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Posts Tagged ‘Atlantic’

An old/rich/white/guy tells his mistress not to bring one of the most respected black basketball players in the world to one of his games. He owns the NBA team you see. And whatever you do, he told her, don’t post any pictures with him on Instagram. This octogenarian knows about Instagram? Why is he all hot and bothered? Because his other old/rich/white/guy friends are calling him up… to what, ridicule him or complain about his loss of photographic control over his seriously augmented girlfriend?

Why am I not surprised. Some people are incapable of change. This guy has been living in his NBA bubble of privilege, making money off the very black backs he’d rather not see taking a selfie with his paramour. We all feign outrage. But in reality, the racism that is rampant in the sinew of our country’s soul has been on display for all to see for years. It’s a systemic problem, a kind of subtle apartheid that I’ve mentioned before. We took down all the “Whites Only” signs, and replaced them with hidden borders for our public schools. And since an education is a one way ticket out of poverty, our African American brothers and sisters haven’t got a chance.

Just because we integrated public transportation, swimming pools and restaurants with the Civil Rights Act in 1964; just because we passed Brown vs the Board of Education a decade before, doesn’t mean the courts haven’t thrown federal integration laws out the window. Since 2000, school districts throughout the South have been released from enforcing laws mandating court-ordered integration. A recent article in the Atlantic puts it flat out there. Sixty years later “Naked prejudice” hasn’t gone away:

Some big-city school systems are as segregated as they were in the 1960s. Leading public universities are admitting fewer black students than a decade ago. The black-white wealth gap has grown in recent years. Blacks are no more likely than whites to use illegal drugs, yet four times more likely to be arrested and jailed for it.     http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/04/segregation-now/359813/

Some people cast their votes for an issue. This Republican slashed that town’s budget and brought a project in on time; that voter is fiscally conservative. This Republican voted against an assault weapon ban, I’m voting him out! That’s your progressive liberal. Let’s not even bring up abortion. But never let anyone tell you the power to select a Supreme Court Judge isn’t awesome, and a very good reason to vote for a Democrat!. Thanks to an increasingly conservative judiciary over the Bush years, courts have ruled that school districts no longer have to prove they had eliminated segregation. And that, along with gerrymandered districts based on racial populations has produced our current “apartheid school system.”

Now when I see another old/rich/white/guy rancher holding up a dead calf, complaining about having to pay grazing taxes on federal land, hating our government and telling us he thinks blacks had it better during slavery, I have to turn away. I stopped laughing at these idiots long ago, because they make me physically ill.

"The Problem we All (STILL) Live With"  by Norman Rockwell

“The Problem we All (STILL) Live With” by Norman Rockwell

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This morning it’s overcast and calm. Only the first ridge of mountain is poking up between the clouds. Not like yesterday, when we woke to a clear day and another mass shooting, this time closer to home at the DC Naval Yard.  And if you happened to miss the physician, Janis Orlowski, who treated some of the survivors make her heartfelt plea to end gun violence, here it is:

“There’s something evil in our society that we as Americans have to work to try and eradicate,” she said, adding that “I would like you to put my trauma center out of business. I really would. I would like to not be an expert on gunshots.” She added: “Let’s get rid of this. This is not America.” http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/09/watch-dr-janis-orlowskis-moving-plea-against-gun-violence-after-navy-yard-shootings/69471/

If you don’t work in  a trauma center, if you’re not an ER doctor or nurse, you may have watched or listened to the incident unfold with a cynical eye. It’s just another crazy person; didn’t they have to go through a metal detector?; how did the shooter obtain clearance to enter a secure DOD facility? But if you’ve actually seen what a bullet can do to a body, if you’ve had to race against time to save a life, if you’ve had the heartbreaking job of telling someone’s family that your patient, their loved one, has died, well then you understand the problem.

And the problem is GUNS. The epidemic is gun violence. Because that is what’s evil in our society, it isn’t the mentally ill person who believes that a voice is telling him to shoot up a school or a movie theatre. Mental illness affects many of our families and friends, that is inevitable, it’s been around since time began, or Cain and Abel if you prefer. People who suffer from mood disorders through those with paranoid schizophrenia can seek treatment, they can live a normal life. We are the Prozac nation after all.

What we cannot escape is guns – they are sold in parking lots, and online, as if they are candy. They are glorified in film and on TV. I’ve said this before, I don’t need to know why some one entered a Naval facility with a rifle and picked off his victims from an upper landing in a beautiful atrium – the motive really does not matter. Let’s ask ourselves why our legislators could not get a simple background check law passed. Because as we saw yesterday, having more guns inside a facility isn’t the answer.

Yesterday we were a nation in shock again. When I walked out to my car I saw this. photoHow could this happen? Was it another angry bird that flew into my car’s window, a hunter’s gun shot, a deer antler? I live in the woods, nothing was taken, so Bob and I picked up thousands of pieces of shattered green glass. And I thought about the survivors of the Naval Yard shooting, the people who saw the carnage up close and personal.

Today I’ll have my window replaced, but I wonder how long it will take the survivors to put the pieces of their lives back together. And when our nation will stop electing puppets of the gun lobby. Or are we immune now to this, even after small children are massacred in their classrooms, have we become habituated to shock?

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