Friday, November 17, 2023

We stand on the precipice of something great...or something bad


I never thought in a million years that we would be faced with the choices that we have for the American presidency.  On one hand, we have a man that has done much for the people of this country even though many don’t give him the credit for his actions.  And then we have a man who is deeply flawed and not interested in governing as much as he is interested in paying people back for wrongdoings and mistreatment by his perceived enemies.

The problem that many people can’t seem to get passed regarding the current president is his age.  I understand it, and while I also question his age, I also ask myself of the job that he has done while in office.

Looking at the ex-president, I question his ability to govern for all Americans if he manages to govern at all.  He has not made mention of the policies that will benefit the lives of us all, but instead is focused on getting back at everyone that he feels has wronged him…even people that are trying to uphold the laws of this nation.

We may feel like we are caught between a rock and a hard place, and for some, truer words may never have been spoken.  But more is on the ballot besides the choices that we have.  If we were dealing with men that are interested in governing and believed that if they lost, the thing that most candidates would do is to concede graciously.  We do not have that.  While one man is interested in governing, we have another who is telling you exactly what he will do if he obtains the Whitehouse.  He will shred our democratic norms by turning our democracy into an autocracy.  He will take a sledgehammer to the Constitution and change how he lives by never leaving office.  He will weaponize the government and use that power to persecute his perceived enemies.  We will never hear the end of how unfairly he has been treated by the laws that have upheld our country for centuries and cherry pick which laws he chooses to keep in place.

 What most people want is to live in a space where their livelihoods are protected, and their way of life will not take a turn for the worse.  I want the same thing.  My motto has always been, “you don’t bother me and mine, and I won’t bother you and yours.”  I want my rights kept intact.  I want to stay married and reside in my little piece of the planet where I am safe and undisturbed.  I want to worship how I’ve always worshiped and love the way I love.

Women should have the right to do what they want with their own bodies which include the ability to start families when they are ready and not have the government make that choice for them.  Most importantly, we all deserve to exercise our right to vote, and we deserve to have that right to not be meddled with or in some cases not to be hindered by the powers that be.

At the end of the day, the elected officials are in office because we trust them to make life better for all of us, which means implementing policies that will benefit all of us.  Maya Angelou said it best, “When a person shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

I firmly believe that a smaller group of people don’t have the right to impose their will/beliefs on the majority.  But we have to understand this country was founded under the guise of people coming here, seeing the resources the land had, and then taking it for themselves in the name of Christianity.

Our country was founded on lies and falsehoods.  It was founded under the basis of subjugating whole races of people into enslavement and the narrative has always been that the people being were being repressed because somehow, they could not govern themselves and often had to work for little to no money to keep the slaveholders in a lifestyle that they had become accustomed to. That is a fact.

Sadly, some of our citizens feel threatened.   They feel as if their way of life is under attack when the simple truth of the matter is when you are used to being on the top of the food chain, equality can look and feel like repression.

We can live together side by side in peace.  Harmony may be a stretch, but peace is viable.  For that to happen, people need to recognize and change their view of self-importance.  We need to understand that there is more than enough for all of us.

In addition, we need to understand that violence never resolved anything.  The only thing that violence proves (at least in this country) is who is better equipped and armed to commit these types of acts against its own citizens.  Violence never proved strength.  It just makes it easier for a minority to force their viewpoints and beliefs on others regardless of the legitimacy of their ideologies.

Without leaning too far into my personal beliefs, I wanted to share one last thought with you.  My neighborhood is quiet.  The residents on my block either know each other personally or at least by face.  We are a melting pot of multi-racial, LGBTQ and heterosexual people living side by side.  We live in peace with each of us addressing our own kitchen table issues in the confines of our homes.  And we aim to keep it like that.

We have a choice in 2024.  Let’s just hope that we choose wisely.

~ J.L. Whitehead





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



The Legacy Diner

  Everyone has a favorite place they like to eat and/or hangout at…literally.   We associate these places with pleasant memories.   Maybe ...