Shame on you, America

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I hate that children have to beg not to die.
I hate that everytime I turn on television that someone in our country has been blown away.
I hate that mental illness is being made the ‘enemy’ when in fact it’s anger and rage that brought our president into the oval office that is responsible for these deaths of children and concert-goers.
I hate seeing Donald Trump’s notes to say ‘ I hear you’ to the grieving families that stood in his presence.
I can’t stand seeing his face anymore or hearing the talking points from conservative pundits saying, “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.”
Like Eddie Izzard said, “They sure do help.”
That’s the truth. A pistol would have lowered the body count, a knife, a car, a bomb.
I was in the service – I’ve fired weapons like the M-16, the M-203, the M249, a 50 caliber Machine gun.
As cool as those weapons were to fire at targets, like the blogger said, made to look like men – those weapons are designed for one purpose.
To kill people.
Center Mass.
If people want to fire weapons like this – stop dreaming about the civil war of you vs the federal government that will never happen. Go to your local recruiting office and go and defend us from ISIS and The Taliban and Russia. Put your patriotism and love of country where your mouth is.
The possession of an AR-15 will get you killed faster than not owning one.
Are you gonna take on a Seal? A Ranger? A Marine? A SWAT team?
Because if shit’s really that bad, that’s whose showing up to take you on. That means you’re dead already, you just haven’t laid down yet. That’s who those people are once you get past the pomp and circumstance and patriotism. They’re trained killers.
What about the tanks and bombers and F-16s?
I hate that the biggest threat to the United States (outside of Russia’s involvement in our politics) is the American people who passively allow their future to get walked down the lane hand in hand with ghosts of times long passed. Who are greeted by God having to apologize to them for the way they died when their lives were cut short.
Speaking of which, for those of religious inclinations, how long do you think God is going to sit idly by while children, breathing, walking, talking, children get slaughtered in the classroom.
And don’t make it about ‘well, if God was allowed in school…”
God is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent, God is in public schools and as long as teachers hand out tests – there has been and always will be prayer.
What isn’t in school are the parents whose sole responsibility in this world is to make sure their children are educated and reach adulthood as responsible members of society.
So play the blame game. Keep it going. Keep abdicating your responsibility as adults and watch as these children snatch the future right out of your hands. Someone has to stand up and say something. Someone has to bring hope to the helpless. Someone has to make sure that school-aged children won’t be gunned down because some crank decided that he or she wants to do the most damage in the least amount of time.
And God help us, it’s children.
Shame on you, America.

Violence and Scars ( a call for passive resistance)

 

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Photo by Gerrie van der Walt on Unsplash

I remember the day 9/11 happened. It’s something that is seared into my memory.
The whole day I was in shock.
I fell asleep to CNN and woke up to it still playing on the television with picture after picture, replay after replay of the hijacked airliners and the damage they’d done.
The body count.
People standing outside of The World Trade Center weeping, begging God and passerby’s to deliver them their loved ones.
The next the numbness of it all wore off and there I was, nineteen years old, weeping into the arms of my sister.
I was scared.
Knowing all those people died, it broke my heart.
I remember asking my mom if she thought there were ‘saved’ people in those buildings.
The other day, with Charlottesville I sat down and cried again. I’m thirty six years old and later on as I prayed the ‘Our Father’ with my husband – clinging for some kind of comfort – when I got to ‘Thy Will Be Done’ I choked it out.
I’ve lived a long life.
Not in years but in experiences.
I am a survivor of fundamentalism.
I was raised in the belief that I had no inherent ‘good.’
That the world had no inherent good.
I was beaten. Often. The religion was rigorous and I often rebelled against it.
I knew as a kid there was something inherently wrong with them.
I couldn’t put my finger on it – I mean, the people we talked to were polite, they dressed nice, the churches were nice, they drove nice cars….and in a lot of ways, it wasn’t the worst of circumstances.
Until it was.
And when it was, baby, it was a honey.
I’ve seen and been through things too bizarre to put in 9 books let alone one.
My sisters, can even top my experiences.
Those experiences have put a scar in me, on my heart, so deep it cuts into my very being into the foundation of who I am as a person.
And if I am not careful, those scars, get infected.
I have to be vigilant.
There is an old Sunday School song that goes, “Oh be careful little ears what you hear. Oh be careful little ears what you hear. For the Lord above is looking down – in love – oh be careful little ears what you hear.
It’s in what I hear – that requires the most vigilance.
Like someone who’s had a weather related injury, such as heatstroke, or frostbite or someone who’s come in contact with poison ivy – I’ll always be susceptible to the tone of a message than the actual message itself.
Passion, rhetorical flourish, and charisma are the cornerstone of any good speaker. It’s not really in what they say, that makes us listen, it’s all in the delivery.
Think of your favorite speaker, preacher, politician, or public persona.
Don’t listen to what they say, give that a rest, listen to how they say it.
There’s a lot of umph to their message, a schtick they use, they’re just like you….but they’re not. If they are public speaking, have their starched white shirts rolled up, can deliver a speech without any reservation or nervousness, they haven’t been one of you for a very long time. Most people I know HATE public speaking.
Right now, there is a lot of talk about Nazis and their alter ego – Antifa.
There’s a lot of passionate rhetoric being tossed around by both sides. Promises of violence. Actual acts of violence and confrontations.
A whole lot of passion.
We should always stand against fascism. Always. There’s no room in a free society for authoritarianism. Period. White supremacy and it’s ugly older brother antisemitism and ugly older sister bigotry – ruin and destroy – and have never once created a thing.
It’s led nations into ruins and took its people along for the ride.
And while there is something in the idea of standing up to a Nazi and ‘giving them their just desserts’ violence never creates anything. Like racism and bigotry – violence only begets more violence.
I’ve seen so many people on social media talking about ‘getting ready ‘ for some kind of showdown with the evil that is Nazi’s and no doubt – they are evil.
Yet these same people are unaware, or maybe they are aware, that they are slowly becoming being pushed into the very thing they’re trying to fight against. They become the other side to the same coin.
I feel like a fool when I quote this man, because everyone does who try to drive home a point. Bigots have used this guy, which isn’t too far a stretch since a racist will use Jesus and the Bible to justify their deep rooted hate. But Dr. Martin Luther King stood against much worse, so much worse, and was far more effective in his methodology of passive resistance than any armed conflict can ever accomplish.
War is not about success no matter what General stands up and delivers his speech ‘to the boys’.
War is about failure.
It’s about people failing to come together and work out their issues.
It becomes mindless.
To commit an act of violence against another human being, you have to work yourself up into a state of mindless rage and once that line is crossed – there’s no coming back.
Ask the vets who’ve come back from Iraq and Afghanistan how they feel.
I am not telling you to march. I am not telling you not to resist. I am not telling you to just let them hit you or hurt you. No. You have a right to defend yourself from bodily harm.
All I am asking you to do – is listen not to what your side says – listen to how they’re saying it. Listen to the words they use, not in a way that convinces you to join their cause, but what they are calling for.
The French know about this.
While their revolution was probably 100 percent just. It became a mindless stream of violence and death because people couldn’t back out of the frenzy they found themselves in.
There were so many different factions inside of that event that when someone starts to talk about the French Revolution – you are 100 percent justified in asking, “Which one?”
Are we facing some dark times? Yes. No doubt.
‘ The other’ regardless of where they fit, are in dire straights.
But ladies and gentlemen, there is power in numbers.
Passive resistance like Dr. Kings wasn’t very popular in America. He was murdered for it. Like Christ, he used to the parts of the society in which he lived to shame the wise. He held a mirror up to this country and let it get a good look at itself.
Sure you may face violence and worse when you stand up for what you believe in in any capacity.
But there is one sure fire way you’ll be unable to avoid it and that is by being violent yourself.
A man that lives by the sword will die by it each and every time.
Whoever got a hold of those 15 hijackers used passion to convince them 100 percent of their righteousness. The man who plowed into the crowd of protesters was 100 percent convinced of his righteousness.
The man who sucker punched his little boy, and bounced his head off a tile floor in the kitchen because they were angry, was 100 percent sure – in the heat of the moment – he was right.
Curtail your passions. Or they will destroy everything around you and trust me, there are some fates that are worse than death.

Violence is NEVER the answer. All it does is create a whole myriad and painful questions. Questions like, “Why me?”

What’s worse, is some questions then, have no good answer and because of that – there is are scars that never heal right.

I’ve yet to see a hearse with a hitch (poem)

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(Photo Sylvain Reygaerts)

I learned a while ago
that know matter what I say
no matter where I go
I am both servant and master
inclined to help people do better
but should also feel comfortable enough to lean
on those who are around me

Because the truth is
despite people talking about the
importance of individuality, and self,
at the end of the day we exist in a community
where I belong to you and you to me
and those that often jive talk about Personal responsibility
thinks everyone else should have it
but their issues, their reason for unemployment, WIC, or food stamps- well, that’s a specialty

An outlier, something so exceptional
which allows them to hoard grace and then rob it
from others.
whether it be a homeless vet or a single mother
it’s that exceptional lie of ‘someone else can worry’
that makes it impossible for our culture to hurry
into its natural next phase of evolution

It’s that lie that makes ‘other’ , hatred of another
so’s they can be denied things given to their brother
on the basis of his faith, class, or skin color
things they want denied to someone else because of whom
they take as their lover
in the meantime justifying their hate by saying, ‘Well, they’re queer.”

No, see, not really
what’s queer is to run counter to your own humanity
things that man Jesus, remember him, talked about
before they nailed him to a tree
things repeated my Ghandi and Dr. Martin Luther King
that said “Yo, treat others like you want to be treated’
this isn’t rocket science
but something that rests solidly in your own conscience
that you have to daily be willing to murder
so you can say, “That man, that man right there with the funny accent. He’s an intruder. ”

Kick him out

Who’s really queer here?
Cause I can guarantee you, it isn’t the Hispanic woman
the African son, the white snowflake you intimidate with your guns
it isn’t the lesbian politician nor the Muslim man who was beaten in his store in New York
No, see queer means something entirely different it means something more
Queer means odd
and denying people their fundamental rights before you dispatch them to their respective God
says more about you than anything said about them

“Behold, this was this sin of your sister Sodom”
She was fat, she was lazy, and she didn’t give a damn
She could have, she should have, but she didn’t understand her own situation nor it’s gravity
of what happens when you willfully destroy your own humanity
and embrace chance, embrace apathy,
that the stone cold nature of mankind’s cruelty becomes ten fold
when the bell you rang or allowed to be rung for someone else
finally tolls for thee.

And it does -without a doubt – toll for thee.
As it tolls for your neighbor, as it tolls for me
see no matter our lot in life, or wealth, or station
our burial plots are all the same size
death is mankind’s equalizer, the greatest of it’s kind
so whether you were born in palatial splendor or ended up dead in a ditch
I promise you in thirty six years of life – I’ve yet to see a hearse with a hitch.