Out of Dreams Nightmares

OpEdMany things are weighing on my mind, it is nearly impossible to turn on the television, open a newspaper or even look at social media without being bombarded by the most recent human tragedy. The problem I have is the magnitude of those tragedies; our response, as a nation and frankly as human beings saddens me. I am not a Christian, I do though subscribe to some basic tenets of the Christian system, this is my favorite:

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ 46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life”.

Matthew 25:31-46 parables of the Sheep and the Goats

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I find myself in a quandary as I consider our current national and international crises and the response of our citizens to them. We are a nation full of individuals who presume to call themselves Christian, who gather together and stand on their Bibles demanding their Rights and Privileges using their Christianity as a justification for what I consider mean, ugly and nasty behavior toward those in need. It seems we are a nation that has forgotten the basics of compassion, empathy and humanity toward our fellow man, while standing on a shaky platform of Christianity.

“The land flourished because it was fed from so many sources–because it was nourished by so many cultures and traditions and peoples.” 

Lyndon B. Johnson

I have been less than impressed by our response to the refugee problem at our borders, make no mistake this is nothing other than a refugee problem. Women and children, in some cases children alone, fleeing violence begging for safe haven, only to be met by screaming xenophobes telling them to turn around, die, starve no matter just go home. We helped create the problems in Central America, our money, our bankers and money laundering and our ‘War on Drugs’, we did this1. This nation helped create the cesspools these children are escaping from, where their lives are in danger, where they live in poverty so terrible none of us could possibly imagine even in our worst nightmare. We did this and some of us have the audacity to stand before buses and on borders, demanding they be turned away. We did this, yet governors of Border States find nothing wrong with patrolling with guns drawn and calling out the National Guard to shoot them as they come toward us, hands out begging for shelter and aid.

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Our President has found himself between a rock and a very hard place. Following a law signed by his predecessor, he is vilified by those who believe he is opening the borders to ‘thugs, criminals and disease ridden children’. With Congress taking Comprehensive Immigration Reform off the table for this year, everyone has something to say, it makes me wonder when some of these cretins will simply fade into the woodwork and shut the hell up. Everyone has an opinion, not a single one of them, from Hannity to West shows a bit of compassion, their snark and ugly shows only a partisan standard line of attack on the President, on those fleeing the violence and poverty we helped to create. Everyone who speaks up, attacking those in need and the President claims Christianity as their Rock, their guiding light yet fails to remember CHARITY, COMPASSION and LOVE for their fellow man as the foundation of that faith.

I have been anything but impressed; truthfully, I have been stunned by the actions of the city of Detroit’s Water Department. The city is in bankruptcy seeking any all means to pull themselves out of dire financial straits. The 04_Womenproblem with this solution is, water is both a fundamental human requirement of life and according to the United Nations a Human Right2, apparently the city manager and the head of the Water Department in Detroit didn’t get that memo. It has been suggested by some, famous and otherwise, those who do not pay their water bills can simply ‘tote’ their water from the lakes and rivers nearby. Others have suggested those private citizens who are not paying their water bills are doing so while they choose to pay other less necessary household expenses, such as cable and medicine. While the city cuts services to thousands of private residences they are remise in cutting services to businesses that owe hundreds of thousands, even the State that at last look owed $5M.3

To my mind, Detroit is a test ground for what the rest of the nation can and will become if we don’t stop this attack on basic human rights and humane treatment of our fellow man, now. This is an attack on at least two levels; one is the basic human level where those who have will continue to have (see Peter Brabeck-Letmathe4 and his assessment of what is a human right about access to water), the other is a continuation on the attack on women in particular. Wonder how this is an attack on women? How will women, in particular, be affected by a crisis of this nature, look at the world and ask yourself this question who will tote that water, who will be left to care for sick children affected by unsanitary conditions? Take women out of the workforce, cripple them economically and shove them backwards educationally, as a nation we are broken, we become the dreamscape of the nutjobs on the Far Right, a land of hopelessness for millions starting with women and extending to everyone else not of their liking.5

drought

For those who think racism and sexism are things of the past, think again. These are simply two stark reminders we are living in a nightmare reality only brought to a screaming head in 2008 by the election of Barack Obama. Every single xenophobic fear was outed when he shot to the office of President seemingly out of nowhere and fulfilled the hopes of those of us who believed he could begin to undo what eight years of the Bush / Cheney nightmare had done to this nation. His election flung wide the closet doors of all those who previously had agreed to keep their bigotry, racism, sexism, homophobia and simple lack of core morality under the covers in favor of social acceptance. Of course, since the days of Ronald Reagan the Right had been working toward this moment, when White Sheets in the form of a well-tailored suit would find acceptance on the national stage and even a man or woman of color would join in the decimation of our nation, our civil rights and our laws.

Congress does nothing day by day but spends our money on conspiracy theories, threats of impeachment and lawsuits against the President; we sit back and shake our heads but do nothing. The Senate shuts down the government, deadlocks over things both vital and trivial; we sit back and do nothing. SCOTUS is bought and paid for, stripping us of our rights one by one; we do nothing but bitch and whine.

How do we change this trajectory of the United States becoming a feudalistic state? We stand up, get up off our apathetic asses and demand change. We engage locally, we stop whining and we start doing something, including Voting. We write letters. We go to City Council meetings. We hook up with local organizations and throw our name out there to volunteer.

Dammit we engage and we VOTE.

I leave you with this, I think it is appropriate for today.

1http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9252490

2http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/human_right_to_water.shtml

3 http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/07/26/detroit-shuts-off-water-to-residents-but-not-to-businesses-who-owe-millions.html

4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2P7lqDsle4

5 Statistics: http://www.wateraid.org/us/the-water-story/the-crisis/statistics?filterEEF299BDEFB04B4A89206672AC6D5578=92B3B8726E5549ECB87EFAA64D5E5B05#filterContent

5 Sanitation facts: http://www.wateraid.org/us/the-water-story/the-crisis/sanitation

5 Hygiene facts:  http://www.wateraid.org/us/the-water-story/the-crisis/sanitation

5 Water facts: http://www.wateraid.org/us/the-water-story/the-crisis/sanitation

Comments

  1. Val I read this in the middle of the night via my phone link.. email.. and I couldnt comment back.. But I thought this was the most powerful and intense pieces of writing you had done.. And you have wrote some brilliant posts.. But this spoke to me deeply as it is just how I have been feeling over many things..
    Long may you beat the drum Val.. xox Sue

  2. Oh how I remember that song…

  3. Dangerous Linda says:

    Hi, Valentine! ~

    WoW! Looks like you are stretched to your emotional limits! I hope you are able to find some joy in Life — it will help see you through these troubled times! Be well!

    • I do not know what you mean, I am simply observing the state of our nation. Do you see it otherwise?

      • Dangerous Linda says:

        As I said, these are very troubled times. Of course, all times have troubles. I try to focus on joy as much as possible — and using humor to offset the ‘nightmare’ — while still working to improve the situation. Otherwise, it’s easy to become totally disillusioned. This is what I meant — I mean no disrespect to you.

        • I think if you read further, you will find I write on a variety of subjects. Some, like this one looks directly at our world, specifically the USA. Others, like poetry are joyful.

          I try to find the good, sometimes there just isn’t any.

  4. Ironic in a country of immigrants! I echo Eric’s comment….no place is free of this craziness. Let all migrate….to Mars! 🙂

  5. This planet is going to hell in a hand-basket. God must be shaking his head. Those xenophobes are despicable. Don’t they realize they once came to this country, too? It really is so frustrating, but you capture it all very well. Thanks for saying this, Val.

    • Monica, when I am able to wrap my head around all the despicable ugly out there I will always say it. My problem right now, I am simply having a difficult time doing so. Truly it is all so damned ugly.

      I am trying to find my voice again. Trying to push my voice back up and out. I just seem to be so stunned by it all. It will come though and I will scream it if need be.

  6. It’s bad everywhere and worse in some places than in others.

    Even in Singapore we (the minority) see it. Just because the ice is firm and looks solid – does not mean it is.

  7. Yep…and Congress continues spending their time on valuable activities like trying to sue the President. I’m a news junkie, but lately I haven’t wanted to turn on the news either.

    • A significant portion of Congress had one single initiative, cause this President to fail. Everything else is secondary.

      I use to be tied to the news, now I pay attention but don’t think I am a junkie.

  8. Val, you have put into words the way I feel about all of this craziness. Thanks.

  9. There’s so much unrest and I find myself not watching the news… yet that doesn’t mean I care any less…

    • The news is hard at times, I find it difficult to watch at times. I force myself. Knowing and understanding the course of events is the only thing that allows us to stand up to them.

  10. What if we all believed we had the power to make a difference? Inaction is the same as acceptance.

  11. So much wrong going on at the same time, I’m expecting a correction. What that is I have no idea, but I am afraid.

  12. Well done, Val, very well done! I had the same reaction this week to the overload of all the reports of wars, rumors of wars, and the pain in every shape form and fashion from around the globe. I felt so helpless which I tried to address in a humorous post (still to come). Keep speaking up. One of the most horrible things that can be changed is the slump in Democratic voters during the mid-years. Your posts and others just as passionate may help turn that tide.

    • They only hope if they spread, I am at a loss as to how we get the word spread my friend. Beyond what we do for each other, beyond getting engaged, I am at a loss.

  13. There was a story about Glenn Beck delivering food and toys to the children on the border. But just as I thought that the much-advertised and little seen Christian compassion of conservatives may finally be showing, Beck got tons of criticism for what he did.

  14. Reblogged this on Blackbutterfly7 and commented:
    Very well expressed and I feel, also very on point.

  15. Wow! You have certainly covered lots of territory here, Valentine. Lots of history. Not much of it good, in recent past. I agree with theenglishprofessor… and you, of course. We have so much going wrong right here that needs fixing. We have stretched ourselves sick around the globe. We need to take care of our house before invading other houses. I know, we have “interests” elsewhere. But, really, who or what is benefiting from these “interests.”? You know what I mean. The bottom line, of course, is VOTE. The voting booth is the only place that can cause change – hopefully for the good.

  16. I expect leaders to do the right thing … instead, those chose to act in their interests.

  17. What saddens me is that we are not taking care of our own poor, and the treatment towards many of our veterans is shameful. First, take care of our own people before we rush into the fray in other countries. How can we condemn them when we don’t clean our own slate?

  18. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Excellent post …. what are we teaching them? Chills as I reblog this!!
    Teach your children well!!

  19. Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat™.

  20. To my mind, the apathy is a statement of its own: As long as it is not happening to me, I have no reason to care.

    I wish someone did/would do a poll equating voter apathy and overseas charity spending. My anecdotal evidence (straw poll) has always revealed the assuaging of domestic conscience was simple with donations to those whose overseas suffering populates commercials during late night cable/satellite watching. Mayhap, Detroit’s city manager could get a Sally Struthers-esque champion for his city.

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