As I sit here staring at my computer screen, trying to come up with just the right words to say in as concise a way as possible, the actual truth of what is going on in our country regarding racism/misogyny/classism/homophobia/hatred, our president, global warming, the possibility of nuclear conflict with a country run by a guy who resembles and speaks like the kid who was continuously shoved in a locker in 7th grade and a media who vacillates between responsible reporting and egging everyone on, I find – I got nothin.
Okay. That’s not true and all 23 of us know it. (Readership for the last few blogs has gone up. Thank you.)
I have a lot to say but it’s not concise, it’s not going to please everyone and it is going to be punctuated liberally with the F Word. You’ve been warned.
I can give you the bottom line.
We have nowhere else to go.
So, yeah, we better figure this out.
Let’s start with the white issue as it’s the Big One at the moment.
Dear Every White Man Who Cares About This:
I do not want your shit. I do not want to replace you. You have owned something called ‘having the automatic advantage in every situation known to humankind since God knows when by simple virtue of the color of your skin and the gender with which you entered the world.’ I have no desire to take it from you. I simply want you to share said something. The really good thing about it all is there is enough for everybody. You’ve read the saying that states, roughly, sharing basic human rights with everybody doesn’t mean you get less. It’s not pie? What that means is, sharing basic human rights with everybody doesn’t mean you get less. It’s not pie.
Women, People of every imaginable color, LGBTQ Community, People of other countries, those with British accents, Serbian accents, those with moles, Baptists, Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Canadians, athiests, Indigenous Peoples, those who meditate, those who mediate, those with disabilities, those with alternate abilities, et al.
I watched the men and women – there were women present in Charlottesville marching with the white supremacists – as they chanted things like “Jews will not replace us.”
As what? What does that even mean? Honestly, I asked the white guys I know and am close to and they have no fucking idea. Mostly they just shake their heads and wonder, as do I, why we can’t all just work hard and play harder.
And just for all y’all history buffs who consider the tearing down of statues of Confederate soldiers and Confederate flags an affront to either the “truth” of American history or an insult to “southern culture,” come the hell on.
Robert E. Lee and all whom he commanded committed treason against the United States of America. They fought for a system of government that supported and defended enslaving human beings based on the color of their skin. That enslavement included the buying and selling of people as if they were horses or cows or plows. Husbands and wives were separated, mothers and fathers were sold away from children too young to comprehend what slavery was. Women were bred like farm animals, raped and abused by their “owners” because it was the “owners’” “right” to do what he liked to those held in bondage. Men, women and children were forbidden to learn to read and write and could be and were beaten within an inch of their lives for defying this or any other order given by their white “masters.” They were forced to practice Christianity and had to give up the culture and religious practices handed down from their forebears. This went on for 200 years!
Read the above paragraph again. Now tell me you want one statue commemorating that crap, let alone hundreds. To be clear and factual, the majority of those statues were erected during the Jim Crow era that started in the late 19th century and the Civil Rights era in the 1960’s. Funded by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the statues were part of an intimidation program that stated loud and clear on local and state levels that in spite of what the federal laws were, African Americans were still considered less than white people to those in power in the south.
Someone posted, “No white person alive today owned a slave. No black person alive today was a slave. We can’t move forward if people want to keep living in the past.”
Though I know the person who posted the meme wasn’t doing so in the name of the “alt-left” (whatever that is) I couldn’t agree more. Let’s live in the now. Let’s take down the monuments to a way of life that was so abhorrent it inspires actual, physical nausea more than 150 years after it ended.
Jesus, how in the world are we not further along the road of equality one and a half centuries later? How have history books not been rewritten to reflect the truth of what happened to Native Americans, African Americans and women? In the late 90’s I saw the movie “Snow Falling on Cedars.” Until then I didn’t realize that during WWII Japanese American families (many of whom had members fighting for our country) were interned in camps all over the United States. Incarcerated because of their ethnic and genetic heritage. You know, the same war that segregated African Americans and Native Americans from those with white skin even though they were all fighting for the same side?
But we’ve come so far.
It’s common sense, really. It’s The Golden Rule.
Did you ever notice that when speaking of said Rule, the T in “The” is capitalized? Because this isn’t just any old rule. It’s THE Rule. THE ONE.
“Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.” Some form of the same is principal in every religion from Christianity, Judaism, Islam to Bahai faith to Confucianism and Wicca. It’s part of Humanism and Existentialism and can be found in the history of almost every ancient culture.
Treat others as you’d have them treat you. Love your neighbor as yourself.
What goes around comes around. Karma is a bitch.
Do you see how these are connected?
It does beg the question, if we treat our neighbors badly, if we don’t love our neighbors, yet we say we believe in The above Rule, what, exactly, do we think of ourselves? Now, there’s a perspective, huh? Which, you’re welcome, I don’t have the energy for today.
Listen, it’s not complicated. Be nice. Be kind. Be fair. Do everything, absolutely everything in the name of love. Love of self, love of others. Love of God, Buddha, The Universe or a frigging dining room chair. I don’t care. Just. Love.
Keep things in perspective.
There is much good in this world – in this country. While there is division there is also unity, though they won’t show you much of that on the evening news – or the morning news for that matter and certainly not on your Facebook feed. I don’t know what the exact ratio is, but I’ll estimate that for every 15 negative stories there will be a story of hope or faith or goodness or just something funny broadcasted. Additionally, humans are programmed by nature to look for the bad stuff. It’s our survival instinct. If we know what we’re facing we can protect ourselves. Thankfully we can also protect ourselves by knowing what’s positive, by being positive. This, of course, doesn’t mean hiding our heads in the sand and ignoring what needs to be done, but remember, what we focus on flourishes. I have friends who calls themselves resistors. That’s what they do and I find it completely exhausting and an ultimate way to fail at everything because they are focused on telling people how wrong they are. They’re not focused on an issue. They’re focused on resisting so that’s what they get to do. I much prefer Mother Teresa’s approach. She said she wouldn’t march against war but if someone told her where to show up and march for peace, she’d be there. Every time. There’s an important difference.
What are you for?
I have a feeling what we’re all for is a lot closer than it seems. As we all move forward, toward that which means the most to us all as individuals and as a society, remember,
One: The Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Two: As I stated at the beginning of this and as I used to tell my daughters when they were in the middle of a knock down, drag out, fist-doubled, phone throwing fight – we might as well figure this out because we, very literally, have nowhere else to go.