With everyone traveling to and fro to see family for Thanksgiving, the importance of community and the relationships it creates is self evident. In times of turmoil we have as Americans, turned to these connections for shelter. With jobs being lost at an alarming rate, this holiday meal may be the last decent meal for a number of us for some time. I’m proud to say with all the doom and gloom hovering over the nation like a toxic cloud we have a holiday to pay homage to the things for which we are thankful. So when you gather round the tables this Thanksgiving remember the things you are truly thankful for and that you are blessed.
With the American auto industry in financial trouble and asking for a “bridge loan” a.k.a. bail out, it looks like our corporate citizen’s neglect has finally ran its course. What’s interesting to me is how so many jobs are considered collateral damage or at best a bargaining chip. The big three claim 58 million jobs and 4% of the American GDP will disappear if they were allowed to fail (part of the estimated 58M comes from lunch counters that won’t be patronized by the big auto employees). With these eye popping numbers one has to ask what can the corporate citizens do to ensure this from repeating? They might be warned to consider Gandhi’s “seven deadly social sins” one of which warns of “Commerce without Morality.”
Regardless, once again it looks like the little guy or in this case private citizens will get the raw side of any deal struck. Luckily for us the men and women on capital hill are demanding the leaders come with a plan to ensure liquidity. However, I’m willing to bet by the time congress comes back from the holiday and approves whatever dollar amount, one of the big three will have passed on to auto maker heaven.
Following the aftermath of prop 8 being passed it has been reported that the reason for its success was due to blacks voting. To me that sounds eerily like Jim Crow thinking. In the land of the free and a place where all minorities have struggled four equal rights, why would one group of minorities allow finger pointing at another.
I understand the frustration and disappointment of the campaign against prop 8 failing, but we cannot allow dissention and discord between minority groups. Especially when the majority will be the only clear winner. One never knows when the other minority’s influence, money or vote will be required in the next struggle. We should stay focused on change and do more to promote our issues to the public instead of finger pointing and freedom treading.
Words to consider from June Jordan:
“We will prevail because we have proven to the world and to ourselves that we are not “fringe elements” or “special interest groups” or so called “minorities”. Without us there is no legitimate majority. We are the mainstream.
This week when we were going over what topics to touch on for some reason nothing could compare to the question surrounding why ice (methamphetamine) offenders get off easier than “hard” (crack) offenders. They are both doing harm to the community; the only difference is whose community? The public knows the two side’s one rural or suburban and the other as inner city.
Now, most of us remember the crack explosion in the mid to late 80’s when it got so bad that our government declared a war on the coco shrub, its profiteers and users. We went so far as to prescribe federal mandatory minimum sentences for first offense of “simple possession”. The government set records for convictions and in the process locked up many of one particular demographic. For example, The US Sentencing Commission found in its 1997 report that "nearly 90 percent of the offenders convicted in federal court for crack cocaine distribution are African-American while the majority of crack cocaine users is white. Thus, sentences appear to be harsher and more severe for racial minorities than others as a result of this law. The current penalty structure results in a perception of unfairness and inconsistency." The time these offenders serve is 59% longer than for that of rapists.
Some agree that ice has taken crack’s spot as the number one scourge. It tears apart homes, breaks up families and drops property values. But no one is sounding the trumpets’ call to war, instead our courts are offering rehab, which is fine but I’m pretty sure crack heads need rehab too.
We all know this past November 4th was a historic day. What I want to talk about is the aftermath of the election. I’m sure if you were an ear-shot from any Democrat or an Obama fan when the results were announced you heard car horns, shouts, gun shots, fireworks and no sirens. If you didn’t know better you would have thought it was New Years.
The morning following the victory, I went to my local gym and saw that the mood of the people had changed dramatically in the past day. Black people have a new calm which came from a quiet confidence. Older white men had a renewed dignity, which I suspect came from their decision to elect a minority. Even women were offering to pay for dinner. Just kidding… change hasn’t gone that far yet.
With this election everyone in America took one step towards the middle, one step towards community and two steps towards unity. Yes, we can!
I am the Executive Director of a non-profit called Culture Connections.
The purpose of the organization is to provide substantial quality of life benefit to San Francisco citizens who live and work in its most challenged neighborhoods.
Check us out at www.culture-connections.cfsites.org.