Be Damned

The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church sits at 110 Calhoun St. in Charleston, S.C.

The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church sits at 110 Calhoun St. in Charleston, S.C.

I am incapable of words to express my sorrow or my fury. I am at a loss where to begin to express my deep empathy for the families of those who were lost, the survivors, all victims of a terrible hate crime, a horrifying act of violence. I find I am at a loss at how to express my compassion for those left behind to survive the terrible repercussions of violence.

Where do you even begin?

Do we start with the grief that we have not risen from the past but instead nurture hate so closely it drives some among us to walk into places of worship and indiscriminately murder innocent people. How do we battle this cultural nightmare, this disease that continues to feast on heart, decimate soul and destroy future?

We did this, yes when I say we I am specific in my calling out. We, White Folks, those of us with the privilege of being born with skin the color of moonlight. Those of us who check the box, ‘Caucasian’,  or ‘White’ on the Census and all the other forms through our lives, we did this. It is ours, we own it and we have owned it from the first slave sold in this nation. From the Three-fifths Compromise to Dredd Scott, from Jim Crow to Separate but Equal and everything before, after and in between. Every step along the way, White People in power worked to keep those they considered ‘different’ and ‘less than’ powerless. Through economic, educational and justice policies, we have divided this nation’s people into cultural classes that not coincidently aligned along racial-color lines, keeping Black, Brown, White in their separate and unequal lanes.

Now, in this century, in this decade and after the election of the first Black President the hate and fear, the true ugliness of racism has risen like a phoenix from the ashes of political correctness and the result has been truly terrible to witness. Fear and fury rose up from the White community, from the dirt floor of the poorest house in the Appalachians to the polished marble floors of Congress, White Men rose up in protest at the Black Man in the White House. It was terrible to see, but we turned away. We shrugged our shoulders and said, ‘these are not the norm, these are the minority’. We did nothing, said nothing, demanded nothing be changed nothing be confronted.

Worse than the rising up has been our acceptance of this ‘new normal’. We see it, we witness the horror of violence, we turn away. We justify our apathy with, ‘but it isn’t me, I am not a racist’. We11164745_892454580813961_4783942740135091392_n watch in horror as another act of violence is carried out, another unarmed black man, woman or child is beaten or killed by police or civilians but we do nothing except perhaps wring our hands and pretend we don’t understand why. We listen to the nuanced language, the media spin trying to justify the horror show of murderous rampages by white thugs, whether cops or civilians, against those they deem unworthy of life, liberty, freedom and the pursuit of happiness in the land their ancestors helped to build in chains. We pretend we don’t see it, we forget within the next news cycle.

The state of South Carolina flies the Confederate flag, a symbol of all that is wrong, a symbol of traitors who fought to maintain the status quo of enslaving human beings. The Sons of the Confederacy can whitewash and bullshit all they like, can cry their tears of states’ rights, liberty and freedom as the driving factors of their ancestor’s reasons for secession from the lawful government and their own reason for continuing to worship the Stars & Bars. We should pull that scab off the wound that was the Civil War, demand the history books be revised to tell the truth and call those who would say otherwise damned liars. The war of secession was fought  to keep human beings enslaved and preserve a way of life for wealthy White men and women who did not wish to give up their privilege. The majority who died fighting in that war were poor, ignorant and fearful, they were convinced if the slaves were freed they would be displaced, their women would be raped and their jobs taken. The language of the traitors was eerily similar to those of the Tea Party today, hauntingly analogous to many of those who would be President.

“Government Overreach”

10407515_10203057948409525_2425821899359663210_n“Preservation of Constitutional Values”

“Preserving Liberty and Freedom”

Yes, familiar rhetoric isn’t it. The hubris of those who would preserve a way of life built upon the blood and misery of others is exceeded only by the ignorance necessary to believe the lies. The amount of money spent to divide us, keep us separate, maintain the horror of racism and ignorance exceeds the budgets of some nations, yet we allow it to continue without rising up. We, owe ourselves better than this, better than more blood, more hate, more division based on ignorance. We must demand a change, an accounting; we must say no more.

We, each of us with the privilege of our Whiteness intact must stand up and demand the same privilege for those not born with skin the color of moonlight. We must demand history books tell the truth of America, of slavery, of Jim Crow, of enslavement through poverty, miseducation, unequal justice and incarceration; we must demand an accounting and we must apologize for our own ignorance and blind acceptance of the lies we have told to preserve our own power. We must rise up and against hate and hate groups, we must stop turning away and instead call them what they are, Domestic Terrorists. We must demand an accounting of media that uses their power to criminalize Black victims while whitewashing even celebrating White murderers. We must begin to call things and people what they are, we must hold accountable those who refuse to do so.

We must stop giving a pass to any person who refuses to stand up and call out Hate Crimes and Racism for what they are. We must hold those who would lead to the highest standard and demand they call the nation towards healing, towards justice, towards equality and fairness. Those who will not stand up and call racism what it is, who will not call out their followers for their racist remarks and acts, they do not deserve leadership roles, certainly don’t deserve to be President.

Dead at the hands of a terrorist, racist thug.

Dead at the hands of a terrorist, racist thug.

We all need to start demanding better, doing better, teaching our children better and demanding of our leaders better than they are today. For the lives that have been lost, we need to give them names and bear witness to their tragedy. For those who took their lives, we need to give them no name but murderer, thug, terrorist we need to give them no excuse for their act but the one they gave, racism and hate.

Cynthia Hurd, 54

Depayne Middleton Doctor, 49 Myra Thompson, 59
Clementa Pinckney, 41 Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45 Susie Jackson, 87
Ethel Lee Lance, 70 Daniel L. Simmons Sr., 74

Tywanza Sanders, 26

Opinion: Washington Needs To Tell The Truth About Police Violence

valentinelogar:

It truly is time, until we begin to demand an accounting nothing will change. Perhaps it is easy to ignore the one-off, certainly seems this is the case. But when we start to see more people killed in the first half of the year in the US by police than in a decade in other nations, shouldn’t we start to demand change?

Originally posted on The Militant Negro™:

Mr MilitantNegro™ Jueseppi B Mr MilitantNegro™
Jueseppi B

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From The Washington Post By DeRay McKesson

Opinion: Washington needs to tell the truth about police violence

There have only been 9 days this year when the police have not killed somebody.

Some news outlets put the number as high as 500 dead in the past six months, according to both The Guardian and Killed by the Police.Net.The Washington Post’s own investigation showed nearly 400 dead as of the end of May.

We know these numbers because activists have searched tirelessly to find instances where the media has reported that someone was killed by police. Yes, newspaper articles are currently the most consistent source of information on nationwide police killings because police departments are not required to collect or report this information.

We live in the age of big data and analytics, yet we have no systematic way of collecting even the most elemental data…

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Don’t Ask Me

sad-angel-1

Don’t ask me to stop

Not today, when things are needed

Don’t ask me to be still

Not when the world spins

You are not here, when promised

Don’t ask me to peel away strengths

To forget who I am, who I fought to be

To feed your need to take care of me

I do not need to be taken care of

Not as I once thought I did

In yesterday’s fraught with fear and lies

Of living on my knees

I rose up through the filth

I fought through my monsters

Caging them in a perfect mind

Dancing with them to exhaustion

I rose up victorious even in pain

Don’t ask me to stop and wait

Don’t ask me to be less

Tell me instead you embrace my strength

Run to catch me, laughing in celebration

Signature

16 June 2015

Crawling Back

Linda1I crawled inside myself this year. Allowed myself the luxury of being, simply being without considering the affect my actions have on others. I have stretched my arms, touched the four walls and claimed them, mine, just mine. This time of my own has been healing, soul and spirit healing.

Most people who don’t know me well don’t realize I am by nature an introvert. Most people see the public side of me, the side that stands up and speaks to large crowds, that leads large teams, that hustles for work, hell that writes two blogs and interacts in social media forums daily and thinks that is the ‘real’ me.

Lately I have allowed the introvert control and it has been freeing. I have lived inside of my head, explored the landscape more intimately; it has been hard but liberating. I realized just how much over most of my adult life I have spent making others happy, doing for others, pleasing others, and taking care of others; all too often at my expense. Most of my adult life I suppressed my own needs, wants and desires so everyone around me got what they needed first, if there was something left that was what I got. Oddly, this was ground into me, as ‘natural’ and thus I never realized it was part of my unhappiness.

Living alone and inside of my head has let me see the entirety of my life to now without external inputs, without distractions.

Personality Type

There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to take care of others. Caring for others can be a source of pleasure, great joy even. A lack of selfishness can be a wonderful trait. I think I have both of these, I believe I am an unselfish person who naturally wishes to care for both those I love and my community. What I have come to realize though, is these traits can also be a source of pain and resentment where there is no balance, a fair exchange of power is critical though most of us do not think of power where our relationships are concerned.

The truth is power is at the core of our relationships whether love, family or friendship. Where we are not evenly yoked, balanced in our exchanges ultimately we fail to thrive. I suspect most of us don’t think of our relationships in these terms, we have all heard the term ‘evenly yoked’ when it comes to our marriages or love partnerships, but the truth all of our relationships are power based. I realized through this time of introspection how I failed within each of my relationships, whether parent, spouse or friend to balance power and allowed myself to grow in resentment or anger. I realized how I failed by not asking for what I needed.http://www.parsonsrocks.com/the-art-of-rock-balancing-with-photos/

Yes, the relationship might still have failed even had I asked. The truth is many of my relationships were toxic and were not going to change simply because I asked for something different, for something better than what existed at the time. The truth is, sometimes people are drawn to those they can hurt, drawn to those who are vulnerable. Sometimes relationships are established at birth, without early intervention they will not change and these have lasting effect. Friendships and love relationships though, these are different animals and we have different standards for them, at their core we are either balanced in our exchanges or miserable in our choices, I don’t think there is a middle ground.

For me, this has been a truth without realizing it.

I let myself settle into simply being me for most of this year, truly all of this year. I got through last year, through the divorce, through being scared spitless financially after nearly 6 months of unemployment and through a bad job choice and miserable work environment. Now even though I am still scared, barely recovering financially, struggling with pain issues and waking up some days to, ‘oh shit, what have I done’, when I think about the career move I have made, I realize I am beginning to find peace. By allowing myself the freedom to finally, for once in my entire adult life, put myself first I am finding peace.

Peace to choose what is needful, including fair and balanced exchanges of power with those who are in my life. Peace to ask for what I need from those who claim to love me, truthfully it is more than peace it is acknowledging I have a value that is sometimes greater than what I can give, that I am inherently of value. Recognizing I am perfectly good just as I am. My personal space, both externally and internally works for me and is built on strong foundations I do not have to modify it for the comfort of others unless I choose to do so.

alexander yakovlev, Dancer Portraits

alexander yakovlev, Dancer Portraits

I am also finding peace in acknowledging there is strength in asking for help. By crawling inside of my head and my heart, I have finally recognized strength and weakness. I have spent twenty-three years refusing to accept how damaged my body is, how many things I truly cannot or should not do. Living alone has seen me struggle with physical limitations, battle with what a ‘normal’ person might consider simple. I finally have had to accept there are things I shouldn’t or can’t do alone and have had to ask for help. It was hard at first, my pride was injured, ultimately I asked and no one turned me down. I was lifted up by their generosity of spirit.

So I crawled inside of myself, my natural introvert took over. I suspect I am going to allow my nature more time in control of my world in the future, I find I am happier this way. I have missed my interactions in the blogging world, but found I needed the time to find my footing again, find my voice and my spirit. Hopefully, now that I am finding a foundation of who I am I will begin more regular visits to you all once again and a more regular voice as well.

Citizens and Zealots, Wherefore

OpEdO Patriots and Christians, wherefore art thou claiming the name Patriot? If you will not defend others with the same vigor you defend your own, should they then turn away, accept the brutality, or are you instead forsworn.

When other US Citizens are denied their fundamental rights to worship, why are you not shouting from the steps of the Capital in their defense? When other US Citizens are denied employment because of they wear a hijab, why were your voices not lifted in fury. When Mosques are blocked by gun toting thugs in your name, why are you not demanding their terroristic actions be stopped?

The list goes on; the facts add up to one simple idea O Patriots and Christians. You are forsworn in your duty to your fellow Citizen, to the Constitution you claim to love; even to the God you claim to love.

Shall I tell you what brings me to this conclusion? Wherefore I am drawn toward these dark thoughts of my fellow man (and woman), my fellow citizen.

Freedom of Religion Restoration, yes several states in these United States believe it is important they provide the means for individuals within their borders to use religion to act out their fear, biasFFP and bigotry. Standing behind the Bible they can now refuse service to anyone they choose. Of course, this was intended to focus only on those who had the gall to demand entry into the circle of full enfranchisement of citizenship, the LBGT community but in fact these acts allow a Christian to claim their faith demands bigotry against all comers.

To be clear, those who have gleefully passed these acts; pandering to their Christian base have received the lashes they deserve from business especially. They have had to walk the language of their Restoration Bills back, disavowing their original intent. This is what happens when politicians run, without understanding the true history of this nation or the capitalism they profess to love, with a Bible stuck up their ass trying to Restore us to the Christian Nation we never were intended to be.

In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own. It is error alone that needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.

Thomas Jefferson, to Horatio G. Spafford, 1814

O Christians, who are so blinded by your own ignorance and righteous fear you would stand before other houses of worship, gun toting, sign waving and spewing messages of fear and hate. Wherefore art thou in thy ascension to heavenly favor so filled with anger? Where, pray tell is Sharia Law being applied to your daily life, that you must stand before a Mosque in the light of day images (4)and disrespect your fellow citizens, their faith and their places of worship? What gives you the right to show up with guns, signs and a cartoon contest in an attempt to spark another act of violence; then call those peaceful citizens the terrorist? You, yes you are the bad element in this scenario. You are not protecting the US from anything. You are not acting in good faith. You are not acting in accordance with the Bible or the Constitution you claim to love. You are the Thugs you are Christian Terrorists.

In our country are evangelists and zealots of many different political, economic and religious persuasions whose fanatical conviction is that all thought is divinely classified into two kinds – that which is their own and that which is false and dangerous.

Robert H. Jackson, American Communications Assn. v. Douds, 339 US 382, 438; 70 SCt. 674 704 (1950)

O Zealots, yea of Faith and Patriotism, where were you with signs waving and demands for religious freedom, when Samantha Elauf was denied a job at Abercrombie & Fitch for wearing hijab. Where were you when her religious freedom was denied? Did you stand up for her? Did you demand her rights be protected as your own? Or are her rights, as a Muslim woman somehow not as imagesimportant, not as due to her because of the God she worships. Did you know, Zealots and Patriots, her God is the same God you worship, the God of Abram, the God of the Old Testament, the God of David. Did you know, all you zealots you when you pray for the destruction of the other side, you pray to their God.

[5]And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
[6] But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
[7] But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
[8] Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

Jesus, Matthew 6:5-8

angry-godDo you think I rant? I do. I am ranting. SCOTUS did a good thing by sending the Elauf v. Abercrombie & Fitch case back down to the circuit courts for review. The problem though, it doesn’t end there. The real problem is there are still so many in this nation who truly believe they can hide behind the shield of their ‘faith’ their ‘religion’ to do terrible things. Only yesterday North Carolina passed bill that would allow public officials to refuse marriage licenses to anyone they disagree on moral grounds, that is based on their personal religious views. This despite the federal court striking down their anti-gay marriage laws. Now, a public official, sworn to uphold the law and the Constitution decides he/she doesn’t want to issue a license to a couple of different religions, of different races, of same gender based on their ‘sincerely held religious belief’ they are protected.

O Christians, O Zealots, wherefore art thou so ignorant of your own history and the book you stand so firmly upon. Shed the scales, remove the plank; join the rest of us in trying to make this a better world or be forsworn, truly.

Burning

images (1)

Stroke my skin with fire

Brand me with my own need

Sooth me with a touch

Fingertips, across chilled skin

Melt the ice encasing my heart

Lips silken on my breastbone

Tracing lines across unhealed wounds

Filling fissures with molten heat

Drawing poison up from depths

With a lash of braided leather

Caressing fears away as sighs deepen

The wild calls with plangent cries

The answering, release me, bring me

Enslave me, strokes your long banked fire

Signature

Over the Cliff

OpEdThe world spins and each of us finds our center of gravity based on many different inputs, different sources of information and values gathered throughout our lives. We come to our beliefs, our moral centers through our experiences, our families and our communities. We judge the world around us, what is happening, who is doing what to whom based on our own emotional response to what we see, as well as, what we are fed through the various sources of information we absorb (e.g. media, friends, family). Some of us, because of our experiences fall far away from where we started others of us never take a road less traveled; never stray far from the path our parents, even grandparents before us trudged down before us.

What is the impetus for those who take the branch in the road that takes us away from our roots? Do we see the world differently from those around us? Is our vision different from birth?

I know for me, I was always different from those around me. My beloved stepmother said to me once, I was exotic, not just in my looks but my mind was unfathomable. This combination made me an outsider within my family, as a child and an adult. Keeping in mind I was adopted at birth I wondered sometimes if ‘exotic’ thinking was a product of biology, this was often the subject of my second mother’s rages against me. Needless to say, I am the one who always sought the road less traveled, the path hidden in the brambles and ran toward it, barefoot and with bells on to find the clearing in the woods and all too often the monsters awaiting me. Oddly, even after meeting my first family I find myself at odds with many of them as well; my conclusion is I am simply a product of my own thinking, my own strange mind, a combination of experiences and how I have processed them over the years.

I suspect this might be true of most of us, which takes me to the reason for writing today. First let me say this, I am not a Christian. I do not subscribe to any formal religion. I have nothing against those that do, but have an enormous issue with those who wish to force their religious dogma down my throat or in my face, either through legislation or through bullshit-rewritten history. I am not an Atheist, nor am I Agnostic. I am frankly not anything in particular. I subscribe to the idea there is something greater than me, something wider and broader than me in the universe, not that this something takes an overwhelming interest in me simply that it exists. I do not believe it is a White Man with a long white beard sitting in a cloud. I believe both Jesus and Mohammed existed as real live men of their time, I also believe they were both of Middle Eastern descent (thus Jesus could not be a Blue-eyed, pale skinned White man as depicted). I believe they were both great teachers, as were the other great teachers and founders of the other religions of the world. Finally, I believe religion corrupts and is corrupted by man; it is used to keep societies placid and ignorant.

I have been watching the news as it unfolds this week have you? I am disheartened by all of it; I am dismayed by the way we treat social injustice, police violence, racial inequality and most disheartening sex crimes within Christian cults. What do I mean by all this? Let’s take three specific issues and compare them, three specific media worthy events and compare their outcomes, both real and hypothetical.

Shootout in Waco, Texas: Nine Dead, 18 injured. Criminal conspirators, known motorcycle biker clubs, predominantly White males (infrequently a Hispanic will be allowed to ride with them). Police knew they were there and were on standby. No dead bodies shown on the ground, not once did the media show the after effects of the violence of the day, the blood running in the streets, the bodies strewn in the streets or in the restaurant. Not once did the media show the ambulances carting off the injured. Those flying their colors were not referred to as thugs, their criminal histories were not trotted out immediately to insure sympathy for the officers involved, oh that’s right there was no need there were over 500 guns found in bathrooms, potato chip bags and locked cars, these were not innocent and unarmed civilans being shot down in the street by the police. Those who were involved were milling about, sitting on sidewalks, crossing police lines, texting and talking on their phones. No teargas was deployed against them, no military riot gear on police.

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Compare this to the peaceful protestors of Ferguson, Baltimore, New York. Do you wonder what the difference is? I do not, I do not wonder for a single instant how the police would have responded had those ‘bikers’ been black what the response would have been.

Next up? How about the acquittal of Michael Brelo, he fired 49 times into the car of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams’, reloading twice before he was done. He wasn’t charged with murder only manslaughter, why was he acquitted? Because there was a total of one hundred and thirty-seven (137) shots fired into their car and it couldn’t be proven he fired the killing shots. Before his trial the other officers involved in the deadly shooting of the unarmed black men who did nothing more than drive a car that backfired, they refused to meet with the prosecutor’s office to review testimony. There was no jury trial, Michael Brelo waived his right thus having it heard only by a judge who found him ‘Not Guilty’. See a pattern? I surely do. Since the aquittal of George Zimmerman, the only ‘thug’ on the street that night, I surely do see a pattern.

josh-duggar_1Finally, let’s talk about family values or the distinct lack thereof. Let’s talk about why those who wrap themselves in the mantle of holier than thou Christianity are allowed the most heinous corruptions, while those who have done no wrong are accused of the ugliest of faults. Let’s talk about why it is perfectly acceptable for a serial pedophile to continue to live under the roof with his victims while his mother and father hide his crimes, while those who should be protecting the children turn away. Oh, that’s right they are Christian and he asked God to Forgive him. He went on to become a stand up activist against the rights of others, even going so far as to suggest those ‘others’ would be a danger to children (like he is).

We, those of us with a thinking cell in our brain are being ‘mean’ to suggest his actions are not simply childhood curiosity but something more, something terrible and should have been treated like Josh_Duggar_Mike_Huckabeethe criminal and deviant behavior they were. We, those of us who understand sex crimes, understand molestation and rape, we look at this family and wonder what else and how much worse was it than what we know. What we have instead is Presidential wannabe’s standing up for the poor mistreated deviant and his entire cult like family, because they are Christians. What we have is others from the far right of the flock, speaking out against anyone who questions, anyone who wonders, “what about his victims”; Josh Duggar and his parents are not the victims in this, the victims are the young girls he molested. Let’s get this right, the victims were his sisters and the other young girls he molested. He did not pay a price for his serial molestation of the young girls within his control. Young girls who did not receive counseling, young girls who did not receive justice for what was done to them.

See a problem here? I surely do. Yet there are those who defend this family. Why did Josh Duggar get away with his bad acts? I assure you, had he been a different skin color he would have been locked up and in one of the programs I speak in every month. I see boys as young as 11 years old, they aren’t considered too young, they also are Christian and have often asked for God’s forgiveness. Josh though, he got a pass, shouldn’t we be asking ourselves why?

I am disheartened by all of it. The media is training this nation to not ask the hard questions, like sheep we wander to the cliff and fall off.


 

I only ask of God
That i am not indifferent to the pain,
That the dry death won’t find me
Empty and alone, without having done the sufficient.

I only ask of God
That i won’t be indifferent to the injustice
That they won’t slap my other cheek,
After a claw (or talon) has scratched this destiny (luck) of mine.

I only ask of God
That i am not indifferent to the battle,
It’s a big monster and it walks hardly on
All the poor innocence of people.

I only ask of God
That i am not indifferent to deceit,
If a traitor can do more than a bunch of people,
Then let not those people forget him easily.

I only ask of God
That i am not indifferent to the future,
Hopeless is he who has to go away
To live a different culture.

I only ask of God
That i am not indifferent to the battle,
It’s a big monster and it walks hardly on
All the poor innocence of people.

Léon Gieco

Race to the Bottom

OpEdWe are truly a nation to be reckoned with, if you are worried about your position at the bottom of the pile, the bottom of the world ranking in nearly all relevant areas; the United States is working hard to grab the title. We are international bullies, we stand up and are counted policing the world to do what we say not what we do. Our leaders condone torture; in fact, they are proud of their participation or at least their tactic approval of the torture of other human beings. Our nation enters wars, costing tens of thousands of lives, killing heads of state and civilians alike for no good reason but we want the natural resources of that nation, we want to destabilize that region, we want to break the world.

We spend billions, sometimes trillions of dollars in nations other than our own. Nations that do not need our money, that do not appreciate our interference, nations that do not align with our stated values. Meanwhile, here in our own country we have children going without food, shelter, education. We make some of the top lists, such as:

Homelessness, top fifteen cities the USA has the grace to steal six spots on the list, with an estimated total 212,579 homeless living on the streets of these cities alone.

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Once you let that lovely sink in, the idea we have so many on the streets consider this one, we haven’t had such a large income gap since 1928. In fact, the United States made another list; yes indeed, we made the list of nations with the largest income disparity, number 4 on the hit parade of 10. We should be wondering what the hell is wrong, only Chile, Turkey and Mexico are ahead of us on this list, the GOP isn’t doing their job if we haven’t made number 1.

Now while you are absorbing the thought of all your fellow citizens living rough; men, women and children living without shelter consider the findings of Transparency International, we aren’t doing so well on the issue of corruption. In fact, we are suck. Our perception of ourselves, as a nation isn’t great so how do we justify sending our military out to police others? Just asking mind you.

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Now let’s discuss the idiocy on the Hill, yes that hill Capital hill. While the nation falls down around our ears, the ijits on the Hill are busy writing twenty-four new anti-choice bills, well to be fair one of them is a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act. You know they do this because they are afraid of women, they are afraid of our power if we should ever figure out we actually have a majority in this nation and we band together, breaking down all the false lines they have drawn to keep us apart. If the vast majority of us reach across the walls of race, religion, classism and poverty we will find we have far more in common than not. When we do this, we might find most of these Bills are intended only to infantilize all of us, stripping of us of our rights to both body integrity and economic freedom.

We could talk about so many other things, the education system in this nation and our lack of commitment to excellence. Our race to the bottom of the heap, our fear of intellectualism, our on-IgnoranceMapgoing outsourcing of innovation. Despite our great wealth we don’t even come in at the top ten of the Pearson ranking. In our race to the bottom though, we have achieved one top score, we are the second most ignorant country in the world, on the Ipsos Mori social survey only Italy is more ignorant that the US.

We could discuss the bulging prisons, the one thing we are number one in the world. With over two million of our fellow citizens within the Industrial Prison Complex, this is not something to be proud of. The problem of course is, the prison system is another capitalist scam, with well over one billion a year in profits to be made, no one is going to start dismantling it in favor of better justice, not when the favored few can line their pockets on the backs of the disadvantaged.

We could discuss the horror of joblessness and ask the question, why in the world this administration the GOP, along with several Democrats wants so badly to continue to destroy our future opportunity to grow through trade agreements. Trade agreements the citizens of this country are kept in the dark about. Trade agreements that do not favor us, but instead favor multi-national business. The Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement is not about free trade, believe me.

As we continue our race to the bottom, I ask myself where does it end? I wish we would all ask the same question. I continue to love this clip from the Newsroom, it says it all; we sure use to be.

The Mirror

There are times in all our lives each of us wonder, what does the world see when they see me. When I look in the mirror, I see all of my flaws, real and perceived I count them off one by one. Staring in the eyes of my harshest critic, I see each year stamped across my face telling a story I might rather forget, or wish was never written at all. So I stare, I run fingers through hair sprinkled with silver, I count the furrows across my brow, the lines surrounding my mouth and eyes; then I wonder where the time escaped to and what others see.

Does the world see my flaws in the same way I see them? Can a stranger read my pain, my triumphs, my  history as if it was a roadmap written on my face, across my skin and over the angles, plains and curves of my body, or do they only see slight imperfections where I see something altogether different, something damaged, unworthy of a second glance, unlovable in the harsh light of day.

Cool wind dances across heated skin

Leaving memory of other breath

Fingers trace the water’s edge

Sending ripples across a reflection

Unrecognized in the moonlit glow

Coalesced I come together, softer

In the silence memories pull nearer

The ethereal me beckons, closer

Remember, beauty under stars

Shredded without thought, nor care

For youth, innocence or hope

Lost in a scream for mercy

Tracing the water’s edge once more

Reflection lost to harder currents

Merged again, harder and more true

In the moonlit garden of memory

Does the world see my flaws? Does the world see the scars of my history? I don’t know, some of them are obvious, they are badges of honor I can’t help but wear them on my skin every single OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAblessed day of my life. I wish this were not the case, but it is the skin I live in the only skin I have so it is the skin I will have to walk this world in and the skin I will leave this world in. My problem? Truly, my problem is so many people over the years have left their calling card, announced their presence and left me something to remember them by; I can’t seem to step away far enough to start over again without carrying them along with me.

So, when I look in the mirror, I see my history. Some days I see myself victorious, but other days I see myself vulnerable and hurt, stupid for all the times I have laid myself open. When I look in the mirror, what I see is someone unloved and unlovable, someone who is not worthy of honest straightforward love, who must pay for any affection with something, either straightforward with my money or something else of value, including pain, because this is how it has always been.

Every single day I work toward changing my vision and work toward demanding more. But some days like today, this is what I feel.

The Names

valentinelogar:

This is stunning in its horror. Something has to change.

Originally posted on The Militant Negro™:

Mr MilitantNegro™ Jueseppi B Mr MilitantNegro™
Jueseppi B

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