Sixteen in one day is no coincidence

The Jewish Community Center here in Asheville, NC, received a bomb threat yesterday.

That, in itself, is scary enough, but ours was just one of 16 Jewish centers that received bomb threats yesterday.

Sixteen in one day. That’s not a coincidence.

Ever since the person occupying the White House was elected, hate has been on the rise. Bigots and racists have gotten the message loud and clear: Hate is in vogue again.

The incidents began immediately after the election. A Jewish friend of mine in Florida came out of synagogue and put her grandson into the back seat of her car, and as she drove off, she was followed by a pickup truck with bumper stickers supporting the person who won the electoral college vote and sporting a confederate flag. They pulled up alongside her car and began shouting anti-Semitic remarks.

Muslims began to report being harassed, as did LGBTQ people. Sporadic reports came in of violence, threats and vandalism at mosques, synagogues and cemeteries.

In the month after the election, the Southern Poverty Law Center documented nearly 1,100 incidents of bias-related harassment and intimidation like the one my friend experienced.

Last Wednesday, a white man walked into a restaurant in Olathe, Kan., and shot two Indian men, killing one, while shouting, “Get out of my country!” A third man, a white man who tried to intervene, also was shot and is recovering.

The man in the White House said these incidents have nothing to do with him and his rhetoric, but I disagree. When you rail against immigrants, when you say all of Islam is evil, when you ban Muslims from traveling into our country and detain and search and harass anyone who looks Muslim at the airport, when you fail to mention Jews on Holocaust Remembrance Day, when you appoint a known white supremacist as your chief advisor, you encourage hate.

It used to be unfashionable to be a racist, but now they are emboldened by the election of one of their own.

What’s worse is that no one in Congress is calling for an investigation into this coordinated effort to intimidate Jews — and let’s not pretend that’s not what this is because 16 bomb threats against Jewish centers in a single day isn’t a coincidence.

I sent faxes to both my senators and my representative, calling on them to denounce this hate and to call for a federal investigation, since this went across state lines.

I ask you to do the same.

I stand with my Jewish brothers and sisters. I also stand with my Muslim, LGBTQ and immigrant brothers and sisters from around the world because I take seriously the commandment to love my neighbors — and all of humanity are my neighbors.

 

 

Whose fault is this, anyway?

This is my son, Mike, a very wise young man. I continue to be influenced and informed by his compassion and love.

This is my son, Mike, a very wise young man. I continue to be influenced and informed by his compassion and love.

My late son came to me in a dream last night. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does, he usually has something profound to say.

I have been so discouraged since the election, which to me is the death of tolerance and inclusion in America. Yesterday, after seeing footage of followers of the man who would be president doing a Nazi salute, I was thinking that I don’t even want to live to see what happens.

Really. I’m 64 and I’ve lived most of my life in an America that was working to make itself better. Women managed to claim sovereignty over our own bodies. The Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, Medicare, Medicaid, the rights of interracial and LGBTQ couples to marry, all happened within my lifetime.

And now this: a common criminal, a con man, misogynist, racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, xenophobic narcissist is elected to the highest office in the land.

I have been furious at people who voted for him, even though I love some of them as friends and family members.

But Mike had something profound to say again: “You can’t blame sheep for being led to the slaughter.”

People have been fooled by this con man, and his accomplices at Fox News, CNN and all the other corporate “news” outlets that gave him free time, that promoted his candidacy as entertainment and that refused to investigate his shortcomings and crimes.

To make things worse, the corporate media played Hillary Clinton as a villain — a nasty woman. News of her private e-mail server (the same one used by her Republican predecessors at the State Department) was all over the news, as were the charges that she had something to do with the four American deaths in Benghazi. For 30 years, she was portrayed as a shrill, conniving bitch, and the American public bought that, even though she has been a dedicated public servant.

As for whether Bernie Sanders would have won — and he was my preferred candidate — do you think these people making Nazi salutes would have let a Jew into the White House? Really?

The corporate media have led the American public to the slaughter. They have shrugged off their responsibility to investigate and inform, and instead have gone for lies and profit.

They have peddled the false equivalency of “both sides do it,” until people believed it was equal, and they continue to do it as they claim I have no right to be angry because the other side hated Obama.

Obama isn’t a criminal. He didn’t have to settle a fraud lawsuit before taking office. He was never accused of rape. He never cheated on his wife — his only wife, by the way.

Mike was right about that, but as he said he had to leave, I told him once again that I didn’t want to be here, especially without him, and he answered the same way he has before:

“That’s not an option, Mom. You have work to do.”

I have work to do.

I told a Muslim friend this morning I will go with her to the grocery store or anywhere else she is afraid to go alone. She was born in Pakistan and still wears traditional clothing — a sari and hijab. But she is an American citizen. This is her homeland now, but she is afraid to be here.

A Jewish friend says the raised arms of white supporters of this man at a political rally remind him of the tattoo on his mother’s forearm. If you don’t know what that means, look it up. He said it also reminded him of the hatred in his schoolmates’ eyes when they beat him up because he was a Jew — and he went to school in a middle-class, suburban town.

Another Jewish friend was followed by a pickup truck, plastered with bumper stickers for this man and sporting two Confederate flags, as she left her synagogue with her 7-year-old grandson. The truck pulled up beside her and the two white men inside started screaming anti-Semitic insults at her.

I have felt compelled, as a survivor of sexual violence, to help other survivors cope with this sexual predator by starting a support group called #IBelieveTheWomen, as this man promises to sue and ruin all the women coming forward to tell of his unwanted sexual advances toward them.

I will not accept that this country really wants to be led by this criminal. I will not be sweet and give him a chance to govern when I know what he is and what he wants to do.

But I will stop blaming the voters when the culprit is the slaughterhouse personnel at Fox News, Breitbart and other peddlers of right-wing bullshit.

I will blame The New York Times and other so-called mainstream media for giving this man a pass until it was too late to turn the ship around. I will blame corporate newspaper companies for laying off reporters and editors at a time when our country most needed real information.

This will not end well. The right controls all three branches of our federal government now. These people will not give up the power they have attained, and some of us will die fighting them.

Just look at what’s happening in North Carolina. Our governor has lost a close race, and the state Supreme Court has gone to a Democratic majority. The governor has refused to concede and the GOP legislature is hinting it might add two justices to the court to give the Republicans the majority again. And there’s talk of throwing the gubernatorial race to the legislature, which would appoint the Republican governor to another term.

Now legislators are denying they will have a special session to increase the size of the court and stack it, but they have called special sessions before to push through unpopular and ill-considered legislation.

Those of us who still have critical thinking skills need to use them now. Our very existence as a nation depends on it.

Leaving now is not an option. We have work to do.

 

 

 

This person is not — and never will be — my president

Neither of these men belongs in the White House.

Neither of these men belongs in the White House.

This has been really hard for me. I have friends and family members who voted for this person. They begged me to give him a chance because they hated Obama as much as I hate this person.

I’m sorry, but Obama doesn’t trigger crippling anxiety in you because he is a sexual predator and you are a survivor.

Obama never threatened to take away your right to control your own body.

Obama is a Constitutional scholar; this man likely has never read the Constitution.

Obama symbolized an acceptance of diversity. He is well read and intelligent. Even when attacked mercilessly and blocked at every turn, he never lashed out. This person is awake at 3 in the morning lashing out on Twitter because of a verbal insult issued years ago.

He is a dangerous man on every level, mentally ill and willfully ignorant. He is hate-filled and his entire campaign was fueled by hate — by racism, xenophobia, misogyny, Islamophobia, homophobia — and I don’t expect the next four years to be anything different.

You can say you’re not racist, but if you voted for this man, you voted for the candidate endorsed by the KKK. You may not be consciously racist. You may have people of color in your family and love them more than you love yourself, but you just slapped them in the face if you voted for this man, even if it was an unintentional slap.

The first thing he did was to choose a stalwart of the “alt-right” as his closest advisor. The alt-right is nothing more than a polite name for neo-Nazi. Look it up. They stand for hatred of people of color, of anyone not white, male and Christian. Many of them have had their Twitter accounts canceled for tweeting hate.

“Give him a chance,” people said. “He might not be so bad.”

I don’t have to give him any more chance than I would give the man who molested me as a child or the man who abused me as an adult. His behavior makes it abundantly clear who he is and what he will do.

Already, there’s talk of a Muslim registry. Know that I will register as a Muslim on Day One, as will millions of others who hope to protect our Muslim brothers and sisters.

Already, he has appointed people who want to strip me of my rights to control my own body.

Already, Paul Ryan is talking about stripping senior citizens of their Medicaid and Social Security, and gutting Medicaid, which is the only access poor people have to care.

Already, there is talk about getting rid of minimum wage, which is too little to live on as it is.

Already, there is talk about deporting millions of people who are working hard and trying to do better for their families.

Already, there is talk of annulling the marriages of my LGBTQ friends and neighbors.

Already, there has been a marked increase in hate crimes. A friend of mine was threatened as she was leaving synagogue with her grandson. The threats came from white men in a truck plastered with stickers supporting this man and sporting two large Confederate flags.

Gay friends have had people tell them their marriages — and the more than 1,000 rights and privileges that go with them — will end as soon as this man takes office and begins stacking the Supreme Court.

You might have noticed that I have not uttered this man’s name. I will not give him that much respect. He is not my president. When President Obama leaves office, I will have no president.

I am prepared to fight for my rights and for the rights of everyone this man considers “other.” I will not be a dutiful American as millions of Germans were in the 1930s. I will be a dutiful human being and fight against hate.

And if you want to spew hate against me or anyone else on my Facebook thread or in comments here, I will block you. I will not tolerate hate in any form, from any person. I am fine with disagreement, but I will block hate every single time.

Stand against hate, fight against tyranny

I will protest. I will put my body on the line, but I will not be violent.

I will protest. I will put my body on the line, but I will not be violent. Let us take to the streets in PEACEFUL protest.

This week, the daughter of an African-American woman told her mother that she, her Latino husband and their children would be moving out of the country following Tuesday’s election of a man who has promised to show nothing but contempt for them.

Another woman’s biracial grandson was called the N-word on the school bus.

A lesbian friend was called a reprehensible name and told her marriage would be annulled.

A Muslim friend is afraid to go grocery shopping.

These examples are just among my friends.

In our schools, Latino children are being taunted with threats of deportation and gay and trans children are being harassed.

This is the new America.

On Facebook, a high school friend complained that Democrats are bad sports because a white man reportedly was beaten up by black men because he voted for the man whose name I refuse to utter.

I reminded that friend of the verified news reports of gays, Muslims and people of color being beaten up as their assailants named this man who might move into the White House.

The hatred is palpable.

I will not hate. I will not commit violence in any form. It is against everything I believe, everything I stand for.

That does not mean I won’t fight.

Last night, I listened to Rev. William Barber on a conference call with hundreds of other people, as he told us he believes we do not have to be gracious about the political victory of a man who has promised to be cruel to immigrants, Muslims, LGBTQ people and more.

We do not have to offer congratulations to a man who has shown no compassion, no honor and no regrets for the violence of his followers.

This morning, I spoke with my friend, Rev. Rodney Sadler, who echoed Rev. Barber’s sentiments.  Rev. Sadler and I talked about the protests we plan to organize and/or attend, and about our fears for the safety of people we love.

Sitting at home is the same as doing nothing. Silence in the face of tyranny makes one complicit. As this man tries to implement his hate-driven policies, we who enjoy privilege must stand against all of it.

I will stand with my brothers and sisters whose lives and bodies are under threat. You will have to go through me to get to them. I will do everything in my power to protect them, except violence. I will not stoop to that.

I am a follower of Christ, who instructed us to love our enemies, to care for “the least of these” among us. I will feed the hungry and love the marginalized. I will defend the defenseless and give voice to the voiceless.

To me, loving my enemy does not mean being gracious toward someone who would let children go to bed hungry, who would deport millions, who would strip women and LGBTQ people of their legal rights, who tweets vile insults to people who disagree with him.

Loving my enemy means not harming them in any physical way and believing that they are deserving of redemption if they seek it.

Loving this person him does NOT mean any form of approval for his policies or beliefs.

I will stand against this person as I stand for peace and justice for everyone. I will not sit down.

I will take to the streets with my brothers and sisters. I will do no violence. This is my promise.

 

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.

 

 

 

‘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.

 

 

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.

#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.

 

 

 

 

 

Dancing on Scalia’s grave

He was arrogant and cruel. There was nothing nice to say about him in life; I will not feel guilty about criticizing him now.

He was arrogant and cruel. There was nothing nice to say about him in life; I will not feel guilty about criticizing him now.

I have been told that to express glee, or even relief, at the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is improper, disrespectful, immature and wrong.

I beg to differ.

Yes, he had family who loved him, but so did the people whose lives he had a part in ending. So do the people whose lives he held in utter disregard, and for whom he created misery. To say anything nice about him now would make me a hypocrite.

Forget about overturning an execution because new evidence shows the person might have been innocent:

“This Court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is ‘actually’ innocent,” Scalia wrote in a 2009 dissent of the Court’s order for a federal trial court in Georgia to consider the case of death row inmate Troy Davis. “Quite to the contrary, we have repeatedly left that question unresolved, while expressing considerable doubt that any claim based on alleged ‘actual innocence’ is constitutionally cognizable.”

Then there’s this:

“The fact that juries continue to sentence mentally retarded offenders to death for extreme crimes shows that society’s moral outrage sometimes demands execution of retarded offenders.”

He was a cruel and arrogant creature. That’s the truth. Those who criticized him in life but now are tripping over themselves to honor him are being hypocritical at best.

How about his disrespect for women? When Justice Sandra Day O’Connor refused to join his attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade, he said her opinion was “irrational,” and not to “be taken seriously.”

And his contention that the Constitution was never meant to protect the rights of women:

“Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t. Nobody ever thought that that’s what it meant. Nobody ever voted for that. If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, hey we have things called legislatures, and they enact things called laws.”

Then there was his blatant racism:

“There are those who contend that it does not benefit African Americans to get them into the University of Texas, where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a slower-track school where they do well. One of the briefs pointed out that most of the black scientists in this country don’t come from schools like the University of Texas. They come from lesser schools where they do not feel that they’re being pushed ahead in classes that are too fast for them.”

His bias against LGBTQ people, such as the time he compared being gay to being a murderer:

“The Court’s opinion contains… hints that Coloradans have been guilty of ‘animus’ or ‘animosity’ toward homosexuality, as though that has been established as Unamerican. . . . I had thought that one could consider certain conduct reprehensible–murder, for example, or polygamy, or cruelty to animals–and could exhibit even ‘animus’ toward such conduct.”

His twisted logic and lack of respect for people’s ability to access health care in reference to the Affordable Care Act:

“Could you define the market — everybody has to buy food sooner or later, so you define the market as food, therefore, everybody is in the market; therefore, you can make people buy broccoli.”

Justice Scalia had no respect for any opinion — or any life — other than his own.

So, get over yourself if I laugh at this:

“Antonin Scalia requested cremation in his will, but millions of women will meet tomorrow to discuss if that’s really best for his body.”

 

Old habits die hard

blmsmall

When my son died seven years ago from lack of access to health care, I set about telling people that his life mattered. It mattered to me and to my family. It mattered to his friends and to the people whose lives he saved through his work in addiction recovery.

His life mattered. I used that phrase a lot when I spoke in public about his life and death, and I couldn’t think of a phrase that said it better or more succinctly.

So, a couple years ago, when the phrase “Black lives matter,” began popping up, I really, really understood the meaning.

But as much as I got it, I began to realize I would have to give up that phrasing when it came to my son and others who die from lack of care. Yes, their lives matter, and it wasn’t without a tinge of resentment that I realized the phrase now belongs to a civil rights movement that doesn’t necessarily include my son.

Breaking the habit of using it in reference to health care is a hard thing to do. That’s because my son’s life did matter; I just have to find another way to say that because I have great respect for the Black Lives Matter movement, and I fully understand the need to specify that black lives matter.

My son died from lack of access to health care. That happens to people in poverty, and more people of color are trapped in poverty than are white people. More people of color are denied care. More people of color die, and each of those lives matters to me.

What’s worse is that more black people die at the hands of law enforcement; more unarmed black people, in fact. It happens far more often that a person who might have committed a minor offense if slain by police if that person is black.

I understand this. I have internalized this. I have sat at a table with three African-American women and learned that all of them have lost sons to gunfire. I, on the other hand, got to say goodbye to my son. At least I have that.

So, I know I shouldn’t use the “… lives matter” phrasing, but the habit creeps in and it’s done before I realize I have done it.

Recently I used it on a Facebook event page and faced a shitstorm of criticism. I was on the road, traveling to my stepbrother’s funeral and didn’t have a chance to change it immediately, which only made people angrier.

I apologize. Really. I will try not to use that phrasing again. But if I do, please do as one of my friends did and private message me gently. I’m trying to break the habit. It can be difficult for me to remember that I need to find another way to phrase what my son;s life meat, but I am willing to do that.

I know all lives matter, but we must specify until people really understand that black lives matter every bit as much as mine or my son’s.

I understand. I get it. I will break the habit. Just, please, don’t call me names — especially racist.

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