Jun 28, 2015
Jun 28, 2015
Sadness has turned to ANGER.
The vivid memories of walking across the Safeway parking lot at the corner of Ina and Oracle in Tucson, Arizona, on a sunlit morning of January 9, 2011, still haunt me. Yes, I was there for the shootings and killing of six innocent citizens, including an 8-year old girl and a former Federal Judge. I witnessed the stretcher being wheeled across the parking lot to an awaiting ambulance to take Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords to the medical center to save her life that Saturday morning. And yet, we continue to witness gun violence and racial hatred rearing its ugly head-time-after time, killing-after-killing. And now, nine more African American citizens are dead in Charleston, murdered in a house of worship by a self-proclaimed racist wanting to start a racial war.
How many people need to die senselessly at the hands of racists, haters and agents of self-justified violence? The American experience is not one of justice, fairness and protection. On the contrary, the American experience is divided between those who live the dream and those who, in today’s world, cannot even hope for a share of the pie. For those in control, killing our own citizens not only propagates a culture of violence justifying the need for guns, but continues to further erode the fact that we are all connected. What happens in Charleston or Ferguson or Cleveland or Staten Island or Baltimore or Tucson or in your own back yard affects all of us. Any act of violence injures us all. And these killings aren’t happening in the Middle East! These killings continue here in the USA. How many children die in the streets of Chicago or Detroit or Los Angeles as a result of gun violence, poverty and despair?
I am tired to hearing the sad eulogies of lives taken before their time, the killing of innocent human beings and the inane, truly evil beliefs of NRA proponents and the abysmal failure of political leaders to have any sense of courage, justice, dignity and respect for those targeted, especially our citizens at the least end of the continuum. Jon Stewart delivered an impassioned editorial during his June 18th show, in which he expressed his incredible distain while giving us an accurate assessment of the most serious concern regarding this incident. He said, “I’m confident, though, that by acknowledging it (killings), by staring into that and seeing it for what it is, we still won’t do JACKSHIT. Yeah, that’s us! What blows my mind is the disparity of response between when we think people that are foreign are going to kill us and us killing ourselves.”
While my heart and spirit are heavy with compassion and love for the families of those killed, it’s time for the rest of us to stop grieving and to take ACTION. When will we as a human family stop the senseless killing? It is time to WAKE UP!
Here are five ACTIONS that will make a difference:
DO NOT ACCEPT INACTION! DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY AND ACTION!
STAND UP TO HATRED AND RACISM.
Jun 28, 2015
Jun 28, 2015
On the eve of Father’s Day 2015, I wrestle with my role as father in continuing to espouse and advocate principles and practices that provide a model for my sons to follow. In all honesty, this role is becoming increasingly difficult. To find truth one must sort through a current world order that does everything in its power to subjugate and distort a version of truth to the highest bidder. Money, power, greed, special interests and self-serving corporate leaders seem to have stolen truth. If you repeat a lie over and over again, it soon becomes a truth.
Even the founding fathers who carefully crafted our Declaration of Independence would be ashamed of how far we have wandered off-the-farm with interpretations and practices employed by political leaders, corporate executives and industries propagating their own self-interest with little regard for the citizens it’s practices impact.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident. That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”
Our recent history demonstrates the fallacy of the indelible words of our Declaration of Independence. Obviously, all men are NOT created equal, as the many recent examples clearly show. From the exoneration of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin murder case to the Mike Brown murder in Ferguson, the Walter Scott shooting in North Charleston, the Eric Garner killing by police officers in Staten Island, the Freddie Gray death at the hands of the Baltimore police and the most recent heinous, racially motivated hate killing of nine African-American worshipers in one of our most revered churches in the South all expose the unequal application of justice in our country.
Even as testimony from survivors of the attack in Charleston describe the 21-year- old shooter’s statements as racially motivated by his own words, proponents and right-wing media personalities act to divert what is truth by declaring this unthinkable act as an attack against Christianity, a false sound bite making noise, especially with the Republican primary circus underway.
Lindsey Graham, Senator from South Carolina, when asked by CNN about the shooting, remarked, “I just think one of these whacked out kids. I don’t think it’s anything broader than that.” Rick Santorum, interviewed in a radio talk show, stated, “…you talk about the importance of prayer in this time and we’re now seeing assaults on our religious liberty we’ve never seen before. It’s a time for deeper reflection beyond this horrible situation.” And former Texas governor, Rick Perry, chose to throw anti-Obama criticism into the fray, “This is the M.O. of this administration, any time there is an accident like this — the President is clear, he doesn’t like for Americans to have guns and so he uses every opportunity, this being another one, to basically go parrot that message.” It appears that it may be truth that Republican candidates share a common thread that the blatantly racial hate crime committed in Charleston was an attack on religion rather than pure unfiltered racism at its core. Again, truth is in the eye of the beholder and for some, their truth is to turn a blind eye to what is clearly fact: racism and hate are thriving in America.
To revisit the Declaration of Independence once more, not only are all Americans, including those of color, given the unalienable right to, “…life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” but, “…whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government.” Tyranny, you say? Yes, exactly. At what point in our current American experience do we seek truth in acknowledging the fact that racism is a shared reality for all of us.
We are all sinners and saints, divine and evil, loving and yes, racist. So many people speak about the grieving process and the necessary healing that must occur after such heinous acts of hatred and targeted violence. This process is very important but prayers, forgiveness and healing, while essential, fail to coalesce into meaningful action necessary to transform our collective unconsciousness into a different reality, one of love, true equality and understanding. Not until each of us acknowledges our part in this entrenched malaise will true reform and structural change occur.
Acknowledging our own firestorms within, those filters and belief systems operating in our inner psychic world is an essential first step to reclaiming truth. We all have a responsibility to contribute to our greater community. When a person of color is unfairly treated, targeted with hate and/or victimized by a system rigged against them, it is our duty and national responsibility to stand up and protect those against whom oppression and tyranny are waged. As a loving father, it is my obligation to my sons and to the greater community that I actively resist, openly challenge and stand up for anyone who is mistreated. To do anything less is to rescind my citizenship as an American and my role as a father.
Happy Father’s Day!