Saturday, December 27, 2008

War, Hoo!

Lauren and Jamie left earlier today before the youngest one's next dose of cold/flu medicine. The middle child turns 3 Monday. The oldest one looked at me like I was stupid when I offered to throw, as if it were a ball, some kind of Army rag doll with Lauren's picture as the face. Lauren asked the oldest, "Who's that?" "Mommy! You!"

But in other news, toddlers shouldn't be able to "talk with their eyes" the way this kid can.

Let's not kid around here. The only people this war in Afghanistan has helped are the terrorists and poppy growers and whatever private companies are in charge of "reconstruction."

Can you even think of a war that wasn't waged because one side wanted something the other side had? Or, in our case, wanted to try some ill-conceived experiment of democracy by force. I mean, really. Democracy by force? Was there no English major to tell the neo-conservatives in BushCo that "democracy by force" is a contradiction in terms?

And what about all the chicken-hawks? Those "patriots" who completely support the military but can't join themselves because they have "other things to do." Yeah. I understand now. Nobody wants to miss the birth of their children or a child's birthday. No mother wants to leave while a child is still sick. (Even though, when I was visiting, the medicine was working, and this little person was dancing like someone auditioning for Soul Train! Well, when it comes to energy and effort if not quite yet craft.) No father wants to miss the milestones in his children's lives like the first time they use the potty. (Only the oldest of Lauren and Jamie's children is potty-trained, which means I'll only offer to baby-sit that one.) Though, you do have the ever so brazen who are perfectly happy sending others to fight the battles they want to win - the chickenhawks.

It's no secret. I have no intentions of ever joining the military. And depending on the circumstances, I'm not willing to marry anyone who did; even if he's been discharged.

But I do have a suggestion or two before our next military adventure. I propose that a change be made to the Constitution that all family members of Congresspeople who vote for pre-emptive war who are fit for battle must join the military. The same goes for the family members of the President who carries out the wishes of the Congress.

Unless we are actually hit by a country, we should never enter war. Yeah, I'm willing to risk those initial American lives. Often, we have enough intelligence to be prepared for such strikes and prevent any acts of terror. We had the intelligence before Pearl Harbor and 9/11. We should start using it and hold in distrust those politicians who don't.

See, violence begets violence. War begets war. I don't know what reasonable excuse we have for not invading Saudi Arabia when 17 of the 19 attackers on 9/11 were Saudis; the royal family doesn't practice religious much less political freedom; the version of Islam that tolerates such violence is taught in schools that receive financial support from individual Saudis, members of the royal family, and even sometimes Saudi Arabia as a nation. But I do know that my cousin and her husband are gone; Americans, Afghans, and Iraqis are dying; and, bin Laden has gotten exactly what he wanted.

"They say we're fighting to keep our freedom, but Lord knows there's got to be a better way" (Whitfield and Strong, 1969). - No1KState, 2008

UPDATE: Car bombs in Iraq kill at least 25, wound 64
As Taliban nears Kabul, shadow gov't takes hold

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas? Um . . . Yeah! Merry Christmas, Indeed!

Today is Christmas. No, not the day Christ was born. It's the day we celebrate his birth because once upon a time, the Catholic Church had to do something to compete with the pagan winter solstice celebrations, and thus Christ-Mass.

Not that I'm hating. Not at all. I love the Lord. I celebrate his birth everytime I consider my life with him. Whew! Thank ya, Jesus!

But, this Christmas is a little odd. My cousin Lauren leaves two days afterwards to join her squadron or whatever before heading to Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the man that got us in this mess is living it up at Camp David with his family, including a son-in-law and definitely some nephews who are militarily fit. Uhg! The thought sickens me.

And, I have to add that one of my mom's cousins made me promise to call her today. Not to say, "Merry Christmas," but because her daughter, a chiropractor, adjusted my back yesterday and I couldn't give a glowing, "Oh, my! I feel soooo much better!" Not that I didn't feel the difference. More spacing in my spine. Nice. But I already had a couple of tender spots and she pulled my neck further than what I was ready for, so my back hurts a little and my neck is sore. Don't get me wrong. My back was hurting when I left. And pain in my neck comes and goes. What's more is I think everyone should dump their doctor and get their back adjusted. Seriously. Why take pills for the rest of your life when you could get your back adjusted with all the benefits of having your nervous system in order and none of the side effects of recent treatments that include, but are not limited to, death. My mom's cousin, who shall remain nameless, has even stopped taking her blood pressure medicine. Her doctor doesn't know it, though, and I don't feel like coming up with another fake name.

On the one hand, this Christmas should be a nice relaxing day. Movies. NBA basketball. Mozerella cheese sticks. But it's also a day closer to Lauren leaving and me having to face the fact that I will have a close blood relative in a war zone. Before, Afghanistan was something I could shake my head at and wish the troops could hurry home for their families. There've been at least Christmas I wished Jamie could hurry home for Lauren and the kids. But now . . . :sigh:

It's hard to get thrilled about Christmas when it draws me closer to having to say good-bye to my cousin. And maybe for good. I mean. Like I said, we aren't that close. But we did grow up singing in the church choir together. Me, Lauren, and her sister whom I'll call Willona, ran the church choir. For a while, we even formed our own little singing group. We came in second singing acuppella in a talent contest that we heard of last minute and had only a day to prepare for. Not too bad. Come to think of it, Lauren will probably want to sing at her going-away party. For once, I'll sing without too much prodding. Before, I'd practically make her beg. (Sorry. But singing aggravates my chostochondritis.) If she asks, and there's not guarantee she will, but if she does, I'll sing. I mean, be honest. Obama is planning on escalating the war in Afghanistan. My cousin could die.

She better not. If Bush, who started this mess without finishing it, thought Cindy Sheehan was a walking scandal, he has not met my aunts. I've considered doing a documentary of my mother and her sisters (though, it's her brother's daughter who's leaving) on a road trip. But I always decide against it. Even Lauren agrees I don't wanna besmirch the family name.

But, Christmas. I hate Lauren and Jamie have to leave. I hate even more my brother, who already made plans with his in-laws before my uncle decided to throw the post-Christmas get-together, may not be here to say his good-byes. -And I should add hellos. My cousin's leaving her kids here with her parents. I love seeing Lauren's kids. Of all my cousin's children on this side of the family, hers are the best behaved . . . until they've been here long enough for their other cousins to show them how to act a fool and the adults in the family to spoil them. Too bad for them, one of their biggest fools has a new grandbaby to act a fool over. I always told Lauren to have her children down here to take advantage of the idiocy before it ran out.-

But, I'm not without hope. After all, today is the day we celebrate God's coming down to reclaim humanity for himself. He'll get Lauren and Jamie to Afghanistan and back without a scratch to show for it! They're safe in his hands.

And so am I.

And if you've accepted Christ, so are you. If you haven't, look. Make this Christmas real. Accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. That's the real reason to get excited about today. That's the only reason to be excited about any day! It's why I'm excited. Sometime more likely in the spring about 2000 some odd years ago, God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believed wouldn't die, but have life forever.

And I'm so glad I get to be with Jesus, now too! not just when I die; I'm so glad God was willing to become a little baby, I hardly know what to do with myself! If you want to accept Christ, but don't quite know how, just get at me. I can explain it to you just like that! Or check out the link under "Serious Answers to Serious Questions about Religion."

So celebrate today by placing your hope and faith in Christ.

Merry Christmas!

This Christmas - The Temptations

Okay, maybe not what you were expecting. Here's something more traditional.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Are You Happy Now?

And quit with the "self-serving" accusation. Everybody wanted transparency. You wanted to know the whos and whats. You got it. Barack Obama and his transition team are innocent.

Are you happy now?

Obama aide had multiple talks with governor, aides
By NEDRA PICKLER – 7 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — An internal review prepared for President-elect Barack Obama says his incoming chief of staff had multiple conversations with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's office, but no one close to Obama suspected that the governor might be trying to sell Obama's Senate seat as prosecutors allege.

The report was released Tuesday as an Obama transition official confirmed that Obama and two of his top aides, Rahm Emanuel and Valerie Jarrett, have been interviewed in connection with the federal investigation into Blagojevich.

Incoming White House attorney Greg Craig, who conducted the internal review at Obama's request, found that the president-elect had no contact with Blagojevich or any of his staff about the Senate seat he vacated to take over the presidency.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Oh, Shut Up!

If you've read a good number of my posts, you know I support gay rights, including same-sex marriage or at least some legal approximation. (There is a credible argument to be made that throughout history, even Greek history when philosophers were sleeping with their male protegees, marriage has always and only applied to the covenant between a man and a woman.)

If you've read a good number of my posts, you know I have little respect for the so-called Christians Evangelicals and Fundamentalists. I have referred to them as "gellies" and "fundies." I think they're wrong to focus so much attention on things they have no right to control, like women's bodies and other people's sexuality, while they dismiss and even aggravate the need for racial and economic justice. They ignore the growing prison industrial complex that is ravaging communities and making use of legalized slavery. They ignore our over reliance on the military. They ignore the growing military industrial complex. They ignore the hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis and Afghans who have died in our ill-conceived "war on terror." They can make no credible claim to concern for "life." Not while the vote against S-CHIP and other attempts to make healthcare affordable and accessible. Not while they sit complacently as our schools return to a pre-integration state in the disparity of money spent per child and children in integrated schools end up racially segregated.

Don't get me wrong. I've read Purpose Driven Life. But I'm a much bigger fan of Rachel Maddow than I am of Rick Warren.

Having said that, I wish the gay community would stop with their whining and crying over Rick Warren giving the invocation at the inauguration. They claim that his presence is a slap in the face and a signal that the LGBT community won't have a seat at the table during Barack Obama's administration. But the Rev. Joseph Lowery, who supports gay rights, including gay marriage, is giving the benediction. What does that mean? Does Rick Warren's presence make anything Joseph Lowery represents as far as gay rights null and void? And if so, why? Cause I know you wouldn't be acting as if Lowery's presence means nothing just because Warren is white and Lowery is black. (Of course, I'm being facetious.)

And quit crying about your social status! You're not at the back of the bus; and if you are, you're certainly not their alone. When you move into a community, people don't rush to move out! The property doesn't go down, it goes up! So shut up with you're whining.

You make the same mistake the gellies and fundies make: you act like your issue is the only one that exists. It's not, and you're both wrong. You act like racism and sexism and economic justice no longer exist. You're both wrong. You act like that only people who matter are white people. You act like only the concerns of white people should be addressed. Again, you're both wrong.

And what's more, shut up complaining like Obama owes you something! All he owes you is living up to his campaign promises. He's been doing that. What I find most especially disturbing is this sense that a group of people beyond Obama's choosing is going to control what he does. I mean, really. Do you think that you're supposed to order him around or something? That he's your White House negro? Come on! I've seen this show before. A black person reaches some position of influence and power, and the white people below and around him/her act as though they're still going to tell him/her what to do. I'm sorry. Try as I might, I can't separate the way the LGBT community is carrying on from race.

Not that Rick Warren is great on issues of race. From what I can see, he'd vote against affirmative action. And still, you don't see people of color carrying on like the sky is falling.

For goodness sake people, it's just an invocation! Some of you don't even believe in God. What do you care who gives the invocation?

It's just an invocation! He's not righting a bill for Obama to sign. Obama's not "pandering" to the evangelical community. How can he be when he has someone who supports gay rights doing the benediction? Or am I missing something.

Yeah, I don't think I'm missing anything. Now, I know the entire LGBT community includes people of color. So, I'll admit, it's really the white LGBT community I find aggravating. Just like their pout-fest over Donnie McClurkin, someone they probably had never heard of, singing at a gospel concert aimed at the black community reeked of white privilege, this whole outcry against Rick Warren stinks, too.

Now again. Don't get me wrong. I disagree with Warren's position on proposition 8. Personally, I'm wrestling with whether to understand homosexuality as a sin or not. I certainly understand it is beyond the person's control. If a person is sexually attracted to people of the opposite, I don't know if there's much to gain from "choosing" to be gay. Or, at least, I don't think many if any heterosexuals "chose" to be straight; it just so happens that they are. So, I reject the exclusionary language a lot of professed Christians use.

But, I also reject the apparent exclusionary track the gay community is taking in regards to Rick Warren. I mean really. He's apparently removed the most offensive language from his website. That's as far as you're going to get. I doubt you'll succeed at changing his mind in regards to the question of whether or not homosexuality is a sin. So, stop the pouting about Rick Warren and move on to something more substantive like "don't ask, don't tell."

Sorry if this post seems even less lucid than usual. My head is foggy, and I'm just really fed up.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I'm Flabbergasted!

Why? I can't really say. You'd think with my level of cynicism and skepticism, this wouldn't surprise me, much less leave my flabbergasted. UPDATE: Especially since Blackwater was in New Orleans soon after Katrina.

It's not secret I haven't really done the reading and engaging in politics that I started off doing earlier. I needed a break from just this sort of thing. But the lead article for this video was posted on a social networking site I frequent, and I couldn't ignore it.

The most ironic thing is that I'm currently trying to convince myself that the LGBT uproar with President-elect Obama's choice of having Pastor Rick Warren do the invocation to his inauguration has some legitimacy and has nothing to do with the fact that Obama's black. I'm trying not to see a white hood behind every angry white face. But . . . it's not easy. I mean. I don't agree with Rick Warren on a number of issues, same-sex marriage maybe being one. But they are certainly taking his words out of context, if they understand really what he's saying at all. And even if they're upset with Rick Warren for his opposition to proposition 8, his giving the invocation says absolutely nothing about Obama's views and policy towards the LGBT community. (As promised in the previous post, more about my views on the issue later. I was going to address it today, but the doctor's appointment cause some aggravation of my chronic fatigue. And immune dysfunction syndrome. :P )

Here's a video, produced by The Nation and shown below, detailing the anti-black violence that occurred in the days immediately following Katrina. The white shooters defend and even celebrate their actions with the excuse that blacks were engaged in crime and looting - a myth that was spread and believed all too easily. No one has even been charged. There has not even been an investigation, though since he's read the article, Congressman John Conyers is calling for one.

You're probably wondering with Katrina has to do with Obama and the LGBT community. It's that it just seems like white Americans feel they have some right by birth to control black people. It's criminal. It's unjust. It's racism.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Coming Soon . . .

. . . a complete explanation of my views concerning Rick Warren giving the invocation at Barack Obama's inaugural celebration.

I have to perserve my energy tonight and am going to bed early. But let me just quickly say I think both activists on the right and left are ill-served in their ranting against Pastor Rick's invocation.

And, let me first point out some contradictions. First of all, there're lots of gays and lesbians who don't believe in God anyway. You're concerned about presumably a 90 second prayer? And there're lots of gays and lesbians who consider themselves otherwise socially conservative and supported Bush twice and most recently McCain.

Now, I think it is an understatement to say that the passing of proposition 8 was not a moment to celebrate. I empathize with the LGBT community on many concerns: being compared to pedophiles is no more endearing than being compared to monkeys.

Now, I'm heterosexual. I don't consider my heterosexuality a "choice." It just so happens that I'm a woman who's sexually attracted to men. And this is something I've struggled with for a while. I was a tomboy growing up. There was a period of time when I didn't care how I looked, most especially on days I had basketball practice. I've been hit on by lesbians. I can certainly appreciate the sight of an attractive woman; and, given the choice to watch a movie with Angelina Jolie or Miss Jane Pittman, I'll choose Angelina Jolie. Depending on the movie, I may even choose her over George Clooney. But not over Taye Diggs.

One of the most influential women in my life is gay I believe. She was my professor, and I never felt it appropriate to ask about her sexuality. I think she's gay, though, because in a book she wrote, she acknowledges the love and support of her partner, [feminine name here]. Before I ever wondered about her sexuality, I considered her presence in my life a blessing. Assuming she's gay . . . it didn't change her impact on my life. After reading her book and the acknowledgements, I couldn't very well suddenly decide that her impact was somehow less than I originally thought. Neither can I look her in the eye and tell her who she can and can't be with.

So, I've struggled with my own sexuality till one day, sitting still and quiet, I finally accepted the fact that I love sports, can appreciate good looks even in other women, and am heterosexual. See, the thought of being with a women sexually repulses me as much as I imagine a gay man is repulsed.

And now, having said all that, I can't find it in myself to hold against someone their sexuality when, except for the fact that I'm not, I could be gay, too. And would want every right accorded everyone else. And, being straight, I can't hate on you for what was no more a choice for you than heterosexuality a choice for me.

Now, while I sympathize with the LGBT community and feel justice and inequality is for everyone everywhere, I think we're mistaken to declare the "honeymoon" with President-elect Obama over when he has yet to make a policy decision. And the LGBT community and their supporters are being no more tolerant than "Christian" conservatives to wish that Warren be excluded. Especially when Rev. Joseph Lowery, who supports same-sex marriage, is giving the benediction. I hardly see Warren's part in the celebration as a signal that the LGBT community won't have a seat at the table. From everything I've witnessed during the entire campaign and election, the only way the LGBT community won't have a seat is if the LGBT community doesn't take a seat - and all because of who else is at the table? How is that any different from what the LGBT community is railing against?

And really. How is this guilt by invitation any different from the way the right smeared Obama for his relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Michael Pfleger.

The bigger issue to protest is Warren's advocation of the assasination of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

So, I must rest now. More later.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Give Me a Break!

No, this is not going to be a post referencing the Nell Carter situation comedy.

This is about the media treatment of President-elect Barack Obama in wake of the Blagojevich scandal.

Listen people. There is no indication that Obama was involved in selling his senate seat. If nothing else, we all should know that Blagojevich was pissed because all Obama would offer for his appointed of someone Obama pre-approved was "appreciation." Okay? So, duh! Yes, there was some contact from staff to staff, and perhaps staff to Blagojevich. But there is no evidence Obama or anyone representing him was involved in anything untoward.

So quit with the sudden substantial questions and quit acting like Obama needs to be more open. Cause if nothing else, at this point, we won't be going to war due to your lax treatment of the president-elect. Had you treated BushCo like this, maybe we could have avoided at least one war and now, this financial disaster. If you would treat BushCo like this, maybe we would know more about the illegal wire-tapping and other acts, or mis-acts, of the current and still administration.

Now, I don't wanna jump to conclusions that this is about race. But really. Give me a break!

A Sunday Kind of Love

I hadn't heard that song until it came out on a commercial about jeans. But then, I listened to it online and fell in love with it. It expresses what many women, and even men, dare I say, feel. That includes me.

Of course, in today's world, many people wonder if that's still possible. Young adults are coming through some "hook up" phase and apparently never building the social skills that undergird a successful relationship. I haven't built those skills, either. Not because I was involved in "hooking up," but because I resisted "hooking up." Only recently have I even realized that other people see as attractive as I see myself. And, coincidentally, it's only recently that I've really turned any substantial attention to the possibility of being in a relationship. Not "hooking up," but an honest relationship.

I'm old enough now to really consider marriage. The way I see it, sex can wait for marriage. I'm a Christian and make no bones about the fact that true love waits.

What's more is I know what I want in a spouse. I have a pretty good idea of what I need in a spouse. Getting to know people, I feel, is great. But here's my point, I'm personally not interested in purposeless relationships. I'm interested in what's been called "courtship." We spend time getting to know each other to know if God has plans for us to be marriage. We don't just "date" to learn how we feel about each other. You can have any number of very close relationships without any leading to marriage. And . . . well, we'll save my thoughts about marriage for another post. Suffice it to say here that I feel that both spouses in a marriage should be equally fulfilled.

My point now is that I'm not sure I have either the patience or health for some of the little "games" you're supposed to play. For example, the "chase." Let me put it simply - I do not have enough energy to run. But as far as I'm concerned, that's okay. I'm high maintenance. Just because I'm upfront about how I feel and may pre-empt the "chase," doesn't mean there still isn't some work to be done.

I mean, in my little part of the world, I roll with the big wigs. Can you handle that? Or will you shrink in the spot light? And I don't plan to be limited to my little part of the world forever. My intentions are to obtain an MDiv, MBA with a concentration in nonprofit management or community organization, and eventually a PhD in history. Can you handle that? Or will you one day complain about my use of multi-syllabic words? And I don't have time or energy to worry about "meeting your needs" all the time. So what's your relationship with the Lord? I want your faithfulness to be based on your commitment to please God, not whether or not I've pleased you in the last week or so. Can you handle that? Cause you can best be believing, once will be forgiven but twice and I'll be leaving.

I plan to change the world. You? Or are you satisfied with the world as is? Maybe you're not particularly satisfied, but you're willing to leave the heavy lifting to starry-eyed idealists and radicalists like me?

And, oh! You know what really impressed me so about one guy that I spilled the beans about liking him before he said a word about liking me? He rejected the notion of assimilation. So, I'm going to need you to reject assimilation, too.

Because I also believe marriage should be a joint venture to some degree. I mean, it does depend on how much and if the two plan on impacting the world. But, there's a quote by Correta Scott King that I can't quite remember, but has something to do with being a partner with Martin in what she knew would be his future. Now, I disagree with her to some extent on whether or not it's permissible for black people to request segregation. I know I've had some strong feelings about having my fill of white people. In fact, I'm actually on tape, if it was never erased, stating my feelings that after 8 hours of mainstream culture and being the only black person in the class, or the only one of a very few, the last thing I wanted was to have to be around more white people. A bi-racial friend of mine, well, up until this point, told me about the reaction to my comments; she laughed and said I had given all the wrong answers. But I told my mentor professor about it, and she agreed with me. The feeling is that though attending a majority white college, I wasn't there to enrich the experience of the white students. I wasn't my duty to make sure the white students had a "multicultural" experience, but the duty of white students to avail themselves of the multicultural events held on campus.

I mean, these spoiled brats complained about feeling "unwanted" after spending 5 minutes in the Black Cultural Center. Big deal! I have to be around you all the time.

But I digress. Marriage. It's kinda like with my brother. There was never any doubt he was going to be a minister and perhaps even the executive pastor of a church one day. His wife would have to be a "minister's wife." That's what knocked one of his exes out of the game. Although she was willing to do whatever it took to be a good wife to Big Head, or at least that's what she told me when I asked her, she wouldn't make a good minister's wife if her life depended on it. Not even in an Episcopalian church, and we're southern Black baptists. The girl who's now my sister-in-law grew up with a pastor for a father.

Don't get me wrong. They're not together just because of that. There is . . . let's just say I couldn't stand being around them the first few months before and after the wedding. Too much . . . affection.

So, basically, there's where I'm at in the scheme of things as it concerns relationships. Now, why am I writing about this? :sigh: Well. I honestly spent high school and college in the social wilderness. I really wasn't open to the potential of a relationship. I also had to face the fact that even should I be interested in someone, at some point, my fear of emotional intimacy would eventually ruin the relationship anyway.

Now, I'm open to relationship, but can be as excited about it as a kid on Christmas. The whole thing would be new ground to some extent for me. I don't want to leave the impression that I've never had a boyfriend. Just that those relationships only lasted as long as they were superficial and interesting. So, you can see how I subconsciously doomed relationships from the beginning. And now, with my health, I can hardly had my giddiness at the prospects of a new adventure and someone to hang out with on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. But, I going to want to know upfront exactly what I'm getting myself into. If you only have time to talk two days a week, tell me upfront. Don't let days go by without communication then act like I'm the idiot for having expected a message, an email, something! And if you're not ready for a purposeful relationship, say that upfront, too. Don't try to hide behind needing to be friends. And if you're not interested, say that! I'm a big girl and I got plenty of friends. Don't try to run some, "we need to be friends first," game on me to avoid a more serious relationship. It's not as though I haven't used that line myself. It's also not as though I don't know if a man is really interested in a woman, he will make time to talk. Even if it's just long enough to say, "Hello. Can't talk long. Just wanted to say, 'Hi.'"

Because me? I want a Sunday kind of love.

Friday, December 12, 2008

You Know What This Reminds Me Of?

This whole moment in US presidential history. With the economy in it's worst shape since the Great Depression and the Republicans voting to make present times the Not Too Bad Depression; two wars and Gitmo; rising healthcare cost; failing infrastructure; and, suddenly the willingness to vote for an African American as president . . . It reminds me of, well, you remember how during segregated education, they give the white schools brand new books and give black schools as new books the discarded books from the white schools . . .

That's what all this reminds me of.

My Two Soldiers

Blagojevich smalojevich. Barack Obama has had nothing to do with this pay-for-play scandal. Whatever Blago had in mind, it's clear he knew that bleeping Obama was only interested in giving him bleeping appreciation.

And to the US Senate Republicans: come of it! Stop hating on the UAW. The labor union isn't the problem. US auto companies haven't been making cars people want to buy. When I buy a car, I don't even have intentions of buying from the US auto industry. So, if you wanna clear out the ranks of upper-level, executive management, please do. But leave the union alone. Cause the way I see it, you're coming up against to philosophical contradictions. One is that the cost of workers in the North is too high, especially do to healthcare cost. One way to get rid of the healthcare cost burden on employers would be some sort-of "socialized medicine" via national medicaid/medicare for all, some sort-of single payer system. At the very least, we got to get rid of the system we have know: healthcare for profit. Sorry. People's lives shouldn't depend on insurance companies' bottom lines. And some form of "socialized medicine" will help cut costs for American business - and that's important to you, right?

The other contradiction you're up against is this notion of the free-market. The way I've understood it, in a free market, labor is a form of capital. Why are you so willing to help one side of the free market, business, but not the other, labor? In a truly free market, labor is allowed to make the same self-interested decisions that business is allowed to make. So, in the end, quit hating on a system you purport to support.

Now that I've expressed my feelings about that, I'm moving on. The Republicans are idiots. They're being obnoxious to block the American auto bail-out, or rather, bridge loan. And they're being especially obnoxious to demand Obama come clean about any contact and talk he or his staff or any emissary may have had with Blagojevish. I repeat: if we know nothing else, we do know that Blagojevich was angry that Obama wouldn't play game with him. Doesn't that clear Obama? Quit trying to paint him with Illinois corruption and call me when the Cubs win the Series, or the Bulls win the Finals. I have bigger fish to fry.

My cousin and her husband are due to be ship out to Afghanistan in early January. Hence, my title. And, quite frankly, I'm conflicted about the situation. I understand we need to finish the job in Afghanistan's, and I'm pissed that lame-a, er, -duck Bush didn't do so in the beginning. And the latest reports are that Afghans aren't do any better than they were before. For some, especially women, the situation has become worse. Just a few months ago, I watched part of a special about Afghan women setting themselves on fire as acts of rebellion against someone, be it an abusive husband or an abusive mother-in-law. (I don't know whether or not they had access to guns. But I do know that women aren't likely to use guns to commit suicide. And, I suppose, watching "your" woman burn to death at her decision can stick in the craw of the men who claim control of them.) I only watched part of the special because my stomach couldn't take it. Many of these women were unsuccessful at the quick suicide they intended and eventually died slow, painful deaths. They lived long enough to tell their story, so I guess that's something to support. But watching these talking faces with charred skin and lips noses burned off was more than I can take. Don't get me wrong. When it comes to the crime dramas I love so much, I can stomach stuff like that. I know it's fake. But when it's real, it causes not just my stomach to ache, but my heart as well.

So, part of me understands we may need the military to stabilize the situation enough so that, I would hope, we could send in more nonmilitary aid. But I hate that my cousin and her husband's lives are at risk. Now, I must confess, my cousin, who I'll call Lauren, and I aren't that close. I haven't really spoken to her in almost a year. But she's my cousin, and I love her. And I think she was dumb to have joined the army in the first place. I mean. First of all, I don't believe the myth that for this country is all that honorable. I mean, for me, it kinda depends on the war. I don't know. I just don't think America is worth my life. It's kind of hard to explain, so I'll leave it for a later post. Suffice it to say I think dying for America means you've died to maintain a system that cause more harm than good. And, I just can't accept the notion of dying for America in the face of having committed my life to Christ. I and anyone else who professes to be a Christian is supposed to be seeking God's kingdom and righteousness, and I just don't think America represents either one.

Plus, all the military deaths I can think of post-WWII haven't been for "freedom." They've been for oil or just maintaining control of the world. All this hype about winning the Cold War without bloodshed is just that - hype. Hundreds of thousands have died in the "Cold" War between Russia and America. Don't get me wrong, it's a good thing the situation never came to a war of nuclear weapons, but really. Do you really think someone would've turned America into a communist nation against our will? If you do, it's no wonder you think Al Qeada or any other terrorist organization could turn us into a Muslim country against our will. Or that the immigrants from south of the border will suddenly turn us into a Spanish-speaking 3rd world country. You're delusional.

Did I mention I'm actually angry at Lauren for having joined the Army in the first place? That's why I'm a bit conflicted about her and her husband, who I'll call Jamie, being called to Afghanistan. That's a choice they made as much as a mess BushCo. created. Now, from what I understand, the army was a way out for him. But her? She just initially joined the National Guard for the grad school money. It's not like she couldn't have earned scholarships or my aunt and uncle couldn't have chipped in. In fact, another aunt of ours said they would've gone door to door raising money for my cousin to go to school. For generations, our family has supported education, starting with my great-grandfather who opened a school.

And here's what really bothers me. Lauren and Jamie have three children. Three. One child should be two-years-old by now. Another turns three after Christmas. The oldest turns four in February. So, with 12-16 month tours, my cousin and her husband are going to miss the birthdays of their children, and the missing starts right away.

And what happens if Lauren and Jamie die? I know all of my family will do whatever we can to take care of the children. In fact, that's not even anything I personally have to worry about. But it's something the children will have to deal with. One memory I have of the oldest when she wasn't quite one is of her picking up telephones and remote controls and saying into them, "Elno. Doing!" as though she were expecting Lauren on the other end. And I can hear my cousin always answering the phone, "Hello? How you doing?" I'm not sure the children are old enough to understand death. In my mind, I can only imagine how long they'll expect their parents to be on the other side of a ringing phone or opening door.

Then again, what happens if Lauren and Jamie both survive? We know that post-traumatic stress disorder is under-reported and undertreated. Are they going to be the same parents the children remember?

I'm just conflicted about this whole thing.

And to top it off, cause I feel it needs to be, bin Laden has lived to see his nefarious plan come to fruition. At this point, over 4200 American soldiers have died in Iraq alone. That's more than the number of people who died in the 9/11/01 attacks. 540 Americans have died in Afghanistan. I haven't even started on the number of dead, injured, or displaced Iraqi and Afghan civilians. The total is well over 2 million. Closer to 3 million I would venture to guess. And for what? Are we really any safer? Isn't Obama still sending out messages? And last I heard, this whole Gitmo/torture/rendition method has been working against us; and, according to someone who's talked to foreign insurgents in Iraq, there's an untold number of American deaths due to US torture of so-called enemy combatants.

And now, the Mumbai attacks.

What of my cousin? What of her husband? What of their children? What of them and other families like them. Has this venture really been worth it? If you think it has, you're either delusional or evil. Maybe both.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Me Getting Back in the Game

I came across this while I was online.

My health took a downturn this pass month. Hopefully, this is the beginning of an upswing. It's not as though I haven't had any thoughts. I have many. Like . . . why do commentators keep questioning Obama's decisions? Didn't he win without taking their advice? And I don't know about anyone else, but I knew "change" was in the ideas and manner of governance, not necessarily the faces. Anyone can change faces and bring in people with the same old ideas. That's cosmetic. Real change occurs with leadership and ideas - ideas like the ones lined out in this video and ideas like making these vlogs.

Mostly, though, this pass month, I've been wondering about the world and my place in it. How to go about making the changes I think are necessary in the way I think is best. How to join the elite black intelligentsia that still pushes and strives for justice and equality for all.

Of course, there was Thanksgiving. I enjoyed the football games. I enjoyed the food and the family. My RN cousin had worked the night shift the previous night and warned us to call 911 if anything happened to anyone cause, as she put it, "I'm off the clock."

But it wasn't lost upon me that America was acquired by means of mass genocide and that my presence here in America represents other crimes against humanity.

Now, I'm caught between a couple of life decisions. Whether to follow the advice of my pastor, which wasn't really "advice"; or, to do what I think is right and best for me. Not that I would personally have any problem not taking his advice, I just gotta consider the impact it might have later. You know? How the people I seek to help might take such move. And then there's opportunities at another church, which may allow me the flexibility I seek and the opportunity to serve that I desire so much.

Oh, and let me not even start on my trouble with men. I could've sworn this guy liked me. Even after I explained some of my circumstances and some other things, he was still down. Then, almost 10 days past without a word from him! Was I really wrong for saying that was rude? I mean, really?

The Mumbia attacks strike me as almost inevitable and certainly foreseeable. The only question is will the West continue the cultural and economic hegemony that creates the circumstances that nurture such hate. Not that murder is ever justifiable. But I get the point they were trying to make; and, sometimes, that's the only way to get the attention of the powers that be. The problem that be often would rather continue to be powerful rather than humble.

I'm still around. Thinking and praying for guidance. And those of you who know the words of prayer, pray for me (A little shout out to the southern Black Church.)

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But Don't Jack My Genuis