Shameful

“There is no feasible excuse for…what we have made of ourselves. We have chosen to put profits before people, money before morality, dividends before decency, fanaticism before fairness, and our own trivial comforts before the unspeakable agonies of others.”
-Iain Banks, Complicity

The only thing that matters is how we treat one another. The rest, the dollar and blessing chasing, is shit, from top to bottom, as far as the eye can see.

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Ponderings of an 8yo: Black Panther

As I think about it, I might have been 7. It was the early 70s and I had been reading a Marvel comic featuring the Black Panther. Growing up, I was one of those kids who seemed, to me at the time, to get picked on and ganged up on a bit more than others in the neighborhood, and at school. I wanted to be strong and to make all the things in my life that were a pain disappear. I couldn’t see, as a 2nd grader, that growing up and graduating from the public school machinery would do more to that end than muscles, tech, and at the time, tights.

BP was a strong character. He was a bad ass. And given the bullshit I was going through as a minor, and the fact that there really isn’t a manual to growing up, I wanted to be him.

My mother was in the den watching TV. It was a school night. I walked in and said, “Mama, I’m going to be the Black Panther when I grow up.” She looked at me, shook her head, and said, “Oh no. You’re not going to be a black panther.”

To paraphrase the immortal words of the Captain in the 1967 film Cool Hand Luke, what we had here was a “failure to communicate.” Mom was talking about the Black Panther Party, which got it’s start right around the same time the character entered the Marvel universe. Politics and war, and most of the other adult goings-on were mostly a blur to me at the time. That childhood ignorance made my mom’s reaction confusing. No one batted an eye at me wanting to be on the Enterprise bridge, fly like Superman, spin webs, or drive the Batmobile. I don’t remember questioning her. It was a little kid’s fantasy. Eventually I grew out of it. It was much later, after I learned a little bit about the party that I understood what my mom was talking about.

According to Wikipedia, the comic book character predates the founding of the party by a few months during the latter half of 1966,

The ‘price of freedom’

By @manhasruinedgod on Twitter

A high school football coach should be a hero for a winning season, not for dying protecting children in the line of fire. High school students should be crying over their crush or stressed about Homecoming, not wondering what to wear to their BFF’s funeral.
Go home tonight and hold your guns. Feel the cold metal on your skin and smell the gun powder and oil residue, and know that only in this country, your guns are worth more than the lives of our children.

Their warm hearts are now as cold as the guns you’re clinging to. Your illusion of safety is worth more than the blood being spilled in the hallways of our classrooms.
But let’s not talk about it now, or tomorrow when it happens again. Let these children die because “It’s the price of freedom!” (Bill O’Reilly, 10/17 after Vegas)

They want to restructure our schools into fortresses to prevent this from happening again. Where is the freedom for our children playing behind guard, gates, and guns? Is this what we imagined for our kids? A violent, fearful existence, where they’re not safe anywhere?

There have been 30 mass shootings, 18 of them at schools, all in the first 45 days of this year – this is our reality.

Tonight, look at your guns and remind yourself that it’s worth more THAN a child’s life, and you’re OK with that.

16 Feb., A day without immigrants

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There’s an Asian buffet not far from the office that I visit almost every week. I have my news sites routed through the Feedly app, but I didn’t look at it yesterday. For a couple of months I’ve been getting takeout at the restaurant. There’s enough time to grab a few items and get back with a little time to spare before I have to start working again. So I left at about 11:30 to go get lunch. The first thing I noticed when I got in the parking lot was that it was empty. Normally the front and one of the side parking lots are nearly full. On Thursday there was nothing. My initial thought was that I had arrived at some really odd time and there’d be maybe two or three people in there eating. I get to the door and there’s a sign saying

CLOSED
SORRY FOR THE
INCONVENIENCE
FEBRUARY 16

Before I left I had noticed in Facebook’s ‘Trending’ sidebar something about the ‘A day without immigrants march,’ but I didn’t click it. Honestly I assumed that it was some sort of counter-protest held by the President’s supporters. It just seemed like some group bigoted showings-off that people who seem like sore winners would put together.

When I got back to the office I typed into Twitter, ‘Evidently there’s something called ‘A day without immigrants. Looks like Austin is getting its douche on today.’ I mentioned it to a coworker who told me what was really going on. This was actually a good thing, but it wasn’t universal. After I got off work I called another restaurant to see if they were open and the manager said that he’d gotten several calls asking the same thing but didn’t know why. I explained to him what had been happening.

The thing is, I’ve become so jaded with people that I often expect the worst from them. In this case this was a gesture to demonstrate just how much of what we enjoy here in America comes from people who weren’t born here. The fact that some businesses stayed open and their owners and managers didn’t know about the protest tells me that we’re going to need more reminders of this truth in the future.

Immigrants are part of our culture and always have been. We need to show our appreciation, not take people for granted. Especially now that things have become so clearly uncertain.