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Sad — on the 40th anniversary of his milestone record, Hank Aaron displays ignorance, bitterness, and no class

Excellent speech is not becoming to a fool.... ~Proverbs 18:6

Say it ain’t so…. Please tell me that legendary slugger Hank Aaron, who approached history courageously, displaying class in his quest….  The Hammer…. The Ruth-slayer….  Mr. 715—PLEASE tell me that, forty years after the Shot Heard ‘Round the World, he isn’t a bitter, crazy old man.  PLEASE tell me that his interview to mark the Ku Klux Klan’s—What?

Not the Ku Klux Klan?  It was an interview to mark the 40th anniversary of the Shot and had nothing to do with Republicans opposing Obama because, deep down, they’re racist???

Then why the COMMENT?!

Hank said, quote, “Sure, this country has a black president, but president Obama is left with his ‘foot stuck in the mud’ from Republicans, the way he’s treated.”

He said, QUOTE—”Things haven’t changed that much.  The big difference is that back then, they had hoods.  Now they have neckties….”

Why say THAT?  That the KKK was established by Republicans doesn’t mean—

What?

Republicans didn’t found the KKK???

Hold on…..

Holy smackeral!  Thank you, Al Gore, for inventing the internet!  It wasn’t the Rs but the Ds – Hank’s party! – behind the Klan, and Democrats – Hank’s party! – that opposed Civil Rights—so what’s with Hank’s paranoid delusions?  Does he not know his party’s history?  The decimation of blacks, their decline, seems to have happened under the party whose leader is increasing pain and suffering amongst.….

BLACKS!

Mr. Aaron—‘tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.

Seriously—that you’re 80, in your ninth decade, and still cling to bitterness (How else to describe it?) and don’t know when to shut up is sad.  All Republicans, black, white, orange (John Boehner) are closeted Klansman only in the mind of a closet-racist too lazy to limn Reality and the merit of each person.

You messed up.  Royally.  Took what should have been a wonderful occasion, a rich time, and made it ugly.  Instead of being humble, instead of being grateful, instead of showing class, you equated Republicans –  the party of CIVIL RIGHTS – with a vile entity begun by YOUR party.

Grace—look it up.  Your belief that anyone who opposes Obama does so based on skin-color proves you learned little from the 50s, the 60s, the 70s, Reverend King, Curt Flood, Arthur Ashe, Jackie Robinson….  From the concept of judging a man by his character you drew, in the entirety of your career, nothing.

WHIFF.

Things change!  Indeed, poverty in black neighborhoods since LBJ cheerfully quipped, “Pass this and I’ll have them niggers voting Democrat for 200 years” has gone UP.  Read this, Mr. Aaron.  And this.

In 1960, joblessness was LOWER among blacks than among dastardly whites, but after LBJ moved from equality – which, as Senator Johnson, he opposed - to the pretense of “help,” blacks left the workforce.

Forever.

D-Texas.  LBJ:Democrat.  So, too, Harry Byrd, Robert Byrd, Allen Ellender, Al Gore, Sr., William Fulbright, Walter George, Russell Long, and Richard Russell….  About that “southern strategy”—Southern Democrats who opposed desegregation remained opposed and never switched.

Indeed, the racists then – and now – were/are Democrats, and black politicians embraced “law,” not as Champions of Freedom, not to secure rights, but to siphon money as Clients of the State, bought-and-paid for by their keeper, Uncle Sam.  In return for welfare, they promised votes.

And they delivered.  And lied.  In order to succeed, they perpetuated myths: obloquy that Republicans are racist, that they established the Klan, that they hate minorities—as if housing projects and food stamps PROVE that Dems “care.”

Wanna win?  Spin.  Lie.  Repeat the lie—in schools, in dugouts.

A lie repeated often – especially in an environment of prosperity-apathy – becomes “truth.”  Hank can’t hit a cerebral slider, can’t think for himself, but he’s clearly capable of absorbing information, failing to vet it, then parroting it like a simpleton.

Allen West, a Republican (and therefore, according to Hank, a Klansman), grew up in Atlanta, and it’s sad that he’s forced to address Aaron’s fall.  As a kid, he remembers the day “44” stepped to the plate, creamed a fastball, and trotted the bases as outraged Atlantans lit Burning Crosses….

What’s that?  No crosses?  Cheers?  Everyone in the stadium – black, white, orange – on their feet?

Yes!

Hank on the trot, fans flanking – giddy white boys! – found joy in achievement, and we shared that achievement: One Tribe.  Not black.  Nor white.  The skin of those cheering was as varied as the easel of fireworks in the firmament.

But Hank forgot.  Turned bitter.  He claims, sadly, to hang on to racist letters, to keep them “to remind myself that we’re not far removed from when I was chasing the record.”  “If you think that,” he says, “you’re fooling yourself.”

REALLY?

Could Obama have been president in 1974?  Aaron seems trapped, obsessed with bigoted barbs, which he extrapolates through the years, without altering them, on us all.

Did he receive more negative than positive letters?  One wonders how he would have fared at the plate with this attitude.

There have been changes, sweeping changes, and what’s apparent to this Caucasian conservative who has Aaron baseball cards and a Hank Aaron glove and memories of #44, not seeing color or caring—what’s apparent is that one of those changes occurred in the man.

Swing and a miss-–the Hammer struck out.

~Greg Halvorson

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