thinking more than feeling.

On Bastile Day a truck drove into a crowd in Nice  France and killed 80 people (so far).  The driver is dead.  A man shoots policemen in Dallas, he is dead.  These suicides/murders seem to be proliferating–a tactic from the Middle East makes it way to Europe,then the U.S.  where does it stop–Mongolia?

I wish I were smarter or braver or could predict some way out of this time of violence, terror, and fear.  I cannot.  But no one can.  This kind of overwhelming volatility is outside ordinary thinking.  We need to accept that the West gave up on a generation of people and now that generation’s children are fighting back and they are as unkind unfeeling and dismissive as those who were unkind, unfeeling and dismissive oftheir kin.  They come out of the prisons “radicalized” which is another way of saying they come out of prison with skills to avenge whatever wrongs they felt were placed upon them and little in French or Belgian or American society is done to undermine these tendencies. It really is that reaping and sowing moment.

I am a poet.  I know that language matters.  The rhetoric in the American campaign esp. on the part of the right has left many people feeling unwelcome in their own country. The dismissal of criticism –oh that’s PC when something is the work of an anti-Semite or a racist (the KKK) or (YOU NAME THE SUBJECT) by the presumptive candidate for the Republican Party is one more way of allowing the worse of our actors onto center stage.  Language matters and questions matter.  Why are pollsters asking about trust?  Most people do not trust their family members so how is that 67% of Americans somehow trust Donald Trump?  Trust him to do what?  Why are pollsters asking what candidate has created legislation that supports you?  Or called for innovation in some way shape or form and do you agree with it?  I don’t trust politicians.  I do agree or disagree with policies.  But then I am an adult and I am not interested in adolescent responses.  I want to hear from people who are curious, look at facts and demand real answers.  I don’t want to wait from the avengers to come after the rest of us.



Hotter than July–really

Art from Kongo, 17th c.

Art from Kongo, 17th c.

The past week is one that tries all our souls. The deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and the Dallas police and traffic officers are awful. But remember it is very rare to ambush policemen. However 3-4 people are fatally shot by the police in this nation each day–the Washington Post has been keeping an account. Sterling and Castile would be alive today if the officers had refrained from shooting first and asking later and please, none of needs the “they should have done this that or the other” in order to stay alive. Citizens treated with respect rarely die in police custody. Both men were disrespected, their movements misinterpreted and their 2nd amendment rights to carry guns ignored.

I am not pro-or anti-police–that is an absurd phrase. I do think that policing by those who actually understand law, know the communities that are being policed and work with the people in them makes sense. My brother exemplifies that kind of work and he has taught that to his son. I know others whose families have police who are absolutely appalled at the lack of professionalism on the part of their fellows in blue. The other kind that seems to find many people further impoverished, overly imprisoned and dead ain’t working. ‪#‎blacklivesmatter‬ and this idea/hashtag/movement is not going away because of a terrible ambush.

The list of Black, Brown, Native American, Asians, and yes White folks who have been un armed; peaceful; playing in the park; talking to their wives; their girlfriends; the best friends; on the way to a job interview; leaving work late; minding their own business; driving down a road in early evening; late day; the morning; midnight, etc. seems to bring out the worst fantasies of a subset of officers who are frightened and dangerous–they are not bad apples, there are too many of them. Those officers are part of the norm and the norm needs to change. We can lift up the lives of those who were shot in the line of duty, their sacrifice was great. We can also demand justice for the victims of police violence and the kind of police work that continues to dignify that sacrifice. Anything less is cablenewstv talkingheads world–one none of us needs to live in.

Art from Kongo, 17th c.