SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

May 6, 2014

A look at what others are saying

(Continued)

The U.S. is finally winding down its long war in Afghanistan, but the Pentagon insists that 10,000 soldiers must remain to prevent the country from collapsing. The disintegration of Afghanistan, like one in Iraq, would render meaningless lost American blood and treasure, but the Cure International attack suggests that attempts to bring and maintain peace in Afghanistan are futile. Afghanistan’s new president will have to make a strong case that keeping a U.S. troop presence will result in progress, not in more bloodshed.

— The Berkshire Eagle of Pittsfield

The racism yardstick is always imprecise. Yes, we no longer have separate drinking fountains, and we have elected our first black president. That’s clearly major progress and worth recognizing.

But what’s far harder to measure is the level of racism that usually goes unspoken, but which we know remains buried in the hearts of many Americans.

And, in some cases, not so deeply buried, as was remarkably apparent twice recently.

Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy first gained the spotlight for refusing for two decades to pay fees for grazing his cattle on federal land.

No honest logger would expect to cut timber in the White Mountains National Forest — or for that matter on a neighbor’s land — without paying for the privilege.

Be that as it may, Bundy was embraced by the far right and several high profile conservative politicians for his stand.

Then, apparently believing himself a sage, Bundy began offering views on other matters, including wondering aloud whether black people were better off picking cotton as slaves.

That, apparently, was just too crazy for any politician to support, and Bundy was condemned from all angles.

Last week, the cameras moved to a totally different arena, big city basketball, with the release of a secret tape recording of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling apparently urging his girlfriend not to be seen in public with blacks.

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