Thursday, 4 June 2020

“I love my country but it wears a uniform”

This morning as I was driving to the post office for my job, as I do each week since the shutdown began, a song came on my Pandora mix that always delights me, “Labour of Love” by Frente. Their 1992 album, “Marvin the album” was always a go-to for me then, and well, even now. Sometimes you hear a song differently than you used to. Sometimes it is a lyric or a hook, or something just hits you anew and when the song finished another from the same album popped into my head. I kept humming it and singing the lyrics I could remember, but I didn’t even know the track’s name and I wanted to fill in the missing pieces so I could at least sing it to myself.
So I got back home after visiting the office and asked my Alexa device to play the album after a glance at the track list gave me no clues for the song I was thinking of. And then the track began to play…

I love my country
but it wears a uniform
it speaks with foreign guns
in the background you can almost hear
the sound of intervention
and I don’t know when liberty fell
but we rang every mission bell
we rang them loud and clearly
to a world that wouldn’t listen

I don’t want to die
I’m as innocent as anybody
I don’t even know how to spell
revolutionary
Jesus in the sky
the bullets in the guns
you don’t even know what we
mean by repression

blood is the colour of the sunset
you walked into the darkness
I did not hear your last breath
there will not be an inquest
this is not human interest
we danced the dirt with
surrender for our drumbeat
we danced for the balance sheet
died for the kind of lasting peace
that pleases the world policeman

and fatherland raped motherhood
and told her it was for the global good
and now we ring the mission bell
to warn their children
and I don’t want to die
I’m as innocent as anybody
I don’t even know how to spell
revolutionary
Jesus in the sky
the bullets in the guns
you don’t even know what we
mean by repression

blood is the colour of the sunset
you walked into the darkness
I did not hear your last breath
there will not be an inquest
this is not human interest

This song, “Cuscutlan” despite it being old, it’s lyrics are still quite relevant. Cuscutlan is what El Salvador was called before it was conquered and the song is about that takeover and what’s happened in El Salavador (Frente are Australian). You can hear the song (with lyrics) here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hl1uIcZfcIY

The line, “I love my country but it wears a uniform” was on repeat in my head this morning when it first came to mind. It brought the image I saw yesterday on Twitter of how the American Police uniform had changed since the 1960’s. Not just the uniform, but the equipment and protective devices/armor/etc they use now as well. It’s to the extent that it’s difficult to tell what is riot gear and what is regular police gear. It is frightening!

I’m not sure I have a huge point to this post. The truth is that white people created all of the problems in this world. Don’t agree? YOU ARE WRONG! Sit with that for a good long time. Being wrong is awesome as it is a chance to learn and grow as a person, thus making you better than you were before you realized you were wrong. Woo!

I’ve been an activist/protestor/demonstrator off and on for thirty years. First with the Gulf War and then animal and environmental demonstrations. I was fully aware and exposed to racism (not directed at me) from the age of 5 when we moved into the duplex where I grew up. I saw the violence first hand that the police dealt to Black people in our neighborhood. I couldn’t understand of course, but I saw horrific and brutal violence and luckily my parents were pretty good about explaining some things back then.

Just because I wasn’t raised with racist parents or ideals doesn’t mean I don’t benefit from white supremacy or the systemic racism in our world. I most definitely do! However, I’m not worried about getting called a Karen or a racist because I know what I put out into the world and the work I have done in my life. And I have been called a racist before, publicly. It was hard to hear, but I owned it and made amends and have worked very hard to not only better myself but also everyone in my circle of influence. I got comfortable being uncomfortable. That was key! Because I had my facts and history straight, I knew and checked my privilege, my intentions were always good. However, intentions do not matter. The impact of what we say and do in the world does. We don’t get to decide what that impact is. If someone tells you that what you said or did was racist and hurt them, believe them, apologize, explain that you want to do better and will work hard to do so. Seek support in your anti racist self education from other anti racist whites. Do not ever ask someone you’ve harmed to explain it to you, they do not owe you that.

Our government has failed us at every turn, so it is up to us to look out for each other and ourselves. White people need to get used to being uncomfortable and put in the work of healing the harm we’ve caused the world over. We absolutely must take this hard on the chin and fucking own it for what it is. (It’s not supposed to feel good!) Only then can we begin to heal and to rebuild our communities without the trappings of white supremacy. We can then change the tide of civilization, heal our planet, and push humanity to a higher plane of consciousness.

We must do all we can to fight oppression and to support the oppressed. Use your privilege to help others, to protect them, to boost their voices and ideas. Not everyone is able to attend demonstrations of protest. Not everyone can donate large sums to Black organizations. I get that. But there are SO MANY other ways to support Black people right now. See this blog’s FB or Twitter page for resources, links, and so much more.

Do NOT under any circumstance ask your Black friends to explain race related shit to you at all ever! Or to tell you what you should be doing about it now. It is not their obligation, regardless of your relationship with them. Nope! That is adding to their burden and emotional load. You CAN give them money to buy food for their families, or ask if you can pay a bill, run an errand, watch their kids, or some other form of support that doesn’t include them doing shit for white people.

If you have ever thought about what you might have done had you been alive and witness to the horrors of the Holocaust or the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s, this is your time NOW! Right now! This is not an InstaGram moment, this isn’t even a Kodak moment. This is life or death and it is unbearable to watch Black people being murdered by police every day in our country. It is even worse torture for Black people to see it.

So I’m a fucking tree hugging hippie at heart! Kiss my ass why don’t ya! Ha! I don’t want to buy everyone in the world a Coke, though. I have no solace to offer, no perfect line of wisdom to relay. I can only share my flaws, cares, doubts, and hopes. Music helps. Davy D, of local and KPFA’s “Hard Knock Radio” show fame, has been posting some excellent playlists (follow him, he posts good shit!) along with hard hitting reporting on the ground in Oakland, CA. After binging the Hulu series High Fidelity and My Mad Fat Diary I have been inspired to dive back into listening to albums that were developmentally important to me. Right now I have Paula Abdul’s debut album blaring. I think next will have to be Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation, seem appropriate.

***

I’m here for realness and sincerity, honesty and vulnerability, I’m here for the good and juicy bits of life that shine for me when I know I’m heading in the right direction.

Rad Fatty Love to ALL,
<3
S

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