brotherpeacemaker

It's about our community and our spirituality!

A Republican House Divided

As far back as I can remember I watched the Munsters with Fred Gwyne who played the friendly monster zombie Herman Munster.  Why would anyone be scared of Herman?  And I didn’t fully understand the relationship between Frankenstein and his monster.  I was always referring to the monster as Frankenstein.  It didn’t help that back in the sixties there was the cartoon of the little white boy named Buzz Conroy who flew around the planet on the back of his homemade super robot named Frankenstein, Jr.  It’s no wonder I believed, like many others, that the monster’s name was Frankenstein.

But back in the early seventies I saw the miniseries Frankenstein: The True Story that told Mary Shelley’s story much more detail as a psychological thriller.  Doctor Frankenstein was actually an apprentice for another doctor who was trying to uncover the secret of life, Doctor Henry Clerval.  But the experiment morphed with unexpected results when a reanimated human arm continued to move and gain strength despite the continued decomposition of flesh.  The Doctor Clerval discovered that he was actually on the verge of creating an unstoppable, uncontrollable, reanimated zombie.  But Doctor Clerval died before he could pull the plug on the experiment.  Doctor Frankenstein took it upon himself to see the experiment to its full conclusion.  He reanimated the entire human corpse of severed body parts.

Initially, the unnatural reanimated man was a wonderful accomplishment.  He was the epitome of European standards of beauty.  His demeanor was that of a young child.  But like the arm that the other doctor found, the reanimated man’s flesh continued to deteriorate.  People began to respond to the reanimated man with revulsion and hatred.  The more Doctor Frankenstein tried to control the interaction between the people and his creation the more the creation rebelled against the creator until, eventually, the two destroyed each other.

This is the scenario I see unfolding under rumors in the news that Governor Sarah Palin is rebelling against her handlers from the McCain for President campaign.  Ms. Palin went from being a virtual national politics nobody to becoming one of the brightest stars in the Republican Party sky almost instantaneously.  People heard her credentials about being the Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska for a couple of terms and then being the Governor of Alaska for all of twenty months before being selected as Mr. McCain’s vice presidential running mate and that was all they needed.  She was a right wing conservative ready to flaunt small town American values, whatever that means.

But the McCain Palin team recognized the fact that, other than great at giving scripted speeches, Ms. Palin really didn’t have that much experience with national issues.  She needed to be brought up to speed.  For the most part, Ms. Palin was kept away from the press until she could be educated on what needed to be learned.  Her first interviews were rather disappointing.  Ms. Palin needed more work and more time and the pressure was building to present a candidate who would be ready on day one.  Ms. Palin needed more interviews with Mr. McCain on deck to hold her hand.  Ms. Palin needed a more sophisticated wardrobe to improve her visual appeal factor.  And with nearly every political move the effort took on a keystone cops execution and affect.

It is not surprising that frustrations are building for everyone involved.  It is rumored that Ms. Palin and Mr. McCain differ in political strategy.  With less than two weeks to go before we vote for our next President, Ms. Palin wants to throw political courtesy out the window and attack Mr. Obama for his relationship with Bill Ayers and his relationship with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright.  Ms. Palin wants to tell the country that Mr. Obama is not a patriotic American and wants to do the country harm.  Ms. Palin wants to remind the nation that Mr. Obama doesn’t have executive experience that is so valuable.  It’s just a coincidence that Mr. McCain doesn’t have any executive experience either.

With the little time we have yet to see these politicians campaign Ms. Palin is pulling out the stops.  While everyone says that they are the one to unite the country, Ms. Palin is ready to drive a wedge the size of Alaska into the country that will pit her America against the other America.  Ms. Palin stands ready to burn bridges to everywhere in order to appeal to her Republican base.  Ms. Palin holds absolutely no reservations about drawing a line in the sand.  And when people have such a strong desire to live by a sword, they will more than likely die by a sword.  And it won’t Sarah Palin that suffers a retaliatory strike designed for mutually assured destruction of character.  Mr. McCain will suffer the wrath of retaliation.

The infighting in the McCain Palin effort for the presidency has spilled over any effort to keep matters contained.  The creators of the Palin political machine can no longer control their creation.  I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Ms. Palin refer to the McCain political brand as a washed up has been.  There is a new Republican force on the horizon.  In the words of Darth Vader just before he murdered his old mentor Obi Wan Kenobi, the student is now the master.

One of the things I most admired about the Republican Party was its ability to move as a single, forceful block of political power.  Once the decision was made, everyone towed the line.  When Ms. Palin was picked as Mr. McCain’s political running mate, whether people agreed or not, the face to the public was that it was the best decision a Republican has ever made in the history of the Republican Party.  When the Republican’s held their national convention in Minnesota, they were nothing but positive in their assessment of their political chances for the presidency.  Compare that to the cracks of the Democratic National Convention where delegate Anne Price Mills from Texas goes on camera tearfully rejecting Barack Obama because he wasn’t Hillary Clinton.  The fact that he was still the Democratic nominee was lost.  The Democrats still needed to pull together compared to the Republican’s political Kumbaya.

But now we are just a week or so away from the election and there appears to be some disarray.  Mr. McCain’s strategy for the presidency appears to be going as well as his last flight over Vietnam during the war.  The Republican heavy hitters are still playing the brave face, but it’s pretty obvious that there is some trouble.  There might be a political implosion unfolding before our eyes.  Only time will tell.  She might not be able to help Mr. McCain in his last gasp effort to become the next President.  She may not even want to continue to help him with what she thinks is his failed political strategy.  But I’m sure Ms. Palin thinks she can be the new face of Republican politics.

Friday, October 31, 2008 Posted by | Democrats, John McCain, Life, Politics, Republicans, Sarah Palin, Thoughts | 2 Comments

Social Programming Along Racial Lines

Early Sunday morning I was watching a Public Broadcasting Service program called A Biography of America.  The show was making a detailed explanation of the mechanics of social programming from a gender perspective.  For years, women have been conditioned to be softer and gentler and guided for traditionally female occupations such as being a nurse, being a secretary, or being a telephone operator.  Females are taught to wear their emotions proudly on their sleeve.  Women were taught to give in to their fear and respond to dangerous situations paralyzed from fright.  On the other hand, males are taught to deny their emotions and to be the rugged hero with chiseled jaw reserve and a stiff upper lip.

This programming happens in television shows like the cowboy western where a single civilized gunman can take his pair of six shooters from his holsters strapped low around his hips and wipe out an entire tribe of Native American savages.  The cowboy western is one of the more obvious examples.  There are many others like the space movie where the space suit clad hero has to save the woman from the Martians or the pirate movie where the swashbuckler will scalawag his way across the screen to save the damsel in distress.

Now recent years shows this trend is reversing.  Recently, there are many movies where the hero is the female.  There are futuristic action movies where the hero is actually a heroin such as Aeon Flux, Resident Evil, and Ultra Violet.  But other genres are showing the woman as the heroin in such programs such is Xena the Warrior Princess and Laura Croft.  There has been a resurgence of television programming and the woman is the main detective, the hope of humanity’s future being chased by cyborgs, or the bionic enhanced, karate chopping, bar tender.  The walls of gender programming are under siege and are coming down quickly.

But the social programming that falls along the lines of race are still very much present and are becoming even more enhanced.  The other day as I watched the local news, the word black was tied to a lot of crime.  The black suspect was found in the black neighborhood in the black side of town with a black victim.  But when the crime perpetrator was a white person the word white was never uttered.  When the story was about something negative such as dropping school grades or about school attendance falling, the video clip associated with the story was of black children.  When the story was about the mortgage crises, it was accompanied by a video clip of black neighborhoods.

It is seldom that the black character is a man of courage and integrity.  Usually, the black character is a man that struggles to deal with past demons.  One of my favorite black characters on television, Warrick Brown from CSI: Investigations (the one situated in Las Vegas) is made to deal with gambling addiction and a drug addiction while his partners may suffer issues like angst from their offspring or growing up in foster care.

Most black fictional roles have the heroic black character playing second fiddle, at best, to a white superior.  There will always be an exception to this rule.  But it is a rule nevertheless.  When was the last time there was a movie where the majority of characters are sensitive to the issues of the black community, dignified, and black?  When was the last time a black woman was depicted in a movie as the bionic enhanced heroin or as the other worldly entity superior to humanity?  You might find one example.  I would be surprised if you can find two.  But if anyone can name anything more than a handful of other than Halle Berry portrayed role, who by the way claims that she is not a black woman, and I will be pleasantly shocked.

Our culture is greatly influenced by what we see in magazine, television, the big screen and elsewhere.  Our culture is greatly influenced by what we hear on the radio.  When we are exposed to more diverse roles in our social construct we will become more diverse.  However, when we continue to perpetuate racial roles that show black people as incomplete, limited, and all to willing to accept our constant portrayal as second class citizens, we will continue to be second class citizens.

Many of us might pretend we are immune from such programming.  We never know how deep it goes until we are put into a situation where we think we are following are instincts, but usually we are relying on our social programming.  Black people are taught to fear their black neighbors and will flee the black community instead of making a stand and changing that which we despise.  Black people are taught to conform to standards of acceptable ethnic behavior and appearance rather than wear our ethnicity proudly in order to find a professional job.  We are made to believe that we will be safer if we just move out of the black areas into the more white areas where people welcome us with open arms.

But the truth of the matter is that from the first moment a black person sets roots in a formerly all white area many white people will start pulling their roots up to move away.  Why?  The perception will be there goes the neighborhood.  It may be a cliché but it is real nevertheless.  Why?  Black people have been stereotyped as everything negative with few redeeming qualities other than they run fast, dribble well, and throw footballs.  Why?  Stereotypes say black people are good at physical activities as if black people are nothing more than beast of burden.  But those same stereotypes paint black people as criminals with low moral and ethical standards.

A lot of people think all we need to do is stop contributing to the stereotypical images and clean our selves up.  Black people should stop wearing white sleeveless shirts and get doctorates.  But even if such a feat were possible, the propaganda would only adapt.  Even if every black person on the planet conforms to a more acceptable image to the racially generic dominant community that happens to be predominantly white, the dominant community will still portray blacks as less than and incompetent.  The reality doesn’t matter.  People will believe whatever they read or hear or see about black people being the root of all evil.  And with enough propaganda to reinforce the message, too many black people will believe whatever the media says about black people along with everyone else, generally speaking.

Thursday, October 30, 2008 Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black Culture, Black Men, Black People, Life, Racism, Thoughts | 13 Comments

The Way Capitalism Operates

The Way Capitalism Operates

Most people will admit that there is a clash between communistic principles and capitalistic principles.  One is more focused on community while the other is more focused on personal wealth.  Community is a focus on social responsibility while capitalism is a focus on personal responsibility.  American institutionalized slavery was capitalism at its finest where the social repercussions of subjecting an entire race of people to secondary status just a hair’s breath above cattle took a much lower priority to the dominant culture’s need for individual, personal enrichment.

It is this type of philosophy that condones the disparity between the people who have and the people who have not.  No where is this situation more apparent than in the inequality in pay between the average corporate executive and the average corporate worker.  At last check, the average chief executive officer in the United States is paid at a rate something like five hundred forty times the rate of the average American worker.  With some American corporations gobbling up competition and posting record profits in a never ending bid to become even more profitable this gap in the pay rate is growing wider every year.  While this appears to be benign and nothing to worry about, this inequality is driving this country deeper into its self imposed economic despair.

To illustrate the problem with this condition take a look at a fictional company with one hundred employees and one executive officer.  Low wages makes a company more efficient.  Therefore, in order to keep the company as efficiently productive as possible the company pays its workers exactly ten dollars an hour.  Each worker works forty hours a week for fifty two weeks out of the year so the company pays each employee twenty thousand eight hundred dollars.  To pay for all of the workers the company would have to spend just over two million dollars.  The executive officer makes approximately five hundred times the pay of its workers so the executive earns about five thousand dollars an hour or two hundred thousand dollars a week or over ten million dollars a year.

Imagine the social consequences of having a hundred people just barely making an existence on just twenty thousand dollars a year while one person is making ten million dollars for his or her contribution. A hundred people have to pay rent, pay utilities, pay for insurance, buy food, pay for the car, and all the other incidentals.  The average house comes with a mortgage that runs well over a thousand dollars a month.  Health insurance would runs thousands of dollars a year.  Food will run hundreds of dollars a month.  Utilities, phone, gas, electricity, water and sewage, will run thousands of dollars a year.  And having a car, even it is paid for, will run hundreds of dollars a month just for insurance, gas, and maintenance.  We’ve already exceeded our budget for a single individual and we have yet to add home insurance and the other incidentals that come with living a standard level of existence.  Two people coming together to help each other eek out an existence would push the envelope.  If everything goes exactly well and both can work without either one ever getting sick then everything will be okay.  But we shouldn’t be counting on luck.

When it comes time for the American consumer to buy the things that the United States economy needs us to buy in order to keep growth strong and to pay the salaries of corporate executives and pay the dividends of corporate investors, the average Joe has to spend a certain percentage of their income on things that keep factories going and such.  A lot of people go into debt trying to do their part to keep the corporate American economy going.  But miss a payment or come in late on a payment and creditors see an opportunity to heap excessive late fees and jack interest rates to a point where some consumer’s budgets are irreparably busted.  It’s just a matter of time before somebody goes under.

Now people will say that the one hundred can go to school and get their degrees and they can make something better of themselves.  But the fact of the matter is all of these people can go to school and all can get the best grades possible.  However not everyone is going to be able to go out and get a better job.  A few will be successful.  But in today’s job market, the usual is that the ratio between opportunities and applicants will overwhelmingly favor whoever is providing the opportunity to have pick of the litter.  Even with better educations the vast majority of workers will continue to work their low paying jobs.

What would help is if we had a more equitable executive to worker pay ratio that would allow everyone to earn a suitable standard of living.  If we go back to our fictitious company it had a payroll of two million dollars for the workers and a ten million dollar payout for the executive for a rounded total of twelve million dollars.  If the company executive decided to share more of the profits with his workers he could make the more socially responsible choice to make only sixty times the salary of his lowest employee.  The new ratio would be more like seventy five thousand dollars per employee while the executive would make four point five million dollars.  With this pay ratio more workers can afford to spend more of their income on incidentals, put money aside for the future, purchase insurance to protect the family from any catastrophe on the horizon, and do a lot more.  A lot more people would have the option to buy a house, a new car, pay the utilities and all the other things that come with a higher standard of living.

But unfortunately not everyone is so socially responsible.  The focus today is on personal responsibility.  If someone can make ten million dollars instead of four million while everyone else makes just enough to get by then that’s just the way capitalism operates.  The company can have a lottery where it could pay for the scholarship of one lucky employee.  But the other ninety nine will simply have to pick themselves up by their bootstrap.  To think about the welfare of others is to imply socialism or some form of community oriented values.  And that’s just not the way we do things here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008 Posted by | African Americans, Black People, Capitalism, Life, Thoughts | 6 Comments

Donating To The Obama Campaign

Over the past month or two I’ve gotten several phone calls from the Obama for President campaigners.  The typical conversation starts off with one of the friendliest hellos imaginable without sounding like a script from Hee Haw followed by an explanation that Senator Barack Obama is counting on me to help fund his bid for the White House and since I was suckered into giving to Mr. Obama before maybe I’d be so retarded to do it again.

On one phone call, not wanting to be rude, I explained that it simply wasn’t in my budget.  On another, again not wanting to be rude, I explained that I had just given money to the relief effort in Haiti after one of the hurricanes tried to scrub the nation free of people and it wasn’t in my budget.  But the last time they called and gave their spiel I wasn’t in the most pleasant of moods.  The moment I realized who it was I didn’t care if I was rude or not.  My mind quickly returned to the feeling I had after donating to Mr. Obama’s cause only to hear the man’s Father’s Day speech in front of the Apostolic Church of God on Chicago’s south side.  I replayed the message in my head that black men need to step up to the plate instead of being fools.  I didn’t appreciate Mr. Obama’s assumption, like the majority of people in America, that black men and the black community is more irresponsible than other communities.  Racism will stop being an issue when black people straighten up.

But forty plus years of mom’s social etiquette programming quickly reigned in my impulse to be rude.  I simply stated that I was not interested in making a donation at this time.  The caller cheerfully relayed their disappointment and reminded me to vote on November 4th, as if I could forget.  With the election little more than a week away I could tolerate one more phone call soliciting a donation.

The phone call reminded me of my political leanings and why.  I am not even close to being a fan of Barack Obama.  I really don’t think Barack Obama is a fan of me.  More than likely Mr. Obama would see me in my shades, my locks, my white T-shirt, and my should’ve been thrown away years ago Converse’s and make the assumption that I’m just another irresponsible black fool pissing away his life.  Mr. Obama would be more than happy to go into middle class America’s neighborhoods and get broadsided by “joe the plumber” as he reaches out to shake the Republican operative’s hand but continues to keep his distance from my black neighborhood.

To date, Mr. Obama continues to keep blacks at arms length, at least when it comes to this presidential campaign’s photo opportunities.  I’ve seen the video clips of Mr. Obama going door to door in a middle class neighborhood somewhere with people trying miserably to act surprised to see Mr. Obama knocking on their door.  I have to confess that if Mr. Obama knocked on my door I’d probably answer the door as if I had just won the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes.  But so far, these neighborhoods look like Opie Taylor’s ‘hood back in Mayberry.  Where the black people at?

On Father’s Day, Mr. Obama used the black community as a whipping boy.  He couldn’t demonstrate his strong belief in family values on irresponsible people in the dominant community, but he sure could mouth off on black men and the black community without fear of retribution.  In fact, Mr. Obama’s criticism of black people demonstrates to the dominant community his desire to minimize his affiliation with the black community and demonstrate his conformation to the racial status quo.

When I made my donation to Mr. Obama earlier this year, it was the first time I ever contributed to a political campaign.  I was motivated to do so after a particularly nasty attack on Mr. Obama by Hillary Clinton, Mr. Obama’s most significant opponent at the time.  I was actually a supporter of Ms. Clinton prior to her attacks on Mr. Obama’s character.  I was incensed to hear her say that she acknowledged Mr. McCain’s experience but saw Mr. Obama as little more than an eloquent speech maker.  That was a huge turnoff, every bit as bad Mr. Obama’s implication that generally speaking black men are a bunch of irresponsible fools.  Her implications that she appeals to hardworking white Americans left me wondering what she thought of black Americans.  Ms. Clinton appeared too polarizing for my taste.  Mr. Obama appeared to be the better in a tightly contested bid for the Democratic Party nomination.

The same can be said In the final analysis in this part of the election as well.  Like most politicians who have more appeal, Mr. Obama appears to be little more than the lesser of two evils.  He might end up being America’s first black President.  But I really haven’t seen him demonstrate much of a desire to be the President of the black community along with the rest of the communities of America.  Even America’s first black President is ready to treat the black community as an afterthought.  Why would I want to pay to support that kind of behavior when I’ve been getting it for free?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 Posted by | African Americans, Barack Obama, Black Community, Black Culture, Black People, Democrats, Life, Politics, Racism, Thoughts | Leave a comment

Alias Mookie

“As you know, I haven’t exactly been a fan of the bailout, or rescue, or whatever you want to call the plan. However with my recent car situation, I found myself in a conundrum of human conflict. I’m against bailing out irresponsible entities. And in the past, I was on my own small level one of those irresponsible parties, racking up small debts here and there with healthcare costs, and a variety of other things. And yet, I found myself suddenly needing, and more aptly wanting credit so that I might have a dependable vehicle so that my wife and I could go to work without begging rides. All those people who promised credit regardless of your history, and almost every dealer would talk me up, make me think I had the car I needed coming to me. And then, after getting my hopes up, I would get yet another phone call about how it just didn’t work out. Finally, yesterday, I found a dealer willing to work with me, and I was able to receive a near-new Saturn Aura from a local dealer, and financed through the controversially government-subsidized JP Morgan Chase, or one of their affiliates. Now I don’t know how the statistics have worked around here, as to whether or not, I was one who benefited from what you call “white privilege”. I know I had horrible credit markings, albeit from just a few things (a lot less than I imagined when I finally printed off my credit reports), but I had faithfully made high car payments for the last three years, and suddenly my money wasn’t good enough. I suspect part of it was due to the recent credit crises, but I tell you what…Not being able to find anything, made me feel a lot less like a man for not providing my family with something as stupid as a car. And I have to admit, I was riding a high yesterday after driving the car home. I have always been on the poor end of things, but never to the extent of not having all the basics of modern society, like a house, heat, a car and food. It definitely showed me how things can get ugly real quick, even in the almost 2 weeks (yes I know a very short time to suffer) this all went down. I was working hard, and fighting to keep treading the proverbial waters. I really don’t know what I would have done had things continued infinitely. Quite an insightful experience.”Mike Lovell

Thanks for the feedback Mike Lovell (aka Mookie),

First I want to say that I’m sorry to hear about your financial troubles.  Trust me, I’ve been there, I am there, and in some way or other I’m pretty sure I’ll have some kind of financial hardship in some way, shape, or form for the rest of my life.  I’ve written about my difficulty in buying an abandoned house here in Saint Louis.  It looks like I’m going to have to give up on this house and move along.  The city doesn’t want me to buy one of their precious abandoned houses unless I can secure a two hundred thousand dollar loan in this credit crunch environment on a property that I’m going to buy for three thousand cash.  I truly know what it’s like to feel less than a man, less than a person, because of an inability to provide for my family.

I’m happy to hear that you are getting back on your feet.  It might not sound like much to someone else.  But I know exactly what it’s like to be able to provide for your family when it looked like you couldn’t.  I know what it’s like to get through these hurdles that come our way.  I know the feeling of euphoria that comes with getting a well paying job with benefits after being denied job after job.  I know what it is like to be able to provide my family with just the basics that everybody else takes for granted.  After doing without for months I was able to buy a refrigerator and an oven for my family.  No more having to put ice into an ice chest to try and keep things cold and no more eating food prepared on a George Foreman grill and a microwave oven.  We were able to buy these brand new scratch and dent appliances from the local Maytag warehouse.  But that was okay because they were fully ours paid for with cash saved up for weeks.  It may not sound like much to the average person, but for us it was a time for celebration when they came through the door.

Like a lot of people, I have squandered a lot of money and a lot of time.  I like to think that I have learned from those mistakes and will do better in the future which is why I won’t use credit unless it is absolutely unavoidable.  My focus is no longer to try and make as much money as possible so that I can spend as much money as possible.  The money I make is now intended to prepare my family for a survivable future.  Please note that the word I chose to use is survivable and not comfortable.

Just a few days ago, I wrote about some lowlife in the neighborhood that tried to steal the minivan that we bought earlier this year with money that we saved.  The guy was unsuccessful.  But, while I’m happy I didn’t have to replace an entire minivan, the incompetent thief cost me well over five hundred dollars.  The very day that all of this happened I had to pay over two thousand dollars to have my Honda’s transmission rebuilt.  Because I have learned from past mistakes and have been fortunate to keep money in its proper perspective the family was able to get through this double impact hardship with relative ease.  A year ago it would have been devastating.  What a difference a year truly makes.

The white privilege I occasionally speak of is not the belief that white people don’t have to deal with hardship.  Of course there will be times of difficulty for people of every race, creed, and color.  There will be hardships for people of every economic class.  To think that somehow people can avoid problems simply because of who they are or what they are is truly an absurd thought.

Right now, more people than ever are going through hard times at the moment.  The credit crisis is affecting a huge share of the population.  On average, while many white people are affected by the economy and are finding these trying times harder than ever, black people will find these times even harder.  And when the economy is good and things are generally upbeat and rosey, black people will still find things much harder than the average white person.

You are white and I am black.  Generally speaking if the two of us were dressed exactly alike and walked into a business to apply for a job, a loan, a house, or etcetera, on appearance alone and without knowing anything about who we are or our history, chances are very good that you would have every advantage over me.  If we were looking for jobs you would be considered to be nothing more than the average job seeker while there may be some suspicion if I’m truly qualified because I would be viewed as the stereotypical black person out to pull a fast one and may exaggerate my qualifications.  If we were applying for some type of assistance, while you may be regarded as someone down on his luck who just might need a helping hand, I would be viewed as someone who is irresponsible and unethical.  My character would be called into question and I would be less likely to be trusted.  If you and I were photographed wading through chest deep water after a hurricane the caption under your photo will say that you’re trying to procure food while my photo’s caption will accuse me of looting.

For decades, a large chunk of the people in the black community have lost their jobs, their homes, their hopes for a better future, and much more.  Nobody minded too much when homes in the black neighborhoods were foreclosed and eventually abandoned.  And an abandoned home in the black neighborhood is like a cancer that spreads.  The home becomes a blight.  Nobody wants to live next to it.  It brings down the values of the properties around it.  People work to get away from it.  And the more people who become financially able to leave the black community do so.  The people who are left behind are the black impoverished who simply adapt.  This round of economic woes is nothing new for many in the black community.

I would like to think that more people would be more sensitive to what people go through when they are losing their home or their neighborhood is in a state of decline.  Unfortunately I don’t hold much hope.  While many people who experience hardship will be able to relate to other people going through the same experience and have some kind of empathy and recognize the potential to impact our national community, too many people will continue to see the problems of the black community as its own separate entity with a life of its own that is justified because black people simply don’t do anything to try and do better.

It is very true that there are black people who are lazy, unethical, and are happy to exist at the lowest rung of humanity’s ladder.  But there are white people who are satisfied with the same type of existence.  Unfortunately, the low rung black person is often considered the epitome of black people while the low rung white person is an exception.  And when the low rung white person decides to do something else other people are a lot more accepting of their change of ways.  The black person, low rung or not, will still be viewed with the suspicion that comes with being black.

Peace

Monday, October 27, 2008 Posted by | Economy, Life, Racism, The Economy, Thoughts | 4 Comments

Trick Or Treat For The McCain Palin Campaign

Sunday, October 26, 2008 Posted by | Barack Obama, Democrats, John McCain, Politics, Republicans, Sarah Palin | 1 Comment

My God Comes With Kung-Fu Grip

“There are millions of people around this world praying to their god, whether it’s Hindu, Buddha, [or] Allah, that his opponent wins, for a variety of reasons.  And lord, I pray that you will guard your own reputation, because they’re going to think that their god is bigger than you, if that happens.” – Reverend Arnold Conrad

Another preacher wants to demonstrate spiritual science by reminding us and god that if god doesn’t move heaven and hell to make Senator John McCain win when it is obvious that the majority of voters have made it clear that they do not believe he is fit to be our President.  Even Mr. Conrad has to admit that it would take a miracle for Senator John McCain to win.  And if god wanted to prove to people that he wanted to be known as the Christian god, Mr. Conrad has put a challenge to make sure that the prayers of all the non-Christian believers, as well as the Christian believers who want Senator Barack Obama to win the White House, to go unanswered.

This is the same mentality that goes into football teams praying before the big game for a win.  But god isn’t going to use his limitless powers of the universe to make sure one team beats the other.  If somebody wants to win the football game they’d better make sure they put in the work to win.  God doesn’t play favorites like that.  The same holds true for the presidency.  If god cared to influence to influence things so directly what would be the point of spending millions of dollars to campaign and having millions of people go to the polls.  What would be the point if it’s all in god’s hands?

But the last thing god wants to do is get into the middle of our happenings.  God doesn’t give a flip if we’re stupid enough to vote a yahoo from Midland, Texas to be our President, a man that would run amok on the world stage with unilateral decisions on war, global economies, the environment, trade, diplomacy, and such, he sure wouldn’t get involved on such a man’s replacement.  If we don’t see that we should elect our representatives with more care to assure that the world’s needs are met then we shouldn’t expect god to come in and put us back on the right track.  Obviously, we collectively have more learning to do and will have to suffer through the consequences of not taking the lesson to heart.

People like Mr. Conrad give people the wrong impression about god.  If Supreme Being of the universe wanted to influence the election he wouldn’t just magically make it happen.  Like most, he would get his ballot, stand in line, and cast his vote just like everyone else.  The Supreme Being has supreme humility and wouldn’t be interested in proving his greatness to others.  If god was to manifest himself in front of people this very moment many would dismiss him as a vagabond unfit for our attention.

God isn’t interested in solving people’s problems.  God doesn’t need us to worship him.  God is god whether we know it or not.  The last thing he needs to do is to prove his power to us.  He doesn’t care if we think that the Hindu god is better or if the pagan god is better.  Who are us to think that we have the right to judge god?  The Supreme Being doesn’t need the approval of people who are so far from being able to vote intelligently for leadership that it isn’t even worth his effort.

Is your god is better than my god?  Who knows?  God!  Who cares?  Not god.  This isn’t a contest of who can manipulate the spiritual belief system the best to manifest tangible results.  This isn’t a contest between the Supreme Being and a golden calf.  Our presidential election is about as far removed from anything spiritual as praying to god to make things happen in our favor.  God doesn’t need to prove to anyone

Besides, if god really wanted to prove his power I seriously doubt such a manifestation would take form in an election rigging.  You don’t need god for that.  Instead of praying to god just put the election in the hands of voting machine manufacturer Diebold and make a huge payment.  You’ll have a much better chance at getting the results you wanted than depending on any god who works in mysterious ways.  And if god really wanted all of us to recognize him and pray to him for our salvation, all he has to do is send a meteor the size of Australia to collide with the Earth.

Saturday, October 25, 2008 Posted by | Barack Obama, Democrats, John McCain, Life, Politics, Religion, Republicans, Spirituality, Thoughts | Leave a comment

Gun Violence And Gun Control

My neighborhood is plagued with gun violence.  Not too long ago, not very far away from the home where my son sleeps, there was a shootout between two thugs right smack dab in the middle of the day, where two innocent people passing by were shot and killed.  One of the bystanders was driving a car when she was hit by a stray bullet and died at the scene.  The other was waiting at a bus stop.  I believe she died on the way to hospital.

Not too long ago, somebody within a few houses of our apartment building would fire three shots from a gun in the middle of the night on a regular basis.  These pops are not firecrackers or any relatively harmless noisemaker.  The sounds were the distinctive pops of gunshots.  It went on for weeks.  Somehow, for some reason, somebody was able to stop that particular miscreant.  But gun violence is something that most people believe my family and I have a higher probability of being affected by than the average American.

I have mixed feelings regarding the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on gun violence.  If the city I live in passes a law that makes handguns and firearms illegal in most people’s homes I know for a fact that my family and I will not be any safer.  There are already a series of laws designed to control guns as a contributing factor to violence.  But just like people chose to ignore all the laws that are designed to control illegal drugs and other substances, people in communities all across America will make the choice to get their hands on guns if they want them bad enough despite legislators’ best efforts.

It is an erroneous notion to think that gun violence can be controlled by outlawing guns.  Not all people with criminal intentions are willing to abide by laws.  I think that’s one of the reasons they’re called criminals.  Some of these people follow the law only enough not to get caught.  The main focus of these laws is to try to keep law abiding people from potentially adding to the burden of the people who work in crime enforcement.

A ban on handguns law will keep the average person from having their gun stolen and winding up in the hands of a thief.  A ban on handguns law will keep the average schmuck from losing their cool and blowing a loved one away in a moment of intense passion.  But if such a person is truly pissed enough to pick up a gun and do an impromptu impersonation of Dirty Harry Callahan with a magnum, what’s to keep the same person from picking up a kitchen knife and doing their own version of Zorro?  Will knives be next on the big brother control list?

American has always nurtured a gun toting culture.  The number of television shows where people solved problems with a bullet from a handgun is a long one indeed.  Pick your genre.  There’s the western with shows like Bonanza, The Rifleman, The Lone Ranger, and it doesn’t get any more blatant than Gunsmoke.  There are all the detective shows like Mannix, Barnaby Jones, Magnum P.I., and Vegas with Dantana.  There are the police shows like Starsky and Hutch, SWAT, and Miami Vice.  Even shows about the future will have the hero bust an energized cap up some alien’s ass with such examples as Star Trek, Lost In Space, and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.  I’m surprised guns never made an appearance on the Price Is Right or Let’s Make a Deal.  Gratuitous violence is something that we have been force fed and we now crave as mandatory in our common denominator, appeals to the juvenile in most of us, more bullets can make a weak or nonexistent storyline a more appealing entertainment.  Over and over again we are programmed to think that guns, or more guns, or bigger guns will solve our problems and set things right.

A lot of people feel that they need their guns for their protection.  The Constitution guarantees that right.  The fact that other people abuse that right does not mean the government is entitled to remove guns from everybody.  People misuse and abuse their right to drive a car.  A woman in Texas used her Mercedes-Benz to run over her philandering husband.  Susan Smith used her Mazda to drown her children.  That doesn’t mean we need to take away everybody’s right to drive.

But guns only have one function and that is to kill.

Not exactly!  Guns also protect.  If someone is about to be attacked and he or she pulls out a gun there is a chance that an attacker will realize that the intended victim is not as defenseless as originally thought and will think twice before continuing.  Guns can also be a psychological pacifier.  Some people simply feel like they are safer when they know they have access to a gun if needed.  Some people know that if someone breaks into their house while they are at home they’ll just run into the bedroom and get the gun that they keep on the shelf in the closet and they’ll just grab the bullets in the drawer next to the bed and they’ll get the keys for the gunlock and they’ll load the bullets into the gun and they’ll show that burglar a thing or two in a minute or two.

I have no need for a gun in my home.  At least, I don’t think I have a need for one.  I have no fear that someone is coming for me or my family.  We treat everybody in the neighborhood with respect.  We feel that people in the neighborhood respect us.  We have insurance on our property so if anything is stolen it will be easily replaced, hopefully without much fuss.  Most of the stuff is old anyway and we could use a couple of new laptops or a new PDA or whatever.  Other than that, there really isn’t much that can be conveniently taken without a truck being backed up to the building.  And that would stir too much suspicion.  The gun really doesn’t have a place in my home.  But I do recognize the fact that other people have a totally different appreciation for their firearms.  People are entitled to keep their guns.  The government is not entitled to take them away.

You want more of my two cents on the subject?  The social fabric of America is wearing thinner and thinner everyday.  It is unraveling from the bottom up and through the middle.  People are no longer feeling connected to the greater whole because of greater feelings of isolation and dissociation and a lack of compassion.  The concept of community is not a positive one for most people who live in a less than standard existence or people who feel that they need or deserve more control of themselves and of their lives.  Some people want to manifest their control by impacting the lives of others.  And to many people it is always a lot easier to negatively impact someone else than it is to cause a positive impact.

Some people are only bitter enough to wreak havoc with other’s emotions.  Some people are bitter enough to steal and make crimes of property.  But some people are so disconnected that they are willing to make crimes of person and assault on others or even kill.  More and more people are developing the desire to harm others on a daily basis.  The only response we make to this growing condition is more rules, more regulations, more police, more jails, a tighter fist, a no nonsense policy, more separation, and more of the very things that help to hasten the unraveling of our community.

You would think that at some point, somebody would step up and say, let’s stop and rethink the way we are doing this if we want to keep our society as one with the most inclusion possible.  We can choose to be a lot more proactive instead of reactive.  We can do a lot more to make people feel part of the community if we made the collective choice to make people feel more like a valued part of the community.  We spend so much time making some people feel like they’re so much less than others, nurturing people’s anger, it is no wonder that people want to express some control.

The solution is not to take away everybody’s ability to obtain a weapon legally.  The solution is to take the steps to rebuild the community.  We need to make as many people as possible feel like valued members of society.  Unfortunately, too many people are making it blatantly clear that certain segments of the population are not valued members of America’s social construct.

Friday, October 24, 2008 Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black Culture, Black Men, Black People, Life, Racism, Thoughts | 3 Comments

Obama The Terrorist

I was appalled to see the Republican Party faithful at a campaign rally for Senator John McCain and his running mate Governor Sarah Palin calling for the death of Senator Barack Obama.  People from the crowd yelled such things like kill him, off with his head, and he’s a terrorist.  People accuse the Democratic Party’s nominee of being an Arab or a Muslim or of palling around with terrorists.  The latest commercials that come with Mr. McCain’s seal of approval describe Mr. Obama with such terms as he’s dangerous and suspicious.  Now I understand it’s standard procedure for people running for public office to do their best to call into question the character of their political opponent.  But it appears that this is being taken to new heights with the McCain Palin campaign and the insiders in the Republican Party.

Mr. Obama had to respond to the inexperience early in his formal bid for the White House.  Mr. Obama’s own vice presidential running mate, Senator Joe Biden, has said that Mr. Obama did not have enough experience to be President.  Senator Hillary Clinton and hubby former President Bill Clinton had dismissed Mr. Obama with comments that question his ability to work the system.  At one point, Ms. Clinton said that she and her Republican opponent had a history of political accomplishments and that Mr. Obama had little more than a speech he wrote.  Mr. Obama weathered that criticism to become the Democratic nominee.  And Mr. McCain was too happy to pick up the criticism where Mr. Obama’s Democratic rivals left off.

But the one thing that the prolonged battle for the Democratic nomination did was to air out practically all of Mr. Obama’s dirty laundry.  We’ve already heard about Mr. Obama’s experimentation with illegal substances.  We’ve already heard about his affiliation with Bill Ayers.  We’ve already heard about his association with Jeremiah Wright and Trinity United Church of Christ.  We’ve already heard of his relationship with the real estate developer Tony Rezko.  We’ve already heard of all the accusations against his wife Michelle Obama and how she’s just an angry black woman who has never been proud of her country until her husband became the Democratic nominee.  Mr. Obama has faced these accusations and charges and has come through these various storms a better politician.  What else is left for Mr. McCain to bring up?

Mr. McCain’s supporters know they cannot win on the issues.  Mr. McCain has been too inconsistent in his various responses to the latest upheavals in the country and the world since his nomination.  But at the same time, Mr. McCain has been too consistent with his predecessor’s policies to convince the majority of the public that he has a plan for change.  Mr. McCain is to political change like vinegar is to honey.  The majority of America sees this.  The majority of America knows this.  And yet, the Republican Party hopeful want to try and pretend that Mr. McCain is the shot in the arm this country needs most.

But the pick of Sarah Palin as Mr. McCain’s running mate was probably the first real nail in Mr. McCain’s presidential hope’s coffin.  Suddenly, all the arguments that Mr. McCain made about Mr. Obama’s lack of experience and lack of political accomplishments suddenly flew out the window, and so did some of Mr. McCain supporters.  Many of the Republican faithful supported the McCain Palin ticket.  But subsequent days of little in the way of political substance from Ms. Palin began to call into question Mr. McCain’s choice.  Interviews with Charles Gibson and Katie Couric exposed Ms. Palin as a national political light weight.  And the fact that Ms. Palin avoided interviews like Superman avoids kryptonite didn’t help the situation.  More people who took an honest evaluation of the situation began to abandon the Republican dark side for the other dark side.

Much, not all, of what remain of the McCain Palin supporters are people who wear their ignorance proudly on their sleeves.  People will swear that Mr. Obama’s a Muslim as if that alone is reason to vote for John McCain.  Some say he associates with terrorist.  Some will make the claim that they don’t know Mr. Obama enough even though he’s been running for President for the past year and a half.  But after less than two months as Mr. McCain’s running mate and with just a handful of in depth interviews people feel like they know Ms. Palin as well as they know their next door neighbor.  But now they feel that they know the Illinois Senator well enough to call him a terrorist or a Muslim or an Arab or whatever.  I saw a video of a man attending a Republican rally saying something to the effect, I don’t know him and I don’t need to know him.  Sounds like a man who is proud of his ignorance.

The more moves the McCain Palin ticket makes the more their base erodes and all that’s left are the people who are so stuck in their ways it’s surprising to hear that they ever started using light bulbs.  These are the type of people that will say their granddaddy’s granddaddy voted Republican and they’ll be damned if they break tradition.  But granddaddy never had to vote in the twenty first century under such circumstances as the ones we face today.  People need to start thinking for themselves.  When granddaddy voted Republican I’m sure he had his reasons.  However, I seriously doubt if it was because his granddaddy’s granddaddy did it.  He probably weighed the issues and voted what was best for the country.  Too bad granddaddy isn’t here to slap some since in his progenies.

Thursday, October 23, 2008 Posted by | African Americans, Barack Obama, Black Community, Black Culture, Black Men, Black People, Democrats, Life, Politics, Racism, Republicans, Sarah Palin, Thoughts | 14 Comments

The Obama Prophecy

I wish I had some kind of graphics manipulation software, and the time to learn it, so I can put together a picture of Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain in a Nazi uniform replete with swastikas and doing the hail Hitler salute with Cindy McCain at his back looking like Eva Braun in her own Gestapo getup.  Although Mr. McCain is far from being my first choice as President of the United States, I would mean no offense to Mr. McCain or his wife Cindy.  Although the McCains would be the subject of the touched up photography, my real intent is to get a reaction from people who insist that the racist and misleading portrayals of Senator Barack Obama as anything but a red blooded, stars and stripes flag waving American.

No person running for President has ever been so disrespected as Mr. Obama.  So many people have placed so much emphasis on his middle name Hussein as if it is evidence of his otherness.  People claim that they have read so much about Mr. Obama being an Arab and a Muslim.  Mr. Obama is not an American citizen because he wasn’t born in America, in Honolulu, Hawaii like his birth certificate says but in Baghdad, Iraq or some other nonsense that has no place in this political race.

Mr. McCain’s vice presidential nominee running mate, Governor Sarah Palin, claims that she read in the New York Times that Mr. Obama wants to associate himself with terrorist such as the recently remade infamous Bill Ayers in order to facilitate America’s decline.  It’s just my opinion but no terrorist could ever do as much damage to America as President George W. Bush has done with his bone headed policies.  It’s a fine time for America to get picky about who is going to do what to ruin this country.  Talk about closing the barn door after the horses left.  If only Ms. Palin had a sincere love of gathering information and would do more reading she would learn to differentiate between baseless conjecture and actual facts.  Just because something is read somewhere doesn’t mean it is true.  For example, Ms. Palin is a nice person.  Just because I wrote it and you read it here does not negate who Ms. Palin really is.

Every politician should be expected to be caricatured in countless ways.  But the turban wearing caricature of Mr. Obama reaches new heights of race based tastelessness.  It brings to mind the old Warner Brothers cartoons with Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck pitting their wits with a slant eyed, slack-jawed Japanese soldier on some Pacific island jungle.  Or how about the Popeye cartoon where the one eyed, corn cob pipe toting, spinach eating with instant steroid-like muscle enhancements, sailor is in the jungles of Africa fighting against entire tribes of bone in the nose, overdosed collagen lipped Africans intent on sacrificing Olive to their local volcano.  These particular cartoon episodes were deemed so racially insensitive that they were pulled from public broadcasting long before the rest of the cartoon series were canned.

But now we can sit back and allow the pot of racial animosity to be stirred up again to levels so racially and ethically insensitive with cartoons that some people want to dismiss as nothing more than jovial pranks like the hanging of nooses in a public square by white people as a friendly reminder to black people of the social status quo.  I wonder if everyone would see the humor of the depiction of John McCain as a closet Hitler admirer would be taken in such stride by the same people.  Or how about the image of John McCain as one of those dueling banjo players that reside in the Appalachians of Georgia made famous in the movie Deliverance.  That would certainly be a hoot.

I don’t particularly care to see Mr. Obama depicted as a cheesing Muslim sambo on a derogatory billboard.  It is a slight to Mr. Obama.  It is a slight to people of the Muslim or Islamic community for it implies that they do not belong here in America.  It also implies that Americans with unorthodox names like Hussein are not to be trusted.  And the more the Obama supporters complains about such racist campaigning the more the supporters of Mr. McCain will say the Obama supporters are simply trying to play the race card from the bottom of the deck.

Mr. Obama predicted as much months ago.  It was Mr. Obama who said, “Nobody thinks that Bush and McCain have a real answer to the challenges we face.  So what they’re going to try to do is make you scared of me.  You know, he’s not patriotic enough.  He’s got a funny name, you know.  He doesn’t look like all those other Presidents on the dollar bills.”

People gave Mr. Obama so much static.  People accused Mr. Obama of trying to inject a little racial victimization into the race for the presidency.  A lot of people accused the Democratic nominee of playing the old “they don’t like me because I’m black” routine.  But with virtually little chance of being wrong, it turned out to be nothing more than just a prophecy of things to come in this political race where desperate people will not hesitate to play the ace of spaces of all race cards.  Desperate times call for desperate, and racist, measures.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008 Posted by | African Americans, Barack Obama, Black Community, Black Culture, Black in America, Black Men, Black People, Democrats, John McCain, Life, Politics, Racism, Republicans, Thoughts | 4 Comments