Showing posts with label Americans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Americans. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Dealing with the Politics of Life

We are awash in political happenstance each day. So much so that I think we often forget that there are people there with real emotions and real justified fears. One of the growing number of progressive groups I'm a part of asked a very valid question regarding the other side of this national debate wondering how to move forward in our new today so we can actually have a bearable tomorrow. It was a valid question that started with an article about identity politics. Before I post what I said in response to this counter news story I want you to really see this as it is or at least as I see it.

I find the words 'identity politics' a misnomer.  The truth is we all have an identity that we closely relate to and define. The implication of this article is that only 'othered' populations garnered attention and by negating the 'norm' or read White Male Christian Straight it alienated those populations. My issue in general I realized while reading this piece and I wont actually link it because the news source is baited at best, is that within the dichotomy of inclusion for some populations it assumes the need to exclude all others. Its a very basic 'us vs them' mentality that is literally pulling this country apart. 

While making a point to stop being so aware of those other populations is a blatant call to disregard the true fabric of this country and its people. The GOP didn't win by a landslide as the rhetoric here implies. They won by small traceable margins that can be correlated back to very specific points including upheaval of the Voting Rights Act which allowed several states where GOP candidates won by less than 100,000 votes to deny sometimes upward of 300,000 voters to be counted. Stop! Reread that sentence slowly and let the weight of it hit you:

They won by small traceable margins that can be correlated back to very specific points including upheaval of the Voting Rights Act which allowed several states where GOP candidates won by less than 100,000 votes to deny sometimes upward of 300,000 voters to be counted.

Yes the gutting of the Voting Rights Act allowed unconstitutional restrictions on voting to be put into place to sometimes prevent almost 3 times as many people from voting as the margin of victory for some candidates actually was. 

What we need to focus on now is information control because the calls to 'get over it' we won are hiding what they now know to be the last gasping breath of a dying rhetoric. They pulled every trap door, they used every ACME emblazoned scheme and still only barely inched out a win. Now what they need to do is convince us of a false narrative which is that there are more of them then there are of us. So they try and overwhelm us be centralizing and controlling tiny communities on the web. They seek us out on our 'liberal left biased media' you know like The New York Times and Reuters to tell us how inaccurate our perspectives are. Its classic gas-lighting. Especially when you realize that all media has always leaned conservative in America. The only reason it is not anymore is because Americans aren't leaning conservative anymore.

There is nothing about what just happened that truly reflects our reality of who this country is really occupied by. Despite the hype, this isn't a problem of not relating to needed populations as its the fallout of a legal sand trap to hamper what they knew was going to be a problem going forward in politics. Those populations and that identity is not a fluke or a whim its America. 

With that being said we can't do this without them. We need the other side of America. They went low, the lowest this country has seen in a long time.  And now more than ever we need to go high. Trust me this is difficult to write because just a day or so ago I was a biting seething mess of F&#% you to the world. But the truth is we don't actually have space time or the liberty to be petty. We have to be inclusive. This was my response as to how to pull those people back who are concerned with the concept of 'identity politics' :

"This is long and something I think about and alter constantly but this is where I'm at today. That one is difficult because I'm not sure identity politics is the problem. I think inclusion is. The truth is a lot of the concerns of the working class that voted Trump are the same as those that are classified as identity political instances. The issue is that no one really treats it that way. We call them idiots for voting against their own interests, while true it really is in the competitive way that it's done sometimes. The best way in my opinion to do it is to remind those lost voters that the only people who do understand their issues are the 'othered' populations in America.  
We need to include them as an 'othered' population. So many of us have been 'othered' for so long it's odd when people talk about it. So when someone does it feels like change. Where Democrats fell deaf this time, where Obama didn't was he didn't have to remind people he was an 'othered' population member. All he had to do was speak the lingo at the right places at the right times.  
Hillary was draped in too much rich white female and it irked them because no matter what she said they seemed to think she looked down on them. A few well publicized comments later they have proof. Emails she's so above the law.  
Trump pretended he was with them and said you can trust me because 'wink wink' I'm white like you and I know you really aren't like these 'othered' populations, no you're special.  
There will always be a decent amount of that side that are just hateful towards anyone that isn't in their group. That's a fact of life. However there are many that just want a group to belong to and that one in many ways was comfortable and felt accepting.  
The national dialogue has changed. They grew up with expectations that 'othered' populations didn't really have and I'm actually very empathetic to that. Had my mother not prepared me for the reality of being a black woman in America I can't imagine how confused I would've spent my life.  
But I try to see it from their perspective, they are seeing people that look like them as not gaining ground and are surrounded by imagery of 'othered' prosperity after a lifetime of expecting different. They don't really always attribute that to hard work. They attribute it to the system being rigged against them. What needs to happen is Dems say yes it is let me introduce you to the people that have been figuring out how to game it back for years. Here they are with open arms.  
There's been tons of butt hurt on both sides. I've been an instigator myself. It's hard for me to swallow that the safety and humanity of people I love seems to mean so little. They are worried about finance and some people are literally worried about survival. The cost is so different but if we can make it about all of our lives and deaths maybe we can find each other. So I'm not sure how to get it there besides doing the work one on one."

For a lot of us the lives of those we hold dear are literally at stake. Do the work. . Our republic is worth it. Our people are worth it.  ALL of our people are worth it.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Fiona Canters excerpt from Shuttered Vision

She liberally applied the paint to the brush and dabbed the canvas at the right spots.  It gave the flower she was working on texture and depth.  It almost felt like the vivid shade she had seen in her dreams.  But there still wasn’t any amount or type of paint that could fully capture the texture of her dreams.  She placed the shades on her brush in the sky now and dotted the horizon.  The music playing in the background only made her hum slightly to herself following the rhythm and cadence.  She always painted to classic rock.  There was something primal about the way it moved and the way it was played that connected her with her dreamscapes almost seamlessly.  She imagined that bands like Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple conducted their music in that same place.  That was why it drew her there so completely.

Most people discounted dreams as merely unrealized desires, hopes and ambitions.  Small confessions from a person’s subconscious mind to their conscious.  These are the explanations given to them by the practitioners of psychology.  These ideals and thoughts have helped countless people deal with their neurosis and fears. For that reason, Fiona didn’t necessarily disagree with these thoughts.  She just thought it was rather limited.

Fiona Canters grew up differently than the rest of the free world within the United States of America.  When 5 year old Fiona first told her mother about one of her extraordinary dreams her mother had smiled pleased and asked her daughter to tell her what they meant.  Confused Fiona had not answered.  The very next day she had been privy to the conversations the women in her family had away from husbands, boyfriends, sons and fathers.

“Fiona dreamed last night.” Her mother had told her mother in law excitedly.

“Does she know what it means?” her aunt had asked anxiously.

Her mother proudly shook her head and then recounted the dream for the listening gaggle. With gasps of delight and praises to the Almighty they had all regarded Fiona differently. 

The Canters were a French Creole line originally that intermixed with a line that had roots in Native America, Africa and Ireland. Now they were a rainbow people where the shade of relatives spanned the realm of possibility. 

Fiona’s mother was Salvadorian, her skin the color of burnished copper, her hair fell blue black tightly curled and silky across her shoulders.  Her light brown eyes always alight with seemingly forbidden knowledge. A Canters man, her father was tan skinned by nature, dark eyed and hard to place into a particular ethnic set.  From that Fiona had emerged a shade lighter than mahogany, eyes an almost eerie shade of dark grey making them look lit from within as the iris closest to the pupil was a paler grey than the midnight that it changed into as it floated to the rims.

“Witch eyes.” Her grandmother had said that night as the women talked and she took the child’s measure for the first time.

Fiona had starred up innocently into the clear hazel eyes of the paler woman and felt that nagging suspicion of being in the presence of something that was more than it seemed.  Of course as a child she had no true idea of what it was.  Just this sudden unmistakable unshakable awareness as she peered up at the woman waiting for her to change form right before her eyes.

She had always been fearful of her father’s pale, hazel eyed mother. The woman had eyes that saw too much.  They saw everything and communicated with the souls of others without their knowledge.  These were things she had heard whispered growing up among the others.
The others were the ones of her family that had been born without that extra thing that most of the women had.  It was a generation skipping instance.  Every once in a while a woman in their line was born without that extra sense of the world, without the vision to see into others through dreams, premonitions and senses that were a family birthright.

They were raised in a different way than those with sight.  Still loved and shown the same affections and care, but kept away from the ones who bared stunning signs and levels of awareness.  It was a courtesy to both sides.  The children would grow to understand and appreciate each other before they interacted.  Understanding their differences and not treating each other badly over them. 

Before the conception of every child, the women of the family dreamed, during the pregnancy the women dreamed.  They dreamed of the child they would bare, knowing before modern technology whether a boy or a girl would be born.  When the mother conceived her entire existence was enrapt in the being she carried. And through their personal dreamscape they would understand the nature of that child. How it should be raised and what it should be led to do. 

Even those born without the special gifts procured to the blood line were dreamt of.  Regardless of whether it had been given sight or not, it would one day raise a child that most likely would be given sight.  And they needed to be raised in a fashion to be able to deal with their child’s gifts. That was why all dreams and premonitions centered around the child.

Fiona was the exception. Fiona’s mother Alejandra calls that time in her life ‘el negro’.  The dark. For the first time in her life she knew what it was to live as most people do.  She had only common sense, instincts and logic to guide her way through life.  All of her dreams during Fiona’s conception and birth had been shielded from her. All premonition and sensory insight dulled to just instances of déjà vu. Her mother in law said it was because the child she carried was blank. Meaning there was nothing to see. 

For the longest time they thought Fiona was going to be stillborn. Her mother’s gift hiding what was to come to save her enduring the pain more than once. Because of the circumstances of Fiona’s conception and birth she was raised with the children that the family knew possessed none of the gifts.

“At times mi amor, I can see what I must do with you and then I do it and like that its gone.”  Her mother would sometimes whisper at her temple as she put her to bed at night.

It wasn’t until much later at the age of 10 as Fiona started to have actual premonition episodes did she understand what her dreams as a young child meant. Slowly over the years the pieces had started to put themselves together and it implied things about her that was unnatural even for her family.

Friday, October 21, 2011

True Altruism


In book one of my W.A.R.M. Front series the heroine and the hero share a very interesting if not integral belief.  That belief is in altruism.  Whenever I write books I like to talk about things that are near and dear to my heart.  In very many ways I doubt anything is as near or dear to me as altruism. 

Growing up my family depended very much on the kindness of strangers.  I remember at least 2 Christmases very clearly that would've been awful if the local church had not been kind enough to give us a Christmas dinner and toys for my brother and me.  I wonder about how different my childhood would've been if these services had not been available and how I would be a different person now from those experiences.  And I wonder how the general public feels about charity and altruism.  Even more so I wonder if those who have been fortunate enough either through recognition of hard work or by virtue of luck to be highly financially successful in this life understand what sharing this does for their soul.  Not just giving money to the Red Cross once a year, but actually getting their hands dirty and watching a life transform.  

For those who have lost their way and lost meaning in their own lives, it is restored through finding meaning in another’s life. Altruism is in many ways the most selfish act I know and all the more lovely for it.  It is a process of healing another that brings the healing to the healer. By opening the most nurturing and cradling parts of yourself to others you give that part of you what it really needs, air to breathe.   By burying it in yourself you are only suffocating it, depriving it of sunlight, food, and water.  The things it needs to grow.

This comes on the heels of reading something yesterday that literally made me cry.  I've always been a fan of the music of Bon Jovi. Well now I'm a fan of the man Jon Bon Jovi because of this wonderful contribution he has made to his hometown.  In a nutshell he and his wife have a foundation that gives back to their community. This is something that I believe is an absolute must if you have any amount of great success, and is a must in smaller quantities even if you don't. 

Their latest endeavor is a revamping of the 'soup kitchen' concept.  Historically the soup kitchen is a necessary thing that brings with it a multitude of soul destroying poisons.  However this version includes something that I believe people forget to give to those in need. Dignity. This is a pay as you can restaurant that gives a healthy meal in a clean well received environment.

The full story can be found here: Soul Kitchen, Jon Bon Jovi

I can't wait for the next trip I take to the area so I can eat a meal there and leave $100 on the table.

I know it stands to reason that if you are this down on your luck, beggars can't be choosy.  But this is in essence the problem.  Beggars should be choosy.  It is this sense of self-worth that propels a person to make the necessary changes in their life to actually start a positive shift in their existence.

I remember being ashamed of my upbringing when I was younger.  I never had the best toys on the market, was lucky to have the toys I did have.  My mother always made sure that we had clean clothes, food, and a roof over our head no matter what she had to do to accomplish this.  If it meant swallowing her pride and asking for aide then so be it.  Her children were worth it.  However as a young child all I had was a perpetual sense of not being 'good enough' to have things other children had.  And my mother's income or lack thereof became a definer for people as to what I could or could not accomplish.

I remember being accepted to my high school and then told in so many words that children from my socio-economic background usually didn't last long because they felt like outcasts from other students who sometimes had very privileged backgrounds.  They could afford the things I could not.  Being a visual artist is very expensive business and somehow my mother made sure that even if I couldn't have the best supplies, I could create art. She didn't let me feel guilty about costing the family so much money because she saw this for what it was; dignity for me.  And she knew that I very much needed to have that if I was ever going to achieve anything.

As the first high school graduate, first college degree holder, and soon to be the first graduate degree holder in my family I can look back and see how unattainable these goals would've been if I didn't have my dignity to see it out. What people from other backgrounds don't understand is the sense of helplessness someone who is deeply impoverished has.  When you are in poverty your living conditions and standards are much lower than that of people in the middle class.  You juggle bills, paying them by importance as opposed to paying them because they are due.  You never have enough money to pay all of your bills and trying to live below the means necessary to account for the amount of money you make leads to consequences like not being able to buy the proper clothes for the job you work. Not being able to secure transportation to it, or not being able to eat enough to have the energy to work. And all the while everyone around you blames you for your inability to be better, to be more.  The United States poverty lines are just a bad joke that accounts for an economy that was thriving over 3 decades ago without truly accounting for inflation, technology, and the changing standards of basic human needs.

The issue is when another bill collector has called you a deadbeat, your boss is too cheap to give you a raise implying that your work effort is not worth this level of finance, and you don't know how you're going to feed yourself or your children tonight, you start to believe some unfortunate things about yourself.  When you work yourself to the bone with multiple jobs, no health insurance, living paycheck to paycheck and another financial burden presents itself as an emergency; you are willing to do almost anything to free yourself from the panic, the horror, and the rage this gives you.  The last thing on your mind is your dignity, because if it will make you feel like you are accomplishing something to sell it off, you most likely will, and very few people in similar situations would blame you for it.

While some may say all you have is your pride, you must realize that people in truly tragic situations don't have that any more.  Pride proved to be too expensive in the face of hunger. And dignity isn't allowed to be a thought if you want to maintain shelter. There are those miracle stories.  Those people who despite the odds managed to maintain both and succeed.  However they are the minority not the majority.  Self-worth is a commodity in our world that has had a definite price tag placed on it.  It is now a beast that involves status, income, and has little to do with moral values and community building. Dignity has always been this nearly indefinable mix of human frailty and strength.  It can be used to break you and to lift you high.  Sometimes within the same breath.

I build this case to state this. The humility it takes for a person who is very successful to look at someone less fortunate, and offer a hand as opposed to a handout is immense, and should be treasured for the miracle that it is. The difference is in the old Chinese fish metaphor, give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day, teach him how to fish. . . you know how it goes.  This is the act of showing someone through the care you have taken to prepare something for them, their worth to you as a human being.  And when someone can't manage to build self-worth and dignity for themselves, it is the job of others to show them how it's done through our own actions. The world is our community if we don’t care enough to take care of it, who else will? No matter how isolated we try to make ourselves, no one is here alone and if you are in a position to help others, you must understand this and help.

I give men who have Superman tattoos a hard time.  It’s because usually they are self-involved delusional braggarts that have placed on this false persona to fulfill some missing need within themselves.  My issue is that Superman is a hero and saves lives.  If you aren’t doing something similar you haven’t earned his colors.  Jon Bon Jovi is earning those colors.

I hope acts of true altruism become an epidemic.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Next American Revolution


We live in a time where perception is becoming law.  You see it everywhere; in the government, on television, and in personal interactions with others.  But this to some degree can be said about all stages of humanity in its current Homo Erectus form.  Like all things, perceptions are mutable because no two people can have the exact same one.  We are greater for this, and in some ways worse for this.  In the end, different is better because it opens the doors to possibility, maybe, and the impossible. Perception accomplishes all of this.  In our age of instant information, perceptions travel faster.  At the speed of light even, which has to a large degree accelerated our rate of development, and our ability to ascertain our individual perceptions.  So we can just a quickly modify them.

Movie Poster
This thought process comes from watching a fascinating movie this weekend called Ruby's Bucket of Blood.  It was the story of a 1950s black woman in Louisiana who ran her own juke joint.  For people that don't know what a juke joint is, it's a speakeasy, a bar with musical entertainment. They were established by blacks in light of Jim Crow laws that barred blacks from white establishments.  So blacks created their own clubs.

The movie did the basic things and I was impressed by all of the stones the story and direction left unturned. They talked about segregation, homosexuality, spousal abuse, class within races, extended families. The most interesting aspect was the commentary about the different ways that people of color can discriminate against each other, and the way whites can as well.  They also dealt with a mentality and attitude that still exists to this day. They referred to it as 'slave' mentality.

Historically it has been thought of as the mental byproduct an enslaved people have to reject upon release.  The thought was it would take as many centuries to breed out as it took to breed in. But it is more than just a degree of perceived ownership, and not being able to make decisions regarding yourself or your children. It is more about a degree of perceived allowances in society.  What is acceptable and what is not acceptable as a person of color in a white world and vice versa? What is acceptable for a white person in a white world or a white person in a person of color world?

As I watched this movie I was startled to realize that most people who are not of color probably would not understand what the primary elements of this movie talked about because of context.  Meaning that if you are not a person of color who has experienced levels of discrimination you would have no idea what the underlying message was behind the movie.  In direct contrast there were aspects of being white that were confronted that most people of color would not be able to understand because they have not experienced that degree of discrimination that whites place on each other at times in regards to how to deal with people of color. And I wondered about that and the issues with not just perception, but with perspective and how these populations could ever find it with one another in such a short period of time.

Desegregation Protesters
The United States has gone through a myriad of changes in a few short centuries that other countries have taken nearly a 1000 years to sort through when you compare histories.  There are still people alive who remember Jim Crow laws and why they had to be followed.  My grandmother and mother are two of them.  This is when perspective becomes so very interesting.  The idea that I, a 34 year old woman in America, and anyone of my age group, has immediate family members that know of and willfully participated in the act of segregation and deemed it acceptable is a mind-blowing perspective if you really think about it. And while segregation was declared illegal in the 50's, then again in the 60s, with a series of subsequent laws as people searched for and found loopholes, the South was able to maintain it well into the 70's which was when I was born. Many people maintain that it is still very prevalent today.  Doubt me, check state report cards that break down academic achievement by race and note the ones that don’t have enough of a certain race to even rate it.  Schools are still segregated due to real estate markets and housing discrimination; another loophole for continued segregation that litigation is still dealing with. However, I see that despite that fact, my surroundings are a far cry from the world my mother grew up in. And even further still from the society my grandmother grew up in.  I find myself wondering at how I would've raised children in my mother's time.  Would I have raised them to fight, or would I have been fearful and raised them to survive?

Let me paint a picture for you. Some of you are mothers so this should be easy for you.  For those who are not just imagine. Try being a mother who has to deal with raising children in a world where even though the law has forbidden treating you and those like you badly, the people have made sure that they can continue with little or no penalty. On many occasions you have seen others hurt, beaten, falsely jailed. You yourself have been the victim of being denied jobs, denied good housing, and denied adequate medical care.  You don't know how you are going to keep your children alive without better pay, better food, and better medicine. Secretly you suspect that the system you have to work in would prefer that your children died. There were times when you heard people say as much. When you try to fight the injustice, on several occasions you are told that if you balk at this, your fate will be worse because people either don't want things to change or they are too weak to rock the boat.  But they all say you should be grateful for the scraps you have been given.  The ones in charge say none of you are worth it anyway. Stay in your place, and be grateful I don't take that from you too. How fearful are you as a mother with a son or daughter?  You decide that you have to train them to think and act in a certain way to insure that they survive.  You see, in a climate like this achieving is the least of your concerns.  Survival is the most important because you know that you have it better than those before you, so there is a chance that your children, their children will have it even better. But they have to manage to grow up and carry on. Just survive. So what manner of child would this raise?  What would be their goals and inclinations?  See the many, many ways that they would not coincide with the new reality they have been given that is so different from yours.

American Dream
This analogy works for all discriminated against populations and their reluctant oppressors.  Just insert the classification, race, social class, gender. The crux of all discrimination is a powerful group of people dictating what other people deserve, who deserves to give it to them, and why.  It’s bullying for adults.  Last I checked that wasn't supposed to be the American way.  Remember the American Dream; achieve and pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.  How do you manage that without boots I often wonder?  In this I mean food, shelter, medical care.  The basics. Despite that people have managed something. But how would you expect people to be who have been told that they can achieve, but only on the terms of others, and then blamed for their lack of achievement. It just becomes a fixed craps game where every roll is snake eyes because even if you somehow manage to 'do well' that was somehow given to you and not actually earned.


Even though it was called 'slave mentality' for blacks, the truth is other populations suffer and understand it so it isn't really a 'slave mentality', as it is a caste system mentality. And this caste mentality is felt by ALL in the society system. It is a series of ideas about health, lifestyle, culture, ideologies, wealth, success, meritocracy, class, race and gender that the American media and institution of government like to reinforce for population control. The importance of understanding this mentality is the key to a future America that can at least understand itself.  America right now is like an amnesiac schizophrenic.  It forgets all of its personalities as soon as it switches to another, and it can't recall the history of the one it's in.  It would be the highest of hypocrisy if the country knew what the word meant.

2010 Census Statistics
The truth is America is not equal, middle class blacks and Latinos still live in low income neighborhoods because they are barred from better ones fitting their income status.  America is not wealthy. There are wealthy people in America, about 10% to be exact.  America isn't mostly middle class; that is currently being wiped out by the greed of the wealthy.  America isn't democratic; states are currently putting in measures to prevent certain populations from voting.  America is not religiously tolerant.  Not a day goes by that someone on television isn't referring to or treating all Muslims like terrorists.  America is not peaceful. America has the most people incarcerated per capita than any country in the world (increased dramatically since the ‘war on drugs’ began in the early 80’s) and has been at war for the last 50 or so years on foreign shores.  America is not a melting pot or a salad bowl.  People are asserting their multicultural, multiracial status daily as more Americans are fitting under this distinction. Other global communities are reestablishing their communities in America. Populations are choosing to huddle together in distinct neighborhoods easily identified by their culture.

The other truth is that the only constant in life is change.  We are a country that has been divided by many issues.  Race, wealth and religion being the big three in my opinion. Race is a condition that is fixing itself if the rising production of mixed race children is any indication. Hopefully soon all children will be just what they are . . American children. No disclaimer, no classification. Wealth, another problem weeding itself out as the middle class vanishes and the opulence of the wealthy is being uncovered.  Soon they will be brought to task for the systematic stealing of money and resources from the American public. Because when the wealthy can no longer squeeze money out of us, they will turn on each other.  Their greed demands more. Someone wealthy enough to have power over this will stop them as they reach for their wealth. And religion, in light of recent events we see clearly how criminalized none Christians are in the media, while Christians are treated as 'lone gunmen' that don't represent all of Christianity.  Amazing that this isn't the case for Muslims. We define politicians citing religious right as the future of this country as lunatics. 

Human
What the media and government seems to not understand is that despite their careful cultivation of these issues to try and panic people into a frenzy, America has been giving them its own answer the entire time.  We need change, and whether they like it or not, we will have it. Even if we have to create it ourselves.




American Dream courtesy of http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-BoWTok3w1s0/TZCgx45BlPI/AAAAAAAAADg/lMsL07ezjzo/s1600/20081123_barack_obama_comic_01.gif


Human courtesy of http://www.mixedracestudies.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/MultiracialIdentityMovie.jpg