Wednesday, April 30, 2008

An Open Letter Of Apology To African-America

Dear African-America,

I am sorry. I am sorry that your strong and proud ancestors were kidnapped and shackled and shipped as cargo across the great ocean to a foreign land. I am sorry that hundreds of thousands of them didn't survive and their bodies were simply thrown overboard. I am sorry that those who did survive had to endure the unimaginable horrors of the Middle Passage.

I am sorry that generation after generation after generation of Africans were enslaved and abused and raped and mutilated and beaten and tortured and terrorized and whipped and burned and branded and bought and sold and murdered. I am sorry that the wealth of this nation was accumulated through the involuntary sweat and blood of your great-grandparents' grandparents.

I am sorry that following the Civil War, your great grandparents were beaten and lynched by mobs of terrorists supported and encouraged by our country's leaders. I am sorry that, throughout their lives, they were intimidated and cheated and threatened and systematically disenfranchised. I am sorry that the laws of this nation were constructed to keep all forms of well-being, financial and otherwise, from being enjoyed by the millions of descendents of Africans who toiled and died of exhaustion. I am sorry that your families were thanked for their involuntary sacrifices with Jim Crow and burning crosses and medical experiments.

I am sorry that your grandparents were relegated to second-class schools and jobs and water fountains. I am sorry that when your grandparents sat down at the counter to join the land of the free, they were met with firehoses and dogs and police brutality. I am sorry that nearly all of the great African-American leaders throughout our history were murdered for having a sense of justice.

I am sorry that today you have to continue to explain your anger and resentment. I am sorry that you have to explain why too many of your families are broken, and why too many of your brothers and sisters live in poverty and prison. I am sorry that you have to explain why, after nearly 400 years of slavery and brutality and murder, you sometimes distrust other Americans.

I am sorry that you still have to explain, and explain, and explain. I'm sorry that Barack Obama has to distance himself from Rev. Jeremiah Wright, because Rev. Wright tried to explain your frustrations to the rest of America. I'm sorry that European-Americans with political aspirations never have to explain their relationships with Pat Buchanan who says that "America has been the best place on earth for black folks." I am sorry that mainstream America demands an explanation from Senator Obama as to how he could sit in church and listen to a conspiracy theorist, all while eagerly gathering 'round the tube to listen to Good Ole' Bill and Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck enlighten us to the secret homosexual agenda and the hidden Hollywood liberal elite abortion revolution.

Please know that some of us whose ancestors didn't have to endure the American Holocaust, don't need any explanations. Some of us are compassionate and kind and empathetic. Some of us are amazed at your strength and resiliance and ability to overcome and overcome and overcome. Some of us deeply value the gifts of science, literature, art and music that you gave to our country and the world. Some of us stand in awe at your talent and beauty. Some of us are listening. Some of us hear you. But, I'm sorry that so many of us still don't.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Sunshine State Priorities

Ah, the headlines today. The bazillions of dollars we've spent on our War on Iraq has crippled the dollar and pushed us into a spiraling recession. Iraq's oil fields were supposed to fund the invasion, but it hasn't quite worked out that way, and skyrocketing oil prices have pushed the price of transporting food to the point that Americans are having trouble putting dinner on the table.

While the nation is finally awakening to the consequences of nearly 8 years of Republican scheming and nepotism and incompetence, we in Florida are realizing that we may very well take the hardest punch.

Our real estate market has collapsed. Trust me. I work in real estate. I work with people every day who are losing their entire life savings - and few of the people I work with were speculators or investors. Many of them just got behind because of the incredible increases in property taxes and insurance, and the 30% drop in market value of their property has left them without the option of selling and getting out from under.

Recent reports show that South Florida has the highest rate of inflation in the nation. While the national average is currently at 4%, those of us in the Miami - Ft. Lauderdale metro area are seeing 5.3 - 5.8% average increases in prices.

For the first time ever, the big moving van lines have reported more people leaving the state than moving in.

Our educational system ranks among the worst in the nation, and we're becoming well known for the attention we give our children, some of whom have absolutely no conscience.

And, rising sea levels from global warming will likely overtake most of the state in the next 50 years.

Faced with this most sobering and serious set of challenges, our elected state leadership has decided that the discussion that most needs to be had and debated is how can Florida's activist Christians supplement their bumper stickers and stick-on Christian fish, so as to be able to practice Christian humility, and announce to the world in a more profound way their Christian-ness.

The solution to this urgent dilemma has been presented by Rep. Edward Bullard - a license plate that humble Christians will be able to pay extra for, so that I can be certain that the driver of the car in front of me "believes," while I sit in un-fucking-believable traffic on I-95.

The planet is dying. Genocide has become a way of life in many parts of the world. Over 4,000 young American men and women have died in a pointless war. Rice is being rationed at Costco. Looks like we're headed into the Second Great Depression.

And, the leaders of the Sunshine State have set their priorities.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

From My Cold Dead Hands

A couple of years ago, when my forward-thinking state of Florida passed the "Shoot First" law the NRA folks cheered and, no doubt, guzzled more than a few beers in celebration. This new law allows us Floridians to shoot each other, and of course YOU should you come to visit, if we feel that our property might be endangered. If someone in Florida tries to steal my car, I have the right to kill him or her on the spot.

And today, thanks to pressure from the uber-powerful NRA, the Florida Senate passed a new bill that allows us Floridians to take our guns to work. Sure, we have to keep them locked in our cars, but we can no longer be told by business owners that we can't have guns on THEIR private property.

I'm just wondering...when an employee comes back from lunch with the gun from the glove compartment and shoots and kills all of middle-management...will the business owner be liable because the gun was stored and used on her property?

Way to go Flor-ee-duh.