This year, 2015, is the 150th anniversary of the end of America’s Civil War, and still we are haunted by the same ghost. There is an ominous specter that has stalked this society from its beginning, through nationhood and the ultimate schism that almost permanently rent in twain a historic union of individual states. That clinging, invisible personage is a mélange of race, pride and avoidance. Since we still are unwilling to recognize the true nature of its being, the specter persists.

PBS television had going a very interesting series, wherein the ancestry of prominent individuals was explored through documented and biologic tracing. Dramatic interest was added by filming the principals in real time, as they learned of their origins. An incident has occurred that shamefully has affected the reputation of the program, the host and a star of the cinematic world. Ben Affleck and Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. – and through him PBS – acted to obscure the discovery that an ancestor of Affleck’s was a slave-owner. Affleck was warned that, should that Faustian bargain be revealed, he would pay with his soul. It did – he is.

Flashback to the beer summit on the White House lawn. The participating professor was that same PBS host, Henry Louis Gates. When the newly elected President Barack Obama heard that his friend Skip Gates had been arrested, he referred to the arrest as being stupid, which in tjurn brought on the stupid beer summit. If the president were a true African American, he would have known in his bones that our old friend, the American Specter might have been present at the arrest scene.

As it turned out when questioned about his identification, after forcing entry into his own home, the specter caused Gates to turn into an asshole. Ol’ Spec’, doing double duty, did the same to the policeman. This, then, resulted in a trio of assholes drinking beer on the White House lawn. (Biden was just there to provide comic relief.)

*****     *****     *****

A specter once wanted to hide:

“This U.S. I cannot abide!

“How long does it take?

“My poor bod’s a-quake –

“Can’t you see it’s way past the tide?!”


Curtis W. Long

Curtis W. Long

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