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Posts Tagged ‘hatred’

I see my father sleeping

The only peace he knows is sleep

Should we wake him?

I see him sleeping

And recall my youthful dreams of him.

All dreams, I suppose, begin in youth.

The young can afford to dream.

Smokestacks become cathedral spires,

Then our aspirations, fueled by the noble half of our nature,

Grow higher, less noble, less precise,

And ultimately, out of reach.

Shall we tease him, throwing stones at his front door

And then run away like children?

Or shall we seek out others,

Who blindly rest, secure in his bosom,

Enticing them to fight our fights against him,

By tempting their fears and prejudices,

Knowing all the while that he will protect us?

But our father sleeps

Wishing to share the dreams

Of the children he has lost

But in his slumber, he cannot protect

Those who die in the streets everyday.

 

I see the other dreams vanishing also,

I see them vanishing on the faces of children who cannot eat,

Of adults who cannot read,

In the despair of a nation that cannot hope

I see America dazed and I don’t know why
I see America sleeping

Weeping, angry, I look upon that which I once called Father

And I see the blissful ignorance that only sleep can provide

A noble, slumbering, drunken giant such as him,

Asleep  on an ashen bed that once was our hopes,

But I cannot forget, I cannot forgive,

And I want to whisper into his good ear the words

“WAKE UP”

I wrote this a number of years ago. I believe it might have been during George Bush “the lessers” administration. I suppose the text more or less speaks for itself as to my intent and thought at the time. But when I read it now, it seems  to be still naive, still wanting America to be something like a Rockwell painting, or in the spirit of Whitman s’ poem “I Hear America Singing” where, to quote the cliffs notes review;

“The poet thinks of America as the “centre of equal daughters, equal sons,” who are “strong, ample, fair, enduring, capable,” and who identify themselves with “Freedom, Law and Love.” He salutes America as the “grand, sane, towering, seated Mother,” who is “chair’d in the adamant of Time.”

This short poem is a reassertion of the poet’s faith in the destiny of the American nation. It demonstrates his love of the masses, his devotion to democracy, and his belief that in responding to the call of a democratic process, America is fulfilling a spiritual need of her people.”  ( Link is here; https://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/l/leaves-of-grass/summary-and-analysis-calamus/america)

Perhaps I still saw my homeland with the blinders of white privilege. Perhaps I still hadn’t thought far enough ahead to foresee the possibility that America could ever elect such a nepotist, such a fascist, a racist, and a disgustingly misogynist president. I hadn’t foreseen at that time the divisions that are ripping our nation apart or that such enormous division could even take place in this country with such high ideals to the point where one candidate could ever call the supporters of the other “deplorable”.

I’m not disagreeing with Hillary about that point, to be frank. I was and still am, in total agreement with that perception and was more than a bit disappointed when she apologized for saying it, although I understood completely.

I suppose what makes me sad when i reread this poem now, is that I don’t see America ever getting back to what the founding fathers had in mind.I don’t see our racial divides closing. I don’t see prejudice of any kind dwindling out of our consciousness. I don’t see the poor being fed, the illiterate being taught,I don’t see the immigrants being welcomed and given a new beginning. I don’t see poverty ending. I don’t see the homeless camps in the cities coming down. I remember being so disappointed when I heard a family member saying how much he hated them, how he would get almost violently angry when he drove by them. I don’t see America ever again telling immigrants to “give us your poor, your tired, your hungry” or at least if they did say it, i couldn’t believe in the earnestness of it without being very afraid of what those who have struggled might face upon arrival.What persecution they will face, what  hatred which was once unthinkable but now so commonplace will they face. Sadly, even the handicapped are not immune to ridicule, as the now infamous video clip proves. As Meryl Streep pointed out so well, whether or not it was the “Orangemans” intent to ridicule is secondary to the fact that by doing what he did, it now became acceptable to the rest of his deplorables.Bullying was immediately changed from something we were trying to eliminate to acceptable in one thoughtless moment. He has been shown numerous times publicly inciting his followers to violence against those who disagree with him, He has shown in simple terms the most vile contempt against any who have the courage to point to his many “mistakes of judgement”.

If America is to have any chance of returning to it’s ideals, or should I say finding them for the first time, it cannot sit idly by. It needs all of us to be watchful and alert. It needs all of us to refute and refuse to accept Trumps ideals as our own. It needs idols. It needs statespeople. It needs to find the strength to stand up. It needs, more than ever, to WAKE UP!!

 

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Today marks the 10th year anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001. There are so many others writing about it, I almost didn’t want to, but I feel compelled to write SOMETHING! So here it goes….

I decided that I should examine my own feelings about 9/11 and my own memories of that dreadful day and the days that followed.

I was still in bed, trying to ignore my alarm clock. Actually, it wasn’t my alarm, it was my phone ringing, a rare occurrence, and I of course had to find out who would dare ring me so bloody early or what the earth shattering event was or who had just died. It was, in fact, a friend, sounding very shook up. She asked me if I was watching the news because the U.S. was being attacked. I immediately turned on the news just in time to see the second plane hit. The images of that day, the planes hitting the buildings, the people jumping out from the buildings and then the buildings falling down are burned into my memory forever.

I remember the total shock, the disbelief, and the horror of the moment. What was I watching? How could this happen? Who on earth could do this? I felt like someone had stomped on my stomach, for a moment my mind was totally shut off, I couldn’t think, my emotions were ripped inside out from my depths to my skin and everyone could see them.

I stumbled, quite literally, to the bathroom and began, only on instinct, to get ready for work. How I longed for it to be April fool’s day. How I wished it were just a bad movie I was watching, or a trick, something like Orson Welles performance of War of the Worlds a few decades earlier.

Like a drunk without a memory, I had almost no idea how I made it to work, but I will always remember the feeling that day. The town and in fact the whole world felt like death. This was a death you couldn’t bargain with, couldn’t escape, couldn’t cheat or trick in a game of chess. This was ruthless, cruel and complete in its brutality.

There was an enormous hole in the world and it pulled me and everyone else in the world into it. It ripped my insides out. I couldn’t and wouldn’t believe that anyone could be so cruel, but the evidence was inescapable. I thought of my maternal grandmother who was from Brooklyn, and my many friends who had lived or still do, in New York City, I thought of the families of those who died, of the overwhelming sense of loss.

It seemed that everyone I came into contact with felt a similar grief. I also remember there were so many questions. The ones that journalists are trained to ask, I would suppose, who what when were why etc. but no answers.

Over the next few days, the Bush administration started to “explain” who did it, and started the war of words and propaganda to support its’ position and intentions to invade Afghanistan and then Iraq without support of the international community or the United Nations, setting off a sequence of events that I will, and it hurts me deeply to say this, never forgive my country for. (I will write more on this in another blog, dear reader, so if you’re curious stay tuned.)

Of course I felt tremendous anger about those events. There will never be a place in the civilized world for such brutality, but I also realized that it was a huge protest against much more than the United States. I will always believe that.  It saddened me that so many of my countrymen didn’t see that. I realized that people from all over the world, INCLUDING PEOPLE OF THE MUSLIM FAITH died on that day.

I thought then, and still do, that we need to figure out the true reasons why they felt it necessary to do this and what they felt they could gain. We need to take steps to deny them their power, to change the way we relate to the issues facing the Middle East so that they have no basis for recruitment. The United States needs to ensure that its actions in the Middle East are based solely on humanitarian purposes, without the intention of profit or the furtherance of imperialism.

I can say that I certainly feel I’ve changed from that day, as have so many. My view of the world around me has grown, my awareness of prejudice in America against Muslims has definitely heightened, and that prejudice saddens me deeply, especially when I realize that this anniversary will almost certainly fan those fires again.

When my Swedish friends ask me if I might want to move back to the States, I say, “No, it’s not in my plans”, then I smile and walk away. What I don’t say is that due to the dreadful actions of the Bush administration, the continued illegal holding of people in Guantanamo, the torture of prisoners of war, the rise of such idiots as Sarah Pahlin and the neo religious fascist Tea Party, and most of all the environment of hate and fear that the attacks have brewed in the U.S. I don’t want to live there.  I can’t be a part of that any longer because I no longer believe in the dream.

That is what I lost on that day, 10 years ago. Perhaps I’ll find it again. It would be nice.

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