Government “Handouts”

In the 1930’s America created a middle class. It was perhaps better than having only extreme wealth and extreme poverty, but it was created with white supremacy at the core. My family benefited from the G.I. Bill after WWII. My parents were able to buy a home. Then in the 70s, because of strong unions and a  good part-time job, I was able to “put myself through” a California State University, which was tuition-free then! My husband worked full time with his union job in a grocery store and put himself through a private college with no loans, even saving money for grad school while he did it.

Now, look at all the black veterans who came home from serving in WWII. Systemic racism kept them from taking advantage of the benefits of The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944. The same Act that allowed my family to buy a home in the suburbs. Though we were not wealthy, my husband and I came from home-owning families, admission to colleges, and other benefits of being white.

It is time to dig deep and pull out our roots of racism. There are reparations to make. We need to redistribute government aid that is being showered on the wealthy.

I don’t know why “reparations” is such a bad word to white people.

The Story of Being White in ‘Murica

There’s a story in this place.
A father came home from faraway war,
part of the Greatest Generation,
but broken into pieces.
His country helped him pick up those pieces,
cobbling them together with a home loan
and hope from his wife and twins

There’s a story in this place
Five more children came along
and grew up in an L.A. suburb
a stone’s throw,
but a universe away,
from the burning riots
in the redlines of Watts in ’65

There’s a story in this place
A story where all those kids
grew up, not wealthy, but they had
available healthcare,
safe water and air,
funded schools, food security,
safe contact with police
because they were white people
Black and brown people lived
in other neighborhoods.

All those kids grew up
and became home owners
and got jobs that could sustain a family
With scholarships, part time union jobs,
and free tuition–
some of the kids in that suburb
even graduated from university
and became professionals

There’s a story over there
A story of America built
on the backs and blood
of labor stolen
A story I closed my eyes to,
A story heard only
through sanitized textbooks
A continuing story I don’t know
A story of black colleges
bursting at their seams,
“white” colleges unavailable to them,
no room for all the GIs who wanted to go
It’s a story of black veterans
who fought for America
but couldn’t get a loan
A story of black neighborhoods redlined
A story of discrimination that persists today

It is time to brush aside McConnell’s redline
for no new taxes for the wealthy
It is time to shift spending priorities
and lift up the working class
It’s five generations too late for
Forty acres and a mule
Well past time

Patriots

Slice of Life for today at TwoWritingTeachers.org

Yesterday I listened to the whole one-hour phone call by our disgraced president to Georgia election officials, with attorneys present. If you haven’t listened, here he is, the resident of the White House:

Then later in the day I watched the complete press conference with Gabriel Sterling, voting systems election official, from Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office.

When I watch them both, it is obvious there are not two sides to this issue. What can we make of this coup attempt? How can there be any doubts?

Regarding a lying, debunked Q-Anon conspiracy theory, trump said this:

So tell me, Brad, what are we going to do? We won the election, and it’s not fair to take it away from us like this. And it’s going to be very costly in many ways. And I think you have to say that you’re going to reexamine it, and you can reexamine it, but reexamine it with people that want to find answers, not people that don’t want to find answers.

It’s going to be costly, yes. Costly to the inhumane, racist and misogynist system that America was built upon. Hopefully, these last four years have opened the eyes of enough Americans that we will keep paying the costly price for a better future.

And, Brad, we just want the truth. It’s simple. And everyone’s going to look very good if the truth comes out. It’s okay. It takes a little while, but let the truth come out. And the real truth is, I won by 400,000 votes. At least. That’s the real truth. But we don’t need 400,000 votes. We need less than 2,000 votes.

Yes to the truth! Truth has been knocking on the door of the system for centuries, and trump has made it knock louder and with more urgency than it did before. He doesn’t want Truth; he just wants to be declared the winner.

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” Martin Luther King, Jr., observed with expectation. He was co-pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. Today millions of Georgians are voting for Raphael Warnock, who is currently serving as senior pastor of Ebenezer. That is such a beautiful step forward.

We are living in history, and someday we’ll look back on this historic chapter and hopefully be able to say that the moral arc took a big lean toward Truth and justice in this era.

I do not believe that anyone in power is objecting to the election in good faith. These people cannot really believe the lies over the diligent work of Republicans Brad Raffensberger and Gabriel Sterling, who are showing that they are the real patriots here. The twelve senators and 140 representatives who on Wednesday choose to exploit the president’s mental illness for their own selfish ends will go down in history, and not in a good way.

If you are one who still believes the election was stolen, I would love to hear why.

 

Break-Up Letter to 2020

Dear 2020,

I am thankful we made it this far, but I am going to say goodbye today. We are finished.

Thankfully,

Denise

When I chose my one word for 2020, time, it was partly because I never had enough. I was never able to accomplish everything (hardly anything it seemed) on my to-do list. I think it had more to do with the fact that I am a teacher than that I was lazy or unproductive.

Ironically, though, early in the year I had more time than I needed. We were sent home from school on February 26, 2020. Learning online continued, and it was stressful at times, but time became much more plentiful. I did manage to achieve some of my hopes for 2020–like doing the NYT mini puzzle each day and taking a one-second video each day. (OK, I know!) But a big hope for me was to be more intentional about building relationships and leadership in those I work with. And, thankfully, this has been a definite highlight.

There were other hopes I did not reach. For instance, I haven’t finished my TESOL certificate or read 40 books in 2020. Why was it that 2020 was not a good reading year? I wondered quite often.

However, I spent some of my 2020 time on things that were not even on my list from last year, ideas that pre-covid were unheard of and/or long-neglected in my life.

  • I learned to cook with spices.
  • I have been exercising and lost 30 extra pounds that did not need to be on my body.
  • I took better care of my mental health.
  • I edited the videos for 40 online worship services for church.
  • I wrote more than 75 poems and more than 150 blog posts.
  • I have not gotten covid-19.

For all these things I am grateful. Since I’ve been practicing thankfulness when I wrote some gratiku and a poem about gratitude in November, I thought giving thanks is a worthy yearlong plan (or longer).

So, for 2021, I am choosing to be thankful, to say thank you every day to my God and to the people around me and in my life. Life is short, and I can’t always be productive. I’m going to embrace life and say thank you for it, even while I keep working for love, peace, change, and justice. While I work, and even when I’m unproductive, my one word for 2021 is Gratitude.

One word for 2021 --gratitude written on a canvas setting on a small easel
My one word for 2021

Images: Hour glass timer by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
Thank you blocks by Courtney Hedger on Unsplash

Other one word posts
Voice
Fit
Serenity
Hope
Sow
Time

The Isolation Journals Prompt 122 by Ezra Bookman
Choose one bit of gunk you want to get rid of, something you don’t want to carry with you into 2021. A negative thought you use to put yourself down, a limiting belief or bad habit. Some idol in your inner temple that’s holding your light back from the world. Write it a goodbye letter, as if you’re breaking up with it.

Getting Dumber

Today’s Slice of Life post at TwoWritingTeachers.org

Today I really felt the effect on my brain when using texting to communicate in our fast-paced world. I fear my mind is deteriorating! Or at least giving me new opportunities for problem solving.

I was standing in the line at the supermarket and I checked my messages…

First I went back to the Christmas decoration section and put this giant tree into an empty cart. Then I felt I had to send a bit of an explanation as to why I texted this random contact to ask if he wanted me to buy him a Christmas tree. (This is not the first time I have texted the wrong group or individual.)

Next, I read the text above from another person. I have learned to read auto-correct spelling now, so I assume we will use this book for devotions rather than deviations.

Finally, I was writing to tell my husband I joined the queue at Aisle 13 with my Christmas tree. Before I sent the Aussie text, I noticed it, took a breath and laughed.

Overall, though, I am still grateful for the ability to communicate in this strange way.

Thinking about Possible One Little Words and Teeth

A day late for Slice of Life at TwoWritingTeachers.org

Gratitude, connection, creation, and change. These are in my future for 2021, at least that’s what I heard from Instagram. I like those words, actually, and perhaps they will spark an idea for my one little word for 2021.

Today I’m grateful. Yesterday I was eating a piece of white bread toast, not that toasty. I took a bite and bit on something very hard. I spit it out, wondering what in the heck happened.

My husband took it and determined it was  a fingernail. I thought I would never look the same at my favorite grocer with freshly baked bread. I threw away the rest of the toast.

Then I went into the other room, and quickly came running back to tell my husband, “It was my tooth!” I had run my tongue along a part of my mouth and realized my crown had broken.

Then I walked over to the dentist, in the next building. I went right in to see the doctor. He assessed the situation, and made an appointment for 3:15, a few hours later.

So, today, I’m grateful for my teeth and the dentist who was available and fixed my crown, helping keep me healthy.