Crossing Bridges

Image of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the place where John Lewis and other marchers were beaten during a civil rights protest on March 7, 1965.

*I claim no right or ownership of the above image. Image via Brian van den Brug/Log Angeles Times/Getty Images

Today is the last day of the 58th Annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee in Selma, Alabama. The year of 2023 has been somewhat of a bridge crossing year for me as well. I looked at the blog and realized that it’s been almost two months to the day that I’ve posted, and I apologize for the delay in posts. Hopefully, by the end of this post, you’ll understand why the delay occurred.

Back to Selma for a second. I’ve physically crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge numerous times in my life. Each time I’ve driven across that bridge, March 7, 1965 always comes across my mind. I think about the mental, physical, and spiritual courage it took for marchers to walk into what they knew could potentially be a life-ending event. I often wondered whether I would have had the courage to do what they did in the face of danger. I like to believe that I am strong in my convictions and would stand up for what’s right, but you never honestly know what you’d do until you’re in that situation.

Over my lifetime, I’ve made strong connections to Bloody Sunday in Selma. One of my aunts helped nurse John Lewis and other marchers after they were beaten. During the 30th anniversary, I got to have conversations with people who participated in the original march and the march to Montgomery. I even remember Gov. George Wallace’s apology being read at St. Jude School by an aide, not completely understanding the historical aspect of that moment. It’s surreal how you can look back at time not realizing how historically important things are when they’re taking place in real time.

The word History has several meanings depending on its usage. In it’s most basic form, the Merriam Webster’s definition, “events of the past”, sums things up very well. History cannot be completely erased, but it can be obscured and hidden. We’ve seen this happen time and time again throughout the history of the existence of the United States. Until you’re either confronted with it or it smacks you in the face, most people are blind to how much has been obscured and hidden. The whole right wing attack on CRT and such are perfect examples of how things are obscured and hidden.

I’ve been a student of history myself although I won’t ever claim to being a historian. I’ve studied the history of the US, both what’s told as well as the untold history. I thought I was hip to the idea of how much was not told in textbooks until I visited Pearl Harbor while on vacation last month. I’ll add the disclaimer that I didn’t get to go through the entire place because of time constraints, but it was a very humbling and emotional experience for the time my family was there.

One thing I noticed that was missing in the stories about Pearl Harbor was the contributions made by minorities. I saw a plane that President George HW Bush used as a trainer. I saw a B-29 which was similar to the planes used during Doolittle’s raid. I even saw a Japanese Zero on display. What I didn’t see was stories about anything done by Native Hawaiians, Blacks, or anyone else who was there at the time of the attack. We know they were there, but it’s almost like they were invisible, doing absolutely nothing to even save their own lives.

Why do we, as a country, tolerate or even allow the incomplete telling of our own history? Why do we allow the literal whitewashing of things to make it appear as though only one group of people have contributed anything of good to American society? We give Thomas Edison credit for the light bulb, but his light bulb wouldn’t last long if it wasn’t for the carbon filament that was invented by Lewis Lattimer. We know of Doris Miller’s actions during Pearl Harbor and the awards he was honored with. However, I don’t ever recall seeing his name in a history textbook in spite of all he did to save others.

I won’t accuse anyone writing history textbooks of intentionally whitewashing history, but the pattern is there. We know of the Jewish Holocaust and the number of people killed by Hitler’s Germany. Does anyone know of the number of Native Americans killed by America? Why do we not teach that part of our history? Why should anyone be ashamed or scared to teach and learn from past mistakes? Is it because people today still harbor those same biases against minorities? I thought we were a post-racial America now.

So, I realize that I’m at that stage of my life where I am mentally and spiritually crossing bridges. So, I will give fair warning if the tone, tenor, and/or tenacity of my posting changes in the future. I try to write from the heart while ensuring that I don’t write anything that jeopardizes either my family or my employment. I do not wish to be an embarrassment or hinderance to either.

However, I cannot sit and watch people attempt to erase history or contributors of history just to appease their personal shortcomings. So, I give a full-throated F**K YOU to the governor of Florida and his merry band of white supremacists who have created this fictional enemy of CRT and are actively pursuing a white supremacist agenda, even if he and his supporters claim otherwise. A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet, and bigotry by any other name is still bigotry. The only way to get past things is to honestly discuss and teach history so we do not repeat it. Trying to change the past or act like things didn’t happen only allows the racism and bigotry to continue unabated.

If you agree with me, fine. If you disagree with me, fine. This site here will not shy away from history, even the bad parts. If that offends you, then maybe you should find another place to read. America’s day of owning its real history is upon us, so we may as well begin to cross that bridge together.

Friday Night Music: 1/6/23

It’s 5pm here on the East Coast, and it’s Friday. Time to let the stresses of the week go for a few hours a day just soak the evening away in melodic bliss.

Well, unless you’re Kevin McCarthy. His stress is only beginning.

In spite of this being the 2 year anniversary of the Trump Insurrection, I’m not doing this for them because fuck anyone trying to overthrow the Constitution. I’m sending one out to Rep. McCarthy because he’s had one messed up week.

I briefly thought about Let’s Do It Again by The Staples Sisters, but that’s too funky for the shitstorm Kev’s living right now. Chumbawamba’s Tubthumping was also considered because he’s getting right back on that horse repeatedly after getting tossed flat on his face into a pile of manure.

I finally found one that’s worthy of Kevin in Beck’s Loser. So, in honor of all slick guitar licks everywhere and the losers associated with them…

Merry Christmas

We’re one week away from relegating 2022 to the history books. I just want to wish any and every person reading this a Merry Christmas (if you celebrate Christmas) or Happy Holidays.

We’ve all been through a lot over the past few years, so make sure you take time to pamper yourself. Don’t think that it’s selfish to take care of yourself because you deserve to be well mentally, physically, and spirituality just like anyone else. If you’re like me and always looking out for others, you can’t help people of you’re not well yourself.

This is a working holiday for me this year. Someone has to protect democracy. 😁 Enjoy your day today, and love on your loved ones.

Merry Christmas to all.

Second Civil War

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the second American Civil War. If you haven’t already realized it, we’ve been living through a war since December 2008. War has not been officially declared, however I’ll suggest that the moment the GOP decided to go full obstruction as opposed to actually governing in the best interest of America was the day the war began.

I can already hear the questions and see the puzzled looks. “What war?” you ask. “Isn’t war supposed to be violent and deadly?” Well, the Cold War between the US and Russia was fought for decades without direct battle. Likewise, the second civil war thus far has not been fought as a traditional war.

This is a war against the Constitution itself, and the fight became visible on January 6, 2021. Since that time, we’ve had numerous people convicted for their actions that day on charges that include seditious conspiracy against the United States among others. The former president has even called for the termination of the Constitution and being named president again even though he lost his election.

The silence from conservatives about these acts and actions says more than any type of PR press release could ever say. The most any GOP group has done was to delete a tweet mentioning Kanye West. GOP voters continue to vote for the same people to sit in the same offices they held on January 6th, so the voters are just as complicit in the war. I’d even suggest this is exactly what they want based on their voting patterns and history. Georgia re-elected a Rep who has said the January 6th insurrection would have been successful had she and Steve Bannon planned it out. The problem is that she was part of the planning group, and Steve Bannon was in the “War Room” watching it all unfold.

So, the question is when does democracy begin to defend itself? When does the rest of America begin to fight back to defend the Constitution from this domestic onslaught? The time to act is running out as we’ve seen that the courts are willing to erode constitutional rights that get in the way of this rightward march. We also cannot depend solely on voting when we see that half of America is willing to vote for this attack to continue.

I’m not sure of how many people are aware of what’s going on, and there isn’t going to be some massive outcry from media groups either. Corporate owned media and others have paid for what we’re seeing now. There’s no coincidence in the massive spending that’s taken place since Citizens United. There’s also no coincidence in the wealthy having this money to spend because of favorable policies from Republicans.

What we do in the next few months and years will set our course for the near future. We cannot continue to ignore the canaries in the mine like the attacks on the power grid. We cannot keep sending seditionists to be members of Congress. If we don’t act like a country where no one person is above the law, then we soon won’t have laws to worry about.

Who do you trust?

Here we are, less than 16 days away from election day, and a major news outlet is putting out information like this.

My initial response is, “Who in the hell are they polling?” I also want to know in which alternative universe the polling responders reside.

Why would anyone outside of the wealthiest Americans trust the GOP with the economy? They’ve already said they’re going to cut Social Security among other programs. They’re threatening to default on the debt limit again to extract concessions from Biden. Now ask yourself, if these financial endeavors were so damned important, then why didn’t they do them when Trump was in office and they controlled Congress?

Face it America, if your net worth doesn’t include at least three commas in front of the decimal point, the GOP doesn’t care about you or your families. All they want from you is a vote to give them control of government. They will say or do anything to demagogue the Democratic Party or any other challengers to get that vote too.

You don’t believe me?

The GOP will claim, with a straight face, that Democrats are soft on crime when there’s a former Attorney General in the White House and a former chief of police running for the Senate in Florida. There are others within the Democratic Party who have worked to reduce crime, but the GOP will work like hell to claim the Democrats are soft on crime. Just don’t ask any Republicans about prosecutions involving the crimes around January 6th 2021 or the scheme to overturn election results with fake electors.

I would love for ABC News, Pew Research, Gallup, or any other polling group to update their polling methodology to get a more realistic sample of Americans and our opinions. Most things are not very black and white issues, but when it comes to which party is better for the country at this time, there’s no amount of evidence that shows Republicans are better. They have proven time and time again that they don’t govern for everyone, whether it’s on the state or federal level.

There will undoubtedly be people who disagree with what I’ve written here, and I am perfectly fine with that. There will be the rebuttals involving social issues and other distractions. They are designed to take attention away from the fact that Republicans tend to ruin the economic outlook for Americans when they’re in office. Look at the states where minimum wages have increased. Are they run by Democrats or Republicans?

Vote wisely folks. Your choice has effects far beyond what you can see.