Monday, June 30, 2014

What It Means

Just hours ago, the United States Supreme Court, filled with five of the most conservative, Republican, misognistic, racist, bigoted justices ever, have furthered their intent of putting women in this country in the dark ages.  These men, today, ruled in favor of a privately owned corporation's "rights" to "regulate" the private lives of their female employees by denying access to birth control pills because it is against their religious beliefs.  The corporation, long held as a non-living-entity, was deemed a "person" through this same court's ruling of them in Citizens' United.  This same court has now thrown us back into the deep dark ages while these same old white men with their Viagra can continue to have as much sex as they want, without thought of the repercussions of those acts.

I, like many of my progressive women friends, are angry, understandably so, for the future of our daughters. Roe v. Wade was a right, access to birth control was an unquestioned right, whether it worked or not (I have a couple kids from failed birth control pills), our rights of personhood, rights over body and choice were all thrown out the window in favor of some ideological man's interpretation of an ancient book that is admittedly misunderstood but written in hyperbole, allegory, parable, and philosophy.

Anger doesn't begin to describe what I feel.  I was born Freedom Summer.  I am fifty years old and never thought that my ten and twelve year old daughters would be catapulted backwards into a world filled with racism, bigotry, misogny,and religious fanatacism all because a few rich white men were angry that a black man sits in the house that slaves built.  That these same men would systematically destroy the nation over these past fourteen years, first with an illegal presidential victory decided by a court and not the people, then an illegal war, then the genocide of millions in the flood, the continued ruining of men for private prison profit, the recent inhumane treatment and denial of living water for a city on the lake, and now this.

When I started writing about political, social, and cultural matters back in 2007, some thought I was just being radical.  Others called me boogie.  Still others applauded my continued spotlight on what was happening and the teacher in me challenging them to take action, to alter belief, and to speak up.

Today, I was temporarily stunned silent.

Never did any of us think this would happen.  We all thought reason would take over from fanaticism.

Then today.

And fanaticism has temporarily won.

Tomorrow, we pick up and fight again.

The ACA still is the Federal Law of the Land and birth control coverage is included, even if some nutty corporation thinks they have supreme headship over their employees making barely a living.

What does this all mean? It means everyone, every one of us must vote, must continue to use the tools of our disposal and write, talk, speak, draw, sing, rap, play, or dance the truth so that everyone can understand what is really happening.  We do not want the dark ages again.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Why I Went Silent

I went "silent" for a the extent that a writer, poet, philosopher, teacher, activist is able to silence the words that beg for life.

There is so much that draws for attention - the Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, that the media has now forgotten because of the Sunni/Shiite centuries old conflict escalating in the Bush/Cheney illegal war in Iraq that has been going on for a decade and the media and the GOP are now trying to pin on President Obama, the open carry legislation raging through my Missouri legislatures and the lake tourist town worried that the locals with open assault rifles will scare away the tourists with money, the continued assault on the rights of black americans whether it is through education, housing, employment, or the new money-to-be-made in legal marijuana, it seems that black people are at the perpetual bottom while wkephite corporate america is making millions off their labor, their pain, and their existence. There was just so much vying for attention that this writer had to step back and do what writers do.

Observe. Listen. Contemplate.

One thing I've learned in these five decades is that I can not change everything.

I can, however, use the tool I have been blessed to receive - writing and teaching - to highlight what is happening.  In that, change comes.

It can be very frustrating to keep sounding an alarm to a seemingly deaf populace, then to realize that there is something that will spark action, much like the brave young people fifty years ago that stared down the dogs, hoses, and police during Freedom Summer 1964.  Perhaps it is the continuous small light-shining that is keeping key issues in the forefront from education to private prisons to corrupt legislators to the assaults on women's rights.

When I went silent, I kept reading, kept teaching, kept thinking.

We must be brave enough to stand up, even if in doing that, we stand alone.

Silent no more.