Message in a Bottle (Part 11)

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Violence is rooted in the idea that we can own another human being. That a person is not an individual endowed with rights to self-determination and liberty and dominion over their body but are subject to the whims and desires of someone else. We can see examples of this all over the place from domestic violence to murder.

The moral questions of right and wrong get thrown out the window. Is what is happening to these people wrong? Absolutely. Don’t get me wrong. But just like the great kingdoms of the 15th and 16th Century that swept the globe in a race to dominate the world the things that they did to gain the upper hand was terrible, sure. Slavery, slaughter, rape, pillaging of resources, and so forth. But they could do it because they had power, terrible power – almost unlimited resources.

Today, we are getting an eyeful of violence being perpetrated against African-American people from Police. If African Americans made up forty percent of the United States population overall, this would not be happening.

It is happening today, however, to maintain the hegemony. To keep black people afraid of those who are in power. In the past 8 years, minorities have made huge strides in equality but African American’s have been made to suffer and I think it’s punishment over the Presidency of Barack Obama and the political impotency of those who tried to have him thrown out. There is a backlash happening toward all minorities at the moment because a certain demographic is afraid of losing power. And it’s killing black people every single day.

When I was five years old, I was recovering from a bout of Chicken Pox (my second go round with that) and I remember the night before some boys had come over to see my sisters and they were horseplaying and bent the side of a pool. My father, in an outrage, had all of the children in the kitchen. And he started beating us, one at a time. I remember my eldest sister screaming and crying, then on to the next sister, and I remember my father turning around and in anger screaming, “….do you want me to do this?!” and punching me in the head. I remember my head bouncing off the kitchen floor. And out of fear, I remember climbing underneath the counter in the kitchen to get away from him before he stormed out of the house.

My father did what he did not because it was right or wrong. He did what he did because he could. A five-year-old and two teenage girls are no match to the strength of a full grown man who’s angry.

As the years progressed and the abuse became more commonplace – the worst feeling about it all – besides the bruising and bleeding – was the total inability to stop him. The powerlessness in the shadow of his power. Was he wrong to do that? Of course, he was. But the church had granted him unlimited authority to ‘break the will’ of a child.

And that’s what’s happening to African Americans in this push back. People are trying to break their will and let them know where their place is. As well as Mexicans. As well as Refugees. As well as LGBT people, especially Trans people who are being murdered. As well as….Veterans who’s suicide rate is alarming.

For the religious among you, think back to Pharoh who felt threatened over the rising population of Jews in the land of Egypt. Think about Herrod who, feeling threatened at his advisor’s telling him a King had been born, sent out an order to kill the first born. This is what America is doing to itself because a certain demographic is afraid that change is coming.

Well, change is inevitable. And power is always in transition. It’s in a constant state of flux. America is turning into an abusive parent who does what he does simply because no one is big enough to stop him. And I have a terrible feeling that eventually, that kid is going to buck up and end up putting someone on their ass. And just like that father shocked to find his kid standing over him with a balled up fist, you’re going to deserve it.

America – what you’re doing – is fucked up. Hurting people because you can – is fucked up. And you know it’s fucked up. And just like that screwed up parent, your not deserving of the people in your life or the love and great things they are capable of. Including football players who stand for the national anthem.

You’re an abuser and a coward.

Fix your shit.

Stop the violence before it’s too late.

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P.S. I can’t imagine what that high must be like. To have someone on the ground trembling in fear knowing that they’re fucked if you decide they are. And the ability to take a life. Man, that must make you feel like a god. But you’re not. You’re human.

 

Why do we wait for peace (Poem)

Why do we wait for peace?

We’ve suffered through tragedy
and we’ve walked through hell
we’ve tasted bitter tears on our lips
and cast coins into wishing wells

We’ve cashed checks too light
and paid bills that are too heavy
we’ve built walls to protect the homestead
and were flooded out when rivers broke their levy

We’ve worn boots of a solider
badges of the cop
we’ve been in stripes, been in chains,
been in some awful tight spots

We’ve danced at weddings
and wept for the dead
we’ve wished a goodnight’s sleep
upon a child, a lover, or an aged parent’s head.

We’ve born the whip
and we’ve been set free
we’ve worshiped at houses of the Lord
and sang a version of, Nearer my God to thee.

We’ve been taxed to death
worked our fingers to the bone
made love at a moment’s notice
when with a lover, we found ourselves alone

And yet, AND YET, we cannot see
is that I belong to you and you belong to me
if not by family, those strong ties that bind
but in our own humanity shared by all of humankind

Black, white, yellow, these things are hues
and for neither hyphen nor station
should any man be made to sing the blues
Nor for religion, nor arbitrary thing
because baby, at the end of the day
you’re still a human being

We’ve all been made to wander
our forty days and forty nights
we’ve all been made to struggle
our souls reaching for the light

No imaginary boundary will save you from the end
no faith, nor creed, nor wealth of wisdom will stay the hand of death
from dust you arose and to dust you will return
and with you goes everything you’ve ever done, everything you’ve ever learned

For whom the bell tolls, it tolls for us
and if every man made machine turns red with rust
and if mankind’s life ends for the blind, the seeing, and deaf
why do we refuse peace in our life, our childrens lives, our neighbors lives, our fellow countrymen’s lives, we will all otherwise intimately get to know
in death?

Why do we wait for peace, this state of grace
Why do we deny it to others simply for their race?
Why do we deny it to ourselves, for we too are made to suffer
For when we hate for simply hates sake
We linger in perpetual fear and can give peace to no other.

It is a cyclical ride we humans ride
A rollercoaster that never stops, a merry go round of knives
Why do we wait for peace we wait because we’re afraid
Afraid someone will get over on us
So we take any hope of peace, directly to our grave.

It’s greed that makes up linger in spaces Angels fear to trod
its fear that keeps us separated from other children of God
its retribution, its rage that keeps the blood flowing
and it’s those things that keep us from the Divine, the Merciful, the All knowing

Peace comes when we begin to let go
Peace comes like a gentle fall of snow and in the quiet spaces
in our hearts humanity is restored
Its when we discover our worth, we pick ourselves up from off the floor.

Its easy these days to pray and to give thoughts
its harder these days to be where the change starts
its easy to lecture, to point, to criticize
its hard to listen, to step back and see the world through foreign eyes

Why do we wait for peace?
These things I may never know
This place hidden beneath pains unyielding sorrow
like a garden under veils of winter’s snow
It’s a state of glory we all wish we could be
So Our Father Who Art in Heaven, no more waiting
Let this peace, begin with me.

F.E.

Let us hope that God is a Liberal

I would like to know how it’s possible that a nation who proclaims its belief in God can subject it’s people to the likes of someone like Donald Trump?
I would like to know how it’s possible how Christians who find themselves supporting a man who is the worst kind of bigot ? How do they do it?
How do they balance the idea of racism and go to church on sunday and sing amazing grace, and how does it slip their mind that that song is so entrenched in slavery that to play it on the piano would show them that even the keys they play it on are black?
How is it possible? How is it possible that evangelical churches led the charge to undermine civil rights in this country as they did after the passage of the civil rights act of 1964? Infuriated over Brown v Board. And continue to do so – like bigotry isn’t a sin of the heart?
How is it possible to profess a faith that speaks about Christ leading men out of the bondage of sin the way Moses led the children of Israel out of bondage – to turn around and try and subject people to second class citizenship? To, in a sense, bind them to the power of religion out of pure spite and disdain?
How is it possible- that when black people say their lives matter and gay people marry, and trans people are denied the right to use a bathroom – that they are trying to destroy Christian rights? When Christian ‘rights’ have existed in this country simply to punish anyone who walked outside of what they consider moral? Or white? Or Christian as they see it to be?
Is it simply cognitive dissonance? Or is it something more?
Is it more along the lines of that AFrican proverb that says, “Beware the naked man who offers you his shirt?”
Meaning that, in this instance, perhaps you shouldn’t try to offer salvation to anyone when you yourself don’t possess it? And maybe when you condemn someone for reacting in a certain way to the pressures around them that , you in fact, condemn yourself? And perhaps you aren’t as ‘SAVED’ as you think you are?
That the original sin wasn’t theirs, but was a product of yours?
If then should these people stand before God- the one, the source of justice if you accept anamnesis, who is really going to be held responsible in the long run?
I know it isn’t fashionable to take society to task over things. People roll their eyes often times when you try and say that it takes a village to raise a kid. And they reject the notion that environment really has an impact on the way people turn out, although they exist in societies and are products of them themselves.
My father used to always preach that if God didn’t destroy america he would have to resurrect Sodom and Gomorrah and apologize to it. And of course it would get people nodding their heads and saying ‘amen’ because in their mind, sodom was a city filled to the brim with roaming bands of homosexuals.
But I agree with my father’s premise. But not for the same reason.
Ezekiel chapter 16: 49 says, “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy”
When you see people carrying signs and shouting, ‘black lives matter’ it’s because since this nation was founded, they never mattered. And the reason they never mattered was due – in large part- to some American Churches (Bob Jones Sr. Vs. The United States). Jim Crow was preached out of pulpits. And schools were built by Christian churches who used their 501c3 to do so, were furious – and sued- to keep that right. And even though they lost, the  lone dissenter – Bill Rehnquist – became this nation’s chief Justice until 2005.
They stood in the way of Gay marriage and some of these same churches are trying once again to deny people rights as they aid rogue states (Liberty Law Center- a product of Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University) in passages of discriminatory lgbt laws that violate their rights as citizens of the United States in 20 states.
all because of the actions of this ‘immoral majority’. Every wicked thing in the hearts of man is represented in ONE person trying to become the head of state. Every wicked deed produced by the church to acquire power – is represented in one man. And the fertile field of the GOP – where he was grown – finds itself powerless to stop him. This ‘stop trump movement’ headed up by the likes of Erik Erikson – has failed. Not because they didn’t try, but because of the character of those who tried.
Franklin Graham stood some time in the not too distant past and decried that Stonewall inn, which the U.S. is going to declare a national landmark, would be a monument to sin. Which is interesting because I think these churches are.
When the ‘WORLD’ is better at trying to set men free than the churches are?
Suicide rates of gay youth are extremely high
homelessness of lgbt youth is almost 40 percent of the entire number nationwide.
domestic abuse numbers are higher in same sex homes due to external pressure
More African Americans live in poverty, are more likely to be murdered, and are more likely to lose their freedom because of the war on drugs and other things.
Mexicans have fled their homes and immigrated here because of that very same war which has bound the African American has caused a civil war in their country because of the War on Drugs – and we are unconcerned.
And in the background pulling the strings? You guessed it.
If we remove benevolence from God (the liberal version of him) and just make him simply a JUST God (The conservative version), Donald Trump would be this nation’s potential punishment. Despite popular belief, and despite the fragmented cast system we’ve put in place that allocates privilege depending on demographics, this nation will rise or it will fall – together. And the churches- that immoral majority- bought and paid for him.
“…What rough beast, its hour come around at last, slouches toward Bethlehem to be born.”
~ William Butler Yeats.
How poetic.
Maybe he will be elected. Maybe he’ll build that wall. But the funny thing about walls is – not only do they keep people out – they also keep people in.  But maybe that wall will spare them from our own self fulfilled prophecy.
Let’s hope the liberals are right.