What Can I Do?

 

I’ve been watching for awhile now. Quietly observing. Taking it all in. The loud voices, the ones that can’t speak, and the ones that can no longer speak. I’ve watched and tried to make sense of it all. I’ve turned and looked the other way hoping it would all just go away.

But it hasn’t and it won’t. I go to my journal sometimes when I can’t make sense of the world. This is my online journal. This is an inside view to the thoughts and ramblings that go on inside of my head. They don’t always make sense. They are a work in progress as I work to process what I am seeing and feeling. This is not going to be politically correct and I’m sure someone will be offended. But I can’t stay silent any longer. I don’t know what to say, so I’ll write it all down and look at it later, again and again.

I have shut the TV off years ago, too much to take in. I turn off videos I feel will be a trigger for me. I watched a video yesterday that I can’t get out of my head and it’s one of dozens and the signs of it stopping are just not there the way they should be.

A man was shot and killed while he had his back turned to officers, and his arms raised high against his car. A.MAN.WAS.KILLED

I am repulsed beyond measure. Like when maggots that infest a deep wound while the fallen is gasping for his last breath; eating away at the flesh furiously and with no apologies. The smell. The sight. Pungent, putrid, repugnant, revolting. I want to look away as I have many times in the past. I wasn’t sure if I could handle the thought of what was happening. I was protecting myself.

I was wrong.

It’s not about me.

My black friends and family can’t look away. They can’t get away. They can’t turn it off, or turn it down, or tune it out. No one is protecting them, or their children.

Then a man quietly and peacefully protests in a public way. A constitutional right that many have used in the past to cause awareness and action where seemingly none is present.

The country erupts. It goes mad. Once again oppressing the already oppressed. Once again invalidating, turning their heads (our heads).

If you are upset about a peaceful protest then I can only imagine how upset it must make you to see innocent lives taken. Men, women AND children’s lives TAKEN from them. To see that the country represented by the flag and honored in the Star Spangled Banner, that the freedoms, rights, and liberties that these things represent are being denied to a large part of this country’s population must utterly appall you. Certainly things are not as important as people, right? Surely these symbols represent every person, right? The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, yes!?

Me too.

I’ve never been a person to sit by and watch as injustice is being done. On this one though, I was stumped. What can I do? What should I do? Until now. Next time you see me, and the national anthem is being played please take a knee with me. I’ll wrap my arm around you, I’ll hold your hand. We can do this together. In solidarity. It may not stop the killings but maybe it will bring awareness. Maybe enough people will be brave enough and fed up enough to take a stand, by taking a knee. I am an ally. I can’t change it alone. And maybe my actions aren’t the right ones, maybe it won’t matter. But I want my black friends and family to know that I have my eyes fully open now. I see you. I hear you.

This is not to dishonor the men and women in armed forces that have fought and sometimes died. Quite the opposite. It is to try to make a change so that their efforts and lives are not and were not lost in vain. It is to bring awareness to a group that is living now without their human and essential rights, and freedoms.

This isn’t over, but this is where I am at this moment. These are my thoughts in this second of this day. I get to breathe, and go forward with out fear. I can’t say the same is true for everyone in this country and that is not okay.

Biggest Powerball in Lottery History

Wow! All this Powerball fuss is incredible! It’s, at this moment, a whopping 1.3 BILLION dollars, and the biggest in lottery history. Facebook is inundated with posts about how people will spend the money if they win. IF THEY WIN!! It has created a frenzy to say the least.

I think the overwhelming majority of people buying tickets cannot even fathom the amount of money the pay out would be. How could they? The average income in our country is $51,000 a year. In Kansas the annual pay out, after taxes, is $30 Million per year for 30 years! The sad truth is most people that win are out of money in a few short years. But it isn’t stopping anyone from trying. And as the saying goes “you don’t win if you don’t play”.

I was in the gas station today and there were about 6 people standing in line, all talking about the Powerball. “How many tickets are you getting?” “I heard someone bought $100 worth of tickets earlier.” “Somebody has to win right?” And the conversations continued as I walked out the door. It reminded me of something- my all time favorite movie, Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

In the movie, Charlie’s family was poor and sickly and I desperately wanted him to find a GOLDEN TICKET. Do you remember those scenes of people screaming and fighting over those tickets? People were swiping them out of each other’s hands and claiming them for their own. These people were in an all out hysteria over the tickets and there were several, (unlike the chances of the Powerball) and the prize was a tour of a chocolate factory that had shut its doors to the public years before.

The press would interview each golden ticket finding family and most the recipients were a loathsome bunch. But Charlie was a sweet boy. He was a good boy. Did what his parents asked, was respectful and humble. He had nothing. He ate cabbage soup every day for dinner and sometimes it didn’t even have cabbage!! When I watched his birthday celebration and realized he was going to be able to buy a bar, one bar, in which he hoped to get a golden ticket my heart raced I was so excited for poor Charlie.

willie wonka

I wonder if all this fuss will bring someone his or her dreams? Charlie found a golden ticket and toured the factory. After a somewhat abrupt end and an unexpected outburst by the owner, Willie Wonka, Charlie humbled himself and walked away. I wonder if the winner could walk away? But it was in that act that he won the grand prize. His humility and honesty won him the greatest most elaborate perfectly timed extraordinary prize of his lifetime.

The movie was a reminder that good things happen to good people and that money can’t buy happiness. It gave me hope. It showed me that the world is inherently good. When I was a kid, and even still now (I can admit it) I loved that movie. I would watch it over and over. It represented hope and what can happen if you can simply imagine it will. It was a kid’s dream come true. I wanted to ride in that flying glass elevator, I wanted to push the red button and soar through the glass ceiling (I’d still like to shatter the glass ceiling but that’s a blog for another day). I wanted to feel like I was floating on air just like Charlie!

powerball

I hope someone wins. I want them to have everything they ever dreamed of. I hope it’s someone like Charlie who came from nothing. I’m a sucker for a good underdog story. I’ll believe they are good, honest and humble like Charlie. I will believe that winning this prize will send them down a road that will turn their lives around for generations to come in their family. I will imagine them blasting through that glass ceiling that held them back from everything they ever wanted.

“If you want to view paradise
Simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it
Wanna change the world?
There’s nothing to it
There is no life I know
To compare with
Pure imagination
Living there, you’ll be free
If you truly wish to be”
Willie Wonka and The Chocolate Factory