Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Blindness And Deafness Of Racist Rage

I pledge allegiance to the flag
Of the United States of America
And to the republic for which it stands
One nation, under God, indivisible
With liberty and justice for all.
You say you want justice for the events in Ferguson, Missouri.  Oh, really?  I don't think so.  Since early August, you have been demonstrating both violently and peacefully throughout the St. Louis area, telling all of America that if the Grand Jury did not rule to indict Officer Wilson that there would be hell to pay.  Thank God that the Grand Jury took a good length of time to examine the evidence  --  all of the evidence available  --  and to offer justice for all, not just Michael Brown, Jr.

For Mr. and Mrs. Michael Brown, Sr., there can never be enough "justice".  The baby boy they gave to this world will never grow to full manhood.  The young man they loved even when he misbehaved will never grow old.  A lynch mob set on Officer Wilson would not be sufficient to assuage their pain.  Although it may lessen with time, and warm memories fill in the emptiness, it is what it is and nothing can change it.

To express the obvious, none of us have perfect children  --  not the Browns, not myself, not even the President and Mrs. Obama.  We adults are not perfect ourselves, so how can we expect to rear perfect children.  And we all love these babies of ours through thick and thin.  There would be something wrong with us if we did not. 

But, there are things we do that make the situations worse than they have to be.  For one, we can be in denial about what is really going on with our children.  At least in the early stages of the rage, the Brown family refused to view the video of Michael's behavior in the convenience store.  Because of that, they did not know how out of control he was that day.  Had they watched the video, it would have been apparent to them that he was no stranger to violence and that a person who behaved as he did was engaging in bullying behavior.  And before you strike out at me and say that he didn't deserve to die, let me say that nobody does, whatever the color of the skin or how deep the anger and rage.

Another thing that would have helped the situation was if the Browns had hired a white lawyer, instead of an enraged and racist African American.  It would have been better for them, too, if they had used someone with a better success rate.  For instance, had he actually been effective in the case concerning Trayvon Martin, a real travesty of justice, they would have had a stronger voice.

And then there is the problem with using blackmail to attempt to control the situation anyway.  Besides the fact that blackmail is illegal, people eventually get tired of it and take legal action, or worse.  Who knows, we white folk might eventually get so sick and tired of your riots and temper tantrums that we throw a few ourselves.

There is also the embarrassment that this situation offers to your more cultured and reserved members of our society.  One African American man wrote a Facebook article in which he disclaims the behaviors because they tend to reinforce the negative opinion other cultures have of the African American community.  It would, no doubt, leave the Reverend Martin Luther King in despair.  Have they learned nothing from me, he might want to ask?

There is also the problem of yelling that police officers not shoot an unarmed man.  This viewpoint that people are not dangerous if they do not carry a gun, is a national problem of denial.  Control the guns, control the guns, everybody says.  But as recent events show clearly, a lot of damage and death can fall in the wake of a man with a knife, or a fist, a choke hold, or even a bad attitude. 
Some people are saying that Michael's size should not be considered a factor.  Baloney!!!!  Did you see how he stuck his arm straight out and moved that convenience clerk across the floor?  Size does matter.  Anytime you have a confrontation with someone larger than yourself, you are going to need some very effective self-defense skills to come out the victor.  An officer seated in a car, who cannot open his door and stand, is in a very vulnerable position.  And the trigger finger on that big fist was headed toward the trigger of the officer's gun.

Wearing blinders and not listening to the position of everyone simply propels rage in ourselves and others.  Constantly expressing our hurts and rage, serve as a bad model for our children.  When they lack our maturity and self-control, they strike out on the basis of our anger, sometimes getting themselves in over their heads.  In situations where there is real racism and real profiling, it is best to work from the inside  --  with our votes, our service to our community, and with our willingness to be a shining example of dignity and respect for each other.  Violence and blackmail and blind and deaf rage do nothing to improve our interactions with each other.  And as the very astute African American man said on Facebook, violent protests simply show the whole group up to be exactly what the most racist among us think the race to be.

To African American activists across the land, pick your issues with great care from now on out.  Not all situations are so obviously inappropriate as the Trayvon Martin situation.  Your collective voice will be more effective if your issues are pure.  Make sure the autopsy results match the verbal reports of witnesses before you jump on the bandwagon of rage.

Justice is meant for all Americans, not just the black or the dead.  Justice even applies to our police officer's who risk their lives for us all the time. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Executive Orders

Executive Order, per the Random House College Dictionary, Revised Edition 1988 Printing, is "a regulation having the force of law issued by the President of the U. S. to the Army, Navy, or other parts of the Executive branch of the government".  Make note of the date in this dictionary.  Much as Republican Congressmen would like for us to believe so, Executive Order was not an invention of President Barack Obama.

It is covered in the 1991 World Book Encyclopedia.  This World Book says they are directions, proclamations or other statements that have the force of laws and that they require no act of Congress.  One of the most famous, it says, was the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring freedom for all slaves in parts of the country under Confederate control.  Get it?  This is not an invention of current Democrats or this President to deal with an obstinate and obstructionist Congress.

Both Democratic and Republican Presidents have used this method of making changes to laws for generations.  Of our 44 presidents, only William Henry Harrison did not use it at all.

In The White House Diary of Jimmy Carter, the former President mentions Executive Orders seven times.  One of these was in reference to future Presidents using the method to change laws or orders from his presidency.

John Adams used the technique once and Franklin Delano Roosevelt did so 3,522 times. 

Wickipedia states that they have full force of the law when they are based on power granted to the President by the Constitution or are based on Acts of Congress that delegate the president at least some discretionary power.

Now it is not for the likes of me or the average voter to determine the lawfulness of specific ones of these orders.  That is for a proper Court of Law to determine.  Even Congress will have to wait to see if the courts find the President's actions lawful.

But make no mistake about it, most Republicans are going to hope they rule against the President just as most Democrats will hope they rule for him.

In the meantime, we need to maintain our good sense.  Cooler heads in the court system will take the politics and the accusations out of the proceedings and make determinations based on law  --  at least we hope and pray they will.  It wouldn't hurt, either, for Congress to try at least a little to produce some actual laws on the current hot topics.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Change -- In A Pig's Eye

The November 17, 2014,  Time Magazine cover features Mitch McConnell with the word Change.  Well, it wasn't even that date before it became apparent I could already tell you "in a pig's eye" to that.  You say Mitch McConnell undercutting the President's every move (U. S.- China Agreement) is change?  Sounds like same ol', same ol' to me.  Or are you suggesting that talking of repealing parts of the Affordable Health Care Act is change?  Hardly.  Maybe you mean exploiting Hispanics for their votes while talking about extreme border security measures is Change?  Think again  --  or maybe I should say, think for a change.

Then we have more and more threats about Social Security.  One man is saying he wants to dispel the notion that there is an actual fund set aside for Seniors.  He says there is not.  Well, why the h e double hockey sticks isn't there?  Why did Congress elect to spend our money on pork instead of investing it wisely and letting it sit and grow until we retired?  If you were such poor stewards of our dollars, perhaps you will just have to keep funding it (along with COLAs) until we all croak.  In addition, why don't you investigate what Warren Buffet is quoted as saying when they advertise that a $40 investment can turn people into millionaires?  Why not let Mr. Buffet show our Congressmen how to do what they should have been doing ever since the inception of the fund?  Oh, yes, how could I forget?  We the people don't count!  The only ones who are important are the rich and Congress.  Still no change visible.

Robert Reich is calling for repairing our infrastructure which would create direct jobs (actually working on roads and bridges) and indirect jobs (supplying and serving the construction companies and the workers).  The "Teapartiers" are still yelling cut spending.  More Change?  Unh huhhhhh.

Then we have the dumb, dumb (Jonathan Gruber) going around saying that the reason we have the Affordable Health Care Act is because the American people are stupid.  Oh really!  I don't remember the American people voting one way or another on that issue.  I guess he, the man who helped his State formulate their plan  --  the plan used as a guideline for the national program  --  and the man who took $400,000 for consulting on Obamacare  --  must be one of the most stupid of all.  Or maybe he is referring to Congress and the President who actually wrote, voted for and signed the Act into law. 

A word to the wise out there.  You better be careful what you take away from that act.  If you take away Affordable health care for all, or if you let insurance companies go back to insuring us until we need health care and then canceling us; or if you take away care from people who were born with illnesses; or if you do anything to sabotage Americans from receiving medical treatment, then maybe all of us stupid Americans would get smart enough to send your behinds packing in 2016.  Now that would be real change.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Oh Sigh, Here We Go Again

"Here are some handy little tips for those of you who don't want to fall victim to deadly officer shootings.  Do as you are told.  Don't talk back.  Don't be rude or belligerent.  Don't try to escape . . ."
Spoken by Kinsey Millhone, a character in V Is For Vengeance, a mystery by Sue Grafton.

You think?  Thank you Ms. Grafton for your words of wisdom.  I wish every American could find time to read your work.  Instead, many have been poised around Ferguson, Missouri off and on for months now. They are awaiting the opportunity to pitch another tantrum, and pillage and burn with no care as to what really happened or who was at fault.

You assume the demonstrations will be peaceful if the ruling comes down on the side of the police officer?  I doubt it.  They've been "peacefully" demonstrating for several months now.  But here we go again.  They are collecting up.  Travon Martin's Dad is so fearful of it that he was asking them for no violence.  He and his wife seem like very good people.

Time after time after time the family swears their child is perfect.  Some are almost ready for sainthood they are so openly revered.  The ones with drug or criminal histories are just getting their lives back together.  Sometimes this is even true.  But often, grieving parents are in denial of their children's behaviors.  They want to remember the good times and to strike out at anyone who defended themselves against the deceased person's violent behaviors.

In case of the Ferguson, Missouri, situation, there were serious mistakes made on both sides.  The victim brought a reaction on himself, but the police officer overacted after the fact.  His adrenaline was sparked by resistance, and he did not get it back down before he committed a tragic act that can never be overcome.  This time, we have video showing that this young man was a bully and seemed high on something, even if only his own adrenaline that day.

But police officers now are supposed to be perfect . . . to know no fear . . . to kiss the royal butts of all offenders even those who bully them . . . to ignore self destructive behavior . . . to risk their lives, even for the most violent ones.  Get real.  As Ms. Grafton says through Kinsey Millhone's voice, do not behave in a belligerent manner.  You are asking for tragedy when you do.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

I Voted Early

The last two elections I've voted early.  This election my vote was all over the place -- Democrats, an Independent and even a Republican.  Shhh, don't tell anyone!  Yes, I voted for the Republican who has shown himself to be steady, reliable, available to constituents and eager to serve.  He seems even to have a brain in his head.  This appears far preferable to his opponent whose attack ad was frivolous and who appears to be poster person for blonde airheads everywhere.

One message my vote is sending this time is we don't appreciate attack ads.  Show us what your credentials are  --  education, experience, awards, goals.  In other words give us your resume.  If you have held office before, tell us how you voted and what you think.  Don't attack your opponent.  That negativity does not tell us what you can and are willing to do for us and our country.

Twice this campaign season, I've been sent partial quotes which framed a candidate very badly.  When the whole quote was looked up on urban legend sites, it was apparent some vicious, evil political strategist was hoping Americans were too dumb to research the comments.  Unfortunately, some of us may not do the research and then will place our votes believing lies, half truths, and downright evil things that are being done to candidates.

It is also important, I believe, to thank political strategists for getting information out about their candidates this year.  Last election, there was a candidate for the House of Representatives I had never heard a word about before casting my vote.  This time, my mailbox was full of advertisements --  sometimes multiple ads for the same candidates on the same day.

Congratulations to all politicians who spoke only the truth as they perceive it and who avoided negative advertising.  And a thousand shames upon every one of you who took people's innocent and informative words out of context and distorted them to make your opponents look bad.

A thousand shames upon you . . .