Friday, September 30, 2016

They Were Deplorable Then, They Are Deplorable Now

Pronounced- de·plor·a·ble
Adjective - Means ... deserving strong condemnation.

A postcard showing the 1920 Duluth, Minnesota lynchings, showing three African American circus workers falsely accused of raping a white woman. Lynched without trial.
Photo Courtesy of Wiki media.

There can be no mincing of words when it comes to calling out those among us whose values threaten the lives and humanity of others.

The hypocritical double standard that some appeal to in their efforts to normalize the dastardly ways of the unjust among us, must be exposed and permanently discredited. Hate and its agencies of racism, sexism, xenophobia, and apartheid - deserve our strong condemnation. We must not continue to tolerate values that history has shown to be antithetical to the development of civil society, and to the greater cause of Justice.

Donald Trump is a racist, sexist, xenophobic, wannabe tyrant. He has become the new great white hope of the still thriving racist underbelly of American society. His brand of social and political behavior deserves our condemnation. His attempts to hide behind his token use of individuals from groups that would be victimized by his bigotry is laughable at best. Slavery had its house Negros. Nazism in its infancy, had its Jewish enablers. Fascism has its embedded agents among those in the populations it targets. Trump's use of a few Black preachers, Hispanic talking-heads, and paid female sympathizers that he has yet to fire - including the current head of his campaign - or those who do not yet fit his description as 'fat pigs'... must be seen for what it is - an attempt to mollify his target audience. Donald Trump is a political groper whose only real inner circle are those with sanguine connections to him, and those from whom he sources his economic and ideological orientation.

History is pocked by little men like Trump. They exploit the vulnerabilities of the ignorant and the fearful in our midst to launch their infestation of discord on the way to political prominence. Fear, as we now know, is an agency of hate. It is the facility in our hearts, and in the national body politic, that terrible characters like Hitler and Mussolini and Trump use to develop and spread the venom of discord that they hope will be the magic carpet to political and economic prominence. In this effort they cast themselves as messiahs- come to save their followers from their socio-economic/ knowledge-impoverished lives. Their delusions of grandeur find wings on egos that loudly proclaim ...I alone can save you!... Believe me! This thread of self-aggrandizement runs rampant in the rhetoric of the Hitlers and Trumps who have held sway along our political journey as civilized societies; and who eventually get relegated to the garbage heap of history. 

The following is part of a speech that Adolf Hitler gave on April 28, 1939. Note his elevation of his I-ness throughout - which I have highlighted. I interjected the word bigly for obvious reasons. 

"I overcame chaos in Germany, restored order, enormously(bigly) raised production in all fields of our national economy... I succeeded in completely resettling in useful production those 7 million unemployed who so touched our hearts...I have not only politically united the German nation but also rearmed it militarily, and I have further tried to liquidate that Treaty sheet by sheet whose 448 Articles contain the vilest rape that nations and human beings have ever been expected to submit to. I have restored to the Reich the provinces grabbed from us in 1919; I have led millions of deeply unhappy Germans, who have been snatched from us, back into the Fatherland; I have restored the thousand-year-old historical unity of German living space; and I have attempted to accomplish all that without shedding blood and without inflicting the sufferings of war on my people or any other. I have accomplished this, as one who 21 years ago was still an unknown worker and a soldier of my people, by my own effort..."

Think about Hitler's violation of the Treaty of Versailles when you hear Trump mouthing off against NATO. Think about Hitler's support of Franco when Trump expresses his admiration for Putin's 'strength', and his expansionist practices. Think about Hitler's re-militarization of Germany when Trump talks about his plans for our military. Think about Hitler's conscription of territory when Trump and his surrogate Giuliani salivate about stealing  Iraqi oil lands. Think about the fact that Hitler stopped paying war reparations agreed to in the above Treaty whenever Trump suggests that America should not pay the debts we have incurred. Trump has shown us who he is through his behavior in business and finance. We should believe him.

Adolf Hitler was a liar, and so is Donald Trump. Hitler inflicted the suffering of war on millions- granted they were not his people... Over 6 million Jews suffered and lost their lives as a result of Nazi terror. We witness the groups that have rallied to support Trump, and we agree that there is no other candidate in recent history that could survive keeping such company. But this Republican Party finds itself in the compromising position of having to cozy up to an offspring of its own bigotry... a bigotry cultivated through its relationship with those who sought to delegitimize the presidency of one Barack Hussein Obama - the first African-American to hold that office. Today we witness Candidate Trump trying to make nice with Benjamin Netanyahu, and we cannot help but scream - HATE IS HATE!! Israel cannot be comfortable with a candidate for POTUS who is causing a bulge in the trousers of the likes of once impotent haters like David Duke.

The Trump candidacy has led to a historic resurgence of what we euphemistically call " the Alt Right".  By this we actually mean the KKK... We mean those who idolize Hitler... We mean those who made post cards from images of lynched Blacks... We mean those who, like Donald Trump, want to build a wall between us and our Brown neighbors to the South... We mean those who hate Jews and Blacks... We mean those who became bigly inflamed at the reality of a Black family in the White House.

The gross racism of Slavery and Segregation was deplorable then... It is deplorable now. The disenfranchisement of women and people of color was, and is, deplorable. Trump's standard of beauty, which is reminiscent of the "eugenics" of Hitler was deplorable then... It is deplorable now. The xenophobia that drove the Nazis to victimize the Jews, and which is appealing to Trump and his followers who want to "make America White again", is deplorable. Trump's own racist practices which led to him being sued and fined for housing discrimination in New York is deplorable. His declaration that his followers would still vote for him if he murdered someone in the middle of 5th Avenue IS deplorable... and such followers ARE deplorable. 

Hate is a function of fear. It is the torment that fear wreaks in the lives of the fearful, and that they then project upon those they come to perceive as threats. Advances in technology have led to a shrinking of time and space that challenges us to live together in the new global village that is constantly being created. Instead of walls, we need to facilitate the building of bridges that make it easier for us to interact across the spaces - cultural and otherwise - that became convenient in the old world. 

True leadership in the brave new world that is becoming more and more a fact of our lives, demands the cultivation of courage. That courage is a function of the mutual recognition of the needs of our common humanity. It demands that we work together to overcome the obstacles that stand in the way of progress for all. That courage calls on us to deplore the ways of hate, and to explore the possibilities that reveal themselves when we affirm the rights of every person to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

In South Africa Today!


Follow this link for the full article.

''The recent protest by young Black girls at the Pretoria Girls High published on (social) media is a clear case in point here. This incident exposes not only the totality of white racism in South Africa, but also the disguised hypocrisy of us Black people in dealing with it.

Yearly in South Africa children of the RasTafari community and Black children who keep dreadlocks for spiritual purpose like Intwaso or Ukuthwasa are rejected, chased away or suspended from (township & rural) schools for their dreadlock hairstyles – which forms part of their spiritual-cultural heritage and philosophical world views".

Monday, September 5, 2016

Name Yourself... Beyond the Labels of a Circumstantial Existence

Life is often characterized as a journey. It is an adventure that incorporates the good and the bad, the bitter and the sweet, rough patches and smooth paths, high places and depressions that are at times difficult to rise from.

The many challenges that will inevitably come our way demand of us a firm resolve to keep moving forward. In the absence of this resolve we tend to shrink and shrivel and fade into oblivion. 

The interplay of wisdom and folly is a dynamic that will be a constant in many of the steps that we take on this journey. The unique challenge that we will face is that of determining who we are, and who we must become in the face of the challenges that come our way. Ultimately we will face two critically important questions, each of which must be answered realistically if we are to successfully navigate our way through the journey to our destiny.

The first question we must face is... Who do others say that we are? As babies we are given names. These names express the subjective experiences and aspirations of those who parent us. These names become our legal labels. We sign them as a way of identifying ourselves to the world in which we live. They become our "mark" on the many documents that provide proof of our many transactions in this world. To get our attention others call out to us, and we answer in recognition of our given names. 

As we go through life we may acquire other names, words used informally to describe us beyond our given names. We call these "nicknames". Our struggles to navigate our way through the many difficult circumstances we face in life at times result in us acquiring nom de guerres... These are labels that describe our character as warriors. Some of the labels we acquire are not always flattering. Some nicknames honor us...  Some of them ridicule us. These added names talk about the impressions we make in the face of various circumstances. They tell us whether we strike others as heroes or villains, as Jokers or Scarfaces, as strong or weak, as truth-tellers or liars, as leaders or followers.

In life we sometimes come to be known by the fortunes and misfortunes that come our way. For better or worse some people will label us according to the various experiences that we fall into or that befall us. To be fortunate is one thing... we all desire to be known by the "good things" that happen to us, or that we happen upon. Not so with respect to the "bad things". The naming that is a function of the stigmatization that results from the unfavorable experiences we have had is at times ego-deflating to say the least.

The tendency to limit our perspective of other people's lives to our interpretation of the "bad things" that have been a part of their experience becomes a rather convenient practice. This is a rather easy thing to do especially for those who would like to direct attention away from the skeletons in their own closets. Whether we like it or not, there will be those who will insist that we are nothing more than what they conveniently think we are. It is in the face of this tendency that we must ask the second question: Who do you say that you are?

Beyond the names that we are given at birth, and beyond the nicknames that get heaped upon us by those who seek to define us by certain of our experiences and tendencies; we have a sacred responsibility to name ourselves. We do a disservice to ourselves, and we negate our personal integrity by living according to the transient wisdom and the follies of a circumstantial existence. There should come a time in our journey through this life when we stop and spend the energy necessary to address this most fundamental query... Who am I? Am I at ease with the name I have been given; with its many, sometimes subservient applications? Do I need to take a meaningful pause to identify and emphasize the me that I want to be?

With all due respect to the experiences and aspirations of my ancestors; and with appropriate regard for those who may, or may not wish me well... it ultimately is my responsibility to name myself. It is my solemn duty to reflect on all the experiences that have been a part of my life, with a view to determining who I must be on this my journey. In so doing I have the right to put the names I have been given in perspective, and to cultivate a me that will serve the demands of my chosen course through this life. 

Ultimately I cannot bequeath the responsibility to truly name myself to anyone but me. That, I believe, is what makes any talk about self-determination and personal responsibility meaningful.

To ask someone to take responsibility for your definition of their life is a rather tenuous proposal. It is a burden that we must ultimately desist from heaping upon anyone with the expectation that they must then unquestioningly live out our design for their life. And it is therefore a burden we must adamantly refuse to bear ourselves.

Like Lilies In Spring

There is a bulb buried deep inside us all that longs for the end of the season of dormancy. It contains, and is the symbol of all our ...