Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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I am a revolutionary. I am in flashback mode during this political season. When I watched the PBS documentary about the Black Panther Party my mind was blown thinking about the similar tactics employed by our government today. Police are still outside the law, are still involved in brutality rather than community protection. In my neighborhood the police force protects criminals and refuses to respond to those who want to stop crime. I think it is scary that abuse of power continues to be our greatest obstacle to peace and prosperity. In 1968 J Edgar Hoover had absolute power to invade privacy and snuff Americans at will. Today the FBI is asking Apple to give them a back door to everyone’s iPhones. Today we have drones out killing people for our “freedom and democracy”. Have we ever had freedom and democracy for all our citizens? I think not.
I was involved, but not old enough to vote, in the 1968 election that sent Tricky Dick Nixon to the White House. I was in the audience at the University of Texas at Austin to listen to Eugene McCarthy, and later to Hubert Humphrey, during my freshman year on campus. I decided to register to vote as a Libertarian as soon as I was 21. The Democrats were more to my liking but both parties struck me as corrupt anachronisms dedicated to keeping war and prejudice alive around the globe. I was not alone in this belief. I am still not the only person who sees our system as dangerously off course.
We all feel that things have gotten out of hand, and we all want a better future for our country. I know that is true, even though the campaign rhetoric has become vile and toxic. With the new twist of a Supreme nomination stakes are high and emotions are higher. If we the people allow super pacs and nasty grudges to continue to drive our political outcomes we will all continue to feel let down by our government. This election, very much like the election of 1968, will have profound consequences on our image around the world as well as our own economy. No matter how you feel (Bern or no Bern) it is time to register to vote and exercise your right to elect officials you trust. History is being made very rapidly. Get out the vote, gentle readers. Do it now before all the hippies drop dead from exhaustion.
While protests on American streets continue a new protest movement is taking place on twitter. White people are discussing white privilege as experienced by them. It captures the other side of the policing story from the point of view of the beneficiaries of a highly prejudiced system. I think most of us know being white is an advantage, but we are not aware of how much of a boon it is to white criminals. Equal protection under the law, if it were to be equal, would extend all the way from safe, secure protected living environments for all to criminal justice that deals out fair and equal sentencing. If you take a look at this trending hashtag you will see some shocking examples of system failure.
I am white to the WASPiest extreme. See my super Brit ancestors to validate my whiteness. I live my life in such a way as to avoid all contact with doctors, lawyers, and police. I have been highly successful with this plan, in part because I am white. I have no crimes to report, pre se, except that I was an undocumented worker in Tecate, Baja California, Mexico, off and on for many years. As a wetback gringa all privilege and courtesy was bestowed on me by the migra on both sides of the border. There was never any problem. I have not crossed the border since 2003 because things just became too complicated after 2001. The era of the #WetbackGringa, wild and free, became a thing of the past.
I think the #CrimingWhileWhite phenomena comes from unconscious prejudice embedded in our culture. I don’t think there is willful or criminal intent by police to treat citizens by different standards. That is why the grand jury is able to rule that there is no probable cause to try the cops who ended lives while on duty. These preferences, or assumptions that white people are not threatening society, are not consciously accepted by the individuals dealing out the uneven justice and protection. Systemic privilege as well as systemic prejudice exist in the collective beliefs of a culture. Just as people have shadow qualities of which they are unaware, so do institutions. Institutional shadow qualities are even harder to nail because there is no institutional Jungian shrink to assist the patient in seeing its whole being. The very nature of shadow prejudice is to hide and stay hidden because nobody wants to believe we are acting from such base instincts. I have been a petroleum princess in Venezuela and a wetback gringa in Mexico. I can tell you from experience the only thing better than being a white woman is being a bilingual blonde white woman. We are automatically above suspicion and nobody ever suspects we understand Spanish, so they say anything in front of us, assuming we will not know what they are saying. Have you ever had an experience of white supremacy or privilege, gentle reader?
I do not defend my country right or wrong, but I am proud to be an American. Around the world the people love us for our culture, our style, and our unique energy. We are emulated at least as much as we are dissed. I wish our politics were not so crazy, and our resources were better managed, but I am American. When the government disappoints we have to ask, “Compared to what?” We have much for which we must remember to be grateful.