Morgan Freeman's afraid of me.
Why? Well, apparently I'm one of the guys on "the other side of the fence"; you know, conservatives, tea partiers, Republicans. I've helped children quit being afraid of the dark, but this is the first time I've tried it with an Oscar-winning superstar way beyond his childhood. Morgan Freeman gave Tavis Smiley two opinions on TV last week. He told Tavis that President Barack Obama is doing an excellent job – I mean, a really exceptional, outstanding job as president. He further told Smiley that there's going to be big trouble if we fail in what Freeman views as our clear national duty to re-elect Obama in November.
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Morgan Freeman has every right to hold-and-holler that first opinion. He has no right to that second opinion. I'd be so proud if I could play some small role in helping him break free from it.
I can't ignore the glaring irony here. Freeman says there's going to be trouble if we don't re-elect Obama. Freeman surely doesn't mean the guys "on the other side of the fence" – the conservatives – are going to cause disorder if Obama is defeated. Who, then, does Morgan Freeman fear will cause the "big trouble" if we fail to re-elect Obama? Is Freeman telling me the trouble will be germinated and generated by those on the other side of the fence from me? Is superstar Morgan Freeman telling me he's afraid of me and my people, but if Obama loses, I've got to be afraid of him and his people? Sure sounds like it.
Morgan, here's a brother American's appeal from "the other side of the fence." I don't want to come this historically far this historically fast only to have a superstar cause a racial catastrophe. About the time you were born in Memphis I was part of the white Southern majority that doomed segregation. We considered racial segregation ridiculous. We teased our elders for their praise of "moderate" whites. We knew moderate whites were those who wanted blacks hanged from lower branches. Segregation couldn't survive our ridicule. It fell. What followed was integration, Civil Rights Acts, blacks being hired, first as tokens, then as talented executives. America won the respect of the whole world by becoming the first nation in history to solve a problem as big as racism without outside military intervention. Things were far from perfect, but even farther from disaster.
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Barack Obama was inaugurated president Jan. 20, 2009. And now, still, nonetheless, you say on national TV you're afraid of us guys on the other side of the fence. Morgan, if it weren't for us guys on the other side of the fence, we wouldn't have an "issue" at all. History would have merely footnoted another Turk-Armenian, Serb-Albanian, Tamil-Sinhalese "solution." Really, Morgan, it is insulting and depressing to be a Southern white boy to this day the victim of your "fear of the dark." A better use of your celebrity would be to challenge the black vote and the Jewish vote to see which could be the first to break free from the Democratic "plantation." Are you really satisfied using the power of your fame to intensify the adhesion of America's black population unto the bosom of the uncaring and exploitative Democratic machine?
Let's listen to Morgan's actual words on Tavis Smiley last week: "I think that we did a very good thing when we elected Barack Obama. He is absolutely and totally qualified for the job. He has proven himself to be not only qualified for the job, but very good at it. The things that he's managed to get accomplished in the face of so much push-back are amazing."
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Now, Morgan, to me your statement is reminiscent of a commodity not uncommon wherever bulls congregate; but I'd never question your right to belt it out on TV at any time, even in crunch-time of an election year. What you said next, however, unhinges me as we try to build a better America together. You told Tavis Smiley, "We're going to be in a lot of trouble if we don't elect him because people on the other side of the fence scare me."
You're a good driver, Morgan, but I think Miss Daisy would have gotten out of the car and walked if she'd heard such a thunderous superstar voice such a feeble outlook at what the American people are made of. I'm Jewish, Morgan. And, indeed, there was a time when the "guys on the other side of the fence" scared me. But that was 50 years ago! The proliferating number of Jewish conservatives does not yet make me yelp for joy, but it's so very much better than when the anti-Semitism on the other side of the fence was real. It's not real anymore, Morgan. And neither is your fear of "other-side-of-the-fence" racism.
Come on, Morgan. It takes both the black and white keys of the piano to play "The Star-Spangled Banner."
It's one thing to help a child who's afraid of the dark.
It's quite another thing to try to help an adult who's afraid of the light.