How we have failed since September 11, 2001

Tonight President Obama will address the nation about ISIS and any actions that we may take in response to the horrific murders of Americans and innocent civilians at the hands of terrorists.

Tomorrow there will be an observance in my community, and many others, to honor the thousands of lives lost to hate and terrorism, and to support the families and friends who knew someone they loved would never return home again.

Since September 11, 2001 we as a country have talked a lot about being kinder to one another and being a better country. Yet 13 years later this is what consumes us as a country:

  • fighting about allowing two consenting adults of the same-sex to legally marry each
  • failing to take care of the thousands of veterans who have defended our country, many of whom returned with horrible wounds from the Middle East since September 2001
  • allowing private corporations to decided which forms of legal birth control they will cover for employees through company based health insurance because some corporations should have the same privileges as churches
  • granting corporations the same rights as citizens so businesses can pour money into elections and our representatives’ pockets
  • making it harder for citizens to exercise their right to vote
  • subsidizing corporations with huge tax breaks while their employees working full-time never earn enough to break the poverty barrier
  • denying the hard facts of science because profits should come before cleaning up the mess we’ve made of the entire planet
  • deporting children
  • complaining about failing schools while slashing teacher pay and testing our children to death
  • sitting by silently while racism and sexism are displayed proudly
  • being sure we can take our assault rifles into the grocery store
  • we pay for and support violence on playing fields, in the movies we watch, video games we buy, music we listen to, and television shows we watch, but we react with horror when students are sprayed with bullets in their classrooms, women are drug from elevators by their hair, students are bullied, children and women are raped as well as being forced into prostitution
  • too many among us are convinced that their brand of faith should be followed above all others, and if necessary the rights of other citizens should be denied because they choose to worship differently, or not at all

We absolutely should remember and honor the victims of September 11th’s violence. I’m just not convinced we are a country that is a better reflection of the democratic values and freedoms which terrorists intended to destroy 13 years ago.

 

Today is about the man who ended the terror

I had a short post ready for today until my friend Amelia Shenstone posted this piece written by Hamden Rice. It is powerful. Read it and share.

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Thinking out loud about black men

There’s been A LOT of commentary and punditry, and several peaceful demonstrations, since The Verdict was announced Saturday night. I have heard and read a little of the coverage, but I prefer to focus on what change we as individuals, and as a country, can do to protect our children, ALL our children.

It occurred to me in the still dark hours this morning while I listened to NPR (my husband got up extra early to start on a project at work) that we really need to make our streets and communities safe for black men of every age, and to get to the heart of the matter, all men of color. While we’re at it, let’s make the streets safe for gay and transgendered men of all colors.

Then I thought about how unsafe our streets, homes, schools, Armed Forces, and businesses areĀ for women.

Maybe I should have had a second cup of coffee, but next my mind frog-leaped to the fact that as long as we compartmentalize our calls for justice based on the most recent murder, mass shooting, movie, or state legislature vote, we are not setting the lens wide enough to see the whole picture.

I’m not suggesting that we can come up with an overnight “one size fits all” solution to the injustices and inequalities in our country. Unfortunately, as the Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Act ruling shows, change can take generations. It’s just that I don’t think Treyvon Martin’s generation can, or should have to, wait any longer.