Monday, June 29, 2015

What Year Is This?

This is a political post. 

In the last thirty days racist people have killed nine people at an historically black church and now six other churches have "caught fire".

The last part, the other churches burning to the ground, doesn't appear to be heavily covered in the national media, and I'm certain not on Fox News who still think the confessed Charleston shooter might have had "other" motives. Since the Charleston shooting, College Hills Seventh Day Adventist Church in Knoxville, God’s Power Church of Christ in Macon, and Briar Creek Baptist Church in Charlotte all burned in consecutive days. Another church, Fruitland Presbyterian Church, in Gibson County, Tennessee also burned but the investigators haven't made a ruling regarding the cause as of yet.

The term coincidence doesn't even begin to cover this.

Then, after a skipping a day, Glover Grover Baptist Church, in Warrenville, S.C and The Greater Miracle Apostolic Holiness Church in Tallahassee, Fla both caught fire on June 26th.

Is this 1959? We have the internet and and can make video phone calls, we've landed men on the moon and can convincingly change a person's sex, but racial progress stopped with Kennedy? And I say racial because only church's that are predominantly attended by black people appear to have been the targets, so it doesn't look like Christianity is under attack, just the black section. Even those of us who don't attend church regularly understand it's importance in a community, so the act of arson against a church resonates. Isn't a house of God still a house of God no matter the race of those who gather there? What kind of mental gymnastics makes this okay?

Some like to entertain the notion that racism was over since we all got together and elected a black president. But what it really did was strip the veneer of civility and expose that we aren't quite who we think we are. What we have found is that a lot of the ideas and notions, stereotypes and cultural blindness that should have gradually faded away in the past fifty years are still very much here, and not just in the small change resistant pockets we thought they might be. Activists have been working on this for fifty years without pause for racial equality, and now we find that at best all we've done is maintain the social status quo from before the federal highway system was even a thing. We may have even lost a rung or two. Considering just how much time has passed, that's just scary.

I'm not sure where we go from here.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Can We Talk?

This is a political post. 

My father owned a dry cleaner for a number of years. I learned a lot there: hard work (because my father believed in it), how to deal with irate people (because destroying someone's favorite skirt is a real bummer) and how to tolerate things. Because on more than a few occasions, I handled an Confederate article of clothing. We cleaned it as best we could, pressed it if the fabric could stand it, bagged it up and charged the customer just as if it were there best Sunday go to meeting clothes. Which in a few cases it very well may have been.

(In the interest of full disclosure as a child I was a Dukes of Hazzard fan and as I think I've related here before, I probably pushed my parents tolerance levels to 1000 when I asked for and got a toy "General Lee" as a Christmas present.)

Having a learned a little bit, having gotten a little older, I don't particularly care for the flag, but it is what is.

That is my South Carolina upbringing. You just don't think about it.

There are a lot of conversations we can have in the wake of the horror that happened in Charleston. In a nation that as of late appears rife with racial tensions and clear evidence of systemic racism, and unambiguous act of terrorism might just be the catalyst to get us all talking. Maybe one of those conversations will be about how we still have a huge issue with race even though we have a black president. Maybe one of them will be about the mostly unnecessary and dangerous level of access of weapons we have in this country. Maybe we could get the one about how the media has a tendency to demonize one race. Maybe it will even be about how we handle tragedy...with kindness and forgiveness in the face of concept versus the of pointing fingers and destruction...or even howls of pain directed at the guilty. It is my belief that all we really need is a conversation, one serious honest conversation free from the confines of self induced bias, to get things kicked off.

The question is, will we even get one, just one, before we get sidetracked?

Oh wait, we're talking about the flag.

Sidetracked already.


Sidetrack Image via Tumblr, via Twitter...from CNN

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Odd Quotes

Image by Paul Davey
 "Sometimes you meet someone, and it’s so clear that the two of you, on some level belong together. As lovers, or as friends, or as family, or as something entirely different. You just work, whether you understand one another or you’re in love or you’re partners in crime. You meet these people throughout your life, out of nowhere, under the strangest circumstances, and they help you feel alive. I don’t know if that makes me believe in coincidence, or fate, or sheer blind luck, but it definitely makes me believe in something."
~ Anonymous

I welcome me back...

For my birthday, I had the ribs. From Houston's. They're the most expensive damn ribs in the city probably, and their fries need so much work it's not even funny. But it's my birthday. Oh, I also got a new gig...but that's a whole different story.

Been gone for a minute. I'm back.