Poem: The Speech


Common ground

must abound

for this country

to unite

and to set

founding notions right

Not you

against me

She vs. he

White is better

than Black

or pretend

global warming

is not a fact

Walls must fall

while we help

all who call

No matter tint

of skin

where preference

is no mortal sin

And believing

means freedom

the wisdom of truth

found in our

words

Not blurred

by hatred or fear

but once again

self-evident

we the people

are equal

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Poem: Anne


Just like every

teenage girl

hating her mother

adoring her father

(knock knock–run and hide)

confounded by her

changing body

as her clothing shrank

(keep quiet–voices down)

With her big voice

and own ideas

all alone and feeling

unloved

(thump thump–what was that?)

Just a girl

with a yellow star

who said what she felt

(Move that there!)

So the world would

live the truth

(Come with us!)

Forever

Poem: Speak Sweet


His words then

ring ring

true today

the voice that

speaks sweet

only time can solve race injustice

some said to him

It has not

Black ghost

talking before us

still

unheard

in winters of delay

When will The Dream come true?

destinies of Negro and White man tied together

Rip the bonds of inequality

and weave nets strong enough

to catch us all

as we come together

through time

 

Note: I am spending today listening to Martin Luther King Jr speeches, especially some I have never heard before. The words in italics are his.

Speak


As this Martin Luther King day approaches, I am compelled to contemplate (and write) about racism and bigotry in this country. With a president that feels he has the right to boast his hatred and utter his disregard for equality it is quite evident that some people still carry these sentiments most obviously.

But a book that I recently read: Tears We Cannot Stop, A Sermon to White America, By Michael Eric Dyson, made me look more deeply into the question of implicit racism. By definition found on the computer it means:  implicit racism includes unconscious biases, expectations, or tendencies that exist within an individual, regardless of ill-will or any self-aware prejudices.

He speaks to ‘whiteness’ in general, not in a way that is scolding, but in a way that most definitely made me look at my privileged life in this country as a white person. Of that there is NO doubt.

It is easy to notice things like what the president did and said: that this is racism/bigotry. But there are other signs that are less clear. The lines become blurred when looking at crime and how media portrays who commits them. Who do we feel as white folk are the criminals? Really, answer that question, then check the statistics. Or how do you feel when you walk down a dark street and people of color are near?

There are tests to see if you have implicit bias (or racism). The results may be surprising to you. I was scared when I took one, afraid that I might not be the person I thought I was or wanted to be. The result was fascinating actually. I guess it may depend on life experience and how much you really believe what you read and see on the news.

Dyson challenges white people in order to make this a world as Martin Luther King envisioned (and many others like him), then we must engage those who say racist things when we hear them. Sitting silent is as good as saying it ourselves. Let people know you won’t tolerate this kind of talk. Use it as a teaching moment if you hear folks spouting incorrect information about black people; let them know you know the truth.

This president is trying to worm his way out of the disgusting words he spoke recently and so will others. It is not being tolerated.

So in the words of MLK, speak up!

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

 

Things I Would Like Soon


Today, twice, I heard mention of lists. The first was on NPR and it was in reference to songs–that some songs are done in the style of a list. A song like our favorite Christmas carol: Five golden Rings is an example of a ‘list’ song. The second mention of lists was at church today when the minister mentioned how this time of year was made up particularly of list making. We make lists of whom to send cards to, who to give gifts to, where to buy what, what needs to be baked..well, you get the idea.

To me, when events happen like this, it’s not random. It seems very serendipitous to me that these two events occurred. Maybe they are telling me it’s time for me to make a list too! And so I shall.

Things I would like soon:

To be more like my dog, resting and being peaceful whenever I’m not eating, going to the bathroom, playing or loving those around me.

I would like go to work and keep the attitude of patience I leave the house with despite becoming frustrated with all the things that come at me during the day.

Remembering my daughters when they were young and loving and keep that in my heart when they are disappointing and forget me on important days or even on not so important days.

To continue to give and be kind to those close to me even when they may not do the same back because it is always better to give than to receive anyway.

Never forget to keep my heart open to new opportunities for love, work, people and places because it may be just around the corner that the miracle may occur.

To stay committed to the environment even when it’s easy to be lazy and consider new ways to help more than I do now.

Keep focusing on my health, my body, my soul, my intellect even when others challenge me and try to make me feel my way of thinking is odd or not main stream.

Work harder on standing up and speaking out for justice, prejudice, equality, freedom, poverty and try to actively DO MORE!

And to dive into my heart and spread laughter, kindness, friendship and always walk within my beliefs, ethics and moral standards that all people deserve to live in peace and happiness.

These things I would like soon

Who Do You Want To Be?


I have two subjects to approach here today, but they are quasi related I suppose and they both have to do with people and personality traits. Not only am I a great observer of personalities, but I am often boggled by the way people can act!

Trying myself to be a fairly kind respectful person whenever possible, it never ceases to amaze me when people find these attributes beyond their grasp. Mind you, these are not people who are back-woods, uneducated, illiterate people who have never been given the opportunity to learn how to act within group situations. No, rather, they are often pretty normal (by any familiar standards) folks who apparently just never learned any manners.

I often wonder if maybe it just does come down to this, or if it runs deeper? Why is it that someone can walk into a room, walk by one person and ignore them as though they are invisible, and then greet the next person as though they are their long-lost wealthy Uncle! It baffles me!

This rudeness prevails where I work from the management down the pee-ons. Many of these people would see themselves as very self-important, sporting high paying (but uninteresting) careers. They swirl around with arrogance possibly not caring that anyone is hurt or bothered by their holier-than-thou attitudes.

But for me, while I am chided that it shouldn’t bother me, it does for the very reason that I feel that we are all on this earth together and equal. It’s a matter of justice for me and that’s the crux of the matter. None of these people are better than me or anyone else for that matter. Whatever they believe and the fact that they teach their children to feel the same way is why superiority, prejudice, hate crimes and other equally negative human seeds breed within us. And I can never just ‘not let it bother me’ for those reasons.

The other issue was a debate I had about confidence vs. arrogance. When does one turn into the other? I believe it can be a fine line, especially as perceived by others. It has much to do with how these two auras are presented.

The debate was surrounding being confident as a paramedic and never letting patients know you are not. But it was told to someone coming from someone I have always thought of as arrogant. There lies the rub. So, has he just been confident all this time? Well, if so, why have so many of us thought the other? Delivery.

One can be confident while being kind and not appearing superior to others, especially to ones peers. I think that’s key. And being confident doesn’t preclude when you don’t know something, admitting it but finding the right answer. I understand not falling apart (which can happen to the best of us), but we pull ourselves up and learn from it.

Arrogance, on the other hand, is that feeling that one is better than someone else. That they can do the job better; you’re not needed so get out-of-the-way; I’m superior and the like. This is what I have felt from this particular paramedic. We call it the “Paragod” syndrome. I’ve tried very hard not to adopt this persona in my career.

Am I always confident? Probably not. There have been calls that have stumped me for sure, but I do my best. But I can safely say, no-one would call me arrogant and for that I’m grateful.

So all in all, I suppose we are all complex and multi-layered. But in the end, we’re all really the same. We all came out with the same material. It’s up to us what we want to do with it. We can be rude and arrogant, or we can smile, say hello and be kind and respectful to everyone we meet. It’s really just up to us. So who do you want to be?