The Adverse Effect Upon Children In The Era of Trump

I have observed for several years now that Conservative ideology prioritizes the right to profit over the needs of the people. Such has always disturbed me. But now that we are living in the “Era of Trump”, I have observed a focal point of that general ideology which escalates my concerns to a sense of urgency heretofore unrealized.

I am highly disturbed by the fact that in less than 2 months since Donald J. Trump assumed the Office of the Presidency, that several policies have been enacted or are in the works which result in harmful effects upon CHILDREN.

I find such to be inhumane, indefensible, and unequivocally unacceptable.

Consider the following examples:

1. The Muslim Ban has terrorized and potentially threatened the safety of CHILDREN. Families from war torn region are banned from entering the land of liberty, thus creating terror for the children whose parents must now find a place for their already displaced loved ones to settle and live. Who knows the perils that await such CHILDREN due to this insensitive and inhumane ban against immigration.

2. The Deportation of people whose only “crime” is being here has terrorized and potentially threatened the safety of CHILDREN. Families have been torn apart as children have witnessed their parents taken from their homes and disappeared. School children live in terror that their Mother might not be there after school to take them to the safety and security of their homes. Then once these precious children are home they live in terror that perhaps their Father might not come home in the evening from work as he has done so each and every day of their lives. And then to compound the terror that burdens the minds of these innocent children, they go to bed each night terrified that at sometime during the night their parents might be taken away by the Authorities and disappeared, and that they themselves might be snatched from their beds and taken to places which in their minds could only be perceived as places of horror akin to a living hell.

3. The reversal of President Obama’s order to allow transgender children in the Public Schools to utilize the bathroom of their choice will terrorize and potentially threaten the safety of these precious little ones. The insensitivity to the feelings of these already oftentimes misunderstood and all too often maliciously maligned children is reprehensible. The angst that a transgender child will experience by being forced to use a bathroom which is not in accord with the gender identity with which they personally most comfortably identify will terrorize these children, and could potentially lead to mental anguish with long term effects. Not to mention that now those precious children will be more vulnerable to bullying and taunting as a result of this insensitive policy reversal.

4. The prospective repeal of the Affordable Healthcare Act threatens the health and general welfare of countless children among the 20 million people who will lose Healthcare should such a repeal take place (as to “the general welfare”, such is the responsibility of Congress according to Article 1, Section 8 of our Constitution). In the light of the Trump Administration’s insensitivity to the suffering of children in the aforementioned context, I personally see no reason to trust this Administration to replace the ACA with any Healthcare plan which would be better suited to provide for the health needs of our society’s children than the ACA itself. That said, I would welcome a Single Payer, Healthcare for all system, but clearly such is so far removed from Conservative ideology in general, that there is no reason to even entertain such becoming a reality so long as this regime rules.

5. The proposed HR 610 Bill threatens the nutritional health of school children nationwide. It is bad enough that HR 610 steals from funding for public schools in order to support private education (which should be paid for out of private pockets), but furthermore by eliminating nutritional standards for school lunches and breakfasts this Administration is shamefully sacrificing the health and general welfare of our public school children for budget cuts and cost saving purposes. In essence, the health of school children is threatened for a price paid for by the public on the return of the enterprise of private education endeavors.

6. Now that House Republicans have voted to allow the dumping of Coal in rivers, and now that President Trump has authorized the building of the DAPL under a major water source in Native American regions, there will be a potential threat to the health of the children who live in those areas of the country. The fact that the Environmental Study related to the DAPL will now not be published, the public will not have access to the environmental and health effects of such, thus sheltering the public from ever knowing the degree of the perils to which the children of those area are being subjected.

Conclusion:

The fact that the focal point of many of the current Administration’s policies in such a short span of time results in the terrorizing of and potential health threats to innocent children is alarming and disconcerting. Although I am not saying that it is the intent of the current regime to harm children; nonetheless the effect of many of the Trump Administration’s earliest policies and decisions has done reprehensible harm to the mental and physical well being of our CHILDREN.

If the potential adverse effects upon CHILDREN is an unsuitable litmus test for an Administration’s policies and ideology, then what pray tell can justify the terrorizing and potential health threats to the most innocent and vulnerable of all beings in any given society?

If adverse effects upon children is the price in order to “Make America Great” again, then perhaps such an effort was never such a great idea in the first place, at least as conceived in the mind of Conservative ideology as executed in the Donald J. Trump Presidential Administration.

On Healthcare, Human Rights, and a Humane Society

Healthcare is a basic Human Right; hence:

1. The issue of Healthcare is a Human Rights issue.

2. The denial of Healthcare to even a single person is a violation of that person’s basic Human Rights; and is inhumane in and of itself.

3. The societal system which maintains that the rights of an individual or entity to make a profit is more important than the rights of an individual to have Healthcare is an inhumane system, and is a violation of basic Human Rights in and of itself.

4. The only way that a society can be a humane and just society is to ensure that each individual has Healthcare.

5. The logistics as to how to provide Healthcare to each and every individual then are necessary details in order to maintain our humaneness as a society and as a people.

Beware The Written Word

Beware the written word,

When choosing right from wrong.

Words are human expressions,

As the lyrics of a song.

Even this poem,

Merely my personal thoughts.

Reflect beyond such words,

When choosing not from ought.

Written words may be a guide,

Yet interpretations deceive.

Be selective what you read,

Even more so what you believe.

For laws and regulations,

Verses and scriptural citations.

May be the utility of the deceitful,

To confuse church and nation.

I would hope the Christian’s life,

Bible values would exceed.

For sensitivity to suffering,

Is a noble quality indeed.

Even a lawyer’s written decision,

Was our past President’s alibi.

When torture and human suffering,

He sought to justify.

Beyond Book, Chapter, and Verse,

Beyond Code and Ordinance.

The worth while guide to right,

Compassion and kindness,

Noble qualities of humanity.

Felt and experienced,

A sure guide for you and me.

Beware the written word,

When choosing right from wrong.

The standard and the guide,

Was within you all along.

Dave Henderson

Denison, Texas

daveylee1961@gmail.com

On Offensive Mascots

As of late, the topic of “offensive mascots” in sports has resurfaced, specifically with reference to the Washington Redskins. Although this topic oftentimes circulates, there seems to be very little action taken towards changing the name of questionable mascots. Yet the controversy abounds, as evidenced by the recent Native American demonstration outside the nationally televised Dallas-Washington Monday night football game in Texas.

Invariably, (and predictably) people tend to opine quite passionately on each side of this issue when the topic arises. The arguments vary from allusions to tradition and history by those who wish to maintain the “status quo”, to accusations of bigotry and racism by those who are calling for changes to be made. The “maintain status quo” crowd claims the groups calling for mascot name changes are being overly sensitive. The “make name changes” crowd claims that those who cling to questionable mascots are being insensitive.

Who is right?
Who is wrong?

Let us consider the perspective of “the maintain status quo” crowd.

I can well recall my perspective when I first became aware that there even was an issue relative to team mascots. I thought the whole debate was simply ridiculous. I had grown up a baseball fan, and in particularly was taken with Hank Aaron, the great Atlanta Braves slugger who eventually broke Babe Ruth’s career home run record. As Hammerin’ Hank neared the record, the role of the longtime Braves’ mascot Chief Noc-A-Homa took on a more than significant meaning to baseball fans of the early ‘70s. In fact, during the period of time en route to Aaron’s eventual overtaking of The Babe on the All Time Home Run list, Chief Noc-A-Homa was perhaps the best known and most beloved of all baseball mascots.

I had likewise attended Texas Rangers baseball games in my home community of DFW, and more than once I had the opportunity to watch them compete against the Cleveland Indians. It never occurred to me when I saw the Chief Wahoo caricature on the opposition’s caps that such was somehow insensitive or offensive. I merely wanted my Rangers to beat the visiting Cleveland club. The image of the Native American with the silly looking grin on his face was of no concern to me one way or the other.

Such is the perspective of the unaffected and the historically biased with regards to racial insensitivity. Unfortunately, such is the perspective of conditioned ignorance which can lead to selective insensitivity.

I myself unwittingly maintained a historic bias with regards to racially insensitive mascots and logos.

My historical bias was of course that of a sports fan. My perspective was to view mascots such as Atlanta’s Chief Noc-A-Homa and Cleveland’s Chief Wahoo as merely an aspect of the sports fan experience. I never would have thought to associate Chief Noc-A-Homa’s Tee Pee in the stands as making fun of or insensitive towards the Native American people. Nor would I have thought of the silly grin on Chief Wahoo’s face as somehow disrespectful towards or demeaning of Native American persons. But the reason for my clueless perspective was that I was viewing such through the prism of a sports fan with no depth of thought as to unintended effect.

But my thinking on the matter was likewise clouded by yet another historical bias. For my historical bias as to offensive mascots was not only that of a sports fan, but likewise my historical bias was that of being the product of a less racially sensitive time than even now.

Granted, the ‘60s and ‘70s (my school years) were times of growth, maturity, and progress with reference to race relations. Yet, those were likewise times of awkwardness, frustration, and insensitivity towards minorities as caucasians and minorities alike adjusted to the concept of social equality. Now in some ways these were mere “growing pains”, yet there was an undercurrent of a more problematic nature which made the transition uncomfortable and in some cases unbearable for minorities in general. There were doubtless positive strides made towards social equality, but looking back I think we were more slow to be SENSITIVE to the feelings of minorities in the process than we likely realized. Frankly, there was a sense of condescension as minorities were allowed to “come on board” so to speak, that left an impression that we caucasians were doing some sort of favor for African Americans and others by accepting them onto the same side of the street, into the same public schools, and yes; even into the same public restrooms. Consequently, there was undoubtedly an intensified frustration for minorities who were being “allowed” into a mainstream public, when that public included restaurants with names like Sambos and where influential city personnel and public officials had lawn ornaments of little black boys with white hats and silly grins.

The transition of race relations in the ‘60s and ‘70s was frankly slow and tedious, and our thinking was unfortunately still clouded by an assumed superiority and a sometimes unintentional yet nonetheless ever hurtful insensitivity to people who had been subjugated and separated for no fault of their own save the ignorance and arrogance of our own forefathers.

But that was then, and this is now.

Frankly, the times of unintentional insensitivity are times of the past. As lame as the excuses were then, there simply are no longer viable excuses for vile conduct. We caucasians have had plenty of time to finally grow up and get over our assumed superiority over the minorities of our society.

It is time that we stop telling others what is and is not offensive, and time for us to LISTEN to others as they ENLIGHTEN US as to the realities of insensitivity and inappropriateness.

It is time for us to accept that ours is not to assume that we know what is and is not acceptable, and time for us to LISTEN to others as they ENLIGHTEN US as to what is and what is not appropriate.

I am convinced that the burden of responsibility is upon society to listen to AND to defer as a matter of respect to minorities with reference to any and all mascots that they deem offensive, and make the necessary adjustments post haste. If that means that the name Redskins needs to go the way of the name of Sambo’s, then so be it. If that means Chief Wahoo needs to go the way of racist lawn ornaments then so be it. If that even means that mascots such as Chiefs (my favorite NFL team as it were), Braves, and Warriors need to go by the wayside as well, then so be it.

The responsibility is not for minorities to “grow up by giving in” to the will of the caucasian driven society, but rather the time is come for society to be sensitive to and willingly defer to the feelings of all people.

The place is not society’s to dictate to minorities what should and should not be offensive to them. Rather the time has come for society to be sensitive towards the feelings of all people and acquiesce to those who request change as a matter of respect for their heritage and their culture.

Frankly, the time has come for a culture which claims to be founded upon Christian values to practice what their principles preach. It is time to “do unto others as we would have them do unto us”.

It is time to stop hiding behind lame excuses of pure intent, and time to make respectful changes necessary to demonstrate pure intent.

It is time to be sensitive towards the feelings of others.

It is time to actually care about the effect that our social actions have on others.

It is time for our society to grow up and do the right thing.

Dave Henderson
Denison, Texas

Your Problem; My Problem: Racism and The Police State

Your problem; my problem.

That is the nature of reality.

I am a Southern white male.

Proud of my heritage. Proud of my family. Proud of who I am. As I damn well should be. Everyone should walk through this life with their heads held high and their countenance in accord.

Whatever else we of humanity are; we simply are. Why not enjoy the experience of our random existence and like Minnie Pearl, just “be proud to be here”. There is nothing wrong with such a perspective, and everything right about it in my view.

But pride and self worth notwithstanding, there is a reality that simply must not escape me.

Whatever else we of humanity are; we simply are interconnected. Existence is a web. Everything and everyone existing at the same time are interconnected and share common ground if for no other reason than we all stand on and share the common ground of mother earth. If this era of instant global communication teaches us anything it should make us aware that we all share a common existence as inhabitants of mother earth in the way of communal humanity.

And how much more so do the common aspects of our earthly existence become real and practical than when considered from the perspective of the concept of “society”. The concept of society; no matter whether local, regional, or national, is a reminder that we of the human race are interconnected and interdependent whether or not we wish to acknowledge the fact.

That said, as this 53 year old Southern white male ages, I am becoming increasingly aware that the concept of “Your problem, my problem” is the simple nature of reality. I can ignore that reality. I can deny that reality. But I sure as hell cannot avoid living that reality.

And so with each passing day, and with each troublesome daily headline, I become increasingly aware that the problems of others are in fact my problems; even though their ideology or circumstances may differ from my own. Thus:

Your problem; My problem.

The Problem of Racism Is My Problem

First off, if you think that I am addressing a “problem of the past’; something that “used to be, but no longer is”; then with all due respect; whether you intend such to be the case or not:

You are part of the problem; rather than a part of the solution.

The denial of the reality of an ever present, ever real, and frankly “never went away” racism is the cornerstone of the the darkest of our society’s social ills (no pun intended).

For while many of we Caucasians of the 21st century have complacently patted ourselves on the back and assumed that the Civil Rights Act of 1965 and our slow but steady acceptance of interracial relationships has somehow enabled us to overcome the national sins of our ancestors; the real world of racism and fascism has waged on in the streets of the inner city. Now whether we just did not know or did not care to acknowledge the reality of life in the black community, the advent of the phone video, and the utility of Youtube has certainly opened our eyes as to life in the streets for the black community, and has allowed us to see for ourselves the degree of provocation and aggression which is exercised towards the black community on a daily basis.

Now someone might say Dave, why do you; a white Southern male give a damn about what happens to “black folk in the city”.

Well, firstly, everytime I see or read about yet another oftentimes unarmed black male shot to death (oftentimes with multiple gunshots) by the police, I know that the young victim is laying in a pool of blood which is the same color as the crimson red blood that flows through my own Caucasian veins. The fact is that any time a black male is gunned down in the streets, then another one of my brethren in the human family has gone by the wayside.

And so although I am a Southern white male; I am nonetheless deeply concerned with the recently revealed trend of the disrespectful and deadly maltreatment of the black community by certain over exuberant police officers. Again, I emphasize recently “revealed” for the simple reason that the maltreatment and murder of the African American male by white police officers is by no means a recent trend. The only aspect of this most serious of all human rights violations which is recent, is the capability of phone videos and Youtube to reveal to us all the living hell which is the life of the black community when subjected to the oppressive rule of tyrannical and trigger happy police officers whose methods of operation of patrol is to profile and whose means of dealing with the resistance which they themselves oftentimes provoke is that of brute force and public execution. Then, to add insult to injury, the tyranny of the fascist police officer is further empowered by tasers and tear gas, while an all too often apathetic and insensitive white community judges and criticizes the rage of the black community who are becoming increasingly frustrated at the paradox of living in a society which claims to be the beacon of freedom and security, yet whose streets are patrolled by deputized peace officers who all too often become armed assassins. This is a vicious cycle which has seen no end, nor are there signs of any changes to the positive contrary anytime in the near future, which only intensifies the frustration of an already disenfranchised and despondent sector of our social community.

A secondary concern relative to the plight of the now publicized aggression against the black community by our public servants, is the precedent being set by a lack of accountability of the racist and fascist police force for their crimes against humanity. This aspect of police brutality should be regarded as a matter of concern for all peoples, black or white, because with each case of a deputized peace officer being allowed to murder with no accountability whatsoever further precedent is set for a socially accepted police state. This we simply cannot abide.

Frankly, how short sighted for those of us who are not directly affected by this inhumane maltreatment to not realize that police brutality which is simply swept under the rug by a corrupt system of cover up sets a precedent for a militant and militarized policing of our ENTIRE society.

So long as the police are allowed to randomly ask for ID, damage personal property, torture by taser, beat, and/or shoot unarmed black males with NO accountability, then EVERYONE’s basic rights are in peril.

So long as the police are allowed to tear gas, torture by taser, beat, and/or shoot peaceful demonstrators who are rightfully assembling based upon the most basic of all rights of a free and civil society to assemble and protest as a means of collective communication, then EVERYONE’s basic rights are in peril.

CONCLUSION:

Every person is due the respect worthy of their very existence.

The African-American community has yet to be able to assume that natural right.

No one should live in fear that their living or yet unborn male sons may be provoked, bullied by, and shot by armed assassins whose responsibility is to “keep the peace” rather than to provoke and incite.

The African-American community has yet to live without that fear.

The basis for a free and civil society is that of the freedom to live and move about in our homes, neighborhoods, and even elsewhere without the fear of harassment or being oppressed by representatives of the state.

The African-American community has yet to be afforded that freedom.

In a free and civil society, everyone should have the right to assemble and collectively communicate their most heartfelt concern to the state specifically and to society at large without fear of being oppressed and attacked by a militant and militarized police force.

The African-American community has yet to be afforded that collective right.

As a 53 year old Southern white male, it may appear that the problems of the African-American community should not concern me.

But rather they must. They simply must.

If for no other reason than the interconnected nature of our human existence, but mainly because it is the right perspective to maintain:

Your Problem; IS My Problem.

Dave Henderson
Denison, Texas
existentialviews@gmail.com

(Note: This is the first of a short series of articles dealing with the concept of “Your Problem; My Problem”. Next: “Your Problem; My Problem: Homophobia and Misogyny”. Dave)

Made in the Image of the Creator

I have thought much as of late as to the nature of the biblical character Jehovah.  It seems so ironic that we are asserted to have been created in his image, and somewhat of a paradox that such is generally assumed to be a good thing.  There are clearly traits and tendencies which are common to both the children of humanity in general, as well as to he who so many adoringly refer to as “our Heavenly Father”.  As to whether such similarities are “good” is a matter of debate and personal tastes I suppose.

The history of humanity and the chronicles of the alleged deeds of the alleged deity known as Jehovah are too seemingly similar to regard such as mere coincidence.  For example, consider the exercise of barbaric conquests and systematic plundering in search of resources and profitable empire common to both human history and the chronicles of biblical record.  Furthermore, the disregard for human life in such quests for power and domination is clearly common to humanity and the alleged deity alike.  Sadly enough, the barbaric murder of women and children are the ways of plunder and conquest of mortal empires, as they were likewise the means of Jehovah to ensure that his beloved Israelites took what once belonged to others but which he regarded as rightfully theirs.

Indeed, the coveting of the resources of others for the purposes of exploitation to the ends of power and profit are the trademark methods of humanity and the alleged deity alike.  And each are recorded to have been vicious enough to brutalize and plunder as a means sufficient to establish such ends.

And so I suppose that the one is indeed the creator of the other, and that the other must have been made in the image of the creator.

But which is which?

Thoughts on War

Some folk assess the topic of War based upon whether it’s their party of choice whose turn it is to start a war; or whether it’s the other party’s turn to keep our practice of empirical world domination in full force with yet another war.  (It’s amazing how Republican war hawks evolve into doves and how normally peace loving Democrats suddenly see justification for war now that it’s Obama and company who are beating the drums of war.)

War is war.

It involves the killing of the innocents and the enrichment of the opportunistic.

I tend to doubt whether a mother of sons who lives in a war zone (something we Americans have generally not known about with 2 significant exceptions since we tried to wipe each other off the map back in the 1860’s) would be seen beating the drums of war; and I likewise tend to doubt whether an Executive for Haliburton or Lockheed Martin would be seen protesting war.

Those who suffer from war, and those who profit from the same will likely assess the subject the same regardless of which political party’s turn it is to start yet another war.

And the beat goes on….

Terrorism and Christianity

Terrorism and Christianity operate by the same principle.

“Do what I say, or else”.

The “I” in Christianity is God.

The “or else” is be tortured.

Like I said, Terrorism and Christianity operate by the same principle.

Now some might object that Terrorists are bloodthirsty tyrants with no regard for human life.

Those folks need to read the Old Testament.

Listen Up Young People!!

I look at this younger generation and I wonder, “what have they learned from mine?”:

Have they grasped the vital importance to scrutinize and judge humanity before making efforts to relieve human suffering?

Do they understand that it is more likely that the thousands who are suffering in poverty are lazy shiftless losers, than the remote possibility that the few hundred who live in lavish luxury are greedy exploiters of the globe in general and of humanity specifically?

Do they understand that industry and imperialism merely must be supported by foreign military endeavors, and that the cost of such is the reduction of unnecessary expenses such as education of the young and healthcare for the elderly and disabled?

Do they realize that even though our nation was founded by the brutal, deceptive, and exploitative efforts of undocumented foreigners, that illegal aliens merely must not be accepted into our society but must rather be relegated to the shadows and back alleys of our righteous society?

Do they not understand that even though sharing and caring is the way of kindergarten, that in the adult world such is a socialist plot to undermine and overthrow our very way of life?

Do they not understand how vitally important it is to blindly pledge allegiance to their society for no other reason than they were born on American soil?

Do they not realize that the attempted genocide of the Native Americans was a part of God’s plan for a righteous people much like the attempted genocide of the Canaanites was a part of God’s plan for the Israelites?

Do they not further understand that any seemingly brutal practices of the American military such as waterboarding and torturing individuals or drone strikes that kill civilians are justified because God is on our side?

Finally, and perhaps this is most important:

Do the young people of today not understand how vitally important it is for them to overcome the idealism of their youth as soon as possible so they can become the self serving exploiters of tomorrow?

Listen up young people!:

It is up to you to maintain the American way of life!!!