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Where I Stand

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To be clear, I am Pro Life, which means I have reached a point in my life where I stand against any and all violence perpetrated against human beings. I stand against human beings declaring themselves the judge, jury, and the administrators of justice against other human beings.

I stand against anyone and everyone who takes innocent lives in the name of war, in the name of gangs, in the name of the police, in the name of your religion, in the name of your country, in the name of your flag, in the name of terrorism, in the name of you stepped on my shoe…

From my perspective, the police shooting an unarmed man is not any more tragic than a black man murdering a whole family in a drive by. An American drone murdering innocent children in the Middle East is no less heinous than a terrorist act in Boston. A bomb in Norway is no more tragic than a bomb in Oklahoma City. The murder of Trayvon Martin is no more of a travesty than the murder of Hadiya Pendleton of Chicago…

My heart pours out to every innocent human being that is victimized by violence under whatever pretense someone chooses to use. There is no gray area and violence has never provided a permanent solution at home or abroad, in the American streets or between countries. There is always bad blood left over, there is always a spark that will start it back up, there is always revenge bound to happen, and there is always unnecessary shit that will happen because of the unnecessary shit that has happened.

One day we will be the civilized people we say we are. I just hope that day comes before it’s too late.

Short Attention Span

As I watch the news, the press conferences, the tears, the outpouring of support, the prayer for the families, the empathy and compassion of the American people, I am both happy and sad at the same time.  I’m happy, because for the time being we are engaged, concerned, desire to do better, be better, a little more cordial toward one another, more loving, more spiritual, and more humane in general.  These tragedies, while hard to stomach, each give us a glimpse of the America we could be.

I’m sad, because I know this humanity that we flash after each tragedy will not last.  I’m sad because I know by the end of the year our attention will shift back to the fiscal cliff, New Years parties, Scandal, reality TV, or some other escape that we turn too when we’re tired of being compassionate.  I’m sad because I know that after showing glimpses of the America we can be, we’ll go back to being the America that we are.

The latest tragedy made me dig up an excerpt from an old poem I wrote a few years ago.  The poem still doesn’t have a title, but I call the excerpt Short Attention Span.

We
Come together
As a community
Speak words of comfort
To the mother we ignored
About the invisible boy
We never wanted to see

We
Hold candlelight vigils
In his honor
Cry on queue
Raise funds for the cause
Contact the media

We
Are drawn closer
To one another by
Compassion for the victim
and outrage
Over the violence
That has pierced a hole
In the bubble
Protecting our
Perfect
Little community

and then,
We move on
Distance ourselves
From the tragic memories
Of the invisible little boy
Who was prematurely killed
Senselessly

Put aside our
Compassion
For the mother
We ignored,
Then embraced,
and then left alone
To deal with the pain
Of her empty soul

Left her alone
To be tormented
By the dreadful thoughts of
Unseen smiles
Un-blossomed seeds
Abducted generations
Unfulfilled destinies
Stolen tomorrows
Dark dreams
and unrealized visions
Of what could have been

We move on
Transform our empathy
Back into cruelty
Just before forgetting
The mother we ignored
and her invisible son
and her tragedy
and her pain
and her loneliness
and the fact
That she stopped eating
Stopped going to work
Stopped praying
Stopped believing
and hasn’t moved forward
Since that tragic day
When her son’s life was
Stolen

We move on
Only remembering her tragedy
As a tool to quantify the horror
Of future tragedies
But we forget her pain…

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America, A Reality Check

We are not that America
We are not unified citizens working together for a better tomorrow
We are not compassionate human beings lifting one another as we climb
We are not unselfish politicians fulfilling our promise to work for the greater good of the people
We are not the Miracle of 34th Street
We are not the humble grace of “Thanksgiving”
We are not innocence until proven guilty
We are not equality and merit
We are not the intellectual contradictions who framed the constitution
We are not a Democracy for the people
We are not rational thinking civilians using guns to protect our freedom from imperialists
We are not dreamers boldly blazing new paths and forging better tomorrows
We are not one indivisible nation under God providing liberty and justice for all
We are not the home of the brave we sing about in our Star Spangled Banner
We are not the Manifest Destiny
We are not the revisionist Americans of our history books
We are not the peaceful European explorers who vanquished the savage indigenous animals

We are this America
We are glimpses of beauty
We are flashes of hope
We are hints of greatness
But mostly,
We are the lie of Columbus
We are the savages
We are the imperialists
We are the adulterers
We are the animals
We are the rapists
We are the murderers
We are the warmongers
We are the takers of dreams
We are the enslavers of children
We are the thugs that stole the land
We are the America that was founded on 2 parts violence and 1 part idea
We are the pepper spray facial on the 99%
We are the mindless stomp of Black Friday
We are the Stand Your Ground  killers of innocence
We are the dogs attacking the marchers
We are the hoses washing away hope
We are the billy clubs beating King
We are the bullets in the back of tomorrow
We are the walking contradictions pledging allegiances to justice and liberty while committing crimes against justice and liberty
We are the America that hides behind the idea of America
In isolated communities gated away from our fear
Behind our antiquated principles
Behind our flag, religion, and the God we’ve made in our likeness
We are the America who sacrifices our children at the altar like lambs, that then sheds tears
While screaming at the top of our lungs “How did we get here!”

We are the America that fails to understand time and time again;
Getting Here, to this dreadful state of horror and fear,  is the one thing we did as a collective
Getting Out of Here is the one thing that we must do together

Howard

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