Tag Archives: current events US

Dis En Franchised

I am being deprived of my privilege.

Everyone wants to be equal and have the same playing field.

But if that happens, then I am no longer on top, no longer number one.

I’d have no claim to being special.

I’d no longer belong to God’s chosen race. 

I’d be just like all the rest – just like all them homos, just like all them foreigners. 

I don’t know what that means; 

How would I know my place in society if everyone is equal?

I don’t know any other world than this one with its sense of imperiousness: 

That calm, wide undercurrent I’ve felt in everything I’ve been taught.

The idea that only my kind worshiped the right God. 

Only my kind is civilized. Only my social structure is allowed.

What future is there for me without that undercurrent?

I can’t envision it.

There is no one who will define it for me or show me how to act within it.

The uncertainty makes me anxious, fills me with fear.

A fear that decides to haunt me and grows exponentially

until one day it tips over into an empty vat and morphs into a deep anger

that I can no longer control – and maybe I don’t want to.

It feeds me, this anger.

It validates me and then becomes my best friend and adviser. 

I’ve learned there are others who embrace the same anger, welcome the same adviser.

I am thankful for my online brothers,

ours is a private world where we talk about keeping our privilege,

we talk about lording it over others who are not like us,

we say “fuck equality,” we’ll do things our way here.

We encourage one another, “This is our Vietnam,

we’ve got to rid our country of those who think they could ever be equal to us.”

We ask about the best guns to own, we discuss how to cause the most damage,

we feel no remorse at ending the life of someone

who dares to think they could ever be equal to us.

No one can ever be like us. 

We won’t lose our privilege to anyone beneath us.

We will not conform to a society where our kind must yield to their kind who smell funny and talk differently, yet want the same treatment.

Even our own President says they’re invading us, and there’s only one solution to an invasion:

Kill the fuckers. 

They can’t deny my privilege and render me disenfranchised if they’re all dead. 

 

Author’s note: Some come close to describing disenfranchisement as one of the main underlying problems to many of today’s mass shootings and the white supremacy movement, but they don’t really come out and say it. I wrote this little prose so that we might better understand part of the process of disenfranchisement and open up dialogue about ways to address this issue. 

 

 

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Poisonous Choice

In every circumstance there is a choice, whether it’s personal or societal.

From a societal aspect, it seems many of our choices boil down to choosing either a punitive or compassionate approach to solutions that challenge our communities. In the US, we seem to take a punitive approach to most of our societal issues.

An examination of our overall response to homelessness exemplifies the point. Instead of looking beneath the surface of the problem to discover solutions, we vilify the homeless as lazy and moochers instead. We think they should just pull themselves up and get a job and realize the American Dream, but we don’t want to help them do it. We cry ‘socialism’ and ‘entitlement’ and ‘dependence,’ and blame them for their own undoing. As Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs demonstrates, when one is focused on merely surviving day to day, anything else takes second place. But we refuse to offer the one thing that will help them, a means to have a roof over their head. In some cities like mine, we kick it up a notch by forcing the homeless out of public spaces and booking them like criminals. A blatantly punitive, not compassionate approach that only exacerbates the situation.

Norway provides an example of a compassionate approach. It dropped its homeless rate by a third in four years simply by getting to the root of the problem and providing housing.

“This means that homelessness is understood as a housing problem, not primarily or solely as a social problem, and the provision of housing with or without follow-up is considered essential to prevent and reduce homelessness,” says researcher and project manager Evelyn Dyb at the NIBR City and Regional Research Institute at Oslo and Akershus University of Applied Sciences.

The US obviously takes a punitive approach to drug addiction as well. Instead of applying compassion and the understanding that we’re dealing with a disease, we criminalize drug abuse. It’s my personal contention that by taking this approach, we actually enable their thievery and other violence. We keep our prison industry alive with drug offenders, with almost half of its occupants convicted on drug related charges. (rarely do the drug companies or doctors who push the pills suffer any consequences).

The nation of Portugal decided to approach drug addiction from a compassionate angle with robust positive results. But their society first made a conscious effort to adjust their perspectives:

Portugal’s remarkable recovery, and the fact that it has held steady through several changes in government – including conservative leaders who would have preferred to return to the US-style war on drugs – could not have happened without an enormous cultural shift, and a change in how the country viewed drugs, addiction – and itself. 

As a last example, I’ll utilize the current US border issue and the choice this administration is making by acting punitively instead of compassionately. Prior to the Zero tolerance policy, and at the behest of the Obama administration, migrants were released to relatives with ankle monitors to ensure their accountability to appear to court cases, etc.. There were social workers and agents involved to act as liaisons to help them through that process. Our nation does not act compassionately in this regard any longer.

Detention centers have morphed into concentration camps as they’ve become overcrowded and unsanitary due to defying the Flores Settlement as well as scrapping the prior administration’s more compassionate program of release with the ability to monitor.

I’ve observed a couple of compelling reasons behind the US’ consistent punitive approach to most social issues. The first is hard to miss: greed. The private prison industry takes millions in taxpayer money every year to house non violent drug criminals. GEO and CoreCivic are currently earning a whopping $775 a day to house migrants instead of releasing them to relatives. Drug manufacturers have raked in billions thanks to Oxycontin. Quite a few people became much wealthier by creating the housing bubble, which helped create the homeless crisis.

From another stance, there’s a healthy contingency in our midst that infuses a religious flavor to the idea of punity, choosing to draw from the notion of an authoritarian god instead of the example of a compassionate savior.

In each example, the compassionate approach is more humane and overall healthier for the society who employs it. The punitive approach only seems to poison a nation by reinforcing greed and authoritarianism. Would that the US could have a paradigm shift along the lines of Portugal and Jesus’ teachings.

In Peace,

Frankie


Deathbed

There’s not much we can do.

You and I can only wait at this point.

All chances of a healthy outcome have passed,

This is the end, this is the time to begin mourning.

We try and prepare, make certain that our

own houses are in order.

It is difficult, we don’t know what awaits us

when She’s gone.

There are the quiet whisperings of

those gathered round the bed:

“Wasn’t she beautiful in her prime?”

“Remember that time when…..”

“She was the top of her class.”

Respectful admirations morph into

consoling observations as we struggle

to find a way to justify Her fall.

“She was bewitched by all that money,”

Someone said.

“It’s true,” agreed another and then,

“But there were those who were out to

get Her deliberately, She didn’t have a chance.”

This statement weighed heavy in the room,

we all knew it was precise.

With nothing left to say, we watched Her breathe

and knew that as Her death approached, so did the

death of life as we knew it.

We reflected, each to our own, about how we could have

changed things, what we would have done differently,

where we were lazy.

And each to our own, took a portion of responsibility

for the ending Her life.

Outside, the dogs of greed bark and yip

excitedly at the smell of Her imminent death.

They too, have been waiting but with

a different aspect.

Knowing Her power is nearly snuffed out,

They are anxious to overrun our towns

and de-civilize our streets.

Their increased energy is felt inside

the room of Her deathbed.

A quiet sob breaks from among one of the visitors,

As it’s noticed that Her breathing has become labored,

Not much longer.

If we say goodbye now, can She hear it?

If we tell Her we love Her, will She sense it?

If we say we’re sorry, so very sorry for Her demise,

will She forgive us?

We do it anyway, mostly to succor ourselves.

Because watching Democracy die is deeply painful,

and the grief that awaits when She does, even more so.