Life has always been fragile. The next moment has never been a guarantee for anyone anywhere. No animal or human is guaranteed safety and longevity, immune to nature, disease, human violence. Some of us are privileged with better odds and infrastructures and some with poor odds (be it social, physical, economic, political, etc), but nobody is golden in this regard.
At this time, when there are constant reminders via news and media outlets or damn, even on the roads where I see animals turned roadkill, that life is fragile and us powerless to so much...I find I have to center myself in learning how I can deepen my practice of compassion on the whole damn spectrum of life. How can I be more tolerant and compassionate with my family? How can I do that with people with different values and consciousness? How can I do this in my understanding of systematic, oppression corruption and abuse in our nation and in world affairs? How can I do this in my understanding abusers? How can I do this when thinking about right wing extremists or white supremacists or jihadi terrorists or Donald Trump?!?
I want to practice compassion here, practice compassion now.
I considered posting a newstory about Mario Woods, the 26 year old black man who was killed by a "firing squad" of police, despite his body cowering from the police and the only weapon in his possession being supposedly a 6-inch knife that was barely visible in several bystander videos. But i thought Id post these thoughts first...
it seems grimly ironic that our nation is currently gripped with conversations, rhetoric, and politics addressing the epidemic # of mass shootings and overall gun violence following the San Bernardino shooting. That same day, Mario Woods was shot 25 times by some 6-plus police officers surrounding him.
The mother of Mario Woods, and community members and activists alike, say there was a better way of handling the situation. One can point at his rap sheet or what motivated them to apprehend him in the first place, but the reality is no proper understanding, investigation or justice was made possible, once they executed him. The violence, loss and pain is disproportionate--and there is no denying that race plays a factor into this inequality, as journalists and the public are quick to compare arrests of white mass shooters to the response that black people receive in non-mass murder cases, armed or unarmed, innocent or suspect.
When speaking about the extent and scope of injustice and the terror of police, that black people live with, there is nothing non-black folks can offer to relate. These systemic injustices have been occurring for a long time, before Facebook, before #BlackLivesMatter, before Rodney King, before before before... At a time, when the nation is mourning, enraged, demanding, begging and praying for a change to our gun laws and our public safety, we also need to collectively refuse and resist the (also-gun) violence that kills hundreds of black people in our country every year, at the hands of the police. The policing systems in our country have to change..and your presence and commitment is required on this matter (too).
As I think back in my life, a lesson from my parents comes to me. The way they prepared for situations in their marriage. I was three years old when World War 2 started for the British Isles. Between three and nine it was a big part of my life, being aware of destruction and devastation. My parents had to be prepared, had to have a plan, to protect their families to the best of their ability.
Each night as the sirens would sound, preparedness went into effect. My parents would gather their children from the bedroom upstairs. The questions from my father was, "do we have the policies and gas masks?" From the top drawer of my great grandmother's chest my mother would get the policies.Daddy would have the gas masks and off we would go to the bomb shelter in the backyard, a small, dark, damp, dirt floor, with a galvanized roof. My mother, while preparing, was dry heaving from nerves. These trips to the bomb shelter sometimes took place three to four times a night. Throughout of my life, my brother and I, when preparing for a trip or an outing with our families, would jokingly say, "Do you have your policies and your gas masks?"
I recently found out, the reading for , "Do you have your policies?" Was necessary for identification required to have in case of death. Preparing for disaster and death, my parents and many other families survived World War 2.
The only saving grace to having to read ignorant, bigoted bullshit from people on Facebook is that they can never spell correctly. Thankfully I can't take it seriously when a person confuses the words "prey" and "pray" and "conquers" and "conquerors." Happy National Unfriend Day.
I'm really pissed off right now by our social culture. I go on Facebook or Twitter and everyone is talking about the same thing. With no unique opinion about it. Everyone watches the same things and says the same things about them. It's causing all of our art to be the same. I recently watched Manhattan and was amazed and moved by the story and cinematography and was inspired to create until I realized that everything they talk about in that movie, would now only be used in bad television or a buzzfeed video. Humorous anecdotes about dating can no longer be used in cinema. Instead we get a shitty version of something potentially deep, relatable or profound in a garbage three minute video titled "Shit Girls from LA Say on Dates". And I blame social media for that. Everything is so fast paced now, we shit out these ideas and videos without actually taking the time to think about what or more importantly why we're making it. Manhattan is almost 35 years old and I'm still watching it. Will I be watching that buzzfeed video 30 years from now? I sure fucking hope not. Why? Because it's not quality. And no one seems to give a shit about quality. It's like they've forgotten what quality is. They've forgotten what originality is. A YouTube star could do a scene from a woody Allen movie and post it as their own and completely get away with it. Because no one is cultured anymore. It's also why were shallow as people. Because what were consuming is shallow. Fast food. Garbage.
Our country has the potential for greatness. In the past year we have seen so many acts of love and compassion by everyday citizens, but these great achievements are eclipsed by intolerance, a sickness that infects the youth and the elderly alike. This civil war has no end in sight - one group preaching love and acceptance and another persecuting neighbors for badges of dishonor they don't want to understand. This is a battle that threatens the future generations of America. Who will now turn to help our country? Bringing new ideologies and strategies to help us end this internal struggle.
I'm bothered by the fact that I don't know more about history. I was making lunch plans with a friend and he suggested a restaurant that closed at two. I never eat there but I knew it closed at two. Why do I know that but I know nothing about the civil war? It's not that I'm not interested or wasn't taught about the civil war; it just didn't stick in my mind. So why did this restaurants business hours stick in my mind? It's not like I love restaurants or obsess over the hours they open. Maybe I remembered that one because a restaurant closing at 2 is such an odd hour to close. As I'm writing this I'm trying to think about some fact I know about the civil war. I know they used bayonets and they had to fill their rifles with gunpowder after every bullet fired. But I can't remember the important parts. The who, what, when, where, why. Was the civil war the one with Paul Revere and the red coats? God, I feel like an idiot! This should be common knowledge! This is important shit to know! Anyway, Eggs N Things closes at 2.
I am mournful today knowing that war will not only fail to dismantle terrorism--it will not address the root sources of terrorism nor prevent the growth of existing or new terrorism. And it is almost guaranteed that it will incite more terrorist action--please tell me if I'm missing something in our recent history but when has any warfare succeeded to dismantle terrorism and halt it to insignificance?
And consequently, we will learn of more deaths of innocent people, more fuel added to the fire of Islamophobia that will cause more pain to brown-skinned/Muslim/Arab-looking people punished for the ignorance, racism, cowardliness and hatred of those who are white and western, who feel so powerless and faithless they cannot bear the thought of seeing goodness and fondness in our darker skinned brothers and sisters because extremists exist in the world.
I think of my brothers and sisters around the world who fear their lives already and now fear it more. I think of the grieving, the healing, the educating, the unlearning, the legacy of work that will never finished being done as we dig our collective debts of humanity deeper and deeper. I think of how devastating every day has been for those living in countries where terrorism has claimed the lives of the innocent frequently, not once.
And I pray that the people in power change up their game quick. Because over a decade ago Al-Qaeda was announced as a major threat, then ISIS and Boko Haram...has going to war stopped terrorism, reduced it, made the world feel safer? Oh yeah, and the govt is probably flagging this shit because we don't have that security anymore either. I hope Hollande and his govt know what they're doing but I'm not very optimistic...
Life can sometimes be a very difficult experience for people to go through, for many different reasons, and I think that everyone should try to encourage other people in a positive way, instead of being unkind, or bullying them. I believe that saying good and positive things to each other, and telling people something you like about them can make people feel happy, and maybe help them to feel better in moments when they may feel unsure about themselves. I think lifting people up in a positive way, and letting others know that they are valuable and worthwhile is very good to do. I don't think people encourage and lift up others in a good and positive way enough in this world.
You know what I'm sick of? I'm sick and tired of people deciding for other people what is acceptable to believe and think. I'm sick of people calling other people "hateful" or "bigoted" if they disagree with the other person's point of view or beliefs.
I'm tired of weak-minded people who, because they can't elucidate their own beliefs, end an argument by crying prejudice or bigotry.
I'm sick of political correctness in all its forms. Why can one person or group say something revolting and no one objects, yet if another person or group says something objectionable they are publicly castigated.
We live in a time where public discourse doesn't exist. Only certain privileged people can speak their mind. And even fewer people take the time to understand their own belief system, or more importantly, that of other people.
A free society doesn't allow lives to be ruined over political/social differences. We've lost the freedom of expression in this country. I'm sick over the fact that not enough people seem to care.