America is on the move. And, it looks like it is in the right direction. So many people are getting involved in seeking justice for Floyd, protesting centuries of oppression, and reforming this country. Black lives matter. And Americans have truly driving this point home in the past week.
Support How You Can
I haven’t participated in protests yet due to work, and I’ve avoided posting on social media because I questioned my motives for doing so. Communicating via images and brevity my support for complex issues doesn’t mesh with how I operate. I love that others are doing it, and I’m proud to see friends getting involved and spreading news and opportunities to support BLM. My way of participating is probably not the best way, but it is the way I can participate while keeping my motives most pure. I’ll donate, write my local and state representatives, petition, and support in other ways.
Better Voices Are Out There
I don’t have much to contribute to this conversation that hasn’t already been said. I’d much rather listen to the people who have stories to share, who can teach me about what is wrong with this country and put forth proposals for how to address it. I want to hear plans for change.
Part 1: MAG, Just MAG
This movement must not sputter out, and I want the voices that can keep it going to be heard. I want the groups that work to make a change to but supported in their endeavors. I want us all to make America great. Not again. It never was great.
There have been and are great Americans. But, I fail to see how the country itself has even been great. Its history is one of bullying, oppression, racism, theft, and deceit. It was and is powerful. It dominates in terms of GDP. It has established itself through media and military might across the world. It brought the world bombs that can eradicate cities in a blink. It developed numerous inventions and advances in science. Molodets.
Sure, the US has done much good throughout the years. But, it never was a great country. Not in the ways that mattered. It didn’t abolish slavery first. It didn’t address women’s rights first. It didn’t even deliver marriage to the LGBTQA+ community first.
A great country would pioneer the equality it purports. It wouldn’t follow behind the actions of greater countries.
But, the US is full of potential. Brimming with it. It’s electric. When I came back to the US after half a decade of absence, I found myself revolted. A knee-jerk reaction of sorts. I would love that the next time I return to the US, it is a little less fucked than it is now. I would love that the next time I set foot in LAX I feel excited for what is outside those doors, rather than so disappointed I want to turn around and board the next flight out.
Let’s actually make this country great for once. Donate or protest or post or petition, but above all let’s fill out some goddamm ballots! That’s all. Onward. Vote. Change. Repair.
Part 2: Reparations
Reparations are not you having to pay for your ancestor’s racism or sins. Reparations do not put the blame on you for having white ancestors who fucked everything up. Reparations are when those of us who have not been fucked by the system stand up and do our part to repair the system. It is in the name, for glob’s sake.
Reparations are a touchy subject. Many see it as communities pointing the finger and saying that white people are at fault for the failures of their white ancestors. If talk shows stumbled across during a morning commute are any indicator, people see reparations as a forced apology. That couldn’t be further from the truth. White people broke the system centuries ago; reparations are nothing more than a way to take a step toward un-breaking it.
When the 13th Amendment was passed, it was a woefully incomplete endeavor. A start, for certain. But nowhere near what emancipation needed to be. It simply stopped digging into the wound. Great. That had to stop. But then it left that wound to fester for the next 150 years. Reparations are an attempt to finally close that wound. They are a opportunity that every generation before us has refused to take, and as a result we are in our current predicament.
I don’t necessarily like the idea of reparations for the simple reason that I don’t like fixing the mistakes of other people. But, if we don’t take care of this, then it becomes our mistake. And we saddle future generations with the problem once again. It isn’t about what we like.
Right now, the problems we face are our problems. We might not have caused them, but there is no denying their contemporaneity. We are dealing with a cancer we didn’t cause, but it yet falls upon us to treat it and to excise it; otherwise it will only continue to grow until it breaks our country further than it already is broken. It is far from right that this falls upon us, but nothing is right about how things are. It is not as though the US government is hurting for money. We spend four times on our military what China does (a country that is four times more populous than our own). Spending has never been a problem for our government. Directing those funds in ways that matter absolutely has been an issue, though.
How should we go about this? I don’t know, but a conversation needs to happen so that we can reach a solution. We need to remove the misconceptions about the reasoning behind reparations and move forward with an open attitude.
Part 3: Cops
Of course cops don’t think black lives matter, there have been no efforts on the government’s part to really show that they matter. Cops see other cops get away with murder, decade after decade, without any repercussions. Why would the monsters among cops see black lives as mattering when they are extinguished so readily and without punishment?
Part 4: Okay, I’m Done
Cleared out some thoughts. Got things down in words. That’s how I do things. Also, below are what I’m doing. Try it out yourself.