Saturday, September 24, 2011

Morgan Freeman: More Fun with Words

Long ago Morgan Freeman began honing those acting skills that would make him the popular Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe Award winning actor that he is today. Below is a clip from his "Fun with Words" duet with Hattie Winston on The Electric Company:

But Morgan Freeman still enjoys fun with words. Most recently, he amused himself and at least some of the viewing audience with a word less appropriate for his old children's television gig: racism. He contributed a small number of additional paragraphs to the ongoing liberal narrative that the Tea Party movement's hostility to President Obama is based upon his race.

He claims that the Tea Party movement is "controlling the Republican Party." Well, not quite yet. It actually consists of several organizations--some officially Republican, some officially non-partisan--that seek to reduce the scope and cost of the federal government. Because some segments of the Republican Party profess sympathy for those goals, even the non-partisan tea party groups gravitate to the Republicans. Some establishment Republicans such as Karl Rove  have expressed skepticism about the movement. Although Rove recognizes weaknesses in the tea party movement and some of its candidates, he knows also that the triumph of the tea party probably means and end to his policy consulting career.

Freeman notes that the tea party movement plans to do "whatever it takes to make Obama a one term president." He quotes Sen. Mitch McConnell, not exactly a tea partier. It would serve his case better to quote Michele Bachmann on that point. In fact, his quoting of McConnell illustrates something very different: that mainstream Republicans, too,  want to make Obama a one term president. But every opposition party seeks to make the sitting president a one term president. Is Freeman unaware that this occurs every four years regardless who is in office?

Freeman's fun with words reaches its comedic climax when the paraphrases the tea party goal as "screw the country. We'll do whatever we can do to get this black man out of here."
The underlying assumption  behind "screw the country", of course, is that whatever the President wants strengthens the county; therefore, whoever opposes the Obama administration wants to harm the country. Freeman's statement contains just a small hint that a conflict about political philosophy and public policy might lie behind the differences between the Tea Party movement and the Obama administration. The hope that  Freeman might allude to those differences dissipates into the air, however, after he transmogrifies "one term president" into "get that black man out of here." In other not so fun words,  the opposition is based upon race.

When confronted with the obvious--that Republicans wanted to get rid of Clinton, too--Freeman asserts that circumstances differ because of Obama. He asked viewers to consider all those people crying after the election about how far Americans have grown in that they have elected a black president.  According to Freeman,  Americans have lost that emotional elation. Now the tea partiers have bubbled up from the brackish waters of the swamp to poison our politics.

The election of President Obama does speak to how far Americans have grown. Not everyone, however,  wept tears of joy that night. Nearly sixty million Americans voted against him.

They became even less happy when they learned after the next series of  bail outs that what the election campaign really gave us was Bush III.

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