End of Daze

Not sure about you… but I’ve never been happier to see a Monday in quite some time!

In addition to it starting up a mercifully short work week, it also signifies that I made it through last week without incident. With such a busy news week, anything — and I do mean anything — was possible. (Slightly dramatic, but true.)

If you were a minority, female or homosexual, you had a smorgasbord of topics to choose from: The Trayvon Martin murder trial, Paula Deen’s racially charged deposition, the removal of the Voting Rights Act, more Edward Snowden leaks, the abortion law filibuster in Texas and finally the striking down of DOMA and Proposition 8.

If you fall under all the aforementioned categories, you were on an emotional roller-coaster, which likely ended with you dancing in the street in something festive while your lesser-clad male counterparts wore either speedos or the clothes your parents wanted you to wear before you came out. (Yes, even the slutty stuff.)

As thrilled as I was for my many LGBT friends, it was still a tough week for me to embrace. The beauty of that moment, when the courts acknowledged that their love is just as real as anyone else’s and deserved to be given the same rights and privileges, was so monumental that it overshadowed a glaring revocation of a law that could potentially set up (or back) the next presidential election.

Yes, it was a particularly sobering week for African-Americans. While many of us were busy calling out Paula Deen for using a word uttered by every hip hop artist, high-profile entertainer, urban and “wanna-be” suburban kid, we totally ignored a little piece of legislature which may decide how and if areas heavily populated by minorities can vote with ease — or at all.

And while many took to the internet to write disparaging commentary about Rachel Jeantel’s physical appearance and speech challenges (much the way they did Gabby Douglas), they completely glazed over the fact that this young girl not only carried the burden of being the last person to hear her friend’s voice before he took his final breath, but she stood her own ground against a legal system ironically trying to justify “stand your ground” as a reason to shoot unarmed kids on their way home.

Meanwhile, the outrage stemming from the discovery that the government is invading the privacy of millions hasn’t quite reached the sector where they also invade the private parts and reproductive rights of millions of women. The mettle and relentlessness of Wendy Davis should be applauded instead of being subjected to vilification. But in a world where it’s a fun fact that a man has fathered twenty-two children with fourteen different women, it just seems like a good idea to attack anyone trying to make sure no child is brought into this world without the love and stability they need to thrive in what’s increasingly becoming a cruel world for anyone not meeting the societal standard.

It’s no secret; I am angry. Angered by politicians voted into office to protect the rights of the people, only to vote against gun laws and healthcare. Angered by religious zealots who preach about the love and sacrifice that lead to dying for sinners, but condemn people based on their lifestyle and right to choose. Angered by a society that reveres well-known adulterers and creates examples of marriage and relationships in highly rated reality programs where the subjects are polygamists or former sex-tape veterans who have expensive short-lived marriages and sire strangely named children with self-absorbed megalomaniacs, but wants to throw out words like “sanctity” when it’s convenient. Angered by my own race who continue to point the finger of blame everywhere but at ourselves — much like Miss Deen and, dare I say, our current President — instead of simply sucking it up and taking accountability and saying “Okay, let me fix this… starting with me.” Angered by a mass of people whose origin is mostly based in the European continent who keep trying to define immigration, while Native Americans fight to be heard and lose their land, and later, their children, in custody battles with white adoptive parents. Angered by the amount of young black men in prison for possession of marijuana when there are a growing number of free men in possession of abducted women and children and people’s life savings. Angered by the amount of money we spend protecting our “interests” in other parts of the world while our own citizens struggle to find jobs and means of supporting their families.

The list goes on and on.

We spend our days sleepwalking through life obsessing over mundane things like Angry Cat photos, Facebook posts, Twitter rants and celebrity baby news and deaths. I almost wonder when was the precise moment I decided to pay more attention to the escapades of people who contribute nothing but sensationalism over people like Nelson Mandela, who contributed to the end of apartheid in South Africa. Naturally, I’m embarrassed.

With all the greatness — and potential for greatness — this country has, it seems like now is as good a time as any to ensure our future generations are more caught up on current events than Taylor Swift’s love life and viral videos about “twerking.”

Education and an awareness of world news and changes should be the gold standard of our society. Not the option that falls by the wayside when budgets are cut. That a heavily tattooed man-child athlete makes more than a teacher is criminal. That, nine times out of ten, he’s broke by the time he retires from his respective league after spending it all on extravagant and excessive things and people (that is, if they haven’t gone to jail for murder, rape, weapons assault, dog fighting, etc…), before the rest is taken by the IRS indicates the need for better teachers (preferably ones not having sex with students or making porn). 

As I step down from my soapbox for the night, I realize the challenges of this world are so much bigger than me. It’s a sobering thing… and an even more frightening truth when you haven’t been drinking.

On that note, it’s waaayyy past my bed time.

And now… it’s Tuesday.

Sigh…

News to Me

There are days when I’m truly concerned for the direction of the American heritage. This morning, when I scoped the covers of the morning papers in my local deli, it became clear that this was going to be one of those days.

During an election year where gun control has just resurfaced as an issue with scores of people succumbing to gun violence over the last few weeks — the most notable being a midnight massacre in a movie theater — the biggest story of the day was that Kristen Stewart cheated on her boyfriend.

Hours from now, the world will convene for the Olympic games in London — sans the Greek athlete who was expelled for her racist comments on Twitter (as if Greece didn’t have enough trouble) — but let’s take a moment to ponder on the indiscretion of a wooden actress who rose to fame for playing in a vampire movie.

In the course of a few days, we lost Sylvia Woods, a trailblazing restaurateur who put Harlem on the map for politicians hoping to get a slice of the African-American vote with their serving of soul food, and Sherman Hemsley, an actor who made every black family believe they could make it like scrappy George Jefferson before the Huxtables showed us the beauty of educated affluence.  

While the rest of the country was focused on the psychotic musings of a man who opened fire on innocent people watching the latest Batman installment, very little focus was put on the fact that Christian Bale, the actor who played Batman, visited the victims and the memorial in honor of the dead. Those victims, many of whom are young and uninsured, have just been given a reprieve by having most — and possibly in some cases all — of their medical expenses taken care of.  

Newspaper publishers muse about the decline of their industry and blame the wealth of access to information available through the internet and virtually any smartphone, tablet or other gadget. While it’s certainly a factor in a society being weened on instant gratification, those of us who still value the touch of paper and the occasional practice of clipping or highlighting things still like the idea of a newspaper giving us real news.

But it doesn’t just stop with the papers. American media overall chooses more sensational and occasionally mindless things to report as so-called news. Before stories of the “Vamp Tramp” broke (I must admit I love the caption writing sometimes), we could not escape the “news” of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes divorcing. It would seem that the only way of getting real news is to tune into a cable channel like CNN (or even The Daily Show), wait for a designated hard news program, or go online.

Meanwhile our counterparts in the rest of the world have BBC, Al Jazeera, et al informing them of international news stories that prepare them for interaction with the global population and markets on a continual basis. They are more versed on the ongoing events that have changed the commercial and financial climate of each nation, and are adapting accordingly.

Perhaps we’ve become so closed off in our own beliefs and subscribers to the “too big to fail” hubris that we find it acceptable to push frivolous pop culture and reality television into the forefront of conversations. That our schools are underperforming, our workforce is shrinking and our GDP is teetering on nonexistent doesn’t concern us as much as whether Kanye and Kim will really get married and who the next American Idol judge will be.

But please, let’s not concern ourselves with the 17-year-old boy who gunned down a 4-year-old because he was retaliating gunfire… let’s pontificate on the future of whether the actors who played Edward and Bella will survive her dalliance with a married father of two.

Yeah, that’s a real news story… no one’s ever heard that one before.