Today’s verdicts made it feel like a good day, and it was for that. Remember, we still don’t even have sentencing done yet. George Floyd’s murderer could receive up to 40 years in prison for second degree murder, up to 25 years for third degree murder, and up to 10 years for second degree manslaughter. We’ll see soon, and hopefully I’m surprised and he receives the fullest extent and it sets a precedence that can’t be ignored.
But George Floyd’s murderer is himself a symptom, a symbol of something much bigger than he is. The murderer is just the oozing abscess on the ass of the dirty system many of us seem to be blind to, or afraid to tell the truth about. That system is still alive and well.
Justice has not yet been served, and just, “no…” Floyd did not sacrifice his life, nor was it sacrificed for some invisible greater cause. STOP IT. He was MURDERED. It is not time to relax or spit empty, pain-inflicting platitudes.
Take that breath today – but tomorrow – well, it’s another day in the same exact system Floyd was murdered in. Don’t be that person that can’t/won’t admit that the problems still not only exist, but are cemented in. We do this same weird dance with elections/politics, and I suspect this won’t be different. One just verdict doesn’t equal justice, nor does it dismantle this corrupt, racist, bankrupt system. So…
Breathe in this moment tonight. Exhale and stand back up tomorrow. Keep it moving. Keep the pressure on.
“If you stick a knife in my back 9 inches and pull it out 6 inches, that’s not progress. If you pull it all the way out, that’s not progress. Progress is healing the wound that the blow made. They haven’t pulled the knife out; they won’t even admit that it’s there.” -Malcolm X.
So I wrote the post (pictured above) after news of a mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado. This is on the heels of a mass shooting in Georgia. I wrote it right before I went to bed, and I was feeling just done with the madness. Well, if you are a thinker or a writer, as usually happens, once I laid down in the quiet, the thoughts flooded in.
A little more on this….
Everything I said in that post is 100 percent how I feel. They’re my thoughts. My wish is that I knew what to do about it, knew how to effect actual, lasting change, but my belief is that it’s not a gun problem, but a heart and soul condition. (Shameless plug: I think I have a blog post about that somewhere.) I used to think that we just need to ban every single kind of firearm, but my thoughts on that have slowly, continually evolved. I still wish we lived in a world where they didn’t exist, never existed at all, but I can wish that until the cows come home and it won’t change a single thing. So….
Learn better; do better.Thoughts evolve, and that’s okay.
My thoughts on gun control are evolving as over the years I have come to understand and see how these types of laws can affect communities that aren’t White, and communities that sit in the lower income brackets. This is true of so many of our laws and beliefs. I believe in our 2nd Amendment as I understand it (not in the fear-based, bastardized version so many self-appointed “patriots” vomit out), but I don’t believe just anyone deserves to own a firearm either. So what are the correct parameters? I doubt we’ll ever find agreement on this either.
The Black Panthers showed up and we clutched our pearls.
Remember that time in 1967 when the Black Panthers showed up on the steps of the California State Capitol and then-Governor Reagan (R) and his NRA cronies decided we needed gun control laws right away? Well, I don’t remember because I was barely 3 years old, but it’s not hard information to find. But yes, the NRA wanted gun control laws after that incident! (If you never stopped to wonder “why,” here’s your chance.) What I do vividly remember many times is White men and women parading, storming, and protesting at various state capitol buildings, other federal buildings and lands armed to the freaking gills. What I also remember about those incidents is the government, the twisted NRA, and many so-called patriots saying NOTHING and doing NOTHING about it. Essentially, what I’ve seen is blatant inequality, and the silence I hear is actually an action, a stand.
So there I was with a pretty strong thought about guns and owners, heels dug in, rock solid sentiments. The problem is it centers my own personal fears and knee-jerk reactions rather than the whole picture. It leaves out the welfare of a whole lot of people. Is this the crossroads or a complete shift? I guess I’m not totally sure yet, but I know it is different, and I know that if my thoughts or actions contribute to hurting another group through inequality or inequity, then that’s a clue that some shift needs to happen. It’s a clue tapping at me letting me know that something is unbalanced, unfair, and requires more thought. I have always chosen to be a scout rather than a follower — someone who continually seeks out a higher consciousness and willing to change direction when or where I see I can do better. I’m not afraid to find out I’m wrong. I’m not afraid to change. I’m not afraid to realize my thoughts may have been imitated without thought and it’s okay to change direction. All of that might piss off some folks, but that isn’t always what’s most important. So I adjust, transform, or switch directions.
So here I am with little direction, nagging thoughts, armed with a scout mentality.
I’m going to stay in this inquiry until I have a solid direction. It’s important to me that the footprint I leave on others isn’t one on their backs. It’s important to me that my activism supports our Black and Brown communities in equality. It’s important to me to self-examine regularly and make sure I’m in alignment with what I say I want in the world, and that I’m not aligned out of fear. I’m going to have a conversation with a friend of mine whose ideas have also changed around gun ownership, whose ideas were much like mine and have also evolved quite a bit over the past year or so. I was invited to go to a shooting range event by that friend, and my husband and I are going to attend. I’m looking forward to it. I’ve never shot a gun in my life, and they’ve always scared me. I have no clue what I might learn, who I might get to talk to, but I’m open to it all because personal evolution is calling. I’ll blog about my experiences and thoughts.
I know you might find me confounding and even exasperating at times. I know you may not understand (or care) why my voice is so loud and my energy so explosive. It’s possible that you think I don’t handle things appropriately, whatever that means to you, and I’m sure some of you think I do too much and others think I don’t do enough. It is what it is. I’m sure I could use some balance. I am sure of a lot of things, and I am sure that I will not apologize for any of this. I appreciate the truth in matters, even when it forces me to change direction or it makes some “side” look bad and it doesn’t feel good. I may not always get it right, but I know I get it wrong less. I am a human being first, and a mother second, but the second feels like my most important job. Like most people I am a lot of other things as well – hooks and edges, bumps and curves, questions and answers, some broken parts – but both of those pieces, human and mother, drive me the most. What I want for my family is nothing less than I would wish for yours, but NEVER at the EXPENSE of the LIVES of mine.
Tomorrow is a big day. I hope you voted or will be voting tomorrow.
I hope you vote/d for a world that leaves no one out, a world that embraces everyone, a world that can evolve into a world that works for all, where every single person knows they belong. My understanding is that many of us voted OUT of fear instead of voting fear out. I’m talking about the propositions and measures in this instance. (I understand that many of us definitely voted out of fear for our presidential choice. But… if you know me, you know I will be talking about that one later, no matter who wins.)
There’s so much vitriol around elections, (and I’m guilty as well) and in my mind, this insane level of it began when Obama ran. It just seemed there was so much hate towards a Black man and his campaign. I’ve studied long enough to know that hate stems from fear, but my GOD…. I honestly wonder, when is it JUST hate, plain and simple? The hate, anger, and fear is so thick that we’re losing childhood friends, family members, and other friends from our circles — be it by our own choices or theirs.
2020 has been the perfect shit storm, hasn’t it? Many of us talk like once the election is over, or once we hit the new year, that miraculously it’s all going to go back to some kind of unusual peaceful normal. What even IS that? To me that sounds similar to the coronavirus president’s motto, “Make America Great Again.” I mean, what IS “great,” anyway? Is it:
Citizens that cheer on a man who should be stately, but instead makes fun of others like a second grader who doesn’t know any better?
Police being allowed to mame and kill people without due process?
Healthcare costs only the wealthy can actually afford?
Separating children from their immigrant parents, never to be reunited again?
Defunding our schools?
A country full of people either too uneducated or too unwilling to see how our past affects its citizens to this day?
A mass of citizens who think a flag is something to be revered over human bodies, decency, and the actual country it represents?
Water, air, and land so polluted it’s uninhabitable, poisons our bodies, and has species of plant and animal disappearing forever?
An election and political system so fraught with bribery, lies, and deceit that we can barely figure out who to even vote for anymore?
Drilling into our Mother Earth to its own detriment and, ultimately, ours?
Lifetime politicians who end up being in it so long they think they actually are anointed for it?
A prison bail system that is created only for the wealthy or those willing to risk it all?
A death penalty system so flawed with a mindset to follow that is so flawed it believes it’s okay if we get it wrong sometimes?
Citizens who will believe a man with a 100-word vocabulary over scientists?
Same citizens who think that somehow COVID-19 is either a hoax, or isn’t that bad because either “people are only dying because they had preexisting conditions,” or “it’s not really that many people dying?”
Citizens so horribly callous that they justify in their minds the atrocities we create against other sentient beings?
People who would rather lie or believe lies than to just admit fault and move on in a better light?
I’m sorry. I just don’t see the “great.” Also, truthfully, I’m not really sorry. I’m a lot of things about it, but I’m not sorry that I don’t have the capacity to be unable to grasp how people ALLOW themselves to become this way.
When did even “just” ONE life become so meaningless — so worthless? God, forgive us. We’ve become SO ugly.
I’ll be waiting to see if we can pull ourselves up and out of this abyss we’ve thrown ourselves into. I’ll be waiting to see if we FINALLY learn from this election to start paying attention to what’s going on under our noses. I’ll be waiting to see how many go back in the shadows until the next election when they think it’s time to come out and yell again. I’ll be waiting to see how many of us decide it’s time to do something about this F’ed up system the very day after the election. And I’ll be waiting for my comrades who’ve been with me and before me all along to pick up our mantles once again and hit the streets and the airwaves for a world that revolves in love. ‘Cause honey, this ain’t it.
Centrist ideals and actions, passivism, and just plain refusing to see (cognitive dissonance) are killing this planet. Essentially, it is killing us. You may have the urge to blame it on those that are obviously being destructive, or obviously protesting that climate change is even real. But every time you make up an excuse for our government officials and political groups ignoring the issue of climate change, you are aiding and abetting those that intentionally have ill will for this planet as evidenced by their desires for personal gain over a survivable planet. And when you think about it, you have personal gain issues, too. Yes. “We have more important issues at hand,” has been said to me. I wonder what that could be? I’ll tell you what it is, and it’s not what you think. It’s your fear – your irrational fear that Trump is the biggest thing we have to defeat – over anything and everything else. F.E.A.R. I don’t know about you, but most people don’t operate in their best thinking when they are coming from fear. We’re all afraid, but we shouldn’t let our fear have us operate from the inability to move out from in front of our noses, unable to see the bigger picture.
Right now the Amazon Rain Forest is burning at phenomenally faster rates than have EVER been known! Some of this is on purpose – for monetary gain. How disgusting! Climate change is killing it as well. We laugh, scoff and wag our fingers at climate change deniers… but how is waiting around for a better time to do something about it any better? In my opinion, that’s even WORSE, because we know better.
I am in an ongoing fight and struggle for equality for all persons on this planet, as many of you may be. If you know me, or have read many of the things I write, this is likely not news to you. Off the top of my head right now, I can’t think of anything more important to me than seeing a world that works for all. Full disclosure is, I selfishly do this because ultimately that’s the world I want for my grandchildren. I’m probably not going to see it. Maybe, but probably not. That’s OK. That’s the bigger picture. It doesn’t mean I’m ignoring the louder, more current concerns or that I’m not afraid. But the bigger picture speaks louder to me than the current, temporary ones. Does that mean that I/we ignore the current madhouse? No, not at all. What it means is that we should not put all our eggs in the basket of fearing the current madhouse. There has to be a balance. But if we’re reacting now without any regard for later, that is a God-awful strategy for our future. If your child is crying because he has a wet and soiled diaper and he’s hungry, but you just realized you’re out of diapersandformula, are you going to run out and get diapers to avoid the current mess, but wait on the formula because it’s less pressing at this moment? Or do they both require your full attention?
This is where we are. Mother Earth is SCREAMING for help, but many of us can’t seem to focus our energy on anything other than the mess in front of us. It’s urgent, yes, but there’s something bigger and also urgent that is starving for our attention as well. And if we don’t take care of it, there won’t be one single reason for any of the rest of it. The thing about starvation is, once it’s noticeable, there’s very little time to correct it, if at all. And even once it’s corrected, there may be lasting, irreversible damage to the point that saving it is in reality only slowing down the inevitable.
This is not about how much or little you might be doing for a better world. This is not about making the important work any of us are doing now suddenly worthless. IT’S ALL IMPORTANT. IT’S ALL NEEDED, ALL NECESSARY. But operating out of fear to the degree that we let ourselves be led by the nose, to ignore the underhandedness of those that we allow to represent us is going to be our end. And we do this for the short-term goal out of fear. Fear has us blind. Fear has us deaf. Fear has us cutting ourselves short. It’s sad. It’s maddening watching some of those that I love, appreciate, and think so highly of, and know without a doubt to be otherwise intelligent folks give it all up for the moment.
If you think we have bigger fish to fry than climate change, or that it can wait until after the next election, you clearly need the oxygen that we are currently running out of. This is dire. If you actually think the DNC or GOP has your best interests at heart, you MUST be suffering from hypoxia and can’t think straight. Wake up… while you still can. How is it that you can look the other way while they make up their own rules and decisions, mostly ignoring what the voters want, bowing to them out of fear instead of standing up to them and being fearless. Last election, and it looks like the upcoming one as well, so many people wanted to blame people like me for a sub-par candidate losing the election. You should be blaming yourselves and the DNC who led you by the nose KNOWING BETTER. Many of us tried to tell you, and you ridiculed and laughed at us. We’re telling you again, and you’re still laughing.
I wish I could say that “I told you so” tasted sweet, but I have to wade in the bitter poison right along with you.
Your social justice and equality issues also do not take a bigger stage than climate change. Again, these issues are not less important, but to be perfectly clear, they won’t be an issue at all if we keep ignoring climate change or putting it off until ____________. If you care so much about social dynamics and the struggles that are going on right now in our communities of color and our underserved communities, then you absolutely SHOULD be thinking about climate change. Why? If you have your community activism hat already in any arena involving those communities, then I already know you are aware of how they get hit the hardest, the fastest, and the longest when anything bad comes down the pipeline. They also take the longest to recover – if ever. Sometimes it’s actually by design, sadly, and sometimes it’s because of positioning. Here are just a few examples: housing crisis, redlining, gerrymandering, poverty, bank bailouts, war on drugs, high cost of pharmaceuticals, disparities in healthcare, inflation, etc. DO YOU THINK FOR ONE SECOND THAT AS OUR CLIMATE AND EARTH DETERIORATE THAT THESE COMMUNITIES WON’T SUFFER HARDER, FASTER, AND LONGER THAN OTHERS – THAT SOMEHOW THEY’LL ESCAPE THE USUAL ROLL CALL FOR THIS? Like I said, if you already have your community activism hat on, it shouldn’t be hard for you to see how this will go. All our work will be for not if we refuse to address our climate issues NOW – not after the election; not after… anything else. NOW.
Look, I am also guilty of waiting to fully address climate change, and not being willing to realize that if our world deteriorates, there is no point at all to anything else that I work for, strive for, pour my heart and soul out into. My selfish reasons for the other activism work that I do has to be, and is, the same for climate change. I want my grandchildren to grow up in a world that their Gram helped make better and survives for them. I don’t want them to suffer from the effects of racism, classism, bigotry, hunger, violence, xenophobia… and I most certainly don’t want them to suffer because they can’t breathe or the little food that’s left or the water is poisoning them. As a bonus, I would also like to live out the rest of my life on a planet that is being loved and nurtured, knowing it’s going to be a safe place for my Milani Jhené and Joshua Rey, and whichever beautiful grandbabies that might come next.