Being an old fuck, one would think I have a wealth of perspectives to weigh in on. You know, tidbits of wisdom, experience gained, things I’ve learned along the rocky road, but the soulful truth is, I don’t know shit, ain’t learned nothing to pass along, to make your life better, easier. I’m a bit troubled by that, ‘specially when I see all these life coaches out there, spouting words of wisdom to make the lives of their audiences better. I mean, like where did I miss the boat, more so, fuck, wheres the river? Maybe it’s because I’ve never listened to anybody, cuz I’ve always thought the only voice of value was my own. ‘Cept my wife, when she speaks, I listen. Listen like she’s God handing out the ten commandments. That doesn’t mean I’m a pussy, just means I’m smart enough to admit there’s one person in existence that’s smarter than this old man. When the skid-marks hit the underwear tho’, and I think back over the course of 60 some years, from a childhood lost in the dark jungles, to losing my virginity at 14, drug addled teens, a stint in the military, raising a family, and years of toil in the blue collar workforce, I can’t help but wonder, what the fuck! Yeah, it’s been alright, might even say it’s been good, even happy good. Somethings missing though. I used to be full of wonder and awe, used to believe life held some great mysterious answers that would be revealed along the way, but the only thing that’s been revealed, is that I’m going to end up like my mom, lost in time and space, unable to recognize God and her commandments. Was a time, a few decades back, when I thought humanity was on the cusp of something great, that all or achievements listed out in that book of good things that humans have done, at the top of that list would be the creation of something that would bring the peoples of the world together. Turned out to be a shit show. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the Internet. Thing is, it’s taught me the one thing I do know for fact, that the only voice of value is mine. Now I don’t know if that’s closing the circle, or even if realizing that, is a good thing, but it is all I have left. Not saying I’m smarter, better than anyone, cuz I know for a fact, there’s better, smarter out there, but damn, if I can find ’em, and that’s due to a difference between value, worth, and intelligence. Kinda like knowing a cup of Starbucks coffee ain’t worth the hundred they want. Interesting too, as I read back through these weighted babbling words of whitespace, is there ain’t no vale in them. I am struck, however, by the comment I made about once being filled with wonder and awe. If anything, I’m saddened by that loss, meaning I don’t have any dreams left, and I figure that’s because dreams are for the young, not for old foolish men like me. Foolish because chasing ’em, well.., you gotta be an old one to understand.
Democracy is a work in progress, and the key word is work. Work through participation, and participation is more than voting every now and then. Participation is questioning our Government, speaking out when injustice is perceived, researching issues, listening to both sides of debate, in other words being active in our democracy, hence the word activism. I get I have friends that voted for Trump to shake things up, because Washington was a cesspool. It still is, and worse, with no signs of changing. It’s easy to cast a vote for a candidate, just because your dissatisfied, it’s a lot harder to cast an informed vote for a candidate you might not like, but might be a real agent of change. It takes a lot of soul searching as well, determining what’s not only best for you, but what you believe is best for the American people. That ain’t easy. The left is active in topics such as climate change, womens rights, gun control, pay and gender inequalities, our environment, and a lot more. The right, not so much, their activism is based on denial, and throwing shit and seeing what sticks, and gerrymandering, moral supremacy, and hypocrisy. The right was outraged, and rightly so, when Kathy Griffin posted a meme with a decapitated Trump, but remain largely silent with the recent horrific fake video of Trump taking out a church congregation. Why? It suits their purpose, a purpose of creating division, and hate among all of us. If you’re a Christian, and don’t speak out against wholesale murder happening in a church, or you’re a trump supporter and let the violence slide, and don’t speak out, you’re a lazy cocksucker, set in your ways. But let’s not stop with that, if you’re fine with betraying our allies, the Kurds, if you’re fine with Trumps attacks on minorities, with crippling our farmers, with the GOP redrawing voting districts to thwart the American vote, you’re a lazy cocksucker, refusing to research issues. Lazy cocksuckers believe reposting memes, sound-bites, propagating rumors and hearsay, and watching Hannity, is participating in our Democracy. No one likes a lazy cocksucker. Don’t be a lazy cocksucker.
Living paycheck to paycheck all my life, I’m used to financial pain and the continuing struggle of being a common American on the lower rung of the middle class. I put in my forty hours, pay my bills
on time, and I’m happy for the 1% raise I get every few years. I’ve been a good boy. I’ve always been aware life ain’t fair, my daddy taught me that when I was a young one, so I never expected otherwise. I’ve always known injustice exists, and I’ve always told people what I think about that shit, never thinking that what I have to say would ever make a difference. It hasn’t. Being a wild man in my youth, I naturally knew that when I stepped up in front of a judge, I wasn’t going to like what he had to say, but I’ll never forget the day when a child molester stood before Judge Ryan, just before I did, and got probation, because he was a pastor or some damn thing. I remember thinking old man Ryan was a pretty lenient judge, and that I was going to be OK, until the jail cell door slammed shut behind my ass for the next six months. Always thought that was odd. Me, setting for half a year for drunk driving while some pervert was walking around free. Never have I understood our judicial system, but what I’ve always known is, is that there’s one for them, and one for me. If you’re looking for a definition of who ‘them’ is, well you simply haven’t been paying attention, or you’re one of them. Chances are you’re no Felicity Huffman or you’re last name isn’t Sackler. One a celebrity, and a minor one at that, and the other, rich fucks, major rich fucks. Now, 14 days in prison and a thirty thousand dollar fine for Ms. Felicity might seem an appropriate sentence for the movie star, ‘cept I don’t think she’ll set in the general population of San Quentin for two weeks. And the thirty grand, well, her hub has that covered. Hell, she paid half that to cheat. When it comes to the Sackler family business of pushing drugs on unsuspecting citizens, not one of ’em is going to spend a day behind bars. Sure, they’re going to pay billions in compensation, but not out of their personal deep pockets. Their company will pay that shit, and just to make sure, they’ve moved billions of their personal money off shore.
I live in a place where Somalians are hated. The hate is palpable, in your face, and everywhere. I’d like to justify that hate by thinking it’s confined to a small, but vocal group of people, but I’m not so sure. Funny thing is, if I talk to one of my friends who fall into this gathering storm of distrust, they don’t see it as hate. They just don’t want them around, unless they talk
like they do, dress like they do, act like they do. They rage on-line, and in person, against all the free help the Somalian population receives, how they get free living, free medical, all without contributing a damn thing back. I don’t know how much of that is true, and it doesn’t matter, because facts don’t change anyones beliefs. If truth was a factor in our lives, people would pay attention, they’d take time to think about things, do a little research, to converse with people of opposing views, but it’s easier to bitch and complain, then to question one’s own feelings. An interesting truth is that most of the people who find fault in these new American immigrants are not bad people. Most people here are honest, hard working folk, and regular church goers, made more intriguing because most Somalians are here because of our churches. Being honest, hard working, and church going isn’t an excuse, nor does doing so clarify the problem. In fact, it confuses the hate, making it hard to understand. From a personal perspective, and that’s a perspective of one who grew up as an entitled American in third world countries, I don’t get it. The only answer I can come up with is fear, fear of change, fear of loss, fear of anything that’s different, fear of anything that threatens a way of life. And hates a passionate way to express those fears. Wrong, but passionate. There’s a thought too, that the degradation of an entire culture also has it’s roots in larger fears, fear of political instability and division, fear of financial stress, and fear of the crushing weight of life that at every turn seems to be more complicated. We work harder for less, the rich get richer, and we parse our pennies for a loaf of bread, all while screaming at our politicians for relief, only to find out once elected, they don’t seem to give a damn. We surf the net, see IG posts of those living the good life, and are left wondering where’s my vacay in the sun bleached sand. All said and done, I don’t believe people are born with hate and distrust in their hearts, I don’t believe people, at least most people, live their lives looking for someone to vilify, but when I look around, and I extend that vilification to society in large, including everything from racial tensions, to social injustice, immigration, and the political divide, I can’t help but believe that my community is but a symptom of a larger problem. One that’s not going away, one that’s going to get worse, and one that there’s a thousand answers for, but not a single solution.
When I look around the complicated American landscape of news, politics, and social media, and I do so more than I will admit, I find it exhausting. Tiring in the sense of an addiction, where I need something more fulfilling, more ambitious, like God and Jesus showing up in tandem to set the world afire. Not being particularly religious, I’d probably not pay attention to their facebook posts, unless they posted some pics of heaven and hell. That might set my world ablaze, until I started reading the comments. But that’s people for ya! All in disagreement, with their own opinions, each a raindrop in a thunderstorm, contributing to a flood of confusion, sweeping truth away with the receding waters. And that’s OK, I have dreams. If the world was ordered, and nice, and perfectly symmetrical, I’d have no need for dreams.
Dreams are powerful game changers. MLK and Kennedy had dreams, one unfulfilled, but still in motion. The other touched, abandoned, and left to the ages as a singular achievement. Neither forgotten, still relevant, foundations for the following days. America was built on dreams, our declaration was one of freedom from tyranny, our constitution, a single dream, coagulated from many voices, out of many, we are one. Dreams are essential to progress, the bedrock upon which the next step is planted, individually or collectively. We take the next step in our journey, because we dream of seeing the undiscovered country. We’ll never step on that soil, because dreams are fluid, being indicative of who we are. A million voices all screaming their differing dreams at any given time.
I remember when the night was silent, the only voices in my head was Cronkite’s, and my local paper. That silence was peaceful, the quiet of the night, and there existed no harbinger of future dreams turned inside out, of a people embroiled in a living nightmare. There is imperfection in silence, in that you do not hear the coming winds of change, being blind to your neighbor crying out in pain, to changing ideas, differing thoughts, and when those winds rush across and fill the void of silence, we’re left battered, and bruised, and dreaming of the silence we once cherished. Given the choice, I would appreciate the solitude of existing in a vacuum, tending the gardens of my personal dreams, and while there are those who reside in that choice, I’m conscious of the illusion of independence it gives birth to. A lonely, unfulfilled state of happiness where one sets on the same barstool, in the same bar, with the same bartender over the course of their lifetime. A life comprised of nothing greater than their own personal agenda, with no dialogue other than their own, no sense of thought for others than their own, no dreams larger than their own.
Few of my dreams have came to fruition, I’m not a well respected writer, my kids don’t have college degrees, my retirements going to be tough, I’m not popular on youtube, there’s no moonbase, and as a society, we haven’t ushered in a era of equality, peace and prosperity. While all that is bothersome, it’s more normal, unaccomplished dreams, that is, than those realized. I’d like to think, due to the failure of my own dreams, I’ve learned to listen to the voices in the wind, as agonizing as that landscape can be. I’ve been moved to research topics, to dig deeper for truth, to appreciate the views and beliefs of others, and I’ve been astonished at scientific achievements. I am continually in awe of the world I live in, even when I find myself tired, and confused with that world. I’ll take it over the void.
Our courts are filled with those who engaged in a conspiracy, as most every crime begins with a conspiracy. Our Government followed through on conspiracies to test LSD on unwilling American citizens, treated Black Americans with syphilis, and created a plan to down an American airliner to blame on Cuba. Corporations too, have their conspiracies, look no further than the current opioid crisis. Remember Enron, or Lehman Brothers, or Fannie Mae, and that list is substantial. When one stops to think about it, it’s almost mind boggling, but the truth is far simpler, people want to do bad shit for personal reasons, know it’s wrong, and try to hide their behavior. Sure, there are some outlandish conspiracies out there, like pizzagate, or the moon landing hoax, and they live side by side with others, like the Kennedy assassination, that make people simply scratch their heads.
The thing is, the above conspiracies are the ones we know about, and I’m guessing there’s a couple of crimes out there that will never see the disinfecting light of day. When it comes to the suicide of Jeffery Epstein, the controversies that emerged in the first twenty four hours; being taken off suicide watch, guards absent, and lack of video insures a half dozen conspiracy theories in the early hours of the investigation. The fact that our President re-tweeted a conspiracy allegation is sure to solidify Epstein’s death as a major conspiracy. I’m guessing the autopsy will do nothing to alleviate the growing scandal. Personally, I’m open to the belief he was murdered, but I’m hesitant to go there due to the complexities of orchestrating the murder of a high profile inmate. The I ask myself, if I were well respected, and yet engaged in some horrific sexual behavior with underage girls, what would I do to keep that a secret? From my wife, my kids and the public? And if there were others, with secrets to hide, powerful men, with sterling reputations, with money? What would you do?
I spent the first 20 years of my life in the company of people of various ethnicities and differing nationalities. One would think that if I found myself today, alone in a room full of people of color, I’d be comfortable. I wouldn’t! Yet, there’s a contradiction, when I was 19, I found myself in a small Liberian jail cell, chicken wire walls and a five gallon bucket to piss in, with about twenty other Liberians, and it didn’t bother me in the least. In fact, I struck up a conversation with a one eyed thief sprawled next to me. The contradiction is familiarity. I had spent most of my youth in Liberia, most of my friends were Liberians. I recently attended a birthday party for a Liberian friends daughter, and I found myself comfortable in a room full of Liberians. If I were to find myself this afternoon in a room full of American blacks who were strangers, I’d feel out of place, and very uncomfortable in a way that would be different then if I found myself in a room full of white Americans. I’d like to attribute the difference to shared experiences, but I don’t have a lot of shared experiences with white people either. The explanation might be as simple as being most comfortable with people who look, and act as I do, shared life experience be damned. Regardless of who I find myself in a room with, I realize my discomfort. It’s not the fault of the people in the room, it’s who I am, for whatever reason. I own it, I don’t like it, but I accept it and I move on, refusing to let my awkwardness ruin my experience.
And that’s the thing about racism, it’s multi layered. I don’t consider myself racist, but why would I be uncomfortable in a room full of people of color?
I believe we’re all racist at some level, based upon fear of the unknown, the unexpected, or some perceived threat. It seems it’s easier to project those fears onto somebody that’s different then what you look like, onto somebody you think you don’t havemuch in common with. In fact, humans have a history, across many cultures, of utilizing that fear, of blaming others for their misfortune, or justifying their behavior. It seems to be rather easy for someone to step up to a podium and inflame a crowd of people.
Logically, I understand racism. Emotionally, not so much. Do we lack the introspection to dive, and it’s a shallow dive, to question our own discomfort, our unease, or our outright hate of a person who is different? I understand the fear of change, of the unknown, of what is different then the norm, but for the life of me, I cannot understand letting that fear dictate who I am as a human being, to the point where I would dehumanize another person, much less an entire race or culture.
Abortion is a moral choice, and legislation of morals is political garbage, in that liberal and conservative leaders know it’s nothing more than a divisive issue, used to motivate or shame, supporters or opponents. Alabama, and other southern states, are passing arcane abortion laws in an attempt to have their voices heard in front of our supreme court, with the intent to overturn Roe Vs Wade. All will face lengthy, and expensive court battles on their way there. Even if these states were to prevail, they’ll lose, we’ll all lose. Women will still seek abortions, unsafe and alone, without support, without compassion. I’m also of the opinion, that of the 25 white males that voted for Alabama’s legislation, that not one of them would step forward to help support a child of an unwanted pregnancy. As a man, I’m not comfortable discussing what I believe is a womens personal choice, rooted in their beliefs. Personally, I’d like every child to be born, if we lived in a perfect world, but we do not. To legislate that a women impregnated by a viscous, brutal rape must carry the child through to birth, is beyond my comprehension. Indeed, it’s an embarrassment to our compassion for others. I do not know what the answer is, I don’t know if a six week old clump of cells is a living person or not, I don’t know when life begins, and neither does anyone else. You might believe human life begins at the moment of conception, but your belief doesn’t make it a valid fact. Yes, there’s an argument for potential. It’s a valid argument, that a group of cells, might one day be a human being, but if that’s your argument, every sperm I have carries that capacity, and perhaps vasectomies should be deemed illegal.
When I was young, I was wild, and I ran with a pretty wild and crazy bunch of friends. The local cops knew us, and they gave us shit at every opportunity, like pulling us over over for bullshit reasons, and making us empty out all our beer before sending us on our way. If you grew up in small town America, you know what I’m talking about. We knew all the cops, hell, some of ’em were related. There was this one prick, Officer Bush, that we all hated, that crossed the line, always. He loved getting physical, and he loved playing little mind games, like stopping me one morning on my way to work, just for pure harassment. There’s more to the story, but the point
is Randy Bush was an asshole. He eventually got his comeuppance and I’ll leave it at that. I don’t believe none of what I experienced as a kid was police brutality, some of their behavior was wrong, like reaching into my car, turning off my headlights, and then telling me I was stopped for driving with no headlights. I’ve always had an awareness of police brutality, police wrong doing, and it seems in the last decade or so, it’s morphed into something else, to the point where it’s just fucking dangerous to be stopped by a cop, especially if you live in a metropolitan area, or if you’re a minority. Reading this article from US Todayis discouraging, and it makes me wonder, exactly what the hell is going on, cuz clearly, nobody ain’t policing the police, and somebody should be.
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with injecting human genes in monkeys? I’m guessing the Chinese have never read, or watched Planet of the Apes. Art is supposed to imitate life, not the other way around, but in this case, I’m thinking WTF… Christ, like worrying about nuclearannihilation, the rise of white nationalism, income inequality, fake news, buying enough food to eat, and idiots shooting up schools ain’t enough, now I have to be scared as shit about some damn dirty ape named Caesar running around with an AR 15. I like science, science is supposed to make my life easier, better, even somewhat tolerable, but this is ridiculous. There’s already a bunch of Neanderthals running around, and that’s bad enough. Maybe the end of life as I’ve known it really is here. All I got left is to wonder how hard it is to learn apeanese.