Archive for the ‘Other Times…or Are They?’ Category

Kava-Naw I !

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

What on earth is WRONG with those people who have come to get the power to supposedly “represent us”?

And what’s WRONG with US for allowing it?

All this blather about being the Great or Exceptional Nation, and our system of choosing so-called leaders can easily result in giving us individuals who can stand up publicly and INSIST on pushing ahead with their decisions, even if they are seen to be blatantly non-logical, non-ethical, and non-humane.

This entire discussion about behavior from decades ago not being valid in the decision to support a supreme court nominee is such an example. Not even taking into account the falseness of such an argument, as seen in an article published by Ms. Jill Richardson of the Organic Consumers Association who discussed the long-term effects of past traumas, we all seem to forget or miss the point that this is not about going to trial or issuing a sentence for past incidents, but SIMPLY attempting to establish the Bona-Fides and Qualities of a person who will stand in judgement over millions of people for the Rest of His Life!

I repeat, …  stand in judgement over us all for his entire life!

Do not the people of this nation understand that we must not allow serious moral or mental doubts about such a person?

Even if it is not so clear anymore, do we not still pretend, at least, that this is a Democracy, and that all citizens should be entitled to relatively equal treatment?? A doubtful soul in the Supreme Court, VIOLATES this basic premise.

So we should not be judging the relative weight of evidences of past behavior as though this were about actually convicting an individual. Instead, any such doubtful candidate who sparks an uproar about judgement, personal, or otherwise, should CEASE to BE CONSIDERED. Period. Find someone else. Time to Move On!

Freedom Fries are back

Friday, September 29th, 2017

In these days when a nation, its leaders, and media apparently seem not even to notice when an overwhelmingly popular winning majoritarian set of goals and desires are dismissed and “tossed under the bus” in a glaringly anti-democratic power grab, causing our electoral process to became a mockery as well as a fiction, it comes as little surprise that our Symbols, as well well as our Values (Facts, too), are all up for grabs.

Winners of the game (but not of a legitimate election), now muse about major tax self-benefits and possible war(s).

Our traditional power mongers and pundits today glibly speculate on the next set of upcoming “elections” as though nothing untoward or illegal had occurred in the last one.

For them … the People simply don’t exist — except to provide money and line up for occasional “votes.” A true Cosmetic Democracy.

Election 2016: like a rolling boulder smashing into a vehicle on the road, resulting in a trashed wreckage with glass, bones, blood, fatalities and some severely injured passengers, … but having the survivors get up, dust themselves off, limp and drag themselves around the wreck, catch rides and keep on moving, as though nothing inconvenient had happened at all.
— Oh, the wreckage gets removed, the boulder remains quite a while, but none of this … makes it into the news, so it never comes up in conversation. The traumatic incident is forgotten. We’re pretty much told what to remember. Life Goes On, Like It Never Happened.

The statue illustration shown here, though from a few years back, remains quite valid today, so it seems.

Click image to see an enlargement.

History and Responsibility — A Lesson for July 4th

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

[ NOTE: This was published on the OpEdNews website in July 2008, and is based upon the original article written near another July 4, while working as a media coordinator at Florida International University, circa 1997.
— Much of this still seems quite relevant today.  ]

Some things I heard at work the last few days has caused me to reflect on some basic issues about our society and the upcoming “birthday bash” of the USA. Some people were complaining that it’s going pretty hard on middle class white citizens these days. Hard to get a job. Pushy Latinos. Arrogant blacks. People in positions of power they don’t deserve. You know and I know, I was told, that sometimes we’re better qualified for those jobs. But they get them. As I sought a way to counter those views with reason and with clarity, I came face-to-face with … history.

We need a new sense of history. Our pioneer past and our technological present leave each one of us as separated points (thousands of them), not a fabric. The concept of news with its immediacy (not to mention market value) suspends us in time like unfolding chapters of a cosmic soap opera, the next chapter of which now lies in the mind of the Author, dependent solely upon his will and his mood.

“How did we Get Here?” one might ask. “What does it matter? We’re here now!” seems to be the common reply. “Forget that old stuff. Lighten up. Today is the First day of the Rest of your Life,” goes the popular wisdom. That might well be a useful perspective for personal history, but it doesn’t quite work that way for a society. The crisis of not knowing what History is, nor how to interpret it, comes down upon us heavily and repeatedly. And—yes—does affect our individual lives.

The notion that somehow we, as a nation, have escaped History, together with the tradition/myth of independence and self-reliance, gives rise to thinking that we are not responsible for the way things turned out, nor for correcting them, unless we choose to do so as an act of good will.

Thus, the concepts of reparations or affirmative action are often seen by the white majority to be generally unfair, individual acts which would be better seen and judged on a one-to-one basis. The thought that something might have happened in the past which explains the present conditions is not usually acceptable. Historical responsibility is unfortunately either barely understood or incomprehensible to most. If, as “common sense” dictates, each man is responsible for himself and his own destiny, how is it possible that we should give special privileges to some? Do we dare presume that everyone starts out on equal footing?

Here is one of the great ironies of any debate on racism and responsibility: it is taken as a given in mainstream American social ideology that the individual trumps the common or collective. Many writers and politicians use this “principle of individual merit” to denounce social efforts such as affirmative action or reparations, and claim each instance must be seen individually, each case judged on its own merit. Those admirable individual strengths of any European who just stepped off the boat, might well stand him in good stead, even while overcoming hardships, yet a black man, in similar circumstances, would likely have his individuality entirely dismissed … from over 50 yards away. Deep-rooted racism permits the hypocrisy of the mainstream embracing the collective when it comes to punishment, and have that trump the individual should he be black.

However, a hundred fifty years ago, or ninety, or thirty, or ten, there were any number of real, individual, unfair and unthinkable acts committed by real people in their own time, who also thought little of the past, much less the future. Those acts, those countless acts of repression, torture, horror, separation, and degradation—to the degree of not allowing black people to learn to read or even possess their own names—have had long term effects. They violated the most basic principle given as the reason for founding this nation and society: Equality. Equality to be, to know, to have opportunities—the famous “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

What many fail to realize is that that entire heritage, that history came about through the real (if often inflated) “histories” and actions of real people in a real struggle over real conditions which plagued them in their own times. What they left to us (or to anyone who cares to know), are not bedtime stories, but rather the stories of the values they had felt compelled to fight for. We like to wave the banner that we contend stands for those acts and those values. As we do so again this year, we should be aware of the struggles and sacrifices necessary for all of us to continue to stand for those principles for all our citizens.

This July 4th, you can do something significant for yourself and for your friends. Remind each other that history is not just a funny hat that someone once wore, or a talking robot at Disney World; remember, rather, that it is the sum total of what people did each day over the years. To those who say, “It’s not my fault—my ancestors didn’t have slaves!” point out to them that they lived in an economy that did. For those who claim, “I’m not to blame—my grandparents came from Ireland (or Lithuania, or Spain),” remind them that at the time they came here seeking a new life, whether they knew it or not, they were coming to a country that already had a historic debt to pay, and likely fleeing one whose debt was too big to pay.

You might not have contributed to the historical debt, but when the time comes to “pay it off,” would you rather do so with dignity and conscience, or in the streets, with pain, loss, and blood?

A. Kobrin

Author’s NOTE: This is based upon an article written near another earlier July 4, while working as a media coordinator at Florida International University (FIU), circa 1997. It was “resurrected” when the 2008 N’COBRA (National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations) Conference was held at FIU. Reparations, one of America’s “forbidden thoughts” (nod to Chomsky), one of many taboo topics that until touched and examined deeply, will always keep America at arm’s length from acknowledging, confronting and dealing with its Reality.

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— The author is an educator, web consultant, photographer, visual anthropologist, and acivist who seeks a re-dedication to democracy through participation; he has been active in a number of local organizations, and the Green Party.