Vote for what you believe. Don’t stay home..get out and let your voice be heard!
Vote for what you believe. Don’t stay home..get out and let your voice be heard!
Last weekend I watched the wonderful documentary on Fred Rogers, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (which I suggest that you watch also, since Fred Rogers was an extraordinary man). While I was watching it, some of the words mentioned in regard to the mess that’s the U.S. right now were “Tikkun Olam” which I’d never heard of before. The words were referenced with regard to the question ‘what can we do to help ourselves and the world right now’? The response was “repair the world”. I’m leaving a link below that better explains the background and original meaning of these words, but also emphasizes that the meaning that is usually associated with these words has to do with repairing the world by means of social justice and human responsibility toward fixing what is wrong with the world.
While changing the entire world is a huge task, and one that most of us are unable to achieve, after watching Won’t You Be My Neighbor? I was struck by how much each one of us can change the world. How, you might ask? By changing the world we live in. Of course, we can sign petitions, march in protest, vote and give money to causes that resonate with us. We should do all that. But there are also direct actions that we can take. We can declutter and make our homes as peaceful as we can. We can also work at a soup kitchen. These actions aren’t either/or, remember. We can treat everyone we see with kindness. And, for those of us who have limited money, it can be the most direct way of repairing the world. I hope that I can manage to create a better world right where I am. Hope you are inspired to do the same.
It’s important to speak out when there are injustices being committed. Right now, in the U.S. there are forces gathered against many of our rights as citizens. Not only are we treating asylum seekers as criminals, but we are allowing the murder of unarmed civilians be overly aggressive police. Racism and bigotry are running rampant, and an entire gender is being told to “sit down and shut up”.
Who are the perpetrators of this? For the most part it is angry white men. Whether they identify as “incel”, white supremacist, or simply Republican, the message is always the same. Whatever it is that they want, it’s so much more important than what you want/need. The rest of us, and yes, there are more of us than them, are being divided by race, gender and sexual orientation. It’s time to join hands and stand together.
If you believe in “liberty and justice for all”, do whatever you can with what you have. Sign petitions; write your congressperson; register to vote (if you haven’t done so); join a protest/march; give a donation to an organization that follows your own morals. Do what you can. But most importantly, do not be silent!
As we all know, there are a lot of people from Central and South America seeking asylum at our southern border. However, I haven’t really seen much information regarding the reasons why they’re seeking asylum. We’ve all heard about the gangs, etc. but not the reasons why these countries are falling apart. Since I’m an information seeker, I decided to look into one of these countries and let you know why there are so many problems there. My first pick was Honduras since this was the country that caught my eye.
In my reading I found out that in the early 1900’s U.S. banana companies set up shop in Honduras, bribed government officials, gained control of over 1 million acres of land and sent the resulting money and crops to the U.S. This buy-up of land converted Honduras into a one-crop economy, setting the entire nation up for massive poverty. At the same time, U.S. military was used to prevent any uprising against the corporations by the citizens of Honduras, while the banana companies gained monetary control of the country. By the time Regan was president, Honduras was often referred to as “U.S.S. Honduras”. Honduras was also used as a place to train the Contras of Nicaragua, which in turn increased the U.S. military presence in Honduras. This militarized Honduran society and brought about a crack down of any and all resistance to the government, thus squashing democracy. The U.S. was also instrumental in disrupting the coffee trade under the policy of “globalization”, which led to the destabilization of this industry.
All this has led to an increase in military, a loss of human rights, and many human rights violations. When the citizens elected Manuel Zelaya, a progressive president in 2006, his promise of reforms upset the ruling oligarchy, who then staged a military coup to overthrow the elected government. Poverty is a huge problem, with drug lords and a corrupt government, police and military working together. The U.S. is also at fault for militarily supporting this coup against the wishes of the 35-member Organization of American States.
So, this is a quick over-view of the problems in Honduras. From what I have seen, the other countries from which asylum-seekers are coming have a history with the U.S. that is much the same. Clearly, the fault is not with the people who have walked thousands of miles seeking asylum. I’ve left some links below for your education. Once again, nothing happens in a vacuum, and we need to look at the history of a problem before we start assigning blame.
Our country seems to be more divided than ever. Now is the time to come together as one, to understand that we are more alike than we are different. We need to become one people with the goal of good for all. For what is a benefit for my sister is also a benefit for my brother, and will benefit me as well.
The UN sent an expert in poverty to tour the United States and look at the rates of poverty here. Just so you know, the level of poverty in the US is sky-high. So, where did Philip Alston go to check out the conditions of those living in poverty? Alabama. That’s right, Butler County to be precise. What did he find? Raw sewage flowing from homes into open trenches and pits. Is it any surprise that an epidemic of hookworm has recently been reported in Butler County? No, no it’s not. By the way, hookworm is usually found in third world countries. Alston also visited California, Georgia, West Virginia, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. Alston also said that he’s never seen this level of poverty in a First World country. Huh. Wonder why?
The U.N. has also concluded that the U.S. is the most unequal society in the world. So much for the “American Dream”. What has been concluded in the report is that along with having the highest level of poverty, that poverty hits white people more than minority people. Not only that, but the viewpoint that has been sold to the American people is that poor people are poor for the simple reason that they are lazy, and refuse to “help themselves”. This is a falsity, since most of the poor are working people, and many of them work multiple jobs.
Please educate yourselves by following the links that I’ve provided below. With all the cuts that will be coming to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the CHIP program, Food Stamps and Fuel Assistance, the social problems are only going to get worse.
As usual, I’ve come to the party late, however, I’m here and I’ve paid attention. I’ve recently read the Young Adult novel, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. This is an extraordinary novel. To prove it, it’s already been banned in more than one location in the United States. A book being banned only means that it will make you think, something too many people don’t want to do, especially if what you learn from it is in opposition to what it is that you may have been taught. The novel follows the life of Starr Carter, who by the age of sixteen has held two of her best friends in her arms as they lay dying after being shot. This is not only her story, but the story of too many. The poor, the over-looked, and the reviled.
For those of you who may not have read this novel, I hope that you will. Go out and buy it, or borrow it from your local library. It covers so much of the experiences of children growing up as part of a reviled people. The poverty, the inability to “rise above” due to lack of livable wages, poor education systems, and the grinding down of an entire segment of society. Poverty is hard. How can it not be when you are choosing between food and rent? We need to understand, choose compassion and help our neighbors. Only then will our country be better. Together we stand, divided, as we are, we are falling. And in this falling, it is all of us, not just a few of us. Everything is interconnected. We are all one.