Save Your Prayers For The Living

angry-godThey profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

Titus 1:16


Your prayers are useless. Your prayers are insulting, always coming after the fact and as an afterthought. Want to pray? Pray for a change, pray there are no more victims of gun violence, pray the NRA becomes known as a criminal enterprise, and pray Congress finds their heart and starts to do something to change the vicious and violent nation we live in. Then when you get off your sanctimonious knees find your heart and demand change, do something, take action.

I am tired of it all. Aren’t you?

I am weary as hell of turning on the news and seeing another mass murder, another report of a school, church, theater or mall shot up and dozens dead. I am mind numb with the senseless death 11202102_486110584889188_3832410922166378229_nin every city, of the thousands of our youth, lying on cold streets in pools of their own blood. I am shattered by the number of guns bought and sold daily in this nation without a single thought to how they will be used, without a background check or any other validation or identification. I am stunned that we still can’t do even the simplest of things, a national background check versus what we have today the useless state by state checks that allow for loophole after loophole to be casually meandered through by those who would do grave harm.

I am exhausted by the excuses presented by the media, government Representatives and of course those spokespersons for the gun manufactures the NRA, for why yet another mass killing has happened.  Everything from ‘Beta Male Syndrome’, just what the hell is this anyway? Boys don’t feel they are getting enough female attention so they buy guns and blow shit up?  To the random, mental health issues; okay everyone has a bit of crazy these days. Then we have the easy to identify, my wife left me so I am going to kill her and everyone else around her, there are a few of these. Of course, we have the failing to make the grade so let me kill those professors and students who might be better than me. Finally we have the just plain old racist, bigot assholes who think there is a need to kill those ‘not like them’ out of what, fear and hate.

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The face of the mass murder from 1984 to today

It isn’t getting better, it is getting worse. This ignorance, the pure unhealthy love affair this nation has with violence is making our small bit of this world a terrible place to live and to raise our children. From mass murders in theaters, churches, classrooms and malls to the random murders on the streets; it is getting worse. Fear and violence, children lying dead, by the hand of a parent, classmate, cop or random drive-by. Truly does it matter how a child dies? I can tell you it doesn’t matter to the parents who must search for a small casket to bury that child.

Your prayers are useless. Who needs or wants your prayers? Surely, though they might be polite and thank you, not those who are left behind. Not those who must bury their beloved family members, their children, siblings or spouses because some asshole with access to a guns and more rounds of ammunition than a platoon needs on maneuvers decided today was the day they would kill human beings. Not the walking wounded who must live every single day with the nightmares and physical results of the shots fired by a random stranger or loved one, who must face their changed circumstances and the even in some cases their shortened life expectancy, not because of their poor choices but because they were in the were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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Your offer to pray for any of us, yes us, without action is an insult. If I hear one more person tell the victims of gun violence they are praying I believe I will scream.

For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

James 2:26

Let me help, please let me help your understanding if there is any confusion at all. Guns have no purpose but to kill. Killing is the only purpose of a gun. Don’t try to make it out to be anything other than what it is, those who want to paint lovely pictures about skeet shooting, range shooting and target shooting need to step off, you only do this so you are better killers with guns. Guns, allDomestic-Violence-9Women-1_Meme-noURL guns from the smallest ladylike pistol to the biggest cannon have one single purpose, to kill; whether killing people or animals for food. Guns are designed to kill as efficiently as possible, depending on their design they kill one thing or have the potential to kill many things with a single pull of the trigger. Guns are tools of murder and destruction, this is their single and only purpose. They cannot be compared to anything else, nothing else at all. I have seen in social media guns compared to many other things over the years as the debate for gun control rages, let me try to set the record straight:

Cars ≠ Guns

Knives ≠ Guns

Baseball Bats ≠ Guns

Explosives ≠ Guns

Fire ≠ Guns

Poison ≠ Guns

Water ≠ Guns

Narcotics ≠ Guns

Hammers ≠ Guns

All of the above have been cited as things people use to kill with, things people would use to kill with if they didn’t have access to guns. This is true, these are all things you might use to kill another human being with if you didn’t have access to a gun or guns. The difference between these things and guns? All of the above have a purpose other than to kill another living creature, all have a reason to exist, yes even poison has a purpose other than to kill a living creature, in some cases it is to kill weeds in your yard, in some cases it is to alleviate pain. It is impossible to make the argument that guns and any of the above are in any way, shape or form equal any of the above they are not.

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Save your prayers, they are useless pandering. Save your tears, they are frankly too damn late.

Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.

Psalms 34:13

Three Dangerously Blind Mice

Rottenecards_3711530_xd6br5b52tSpice is nice but Incest is Best’.

If they are going to do this rather sick and nasty act, I just wish they wore protection.

You know, put a raincoat on, prevent conception. Do not under any circumstance visit the products of their choice to keep it in the family on the rest of us.


Next up on the hit parade I have the triplets of ignorance and religious strife. Christian stupidity at its best or worst as the case may be. If ever there was ever a case for Atheism it would be these three.

Kim (the law doesn’t apply to me) Davis, Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk and self-elected martyr to the cause of civil rights denial.

Mike Huckabee, GOP Presidential Candidate without a clue, past Governor of Arkansas and Baptist Minister.dangerousmice

Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz, GOP Presidential Candidate, Junior Senator from Texas, immigrant, Pentecostal Bible Thumper, Tea Party Rabble Rouser, Government Hater and Shut Down Organizer.

These three on the surface seem to not have much in common other than their God Love and in the case of Huckabee and Cruz their pursuit of the highest office of the land, but in fact they have far more in common than not. Let me explain.

All three believe the Constitution is not the ‘Law of the Land’ and should be ignored when it doesn’t align with their worldview. All three believe a Dominion doctrine that places literal Biblical interpretation above secular law of the land. All three believe their religious ‘rights’ trump your and my legal and civil rights, every single time and without recourse. Were it within their power we would all be living under a Christian Taliban, believe me it would look very much like the most conservative Middle Eastern country under Muslim Theocratic rule, democracy would be thrown to the curb along with Civil Rights.

All three believe the following based on their version of Biblical Law:

  • Women should not have access to Reproductive Healthcare or Abortion, Constitution be damned
  • Marriage is between a Man and Women only, Constitution be damned
  • Keep Christian God in the Public Sphere, Constitution be damned

As to that third troublesome bullet, they also believe this nation was founded by Christians was designed to be a Christian Nation for Christians. They are clearly without a foundation in history. Ignorance can be corrected with education however, one must be willing to learn, these three are without a willingness to learn, clearly. These buffoons are ignorance personified, their desperate need for attention at any cost, certainly at the cost of other peoples civil rights is frightening.

All three are now or have been in the past elected officials. Think about that; give that a moment to sink in. These are elected officials who would refuse to grant civil rights to you or I simply based on our gender, our sexual orientation, or religious affiliation or lack thereof. These elected officials would refuse you or I access to health care, this is especially true if you are a woman in need of reproductive healthcare up to and including abortion even to save your life. While you may not agree with abortion, it is the Law of the Land that I have access to it, that it is my choice and that it is none of your damn business.

Mike has real issues with women and their reproductive healthcare.

Rafael Cruz and Reverend Huckabee both believe women shouldn’t be paid equally, do not have the right to demand equality in the workplace. Both believe women have a place in society, at home bearing and raising babies. This of course flies in the face of the fact Rafael’s wife worked quite lucratively for Goldman Sachs, I suppose it only applies when it is the rest of us.

Just in case we need any further reminder of the absolute and utter ignorance of the good Reverend Huckabee, this Presidential Candidate believes that Dred Scott remains the Law of the Land. Yes, he truly believes this, forgetting amendments 13-15 which fully undid that ugly piece of our judicial history. But you know, why learn about the Constitution when it doesn’t suit you, kinda like picking and choosing which parts of the Bible you will apply; right?

While Kim Davis is making $80K being a twat and not doing her job. This weekend she will be receiving the “Cost of Discipleship” Award at the Values Voters Summit, sponsored by the Family Research Council. Yes, them also known as FRC and listed as a Hate Group by the ACLU for their frequent attacks on the LGBTQ community (oh big shock there) and others this is the primary sponsor of the Value Voters Summit. This is where Rafael and Mike, along with all the other clowns from the GOP the clown car will gather this weekend to see Kim receive her award for standing for her principles to collect her government check while denying the Civil Rights of the citizens of Rowan County.

While I could likely write thousands of more words about these three throwbacks to another time, I will stop here with the simple comment; not only do I wish their parents had worn protection, barring this I wish the education they disdain had sunk in and truly I wish they had not bred either. It is truly unfortunate they are training up another generation of hate filled, biased, ignorant bigots.

A little of what Rafael thinks the problem is.

Rome burns. These pseudo Christians hold the lighter and fiddle while the cinders smolder. We are doomed if we don’t open the floodgates and drown them all soon.

Don’t Be An Asshole

OpEdI have been thinking a great deal, about what is wrong with the world, specifically what is wrong with these United States of America. The list grows longer every single day, doesn’t it? Really, look around you and there simply aren’t enough minutes in the day to list everything that is wrong, just here, just in this nation so it is utterly impossible to look across the globe and start listing out what is wrong in the world. The strange thing is, when you start unraveling what is wrong with the world much of what unwinds ends up on a spool right here, right back in this little tiny country we call ‘USA’. Strange how that works, isn’t it?

We are rich, even in natural resources we are rich. Yet, it seems we are not rich enough we want more, we want what everyone else has too. We will murder and pillage, we will send our young to die just so we can steal what others have. Our leaders have absolutely no problem lying to us, time and again, sending us to war for the sole purpose of stealing what others have. It seems we never have enough.

We are mostly healthy, though we don’t care for our health very well. Yet, we want everyone to be less healthy than us and to pay more for their health than we do. Damn them if they pay less, we will find something wrong, we will apply the dreaded ‘Socialism’ word to their system and turn up our noses at their successful solutions. We are more than happy when we see plagues in other poor nations; this pleases us to no end. We can feel greater, pointing our fingers and sending some advice along with our condolences. We will spend millions keeping our own people sick, poor and without access to healthcare, medicine and proper nutrition. I suppose I must revise my original statement, we are truthfully a sick nation.

We are a nation of immigrants; our history is one of immigration, waves of immigration from all over the world, both voluntary and involuntary. Our entire history is steeped in bloody battles Murrieta-Immigration-Proetestof migration, whether willing or unwilling each surge of new feet on the ground in this land brought with them culture, language, knowledge and strength. Each wave brought new blood, new worldviews, new cultural norms to merge into what was already here. Each new surge also brought a new focus of hatred, though some have stayed with us while others over time have assimilated into the ‘White’ standard of ‘like us’ and thus ‘good’.

We are a nation that prides ourselves on our decency, our democracy, our record of civil rights, our education system, our freedom and even our diversity. Now there is a list that should make you throw up in your mouth just a little bit. As a nation we have spawned more hate groups and homegrown terrorists than I can count with both hands and feet, we have government representatives working hard every day to strip from our citizens the right to vote, agencies infringing on the freedoms of citizens to live without fear and practice the faith. Our education systems are failing, from pre-K straight through our university, which only the wealthy can afford. Civil Rights, I am surprised we know what these are anymore, with our prisons full and private industries taking them over for profit and diversity is something we talk about, not something we practice.

I am glossing over the deep sickness in this nation. We have a cancer, one that is grown and is frankly malignant. The GOP presidential candidates are the embodiment of what is wrong with this nation. They are not an embarrassment; they are an indictment of us all. That we allowed any of them to survive, let alone thrive, rising to the top condemns us all.


Here is my cure, don’t be an asshole.

It is that simple and starts with each of us.

Don’t be an asshole and don’t let your friends or neighbors be assholes. Don’t turn away, don’t stay silent, start speaking up and demanding better.

When you see someone acting like an asshole in the store, say something. If you don’t, you are contributing to the problem.

When your city council plans on doing something that will destroy green spaces, go to the meeting, speak up. If you don’t you are contributing to the problem.

When your school board is going to do something that will harm the children of your community, even if you don’t have children, speak up. If you don’t you are contributing to the problem.

When you state representative says something that is insulting, racist, sexist or otherwise egregious; speak up don’t let him / her get away with it. If you don’t you are contributing to the problem.

The list goes on, whether it is local or not, don’t be an asshole. Say something. Engage in the community. The only way we change the course of the nation is we become active members of the community large and small. The only way we stop the crazy is if we demand better of ourselves and those around us.

So that is my new motto, even when it is hard to do otherwise, DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE. Even when circumstances may call for it, I am going to try hard to not be an asshole.Kickm

This does not mean you can’t meet idiocy and ignorance head-on. It doesn’t mean you can’t meet prejudice, foolishness and stupidity with intellectual force, which in some cases may appear to be assholishness. All it means, this ‘don’t be an asshole’ movement I am attempting to start, is don’t add to the terrible in the world by being one without warrant or cause.

I hope you will join me, maybe if enough of us decide to speak up when we see bad and work to do good, maybe we can turn this descent into utter chaos around.



The storm rumbles above

Menacing on far horizons

White capped waves roll ashore

Erasing my presence with each crash

I stretch towards jagged lightening

The wind scourges me clean

Pushes me towards the unknown

As it pulls me from all I was

Away from you, from your grip

I am drifting above the vortex

Spotless, with only a memory of pain

Doors slam behind me, audible and shattering

Ahead tinged with pinks and gold

Futures call my many names

A demand I choose

How can I elect just one of the many

The Protector, the Provider, the Lover

Who will step forward to Be

As silken chains fall from me into the maelstrom

I become nomadic a drifter

Just me, my monsters

My memory, which is gentler

Than you were



Need, Want & Nature

Everyone wants something; it is our nature I suppose, to want things outside of ourselves. We start as infants being dependent on others, wanting little more than to be sustained in our needs, including being safe, clean, fed and touched. As we mature so do our needs, though truthfully it is really how we fulfill these needs that change rather than the needs themselves. With maturity our core personality come into play so some of our needs might also be more or less at play, specifically the need for touch and safety may be very different for each of us.

I didn’t start with need though, did I? I started with want, I wonder can we entirely separate want from need in all cases? Is it possible some of our wants, our desires are so intimately tied to our basic needs; they truly are what we need to sustain our lives in some form that is both sane and comforting. Is it possible, where we started with basic needs though they change in their make-up, change in how we express them do not in truth change all that much at all.

I want shoes, frequently I see them in a store, on-line or even on another woman’s foot and think, damn I want those. I don’t need them, in fact left to my own devices I am frequently barefoot much to the dismay of the poor young woman who does my weekly pedicure.

I want never to have grey hair, never to have a single strand of grey show on my head. It is unreasonable to want this. It is also unrealistic, nonetheless I want it and I want it forever and ever, amen.

I want to stop the world, now. I want off the merry-go-round and round. I want to stop being jerked around and pulled by my heartstrings by people who don’t truly have my best interests at heart.

I want to stop leading with my heart. I want to stop wearing my heart on the outside of my chest where it is easily the most vulnerable, easily hurt and easily sliced and diced.

I want to stop being taken for rides, where I am the amusement, the shipwreck and the battlefield.

I want to stop pretending it is fine, that all is good, that I feel good about paying the bill when it is presented. It isn’t fine, it isn’t all good. I don’t mind paying my fair share, I don’t mind going dutch now and then, in fact, I think this might be fair. Splitting the bill down the middle, compromising seems only fair and right. So why isn’t this happening? Am I too fast to say, ‘don’t worry, I don’t mind you beating the living shit out of me, I will take care of whatever it is so long as you have what you need or want.’tumblr-broken-heart-photography-broken-heart-3-by-mv79-on-deviantart--photos

I want to come first; every now and then, I want to be first. I want someone to think of me and my needs and put me and them first. Not all the time mind you, that would be selfish; but, every once in a while I want to be first. Not, how bad can I make her feel. Not what can I get from her today. Not how can I make her pay for what I want today, but instead, ‘how can I make her day better.’

I want my safety, my heart, my sanity, my health to be important to someone. Not as a secondary thought after they have considered everything they want and need, but as the first thing they consider when thinking of what is important. I don’t want to be more important, I just want to be as important. My ex use to say to me, ‘if we are ever confronted by a person with a gun I will not stand in front of you, I will tell you to run baby run.’ He thought that was funny, I never did. Now, not only do I think it was unfunny, I think it was sad I stayed in a marriage for so long with someone who placed himself and his own safety so far above mine, you see he wasn’t joking.

I want to feel protected, safe and valued. Not for what I can do for you but for the content of me. I want for anyone who has ever said to me, ‘I love you’ to actually show me by their actions rather than say the words. Words, they have little meaning if they are not backed up with acts of care, compassion, empathy and a giving heart. Don’t tell me you will do something, don’t make promises you have no intention of keeping. Stop stripping me down to nothing left.


I want someone to hear me. Just listen and hear me. I want them to hear the tears in my voice when I am lonely. I want them to hear me screaming when my skin is on fire from the lack of loving touch. I want them to hear me when I say; I miss being held in the night. I want them to understand this isn’t an invitation; it is simply reaching out to be heard.

I am tired of trying to do everything myself. I am tired of paying the bill when presented. My body is tired, my heart is worn out, my soul is shriveling into itself. I didn’t think I would have to work this hard, maybe I don’t, maybe I simply won’t anymore.

Our wants and our needs, though sometimes they are the same; to be safe, to be clean, to be fed and to be touched. Perhaps we simply need to learn to adjust our expectations. Certainly, I am learning this is what I must do, it seems I am enough to pay the bill when presented but not enough for much more.

I Knew You


I heard your voice

You whispered be still

My blood roared in my veins

Rushing to the surface

Heating my skin with longing

I sensed your breath

You blew gently first

I stilled as commanded

Melting as our breath tangled

I felt your fingertips

You stroked down my center

My own breath caught

Held in wait for you

I recognized your desire

Matching my own

Winding silk ribbons between us

Unbridled passion pulsing

I knew you

Reached for you

Welcomed you in my darkness

Bound you to me



Juxtaposition Shots Fired

OpEdThe State of Texas informed me a few days ago one of my shooters was re-entering the Parole system, no he hasn’t been granted parole he is simply being considered. I don’t know how I feel about this, I am processing my reaction. I know how people think I should feel, hell I know how I think I should feel, but I have changed, my heart is heavy as I consider my response.

Then, a few days ago, I read this, by Jeff Winbush who I greatly admire. I realized while reading this piece about the mistrial of Randall Kerrick, just how truly great the chasm sometimes is.

When I was carjacked, shot three times and left in the street for dead I was scared. There is no other way to describe my feelings, I was afraid. I did not know how I was going to survive what could have been fatal wounds. I did the best I could; I staggered to the nearest home late at night and pounded on their front door. The couple was older, they didn’t open the door, they told me to go away. There was nowhere for me to go, I couldn’t go further, I slid down their wall and in tears begged them to call 911. Nothing more, just call 911. Once again, they told me to go away; they didn’t want to be involved. At that point, I was so afraid but I was angry too how could anyone turn his or her backs on another human being in need? I didn’t understand, my only response too what seemed a terrible cruelty, ‘I am not going anywhere, you will have to explain a dead woman on your front porch tomorrow if you don’t call 911 now.’

I sat, waiting to die. I didn’t know if they were going to call. Holding the tourniquet, I had made and wrapped around my neck, feeling my warm blood as it dripped through my fingers, I talked to the universe. The one thing I was not afraid of was the police, I knew if they appeared I was not in danger, I knew if they were called and saw me sitting on the porch of these strangers home their instinct would be to help me, they would not see me as a threat.  I knew, if they rolled up on me they would not do so with guns drawn, screaming for me to get on the ground. I knew if the police were called they would help me, it would be foremost on their mind, to save my life.images (8)

My unwilling hosts must have weighted their options, they made the call. I heard the sirens in the distance and shortly thereafter, the blue lights of police and rescue cars rolled up the street. I was surrounded by men in blue whose first concern was my life and well-being. Could I talk, could I tell them what happened came after. How I got to that house, that porch came as I was laying on the gurney. I told them only part of the truth, not that I had to ask more than once for them to be called, only that I had been shot elsewhere and how far I thought I had walked. I didn’t understand until weeks later why they didn’t want to be involved, why they wanted me to ‘go away’. Even with my intellectual understanding, it would be years before I let go of my fury at their disregard for my life.

This brings me to the juxtaposition of my experience and the mis-trial of Randall Kerrick. If you don’t know who Randall Kerrick is, or why he is on trial I would suggest reading Jeff’s piece that I linked above, or this piece also by Jeff, but in short.

Jonathan Ferrell_zps6diudjvmOn September 14, 2013 Johnathan Ferrell, 24, had a car accident in the middle of the night. He crawled out of his car and made his way to a home where he tried to ask for help. The homeowner, after seeing a disheveled and bloody young black man on her porch immediately calls 911 and asks for assistance. When the police arrive things go from bad to worse, there doesn’t seem to be a point in time where the police attempt to discern if Johnathan is a threat, instead there is simply an assumption he is. First, as he runs toward them, likely because he is injured and needs help there is an attempt to Taser him when the Taser fails to discharge, Randall Kerrick fires his weapon, not once, not twice but ten times. Excessive? Absolutely.

Does anyone but me see the difference in response? I don’t believe it is getting worse, I believe it has always been this way, the difference is we are seeing it more now, hearing about it more now. We are becoming more aware and having to face just how truly unequal our entire system is. The push back on the demand for equality is both fascinating and heartbreaking. The fear that if we acknowledge indeed Black Lives Matter, we somehow are saying other lives do not yet for centuries we have said through our actions Black Lives Matter Less. How can we now demand inclusion in a movement of recognition?

The other day I saw this and thought it a perfect explanation of what is happening to the conversation, yet was saddened it had to be said.


The last question is important, why are we having these misunderstandings? Why aren’t we able to reach common ground, accept there is a problem and begin to work toward solutions together? What is it about our national psyche that forces us to demand there be winners and losers, rather than all of us working toward common good. Why do we continue to hate ‘other’?

I do not ask these questions rhetorically; rather I ask them because they deserve answers. I look at the very real difference I as a white woman am treated by the police and the way in which Sandra Bland, a black woman was recently treated by the police leading to her death in custody, these questions demand answers. I consider the ‘arrest’ and death of Walter Scott in South Carolina in comparison to the extraordinary protections taken in the arrest of Dylann Roof, these questions demand answers. I watch the press and many others with voices smooth over the actions of Dylann Roof, calling him a troubled youth, but jumping on the horrific actions of Vester Flanagan as a Racist Hate Crime, I wonder why do we allow these definitions to stand.11951145_476709872503362_4356076426194746518_n

When do we all start to truly question the systems that keep us apart, keep us from building the necessary bridges toward true freedom and real power. When will we realize it is time for us to find common cause, common ground.

I stare at the letter from the State of Texas, I have the right to respond. I have the right to speak to the Parole Board, through a letter, on the phone or in person. I have done so every time one of my shooters has been up for parole. Three years ago, both of them made parole and both of them were back inside within 120 days. My heart has changed a great deal in twenty-three years, my understanding of the world changed too. I don’t know how I feel anymore, I don’t know if I want to demand more of my pound of flesh in retribution for my pain. I don’t know anymore if I am being vengeful or if my heart simply won’t let go.

I do know my experience is a very different one than that of Sandra Bland, Johnathan Ferrell, Walter Scott and the thousands of others. I also know there is something inherently wrong that needs to be corrected.

My Breath


You took my breath and held it

Pressing me down

Stretching me tight

Gravity pulls and pulses

Across a sapphire sky

Of brilliance and diamonds

Whispers of wind bend me

Drawing out an arc

Of whispered need, want

Demands for air, my breath

Returned to me

Along with mercy



Chelsea Manning Faces Indefinite Solitary Confinement for Possessing Toothpaste and Magazines


In all cases, whether we agree or disagree with the act, we have to consider justice.

Originally posted on The Progressive Cynic:

© Josh Sager – August 2015

Apparently, the US government is not done making an example of whistleblower Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning. Today, Manning’s lawyers revealed that their client is facing numerous “disciplinary” infractions and a hearing on Tuesday will decide whether she is sent to solitary confinement, possibly for the duration of her sentence.


Remembering Manning’s “Crime”

Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison in August of 2013 after being convicted of 20 different charges related to her leaking of classified information. Her leaks blew the whistle on a variety of bad acts committed by the military during the Iraq and Afghanistan war, including an incident where American soldiers opened fire on unarmed journalists from a helicopter. Additionally, she exposed that the estimated “civilian casualty” numbers being publicized by the US government was intentionally falsified to conceal just how many non-combatants our military had killed.

Obviously, these leaks…

View original 799 more words

Intersections of Power

OpEdThursday, 6-August-2015 we celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the Voters Rights Act. One of the cornerstones of Civil Rights in this nation, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson and reauthorized by President Richard Nixon in 1970, President Ronald Reagan, President Gerald Ford in 1975, President Ronald Reagan 1982, President George H.W. Bush in 1992 and last but not least President George W. Bush in 2006. It is important to note, all re-authorizations were with full support of both houses of Congress. Another important note, all US Presidents to extend the Voters Rights Act were Republicans.

The first of the GOP debates has taken place, sponsored by the infamous Roger Ailes and his propaganda machine Fox. It is important to note, not a single one of the candidates whether at the kiddie table or the Big Show supports the extension of the Voters Rights Act. Not one single one of them supports the right of all members of society to vote. In fact, those who are in a position to do so, or have been in the past have actively sought to restrict voter access through any means possible including; Voter ID laws, voter roll purges, early closing of polling places and other actions that would restrict voter access. Interesting isn’t it, though the laws have been coming into play for years, they didn’t reach the stridency or full on war against the ‘other’ until the election of this President, who represented everything they feared and hated, specifically the ceding of power to ‘other’.

The loss of White Male Power, had finally come to pass in a big damned way with the election of Barack Obama. It couldn’t be avoided any longer, it was in their face and up their nose; White Men no longer could rely on the ignorance of the citizen to keep them in power, there was a change in the air and something had to be done and by any means necessary. The first thing was Congressional action, without the consent of Congress this President was going to have a hard Presidency and the GOP had met and agreed, they would oppose this President at every turn.

To understand where we are as a nation, why it feels worse than ever before in our lifetime it is important to look at historical context. This is not the first time the backlash of the White Male tumblr_mdcctdnb471r4fn52o1_500Power Structure has risen up to retrieve authority and supremacy in this nation. In fact, it is fairly easy to trace the roots of racism, defined by institutional structures including Economic, Educational, Opportunity and even movement. Look at the historical intersections and how those in power created the great divide between people who should be banded together rather than fighting each other.

  • Until 1676, there were both African and European ‘slaves’ in the New World. Though the European ‘slaves’ were indentured for a set period they were treated no better than African slaves and frequently never lived to see their freedom. The Bacon Rebellion of 1676 saw the burning of Jamestown, Virginia and with it a new thinking by the ‘ruling’ class regarding their servants / slaves. New laws were created to separate the poor whites, whether indentured servants or free whites from the African whether Freeman or slave to prevent them from forming alliance in the future. These laws created the three (3) tier class system with the African at the bottom, the landowner at the top and all other White Men in the middle. This is considered, by many scholars, the beginning of institutional racism, along with the rule of law called Partus Sequitur Ventrem which means status followed the mother rather than the father, a distinct change to previous British common law.
  • For one hundred and eighty nine years (189) things went along swimmingly for slaveholders, the ‘Masters’ of all they surveyed and those who benefited from the status quo without recognizing their benefits. With the end of the Civil War the South entered into the period of Reconstruction, it wasn’t long from 1865 to 1877. This period saw the passage of the 13th, 14thand 15th Amendments which Abolished Slavery, Granted Black Men the Right to Vote and Prohibited the Federal and State governments from denying a citizen the right to vote based on their Color, Race or previous condition of servitude.
19th century illustration via New York Public Library Digital Collection

19th century illustration via New York Public Library Digital Collection

  • The period of Reconstruction was short-lived; the loss of power by those who previously held all the power was not to be tolerated. Reconstruction led to backlash including the first KKK, the White League and Red Shirts, the first true home-grown terrorists, intent on preserving White Supremacy at all costs including violence against any they considered race traitors or those they considered uppity, their previous slaves. The true backlash though was the institution of the Black Codes and Jim Crow Laws throughout the South, including laws to disenfranchise the new Black voter from exercising their right to vote; Poll Taxes, Literacy Tests, Comprehension Tests, Residency and Record Keeping requirements (sound familiar?). While these laws disenfranchised poor whites as well, grandfather clauses allowed them to remain on the rolls, keeping those who should have found common cause apart once again.

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  • The Jim Crow period ushered in a new age of poverty and peonage. The Black Codes created a free labor force, empowering the police to arrest Black Men and Women for the slightest infraction, imprisoning them for long periods to forced labor for ‘loitering’ or ‘vagrancy’. For one hundred years, until 1964 and the passing of the Civil Rights Act, the Black family in America was segregated from active participation in American Life.
  • It was in 1954 though, with the SCOTUS decision of Brown vs. Board of Education the US saw the next rise of official terrorism and White Supremacy with the institution of the Citizens Councils aka The White Citizens Councils, across the southern states. Many state legislators, mayors and other influential White citizens were members of the Citizen Council, which met openly and whose entire agenda was the ongoing disenfranchisement and segregation of the American Black. Though usually their tactics were economic intimidation, they were not above violence when it suited them. During the last half of the 1950’s the Council produced children’s school books claiming heaven was segregated. They also opened and supported private segregated schools, some of which are still in operation today.

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These things have run in waves, fear and fear mongering is the red meat thrown out into the yard by those who know exactly how to keep the populace in line, keep them filled with hate of ‘other’. Now we have a more sophisticated model, the 24 hour news cycle but the message remains the same, hate those who are ‘not like you’, fear those who are ‘not like you’.

Do you see the pattern emerging? The prison industrial complex, the militarized police force, the systematic killing of Black men and women on the streets of every city in this nation without repercussion. Do you see a pattern emerge, when there is even a slight power shift and the election of Barack Obama was certainly that, those who define their supremacy based on race have risen up again through organized terrorism, the Tea Party is one example, another is the rise in membership of White Power / Segregationist groups such as Council of Conservative Citizens.

“I want my country back!”

The cry of those who feel the loss of power. We must ask where do they want to take us back too, from whom do they want it back from? The structures of institutional racism have been well established for centuries, each time we begin to break them those with the most power and the most to lose tighten their hold, we let it happen by not rising up and fighting back hard enough. By not understanding our own history and seeing the emerging patterns.

I don’t want my country back; I want my country to progress, to move forward. That is what I want.

Next, inter-sectional and women in the public domain.

All media licensed under Fair Use via Google or Wikimedia.


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