Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Elephant In The Room

What a mess! What a shameful, awful mess and the media, all of them are missing the point about the current government shutdown, orchestrated by less than two dozen to as many as eighty US Representatives. How can a third of the House of representatives hold, get this, revel in the lunacy of this so-called thinking, "hostage" hold two-thirds, the majority, hostage while the rest of the country hangs in the balance? How indeed!

A well orchestrated program, a Fox News exclusive repeated time and again as gospel, ensured that furloughed government employees and their families are judged by faithful Fox viewers as "lazy and overpaid". It is widely accepted by those who reside in the Rust Belt, the South and small town mid-western communities that the average government employee is minority (black/brown) and have just found another way to suckle on the government teat!

So, at this point, we have a very vocal, uneducated (being fed lies by a very divisive conservative media that strokes and inflames their fears and appeals to their pervasive desire to be superior) minority beating their chests and screaming "democracy" while trying to destroy every vestige of democracy that exists within the borders of the US of A.

Why, you might inquire? The re-election of Barack Obama to the White House is their reasoning.

Believe it or not, there are still people in the United states who have never accepted the premise that "All Men Are Created Equal". Our current society of unbridled, uncontrolled conservatism has unleashed a racist sub-group whose hatred for the president are shrouded in a series of non-issues such the Affordable Care Act (renamed ObamaCare by the conservatives) to the "debt ceiling", to defund Social Security Retirement Benefits  (defined as an entitlement program by the conservatives), ah, the list has become endless over the years.

The reality is: the only thing that remains constant as a tipping point in each one of these grievances embraced by the ultra-conservatives is Barack Obama. The man's non-whiteness is an affront to many. How is it possible for a non-white person to inhabit the White House, much less have power over white men? The current government shutdown is only predicated on the fact that a minority of politicians and voters would prefer the destruction of the country rather than continue to live with a black man in the White House.

Isn't it about time that even Fox News festooned with their noxious and often delusional viewpoints, come clean and state the obvious?


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

"A Day Without Immigrants"

Pabulum Redux:
A Day Without Immigrants

The LA Times and most liberal leaning establishments have unilaterally supported immigration, whether legal or illegal and particularly from south of the border because these people “do jobs that Americans won’t.” The assumption that illegal immigrants are the only people who would perform jobs that most middle class Americans wouldn’t perform is an assumption that has weakened fair labor practices for all working people across the board.
Lou Dobbs of CNN fame in an interview on “Good Morning America” today stated the heretofore unstated in the media when the issue of undocumented aliens comes up: “The issue is we have a middle class. Meatpackers made $19.00 and hour twenty years ago and today they make $9.00” a direct reflection of the impact of immigration on Americans who want to work and invest their incomes into our American economy. The mantra that rises over the issue of illegal immigration, like far too many other issues of gravity in our society today, is an unexamined argument that flies in the face of reason because of the assumption that all undocumented workers are simply “hardworking and good people.” The other side of the coin is the never examined “all the good, underemployed or unemployed Americans” who would truly love to have a secure job to support themselves and their families.
My father worked a job in construction in the early 1960’s; a job that paid a generous income with benefits, a job that was largely held by African American and white Americans during that time. Today, almost all construction sites are filled with the faces of immigrant workers, many of whom are probably illegal …sorry undocumented, and yet there are many unemployed African American and white Americans who would dearly love the opportunity to work in that profession.
The point in, there used to be a time in America where young high school/college students who either had to get a part time job to help their families to pay expenses or had to support themselves were able to get jobs as busboys, servers and other entry level positions that are largely filled by immigrants today. Maids who worked in hotels across the nation were almost exclusively African American yet those very same jobs are now filled by immigrant labor.
Like many other issues in our society today, the immigrant labor issue is fraught with lies. Corporations know that the federal government takes forever to process Employment I9 forms to validate an employee’s “right to work” and the federal government like the corporations are no more interested in getting a handle on the illegal immigrants than are the corporations who continue to make record profits while not increasing the salaries and benefits to the workers that fill their factories.
To return to Lou Dobbs’ statement about the meatpackers: $9.00 and hour twenty years ago was a decent salary but prices for meat, gasoline, maintenance and upkeep for businesses was also much cheaper than today yet businesses expect employees to get by on less while the guys at the top take home greater pensions and record salaries.
There is a definite economic imbalance that has been growing in American society for well over twenty years, an imbalance that has been largely ignored by a certain segment of American society, the segment that has the economic clout not to have to worry about losing their economic viability. On the other hand, it is time to dispense with the lie that immigrants do jobs that Americans don’t want to do. If you consider the fact that on the corner drug dealers also work for less than minimum wage and if the jobs that undereducated and poor Americans could work are given to “undocumented aliens” and they are forced to turn to crime to fill the economic void in their lives, then our society will continue to slide towards the ‘haves’ vs. the ‘have nots.’

Saturday, January 07, 2006


I've been away for quite some time. Life has intervened in my life and writing has shifted to a backburner issue. It takes so little to unbalance a plan, a need to communicate by writing about various issues and subjects.

The first derailment was the return of my son, once married and a father of one. His life came crashing down around his head after his wife informed him that their marriage was over on Chritmas Day, 2005. He has taken the blow hard and has devolved into depression and way too much alcohol consumption. I gave life to this person once and yet today it seems as if the gift that I once gave to him is in grave jeopardy, a gift that is withering; the roots drying, decaying and morhphing into a soul I hardly recognize. The fight that I am now engaged in appears to be hopeless because my son has no hope and his heart is full of, what I can only perceive to be is self hatred at his chalking up just one more loss. I can't make it clear to him that life, all of it, is a series of wins and losses and that if he can just stay in the game, he will learn how to roll with many of the punches that life seems incapable of not dealing to those of us who live it.

He has little contact with the life, his son, that he helped to create and the anger that dwells in my heart for his ex-wife is so palpable that I cannot even begin to think of myself as a grandmother. To be sure, my son was as responsible as she for their marriage coming apart at the seams. Unfortunately, their relationship was doomed from the very beginning.

She came from a very wealthy family. We have always been middle class, broke on far too many occasions, but never dirt poor. Her family has always had private school education, trust funds, and maids. Our family has been maids, largely attended public schools, and have never been able to scrape enough together to even begin to spell or dream the words "trust fund."

Her father was supposed to have paid for their college education while supporting them throughout the entire process. A bad mix of intended largess and need, something that I warned my son about before he decided to walk down the aisle and take his vows. But he was confident that I, after living more than fifty years, didn't know the players in the game, and that his future father-in-law, nee, the entire family were kind and loving people. To be sure they must be because a wedding was thrown together almost over night attended by over four hundred people after the announcement that a baby was on the way.

My son moved hundreds of miles north from our home to be embraced by this new clan; or so he thought. I can't really say when the marriage began to unravel. Maybe it was right after the honeymoon ended and his new wife neglected to order any of their wedding photos. Or maybe it was when my son's father-in-law, a few months after they had been married asked my son, what appeared on the surface to be an innocent question; "So, you know son, I'm not out in the world as much as I was as a young man, so exactly what do you people call yourselves today?"

The question came from left field because race had never been discussed, at least in his presence, by my son's to be wife's family. My son, like our other two children are bi-racial. All of his life his has been mistaken to be either Latin or Puerto Rican when in fact he is an "other," the only designation on federal forms that indicate a person that has mixed parentage (black and white).

Like so many years ago, decades really, far too many politcally correct white people still judge people on the color of their skin - rather than the content of their hearts. So, for years I have tried to raise my son with the reality of being black, while praying that life and society has moved beyond the scars that I still carry with me today from growing up black in Ohio during the 1940's and 1950's. But even in those days there was a sense of respect from whites... that is, my father was once rebuked by a small white boy who called him "Mr. Nigger." So, apparently within the confines of the upper classes, in country clubs and god knows how many board rooms; white,entitled males still struggle with the concept of what to call black men when they know their names.

My son, raised in my household, a place where the mom, me, has been a practiced smartass all of my life, responded to his father-in-law with, "Well, I prefer to be called John (not my son's real name which is unusual enough to omit for his privacy)." What ever occurred in the mix of those two lives who once thought that they should join to create a life and then, at some later time, fragment their lives into a thousand pieces, escapes me today.

So, my blog has taken a backseat while I try to help my son to ressurrect his life. The struggle is continuing and there are far too many days when I feel as if I'm losing the battle. My husband is frustrated by the fact that it appears that we are re-raising a twenty-nine year old man, soon to be thirty, and yet I know that if our son were to fulfill one of his many plaintive "I'll either kill myself or set it up for someone else to do it" would be an earth shattering and life altering event for both of us.

Forgive me for sharing a bit of my pain and angst and if you believe, please pray for me and my son!

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Death, Politics, and Taxes

Death, politics, and taxes seem to go hand in hand; both seem to have a negative effect on each of our lives, whether we want them to or not. The fury of the media and a small group of people intent on preserving the partial life of Terri Schiavo seems to have smacked into the brick wall of the inevitability of death. The family, i.e. her parents and the man she married should be able to mourn with dignity and the MSM should find other stories to report.

The issue of this young woman’s life and death should have remained a family issue. While thousands of people die daily in the United States, the MSM and our government decided it was important enough to slow their normal juggernaut speed to stop, glimpse, and comment on a tragedy that will sear the hearts and minds of the people who loved and cherished Mrs. Schiavo for as long as they continue to breathe air. In all too brief a span of time, the MSM will devour another “human interest story” but hopefully our government leaders will have learned that a majority of the people in this country feel that they overstepped their boundaries. Wouldn’t it be grand if the conservatives and liberals could rally together and push legislation through congress for the benefit of poor and hungry children or ensure that the elderly will continue to receive adequate Social Security benefits to live out their days in dignity? Or maybe they could turn their energies towards finding real alternatives to our dependence on petroleum rather than investigate the use of steroids by professional athletes.

Maybe my dream of government officials who feel that they have a responsibility to address the needs and concerns of their constituency rather than the special interests dates me and emphasizes my lack of understanding of what it truly important in life. Lala land seems to be the place to inhabit, except I thought that this was the United States, a place where everyone, rather than the few, could pursue and realize their dreams, a place that offered the best in education and news coverage, business and employment opportunities for its citizens, and more importantly an informed and caring group of legislators who cared more about the public good rather than their next fund raising dinner? Dreams die hard, even for people my age.

Good Bye Mrs. Terri Schiavo and May you truly rest in peace.

Friday, March 18, 2005

The Bastardization of the American Justice System

What is it that fuels the interest of far too many Americans to hang onto every word of a person like Nancy Grace? The new breed of reality based television shows endorses legal talking heads to declare a defendant innocent or guilty on national television without the benefit of legal counsel. The talking heads are typically ex-prosecutors, like George, or practicing defense attorneys, sprinkled with an occasional appearance by a judge or two. The point is - people like George find it far too easy to argue that the accused is, without a doubt, guilty. Nancy George has decided that she is a modern day Joan of Arc, a female knight in shining armor, duly anointed to champion the rights of the victim’s families. Ms. George effectively tugs on the heart strings of her audience because she herself was once the victim of a brutal crime, the slaying of her betrothed. The effects of her loss continue to overwhelm her sense of logic and fair play, and in response to her loss she gave up her dream of becoming an English teacher and replaced that dream with an unyielding crusade to spew invective and hatred against those she deems guilty.
Since the infamous trial of O.J. Simpson, the media and a needy public conspired to invalidate the “not guilty” verdict reached by a mostly black jury. Before, during, and after the trial, the media filled the airwaves with phrases that became part of our national dialogue, phrases that propelled and solidified O.J.’s guilt. “Chilling 911 call; if the glove doesn’t fit, you must not convict.” O.J.’s very public murder case became a beacon for the media not just because he was a celebrity, but because his relationship with Nicole was taboo to many people in America, taboo and titillating to a public starved for controversy and the perverse need to see an icon fail. Defendants, whether O.J. Simpson or Scott Peterson, serve a very real purpose for the media: a way to make more advertising dollars.
Just a few decades ago, the American public embraced more liberal ideas towards crime and the people who committed them. The media, after years of turning violent inmates into journalists or writers, decided a new slant was necessary to insure that their public would continue to support them. So, a new discourse on crime began. We evolved into a nation of people who were more interested in capital punishment and longer prison sentences and as the media fueled our frenzy our compassion waned. Like a pendulum, our society has swung from being a liberal, compassionate society, to a conservative, retributive one. The end result of such an imbalance of sentiment in society is a public that is increasingly pro-prosecution and anti-defense. It is notable that the heroic lawyers of popular culture were once Atticus Finch and Perry Mason, who defended the rights of the accused. Today, the American landscape of justice is straining beneath the demands of an insensitive, fearful public, fueled by a media intent purely on profits. And, as those attitudes have taken root, broad support for the fundamental tenets of our legal system--such as the presumption of innocence--are gradually eroding so that, in the minds of many, an arrest for any crime is tantamount to guilt. The legal shout-fests, "create a habit of mind that almost seems to generate instant justice. That's what TV shows are all about: You get instant emotional response, instant clarity, and instant judgment. That's inconsistent with the frame of mind of deliberation that's necessary for real justice."

Scott and Laci Peterson became the new media darlings; a tragic death that turned out to be murder. After an endless investigation, the young husband and father to be was arrested for the crime. The face of Scott, an all American handsome young man splashed across the media landscape after his arrest. Tales of infidelity and greed began to surface and the vultures came to feed on the tragedy.
Over the course of the Scott Peterson trial Ms. George rallied the support of her audience as she lusted for Scott Peterson’s conviction and her desire for his date with the executioner. How can a woman, or anyone for that matter, put themselves in the position of being judge, jury, and executioner, just for the sake of a paycheck, a person who once took an oath to defend the public good, to honor a simple phrase – “innocent until proven guilty?”
Ms. George, like far too many people, find it easy to condemn another person with only rudimentary facts or half truths. Our jails are overflowing with people incarcerated by over zealous prosecutors, frightened/venal policemen, and by a justice system that is almost beyond repair. Over the years, time and time again, men have been convicted of heinous crimes and sent to jail and after a reinvestigation of the ‘facts,’ have been found to have been innocent. The truth is, sadly, that anyone can be arrested, jailed, convicted, and sentenced to jail for crimes they might not have committed. Occasionally the media will report about the release from prison of such an innocent man or woman, yet there is no outrage by the public or a demand to fix the system. Somewhere buried deep within the hearts of far too many people is a discordant voice that admonishes anyone who is arrested because clearly that person must have done something wrong to have been arrested in the first place. This quaint assumption ensures that our intellectual evolution is wholly sophomoric.
Many in our society have sunk to the mentality of the mob. If you look closely at the cheering crowds outside the courtrooms when guilty verdict are handed down it is not difficult to imagine the re-emergence of the infamous Salem witch trials in modern day America. The exploitation of the public by the media highlights the incredible amount of non-thinking that takes place in American society, especially televised justice.
Insensitivity and a perverse desire “to know” seem to permeate our society and it appears that very few people seem concerned about the public good. Nancy George is paid a handsome salary to incite hatred based on faulty judgment. The woman trades in human flesh, degradation, and pain, yet she acts and is respected as if she were Joan of Arc by her producer and her adoring public. The new cult of shock jocks and media mavens have become the new sin eaters of modern society, devouring credibility and truth, all in an insane attempt to, at the very least, entertain; or at the very worst, to influence.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Distortions in Democracy

What does it mean to be an American today? Sounds like a writing assignment for a fifth grade English class, right? I’m asking this question because I don’t think the majority of Americans actually think about being American; they are just simply American. I, like most Americans, can say without a doubt, “I know what it is when I see it!” But the question is, “when’s the last time you saw it?” Did you see it during the last televised presidential debates or during the national elections? Or, maybe you saw it on the front page of your daily newspaper, an organized institution dedicated to reporting all of the news all of the time, without bias or spin? More than likely being an American is just a feeling you have when you wake up in the morning, when you brush your teeth and eat your Wheaties, and then go to work to earn a paycheck. But outside the accepted trappings of being an American, the things that I have come to identify as uniquely American are being altered and some things have been changed clandestinely under the guise of protecting me and mine from terrorist aggression. Americans are gullibly and tacitly accepting curbs to their freedom and democracy without question. I am more than mildly disturbed by many of these changes; changes that have winnowed away at our foundation of democracy yet remain unchallenged by a so-called “free people.”
Once upon a time, just a few short decades ago and years after the stain of yellow journalism, the press and the mainstream media flexed their muscles and ferreted out stories which resulted in the “public good” while exposing corruption in government and commerce. For some obscure reason, the mainstream press and tabloids began to meld their stories and their style of reporting the news. News organizations felt it was far better to report on the illicit sex lives of men running for president, or on the addictions of the children of a democratic female senator who was running as vice president. The medium began to devolve even further by elevating heinous crimes and criminals to front page celebrity, while ignoring important world-wide, national, or local issues. As the push for advertising dollars increased, the press and the news media became more and more “fluff” oriented and dedicated its valuable time to sensationalized stories, filled with either stories about celebrities, the rich and famous, or gruesome tales of torture and murder. The news, whether in print or aired on local or national news channels, is the biggest source of fear in our society today.
A new leaf sprouted in the media in the last few years. The press and the media have long been accepted as the foundation of liberalism in this country, the seat of our First Amendment Rights. Yet, our media, like the baby Bells, has been sold and purchased and resold again. The picture of the media complex within the United States has changed from being owned by many different people with divergent ideas, to being owned by very few conglomerates or very few extremely wealthy individuals with very similar ideas. This change in ownership from many to few has produced a concentration of ‘sameness’ on the media, a pallor that has clearly resulted in the distortion of our democracy.
The major media of course, sees nothing wrong with its current practices or rather, non-practices. The major media cannot relate to, nor respond to how its past ease of being able to put the White House and its business under close scrutiny has been denied or blindsided by an administration that feels it doesn’t need oversight from anyone or anything. The press can neither, or possibly, does not wish to accurately report on what the impact of the current administration has had on the citizens ‘right to know.’ From ‘free speech zones’ to a planted ‘journalist’ during White House News Conferences, each incident has been largely ignored by the accepted purveyors of information and truth. If said information (truth told with spin) is reported, the story is hidden deep inside the back pages of the newspaper, its placement a clear indication of its worthiness and importance.
The media has become the tool of corporations, groups with clear agendas, and of course, the entertainment industry. The media is the most sensationalized instrument on the streets of America today. Common, horrific crimes find their way to the front pages of news stories, and the perpetrators of these acts become famous and their victims sainted. If only the media would spend as much time reporting on real issues in our lives, such as the rising deficit, the continuing war in Iraq (which has been relegated to the back pages of most daily news papers), the availability of jobs that pay a living wage, the trade deficit, and our true position in the rest of the world. What about the Patriot Act? Where are the journalists who can provide everyday Americans with adequate information and truth about something other than the Academy Awards ceremony or what happened today during Michael Jackson’s trial?

Monday, February 21, 2005

Bloggers Be Gone!

Well, it’s official. Mainstream journalist and media types can’t wait for the death of Internet Bloggers. But the question becomes “why?” The mainstream media, all except for the N.Y. Times and the Washington Post have all decided to ignore the problem of another conservative plant in the media named Jeff Gannon. Here, under the pseudonym of Jeff Gannon, James Guckert was able to infiltrate, with obvious help from someone inside the White House, the White House Press Room after being turned down for a Capitol Hill press pass. Guckert was allowed into these press meetings with the President of the United States as well as other important high ranking government officials without being scrutinized by the FBI. Yet, cable and network television, except for Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show, have studiously avoided that a highly conservative plant was allowed to penetrate the inner sanctum of the White House Press Room without proper background checks or credentials. It appears that the only credential he needed was his political ideals, decided conservatively, because his politics were the right ones to bypass red tape and protocol. How can the mainstream media just sit while an openly partisan journalist penetrates the White House, asks the President soft questions about the economy, Social Security, and the war in Iraq without an uproar?

Much of the research on Guckert aka Gannon was done by bloggers and the mainstream press and media, rather than doing an investigative report on how the media is being manipulated by this administration, spends their collective time calling for the end to blogs and bloggers. For the sake of argument, it is clear that the only real free press exists on blogs and lies in the hands of bloggers. To be sure, there are very strong conservative Internet sites equipped with their bloggers, but the liberal free press has all but died except in publications like The Nation and of course Internet blogs. Why the mainstream media is bereft of hungry, young journalists’ intent on making a name for themselves a la Bernstein and Woodward is hard to understand and quantify. Where are the journalists and media hounds that went after Bill and Hillary Clinton just a few short years ago?

What began as a place and a means for private people to post their very private feelings about public people or politics has in fact become a place for intelligent, well researched, and yes, politically motivated “news” that is sadly and distinctly missing from the mainstream press and media. Until the air of repression lifts from the national media, owned largely by wealthy conservatives, until this administration is open to questions of every type from journalist and citizens who are seeking answers about public policy or our society, then the power and effect of blogs and bloggers should continue to grow to protect our freedoms and to ask the hard questions.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

The Psychology and Acceptance of Abuse

A thirteen year old boy steals away from his home in the early morning hours, steals a car, engages in a police pursuit and loses his life in a hail of bullets. At the very least, the incident is a sad commentary of modern life and an indictment of a trained police force. Written responses about the incident ranged from outrage over the death of a young boy to the parents being chastised for “allowing” their child to be on the streets at four in the morning. What moral compass steers the vitriol of a respondent to blame the parent for their child’s brutal death?

The answer can be found deep within the hearts of each of us. Over the years, from the time that we were children we have been taught to respect and obey authority. The greatest authority in any of our lives today is the uniformed man or woman in the squad car behind us. Without a doubt, these uniformed men and women place their lives on the line for us everyday. But as citizens, our tacit acceptance of police over-reaction extending to police brutality is never closely examined or even demanded because as law abiding citizens, we believe that whoever is involved in aberrant behavior should be first and foremost, punished, and the belief continues in that the more severe the punishment the greater the likelihood that that individual will be dissuaded from committing such crimes in the future. This idea of the acceptance of cruel and unusual punitive treatment for law breakers runs a deep course through American society. Many of us are frightened by the images of violence and mayhem perpetrated against others, others that could easily be someone we know and love, therefore when the offender is apprehended, many of us have very little sympathy for the individual and care far less about the treatment the perpetrator might receive after being arrested. Even after someone has paid their debt to society, served a term in prison, maybe even paid restitution, few people in our society feel that these people have the right to resume or resurrect their lives and that they should forever be treated as second class citizens.

As citizens, we have a moral and social responsibility to make sure that our public servants adhere to civilized treatment of everyone. Unfortunately, most of us cannot, or will not, understand that each of us can be transformed in to monsters within certain powerful social settings and not just the men and women who have taken on the burden of being our protectors. It is true that policemen and women deserve our respect and admiration, but in turn, they must guarantee us that they don't willing protect those within their ranks who routinely abuse their power. The problem with many individuals in law enforcement, the so-called “good cop” breed, or even common citizens like you and I can suffer from an unexamined human reaction called “quiet rage.” The inability to effectively change negative events in our immediate “now” in other words, to be placed in a situation whether with or without our consent where we are completely powerless to change those conditions for the better, creates emotional dissonance which allows us to slip into a transformation of character. That transformation of character allows individuals to perpetrate heinous acts against other human beings or simply allows otherwise moral people to condone the actions of policemen who kill a child or a defenseless, homeless woman whether innocent or not of committing a crime.

The fragility of the human psyche is largely ignored by most people. As human beings, we are swayed by powerful desires to be accepted, hence the need to conform to the pressures of society. To ensure that individuals conform, society exploits our deeply ingrained behavioral patterns of obedience first instilled by our parents, church, and school. When people react to fear, whether imagined or real, their responses are colored by an imagined fear and their specific need to ensure that they are never vulnerable to that situation in the future. Public censure and public shame are strong motivators for people to conform when they are essentially powerless in a society. So, powerlessness allows people to become morally disengaged and in that disengagement, people psychologically minimize the evil of their actions; such as the writer to the Letters to The Editor who found it necessary to blame the parents for their son’s death.

There are ways that each of us can begin to change the complacency or “quiet rage” that grips our nation today. If we begin to understand that if we just simply begin to believe and act as if all men are equal and deserve fair treatment, then we will begin to ensure a more peace filled future. If we see injustice and inhumane treatment of other human beings, then it is time to step up and demand that the treatment cease. And this is the hard part of completing a formula for change, because many of us recognize when authority figures have transgressed and broken public trust, out of fear we turn a blind eye to the transgression because many of us feel that we have to sacrifice personal safety in order to stand and decry the mistreatment of someone else. As dangerous as the job of being a law enforcement agent is, nothing can be more dangerous than working in an environment where good cops and bad cops close ranks against we, the people, who need and deserve to trust them. Killing a child at four in the morning, a child who it appears was no threat to the officer’s lives was killed. This killing, among other questionable acts on the part of certain officers has indeed threatened the public trust and needs to be reviewed by an independent panel who can honestly evaluate the real threat to the officers involved and what other means they should have used to avoid killing this child.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

The Final Cut

Most of us, regardless of age, wish that our relationships with our parents had been different. Although both of my parents are dead and have been for a few years, when I allow myself to cast back into the past, I fall back into the void pain that represents a few simple things I wished that my parents had done for me before they died.

I am an only child. My childhood was largely uneventful, other than the fact that I consider myself to be the first latchkey child in America. The first five years of my life were spent in a kind of fantasy world. My parents and I resided with my paternal grandparents until I was five years old. As the first born grandchild, my grandparents, aunts, and uncles doted upon me. I was the cleanest child in the neighborhood due to the fact that my mother changed my clothes a minimum of three times a day. My shoes were hand made because I was born without an arch, in other words flat footed, and my mother wanted me to have beautiful feet. My every whim, and many that I had never even thought of were fulfilled by my grandmother and grandfather. My father was threatened with physical harm by my grandfather if he thought about spanking me or punishing me, even to instill the necesary fear that would save my life.

My mother was young, and at this time of my life I can clearly see and understand that she had been abused and misused in her life before she married my dad. The extent and type of abuse my mother suffered was never discussed but my assumptions are based on the fact that my mother was unable to fully love me. I'm certain she loved me, but her love at times was twisted. I can't tell you how many times my emotional life was assaulted by her inability to comprehend that I was a child that needed love and guidance and not just discipline to survive in the world. My mother had invisible "lie jars" that sat atop our refrigerator collecting the "lies" that I told to her over the course of time. The jar would collect my so-called lies until the top would be forced off by the pressure of the lies within and then I would be spanked with either a leather belt, or, my mother's favorite, a fresh switch from one of the trees. Of course I was sent to fetch the switch, not too thin or puny. If the switch I'd fetched didn't pass her inspection, I would be sent to fetch another one and of course this always resulted in my receiving a few more swats to make up for the delay I had caused her by purposely choosing an inappropriate switch for her use.

My mother also concocted a rival for me. According to my mother, when she had me she also delivered my sister, an identical twin, who was smater, more obedient and more beautiful than I. When my report cards came to the house, my mom was always cynical and berating. "Hmmm a 'B'. This is just not good enough. Your sister would never insult me by bringing a 'B' home on her report card." Whatever I did, it was never quite good enough. My identity was bastardized by her into two categories; if I had indulged in poor habits or behavior, I was clearly my father's child. Whenever I received praise or acclaim, it was solely because she was my mother and I was just like her.

My father allowed my mother to get a job when I was seven. I learned at seven how to wash my school uniforms by hand and to cook for myself. My father worked three jobs and my mother was always exhausted when she came home from Wright Patterson Air Force Base. So, my best friends by cjoice were the characters in movies I watched alone or the people I read about in books. One of the greatest things my mother did for me was to purchase books. I had a complete library from floor to ceiling that covered two walls and this place, "my play room," was the place where my heart learned to soar with joy or to break with sorrow. I was alone so much that these people in between the pages of these books became the texture and context of my life.

At one point, my parents marriage began to decline. They had lost tens of thousands of dollars in a business venture and my father lost his ability to look at me, my mother, or himself in the mirror. So, he left, and began to live on the railroad tracks. My mother also lost her mind at this time and it was if I were just a pon on a chess board. Whenever my mother wanted to see my dad, she would contact either of my father's two sisters and tell them to tell my dad I had some debilitating illness. My father would come home to check on me and invaribly my mom would have some fantastic meal prepared - food that was kept under lock and key when my dad was not present. My mom bought me a 100 pound bag of potatoes to survive on, while the freezer upstairs, under lock and key, was filled with every cut of meet and fish known to man. Within hours of their reunion, my parents would be fighting. Their fights escalated to blows being passed and eventually my mom would take a shot ( as in hand gun) at my father and he would leave, once again until the next time I took "sick." This cyclical turn of events occured over a two year period and for whatever reason my mother decided she needed a change of scenery. My father came to visit voluntarily because it was Christmas. He brought the most beautiful tree I have ever seen. The tree was never put up, it laid abandoned in the back yard, like the pieces of my life, and the day after Christmas all of our worldly belongings that could be carried in a car were loaded into cardboard boxes and placed in the trunk and backseat of a 1946 Buick. Our destination was California. We had no money for hotels or motels, so my dad would pull over at rest stops and I had to crawl onto the boxes in the backseat to sleep. To this day I hate the touch, smell, and sound of cardboard when my hand or body comes into contact with it.

At twelve, my mother decided I needed a job. At the time she worked for an attorney, a rather large, unwashed man, who sweated profusely. My mom volunteered my services to the attorney - I was to be his personal laundry service. It didn't matter how many times I washed his shirts, his stench filled the air and my lungs as I steam ironed his shirts. I learned not to eat the morning before I had to do his laundry because the undigested food in my stomoach would invariably lurch into the base of my throat, forcing me to gag.

Despite the fact that we lived for over six months in a studio apartment my mother made sure I attended private school. So, I was lucky that I didn't have to compete with the other girls in the area of fashion. Uniforms look alike and the only way you can change them is by shortening the skirt or doing something crazy with your hair. Neither form of creativity was acceptable by the dean of students.

I managed to graduate from high school. I married the man of my dreams three months before graduation and kept the secret from my friends at school until my day of graduation when I wore my wedding rings to the ceremony.

I am certain that my parents were disappointed in many of the choices I made in my life. As a grown woman and mother, I stayed in contact with my parents on a daily basis and I spent most of my adult life trying to impress them, trying to get them to see that I was a valuable human being. My father used to tell me that if he was as smart as I that he would rule the world. Either he misjudged my intelligence or I am as inept as he presumed me to be. My mother, well, I never really excelled in the areas she wanted me to. You see, in her estimation I didn't marry well. The man I married wasn't wildly wealthy or even rich, nor is he today. To her, it wasn't enough that I just happen to be still madly in love with the man I married thirty-nine years ago.

So, when both of my parents died, neither took the time to tell me simple things like "job well done!" or, "you did a great job with those kids!", or simply "I love you." That's really all I ever wanted to hear from them and yet I spent a lot of my life longing to hear those simple words from two of the people who meant the most to me in life before my husband and my children. I knew as a child that their union, despite the fact that they had created me, was just that, their union. They had no room for me in their lives. I was merely an accessory. Being just an accessory was and is today more painful than all of the spankings I underwent, all of the cruel emotional games I was subjected to at my mother's behest. So, my parents delivered the final cut and I will carry the pain of not being enough for them to my grave.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Truth Or Not

We all grew up in a country where our culture and belief structures are based on truths. Even as children we were admonished by our parents to "tell the truth." If, as children, we did not tell the truth, the adult in charge would inform us of the gravity of the situation and reward us by not subjecting us to the punishment, if we simply told the truth. In every church, the foundation of the religion is based on truth. Yet people, particularly in America today, seem to easily find ways to circumnavigate the concept and reality of truth in their lives. We have become a nation that is quick to judge but yet, we are extremely thin-skinned when it comes to criticism from people within our own nation and foreign concerns are thrown off by, "oh, they're just jealous of our freedoms and wealth," to the arrogant disclaimer, "we don't let foreign governments dictate US policy."

Despite the fact that many of us claim an allegiance to truth, the facts belie something different on the national scene. We live in a nation where politicians get elected on platforms filled with half-truths and out right lies. Our media has become the tool of whatever conservative or liberal view that wields the most power in the nation, rather than being the arbiter of truth and information that people expect from their news sources.

But this love/hate affair with whether or not we want the whole truth about any situation has become a worldwide problem. One lie that is far from public view is the power of multi-nationals in the world and their growing power in more than the areas of commerce. When multi-nationals found a way to purchase water rights from certain countries in Africa, South America, and India, water that is the life giving blood to every walking human being, the poor people living in those impoverished villages must now buy what God had given to them for free with the meager funds they can earn. It wasn't enough that these corporations, encouraged by first world nations, raped these countries for their natural resources and practically enslaved these people in their own nations by not paying fair wages and by not providing first world living conditions to the inhabitants of these countries, because to do so would have affected the bottom line and cut profits. Mother earth is being adversely affected by industrialization and the mechanization of modern society and strains to throw off the negative effects that has changed the face of the industrialized world since the dawn of the twentieth century.

The new quest for power by the white guys in power today in America is the push for democracy in the rest of the world, regardless of whether or not the rest of the world wishes to adopt democracy or not. The zeal of the fundamentalist Christians to spread the word of God as translated into their theology to the rest of the world, are as fanatical as the Mulas in Afghanistan or the jihad of the Muslims who believe that killing an infidel will land them into heaven. Each group has pinned their worth and value, their righteous anger on a misrepresentation of the fundamentals of their beliefs for a so-called higher end, regardless of the fact that the higher end will result in them gaining power for their side. Politicians in America and the rest of the world come equipped with silver tongues to lull the fearful and troubled psyches of their voting constituencies to garner votes. Ministers stand in pulpits and address congress with venom and hatred directed at different groups because these men of God feel that they have the right to condemn the actions of other people when in fact God made it clear that only He could judge the sins of people.

There is so much hatred and division in America today, we don't need to look outside our own country to try and fix any problems or ills. Americans calling other Americans unpatriotic because they don't agree on the issue of whether or not we should have invaded Iraq is ludicrous. The best way we can honor the men and women who place their lives on the line everyday for us on foreign soil is to demand truth from our leaders about why they are there, and demand a date when they can come home. The nation was based on the concept of freedom of speech, yet freedom of speech has been bastardized by this administration by its erection of "free speech zones" and the active selection of who can (those who support Bush policies) and who cannot attend forums where the president or his advisors appear. Although many Americans can read, most allow themselves to be swayed by what they hear, rather than what their eyes tell them is the truth about where they live and what is going on around them.

So, I guess it's true that most of us would rather be told that everything is "A-okay" rather than being told the truth. Young men and women put their lives on the line everyday for us, and yet we cannot honor them by demanding the truth about the real reasons we went into Iraq. Just why did the people who died in the 9/11 attack really die? Don't their deaths warrant the full truth from the administration about what they knew and when? Why are reports about 9/11 still being redacted and withheld from public view? The truth is what should set us all free and yet so few of us really want to know the real truth.

Sugar-coating reality by telling a bit of the truth is opening our civilization up to catastrophe. Why is it mankind must always deal with the truth when some great cataclysmic event happens that destroys thousands of innocent lives do we suddenly become aware and decide to react? Do we really need another World War to unite us against implied or real evil? When will men learn that all of us are vulnerable to venality and some who crave power more so than the rest of us? We cannot symbolically give up our power to a man, anymore than we would leave a box of money on our front lawn with a sign saying, "life savings, don't touch."

It is imperative that each of us seek the truth of the issues that effect our lives. If we have to brace for the cold hard facts of reality then the bracing is better than the pain of losing a loved one to the horrors of war. Wake up America. The clock is ticking and the time is now too act and not in the future,when inaction could foretell doom.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Fear - A Useless Preoccupation

One of the most devastating aspects of being human is our preoccupation with, and our experience of living with fear. Fear demoralizes, withers, and destroys the central core of our humanity in both the young and the old. The best way to try to understand the cumulative effects of fear on the human spirit is to take a step towards death and then to peer into the endless abyss.

Fear is not difficult to identify. It can be found in the hollow, empty stare of a child who has unwillingly seen too much of the ugliness in life, a child who has suffered the emotional and physical pain of abuse and/or abandonment and all too often has given up on the possibility of living a good life and therefore desires only to embrace death. Fear can also be observed sitting on the shoulders of the old; their backs bowed and curved under its oppressive weight. Although the taste of fear is bitter, many cannot refuse it when offered and are inexplicably driven to drink from its fetid wellspring, and later left to suffer its debilitating effects. Fear floats like a silent, unseen killer over the landscape of life, feeding on the innocent and using the weak to spread its vile benediction of insecurity to perfect its oppression over mankind while demanding blind obedience from a frightened populace. Fear is the nursemaid of demogogues and tyrants, the life breath of small men intent on ultimate power and wealth.

Today, in these United States, fear reigns supreme. The widespread dissemination of this fear began with the expansion of the print media into televisied news reports. The media determined decades ago that fear sells and that in the face of rampant fear, logic simply disappears from the mental processe of a frightened and ill-informed populace. So, our airwaves have become filled with images of dark destruction, violence, and fear. The populace responded to this constant onslaught of fear by closing their windows and locking their doors. They also began to frame their windows and their minds with steel bars which led to the growth of accepted abusive police behavior against assumed enemies, all in the mistaken belief that this misplaced aggression and might would protect them in their communities from the hoardes of the great unwashed and the unknown. As the fear mounted in these communities, so did the power of the media as it routinely exploited those fears with a never ending stream of images filled with man's inhumanity against itself.

Soon, this dissemination of fear began to appear more in more in the political landscape and politcians began to use fear to manipulate voters. Politicians began using fear, at first, as the dissemination of half truths, always delivered with a homey famililarity, punctuated with a big warm, disarming smile. On the other hand, the voting populace endlessly searched for security and embraced the politicians and their lies as a cure all for all of their collective fears and insecurities. Politicians and media types have always been ardent students of the human condition and are well practiced at shifting or substituting fears to maintain a firm hold on the population who are distinctly too busy to read, analyze, understand, or interpret real dangers that might exist in their everyday real world.

The drumbeat of fear marches through our lives at a constant and mind numbing pace. Somewhere, everyday, a heinous act occurs against someone and the media ensures that we immediately feel the fear and pain of that distinct moment. We are so hyped on fear that our biology is so miscued to impending doom that we cannot find a way to escape this made up world of fear long enough to logically differentiate between real and imagined fears. The fear of everyday Americans of being at the mercy of a terrorist attack since 9/11 has reached illogical proportions. We were just as subject to a terrorist attack before 9/11 as we are today, and yet, many Americans walk around with an unreasonable fear and the belief that the president and his advisors can protect us from another devastating terrorist attack. This expectation of protection in the national mindset is the greatest verbal balm that politicians can offer a nation paralyzed by fear. The sad reality is that this inferred protection against any and all forms of terrorist aggression are as imaginary as the white knight who is supposed to have rescued the damsel in distress. Yet, millions of Americans voted for an administration that claims to be able to protect us from an unknown, subversive group whose greatest power resides in their ability to strike anywhere, at anytime without apparent motive or provocation. It can be likened to voting for a candidate who claims he/she can guarantee that you will live forever, unfettered by the prospect of eventual death.

The annals of history have recorded man's quest for security and these annals also recorded a history stained by the blood of generations of men intent on exercising their perogatives by affecting domination and power over less powerful groups. Looking at our collective progress over the milleniums, the one thing we have perfected is our ability to kill greater numbers of people, even from a distance without causing a ripple on our shores.

All men were given the ability to reason and to think, albeit in varying degrees. Yet, too many men feel comfortable acceding their power to a perceived "alpha male" to think for them and to act on their behalf. This tacit acceptance of someone else's power over our own means that we knowlingly agree to give up a part of our inherent humanity in trade for an invisible security. As long as men have the need to dominate other men; as long as men believe that their religious or their political beliefs have a higher standard than others, then all of our lives will always be plagued by dissension, mistrust, hatred, and fear.

Isn't it time we all stepped up to the plate to begin to fight our own fears and regain our personal humanity? Isn't it time we began acting on own on behalf, taking responsibility for ourselves and the world we live in? Isn't it time to reclaim our humanity, our right to live without?

Thursday, January 27, 2005


Throughout the history of mankind, men have fought wars. Wars have been fought to acquire land, wealth, and ultimately power. And in all wars, one thing is constant, people die. One of the major tragedies in every war is the number of young men slaughtered for causes that should have never been important enough to ask anyone to give their life. And yet, the annals of time are filled with the blood of young men and now, added to the legacy of millions of dead young men, are the blood of dead young women.

My husband served in the Vietnam War. He was a Marine; "the proud, the few." He returned after thirteen months of duty a changed man, different from the sweet, beautiful, young man I married the day before he went to Vietnam. My husband left a part of his soul in Vietnam, a piece somewhere on Marble Mountain, or in the the jungles and rice paddies where his friends fell and died in their so-called honor and glory. That man child who was trained to defend his country, a man child trained to kill men, women, and children, came home to a civilization that he couldn't understand. His nights were filled with dreams, his days were filled with a profound silence as he struggled to surmount the agony in his being for seeing and doing the things he had been told to do were honorable.

The truth is, no matter who or how many people speak the lie, there is no honor in death for a young man or woman who has not yet had the chance to experience life. There must be some way in this advanced world of ours to stop the madness, to find a way to reconcile our differences without taking lives. All wars are unjust because in every war innocent people die, or worse, people are irrevocably maimed.

We have over 120,000 soldiers in Iraq and when I think of all those young people, putting their lives on the line, I shudder and fight back the tears for all the unrealized dreams, all the unfulfilled promise of a generation wasted. I can't help but to think of a common child nursery rhyme: "...And all the king's horses and all of the king's men, couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again. " We have not found a way to completely heal the broken bodies and minds of those lucky enough to return home. How can we expect to heal their souls, mend their hearts? Is it all truly worth it?

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Condoleezza Rice

Headlines across the nation declare that Ms. Condoleezza Rice will certainly be confirmed as Secretary of State. A few upstart democrats, headed by Senator Barbara Boxer from California, have questioned Ms. Rice's ability to adequately fulfill the awesome responsibility for this position based on her performance as National Security Advisor. All questions posited to the candidate were valid, but her confirmation is guaranteed whether or not her confirmation is what's best for our country. Our elected officials have decided that this confirmation is a party line issue, and therefore Ms. Rice's confirmation is as certain as George Bush's re-election as president. What will history books, a hundred years hence, write about this period of time in our nation? Will future historians judge this era as one of the best in American history or will future historians characterize this time period in our history as one filled with darkness and foreboding, a time when the practice of democracy slid precariously behind the desires of personal gain, profit, and the Orwellian need/grasp for power, at any expense? Will the compliant silence of the media in their support of the current administration's policies stand up under the harsh glare and examination of time? Where have all the men/women of good will and intention gone?

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Republican Propaganda

Everyone in America is supposed to believe and know that the media is liberal and is dominated by left wing democrats. Apparently, for the sake of discussion, the Republican hacks have decided to continue this "lie" like several others they have disseminated over the past few years. Part of the Republican strategy is, "if you tell a lie long enough, with enough emotional emphasis, the commom man will begin to believe what you say." So, the "lie" that the media is liberal is just that: A bold faced lie!

If you doubt the veracity of this observation, review the recent accolades showered on the President after his inaugural address. From the New York Post; " President Bush stood tall before America and the world yesterday and marked the beginning of his second term with an affirmation of liberty that will resonate for years to come." Ridiculous! The words that were crafted for this special occasion put the rest of the world on alert, because Bush is intent on spreading his type of democracy to the rest of the world. USA Today stated; "When George Bush was inaugirated for the first time four years ago, he devoted only seven sentences to foreign policy. Thursday, a more seasoned and confident Bush delivered a stirring inaugural call to the longstanding American ideal of spreading freedom and democracy around the world." Iraquis citizens can attest to how much happier they are since Bush and the US military might brought democracy and freedom to their homeland. The national newspaper are typically rife with their awe and respect for the man who has bankrupted this country and preemptorily started a war in a foreign country without due cause. Yet, articles about administration misdeeds, "news" stories being produced and made by white house staff members and shown on national and local news stations as the "real" thing about drug use and contraception, stories about how the privitization of Social Security will benefit the working American, propaganda produced by the White House to simply garner the support of the average American for the President to dismantle a program designed to help retired or disabled American workers and not his wealthy cohorts. These stories are buried deep within the pages of the national press, and yet the media is characterized, daily, as "liberal."

Fellow Americans, it's high time to wake up. There is no free lunch program and your expected freedoms and the democracy you spou about to the rest of the world has been traded for oil and enourmous profits for the few at the expense of the rest of us.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Some Things Remain the Same

The struggle for equality marks the American landscape like snowflakes. Immigrants come to these shores to partake of the American Dream and yet people, a people that arrived on these shores unwillingly, still strive for equality. Oh, yes, over the years laws have been passed to ensure the equality of a people, laws that were supposed to erase the years of degradation and shame that hung around the shoulders of an enshackled race, a race that some said were even scorned by God. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his life for the dream and yet the dream for many still remains unfulfilled.

Racism occurs in small ways everyday in the lives of minorities. Most non-minorities prefer not to acknowledge or accept the fact that the existence of racism still permeates the landscape throughout America, unless the effects are blatant and violent. So, mindful of the fact that this is just a common occurrence, remember that thoughts, words, and actions can sometimes yield terrible scars.

Today was a day like most other days, except I had to go to an appointment to voluntarily have my ta's (breasts for the uninitiated) squeezed and for all intense and purposes, flattened, a precaution most women over fifty have been told will help combat or avoid breast cancer. Truthfully, I have begun to wonder if the annual exam, a task I liken to torture, will in fact convince my mammary glands to produce the dread disease just to punish me for their annual violation. But enough of my private conversation with my ta's, the subject of a later book to be penned about the "Secret Lives Of Ta's."

My o'gram appointment took place at a well appointed radiology office near my home. The office decor resembled the taste of someone who had spent a lot of time in corporate board rooms or upscale law offices. The office waiting room offered about twenty of the traditional high-backed red leather chairs with their emblematic embossed gold studs which complimented the hunter green berber carpet. The sitting room was rounded out by mahogany wood side tables, each filled with magazines that exalted the rich and famous or fortune 500 companies.

A young white man, probably in his early twenties, struggled to assist his aging grandmother, or possibly his great grandmother, with the required paperwork chronically her health history. As they struggled collectively, a middle-aged black woman with a flourish of pure white hair entered the office. The African American woman was the only representative of her race in the office at the time. The office staff appeared to be entirely white, and female. The woman was well-dressed and obviously at ease in the environment. She made eye contact with the desk receptionist, signed in and she sat down near the young man and his grand mother. After glancing around briefly, she picked up a magazine and began to read.

The older white female and her grandson had apparently completed the paper work and the ancient woman attempted to feebly rise to her feet. Her grandson provided the necessary push to her backside and as she gained an upright stance, she began her trek to the front desk. I'm certain most of this woman's life took place in slow motion because it took her a while to orient herself to her surroundings. Once she was securely on her feet her gaze fell directly on the African American woman. Her forward motion was stopped, almost as if she were compelled to stop directly in front of the woman. Once assured of her keen powers of observation, she turned slightly and spoke to her grandson over her shoulder and stated quite clearly without hesitation, "Watch my purse!" This statement, full of the racists assumption that all blacks steal, lie, and cheat somehow satisfied her and she resumed her feeble short journey to the front desk receptionist to complete her sign-in. The African American woman maintained her regal poise. There was not even a single twitch on the fine planes of her coffee-colored, firm, unwrinkled skin, that would have symbolized that she had allowed the insult to demean her personhood. I guess that over the course of her lifetime that she learned how to ignore ignorance and top go on with her pursuits in life. The young grandson flushed scarlet at his grandmother's crudeness and insensitivity.

I can't help but to wonder how long it will take for old white women to stop clutching at their purses in public when a black person, regardless of age, gender, and stature, enters their environment? When will Dr. King's dream of all men "being judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin," really begin to become a part of the American landscape?

Monday, January 17, 2005


Americans seem to be engaged in a quiet war. There appear to be two groups largely defined as liberals and conservatives operating in the political and social arenas of this country. The conservatives spoke the loudest during the last national political election and the liberals appear to be unable to understand just what has happened and why they lost in such an unprecedented defeat nationally and locally. So, many of the people I know thought that the madness in our country: the war in Iraq, the state of medical insurance coverage, and the rising deficit, just to name a few issues, would be laid to rest during this presidential election, yet the madness is continuing to escalate and a democracy, our democracy, hangs in the balance.

I have never really minded people thinking differently from me, in fact I think being able to talk to other people with differing views brings strength and wisdom to decisions that might otherwise be made hastily and foolishly. I cannot easily say that every conservative in America feels and believes the way that President Bush and his close supporters/followers believe. Dissent of any type against the current administrations point of view are unacceptable and largely uninvited, except by tacit admissions to the fact that there are wide ideological differences within the country, by this administration. There is such a practiced, cloying air of secrecy surrounding this administration, an impregnable facade that even the major media cannot and does not penetrate. White house press credentials are given only to journalists who don't ask the tough questions of the president and his staff, questions that were always asked that were designed to garner necessary information for the nation as a whole, questions that ensured democracy was being practiced even in the highest levels of government. The hold, rather, the viselike grip of this administration is so distinct, so anti-American, and yet it appears that the American populace has fallen asleep at the helm. There are no people demonstrating in the streets and if they are they are labeled malcontents and anti-American. There are no mainstream journalists compiling information or writing stories that are even attempting to probe the inner sanctum of the men and women who march to a tune that only the privileged few are allowed to know and understand the melody. Yet, everyday American lives are being essentially changed by an administration that claims that it understands and respects the wishes and mandate of the voters. The Iraq war is no longer a war that is supported by the majority of Americans, yet efforts to correctly disentangle our troops and economic support wane. The war has disappeared in the media, a back-burner issue that can be trumped by the breakup of Jennifer Anniston and Brad Pit, or any other fluff item that doesn't feed the minds and intellects of a nation woefully short of useful content from its media about the world and itself.

What will it take to wake the sleeping giant in the hearts and minds of Americans, conservatives, and liberals,e that there is truly something amiss with the current state of affairs in our country? The problems that plague this administration, the fate of true democracy and freedom is not merely confined to either the liberals or the conservatives, but issues that affect each and every person who considers themselves an American. Tens of thousands of Americans with the approval of this administration feel that they are justified in their desire to preclude freedoms from certain groups merely because "they are not with us so they are against us!" I can't imagine that a liberal democratic president could have remained in office without censure from the so-called liberal press or the media for the mounting misdeeds of this administration without, at the very lead, exposure in the press. Yet we have a sitting president whose first election win was granted by the Supreme Court and his second presidential win has been questioned because of voting irregularities in key states. We have a sitting president in office who started proactive war against a country by disseminating false information to Congress and to the American public, a man who clearly has no problem with bending or perverting the rules when it benefits his purpose. We have a sitting president who have sent our young men and women to war to fight a war in the name of democracy, yet these young men and women were not provided with adequate armor, modernized weaponry, or essential equipment to safeguard their lives in their quest to "spread democracy."

There is so little in the news media in America about real issues and concerns in our country. Celebrities and their concerns are the fluff that fill our air waves, and oh for such a brief moment, the terror and gut wrenching pain of the tsunami in Asia that chronicled the deaths of a hundred thousand people. The tragedy showed that we as Americans, we as a people who are a part of a much larger world, were able to come together to offer aid to other people on the other side of the world that needed help. Yet, many Americans have no problem with denigrating fellow Americans who cannot accept the conservative agenda or their religious ideologies. The checks and balances that were instituted by the Founding Father's in our Constitution have been violated and plans for future tinkering with a document that defines us appears to loom largely in our future. Unbelievably there has been no major upheaval of our elected officials or within the populace, and issues such as religious beliefs, homosexuality, our safety from terrorism,all were used to polarize a nation to win an election, a mandate for four more years of imprudent economic policies and unheard of national isolationism of a major world power from the rest of the world. This extreme polarity of our supposed differences has resulted in far too many people not thinking about issues, not evaluating or asking questions about how and why we are living in this heralded, unheard era of terrorist threats against Americans on American soil.

As Americans, we know so little, and it seems that we care even less about other people and other countries. Many of us are quick to accept a sophomoric view that people in other countries hate us because of our freedoms and our wealth. Truly, there are many millions of people who would never consider living in these fair United States and are no more jealous of us than we are of them. But because our history books do not tell the full story of America's imperialist's rise in the world or of our support of villainous dictatorships throughout the world because our support furthered our political and economic agendas. Far too many Americans believe that we are the good guys wearing the white hat in cowboy movies from our youths and therefore all of our political motives were/are altruistic and inherently good. Like most things in life, black merges with white to produce large grey areas even in politics and religion. Yet, millions of Americans think and react simplistically to problems whose roots are tied to our history and our alliances. Our myopia, albeit practiced on the part of many, has gifted us the horrific event of 9/11, and our naivete has the blood of our children staining the sand in a foreign land.

I pray, yes pray, that somehow we will begin to wake up, wake up and demand answers and clean house to free us of the people who threaten our basic freedoms.