Friday Night Blogging – Peace and family

So, to give my blogging more structure, there will be more semi-regular articles going up.  We’ve seen Looking at Character, now it’s time to roll out Friday Night Blogging.  FNB is going to be my off-topic blog of the week, which is to say it won’t directly deal with writing or writing analysis.  Most weeks, it will probably be a look-back at the events of the week, both in my life and in the world, and touching on the points that interest me.

Though a lot of things are going on in the world right now, I have found myself mostly fixated on the events in Ferguson.  I don’t feel as if I have to really say more than that to identify it: it has been scrutinized and watched by people outside the U.S.A. as much as we Americans.  It brought a lot of events into the public eye in a dramatic fashion, things that had been stewing both in the public consciousness and in the policies of our government for some time.  The continued ethnic and economic tensions (often so intermingled they cannot be easily separated), the rapid militarization of our citizen police force, and the common injustices that plague us have now been laid bare.  While I’m glad to see that the violence has curbed and peaceful protest reigns, I only hope that, in that return to peace, that the need to see these massive problems dealt with is not forgotten.  All too often, when the crisis is over, the general public seems content that the problem has passed and doesn’t press to see the root cause of it fixed.

Personally, the past week, well, two weeks, has seen me finally make a reconnection with my biological family.  After my father’s death during my one and only year at college, I splintered away from my family.  I won’t go into detail.  There isn’t any need to do so and, besides, at the end of the day the causes were everyone’s fault and no one’s fault.  What matters is that, for almost twenty years, I didn’t speak with my mother, my brother, or my sister at all.  I had found a new family of choice, close friends who had become more than that over the same twenty years.

Last week, I decided I was being kind of an idiot.  Oh, not that I didn’t have my reasons, but in the past months, my mother, brother and sister had all started trying to make outreaches towards me.  I was being stubborn, trying to ignore it, clinging on to old grievances.  Finally, I realized I needed to cleanse myself of it.  My mother wasn’t getting any younger, none of us were, and there was no good reason for me to act the way I was.  So, I sent my brother an email and told him I wanted to talk to him.  From there, it was only a few days before I talked to my mother.

You know, for something I thought would be so hard, it was so easy.  None of us wanted to worry about the past.  We had all come to the conclusion in the past decades that it was all just foolish things anyway, aggravated by my father’s untimely death.  So, well, I added a new old family to the people I love and love me back.  It’s great to have one family, to have two?  It’s a miraculous thing.

When I sit back and think about it, I wonder if it was meant to be.  Was it fate that broke us up, connected me with my dear friends to be there and support them through their own rough times, and then for everything to be reforged into a larger, stronger circle?  I don’t know, but I’m just glad it ended up as it did.

A Political Moment: Freedom isn’t free, people

I wanted to write, as I usually do, about aspects of the writing process and challenges I have faced during that process.

I can’t.  Not today.

You see, in my country right now, supposedly a bastion of freedom, there is a lot of injustice.  There is a lot of oppression.  Crime, violence, death, ignorance, racism, all sadly stocked and discounted.  Plenty for everyone, step right up!  What is the most appalling part about it, though, is to see so many people, normal citizens as far as I can tell, who comment on the news in forums, on websites, on news articles, who are apologists for such things.

When other people rightfully respond with outrage after militarized police stalk our streets or an unarmed man is murdered while surrendering or police choke and kill a man on camera, they come out of the woodwork.  They tell us that ‘anger never solved anything’ and ‘speaking out against the government is a serious crime’ and ‘let the police handle it’ and ‘the cops wouldn’t need all that gear if everyone was peaceful’ and so on.  People like that are ignorant, not only of human nature but our country’s history.

The United States of America is a country that was founded by rebellion.  It was founded by sedition.  It was founded by treason.  Most vitally, the U.S.A. was founded by people who stood up against what they say was injustice and tyranny and realized that the system would never change until they took drastic action.  At the end of the day, when that kind of injustice rises once again, that kind of action needs to be taken again.

The phrase ‘freedom is not free’ was originally coined to honor the volunteer armed forces of my country and it still applies there.  I feel it is also applicable to the general concept of freedom.  The natural inclination of many people is to secure power, to concentrate it, and, in gaining their own ultimate freedom, deny others of theirs.  So, to ensure freedom for all, we must all pay a price.  A price in vigilance, a price in defiance of those who would obstruct freedom, and sometimes a dearer price when freedom bites us on the rear.

In short: The protests that have risen against these black events staining American freedom, even when they grow violent, are things to be encouraged, supported, and not stamped down.  Should the violent elements be arrested?  Sure, but not at the expense of arresting and harming every peaceful protester in the process.  Should the police be decked out in fatigues with armored vehicles and military weaponry in response to a peaceful protest?  No, never.

“What country ever existed a century and a half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.”

– Thomas Jefferson