Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Loneliest Liberal: Small change and big

It can’t be denied

By James Knudsen

This year has seen a number of changes, big and small. At the national level we are continuing to see changes as a new administration goes about trying to make a great nation great again...? At the local level, the City of Tulare saw the oldest of its three high schools officially retire its mascot and all references to the name “Redskins.”
    It joins a growing list of words, names, titles, slurs, and epithets that are no longer acceptable to many, but still not all people. It is change, happening on a local level, driven by forces at the national and international level. It is a small thing to change the name of a school mascot from “Redskins” to “The Tribe,” but it is a massive undertaking to change the perspective of an entire generation.
    My generation graduated from Tulare Union in 1982, and we didn’t think there was anything particularly wrong with the name of our mascot. My father’s generation (University High, Class of 1945) believed that “oriental” was a perfectly acceptable way to refer to individuals we now call Asian. And the generation prior to that one...well, it just gets worse as you go back in time. Which is another way of saying that things get better as you go forward – at least, it seemed so, until November 8, 2016.

This week saw the departure of yet another symbol of the “old guard,” Bill O’Reilly from Fox News. As of this writing, O’Reilly continues to deny any wrong-doing, chalking it up to yet another liberal-media smear campaign. My experience is that one and even two can be a fluke, but once you get to three it’s a pattern, and currently there are at least five accusers. Prior to Mr. O’Reilly’s departure, the Fox News family had endured the loss of Roger Ailes due to similar accusations. Aisles, like O’Reilly, denies any wrong-doing and both of these former Fox News employees are fans of the Fox News Fan Club President, Donald Trump. He always denies any wrong-doing.
    For those of us who are not fans of any of the aforementioned fans, it has seemed as though we have been plunged into one of the nine circles of hell. I am beginning to see things differently. More and more, it appears that the Trump Castle, complete with gold-plated rain gutters, is in fact built on a foundation of sand. When being an offensive boor is unacceptable at Fox News, it suggests that things have indeed changed. And that sort of change does not bode well for the fortunes of the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. What exactly the reason is for these changes I leave to the sociologists, but I’m willing to venture a guess – power.
    The Left, the Progressives, the DNC, all make a judged event out of seeing how many different identities they can identify and work into a speech. The Right does it as well, they’re just far more “selective.” I find annoying the hackneyed way the various tribes are inserted into speeches, but these groups are getting a hearing from the political world because they have made themselves heard. For those of us of a particular identity, white and male, getting someone to listen to us has never been an issue (immediate family members being the notable exception). But for many, their existence has been exploited, ignored, or in some cases denied. Iran’s former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s insisting that homosexuals do not exist in his country comes to mind. If you want people to speak up, tell them they don’t exist. And given who our President is and how he sees the world, prepare for things to get even noisier. GO TRIBE!

Copyright © 2017 by James Knudsen


  1. The University of Mississippi took down the state flag because it has the Stars & Bars in the upper corner. Other colleges began doing the same. I don't know if it has passed yet but there is a bill to cut off all State funding to any school that doesn't fly the flag. Not everything changes everywhere.(sad)

    1. Ed, is "the Great State of Mississippi" a common expression there?

  2. The "issue" is so rarely the issue anymore.

  3. Thanks for another good article James. I always enjoy reading your column.