Wednesday, May 3, 2023

I am not your enemy

There was a time when I thought that our country could get past all the hatred and fearmongering that has enveloped us in its deadly grip.  I say deadly because it unfortunately, has come to that.  Mass shootings are the norm, not the exception.  1 in 4 Jewish people have been the victims of hate crimes.  Young black men are still being executed by a police force that has taken an oath to protect and serve.  Women, who up to a little less than a year ago had reproductive rights and control over their own bodies are now in a situation where they don’t.  The LGBTQI+ communities are under siege because certain politicians believe that it is more expedient to persecute this group of people rather than create useful policies that will help the average American citizen.  Refugees that seek asylum in this country are demonized as people that are rife with diseases, are criminals, or are attempting to replace the average white American.

We have forgotten what it is like to be American.  We look in all areas of life hoping to find an enemy where oftentimes, one doesn’t exist.  Political parties who don’t agree on their agendas have taken the extra step in hatred by creating a false narrative of accusations citing pedophilia when there is nothing to support their allegations.

Oftentimes, just being accused of such a heinous act is enough to warrant guilt and does not need to be substantiated.  Our once great nation has descended into chaos where gun violence is commonplace, and yet the answer to this national epidemic is to flood our streets with more weapons designed to kill people and not hunt.

We are a nation where a minority is so fearful of anyone or anything that doesn’t look like them that they feel the need to extend the barrel of a gun instead of a hand in friendship.

This is our norm.  This is our truth, as painful as it may seem.  We have forgotten how to love and feel empathy for our fellow man.  We revel in hatred and fear because this is our place of comfort.  And what is worse is that half of our elected officials have decided that it is more advantageous to stir the pot of fear, traffic in conspiracy theories and tell lies that a segment of our population wants to hear.

We want to believe what we hear, not because we understand it to be true…we just need to take in a viewpoint that supports our irrational belief that anyone that doesn’t look, love, worship or believe like us must be the enemy.

 I and many others that look like me have been demonized as being the enemy even though there is nothing to support that belief.  It is unfortunate that a small segment of our population needs to have someone to blame for their shortcomings.  Something must be someone else’s fault.

I am not your enemy.  I simply don’t believe what you believe.  And last that I heard, it is my constitutional right to believe what I believe to be right.  I don’t want to harm anyone, nor do I wish to replace you.  I don’t believe that black history should be eliminated, and neither should you…because at the end of the day, history does not know race or ethnicity.  It either is or it isn’t.  History is not something that should be whitewashed or altered to support a narrative that people of color have not endured hardships perpetuated by another race of people.  Facts are facts.  And simply because you don’t like those facts doesn’t make it any less true.

There was a time that I believed that we could come together as a nation and rejoice in the fact that we have the privilege of living in one of the wealthiest nations in the world.  I used to believe this even though the odds have always been stacked against people of color.

Those are the facts.

From the very inception of slavery to Jim Crow laws, to Mass Incarceration to Recidivism…these are the odds that people of color, especially black men, have faced from the very beginning.  We have always been deemed a threat in one way or another, whether it be in the form of the cause of perceived violence, theft, addiction, and abuse.  We have news reporting agencies pushing a perception that black men are a threat to society when the reality is that only a portion of men of color fall into that category.

The reality is that the power structure in this country is held predominately by white, Christian males and if you fall short of that, you are somehow the cause of everything that is wrong in this nation.

We have gone from being a country where immigrants are demonized by people who may themselves be only one or two generations away from being immigrants themselves.

Still, I am not your enemy.

I have no desire to take anything from you.  There is no reason to fear me.  I want to live my life in peace.

We all know that we have a high peak to climb if we are to become the land of diversity and inclusion.  White people are not being replaced.  White people will always exist.  You can never be erased.

Maybe there is a fear that if you are not the majority, what was done to people of color will somehow be inflicted upon you.

That is not the case.

We simply want to live in peace and prosper.

And if that is too difficult to understand, we may be in for an even steeper mountain to climb.

~ J.L. Whitehead



Wednesday, March 22, 2023

The fight for democracy


It’s been a minute since I’ve written anything about politics.  Honestly, I didn’t really want to write anything about the subject because I realized that I didn’t want to contribute to the us vs them mentality that has swept our nation up in its fragile arms.

I could spend this entire article writing about what our system of governance has deteriorated into.  We used to stand for the illusion of fairness, equality, and honesty.  But we all know that our system of policies is not fairly applied to everyone.  We know that equality is present in name only and honesty is something that has been thrown out of the window.

What is in its place is fairness…but only if it favors the well-to-do.  Equality for some feels like oppression and therefore needs to be treated as something that needs to be attacked if our governmental system attempts to apply it to mean something for everyone.  And honesty…well, that seems to have gone the way of the dinosaurs, and in its place is open racial discord, oppression of people seeking asylum at our borders and an over whelming lust for power as well as the greed that comes along with it.

We used to be the beacon on the hill.  Now, we aren’t even a twinkle in the night.  Indeed, we have become a laughingstock to the world.  We are a spectacle.  We’re fighting the good fight but the people whose voices stand for good aren’t loud enough.  At least not as loud as the voices that want to cling to money and power.

I wish that I could say we were going to get better…that the voices that defend the indefensible will diminish over time.  Sadly, I don’t think it will because we are living in an era where greed and self-servitude takes precedence over what is good, right, and fair.

 We are witnessing presidential hopefuls that have no interest in governing for all but instead will play to their base.  And it is now apparent that there is 1/3 of the country that subscribes to the ideology that our misguided government officials believe.   The belief is that they feel as if they have somehow been wronged and/or left behind by the same government that that will not govern for their betterment.  Instead, this same group of people believe in the repression of citizens that they have deemed as “other” to support a mindset that they are somehow better, more deserving and entitled to the first fruits of this land.

We have forgotten that we are our brother’s keeper.  We have forsaken our morality for taking something that was never ours to take.  We have taken the idea of white supremacy and somehow indoctrinated it into the narrative that this ideology is normal and right when in fact the idea of repressing one group of people for the sake of another means that no one is really free.  It just appears that way…almost as if this is status quo.

I wrote an entry on “Twitter” that we cannot afford to have another racist in the White House.  We simply can’t because an avowed racist will not govern for the betterment of all people of this country. 

Our main issue seems to be the division that has inflicted our nation.  Politics has infiltrated the way we think on a daily basis.  Hatred has also become the norm.  Blaming someone else or a group of people for our problems isn’t a realistic response to our woes.  Foreigners are not going to take the jobs that you have no interest in doing.  Your financial struggles are not because of the social programs that are in place to help the poor.  Equality for some may feel like oppression to others when, you will be no less rich simply because someone else has the same things that you have.

Sadly, we are living in an era where our rights are under siege.  Some are trying to banish books to keep us from learning about the history of this country, not realizing that black history is a vital part of the history of this nation.  CRT (Critical Race Theory) and the terminology of “Woke” is being banned in areas where it isn’t being taught.  The definition of “Woke” means being alert to racial prejudice and discrimination.  We are constantly being told that a group of us are under siege when in reality others are simply fighting to not be persecuted in the streets by law enforcement.

We know that racism is real.  We know that anti-Semitism is also real.  We also know that embracing or waving the American flag does not make you a patriot.  Being a patriot means supporting your entire nation and lifting up it’s people.  Being a patriot means protecting all people of this land including the stranger.

What does being a patriot mean to you?

~ J.L. Whitehead



Sunday, January 29, 2023

How to resolve our democratic differences


The next two years will not be easy.  We will probably be witness to the most dysfunctional forms of government our country has ever seen.  Conspiracy theorist and outright lying has become the norm…at least for some of our elected officials.

We are part of a two-party system where one of the parties has no desire to participate in the democratic process.  Everything that the Republicans campaigned on was to stoke the fears of some of our citizens.  Instead of bringing resolutions to the table, they will bring chaos, more anger, more anxiety and even downright hatred to our people.

They will launch investigation after investigation at the taxpayer’s expense, to get back at the people whom they deem as their enemies while totally negating the fact that we are all Americans.  They will attack, pause, and then attack again.  They will do so unapologetically and with little if any remorse.  They will investigate Hunter Biden’s laptop instead of dealing with issues such as crime and poverty.

They will do nothing to take the multitude of guns that we have on our streets which makes our society less safe, not more.  They will attack this administration constantly instead of building on what was done so far to make life better for the American people.  They will denigrate what has been done and take credit for things they did not do…knowing that all they have to do is say something even if it is a lie because they know that as long as the media will cover them, they will have a platform to spout disinformation and untruths.

It is up to each and every one of us to participate in our democratic process because we know that if we don’t, our government will descend into more chaos and misinformation.  We cannot afford to let that happen.

There should be a law that states clearly that if you are an elected official and is caught displaying a serious lack of morality (which includes lying, spreading hatred and disinformation) you will be relieved of your assignments and your position.  The only way to stop the dis-information campaigns that are currently tearing our democracy to shreds would be to institute something that will stop it and making it into law.

Morality should come from the top down; therefore everyone regardless if you identify as Republican, Democratic, or Independent should have a sense of decorum about you.  You should carry what you do in any administration with pride and dignity.  This should replace the lies that have sadly become the norm.

We should take the necessary steps to ensure that our democracy is safe and secure, and any threat to that process be eliminated, even if it means making sure that someone seeking to hold office will be eliminated if they are found to be lacking in being knowledgeable of how the law as well as our constitution works.

We should be a nation where all its citizens are safe.  We need to know that the police should serve and protect all communities instead of a few, and not be used to “police” the poorer communities simply because they are poor.  Black men should be viewed as men who happen to be black and not an enemy where it is assumed that you broke the law before you can utter a word of defense.

We need to be our brother’s keeper instead of deeming everyone as other or the enemy.  We should be able to look each other in the eye, give a simple head nod to acknowledge their presence instead of looking right through them as if they did not exist.

We need to recognize the humanity in each and every one of us and not treat each other like animals simply because we don’t understand the way they look, who they love or how they pray.

We should be the light shining on the hill instead of a door that it is shut firmly in place to keep others out.  We can do this.  We can institute a process that is both fair and legal in admitting others into our country instead of figuring out ways to keep them out.

Republicans…instead of lying and cheating to get into office and hold onto power, why not initiate a platform that will truly help the American people instead of scaring them?  It can be done.

It may take a change in both parties…but it is within those parties that we must learn to disagree with respect, and if we cannot do that, we may have to examine those people in the positions of leadership and if they do not do what they said they would do, vote them out.

We can be a land of love even if it is our nature to destroy it.  We can be better than what we are.  Our nation can be better than what it is.  We just need to put down our weapons long enough to see our similarities instead of our differences.

~ J.L. Whitehead

I am not your enemy

There was a time when I thought that our country could get past all the hatred and fearmongering that has enveloped us in its deadly grip....