Posted in life, media, world

History repeats (and repeats and repeats)

In a different time, in a different era, the world still sought out peace. No one had the answers then and no one has the answers now.

54 years ago a nation decided they might have found a way to deal with the problems that were plaguing them. At least for the time being, at least so that everyone would take their gaze off America. At least so that things could be normal for a time.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was and still is a landmark civil rights law in the United States. It was monumental in the way in which it specified how civil rights should be applied based on race, religion, color, sex, or national origin. Powers were weak at first but grew more supportive as years went by and supplements were made. It was initially proposed by President John F. Kennedy asking for legislation to be made which gives all Americans the rights to places and things that are open to the public already (hotels, restaurants). Please keep in mind that, especially in the South, Jim Crow laws were really still being enforced until 1965. A lot of places were still segregated, including public schools.

Anyway, since the bill was filibustered in the Senate in President Kennedy’s time, it was President Lyndon B. Johnson that pushed it forward and signed it into law on July 2, 1964. A quote that might speak to the political climate of the time: “The bill divided and engendered a long-term change in the demographic support of support of both parties.” Things were heating up, for sure not everyone liked the bill. Some were sure it would lead to things they were not comfortable with such as desegregation and the possibility of infringing on the right to segregate based on race. So, yes there were numerous concerns and a multitude of race concerns that this bill was not addressing at the core.

On the topic of segregation today we are great. On the topic of racial discrimination and iniquity, we are scores better than during this time. However, today people think deeper. People worry more about how they will be perceived by someone of another race, gender or class in their workplace and in public. If you’re black, we’re talking about the police here. If you’re Hispanic, you worry about your safety and home being taken away from you as well as your family. If you’re Muslim, you worry when there is a terrorist attack that they might just be Muslim even though you try to remember that America is supposed to be passed that, right?

No answers. Cold shoulders. Locked out Senate. Mismanaged White House.

Still searching, still hoping that the phrase “history repeats itself” means nothing anymore.

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Posted in media, society, world

On failing to live out a surmountable goal

(also read this on this occasion).

They say you’ve reached the main location of promise. Of discovery. Of eternal bliss. It’s the place between forgiveness and dissent. No country is really there yet but we can hope to get there sometime soon. We can dream that we have achieved greatness by ignoring the needs of the most responsible or upright citizens. Who is to say that anyone has ignored anyone. Suffice to say, it’s not a “war.” It’s a battle, if it was a real war there would be more ships cruising along in the clouds with blood splattering everywhere feeling all revolutionary. Oh wait. Guess that already happened, we’re just waiting for the last moments of sanity to come crashing down.

***

I think that in the current year, 2018, it is a good time to be raw. Let’s get honest about what we as a society expect. We can’t fully appreciate what we have and the opportunities we have if we always take them for granted. What is real equality and have we reached it? Are women equal? Are people equal?

The answer to all these things is a firm no. There might not be any balance to be found there either. If there is then it will be found at a later time. At a time when we are are living our last moments on Earth is when we stop caring because we know that it doesn’t matter what efforts we made, what matters is how the next group tries to fix the problems. We try to raise up a generation that will care about the environment, social causes, human rights, and equality. However, we also want children to have a mind to think for themselves. To be able to know what they want, but also be smart enough to know the difference between right and wrong. The things that are right are seldom made as an example to do again, while we stress the wrongs even as they continue to occur. For example: It’s wrong to punch or hit so it is “wrong.” What about helping a stranger or donating money to a local charity? Those are the “right” that we don’t talk about unless it’s in one of those “people on the street” videos that many seem to love doing.

Anyway, on this day remember what you have. Remember what others do not have. Always be grateful. What can you do more of? You can be the change you want to see, by giving back your time. You can start a chain reaction by simply creating connections with people who are not like you or those your social circle does not associate with. Step outside your comfort zone and realize that people, regardless of skin color, age, gender, ethnicity, background, or social status are all just people.

“How about this weather?” seems lame but in this case try it and see where it takes you. I hope you have many scintillating conversations with all kinds of people this year.

 

[image attribution: Ebony Magazine, 1955 (public domain) via Wikimedia Commons]

Posted in changes, Community, inspiration

On losing things and people

Tragedy is one of those things in which you forget to live. Forget your reason for living. Maybe you know that “life must go on” but you can’t imagine possibly doing that. How could you when you’ve lost practically everything of worth?

On that note, no one expects anyone to grieve in great celebration. Because obviously, this is not a time to celebrate anything. It’s a time to reflect, sure, but the sadness that is coated in that reflection can leave one feeling pretty bleak. It’s probably why so many force themselves to “celebrate life.” Because the truth is that we cannot ignore that we are alive. Life should be celebrated no matter who or what is in question. No matter their deeds. No matter what. Celebrate the moments, even if they were brief to let yourself know that you are alright. To feel something. An emotion that releases great power within you will be the light that shines the brightest for you.

So as you think about the things you lost, also think about the things you have not. The things that are leading you to the happy moments right now. You are happy. You are content at the very least. You are not going to let small fears define you. It doesn’t have to be so easy to make you feel as though you are not worth anything. You are worth more than all the terrible things that could possibly occur to you. Because bad things don’t always define a person. Circumstance might, but sometimes that knocks the wind a bit too. What do you have left? You have hope. Hold onto that hope because you can’t let it down.

****

It might be hard to cope. It might be hard to even think of the word cope on the spot. Forget about a eulogy, you need to breathe. Everyone needs solace in a time of great fear. In a time when everything and everyone seems uncertain, you seek refuge in the familiar. When the winds continue to blow in the wrong direction, you start to wonder why you even cared that they blew in that direction. Maybe your house fell apart. Maybe your store is flooded. Maybe your school is closed and maybe you are having a meltdown and tore whatever you have left apart. You are screaming. You are sitting on the floor now. Your hands are on your knees and you weep. For those you have lost. For the things you could not save. For the years and time you will never get back. You cry because you failed. You hold onto the bed behind you and feel its stench. It’s all too much. It smells like failure, too. Then, you stay on the floor for a long time. You don’t come out of the room because going out would mean facing a sad reality no one should have to endure. Your heart breaks just thinking about walking past the door. More hours pass. You finally have to get up to relieve yourself. You realize things cannot be healed without time. You call a loved one. You feel grateful. You call a friend, you make a plan to help out. Your community needs you. You need them. Work with those around you to help cope, to help rebuild.

Life has to go on, but healing will always have slow moving steps to the finish line. The finish line being wherever you want it to be, as long as it brings a future of happy moments and less hate on yourself.

 

(featured image)

 

Posted in life, media, world

On guns in America

credit: http://www.army.mil/article/37331/

So, I’m back again. If you’re reading this, then yay. I’ve been thinking for some time now about how guns in America mean so much to so many people, when it doesn’t have to at all. There are some who cling hard to their guns and religion, while others who may have before are realizing the impact of guns and slowly giving them up. Those that don’t, well know that you are caught in a a vicious cycle.

A cycle in which you feel that guns are bad, but not terrible, but then terrible again. It’s all the shootings and tragedies which seem to be occurring at a rapid pace in the last few years (full timeline of all shootings from the past 17 years). From small-town shootings to large scale bloodshed, it has gone way too far. It’s been said probably way too many times as well that this needs to stop and changes need to be made. Background checks should be mandatory, but will this stop anything? Will this make people change their way of thinking? It is likely that is will only give rise to another person who will get the idea that he should shoot.

I’m going to be real and say that I hate guns. I do. I think that there are many that will never stop hunting or holding a gun because it is a part of them and that is alright, but it is not the best solution either. The problem persists because everyone has different viewpoints. It is an issue which shows how divided the country is and the tensions there are about the subject. Pres. Obama is no doubt tired, but determined that an open conversation regarding gun control can take place in this country. It can happen, but there has to be an understanding and a somewhat surrender of beliefs. You don’t have to give up everything, but you do have to give up the need to hold on to them. It’s not always healthy.

The media grabs ahold of a shooting as soon as it happens. This is helpful to us as a nation to better get a glimpse of who they were. To all shooters everywhere it is almost like a message saying: These were real people, with real families and lives. Anderson Cooper is famous for seeking out a personal side to his reports and shooting victims were no exception. You can see him honoring and paying tribute to some victims from various shootings here and here. The point being that it’s hard for everyone, but particularly those who are involved. They never asked to be involved and they never asked to lose anyone. This causes people to listen, but somehow not fully listening because in a few short weeks it doesn’t matter anymore and everyone is worried about their healthcare coverage again.

If you ask me most people, especially the victims in a tragedy, go through something like the five stages of grief. The five stages are: Denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and eventually acceptance. Most people go through this at one time in their life or another is what I think. Grief is a powerful indicator, if nothing else that things need to change and that time has stopped moving. For whatever reason though, it still keeps happening and we still must move on someway. Though we don’t always know how.

More resources:
After Newtown: Guns in America (PBS Special)
Guns in America: A Loaded
Relationship (NPR Special Series)

America Under the Gun: A Special Report on Guns and the Rise of Mass Shootings (Mother Jones)

“Maybe this world is another planet’s hell.” –Aldous Huxley

Posted in life

Why ever not?

Sometimes we do things we don’t understand and sometimes we do things we wish we had done. There is no point to this post, except I think I’m trying to make it. Not sure what’s going down with the world but I think it’s all probably for the worse anyway.

Sometimes we look at one another and think to ourselves, what is the point of even trying? But why give up either? See, the way I see it the world is so messed up and as much as we try to fix it it only makes things worse. Because the earth is filled with these things called humans who populate cities, towns, and countries with their love and hate. What else can be said about the human condition except that it keeps on moving, keeps on going? Hearts break, people bend themselves over to squeeze in what they think actually matters. It doesn’t. None of it does.

If you’re in the U.S., then you are aware of what is going down with the healthcare. You either are for it or against it, but more than likely you have no idea what it all means and just want a sandwich. I mention this, because there go the people again trying to fix things. In this case, for the good of the country. Obviously creating a rift between parties, for better or worse though no one really cares about the details at this point. I can’t say that nothing really affects me, because it does. I’m aware of what’s going on and I think that at the same time I’m not really absorbing any of it. So, no I don’t care but I do think that as a society we focus too much on what could be and too little on what is. That probably made no sense, but whatever. I don’t think people look at things as affecting them, because they are viewed by others in the larger society in a different way. Judging people, focusing too much on goals that are kind of arbitrary (yes, goals are important but whatever details, details), and we sometimes forget that not all of us think the same way about things like the future.

As humans we think too hard and too much. That’s probably the biggest fault of society. The biggest fault of this generation is not thinking hard enough. The millennials and youth can be resourceful, oh yes they can. But, the question is “what is the point” whenever they¬† we do something. I guess I could go on about this forever. I just wanted to get another post in before the month ends, because you know life.

**

Oh, and here is some awesome music from two awesome bands. Because, why ever not.


Posted in changes

Doing Something Different

Alright, well it is a new year so I guess that means changing things. In what way? Not really sure yet, but trying to get there slowly. Well, first off I have A LOT of books I want to read this year as well as movies I haven’t seen yet that I want to see. More than that, I plan to apply to different jobs once I get my resume and cover letter organized and critiqued a few times. It’s time to think about how I want to view myself in a few years or down the road.

A friend of mine got engaged last year and her wedding is in the Spring. It’s so crazy to think about, but it’s really happening. I’m thinking more school and more fun before I go there though. Also, today is National Hugging Day and supposedly we should all be happy. Not just today, but everyday. Hug someone. This is kind of crazy for me to be endorsing because as my family and friends would know, I am no fan of hugs. But, sometimes you just need a moment to grab a hold of a little love. It’s like assurance that it will all be ok, maybe not today or tomorrow but at least in that moment know that’s it’s ok to smile. Just a thought.

I mean to put posts out on Sunday’s. So, today feels like Sunday even though I know it’s Monday and it’s MLK day. Speaking of that, was Dr. Kings’s dream realized? Was it fulfilled in the way he thought it would be? I certainly think so. We take for granted the fact that we can go everywhere, there are no Jim Crow laws and no one is forced to do something they do not want to (well, ok this might be an exaggeration because kids have to go to school and such but you know what I mean). Yes, unfortunately in some places discrimination does exist. It can tear friendships, families, and communities apart. Society knows this, but still there are those who are stubborn in their beliefs. Still, we have come a long way. It would seem that people from all backgrounds respect the legacy of Dr. King and what he stood for. It was something that defined a generation and put an end to a tragic time in America’s history.

I want to keep to this, maybe I’ll post something tomorrow. The theme for this week is: Understanding why society changes the way it does in order to adapt to changing leaders. Or, whatever I decide to write about.