Most of the folks who are virulently anti LGBTQ are unsure of their own sexuality. I’ve found gay people to be twice gifted with unique contributions to make. Indigenous people in the Americas referred to gay folks as the people of two spirits.
Taking away a woman’s right to choose is also profoundly wrong. Imposing your narrow religious beliefs on the rest of us is fucked up.
The real existential threat facing our world is climate change. If you aren’t concerned about that you ought to be. I’ll be long gone when the worst happens but our children and especially our grandchildren’s lives will be cut short by a mass extinction happening within the next 100 years.
This week’s passing of Colin Powell invited me to reflect on the impact of him as an American icon. I strongly disagreed with the decision of the Bush administration to go to war in Iraq and I was sorry that General Powell gave testimony in the United Nations that provided the cover for that war. There were no weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein did not pose a credible threat to the integrity of the United States. I wrote letters to the Bush Administration at the time and at one point received a nice reply from the oval office.
Colin Powell became the first black Secretary of State on the United States on January 20, 2001. He became the first black Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on October 1, 1989. Prior to that he was Deputy National Security advisor in the Reagan Administration. General Powell’s life was full of firsts. That’s wonderful to be sure. The larger question for me is why did it take so long for America to put a black person in those positions? Africans came to Jamestown, Virginia in 1619. It took three-hundred and seventy years for one to ascend to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Surely General Powell was not the first African American to serve in our military. Why did it take so long for Black Americans to rise to general officer ranks? Who were the Buffalo Soldiers? Who were the Tuskegee Airmen?
Jackie Robinson broke the ‘color line’ in 1947. Why were there ‘Negro Leagues’? Why are there no women’s faces on our currency? Why were the original owners of the America’s denied citizenship until 1925? Why did we need a Fourteenth Amendment? Why no people of color on currency, stamps and national emblems. Slaves built the White House. Is that fact taught in our schools?
Lately there’s been lots of discussion of ‘Critical Race Theory‘ and the ‘1619 Project‘. There are folks in this country that still have a problem acknowledging our history as en-slavers and murderers of Africans and Native Americans. Those are not pleasant memories nor should they be. Acknowledging and accepting our past is the pathway to a hopeful future.
Yesterday I listened to the words of a young woman in Texas who eloquently spoke of the war on women’s bodies being waged by elected officials in Texas and elsewhere who are severely limiting the right of women to choose what is right for them. Her words are more powerful than anything I could write.
The people who sponsor this legislation care little about life though they hide behind the mantle of “pro-life.” God bless Paxton! God bless her message. We need more eloquent young women to step forward.
Earlier today I saw a post that rang true. In 2008 we elected a black man to be president of the United States. The specter of a black man as the leader of the free world was so terrible to those who are intent on white supremacy that they spent eight years attempting to discredit him. Equally terrifying to these folks is that people of color will soon be the predominant group in the United States.
In many areas of the country that is already the case. The United States was founded by white men who slaughtered indigenous people, enslaved Africans and kept women subjugated while using religion to justify it. There has been an evolution of consciousness since the 1790’s. We stopped slaughtering indigenous people in the nineteenth century although we put them on ghettos we call reservations. We ended chattel slavery in 1863 and passed the 14th Amendment to the Constitution in 1868. We followed that with Jim Crow and one hundred more years of terror for people of color. Nonetheless consciousness continued to evolve. We passed landmark civil rights and voting rights in the 1960’s.
All of this progress has been countered with reactionary movements which live on to this day. Consciousness will continue to evolve despite the efforts of some to put the genie back in the bottle. I may not live to see the change but eventually our democracy will evolve to the land of the free.
On January 20 2021 a woman of color will be sworn in as Vice President of the United States. We’re long overdue for a women at the top and especially a woman of color. This fact is what mostly animates the angry white men in our halls of government. They’re actually frightened that America is living out the promise of our ideals.
Democracy isn’t easy. It never was nor will it be.