Friday, September 27, 2013

Letter # 14 - The Maypole

While dropping the eldest daughter at school this morning, it was hard not to notice a small group of white students holding hands and praying around the American flag pole.  These youth were obviously Christian, to which branch or whether a cross-denominational group, I am not certain.  The first thought that came forth was the irony of incorporating man made state government symbolism with the ideology of religion and God.  I had to assume that these youth, comforted by the cozy sheltering of upper economic society, did not really understand the true history of the United States, the expanded colonial history of the International stage, or the history of the various religions in which their parents, probably just as uninformed, had begun raising them up under with the automatic assumption that it was the correct ethical decision.  Were these praying children too young to understand the history of imperialism, committed by the United States and other states on the world stage (not to mention the private sector influences on states), which has created mass world and domestic poverty?  Were these children too young for the harsh truths of the transatlantic slave trade, genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Native Americans, and racial enslavement and segregation in the short life span of the United States?  Were these devout youth too young for the explanation that the synoptic gospels, from which they are taught miraculous stories, actually have no known authorship and were not authored by the apostle names assigned to them in print?  After all, the only synoptic gospel with historically proven authorship is Luke, and that Luke was Luke the Physician, not the apostle, and a close affiliate with Saul (creator of Pauline Christianity).  This is not a singular slight on Christianity because the Quranic scriptures are heavily laced with the Pauline synoptic Gospel teachings, which were probably brought into Muhammad’s teachings through Khadijah, whose father was recorded as a wealthy trader who routinely came into contact with Christian and Jewish traders.  The point is, how rational is basing state decision making on religiously influenced political ideologies, economic support, influence of power, and legislative and military actions based on ancient scriptures with no substantive historical basis other than faith (which each individual religious sect deems as infallible in their own image)?

Another blatant concern derived from the American symbolism of the youth prayer group surrounding the American flag pole is the sub-conscious influence of religion, especially Christianity, on American representative democracy.  Indoctrinated beliefs in story book religious scriptures heavily influence public support, campaign financing, and overall representative democratic legislative decision making, domestically and internationally, that in many cases are detrimental to American economic, political, and structural strengths or weaknesses.  The most destructive modern example is the impact of Zionism on the historically unrefined Christian mind that, due to irrational faith in biblical scripture which suffers illegitimacy due to unknown authorship and countless language translations, states a Godly promise to a specific ethnic group to inherit a tract of land off the Mediterranean as religious justification for ethnic cleansing and constant regional conflict under capital-industrial-military hegemony.  This justification is similar to the biblical justifications of racial slavery that Christian American slave owners once used to defend the pre-American British system of colonial slavery.  When this dangerous influence for unlawful justifications is mixed with the imperial-capitalist xenophobic fear tactics placed on the public Christian mind against Muslims and other non-white, non-Christian peoples through mass media conditioning, just as was utilized toward phantom Communism during the Cold War in days of lesser technological mass production abilities, the United States finds herself funneling annual billions to states conducting human rights crimes, and involving herself in military regime removal, placing her American sons and daughter’s blood into foreign soils, and regime rebuilding for economic and imperial interests that do not benefit the American people at all.

One of the greatest aspects of the United States is freedom of religion.  It is a pillar that stands tall alongside the freedom of speech and the freedom to bear arms in order to defend ones family.  It doesn’t really matter what religion a person freely chooses if it makes them a better moral person among society, but it is strongly advised to, at a minimum, know the historical facts surrounding that religion instead of simply taking a preacher or Imam’s lecture as indisputable truth and politically unbiased.  Why would any responsible parent pass information to their children that has not been verified through research and critical thought?  Yet, that is what many of us do unto ‘our’ children.  One thing that is destructive and collectively debilitating to the possible collective advancement of the American people is the preachers and ministers spinning xenophobic rapture to uneducated minds, and the Imams who sew discontent and extremism from the pages of the Quran to a people who do not know the history surrounding the Arabic peninsula during the lifetime of Muhammad.  Muslims, Jews and Christians have lived alongside each other in peace and prosperity during many, many periods of history throughout many geographic areas.  We need truthful reflection on history, truthful understanding of political and economic systems and conditions, and the hard truths surrounding religion and morals.  If that is offensive to some, so be it.  Christian churches in America once sponsored racial slavery; Muslim extremists have attacked innocent civilians, and Catholic priests have molested children.  These random facts certainly do not apply to the majority of Christians and Muslims, nor do the stereotypes of other religions apply to every adherent of those sects.  We, as Americans, must research and embrace the truths of history, no matter how ugly, unjust or barbaric, in order to force reconciliation and move forward as a collective population and pave a strong future for our children.  One should not take offense to history.  The understanding of history should be to learn, repair, and move forward with experience and understanding.

The deep divides in America go beyond the current xenophobia of religion and the highly promoted inorganic fear of the phantom Muslim menace that is portrayed as seeking to take over the entire globe with Sharia Law and banish the National Football League and American Idol.  The racial divide in the United States which originated from the history of slavery and continues to widen due to economic and social ramifications caused by that history is an area that I do not believe to be irreconcilable, although collective economic, moral, and social reforms are mandatory for any future hopes along with a national self-reflection and the community imposed elimination of drugs and senseless violence.  When I think upon this racial divide and the white Christian youth holding hands around the American flag pole, I have to ask myself the question: How much do they really know about the history of our state?  When I was an uneducated youth, I believe that my public school system dedicated a very, very skimpy historical review of our dark skinned countrymen and the injustice done to our brothers and sisters.  The public school system taught us about the friendly “I have a Dream” speech by King and may have briefly mentioned slavery between Washington’s honesty and Lincoln’s heroism.  Never once were we taught about King’s Vietnam speech, Malcolm’s journey to Mecca, Nat Turner, the correlation between Christian land owners and slavery, the rape of slave women and the reproduction of human stock in the slave system, nor any other heinous realities of history.  To deny our children the truth of history is to diminish their chances of a collective strength for the future, and does vast injustices to the human nation and American state.  How much of the true history do our children know and understand?  Many people will argue that the children are too young, and are not ready for this type of shocking material.  This is a weak argument indeed.  One hundred years ago 12 year olds were married, worked 12 hour days, raising livestock, and prepared to raise children in the years following, while today American private sector missiles, purchased by Israel with AIPAC secured American foreign aid, rain down on 12 year olds in Palestine and Lebanon.  There are 12 year olds in Africa that are carrying weapons and machetes within civil conflicts and Israeli owned diamond mines who have seen human beings hacked to death.  We baby and coddle our precious American children, shielding them from the truths of history and religion, while allowing them to perpetrate as adults during their teenage years by exploiting their half-naked bodies and experimenting with sexual exploits, mimicking gangsters and the most immoral characters imaginable, and indulging in the basest forms of apathy.  Here lies one of the roots of moral and ethical degeneration on civilized society, and the mental and physical weakening of a people.

The American people are some of the strongest and proudest people on the Earth.  The maypole, as symbolic as it is and it has been, and the wealthy representatives under her legislative representative democratic skirts, have become questionable as to the overall concerns, protection, and future well-being of the people and the future of the American youth.  There are those who cry “revolution” and attempt to challenge state police in riot gear, but I do not view this as a viable option.  I believe in the concept of positive reform within the people, which will cause the effect of positive reform within the system, or at a minimum a realignment of more positive priorities within the people, such as drying up the supply and demand of drugs flowing into lower economic communities.  A positive collective strengthening of the people, a serious self-reflection of the current priorities of the people, and strong reform through the people, and thus eventually the system, is imperative.  We can no longer sit back and comfort ourselves on thoughts of a mystery God or a government flag fixing our serious moral, social, economic, intellectual, and political issues and deficiencies as a collective people.  We, the people, must strengthen ourselves, our families, and our communities in strong, positive ways for the future.  If God or nation brings salvation to us later, did bettering ourselves as a people actually hurt us in any way until that time?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Strides in Education: Frederick Douglass 'My Bondage, My Freedom' Chapters 20 and 21

Discussion on Chapters 20 and 21 include Douglass' returns to Baltimore for apprenticeship in caulking, racial working conditions in a capitalist shipyard in 1836-1837, the legal system and hypocrisy of white and black witnesses to violent crimes, and the Underground Railroad.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Strides in Education: Frederick Douglass 'My Bondage, My Freedom' Chapters 18 and 19

Discussion includes the Holiday break of 1835-1836, how holidays are spent by slaves, the impact of holidays on the system of slavery, the transfer of Douglass from the slave break Mr. Covey's plantation to the slave owner Mr. Freeland's plantation, another effort at education and teaching (Sabbath School), the hypocrisy of Christian slave owners, and the plot, planning and betrayal for escaping slavery.