Do you really want a Supreme Court Justice you can’t trust?

I know I sure don’t-I certainly don’t want one (whoever it is) that slips from the facts too often, which makes me think, he’s easy with them, and he’s like a banana-slip from hell-away and many of you may feel a similar way.

If Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed, and I hope he isn’t, he will be on the Supreme Court a long time, and, of course, play a major role as a Civil Rights arbiter for an un-predestined time.

According to an editorial in today’s New York Times, that incidentally was titled Brent Kavanaugh can’t be trusted, they write, “But his ideological agenda is well-known, which is precisely why he’s been on Republican Supreme Court short-list for the last decade. That agenda includes, for starters, a well-established hostility to women’s reproductive rights and a stunningly expansive view of presidential power and impunity” (NYT, 9/8/2018, p. A20).

Trump has been playing that role model for immunity. If someone dissents with him, he gets on Twitter and says they’re disloyal to the United State’s government, and then that person is put on Trump’s own personal dissenter-list. Being paranoid, he takes a lot of things to the extreme-“I don’t trust these people-everyone’s out to get me!” Hello?

Going back to his two main “platforms,” God, those are his two main “platforms,” so to speak, on which he would stand as a judge? May the gods help us!-if you’re a woman how can you trust this man’s legal judgments on the civil rights you have to control your own body, and choose what methods or means you’d like to use it for. Sisters, if we vote for this man, it’ll be on our own body politic. And it might be laid out on a table.

What pisses me off the most is that he’s a freakin,’ damn-liar. In the hearings this week, again according to the New York Times (ibid.), his feet were held to the fire by the Dems with good, strong questioning. And their statements, corroborated by documented evidence, and many emails where Kavanaugh had told the committee that he wasn’t involved in what they were referring to, only to find out that he implicates himself in the emails he sent.

Maybe the most damaging emails were part of the collection of impounded docs. We don’t know. They don’t want us to know.

The other bigger piece that hasn’t really been perused is the question of why the Trump Administration requested that many documents on Kavanaugh be excluded from the hearings. Why? What’s the reason or motive? Of course, we’ll never hear or see an answer.

OK, do any of you trust a liar, who would sit on the Supreme Court in his august, black robes-yes, in the primary institution that has to be “truthful” to Democracy, to the Constitution, to the Laws of the Land, the values & ethos we have as a nation, i.e., we sometimes forget this one, so shame on us, that’s composed of all equal people, as it’s written on paper?

All the people who’ve been created are equal (oh, are we letting in the women now?) under the law (that is every single one of us), so do you or I really want this kind of legalistic Houdini on the Supreme Court, making far-reaching decisions that may have far-reaching effects in our lives, then, being an escape artist, waffling on his answers in some hearing or court case, or fearful of facing the public? Well, damn it, I don’t! Not me!

So, let’s get packin.’ Let’s bring some heat to their fried toes. Think of ways to reach out to your House Representatives & Senators, other local politicians, anyone you think might have some way to magnify our power so we insure that Brett Kavanaugh is never appointed to the Supreme Court. Assert your reasons powerfully-the power’s already inside you. And thank you for doing that!

One last word: one of Kavanaugh’s “platforms” was to expand the power of the president and his immunity. If I didn’t think I was a little un-sane, this may clinch it. What does he possibly mean by that, and does he feel he should play a role in this aggregious idea, if it’s an affirmative assertion?

There have been trends that this Administration never was a Republican thing. Rather, it may be a Neo-Fascism thing, because, as a nation, we’ve been mindlessly taking on this Fascist mind-set or consciousness for some time now, and that appears to have primarily been a Trump-stimulated mode of political rhetoric. Ad nauseum. Ad nauseum. Ad nauseum.

copyright:christopherbearbeam September 8, 2018

Stereotype Mold

Isn’t it amazing how we humans will, at first, unconsciously, secondly, consciously, utilize a stereotypical image as a kind of mold, to be poured into, and used in whatever way the person wants to use it.

I found this happening to me  the other day. I’d been reading a novel, and two of the main characters-I slowly became aware-that’s my style I guess-inhabited a couple of my stereotypes in my reservoir.  I had an ikon in my mind, maybe the sovereignty & dignity of women, as played out by the Abenaki, a Native American tribe.

This struck me as very strange; when I took a closer look at the woman, I saw a face, a body, with both her eccentricities and manliness, something like I knew that I knew, but I couldn’t remember who the person was.  A woman.

Even as I’m writing this now, I don’t know where we were and what was going down, and wished I could recall the formation of a friendship I had with her.

Have you ever had something like this happen to you?  This was a first for me, and what a darling melee!

It became my journey.

copyright:christopherbearbeam May 22, 2018

No One Needs To Earn My Respect

Imagine this scenario: your with a group at a friend’s Citizenship Induction. After it’s over, your friend comes up to and says, in a mean, condescending manner, “You’ll have to earn my respect,” then turns and walks away. How do you think you’d feel then? Probably shocked. Then somewhat numb. Then anger, like “how dare she tell me that!-I’ve been here longer than her-in fact, I was born here.

Very similar to the message that Leon Pitts (Portland Press Herald, July 11, 2018, np#) got from a reader-a white man said, “Well, their all going to have to earn my respect!” This may be somewhat of a paraphrase, but it’s the essence of what he said.

The white reader was only using a code language that many folks of color understand all too well. Think. Why would a white person feel that a person of color (in this case an African-American) would have to do anything at all to gain this man’s respect? Where does that come from. Pitts wrote that it’s code for black=danger; of course, there are a lot of codes, but Pitts felt this one fit the best.

OK, if we’re about the job of changing codes or dismantling them or getting rid of them. So, for the white reader, did he mean blacks were dangerous because they’re criminals, gang members, dope users & dealers, violent, etc., etc., etc.?

To get more specific, we’d have to know about the above stereotypes, and, maybe the one (s) the white reader had in mind.

An even more fundamental and philosophical question: Can anyone “earn” another’s respect? If so, how can you do it, and what life skills could you use in the process?

The premise is based on meritocracy. ‘You better do this or you won’t earn your points.’ C’mon, work harder to get my respect. But, here, we’re not talking about earning respect because of the trade or business you’re in. We’re speaking directly about earning respect as a Human Being. In equality-nothing taken away or given.

In other words, this seems to indicate that a person could do something to “x” out her or his own humanity, in the eyes of, let’s say, a white person? No. What is, is. The first premise is an oppositional principle that is ineffective, and unworkable.

I can’t think of anyone I know who’d want to “x” out their humanity, and just be a dart on the board, that if thrown by a skilled dart-thrower, gets the bull’s eye, more points, more praise, more applause, and more merit. I suppose none of us can qualify as “human” unless we’re fantastic dark-throwers.

copyright:christopherbearbeam July 11, 2018

First Nations Youth Hockey Team/Object of Racialized Behavior

I hate bullying, because I was bullied as a kid (I’m also sure I can say I was a bully, too, on a number of occasions); I wasn’t a “street fighter” type, but was more quiet and intellectual, as well as being very afraid of pain, so I tried to avoid trouble when it rose its main.

That’s why I’m sick with anger when I hear stories like the one I read recently from Indian Country Today (Vincent Schilling, nd, First Nations Youth Hockey Team Racially Taunted at Tournament, Called Savages).

The story tells the narrative of a Canadian youth hockey that attended a tournament in Quebec City in Canada, and were called racist names & slurs by other, white hockey players.  Coach Tommy H.J. Neeposh, coach of the team that was bullied said, “The war cries (were) the worst. (They were) telling our boys that you guys don’t belong, your team sucks, Native kids can’t play hockey, they can’t skate” (p.1).

Is it just my fried brain, or is fact that so many athletes wear their sport as a uniform (a mask), but really are bullies at heart?  Coupled with the epidemic of bullying at schools, this appears to me to be exponential racism, done by those conditioned to be bottom-feeders.

Sports brings out the worst and the best in people-thankfully, this isn’t the MO for all athletes-but it’s still the playing out of that old notion ‘one rotten apple can spoil the whole bushel.’  It happens.

In this incident, one white parent yelled, “gang de sauvages” (gang of savages) at the players.  Coach Tommy Neeposh called this one of the worst, “in your face” kinds of racism he’d ever seen; additionally, the other team’s coach used these same words about the team in front of his own players.

Neeposh did a very wise thing: he took a forty-three minute video of the game, to use as evidence for a complaint he’s filing with their team’s league.

What saddens me most, is that this kind of bullying and white racism probably hits youth at a very deep, vulnerable place & times; some writers have used a term called Soul-Kill-it’s a fitting term for what it’s like to be targeted with this kind of racism.

Underlying this fact, is that it’s an abusive, oppressive and stinging micro-aggression of the juggler-cutting variety.  How will these types of incidents injure these player’s psyches? How might it make them strong? How will they feel about it?  How could it harm or help their inner beings? In whatever ways they can find, with support and help, they may try to integrate these negative experiences in healthy ways; they can see it for what it is-racist behavior.

copyright:christopherbearbeam June 7, 2018

The first, original Memorial Day

I’ve read about so many historical events that later proved to be attributed to the wrong, people, places, or things.  People tend to believe what they want to believe or are influenced by first impressions which may be wrong.

Sewell Chan wrote a piece for the New York Times, Race-Related Section, Saturday, May 26, 2018.  In his article, he describes that the official Memorial Day dates back to 1868; the idea came from something called Decoration Day, in which citizens and Vets would drape Vets’ graves with flowers.  Originally, a Union Major John A. Logan set the first date as May 30-the holidays initial commemoration took place at Arlington National Cemetery.

However, herstory is always changing and flexing (and is stranger than fiction) with new information.  David W. Blight, a Yale Historian, differs on the source and perceptions of history of Memorial Day. Blight asserts that Memorial Days origins have their source in “a series of commemorations that freed black Americans held in the spring of 1865,…” (Ibid., p.1).

This “series of events” included:

  • At a mass grave of Union soldiers, on May 1, 1865, black soldiers exhumed the bodies, gave them proper burials, erected a fence around the cemetery, and built an archway that had the words Martyrs of the Race Course over it.

*The next event was a protest by 10,000 African-Americans, followed by a procession of people in mourning, they sang “John Brown’s Body,” and black women followed with baskets of flowers, wreaths, and crosses.

  • “The war was over, and Memorial Day had been founded by African-Americans in a ritual of remembrance & consecration, Dr. Blight wrote in a 2011 essay for the New York Times, the war, they had boldly announced had been about the triumph of the emancipation over a slaveholders’ republic.  They were themselves the true patriots (Ibid.,p.2).”

 

  • “The African-American origins of the holiday were later suppressed, Dr. Blight found, by white Southerners who reclaimed power after the end of Reconstruction and interpreted Memorial Day as a holiday of reconciliation, making sacrifices by white Americans (my emphasis)-on both sides.  Black Americans were largely marginalized in this narrative-my emphasis)” (Ibid.,p.2).

Without getting into “conspiracy theories” (which there’s no need to do, and wouldn’t even if I could), what strikes me about this issue is that the white narrative wins out as the real Memorial Day.  Um, I wonder why?

One thing I’ve learned about racism, is that the white-privileged leaders will do just about anything they can to stop persons-of-color in achieving or accessing the resources to further their goals, and getting the facts for their own, private affliction of white privilege.

Just as a human body can’t get well if any particular number of the parts of the body are sick.  Those who think they’re the heads are unwell with a disease called racism, and this affects the rest of the entire body, or in this case, society.

So, what does this tell us?  We must always get the facts; we must always listen; we must always observe; we must always use our critical thinking skills.

It’s not necessary to see a demon in every dark hallway-there’s plenty of the reality of racism to probably see it or interact with it every day, even when we don’t want to see it.  Unfortunately, it’s an embedded illness in our national culture; nothing short of a change of universal proportions in consciousness-raising, will bring any change in our racialized society.  It’s we who will radicalize society by Racial Justice.  And that’s the real deal!

copyright: christopherbearbeam May 27, 2018

Yellow Tulip Project Plants More Seed-Bulbs

The Yellow Tulip Project backed a facilitated workshop on Wednesday evening, May 9, 2018, and was venued at the Speedwell Projects’ office in a very close and warm-energy space.

What psyched me the most is that the participants were multi-generational, from high school aged peers on up to senior peers. This is the essence, in my way of thinking, of genuine community. Bravo!

The topic of discussion was stigma around Mental Illness. I know this because with my mental illness diagnosis, I have also experienced this type of stigma-so, it’s a subject close to me, and in my life and mind. In one job, my supervisor refused to let me attend therapy sessions during work hours (the only time the therapy facility was open was during weekly work hours)-for me, this was stigmatization-the irony of it all, is that it appeared to me that my supervisor had her own mental illness issues. Later, this supervisor, was the prime factor in my termination from the job I had at the time. So, in actuality, this had some very powerful, long-term effects on my Mental Illness.

The group dialogued & brainstormed areas where participants had experienced stigma around mental illness: we talked directly and plainly about how stigma wounds so many in our culture of un-understanding of Mental Health, who’re already struggling with day-to-day issues of mental illness.

Dr. Anne Hallward, MD, a practicing psychiatrist and the host of Safe Place Radio (check out www.safespaceradio.com). The Safe Space program is a medium of sharing the hard stories; it encourages “courageous conversations” about tough subjects like mental illness, addiction, race, and sexuality; expression of our “experiencings” in life (Dr. Hallward) can lead to healing the hurts around stigma. “Safe Space Radio is a form of public health psychiatry” (Safe Space Brochure).

The Yellow Tulip Project, Suzzane Fox (a YTP associate) told me, develops and models ways to have conversations around stigma in the public schools, and a group of these students attended the workshop; I observed a solid understanding, on their part, of how mental illness has effected them, and they are discovering more ways to use them as coping mechanisms.

It started by planting tulip bulbs, and the hope around the consequential appearance of tulips-a metaphor for the hope of healing stigma due to Mental Illness. When seed turns to flower, time to get busy!

There was a high-energy desire that formulated into a highly-motivated group among the peers/students who participated in this workshop.

Dr. Hallward led the group through a final piece, when she asked us to think about one way we each wanted to blast stigma off into the parts of some outlier galaxy. The group’s suggestions connected with some of the more general areas in prior discussions, areas in life where people had observed stigmatization. Systems where we can intervene.

We then shared what our action steps had imagined:a personal engagement with a de-stigmatization focus and method. There were so many good, tangible ideas!

If each one of us were to follow through with our action steps, in committed action, even in this smaller, more incremental way, we can impact and impinge the systems in which we live, and they can shift, depending on the depths of change one is looking for. A shift in one part of a system can shift the entire system.

Many thanks to all the folks who’ve supported this resilient & powerful-working group, and given their resources to prevent stigma. Kudos to the Yellow
Tulip Project, and all of its participants, to Safe Space Radio, and Dr. Anne Hallward for this beautiful work!

Yellow Tulip Project’s How to Create a Hope Garden:

Order Yellow Tulip bulbs in the spring or summer.
Identify a location for your Hope Garden.
Select a planting date in the fall: Mental Illness Awareness Week (Oct 5-9),
or World Mental Health Day (Oct 10).
Gather a community to plant the garden.
Provide a place for posting/gathering hopeful messages.
Plant the bulbs together.
Gather for speeches, memories and/or wishes of hope
Take photos and videos of your Hope Garden and share with the community

copyright:christopherbearbeam May 10, 2018

Professor Christine DeLucia Speaks On Slavery & Bondage in the Dawn Land of Colonial New England

Christine DeLucia, professor at Holyoke College, gave a lecture on April 26, 2018, sponsored by the South Berwick Historical Society; it was entitled Landscapes of Bondage, Refugee: Revisiting Enslavement, Resistance and Memory in the Native Colonial New England & Atlantic World.

DeLucia began by saying that she wanted to take a look at historical places in the region and how these places have been contested at various times in New England history.

One of DeLucia’s contemporaries (whose name I forgot) made reference to another ethos at play: “The opposite of bondage-being in a state of self-governance, safety and care.” This is one of those antagonistic symbols re and towards white, colonial, “take-over” mentality.

Her purpose for also observing the Atlantic World, is to connect bondage to enslavement. For example, in 15th Century Iberia (after Columbus’ first saw the multi-racial composition of the people he intiated contact with on his voyage), probably gave him a sense of legitimacy to rationalize slavery and bondage as a religious duty at the “point of origin” story, that’s completely the opposite of what you could find in textbooks.

Herstorically speaking, there was also a commingling of African slave-trade in tandem with Indigenous bondge.

Many factors most likely caused the cultural shift from slavery to bondage, but certainly the effects of European-birthed strains of diseases were huge. This was also possibly one of the reasons that, in the case of the Abernaki Tribe, led a semi-nomadic existence for the need to find relatives who may have already settled in other places; their treks were to find them to live in community & family.

It’s obvious as well, that another factor in this lifestyle, were the wars, battles, and military conflicts in which they found themselves in; this in addition to attacks by local whites.

At a certain point in this colonialization process, the lines between slavery & bondage began to blur; it’s the story of the unfolding/evolution of Dawn Land (from the Abernaki language with its residency name in the colonial New England region).

DeLucia also wishes to make us aware of something else that we may be unaware of presently: that “white-colonial” contact was “slow, halting, and coast-based process” (DeLucia’s Power Point); it’s a process, which has no limitations in a white, western worldview, that tends to view “events” and other linear-defined points, on a line moving forward in time, instead of a more Native American cosmology, which is more cyclical, guided by the earth, sky, and seasons, ever-changing & fluid.

What do the forces of “white industry,” and “white privilege” think about the captives who were taken away in bondage? Answers appear to be fairly close; “the powers that be” incarcerated/interred Native Americans to Deer Island in 1675, under the covering mists, with only what they needed to live, under all weather conditions, while most of what they promised went unreceived. As DeLucia noted, it was an act of murder, a mini-genocide to try to kill them.

Later, a sewage plant was erected on this Native American site of remembrance, as Christine DeLucia puts it, it was a “conscience site.” This gives you a little comparison to European-American values.

This gets me to thinking of white shame. There’s certainly a type of toxic shame, that one can get hooked into, that becomes a never-ending litany of complaints and grievances-OK, I agree, this is an unhealthy kind of shame. Yet, I also think that shame is an emotion (neutral not good or bad) that’s probably in most of us, and, if we’re aware of it, it helps us to change and become better human beings-it acting as a healthy force.

As I listened to Christine DeLucia speak (and afterwards), I felt shame, shame for what my white ancestors did to Colonial New England Native Americans (whether my actual ancestors lived in New England region or not-doesn’t matter, it simply was somewhere else), and to the succeeding generations of Native Americans who would come into being in time.

Yes, shame for being a white whose ancestors are bonded as Native Americans for their own egos’ purposes, for their skewed, religious ideologies, for fear, for “Manifest Destiny,” etc. These were only some of the agenda items used as a play book against, how they may term, “Injuns,” in order to beat them good-what? To show ’em who’s boss?

Sorry, my bad, but that’s just bull shit!

Hearing Professor DeLucia speak of “memory lands,” I, as a European-American male, can make that into some kind of “Hollywoodized,” sanitized view of past, present, and future, when it’s the stories of the People of the Land that tie so many of the “meta-threads” together.

Place is also extremely necessary for formation of one’s identity. When a normal sense of place is disrupted or disappears, when dislocation, death and oppression occurs, then the results of trauma are always more readily seen.

It’s my hope that there are Mental Health services for Native Americans (I’m a relatively “young” Mainer of only a year and some months) and their children’s generations who bare the brunt of trauma, even as it has been assimilated by their descendants, who weren’t living at the time the trauma happened. If there aren’t enough services and facilities for some sort of PTSD therapy, then a dissenting, protesting, and holistic move ought to be started (maybe it already has), where this may be made a reality.

copyright: christopherbearbeam April 26, 2018