It is human to reflect. If there is no recognition in what we perceive, we are uniquely equipped to change.
Again and again over the past month I have tried to express this sentiment concisely and have failed. I am very emotional about it. I am going to try again and post this come whatever may.
How does America come together and progress into a united future?
‘The best way to defeat a warrior is to provide for them, their family, their neighbors, and everyone they know. Then they will have no reason to fight.’ – Jasper H.B. (myself)
I started this month tired and angry. I was wholly worn out. The past several months I’ve been focused on social commentary and how everything that is being in America is effecting me. I was burned and heartbroken and to cope I just wrote off much of Right Wing, Conservative crowd of folk as “Variable C”. I found it to be dehumanizing. I was that angry, and to some degree I still am I asuppose. Just because the world is a grind doesn’t mean I should chew up others and spit them out. I act towards a better world. And if everyone does what is in their scope, I think that the world will be better off. I want the future to be so alien that people wonder how we lived at all.
Through one part patience and one part procrastination I was primed to open my ears and look for something… anything really, to keep me from wholly hauling off and going on a verbal tirade. As I let a “Watch Later” playlist of YouTube videos run an analysis of a Final Fantasy XIV character came up. During which a phrase came to mind… or to ear. I can’t rightly recall. Either way, it is the present title.
“Hurt People hurt people.”
I’ve got… two-hundred some odd drafts of various types kicking around behind the scenes here. And while I want nothing more than to develop them all into my typical long-form articles I don’t have time for that. The people that agree with me won’t mind reading it. But the people of Variable C likely won’t sit through several thousand words of me taking potshots at their worldview, and they are who I need reading my words the most.
Going on schpeels in comment sections does no good. I am oft charged to ‘open my eyes’ to their opinions and ‘really listen’ to videos that challenge my views (often delivered from a Black speaker) and the same courtesy is not done for me even in sharing just my own experiences.
Part of me is broken. And while I’ve collected the pieces and arranged them so that I’m able to recognize a semblance of myself again I am not all together.
This is not as… professional as I prefer to be. But I’m exhausted. Getting energized and fired up has burned me out. But I look at America, the next couple of months, the impending Presidential election, and I have to at least talk. I have to say what I need to say because it needs to be said. And if I’m being honest? I’m genuinely afraid I won’t be around to say it.
An unusual aspect is that it is not a fear for myself personally. When I was alone and estranged in my late teens I had bad and questionable experiences occur. But it didn’t matter to me because no one relied on me. No one asked after me. And if they did, I wasn’t in a place to hear them. Or I figured they could deal with my eternal absence one way or another. But through my various phases of “just making it” I was welcomed into the homes of my friends with their children. And over all the odd times and in regards to all the various ways children look up to elders I came to a point in which I could not deny my import to them. From simply being given a familial nickname to the sheer belief that I will be at a birthday party because I had never lied to the child. I mattered, broken and incapable as I viewed myself.
I’m not afraid for me. I’m afraid for “my kids”.
A story. As a child I went to three churches. When I was seven or eight, just about the time for First Communion in the Catholic community, I remember my pain from Christianity becoming more directed at me. I was not baptized and, as I had not followed the chain of Sacrements, passages in the Bible about the eternal fate of the unbaptized were… a tad more relevant to me than most of my peers. Across the Great Schism at another church, the message was reinforced. If I died unbatized and/or without giving my heart and life to God and Jesus, I would burn in Hell. There would be no amount of good I could do to avert this fate. I opted to go through a baptism ceremony at the third church, one I actually felt empowered in. But it did not matter to either of the others. I hadn’t done so in their tradition, so it was not recognized.
The following year I became a hellion. And why not? Nothing I did mattered. My fate was the same. I also remember speaking openly about killing myself. Not due to any particular imbalance I think. Merely because I saw no point in my continued existence. If I lived one or one hundred years my fate was the same. And I did not want to go through another one or two baptisms. I did not want to be a part of groups that made me feel that badly about myself. Between the birth of my sister and… the admittedly silly reasoning of “If I can control my actions and emotions I can become a Jedi” about a year or so later I felt compelled to forge my own path and stick around. I had something of my own that mattered. However, even today I am prickly when it comes to Christianity as a whole.
My story was mirrored recently. An acquaintance of mine has a son who is about eight himself. He is mixed, half Black. Another child in his class told him specifically that Black lives didn’t matter and that, since he is half black, he did not matter.
I can’t say how that will stick with the child. But I know how Christianity’s damning of me sticks with me still. Yeah… I heard it every day but Saturday until I was in eighth grade, but… It starts early. I still remember racist shadows and wonder if that was about me or if I’m just looking for something to be aghast and clutch my pearls over. And I look back on my previous experiences to try to make sense of the new ones that happen. I try to find similarities. And yes, as you can imagine a writer doing, I make a story. But in that story I prevail. I’m a model Neutral-to-Lawful Good protagonist. Help others, do the right thing, prevail, and leave the world a little better in my wake.
But the reality is that my story may end abruptly. Making the decision to leave the house even for a simple walk is a harrowing decision. And it has been so since I was eighteen, the first time I was stopped. It is most disruptive letting down my defenses and feeling good about life only to have jarred out of it with police intervention.
There are really big problems in the world, yes. We should all really be focused on fixing those. I wholly agree. But the problem is that those issues are leagues on the other side of the horizon.
I don’t feel safe leaving my house. I can’t focus on global affairs, politics, or human rights issues when putting one foot outside my door is a paralytic thought.
Hurt People hurt people. I don’t want to hurt anyone. But I have to tell the truth. For instance, President Trump has, to date, refused to denounce White Supremacy. Such organizations persist in America and have been emboldened by his presence, and that is a threat to me. They view him as being on their side. And it’s not just Trump’s problem because it persisted long before he was in office and before either he or I were conceived or born which is saying something.
This world is broken. I want to fix it. For myself. For you. For everyone that follows.
I have to tell myself constantly that I can’t change you or your opinion. I can’t “fix” you. You aren’t broken. It is hard when I see opinions echoed from the world. But I am going to work to keep that mindset well away from me.
But I ask you to keep reading my works. And I’ll keep listening to yours. It’s important to the sake of our friendships that we do. This is my blog. These are my words. This is my truth. And if you see that a choice that you make truthfully hurts me, even apart from you, I can only hope that eventually, you may choose differently. If nothing else so I can come and visit you. I accept that eventually can be a long time. I also accept I may not be alive to see it.
An Open Letter to those I love and that love me. We have lived together, but in society we stand apart. This hurts, and now I’ll tell you why.
Quotes have been raised up by Martin Luther King, Jr. to simultaneously admonish and absolve rioting. In a video I watched from Youtuber T1J, there was a reading of a speech given by Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1967 at Stanford University that gives the context both sides omit.
“I will continue to condemn riots, and continue to say to my brothers and sisters that this is not the way. And continue to affirm that there is another way. But at the same time, it is as necessary for me to be as vigorous in condemning the conditions which cause persons to feel that they must engage in riotous activities, as it is for me to condemn riots. I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity. And so in a real sense, our nation’s summers of riots are caused by our nation’s winters of delay. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.”
“…time is neutral. It can be used either constructively or destructively. And I’m absolutely convinced that the forces of ill-will in our nation, the extreme rightists in our nation –have often used time much more effectively than the forces of good will. And it may well be that we will have to repent in this generation, not merely for the vitriolic word of the bad people, and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say “wait on time. Somewhere we must come to see that social progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts of the persistent work of dedicated individuals. And without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the primitive forces of social stagnation. And so we must help time, and we must realize that the time is always ripe to do right.”
When it comes to civil rights activism, the thing that confuses/angers me the most is that not everyone is on the same page. Namely, how non-Black and non-PoC individuals are content to drink in the nosebleeds or obstruct passively from the sidelines. And when the field is taken often times it is with a bout of “Whataboutism”.
“This is a protest”: Black and White photo of MLK
“This is a crime”: Color photos of looting
“See the difference?” (not posting the picture because I don’t want to give clicks and reposts)
Yes. But do you want to know what else I see?
From the past, I see people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s marching so that their children and all those that follow them don’t need to fight the same battles. From the present, I see people who are opportunistic. They don’t care at all about justice. They are using it as a cover to seize what they covet. They indulge their avarice and use the protests as a scapegoat.
But do you want to hear what I know? Too bad. I’m telling you anyhow.
Martin Luther King, Jr. marched 50 years ago, circa 1963. Sure, Jim Crow was legally abolished and voting rights for Black America soon followed. But not every minority group held the same rights. There was more progress to be had and more equality to be meted out. Substantial progress was made until recently. But now, those original marchers are in their 70s, 80s, and 90s if they’re still alive at all. They have to watch as the banners under which they stood have to be picked up by their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. That was the whole blasted reason why they stood up in the first place. For change. Peace. Prosperity for their descendants. So their descendants didn’t need to fight. Instead, we have fear. Apathy. We have to continue to prove that we are worthy of human consideration. We have to convince people that death is unjust. Technology now lets us show the truth that has persisted. And only if it meets a narrow band of criteria is the injustice oh-so-magnanimously (<sarcasm) given credence.
I'm young, but I'm tired. I've seen that the world is messed up for more than a quarter-century now. Nothing works.
It doesn't matter how nicely I dress.
It doesn't matter how verbose and well-enunciated my speech is.
It doesn't matter if I am a CEO, soldier, or civilian.
It doesn't matter if I vote.
It doesn't matter if I cry out for justice. It doesn't matter how many echo my howling.
The Civil Rights Movement didn't end. It expanded. People who don't want me to live freely are completely content with the fact that I am afraid in this country. They want to push me down further. They want their sense of the old empire. Those that do not serve to be silenced.
deep breath followed by a long sigh
Think of World War II veterans. Do you think they’re happy considering they went halfway around the world to end the Nazi regime only to see American-raised Nazis in their own country in their twilight years? If they had the vim, vigor, and vitality of their younger selves, how much anger do you think they would have?
Is it so unreasonable then that a community, making no progress after half a century, has anything left but pain, rage, and sorrow?
If your focus is the looting… if you think THAT is the true tragedy and what is worth wagging a finger of shame about… BLEEDING FINE. You don’t want looting? Stop the protests. How do you stop the protests? Stop police from using deadly and unbalanced force on people who are not being forceful at all. Be with us in our agony. Shout with us. Vote with us. Do something besides kicking back and being holier than thou. (Normally I’d opt for absolute politeness, but I am genuinely raging, so a little needs to make it through.) Help me/us feel at ease in this country and you don’t have to worry about an insured corporate outlet getting ransacked. Join with us so that the inciting incident, an unjust death, doesn’t happen again. Ever.
Until I feel like justice can be done on my behalf, I will not live with a measure of true peace.