree with bringing race into politics, but it seems this time we didn’t start the fire.

However, Mathews must now turn his fury on liberals who refuse to admit the system needs fixing and Wall Street can add benefit to our economy regardless how much they are taxed. He must now expose the government waste on social programs that are funded by federal money but bled to death by state politicians looking our for their “friends” and ignoring the people. He must press NYC Mayor Bloomberg on Stop and Frisk laws in NYC that resemble the “show me your papers” law in Arizona. It’s time to follow the creed of Martin Luther King, “Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.”

We have inequality in the justice system that looks no different than the Jim Crow era. For example, it cost twice the price to incarcerate a person as it does to send them to college, but we all just shrug our shoulders when we see young minorities pulled over by NYPD on the side of the road, face on the floor. Most of these kids commit non-violent, petty crimes or are caught up in a probation/ parole system that is worse than the incarceration system. Now you would think that’s an issue fiscal conservatives and liberals can work together on. Mathews must admit the chairs, desks and furniture in state and federal buildings are often made in prison by workers making pennies an hour. By the way some of those state buildings are schools. Moreover, just so you know, the bread little johnny eats at school probabbly was  made in proson as well.  But, who cares we only spend billions on private prisons and education every year.

We must applaud Mathews’ bravery and hope his colleagues will follow his storming of the Bastille of Bigotry. However, we must not be satisfied with ending race-based ideology. To truly pull the scab off this problem and finally bring an end to the hatred we must do a hard thing–admit the system was designed to keep certain groups above others. We must admit our financial dominance only exists on the back of cheap labor and our education system will only lead the world again when our parents realize the education of their children is a team effort and not just the teacher’s problem.

If we can have these discussions as mature adults and not nibble around them  in a 2 minute block of cable news, but a constant daily series of inconveniently true conversations that may make everyone in the room uncomfortable– and they should make us all uncomfortable.

Mr. Mathews has set the mark for all the other journalists to meet. We just hope we can finally stop being happy with the screaming  what the problems are and get to the dirty details of  why we have them and most importantly how and when  we will finally fix them.


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