I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
December 04, 2014 - 11:53 a.m.
Another day I didn't do much yesterday. Not much planned for today either. I better start having ideas. Of course that was my original plan when I started this 14 years ago, to write about my thoughts not what I wanted to do.
I went over to Heather's again yesterday. The handyman came by. He fixed the ceiling fan. He installed a new one and the fan part still wouldn't work. I had originally said I think the problem was the switch. Guess what, it was the switch. Now it works. I should. Then he went to look at the dishwasher. I had taken it apart and cleaned the drain and determined it was the drain motor. He came and cleaned the drain. it still wouldn't drain. He determined it was the drain motor. The landlord still doesn't believe it. He's going to come over this weekend. He'll clean the drain. See it doesn't help and determine it is the drain motor.
I made a good dinner. I got round steaks. I didn't have my Cajun spices so I got some steak seasoning and garlic and chlli powder. Too bad I overcooked it. I should have treated them as minute steaks.
My nemesis is gone from the house. His thieving went beyond my cheese and kitchen utensils. He committed grand larceny, not from me. Now I feel much less guilty for losing it and cursing him out and calling him a thief.
In light of the decision to not indict Daniel Pantaleo for the death of Eric Garner I want to talk about race but I'm not sure I can do it justice. Actually I know I can't. I'm not going to write about anger and fear, you see enough of that. One thing about me is that I see things in perspective. Stalin is said to have said, "The death of one person is a tragedy. The death of a million is a statistic." I'm the opposite. I feel the big picture.
There's a pattern of police officers killing blacks. There is a pattern of pattern of blacks bearing a disproportionate share of the costs of civil society. There are policies like stop and frisk which target blacks more often. A far greater proportion of blacks are arrested for marijuana possession than whites even though they use it at a similar rate. Blacks live in areas with higher pollution, lower quality air and water. The way we fund education shortchanges blacks. The proliferation of firearms hurts blacks more as they are the most likely victims of gun violence.
It is not classic race hate. This is not men in hoods stringing black men up and setting fire to their churches. That goes on but it isn't what causes most of the harm. It's often simply not empathizing as much. I just watched the video of Garner's assault. The cop didn't say "there's a black guy let's kill him." Garner was a repeat petty offender. He gave the cops trouble. Pantelo got annoyed and frustrated and I'm sure in his mind he was thinking that all he was trying to do was bring Garner down. He used an illegal choke hold but it doesn't usually kill people. It's like the jerks that run the light right after it changes. They aren't out to hurt someone they just figure it probably won't do harm and don't put themselves in the position of the person they almost hit. Pantgelo didn't put himself in Garner's shoes. He didn't try to see it from Garner's perspective. When Garner said he couldn't breathe he and the other officers just didn't listen.
And even that is more callous than most of what goes on and does more harm in the long run. Look at stop-and-frisk. Thousands of blacks were stopped every year in the name of reducing crime. Yes everyone wants crime reduced but look who paid the cost. It wasn't whites. Without evidence it was just accepted that it was effective. Then Stop and end was put to the practice last year and what happened? The violent crime rate which was already at record lows fell more. The impending crime wave that was threatened never happened. Why was the stop-and-frisk so blindly accepted? Because the people making the decisions were not identifying with the people paying the cost. And I like many things about Bloomberg. He's making a wonderful effort to cut down on gun violence. I don't think he bares any animus towards blacks. He just doesn't empathize enough with them. And the story that is written over and over again. Perhaps we need a different word. People won't accept that they are racists because they know they aren't burning crosses. They aren't saying "nigger." No they just make countless decisions that affect blacks worse than whites.
I won't hold myself blameless either. These prejudices are below the surface. We have to audit ourselves. When you make a do something that will adversely affect someone you don't identify with you need to make sure it isn't because you don't identify. When people make hiring decisions they aren't objective. They will admit hiring the person they feel more comfortable with. Well guess what you might very well feel less comfortable with blacks. And as most of these decisions are made by whites who pays the cost? If we don't have affirmative action to help counter this who pays he cost?
Much of the resistance to social welfare programs like food stamps comes from the perception that it's going to "those people." So people care about it a little less. In much of the country public transportation is used far more by people of color so they are underfunded It goes on and on and people stay in denial. Ronald Reagan said he never saw any racism. That is enough to make me not like him. I have cringed from it far too often.
OK now for breakfast. It might be a bit of an adventure. One egg is stuck to the box. I have to see if I can get it out without breaking it. That might affect what I make.
Oh I'll end with something upbeat, chocolate. I bought the Trader Joe's hot chocolate, not the sipping chocolate. It is quite disappointing. but I discovered that if I make it with milk, not water, and I add whipped cream it's much better. I might be really good hot chocolate at the holiday market today. That's my plan.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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