Wednesday, April 17, 2019

It's Patriot's Week... Again...

I dread this week EVERY. YEAR.

Concerns and alerts for copycats, follow-ons, protest actions, and other criminal activities come out, have to be tracked and vetted, and lead to publicized activity. Today, tens of thousands of school children were kept home as the result of a fangirl from Florida (really, "A Florida Woman" was involved?). She went to Colorado as part of a roadtrip to commemorate the 1999 Columbine Shooting... with a shotgun...
This week would be sunshine and moonbeams if it weren't for some of the asshats who have popped into the timeline. Our nation's history kicked into high gear with events in Massachusetts nearly 250 years ago. And now every Tom, Dick, and Adolf wants to get in on the act. They have turned Patriot's Day (and Week) into a shitshow of anti-government, white-supremacist, and worship of teen angst.

The Story So Far

1775: April 19 - The Battles of Lexington and Concord - remembered by most of us as the opening shots in our Revolution; Remembered by 3%ers and other miscreants who purposefully misremember history as the rallying point behind which we once overthrew the yoke of tyranny... and we can do so again...
Image result for militia
Just your regular, everyday militia members wearing bullshit gear, having done bullshit training, and believing in, you guessed it, bullshit. (photo PBS)
1889: April 20 - Birthday of a certain person with a tiny mustache, a penchant for blaming the problems of his country on an entire segment of the population (and later murdering them), and the target of lampooning by british comedians. Some of his followers are referred to later as "really nice people" by an American President.
1985: April 19 - Siege of The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord begins in Arkansas; The CSA surrenders 2 days later. White supremacists, Christian Identity, AND anti-government? From an organization with the initials "CSA"... hunh... never would have guessed.
1993: April 19 - Siege of the Branch Davidian complex in Waco, Texas, ends.
1995: April 19 - Murrah Federal Building Bombing in OKC. This event led me to begin following and studying the related subjects of White Supremacy, Christian Identity belief, and anti-government activity more than anything else. I had stayed in OKC just a couple nights before this happened and I wanted to understand why.
1999: April 20 - Columbine - I could have been one of these kids in another life - on both sides of it. I knew kids like the shooters. One of my best friends has kids who have graduated/will be graduating from Columbine. This date ALWAYS ratchets up her blood pressure.
2000: April 22 - Elian Gonzalez Raid - A surprisingly large number of anti-government activists look to this event as Federal overreach, an evil government interfering in parental/family rights, and the last gasp of the Clintons kowtowing to a Communist Cuba (seriously? we are still worried about the evils of Communism?). It's not as if we would want another country to return a child removed from America or anything...
2007: April 16 - VA Tech shooting. Yes, Virginia, there are shooters on college campuses.
2013: April 15 - Boston Marathon Bombing; Bomber killed 4 days later. Take note - this is the only thing on this list that doesn't involve Christian Americans. Yes, I am using the term "Christian" loosely... but it stands out. Oh, and before you call me out on Item Two on this list, check some of his current followers... especially those who showed up in Charlottesville...

I still don't get it.

I really want to, but I don't understand. I really wish I did. Then we could move towards working on these issues...
May this week be quiet.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

It's Not Achmed

No, he doesn't actually look like me... 
except for the chromosomes... 
and the pigmentation... 

The Issue At Hand

Again. It's not Achmed I worry about.

And, for the first time, I feel I need to add I'm not worried about Jamaal - I only use that name as it is likely Black/Urban/African-American enough that "not-racist" racists will get the point.

I am worried about the pissed-off white guy who looks like me. The guy who doesn't like the direction the country is headed and worries about "what it's going to be like in 18 years". The mechanic who plans to join a militia and states, in no uncertain terms, there will be a revolution to take the country back when "your patriots overthrow the government" after HRC is elected.

A Faulty Premise

OK, First: Take it from what? Or from whom? No one took anything from you.

You handed it over in a gift-wrapped package when you decided the you wanted to be afraid of a world that didn't look like the one portrayed on Leave It To Beaver, The Andy Griffith Show, Gilligan's Island, or The Brady Bunch.

You tied the bow as soon as you didn't want to acknowledge there was change occurring around you.

The problem with the worlds created for these shows is that they are one-dimensional. I'm not talking about the empty building fronts and thin plots. I am talking about the lack of interaction between people of color and the main characters. Each of these shows creates a false universe from the viewer's perspective. The main characters are all white, straight, and unoffensive.

Few characters smoke or drink and no one has bodily functions beyond eating. Sex is right out. Sexy can be OK, though, but not too much (just ask Ginger). Even those with problematic traits (Otis on Andy Griffith, for example) are seen as lovable comic relief figures and are treated with patience by all.

The Brady Bunch's Peter meets sportsball star Deacon Jones. 
Peter is not frightened because Fox News hasn't begun broadcasting. 
(That and Deacon Jones was forced to wear a cardigan sweater)

This artificial world has the camera looking at a specific view - and it is not the view from the other side of the tracks. You know, the side of the tracks where 'they' know 'they' need to stay - because that is where 'their' churches, schools, stores, restaurants, bars, and homes are located. And that world doesn't leave much room for non-white role models. Well, there are the Harlem Globetrotters... but they fall outside of this made-up world. They are part of the real world. The public world.

So, in this artificially produced world, there are a few speaking roles for people who aren't white. There is one in Leave It To Beaver (a maid), one on The Andy Griffith Show (a football coach), three on Gilligan's Island (a Hawaiian cast as a Pacific Islander, an American Indian cast as a Pacific Islander, and a Japanese/Hawaiian cast as an Asian Indian - not counting any of the later one-offs), and three on The Brady Bunch (sportsball star Deacon Jones and two children - Asian- and African-American adoptees). Even I Dream of Jeannie cast a Burmese actor as an Arab. (if I missed any - please let me know!)
Not the minority you were looking for... 
Italian-American Vito Scotti playing a Japanese Sailor on Gilligan

There are minorities if you look hard enough, but they are cast as set dressing with only a handful of speaking parts. There are no interactions outside of crowd scenes (so long as they stay to the back) and occasional nods of recognition. There are no issues with someone trying to drink from the wrong fountain, go to the wrong movie theater, try to get your hair cut at Floyd's, or sit in at the Five and Dime. There is no friction, no protest, no MLK, much less BLM.

At least those hippies on Scooby Doo and The Partridge Family came into contact with minorities... Scooby and the gang encountered minorities as both good guys and bad guys - and as white guys in costumes. The Partridges were really inclusive. They had people of color AND non-Christians... They even showed up in Detroit to help out Lou Gossett and Richard Pryor (with the help of the Black Panthers).

The Times, They Are a'Changing (Maybe)

There are still issues with how television hasn't changed much. For a long time, the minority roles were often the main family portrayed as "all-Americans" - The Cosby Show, The Jeffersons, etc. Not much room for a modern day Chico and the Man or Sanford and Son. There are some outliers with Modern Family, Glee, and others. Surprisingly (or not), the Disney Channel may be one of the best in this area as they recognize the marketing need to be more inclusive. I won't even touch blackface/whitewashing here as others have covered that far better than I could.
Wizened Elder AND Environmental Activist 

Either way, I can't help but think that this mental creation of a pre-racial America can only come from the segregated world of popular TV. In other words, a world in which minorities are seen and not heard. It was a world with no BLM. A world in which American Indians were seen as a lost people, at worst, or wizened elders and environmental activists, at best. A world in which everyone went to the same church.

We all were good citizens. Authority had a purpose. Order was there for a reason. Alphas were better than Betas. In many ways (and as a parent), I see parallels to the Isle of Sodor, a place where anything other than solid, serious, diligent work and putting order first results in "Chaos and Delay."
And how would Sir like his Topham Hatt? 
This is a world in which everyone could be happy and have little in the way of strife and disagreement. A world in which we didn't have to ask, "Can't we all just get along?" Because we were already getting along.

The Reasoned Response... no, wait... the Opposite of That

But just in case we aren't getting along and it appears that someone is trying to change the camera placement, I can think of no better way to fix it..., er, defend the Constitution... than to have an armed insurrection. It's not like there is a mechanism to modify/throw out the Constitution... Oh, wait... that would be Article V...
And maybe that is the thing. By the clarity of the complaints about how "They" are supposedly destroying the Constitution (in ways that the usual suspects can't actually do things), I can only assume that the militia member, the white supremacist, and the sovereign citizen don't recognize that in order to change things, they have to have a SOLID majority. Nationally. Of course, many sovereign citizens don't believe the current form of government is legitimate.
Either way, maybe this is part of why the Bundy Family, the 3%ers, the Oathkeepers, and others feel the only way to affect change is to haul out their AR and act offended. They act offended because they do not understand the US Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and History. They act offended because their view of the world is incorrect, based on a one-dimensional view.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Editorial Restraint

Part 1 - In Which I Recognize My Limits

For regular readers of my Facebook feed (Because I know this blog is anything but regular...), you may be wondering why I have recently covered Kaepernick, the Election, LGBTQ issues, Anti-Islamic sentiment, minority rights, and women's rights issues and NOT DAPL (other than the one link related to something totally different but in the same vein), the reason is simple. 
I don't feel qualified to do so. 

Part 2 - In Which I Place Matters Into Context

While an ally of the tribal members attempting to safeguard their heritage and history (two different things) while protecting their (and our) environment, I do not feel comfortable speaking to the issues as a whole. 
Why? because I am a white guy in the West. I have spent most of my adult life within a short drive of various tribal lands - Northern Arizona, El Paso, Montana, Wyoming, Oklahoma, and now Arkansas. I have seen people treat tribal members poorly. A much more ignorant me treated tribal members poorly once upon a time. 
With time has come the knowledge and respect of the various cultures and the importance of giving them the right of refusal regarding corporate work on tribal lands. 

Part 3 - In Which You Find Out The Upshot

I will say I support the collective voice of any tribe when someone attempts to take the tribe somewhere it does not want to go. I support their right to control what occurs on tribal lands. I support the right of activists to prevent damage to their sites of importance - religious, historical, and archaeological. 
I do know that as a white guy in the West, I do have a voice. I also know that I am far enough from tribal politics that I should censor myself for fear of misspeaking and saying something that is culturally insensitive. 

And so I leave it to You, Dear Reader

I have many friends who are tribally-affiliated or have worked with the tribes across this country. I will let their voices speak loudly and clearly as I know that my own voice will not add clarity. 
Now. Go and Speak.