Hot Air

Criminal Behavior

This day, 49 years ago, Alabama state state troopers and Selma city police kicked the living bejesus out of a large group of people who had the nerve to violate the Deep South’s most cherished and rigidly reinforced system of laws.

That is, Jim Crow.

Led by folks like John Lewis, now a Democratic member of US Congress from Georgia, that group of people wanted to be allowed to vote. That urge, in the Deep South in those days, was more heinous than the urge to molest a child or assassinate a president. Lewis, for one, paid for his depravity by getting his skull broken by a trooper’s nightstick.

Today, the benighted Right has more subtle methods of prevented dark skinned Americans from voting.

Storytellers

So, as expected, Rand Paul is the darling of the CPAC wingnuts again this year, winning the ultra-conservative fap fest’s annual straw poll of fave prez candidates.

And, in a shocker, coming in third was the fabulist, Dr. Ben Carson, whose claim to fame is his bestselling book, America the Beautiful, a treatise that informs us that this holy land is really heaven on Earth and things like poverty, racism, sexism, and any other purported sins of our nation are commie lies.

These two guys are the Tea Party wing of the GOP in a nutshell. While telling us this is greatest, most perfect nation in  the history of all humankind, they warn us that it’s populated by a bunch of lazy, immoral, dependent-on-gov’t, Hollywood-liberal-loving, crypto-socialist takers.

Paul/Carson

Darlings

I believe the psychologists and psychiatrists of the world would call that type of personality schizophrenic.

A Real Storyteller

Above all else, Dave Hoekstra is a Cubs fan. That alone makes him, in my eyes, a human being worthy of esteem.

Add to that, though, the fact that he’s spent the last 29 years telling stories about Chicagoans. He was more Studs Terkel than Mike Royko. He wasn’t going to raise his morning readers’ blood pressure by exposing an outrage perpetrated by a petit tyrant in some city office. He didn’t tackle the broad and terrifying issues of the world. No, he simply went out on the streets of the city and met its residents.

And then he told us their stories.

More, Hoekstra was the only white media being I can think of who’d talk to and write about black people who weren’t exclusively drug dealers or street prostitutes or somehow being terrorized by a soulless, racist world. He introduced us to black people who were, well, people.

Hoekstra also intro’d us to musicians, entrepreneurs, poets, lawyers, salespeople, weekend athletes, and all the other occupations and vocations people can be. If you wanted to know the city of Chicago, you read Dave Hoekstra.

Hoekstra

Dave Hoekstra

Now, no more. The Chicago Sun-Times, in yet another in an endless series of cost-cutting moves, has laid off a pile of people. One of whom is Dave Hoekstra.

That’s it. You give an outfit 29 years of your life and, boom, they tell you to take a hike because, well…, because shareholders’ needs are paramount to all things. (I’ll ruminate more on that in tomorrow’s post).

Hoekstra’s pushing 60. He’s not rich. He plods along, financially, just like you and me. And now he’s out of a job. A job he is great at. A job he did admirably and consistently for three decades. A job he ain’t got anymore.

You say newspapers are dying? This is one good one reason why they should be.

[BTW: You want to know how much of a Cubs fan Hoekstra is? When the Cubs opened the 2000 season in Tokyo, as part of a Major League Baseball effort to expand the reach of the game beyond international boundaries, he flew to Japan to catch the game. That’s a fan.]

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