I was in a local tire shop a couple of years ago and a young man, probably not twenty yet, walked in sporting a t-shirt with large letters proclaiming “FUCK JESUS!” While I’m not a Christian I was offended. Not so much for myself but for others present, friends, who I knew were. Correct or not, I challenged the youngster and asked him if he got out of bed that morning intent on pissing people off? He just looked totally stupid at me as if he hadn’t read and considered the content of his chest. I told him that while he had the right to wear his shirt I questioned if he had a justifiable reason. Was it appropriate for the environment in which he found himself? Speech has consequences and the consequences that kid potentially faced were far more serious than some old man asking him if he was trying to piss him off.
On January 7, 2019, a Michigan family, returning from a Florida vacation, was struck by a drunk driver, driving in the wrong direction on I-75 in Kentucky. The parents and their three children were killed in a fiery head-on collision.
I first became aware of this tragedy while watching the NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt. What caught my attention was at the end of the story Holt identified the victims as a Muslim family from Michigan. I had to ask, why was their religion important or germane to the story? He would have never said five Catholics or five Methodists died in the wreck. Why mention that these people were Muslim and what does it say?
In my lifetime been a witness to much of the efforts to weaken or eliminate segregation in America. Unfortunately, I’m now witness to the reemergence of those forces that contributed to American segregation in the first place. I came across this short video covering the highlights of post Civil War race relations and I think we all might benefit from a refresher course.
I took an afternoon nap, watched a little news, and found myself angry enough that I just have to hold a little American History class. This nation is not and has never been perfect. But our basic documents give us goals and a purpose to believe in. The Declaration of Independence addresses the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of liberty. It also speaks to all men being created equal. The main document, the US Constitution speaks in its Preamble the reasons we formed a government. It clearly states that one reason is to create a more perfect union. While we at times have made great progress with all these things, we have also failed miserably. Mixed in with all that is bright and shiny are some pretty damned dark and shameful events.
Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III couldn’t have a more fitting name. He is a true son of the South and about as conservative as they come. For years I’ve listened to him speak in the US Senate and so far haven’t heard a thing I agree with. To me he’s just another product of a Bible belt state, Alabama. A person ironclad whose ironclad views cannot accept that there are Americans who disagree and are different from him. He has trouble accepting that those who are different are still entitled to the same rights and protections that he is.
There is adequate evidence to support the claims that Sessions is a racist and opposes LGBT rights. He is steadfast against a woman’s right to choice. He denies this even though he has said, “It is not legitimate that an American citizen feels that they are more likely to be arrested or held to account or stopped and searched than someone else simply because of the color of their skin…” How can anyone with an open mind and clear understanding of reality say that it’s un-American to claim people of color are treated differently? It’s been reported that Sessions once remarked about the KKK, ““I thought those guys were okay until I learned they smoked pot.
Sarah Sanders repeatedly lied in a recent news briefing that the Trump administration was simply enforcing existing (ten-year old) laws that require separation of parents and children at the border. I just did some fact checking on that and she is not telling the truth. There are laws about retaining people illegally entering the US but the separation of families and incarceration of children is a policy ordered by Trump and carried out by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
It is a heinous policy that violates the core of both morality and America’s historical claim of supporting human rights. Even when the US immorally incarcerated Japanese citizens during World War Two we at least had the decency to keep families united.
In her press briefing Sanders was called out about the administration’s lying about the separation policies. Both she and Jeff Sessions are being challenged and both have resorted to every argument in the book to support their behaviors. Most recently they both have turned to the Bible. Citing Romans 13 they claim that the law is the law and it is God’s will that the law be obeyed.
My father’s family was centered in Northwestern South Carolina. I was born in Charleston, SC and lived for several years of my early life in Columbia. My Uncle and Aunt owned a grocery store in the heart of a large black Columbia neighborhood and on several occasions I spent the summer with them and my cousins.
At the time segregation was the rule and the rule was total. I was too young to understand why the rules but I soon learned what the rules were. The last summer I spent in SC was 1954 and I was fourteen. They say things are different today but I not always convinced of that.
Back then it was common to hear Southerners talk about The Southern Way of Life and that Yankees and liberals were determined to interfere with it. I came across the following video and as I watched it I was taken back to the 50s and it all was so familiar. While I never heard my family members talking like this it wouldn’t surprise me if in private they supported the basics of the Southern Way.
If your state is possibly the poorest, least educated, most conservative state in the nation; well, that’s what’s wrong with it. It also doesn’t help if your state’s flag still includes a version of the Confederate flag. Having too many of the people portrayed in the attached video also doesn’t speak well.
I’ve been to Mississippi many times and things are slowly changing. The state and local governments have done some amazing things in creating a blues and music based tourist economy. But despite the steps forward there are too many people who would take it back to the pre civil rights era. Mississippi’s overwhelming support of Donald Trump is a strong statement to this.
Couple of years ago I heard a black Mississippi judge speak of the new Mississippi. The fact that he was black and a judge speaks to things new. Unfortunately there’s too much old in Mississippi.
Fifty-two years ago today John Lewis, Martin Luther King, and a number of other civil rights leaders and marchers set out to march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge into Selma, AL. On arrival they were violently set upon by city police, state troopers, police dogs, water cannons, tear gas, and nightsticks. Unfortunately there were those, then and now, who argue that the wrong side, Lewis’, won.
Many of you know I’m a huge fan of Playing for Change. The effort to bring the world’s people together through the universal language of music. I cut my liberal teeth on the protest music of the 1950s and 60s and PforP just today released a new video containing a y. If ever the need for continued protest was appropriate, this is it.
Enjoy, pat your feet, clap your hands, and then somehow join the resistance movement. We have a long way to go!
Black History Month, as we know it, began in 1976 and has been recognized by every American president since. The event is an outgrowth of Negro History Week which began in 1926.
I don’t know if Trump has acknowledged the month yet but I find it interesting that this may be the first such event taking place during the term of a president with known racial biases.
Don’t forget that Trump is the guy who paid mention to Holocaust Week without using the word Jew. He’s also the guy that KKK leader David Duke, and many other white supremacists think is doing great.
On Wednesday after the presidential election I ran into a former US Government student at the dentist office. We didn’t discuss politics but she did recall my telling her after the 1992 Clinton victory that regardless of how much you disagreed with the president-elect, the people had spoken and the office demanded your respect and support.
When I said that I meant it. But never did I imagine anyone like Donald Trump being elected to the White House. Trump’s choice challenges so much of what I’ve held true about American democracy, American politics, the two-party system, and the basic intellect of the American people.
I’m no rookie when it comes to losing elections. My good friend and fellow Democrat, John Baal, and I many times commiserated with a six-pack over getting our political butts kicked. Being a liberal Democrat is a lonely life in Southern Ohio.
I still haven’t figured out what to think about Trump supporters. Michael Steele is black, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, and one time lieutenant governor of Maryland. He has announced that he will not be voting for Trump because of the candidate’s appeal to racists. He told a magazine that Trump, “captured that racist underbelly, that frustration, that angry underbelly of American life…” and gave it voice.”
Even though many Trump supporters deny that he has made any racist and misogynist statements the reality is, oh yes he has and he has done so long and strong enough to earn the endorsement and support of most of the white supremacist in America. He’s damned near the poster child for the KKK and American neo Nazis.
Look, the simple truth is that most of us have some racist tendencies but we make every effort to whittle them down and try to get better. There are too many, however, who are openly racists and seem to take some overt pride in it. Then there are those, lots of those, who say and believe things that really are racists but they don’t see themselves as being racists.
I remember being in an pizza parlor in Cincinnati once and a black family came in and sat at a nearby table. My mother, who I never thought of as being racist, said, “Huh, you wouldn’t think those people would like this kind of food.” I don’t think mom thought she was saying anything bad but in my mind she might as well of said, “Shit, I thought all they liked was fried chicken and watermelon.”
Yesterday the nation and world witnessed Kathy Miller, a Trump campaign leader from Ohio, claim that racism in America didn’t exist before president Obama came along. She went on to insist this nation had no racist past, no civil rights movement, no racial riots in Detroit in 1967, or no one named Rodney King was beaten by an out of control pack of Los Angeles cops in 1991.