What Kind Of World Do You Want?

I just spent a half hour looking at Facebook. I read several articles about current events. I saw pictures of our president and his wife with victims from one of the latest mass shootings. He and her were smiling and he was giving the thumbs up sign. This man has no more self awareness than a rock. He basically used these hurting people as a photo op staring himself. I read that many of them refused a visit from him. Good for them, I thought. I’m glad they refused. I wondered what I would have done in the same situation. If it had been me I would like to have said, “Sure, I’ll see the president”, and then told him to his face that the only reason myself and the other survivors are here is because he spreads fear and racism. He spreads hate and division. Then I would tell him to get the f**k out of my room.

I hate feeling angry. Anger is destructive. It harms your mind and body. Ever since trump became president I’ve felt more of it than ever in my life. Anger at him, at the NRA, at congress. Anger at the people who like and support trump and his racist, bigoted, hate filled views and actions. I feel anger right now while I’m writing this. I’m angry.

When trump announced his candidacy I started telling anyone and everyone what a bad president he would make. I reminded them of his failed businesses and bankruptcies when they said a business man would make a good president. I told them about all the racist and misogynistic things he said. I told them about his narcissistic behaviors. I reminded them that he had no political experience and they said we need someone outside the political sphere. I went on and on. But it didn’t matter because most Americans live in fear. They don’t even know what it is they’re afraid of, and yet they live in fear. And he played on their fears. He made them feel as if their fears were justified. People always want to feel justified. They want to feel that what they’re feeling and thinking has merit. And he made them feel justified. All his presidency has done for them is to make them even more afraid and they don’t see it.

So here we are, in the third year of trump’s presidency. Hate and fear have taken center stage. A fascist regime is coming closer to reality every day and still, people don’t see it. I see people making comments on social media like this: “This is not who we are as a country,” or, “What have we become?” Unfortunately, this is naive thinking. Look at history and you’ll find we have always been a racist nation. We have always been fearful. We feared Native Americans. We feared witches. We feared black people. The North feared the South and the South feared the North. We’ve feared the rich and we’ve feared the poor. Fear drives us. And when you fear something long enough you begin to hate it. You hate it for making you fearful. And hate makes you do things like slaughtering other humans with assault weapons. And then we bury our dead and wonder how we got like this. No one knows what to do. No one remembers that this country has a constitution that states exactly what we can do. No one thinks they have any power to change the situation. It’s easier to crawl back in your hole and fear everything outside than it is to stand up and demand change.

The only reason our government is the way it is, is because we have let it become this way. It’s our fault. You won’t hear too many people say that. They want to blame the NRA, or trump or whoever but ultimately, it’s us. We the people have allowed our politicians through their actions or inaction’s to make our country what it is. Rather than take responsibility with our vote we just keep voting the same corrupt people back into office. Rather than demanding that our politicians do what we want of them we say we don’t have time for that. We’re too busy. We have complicated lives. And so, we get what we’ve asked for, even though we didn’t realize we were asking for it. And now we don’t know what to do.

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What Can We Do?

Three mass shootings in two weeks. Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton. All by angry white men with assault weapons. The media reports on it, the country grieves, flags are at half staff. We go about our lives wondering what the hell is happening, wondering what can be done, and no one does a goddamn thing. Words get tossed around: mental health, anger, fear, white supremacy, terrorism. Solutions are suggested, protests are staged, blame all around. And no one does a goddamn thing. We will go back to our lives, our jobs, saddened by our current state of affairs. And nothing will change.

The question of the hour: What can we do? I’ve heard plenty of ideas but almost no one is suggesting that we vote legislators out of congress who allow these shootings to continue. The ones who take money from the NRA as bribes for not voting for stricter gun laws. Our president uses fear and hate to divide us and surely this is part of the problem. Looking at the killers social media more than suggests that it is. Racism, misogyny, and other forms of bigotry contribute as well. Toxic masculinity from hundreds of years of raising boys to believe they should hide and fear their emotions. Hundreds of years of not talking about mental illness, of treating it as a taboo subject. You want to know what’s wrong? These things. These things right here.

“Don’t cry Bobby. Crying is for girls. Are you are girl? Well then, stop crying. Boys don’t cry.” Toxic masculinity. Countless millions of boys have been raised this way. To be tough, to be strong. To be stoic. Don’t let anyone know you feel terrible inside and whatever you do, don’t cry. Like adding pressure to an airtight bottle. Eventually it’s going to blow.

Fear. What are you afraid of? Well, if you’re American, you’re afraid of almost everything. Brown people, coming to take your jobs. Muslims, coming to take your God. LGBTQ people turning your children gay. Socialists coming to take your freedom. And when these fears are fed a steady diet of Trump and Fox News well, any thinking person can see what happens. And when our Congress refuses to act, refuses to do their jobs, it adds fuel to the fire. Like adding pressure to an airtight bottle. And when we refuse to demand that Congress does its job, that our president does his job, we are complicit. We are at fault.

There’s no point making a list, a “What can be done list.” There’s no point. We know what to do. We know what needs to be fixed. We were once a Democracy. Our country has become what we have allowed it to become. When you turn on the news and see another mass shooting, that’s your fault, and my fault. We have allowed this to happen. Through direct action or inaction, we have allowed our country to become what it is. No one I know of is suggesting this. No news agency, no individual writers that I have read are saying this is our own fault. Through our own action or inaction, it is. And we know how to fix it.

today

mexico border wall
this is our country
god’s country
we’ll build a wall
keep them out
i’m not paying for that

dead child on a beach
what’re those people doing
i wouldn’t let them in either
who could feed all them
why don’t they go home

take an oath
break an oath
your rights end
where mine begin
i believe

what’re they saying
plotting planning
why can’t they speak english
this in our country
god’s country

why should we be the
caretaker of the world
why do we have to pay
i pay my tithe
i pay my taxes

wait a minute
why are taxes and tithes
and language and rights
and gods and countries
more important than people

why are the things
we have made
the barriers we have wrought
more important
than loving one another

why don’t we love each other?

Run, Nigger, Run

This is a story written by a Somali woman living in Finland that shares her experiances with racism. She’s very brave.

Somali Womanhood

I came to this country as a refugee in 1990, at the time of recession and when foreigners where a rarity. As a result, we had become a “Somali shock” overnight. It was common at the time to hear racial slurs, to wake up to the sounds of “perkele”, to drink tea to “mutakuono” and to dance to “vitun neekeri”. People would stop to gawk on the streets, kids yelling “look mommy, a nigger”. Grandmothers would ambush me in the swimming hall shower and scrub me down, hoping to wash the color off. Others, after a few pints, would come over to touch my hair and make inappropriate propositions. I went from being an individual, with aspirations, feelings and rights, to a degraded sub-human: a “mud face”, “nigger”, “whore”, and “social loafer”.

On the good days when I needed exercise, which was usually from Monday to Friday, I got that…

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