Challenging power

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” — Lord Acton, 1887

When the collective we gives too much power to individuals through blind hero worship, that power is almost certainly going to corrupt. This is the case for athletes, celebrities, business leaders, and, most dangerously, politicians.

It’s time for us as individuals, the actors within the collective we, to chip away at and challenge that absolute power wherever it exists.

This isn’t about policy

What’s more important, what we achieve or how we achieve it? Do the ends justify the means?

Our country seems to have devolved into this be-right-at-all-costs mentality where civility, healthy discourse, and our founding principles have been compromised and discarded. Where are the truths that we hold as self-evident? Where are the rights we consider inalienable? Where are these things that formed the basis of our country?

I ask these questions because I can’t understand how anyone who holds sacred the principles of America can stand by idly while our president stomps on them and so many in leadership positions willingly participate or stand by in abject fear of the executive tweet. I can’t understand how average citizens look at our commander-in-chief and still give him full-throated support despite his ingrained and continuous stream of sexism, racism, and xenophobic actions devoid of a shred of empathy.

Continue reading This isn’t about policy

Privilege misunderstood

A new nationwide poll shows that 55% of white Americans feel they experience discrimination for being white. I’m trying to wrap my head around this one. Efforts to target opportunity for people of color are not discrimination against white people, who by and large already have these opportunities by default.

I can’t think of a single thing I’ve been denied based on the color of my skin.

What so many of us feel

I watched this video earlier today and have wavered with sharing it because it’s full of anger — and I wasn’t sure whether or not I wanted to spread that.

But that’s what so many of us feel.

When our president threatens to take away the broadcast license of a network who reports against him, we feel anger.

When our president treats our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico like they are somehow lazy and second class but still worthy of a photo op, we feel anger.

When our president talks of increasing our nuclear arsenal while lacking basic knowledge of global dynamics and to the amazement of his own inner circle, we feel anger.

When our president tears down his predecessor’s legacy on the backs of women, the environment, and our communities of color, we feel anger.

When our president looks for the good people in white supremacists yet calls black football players who express themselves in peaceful protest sons of bitches, we feel anger.

So, yes, Eminem’s anger resonates and feels cathartic.

Hold your ideas lightly

I heard a phrase today:

“Hold your ideas lightly.”

Just four words, but perhaps the solution for what ails us in our divided society. Our beliefs, our ideas, become so ingrained in our identities that we can’t have a discussion about them without feeling personally affronted by opposing views. Why do we hold onto these ideas so tightly? Why are we so afraid of the prospect of changing our minds when different perspectives come to light?

What would change if we learned to hold our ideas lightly?

Picking and choosing respect

Respect for the flag is actually codified, and all you have to do is walk through any department store around the 4th of July to see that taking a knee in first-amendment protected protest isn’t the only way we’re “disrespecting” the flag.

Humans have an amazing way of picking and choosing our rules when we’re out to criticize or justify our own beliefs and actions.

Take a read and think about this the next time you’re wiping potato salad off your face with a flag napkin.

Of all the reasons to break the flag code, protest of injustice is likely the most honorable.

Standing against hate

I’ve seen a few thoughtful posts about how the number of white supremacists who are willing to publicly march carrying neo-Nazi and neo-Confederate symbols constitutes only a small fraction of our society. This is thankfully very true.

The true problem is that this number is growing and proudly emerging from what has been our dark, hidden underbelly for the last five decades. They are emboldened because they have an apologist in our president, a Congress that won’t stand up to the NRA, a Constitution from which they cherry pick protections, law enforcement that would never have the same patience for people of color, and millions of citizens who’ve bought into this Make America Great Again insanity.

America is already great. It’s time for us to stand up to this overt hate mongering, but also the apologists and enablers, and remind the world that we’re the most successful and largest multi-ethnic democracy in the history of this planet.