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.

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.

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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#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.

Immigration, an Old Conundrum

I’ve always thought to solve an old, on-going problem, one needs to look at the history of the problem. Where it started, why, and what attempts have been made to address the problem? We were dealing with ways to solve immigration way back in 1911. Good lord, the Dillingham Commission concluded it’s study with the release of 41 volumes. That’s a lot of research, and apparently for nothing, because nothing seems to have changed. Personally, I think the argument is used politically, like abortion, where it’ll never be solved. At least, not as long as immigration can be used as a wedge issue to fan the flames of a politicians base. For me, there’s a difference between illegal Immigration and asylum seekers, and I have to question the role religious and charitable organizations play in bringing hundreds of thousands of refuges into this country. My guess is, we’ll still be arguing about who we should let into this country, for another hundred years. Except Asians, the commission made it pretty clear they were undesirable.

Celebrating America

Sure, the 4th is a day for fireworks, and celebrating our independence, but it’s a also a day to celebrate our journey as a Nation. A journey that began before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and didn’t end with the signing of our Constitution. From the westward expansion, through the civil war, and civil rights, right up to the front door of the present, Americas path has been one reflective of, and illustrative of, it’s citizens. Our wants, our needs, our desires and dreams have clashed, we have argued, we have fought to make our voices heard for the last 242 years, and for the most part we have found a way to weave our journey into a coherent path for all Americans. The thread in the weave is immigration, the calling to people of other nationalities that here, in America, there sits upon a hill, a shining city of possibilities, not found elsewhere in the totality of mankind history. The poor and wretched have arrived upon our shores, and we have welcomed them along with political dissidents, refugees, the rich, the wicked, the ragged. Some came as indentured servants, many as slaves bound by chains, others escaping the arm of the law, whatever their personal path, they arrived upon the American shoreline and became part of a larger journey, our journey. We are who we are, because people of all color, of all faiths, of all races, of all cultures, of all beliefs, of all backgrounds have come together to walk a unique path that is a beacon to all of humanity, that we can live together as one, that we can walk forward together as one, that together as one people, our voice is louder than the thunder that shakes you from your nights rest.

Destroyer of Worlds

Being intelligent is a strange and sad thing. Strange in that your smarter than most, but sad in that you’re not smart enough to know when you’re intelligence is killing you. Now I’m not a particularly religious man, but I do believe our dominance over the wild comes with certain responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is to act as caretakers for the world we share with other life forms. I’m guessing I’m in the minority with that, considering mankind has literally wiped out 83 percent of mammals and half the plant life. We are pretty good at keeping things around that we like though, like dogs, cats and cows, but that’s probably because we don’t do well in relationships and we like to eat. For a species that only makes up about a tenth of a percent of all life on earth, our dominance is leading us right down a path to a cold, barren world where we’ll all be left alone with no one but each other, and that’s a damn scary thought prospect.

Rob Paxton

When Your Mojo’s Gone

Why, what a heart warming story that makes me smile. Because I’m doing better at Sixty than you are at Thirty. That said, I can only imagine the mind fuck of being a thirty something and losing your mojo, dude. Too young for Viagra, and too damn old for losing your shit, I get it. I feel for you, so let me give you some advice. Start watching porn, and lots of it, but stop fapping off to it, build that sexual tension up till your ready to ravage your woman. Don’t stop there, invest in some Popsicle sticks and flesh colored band-aids to prop up your junk. Now just before you’re ready to make your move, clear your mind, get in the mood, mediate on all the possible penis pumps that are on the market. Now, if none of this works, not to worry big guy, there’s plenty of tequila to go around, and spending the next 40 years without an erection ain’t a bad thing, it’s just not a normal thing, so do a shot to celebrate your difference.

Don’t forget,

I’ve got a website, Rob Paxton

and a YouTube channel.

Life as Chaos

My world, my life is chaotic, consisting of my elderly, failing mother, a son with Schizophrenia, and a younger son struggling with life in general. Social workers, doctors, psychiatrists, group homes, nurses, therapy workers, court officers all populate my contacts and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t engage some of them. Some days, it’s overbearing and at the end of such a day, I’ll lay my head  on my pillow, stare at my ceiling, engulfed in despair and pity, and wonder how I’ll survive.

Then I awake, coffee in hand, and come across a story about a young woman suffering with Cystic Fibrosis, and suddenly my problems seem minuscule in the scheme of life. I’m struck with an awareness there’s still room in my heart for others, to feel for others, and that has to be a good thing.

But there’s something else. Envy, maybe. I have friends whose lives are picture perfect, their children excel in school, their health is good, their world good and I often wonder if it all comes down to the flip of some cosmic coin? I don’t know, but I do know this, I read a story about a Claire Wineland and her daily fight for her life, I find myself strangely contemplative about our lives, thinking that there’s something more to all the suffering, the pain, that amid all the chaos, there are ties that bind us all together, regardless of what side of that coin flips for you. You deal with what comes your way, you fight to retain your empathy for others, because we’re all in this together.