Archive for the ‘Slavery’ Category

The nation is more than 5,000 years old. It’s been fought over, pissed on, divided and subdivided. It’s been invaded by more conquerors than any of us can begin to imagine. And America, in its naïveté thought that they we, a nation formed by immigrants from all over the world, with our less than 400 years of experience and only one civil war thought we could bring a lasting democratic form of government to Iraq? What the hell kind of arrogance is that? Better yet, what kinds of stupidity is that?

America is a developed, highly technological, and somewhat futuristic nation. In parts of Iraq, they still stone people to death or cut off a limb. In its worst gangster days, Americans killed members of other gangs. In Iraq, if there is a feud, one kills not only the offending party but the entire family…mother, father, sisters, brothers, children, aunts, uncles, grandparents, nephews, and nieces. Why…Because they want no one left to ever come after members of their family. I don’t know about you, but that to me is just a wee bit obsessive. In America, we can’t remember who our BFF was a year ago. In Iraq, they remember offending remarks or actions that go back thousands of years.

When we went to war to remove the dictator Saddam Hussein, did we honestly believe that we were doing them a favor? If we did, it was even greater naiveté plus stupidity on our part. The pot of humanity is always at the boil in the Middle East. Are we so ignorant that we haven’t seen that during our brief history? Have our ambassadors and various secretaries of state had their collective heads buried so far in the sands of the Middle East that they haven’t understood the mentality that pervades the region? Forget the few civilized members of the population in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, for while the few are trying to modernize their countries, the many are at war with both the few and with other ‘tribes.’ That’s what they are…tribes. Only in this case, the tribes have access to modern weapons and are not afraid to use them. They are not even afraid to strap explosives to their bodies and kill themselves if it means they can gain an advantage over another tribe or another invader, an infidel if you will.

Being religious is one thing; being a radical religionist is something quite different. The people to whom America and its developed country allies are trying to bring peace and harmony are completely unaware of the meaning of either of those words. When we pull our troops out of Afghanistan, do we believe that radical Muslims won’t attack Kabul, Kandahar, Heart, or Gardez? How stupid can the leadership of America be?

“It is in our national interest to remain in Afghanistan,” says President Obama. “We must invade Iraq because they have weapons of mass destruction that could be used against us,” said President Bush. Both statements were bullshit; pure unadulterated, straight from the butt bullshit! I find it impossible to agree with Fox military analyst, Retired General Dr. Robert Scales, when he insists that we must stay in the area to prevent chaos and to keep an eye on Iran. Why, why must we do this? We have satellites; we should be growing our HUMINT; we should not be sacrificing the lives of young American men and woman simply to support corrupt administrations that we put in place and that are attempting to bleed American dollars from a budget that could be far better spent on home projects.

If we stay in the Middle East for any reason, any reason at all, we are making a mistake. There are enough people in the countries I’ve named who hate America, Americans, and everything for which we stand that the jihadists will never quit. Hell, they’ll never quit anyway. All we have done is to provide them with the weapons they can use to carry on their wars…and we gave ‘em the good stuff, too!

While it is difficult for most civilized people to believe that anyone would choose to live under a code such as that proposed by Shariah Law, particularly females, we should not forget that it wasn’t until 1839 that women in America were allowed to hold property; that their rights were subsumed to their husbands before that time. Today, we talk of equal rights for women in this country when we all know that equal doesn’t mean equal at all. Therefore, if the radical Muslims wish to fight and create a state where the laws of Mesopotamia and Methuselah once reigned supreme, fine, let them have it. Better that they should kill one another and wipe out their entire race of people than to have them continually pissed at American invaders or corrupt government in their own lands.

Am I saying that America should just pull all of their troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan? Sure; why not; I don’t see how things could get any worse. Children won’t get educated in the area; women will be treated like crap; men will get pissed at their neighbor for stealing some goat’s milk and they’ll feud over that until one family or the other is eliminated; there will be chaos that Ayatollah’s won’t be able to control. The nations will be composed of the haves and have not’s – oh, gee, that sounds like today’s America – and the anger will eventually be turned back toward the United States. It’s at that point that we unleash our technological fury in such a manner that not one city, town, village, or person remains alive. Will that start WWIII? I rather doubt it because enough cooler heads will have seen the idiocy of the Iraqi and Afghani immorality and agree that strong action was demanded. “What about the United Nations,” someone will doubtless ask. Certainly the UN has done some wonderful things to help nations that have evidenced a desire to be helped, but there comes a point when nations that demonstrate their unwillingness to follow a peaceful path to development must either be abandoned or destroyed. Both Iraq and Afghanistan have proven so inept in putting honest governments in place; have demonstrated a total inability to control their own people; have sucked so much blood from the young men and women of other UN nations that it’s time the UN cast them aside and let them destroy themselves as part of a natural order.

President Obama, please, please, please, get those soldiers, marines, airmen and women, as well as naval personnel out of the area and brought back home. We don’t need any more gold stars in windows. Let’s concentrate on what needs to be done in America for Americans. You have a year and a half left; let this be your legacy…you brought home the troops.

Read Full Post »

It would appear that no matter how hard we try; how forcefully we put forth, pronounce, write laws, and scream from the rooftops, there are just certain occasions when “You can’t fix stupid.” The latest example of that is epitomized by the homophobes who wish to tell gay people how or even if they can march in parades that are privately organized. Constitutionally, I guess they have the right to exclude any group from any activity that is privately funded, which just goes to show you that there are still people who are living in the 20th Century and who don’t want to be concerned about moving forward in their thinking. Put another way…you just can’t fix stupid.

The celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, according to some, is the celebration of Irish heritage. However, from what I can determine, it’s more a celebration of Irish Roman Catholic pride. For example, no one is allowed to march if they are marching for a cause. This includes pro-life Irish Catholics or anyone who does not subscribe fully to the teachings of the Holy Roman Catholic Church. In other words, if you don’t bow down to the Vatican, you can’t be in a parade. Perhaps these should be called “Hypocrites Parades.” They are parades of exclusivity rather than inclusivity, and in today’s world, that sends the wrong message to a great many people. I suppose that if you’re not Catholic but 100 percent Irish, they might allow you in the parade, but only if you’re draped in a loin cloth and nailed to a Celtic cross!

These people who are picking and choosing who is allowed to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Boston, New York, Cincinnati, Chicago, and heaven only knows how many other places are stupid. According to Timothy Meagher, a history professor at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., “The parades are a statement of showing our colors, showing our numbers, showing that we are powerful and important.” Meagher added that St. Patrick’s Day in the United States was first celebrated with banquets at elite clubs in Boston, Philadelphia, New York, Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia. This year, the Boston St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast should drive many of the bigots’ wild. It will be hosted by State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, a Haitian American who numbers, among others, South Boston in her constituent base, and it is tradition that the Senator from Southie has hosted the breakfast. Some have suggested that because she’s married to an Irishman (oy vey!) that it will be okay for her to serve as emcee.

Boston’s history of bigotry is really blight on the City. When segregation was mandated decades ago, Boston resisted about as harshly as George Wallace in Alabama did to allowing Blacks to attending college in ‘his’ state. One of my own kids is married to a man whose mother was proud of the fact that her picture was in a sociology book, shown protesting integration. Bless her soul, she has now gone to meet her maker, but bragging about that time in her life always shocked me.

We are better than all of these disputes. Yes, some of us are Irish, but not Roman Catholic. One of the early churches in the Boston area was an Irish Presbyterian Church. What people in this country seem to forget is that our ethnicity is secondary to our heritage. We are Americans. When we travel, we don’t identify ourselves as Poles or Jews, Italians or Irish, Lithuanians or Armenians; we are Americans. That’s how we describe ourselves and that’s how others think of us. Sure, be proud of your ethnic heritage, but don’t use it as a crutch to discriminate against those who aren’t exactly what you want them to be, particularly in your own country. Our doors have always been open to people from many lands. We laud the customs and culture they bring to our shores. Let us celebrate the diversity, not only of ethnicity but of other beliefs that are different from our own.

One of the things that I truly enjoy about St. Patrick’s Day – other than the corned beef and cabbage and the Irish stew – is the knowledge that all of these Irish men and women are actually celebrating a day that was given to them by an Englishman who was born in what today may be part of Scotland. That’s right; for those who haven’t heard the story, it goes like this:  St. Patrick was originally named Maewyn Succat, son of a rather well-to-do family. At the age of 16, he was captured by Irish raiders and taken as a slave back to Ireland or, as it was called in those days, Hibernia. Slavery was a little different then; no jail cells or chains. He was assigned to tend sheep in the fields and on the mountainsides. “… every day I had to tend sheep, and many times a day I prayed — the love of God and His fear came to me more and more, and my faith was strengthened. And my spirit was moved so that in a single day I would say as many as a hundred prayers and almost as many in the night, and this even when I was staying in the woods and on the mountains; … and I felt no harm, and there was no sloth in me — as now I see, because the spirit within me was fervent”. After six years, it is said that he was spoken to by God and told to leave Ireland. He did and become a priest, taking the name Patricus or Patrick. He did not bring Christianity to Ireland but was sent there to assist the Christian population and to bring Christianity to the largely Pagan population. Eventually, he became the patron saint of what we know as Ireland. During his lifetime, it is said that he baptized tens of thousands into Christianity. We don’t really know if he used the shamrock as a tool to teach The Trinity, but it makes a good story. In addition, there is no evidence that he drove the snakes out of Ireland, largely because there never were any snakes in Ireland…other than those in one or more of the many pubs that dot each village. “The old saint died in his beloved Ireland on March 17th, 460 A.D. The land that once enslaved him had now been set free.”1


  1. Much of this paragraph has been drawn from many sources. Where quotation marks were necessary, they have been placed. Other historical references have been paraphrased. The story of St. Patrick is drawn largely from his Confession, written during his life and capturing his own version of what actually happened. Remember, this was one long, long time ago, almost before I was born.

Read Full Post »

Let’s talk about slavery. I’m not talking about slavery in America pre-1800s. I’m speaking of world slavery; of slavery that’s been around since the beginning of civilization; since man first rose up on two legs, found a weaker individual and turned him or her into their own personal property. Think about it; slavery has been with us for so long that most of us can’t even comprehend a time when there wasn’t a question of slaves, slave ownership, slave rebellion, slave emancipation and then, slavery again in some different form and by some different name.

Isn’t it strange to say that something so uncivilized has been around since the dawn of civilization, and yet if we are to believe the Bible, murder has been around just as long. According to Discovery Education, “…In ancient civilizations, slaves were usually war captives. The victors in battle might enslave the losers rather than killing them. Over time, people have found other reasons to justify slavery. Slaves were usually considered somehow different than their owners. They might belong to a different race, religion, nationality, or ethnic background. By focusing on such differences, slave owners felt they could deny basic human rights to their slaves.” In the Bible we read in Leviticus, “…you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you.  You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land.  You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance.  You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way.” Therefore, we may assume that civilization has been built by strong backs controlled by stronger wills and minds.

Officially, slavery began in the America in 1619. A Dutch slave ship stopped in Virginia and traded 23 African slaves for food and drink. Many historians prefer to talk about indentured servitude where a craftsman or other person paid their passage to the New World by serving for a certain number of years until their debt had been paid. According to one of my late relatives, George Soule, one of the signers of the Mayflower Compact and a relative, came to this country as an indentured servant. Ironically, William Bradford, the first governor of the Plymouth Colony is also part of the family. How the hell that happened is anyone’s guess, but that’s history for ya.

As an institution, slavery still exists. Although it is underground, few will deny the slave trade that exists in the kidnapping of women to be used as sex slaves. We have to look no further than Cleveland and Ariel Castro to see slavery in the U.S. and don’t bet the farm that there aren’t other people out there who aren’t doing the same thing…they just have yet to be caught.

It’s difficult to believe but slavery existed elsewhere in the world until 1981 when Mauritania became the last country to formally abolish it. However, even in this African country, it did not become a crime until 2007. It may be illegal in Mauritania, but the dictator controlled country still tops the slave list with nearly four percent of its people living in slavery. Despite the fact that slavery is now considered illegal the world over, The Global Slavery Index, published by Australia’s Walk Free Foundation, lists India as still having nearly 14 million people enslaved. They are followed by China with 2.9 million and Pakistan with 2.1 million. Globally, the Index says that 30 million people around the world are live as slaves.

Despite the Civil War, War Between the States, or War for Southern Independence – however you wish to label it – and all of the legislation that has followed to end slavery and allow everyone to have equal rights, slavery still exists in America in 2013. If you don’t believe me, ask the local prostitute whose master we call a pimp. Ask the migrant worker who picks peaches or harvests lettuce or whatever. They all know what slavery is and how bad it can be. They know because it’s better here than where they come from and that’s not saying a hell of a lot. Ask the victim of domestic violence who is terrified of leaving but remains as a slave because she doesn’t know how to get out of an abusive relationship. Ask the Division I college athlete who is a hell of an athlete but whose parents could never afford to send him or her to college. What, you don’t call that slavery? What the hell else would you call it? I recall one scholarship athlete at Penn State whose coach used to wave her scholarship papers in the air before this kid’s swimming event; in other words, “Win or else!” If the “or else” happened; if that kid’s scholarship had been pulled, no way could the family have afforded to keep her in school. Ask the immigrant who is working for less than minimum wage in a drudge job that “Americans” wouldn’t do for love or money. No, slavery is not dead. It lives on throughout the world, even in the land of the free and the home of the brave, as tragic as it is.

We’ve probably all heard someone say, “Oh, he’s a slave to his job,” or something similar. There are jobs where that’s not so far off. One definition of “slave” is “a person entirely under the domination of some influence or person.” In addition, we’ve all known or had bosses like Simon Legree from Uncle Tom’s Cabin, those who manage by fear and intimidation. We call them bullies, but if they control whether or not we hold a job, receive a salary, continue to be able to feed our family and have a roof over our head, are they really less evil than the old slave masters?

Since time immemorial slavery has existed. Biblical references abound in both the Old and New Testaments. As unfortunate as it may seem, it there is not one country in this world that deserves to call itself ‘civilized’ as long as slavery exists in any form. How far we have come in so many ways; what a pity we’ve advanced in so many other areas of life.

Read Full Post »

We are entering – once more – the season of insanity.

Thursday, November 28th is the fourth Thursday of this month and, by tradition, a day on which we celebrate Thanksgiving.  Defined, it is often referred to as “…an annual national holiday marked by religious observances and a traditional meal including turkey. The holiday commemorates a harvest festival celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621.” Well, I suppose that’s one way of looking at it. George Washington named Friday, November 26th, 1789 as a day of “public Thanksgivin,” and until Lincoln, every President made a declaration of when Thanksgiving should be celebrated. The Sixteenth President declared that Thanksgiving would be celebrated on the last Thursday in November. That was fine until…

…In 1933 and again in 1939, November had five Thursdays. In ’33, some retailers asked President Roosevelt if he would move the celebration back a week indicating…”You will appreciate the importance that an additional week incorporated in this great holiday season will have upon the distribution activities of the entire United States and the added impetus that will be given thereby to the efforts of the administration and the N.R.A.1 to increase employment and purchasing power.” Roosevelt declined but in 1939, he did relent and move the celebration back a week. It was until 1941 that a Congressional declaration set aside the fourth Thursday in November as the official date for Thanksgiving. Two things become clear here: (1) Retailers pushing for more shopping time between Thanksgiving and Christmas isn’t a new thing; it’s been going on since the nation was coming out of The Great Depression, and (2) Congress has been sticking their fingers in the pie as far back as 1941 [the pie, of course, being mince or pumpkin].

Today, retailers are even more aggressive in their approach to relieve consumers of the contents of their wallets, and while most appear to desire green, any color will do if it happens to be plastic. The Friday following our day of thanks for the bounty that we, in some cases, have is known by many names, among them “retailer-salivation-day,” “come-on-suckers-and-bring-your-cash-day” “Ooh-have-I-got-a-deal-for-you-day,” and by its more acceptable terminology, “Black Friday.” This term has been applied because it is supposed to be the biggest shopping day of the year, and the one that will put retailers firmly in the black. Saturday is now being named “small-business-Saturday.” Thanksgiving, the day when families are supposed to be gathered around the harvest table and giving thanks is now being called “Brown Thursday.” It would appear that some retailers’ greed exceeds their consideration for family togetherness and therefore, their doors will be open on this national holiday. Woe befalls the employee who calls in sick or declines to work this day. Managers and supervisors need only remind them of the seven point three unemployment rate in the country or some other bullshit story, and they will be at work.

I don’t shop on Black Friday and I can tell you right now that I sure as hell will not be shopping on Brown Thursday. Next thing you know, we’ll have mauve Monday, taupe Tuesday, and Wisteria Wednesday…and those will be before Brown Thursday. This year, the day after Christmas is going to be renamed “Take Back Thursday” while “Find Bargains Friday” will follow.

I’m happy that our economy is on the rebound. I’m delighted that the Dow finally broke sixteen thousand. I’m pleased as hell that the United States is no longer dependent on foreign oil. I’m happy as a clam at high tide that I have a roof over my head, heat in the house, a new ‘smart’ television set, a car – albeit thirteen years old – in the garage, and a new puppy that is already housebroken. I’m even more delighted that I have a wonderful partner with whom to share all of these things plus all of the joys of the holiday. The pup was an early Christmas present to her and Widget has already brought great joy to both of us.

However, I’m mad as a son-of-a-bitch at the greedy bastards who have decided to open their doors on November 28th and who have pressured their workers to come in. I’m madder yet at the idiots who will elect to go shopping on that day. If you are one of them at least have the courtesy to apologize to the sales person who is ringing up your purchases. But, for cripes sake, don’t wish them a “Happy Thanksgiving!”

Read Full Post »

Barney’s of New York is not racial profiling. Macy’s isn’t racial profiling. And obviously, Wendy’s isn’t racial profiling when they allow Phillip Chism to walk in with Colleen Ritzer’s credit card to buy whatever the hell he bought.

Don’t get me wrong; racial profiling isn’t the proper thing to do. However, when I look at the statistics of who is in prison and why; when I look at who is in the headlines every night on television; when I look at the race of the four – to be fair, one was a Black female – assholes who beat to death an 87-year old white WWII veteran, I get pretty pissed off when someone says, “Oh that’s racial profiling.” Bullshit; it certainly appears to me that the bulk of the crime in this country is now being committed by other-than-white criminals.

If you want to go somewhere like lily-white Grosse Point, Michigan, Beaver Creek, Ohio, or – most assuredly – Missoula, Montana, crimes will be committed by white folks, and if you go someplace like Detroit or Cleveland, or even Boston, you’ll find exactly the opposite. New York is so cosmopolitan that you’re likely to find people of any race shopping in any store or crime involving ethnicity of any type. Perhaps, however, Barney’s and Macy’s and other stores have had experiences of stolen and forged credit cards being used by Black people to the extent that they are just a wee bit cautious.

It appears that racial profiling has many meanings. If you’ve ever been lost and wound up in a minority neighborhood, try asking directions to where you really want to go. I’ve been there…on more than one occasion, and I can tell you that it hasn’t always been a very pleasant experience. Try walking into a Black bar in the Mission Hill section of Boston or in a minority section of Mashpee, Massachusetts. You are not welcome and you will learn that almost immediately. You are being profiled. You are white and you are not supposed to be there. You are “the man,” whatever the hell that means. I’m not there to cause problems; I dropped into the bar for a drink or I stopped because I was lost and needed directions. From experience I will tell you that Blacks profile whites in the very same way that whites profile Blacks.

Why does all of this profiling take place? It takes place because too many people and too many places have been ‘burned’ on too many occasions. Whenever a Black ‘leader’ talks about the minority community policing itself, he or she is accused of being an Uncle Tom or an Oreo. That’s not true; they are not. They are trying to get some of these little gang bangers to own up to some responsibility. This nonsense of “They didn’t hire me because I’m Black,” is, for the most part, bullshit. You weren’t hired because you weren’t qualified. You weren’t hired because you showed attitude and there are enough workers of every race who are looking to work without attitude. Get over yourself.

I worked with a young Black woman several years ago. She had every reason in the world to have a chip on her should. Hers was a single mom, trying to raise two kids, one of whom was an addict. Mom’s boyfriend turned out to be abusive. This kid had more damned adversity than I’ve ever seen. Her best friend committed suicide when this girl was a college sophomore. Her mother had to get out of the state to avoid the boyfriend and this kid wound up taking care of her brother as well as studying. She graduated from college and went on to get an advanced degree. She came from crap, but she didn’t have any chips on her shoulder except the ones the burned her desire to improve herself. Whitey wasn’t responsible; whitey had nothing to do with her troubles. In fact, it appears that every white person she came across, from administrators to faculty to friends on campus did everything they could to ensure that she was going to graduate. Those who were trying to hold her back were all Black classmates. She came to me one day and complained of not being able to get work done because her ‘friends’ wanted to party every night. I told her that those ‘friends’ probably wouldn’t be in school next year and if she wished to remain a student, she’d better change friends. The result? Those friends were gone by the end of the year, and while she found herself on academic probation for a while, she also developed new friends and new study habits.

I cannot and I will not find fault with any organization such as Barney’s or Macy’s. The Black people who want Jay-zee to back out of a multi-million dollar deal with Barney’s are jealous. He’s rich; they aren’t; “he’s never been profiled,” is nonsense. He didn’t miraculously appear from heaven as a rich rapper. He’s seen the tougher side. Are you going to say he’s bad and Tupac was good, just because Tupac got gunned down? What the hell is the mentality here? How do you think a Black copy feels when he or she is chasing a hood who is Black? Don’t you think they feel something? Don’t you understand that they recognize that anytime a Black man or woman is captured for a crime that it also reflects negatively on them?

Let me offer you a quote: “…Though the colored man is no longer subject to barter and sale, he is surrounded by an adverse settlement which fetters all his movements. In his downward course, he meets with no resistance, but his course upward is resented and resisted at every step of his progress. “If he comes in ignorance, rags and wretchedness… he conforms to the popular belief of his character, and in that character he is welcome; but if he shall come as a gentleman, a scholar and a statesman, he is hailed as a contradiction to the national faith concerning his race, and his coming is resented as impudence. In one case he may provoke contempt and derision, but in the other he is an affront to pride and provokes malice.” This is what the Black community must face because it’s just as true today as it was when Frederick Douglass spoke those words on September 25th, 1883. Why? Because in the intervening period between 1883 and 2013, too many members of the Black community thought they were ‘owed;’ that the white man would always hold the Black man down…what unadulterated nonsense!

I offer this gem to the Black community about the white man. There will always be white people like George Wallace, Haley Barbour, George Lincoln Rockwell, and other white supremacists, just as there will always be people like Louis Farrakhan, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and other Black racists who try to set members of the Black community against whites. Folks, let me tell you something: It is not us against you or you against us…and I’ll give you the choice to pick which ‘you” you want to be. It all begins with one Black person and one White person saying, “You’re my friend and I’m there for you.” Then let them multiply and let them never, under any circumstances, let the other down…in any way. Can it be done overnight? Are you nuts? Of course it can’t, but somewhere, somehow, that’s what has to happen. Just ask the Black and White Marines, the Black and White Soldiers, Naval Personnel, and Airmen. Most of them are the most colorblind people in the United States. They are brothers and sisters. If they can be, why can’t we?

Read Full Post »

America is petrified of home grown terrorists, correct?

We appear to believe that these home grown terrorists will attempt to set off bombs in Times Square in New York or use something like Sarin gas in our subways, correct?

American’s believe that these home grown terrorists will poison our water supply, the feed for our animals, and commit openly heinous crimes that will cause great death in human terms and destroy our infrastructure, right?

Allow me to postulate another scenario: What if these home grown terrorists had been planted in the United States decades ago? What if their parents were the original sleepers and raised their children to infiltrate various groups in the United States? What if they eventually infiltrated a single political party that already had a somewhat dubious reputation and whose sole goal appeared to be repression of those not in positions of power and to abet the rich and shameless who, other than knowing how to make money off the backs of others were unequivocally stupid in the ways of the real world?

Let’s give these home grown terrorists a group name, shall we? Let’s call them the Tea Party. That’s right; I’m openly calling the members of the Tea Party home grown terrorists. The founders of the Tea Party state, “Our mission is to bring awareness to any issue which challenges the security, sovereignty, or domestic tranquility of our beloved nation.” To that extent, what have they actually done? The answer is that they have attempted to fulfill this so-called mission by disruptive, demoralizing, and devastating the two-party system of government in the United States which has, over two and a quarter centuries, brought this nation to a leadership position in the world more rapidly than has ever been achieved by any civilized nation in the world.

Think about what has happened since the cowardly attack on the United States since 2001. Although they waited until three years later, when perhaps 20 percent of the shock had worn off, the Tea Party moved in to fill a void and to appeal to the less intelligent about their goals and objectives. Let’s take a few of their core beliefs and examine them. I freely admit that I do not have the capability to examine them to the depth that perhaps they should be, so let me give simplistic explanations.

The first of the Tea Party “Non-negotiable core beliefs” is that “Illegal aliens are here illegally.” Well, duh, that makes a whole hell of a lot of sense, except it doesn’t say anything about what should be done. Illegal aliens are here illegally because the jobs they are willing to take are jobs that the average American citizen won’t touch because they are hard, back-breaking labor, without which, you and I would probably (a) not have vegetables on our tables or (b) the cost of our vegetables would be so high that we couldn’t afford to put them on our table. Americans are funny; they want a good day’s pay for a good day’s work. Illegals just want ‘some’ money that they can send back to wherever it was they came from, ie, countries that are not fully developed or that inhibit that development in order that the government can keep them under said government’s thumb. While the Tea Party’s non-negotiable core belief is that illegal aliens are here illegally, I don’t see or read how they would remedy this situation.

“Pro-domestic employment is indispensable.” I can really think of a single way in which we could make this happen in some fields. That would be to repeal all of the Civil Rights legislation that has ever been enacted and to bring slavery back to the United States. That would certainly ensure domestic tranquility. Can you say, “Uncivil War,” or “Race War,” or any one of a hundred wars occurring in every city, town, village, and hamlet in all 50 states? This sounds to me like a guarantee of work for every American citizen, whether naturalized or born here, but what kind of job will this be? Tell me how you’re going to do it and don’t just toss out these blanket statements.

“A strong military is essential.” We have a strong military; we have a strong volunteer military. We have a military that, in terms of its equipment and training, is probably ten times stronger than any other military in the world. Some have even argued that our military is almost too strong and that because of its strength, it is called on to be the world’s policeman. Is that what America really wants, to be known as the world’s policeman? Isn’t that something like empire-building, because whenever we step in to help somewhere, it seems that we always have to leave troops behind? I’m not talking about the men and women we bury on foreign soil, and God knows there have been too many of them. I’m talking about the ones along the DMZ in Korea, the troops in Vietnam, Germany, Iraq, and other spots around the world. I’m also talking about how sick and tired America’s moms and dads are of changing that blue star flag in the window to a gold star.

“Special interests must be eliminated.” This is a gutsy core belief. I congratulate the Tea Party for putting it on their list…when I can finally stop laughing. The sophistication of special interest groups to influence every member of every party, both in power and out, is so great as to be a government unto it or themselves. I have no idea which egomaniacal son-of-a-bitch thought this one up, but if we haven’t been able to do it over the past two centuries, it’s not going to happen when the new kids on the block tell the special interest groups they’re no longer welcome. Telling the farm lobby, pharmaceutical lobbyists, bankers, tobacconists, and automakers to get out of Dodge is just likely to get you unelected really quickly.

“Gun ownership is sacred.” No, it’s not sacred. The Second Amendment of the Constitution provides “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” It says nothing about owning a gun being sacred. As a matter of fact, it could be interpreted as saying that anyone who owns a gun is, de facto, a member of the Militia, ie, military, and is subject to being called to active duty at any time so long as he or she owns that or a gun. “Because you are a registered gun owner, we’re going to put you through eight weeks of basic training and then we’re sending you into the hills of Afghanistan. You will receive shit for pay and eat MRE’s every day. You will sleep on some of the coldest friggin’ ground upon which you have ever slept. You will get fired upon on a regular basis and if you aren’t alert, you will be killed. How’d ya like them apples?”

We will examine several more of the Tea Party “non-negotiable core beliefs in future essays. When all is said and done, however, I believe you will begin to question whether or not our own home grown terrorists are merely masquerading as members of a third political party.

Read Full Post »

Wynton Marsalis made an excellent point recently. He was talking about the civil rights march on Washington 50 years ago. It wasn’t billed as such; it was supposed to be a jobs march. Marsalis noted that while as many as 25 of the speakers were White, the march is remembered mainly for Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech. He said that while that is the quotation that most remembered, he remembered how King tied the races together when he said “…they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.”

His comment made me realize that in at least one way, America is little different from some of the countries in the Middle East. I have spoken on more than one occasion how we might as well leave Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq alone because they will merely return to tribal warfare when we leave. That may be true enough, but doesn’t that also hold true for Americans. We talk about the “haves” and the “have not’s;” We talk about the Black gangs, the Latino gangs, the Russian and Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Haitian, Dominican, and God only knows how many other “gangs” in the United States. Aren’t they behaving in the same kind of tribal warfare that takes place in parts of the world that we would like to call “uncivilized?” Yet, there are the same trades and professions in those Middle Eastern countries that we have in the United States. Lawyers practice law; doctors see patients; there are nurses and sales clerks, and all sorts of other skills. Perhaps we should stop interfering with what is one of their national problems and begin concentrating on ridding our nation of some of those same idiots who prevent our economy from growing; who kill cities like Detroit, East St. Louis, and so many others. Maybe we shouldn’t be closing our doors to immigrants. Instead we should open a door that leads only one way…out! Let’s use our Homeland Security, FBI, NSA, and all of the other acronymic agencies at our disposal to identify and ship back the assholes that create so many problems. Pareto’s principle, a.k.a., the 80/20 rule, apples beautifully in this situation…it is twenty percent of our population that creates eighty percent of our problems. Let’s determine where that twenty percent came from and ship them back. Oh, wait a minute, you say they were born right here in America? No, no, no, not the people I’m talking about. These are the people who parade their nationalities as badges of honor in their gangs. These are the people we should hunt down and dispatch…oops, I mean export to their native lands. If they brand themselves as African-American, that is unacceptable. African-Americans are Frederick Douglass, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Sidney Poitier, Rahm Emmanuel, Berry Gordon, Leo Kennedy, Jimmy Proctor, Pat Blackman, Amos Andrews, and millions of others. You don’t know all those names? Well, the last four are people I know and there are plenty more where they came from…good people who want just what you and I want – to be recognized for our skills; to be able to get a good job; to pursue with all of our heart the American Dream, however each one dream.

I don’t know about you, but I never dreamed of becoming a multi-millionaire.  I just wanted to make a comfortable living, get married, have kids who I could send to college – if that was what they wanted – a house that I could pay off some day, a new car every few years, and maybe, just maybe, a place at the beach in my later years, possibly one where I could retire. Pretty high aspirations, eh? Isn’t that basically what all of us are or were seeking? Did you want more? Did you want to be the richest man or woman in the world? Good for you; hope you make it; I sure as hell am not going to get in your way…at least, not until you begin to infringe on my rights. You see, your rights end where mine begin, just as mine end where yours begin. What it means is that you achieve your goals with due regard to everyone else. Berry Gordy, founder of Motown, told an audience at Babson College, “Remember, you meet the same people going down the ladder that you stepped on to reach the top.” Is this Pollyanna speaking? Of course not: Life is simple if you let it be. There are struggles of all kinds. How would you like to be Black and face the potential for sickle cell anemia? How would you like to come from a family where every male has died of a heart attack before the age of 50? How would you like to be a woman whose mother and sisters died of breast cancer? Sure as hell makes you feel pretty lucky to have your own life, doesn’t it?

We have come a long way since 1963. Whites and Blacks, Latinos and Asians, Europeans and Middle Easterners who have come to this country to pursue their dreams have, for the vast majority, been able to pursue and sometimes even achieve their dreams. I’m not quoting anyone in particular but I agree with those who say we have a long way to go, and it’s not just the races; we have a long way to go to meet equality among the sexes. Will we ever find or create a Utopian society? No, we won’t. There will always be those who are dissatisfied with their own lot or who want what the other guy has. There will always be jealousy among nations or countries that wish to expand their borders. That’s life on this little blue marble.

Read Full Post »

White people have to understand something that has not yet been made clear to them. Racism is a term that may only be used by Black people when referring to whites. After all, every white person who ever lived in America is or has been responsible for “keeping down” every Black person who has ever lived in America. Therefore, while the killing of Black Trayvon Martin by White George Zimmerman, a.k.a., neighborhood watch chairman, must be considered as the worst form racism. However, the shooting of White Australian student athlete by three Black teenagers who were either bored or undergoing a gang initiation rite is not racism, but is “frowned upon.”

Who-the-hell-is-trying-to-kid-whom? In my 78 years on this earth, I have known more Black people who pure racists than I most certainly have White people who are racist. Let me repeat: 78 years on this earth, I have known more Black people who pure racists than I most certainly have White people who are racist. Bill Russell, former Boston Celtic standout and for whom Boston is erecting a statue…major league racist. I say that from personal interaction with Mr. Russell.  I would call every Black person who spoke out against Zimmerman but who kept his or her mouth closed after this latest incident a bigot and a racist. That includes you Jesse and you Al and you Barack. It even includes you Mr. and Mrs. Martin.

I felt that George Zimmerman should be convicted of first degree murder, not because he killed a Black teenager. From what I could see, Trayvon Martin was a target of opportunity. Neighborhood watch does not mean that you should go out in your car, with a weapon, and instead of listening to a 911 dispatcher, you go ahead and kill. The fact that Trayvon happened to be Black has no bearing on this, and the fact that the prosecution phoned in their case is, in my humble opinion reason for them to turn in their licenses to practice. However, don’t get me started on that one.

There is no question that slavery was a terrible thing. Of course, few people mention that it was Africans selling their Black brethren into chains when it first got started. Oh, that’s just a horrible thing to say. And yes, on perhaps too large a percentage of plantations, Blacks were treated horribly. That was the eighteenth, nineteenth, and yes, even the twentieth Century’s. Lincoln freed the slaves, which didn’t make a hell of a lot of difference because White ignorance and ignorant Whites had trouble with the words ‘equal’ and ‘equality.’  Brown versus The Board of Education took baby steps in declaring that separate schools for Blacks and Whites were unconstitutional. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, signed by President Lyndon Johnson, was the most sweeping civil rights legislation since Reconstruction, and prohibited racial discrimination in employment and education, and outlawed segregation in public facilities.

I worked at Northeastern University in Boston for nearly 20 years. The University is located on the edge of Roxbury, long a Black neighborhood in Boston. For me to cite the number of times Whites were attacked by groups of Blacks would take many more words that I want to write or you want to read. Three Black kids demanding an NU student’s bomber jacket and then killing him because he didn’t get it off fast enough; four Black kids trying to rob a White faculty member as he was returning to his office from lunch…these are just two cases. Unfortunately, in the latter case, the faculty member’s former career was as a professional boxer; he knocked out three of the kids and the other ran away.

There are many colleges and universities in this country where White students are warned not to walk off campus at night. Temple, Yale, Providence College, Penn, and Trinity College in Hartford, CT are but a few that are considered on the edge of “dangerous neighborhoods.”

Racism is wrong. It’s wrong when it’s committed by Whites and it’s wrong when it’s committed by Blacks, but please, please do not try to tell me that only Whites can be racist. We should all be outraged by arrogance and ignorance, race, religion, gender preference, or whatever other phobia you may think of…we are people. There are enough people in the rest of the world who hate us. Why should we hate one another?

Read Full Post »

My dear Mr. President…I’m certain that your intentions were wonderful. I know that you spoke from the heart. However, in your attempt to defuse racial tension over the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman verdict, I believe you stepped into an arena where your wise counsel was unwanted, unnecessary, and somewhat inflammatory.

I wish that you could have had Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Sidney Poitier, and a few other Black males there with their spouses of many years. Perhaps you could have had a few nameless Black couples from Caprini Green, Watts, Roxbury, Massachusetts, or Bladensburg and New York Avenues to show that Black folks are just like White folks. It wouldn’t matter because, unfortunately, there are differences between the races. Some of them are good; some are bad. My personal experience is that my Black friends are ‘givers.’ They want nothing from me but would give me the shirt of their back. My only connection to a Black man and his wife who are currently in prison doesn’t change my opinion. This man was as kind to me as anyone I’ve known. Certainly, he might have had no compunctions for harming me if I got in the way of his ‘business,’ but then, who knows? My White friends, on the other hand, are about 70/30 takers. They want something; they want to know what I can do for them. Unfortunately, my sample is small and I am but one.

Life is confusing enough without attempting to say that one race is en masse bad and the other en masse good. Yes, our prisons are filled with more Blacks and Latinos than Whites; so what. Seems to me that Blacks have had fewer opportunities than Whites any way you look at it. Don’t hold yourself up as a shining example of what a Black man can achieve, Mr. President. You weren’t raised in the misery in which many of these other Black 17-year olds were raised. You didn’t grow up in the really bad parts of Detroit or Cleveland. You weren’t raised in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans or on the streets of Harlem “back in the day.”

Who is to say which stories are true? Was it originally a case of Blacks selling their brothers to the Muslims, the Dutch and into the Americas or was it white slavers who went into Africa and kidnapped men, packed them into ships like sardines and brought them to the Caribbean and North America. Oh there are records from here, there, and everywhere that tell one story or another. There is documented evidence in archives everywhere, but my bet is that there was a little bit of everything going on that caused slavery to flourish in Europe, the Middle East, and in the Colonies. We think we know the truth; we are positive we know the truth. We also thought that the earth was flat and that the sun revolved around the earth.

Mr. President, you cannot speak up every time there is a Black/White court decision. If you were not in office, I’d say, “Great,” but you are in office and it’s not something on which you should be expressing an opinion. You may believe me to be narrow-minded by saying that but consider what your opponents will say: “See, he doesn’t recognize that White people can be right, even when they are acquitted in a court of law.” They’ll find some other racist nonsense to throw at you too, so hold onto your opinions about race until you’re out of office. Oh, and just as an aside, I personally believe that George Zimmerman got away with murder and should be serving a minimum of 25 years.

American fought the bloodiest and most costly war in its history in an attempt to gain equal treatment for all ‘men’ [we didn’t give a damn about women yet]; it didn’t work. We tried to integrate schools and colleges, not just in the South, but in America, and it took Federal intervention and armed guards to achieve that. We passed Brown v. The Board of Education and that really didn’t make a difference. Nothing has made a difference. Nothing will make a difference until grandmothers and grandfathers, racists like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and some of these fire-breathing Black pastors stop telling people that they have been “held down” by Whites. If anyone has been held back, it has been the immigrants who have come to our shores and been told, “Get the hell out; go back where you came from!”  Signs reading “No Irish Need Apply” didn’t stop the Irish from rising up and becoming a force in the American saga. Chinese who were worked to death building the railroads across this country have become a powerful influence in the growth of this country. Italians, Jews, Indians, and Lebanese, people of every race and color, including Blacks, have made tremendous contributions. Unfortunately, the riots in South Central, the pre-Halloween shenanigans in Detroit, the murder rate in Chicago, and our own problems in Boston created a stigma that have muddied the contributions of Madame C.J. Walker, George Bonga, and  James Beckwourth. Everyone seems to think of Oprah, Berry Gordy, and John Johnson, but few know of the efforts and giant contributions of earlier Black Americans who faced much greater hardships than the Black Americans of today.

Mr. President, the Black community has an image problem as well as a societal problem. Until both are solved, and I’ll be damned if either of us can answer those two, there will continue to be mistrust among Blacks and Whites in this country. It’s certainly going to be a ‘step-at-a-time’ solution. Why don’t we begin by banning the ugly music, associated largely with the Black community that uses language you don’t want Sasha and Malia to hear? I know and that would be called censorship. In the case of some of that music, censorship might not be such a bad thing.

I’m a nobody trying to tell a somebody to solve the problems he can solve from the position he’s in now. Take care of the big problems like uniting the country and getting our troops back home; like further reducing unemployment; like stopping terrorism on our own soil; like standing up to Congress and telling them to get their act together or find another job. We have a lot of work to do, Mr. President. Don’t let a pissant like George Zimmerman, a couple of prosecutors who probably shouldn’t have law degrees, and six people who tried to follow the law get in the way of what really needs to be done.

P.S. So what do we do now about the Quianna Tompkins’ of this world?

Read Full Post »