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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Trying To Trap A Freeman

In the immortal words of Adm. Akbar......

And that precisely what this is:

Dear Mr. Freeman,

My name is Ali Akbar. I’m a 26 year-old African-American small business owner and a tea party activist. I’m not writing to rake you over the coals in the way that many conservatives have done in the last 48 hours. Heck, I wrote a passionate open-letter refuting many of your claims already, but this is not that. This is an honest and standing invitation. I do believe that you are wrong in what you said about the tea party, but I would rather prove it to you than castigate you for your comments.

I also understand that your reflexive comments came from experience. You grew up in a different America than the one that I was blessed to be born into. We both grew up in the south, but I never saw ‘White Only’ signs. I’ve been called a name or two in my three decades, but racism has always been the exception in my life, not the rule, as it probably was in your youth. I understand your suspicion of conservative political movements. It is rooted in pain and fear and memory, and though I never saw the horrors of segregation that you did, we share that cultural heritage.

I’ve been a fan of yours all my life. From “Driving Miss Daisy” to “Lean on Me” to “The Shawshank Redemption,” I idolized you as a boy. Growing up without a father, you were one of the strong black men in my life who gave me a model to follow. Each of the characters you played had dignity and confidence. I tried to emulate the strength you projected. While many of my friends headed down the all-too-familiar path of drugs, unwed pregnancies and crime, I’ve striven to live a life with dignity, be an example for my brothers and make my mother proud.

My favorite of your movies was “The Power of One.” I must’ve watched it a hundred times, crying every time when your character Geel Piet was killed by the racist South African. Geel Piet was brave and heroic, even in the face of death, because he knew that the hate that killed him was a trifle in comparison to the love that PK’s anti-apartheid movement was spreading. It is with that spirit that I’m writing to you this morning.

I’ve attended dozens of tea party events. I’ve helped organize them, and I’ve even spoken at a few. The tea party is not what is often depicted in the news. It is people of all colors who are terribly concerned about the direction that America is heading. We don’t trust big government to make decisions for us. And we fear that the present administration’s spending is going to lead our country down a path to insolvency, much like what Greece is currently facing.

Yes, the Tea Bagger is actually named Akbar.

This is on par with high school kids cleaning up their parents house just hours before mom and dad arrive home from their long weekend, making sure that there are no empty beer cans and bottles of Jagermeister; no ash-trays filled with remnants of blunts, or stray pairs of lacy undergarments from any of the girls that got tipsy enough to dance on the coffee table. This is exactly what this is.

Of course, Morgan Freeman likely knows this and should speak out to this effect. Does Mr. Akbar actually think that one of the more intelligent and articulate humans on the planet is actually going to fall for such sophomoric pleading? I certainly hope he doesn't. If anything, he should arrive, completely unannnounced and unrecognizable - with hidden camera at the ready - to a Tea Bagger gathering in the near future to get a real sense of what an unsanitized conglomerate this reactionary lot truly is.

I'm certain that Mr. Akbar's intensions - at least deep down inside him somewhere - are well and good, but to see anyone within the African American community, regardless of socio-political stripe; where they live; or what they do for a living, be so blind to the verifiable incidences of unchecked racial animus within the Tea Bagger movement gives me great pause. Are they simply playing the role of ostrich in order to maintain a sense of moral superiority? Or is this something more sinister, that they see it and it doesn't bother them in the lease because it's "not happening to them"?

Regardless, the trap as been set and I'm sure that Morgan Freeman is all too aware of this. And once he doesn't show up, The Modern American Right are going to have their "he was too scared to show up" talking points at the ready. They really are that predictable.


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