”Race shouldn’t play a factor at all.
Now, let’s forget the workplace-argument for just a minute, only because its bogged down with a lot of talk on both sides. We are now far enough along in this whole thing, that the people who are being punished are the children entering college. I have 3 boys. My eldest just started college this year with his cousin, who happens to be half-Hispanic. Would you believe that while I’m paying the majority of my son’s way through college, his cousin has a free ride? And I love my nephew, but he’s never been any better or worse in school than my son.
Pardon my french, but these racist assholes think that just because a bunch of wrongs were done by a group of people that resemble my skin-color, my son deserves to suffer. What is the fantasy they operate under? That just because my son is white that when he goes to get a job at a big business that they’re going to say, “Oh hey there fellow whitey, you seem like a good upstanding white boy. Never mind you haven’t done any internships and you don’t even have a degree because you couldn’t attend college, you’ve got the job!”
Wake up people!
And to the jerks out there who make snide comments like “oh boo-hoo for the most powerful group of people in the country.” Listen- Just because Bill Gates and most of our top government leaders are white doesn’t mean that the rest of us are rich, greedy and powerful. That’s like saying all black men are thieves and hispanics are drug-runners because those are the only ones you see in the news.
Racism still exists, but business in the world today sees one color. GREEN…” – caryn4freedom
Thanks for the feedback caryn4freedom,
Your thoughtless reply deserves a thoughtful response: What planet are you from? Your son started college. How is he suffering? You may have had to pay out of your pocket for your son’s education. Does that mean he’s education is now somehow inferior to the education of somebody else who’s earned a scholarship for some reason or another? I think not. And I would hope you wouldn’t think so either. But obviously that does not appear to be the case.
And your take on the whole business environment is truly amazing. At every company I’ve ever worked at the executive suite is composed almost exclusively of white people. There has been, at best, one or two minority executives to add some color to the mix. However, the management suite being void of any minority representation is not an unheard of condition. By far, ninety nine times out of a hundred, our executives were white people, both men and women.
At my last job, not a single minority operated in a management capacity even though it was an office of two hundred people. Without exception every manager was white. However, look at the janitorial services and ninety nine times out of a hundred you’ll see a black person. But you will look at that disparity and think that it’s just the natural order of things and we shouldn’t waste time trying to correct this race based imbalance.
So it’s your position that people at colleges and business everywhere are standing in the doorway and telling white people to, pardon my French, move the fuck on. All these businesses and educational institutions and etcetera are telling white people that there is no need for them to apply. And yet, all these businesses and institutions are chock full of white people, especially at the upper management level. Poor white people just can’t catch a break these days, even though they are well represented in just about any institution that pretends to be an equal opportunity something or another.
And now you think that all of this is being done unfairly to the white population because some white assholes back in the day chose to make white people the superior race and forced black people and others to be white people’s property. That’s really funny. Maybe instead of paying for your son’s college you should get an education of your own.
The reason some people are trying to correct the racial imbalance here in America is because that, while it is true that some white assholes back in the day artificially retarded the development of minority communities, that imbalance has never been corrected. While white people were free to settle anywhere across America’s growing manifest destiny and occupy land stolen from the native people without any compensation, the natives were railroaded onto reservations and excluded. When white people needed someone to work the land that was stolen without payment, black people were deemed less than human and were white people’s property, regulated to work like cattle without payment.
When these behaviors were stopped, these minority populations weren’t compensated. The dominant community was allowed to enjoy its ill gotten gains without any kind of recompense. The dominant community wants to say that everything’s equal and we all have a fair shot. But somehow, the people who go to schools that are crumbling compete on equal footing with schools that have the latest in technology. The fact that there are minorities that are able to compete in such an unfair environment is testament to their personal spirit and not in any way, shape, or form, a reflection of our American spirit, which is all about exclusion of minorities.
People like you want to ignore the fact that it has been proven that a white man with a criminal record has more job opportunities than a black man with no criminal record and higher education. But that wouldn’t be that “hey there fellow whitey” shit you were talking about in your comment. Nobody would be willing to look at a white person and give them the benefit of a doubt simply because he or she might be white, just like nobody would ever look at a black person with suspicion just because he or she might be black. Again, what planet are you from?
One thing I will say is that one day we might be able to put all this racial disparity behind us and it won’t mean a thing what color somebody’s race might be. But that won’t be anytime today. We have too many white people walking around pointing the finger at minorities because their white children didn’t get a scholarship or a grant or something where they didn’t have to pay for college. But I bet you never point at the other white people who got a scholarship and get angry because they got a free pass while your son didn’t. You reserve that line of thinking for the minorities. And then you’ll say that race shouldn’t be a factor.
I had a dream last night. In the dream I was standing outside a thrift store and I was totally naked. The building looked like one of the typical second hand stores you’ll see in a very urbanized area. It was an old white building, a bit on the dingy side. Weeds were growing through the cracks of the foundation in various spots around the structure. I walked inside.
As I walked through the door there were a series of steps that take people down to the store floor. There was a huge, homemade counter at the bottom of the steps. People were milling all around. I walked my naked self about halfway down the steps and sat down on them, trying to hide my nakedness.
I sat there for a while. No one seemed to notice me in my birthday suit. I was thankful for that. Out of the corner of my eye I saw some oversized terrycloth towels. I grabbed a burgundy one and wrapped it around me. The towel was as big as a bed sheet. With my nakedness now under wraps, I thought I could do my own milling about to find something a little more appropriate to wear. All the people I saw before had disappeared. The store was virtually empty. Wrapped in my towel I ventured into the rows of clothes.
Like some thrift stores I’ve been to, this store wasn’t just one large open area. It was an older building partitioned into separate rooms. I walked through a doorway into a room that was filled with clothes made of the finest leather. There were fine leather jackets with fur around the collar. There were fine leather belts and leather shoes. There were rows of pants made of the finest cloths. I marveled at the unexpected, and rather out of place, clothing.
As I stepped into the room, I noticed a couple looking at the clothing. It was a man and a woman. All I saw was the back of their heads. I never saw their faces. They were doing their best to stay anonymous. I stepped around them and went about my business trying to find something to wear.
In the corner of this room I saw some toys. That was unexpected. There was a ten pack of Matchbox cars sitting on a shelf. I don’t remember what cars were in the pack with the exception of one. At the very top of the pack was a green Matchbox station wagon. I wanted the cars. But I had to find clothing first. I put the box of cars down and went back to finding something to wear. This room was not for me.
As I walked out back into the main part of the store I looked down at my feet. I was surprised to see that I had on a pair of gray bell bottoms. The fabric didn’t feel very nice. Around the zipper there were some weird decorative buttons. These pants were clearly out of date and fashionably hopeless. But at least my bottom was covered. I felt a sense of relief.
When I got back to the front counter, a black woman told me that we had a problem. I hadn’t been keeping my appointments. I apologized, but then I said that I didn’t think that the counseling was mandatory. I talked like I knew what she was talking about. I know many thrift stores have counseling programs to help people. I was thinking that I had been enrolled into such a program. I just didn’t remember signing up for it. The woman laughed and asked if I wanted to drop out. I told her no. I needed the counseling and would like to continue. I promised to do better.
The woman then told me that I shouldn’t worry. The store had an opening coming up. If I wanted, I would have a job by the end of the week. I smiled a sense of relief.
But then she looked at me. My burgundy towel was gone and all I had were the gray bell bottom pants. She said that I needed a haircut and she reached into a cabinet and pulled out a set of hair clippers. I was instantly horrified. I took a step back and told her with my most authoritative voice that she would not touch my locks. She ignored me and told me to stay still. I did as I was told and she put the clippers against my chest and shaved what little chest hair I had off.
Another woman suddenly appeared out of the clothes racks and made a beeline to the counter. She was carrying a baby. She walked up to me and told me that she heard that I was in a three way relationship and asked if it was true. I said no ma’am. I cheated on my significant other. The woman laughed. It wasn’t a mocking laugh. It was the type of laugh an elder would give if her protégé was tested and passed.
And at that point, the woman behind the counter gave me a brightly colored jacket with a multitude of blues, pinks, yellows, and greens. It looked like the kind of jacket someone would buy for a child or a baby. I woke up right after that and started putting my dream to paper. If I had to guess, whatever test I may have been given, I’d have to say that I passed with flying colors
One of the things I hate most about the American political system is all the old farts sitting up in Washington, D.C. dictating how the rest of us are to interact. Luckily we have put a term limit on the executive branch that keeps the damage done by any single President to a few years. But we have people serving as legislators that should have retired decades ago.
Prime example is the former presidential candidate Senator John McCain who just fought off an assault by his closest opponent, J.D. Hayworth, to win the Republican primary contest of the great state of Arizona. That man was going through puberty when Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. And now, he wants to be reelected to the Senate so he can go back to Washington and help shape laws designed to take us into further into the twenty first century. This is one of the many people who are going to participate in the shaping of laws designed around concepts of technology and business that is designed to compete in a global economy.
And the Supreme Court is seriously out of touch with the rest of America. Back in June, before Justice Paul Stevens retired, the average age of the high court justices is nearly sixty nine, a number north of the retirement age for most Americans. With his replacement, the brand new Justice Elena Kagan who is four decades Mr. Stevens junior, that number drops to a slightly more reasonable sixty four. The majority of these justices are old fogies interpreting laws made by the legislative branch with old their old fogies with the understanding of the world as they learned things back when movies were silent.
Are laws intended to outlaw sexting constitutional? A justice is likely to ask what’s sexting? It’s when you send a sexually explicit text message to a mobile phone. What’s a text message? A text message is something written on a mobile phone. How do you write a message on a mobile phone? Does it require a pen? No, you don’t really write on the phone. The phone has a little keyboard. How big is this mobile phone? The keyboard is small. It folds into the phone. So how does the mobile phone send the message? So how does the mobile phone with a folded keyboard send a message to another mobile phone? It can be like talking to a four year old.
Some of the people serving the country in these high offices have been doing so for more than a generation. For the folks in the Supreme Court, it’s understood that it’s an appointment for life. But for legislators, the people will vote on whether or not it’s time for something new. And unfortunately, some people keep voting these old coots back in, year after year, because of some twisted form of nostalgia or because the incumbent enjoys name recognition because most of the voters in some district are too intellectually lazy to trouble themselves to find out what the issues are. So somehow the oldies keep getting back in to do what ever it is they do and then we wonder why things don’t progress for the entire public’s benefit like they should.
It’s a shame, but if it wasn’t for death people like Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy and Senator Robert Byrd would still be serving this day. It’s nothing to see people running our government well into their eighties and beyond. I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t trust any of these oldies behind the steering wheel of my car, let alone running the country. True, they may have done some wonderful things in the past. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll keep that track record. At some point, new blood needs to get in there.
And here lies the problem. The old farts aren’t doing much to prepare the next generation to run the country. While some of us might think that somebody like Charlie Rangel going back to Washington to represent his district over a forty year time span is a good thing, is he really good for his district or for the country. Many of our legislators become so comfortable in their elected position that they become sloppy in their service to their constituents. So many of these people are working so hard to stay in power that they lose sight of what they are there for, which is to serve the entire country as a representative of the people that elected them.
It’s about time we put term limits on our legislators and our justices. People shouldn’t be running this country from their death bed. The old and infirm, people who remember their personal experiences as a child with horse drawn carriages with a special fondness, might not be the best people to guide us into the future. Maybe we ought to think about term limits across all branches of our government and not just on the President.
Last Friday I went to my first job interview since I left my last job. A headhunter saw my resume on one of the websites devoted to technical jobs. Along with my resume I listed my skill set and the amount of experience I had with each one. I said that I would go anywhere for a job. The continental United States is my search area with a few exceptions. I don’t think I’d be interested in working in New York City for example. There isn’t enough money in my line of work to make working there worthwhile. But that was moot because a job that was perfectly tailored for my skills popped up right in my backyard, about thirty miles from where I live.
The headhunter called me on Wednesday. I got a quick description of the opportunity and they asked if I would be interested. I didn’t want to sound like I was talking to somebody who couldn’t put two and two together, but I was unemployed and the job was perfect. Why wouldn’t I be interested? I had to resist a sudden urge to throw in a “duh”. The recruiter told me that they’d see if the client was interested and would arrange an interview. The following Thursday day the interview was confirmed. But I had to go to the recruiter’s office to get the final details. I dressed in my best and sped down there for the meeting.
Now when I say I dressed my best I have to admit that although I wore a suit, I did not wear a shirt and tie. I haven’t worn a tie since my interview with my last employer. That was something like three years ago. I don’t even have the remotest clue what happened to that shirt. I was kind of nervous because over the phone the recruiter sounded like someone who was really polished. My fears subsided when the recruiter walked into the lobby and extended his hand for me to shake. He was wearing wrinkled khakis and a polo shirt that probably spent a few days in the clothes dryer a washing. If dude didn’t know anything about an iron I’m sure he wasn’t going to try and judge me as unworthy because I wasn’t wearing a business shirt and tie. But he did suggest that I get one. I was at Macy’s the following morning just before my interview with the client. I took my new shirt and tie home, got them ironed, and headed out to the client to sell myself.
The interview went well. I met with two managers late on a Friday afternoon. I was the last person to be interviewed for the week and the client would be making a decision the following Monday. I pulled out all the stops. I engaged. I listened thoughtfully and drew from my years of experience working as a contractor as well as the experience of my last job. The project that I was being interviewed for was a rush job. The client’s management team had waited until practically the last minute to give their approval for the project and now the interviewers had to rush to find somebody to help them pull the project off. I assured them that I had worked on plenty of projects that were to be rushed and I could hit the ground running like an Olympic sprinter. I had worked with all phases of a project development from conception where I would help interview the customers and put together requirements all the way through to delivery of the project and customer follow up. I could do it all.
The decision was made and I got the word in a phone call on Tuesday. I didn’t get the job. I was told that I was an impressive candidate and the decision was a very tough one. But in the end, the client felt that there was someone else who had a razor’s edge of an advantage over me. I was their “close but no cigar” second choice. When asked if there was anything I could’ve done differently to have improved my chances, there was no suggestion available. The other person had something intangible that made all the difference. I thanked the recruiter for their help and thanked them for letting me know. Although a knife was turning inside my chest, I did my best to sound gracious. The recruiter would keep his eyes open, whatever the hell that meant.
I went over the interview in my mind. I know I had hit it out of the ball park. But maybe there was a question that could’ve been answered differently or I could’ve asked more questions about the project and the company’s needs. But I have to admit, I thought I had done very well. I was their second choice like that knowledge was going to be some consolation to me.
I replayed the interview over and over. But one thing that was interesting was the fact that I was never asked any technical questions. A lot of the questions were more along the lines of, if somebody did something you didn’t like describe how you would handle it. I couldn’t help but start to wonder why so many questions were softballs and how come there weren’t more questions of a technical nature. If the interview was any spongier the questions would go along the lines of, how does the color blue make you feel.
And then I started thinking of how many times I was told that I was the second choice for an employment opportunity. How many times have I gone on an interview, jump through somebody’s hoops, only to be told that I’m a really close second choice. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to brag or boast, but unless the other candidate could walk on water, I feel that nine times out of ten that the choice to go with someone else isn’t because I was the second best by a razor’s edge. It might be my appearance. Not too many people want a black man with beautiful five years old locks for a hairdo working in their janitorial services, let alone on a project that is intended to develop a crucial component of corporate technology.
At least that’s how I feel. If the company didn’t want me, if the company didn’t want the best person for the job and instead wanted something else like the best looking person for the job, then that’s perfectly within their rights. I can’t fault them for not being what they wanted. But don’t tell me I was a close second choice. I don’t believe that for one second. I believe I’m the best person for what I do. And when people make the choice to pass up on the best to get whatever it is they’re looking for, those people deserve nothing less than what they get.
”Unless there is some additional symbolism to building the mosque [near the World Trade Center location commonly referred to as ground zero], this group would understand the geographic sensitivity of the location and decide on their own to build the mosque elsewhere. Certainly under the circumstances, if their objective is to “build bridges” with the non-Muslim community, then they’re off to a very bad start…” – justinwashingtontheblogger
I have been going round and round with a visitor to my blog about the Islamic cultural center and mosque planned to be built about two city blocks away from the famous World Trade Center location made infamous by the horrendous happenings that occurred on September 11th. I had written an article a few days ago expressing my frustration with the majority of my fellow Americans who believe that they are entitled to dictate where Muslims should not be allowed to put their religious institutions. So much political posturing against Muslims has been made from all kinds of people simply because the hijackers on that fateful day were radical Muslim extremist.
Now, people like this commenter are content to label all Muslims as hateful radicals programmed to commit acts of suicide at the first opportunity to murder as many nonbelievers as possible. This supposition requires little support or evidence and relies on nothing but people’s prejudice and bigotry. Many of us feel justified to judge all Muslims as radicals because of the crimes of a few. A few Muslims in other places of the world are making the choice to blowing themselves up so it makes perfect sense that Muslims here want to do the same. We can stroke all Muslims with a very broad, condemning brush and demand that they prove their allegiance to the rest of America by requiring them to build a conciliatory bridge to us. Muslims can prove their desire to be part of our collective by submitting to the will of the majority by submitting to our intolerance for the Islamic community.
It’s pretty much the same thinking that was commonly applied to black people once upon a time. Black people were not allowed to live where they wanted. Black people had to prove their allegiance to the dominant community by submitting to the rule that black people were not welcome. Black people who respected white people’s desire to keep black people out of their neighborhoods were good. Black people who pushed against orthodox thinking and fought for the right to live where they choose, regardless of how others felt, were considered radical trouble makers who refused to recognize the natural order.
We recognized that rhetoric for what it was, and that was bullshit. While it might be true that some people still refuse to recognize black people’s right to live wherever they might be able to afford, we don’t allow people to blatantly say that black people aren’t welcome or advertise that housing is strictly for whites only. We proudly stand together and say such discrimination is unacceptable in the land of the free and the home of the brave. But we are quick to throw these high minded principles out the window when we it suits us to do so.
However, all is not lost. Muslims can become a welcome part of the American collective if they would just do the heavy lifting of building the bridge to our sensibilities. But in the immortal words of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, that’s a bridge to nowhere. We don’t require people to gain acceptance in America by surrendering their freedoms. That’s just plain stupid. America isn’t built on the principle of people giving up and acquiescing to the whole. America is built on the principle that all men are created equal with inalienable rights such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. So why do so many of us continue to insist that Muslims tread softly down a different path of submission?
The people who want to build the Islamic cultural center two blocks from the World Trade Center location are not criminals. As far as I know, nobody there is making the suggestion that Muslims should don exploding vest and go out hunting for infidels to blow up. As far as I know, nobody associated with that organization has done any anything that requires the entire organization to submit to a condition that tries to deny these people the right to the property of their choice because of what somebody else may have done.
We don’t require other Americans to build bridges to all of America by surrendering their rights. I know that if I was part of the leadership of this organization, I would not care if the rest of America, an America that is known for its penchant for discriminating against certain groups of people who are obviously different, disagreed with my organization’s right to buy land and build on it according to the established law. My thinking would be more like, why doesn’t America build a bridge to me by recognizing the fact that the people in my organization has the some rights and privileges that other Americans enjoy.
The rest of America can build a bridge to the Muslim community, on a local, national, and even a global perspective, this community of people that we’ve been accused of unfairly attacking in our so called war on terror, by standing up for those American principles we like to say that we’re all about. We’re supposed to be about letting individuals practice their freedoms without the interference from others. We need to recognize the hypocrisy of this whole affair for what it truly is. Hypocrisy!
Has anybody seen that show Undercover Boss? The show operates under the premise that a senior executive, curious of what company life is like for the employees at the other end of the spectrum, goes to the frontline to rub elbows with the commoners. I saw the premier episode featuring Larry O’Donnell, the CEO from Waste Management, Inc. He showed up at one of the landfill waste facilities and tried to hang with people who work with garbage every work day.
Mr. O’Donnell was given the assignment of catching all the trash that was flying away. The wind would catch some paper flying off of a truck during a dump and it would be Mr. O’Donnell’s job to nab that wayward trash. He gave it a good try. But the foreman was relentless. A camera would be in the foreman’s face as he shouted over to the incognito boss man running to collect trash, “You’re too slow, Larry! Faster!” The old man from behind the desk at the top of the company couldn’t run fast enough to keep the area around the landfill clean. At the end of the shift, the foreman assigned to work with him told him flat out that he couldn’t cut it. The undercover boss simply didn’t have what it took to do the job.
At the end of the show, Mr. O’Donnell puts back on the tailored suit and goes back to the facility to let everybody in on the candid camera bit. Mr. O’Donnell has no hard feelings for anyone and has nothing but words of praise for his former coworkers, even the foreman that had his ass running all over the side of the landfill trying to collect trash. The boss man is so impressed that he starts doing a Wizard of Oz impersonation, where he gives all the hardworking employees that he met a financial reward or some kind of choice promotion. For the employees who are struggling to do their jobs day by day and eek out a living on their meager pay, it’s a blessing. And boss man walks away with a better understanding of the company and the people he’s got at the bottom rung of things. It’s a win-win for everybody involved.
After a little while, I started thinking about what I saw, or what I thought I had seen. I mean, if I was the employee at the bottom and some new guy shows up with manicured hands and a gang of camera men following his every move, I’m pretty sure I’m going to think something was up. So when the foreman was telling “Larry” that he was too slow, would he really want to do that with a camera in his face? And didn’t the foreman get just a little suspicious when the camera crew chased Mr. O’Donnell around that landfill recording his every move? I started to wonder what story could somebody have given to keep everybody from getting a bit dubious about what was going on.
Hey everybody listen up. We got a new guy starting today. He’s going to have a few camera people following him around to record our indoctrination process. He doesn’t know anything about what we do. But don’t let any of that effect the way you talk to him. If he can’t do the job, go ahead and tell him that he just can’t hack it because that’s how we do things with new people here at Waste Management. And whatever you do don’t think he’s anybody important.
But what really got my goat was the way the boss man wants to take care of the employees that he worked with. What about all the other employees who were doing similar jobs at Waste Management facilities in other areas. We heard about the sad struggles of the employees who made it on camera and how at the end of the show the boss man went out of his way to reward those hard workers.
What about all those other hard workers in the company he didn’t meet that had similar struggles of their own? Is the company going to do anything to change policy so that each and every employee benefits from what Larry uncovered in his publicized undercover investigation? Did Larry go back and raise everybody’s pay? Did everybody get a promotion? I seriously doubt it. In typical American capitalism fashion, only a lucky few who got the opportunity to explain their own situation and get some kind of compensation for it.
We don’t develop policies that are designed to help everyone. Our policies are designed to keep the majority of people struggling while we promote a select few who happen to get the attention of the boss or whatever or whoever passes as a gatekeeper. And then, the fortunate ones are held up as an example of what could happen for the rest of us if we keep our noses clean and work hard.
It wouldn’t matter if everyone in the company kept their noses as clean as possible and worked their little hearts out, more often than not there will be a limited number of opportunities in relation to the number of people trying to obtain them. Boss man wants to give away a promotion or some financial relief? Will he do anything to find out who in the company is the neediest or the most deserving? Nah. He’ll just take the most expedient route and give it to the people he already knows, like the guy that ran his ass all around that landfill with a camera in his face shouting, “Faster, Larry, Faster!”
In order to help the misses and I rebuild our relationship we have to spend more time courting. So in the past few weeks we’ve been doing a lot of the dating we haven’t done for a long time. We’ve been to the St. Louis Zoo, or at least half of it. It’s a pretty big place and we had a slow pace. After just a couple of hours our son decided he had enough and we had to save the rest for another day. We’ve been to the St. Louis Art Museum. We’ve gone to the park more than a few times and we take strolls through different parts of the city.
We went to the movies the other day. It was the first time we’ve done that in a little while. Right after we dropped our son off at the preschool we skipped out to catch a 9:00 AM matinee. We went to see Inception, the new psychological thriller featuring an all star cast starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Dom Cobb. Mr. Cobb leads a highly skilled team of individuals who specialize in a form of espionage by stealing secrets directly from people’s minds by entering their dreams. But in a slight twist, instead of stealing corporate secrets, Mr. Cobb is hired by a businessman to plant an idea into a corporate competitor’s conscious as he slept. Mr. Cobb and his team is hired to perform Inception.
The movie was off the charts with all of its intrigue carefully woven into a complex yet very entertaining storyline that kept me gripped from the moment it started to the very end. I was a bit disappointed with the way the movie ended, but by no means did it diminish the entertainment value of this film one iota. I’m not even going to try to recap the story in any kind of detail. But I will say that the story touches a great deal on what goes on in people’s heads as you would think a story about people going into other people’s dreams would.
Mr. Cobb is trying to deal with his guilt for what he believes is his responsibility for his wife’s death and lives what remains of his life in exile away from his two young children. Through a series of unfortunate incidents, the police hold Mr. Cobb responsible for the murder of his wife. Unable to see a way out of his predicament, he flees the country abandoning his children and leaving them behind with relatives. He spends a great deal of his free time in a dream state where he can enjoy his wife’s company.
Please note, “enjoy” is a subjective, relative term. He enjoys the anguish the image of his wife takes in his mind. She betrays him and works to sabotage his unconscious escapades at every opportunity. And yet, he finds it difficult to do anything about her to keep her mischief at bay. I watched the film marveling at the complexity of the psychosis at play. Although solutions look fairly simple, the character tortured his self to make do without that which he knew would set him free. So many times I wanted to yell at the tragic man on the silver screen to pop a cap in his wife’s ass. It wasn’t her but his mind’s interpretation of her.
But that meant he would eliminate that which he felt he needed most, which was his guilt. If he did away with that part of his subconscious that was being represented by his wife’s projection, he wouldn’t have the guilt that he wanted. Even though he could have fairly easily put his life back together and restart his relationship with his children, his mind needed the anguish, needed to be reminded that his wife was gone and he was somehow responsible. Truly a tragic case if ever there was one.
Sitting in the theater, going through what my significant other and I have recently gone through, I couldn’t help but relate to the tragic figure that Mr. DiCaprio represented. In a way, he was me and I was him. Although he had some knowledge of his psychosis, I realized that I had been operating in my own psychosis giving me the motivation to make some pretty poor choices that will reverberate through my relationship with my woman for the rest of my life. Through my own psychosis, like the man in the movie, I lost site of what was important to me, a life with my loved ones.
The man in the movie still had his children. Although he called them no matter where he was in the world to talk with them, it really was a poor substitute for being their father and involved in their lives on a daily basis. He made the choice to do something other than to be with his family. I have to come to terms with the fact that I had made similar choices that kept me away from my family.
Looking at the film and responding to it the way I did, I was reminded of my affair and I was even more ashamed of myself. Despite whatever is happening in my head, there is never a good time to build false realities to escape the regrets from our past. I lost sight of that. I have to face the fact that I will have to spend the rest of my life trying to correct my mistakes. And I have to fact the fact that this may be an never ending endeavor.
President Barack Obama took a rather tepid step into the issue over whether or not an Islamic mosque should be allowed to be built close to the World Trade Center sight commonly referred to as ground zero. During a White House celebration meant to recognize the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Mr. Obama said that Muslims should have the right to build their religious institutions on private land as they see fit without any interference from government.
This might seem petty courageous on Mr. Obama’s part considering that, according to a CNN Opinion Research poll, more than two thirds of the American population oppose a mosque being built so close to what many people say is sacred ground. Less than thirty percent of the population supports the building of a mosque. But in typical fashion whenever Mr. Obama shows courage to buck popular opinion, he backtracks at the first sign of staunch opposition. The next day, while vacationing on some beach in Florida, Mr. Obama said that while he supported religious freedom he would not comment on the wisdom of building a mosque two blocks away from where 9/11 took on new meaning in the American, if not the global, lexicon.
During a local meeting held to gauge the public’s concern about the plan to build a mosque on private land, a woman who lost a loved one in that infamous disaster approached the microphone placed for people in the audience to speak and said that she didn’t want anything that has to do with terror, fear, fright and all she wanted was peace when she visited the place where her family member died. Another woman in tears begged the commission not to let the mosque be built. She gave no reason in the video clip that I saw. But as she turned away from the microphone, the audience gave her applause of support.
It’s understood that there are a lot of people still dealing with their losses of the World Trade Center disaster. A lot of emotions are raw. But the attack on America was not perpetrated by Islam. The Islamic faith is not at war with the United States and is not responsible for what happened that fateful day. To hold Islam responsible is to lump all people who share a similar faith into a single group and to hold all responsible for the actions of a few.
Prior to the attacks that happened on September 11th, the worst act of terrorism in the United States was Timothy McVeigh’s assault on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. He killed one hundred sixty eight people. Never in the aftermath of that event did anyone say that Christians or Catholics shouldn’t be allowed to build churches near federal buildings. When the white supremacist and Christian Eric Rudolph was convicted for a number of bombings, including the very high profile Centennial Olympic Park bombing, across the southern United States nobody said anything about putting restrictions on where any Christian churches can go.
Every day a lot of Christians commit crimes in the name of Jesus. I heard one crazy woman explain that she killed her children because Jesus told her to do so. But we’d never say something rather simple minded like Christians shouldn’t be allowed to do something because one or a few act in an irresponsible or socially unacceptable manner. Why do we go there when Muslims or the Islamic faith is involved?
Christians have a lot of nerve pointing a damning finger at other religious faith because of what a few non Christians may have done. Islam is not responsible for that awful day. To say that a mosque shouldn’t be built because of the fear of terror and hatred is pure prejudice. And simply because the majority of Americans want to surrender our principles of freedom and justice to some predisposition of bigotry and intolerance doesn’t mean that it’s right. The narrow mindedness of the majority doesn’t trump the law.
Although I have some doubt that it will be allowed to happen, I do hope that the mosque will be allowed to go up. Americans are fond of saying that we are willing to do whatever it takes to protect our freedoms. We will gladly go to war to protect the American way of life. According to history, we’ll even go so far as to drop nuclear warheads and incinerate hundreds of thousands to protect our principles. But, these are the same principles we’re ready to throw away at the drop of a couple of office buildings. If the destruction of our freedoms was al-Qaueda’s plan from the beginning then it looks like their strategy is working.
I recently quit my job. I did it with a letter of resignation to my manager and another to my manager’s manager. I offered a two week notice so they could find a replacement. I didn’t want to leave my customer’s in a bind and wanted to make sure I left with some modicum of decency. I didn’t pull the fire alarm. I didn’t grab a beer and gave my employer the middle finger as I used the emergency exit. I didn’t do anything that would cause more of a problem than I already had. It wasn’t the first time I quit a job, although I do hope it’ll be the last.
So when I saw the story of the flight attendant who was so fed up about his job and so anxious to give his employer, Jet Blue, the middle finger that he pulled the emergency chute, grabbed a beer, and went down the slide to the waiting freedom of unemployment and the restrictive incarceration from committing a federal crime, I was disgusted. From what I understand, all he had to do was wait a few minutes before the jet pulled into the gate, the gangway connected to the exit door, and he could walk off the plane while the passengers fumbled to grab their carry on bags. Instead, dude wanted to go out like an indignant opera singer doping up on high intensity drama.
Since then, this man’s story is all over the broadcast news. CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, FOX (I guess they’re still considered a news agency), and just about everybody else are heralding this man as some kind of folk hero whose high profile resignation was the epitome of the “take this job and shove it” maneuver. He has been hailed as some kind of every man for doing that which other people only dream of. His Facebook page zoomed from negative numbers to a gazillion hits over night. He has become a media sensation. But the only reason he’s a media sensation and a folk hero to so many clueless people everywhere is because the media portrays him as such.
Think about it. Getting through the airport is bad enough with all the agents from the Transportation Security Administration going through bags, examining your DNA down to the last genome sequence with the latest gadget to strip away every secret of your physiology, and no fly list so long it would probably be simpler for the Federal Aviation Administration to produce a yes fly list. You are on a flight that just arrived at your destination only to have some prima donna flight attendant blow one of the emergency hatches because he’s having a bad day. I’m sure whatever anxieties those passengers may have had about exiting the plane and going through the airport just got a whole lot worse considering the investigation that’s about to take place.
Not everyone who hates his or her job is going to put the welfare of others at unnecessary risk. One of the most stressful professions on the face of the planet is a nurse. They catch shit from doctors, patients, patient’s families, their supervisors, and just about every other person in their life. Imagine people’s reaction if they heard about the nurse in the emergency room that suddenly decided to quit, popped the lock on the medicine cabinet and pulled all the drugs out, downed the latest in synthetic Quaalude technology and told all the patients to have a nice day just before he or she went through the emergency exit setting off the emergency alarm. Suddenly the idea of quitting in the most irresponsible fashion takes on a totally different color. The same is true for the police officer, the judge, truck driver, the pilot, and anyone else who performs a role in our social collective.
Flight attendant Steven Slater is no modern folk hero. He is quite the contrary. He is more like a folk zero. He is a criminal. If he got pissed off because a passenger wouldn’t follow his FAA mandated commands then he had the authority of the federal government at his disposal. TSA authorities or somebody relating to the government who cares that aviation rules are followed would have been more than happy to yank that passenger and make an example.
Before people start applauding his behavior, think about how you would feel if you were the one he was abandoning. Think how you would feel if your flight depended on how quickly that plane was serviced and put back into operation, but now it needed its emergency chute repackaged while authorities combed over it for any evidence that could be important in an investigation.
People might quit jobs because other people are acting stupidly. You don’t quit a job by doing something stupid. With so many people out there putting stupid behavior front and center, we really don’t need to be encouraging others to be so foolish. We shouldn’t be celebrating another sign that our social collective is unraveling.