<Everyone is praying for you>
I am brought back into presence by the song of a bird I cannot see.
The Governor is asked about the possibility of opening up unemployment offices for socially distanced in-person interactions. He says this is not feasible, but Melissa DeRosa nods and smiles, says it’s a good idea, they would consider it. Of course, in-person interactions, in the midst of a pandemic.
(Sometimes we just need to nod and smile, acknowledge a wish, a desire, even if there is nothing we can do about it.)
We are all wearing black, even if we are not.
I’m fighting the gravity of depression with unfamiliar regularity, listening to the clock tick and tick and tick. I escape to the kitchen, make soup, put together blueberries with blackberries under butter mixed with sugar mixed with oatmeal, all in an attempt to comfort some aspect deep inside of me that is bleeding profusely.
We are all wearing black, and we are all bleeding.
It is no longer about you; about your consuming or accomplishments or fetishes. For once, it is no longer about content. With that at least, we breathe a sigh of relief. All the same that void is the void of life, a specific life, a man named George Floyd, and all the others before him.
“Police in America are looting black bodies every day.” (Trevor Noah)
Like this, we have eroded the social contract to a point where it means nothing anymore to a large percentage of society. A black body, a black man child.
“There is no Right Way to Protest. It’s not supposed to be Right. It’s Protest.” (Trevor Noah)
The principles of legitimacy have been made void.
Someone whose job is to protect and serve.
He was so calm.
He could do it, so he did it.
What vested interest do people have in upholding the Social Contract?
What part of that contract is a knee to the neck?
The people at the top need to be accountable and today you can hear the strain in the Governor’s voice. I suppose it is reasonable that he hasn’t picked a fight overtly until now, but then he does, perhaps unnecessarily, perhaps just because. Order was supposed to be maintained, and it wasn’t, and that is someone’s fault. Supposedly.
Supposedly order can be a fact.
But here is the thing, the blind spot of the Governor — facts are only facts, after the fact. For the full disclosure we would have to go back to the teachings of David Hume, one of the elders for whom we don’t exactly have the context at the moment. Perhaps we will gain that space, as time goes on. For the moment we must be content with the simple statement, that facts are only facts, after the fact.
They didn’t keep changing the facts on you. Life changed, then so did the facts.
Right now we are looking for the “Aha” moment. Some people are not seeing how these dominos connect.
Amy Cooper —> George Floyd —> Protests of Minneapolis
Everyone has been at home now for longer than we can ever remember. How long are we supposed to be good? This is real real now. Coronavirus exposed all of it.
“She used her whiteness to expose his blackness…[and realized] I can weaponize this tool.” (Trevor Noah)
If you deny human rights to anyone, you deny them to everyone.
Here we have descended from the original Eden and all the bad Adams with their repugnant apples. All of this ultimately descends from the triangle trade, from humanity’s inhumanity towards humanity.
Here we are with Steve Colbert. With the comedic intelligentsia. Confronting America’s preexisting condition, aka Racism. But he is not laughing when he says it is BYOP.
Be Your Own President.
(“He’s saying…Well, I don’t know exactly what he’s saying in his Tweets.”)
We must each be our own moral order.
Lass dich sinken lassen. Let yourself sink.
This is a glass of water.
This is not a glass of milk.
Let us see what are the facts as of this moment.
Returning to the fact of order, or lack of order, apparently the police did not do their job last night.
(That is called Chaos and Mayhem. That is how people get hurt.)
This is the one weak spot of the nation: Fear.
I believe they can do it. They need to be directed and managed. They need to be appropriately deployed and given support. But I believe they can do it without the Insurrection Act.
Insurrection: a violent uprising against an authority or government.
Parenthetically, said authorities, aka police officers, also need to be in a good state of mind, with good disciplinary records, and this is hardly the widespread case. Yes it is a stressful line of work. And then there is the Police Union.
It gave me the authority. Period.
(Said like an established white male)
With this I am forced to research Acts of Insurrection, and quickly come to Nat Turner, whose life only lasted 31 years. Born into slavery and died of it, after leading an insurrection. He was the leader, hung in Jerusalem.
The abolition of slavery did not occur until 1865. I am sure that many well-educated individuals will lose their dates here. I did. Well-funded public high school education and a few graduate degrees and I still wasn’t sure offhand about the dates of the American Civil War. As an American.
So many subtitles here within one hashtag. #blackouttuesday.
All the same let us recognize how fresh these wounds still are. Everything in society moves fast these days. Yet here we are just a few generations away from having conversations with people who lived through slavery. The oldest person I know was born in 1921, which makes her nearly 100 years old. Her grandmother was alive in the Civil War. Probably wearing wool in Washington State.
(Yes, take deep breathes if you need to. That is all I seem to do these days.)
Just like that Covid19 is yesterday’s news.
(Or is it?)
We will be humbled again in the future, this is for sure.
I thought the apocalypse was happening in my pajamas, said one friend. Wasn’t how I expected it. Then overnight it looks like an HD movie, just like we imagined it. Molotov cocktails and smashed windows and burning buildings and masses of people confronting walls of police with grenades exploding.
In the midst of this all the Governor is calling for a Real Reform Agenda.
Seize the Moment. Heal the Division. Protect Community.
It’s not going to work if we keep dividing.
Don’t play to the fear. Don’t do that.
I go to the lake in a moment of escape and sit in the sun with a friend discussing various possibilities. How to convert her extended family of white bigots in Ohio into sanity, for example.
When is that moment?
What creates that moment, of real change?
She felt like she should be there with her community on the streets of Detroit, instead of sitting by a lake sunning in Berlin reading a philosophical text about Pleasure Activism and a particular code used by Police, NHI, No Human Involved, aka, No Human Who Matters.
Even though Every Human Matters. Even as Pleasure can be real Activism.
In this moment of confusion and unrest, the smartest thing we can do is take a step back and get some perspective. Covid cases are down to an all-time low, says the Governor. Look at what we did.
All the same, now we’re standing out here, shoulder to shoulder, and people are fleeing the fascist takeover of Hong Kong. The world is descending into chaos, moment by moment, and this is not a movie we can turn off.
We have the right to air grievances.
This is “anyone who saw that video” is upset. Their rage is justified.
Just please, be calm and peaceful. This is all I ask.
Such a big cliffhanger there.
What about the architecture?
Killer Mike comes on just in time. I was just talking about him. Talking about how the Governor was too old (yes, he’s over 51) to connect with the kids on the streets, all those young people who are frustrated.
Yes he’s white and he’s upset.
But then we have Killer Mike, teaching us all about the Cornerstone of the Confederacy. He’s a mobilizer, with his own set of lists. This Is What You Have To Do Now America.
First of all Go Home. (Shelter in Place)
It is your duty to Fortify Your Own House, so you can be a House of Refuge.
My grandmother marched with MLK. And now your Black Momma Mayor is telling you to Go Home.
Because there’s work to do. We need to —
And not necessarily in that order.
Me, I’m a mobilizer. That’s what I do. But there are other people out there on the ground, doing what we want to do.
Join something. Don’t feel so lonely. Live Free.
Everyone deserves Hope.
That’s the real Natural Order of God. Not the Cornerstone that Black Men are meant to be subordinate to White Men. And of course they all need to subordinate to Women of all colors.
In this moment I need to take a <Pause> and remember where I am. I am in Germany. I am in Berlin. And once again I have to give the American People credit, for doing what the Germans always wish they did. Go Big or Go Home. Wenn schon, denn schon.
When already, then already. Get it Done people. Get it Done well.
We’re there friends. We’ve ripped off the bandaid. We can see the abscess. Now we just need to clean it out, give it some air, heal it. Put on a proper bandage. Maybe it needs physical therapy. In any case care for it. Be aware and attentive. Racism is real. It has been real. And God Bless America for shedding light on it, even as they created some of its worst forms and expressions.
America believes in Heroes, they believe in Change. They are not jaded like the Europeans, with all their countless revolutions and changes in the hands of power. That is all yesterday’s news. Tomorrow’s news. And like this we descend into culture and the status quo, blind to many an obvious contradiction.
Same Same but Different Everywhere.
There are sad and crazy things, and yet, Hope Happened Here.
We are healing generational trauma, and our grandmothers in Heaven are smiling at us, reborn as our neighbor’s children. Seeing all these circles finally, and maybe making good on them. This is time for a moral awaking, an evolution of our spiritual consciousness. Time is speeding up and it is catching up with us. Peoples’ minds are changing. We are taking in more than we ever have before. Here to atone for our original sin together. Notes and bits and pieces from Jon Batiste. Jean-Baptiste. Jean-Baptiste Lapointe.
“All Lives Matter and that’s why Black Lives Matter.”
The fifth chakra of humanity is opening, that is real Truth Speaking.
I just said what was in my heart. (Killer Mike)
Rising like a phoenix, ‘stead of sitting here in the ash and dust, watching murder porn.
We have to be better than this moment. Full stop.
Like this we are going to rewrite The Tale of Two Cities.
(Two days of material here, and it is two lifetimes in Cliffs Notes)
A Tale of Two Cities was a speech delivered by New York Governor Mario Cuomo on July 16, 1984, at the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco.
(Parenthetically, the main characters of the story are changing, in the most Shakespearean way. Do you see it happening? This is real time. Real life. Truth in High Definition.)
But let us return for the moment to our history lesson, all the way back to (the real) 1984.
In that moment, in San Francisco, the first Governor Cuomo constructed Democratic values in the image of a Family. Neighbors as our Family of Community. You don’t even need to try to listen to hear their repetition in yesterday’s briefing by Andrew. Except that now we need something else. We need Innovation. That is what the daughters are for. To point out the blind spots of (all their) fathers.
“I’d like to talk about the Family of America.”
The “Cuomo majority”, a coalition of black, Hispanic, white liberal, and labor unionist voters.
First of all,
There is the Shining City on the Hill.
Then there is the City, Down the Hill. On the Other Side of the Tracks.
We’ve all been there, if we haven’t been born into it.
It’s an Old Story. one of many.
“There are elderly people who tremble in the basements of the houses there. And there are people who sleep in the city streets, in the gutter, where the glitter doesn’t show. There are ghettos where thousands of young people, without a job or an education, give their lives away to drug dealers every day.
“Maybe, Mr. President, if you asked a woman who had been denied the help she needed to feed her children because you said you needed the money for a tax break for a millionaire or for a missile we couldn’t afford to use…” (Mario Cuomo)
Maybe then you’d know. Maybe if you took the time to read read The Tale of Two Cities.
Reagan’s Social Darwinism.
“Make the rich richer, and what falls from the table will be enough for the middle class.”
Government can’t do everything, after all.
(Wait a minute, this is beginning to sound familiar.)
All the things our President isn’t prepared to do. With this we are familiar.
500,000 tests yesterday in New York, less than 1000 positive.
(Do you remember when this would have been a big thing? Like, yesterday? Like, last month, when we didn’t even have enough tests? When people died because there weren’t enough tests?)
How small our achievements become in time.
“The difference between Democrats and Republicans has always been measured in courage and confidence.”
This is called effortless flexing.
Just say that again, effortless flexing.
(Sam’s a wise man)
“The Republicans believe that the wagon train will not make it to the frontier unless some of the old, some of the young, some of the weak are left behind by the side of the trail. “The strong—The strong,” they tell us, “will inherit the land.”
“We Democrats believe in something else. We Democrats believe that we can make it all the way with the whole family intact, and we have more than once. Ever since Franklin Roosevelt lifted himself from his wheelchair to lift this nation from its knees—wagon train after wagon train—to new frontiers of education, housing, peace; the whole family aboard, constantly reaching out to extend and enlarge that family; lifting them up into the wagon on the way; blacks and Hispanics, and people of every ethnic group, and native Americans—all those struggling to build their families and claim some small share of America. For nearly 50 years we carried them all to new levels of comfort, and security, and dignity, even affluence. And remember this, some of us in this room today are here only because this nation had that kind of confidence. And it would be wrong to forget that. So, here we are at this convention to remind ourselves where we come from and to claim the future for ourselves and for our children. Today our great Democratic Party, which has saved this nation from depression, from fascism, from racism, from corruption, is called upon to do it again—this time to save the nation from confusion and division, from the threat of eventual fiscal disaster, and most of all from the fear…” (Mario Cuomo)
Most of all from the fear.
Our original condition.
(Sister you just gotta pull them up on your raft)
Facing the firing squad:
Courage and Confidence.
Or you can just grab yourself and make a call for Ego and Arrogance.
Just don’t hurt me again in this Pity Parade.
Play the Victim and Point Fingers.
Yes, we’ve heard this story before.
These systems come from a failure of trust :
Don’t trust the public to understand.
If there is a moral end of this story it is Real Change.
A system that wants to change itself is failing due to architecture —
Dismantle the architecture:
It’s not about tweaking or adjusting,
It’s about tearing it down
You have to dominate
You have to arrest people
You have to try people
They need to go to jail for a long time
A heavily armed fortress
How do you get white Americans to care ?
To anyone who saw him, he was simply who he is,
A black man-child in the promised land that we all know as America.
Come up with a better way
46, 31, 16
Putting yourself in harms way
Is not the way
This way ain’t working
It ain’t happening
Burn it all down
Windows smashed out
I wanna make a change, I don’t wanna die
The Right Thing
Are they really here to protect us, or are they here to shut us up?
Cloud of smoke and tear gas billowing
This is not a movie
5 Hours past curfew
Another knee to the neck
A man lying face down in the middle of the road
June bugs are starting to come out
A red squirrel behind me eating trashcan leftovers
The birds songs resonate in the background,
behind the shouts of protestors, sounds of explosion.
An 8 year old black child pulled off their bicycle and put in the back of a police car,
Put in the system.
The problem is the system. We’re fighting Power.
It could have been you.
It could have been you, man.
Lined up in flex cuffs
Put on buses
A grand fissure erupted
Exposing all the injury
That was already there
Bitch sit down
Alright kids were gonna talk about gun control
Blessed are the peacemakers
Here in NY we actually read the Bible
The Seed of Righteousness is Sown in Peace
The military is not to be used as a political weapon. I said that.
You can’t set fire to the house and then claim you are the one trying to put out the flames. (AJ Parkinson)
We are talking about two different related situations—
Systemic Racism and Injustice
This is America
Guns in my area
Police be tripping up
There is no police officer that would defend that —
but there is.
The Police Union
Old Boys Club
(going down with the ship)
There are perilous times
We have I understand what’s going on
This is a time of Steep Consequences
Everything coming together —
We have to be careful.
Do not be overcome by evil.
Read the Bible. Read the Buddha. Read Dickens.
The Governor isn’t interested in psychoanalyzing the President.
(That’s okay, the rest of us do it in our spare time)
“I’m taking my Bible and going back to work,” he said.
(Always Look On The Bright Side, Stay Strong Buffalo)
Don’t snatch defeat from the jars of victory, he says, and as he starts to sing I feel like I’ve made it home, faintly, finally, at the end of the day.
Finally, a deep breath.
At one point we had the worst situation on the globe. We have to take a moment and ask ourselves,
What are we doing here?
If wasn’t great, but it wasn’t that bad either. Not as bad as it could have been.
Since this nation formed we have been battling in conflict. It is still the same sin, which is to say —
The idea that one man is worth more than another.
The original sin of subordination.
How in the law do you discriminate between two different classes of people.
(To be read as both declarative statement and question)
You’re killing young children in schools with an assault rifle? That shouldn’t be possible.
Common sense rises.
Now is a moment. I’m angry and I’m frustrated.
Be smart ! You need to know what you want.
(Again, one of those self-obvious expectations he holds of people, like Conviction.
Things you were apparently supposed to learn from your father.)
What do you want?
Here is my Agenda.
This Is What I Want.
That is how you get what you want. When you KNOW what you want.
Positive Reform Agenda.
A conflict of interest can be real or perceived.
That is why it is necessary to have a National Ban On Excessive Force.
To protect ourselves, from ourselves.
Education Equity, for example, and Anti-Poverty Agenda.
In THIS State…(you hear his hand knocking on the wood.)
In THIS State, it’s about Political Will.
Yes, let us remind you, about the Will to Live.
That is how you survive a Holocaust.
(Because apparently there will be more than one in some lifetimes)
Let’s be honest, he says, the Federal Government has a printing press in their basement.
The problem isn’t money.
Here’s MY agenda;
Where do YOU stand?
Pass laws that actually change the reality. THAT is True Justice.
(Otherwise it’s just screaming into the wind)
Screaming into the wind…
Is also necessary sometimes.
Even though the violence sometimes obscures the righteousness of the message —
Sometimes you just have to scream.
(Oh you see — they’re criminals. Burning down a Target.)
And then there are all those “Outside Groups” that come in to disrupt. “Professional Agitators.”
A legitimate protest movement.
“This is called the “principle of legitimacy,” and legitimacy is based on three things. First of all, the people who are asked to obey authority have to feel like they have a voice – that if they speak up, they will be heard. Second, the law has to be predictable. There has to be a reasonable expectation that the rules tomorrow are going to be roughly the same as the rules today. And third, the authority has to be fair. It can’t treat one group differently from another.” (Malcom Gladwell)
There are always people who will want to steal your heart and your property away.
You have to learn how to protect yourself from Mass Exposure.
Super Spreaders of Chaos.
The Governor taps his head —“It’s just discipline. But it’s also love.”
“We love each other. That’s community. That’s family. Even with the New York swagger.”
His tenor, timbre, volume, eloquence. That is his inheritance, and perhaps his legacy. A man who knows how to speak truth. That is why he is one of the main characters in this story.
The character that needs to enter stage left is the eloquent young organizer of the protests, conveying to the people on the street, the same thing the Governor is doing in his press briefings.
Aka Killer Mike. Who already did.
People United Can Do Anything.
We can end injustice. We can heal this nation. We just have to be Smart. Right Now. Tonight.
We haven’t articulated anything with the protests beyond happiness. This has done a lot of damage on all levels without advancing the key issues. Or?
The Police Union.
After #blackouttuesday, Wednesday is spent learning how, and why, corrupt police officers are still on the force. And there are many reasons, one of which being, it is almost impossible to fire a police office.
Did any of you know that?
You fire a police officer for bad behavior, and there is almost a 50% chance that you are going to be forced to hire him back. Because his job is so stressful. Because there are so many loopholes in justice. Because maybe there was reasonable fear, and of course civilians complaining can’t really know what they’re talking about.
(But he was just so calm. Just doing it, because he could.)
I look for moments, said the Governor, When I can overcome the inertia and status quo of government. To use the power of the people to act as a rudder for this freight of a governmental machine. It has such a mass in and of itself. In order to change direction, we need an upswell.
You’re going to have people, he says.
Johnny don’t want to go to school no more.
Johnny says books ain’t cool no more.
God Bless America you know we all love him.
Okay kids we’re gonna talk about gun control.
People who don’t want to change.
People who distract and discredit.
It’s that simple.
There are police cars driving into crowds
I don’t think that the
NYPD isn’t big enough
I don’t think that’s the issue.
If it’s not manpower,
What is it?
(Homocidal thoughts, a lot going on, basking in sin)
Last. Night. Was. Bad. For. Everyone.
We’re losing the moment people. If we don’t seize the moment.
(Trump seizes the moment, dispels protesters with tear gas in order to get a photo-op with a Bible that isn’t his in front a Church he doesn’t pray in, and everyone makes fun of him for it.)
Makes us cry. All that tear gas.
Restless sleep and consternation.
He did not pray.
Take a knee, officer.
Be humble, bitch.
This is the war that everyone was waiting for. Not Coronavirus. That was just preparation.
The calm before the storm. Just standing in front of the microwave, waiting for your roommate to shut up so you can go back to your room with your ramen.
Brazil Russia Britain US — all these countries with populist male leaders and illiberal ethics.
THAT’S where the virus is spreading.
This is nothing anyone wanted, but I can’t say I didn’t see it coming.
(Candles burning down the past…then it’s gone.)