Ben Carson says we are drowning in a sea of “political correctness.” Which seems to mean nothing more than that being POLITE and RESPECTFUL interferes with his ability to appeal to the racist, nativist needs of his constituency.
No doubt, some will see my appeal to stop using the terms “illegal” or “illegal aliens” as an attempt to “pretty up” a bad situation by alluding to people’s sense of decency.
Well I am in some ways doing just that. I’m trying to appeal to your sense of decency, if such a thing is still to be found in the body politic of twenty-first century America.
I come by this opinion honestly, meaning that it is not something that I have suddenly acquired, but rather it is the product of a lifelong interest and pursuit of what it means to be an immigrant in America. It starts out in one of those silly situations of life that appear meaningless–being a teen.
We hung out with a bunch of boys from another high school, one more racially diverse than our own, which boasted no African-Americans and as far as I can remember, no notable members of any other ethnic group either. We were all pretty much white folk of one variety or another. Anyway, with my other friends, I was from time to time exposed to “others”. One of them was a kid named Valentine Rodriguez. I can’t remember a thing about him, nor what he looked like, (other than CUTE), but his name I never forgot. I found him as exotic as his name.
Being a resident of Michigan it was not unusual at certain times of the year to see trucks full of brown-skins moving from farm to farm, picking crops. As a lawyer, I also came in contact with migrant workers from time to time as they fell victim as do we all, to various driving infractions that required a court appearance.
When I was in serious examination as to whether I should continue with my entry into the Dominican Order, I contemplated and talked with people from various organizations in D.C. and locally about possible ministries I might engage in once I had reached that point in the convent. I wrote on the topic of Hispanic issues and thrilled to one of the more enticing of theologies–liberation theology, which had developed in the Medellin Conference in the 50’s led by such notable theologians as Gutierrez, Sobrino, and Boff. I devoured their books.
Ultimately I ended up retiring with my husband to Las Cruces, New Mexico, I small city on the southern border of New Mexico, one where the population is fairly evenly split between Anglos and Hispanics.
From all such experiences I have learned a great deal, and my passion, respect, and enjoyment of Hispanic culture in all its multiplicities continues to delight me. My neighbors are so diverse that it truly is a place of no majorities. My life, as you might expect is so thoroughly entwined in the native cultures I live in, that there is a true blending and it would be hard to separate one cultural experience from another, as we adopt bits and pieces from each other and construct a new paradigm that is “New Mexican” in nature.
The need for immigration reform is apparent to all yet the manner of that reform divides white American into deep chasmic chaos. For growling in the depths of the American scene is a harshness and anger that recurs as the continuing call, by a small segment, for the draconian answer to it all being deportation.
While most everyone but the hateful few, know this is both immoral and impractical, it doesn’t stop the arguments. And it doesn’t stop the hurt that is inflicted both upon the undocumented worker him/herself, but also those of us who know them intimately and feel their pain.
It HURTS to hear this sort of talk.
These people first of all, possessed this land long before we did. We here in New Mexico, as well as parts of Texas and Arizona and California, were once Mexico’s lands, and were peopled by them and other natives in the region. That changed when Anglos discovered value in these lands (New Mexico was something of an exception. The land is not so valuable, and so it developed with less of the usual American swagger and power. Today we are a constitutionally bilingual state, and we guard our cultural richness carefully.)
Beyond that historical fact, we must turn to the horrific record of American involvement in South America per se. We have continuously through multiple administrations supported vicious dictatorships who willingly allowed American business interests to rape the country financially (as long as they shared in the stealing) while their populations suffered in poverty. (Thus the rise of Liberation theology to offset the Church’s real past assistance to the dictators in maintaining order.)
So in some real ways the situations in many Latin countries today is one created by Americans, who now it seems are upset that these populations often flee their native lands in search of some hope of a future for their families. They cross the border because we in part are responsible for the fact that their native countries are a wasteland of poverty and crime.
Look, people from South America are no different from you. If they come here destitute, unskilled, and with nowhere to turn, it is no fault of their own. If they send their children across hundreds of miles of lands to reach America, they do it because it is far safer for them this way than to remain in their countries. They love their kids, and want the best life possible for them. They are no different from you.
And when they come here, the vast majority find friends or relatives who have come before. They seek employment. They work hard jobs that you probably don’t want, at wages you would not tolerate.
Yet, there is an ugliness that surrounds the issue as people like Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal and others demand that more severe alternatives be considered other than what most see as humane and fair–a process that will lead to citizenship for people who have lived here for decades.
And it results in awful statements by folks with little actual data suggesting that they are taking stuff that belongs to “us”. The facts are otherwise.
Much is made about the supposed “fact” that undocumented people “get government freebies”. This is not true. They don’t. They are not eligible for welfare, food stamps or Medicaid. They pay into the SS through their taxes and do not become eligible to receive any of the benefits. They do this to the tune of $100 billion in the last decade alone.
They do not take American jobs. As pointed out, most Americans won’t do the jobs they will. Any number of studies show this to be true. Ask Alabama what happened when it became illegal to hire anyone who was undocumented. Their crops rotted in the field as white workers found the work “too hard” or “boring” and walked off the job after a few hours.
Current estimates are that they pay in between 10-11 BILLION more taxes than they receive through any source. They thus add a positive to the economy that is numbered at about 10 billion annually. The is above and beyond what they send back to their home countries to help remaining relatives.
They are told to get to the “end of the line.” The “line” is now 4.4 million people long, and there is no real hope that any of them could enter legally for years. In 2013, nearly 73,000 parents were deported from their so-called anchor babies. They will not be allowed to return until their child is 21 and can petition for their return.
Worse yet, in a climate that claims that they are a strong criminal element in the country, the studies and numbers show otherwise. In the ten-year period between 96-06, statistics show that crime was lower in the states with the highest illegal immigration rates.
Those are facts.
Just for fun ask yourself this: Do you think the Canadians referred to Americans who fled to their country to avoid the draft as “illegal aliens”? The answer is no. They were referred to as “immigrants” and processed accordingly.
What must be admitted or realized is that all the scary stuff is designed to make you afraid. And fear motivates people to vote. And they want you to vote for them, not because their words are true, but simply because fear of ANYTHING works for them.
We, down here in the borderlands (yes, that’s the term we actually use), find your hysteria silly and amusing and sad and disgusting all at once.
It needs to stop. These are real people, just like you and I. And it’s time we give them the help and compassion they deserve. They pull their weight and then some. It’s time to recognize your misdirection and seek the real source of your misery–the sleight-of-hand-artists who depend on your acquiescence in their desire for power and money.
Watching the events play out in Baltimore is an education to some, to others, it’s a why question. Why didn’t this happen sooner? The fact is whether you like it or not, life in the inner city is purely shit for the average African-American citizen.
Every deck is stacked against the individual trying to survive. Poor schools, no jobs are just the beginning. We see nothing less than a systematic attempt to herd “unwelcomes” into small enclaves and then devote all our money and energies to “other interests.”
We not only condone racism in this country but we grow it.
We demean people even when we give them the pittances we do, by making them take drug tests, and defining what food stamps can be used for, and attaching so many rules and regulation to any sort of assistance that you end up in the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenario.
And when people rise up out of anger and frustration and disgust at the injustices they endure, we blame it all back on them and their “fatherless” homes, where unfortunate black youths learn no morals or sense of obedience to authority. Above all that, they have no respect for their betters.
One young man fairly told Geraldo Rivera to take his white ass and get out of town. They recognize Fox for what it is, purveyors of hate upon their heads. Geraldo, the youth said, you are only interested in filming what you call “thugs” rioting. You and Fox haven’t been interested in coming here to report on the daily injustice that we face.
To those of us who have engaged in the criminal justice system in this country in large metropolitan cities, we know all too well of what the young man speaks. As Alan Dershowitz explained in his Rules of the Justice Game, “almost all police officers lie about whether they violated the constitution in order to convict guilty defendants”, (rule IV) and all prosecutors, judges and defense attorneys are aware of rule IV. Worse, they look the other way. Like it or not, it’s true.
The recent public exposure of these cases of police overreach, abuse and lying comes as no surprise to us. I recall a dear friend of mine, a street cop from Detroit, whom I had argued with good-naturedly about whether police could do their job and still tell the truth. He was called to testify on an arrest and to make his point to me, told the truth. The case was dismissed for lack of “probable cause”. He grinned at me, as he walked from the courtroom. “See what you get when you tell the truth?”
We understood it, and we accepted it as a the way life was. We knew that in most cases the officers were at least sure they had the right guy.
But there is a segment of police officers within each department who do not care. They figure one black body is as good as any other, and they have ambitions, and a host of emotionally based reasons for throwing their authority around and not caring who gets caught up in their game.
Therein lies the problem.
And a solution comes from an unlikely source:
The gangs of Baltimore.
The major gangs have declared a truce, and apparently are devoting their time and efforts to helping their community respond in a politically helpful way to the recurrent injustice visited upon them in general and in the Freddie Gray case in particular.
It boggles the mind. Young men hell-bent on killing each other, and unfortunately any innocents that get in the way, have come together and agreed that for now at least, they will stop the violence against each other, and help organize their community to stop police violence against them all.
This is no small thing. Thinking, educated, above middle-class men and women only a few miles away, encased in a glorious white facade of sandstone and marble, are unable to agree upon even the most basic of things because screwing the black guy in the White House seems paramount.
Yet these young men have agreed to set aside their differences and work together for the common good of their community.
And the gang has a good deal to offer should it choose to actually follow through. Long the center of loyalty, and business acumen (albeit illegal) it mirrors many good traits that the young can well adopt. Strong Black men, helping their community? What’s not to like here. They teach loyalty, respect, and how purpose can bring about change. Somehow in their matriarchal upbringing, they have managed to become quite savvy at things they aren’t supposed to understand at all.
They in a real sense complement their environment, reflecting an honest if not legal response to the tremendous burdens and disadvantages heaped upon them since birth. They have the ability to encourage the younger kids coming up at least in the character requirements of making their way in a racist world while still standing firm for dignity.
No one argues that gangs are stellar examples to our youth. They have not been since the days of the Irish gangs, the Puerto Rican ones or any of the others. But all ethnic groups plagued with the criminal element within have always managed to take those good attributes and bettered themselves and their communities. And the Black community is no different. It too learns the right lessons along with the less savory.
Larry Wilmore, on his show The Nightly Show, did a most important thing on Thursday. He sat down with gang bangers in a diner and just talked. And they were articulate, and politically aware, and sincere. And that matters and should matter, and should make us hang our heads in shame when we cannot expect better from our paid politicians, and we cannot seem to expect more of ourselves in insisting on our own justice from the tyranny of big money and big K Street influence.
Perhaps it will be the gangs of Baltimore that will lead the way in helping us to see that we are not without recourse in our own struggles to retake command of our government. We need merely to stop focusing on our differences and agree that we are not being heard. None of us, for anything. And it’s time to change that. And if it takes a gang to explain that to us, well, more power to them.
And that’s a compliment in case you didn’t realize it.
We participate in SoCS.
Like the post on war, this is a post I don’t write with joy. I write because sadly, it still needs to be said. But here I do not write in the anguish that I might hurt people I care about. I frankly don’t give a damn. For if you are hurt by what I say, then you damn well need to hurt because this shit has gone on quite long enough.
I don’t speak from some high mountain of arrogance, for I was raised in a racist environment where such things were taken for granted. I cast racial slurs as a child, mimicking the adults around me. No black face walked the halls of my high school or walked my neighborhoods let alone lived within it.
I was a child of the Civil Rights Movement, but surely not old enough to realize its importance at the time. Common sense, much touted as of late by a number of uneducated and thus defensive people I know, was not enough to show me or my friends and family that separating people by something so silly as skin color was stupid. It was not until I moved into the world and interacted with people of color that I realized the insanity of discrimination.
Later, I spent better than twenty years, living among, working with, loving, and befriending hundreds of people of color and I saw all the more clearly how warped we become when we use such elements as divisions rather than celebrations of diversity.
We, in our days of college, when we sipped of the vine of how the world ought to be, and would be under our tutelage, sincerely believed that all this would be behind us in the next generation, long gone by the 80’s, or at least by the 90’s.
There are a variety of reasons why this did not happen. Those who remained unexposed to integration through much of their adulthood did not move on to that better place. Much of it can be put at the feet of a misunderstanding of the role of truth and how it plays across the spectrum of the human psyche.
Those of us who are rational beings, driven by facts and rational conclusions think evidence, facts, and reasoned argument will carry the day. Truth changes mind we surmise.
But alas, it truly does not for a great portion of individuals. Study after study today shows that people in general, but most especially the conservative mind refuses to accept “facts” once their minds are made up. In fact, they become even more set in their error the more you present them with facts. They come up with all sorts of irrational reasons why they need not accept your data. It is flawed (without explaining how), usually by being the product of “the liberal press”, a thing that in reality is hard to define, and harder to actually find.
When attacked for their intransigence, the bigot gets predictably defensive. Liberals are accused of “always playing the race card”. Worse, they attempt to adopt MLK as one of their own (he was a Republican they shout), but the ONLY phrase they know of all the things he said was the hope that someday little children would be “judged by the content of their character, rather than the color of their skin.” This they fervently insist is what they do. It’s not their fault that most of “those black people” whether they be young black men in low-hanging jeans, or incarcerated young black men, or poor women paying with food-stamps just “happen” to have no good character.
They are blind to the racism they exhibit even honestly, to the degree that they now accuse liberals of being the racists. This comes from the usual cesspool of right-wing media efforts used to gin up their fear while at the same time sanctifying their hate. Suddenly the Democratic Party “uses” blacks for votes while keeping them enslaved. Presumably Democrats and liberals in general aren’t versed in the “tough love” that conservatives know needs be employed to force “these people” to stand up for themselves and take charge of their lives in the white American” way. There are always the black Toms willing to dance to the conservative tune in return for a pretence of acceptance and a moment in the spotlight.
Nobody, it is true, wishes to face their own irrational hatred. Conservatives can be forgiven in some sense for their failures, but that does not mean that we can stop pushing back against the insidious evil of their defenses.
America is still racist. And it may be that it will remain so for a good long time to come, until at least every vestige of “that’s the way those people are” is eradicated from the family conversation. When aunt Carole and grandpa George have finally died and their anecdotes have finally vanished from family memory, maybe we can get beyond this ugly impasse.
The nativism which strangles us today in the guise of a vocal and ugly minority who can’t stop railing against “illegals” will, with the turn of time and the grace of God, be stamped down once again and relegated to the dust bin as it should be. Immigrants, ALL illegals at one time, built this country into what it is today. We cannot escape ourselves no matter how much we run. Meanwhile, millions suffer from the ubiquitous “other” leveled at them in the guise of “illegal” and cantaloupe calves”.
Ferguson shows us white folks what black folks have always known. We are deeply racist, unconsciously and consciously so. We make jokes at the expense of people based solely on their color, though we quickly give excuses as to why it’s about something else. That in itself should alert us that we still are diseased.
The abuses of Ferguson are appalling. They “shock the conscience” as the Supreme Court once announced. Yet they are not news to African-Americans ANYWHERE in America. It is not shocking to many of us whites either, at least those of us who have close ties to minority groups and have experienced first hands the uneven-handedness of law enforcement vis-a-vis black and brown communities.
This racism which is still so rampant has lain dormant in the public mind for decades. In some real sense Obama’s presidency has brought these things to the forefront. The incessant clamor by some members of the hardest of Right wing apologists that Obama is not a “real” American, not like us, not American at all, but Kenyan, not a Christian, thereby raising a religious test the opposite of that which faced John F. Kennedy regarding concerns about his Catholicism, has ironically brought forth exactly what they did not want. People are talking about the elephant in the room again.
So in some sense, the ugly racism expressed by the Tea Party at their rallies with their placards, and the “jokes” discovered in emails of elected Republicans, has served to bring the issue back to the fore. People who from some insane sick place in their minds refer to the President of the United States as the “anti-Christ” and a “monkey” have reaped their own whirlwind.
They have done the fine job of reminding us who have become complacent, that indeed this is not a post-racial world at all.
When I hear people become indignant that this official or that one fails to tout American exceptionalism, I cringe. With a history such as ours, starting with the near genocide of our Native Peoples, where do we get this notion of being exceptional? America started out an amazing dream, yet we had already begun our destruction of Native Peoples before we began. And we continued it and racism long after, flouting in some real sense the flowery language of Jefferson’s Declaration. We may forgive Jefferson as a man of his time, for the “all men are created equal” not meaning either women or men of color, but we cannot forgive that that failure proceeded to this very day.
People who have to “blame” some “others” for their own failures in life, must get up the courage to face themselves and their racism. They must admit that they have and do judge people based on a physical reaction to the color of their skin. Judgements are made immediately about their value, their likely occupation, and a whole host of attributes which are then barriers that must be overcome before they consider them in any way, “equal.” And in most cases this equality doesn’t extend to welcoming “them” into their families as relatives, or close friends.
There is no scientific evidence that color has anything to do with intelligence. Racial distinctions are not scientific by any standard, but are political constructions made for reasons of discrimination.
As much as it may pain you to alter your thinking, you must do it. Justice demands it. And decency demands it. God demands it. Stop the madness. HONOR SELMA!
Cuz a girl’s gotta write since it’s my passion, and there is always the miniscule hope, (for we all know that it springs eternal) that some poor bastard out there who was “damn the President for dissin’ Christians” will awaken from the fog of dissonance and the clear bell of enlightenment will ring forth: “I was once stupid and now I am not.”
Such is at least my justification for this essay.
I just happened to be tuned in the other morning as the President gave the traditional speech at the National Prayer Meetin’ which is held annually in Washington where all the sinners come to pretend they are doin’ their very best to apply God’s law as they slip another check from Exxon-Mobile and JP Morgan, into their $3000 suits.
The President, as we all know, has pretty much given up on the idea that facts, and good logic will get him anywhere, and as of late has pursued a policy of “screw you, try to stop me” and a general “fuck you” to Congressional Republicans who are fresh off the latest round of “ain’t got no bootstraps with which to pay for healthcare? Well die, you dog, and make room for those who do.”
As every good American knows, there’s the guys in the black hats (bad) and the guys in the white hats (good) always near to the scene. America is built upon this scenario and we have all the cheesy old westerns to prove it. Let us introduce the latest and best entry into the black hats category. A group known as ISIS (not to be confused with an Egyptian god) or ISIL if you have a clue what Levant means.
ISIL is a slipshod group of thugs who claim a perverted understanding of Islam which they use to justify their attempts to take over the world. Since their threat is pretty much everywhere, that means just about everyone else gets to be the guys in the white hats, but Merika of course always has to lead, cuz we are the super, super white hats.
Anyway, if you hadn’t noticed, we have a fair share of Arab Muslims (and Arabs in general) who live in the US, and boy I sure wouldn’t want to be them, since Americans are flighty people who tend to assess blame against whole swaths of people since it’s just easier. We learned that from the movies too, where it’s often best to “shoot first and ask questions later.” Anyway, even the dumbest of President (that would be you Dubya) have realized that it’s really not a good idea to let the great stupid mobs of American whiteness carry on in this manner, and so they are always at pains of ‘splainin’ to the stupid white people that NOT ALL ARABS ARE MUSLIMS AND MORE IMPORTANT NOT ALL MUSLIMS ARE KILLERS. In fact the huge majority are not, but are just peace-loving, family-seeking individuals like you and me.
Now Dubya can say nice things about Arab Muslims, and even hold hands with them, and nobody thinks a thing bad about it. He can even share a short peck and not even be thought particularly gay. Just good old American manners.
And he can say all kinds of nice things about Muslims to remind dumb American white people that it’s never a good idea to paint a brush too broad.
“America treasures the relationship we have with our many Muslim friends, and we respect the vibrant faith of Islam which inspires countless individuals to lead lives of honesty, integrity, and morality. This year, may Eid also be a time in which we recognize the values of progress, pluralism, and acceptance that bind us together as a Nation and a global community. By working together to advance mutual understanding, we point the way to a brighter future for all.” Presidential Message Eid al-Fitr December 5, 2002
But when President Obama reminds us that there are bad people in all religions historically who have done really bad things
Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history. And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ. . .So this is not unique to one group or one religion. There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith. In today’s world, when hate groups have their own Twitter accounts and bigotry can fester in hidden places in cyberspace, it can be even harder to counteract such intolerance. But God compels us to try.
the hue and cry from the extreme right in this country rose like a phoenix, screaming that such utterly evil words had never been spoken in all of our democracy. Former Governor of Virginia, Jim Gillmore was “outraged” having never heard a more terrible thing from the lips of a President. Santorum and Limbaugh chimed in with their mortification of Christianity today being compared to the unspeakable ISIS killers. And on it went, the rallying cry being “this is not a moral equivalency!!”
And it was not suggested as such either, if you read the text.
It was meant to remind everyone that while the killings by ISIS are horrific, we as humans have been doing horrific things to each other since the inception of so-called civilization, and a good deal of it has been veiled in perverted religious beliefs. People find it most convenient to put on the mask of religion to disguise their blatant lust for power and to express their hatred and fear. It has always been so. ISIS is no different in that respect than all the others. It is no more heinous, no more bloody certainly, and no more representative of the faith it espouses than any of the others were.
A few examples should suffice.
African-Americans in this country were often burned at the stake during slavery and Jim Crow. If you don’t think it was done in the name of Christianity, then read the words of the Confederate Vice President Alexander Stevens:
[T]he first government ever instituted upon the principles in strict conformity to nature, and the ordination of Providence, in furnishing the materials of human society … With us, all of the white race, however high or low, rich or poor, are equal in the eye of the law. Not so with the negro. Subordination is his place. He, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system. The architect, in the construction of buildings, lays the foundation with the proper material-the granite; then comes the brick or the marble. The substratum of our society is made of the material fitted by nature for it, and by experience we know that it is best, not only for the superior, but for the inferior race, that it should be so.
It is, indeed, in conformity with the ordinance of the Creator. It is not for us to inquire into the wisdom of His ordinances, or to question them. For His own purposes, He has made one race to differ from another, as He has made “one star to differ from another star in glory.” The great objects of humanity are best attained when there is conformity to His laws and decrees, in the formation of governments as well as in all things else. Our confederacy is founded upon principles in strict conformity with these laws.
The charred body of Jesse Washington pictured above was in 1905 in Waco. The deaths of countless other African-Americans during Jim Crow by lynching, by the KKK (which always has a “Christian” front), occured. George Wallace invoked the name of God dozens of times in his 1963 inaugural address where he also famously uttered the words, “Segregation now. . .segregation tomorrow. . .segregation forever.”
The extreme Right-Wingers will tell you that the Crusades were wars of defense. Yet the arguable owners of that land were Palestinians and Jews. Muslims lay claim based on Muhammad. Yet Christians have no real claim certainly any greater than Jews or Muslims. All claim the area as holy. Yet when the first Crusade ended, the city of Jerusalem was cleared of all non-Christians, and by cleared I mean murdered. Jews who barricaded themselves in their synagogues were burned to death and survivors sold into slavery. All told the Crusades occurred over about 200 years, ending in 1291 or so.
When Saladin recaptured Jerusalem, only then were Jews allowed to return and live in relative freedom. This was in 1187, nearly a hundred years later.
They claim that the Inquisition was “political” as if that means something.
In fact the Inquisition was instituted by Pope Innocent III and set up by Pope Gregory IX. Confessors to heresy were burned alive. In 1242 the Talmud was condemned and burnings of Jews began in France in 1288. The Inquisition was begun in Spain for fear of “secret Jews” and the Conversos (those that had converted at pain of death in the first place and were suspected of retaining their true Judaic beliefs). In Seville alone more than 700 Jews were burned to death. By the time it ended in 1808, nearly 32,000 died by fire.
And the Inquisition was not just in Spain and France. It spread to Portugal and then to New World colonies and throughout Asia as well.
We need not but mention the Troubles in Ireland in which religion was the division between sides. Or that of India/Pakistan again, where religion affiliation defined the sides.
It is not that religion perverts human souls, but that some small sick group humans use religion to perpetrate their own evils upon the world.
President Obama, in the hopes of tamping down the ugly nativism that is so beginning to plague this nation with its ugly hate, attempted to remind us that we all have blood upon our hands. ISIS is but the latest in a long line of evil people doing evil things in the name of their perverted version of God.
** Let me recommend Jeff Sharlet’s book The Family which documents the shady and weird folks behind the National Prayer Breakfast.
**Also a great read is Karen Armstrong’s Fields of Blood which argues that religion has played a lesser role in most violence historically, however much it may have been the cover story. I’ve not read this but I’ve read others of hers and she is a uniquely qualified religious scholar who is highly respected for her scholarship. She was once a nun herself.
See, God is a little bit busy these days. If you hadn’t heard, a lot of children have been making their way to Merika these days, fleeing, you know, violence. Although nobody seems to talk much about that, the violence that is.
A vocal if hopefully small herd of mean people call them “illegals” and scream at the kids, telling them to “go back home”. Some have suggested that a well aimed firearm at the border might do the trick just fine, and no one of course should think they are meaning anything violent by that call to arms.
While not going quite this far, but *nudge nudge, wink wink* maybe they are, a couple of our pious types have ‘splained to us, the spiritually lacking, that this is all part of God’s plan. Brian Fischer, blasphemer-erradicator in charge of American values said thusly:
“Our southern border is there by God’s design. To disregard it, to treat it as if were not there, to regard it as something not worth respecting and defending, is an insult to the God who put it there for our benefit.”
“Yes, Jesus loved children, but he also respected law. He said, render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,” Jeffress clarified for the faithful on Fox News. “So, we need to do both. Show compassion, but secure the borders.”
Just before leaving office, on Dec. 23, 2008, George W. Bush signed into law the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. This bipartisan measure, named for a 19th century British abolitionist, was aimed at extending and beefing up efforts to prevent and prosecute human trafficking and protect the victims of trafficking. More importantly, it described exactly how unaccompanied children crossing the border must be treated.
I have to believe that when you don’t respond in any way that you are either inept or you have some ulterior motive of which you are functioning from,” Perry said during an interview on ABC’s “This Week.”
We in America are again caught in that position we so often find ourselves in–telling the rest of the world how to behave, all the while doing the in-opposite at home. Another shaming moment in the US of A.
One thing leads to another and I became immersed in the history of this state.
As you may or may not know, New Mexico was settled first by Native peoples, mostly Navajo, Apache and Ute. It was claimed as part of the Spanish Empire. It was not named New Mexico after the country of Mexico, but by early Spanish Conquistadors who, coming north from Mexica (the Aztec Empire) thought to find gold there, and called it such meaning the New Aztec Empire. This was back in 1563, long before the English had entered upon the Eastern Coast of North America
Later, it was claimed by the new country of Mexico, in the 1860’s, then a US territory, and finally a state in 1912.
All of this bears intimately on our flag.
The colors red and yellow are in honor of Queen Isabella of Castile, the colors brought to this continent by the conquistadors. The symbol in the center is a sun symbol, and relates to the Zia pueblo where such insignias were found on pottery by archeologists.
It’s rays reaching out in four directions refer to the four directions on the compass, the four seasons of the year, by the four divisions of the 24-hour day, sunrise, noon, evening, night, and in the four seasons of life, childhood, youth, adulthood and old age.
The Zia believed that life contained four obligations:
- The development of a strong body,
- The development of a strong mind.
- The development of a pure spirit.
- The devotion to family and people.
“I salute the flag of the state of New Mexico, the Zia symbol of perfect friendship among united cultures.”
“Saludo la bandera del estado de Nuevo Mejico, el simbolo zia de amistad perfecta, entre culturas unidas.”
You see, of all of the American Southwest, only New Mexico was not found to be “valuable” from an Anglo point of view. Thus New Mexico escaped much of the animosity and warring that occurred as Anglos sought to take away lands from Hispanics who had held these lands for generations in places like California, Arizona and Texas.
We have always been a place where a melding of cultures has been accepted as being right and proper. While not officially bilingual, the state did adopt the English Plus approach which encourages the teaching of other languages. A Navajo textbook is used in the state. Jurors are not disqualified by speaking Spanish only.
While border problems have not been unknown historically, it is seldom if never that one reads of any problem in the local Las Cruces newspaper or hears about problems on the local news. Being only 40 miles from the border, surely we would be hearing about it if such issues were occurring regularly.
Given that the two cultures are so incredibly intertwined and have been for ever, I think the average New Mexican looks upon all the craziness of places like Alabama and Iowa and their screaming about “border security” with a bit of bemusement and no little anger.
Well, enough of that. This is not a history lesson on the State of New Mexico. It’s just interesting to see how one similarly-placed state sees the whole issue of amnesty and immigration in an entirely different way than do significant portions of the Republican party at least.
I’d sure like to hear about interesting factoids about your state or country. Please do tell.
On the other hand, we’ve decided we are through with most media news. We started with ABC, gave up in disgust, went to NBC, then CBS and then remained with PBS. Now we are through with it too. For some reason journalists think their job is to “give both sides” and leave it at that. No investigation as to undeniable facts, no push back on broad but unsupported allegations, just a nod and on to the next question on the list.
The trouble is, we are living in a time of stark differences. There are not often “two sides” rather there is a side supported by evidence and a side supported by wishful thinking. Some of this permeates both sides of the spectrum of left-right, but more often than not, the wild-eyed incredulous nonsense emanates from one side only.
Fox has successfully ranted about the “liberal” media (which is not supported by facts) and the mainstream media has out of fear of the label, decided the best course is to simply let both sides spout as they wish. Yes the mainstream media is probably composed of more liberals than conservatives, but it remains the case that the overarching ownership of most mainstream media remains in corporate hands who by and large are essentially conservative. The fact is that the journalism (if you can call it that) is not at liberty to do as they wish, but are supervised by larger corporate interests.
So the mainstream has caved to a charge not born out, and is essentially worthless in my opinion. To the vast majority of citizens, giving them both sides is akin to giving them nothing at all. They are not, like myself and those who are passionate, going to investigate and research to find if one side is vastly better in truth-telling than the other. So they do whatever they do in choosing between what they see as two equal sides. This is what you hear when people claim that the “entire Congress” is useless. They see both sides the same.
So, we have moved to BBC-America, which gives no more than one item on the US and the rest international. Since we don’t get Al Jazeerra in our cable package, this is the best we can do. Frankly both the Contrarian and I read all the national news over the Internet already, so we aren’t missing much.
Oh, and if anybody has forsworn cable in favor of other options, Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, please do tell. We lost ABC for 3 weeks over some dispute, picked up our favorite shows online, and with a cable moved them to our TV, so we got the idea we might be able to find almost all of what we watch and save a bundle. Most prices for non-cable are around $80 a year vs. $80/month for a barebones cable package. Weigh in on any info you can offer please.
That’s it for me today. Happy Boo day.