I Would Like to Say

I was browsing a few other articles this morning and came across one that I wanted to comment on.  It was about a reaction to a poorly written piece about adoption and mixed race families.  The point that struck me was how violently one author attacked the other.  While I agreed that the first article was poorly written, the second never seemed to rise above the rant and and accusations of racism level.

The comments also seemed fairly homogeneous for so charged a topic.  Most were the supportive or affirmative stuff I’ve come to expect.  Great article. Well written.  I couldn’t agree more.  Maybe only those who were interested enough to write a comment, but I doubt it.  I wrote one and didn’t seem to make it past the sensors.  Yes, I checked.

For a people who claim to want to do away with racism, we seem reluctant to talk about it.  How can we get past a problem when we act like it is only coming from one side?  Does anyone actually believe that if you are black or another minority, that you can not be a racist?  If so, someone, please, give me the new definition of racism and discrimination.

I would like to say that if you are expecting all of the work to come from one side and get this problem fixed, you are an idiot.  That would somehow be viewed as racist, even though it goes for everyone.

I would like to say there is an easy solution.  There is nothing easy about changing minds and beliefs.  It takes work, understanding and accommodation from everyone.

I would like to say that there are intelligent debates going on and progress is being made.  It doesn’t look that way.  To many of the loudest voices on all sides of the conversation are only partially educated.  Or worse, actively deluding themselves about the facts.  To hell with it.  I’m going to go put my feet up and ignore the world for a while.  If that offends you, too damn bad.

War

hamas

I was staring at my book shelves trying to be inspired this morning and noticed something.  There are a lot of books about war there.  My Sci-Fi collection is a who’s who of daring do in camouflage, armor and space suits.  For military reference, I have collected most of the major works.  The sections on religion and psychology are to better understand the way groups think.  Economics are a part of war and society.  Even my favorites from the classics have conflict.  All of that is understandable when you consider what I have done for most of my life.

What I don’t have are a lot of self-help books or feel good easy readers.  I’ve tried a couple and even kept “Siddhartha” and “The Legend of Bagger Vance” because they are good stories in their own right.  There are no magic pills or philosophies that can cure the world.  Governments can’t give enough to lift everyone out of poverty.  We cannot all embrace the one true god, simply because we can’t agree on how we are supposed to pray to him and what his rules are.  I don’t believe there are any simple answers.  People are to diverse and selfish to have easy answers.

This brings us back to war.  War is not evil.  The effects can be tragic.  The loss of life seems pointless.  Financial cost are ruinous to at least one of the parties.  For all that they are fought by nations, states and religious or political entities only a fraction of the population actually gets involved in the fighting.  Collateral damage means that those near the fighting suffer the same fate as the soldiers.  Lives and homes are ripped away by buzzing clouds of fire and steel, by Generals trying to reduce to overall cost of war.  The perverse logic of combat being the faster you destroy your enemies ability to fight, the less damage you inflict in the long run.

As a world spanning civilization are we slower to go to war than 100 years ago? Would the terrorist attacks of 9/11 have launched a devastating reprisal, holding Saudi Arabia responsible for the actions of it’s citizens?  Probably not, another thing that has changed is our ability to project force around the world.  The decision cycle is dramatically shorter, too.  In the early 1900’s it still took information days to cross the continent.  We didn’t have a standing Army large enough to confront another nation.  Gathering and shipping supplies around the world would have taken, as it did, the mobilization of most of the countries population.  Additionally, the 250,000 Soldiers, Sailors and Marines would have been required to stay there for the duration.  No.  I don’t believe our response would have been the same.

Something about war.  It is cathartic, purging.  The anger and outrage are washed away in the blood and bodies left on the battlefield.  The ultimate punishment delivered to the faceless enemy by shattering a nation.  Now, we even have national remorse and survivors guilt.  PTSD on a massive social scale.  We feel so overwhelmed that we help rebuild their shattered infrastructure.  An extension of the Marshall Plan, to put the people back to work.  What happens is that US contracting companies hire local unskilled labor and only introduce short lived fiscal stimulation that leaves worse behind later.

We want good intentions and self-restraint to be our hallmarks.  Instead it’s like watching the little kids try to gang up on the big kid on the playground.  When the big kid fights back, the protest is against the victim for defending themselves.  Restraint is well and good if it produces results.  In war it only draws out the conflict by allowing the little kids to think they are capable of beating the big kid.  After the fight, the big kid helps the “poor victim” back to his house, only to be berated by Mom.

We should be who we are.  We became a world power and super power by working harder than anyone else.  We have limited friends, unless we pay for them.  We are resented and despised on a global scale.  Pretending anything else isn’t real politic, it is just stupid.

Scattered, Smothered, Covered and…

hash

I’ve tried to write a few times over the last week, but can’t seem to stay on topic.  You know, the opposite of writers block.  Just a mess of whatever comes out. Huddle House hash browns, scattered and smothered.  Sure it’s great at 3 A.M. after you’ve been out drinking at the club, but it has to come back out sometime.  Usually at 5:30, when the room starts spinning and you can’t make it to the bathroom.

With all the subjects in the news, drawing comment and outrage from all sectors, where do I begin.  How can we make something as simple and universal as going to the bathroom difficult.  If you Google it, between 0.2 and 0.3 per cent of Americans face this problem.  Why can’t it just be as simple as: You’re rights end where mine begin.  99.7 per cent of the population are seeing laws passed to force everyone accommodate 0.3 per cent.  It’s in the same category as same sex marriage.  I don’t care who you love, have sex with or want to share a bitter divorce with.

The Presidential elections are starting to feel like Russian Roulette.  No matter who wins in the end, everyone loses.  The echoes of “Never Trump” and “Never Hillary”, come at me across all media, along with the inevitable “He/she is a liar and is only out for their own good”.  Minorities are being vote harvested by promising that if I’m elected, I’ll give you more and warned that if the other gut is elected you will lose everything.  The pandering is just embarrassing.

If the protesters continue gather and become violent, will they try to interfere with the freedom to vote?  What will it look like on the nightly news when National Guard and Police have to stand outside polling sites, just to ensure freedom of access and protection?

Where is the tipping point of racial and religious tension, that pushes us past words and into intentional, organized, armed violence?  Tolerance has a limit.  When do the sheep, stop repeating what the Talking Heads say and start holding everyone accountable for their own actions and words.  When do the sheep recognize that their news is crafted to be entertaining first and accurate a distant second.

The hash browns have to come out one way or another.  Either way, it will look the same.  Somehow it will still look like something you shouldn’t have eaten at 3 A.M.  No wonder I can’t stay focused.  Now, I’m afraid of what it will be like when it comes out from the other end.

Enviromental Conditioning

snake

Another one of those video clips, that are supposed to illuminate the unequal treatment of Blacks in America, showed up on my computer again this morning.  It reminded me of another post from a Puerto Rican friend reminding everyone that he’s not Mexican so don’t wish him a “Happy Cinco de Mayo”.   Apparently islanders don’t celebrate Mexican Independence day.  For myself, I’ve learned to ignore the comments about skin-heads, neo-nazis and white racist crap.

It also reminded me of another article about camouflage and role models, the image we project to the world.  What is anyone to expect from a person, of any race, who projects an image of foul mouthed, disrespectful, unrestrained threat?  We are conditioned to react to threats by nature.  Fight or flight.  We are also conditioned by society to respond to others in kind.

Before anyone starts, yes, there are racists and assholes on both sides of the argument.  I’m not talking about the ones who have declared their allegiance and stupidity to credos based on skin pigment.  This is about everyday people who feel pressure and resentment over or through the acts of others.

I work in the inner city.  I see a lot of kids trying on the image of a street thug or criminal.  I recognize part of that coming from protecting an image in the community, protection from reprisal on the street.  When I run into this, they get a short lesson.

  1. If you want respect, give respect.
  2. Acting like a criminal gets you treated like a criminal until proven otherwise.
  3. You choose your role model and destiny.

It carries over.  The image of blacks has been blasted across the evening news, music videos, movie screens and the internet.  It is not the  image of Dr. King and his peace marches, or the scholars and doctors helping to change our world.  It’s the image of Al Sharpton’s race baiting rants, mobs of people rioting, looting and burning Baltimore, shooting each other in record numbers on the streets of Detroit and Chicago.  To few people have the perspective I enjoy, so they react predictably.  Fear the threat.

Back to the beginning.  The black community is being treated differently.  It is more from the image being broadcast to the world, than rampant racism.  The vocal minority is accelerating this through hype and hyperbole, peaceful encounters become violent, innocent bystanders are caught  in the mix and injured.  These groups are conditioning the world to fear them and it’s working.  The black communities are being isolated for protection.  Police are less likely to take risks confronting hostile groups.  Employers are discriminating over appearance and speech, assessing risks.  Fueling more complaints of racism.

An Indian woman found a rattle snake frozen in the snow.  She brought it into her home and nursed it back to health.  When it was healthy again, it bit her.  As she lay dying, she ask “Why?”

The snake answered, “Stupid Bitch.  You knew I was a snake.”