Posted in Activism, commentary, Equality

Selma

I had not watched Selma until today. My love for Ava DuVernay not withstanding, I knew watching it would tear me apart. Three minutes in, I was sobbing. The murders of Addie May, Carole, Cynthia, and Denise by the KKK made me scream, “Why?!” I know this was one of over 40 bombings by the KKK. Violence is never the answer.

I know Dr. Martin Luther King wasn’t perfect, but he answered the call. He acted. Peacefully. He incited peaceful protests. He led marches. He lived the words he spoke.

It’s been nearly two weeks since non-peaceful insurrectionists, white supremacists, invaded our Capitol while Congress was in session with the intent to harm. They gleefully recorded their exploits and posted them in various places, including Parler, a cesspool of white supremacists, neo nazis and a few people wandering in because they believe they are being censored (they aren’t) elsewhere.

They are having the nerve to act surprised that they are being arrested for breaking into the Capitol building (a felony), stealing Capitol property, and vandalizing what they proudly proclaimed as “our House.”

Some were armed. Some beat a policeman with a Blue Lives Matter flagpole. A policeman, trying to keep these insurrectionists from killing Congressmembers, died. Their grievance? Believing the lies peddled by the soon to be former administration. Their grievance? Butt hurt that whites are losing their grip on the power they’ve kept through voter suppression and maximizing their minority through that suppression and other means.

Why is equality so scary to some? Fear is driving these people to attack the very foundations of our democracy and spew hatred while praying to God. It’s been 55 years since the beginning of the Civil Rights movement and we’re still so far behind where we need to be as a nation.

If you are one of the white supremacists that marched into the Capitol building, you aren’t being persecuted, you are being held accountable. You stood up for someone who couldn’t care a rat’s ass about you, and you will pay the price for your actions and he will not rescue you.

I, myself, dream of a vibrant, “minority-majority” society. One where we can live together in harmony, celebrating each others’ differences, and celebrating our shared humanity. I believe it’s still possible, but only if we acknowledge that there’s still a problem, and only if we cut out the heart of the white supremacist movement and stand up for all people.

Posted in Activism, advocate, community, education

Judging Those in Poverty

I’m building on the rant by Qasim Rashid above.

I have lived paycheck to paycheck most of my life. I have had to decide between gas and groceries and not just once. I have visited the food bank. I had to let my teeth go because I couldn’t afford the dental care I needed. I drove cars that broke down constantly.

AND I WORKED MY ASS OFF. At one point, I had three jobs and still sometimes wondered if I’d have enough gas to get to work. While life is much better for me now, I remember feeling the judgement, real or perceived, because I couldn’t make ends meet working those three jobs (without health insurance) and I couldn’t make my degree work for me either.

If your definition of socialism is “someone I don’t like or I think doesn’t deserve” what you already have, you a) need a dictionary, and b) you should be thankful you have the privilege you can stand on and make judgements from.

Poverty is not a moral failing, it’s a failing of a system. I’m no longer ashamed of what some call “wasted years”. Since I lived it, I know how hard it is to overcome it. There aren’t always opportunities, they need to be created. One was created for me, and I haven’t forgotten it.

Instead of “they don’t” or “they shouldn’t”, perhaps we should start talking about “we” and “us.” That’s what community is all about.

Posted in music, pop culture

RIP Eddie

My favorite Eddie Van Halen memory:

My older brother idolized him. When Eddie appeared on the cover of Guitar magazine in the 80’s, Scott bought a copy and brought it home. From paper, duct tape and a yard stick, he replicated the guitar, perfectly, drawing out every detail down to the knobs and frets.

Then he wired the stereo so I could sing into a very rudimentary microphone and hear my voice through the speakers. He even built me a mic stand. Karaoke wasn’t even really a thing then.

Our little brother completed our band – banging on feed buckets for drums.

We three kids were so very different, but music brought us together. Always.

RIP Eddie.

(I don’t know if this was the cover, Eddie was on so many, but we were still kids, I’d say early to mid 80’s).