It is the small and what some might think are inconsequential things we stumble across that goes to prove just how truly terrible it still is out here. It is easy to ignore the stories, easy to shake our heads at those inconsequential stories we see, thinking they are blips on the radar. The problem with this reaction is it allows them to grow, to sink their hooks in and become part of who and what we are. We have become all too willing to turn away from the ugly and mean, all too willing to think it is someone else’s problem, not ours.
I am telling you, it is ours every one of us. It is not enough to individualize it by saying, ‘I am not prejudice’, or, ‘I am not a racist’, or ‘I am not sexist’. Perhaps that is true, or is it?
It is not enough if the truth is you turn away from the horror that is the time machine of institutionalized racism and sexism our nation, state by state is legislating back into existence. It is not enough if you are turning away from those inconsequential stories as if they don’t matter, as if they aren’t a sign of something bigger.
I have said it before; it starts with each of us. The problem starts with each of us; the solution starts with each of us as well. Each time someone says, ‘we don’t have a race problem’, we need to be ready with examples. The truth is, we do have a Race problem and it looms large over the entire nation, it colors our entire conversation, with denial. We also have a Gender problem, a LGBT problem and an Ageism problem. What we really have, when you break it down to the core is this:
A not like us problem.
Who is us, it is good you asked. It is easy to mistake the us sometimes. We are the us, all of us and any of us who turn away, who fail to speak out, who believe it is happening somewhere else or to someone else. We are the us. It is every single one of us who fail to remember the privilege that accrues to us simply because we were born with white skin or can reasonably pass through stores, police stops and neighborhood watches without fear; we are in fact the problem.
We wring our hands and stand in unity when the assclown heroes of the Right do their terrible acts or say their terrible words, when they suggest slavery might have been kinder than freedom, or young men die in hoodies or for loud music. Still, we don’t shout loud enough, demand strongly enough an end to what is truly killing the American Dream of Freedom, Equality and Opportunity for all members of our society.
What has set me off?
Well first there was this:
Then came this:
Then there was this:
Finally, this jackass said this:
“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.
“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”
I had enough. When does the rest of the nation have enough? How much is too much? SCOTUS has given the states permission to disenfranchise entire voting blocks and has in essence silenced all but 5% of the populace by placing a great dollar sign in front of speech. The highest court in the land put up a ‘For Sale’ sign and sold out in short and gleeful order.
Our Congress has no shame, none, nada, zero, zilch. They hightail it to every show in town, ready and willing to kowtow to those who will bid high dollars for their services. Whether those bidders are corporations, special interest groups or simply those with personal agendas and piles of money. All we do is sit back and bitch, whine and complain at our loss of freedom and choice in the direction our nation has gone, the downward slide of our national personality and pride. Just look at the line up for the NRA convention.
This is on us, every last one of us. Taken individually, perhaps these things are not significant though each of them offend the hell out of me. Taken all together these are foreshadowing of the direction of our nation, it isn’t a good direction, in fact it is backwards to a time we fought hard to move away from. Is this truly what we want, truly where we want to go?
This isn’t the nation I want. It is time to stand up, it is time to do more than shake our heads and wring our hands. It is time to say no more. It is time to demand these troglodytes stand down and right thinking people take back the power we own.