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


  1. frigginloon says:

    Heavy sigh…. I hear ya Val

  2. I have been reading a lot of historical novels lately (15th Century Europe, 18th Century America, 20th Century Asia) and nothing ever changes. People plot, scheme, take advantage of those who have less power, manipulate . . . and the hope of each of these periods in history are the minority of really good, righteous people who stand up in courage to say: “Stop. No more. This must change.” That is where we are now, and all good people must wake up from complacency and fight the good fight. That is why we both write. Keep writing and pointing the torch. As someone who passionately loves God, that is what God stands for–not religion–but love, justice, grace, freedom, hope, and peace.

    • I do recognize there is a righteousness in faith. That I follow my own piper through the forest, one that has no name does not change that I remain of faith.

      You are right, it is why we write.

  3. Val I read your post twice and spent a long time looking at the slide shows and listening to the poignant song and watching the pictures on the video..
    And yes there is a sadness of heart as we view the world from the eyes of the lens of the camera of which we are shown..
    I truly believe at the heart of Your Nation as in the heart of mine.. There resides Many more Good hearted people who are just as sick of this ‘Illusion’ we are subjected to everyday via the omissions not being shared, and the restrictions being placed upon them
    We are witnessing manipulation of our thinking.. And unfortunately there are those who just do not want to Think! for themselves who will always be the sheep following the herd. Taking the side of whom they see as the winner…

    “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.”………..

    A deep heartfelt post Val and I ‘Feel’ Every word.. ❤ xxx

    • That is a spectacular song, isn’t it?

      I agree Sue, there are many who do feel, who do have heart. I think though they are becoming tired, there needs to be something that pushes them to rise from their lethargy.

      • With all that is going on in the world right now Val, from what that is we are shown of it ( via the media’s portrayal of it ) it would seem that this world is tiring as people become indifferent to their brothers and sisters plights..

        I do however ‘Feel’, this is only my own ‘Inner feelings’ I sometimes get in my Inner ‘Knowing’ zones, is that we shall all have more to worry about in the not to distant future..
        And while mankind is busy with his petty squabbles, labelling, Greed, and Power Games.. Mother Nature will give us all a Kick up the proverbial backside to get our attention..
        Lesson being we will all be too busy trying to survive on this planet …
        I can not shake off this feeling of some Big natural upheaval which will affect us all either directly or indirectly.. I so hope my gut feelings are wrong on this.. But I feel it coming..

  4. I admire your fearless, powerful rants Valentine. While i am not familiar with much of the events you portray, I am inspired by your underlying message. The world needs more people like you.

  5. Good write-up, Valentine. It’s very disheartening to watch the news. Every week, there’s a killing. police officer involved or not. We’re afraid of the folk who are supposed to protect us from the bad guys and police kill out of fear, from being afraid themselves, or out of pure anguish. Our morals have gone haywire and there’s no center.

    Myself, I do identify as a Christian. I also think other religions have useful messages that benefit me. Like Islam and any other religion, it’s a lifestyle. We all fall short of full approval by the God we worship and I can’t say one is better than the other. I can only say what’s served me well. No, Jesus was not the long, straight-haired guy. He was the brother-in-law of an artist who modeled for him and it’s been the image used over time. When an idea or image is presented enough times, it’s becomes the truth for most folk. So, even then, media has had a strong impact on our belief system.

    I will say that with all that’s happening, we need to grab hold of something outside of ourselves to believe in. What’s scarier is someone saying they believe in something and their actions lack in showing a moral center.

    • Thus my friend, my problem with any organized religion. But this I suspect is not the issue. At the end of the day, man has corrupted the message and usurped the messenger.

  6. You and I think much alike, Val. I look forward to your future posts. – Jim

  7. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    We see the cliff …. we see the march towards it. What can we do to stop it? I wonder …..

  8. My dear friend … you have managed to put into words what my thoughts are. For that I thank you. It seems to be that we have very similar thoughts about the realities of our life …. seems to be we hold similar spiritual beliefs … seems to be we feel the sadness of our reality and the disenchantment of what should be and never is. I hold you near my heart …. you are inspiring. For this I thank you too!! ❤ ….

  9. More mind-boggling news last week to heavy our hearts, no doubt. Makes me scared to turn on CNN each morning. But I do, because I have to stay informed. It’s a catch-22 in a way.

  10. I found the Brelo case interesting and disturbing for this reason. If a group of criminals commit a crime (robbery) and someone is killed, ALL of those involved can be charged with murder. Even if they were unarmed and never fired a weapon. Because they participated in the activity. In the case of Brelo they ruled that because the SPECIFIC bullet that killed a person could not be determined to have come from his gun, he was allowed to walk. Even though he was part of the group that was shooting. Is that a “new” standard ….or a “double” standard?

  11. You are intelligent, insightful and open minded. Don’t let anyone ever squelch that. We need you to enlighten us, to identify the patterns and explain them. You should have a column in the New York Times Opinion section. You are brilliant and thank you for opening our eyes and helping make sense of it all.

  12. As usual Val, with your brilliant analysis you leave me feeling both stirred up, and impotent this side of the world.

    Nothing to do but try to refrain from judgement which only adds to the world’s heap of misery…and that is hard to do…

    So much to say about all your posts and in the end it boils down to a lack of imagination from all the people are violent racist etc etc:. if they could ask themselves :would I want to be treated like that.?..

    For me this is the question, whether we are parent, teacher, policeman, law-maker or whatever..

    • I think this is the issue Valerie, this is the question. Would I wish to be treated this way? Would I wish my child to be treated this way? If the answer is no, then why do I allow other children to wallk into the world that treats them as if their life has no meaning?

      I desperately want a better world. I want my grandchildren to grow up seeing the diversity of the world and celebrate it.

  13. Deborah the Closet Monster says:

    I have no doubt the outcome would be different if skin color were swapped out.

    What astonishes me is that I would have doubted the outcome just a little more than a half-year ago. I knew racism still existed, but I thought it was still this limited, narrow, overtly hateful thing. Michael Brown’s senseless killing marked a turning point for me; had it been that alone, I would have been troubled but not swayed. Being between jobs and having time to look into it further, and seeing how virtually every day the same narrative played out–young black man accosted for looking suspicious, and then killed when he shouldn’t have even been stopped to begin with–somewhere else in the U.S. … it was terrifying and eye-opening.

    Seeing an entire reel of black men shot by police officers WHILE COMPLYING was … a kind of illuminating I am saddened by and glad to have.

    I’m glad to be reading an NYT bestseller called “Blink” that touches on how racist thought is pervasive even among the most staunchly overtly anti-racist people. I hope folks reading the book will not come at it from a perspective of “I have no racist thoughts! This doesn’t apply to me!” but from one of “huh, I’d better consider how this impacts my actions on a day to day basis.”

    I’ll cross my fingers, but I won’t hold my breath.

    • Each of us must draw breath and realize we are part of it. Then we must step into the world every single day determined we will not be. It is terrible, but if we don’t do it then we are indeed part of it. It is why for years now, despite all the naysayers I continue to write from where I know the truth is.

  14. Mr. Militant Negro says:

    Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.

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