Taking Care of My Extended Family

When I started this blog, I meant for it to be non-political. Advice I’ve read said don’t antagonise potential readers. That seems like good sense, and I’m not by nature confrontational. But now… Some things are just too important to keep silent about.

I realise the news media often give a distorted and overblown picture of calamity piled on calamity. I realise, too, that living far away in New Zealand, I no longer have a good sense of what living in the United States feels like on a day-to-day basis. But I also know that many of us white, middle-class professionals have the option of overlooking the crap that life dishes out regularly to the less privileged, and when a healthy adult male is fearful of walking around his own neighbourhood in broad daylight, something is wrong.

I look at the news coming out of the U.S. these days, and it makes me heartsick.

I see ordinary people being murdered, arrested, or threatened simply for the colour of their skin. I’ve watched the videos: George Floyd begging for his life, Ahmaud Abery being murdered in cold blood, the white woman in Central Park threatening a black bird watcher and lying to the police about him. Dear God, they are appalling. Anyone who still believes there is no endemic racism in the U.S. hasn’t been paying attention. One of the core principles of my religion is respect for the inherent worth and dignity of every person. Black lives matter. Period. And if you answer with “All lives matter,” go read Animal Farm before bothering me again. All lives are equal, but apparently some are more equal than others.

I see fake commandos taking advantage of white privilege to intimidate anyone who disagrees with them, and to make a mockery of the brave men and women in the military who put their lives on the line to protect home and country. True patriots defend everyone’s rights, and no individual has the right to disregard everyone around them. Rights come with responsibilities, including the civic duty to not interfere with someone else’s right to life. I have a 90-year-old dad with respiratory problems, friends with diabetes or compromised immune systems, a relative with cystic fibrosis, and a stepdaughter and step-son-in-law in the medical profession. Put on a mask and keep your damned germs to yourself so they have a fighting chance. It’s the only honourable thing to do.

I see Orwellian gaslighting trying to convince the American public that lies are truth, that the rule of law doesn’t matter if you have enough money, and that responsible journalists and career civil servants are a greater menace than foreign oligarchs and their disruptive agents.

I could go on, but I’m getting more wound up as I go, and I need to calm down so I’m functional at my day job on Monday morning. Go take care of your own whānau/mishpocha/extended family.

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