Wednesday, August 16, 2017
I told myself not to watch the recent segment between Anderson Cooper and Van Jones as they spoke about President Trump's deeply offensive and completely tone deaf press conference after the events in Charlottesville, VA. I went out of my way not to watch it as it aired. But today I watched it, against my better judgment. I found myself frustrated and somewhat angry(as I knew I would be). The thing is though, I was frustrated with Van Jones.
Let me explain. Donald Trump is a repugnant human being who is completely unfit to be POTUS. I've said this many times. We've known this for a long time. So his statements regarding what occurred in Charlottesville and his attempts to "blame all sides" for the violence that occurred and resulted in the death of a young woman came as no shock to me whatsoever. Trump is garbage. That's what garbage does. But during that segment with Anderson Cooper, as he spoke I found myself very frustrated with Van Jones. Specifically, I was frustrated with the tears. As I listened to him I was overwhelmed with the thought "What the fuck are you crying for?".
Please don't misunderstand me. Racism hurts. Being hated hurts. Being marginalized hurts. I understand that. I also don't believe Jones is less of a man or a human being for crying. There is nothing wrong with a man shedding tears when he is in pain. Sometimes we all must cry. That said, now is not the time for tears. White supremacists and Nazis have been emboldened and are aggressively seeking to push their agenda. They have the open support of a bigoted, narcissistic POTUS who they have rallied behind. We don't need tears right now. We need strength. We need courage. We need to find the will to resist these people.
We need brothers like Van Jones, who have the visibility and platform to be heard by many, to speak with conviction. To speak the truth to power. We have been shedding tears for centuries. Our tears have not moved our enemies one bit. Our tears have not melted the hearts of our oppressors at all. We have cried an ocean of tears and it hasn't changed the hearts who would crush us under the heel of their boots. We need this strength and conviction right now. We're going to have to lean on each other a lot in the coming days, months, and years. We must steel ourselves.
There will be a time for us to shed our tears. To release our emotion. To nurse our wounds and to deal with our hurt. To come together and let go. To hug each other and cry it out. But now is not that time. No disrespect to the Brother Van Jones. I simply believe now is not the time to be on television crying and acting shocked that Donald Trump is being who he has always shown himself to be. We will have our time to cry. Now is not it. Thank you for reading.
Friday, May 19, 2017
This message is for my brothers. As a Black man I think that it is important that every so often I remind my brothers of this message. It is one we need to hear and one we far too often forget. It is a simple message really. Yet as I age I'm learning that the simple messages are often the most profound.
Black men. We have a duty to love, honor, respect, and protect the Black woman and the Black family. We have a duty to our children. We have a duty to our communities. We have a duty to our sisters. It is an important obligation. It is one of the staples of being a Black man. We have an enormous responsibility. It is not always easy. In fact, it is often difficult. But as Black men we must rise to the occasion. Our sons are depending on us. Our daughters are depending on us. Our women are depending on us. Our communities are depending on us. We simply cannot let them down.
It is unfortunate that many of us are failing to uphold these important tenets. Love, honor, respect, and protect. Our women feel oppressed by many of us because far too many of us have mistreated them and not upheld the tenet of respect. They don't feel safe with us because we've collectively failed to protect them. In fact, many of our women live in abject fear of us and some of us have become predators in our own homes and communities. Many of our LGBTQ family see us as no different than the white oppressors we face as well. This is because we greet them with the same hatred, bigotry, and contempt that the white man greets us with. In this, we have forgotten the tenet of love. With this behavior we bring dishonor to the Black family. This cannot and must not continue.
Now this not an attack on my brothers. This is not meant to shame us or belittle us. Nor is this meant to make us the avatars for all things that ail the community. This is a simple call to action. As Black men we are hated. Despised. Maligned. Disrespected. Oppressed. I understand this. As with most brothers, I've lived this. But we cannot allow this truth, however terrible it may be, to be an excuse for why we continually fail our women and our families. We are Black men. We have a duty and an obligation. We must rise above it. Simply put, we must do better.
As I said above, this is a simple call to action. No one ever said being a Black man in America was easy. But my brothers we need to come correct. Because too much is riding on this. Our families need us. We need to stand by our sisters. Support them. Respect them. Love them. Honor them. We need to raise proud sons and daughters. We need to stop ostracizing our LGBTQ family and behaving like our European oppressors. We need to hold our brothers who are failing accountable. We need to decisively deal with those predatory brothers in our community.
It's not easy, no. In many ways being a Black man is the most challenging thing you'll ever do. But you, I, we....we owe it to ourselves and our community. Love. Honor. Respect. Protect. Don't ever forget these tenets my brothers. They are the foundation which our community is built on.
Thanks for reading.
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Thursday, May 4, 2017
I've often heard folks ask the question "Why do Americans vote against their own interest?". On the surface it seems like a legitimate question. American voters tend to consistently vote against their own well being. They seem almost eager to shoot themselves in the foot and employ politicians who couldn't care less about their needs. Even when it's obvious that the policies and positions many politicians hold are detrimental to them, by and large American voters still eagerly and often aggressively support those who basically care nothing for them.
Now the prevailing mindset is that many American voters are simply ignorant. I admit there is some truth to that statement. Many Americans are clueless as to how government works. Few take the time to examine the platforms and history of the candidates they support. Few research. Many simply vote down party lines. They subscribe to partisan rhetoric and nonsense and eagerly carry water for their party of choice. So it's easy to see how people arrive at solely at ignorance.
Lately though I've been thinking. I have a additional theory. One that leads me to a very uncomfortable truth. I submit that many Americans AREN'T voting against their own interest. That many of them are aware of exactly what they are doing. That many of them go in with eyes wide open when they place certain individuals into positions of power. It doesn't make sense until you consider one simple truth: That many Americans are completely invested in systemic white supremacy and that is where their interests lie.
Think about it for a moment. It's often why many Americans vote the way they do. It's why they gleefully vote for individuals who wouldn't piss on them if they were on fire. Many Americans seem more than willing(almost eager) to suffer if it means marginalized people will suffer more. It's why despite struggling they'll vote for politicians who consistently rob the poor and give to the rich. It's why they vote for politicians who wipe their asses with the Constitution and consistently violate their rights. They'll gladly give up every right they possess if it means marginalized people remain subjugated. As long as they have someone to look down on they can feel good about themselves. They are voting for systemic white supremacy...and they know it.
They aren't voting for equal opportunity. They aren't voting for clean air or water. They aren't voting for education. They aren't voting to keep our streets safe. They are voting for systemic white supremacy. It's why they'll support a politician who cuts funding for public assistance but supports using tax dollars for a border wall. It's why on one hand they'll claim they support religious freedom and in the next breath support a ban on Muslims. It's why they claim to resist government tyranny but applaud (or look for excuses) when agents of the state kill innocent Black civilians. They are voting for the bigotry that exists in their hearts, made manifest in government.
Lyndon Johnson said that "if you can convince the cheapest white man that he's better than the best Black man he wont notice you picking his pocket. In fact, give him someone to look down on and he'll empty his pockets for you". It was true then, it's true now. Many Americans aren't voting against their interests. They know what they want and they are willing to suffer to get it. Sisters and brothers, that should disturb every last one of us. Thanks for reading
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Monday, May 1, 2017
We often encourage people to follow their dreams. To pursue their passions. We tell those who we have love for to believe in themselves. We encourage our children to dream big. We tell them they can do whatever their heart desires. We push them to follow their dreams wherever those dreams might take them. We tell them that if they work hard and never give up their dreams most definitely can come true.
Unfortunately we live in a society that can rob you of you passion. A society that can crush your will. A society than can (and often will) hamper and arrest your ability to succeed. Whether it's negativity from hateful individuals or adversities that seem insurmountable, we live in a world that will choke the life from your dreams. Ours is a society of dream killers. It is a sad truth. One such dream killer though is one that we often don't talk about. This killer in particular is largely one of our own creation. That killer is the relentless pursuit of wealth and fame
Here is what I mean. When we think of fulfilling our dreams we almost always think in terms of money and fame. We define our success by how much we gain financially . It almost instantly sets us up for frustration and failure. If we aren't rich and famous or on our way to being rich and famous then it's difficult for us to see success. Rich and famous is almost always the end game. Because we funnel our dreams through what capitalism deems as success we often find ourselves distraught, angry, and frustrated. Especially when the pursuit of our dreams doesn't instantly translate into wealth and notoriety.
What's sad is that even when we demonstrate brilliance and mastery we still often don't feel fulfilled or successful. No matter how proficient we are at what we do, how dedicated we are to our dreams, or how knowledgeable and skilled we become. It's why gifted individuals often feel like failures no matter how good they are at what they set out to accomplish. A singer could bring down the heavens with her majestic voice. An artist could create a masterpiece with his brush or pencil. A writer could stir the souls of everyone who reads their work. But if they aren't rich the prevailing mindset is that they aren't successful. Because of this many of them give up.
Now please don't misunderstand me. I'm not at all saying we shouldn't pursue financial success or that financial success is not important. Not in the least. We should all look to feather our nests and strive to improve our economic situation. There is also nothing wrong with using your skills and gifts to enrich your life. Also I want to point out that EVERYONE DESERVES COMPENSATION FOR THEIR WORK(caps for emphasis). I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea about that. Get your bread up. There is nothing wrong with that and nothing wrong with pursuing that. I simply want people to understand that you are not a failure because you aren't rich or famous. These things do not define you.
In the end what I'm saying is don't let the pursuit of fame or wealth kill your dreams. Because it can and it will if you let it. We all want to be recognized and we all want to live well. That said, you are no less the person you are because you aren't famous or fabulously wealthy. You are no less gifted or talented. Don't funnel the fulfillment of your dreams through fame and finance. That my friends, is a short road to unhappiness. Thanks for reading.
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Monday, April 24, 2017
The first 100 days of Donald Trump's presidency is pretty much what we all expected from him. Of course when I say "we" I mean those with common sense who have not buried their heads in the sand and committed themselves to defending Trump no matter what. I mean those who are willing to objectively look at his presidency. It's pretty obvious to anyone with eyes that Trump's first 100 days has been a clowned filled circus. No one should be surprised of course. I mean we knew going in that Trump was ill equipped to be POTUS. Still, it's worth noting for those that continue to pretend that we aren't seeing what we are seeing that Trump's presidency is the abject train wreck we all knew it would be.
Trump's first 100 days has been nothing but failure and foolishness. His only significant accomplishment(if you can call it that) is using the "mother of all bombs" to blow up some tunnels in Afghanistan. I mean we can talk about the fact that his approval rating is abysmal. We can talk about the fact that he is currently under investigation by the FBI. We can talk about how the courts blocked his bigoted and unconstitutional travel bans not once but twice. Or we can talk about the fact that even with the GOP holding the house and the senate Trump was unable to rally enough support to dismantle and repeal the ACA. This after conservatives spent the better part of the last decade demonizing it and making it's repeal their signature platform.
Even Trump is aware of how bad his first days in office have been. He recently tweeted that the 100 day milestone was ridiculous and that no matter what he accomplished the media would attack him. Now as we all know Trump has a very tenuous relationship with the truth and will quickly take to Twitter to protect his fragile image. He clearly is aware that his first 100 days has been disastrous and that folks would rightfully be calling him to the carpet. Too bad he doesn't care enough to get his act together.
Here what's really sad(and a bit pathetic) about all this. Despite all of this, his diehard supporters DON'T CARE. They don't care that Trump is a pathological liar who seems completely clueless on how to govern. They don't care that Trump has been one embarrassing failure after the next. They don't care how the US looks on the world stage. They don't care that his cabinet is a dysfunctional mess. They don't care about any of that. As I said in another piece Trump's followers would happily follow him into hell, gleefully wearing gasoline underwear.
The first 100 days of any presidency is supposed set the pace, tone, and standard for the remainder of the term. If that's true, we're in for some serious shit over the next three and half years. Donald Trump is a joke absent a punchline. His presidency is an embarrassment. His first 100 days have been rife with failure, foolishness, and general fuckery.
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Friday, March 17, 2017
I'm going to be very brief in this post. Brief, but very much to the point. I want to address a specific group of people. I want them to read these words and absorb them. I want them to feel every word that is written here. Every. Single. Word.
Dear Disgruntled and Frightened Trump Voters,
I know some of you are afraid right now. I know some of you are concerned. I know that some of you are regretting your decision to vote for Donald Trump. Well, as a Black man living in America let me say unequivocally and unapologetically...fuck you. That's right. Fuck you. I have absolutely no sympathy for you. You deserve to be afraid. You deserve to be frightened. You deserve to be ashamed. You deserve all the hell that is coming your way and make no mistake about it, hell is coming.
You see I know what you thought. You thought that you were Team Trump. You thought he was looking out for you. You thought he would limit his shenanigans to Muslims, Mexicans, and Black people. You were tired of hearing about how Black Lives Mattered. You were tired of Mexicans "stealing your jobs". You were tired of having to respect the beliefs of others. You were tired of all of it. This is America. This is YOUR country. You thought Trump was in your corner. That he would put YOU first. You thought he'd put those Blacks and those Mexicans and those Muslims and those women and those gays and all the other people who were threatening YOUR way of life in their place.
Now you are slowly coming to the realization that you got played by a greedy, orange, power grabbing con man. You're looking at his healthcare plan and going "WTF?". You're looking at his budget and going "WTF?". You're looking at his behavior and going "WTF?". This isn't how it was supposed to go. You're a white patriotic America. Trump was supposed to put you first. He was supposed to make America great again. He was supposed to reign in all those marginalized people. But not you. He wasn't supposed to take food out of YOUR mouth. He wasn't supposed to suppress YOUR rights. He wasn't supposed to take money out of YOUR pocket.
That's where you are right now. You were fine when it was just me and mine getting shafted. But now that you are learning that Team Trump consists solely of the rich and you are NOT in the club you want to express regret. You want to express remorse. You want to express shame. No. I'm not with that. I'm not feeling at. Fuck you.
You gave that narcissistic jackass the keys to the country. Live with it. Take your medicine. You will suffer along with the rest of us and you will get no sympathy. Because it was you that put this man in power. It was you that put hate ahead of common sense. It was you that put white supremacy ahead of your own interests. So deal with it. Suck it up snowflake.
In the words of the great Malcolm X your chickens are already coming home to roost...and it doesn't make me sad for you in the least.
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Monday, February 6, 2017
So I'm just going to get right to it here. Anyone seen or heard from Jill Stein lately? No? How about Gary Johnson? Nothing? Where are all those people who are tired of voting for the lesser of two evils? Surely they are making a ton of noise right now. No? Right. Didn't think so.
This is why no one takes third party candidates and alternative candidates seriously. This is why no one pays attention to them. This is why people don't take individuals who support these candidates seriously either. The time is ripe for third party and alternative options like Johnson, Stein, and others (and their respective parties) to make some noise. The Democrats have proven themselves to be feckless, spineless, and clueless. Republicans have shown themselves at best to be soulless opportunists and at worst dim witted bigots. The field is wide open for alternative and third party candidates to step up and make some noise. But much like the two major parties, the alternatives are proven themselves to be equally as inept and opportunistic.
Now would be the perfect time for them to make a stand. Never has there been a more unpopular POTUS than the carnival barker who now occupies the chair. There is a genuine and deep mistrust for both of the two major parties. The people want and I would argue NEED alternatives. These third party candidates should be making noise now. They should be establishing and energizing their base now. They should be organizing and promoting themselves and their agendas now. They should be pushing individuals who can motivate and inspire now. They should be making their case to the people now.
Instead they are absent. Silent. With the notable exception of a few grassroots movers, shakers, and power brokers these parties aren't doing shit. They are invisible. They have no voice. They have no real presence. The general public has no idea what these parties are doing, plan to do, and what their positions are on the critical issues that are affecting the nation. Most people have already forgotten about them. That's not the public's fault either. That's THEIR fault. That's Stein's fault. That's the Green Party's fault. That's Johnson's fault. They're not on the frontlines. They're on the sidelines.
What's worse is a couple of years from now they'll pop up with their hands out looking for support. They'll say the same tired things we hear them say every election. They'll talk about how terrible the two main parties are. They'll talk about voting for the lesser of two evils. They wont say anything of substance. Then they'll lose, take the money they hustled up, and disappear until the next election cycle, much to the chagrin of those who supported their efforts and genuinely wanted change.
If these third party and alternative candidates want to be taken seriously they need to get off the sidelines and get in the game. Put the work in. Don't just show up looking to raise money when the next election rolls around. Show the people you're serious NOW. Show them you are ready to lead NOW. Show them you are a viable alternative NOW. Show them a serious candidate they can get behind NOW.
Or don't...and be quiet. People are tired of the same of nonsense, and that includes alternative parties like the Green Party. People aren't stupid. They know if you're in it to win it...and you're not. So why waste time with you? Go hard now...or go the hell home. Third parties where you at?
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