I Turned Off The News

 

Yesterday, I made a conscious decision to turn off the news. Having watched the now ‘idle’ banter of prognosticators and candidates for the last year, the outcome in hand, I wasn’t excited about hearing any theory, any ‘told you so’ antics, or any patronage from the winning side of an ugly defeat. I told all my classes I was only going to listen to whales singing in the ocean in some New Age melody all week while I gathered my thoughts and wrapped my head around this bizarre political future of our country.

The night did not allow me to completely escape my thoughts though, and the sounds of our immensely serene mammals in the deep blue didn’t contain me as long as I’d hoped. I still felt this urgency to know, to wonder, to speculate just how we had come to the conclusion we had as a voting nation. That answer still evades me this morning; however, what I did see was the peaceful protests throughout the country with our new candidate. The protests hearkened me back to a different time in my life.

I remember in the  60’s seeing pictures of the Vietnam war protests. In a child’s eyes, these were real, these were pleading students and family and friends and co-workers all banding together to make a statement, the riots that would follow later with the civil rights protests, the ever changing climate of our nation. I recall watching all of this through the eyes of my older siblings. To me, these were powerful statements of change and I was a fortunate witness to democracy at its finest – freedom of speech, the right to protest, the right to have a valued opinion. Certainly with that came tragedy, the loss of remarkable leaders from Malcolm X to MLK Jr, to RFK, to so many more names that are part of that tumultuous history. I remember Kent State and wondering how it was, as a ten year old, that our nation could be so angry within our own borders, while thousands were dying in a fruitless war across the world.

We had no advantage of social media to give us instant results. We counted upon Walter Cronkite, ‘and that’s the way it is’ and followed with tears the scroll of lost names in Vietnam on that day, that was the immediacy of our connection to the world around us. The silent protest in our minds became the visible chants outside the White House gates as the protesters ramped up the pressure on LBJ to get our boys out of Vietnam – “Hey Hey LBJ, How many kids did you kill today?” followed years later by Richard Nixon and the ‘tricky dick’ accusations of secrecy and fraud that destroyed his presidency. Back then people were vocal, and as a kid, I watched as it seemed there were good reasons to fight for what we all believed was right.

In that different time, when race and equality were still on the mind of everyone, people began to fight together, and I watched secular groups like the KKK become less severe and threatening as our nation could recognize a holistic approach to life. In the 70’s books were written about ‘The Melting Pot’ a nation burgeoning with immigration becoming one, learning to live with one another and respect each other. Racism and prejudice still existed, but there was this seeming progression, this appearance of ‘love and respect’ that started to gain footing on so many levels. With the onset of so many different cultural mores we began to see a change in the landscape of our society.

The idea of ‘The Melting Pot’ has evolved today into more of a ‘mosaic’ as we gradually become aware of the value of culture, the beauty and elegance that each person in the frame of their own unique heritage brings to our American canvas. We have tried to take the time to appreciate those differences rather than destroy their integrity while lost in our own self-driven egocentric ideals. As a child I was motivated by a naive innocence to appreciate those pieces of our life that I could witness growing up. I wonder about the children of today, and how their exposure has perhaps changed, impacted, or effected their own perception of a modern, electronically driven society around them.

I wonder about the news, and what it is the media will find important as we now walk beyond the unprecedented electoral process that has for some turned their world upside down, and for others provided a voice of indiscriminate reaction that though maybe quieted in years past with active reasoning, today is suddenly harsh and overt and frightening. We live in a democratic society, so there can be no argument to suggest one person’s right to opinion ought be considered better than another’s; however, there is an element of respect and integrity that right now seems surely to hang in the balance.

So, as I observe our new style of protest in American society, just beyond a full day of electing a controversial candidate to the POTUS, I wonder about purpose, timing and decorum. Is protesting today that valuable in a time when we have already made a decision we cannot turn back on? For some, certainly that is the motivation for hitting the concrete, but for others I wonder if we have newer challenges ahead that can capture or channel our idealism. A friend of mine recently posted there is no more time for tolerance through the ideals of love and compassion, in his words, we need to ‘stand up RIGHT now.” I cannot argue with his passion, but I still do wonder about timing.

Perhaps our protest begins in six months, then we have seen a pattern to create a need for public awareness and change. Perhaps today we need to pay closer attention to the immediacy of our national decision, and recognize the hurt, the elation, the brusque reality of our choices demand a closer eye than simply arousing a formulated statement of disagreement.

Perhaps we do still count on ourselves as being the change we desire in the world around us. Ask a friend, see if they and another, and a friend of their own, a family member, a co-worker might join each other and together determine a time, quite likely in the near future to make a stronger more relevant statement, together.

Perhaps we might leave the news off for a few more days, and pay attention to our immediate surroundings.

`The Decay of a Day

In a methodical mess of time,

our world has been defined,

by hypocrisy,

or idiocy,

or lunacy,

or whichever descriptive

horror,

travesty,

diminished capacity,

we might choose to operate from.

The ticking of a clock began our morning,

from federal sacrifice to teacher ignorance,

our society believes,

we can will away all the misery,

our inability,

our instability

that bureaucratic dependency,

to do the wrong thing

is alive and twirling

a baton of human sacrifice

across a meddling nation.

We are clueless to the hurtful,

menacing manner maligned

mouthpiece

we often rely upon to

make us laugh with ridicule.

What happens when the laughter

ends, when one doctrine

pitted against another,

believes the lie to be true,

believes in the why we do,

believes their own lie,

to be truth …

Syria.

The Candidate

This is a demeanor moment,

off the camera,

a human being that eats turkey,

on camera,

the polish forgets the need for food.

in my apparent life,

what you see could possibly be me,

yet,

how impactful will the real side of me

be, can you see, do you know exactly why we

might imagine,

this to be the truth,

the whole nation will respond,

yet we can be so uncouth,

when the camera is running,

that is all you will ever get of me.

While society crumbles around all of us,

the media machine,

the decisive byte of news explosion,

always forgets to tell the truth,

instead we might rather hold on to the fiction,

in order to earn some merit,

while back inside the privacy of our dining room,

we will continue to eat,

eat away at the fabric

of our teflon society.

Elect me beyond the scope of sanity.

Donald Trump & Everyone Else ( a rant )

Here’s the thing. I wrote a poem based completely upon the persona that Donald Trump showed America in an interview shortly before he gave a campaign speech in Iowa. What is really frightening is that people will actually take the time to listen to him. The man is a fraud of himself and he doesn’t even realize it. He so happy to present an obnoxious intolerant persona, that he doesn’t even have to think about the damage, nor does he have a clue the harm that his words and action bring upon America or the United States as we stand as a Nation. He touts The Bible as his favorite book, but is unable to connect with any spiritual character from the book. I don’t imply that Donald Trump is not a smart man, I only want to impress upon people that he is a dangerous man.

He visibly demeaned a Mexican National when he kicked Jorge Ramos out of his press conference. He even went so far as to bully him, and sternly tell him to sit down. This was a passive man asking a question. Trump eventually said, ‘go back to Univision’ before having one of his goons remove the reporter. Let’s think about that for a minute. What does ‘go back to Univision’ imply when speaking to a Mexican immigrant? It suggests go back to Mexico because you don’t match up to the standard I see America living, or you don’t fit into my grand plan.

My wife has compared Trump to Hitler. I have disagreed until tonight. Imagine if this man was in charge of our country. First of all it would take years for him to understand the process of being the POTUS because right now he just thinks it is a position he can own with money. It is a sad commentary to have the masses of our nation get behind a person that represents taking everything away from the poor and the lower middle class, the people of color, the immigrants and anyone else who does not have the where with all to survive in the world Donald Trump believes he will create.

I do sincerely believe that he does think that is possible. His ego is being stroked by every person that looks him in the eye and smiles whenever he says anything that desecrates the political process, or when he slanders or destroys in words only the credibility of people running for office or running our country.

Tonight before his rally – I didn’t watch the speech, but I did see Ann Coulter at the podium introducing Donald Trump. Think about that for a moment would you please. She is a self-proclaimed racist, last time I checked. What a pair of people to represent our nation. My wife’s analogy is becoming more and more believable with every appearance Donald Trump makes on his campaign tour.

We are a diverse country. We are not expected to all get along together. But at the same time, we must begin to realize that what Donald  Trump represents is nothing more than the 1% wielding their power and control of the American dream, if that still exists. If we put someone like Trump in office, we are suggesting we are an ignorant populace in a democratic country that is willing to throw their freedom away as a result of a disparaging, conceited, clueless, loud-mouthed narcissist that could care less about anyone but his own image carved into a statue that is gaudy and mis-representative of everything our founding fathers created for this country. Mount Rushmore doesn’t have enough volume of rock to accommodate this egomaniac’s head. Wake up America!

Good night moon!