Tonight – I remember 9/11 (18 years later)

Eighteen years ago, on September 11th, 2001, America was changed.
Now, years after President Obama gave the order to assassinate the figurehead behind the September 11th attacks – we hear on the news that Trump was moments away from having negotiations with the Taliban at Camp David.
This group worked for Osama Bin Laden.
This was the group our troops fought for all these years.
This was the group that tried to assassinate Malala Youvsafsai and failed.
This same group of people declared war on the United States along with Osama Bin Laden back in 1993 before the World Trade Center was bombed the first time by Muhammed Yousef – the nephew of Khalid Sheik Muhammed, the mastermind of 9/11.
For the next 18 years, Americans – mostly white, older Americans have slowly become afraid of ‘other’. Sure, there have been other terror attacks, plenty of dead bodies – in London, in Paris at the Bataclan, at a gay nightclub in Orlando – but in the world of terror, these attacks by ‘other’ have been few and far between.
We’ve seen, however, a massive spike in white, male, terrorism throughout the country. Mass shootings have taken place in shopping malls, in churches, in schools across the country and while I still mourn those that died on 9/11 – I mourn the loss of the American identity that said, “This shit, this shit like this, that doesn’t happen here because regardless of whether or not we agree with each other – we protect our own.”
Some say Western-style democracy is slipping and I agree with that sentiment. Sure, we can blame it on Russians, we can blame it on The GOP, we can blame it on a lot of other things to avoid putting the blame where it needs to go. Ourselves.
We’ve gotten lazy.
Intellectually sloven.
We think milk is bad.
We share fake news about ADHD.
We share articles written by no one of importance – no one with any sort of degree or expertise in the field they’ve chosen to write about and disseminate false, and probable propaganda to keep people from doing things that protect the entire population like getting vaccinations.
Worse yet, we get into these social media groups where we bounce these conspiracy theories off each other while we’re neck-deep in confirmation bias and become emotionally dedicated to our ignorance.
There is ZERO difference in that – and believing black people are less than due to some obscure Bible passage about the Sin of Ham and staying dedicated to hatred because your momma said so.
I grew up in a Fundamentalist household – and I understand how organizations like the Taliban happen. When you’re poor, stupid, and have feelings of utter powerlessness in your life, some jackass can come along and promise you heaven and get you to do anything he wants.
Beat your kids. Beat your wife. Stay poor. Stay disconnected from the world. View the world itself as an enemy of God. Fly an airplane into a building. Shoot an abortion doctor.
It’s. All. The. Same.
It’s so similar it can be scripted and memorized. It’s formulaic.
Here in this country, we have millions dedicated to ending abortion, they’ll pass laws to stop a woman, other women, from having bodily autonomy even when the removal of those rights diminishes their rights and all rights.
We’ll pass laws to keep a pervert from fucking a kid but we won’t move a muscle to keep a madman from shooting their little heads off.
Why?
Because somewhere, somehow, some group of people has fallen under the belief system of some fundamentalist yahoo playing with fear as a means to control.
So, this 9/11 Anniversary, I beg you, promote education. Not the crazy bullshit blog of some glue huffer or some crystal viewing airhead who believes essential oils cure cancer, or some right-wing clown with a youtube channel – I’m talking classical education. Directed readings. Study in a field or a major.
Malala Yousavsia said of the Taliban, “They’re not afraid of bullets and bombs, they’re afraid of little girls with books.”
Why?
Because an education liberates you from your own ignorance. It liberates you from the charismatic control of some would-be dictator whether they’re in the government, the Islamic Faith or from the Baptist church down the road.
Ignorance is a prison.
They can NEVER take your education away from you. Ever.

Tonight, I remember 9/11.

Colin Kaepernick shouldn’t be kneeling alone

 

I was ten minutes into browsing the internet when I happened upon the news that Nike is having former San Francisco 49ers player Colin Kaepernick be their spokesman for their 30th Anniversary of “Just Do it.”

For those of you who’ve been living under a rock for the past however many years – Colin Kaepernick was made famous by kneeling in protest during the National Anthem over the murder of black people in the United States by white cops.

I have two points:

John Rich, of Big and Rich, tweeted a picture of a pair of cut up socks that his sound man, a former Marine,  held in protest of Nike’s choice. Now, that man has the right to cut his socks if he wants to. Although someone should tell him that Nike already has his money (Dixie Chicks anyone?). I am here to say that it shouldn’t only be black football players kneeling at these games or anytime the National Anthem plays.

Why?

Well, we should be kneeling over the fact that young black men are being targeted by white cops. And if you set the race thing aside for just a second, we should at least consider that our fellow citizens are being murdered by cops without due process of law. Moreover, if you can’t let go of the race thing, then maybe you can at least get yourself over it enough to understand that if it can happen to them, it can happen to you.

We should also be kneeling over veteran suicide rates. Veterans represent less than 1 percent of the population of the United States overall. And 99 percent of you all talk so much about how much you love and respect them. Yet we have this terrible phenomenon occurring. From what I understand it’s still at a rate of 22 per day.  We should be kneeling over that. We should be bowing our head, at that. To rid ourselves of the apathy that allows that to happen.

Secondly, black people are heroes. Black people fought and died for this union whether unwillingly (I.E. the moment the first black foot touched American soil to The Vietnam War) or willingly (recent history). There are black veterans. Lots of them. There are black service members. Lots of them.

Yet, not all heroes wear uniforms and not all battles are fought in some foreign country.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Mary McLoud Bethune, George Washington Carver, Malcolm X, Langston Hughes, Coretta Scott King, Dr. Maya Angelou, Shirley Chilsom, the list goes on forever…

those involved in the Civil Rights movement, those people who fought domestic battles when The United States government refused to let them have equal rights before the law, when the FBI sent a letter to Dr. King telling him to kill himself,  those people were heroes. That was a battlefield. Those that died during the lynching years between 1865 and 1955 – the last being Emmett Till – he’s a hero.

Colin Kaepernick – is a hero.

The battlefield is the hearts and minds of America for the soul OF America.

As a veteran, I wholeheartedly support Colin and all the other football players drawing attention to the fast and loose rules of our society that says “other” is expendable. I support them kneeling much to the ire of those who dislike it – because there will NEVER be a right time and place for their protest. There was never a ‘right time’ for The Civil Rights Movement, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, The March on Washington, there wasn’t a ‘right time’ for Brown Vs. Board and the destruction of Jim Crow Law, there was never a ‘right time’ for The Civil Rights Act(s) except for the time and place in which they happened.

“Throw that football black man. Entertain me.”

Are you kidding me?

As a vet. I stood for his right to kneel. As a vet, I stood for the lives of Americans after we were attacked on 9/11. As a human being, I stand for Colin Kaepernick but what I won’t stand for is being used by paper patriots, the 99 percent, to use me or my brothers and sisters in the front line of your social ire when you can’t stand for us when we’re suicidal, or homeless, or hungry, or dealing with drug addiction, white, black or otherwise.

When someone like Colin or like LeBron James does something wonderful, something audacious, something good – the backfire is always “What about the vets?”

Well, what have you done for the vets, 99 percent? What have you done to eradicate poverty, and lift up your fellow citizens of black and brown heritage?

Vote for 45?

We all should be kneeling over that and everything else wrong in this country.

 

P.S. I challenge Nike to scour the internet for the duration of this campaign to pick out words used to protest it. Words such as Veteran, Military, and Flag. For each instance, this is used, and its already started, I challenge Nike to donate 5 cents to the Veterans organization of their choice or any organization that helps African Americans access to health care, education, or clean water for those folks in Flint. You know, issues brought up anytime someone does something nice but is never taken care of by the people who complain.