Monday, July 20, 2020
Sunday, July 12, 2020
Sunday, June 14, 2020
I know it’s hard to see. People that aren’t familiar with 12-step programs and their principles really have nothing that teaches them how to see things from other points of view. Everybody that reads this I’m sure has picked a side in many of the 2020 issues that are all still very well alive. You either wear a mask or don’t. You think the virus is a joke, or you don’t. You think the president is the greatest thing ever, or you think he’s an idiot. You understand Black Lives Matter, or you don’t. You think the murder hornets are coming for you, or you don’t. Both way, you are right, and you are wrong.
I liken this to the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. Personally, I remember it vividly. I was working in a busy diner in Palm Beach and we were all glued to the TV when the second plane hit. A woman shrieked and started to cry. She was from Manhattan. I was saddened and I was angry that people would want to do this to our country. But looking back and remembering some interviews I had seen years ago, I realized that there is another side to it. We are the terrorists to the Al Qaeda, and they cheered at the towers fell while we wept and grieved. This is of course an extreme(ist) example, but it illuminates perspective, and maybe we can use this to understand the people we are fighting with in our own country right now.
Fear is driving anger in this country, and it is all coming from disagreement on opinion. We all treasure our opinion, and hopefully, in most cases, opinion should be based on some facts, or maybe how you interpret facts. I believe I have a strong opinion, but that doesn’t mean I’m right, or that it is only my opinion that matters. Politically, I don’t agree with only one side. I like different points of view, and I believe we could all do a better job of listening to each other.
In my program of recovery, I was asked very early on to take inventory of all of my resentments in life—past and present—and find my mistakes in those relationships. It threw out my previous vision that everybody was always out to get me or fuck me over, and I started to look at situations from another angle before I reacted. When I saw that I was also very capable of making mistakes, being wrong or stubborn, or creating chaos, I understood that others were capable of the same, and that allowed me to be forgiving and understanding of others and their views.
You aren’t wrong, I just don’t agree with you. Obviously there are extremists in any wing or religion that I couldn’t agree with, and I should clarify that I do not condone terrorism, racism, intolerance, or anything else that produces violence due to fear. And obviously I don’t think my opinions are wrong, but neither do you. I don’t want to change any minds, as I don’t want mine changed. But I would relish the opportunity to talk it out with anybody that holds different views; not to persuade, but maybe to understand.
I make a lot of assumptions when I form my opinions about racism lately. I assume it’s all white people in the middle of nowhere who have never been exposed to culture. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s also people in urban areas who have had negative experiences with certain races or cultures, or maybe they learned it from their parents. But not all racism is from white people, it goes several directions and none if it is useful or helpful. That part is a fact.
How can you be more useful to your God, or your neighborhood, or your friends? How can you be more constructive on Facebook? How can you be more tolerant, or helpful? Can you see other’s outlooks without finding something to differ with? Can I? We are becoming more divided each day, we are more critical of every little thing we see. Me, too. How do I stop? How do we stop? Should we stop?
Saturday, May 30, 2020
The last time I wrote a post, Covid was just knocking on the door of our economy and patience, and the worst thing in the world at the time seemed to be that we couldn’t go eat at restaurants for a couple weeks, and we had to take a new look at how to serve members at our own restaurant. That was just over two months ago. In that span, the world began to crumble, and a virus became political, and there were only two sides. Then it got worse: the cops killed another unarmed, handcuffed, black man. I haven’t heard a word on the coronavirus since.
I’m a white male in a sub-suburban town in rural Minnesota. But I’m from the cities, and I’m an ex-con. I’ve seen both sides of the law and more sides of fences than most people. I’ve resisted arrest, run from the cops, and I’ve only had guns pointed at me by other criminals. I’ve been punched by an officer, but I really deserved it, and cops have lied in statements to make a crime I committed seem more severe. More often than not, my interactions with the police correlated directly with how I began the situation. I have white privelage, and I use it because I have it, even if I don’t intend to do so. I believe most cops aren’t bad, as I believe most criminals aren’t bad people. I also believe that when a person is handcuffed, they pose a lesser threat than if they had their arms free. Additionally, I believe a handcuffed man face down in the concrete poses even less of a threat. If you see a person in this position, you should not kill him.
I spent my teens in the Midway area of St. Paul where every color combines freely in a stir-fry of people. Even before that, I was raised in New Brighton, where my daycare provider was part of a mixed-race family, where I probably developed my sense of broadmindedness for things outside the white-box. When I drive through the cities on 94, I get this feeling in my chest that makes me happy, even though everything has changed. I immediately think of food, culture, diversity, and the excitement of daily commotion. I/we stop for Pho and spring rolls every time we get there. These are the things I miss about the cities. I miss the iconic Montgomery Ward’s building, although that no longer exists. Just as familiar is the A-1 Lock Service on Snelling and the Turf Club around the block on University Ave, both of which have been damaged in the riot. Lloyd’s Pharmacy, Foot Locker, Furniture Barn, all damaged and/or looted. The list goes on and on: TJ Maxx, NAPA, Big Top, CVS, and Walgreens, Discount tire, TCF, Goodwill, Game Stop, Gordon Parks high school. There are more. There will be more.
Since 1619, Africans were forced to do what white people have told them to do, earlier if you click another Google link, but 400 years or more. George Floyd represents yet another show of force by the law, indicating that oppression of black people is not yet in the past.400 years and counting, even in modern America, racism exists.
If you’re reading this and you don’t like it, stop reading. 400 years and counting, black people have been shoved down, murdered, castigated, whipped, lynched, ostracized, criticized, and worse. This was just another straw on the proverbial camel’s back, and just like 20 years ago, when the cops are all acquitted, there will be more rioting and looting, and who knows what else. I’m not saying I agree or disagree with how black people have responded to this killing, I don’t get to opine on that, much like I don’t opine on abortion. I’m not thrilled that others have taken advantage of the unrest to stock up on TV’s and Lego’s, but again, this is what happens when shit isn’t fixed. I’m more upset about the murder of an unarmed black man than I am about insured buildings and merchandise. Maybe now is the time we look at how the criminal justice system works, and treats different people differently. It took the BCA four days to arrest a cop that obviously murdered a man. But the cops arrested that man solely on a suspicion of forgery. I was also arrested immediately for committing the crimes I was charged with and convicted of. I could have done a lot with four days. Three more cops who are just as guilty for doing nothing are still free. This is why there is still rioting.
This is solely my opinion; please feel free to have your own. I’m not looking for a rebuttal, or an argument. I’m not looking to be validated. I'm just venting from my cozy home in the middle of nowhere.
Sorry, George. I hope something changes in the roots of our society and system that makes your senseless death mean something significant. I hope you know that there are people fighting for you.
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
- At first, all looks like a tunnel. That’s a pretty accurate description. Then it becomes clear; there’s an orb of sorts which was described as the yolk sack, and then magically, layer by layer, all is revealed. In an instant my views on life changed. To me, I wasn’t just seeing a blob or a fetus; this was my baby. Doc moved the wand here and there, and then I saw it; a heartbeat. My baby, my life, my love; you are alive. And then s/he wiggled around like a rock star. It was dreamlike.
|The first two pictures are from my aunt's back porch overlooking the Umpqua River and a mountainside.|
|The hummingbirds were everywhere.|
|One of several attempts at a good picture.|
|My aunt Connie and the girls.|
|Maybe my favorite picture in a while. What is she thinking?|
Thursday, March 19, 2020
Stay safe out there.
Thursday, March 5, 2020
It’s over. My years at the Lafayette Club have come to an end, and I’m enjoying three days off before I start my new adventure. I’ll be en...
T he unofficial end to summer has come and gone. The kids are back in school, the restaurants slow down, and the weat...
It seems like years ago, in fact it was. The series of posts that I started writing just over a year ago on my trip to Fort Meyers for ...
Everything is back to square one. After three months of planning, spending, spending, and spending, the wedding of our dreams came true, ...