The Diversity of Fear

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.

Political Garbarge

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.

TrumpCare, Ain’t Health Care

So Donald has reversed his previous thoughts on ObamaCare and now wants to abolish it, completely. Including the parts about not being penalized for having a preexisting condition, or keeping your kids on your plan until they’re 26. Just to backtrack for a minute, I never was in on mandating people to buy into health insurance, I never understood that. But overall, ObamaCare has been a good thing. The deciding factor in supporting the ACA, was simple. Politicians argued, and argued, all my life and never accomplished a damn thing to help people out when it came to healthcare. At least Obama did more than argue! Sure, the ACA’s not perfect, but it was a step in the right direction, something to build and refine on. And now, Donald just wants to wipe it away, like it never existed. I got
ta ask, where’s his healthcare plan? Are we going back to the stone age, where the healthcare industry fucked us every time we walked into our doctors office? My advice, Don, keep the good shit, and build on it, make it better, but you won’t take my advice, because your ego is in the way, and healthcare to you, isn’t about me, as much as it’s all about you.

Stone’s Sink

I don’t care much for Roger Stone, the political dirty trickster who just got his mouth clamped shut by a Judge, for what amounted to being an asshole. Most of Rogers life has been lived as an asshole, probably because  Roger is, well, an asshole. At least a political asshole. I don’t know what he’s like as a real person, outside the political trickster persona, but I’m guessing, the two are pretty much the same. Rogers history of fucking the American people dates way back to Nixon, and interestingly, his friendship with Paul Manafort goes back just as far. My problem with people like Stone, is his view of the world, that it’s his personal playground, that there’s a total lack of accountability, and/or responsibility, to everyone and everybody, yet his expectation is that you, bow before him. If asked, he’d disagree, touting his loyalty to Nixon, and Trump, which pretty much says it all about Roger Stone. All men with big egos, men who think they have big dicks, men who think they are beyond the law, until suddenly, they’re not. Suddenly, they are little men, with little dicks, and shallow egos.

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My Weeping Heart

child, a little girl of seven died of dehydration and shock, after walking several thousand miles to reach our border. Every single footstep north she made, along dusty trails, jungle paths, and broken concrete, was distance from extreme violence, hunger and poverty. There are those who are crying out, that this child died in American detention, and while that’s true, I will not pretend to tell you I know the specifics, I do not.

What I do know is far more disturbing. That instead of compassion, aid and support for a child walking on her own two feet, facing incredible odds of survival, our government chose instead to denigrate that child, to discourage that child, and yet she continued, one small dirty, dusty foot after another, defining a courage that a lot of my fellow citizens have lost. There was time when our courage was not overwhelmed with fear of others, of those different. We were brave enough to accept them, even in the face of danger. We understood the possibility that not only evil people would walk into our home, but also people would bring change into our home. Organized crime found it’s way here, as did Catholicism, we managed.

My heart cries when we look in the face of a child, and do not see potential, and instead see our own fear, our prejudice. We no longer see ourselves in the face of that small girl, we see a stranger, and we become strangers to the soil we live and breath in, every day of our life.

Final Frontier

Space is about to be militarized. Nuclear weapons, flying tanks, and space stations with people in cool U.S. of A uniforms dropping gravity free salutes. With Trump intending to pull out of the INF, a treaty that barred nuclear weapons in space, we can now move into the future of human destruction. I know the idea of a Space Force sounds cool, but it’s not going to be space stations populated by space jocks piloting cool streamlined fighters. What Trump is talking about, is putting nuclear weapons in space. That ain’t a good thing. I rather like the old idea, of keeping if open to exploration, of advancing human knowledge of the universe we live in, than raining fire and brimstone down upon us all, cuz the end result is, once we start, it’s going to become a global nuclear arms race in space.

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I got Problems with this

I remember last year when Mohammed bin Salman purged Saudi Arabia of any opposition. MBS rounded them up in luxury, sealed the Ritz up tight, and begun a reign of abuse and torture. A year later we have the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and there’s not much doubt in thinking people’s mind, that MBS was behind the brutal assassination. So much so that many corporations pulled out of Davos in the Desert. So why is it a delegation of Evangelical Christians just met with MBS? All I got is a what the fu… What message does that send about Christianity? Specially when the entire delegation is leaning forward, as if in worship of a golden idol. So yeah, I got problems with this shit. Even more so with the latest disclosure from our CIA that MBS ordered the murder.

#MeToo, Only Me

Nothing for Trump is off limits when it comes to creating division and ridicule, be it a disabled person, a political opponent, a person that done him wrong, a journalist, a woman, or a movement.  But damn, throw a little shade his way, and does he get pissed or what? Like it or not, Trump is a master of propaganda, but only to an extent. He can’t sell his sarcastic ridicule to most common sense Americans, but he sells it well to those who linger on his every word, who anxiously wait for his next condemnation of whatever, or whoever is next on his list. Trump knows that, and probably little else, and feeds that beast viciously. Not caring what harm he does, Trumps feeds his ego, that’s what’s important to him. It gives him life, it gives him meaning. I get Trump, I do, but what I don’t get are his followers, those that defend him, those that hang on his every word. I can’t help but wonder if there’s something there, in Trump, that gives their lives meaning. I don’t believe it’s a matter of being entertained, probably more a matter of finding some kind of misplaced value in their lives. Like Trump, it’s all about them. Not about America. Not about freedom, or equality, just them.

The Value of Balance

I stood before a judge once. An old judge. One who mumbled, and slobbered, spittle running from his mouth, and hard of hearing to boot. While I received justice, it was clear to everyone in his courtroom, his best days as a fair and impartial judge were in his days past. Justice is a funny thing, it’s not always fair and balanced as much as we’d like to believe it to be. It can’t be be. We’re humans, we’re fallible, we make mistakes. Judges, Prosecutors, Defense attorneys, and jury’s are all comprised of people with preconceived thoughts and emotions, and all struggle to balance those with what is right, the right decision based on facts presented. I do not believe a person reaches a conclusion in a court of law based upon their political leanings, but on facts, through argument, and deliberation.

I do not know what the truth is in accusations toward Judge Kavanaugh, but I have heard enough to believe in an investigation of accusations. More than that, after watching his testimony, I believe that he simply cannot be impartial, cannot be fair if he believes the accusations against him are a conspiracy put forth, without providing evidence, without demanding an investigation into the facts. I’m bothered too, by his temperament, by his indignant lack of respect toward those who oppose his nomination. If Judge Kavanaugh holds such disrespect for those who seek the truth of the accusations made toward his character, I do not believe he’ll show the needed respect for those issues which come before him as a Supreme court justice. That facts, that valued arguments, that deliberation of those things upon which our scales of justice are balanced, simply won’t matter.

Dire and Troubling Times

We are awash in dire and troubling times, where evil, greed and injustice flourish. Like lambs to slaughter we ignore the plight of our neighbors until our name is called and question then, only then, why there is no relief.

You will claim that you are honorable, that you do not accept, will never tolerate evil, greed and injustice and yet your silence speaks volumes, louder than your words. By doing nothing, by saying nothing, you are not honorable and speak to your neighbor in the silence of fear and neglect, saying to your friends and family, I care nothing for your problems.

We live in a time where no one dares protest the false truths propagated upon us. Indeed we live in a time where the rich and powerful are given privilege not accorded you and I. A world where banks and corporations are given the status of citizenship and that citizenship carries far more weight than mine in a court of law and in public and political opinion. Equality does not exist, the pursuit of money and power casts the sensibilities of equality aside like a foul cleaning rag.

You read that Billions have been given to banks, and there is no accountability, and in fact, bonuses and parties ensue. You read that a thief steals billions and walks the streets. You know this is wrong, and toss your hands in the air, exclaiming there is nothing to be done. Retirement funds wiped clean, Pensions evaporated, Jobs gone, and Houses lost!

And we leave the problems to our politicians and our business leaders to solve. Those who created the problems in their pursuit of power and greed, to begin with. And you think it will work?

What world do you live in?

A world where you want to be taken care of? A world where you claim that when you leave it, you want it to be a better world for your children? Right, what have you done except hand over this world we live in to those who have their own vested interests. Your world where all you care about are your own finances, where your credit rating is paramount, where your ability to shop and fish and take cruises is unhindered. That world is disintegrating.

Not because we are bad or because we are steeped in greed ourselves, but because we surrendered our role in being citizens, believing that financial equality comes without a price, without suffrage. We are now paying that price.

The solution is simple, the implementation is complex. Reverse the laws that give corporations the status and rights of being human, that allow a corporation to be prosecuted and not those humans that have done wrong. Reverse the decades of morality and ethics that claim that what is good for business is good for you and I. Eliminate the consequence of money in the role of those who lobby our politicians. Encourage the role of the General Practice MD in the medical community, invest in neighborhood clinics while dismantling the HMOs. Regulate the hell out of the Pharmaceutical companies insuring appropriate R&D moneys are spent.

Reinstate lost pensions and retirement funds, pay people a livable wage for their days work, cap interests rates on credit cards, loans and the like. Reduce Federal, state and local taxes.

Realize that commerce is the lifeblood of America and commerce is defined by farmers making profit, workers who have the ability to buy and save, doctors who treat without fear or consequence, a legal system that treats all as equal. Commerce defined by the flow of money, service, and goods, not by the profit and profit margins.

Unless we begin to speak out in a clear, unified voice to address the underlying problems of our financial problems, we will drive further down the interstate of no return. Expect things to get a hell of a lot worse.

And when things do start to finally get a bit better, all we will have done is lay the foundation for a worse tragedy for our children because we allowed those who pursue power and profit over honor to solve the problem as they see fit.