Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wednesday Salon: William Buckley Interviews Huey Newton and Muhammad Ali



Oh the good old days when a man could smoke a cigarette on television.

In the interest of balance, I have decided to occasionally highlight Conservatives that I find tolerable...and perhaps even like, if not respect. Although he was wrong on Civil Rights, I still hold William F. Buckley's intellect in high regard.

By comparison, the metaphorical suicide bombers in the contemporary Tea Party GOP who are holding a gun to the head of the American economy with their irresponsible position on the debt ceiling makes me yearn for a return to the days of Buckley, Goldwater, and Bush the Elder. I never would have imagined that I would write such a thing.

A healthy American democracy is prefaced on responsible political parties and a responsible electorate that works in the interest of the Common Good. In the Age of Obama and the Great Recession, the Republican Party with its cultish followers have abdicated their seats at the table of good sense in order to play a game of ill informed political brinkmanship with the U.S. economy as the ultimate victim. It would seem that once more the Federalists were correct in their worries about the rabble and the dangers of vested interests in the form of a political party that has lowered itself to the level of a brutish faction.

I wonder if the Constitutional fetishists on the Right appreciate that irony?

As seen here, Ali, one of my heroes, is not a perfect man. Nor, is he always as coherent and integrated in his thinking as memory and its worshipful lens would have us believe. Likewise, Huey Newton, he whose picture adorns many a young black nationalist in training's college dorm wall, is also freed from the lens of nostalgia. Both are sincere and imperfect. Neither is as articulate as we dreamed them to be decades later. Huey P. Newton and Muhammad Ali remain high in my estimation precisely because of those traits. Once more, I like my heroes down to Earth...not so high on a pedestal that I cannot reach them.

The American people do not need great men or great women to get us out of this mess. We just need reasonable folks who are not willing to burn a village in order to "liberate it" in the interest of advancing their political ideology.

4 comments:

Thrasher said...

Buckley also looks average and normal as the lens of time has made him normal..

I agree that we don't need iconic people in the trenches just folks who care to make a difference..

I am one of those of course..

Anonymous said...

Ali notes education, miscegenation - and we did end up with a Black man as pres, imperfect as he may be.
Time will tell if #44 will have been found sincere, but he's so sensible I find it hard to believe otherwise.

BTW, I got a fever and the only prescription... is more brother X^2!

chaunceydevega said...

@Thrasher. That is true isn't it. From high on the pedestal he is down to Earth right now...literally.

@Anon. I don't know if Brother X Squared can cure you. His last appearance overwhelmed so many. Are you read for his medicine? Is your heart strong enough?

bob said...

My most memorable early PBS recollection was Firing Line with Buckley having his ass handed to him by the young Congressman, Ron Dellums. I sent in for a transcript, which unfortunately placed me on National Review's mailing list. "Dear fellow conservative..." Buckley was wrong as sin, but at least brave enough to invite strong opposing voices, and let them present their views openly and thoroughly. Can you imagine any of the current rightie or even "mainstream" hosts allowing such discourse? We must demand a return to this appropriate use of our mass media. Unless and until we do, our democracy will continue to wither and, not so eventually, fail.