Taking A Knee – What The Argument Alone Reveals.

One of the most important aspects of “taking a knee” is both the high profile visibility of a national stage, and the disagreement about “what’s appropriate where.” 

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The argument that ensues on this subject takes place between people in a manner that reveals their values and their awareness. Values have a tendency to change based on awareness. Before abused children began coming forward as adults- there was very little awareness about child exploitation and sexual abuse. People kept it secret – refused to look at it – found it uncomfortable and kept it hidden. Today, because of expanded awareness – most children know they have rights and possess necessary tools to defend and prevent. Parents seldom any longer say “it’s a private matter” and sacrifice the victim to social vanity as many once did. 

Racism in America may seem like a long stretch for comparison, but really it is very similar – and this analogy has nothing to do with Black people, but everything to do with white objectors. The difference is-  it is white people who are the secret keepers – the shooshers – the crime enablers who find this uncomfortable to face and discuss. It is white people who believe that their “game night” should not be interfered with while many of the people providing their entertainment have family and community, even children murdered in the streets. If a protest takes place that does not keep the silence at the cost of the crime against others – they are miffed. It is because they either do not comprehend (awareness is shallow to the realities suffered daily by people of color – exacerbated by white silence) or their values are such that white comfort is more important than Black lives. (Refer to Black Lives Matters and seek a correlation with their message). 

The tragic irony is; It is the very fact that white people have the option to view this as a non-priority to their lives that necessitates continuing, strenuous, repeated high visibility. The reality is, white people should have the decency and the moral accountability to be ahead of this violation against humanity. But because of racism, privilege and implicit bias they do not grasp the magnitude that is lived and endured daily by people of color. The fact that a white person can permit atrocity without even investigating the stories they reject at presentation is the reason Black people die – and are forced to do all the heavy lifting for equal justice. The offense of “Take A Knee” is in direct proportion to the degree of white apathy in the heart of the offended. 

Privilege, Starbucks, Neighborhood Watch – and the pervasive crime of white apathy

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The hardest thing for me to reconcile in my life today,  is that I have children I love and would give my life for whom I know hear about white people in ways that do not describe me. Yet still, they do describe white America. Words that are not false, are not overstated, but in fact are proven out over and over in the daily life of us all.   It brought me to my choice – my choice of voice or silence – marching or watching from the sidelines.

I am a family friend of a Black American family, and I get the perks of outings with the children. I am that uncle that loves to spoil them – loves to hear them – loves to be in touch with the amazing world of brilliant and aspiring children. Any adult in this role knows what I am talking about. We are reminded how smart they are – we are reminded how vital and essential their exposure to and experience of the world. And we know that the wonder we once had for the world and life – returns to us gazing through their eyes.

When one child gets up to go to the bathroom at a restaurant, I stand between the door and the ones remaining at the table – equal distance so I can see the bathroom door entered and those at the table undisturbed. I do this because they are children and because they are in my care.  But I do it more in ways that no one knows because they are children of color – Black children – that do not carry or share my privilege. No one will touch them, speak to them or reach them in any disparaging way – not when they are in my charge. The intolerable reality is, I do have to watch and I do have to be more vigilant. And that tells me things all of white America needs to know.

Leaving the theater as we approached the down elevator to parking,  a white man stepped away from a Black woman in a manner I have honed my sight to recognize. It isn’t difficult, and it isn’t a mistake when noticing the airs of a supremacist, a bigot or racist. One more Black person came toward the elevator and I saw him grappling with his position. I stepped back from the children and put my hand on his arm – leaned in and whispered “this car is not for you.” He knew and acknowledged what I was talking about. His disapproval now directed at me – he stepped back to wait for another car.  I will not allow him near them, or an utterance under his breath to reach their ears.

My rage was subdued by my insistence on normalcy for the children and disruption of our outing. This subject is above my pay grade and is to be reserved for parents and their children. They need no input from me. Though subdued on my face and in my demeanor, my rage was beyond anything I have ever felt. I wanted to hurt him but they were there. They were not subjected to a thread of it. It’s not the only time or only thing I’ve experienced while in the company of these three exquisite young girls.  I looked toward the man with a boundaried nod, shuffling this laughter-occupied group of girls into the elevator.  No one but me and the Black woman who arrived behind us knew a thing. She was the mass-tilting reason he paused about entry. She knew it. Black people know. They have had to be hyperaware for generations. She gazed into my eyes on the three floor trip down, in a way I have considered over and over as to all that her look had held. It was one of understanding and compassion – but also carried a glimpse of fear and admonishment that perhaps I might not be endowed with such clarity and vigilance in the future. I am white, and I have the privilege of forgetting what others endure.

Two Black men were put into handcuffs for sitting while black in a Starbucks. They refused to leave and were arrested. They were asked to leave because they are Black. This is confirmed by white customers who occupy tables with no purchase yet made – waiting for the rest of their party. The many tweets and comments by white people saying “there must be more to the story” are mistaken or racist bias or both. The police who arrested them are wrong. Everything is wrong with this event.

A dear friend of mine asks these questions that no white person can answer – not without  the glaring face of complicity or self-indulgent denial.

“How can I or my children tell the difference between a white person who will shoot us and a white person who won’t?
How do we ask the police for help when we don’t know what KIND of officer will show up—100% compliance will still get you killed, ask Mesa PD ‘bout that. Don’t tell me if I follow orders I’ll be safe, because I will NOT be safe. Miss me with all of THAT bullshit.
Which Starbucks can I wait in for my client, how do I know which door to knock on in my community when I need help?
Are we at the point where white folks have to put HUGE safety pins on their door posts? Businesses have to hang POC welcome signs in their windows?

Until we face ourselves if we are white – we have not faced the truth. The truth is, this is our responsibility – even if you believe it is a construct in which you had no participation. You are participating today – and in so doing you stand on one side or the other. silence is the selection of a position. It is the selection of truth or denial- and it is the selection for racism or equality. Which do you choose?

Portraits In Black Speak Truth To White Adults And Children Of Color

Michele Obama presented these personal thoughts at the unveiling of her portrait by Amy Sherald;

“I’m also thinking about all the young people, particularly girls and girls of color, who in years ahead will come to this place and they will look up, and they will see an image of someone who looks like them hanging on the wall of this great American institution.”

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Of course her words are true. It is profoundly important also that white America see these portraits hung in this great American institution. That we hear and find the extraordinary introspection within ourselves that the Obama’s inspired for America as a collective of human beings. They did, you know – model the virtuous act of introspection. Search for a statement made by either President or Mrs. Obama directed to this nation that did not include a vital look inward. You won’t be able to find one. Such altitudes of clarity are often lost to lowlands of privilege we white folks cannot recognize even within the dispensaries of all that milk and honey. White people as a body of citizens seldom if ever look inward collectively as to who America is – and more, what we might become.

The white-American-collective-social-consciousness is an extrospective view. It is an assembly of assertions rather than biding assessments tempered by recollections and pauses for self-examination. Ours are moth-balled insights in dire lack for our attention, as to who we are and where have been – what we have led – and least of all, what to do now.

This is America now. Whether it is present in our consciousness or not, the broadest view – the aerial view – the Blackest view – of our human landscape is and will increasingly become the height of contemporary American wisdom. It already is the fulcrum for a tipping point still teetering in the ambivalence of white-mindedness. White suffering is a phantom we try to wallow in as our objections reveal themselves to be mere holograms – substanceless and devoid of redemptive cause. It’s a shooting pain, blindingly white, but take comfort – it will ultimately pass, though for some it could deservedly linger. This is fact in our human condition, despite what we may be conditioned to believe. No amount of white denial will shoo this reality away.

White people are no longer the purveyors of societal wisdom, as so many hover to guard a withered dynasty. There is a newer and truer wisdom. One many of us are ready to embrace. Whether instruction for this wisdom comes from women of color, as they bear their burdens a second and third time trying to educate white feminists to the depths and reach of amassing intersectionality – or as men of color reflect what love of country actually looks like – where the preservation of human dignity is not encapsulated in a recruitment poster or the waving of a flag emblematic only of the cost of conquest, incognizant of the blood of the conquered. His is offered to us gently and on one knee. Still though, in our fragility it remains too unthinkable to bear. It is here however – make no mistake of self-deception. It is calling, and it beckons for open and wide celebration.

Swing low sweet chariot coming for to carry me home. It is time for supremacy to die – to rest among its many unmarked graves. Time to take down the homage to a lie we no longer have to live. We can either wither or enlighten, that’s entirely up to us. Perhaps Barack Obama said it best, and even prophetically as to the evolution and enlightenment of governing power. It is tucked away neatly in his summation of artist Kehinde Wiley’s angular view.

“But, what I was always struck by whenever I saw his portraits, was the degree to which they challenged our conventional views of power, wealth, privilege and the way that he would take extraordinary care and precision and vision in recognizing the beauty and the grace and the dignity of people who are so often invisible in our lives, and put them on a grand stage,” he said. “The people in our families, people who built this country, built this capital, served food, took out the garbage.

Thank you President & Mrs. Obama. Thank you to those who have long suffered for this moment in time. It is almost bigger than the presidency and the occupancy of a White House for eight years graced by the Obama’s. This vital historic landing is forever immortalized in these halls, and stands like a lighthouse illuminating the jagged coast of a transatlantic heritage rising to the glory of its own.

 

Collusion & The Rise of ChristiaNationalist Morality

Each day I hear someone ask the question “what is the stepping off point for the Republican Party?” How long will they look the other way as Trump lies, violates the rule of law and ignores the constitution? How do they continue while evidence of collusion by our president looms in the public’s collective view? How, during this all-consuming event, is the offender against American democracy – one of the worlds most prolific human rights criminals elevated by our president to a normalized status while simultaneously degrading the very office of his presidency. “How do they let it continue?”

Putin is a murderer. An assassin of journalists, dissidents, human rights activists, human rights lawyers, whistle blowers, political opponents – and anyone with aim to interfere with his power and personal profit. “How far will they let this president go, and for how long will they let him continue.?”  “How do Republicans and our president continue to provide aid to this sociopath while systematically poisoning the trust in American law enforcement, judiciary, media and democratic processes?” These are the questions of Democrats and the Democratic Party.

The question of “how far and for how long” is itself an intended reaction within a
formulaic ruse. It sends us on a search for reason based in a morality that the Republican Party does not embrace. A morality that has divided this nation since its inception. The premise of the question “how far” has no relevance. The Republican

Party is not looking the other way. They are looking straight ahead – with decisive and collaborative determination. This party and the religious right – nationalist right – and a
collective of mutually served ideologies have and are colluding to a specific end. The entire lot are colluding with Putin. American Christianity is colluding with Putin and we’re asking why the party they own is looking the other way? Together they represent the intention and the instrument of an anti-democratic movement and we’re playing into their hands by playing by the rules that they’ve abandoned long, long ago.

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The Christian Right and the Republican Party have sought and are achieving the very vision that animates and empowers the Trump presidency. This is not a surprise, and the silence isn’t an uncomfortable shame pressing against a morality that’s soon to bear its limits. This is a calculated design. The Republican Party has become a terrorist organization. It has become an authoritarian regime, bent on eliminating the rights of all people not in lock step with the Religious Right – Nationalist – Corporatist – Oligarcichal America that garners it’s profit on top of wars and its labor upon the oppressed.

We continue to approach this crisis as though it’s a partisan stumble made by a few too blind to see the coming fall. We, the enlightened are waiting for the slow-to-see to arrive at a come-to-Jesus moment and they said goodbye to Jesus a long time ago – and it is we, not them who refuse to see. They are not blind, and this fall of theirs …. It is no accident.
GodsRubeGoldbergMachineOne of the problems we face – any of us who wish to make a case for the kind of collusion that actually exists – find ourselves trying to articulate the workings of a Rube Goldberg contraption. The goal is not complex and the aim is nowhere near above board. There are more moving parts than are necessary to the end, and the number of systems in play contradict the reasonability for claim that a system is working to any specific end at all. But that is the beauty of the Rube Goldberg design.  We remain hypnotized by all its moving parts. It in itself is the distraction obscuring its aim. The only certainty is the outcome. The anvil will drop out of the sky and land precisely on its target – while onlookers are mesmerized by the unlikelihood the contraption has any determinative function at all.

So who loves Vladimir Putin? The Religious Right – White Nationalists – The NRA – Anti-Gay factions – Anti-Democratic Authoritarians – and the list continues. Big oil loves Putin, and so does White Supremacist America. The private prison complex and Christian evangelical leadership. Christianity has used Christ to take whatever it wants from whomever it wants since the Jacobean era. And the methods used and means employed look a lot more like Putin’s ascension, than any that have ever been attributed to Jesus. Who loves Putin? More importantly – who is it that shares his values?

This ain’t no slip, kids. This is a plan. As a matter of fact – they’re calling it “God’s Plan.”

Progressive Regression – Lies We Tell Ourselves About The Lies We Told Others

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The first day Wikileaks appeared (to me), I researched Assange. He ran for congress in 2013 in the Australian preferential system. A system where all votes are counted. A party recommends to its constituency who their second choice should be – and the voters often, even usually follow suit. Assange selected Australia First. Australia First is a White Supremacist party (think America First for a moment) run by Jim Saleam. A name I surprisingly did not have to look up to submit here because his resume is burned into my brain. He was a leader in an Australian Neo-Nazi group in the 70’s and was jailed for an armed attack and firing shots on The South African Congress.

This is the party to which Julian Assange assigned his second choice – those who would receive the Assange Party votes in the event he did not garner 51 percent. The Russian connection to Assange is easy and has always been there. Putin is an ethnocentric white nationalist leader who has been an exemplar for its growing international movement for decades. While progressive American idealists were arguing Palestine and Jerusalem and fawning over Assange – eating up bizarre and incongruous attacks on Hillary Clinton by way of conspiracy, guess what? Our government was seized in a White Nationalist coup.

Anyone ever notice that Nigel Farange was the first foreign dignitary to meet with Trump? Anyone question why Wikileaks only put out damaging info on the DNC and Clinton? And now that we are here – in the midst of a war of conscience that has pointed its guns at any form of color metering tan to black on a whiteness scale; Do we wonder why a Republican congress turns a blind eye? Do we really wonder why this sycophant collection of greed mongers are okay with collusion of presidential campaigns with foreign entities- and by alliances with agencies such a Wikileaks? Ever wonder why it’s happening? The same reason progressives did it. It suited their agenda. It was useful to promote the false material put out against Hillary Clinton if you were a Sanders supporter. It was useful to draw from PACs like America Rising and American Crossroads and spread it as fact – because their propaganda fostered a seething vitriol against Clinton … and that served a faction of a fragmented but current progressive agenda. Do I believe we should all unite under a corporatist Democratic Party – implications be damned? No. Not at all. But don’t get in bed with the dog and then complain about the fleas. Or in the swamp and cry foul to the alligators.

After these alliances, we’re mad about the alignments no one bothered to worry about before, while the temptation to vilify a perceived enemy was useful. Now we’re upset. Now we would like truth in advertising again. Now we would like all the cheaters hung at the gates of the city. Now we are outraged that MSNBC & CNN, are called fake news while Fox and Breitbart are becoming the source to counter them in a second and almost equally disturbing overthrow. Liars have become the benchmark for truth and their convenience of the time is no longer appealing. Save it. Save your outrage. You are as complicit as Flynn. Every time you drew from that pool -put out a meme – unchecked and unrelated to truth you built the scaffolding underneath the truth war we are in today. Even still though, the bullshit continues. Articles like “Why Susan Sarandon Was Right” might look good on your coffee table while the gang is over to talk about revolution. Don’t forget which revolution you fought in – and for which side. A pawn is reliably unwitting  and seldom self aware enough to look inward when there is so much outwardly to blame. This didn’t bother many people who were for Sanders or for Trump during the heated and detested campaigning. But where did it lead us?

We all have a lot to look at on the truth scale. Let’s be sure in the coming elections this lesson is under our belt. I already see it rising again. And this White Nationalist coup is not over by a stretch –  even if Trump is impeached. This is an international movement and contingencies we haven’t even thought of will arise. Look back on all the glory our progressive body assigned to Assange and the accolades given him for defeating and defaming someone who was not nearly as bad as she was made out to be. Mad at Republicans for doing the same are you? Too bad. It is the same convenience of deception many of us propped our feet upon. If you lean on a convenient lie,  you’ll land in the hole it was pulled from.