I Only Cry On Thursdays

JANUARY 21, 2011 11:53AM

Charles Barkley for President

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I don’t really watch basketball much anymore.  There was a time though when my daughters and I were really into it – during the second half of the ‘90s.  We were big Knicks fans back in the day.  But then Ewing and Larry Johnson left, and they gave Alan Houston a 100 million dollar contract, letting Sprewell and Camby go and we were finished with the New York Knicks. 


However, we also had favorite players on other teams that we followed.  Shaq was one of them, as was Kenyon Martin and also Charles Barkley.  One of my daughter’s even named one of her pet goldfish after him – but alas, poor little fellow, he didn’t last a week.  It was traumatic. 


During these difficult times, even our Democratic president usually won’t stand up for what’s right and be clear and unequivocal about an issue – especially if it might be politically incautious or offensive to even a small particle of a special interest or some morally bankrupt independent voter that he needs.  Obama gives mixed-signals like no President I’ve ever seen.  Anyway, last weekend I was thinking about this lack of leadership quite a lot because I was also thinking about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and how much we need him still.  I was re-reading the speech that he gave before he was murdered, about the war in Vietnam and the social and moral costs of it.  And I felt so bereft that we no longer have anyone with a national platform who even comes close to his voice of reason and moral integrity.  And then, along came Charles…


Apparently, as I read in The Nation magazine, during a recent NBA Double Header on TNT, Charles Barkley had this to say about Dr. King and about gay rights:


“People try to make it about black and white.  {But} he talked about equality for every man, every woman.  We have a thing going on now, people discriminating against homosexuality in this country.  I love the homosexuality people.  God bless the gay people. They are great people.”


Further, from this article, I learned that in August of 2006 on Fox Sports, he said:


“I’m a big advocate of gay marriage.  If they want to get married, God bless them.”


And, in 2008 on CNN, Charles Barkley said:


“Every time I hear the word ‘conservative,’ it makes me sick to my stomach, because they’re really just fake Christians, as I call them.  That’s all they are…  I think they want to be judge and jury.  Like, I’m for gay marriage.  It’s none of my business if gay people want to get married.  I’m pro-choice.  And I think these Christians, first of all, they’re not supposed to judge other people.  But they’re the most hypocritical judge of people we have in the country.  And it bugs the hell out of me.  They act like they’re Christians.  They’re not forgiving at all.”


He also spoke up for immigrants on this weekend’s program when he said:


“We have discrimination against Hispanic people in this country and we need to answer to that.”


And last year, he said:


“Immigrants aren’t the problem.  The only people screwing it up are the politicians.  You know, living in Arizona for a long time, the Hispanic community, they’re like the fabric of the cloth.  They’re part of our community and any time you try to do any type of racial profiling or racial discrimination is wrong.”


And in light of the way our elected politicians, twist and turn in the wind, unable or unwilling to just come out and say what is right or moral and take a stand, but instead they dissemble and dance around issues rather than offering a clear and compelling narrative the way Martin Luther King, Jr. did or Charles Barkley has – these kinds of clear, fearless statements are so refreshing.  It’s like taking a dip in the cool ocean on a blisteringly hot day. 


So, run Charles, run.  You have my vote.

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Charles Barkley? Who knew? Let the man keep speaking out.!! Love this...
Yeah...I was taken by surprise myself.
This is like a breath of fresh air. Good for Charles. I think that has been one of the worst things about Obama, is his lack of support for causes which he could at least speak out on, or gather support for, but he seemingly refuses. We're finding hope in the weirdest places, Charles Barkley, Mark Ruffalo. Definitely not the elected officials. I like reading stuff like this. Too often I get up and read the news, and it's just paralyzingly depressing. A little moral support from our president would be great, but I'll take it from Charles Barkley and you.
Barkley is smarter than the average conservative. Now if only his mom would give him a call...
I think he should stay out of politics. He's funnier and better this way.
latethink - you really said it! And it is strange, isn't it. I looked up the Ruffalo piece you mentioned and he was wonderful! And you said it so well - "paralyzingly depressing" - yep...that's right on. I also look for a bit of sustenance, and usually don't find it...but it's heartening. Go Sir Charles!

Sam - I'll take Barkley in or out of politics myself...and I agree, he's smarter than the average conservative, but he's also smarter than the average Democratic politician these days.
Charles Barkley is friggin kewl.
Cognitive - How true, how true...glad you agree.
Charles is smarter than your average bear.
Probably a more decent one also.
I never would have known! Thank you Kate! I stopped watching basketball after Wilt Chamberlin and Larry Byrd retired. The game just didn't seem the same without them.

Barkely for president!
XJS AND ME - Yes, I agree. I love to listen to him talk - especially now after I read that article.

Ira - Ah...Wilt and Larry...I remember it well. Those were the days, weren't they? I also remember Bill Bradley and Willis Reed, so many others. I miss those kindler, simpler basketball days.