Trump’s words are those of a sexual predator

The man is a sexual predator.

The man is a sexual predator.

Let me start by saying Donald Trump has always been creepy to me. There’s something icky about the man.

So, yesterday’s revelation that he bragged about sexually assaulting women comes as no surprise.

See, he has objectified women all along.

He wants sex with beautiful women, but he has no respect for them, and I would venture a guess that he has no capability to love a woman anywhere near as much as he loves himself.

He has said he would love to “date” his daughter. No decent man says that.

My son thinks all three of his daughters are beautiful, but he would never phrase it in sexual terms. My sisters and I used to joke that our father never looked at us from the neck down after we reached puberty.

But Trump fantasizes about “dating” his daughter.

As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I don’t have any sense of humor about sexual abuse or assault. Sexual predation is never funny. When men exercise their physical power over women by grabbing, kissing or otherwise assaulting them, it is not funny, and it is not excusable.

What Trump talked about was sexual assault, which is a trigger for me and many other women who have been victimized by men like Trump. It can bring on nightmares or panic attacks, or just feelings of anxiety and depression.

Fifty years after my abuser stopped assaulting me, I would have loved for sexual assault to be nothing to brag about, but people are still defending Trump.

In the fundamentalist Christian tradition of my youth, women were always to blame for abuse or assault. We were the daughters of Eve, who committed the original sin, and we were as guilty as she was. If we were assaulted, it was our own fault.

I must have had a hell of a come-hither look when I was 3 and the abuse started.

I know women in the fundamentalist Christian tradition who were raped by clergy and then forced to pray for forgiveness for tempting them.

When our mere existence is an excuse for sexual assault, something is wrong. Very, very wrong.

A man who brags about wanting to date his daughter, who says he needs a breath mint because he might see a woman he just has to kiss without her permission, who says he can grab “pussy” because he’s a celebrity — that man deserves nothing from the rest of us but to be completely ostracized.

When people defend Trump by saying Bill Clinton got a blow job in the Oval Office, I have to remind them that as icky as that is, it was consensual.

My husband says he has never heard his male friends talk this way about women, not even in locker rooms. It is deeply offensive to him (that’s one reason I love him).

I don’t care how much you hate the Hillary Clinton, she is nowhere near as reprehensible as this creature. It’s not even close.

So, if you want to defend Trump, do it out of earshot of me because I will call you out for your misogyny.

There is no defense.

None.

Period.

The lies of racism

Clergy from around NC and other parts of the country led a peaceful protest in Charlotte Thursday night. No none was violent and no one was injured.

Clergy from around NC and other parts of the country led a peaceful protest in Charlotte Thursday night. No none was violent and no one was injured.

Why do so many people, comfortable in their middle-class homes and neighborhoods, buy into the rhetoric that black people hate whites?

Why do so many insist that black people bring all their troubles on themselves?

Did black people buy tickets to sail from Africa to America during the Middle Passage?

Did they voluntarily submit to being bought and sold and used as livestock?

Did mothers voluntarily offer their children up for sale?

Scientific studies have shown that these kinds of trauma are written into the DNA of humans and can have an effect for generations.

So, after slavery ended, did black people volunteer to be arrested off the street and placed in prison camps where they labored for free?

Did they offer themselves up for lynching?

Did they freely choose to live in abject poverty because they couldn’t get a decent education in segregated schools so all that was left to them was sharecropping so white people could profit?

Were segregated and inadequate schools the ones they wanted for their children?

Did my friends in the 1950s and ’60s choose to be relegated to the backs of buses and back doors of restaurants and balconies of theaters — if they were allowed in at all?

Did they not dream for better lives for their children?

And today, as schools have been re-segregated, and black children trapped in crumbling school buildings with lead pipes and mold contamination, schools with far fewer computers and not enough textbooks, why are black children cruelly held to the same standards as the children in wealthy districts, where there are no school-to-prison pipelines?

Did you know that for-profit prisons calculate future “inventory” based on fourth-grade reading scores in mostly black neighborhoods? Doesn’t that sound like black children are being set up to fail so they can make profits for somebody?

When black people are trapped in poor neighborhoods with no banks, no grocery stores and lousy public transportation, are they supposed to look at the lack of opportunity and be OK with it?

Don’t talk to me about how people can rise out of poverty because a few have been fortunate enough to be able to do it. Before you can pull yourself up by the bootstraps, you have to have boots.

I was raised in a white town. We weren’t wealthy. In fact, when I was young, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, we were downright poor. But we were white. Doors were open to us that weren’t open to black families.

We attended excellent schools, even though we lived in a house that once was servant’s quarters on an apple farm in Massachusetts. We didn’t have central heat or hot water, but we did have access to great schools.

I had — and still have — a healthy dose of white privilege. Cops don’t see me or my husband or my son as a threat just because we exist and walk into their field of vision.

I have been accused of being driven by “white guilt,” the racist term for people who care about what is happening to our black brothers and sisters.

I am not guilty of anything more than having that privilege I described. It’s what I do with that privilege that matters. Do I sit in my living room and watch events unfold in Charlotte, or do I go there and stand in peace and love with fellow human beings who are being oppressed and try to protest the blatant racism of our public policy?

Do I try to understand the pain that is inherent in their existence or do I pound my fist on the arm of my sofa and wonder why they want to destroy everything “we” built?

Do I criticize every effort oppressed people make to be heard as “inappropriate,” even when it’s peaceful, or do I stand (or sit) with them?

I choose to be part of the protest.

I choose to stop waiting patiently for change and to demand it begin now, with the release of the police video of the execution of Keith Lamont Scott.

I choose to stand with my brothers and sisters in peaceful protest of systemic racism.

I choose to get angry when people judge the violence that breaks out when militarized police forces show up in riot gear and begin pushing people back and using tear gas and billy clubs if people don’t want to move.

I have been in such situations and I can tell you, I feel furious when it happens. It feels as though our valid concerns are being invalidated by people who have all the power and care nothing for our lives.

For some people the only answer is to fight back. When nonviolent protests are met with violence, some people will become violent. I’m not excusing it; I’m saying it happens, and it might not happen if there was any evidence people in power would listen to the grievances of the protesters.

And don’t talk to me about “proper channels” because those have been closed off. I have been arrested twice for trying to exercise my Constitutional right to talk to lawmakers.

It began with the death of my child, but it continues with the deaths of other people’s children because I know the pain of losing a child to injustice, and I know it happens more often to people of color, and I know that’s wrong.

 

 

 

Again, a black man dies at the hands of police

Keith Lamont Scott was gunned down by police in Charlotte, NC, last night.

Keith Lamont Scott, 43, was gunned down by police in Charlotte, NC, last night.

Keith Lamont Scott was 43 when he was gunned down by police last night in Charlotte.

Police claimed he had a gun, but his daughter says he was unarmed, and that he was holding a book.

Look, I get it — our country is gun crazy. This culture of swaggering cowboys is a dangerous thing for police, who never know whether someone is holding a gun or a wallet — or a book.

But it’s hard to believe police when most of the mistakes are made when police are facing people of color.

Scott was not perfect. He had a record and was convicted of misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon 12 years ago.

But a 12-year-old misdemeanor charge does not warrant the death penalty, especially when whites routinely are taken into custody alive after heinous crimes.

I’m tired of hearing that a dead person of color was threatening to police because he or she committed some petty crime when white mass murderers are taken into custody alive. These things are NOT equal and we need to stop listening to racists telling us they are.

I’m tired of hearing that protests over these killings are misguided. If you say you understand but that the protesters should take a different tactic, then you don’t understand.

When you say Colin Kaepernick is wrong in his nonviolent protest, when you say frustrated and angry people who are fed up with systemic racism shouldn’t display their anger, you are showing your complete misunderstanding of the issue.

Well, tell me which form of protest meets with your approval, then?

Must it be quiet so it doesn’t disturb you?

Must it be out of your way so you’re not inconvenienced by it?

Must it be something that doesn’t provoke you to think about the meaning of your patriotism?

Notice I used the word misunderstanding instead of ignorance. In reality, it is ignorance. It’s too easy to deny the validity of people’s issues when you have the privilege of not having to bear those same burdens.

It’s easy to say “all lives matter” when your life and those of most of the people you know are not in danger because the color of your skin intimidates police.

If you think there’s no prejudice involved here, think again. Prejudice means pre-judging someone based on a characteristic they possess, in this case skin color.

Police answer these crimes committed by their ranks with lies (just look at police reports that have been debunked by video of these executions) and by arriving at protest scenes in riot gear and with military equipment.

What if police apologized to families and rooted out the bad apples among them instead of protecting them? Don’t you think the communities from which the victims came would start to heal?

As it is, police and their allies line up to defend the actions of a few, making them all look bad when (if) the truth comes out.

Here in North Carolina, video from police body cams and dash cams has been taken out of the public domain. Tell me, how should I react when I know there’s evidence, but it’s kept hidden by the very government that’s supposed to be seeking the truth and protecting me?

I’m in tears again this morning. I don’t know what more to do or say to make this overt racism visible to people who are refusing to see it.

What is it you fear? Are you afraid of losing your nearly unfettered access to guns?

Are you afraid people of color will gain truly equal rights and take something you consider yours?

Are you afraid of losing the white privilege you deny you have?

Stop saying “all lives matter” and recognize that at this moment, when black lives are being snuffed out by police bullets and by lack of access to health care and other unjust causes that are hugely disproportionate, we need to focus on the lives we’re losing.

At this moment in history, we already know that white lives matter. It’s time to concentrate on saving black lives and indigenous people’s lives and Latino lives.

It’s time for real justice, not the Wild West crap we’re seeing now.

Keith Lamont Scott was 43.

My son is 43.

My son is white.

My son also has made mistakes, but so far, he has not suffered the death penalty for those bad choices.

Don’t for a moment forget why I still have a son and Keith Lamont Scott’s mother does not.

 

A Trump protest turns violent

Shirley Teeter talks about her experience being assaulted outside of a Donald Trump rally.

Shirley Teeter talks about her experience being assaulted outside of a Donald Trump rally.

Shirley Teeter has a long history of participating in protests, beginning in the late 1960s with civil rights marches and protests against the Vietnam War.

So, when she heard last week that GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump was coming to Asheville, appearing less than a block from where she lives, she decided to go and speak her mind.

Before the rally, as people filed in, Teeter says, everyone seemed in good humor.

But after the rally, the demeanor was different, she says.

“They were angry, ready for a fight,” she says. “People should know how Trump works people up in those rallies of his.”

Still, Teeter, who is 69 and uses oxygen because of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, never imagined a man would haul off and sock her in the jaw.

“I told him he’d better learn to speak Russian as he walked by me,” she says. “And that his first words should be ‘ha, ha.’”

She says she was referring to Trump’s cozy relationship with Russian leader, Vladimir Putin.

The man, later identified as Richard Campbell of Edisto Island, SC, hauled off and punched her in the jaw, Teeter says.

“I guess I lost consciousness because I don’t remember hitting the ground,” she says. “He tried to say I grabbed him, but that’s not true. I never touched him.”

Bystanders helped her up and emergency medical personnel tended to her wounds – bruises on her jaw and ribs and a badly skinned elbow.

“I asked the police to please arrest him,” she says. “But they didn’t.”

Apparently, if police don’t witness the assault, they can’t arrest the perpetrator, even with video evidence and a number of people offering to testify against him. A warrant was issued the next day, and Teeter said then she will press charges.

Teeter has had X-rays and no bones were broken, but two days after the assault, she was sporting a large bandage on her elbow and an ice pack on her badly bruised ribs.

Photos of Teeter on the ground, her eyes closed, went viral pretty quickly. The story made national news, including reports in CNN and the Washington Post.

“I don’t feel famous,” she says, shifting uncomfortably in her seat. “I feel violated. I feel people are being manipulated by Trump. I’ve never seen a candidate behave like this. … There are those of us who listen to his words and don’t hear the same thing. I hear the lies and the call to hate people and I see him for what he is – a very dangerous man.”

Just seeing the difference in people after the rally, Teeter says, makes her want to speak out even more. Without hesitation, she says she would go again and protest.

“You can’t let hate stop you,” she says. “I don’t know why that man thought it would be OK to punch me, I really don’t, but I refuse to be angry. I’m sad about what happened, but nobody will rob me of my sense of peace. Nobody can take that away from me. Nobody.”

‘But both sides do it!’

deplorable

“Both sides do it.”

What a load of crap.

Yes, Hillary Clinton called some of Donald Trump’s supporters “a basket of deplorables.”

That’s because they’re acting in a deplorable fashion.

Donald Trump called Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers and I didn’t hear a single one of his supporters ask him to scale it back.

Donald Trump has said repeatedly that Muslims are terrorists, and his supporters have cheered.

Ah, yes, but Hillary has been accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl, and there are witnesses.

No wait, that was Trump.

But Hillary has defrauded thousands of people with her fake university.

No wait, that was Trump.

But Hillary stands at the podium and encourages people to hit opponents at her rallies, offering to pay bail for people who get arrested.

No wait, that’s Trump.

But people at Hillary’s rallies punch opponents while her supporters cheer.

No wait, that’s Trump’s rallies.

But people at Hillary’s rallies call for her opponent to be hanged.

No wait, that’s Trump’s rallies.

But Hillary held that huge fundraiser for veterans and then didn’t give any of the money to veterans until she was shamed into it.

No wait, that was Trump.

But Hillary has cheated on two spouses and brags about her sexual prowess all the time.

No wait, that’s Trump.

But Hillary was endorsed by David Duke, the white supremacist and then tried to deny she knew him.

No wait, that was Trump.

But Hillary cozies up to Vladimir Putin and then denies she has ever met him.

No wait, that’s Trump.

But Hillary’s spouse stood at the national convention and plagiarized the current president’s spouse’s speech.

No wait, that was Trump’s (third) spouse.

But there’s evidence that Hillary’s spouse was working illegally in this country before they were married.

No wait, that was Trump’s (third) spouse.

But Hillary’s family has taken millions of dollars from her campaign fund.

No wait, that’s Trump’s kids.

But Trump’s foundation has provided clean water and more to tens of thousands of victims of natural disasters.

Opps, sorry. That was the Clinton Foundation. No one has figured out yet what Trump’s foundation funds.

But wait. Trump helped open negotiations for a settlement with Iran that stopped it from developing nuclear weapons — and the settlement, finalized in 2015, is holding without a single American soldier dying in “boots on the ground.”

No wait, that was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

But Hillary’s the crooked one, right? And the press is giving her fair coverage because, after all, she’s the candidate of her party, right?

Uh, not so much. At a rally here in Asheville on Monday, Trump opponents stood outside and called his supporters rude names. At least five opponents were slapped or punched and they were escorted out while their attackers were allowed to stay.

In my 64 years, I have never seen a campaign as violent and mean as this one, and it’s not Hillary who’s doing the damage.

Trump has been allowed to get away with disgusting racism, misogyny, Islamophobia, xenophobia, with suggesting we could use nuclear force, with calling for wars and more wars … He has been shown to be crooked and mean-spirited at every turn, while the corporate media have given him a pass every time, not calling out his hate or his lies.

But calling his behavior and that of his supporters deplorable somehow disqualifies Hillary?

What a load of crap.

 

 

Why am I so pissed off about Brock Turner?

This is Brock Turner. He's a rapist who walked away from his crime with little more than a slap on the wrist.

This is Brock Turner. He’s a rapist who walked away from his crime with little more than a slap on the wrist.

That’s right, I’m pissed. Really pissed.

Brock Turner ruined a woman’s life. She will always be his victim, no matter how many people reach out to help and try to heal her after he raped her while she lay unconscious behind a dumpster.

The scars will remain throughout her life, affecting her ability to form and sustain intimate relationships, to trust other people, particularly men.

Sure, she was drunk. That doesn’t give anyone permission to violate her.

But a judge decided Brock Turner was just a poor, misguided boy who deserved compassion and a short — very short — sentence so that he could go back to life as usual.

Brock Turner has an immense amount of white, male and wealth privilege; the woman is meaningless in its wake.

We make excuses for this kind of “youthful hijinks.” He’s just being a boy. Boys can’t control their urges so it’s up to women to protect themselves.

I can remember sitting on the couch in the living room with my boyfriend when I was 16. My father told me later I shouldn’t cuddle so close because boys aren’t known for being able to control themselves. I told him they should be pressured to learn self-control, not have excuses made for them.

What I didn’t tell my father was that I had already been violated by someone he knew and trusted.

I didn’t tell him the abuse started when I was 3 and continued until I was 12 because I knew it had to be my fault somehow. Males can’t control themselves, so women have to do it for them.

I must have had one hell of a come-hither look when I was 3 to tempt my abuser so. I must have made myself irresistible somehow because it’s never the man’s fault. That had been made very clear to me.

So, let me tell you what it’s like to be a survivor of the kind of theft that was perpetrated on me — and on Brock Turner’s victim.

We are more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs to dull the pain.

We are more likely to endure clinical depression and have severe self-esteem issues.

We are more likely to enter into abusive relationships because we don’t realize we deserve better than that.

We are more likely to become obese in a subconscious effort to be less attractive to men who might want to have their way with us.

We are more likely to die by our own hand.

The shame and guilt remain with us all our lives, no matter how hard we try to erase it. We can integrate what happened into who we are and not let it define us completely, but we can not go back to who we were, nor will we ever be who we might have been. That has been taken from us.

So, we don’t have a lot of sympathy for abusers and rapists.

But God forbid Brock Turner should endure disruption to his life because he’s such a good swimmer.

This is not an isolated incident. I could recount a number of cases of people I know who have never seen justice.

Just the other day, a 23-year-old man was given a non-sentence for molesting an 8-year-old. The judge in that case said he was “just a boy,” and he didn’t want to ruin his life.

Well, what about the real child whose life he ruined? Does that life not count?

There was the lesbian woman who cops decided was the guilty party because she probably just wanted to try sex with a man and then decided to accuse him of rape when she didn’t like it. The charges against her rapist were dropped.

If you doubt me, read the book, “Missoula,” by Jon Krakauer. It chronicles in painful detail the rape culture at the University of Montana, and if you think it’s only at the University of Montana, think again.

Time and again in our culture, male athletes are given a pass — unless, of course, they’re protesting the oppression of people of color. Then they’re vilified.

Yeah, I’m pissed, and you should be too.

It takes courage to stand up by remaining seated

Unless you're doing something to bring injustice into the light and protest it, you need to be quiet about Colin Kaepernick's protest.

Unless you’re doing something to bring injustice into the light and protest it, you need to be quiet about Colin Kaepernick’s protest.

Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem the other day in protest to the injustices suffered every day in this country by people of color.

A lot of Americans are pretty pissed about that, but those same Americans will ignore or excuse the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of cops.

They say nothing as dozens of veterans commit suicide every day because they can’t get the care they need after four, five or six deployments to war zones.

They remain silent as the maternal and infant death rates go up because access to women’s health care is shut down by people who call themselves “pro-life.”

When the courts find that the new voter “protection” laws actually were written to make it harder for black and brown people, students and the elderly to vote, these same people claim those laws are fine. “Surgical precision” was the way the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals phrased it. The people who wrote North Carolina’s voter law actually requested and reviewed statistics on black people’s voting habits and wrote the law to maximize the hurt. I know because I was in the courtroom when the state’s lawyer reluctantly admitted it.

When transgender people are singled out for discrimination in “bathroom” laws, these same people who hate Colin Kaepernick turn the other way because it doesn’t affect them.

We complain about people “taking” from the government. “Something for nothing,” we call it. But at the same time, we refuse to pay people a living wage for 40 hours of work.

“Get off your lazy ass and work,” we say to people who hold down two and three part-time jobs because huge corporations don’t want to help people get health care, so they only hire part-time workers to avoid offering health care, sick time and other benefits.

But when a football player — someone they love because he provides them with entertainment — has the temerity to bring these injustices to their attention, they just hate him.

“He’s a coward,” they say.

Really? He’s willing to sacrifice all he has to make this statement.

The national anthem is a song, a symbol; the people Colin Kaepernick stood up for by staying seated are very real, as are the injustices they face every day in our society.

In my book, whether I agree with his action or not, he has courage.

Two open letters (to Comedy central and to Larry Wilmore)

I love you, Larry Wilmore, and I'm really, really pissed at Comedy Central.

I love you, Larry Wilmore, and I’m really, really pissed at Comedy Central.

First to Comedy Central:

What the hell? Canceling The Nightly Show? This is one of the sharpest, funniest, most on-point shows on late-night TV.

What’s more, it was a point of view that differs from all the rest of late-night programming.

Wilmore and his cast were African-American, Latino and a Jew, which made for great diversity. We who are part of the increasingly diminishing white majority in this culture need that perspective, and Wilmore presented it with a great deal of humor.

It was sad enough to see The Daily Show become more comfortable and less cutting-edge, but I still had Larry Wilmore and company.

Now you have taken that because it doesn’t fit your sixth-grade, white demographic, which seems to prefer tits and ass, puke, shit and infantile pranks of South Park, Midnight Swim and Tosh.0.

God forbid you should toss us a half hour of intelligent humor four times a week.

Well, I’m done with you. I know, I’m just one old white woman, but there are more like me out here, and we have buying power.

At midnight on Thursday, I will remove Comedy Central from my lineup. There’s nothing there for me.

I hope someone else picks up Larry Wilmore. He has one hell of a lot of talent, which is more than can be said for the rest of your lineup.

And to Larry Wilmore:

Dear Larry,

I love you. I love your dimples and that devilish smile whenever you know your humor is perfectly on point (“That’s right, motherfucker, we haven’t forgotten about you.”).

I have a big old crush on Mike Yard, but your entire case is wonderful. The humor is smart and cutting, and unlike the rest of late-night TV, it comes from diverse perspectives.

I know that the rest of Comedy Central’s lineup is puerile, immature, white-centric and devoted to tits and ass, puke, shit and piss. So, with your departure, the Comedy Channel is crossed of my list of channels I watch.

I’m an old white woman who appreciates different perspectives, and I often found myself eager to see your take on world events. You never disappointed.

I watched with delight as you spoke at the Correspondents’ Dinner and the media were so furious they refused to laugh. Just so you know, I laughed my ass off.

See, I’m a former reporter. I started in media when people were still doing investigative work and calling out bad policy. Now instead of the watchdogs of government, media have become the lapdogs.

I do health care advocacy work because my son died eight years ago from lack of access to health care, but I also am part of the NC NAACP, which works on a variety of issues through the Forward Together Moral Movement. It’s not easy living here in NC, a wilderness of ignorance and bullshit, but your show put a smile on my face at the end of the day, no matter how angry I felt at the backward movement of this state’s legislature and governor.

I hope another channel picks up your show. I know I would be as devoted a fan as you could ever have (not to the point of being obsessive, but certainly adoring).

I’m so sorry Comedy Central has decided to “denegrify” the 11:30 p.m. time slot. I will miss you. I will always love you.

Leslie

 

#AltonSterling, #PhilandoCastile. Say their names; weep for them

#AltonStirling

#AltonSterling

#PhilandoCastile

#PhilandoCastile

Negroes
Sweet and docile,
Meek, humble, and kind
Beware the day
They change their mind

– Langston Hughes

As the bodies of black and brown men and women continue to pile up like casualties in a terror attack, I am forced to relive, again and again, the death of my own child from injustice.

My son died from negligent homicide, killed by doctors who knew he was gravely ill and who refused to treat him because he was low-income and had no insurance.

He died at home with me holding his hand. If I have anything to be grateful for, it is that I got to say goodbye. I got to tell him one last time that I loved him and that life without him would be so, so hard.

In the last two days, I have watched video of the blatant injustice of two executions of black men who had committed no crime other than being black men in the path of violent, power-mad cops.

I watched as the widow of Alton Sterling talked to the press and their son lost his composure and wept. I did the same. I’m still weeping after watching the video of the execution of 32-year-old Philando Castile in Minnesota last night.

I weep for his mother and his girlfriend and for the little girl who was traumatized by witnessing his murder and the abuse of her mother. Imagine a 4-year-old feeling compelled to tell her mother she’s there for her after such an atrocity.

I weep for all of the families and friends of people who are executed summarily with no trial, without reason, without respect for the fact that they are human beings.

These victims of violent racism are my children. They are my brothers and sisters. They deserve justice, although their families are unlikely to see it.

One by one, Freddie Gray’s killers have been let off. No one is guilty, even though a young man is dead with no trial. The cops were his judge, jury and executioners, and that, apparently is OK in our society.

Yes, I know cops face danger every day, but if they can’t see the difference between real danger and racism-fueled perception of danger, they need to be off the force.

If they think they have the authority to shoot someone whose only offense is driving with a broken tail light (and I know first-hand of cases where an officer broke a tail light after a stop so he could claim justification for the stop), they need to be in jail.

Selfishly, I am grateful that my surviving child is white. But his granddaughter is biracial, and her skin is dark and her hair black and curly. She is beautiful and smart and funny, and as she grows up, she will be in danger because she isn’t white.

This is unacceptable to me, as it has been since well before my great-granddaughter was born. We can not continue to allow this. We must stand up and demand justice. When cops walk away unscathed, we have to demand federal civil rights charges be brought.

We have to wake up to the injustice here because there are still people who believe these murdering cops are justified.

When a black person is summarily executed, we see his record all over social media within hours; when a white person murders someone, we learn about his church activities or that he was just a troubled young man and we should all be upset that he didn’t get the mental health care he needed.

We live in a racist culture, and if you can’t see it, you are part of the problem.

Stand up and be heard. If you’re a cop, speak out against this violence.

I stand with my brothers and sisters, my children, my beloved fellow human beings. I will do all I can to defend you. I will try to protect you. I will speak out for you.

Tell me where I am needed and I will be there.

I love you.

 

 

 

 

 

A message to Millennials about disappointment and revolution

bird party

You so wanted Bernie. I know. I did, too.

But I also wanted Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern.

My generation had the Vietnam War, as seemingly never-ending as Afghanistan is today.

We had the draft, and rich kids got out of it because they could afford college and then grad school and medical deferments.

Today, college is even more expensive — much, much more expensive, actually — giving most of your generation the choice of military service or a lifetime of debt.

The system is even more corrupt and you feel powerless. Bernie was our best hope of fixing it, but the system crushed our hopes. The DNC steam-rolled the primaries, I believe, because Hillary was promised the nomination this time for stepping aside last time. The media, which worked hand-in-hand with Wall Street and Big Money, ignored Bernie and focused on the circus that is Trump.

I do get it.

And I’m not going to tell you that you HAVE to vote for Hillary, even though I believe we can’t allow Trump anywhere near the White House, nor can we allow any Republican to appoint justices to the Supreme Court.

But you have thought about that, and your attitude is NOT that of a spoiled child. Don’t let anyone tell you it is.

Perhaps we really do need for the current system to crumble before we can build a better one. I hope for your sake that’s not the case.

You’re scared about what’s happening to this country because you have to live in it for the next 50 or 60 years — that is, if you can survive on starvation wages and without access to quality health care.

So what do you do?

Well, we all work together.

Bernie started a movement, and perhaps, like Moses, he won’t lead us into the Promised Land. Perhaps it’s up to the next generation to finish the work he has started. Maybe we need to build on his work at the local, state and Congressional levels.

There are a number of candidates running for offices down-ticket who share Bernie’s views and passions. Vote for them. Get out and work for them. Do phone banking for an hour or two a week. Knock on doors. Donate to their campaigns if you have a spare few bucks.

Don’t let any right-wing candidate run unopposed. Find a candidate, either in an established party or in a third party. Even now, when it’s too late to get on the printed ballot for November, we can — and must — run write-in campaigns for good candidates. Local and state elections are our best hope right now, and the best way to build a viable third party.

The right built its success over many years, quietly winning local elections, then seats in state legislatures and finally taking Congress.

I’m part of the Moral Monday Movement, which is a fusion movement. Together we work on health care, voting rights, common sense gun laws, education, LGBT rights, the campaign for a living wage, safe housing …

The most frustrating thing about the Movement is that it takes time.

It’s important to not listen to elders who tell you that you don’t know how to make these changes, because the phrase, “that’s not how we did it,” is so dangerous.

We did make change, but we didn’t finish the job, obviously. We changed laws and the right wingers gained power and chipped away at the changes we made.

But we are fighting back. Yesterday, I was in Richmond, Va., in federal court, listening to the NC NAACP’s lawyers challenging North Carolina’s voter suppression law. I think it went well. I think we have a good chance of overturning most or all of the provisions.

In fact, most of the worst of the laws these clowns in North Carolina have passed are working their way through the courts, costing taxpayers millions of dollars.

I hate that it takes so much time to do this work, but I will stay in the fight because I’m fighting for your generation more than for my own.

And I want you to know that there are more people of my generation who understand than you think, and we want to work with you.

With our experience and your fresh ideas, this revolution (actually, more of an evolution) can’t fail.

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