1619? 2020? WTF is the Diff?

Once again, police brutality has reared its ugly head, stateside. Jacob Blake has become the most recent (known) victim of bristling with testosterone, militant cops. Whenever these bastards unleash their bigoted hostility towards people of color… each time they use unwarranted, undue force… they earn the wrath of civilized citizens, everywhere, and, in this instance, that of Blake’s sister, Ms. Letetra Widman. In our above clip, she expresses her justifiable outrage and exasperation to expose a societal scourge, which gets backdated to August 20, 1619.

A Wikipedia essay further fleshes out America’s sordid past…

“In August 1619, the first recorded slaves from Africa to British North America arrived in what is now Old Point Comfort near the Jamestown colony, on a British privateer ship flying a Dutch flag. The approximately 20 Africans from the present-day Angola had been removed by the British crew from a Portuguese slave ship, the ‘São João Bautista’. They most likely worked in the tobacco fields as slaves under a system of race-based indentured servitude. The modern conception of slavery in the colonial United States was formalized in 1640 (the John Punch hearing) and was fully entrenched in Virginia by 1660.”

To state that in far less clinical terms, systemic brutality against people of color began when the first white asshole businessmen sold slaves to the first white asshole consumers.

The root word of consumer, consume, has several connotations but, check out the synonyms which best define the detrimental impact, which slavery had made on pre-American / present-day American society…

consume (verb): destroy, demolish, lay waste, wipe out, annihilate, devastate, gut, ruin, wreck

Daily Show’s anchorman / host Trevor Noah’s superbly nuanced, spot-on commentary says the rest…

Stay Safe at Home! Stay Publicly Masked! Stay Healthy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Seconds of Near Lucidity

Five years ago, even Donald J. Trump had been able to muster a fleeting moment of lucidity re the Stars and Bars… even though, in my book, his chosen word “respect”, belongs nowhere near a discussion of the confederate flag.

With that in mind, I’ve expanded on this timely, related issue…

The early colonists / citizens of America, who had the audacity to enslave people of color should never escape history’s harsh judgment… be they American military geniuses, presidents, framers of constitutional passages or Confederate generals, plantation owners and secessionists.

Considering how enslavement is a crime against humanity, let’s all take the following one question multiple choice quiz…

What would be sufficient posthumous punishment for those who enslaved humanity?

a. scrubbing their names / stories from our history books
b. toppling and melting down their monuments
c. stripping their names off our maps / military bases
d. laundering paper currency to wash off their mugshots
e. all of the above

Hmm… let’s factor in the following wisdom…

“Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” – – – George Santayana

With that in mind…

Let’s promptly expose the inhumane within unflattering, tell-all history books, rebrand their statues “Monuments To Stupidity” and move them into Halls of Shame museums. As for maps, bases and currency, there’s no shortage of virtuous people, who’ve graced society throughout history. Let’s commemorate and venerate them, instead.

Re that aforementioned currency issue, let’s see what happens when fake prez Trump (who idolizes Andrew Jackson), experiences one of his all too frequent fits of bigotry and misogyny… so much so that he delayed the Treasury Department’s redesign of the $20 bill. Their original plan had been to replace slave owner Jackson’s mug with slave abolitionist Harriet Tubman’s countenance by 2020. Oh, btw, Trump believes the $2 bill would be more appropriate for Tubman. That suggests what? That Klansman Donald devalues her / deems her a 10% person?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who was the Original Common Sense Tom?

 

Upon setting up shop @WordPress, back in January 2016, I opted-in to the screen-name CommonSenseTom. That’s my historical link to the English / American journalist and political radical, Thomas Paine (b. 1737 – d. 1809), who authored Common Sense (his content advocating American Independence from Great Britain).

Little doubt, his anti-subjugation sentiments had links to his proper upbringing re a closely related matter. This brief passage from Paine’s bio will elaborate…

“He grew up in a Quaker family in Thetford, England. The Quakers were some of the first people to condemn slavery and the slave trade. Both in England and America, the Quakers expressed their beliefs in freedom for all men. Quaker societies cut ties with the slave trade and demanded that all men followed in their footsteps. Thomas Paine remained close to the roots, by seeking out the Quaker community in Philadelphia.”

[read more here]

As for the actual intensity of Paine’s condemnation of slavery? Well, that’d depend upon which historian you ask. Personality-wise, some peg him as a quiet Englishman, who felt that his own countrymen’s enslavement of Africans had rendered him a far from credible opponent.

Personally, I believe that’d have made him the perfect man for the job.

However, history is clear on one matter. Paine had never owned slaves. And that, in itself, would certainly prove him far more enlightened and evolved than many of his revolutionary contemporaries.

Had an overwhelming majority of my homeland’s Founding Fathers harbored Thomas Paine’s beliefs, early Americans could’ve simultaneously freed themselves from England and the slaves from “America”. Those quotation marks represent my editorial comment… i.e., a nation that enslaves anyone is not America.

Had Black Lives Mattered when we had won our Revolutionary War, just imagine how much better off American society would be by now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brutal Honesty re Police Brutality

Let’s deconstruct the phrases “police force” and “law enforcer”. Could the overemphasis of “force”, at least to some small degree, be subliminally suggesting to law enforcers that police brutality is “just” part of their job description? Could classifying law enforcers by military rank (e.g. sergeant, lieutenant, captain, etc.) be aiding and abetting their militancy, too?

We already know that federal militarization of America’s state and local police forces is tantamount to overkill. Could that practice, simultaneously, be suggesting to law enforcers that becoming brutal killing machines is, somehow, expected of them? Even playing into their mucked up rationale that, since they’ve already got the army armaments and vehicles, anyway, why not do what?

Shoot first, ask questions later? Declare war? Mutate America’s streetscapes into war zones? Kneel on their prisoners throats to suffocate them? Sadistically jump up and down on their victims’ dead bodies until they smash their atoms into the asphalt?

Sorry for such graphic descriptions. However, except for that bit about the atoms, that damn near well sums up what’s actually happening out there.

Of course, as most of us already know, police brutality’s primary cause is deeply rooted in North America’s 401-year-old history, namely, the enslavement of people of color, which predates the birth of America by more than a century and a half. Those bygone, backward slave owners made damned sure that oppressive, reprehensible racism would be omnipresent, and, to this very day, too damned many law enforcers still buy into maintaining that mindset.

• That’s why unarmed, tackled to the ground, handcuffed and not resisting arrest people of color (such as George Floyd), suspected of committing minor, non-violent crimes, are winding up awaiting their wings instead of awaiting their trials. Which begs the question:  What ever happened to their 6th Amendment protections, which (to paraphrase) guarantee a defendant’s rights to a speedy public trial by an impartial jury (instead of the trial by judge, jury and executioner cops).

• That’s why non-violent people (of all races), who are protesting the incidents of deadly police brutality are, ironically, falling victim to police brutality, too. Which begs the question: What ever happened to their 1st Amendment protections, which (to paraphrase) establish their freedom of speech and right to peaceably assemble to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

As of late, we’ve been finding no shortage of “experts”, who’ve been touting the notion of sensitivity training for cops… mind you… murderous cops who, deep down, would rather be sporting their KKK white than their police department blue. If their commanding officers actually believe a crash course in common decency is the panacea that’ll end police brutality, they are dead wrong.

If police officers do not harbor egalitarianism and humanitarianism within their heads, hearts and souls, to begin with… if they have not patterned their entire lives to those ideals, then, they do not possess the right stuff and do not belong anywhere near a police department. If they, instead, find authoritarianism and barbarism preferable, that would prove them beyond redemption and better suited for a police department’s jail cell.

Those who hire cops must learn how to better vet cop wannabes… make damned sure that only humankind’s finest get badges pinned to their new uniforms. Additionally, a from the attic to the basement, police department house cleaning is in order. If law enforcers’ modus operandi is police brutality, their immediate outing and ousting is already long overdue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imagining the Unimaginable?

 

My long ago, public school system’s American History courses were vulnerable to revisionism. Both teachers and textbooks oft employed “noble” sounding phraseology, such as “Manifest Destiny”, in a feeble attempt to pretty up the aggressive expansionists’ land-grabs (oft involving ownership contested territory), which all but guaranteed battlefields strewn with bullet riddled, blood-splattered corpses.

Additionally, instructors / authors rarely, honestly portrayed North America’s early settlers as the ill-mannered invaders they usually were and conveniently failed to mention how, due to hubris and hostility, these frontiersmen could not, more likely, chose not to peaceably coexist with anyone.

The corroborating evidence is damning, e.g., their unconscionable enslavement of African-Americans, savage massacres of Native Americans and unwarranted internment of Asian-Americans.

More recently, settlers’ descendants, who’ve failed to learn one damned thing from America’s shameful past, opted to extend such indefensible, reprehensible conduct to pointlessly attack Iraq, which resulted in the barbaric torture and genocidal slaughter of Mesopotamian Arabs, inclusive of incalculable numbers of indigenous civilians.

The Framers of our Constitution did hint at the above-mentioned human frailties. Right within the Preamble, there’s mention of their desire to “form a more perfect union.”

And I’d certainly add that, although America remains imperfect, our homeland is still worthy of survival… if for no other reason than to ensure the continuance of our Founding Fathers’ Grand Experiment… to, someday, perhaps, even see it to glorious fruition. Who the hell knows, we may eventually, even get everything right, right?

But that won’t be easy. Americans are now at the mercy of the merciless ogre who has wedged his fat Fascist fanny into the chair behind the Oval Office desk. He’s not only the most undemocratic, most Un-American prez to ever be sworn in (and sworn at), he’s a science denier, to boot. As such, he’d never, ever want to participate in any experiment… grand or otherwise.

Of course, that’s not to say he would not delegate autocracy’s heavy lifting to his insidious, more industrious underlings… and then promptly take full credit for whatever subversive plot these mad scientists concoct to blow up the “science lab”, as it were.

Having such reservations, re that bastard, is why I now find myself fondly reconnecting to my day’s of yore classrooms… recollecting the awe I had experienced courtesy of my mentors’ lectures and my textbooks. After all, not all of my lessons had involved revisionists’ fabrications.

That’s why, I now find tears welling up in my eyes whenever I come to the realization that, while I had been born centuries too late to have ever lived through the Birth of America, I now live at a time where I cannot help but sense that something wicked (and previously unimaginable) is imminent… a far from blessed event, which no one would’ve ever believed possible… not even in our very worst nightmare…

The Death of America.

Election Day 2020 and its aftermath will determine whether or not that nightmare comes true.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are Trudeau’s Sentiments Only Skin-Deep?

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been outed for wearing blackface. He now adds his name to an ever-growing list of prominent politicians and entertainers… i.e., The List of the Conspicuously Thoughtless.

Of course, that is NOT to ever suggest that excuses such as “the more the merrier” and “aw c’mon ma, everybody’s doin’ it!” should ever exonerate anyone.

The key questions:

• How the hell can anyone make it nearly two decades into the 21st century and still not comprehend how and why wearing blackface is so patently offensive?

• Who does not know that for 400 years (on the North American continent, alone), Caucasians have enslaved, lynched, whipped, beaten, raped, maimed and murdered human beings for no other reason than the melanin content of their skin.

Let’s check out Trudeau’s meet the press moment, once more…

“What I did hurt them, hurt people who shouldn’t have to face intolerance and
discrimination because of their identity. This is something I deeply, deeply regret.”

Granted… he might be sincere. But what if he’s only out to save his own political butt?

If so, that’d make Trudeau’s stated sentiments superficial… shallow… only skin-deep.

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The Cathedral Bells Toll For A More Equitable World

During this very month of August, back in 1619, two slave ships transported more than 30 African women and men from the area now known as Angola. Once they arrived in North America, they were promptly sold into servitude when bereft of conscience, English colonists paid for them with food and supplies.

On this very Sunday at 3:00 p.m. EDT, Washington National Cathedral’s Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith plans to ring their 12-ton Bourdon Funeral Bell. Said he…

“400 years after the first slaves were brought to this continent against their will, we ring it to both honor and recognize their strength in the face of injustice and dehumanization, and to work toward a better, more just and more equitable world moving forward.”

From my perspective, I deem it necessary to expand this memorial… to honor… to never forget… the estimated 600,000 more slaves who followed them… as well as the the 37+ Million African-Americans who, even today, in ways both subtle and flagrant, have never been, truly, fully liberated… have never, actually, achieved racial parity.

Other American houses of worship, nationwide, also plan to ring their bells today… and as my local NPR radio affiliate reports… some of them plan to extend Rev. Hollerith’s duration from one minute to four. In other words…

1 minute = 100 years / 4 minutes = 400 years

On a technical note: The above video’s total time = 19:28. That breaks down in this manner…

0:00 thru 4:02 = bells / 4:02 to 15:25 = songs / 15:25 thru 19:28 = more bells (4 more minutes)

How long you choose to listen and meditate is a decision I totally leave up to you. I am posting this video some two hours earlier than the 3:00 p.m. designated start time because I know it will take time for folks to find my site.

My parting sentiment…

The denial of human dignity, freedom and equality was… still is… and shall forever be a crime against humanity.

 

 

 

99 Word Blog (#039) Megan Rapinoe & Colin Kaepernick

 

Throughout American history there’ve been serious flag problems. The Confederate Flag represents a revolting era… Caucasians enslaving and slaughtering Blacks.

Old Glory’s gory, genocidal past includes… the massacre of Native Americans, nuking of Japanese and annihilation of Muslims.

This flag flips off American Women, Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, LGBTs, the Impoverished, Aged and Ailing. As such, it’s little more than a Made in China, red, white and blue hunk of fabric.

It shouldn’t shock us when American athletes Megan Rapinoe and Colin Kaepernick don’t stand for a flag with a shameful past… a flag, which doesn’t stand for ALL Americans.