Monday, January 10, 2011

Equality . . . In All Things

Almost everyone by now has learned of the Michael Vick story. Widely recruited out of high school, he was a hot shot quarterback for Virginia Tech in 2000-2001. He decided to leave school after two years and was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League. He was the face of the franchise as an All-Pro quarterback from 2002-2006. In 2007, Michael Vick was arrested and convicted of operating a dog-fighting ring. Sentenced to the Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary, he served twenty-three months in 2007-2008. After a highly publicized release, Vick returned to the NFL as a quarterback with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009.

When Michael Vick resumed his football career with the Eagles, he was seen as a gimmick of sorts, and not considered a legitimate field general. The league had several teams running variations of a throwback to the single-wing days popularized seventy years ago and, with two years away from the professional level, Vick's main value was seen as limited to that role. The idea was cemented by his previous time in Atlanta where he had been an erratic passer; gaining his all-pro acclaim as a runner. But when Philadelphia's freshly anointed starting quarterback, Kevin Kolb, went down with a concussion in the first game of 2010, Michael Vick stepped in and led the Eagles to the playoffs. He only surrendered the reins of leadership to Kolb briefly when being dinged in mid-season.

Michael Vick has made, by all accounts, a remarkable transformation. He still has detractors in the animal-loving community, although the backlash is primarily from WASP folks who will not, for any reason, be forgiving of his actions. Further, these same folks are up in arms because another of their favorite whipping boys (no racial pun intended), President Barack Obama, publicly applauded the Philadelphia Eagles for giving Michael Vick a second chance.

(Chances are that if one, or both, of these gentlemen were not black, there would be no outcry.)


I was at a dinner party recently and the conversation, though not deep, was lively, and on a variety of subjects. Being the only liberal-minded member of the party, I purposely remained quiet when the conversation included politics.

But then someone had to go and bring up the Obama statement on Vick, and not in a very pleasing manner. The table was aghast when I stated an agreement with the President's actions. One member of the party, who is merely tolerated in the group by most (mainly because she is a duplicitious witch), looked at me with a most contorted visage, as if I had personally offended her.

However, all were quietened when I said what Vick did was no worse than a late uncle who openly raised fighting cocks for most of his life. Another member of the party concurred on that point and the conversation went in another direction.

But there is one more part of the story that brings the ludicrousness of the entire subject full-circle. The Tolerated One, who for several years has had a cozy relationship with another member of the dinner party, has a dirty little secret: She cannot stand cats. Now that, in itself, is neither shameful nor a secret. That part enters the equation because a few years ago, after she had set up housekeeping with the aforementioned other member of the party. The property in question is a small, presently non-working farm that had, at the time, a burgeoning feline population.

That population, along with a few grass sacks, began to dwindle. According to a good source, the two numbers are related for a reason.


I detest animal cruelty actions. Quite a few of my family detests such actions (even the late uncle noted above would not turn away a starving stray dog or cat). Although considering myself a liberal, I do not, however, belong to any animal rights groups. But, being a liberal, and I do not see why it would be an issue since equal rights should not be tied to any political party, I am against racism.

The nation is polarized by the present governing administration. Mainly because the Commander-in-Chief is (gasp!) a black man. The nation is further shackled by this man's funny name, and his lack of allegiance to what the right-wing considers true Christianity. It goes further because Barack Obama's administration, one that seeks to establish programs to help grow this country's socio-economic base, bridging the gap between the profanely wealthy and barren poor, is seen as Socialism. Throw these ingredients into a stock pot, stir in a small amount of distrust with any number of anti-American Middle Eastern groups and, voila, you have a Black Muslim Socialist leading the most free nation on Earth.

But where have we, as a Nation, arrived if, 150 years after Emancipation Proclamation, and another half-century after the Civil Rights Act, still see things in black versus white.

Whatever depot has our train chugged into . . . we still have a long, long way to go before disembarking.

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