New Year salutations aside, I am dismayed concerning the events that are taking place in our country. I feel as I face this new time and new year with trepidation, that to try and put a positive spin on some of the things that are bothersome to me that I would not be honest in commenting on them.
Usually, I do not use this space on my blog for venting about some subject matter that I do not approve, but I have to change that concerning the subjects that I am going to discuss here.
In the past week as I peruse the news programs that I listen to, there is a deep concern that the people who are voted in to run this country have no interest in forming positive attitudes and have no interest in governing to make things better. I have to laugh about our politicians who preface a statement with, “The AMERICAN PEOPLE…..” Are the American people really up to the game these politicians play? Is the American electorate that blind and confused with the group that they voted into the Congress that they don’t understand that they have no intention to move forward on anything they plan to do to make a better living for the nation?
Think of it. What a disaster our Nation has become. From the economy that failed us, to the financial institutions that almost destroyed us, to the politicians who have not done their jobs and used their negative efforts to do everything they can to bring down a president because they were unable to understand how he got there and should be replaced. We have seen over the years the efforts to destroy our democracy not only in this country but around the world. We blame others who we have tortured, used and abused to find fault with them rather than look to the things we have done to make things worse.
Currently, we have what seems to be the growth of a police state in our country, with the unlawful tendency to take the lives of young, Black men under any circumstance without any effort to provide justice even when it’s obvious that justice should be served. The only people that are being active to preserve our country is the young people who are demanding what they see is the unlawful treatment of minorities who have come to this country such as those who came years ago to live a better life, and those who live here and are treated like second rate citizens. We must do better.
As I am writing this post there is the unrest regarding the non-indictment , again by a grand jury in New Jersey, on the death of Eric Garner, an unarmed man who proposed no threat to the officers who approached him, at the hands of a police officer who administered a choke hold that resulted in his death. Since that time as the indictment was being addressed by people all around the Nation, there have been other incidents of police activity causing the deaths of innocent victims in other parts of the country.
I have to address the current situation, regarding the Grand Jury decision, and the non-indictment regarding Michael Brown’s death at the hands of Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, MO. This announcement caused a night of unrest, violence, destroying of property and fires that effected businesses in the Ferguson community. While this is unacceptable and should not have happened, we must take a serious look at the reasons and the causes why people react to such decisions. The long history that exists between law enforcement that persists in a negative result regarding the shootings of African-American men is astounding and it must change. The Black community has got to make that change happen, because the White leadership in this country have no desire to make it happen. We must do all we can as a people to grow as a national community so that our voices are heard as well as the efforts that we put forward to make a difference. This must be a job no matter how long it takes, no matter how many leaders and voices that are heard over time, we must put a stop to the violence that perpetrates our communities because of the frustration of Black Americans, especially young people who feel disenfranchised by the current events. We owe it to them. All of the community organizations that we have in this country need to organize as a group effort and take on this problem as an ongoing project. That is my personal suggestion. Any ideas that you as readers wish to share your own, please contact me.
“Your words hit home and I hope the world learns to accept their neighbors with a much greater respect.” Those are the words of a long, dear friend of mine, who read my blog in my last post. It makes a statement that resonates with many of the people who understand how important it is for all of us to find ways to live together in our society. We do not agree with everything that confronts us, and we need to understand that. We are not clones, but real people, and depending on what confronts us each and every day and how we handle them individually is a challenge for us all. But, reaching out to our neighbor is important in this society and we have to learn to do that.
Bill Cosby-I am unable to ignore the Bill Cosby situation because he has been an important factor in the lives of many people of all races, and the fact that he is an African-American entertainer is important to those of us who appreciated his talent. What a shame that through all these years we have developed a love for this man, and now with the more than a dozen allegations that have surfaced, even though there has been accusations that have not stuck, we realize that those allegations based on the information gathered most likely are factual.
Those of us who have been around when Cosby surfaced, from his monologues on his youth, that left us howling with laughter even when older members of our families found him a superb comic, through I Spy that brought him success, and the long Huxable Family programs that we watched as the family children grew up, what the hell happened that this man was unable to sustain the credibility that we enjoyed over the years? What a way to fall down from grace.
Our disappointments are valid. Even if some of the accusations are complicated based on what the facts are, and most of us have no way of knowing, Cosby and his lawyers are made it impossible to prove other wise. The fact that so many organizations have not approved of what has transpired, and have taken away all of the awards granted him, this must be a disheartening thing for him. Actually, I suspect that the flaws he has are deeply rooted, and sometimes having so much fame can be a negative factor in one’s life.
For those who believe that this is one more spike in the heart of Black America, we still have those who stand up proudly and move forward with a special grace. We have them to find the solace in what we believe in as a people and move away from the Bill Cosby’s of the world who are unable to share that with us. What a disappointment!
Finis: I have to finish with something that is bothering me and I wish to share it with you.
You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught
You’ve got To be taught
To hate and fear,
You’ve got to be taught
From year to year,
It’s got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught.
You’ve got to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a different shade,
You’ve got to be carefully taught.
You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You’ve Got To be carefully taught!
The lyrics here were written by the songwriting team of Rodgers and Hammerstein for the musical South Pacific. The song was written for that period of time, but we have learned from our experiences, that well written prose by talented people often speak carefully about the moment they were written. These lyrics speak of the present, in our time, 2015, and with all of the divisions that we are going through in our country it is apparent that we should pay attention to what it says.
There is no doubt that todays children see their world differently, especially where diverse opinions about people in their lives who are of different races. Mostly, our children get it. However, there are those who were carefully taught, like the lyrics of the song says, to carry on a tradition that they were brought up in.
When you see races of all people stand up for others that do not look like them because they know it is not right to think that way, then there is hope for a better world. It is a sad place to be an American now. As we believed that people would work to make a better understanding of ourselves, there are others that are hanging on to old traditions and stereotypes that prevent us for moving forward in our relations.
Close to the end of December, and we are still suffering through tragedies in this past few days; the killing of two innocent police officers in New York doing their jobs admirably. There is no excuse for it and even though the person who took their life took his own and was mentally ill, we cannot accept the fact that it happened and may happen again. There is a lot of pain in this country and in our communities, and we need to address them honestly and truthfully and with compassion. We cannot continue to look the other way because no matter what our status is in this country, it can happen to any one of us.
To close, there are people in our political structure who believe in negative stereotyping, and pass on in their statements to others what they believe. Those politicians who propose these ideas to their constituency and to the electorate should be called out as they were in the past when this country was struggling with segregation problems, voting rights, etc. They will bring this country down with their comments and efforts and destroy the very things that America stood for and stands for now. Our differences will not go away unless we confront them regardless of the negative opinions that others propose. Our world is a new world with others seeking a better life of all races and nationalities. We must see our world in the reality of the moment. If we don’t we will fail as a democracy.
Just a bit of good news, the President awarded the Medal of Freedom November 24 to 19 people that included actress, Meryl Streep, the three civil rights activists, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and vocalist Stevie Wonder. I wish to point out that I loved the idea of Wonder being part of that award, because his whole musical career has been all about love, peace and freedom, and in the words of his music there are layers with his devotion and dedication with this subject. I congratulate all who received this award, but I appreciate what Stevie Wonder has brought to the world with his music.