What Would Your Role Be?

Indulge me in a thought experiment.

Imagine that you have been born into a young, recently — in terms of world history — established country.

Imagine that country was established with the most progressive and forward thinking social contract ever created, establishing the concept that all people are equal in the eyes of the law and deserving of the same rights, privileges, and opportunities as all other people regardless of birthright, status, or wealth.

Imagine also that this social contract was created by people who were also inherently racist and misogynistic and despite creating this social contract had absolutely no intention of enforcing it fairly and equitably for all.

Instead, they would create a society in which “Law and Order” would be enforced on a hierarchal scale of ethnicity and socioeconomic status, creating a multitiered culture of opportunity and privilege vs poverty and oppression.

People would be policed more aggressively than the corporations they served.

Over the course of a couple hundred years, morality would come to only be defined and limited by that for which you could afford to not be held accountable.

Ethics and criminality of corporations would come to be followed by corporations based simply upon whether it was less cost effective to get caught violating them, and the even less likely possibility of being held accountable and liable for doing so, or not.

During this time, every step toward the appearance of equality for those oppressed would be met with newer, more advanced, more subversive means of legally and illegally suppressing and revoking those rights. This would continue to the extent that it would become the constant necessity of survival of those oppressed to continue forcing the country to try to achieve the lofty goals set out in its original social contract and to aggressively fight to defend every step of new ground they managed to claw their way onto.

Now imagine that roughly sometime between 190 to 226 years later you have been born into the better than 90% portion of the population that does not have access to the full rights, privileges, and opportunities this society had promised all who were part of it.

Would you be serving to maintain the imbalanced the constant tiered oppression, would you be fighting to claw your way to a slightly higher tier of privilege with no regard or concern for anyone else, or would you be fighting to level the field for everyone?

What lengths would you go to to achieve the goals of your choice?

If you are a United States citizen today, this is the societal culture you have been born into. What have you been doing about it? What will you do about it going forward?

Are you helping maintain the #Culturalinertia or striving to drive a course correction to help our nation live up to its original goals?

Why is that what you’re doing?

Don’t Fear the Reaper… Defeat Him or Avoid Him.

When it comes to climate change policy, economic stimulus and pandemic relief efforts, health care, or anything else that might actually benefit the majority of Americans instead of a few of the ultra rich, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had this to say about himself before the 2018 midterms, and he still believes it now:

“If I’m still the majority leader of the Senate after next year, none of those things are going to pass the Senate. They won’t even be voted on. So think of me as the Grim Reaper: the guy who is going to make sure that socialism doesn’t land on the president’s desk.”

Source: CBS

This means that unless we help folks like Stacy Abrams and organizations like Fair Fight and Act Blue in Georgia do everything possible to flip both of its Senate seats during the January runoff elections, for Biden to be effective he will have to do one of two things, either compromise with Grim Reaper or find a way to thwart him.

We cannot allow the new administration to compromise on matters of civil and human rights, we cannot allow him to ignore the science and reality pertaining to pandemic prevention and its necessity to protect both our people and our real economy instead of protecting stock prices to the detriment of everyone and everything else.

So, how will that work?

Presidential Appointments

To create an effective cabinet Biden is limited to two options as long as the self-labeled Grim Reaper remains Senate Majority Leader.

Option 1 is compromise and only install right leaning moderates to cabinet positions in order for McConnell to bring them to a Senate confirmation vote and push the Republicans to approve them.

Option 2 is to follow Trump’s lead and appoint a host of permanently “Acting” cabinet members and officials without ever seeking Senate approval until McConnell can be removed.

Executive Orders

First, any action or policy that Trump created or ended by Executive Order can be reversed the same way.

For some issues that can be an instantaneous fix, for most it will take time to self-correct. The various departments and agencies will have to update the policies and procedures and retrain, and if the change requires a public notice and comment period that will still have to be honored by each affected organization.

While others, such as reconnecting separated refugee families with their abducted kids, may actually prove to be impossible depending on the record keeping and evidence destruction of Trump’s criminally complicit sycophants within the agencies responsible.

Secondly, Biden can follow Trump’s leads and create new policy through Executive Order. We know that without legislative support any policy made this way will only be as lasting as a new president changing it the same way as described above, or both the House and Senate working together to pass a law which will either solidify or override it.

These options may provide the Biden/Harris administration with their only option for working around a Senate Majority Leader intent on killing all of their proposed legislative efforts before any can ever see the possibility of a chamber vote.

Legislative Compromise

The last and least desirable option, in my opinion, is to attempt to find a legislative compromise with the Reaper. McConnell has; however, proven himself to be one who does not negotiate in good faith, and his idea of compromise is “You surrender to my blackmail terms.”

The only bargaining chips Biden has, as long as we hold him to a requirement of being uncompromising on human and civil right, factual science and truth, are these:

  • Increased tax breaks for the rich.
  • Less corporate regulation and oversight
  • Less environmental protections

How do we defeat the Grim Reaper?

If you want to avoid all that, you better damn well be doing everything you possibly can to ensure the Democrat candidates for Senate in Georgia, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, win in the January run-offs.

If both win, the Grim Reaper will be demoted to the Senate Minority Leader and the Biden/Harris administration will have a thin majority in both the House and Senate allowing them to pass any legislation that does not require a supermajority vote in either chamber.

Come on baby, don’t fear the reaper
Baby take my hand, don’t fear the reaper
We’ll be able to fly, don’t fear the reaper
Baby I’m your man

(Don’t Fear) The Repear,” Blue Oyster Cult, 1976

A Field Guide to Changing the #Culturalinertia – Part 2

Over the years, this blog, and the accompanying Facebook discussion page, have contained an ongoing theme of identifying and discussing ways to address the aspects of our culture we cling to consciously or subconsciously to hold us back. We have been calling this our Cultural Inertia.

Over the next several months, I will be posting an ongoing, and cumulative guide on how we need to start dealing with this. Each post will give us the next step to begin working on to make dramatic overall shifts. This is Part 2.

In Part 1 we addressed the importance of aggressively confronting malevolent incompetence, lies, criminality, fascism, racism, sexism, religious bigotry, and weaponization of faux (and real) Christianity anywhere and everywhere we find it in our own day to day lives, especially when we encounter it among our family and those we believed were friends.

Now, we need to have a talk about the fact that we had an excellent opportunity to flip several down ballot seats in the Senate and also flip the Senate majority out of Republican control, and we didn’t. We even had a net loss of seats in the House, barely maintaining the majority there.

The why of that matters.

One of the key aspects of the Biden/Harris campaign was wooing disenfranchised Republicans, and to some notable extent they succeeded.

They got a significant portion of anti-Trump Republicans to vote against Trump’s behavior while still supporting the entirety of Republican policy intentions which haven’t changed much at all since the time of Nixon, Trump merely has the audacity to speak out loud about them.

They are the ones that want the return to the negative peace of plausible deniability of quiet White privilege while still maintaining it.

This is the often self-defeating cost of prioritizing compromise with the enemy over finding ways to re-engage the disenfranchised who are in overall general agreement with you on key issues.

We do need to celebrate the win, but we also need to recognize that it is just the first step on a long journey and be ready to plod ahead immediately.

That is exactly why, like John Legend, we should all have Georgia on our minds.

Thanks to a massive effort led by Stacy Abrams within the state to get People of Color to register and show up to vote and to stay in line despite wait times in excess of 8 hours, both Senate seats for the traditionally Republican state were forced into a runoff that will take place in early January. If you haven’t seen the documentary “All In” which highlights her efforts, you should.

https://abcnews.go.com/GMA/News/inside-stacey-abrams-fair-fight-2020-operation-election/story?id=65486966

The same people that led that effort are already at work to flip both of those seats to the Democrats. If successful, it will bring the Senate to a 50/50 split, forcing with Vice President-Elect taking over as President of the Senate and the tie breaking vote immediately after inauguration. And the switch from Pence to her in that position will change the Majority position to the Democrats, demoting Mitch McConnell to minority leader.

And with that, we have reached:

STEP 2

You don’t have to be in Georgia to help them.

The simplest method is obviously to pull up the candidates personal campaign websites and donate.

However, your money and time can go even further when combined with the efforts of these organizations. You can donate money to their efforts, you can volunteer your time with phone bank calls and mailing efforts. If you live in Georgia, you can door canvas.

You can also get involved with their national efforts as they are already beginning preparation to continue their success with the 2022 midterms.

https://fairfight.com/
https://secure.actblue.com/donate/peachstate?fbclid=IwAR2wz5INOs9TLgBTt98KXQVVIgD-tuPyJklLjK2hQnDgKelSr4sZFN9RaEM#social

Keep working on Step 1, every day. Do everything you can do help with Step 2 between now and January 5th.

Once next year’s Senate is truly finalized, we can move on to step 3.

A Field Guide to Changing the #Culturalinertia – Part 1

This is not about the candidates for President this election cycle, but the people voting in the election.

Over the years, this blog, and the accompanying Facebook discussion page, have contained an ongoing theme of identifying and discussing ways to address the aspects of our culture we cling to consciously or subconsciously to hold us back. We have been calling this our Cultural Inertia.

An evaluation of the current election results so far has proven to me that I need to approach discussing our #Culturalinertia a bit differently. Over the next several months, I will be posting an ongoing, and cumulative guide on how we need to start dealing with this. Each post will give us the next step to begin working on to make dramatic overall shifts.

As of the time of this writing, 68.6 million people, and counting, have voted for at least four more years of malevolent incompetence, lies, criminality, fascism, racism, sexism, religious bigotry, and weaponization of faux (and real) Christianity through legislation. That’s over 5.5 million more than voted for Trump in 2016.

We can’t not have a serious talk about this.

We cannot truly have freedom in a multicultural society while any of these people remain in positions of power and influence over the lives of others and adhere to these belief systems. Whether that power and influence comes from the office of the presidency, elected or appointed members of government, judges, doctors, nurses, police, first responders, loan approval officers, Neighborhood Watch groups, Home Owners’ Associations, or anywhere else is irrelevant. What matters is that the power to oppress must be removed from the people that would take advantage of it.

Which brings us to:

Step 1

Stop watching what’s happening and passively saying and thinking that “This isn’t America” or “This isn’t my America.”

Because this is America.

This is the America we have always had.

Trump didn’t change the hearts and minds of half of American voters. He simply gave them permission to be open about it to others.

Some still cannot bring themselves to openly admit their believes, so they lied to the poll takers, and their friends, and their family and said they would vote against him. Then they went in the voting centers and pulled the levers, punched the tickets, placed their mark, and pressed the buttons to select his name on the ballot anyway.

As Jim Wright of Stonekettle Station recently stated:

This is the America people of color have been telling us we were part of since its founding.

What Trump has done for the rest of us is remove the blinders so we can no longer pretend we don’t see it happening all around us.

We now know we have neighbors and family members who are among those who adhere to these abhorrent ideologies.

So, what can you do about it?

Start telling yourself, “This isn’t the America I want in the future,” and start actively working to change it by aggressively standing up and calling it out every single time you see it.

No matter who is doing it.

Be Bold. Be relentless. Be uncompromising.

Do not back down.

Do it online and offline, in public and in private.

Don’t fall into the trap of maintaining negative peace. Don’t avoid the necessary conflict to resolve a problem at the expense of allowing the problem to fester, spread, and worsen.

Do not agree to disagree on matters of human and civil rights.

Do not accept that we are all entitled to our opinions when challenging an opinion that is harmful or detrimental to others.

“Get in good trouble.” ~U.S. Rep. John Lewis

Focus on that step for a while, and then I’ll give you Step 2.

Bad Fiction Is Not Good Leadership

Here is the story we’re supposed to believe so far.

1.  A data retrieval expert claims a man he believes was Hunter Biden dropped off three laptops for repair 3000 miles away from his home.

2.  The data retrieval expert says the man never claimed to be Hunter Biden and he cannot say if it was because the data retrieval expert is also blind.  But one of the laptops seemed to have a Beau Biden Foundation property sticker on it.

3.  No one ever returned to reclaim the laptops, that they purportedly flew 3000 miles to have repaired at this specific shop.

4.  Instead of wiping the hard drives and reselling the hardware as is protocol for data retrieval professionals, the blind man had a text to voice software program read him thousands of personal emails.

5.  He then supposedly downloaded the emails and sent them to the FBI, who did nothing.

6.  Concerned that they did nothing, he decides the only logical thing to do is call and give it all to Rudy Guiliani, of all people.

7.  Rudy tries to get FOX News and the Wall Street Journal to break the story, both refuse because it is utterly unverifiable.

8.  The oft discredited NY Post runs it, and both FOX and the WSJ have a field day reporting that the NY Post is covering breaking news to help spread the disinformation propaganda without having to be own responsibility for it.

9.  Tucker Carlson, who recently had FOX News lawyers defend him in a defamation lawsuit by openly admitting in court that his show cannot be considered remotely factual news and is instead incendiary entertainment — a defense the Judge accepted and condemned– claimed he had the entire flash drive of emails and would be airing the worst of it soon.

10.  NBC announced they also had a copy, and instead of running the story had followed up with international investigators who proved the entire thing was a fabricated fiction and the author behind it was an AI generated fictitious person and the company he claimed for work for at the time was non-existent.

11. Tucker Carlson went on the air and said that his producer shipped him the thumb drive via “a major carrier,” without making a copy of it or its contents, but that it was stolen from the packaging at some point in transit.

12. He then claimed the carrier launched a full scale nationwide investigation, interviewing everyone who came in contact with it, conducted a physical search of every vehicle and plane that had transported it and concluded that it was inexplicably and irretrievably lost, all in less than 24 hours.

13. UPS and/or Fed/Ex apparently cried foul and pushed back on this narrative.

14. Now Carlson claims the drive has been miraculously located by UPS and returned to him, undamaged.

15. Having recovered the entire damning cache, mere days before the election is finalized, he refuses to air it out of newfound compassion for Hunter Biden who has “been through enough.”

At this point, if you believe anything coming from Trump, Guiliani, this administration, Carlson. Fox News, or any of their supporters and enablers then you are an idiot who has nobody but yourself to blame.

Let go of the willful ignorance, recognize how absurd this was at every step of the way, and rejoin us in realistic discussions about the future of our nation under leadership that doesn’t need to fabricate idiotic stories to win support.

Reality Check

Time for some real talk.

Regardless of your political viewpoint, regardless of its origin, COVID-19 is real.

We had an opportunity in the early part of this year to minimize its spread and the death toll.   For a variety of reasons it would be counterproductive to list here, we — as a nation — failed to do so.

People are sick and suffering across the country as a result.  Hundreds of thousands have died, and very likely hundreds of thousands more will.  Many of those who survive will have long lasting health issues.

Regardless of the outcome of the current election, we are faced with an important reality check.

We only have a few options to choose from:

Option 1:

Issue a three go four week national stay at home order, limit interaction to deliveries and pickups cleaning things before handling them, and essentially kill off the virus by eliminating its ability to transfer to new hosts.  This will not save those already infected, it will save the largest possible number of us though. This is the fastest path to economic recovery.

Option 2:

Do nothing, reopen everything, allow the the virus to achieve maximum infection and death rate and then those lucky enough to survive without long term health concerns as a result attempt to return to normal.  Our health care system cannot handle the burden of this option
Countless additional people will die due to the lack of available space, resources, and medical staff to save them. Our consumer economy cannot survive the loss of that many consumers.

Option 3:

Continue a half-assed piecemeal approach with varying reactionary steps being taken in different regions while people travel back and forth through them defeating the purpose of such measures.  Our health care system cannot handle the burden of this option
Countless additional people will die due to the lack of available space, resources, and medical staff to save them. Our consumer economy cannot survive the loss of that many consumers.

Where Does That Leave Us:

Both options 2 and 3 result in continued suffering and death, collateral damage, an overburdened health care system, and long term economic devastation that will not begin to reverse until a safe vaccine is developed.

With the combination of our for profit health care system and the anti-vaxxer movement in our nation, that vaccine will still not likely be available to enough people that will take it to effectively achieve the goal of herd immunity without all the suffering and death caused by the illness.

The only viable option available to us, truthfully, is option 1. No other option saves as many lives or saves the economy (not just the stock market values) as quickly. Options 2 and 3 will take years before they have run. their course.

We will need leadership with the courage to make the call and the willingness to enforce it.

If we choose wrong, you or someone you know will suffer direct consequences. Everyone will suffer the indirect consequences.

Looking To The Future Through A Hindsight Filter

We are now in our 8th month of dealing with COVID-19 in the US and the 11th month since China first began publicly acknowledging their outbreak and taking large scale preventative measures.

While we don’t, yet, have a cure or reliable vaccine ready for mass distribution, we do have a pretty clear understanding of the science outlining how we can minimize its infectious spread.

This along with the material leaked by various congressional and White House staff members (current and former), the rhetoric and sources being disproved by those leaks, and the physical confessions of criminal intent Woodward suppressed for half a year offer us the wisdom of hindsight.

What is clear to anyone looking at the whole picture is that Republican politicians bet big on the hope that refusing to allow the proper steps to be taken in time would kill off a massive segment of the already elderly, infirm, impoverished, and marginalized minority community members in a natural biological warfare eugenics scheme before it could reach their cloistered and fortified ranks.

They weaponized the willful ignorance of their racist supporters to hasten the process and used #StochasticTerrorism to whip them into a frenzy.

They did this while accelerating their long term efforts to strip access to health care away from the millions they want to eliminate.

They even managed to fabricate an economic crisis that escalated the risk to those lower income workers in societally essential, but underappreciated and underpaid jobs. Making them choose a death by pandemic illness or homelessness due to loss of income.  And they created an imbalanced stimulus package to benefit the employers and companies that were abandoning their workers by the 10s of thousands.

All to eliminate a huge segment of their opposition voting base and protect their dying grasp on the levers of power in our nation.

Horrifically, they were largely successful. A quarter of a million Americans died, millions more fell ill – many permanently, and tens of millions dropped further into poverty and face homelessness in their near future.

But they weren’t successful enough. The people were galvanized instead of broken. We began using social media to organize large scale resistance and defeat the propaganda spin. They prepared en masse to reclaim democracy.

This increased resistance threatening the decades of work the Republicans spent gerrymandering and redlining districts and suppressing votes by every legal and illegal means possible, forced them to take larger, faster, more obvious steps toward establishing a fascist kleptocracy under the influence and control of an adversarial foreign power.

If they had managed to kill more, and crush the resistive spirit of enough of the rest of us, faster, they would have immediately adopted the necessary protocols to stop the spread of the disease to save themselves.

But, we persevered for too long, and the illness reached them before they could secure victory over their own citizenry and constituents. Now it is too late to admit their intent openly without their own violent supporters being forced to realize how they were being used and being disregarded and discarded along with everyone else in the process.

So they have to maintain the lie at any and all costs, even as they begin to suffer the same detrimental health effects and possible deaths within their own gilded halls sequestered from the masses.

And that is where we are now.

The only way we begin to recover is to sweep everyone who has supported, protected, enabled, and emboldened this presidential administration from every level of our federal, state, and local governments.

Then we can work on passing some new laws, abolishing some old ones, and begin correcting the course of our #Culturalinertia. It will be generations before we are done, especially if Trump and McConnell secure a 6-3 imbalance on the Supreme Court.

We will never complete the journey unless we decide right now to take every possible step necessary to begin it.

The first step is making sure your ballot is properly submitted between now and November 3rd.

Buckle Up, The Rest of This Ride Is Over Some Dangerous Terrain.

We are 100 days from November 3rd, and it is imperative that Donald Trump is removed from office. During the next 100 days he, his administration, and the Republican party will be pulling out all the corrupt and authoritarian measures possible to ensure their reelection and retention of power.

We must prepare ourselves for that, but we must also begin to prepare ourselves for what comes next. If we fail to show up and not just vote to remove Trump from office but to overwhelmingly repudiate the modern Republican platform and rhetoric on both local and national levels, they will see their reelection as not just a mandate to continue that but permission to escalate it further over the next 4 years.

We will quickly see the escalation into a Martial Law police state enforcing apartheid laws. If we do show up and repudiate them, we need to prepare for Trump and McConnell to unleash Hell upon Earth during what would normally be considered a “Lame Duck” session through the final three months of the administration’s official power.

With nothing left to lose, there will be nothing but the current House of Representatives to hold them back. And we need to be prepared for the possible necessity of a forcible transition of power for the first time since our system of government was established.

It would be bad enough if this were all happening under otherwise normal circumstances, but the fact that it will also be happening during both an avoidable health crisis and an avoidable economic crisis will increase the difficulty of navigating these issues by at least an order of magnitude.

These next 6 months will determine the future of our nation and a significant portion of the world for generations to come.

Racism Is More Pervasive Than You Think.

For today’s #Culturalinertia entry, I’d like to tell you not about systemic governmental racism, nor about individual racism, but about a pervasive form of societal racism.

This morning, I came across an article about a couple in California that the headline said “called the police on an Asian-American Doctor for visiting his parent,” because he didn’t look like he belonged in their neighborhood.

For the purposes of this discussion we’re going to acknowledge but not focus on the individual racism of the couple attempting to weaponize the police to terrorize and persecute a person of color for merely daring to exist within their line of sight. We’re also going to acknowledge but not focus on the amount of systemic governmental racism that must be in place for them to believe that would work and also actually be right.

What we are going to focus on is the description of the victim as Asian-American instead of just American, or just a doctor, while not using any color or racial terminology to similarly classify the couple as White; which they were.

As a related aspect of this discussion I have often been asked why I use “Black” instead of “African-American” when talking about Black people of color who are also Americans.

We’ll address the simplest piece first.

When using a color, such as white or black, to specify an entire grouping of people, always capitalize the first letter to indicate it is a people you are referring to and not a simple inanimate object. There are White, Black, and Brown people when discussing them categorically.

A few decades back there was a push by supposedly well meaning White people to end the overt individual racism displayed by using openly insulting racial terminology which led to identifying American people of color with a qualifier that specified their ethnicity while also using it to explain why they couldn’t be considered just actual full Americans without a qualifier. African-American (for all Black people), Native American (for the collective tribal nations), Asian-Americans (for all people of Asian descent), Hispanic-Americans (for all Americans of Hispanic heritage), and so on. There was never a need though, according to those White people to identify as White Americans. They had already established themselves as the base model of Americans that all others must be compared against and distinguished from.

Not only was this just a more subtle form of racism, but it was lazy. White Americans when they do identify themselves for family heritage purposes do it by nationality, not by generalized country or overall genetic ethnicity.

They don’t call themselves European Americans or White Americans, or Anglo Americans. They call themselves French-American, Irish-American, German-American. Because they see their individual nationality of family origin as worthy of distinction and anyone else as not worth the effort.

They didn’t want to bother learning the difference between someone of Korean, Japanese, or Taiwanese heritage because they just didn’t care, it was easier to lump them all together as Asians who weren’t quite worthy of being full Americans entitled to all rights and equality of opportunity, so “Asian-American.”

To make matters worse those Americans today descended from Black people brought here from Africa by the Transatlantic Slave Traders are not likely to know their original family name or nationality of family origin within Africa due to the destruction of records and separation of families as they were sold off individually to break any family support bonds that may have bolstered their resistance to being enslaved.

Add to this that not all Black Americans today are directly descended from that slave trade, some are from families that immigrated here from Europe, Asia, and South or Central America separate from the slave trade. By referring to them as African-American we lump them all together and deny them every aspect of their own heritage and ethnic upbringing. For the same purpose of denying them rights and opportunity through classifying them as not quite full Americans.

Whether their families were originally Asian, Hispanic, Latinx, Native, African, European or some other or combination, many of them were born here on American soil and regardless of heritage or color are constitutionally entitled to all the rights of citizenship afforded those of us who are White.

So, treat them all equally with the White base model American when referring to them. Just call them Americans and treat them as such. Just refer to them by profession when appropriate without the qualifier. if you must, for some specific reason pertinent to the content of your discussion, use a qualifier, be as accurate as you would demand others be for you to not belittle, demean, or dismiss your own heritage.

An example of when it is appropriate and how to do it right when it is necessary would be this recent headline about Madeline Swegle:

“US Navy welcomes its first Black female tactical jet pilot.”

It’s Time For Answers Instead Of Just More Questions.

Often on my social media I pose questions or point out an issue to inspire thought and discussion instead of just preaching my own viewpoints at you.

This WordPress blog page is reserved for those instances where I want to take a deeper dive into an issue and put forth my own thoughts in more detail that social media allows.

Today, I’m going to provide some answers to questions I have been asking and issues I have been pointing out for quite some time.

At the beginning of this month, I posted this message on my Facebook page:

It included a link to a series of articles by David MIlls published through Medium.

I implored people to read it them.

Please do so if you haven’t. David Mills provides us one of the more important pieces of our discussions on how to recognize the problems holding us back with our #Culturalinertia and begin to address them to force change as we progress forward.

If we could wave a magic wand and somehow make it so nobody in America ever again had a racist thought, we still wouldn’t have ended the ongoing impact of four centuries of racism embedded in our history and culture nor how it affects us today or in the future.

Similarly, giving every Black person any amount of reparations that the government might someday approve isn’t going to put an end to those policies.

Sadly; however, we can’t even take that magical step.

So, what can we really do, now, to start to make a difference?

Exposure and Removal

First and foremost, we must continue to aggressively remove people who expose themselves as racist, or bigoted in any way, from any and all positions of power and influence over the lives of those they hate and/or fear.

Second we need to redefine the concept of reparations and start making good on them.

Reparations — Redefined

To do this, we must begin to reverse the damage created by generations of societal segregation and redlining.

Investopedia explains:

The term “redlining” was coined by sociologist James McKnight in the 1960s and derives from how lenders would literally draw a red line on a map around the neighborhoods they would not invest in based on demographics alone. Black inner-city neighborhoods were most likely to be redlined. Investigations found that lenders would make loans to lower-income whites but not to middle- or upper-income African Americans.

——

Indeed, in the 1930s the federal government began redlining real estate, marking “risky” neighborhoods for federal mortgage loans on the basis of race. The result of this redlining in real estate could still be felt decades later. In 1997 homes in the redlined neighborhoods were worth less than half that of the homes in what the government had deemed as “best” for mortgage lending, and that disparity has only grown greater in the last two decades.

——

Examples of redlining can be found in a variety of financial services, including not only mortgages but also student loans, credit cards, and insurance. Although the Community Reinvestment Act was passed in 1977 to put an end to all redlining practices, critics say the discrimination still occurs. For example, redlining has been used to describe discriminatory practices by retailers, both brick-and-mortar and online. Reverse redlining is the practice of targeting neighborhoods (mostly nonwhite) for products and services that are priced higher than the same services in areas with more competition.

Federal Minimum Wage

Reversing this starts with setting a standard federal minimum wage tied to the inflation rate that maintains a living wage for a single worker working a full time job.

Universal Heath Care

The next step is moving to a universal single payer health care eliminating the need for employment secured health insurance. This can be accomplished by eliminating corporate loop holes in the tax code and having companies pay appropriate taxes and wages while not being responsible for securing and covering massive employee (and family) health insurance expenses. The people would immediately have more “disposable income” to return to the local economy, personal savings, and investments if they were no longer dealing with the massive personal expenses of their insurance premiums, deductibles, and copays.

Community Reinvestment

Another important step would be identifying the maps used for redlining (which also served as the basis for gerrymandering voting districts) and under funding school systems) and directing efforts to those same areas and neighborhoods to incentivize residents in that area receiving mortgage, home improvement, and vehicle loans, as well as small business loans for businesses in the community serving the needs of the community and run by residents of it.

All these maps still exist.

An interactive site from “Mapping Inequality” takes scores of Home Owners’ Loan Corporation maps — previously accessible only in person at the Archives or in scanned images posted piecemeal online — and embeds them on a single map of the USA. Selecting a city reveals the old map images; zooming in shows a color overlay over a modern map with street names and building outlines.

NPR

Equitable Public Education

Then we need to invest in the school systems in those previous redlined communities to bring them up to the same standards and availability of resources as those in surrounding areas. This would require a city’s educational funding to be distributed equitably based upon number of students and teachers required, not on property tax values in an individual school district.

Amended 13th Amendment

Section 1 of the 13th Amendment needs to be amended from:

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

To simply:

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Repeal Jim Crow

Along with this, all Jim Crow laws must be officially repealed and removed from the city, county, state, national ordinances.

Criminal Justice Audit

Logically, it would be necessary to end racial disparity in sentencing of crimes as well. An annual independent audit of sentencing disparities and automatic immediate correction of anything inappropriate for each judge would be a good place to start with that, as well as required disciplinary actions up to and including disbarment for judges who are repeat offenders. [See Exposure And Removal above.]

Demilitarize The Police

Finally, this brings us to what we can do about unjust policing.

Demilitarize police and end warrior training programs for them.

Routine independent review of body camera footage with appropriate disciplinary action for any abuse of power. A full body cam audit for any officer found to have committed an infraction during routine review.

The creation of a national database and its mandatory use by all law enforcement in the US identifying any officer fired for abuse of power or racially/bigoted misconduct as ineligible for rehire at any force.

Decriminalize a large number of offenses in which no person or property is damaged, commute sentences and/or pardon convictions for those already imprisoned for such offenses.

Treat drug addiction and mental health issues as health care problems instead of policing problems. Redistributed funds police departments had earmarked for such things and their militarization to community enrichment programs, trained mental health first responders, homelessness, rehabilitation centers, and other outreach programs.

Require all officers to carry professional liability insurance just like every other profession entrusted with the lives and welfare of others.

Eliminate qualified immunity and union protection for malpractice and abuse of power.

Fire as many polices officers as necessary and then hire and train properly to end the Organized Crime mentality within many police forces. Reward those officers who come forward to report problems within their ranks as the community heroes they are, instead of allowing their careers to be ruined and treating them as “rats” to be ostracized and removed or exterminated.

If we can accomplish these things we will not have eradicated racism, nor will we have made up for 400 years of slavery and oppression. But we will have laid the foundation for a much more equitable and peaceful future less influenced by them and placed everyone on the path toward it.