I asked ChatGPT to write a poem about being “Woke.” It came out better than I expected. It’s another reason to like this new AI technology and the perfect response to those who would discourage others from caring deeply about social issues.
“Being woke is a state of mind, Where truth and justice we hope to find. It’s a path to consciousness and light, Where prejudices and biases take flight.
With eyes wide open, we see the truth, The struggles and hardships of those who were deemed uncouth. We stand for the marginalized, for their rights to be heard, And strive for a world where love and equality are revered.
Being woke is more than just a trend, It’s a call to action and a commitment we tend. To make the world a better place, with love and respect, Where every person, no matter their race, is truly accepted.
So let us rise, and never rest, In this quest for justice, love and success. For being woke is not a destination, It’s a journey towards a world of peace and liberation.”
A Bodhisattva is a being who has attained enlightenment and is dedicated to helping others attain it as well. This is a good thing because Bodhisattvas serve as teachers, guides, and role models of compassion and selflessness, inspiring others to strive for the same level of enlightenment. Bodhisattvas also remind us that all beings are connected and that we should treat each other with respect and kindness.
It is easy to be aware of the injustices that exist in society due to privilege. Whether it be gender, race, or class, there are distinct advantages that certain groups have over others. But being aware of these disparities is not enough. We must go beyond acknowledging the existence of social injustice and strive to be comfortable in our own privilege.
Being comfortable with privilege means understanding the implications of privilege, both as a source of privilege and as a source of oppression. It means being conscious of the fact that the advantages someone has come from the disenfranchisement of others. It means being conscious of the power dynamics that exist between different groups and using that knowledge to advocate for the rights of the marginalized.
Furthermore, being comfortable with privilege means taking an active role in the fight for social justice. It means educating ourselves and others on the realities of oppression and taking action to fight against it. It means standing in solidarity with those who are most affected by injustice and doing our part to bring about change.
It is not enough to simply be aware of social injustice. We must do our part to ensure that those who are most adversely affected by injustice can access justice and the resources they need to survive and thrive. We must strive to be comfortable in our privilege and take action to ensure that the privileges we enjoy do not come at the expense of those who are less fortunate.
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.
Saw this on Representative Mike Thompson’s Twitter feed this morning. Mike Thompson represents California’s 5th Congressional District. This letter from a Catholic Priest friend says it all about Arch Bishop Cordileone’s latest misguided decision:
“Bishops, priests, etc. are neither the hosts nor the bouncers nor the ones who wrote the guest list. The Eucharist is the resurrected body of Christ given for the life of the world…
Jesus Christ is the one who invites the guests (“all you who labor”); he is the host of those who come; he is the setter of the table; and he is the feast which is shared (“Take this, all of you. this is my body, this is my blood”)…
We are guests at the meal, and sometimes (by his calling) servers. So stay in your lane, please. The wait staff doesn’t get to exclude those who want to come. If you don’t like the company Christ calls (and, admittedly, it is a rag tag bunch of sinners, one and all), it’s… you who need to leave the table, not them.”
Spring has sprung and so have our lives. A couple of years ago we were pinned down by the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s not over yet but we’re coming through it okay. There is a fourth recommended shot of the vaccine if you’re over fifty years old. The economy is rebounding. More Americans are working. The United States added 1.7 million new jobs in the past two months. Inflation in the United States is up too. It’s the highest it has been in the past forty years but that’s true around the world. Gasoline prices are up too but again that’s not a purely American problem. The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States last week was $4.63 which is huge increase from where prices were in April 2020 when they were at $1.78 per gallon. Demand was low when we were all locked down in our homes.
In the United States the Republican party and their allies are blaming President Biden and the Democrats. Joe Biden is not president in Canada where gasoline is $5.91 per gallon (adjusted for US gallons and dollars). Gasoline is $5.83 per US gallon in Poland. The prices in Ireland are $7.64 and Hong Kong is the most expensive gas prices in the world at $10.89 per gallon.
The reason our economy is booming is the American Rescue Plan which received almost no Republican support. Yesterday in the House of Representatives one-hundred-ninety-three Republicans voted against lowering the price of insulin from it’s current $332 a vial to something more affordable to average Americans. That’s consistent with Republican ideals, “favor the rich and soak the middle class and the poor.” The GOP claims to be conservative but conserves nothing. The current administration has lowered our national debt which is an accomplishment that only occurs in Democratic administrations.
President Harry Truman called the GOP out over seventy years ago when he wrote,
“Republicans approve of the American farmer, but they are willing to help him go broke. They stand four-square for the American home–but not for housing. They are strong for labor–but they are stronger for restricting labor’s rights. They favor minimum wage–the smaller the minimum wage the better. They endorse educational opportunity for all–but they won’t spend money for teachers or for schools. They think modern medical care and hospitals are fine–for people who can afford them. They consider electrical power a great blessing–but only when the private power companies get their rake-off. They think American standard of living is a fine thing–so long as it doesn’t spread to all the people. And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.” –
Harry S. Truman, October 13, 1948, St. Paul, Minnesota, Radio Broadcast via WikiQuote
This book gets to the heart of the Jesus message which is not about piety but about radical mercy and compassion. This book is a collection of stories that are told or in my case read by the author in a light but powerful manner. I look forward to meeting Gregory Boyle when he comes to St. Bonaventure University later this year.
I’ve been reading The 1619 Project. It’s an enlightening book. The author describes plantations as work camps. I’ve never thought of Monticello, Mount Vernon and the like in the same light as Ravensbruck and Birkenau but they were. Enslaved African Americans were forced to work, brutally treated and in many cases killed to keep them towing the line. They were bred like livestock and treated the same or worse.
I learned in school that Lincoln freed the slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation but it took the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendment to codify that into United States law. A new era emerged after the Civil War until the the end of the Reconstruction era when federal troops were withdrawn from the southern states. Then all hell broke loose as vigilante rule took over and Blacks and other people of color were systematically subjugated. Voter suppression and intimidation was the norm. Four thousand blacks were lynched between 1880 and 1940. Teenage Emmet Till was brutally murdered in 1955 for smiling at a white woman. People of color really weren’t free until the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1965.
Native Americans were forced off their lands and put on reservations. Schools were created to forcibly destroy their culture and they the original owners of the Americas were not granted the right to vote in the United States until 1925. Following World War 2 white American servicemen and women qualified for the GI Bill which helped many including my father to attend college and pursue professional lives. The GI Bill was denied to soldiers of color. There is so much that is not understood by whites about people of color and how our society is not color blind at all. Our lives as white people is skewed to benefit us while disenfranchising our brothers and sisters who are darker.
I don’t like the term racist as there is no such thing as race. It is a social construct that was created to justify the repression of people of color. We are all the same race, the human race. Paradoxically we are all prejudiced. It is normal and natural to feel more at home with those that look like us.
I know I’m prejudiced. I don’t want to be prejudiced but I am. I work to overcome that on a daily basis. What’s most distressing in this country is that we have systemic prejudice that many fail to recognize and accept. Many of our presidents owned slaves. When our founding documents were written in the 18th century Black people were enslaved, Native Americans had their land stolen and were routinely murdered.
We have a lot of work ahead of us to truly become the United States of America.
I read today that a poll conducted recently that a majority of voters of both persuasions believe that the time has come for secession from the United States of America. Are these folks living in a vacuum? Who do they think provides the fuel for the economy that provides for the common defense and the common good? Forces of the extreme right wing of the Republican party who care nothing about the common good of the country and for that matter, the world are espousing this wrong headed approach to the body politic.
These separatists who decry socialism and advanced society fail to realize that the roads we drive on, the sewer and water systems that support our day to day lives and most of the infrastructure that supports our daily lives is paid for by tax dollars. Many of the so called red states are full of military installations which provide thousands of jobs and no doubt contribute mightily to the wealth of the communities that surround them. If they secede from the union then those jobs go to other states.
Nearly seven hundred twenty thousand Americans are dead from a deadly virus primarily because this same bunch of idiots are interfering with roll-out of the vaccine to mitigate the effects of the virus.
It’s October 1 and where I live the trees are still mostly green. That’s unusual. When I was a boy most of the trees were bright orange on the first day of October. It was common to have a ‘killing frost’ by mid-September. We have had one overnight when the temperature dipped to 38 degrees fahrenheit. The forecast for December this year is for warmer weather than normal. That’s all becasue the climate is changing. The gulf coast of our country has been ravaged by record breaking hurricanes which have left unheard of destruction in their wake.
We need thoughtful leadership from intelligent people. I encourage you not to listen to talking heads spreading lies and misinformation that put the lives of all the world at risk. Be a uniter not a divider.