Name Callin'

"Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me." "Well I'll get some sticks and stones and break your bones, and the name that'll hurt you will be ESTHER!" –Exchange between Aunt Esther and Grady on Sanford & Son House Nigga. Poverty Pimp. Uncle Tom. Divisive Demagogue. I'm tired of Black politics and politicians.  Seriously.  There's not even an exchange of ideas any more, except between people who already share some common thoughts.  There may be some rousing exchanges between fellow conservatives on a given issue, and probably the same types of interesting dialogue between progressives, but once the audience gets mixed, it's game over.  All of a sudden, the only thing that matters is representing your "side."  No acknowledgement of any of the "opposition's" valid points, no recognizing the limitations of their own position, nothing.  We each hunker down behind our respective banners and lob missives from there.  Sure, there are some people who wander out into the middle, but our voices tend to get lost in the cacophony. Since there's not much going on in the middle anyway, why not put a ring out there and get it on?  On Common's 1997 album One Day It'll All Make Sense there's a recording of his father saying, "I just got this urge to kick Jesse Jackson's ass…I just wanna get him in the ring in front of everybody…"  I'm not necessarily saying we should get representatives from each ideological position and have them duke it out…although I'm sure that would be very interesting.  What I am saying is that since the whole dialogue eventually breaks down in to name-calling anyway, why not just get out there and do the dozens in the first place?  Now I will say up front that most conservative types would seem to be at a disadvantage in this type of contest.  Usually, conservative arguments tend to be long on logic and short on emotional appeal.  I love to read Thomas Sowell, but I'm thinking that his dozens game may be a little suspect.  Now to be honest and tell the truth, I don't know.  He may keep his arguments logical and concise in public, but when it comes down to "Yo Mama" snaps, his catalog may be deeper than Barry White's voice.  That's an X factor.  Now the progressives are a known quantity.  Captained by the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, they're bound to do well at this type of event.  Those two already have the public speaking acumen down, and I'm betting that Al has done his share of "freesermoning" over the years.  We already know Jesse can pull out complex, mulisyllabic rhymes at will. In thinking about this, I'm reminded of the episode of Good Times where "Balderman" Davis was being challenged by a younger candidate who was focused on the issues.  As is usually the case on sitcoms, the action goes down in the family's living room—Davis and the other guy start off talking about the issues but then it breaks down to the dozens.  Davis rolls, but the challenger refuses to engage him, wanting to focus on the issues.  Well, as anybody who watched Good Times knows, Davis won. I'm always on the thinking about ways to get an audience with the Black community at large.    For ideological conservatives, reaching the community at large may not mean much, but for a pragmatic conservative like myself, it's all about doing whatever it takes to reach the people.  Not everybody's going to cross over, or even budge from their current position, but for those who may, we should have different strategies.  Some people can be persuaded by tightly-focused intellectual appeals.  Others can be moved by seeing a conservative presence in the community.  Lord knows there's enough to be done, so we all can have an impact in our own way.  Me, I may just donate my part of my "Yo Mama" joke repertoire.