American Brother Malcolm

About 18 years ago, while I was still living in Lincoln, Nebraska, my brother-in-law decided to fly further west from being in Chicago for a Catholic Worker’s conference, for a little visit before heading back to Albany.  During his stay, we rented a car and made a pilgrimage out to Omaha for two reasons: to visit Boy’s Town headquarters — literally in the nearby village of Boy’s Town, Nebraska — for my father who was a fan of Father Flanagan, and to visit the birth-home of Malcolm Little, of course also known as Malcolm X.

Figuring we were very close to the house, we spotted a local social justice center in the city to ask.  We introduced ourselves, enthusiastically shared how we came all the way from New York and, well, Lincoln, and asked about some other possible details surrounding the house.  But the guy’s tone unusually erred towards disappointment.  After we told him the address of the house, he pointed over our shoulders and indicated, well, it “used to be” up that hill.

So we drove up, and from the side of the road all we saw was this plaque…

malcolm x plaque

And for some reason the text of the plaque was not even facing the road, but the woods behind it. “Is that it? (emphasis two different times, on “that” and “it”)!  I remember looking down to my left and still seeing the pole with street-signs for 34th and Pinkney mixed with the trees.  My brother-in-law and I both felt a big sense of disappointment and sadness, while mitigating a sense of outrage.  (I could not help but note the choice of wording in the text of “allegedly murdered”, as well as “became outspoken” as opposed to ‘spoke out against’.)

And with that said, fifty years ago this past February 21st happened to be the assassination of Malcolm, in New York City, at both the non-alleged hands and as a result of having spoken out against its ego-corrupted head of his former brotherhood.

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Money Talks, and where does ‘the Right Thing’ Walk?

I don’t agree with the headline that he ‘rips McConnell a new one’: http://www.addictinginfo.org/2015/02/20/obama-trashes-mcconnell/

…I wonder, when it comes to the issue of fiscal irresponsibility if Democrats and Republicans on the ground are mad at the same thing, but just choose to label it differently.  The labeling is of course a result of disinformation and misinformation, from the right-wing, to which I wish The White House and/or Democrats in Congress would put together some sort of widely publicized, ‘round-the-clock or just a daily effort to more concertedly, transparently inform the public regarding what they are actually trying to do for the middle-class.  Let me just clarify that our economic progress has been a credit to those beneath and between all of the ballyhoo from above, but it could have been improving at a faster pace.  And, I suppose this may still answer the question behind “genuine ideas”, as mentioned in here speech.  But I still wonder if both sides agree we are living in a corporatocracy (or, plutocracy), and both sides blame the government for allowing corporate money to continue to do its damage, and thus just label who is right and wrong differently.  The lack of civilized conversation between red and blue states of mind still foster this stitched-in-Cambodia blanket of runaway greed.

The GOP, in their continued attempts to label themselves as the GNP, are simply still a long ways worthy of our trust, in both message and spirit.  ‘How many more election losses is it going to take?’, can safely be the new Democratic campaign slogan.  We cannot have all-out Social Darwinism if, for one, many on the right still insist on living in the 1950s as far as many a social value.  As former Speaker of the House during Reagan’s tenure, Tip O’Neill said it, their economic policy is all theory and no practice.  It sounds lovely and just, all in the name of liberty.  In theory, we can all individually push to create our own opportunity, and create communities in order to foster any and all various fields of opportunity, without the help of ‘big’ government.  Everyone can do the right thing for one another, and compete fairly against one another, in theory.  But you gotta somehow share the wealth.  (And, for any who want to label this as preaching socialism, bear in mind of course how any ‘ism’ can work just fine so long as it is not corrupt.)

A Higher Love

In the past, like many do so now, I’ve felt plenty desire to be outspoken against Valentine’s Day. But like all the times you can’t give up on love ’cause it ain’t gonna give up on you, for all the arguments to try and dismiss this holiday, I have found that all can actually be countermanded…

I went as far as wanting to renounce it as a made-up holiday ironically designed to get us to spend cash in this wintry down-season for retail, forgetting (or, I guess, wanting to deny) reading accounts of a martyred saint.

Legend has it in the 3rd century A.D. a Father Valentine performed marriages in direct defiance of the tradition being banned by then Roman emperor, Claudius II. The Father was captured and imprisoned, and from there sentenced to death. Couples whom he had married, however, visited him in prison, and parted with gifts of flowers and notes of gratitude for his brave actions.

He was then believed to have fallen in love with the jailer’s daughter, and on the day he was to be executed — February 14 — had written her a note with the salutation, ‘from your Valentine’.

…Quite the heavy set of underpinnings when thinking of gifting someone chocolates.

Or, the idea that giving romance an international holiday would defy it of one of its principal ingredients: spontaneity.

As life evolves under this and virtually every economic system, trying to mitigate choices and pressures both tedious and necessary, romance to some greater or lesser degree gets ‘banned’.

Yet, if I were able to do something whenever the moment would seize me for my now long-distance fiancée, throughout a whole year, what would be the harm in doing something for her on this day in unison with others?

As you can see, I am still one, and not the sort who thinks Fifty Shades of Grandiose Pretense is. And as long as the gift is simple, creative, and from the heart, you’re good. It is supposed to be kept easy and fun, since not all of us can do it laying down.

I, like so many an undeveloped youth, could not help but develop the notion that the more random the search the more romantic you are. By this route, you are just making things exceptionally difficult for yourself.

The search for love, like with just about everything else in life, essentially comes down to basic math. If you place yourself in a community who are civil to your values and interests, it increases your self-esteem, decreases anxiety, and drastically increases your chances of meeting and establishing something with someone. For in either case, it finds you more often than you find it.

Love, the intimate sharing thereof, is something both the creative and misperceived not-so-creative long for in order to become better at what they do. It is a higher power, for which we can never fight off its mortal wounds but can only free ourselves upon acknowledging we’re never alone in the fight.

So to all esteemed martyrs who may still feel lacking on this day, don’t respond hopelessly or bitterly against it, but bigger about it. The opposite should be wrong with the idea of designating a virtual International Day of Romance, yes?