At Mother’s breakfast table we were always encouraged to talk about stuff. That was a given. It was how families operated in the 60’s and 70’s. Mom and Dad not only listened to the mindless drivel coming out of the childish mouths of me, my two sisters, and my stinky little brother, but they also tended to hold forth about things they wished to teach us. We learned Methodist-Church-flavored Christianity and Eisenhower-Republican values. Ike had been president when I was born and got most of the credit for the post-war boom in the economy. We were middle-class people with solid middle-class values.
And then I had the bad sense to grow up and start thinking for myself. Nixon had let me down big-time when I was in high school. I had defended him against my McGovern-leaning loony liberal friends. My best friend was a preacher’s kid, a Methodist preacher’s kid. His father actually believed in progressive nonsense about sex-education for children and helping to feed the poor. And then Nixon turned out to be a liar, a coverer-upper, a cheat, and a bad-word-user. I suspect, though my Dad never admitted it, that he may have voted for Carter over Ford. It was my first time voting, and it actually felt good to use my vote to strike back at the party that betrayed my trust.
Religion, too. In the late seventies a man named Carl Sagan put on a TV show called Cosmos. The man bedazzled my father and I with Science. He taught us that every molecule of us was composed of atoms that could only have been forged in the cosmic furnaces in the centers of stars. He showed us how spectroscopy of the stars could show us what they were made of. He showed us the meaning of Einstein’s special Theory of Relativity. He pulled the universe together for us in a way that could not be undone. And he did it without calling upon the name and blessings of God. But he pointed out that we are connected to everything in the universe and everything is connected to us. To me, that seemed to define God. My religion was changing from Christianity to Saganism. Of course, Mom heard that as “paganism”. Breakfast table talking changed into early morning arguments. We didn’t exactly throw chairs at each other, but some pretty heated and pretty large ideas went flying through the air. Religion and politics became the banned topics at the breakfast table.
So that brings me to the Paffooney points for today. This blog has turned into a place where a disobedient son, a horrible sort of “free-thinker” type of radical hippie pinko goofball, can talk about the loony-liberal progressive ideas that have taken over his good-little Eisenhower-Republican little-boy mind. I spent the last post talking existentially about my religious beliefs. My conservative, old-fashioned friends and family call me an atheist now, but I truly believe in God. It’s just, I recognize the factors behind Christian myths. I bow to the wisdom of Scientists like Sagan, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and Stephen Hawking… as well as hippie psychologists like Alan Watts… and literary heroes like J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S, Lewis.
I am proud to be an Iowegian (a Mickian word for being from Iowa), yet my birth-State produces gawd-awful Tea Party politicians like Steve King and Joni Ernst. The stuff that comes out of their mouths doesn’t even make good fertilizer. But they are comedy gold. Will Rogers would have pointed out that the jokes will write themselves. All the humorist would have to do is consult the front page of the newspaper. I also live in Texas where the debate over secession from the United States still goes on with new Governor Greg Abbott, a man who is a Rick Perry clone, except that he hasn’t bothered to put on glasses as much to make him smarter. And Texans are looking forward to the next Republican president in 2016. Both Rick Perry and Ted Cruz are running. That doubles Texas’ chances, right? With Global Warming not being accepted as a real thing, the need for giving all our money to the Koch brothers and the Walton family being recognized by both parties in Congress, and looming war with foreign nations that have the bad sense to be “Muslim in nature”, the future looks kinda bleak. But it is a great time to be a humorist, and I am guessing I won’t be doing very much talking at the breakfast table for a while.
More Simple Answers to Complicated Problems
Part A, Solving Racism
I know… Saying I can solve racism simply marks me as something of an idiot. It is a complicated and deeply-embedded weakness of the human race. We are programmed with certain instincts that make us fearful of anyone or anything unknown to us, unfamiliar, or obviously different in some manner.
Consider allowing someone like Minnie Mouse to hug my young daughter. As people go, she is somewhat suspicious-looking. Notice the color of her skin on the neck, ankles, and arms. This is a black person apparently wearing white-face makeup. Is that not something suspicious? Something to be cautious about? In fact, look at the mouse ears and black, mouse nose. She’s not even human! She’s an anthropomorphic mouse-lady. Tucker Carlson would warn you against trusting her with the Princess. And if you point out how silly these arguments are about a Disneyland performer in a costume that represents Minnie Mouse, a character we all know and love, I would say, “YES! Exactly! An unknown person hiding her identity under a costume that will put adults and children at ease… and make them vulnerable to who-knows-what?” Maybe Florida Governor DeSaniflush was right to attack Disney by charging his Floridians more in taxes in the Disney name.
Yes, human beans are inherently suspicious, paranoid, and hateful when it comes to groups that are different than the one we identify with.
Of course, there is a simple answer if you are only willing to look at it that way. There should be no racism because we are not different. We are all one race, the human race.
That means, Mr. Toilet-Cleaning-Chemicals, that you and I are actually the same. You are not made, as I have believed incorrectly, of poop-dissolving chemicals as my demented and paranoid brain keeps thinking because of your DeSantis misnomer. You are not the saint you believe you are because of the meaning of your name in Spanish either. We are both human beans. The same race.
And you are the same race as the beautiful young ballerina I pictured before I added the photo of you thinking about eating too many baked beans, and then drinking Coca Cola while eating Mentos. You are not going to explode. Because even if you consume those ingredients you were thinking about, they can’t actually dissolve the poop you are filled with most of your time on Earth as a human bean.
As a teacher I learned the hard way that all kids are kids. They are all human beans. They all have blood and brains and wants and needs and loves and hates. No matter what color they are. No matter what culture they grew up in, or what religion their parents taught them, or failed to teach them. As a teacher, you have to be able to love all of them. Even the ugly ones. Even the ones whose names remind me of poop-dissolving chemicals and seem to be constantly full of fear and hatred and racism.
Here’s the skinny on those things racists need to hear;
The human beans you need to hate and fear and distrust, the truly evil people, come in every color, creed, culture, and calamitous character. Yes, rich white people, they even come in the color white. No matter what Tucker Carlson says… or thinks about a malevolent Minnie Mouse who may somehow be trying to “replace us.”
And the people you need to get more familiar with, whose culture you need to witness, whose stories you need to hear, and you desperately need to learn to love, come in every color too. Yes, rich white people, even in the color white. I am no more a reverse racist than I am a racist.
And there is a simple cure for racism.
Jesus taught it. So did Buddha, Mohammed, Zoaster, Walt Whitman, and Alan Watts. Jean Paul Sartre too, come to think of it.
The cure is to love everybody. Hate nobody. Suprisingly, if you do that simple thing, nobody will hate you in return. Racism is then cured. I know it is not feasible. Not everybody will even bother to listen to this advice. But the world won’t get any worse while you try to make it happen.
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