Racism Has Always Been the Worst Threat to America

Redneck Bigots Protesting Marriage

 

White southern racism has caused more death and suffering to America than all of the other regions of the country combined; more, even, than all the rest of the world combined.  Of course, to say “white Southerners” is not to say “all white southerners.” But it is to say an “effective mass” of them, comparable to a “super-majority” in politics, usually 60 to 75%. When the effective mass is that large, the super-majority can do whatever they want to do.

Racism

The virulent racist nonsense white southerner slave-owners used to justify living their pseudo-aristocratic lives on the backs of enslaved Africans is still corrupting our nation’s soul.  Even though the indefensible and illogical doctrine of white supremacy has been exposed repeatedly as empty and meaningless, it is still causing hatred, fear, and violence, and clouding the minds of American citizens.

The Civil War

When white southerners saw that the rest of the United States could no longer abide the abomination of slavery, they started the American Civil War. The cost: 750,000 Americans dead and a country that is still divided.

Jim Crow Segregation

Lynchings were commemorated with Lynching postcards

Lynchings were commemorated with Lynching Postcards

Fifteen years after the Civil War, white southerners instituted Jim Crow segregation, and enforced it with murders, ethnic cleansing, and political corruption. The cost: At least 4,400 African-American men, women, and children were murdered in terrorist lynchings and hundreds of thousands of Americans were deprived of the equal rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights and the 13th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution. It is, by the way, pretty easy to find the number of lynchings because many were held on the courthouse lawn and covered in the local newspapers, so that blacks would get the message.

Legal Jim Crow segregation lasted from 1880 until 1964 when the Civil Rights Act was  passed by a “traitor to his race,” Democratic president Lyndon Johnson from Texas. Ironically, legal segregation lasted longer in the United States than it did, as apartheid, in South Africa. The Cost: When he signed the Civil Rights Act, LBJ said, “We have lost the South for a generation,” though it has turned out to be longer than that. Continue reading

Mass Shootings. It’s not just the guns. It’s something worse.

Mass Shootings - Sandy Hook CT

Teddy Bear Memorial, Sandy Hook CT

It’s not just the guns. It is something much, much worse. There are guns everywhere in the world, but only in the U.S. has there been an average of more than one mass shooting every day this year (274 days / 294 mass shootings). The something worse is that in the U.S. various factors have combined to cause American culture to lose sight of the most fundamental moral precept known to humankind. In the words of Jesus of Nazareth, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” In the words of philosopher Immanuel Kant, “You must never treat persons as things.” In the words of the Rastafarians, “I and I say I and I, instead of you and I, because the other is an I also.” And in the words of Confucius, “If you don’t want someone to do something to you then don’t do it to them,” which is of course, another way to state the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” To put this as clearly as I can: if one loves and respects others as one loves and respects oneself then one does not murder, rape, cheat, manipulate, take advantage of, or otherwise violate that other; rather, one is as concerned with the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and financial well-being of the Other as with one’s own.

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Peace Between Israel and Palestine

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“Our lands are intertwined.  Our histories are intertwined.  Our fates are intertwined.  Let us be partners.

Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin Talk Peace

Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin, 1977. Sadat was assassinated by right-wing extremist Egyptians in 1981.

“There are millions of people of good faith, vision, wisdom, compassion and courage in Palestine and Israel. We will put all of our energy into building peace and prosperity for the children of Israel and Palestine.  We will work side by side and the welfare of each will be the greatest desire of the other.  The success of each of us will be measured by the success of the other. All of our children will thrive. The entire desert will bloom.  We will watch each others’ backs and help and support each other.  We will trust.  We will be stronger together than we ever were separately. We will live lives of safety, freedom, comfort, work, and spirituality.  Continue reading

When I died I was much surprised to meet God

When I died I was much surprised to meet God.

“You didn’t believe in me, in my literal existence, did you?” He asked.

“No I didn’t,” I replied. “I thought you were a way of talking about being human in the world.”

He laughed and said, “That’s the spirit!  Good for you. There was no evidence or reason to believe otherwise. It’s what I would have thought myself.”

So I asked my question, “Why did you create rational people with free will then,  when some of them would surely reach erroneous conclusions?”

“Oh come on, ” He said, “that’s an easy one.  I created humans to be self-creating. They are open-ended. To keep things moving along, I needed people who could ask new questions unto eternity.”

“Dang,” I said, “so I was wrong.  You exist and this is the afterlife.”

“Oh no,” He said, “you were right.”

 

Michelangelo, Creation of the Sun, Moon, and Plants

Star Child, Excerpt from concluding scene of Stanley Kubrick, 2001

 

Why I Dress Like a Homeless Person

Homeless GandhiDo clothes make the man? For many years I made my living as a college professor.   My classes were known for a high degree of activity, interactivity, creativity, and laughter.  People brought their friends to see the show because I was not one of the professors who wore a suit and stood behind a podium and recited his lecture, or read it off the PowerPoints.  Rather, I took part.   I demonstrated the Buffalo Dance, ran the video camera, mixed the paint, moved the furniture, held the fire extinguisher, and whatever else needed to be done.  For this kind of performance art, one needs clothes that are designed to facilitate movement, not those that are designed to restrict it.  Think about it, suits were originally the mark of the ruling class, for precisely the opposite reason, to demonstrate that they were not required to do any physical work.  Ease of movement was for the workers, and they wore clothes appropriate to their need to move unrestrainedly.  So did I.  Continue reading

Grampa, What Were You Doing When They Killed The Oceans?

Decline on ocean fishing off Key West

We baby-boomers ought to be ashamed.  It is incomprehensible to me that any member of my generation (U.S. baby-boomers, b. 1945-1964) could look at these pictures and not feel that they have failed in one of their most fundamental human responsibilities.  The picture above shows the catch off Key West, FL, in 1958, 1983, and 2007  The picture below shows the habitat of the tiger in 1850, 1950, and 2006.  These pictures make it real to me, more than the statistics, charts, and graphs.  It’s really happening.  Some of the damage was done while the boomers were kids, just because there were so many of them, but most of it was done after they matured and came to power, when those numbers could have been used to prevent further destruction.

Indian Ocean Tiger Habitat

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Another Good Reason to Repeal Cannabis Prohibition

Repeal Cannabis Prohibition CO RoadsignThe conversations in a pot store, or recreational cannabis dispensary, are fascinating.  People in Colorado pot stores are talking about very subtle variations in their consciousness and experience, associated with different forms and strains of cannabis.   They are doing very comfortably what philosophers call phenomenology, examination of the structure and nature of consciousness and experience.  It’s usually a pretty hard thing to get across in class but these people are naturals.  Allen Ginsberg certainly understood too.  In 1966 he wrote that “the marijuana consciousness gently shifts one’s attention…to sensing phenomena.”  And then his 1977 his book Mind Breaths Ginsberg explicitly associated the creation of poetry with the observation of consciousness as practiced in Buddhist meditation. Continue reading

Spaceship Earth has exceeded its carrying capacity

license99eSpaceship Earth has exceeded its carrying capacity. Its human inhabitants are talking of limiting carbon emissions, refraining from dumping environmental toxins, eating lower on the food chain, and wasting less water. These are all good ideas, but none of them is going to save us, not even all of them together. There is an elephant in the room that is being ignored.  All of these Climate Change Conferences and no one says the obvious: There are too many people.  OK, I will open the bidding: If we are extraordinarily careful Spaceship Earth can sustain 1 billion people, and “by extraordinarily careful” I mean, no burning coal, no petroleum, ground the jetliners, restore the 75% of forest we have destroyed, take down the dams and let the rivers live free again, no more Consumer growth economy. Continue reading