The Palpitations of Hate

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.

The Silence and the Wind

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.

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.