The Family Table As Metaphor
"Come on fucking, People! Quit being so fucking stupid!" I didn't say it out loud, but I thought it so loudly that it echoed through my multi-leveled house and came back to me sounding like Lou Gehrig's famous farewell speech. If I had a cat, I would have kicked it.
I was reading a comment feed about the kid who went to Kenosha and killed two rioters. The comments below the meme were a perfect testimony to the ability of human beings to be both stupid and evil at the same time, or, as I call it, the multitasking of sheep. When you mix stupidity with evil you create an extremely destructive explosive called Demonic Thought.
Throughout recorded history, it has typically been wielded, for some strange reason, by brain damaged, one-eyed fools and their intellectually stunted children. Normally, they blow themselves up and destroy their own domiciles. The problem is when they bring about the death, pain, and suffering of other children of God, many of whom have lived righteously and have helped greatly to alleviate the suffering of others.
In this particular comment feed, it talked about the boy with AR-15 as if he was a hero and lot of others agreed with that. It also talked about the people he killed as being heroes too. One message said, "White people have always hated us people of color." Another said the boy deserved a medal for protecting us all from vermin.
When I was young, I was obsessed with reading Greek Mythology. I came away with the distinct impression that the Olympian gods amused themselves by meddling in the affairs of men. I thought of it as the Olympian version of television where the Gods sat around drinking vodka martinis and good Scotch and laughing as the humans struggled to extricate themselves from the insane sitcom situations the Gods had placed them in.
A great example would be that of the hero Odysseus who left his own kingdom and went to war in Kenosha, Wisconsin sacrificing twenty years of his own life and happiness to do what he thought was right. Because he was so smart and proud of his own accomplishments, the god Poseidon punished him grievously, making him wander about the Midwest and almost costing Odysseus his life, his son's life, his kingdom, and most importantly his beloved wife Penelope. He finally arrives back home in Fresno, physically and emotionally scarred but a hell of a lot wiser. Wise enough to question his previous decisions, I hope.
I think the comment thread also reveals the Gods, or in this case, the economic/corporate/cultural elites, are once again meddling in the lives of men for their own twisted amusement and also to firmly establish their position of dominance over a world threatened by both the population explosion and competition for scarce resources.
They sit up in their penthouses, whisper into some flunky's ear, and instantaneously the mainstream media starts chanting some ridiculous slogan which is then presented to us as a litmus test for the ideologically pure.
"Trump Hates Unborn Babies! Democrats Sacrifice Squirrel to Obama! Hillary Eats the Dead! Trump Offers Bounty on Rioters!"
And the great unwashed below, eat this shit up with a bucket sized shovel and start chanting too. On a mountain far above them, the tuxedo clad Xing Xiao Ping claps an American CEO on the shoulder and they share a laugh as they watch a despicable young thug crash a brick into the head of elderly, unsuspecting white pedestrian.
"When the shit hits the fan, I'll protect you, Dougie."
I'll remember these words as long as I live even though they were spoken close to fifty years ago. The speaker was my childhood best friend, a younger Mexican-American kid who lived across the street. He didn't mean anything by it other than expressing his feeling that our friendship went a lot deeper than the thin layer of epidermis that covered our physical bodies.
I remember thinking though about the other thing it implied and that thought carved a home in the hidden depths of my consciousness where it resides to this day among the dust and spider webs gnawing on the leg bone of a lamb and occasionally grunting and using its one functioning eye to survey a darkened landscape being illuminated by burning city streets.
I remember thinking almost the same thing that I did when my Baptist Sunday school teacher she foolishly told me that God was going to burn me if I didn't immediately become pen pals with his son.
"Why? What have I done wrong." Like I said, he only wanted to express the deep bond we had, so I didn't say it out loud because it was one of them great moments in time where I actually felt good about life and all of its possibilities, so I let it go.
I did keep a firm hold of the lesson I learned from contemplating his words though. I also found the lesson supported in the story of the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve ate the apple, it opened up their eyes to the potential of great beauty and the understanding of truth and love.
But at the same time, it exposed them and their progeny to a more explicit knowledge of impending death and human vulnerability. It is this knowledge of human vulnerability that led to the creation of evil. It's no accident that they had two sons at the time whom we have since known as Cain and Abel, but which we should properly think of as 'Right Thinking' and 'Wrong Thinking'. Wrong Thinking killed his brother for the crime of being and doing good.
I think this world went wrong when we quit eating family dinners together. My brothers and I are bonded forever, and I don't give a fuck what happens, it's always going to be that way. And we are aligned with the thinking of our parents, godly people who loved everybody they knew.
We had some issues during the Vietnam era when the discussions got pretty heated because my older brother and I had foolishly both bought into the thinking of the socialist loving elites the first time they tried to destroy this country. It was the commonality of that dining table, and the middle ground it represented, that kept our family together and eventually healed the wounds caused by our youthful rebelliousness.
I love both my daughters, but we didn't eat a lot of family dinners, and it shows in our political discourse. We are not allowed to to talk about a lot of subjects. At that time in history, both parents worked outside the home and ordered out a lot. They still do.
My oldest daughter, one of the sweetest, kindest and empathetic human beings who I personally know recently posted a poem by a man who calls himself a Reverend.
The poem goes,
"I think you were so busy looking for a riot that you missed the gathering of the grieving.
I think you were so busy looking for looters that you missed the lament and heartbreak of a community.
I think you were so busy looking for trouble that you missed the tragedy of systemic racialized trauma on the bodies of black and brown people.
Tonight, tomorrow, and even the next day I beg of you, look again. Look again."
Don't get me wrong. It is very easy to agree with the sentiment. It is a good one, and in truth, the thing it laments happens a lot more than it should. Every one of my daughter's Facebook friends thought so and commented and liked it. I like what it says about her as a person. I didn't like the fact that it has been left to me alone to point out its one flawed perspective. It makes me wonder if she even has a best friend like I did. Him and I could have talked about it honestly, even argued, and still played a great game of basketball afterwards. It sure doesn't seem that you can do that nowadays. Nowadays, everyone seems to crave agreement and acknowledgement more than anything else, even more than knowledge of the truth.
I know a lot of conservative people, and I don't know anyone of them who goes outside looking for evil in people. Yet, they get it shoved in their faces daily in ever increasing amounts and by people who mistakenly believe their own ability to pretend that evil does not exist in the hearts of their own enables them to corner the market on virtue and somehow grants them the ability to bestow it on whoever they deem fit, be it looters, murderers, criminals, or political grifters.
This poem only contains partial truth, and it is what it omits that makes it dangerous.
Most of the people I know would agree with the poem's sentiment, recognizing that there are deep, fundamental problems in American society that need to get fixed. But I don't understand how a person who presents himself as man of God can so falsely assume the motives of people who merely disagree with his politics. The words of this poem can be construed as being just as narrow minded and racist than those it attacks because it falsely assumes evil in the hearts of those who simply believe differently. How is this any different from McCarthyism?
I would like to edit it to include the line,
"You were so busy impugning the motives of those who disagree with your own false assumptions that you missed a perfect opportunity to reach out and help them to reveal their inherent goodness."
The media not only deals with such partial truths, it does so by carefully using them to craft the false narrative that America is completely evil and not worth the effort in would take to save it unless they began anew without any of the traditions and values that once made it the envy of the world.
As it so happens, this would put us into perfect agreement with the likes of Xing Xiao Ping, Karl Marx, Bernadette Dohrn, Hillary Clinton, and Nancy Pelosi, which is pretty much why I can't stomach this approach and will never be be able to understand the people who do. And it breaks my heart that my own children, many of the kids who I've taught and coached, as well as many of my own friends, have come to regard these folks as mentors, or even worse, as heroes.
I would have the good reverend also explain why is it out of all the athletes in the world Nike that could have chosen to represent them, people with strong character and voices who could have raised awareness of social justice issues in a positive voice, why did Nike chose the one who had "kill piggies" written on his socks? Are they so desirous of the China markets, they they are willing to bring down the last real bastion of democracy and freedom of thought to gain them?
Why, of all the organizations and institutions who could have brought us all together, did the corporate world and professional athletic organizations chose the one surest to divide us and whose platform includes the abolition of the nuclear family, a cause that even divides the black community?
It is obvious that the people pulling the strings behind the scenes, the ones causing all the hatred, the Gods of Olympus, our corporate masters, do not want us mere mortals to solve these problems for ourselves. It appears they don't even want us to save this country. Is it because our our existence as a nation and the independent thinking of our people interferes with their plans for global expansion?
In hindsight, it is plain to see that the politicians, who work for them and them alone, and the media members who sustain themselves by sucking on their pimpled asses, have kept us mortals apart and arguing with each other ever since the Sixties. These Gods hate the fact that we all were starting to get along despite of their poisonous efforts to keep us apart. It might lead to us deciding to, paraphrasing Nietzsche, "Reason the Olympians out of existence." And what would that do to their children's future as deities?
They're the ones who are putting these memes up people. Probably the same person puts up both. The Kenosha kid should not be regarded as a hero for being underaged and taking a gun to riot. Where are his fucking parents, I'd like to know? The media is pushing this idea hard, preparing us for the outbreak of hostilities, urging us to buy more guns and bullets to kill our fellow country men. We should all, everyone of us, resist that urge to kill. I have to say that, something that, in more honest times, should have gone without saying.
Instead, we should demand that any politician or member of the media who stands in the way of ending these riots immediately are arrested, jailed, and tried for first degree murder. We can easily make the case for 'malice of forethought'.
And the stupid or naive people who call these vicious rioters peaceful protestors should have their cell phones confiscated and sent to bed without their supper. When I grew up, I would have also have gotten a good whipping if I had played with matches in such a derelict way to have endangered my family, our home, or the homes of our neighbors.
I understand the frustrations. I have commented on memes when I shouldn't have myself, and I'll still probably succumb to that temptation. A much better idea though would be to make your children sit down at a table across from you at dinner time and discuss shit across the table. Make them all feel comfortable in talking about what bothers them. You might disagree with them, but you will learn from them, and they from you.
Then when it gets established as a routine, have them invite a few of their friends over to dinner, then invite the neighbors, hell, establish a common dining space for your community.
This might sound naive; fuck, I know it sounds naive, but it is a lot less naive than that poem, and it sure beats the hell out of blowing your eardrums out from the inside out, lauding the wrong people as heroes, killing somebody, or simply wanting to kick the hell out of a non-existent cat.