Category Archives: Today’s Issues

Thoughts on issues in the world today

False patriots are in abundance these days

Today GQ magazine named Colin Kaepernick their citizen of the year and as expected conservatives were up in arms. FOX news contributor Todd Starnes wrote an article calling Kaepernick and those that have followed his lead cowards. Of course one could surmise that neither Starnes or any of his families or friends have been subject to the social injustice that Is the real reason for the protest. I doubt Starnes or any of his families or friends have had to worry when pulled over for a routine traffic stop. His article today showed a complete lack of understanding of what it really means to be a citizen or the very real problems that people of color in this country have to face everyday. His article is an example of what too many Americans would rather do, especially when it comes to race, which is to turn a blind eye to the real problems and instead focus on the false narrative pushed by the President and thus have a reason to hate those who would dare take a stance against social injustice. As Thomas Jefferson said:

It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among our opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish between political & social opposition, who transferred at once to the person the hatred they bore to his political opinions.

Let’s dissect a few statements from Mr. Starnes article today.

Todd Starnes states – Mr. Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, was responsible for starting a national movement to protest the Star Spangled Banner by taking a knee along the sideline.

Wrong – Kaepernick was never protesting the Star Spangled Banner he was protesting police brutality. His exact words “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Todd Starnes states – They said they were protesting alleged racial inequality and police brutality, but it’s pretty clear to most of the country that Mr. Kaepernick and his minions were dishonoring the flag, the anthem and the military.

Wrong – It’s only clear to those who never have to worry about being victimized by social injustices, including veterans of colors who deal with the same issues as any other person of color despite their military service. It’s only clear to people who fallen for the false narrative being pushed by the President. For everyone else it clear that there is still a problem with race and a few members, not the many but the few, of law enforcement who abuse their power. Abuse that has led to the deaths of people of color. Until those few are dealt with they will continue to be a stain on the many good men and women in law enforcement and remain an imminent danger to all people of color.

Todd Starnes states – Apparently, GQ seems to think that disrespecting our military and spitting on our flag is a symbol of heroism and manliness. That’s not citizenship – that’s cowardice.

Wrong – I’ve already disputed the false narrative that the protests have anything to do with disrespecting our military and spitting on the flag. As for speaking out against social injustice at the risk of your own livelihood as Kaepernick has done is far from an act of cowardice. It is in fact the very essence of what a citizen is. As Thomas Jefferson wrote “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent,”

Sadly Todd Starnes appears to another of the many false patriots poisoning our country today. Contend to chant USA and wrap themselves up in the flag while turning a blind eye to the very values of America.

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Who’s the patriot

Listening to sports talk radio I heard it over and over again from callers. This anthem thing is disrespectful and I’m done with the NFL I haven’t watched a game all season.

I get it you’re offended by players kneeling you’re all about the veterans and this is spitting in their face – it’s not by the way – even though you probably wouldn’t give up a day off to volunteer at the VA and you wouldn’t sign off on a homeless shelter for veterans going up in your neighborhood.

I get it you’re all about the flag and this is disrespecting America – it’s not by the way – even though you don’t really care about what the flag is suppose to represent embedded right there in our Declaration of Independence: “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.”

I get it you’re all about the anthem we should all just stand and be proud of it no matter what type of social and racial injustice may exist in today’s world – by the way we shouldn’t – even though your probably more apt to make that beer run during the national anthem than during kickoff

Protest are suppose to make you feel uncomfortable. Name a time when an oppressed group asked for something and just got it. Those in power will always feel like equality takes away from them. They won’t willingly tune into something that reminds them of their privilege. This country was born out of dissent. As Hubert Humphrey once said “Freedom is hammered out on the anvil of discussion, dissent, and debate.” Let’s be honest with each other the vast majority of those who oppose the protests are people whose family and friends will never be impacted by the social and racial injustices that the anthem protest were meant to shine a light on. For many the players are only important to them as long as they are running or catching the ball for their entertainment otherwise they should just shut up and be thankful for the paycheck bestowed upon them. As if being paid, and in the process making billions of dollars for those that employ them, should mandate their silence. It shouldn’t, in fact risking millions of dollars to bring light to injustice is heroic. Ask yourself honestly how many of those who are angry at the anthem protest would risk their livelihood to right injustice? I would venture to guess not many. Again one of our founding fathers understood this concept as Samuel Adams said “If you love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace.”

The bottom line is that NFL players have a unique platform to bring attention to the inequalities that still exist in this country and nothing is more patriotic than asking that this country live up to the principles on which it was founded. If you can’t get behind that maybe you should question exactly what type of patriot you are.

They Don’t Really Care About Us

January 21,2009 an Barack Obama an African American took the oath of President of the United States of America and many declared the end of racism. But after watching that man, despite his grace and dignity, attacked for eight years straight. After watching that man have to prove he was an American. After watching the man who led the charge to discredit his citizenship ride a way of hate and division to the White House in 2016 and his appointment of Jeff Sessions who immediately took up the task of rolling back gains made in the battle for racial equality. After seeing case after case of police brutality go unpunished. After seeing people march through Charlottesville chanting racial epithets it’s clear racism was never over. It was simply simmering underground waiting for the right person and the right time to show itself again. Don’t misunderstand as a country we have made strides and we are clearly in a better place now but we still have a long road ahead of us and there can be no doubt that there is a segment of the population, many who wield power, that really don’t care about us.

I am the victim of police brutality, now
I’m tired of bein’ the victim of hate
You’re rapin’ me of my pride
Oh, for God’s sake
I look to heaven to fulfill its prophecy…
Set me free

Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback, the Cleveland, Ohio, police officers involved in the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014, were not charged.
Daniel Pantaleo, the New York City police officer who held Eric Garner in a chokehold before his death in 2014, was not charged.

Some things in life they just don’t wanna see
But if Martin Luther was livin’
He wouldn’t let this be

Sept. 22, 2017 Trump called on all NFL owners to “fire” all protesting players . The president also referred to the protesting players as “sons of bitches.”

October 31, 2017 Papa John’s CEO and founder slammed the NFL, blaming the league’s “poor leadership” on the pizza chain’s sales slump. “We are totally disappointed that the NFL and its leadership did not resolve the ongoing situation

Beat me, hate me
You can never break me

1967 – World champion boxer Muhammad Ali used his worldwide star power to take a stand against the Vietnam War by refusing to enlist in the military.

1968 – After winning gold in the 200-meter sprint at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, Tommie Smith raised his fist in the air alongside his teammate and bronze medalist, John Carlos. As Smith explained to ABC Sports announcer Howard Cosell, “My raised right hand stood for the power in black America. Carlos’ raised left hand stood for the unity of black America. Together they formed an arch of unity and power.”

2014 – NBA teams broke dress code rules to protest police brutality, wearing “I Can’t Breathe” shirts during warm-ups. The shirts referenced the last words of Eric Garner before he died at the hands of a police officer in Staten Island.

Beat me, bash me
You can never trash me
Hit me, kick me
You can never get me

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., May 3 1963- Fire hoses and police dogs were used here today to disperse Negro students protesting racial segregation.

Selma, Ala., March 7 1965 – Alabama state troopers and volunteer officers of the Dallas County sheriff’s office tore through a column of Negro demonstrators with tear gas, nightsticks and whips here today to enforce Gov. George C. Wallace’s order against a protest march from Selma to Montgomery. At least 17 Negroes were hospitalized with injuries and about 40 more were given emergency treatment for minor injuries and tear gas effects.

Tell me what has become of my rights
Am I invisible because you ignore me?
Your proclamation promised me free liberty, now
I’m tired of bein’ the victim of shame

When these are the institutions that govern us, when black life is disposable, when black bodies are guilty before and after being proven innocent, when there is no recourse for injustice or even a belief that injustice has been done, when these institutions actively work to push inequality, we are dealing with something much more dangerous than a personal beef with blackness. – Mychal Denzel Smith the New York Times-bestselling author of Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching

The 2016 election was also marked by low turnout, with tens of millions of eligible voters choosing not to participate at all. Yet there has been relatively little discussion about the millions of people who were eligible to vote but could not do so because they faced an array of newly-enacted barriers to the ballot box.  Their systematic disenfranchisement was intentional and politically motivated. In the years leading up to 2016, Republican governors and state legislatures implemented new laws restricting when, where, and how people could vote — laws that disproportionately harmed students, the poor, and people of color. In several instances, lawmakers pushing such policies said explicitly that their goal was suppression of voters who favor the Democratic Party.

All I wanna say is that
They don’t really care about us
All I wanna say is that
They don’t really care about us

While most of the examples in this post were of African Americans all people of color suffer from the effects of racism and discrimination   While those in the LGBT community also deal with discrimination every day.  It’s November, election season, if you’re not registered go out and get registered.  Protest and calls for equality are nice but only when our voices are heard at the voting booths can we really make a difference to those who really don’t care about us

Lyrics in italics from Michael Jackson’s They Don’t Really Care About Us

The power of the people

The problem with American politics today
is that the government is suppose to derive its power from the will of the people but the people have essentially given up their authority. Having divided itself into two parties they no longer hold politicians accountable but blindly follow the sound bites of a few who look to obtain power as long as that individual claims are to represent their party. While simultaneously taking only a casual interest in truly educating itself on the issues of the day instead the majority of them allow their opinions to be molded by cable news personalities who profit by espousing the viewpoints of the politician on the side of their preferred viewers.

Inform yourself on the issues
Educate yourself on the options
Hold your representatives accountable
Take control of the government it is after all your government

 

Infringing on my First Amendment rights or are you? It’s complicated

While it is true that most employees in this country are at will and thus can be dismissed by an employer for any reason and without warning. It is a slippery slope when an employer begins to control an employee’s right to free speech on said employees free time. Case in point ESPN suspending Jemele Hill for her recent tweet pertaining to the anthem “protest” which she did on her own time and own twitter account. Is ESPN infringing on Ms. Hill’s first amendment rights? Do they have the right to control her speech if she is not doing it on their airwaves? And if we were to say they have no right to suspend her then are we also ready to defend the racist who gets fired after tweeting the N word on their own time and account. See not so simple but it still is a slippery slope as it pertains to the first amendment or is it.  The part of the First Amendment that pertains to freedom of speech came about due to the past practices of the King of England, who would imprison or otherwise punish political dissenters. Our founders realized a cornerstone of freedom was the ability to speak freely and without fear of the government penalizing them.  The key word in that explanation is government.  The amendment guarantees the government would not prohibit or penalize any individual for speaking freely. it does not say a business can not make its own rules as it pertains to its employees and their speech’s impact on that business.  So in theory ESPN and for that matter NFL owners have the right to expect their employees will adhere to rules about what they can and can not say in public if they believe it reflects badly on the business’ bottom line   Whoa! That sounds like if you choose to work for a company you basically forfeit your right to speak freely if the company doesn’t agree with your viewpoint.  Yep that exactly what I believe it means.  Complicated?  Yes like most issues in America  it’s complicated.  All we can really do is ensure that employers don’t abuse this by hitting those who do in the pocketbook through boycotts and other type of peaceful actions that have negative financial impacts to their companies and brands.   Because no matter how you interprete the First Amendment if you allow employers to go unchecked in their attempt to thwart progress by looking to silence rather than engage in meaningful conversation the voices of dissent change will never happen. Because only when the masses rise up and in one voice demand change will change take place.

What team are you on

There can be no doubt that we are a country divided. Sadly there can also be no doubt that much of this division is not based on an ideology by the people on what is best for the people of this country but rather what letter follows your name, (R) or (D). We have become more concerned with ensuing our “team” wins rather than educating ourselves on the issues and how it will impact us. This mentality has led to a blind allegiance to those in power. We have ceded the very government we so proudly hold dear to a few hundred individuals who profit on our ignorance. Our desire to have our “team” win means the powerful does not even need to hide their deception they do it right in front of us for as it was once said “The eyes are useless when the mind is blind.” The more the masses allow their minds to blinded the easier it is to manipulated them. They simply follow their “team” nodding in agreement with whatever decisions it makes. This thinking removes any sense of accountability from those in power as Albert Einstein commented “Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” For any democracy to effectively govern for the good of the citizens it represents those citizens must become informed about issues that can improve their lives. In many countries around the world the government has taken away the will of its people. We seemingly have made the conscious decision to abdicate it to a small percentage of the rich and powerful depending on what letter they have behind their name. We can not continue to allow our government to be dependent on political ignorance and blind allegiance for it will surely lead to our downfall as one of the greatest experiments ever endeavored – a government of the people, by the people, for the people.

 

 

Prayers of condolences. The response from up high

Things that make you go hmmm

What if God answered our prayers out loud. Would it sound like this.

Whoa whoa another moment of silence, another prayer asking for condolences for lost ones coming in from the American Senate. I am angered that my innocent children continue to lose their lives and you willfully choose not to use the intelligence I blessed you with to try and stop it. A child could see the obvious your country has more gun violence because your country has more guns it’s not that difficult to figure out. So stop using me as an excuse to not take action and take action. Prayers of condolences will not bring back the life of my children who were lost. Serious action on your part will prevent another one from losing theirs.