Making a Positive Difference
One thing that I have learned through my work is that there are many solutions to most of the problems we face. More than anything, it is our state of mind that needs to adjust. When we encounter the news, it does not need to be as a doom and gloom scenario. Instead, we can use it as an opportunity to think about how things could improve. What we discuss will grow. When we identify problems, we should spend 80% of our time conversing about the solutions.
Uvalde should have been the breaking point. That should have been the moment when we collectively stood up and said no more. The facts of the event were enough. Logically, their argument broke. Not only were there police with guns onsite, but they were also armored and fully equipped with military capacity, and they waited in the hallways and let children die. You can’t solve gun violence with more guns. That event proved it beyond a shadow of a doubt. We are just so fatigued with grief that we can’t even see the truth anymore. Someone has to say it though. This is an opportunity to make a change, and a change needs to be made.
This is also why we can’t take meaningful action on gun reform: because the Republican party continues to attack the working class and the most vulnerable in our country. They are their own form of terror. They have made our situation so much less secure, and they need to pay for their abuse of power. McCarthy is acting irresponsibly, and he should be held accountable for his actions. Now he is saying that it is not his fault. I thought that he was all about accountability. I guess only when talking about the funds that people dealing with poverty need to survive. That man entirely lacks character and has brought our nation to the brink of collapse, his actions threaten to push our economy into recession, and it is still unresolved. How can we think about Uvalde when we have current aggressions against our innocents to fight?
We fantasize too much about powerful people who are not going to save us. The superhero thing has gone too far. I understand that people want escapism, but it has become blown altogether out of proportion. Elon Musk tries to make himself out to be a kind of Batman figure, but he is so transparently insecure and desperate for attention it is beyond sad. He hosted Ron DeSantis yesterday to announce his presidential candidacy and when they discussed the so-called “woke mob” it revealed exactly how stupid these men are. Neither one has a clue what they are talking about when it comes to the culture wars. I guess when we are constantly confronted by super powerful villains, it can create a desire for superheroes. During their talk, one of the guests compared a photo of DeSantis to the Terminator and said that was a good thing. He followed up that asinine statement by suggesting that what we need is a cool-headed assassin to take out the woke mob. These people have no conscience and a very low level of intelligence. Too many superhero movies. We need more stories that highlight how humans have collectively made real change.
Meanwhile, our lack of common-sense action to mitigate the worst effects of climate change continue to compound our greatest threat: the weather. We have failed in the worst way to take the warnings seriously and instead fantasize about life on another planet. Talk about putting the cart before the horse. We can do better. It only requires that we shift our priorities and start talking about the problems and looking for solutions. We can do anything if we have the collective will.
We are going to need a new era of activism to make any changes in this environment of corrupt politicians and shortsighted billionaires. The people are going to have to demand change, or it is not going to happen. While right-wing pundits and politicians cry about being called racist, they continue racist practices and promote racist policies. What do you think this whole debt-ceiling fiasco is about? Keeping poor people docile has been their strategy since the times of slavery. But we possess the real power. There is no economy without our hard-working public. Wealth is meaningless compared to the power of the people. When we work together, we learn about each other and different cultures. You grow to love the people who care about you and whatever race they may be matters less than how they act. The cure for racism starts with calling out the act and it evolves through the conversations we have and the work we do together.
Whatever state you live in, please listen to this plea: your vote matters and you must find a way to make voting a top priority. Of course, they are going to make it difficult for you. They have made everything difficult for you. That’s how they retain power. They are not better than you. They simply have the levers of power at their disposal. They want to keep you confused and struggling to survive. That makes them feel safe, it keeps them from making meaningful change. This is supposed to be a democratic republic, but we have allowed it to become a shell of itself. The state serves the wealthy elite when it should be for all of us. Voting is the most effective non-violent tactic we have. We must make voting a priority and follow that up with letting our elected officials know how we feel about their actions.
Data without education is meaningless chatter. What good will it do to know where the concentrations of drug abuse exist if we don’t do anything meaningful to stop the pattern? Drug abuse results when people lack a vision for a viable future. Education is the key. We don’t need to invest in methods of tracking the presence of drugs in shit. We need to make education our national priority and the mental health of our children will improve, and our communities will be stronger. When we have a thriving and vibrant culture, people will want to participate, not escape. We have an opioid epidemic not because there are drugs but because there is hopelessness. We are hopeless because we are not educated about all the ways things can change. The more you learn, the more the world opens with possibility. When you are excited for the next day because you are growing and moving in a positive direction things like drugs become powerless because they only offer a distraction to what you really want to do.
Medicine can do some amazing things, today. But can it really? We are still facing the same basic facts of life. If we had as much of an appetite for philosophy as we do for medicine, we might have a better time accepting the inevitable. We need to focus on wisdom and dig deeper to get at the root problems.
Tina Turner was an absolute legend of U.S. music, but I would say that she had more impressive attributes than merely her talent. Talent is something that we are given. You can develop your talents, but that requires work. You must find a way to share your talents with the world and that requires courage and tenacity. You must survive toxic relationships and not succumb to depression when things get tough and that requires moral fortitude. Tina Turner triumphed because she overcame all the obstacles that came her way. She had talent, but she had a will to live, a desire to thrive.
This will give us a good reason to talk about Critical Race Theory and gender identity. It is a great moment to discuss Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Forget about the opponents of these noble fields of thought and practice. They do not matter except as an excuse to discuss what is truly relevant: the mechanism of democracy. I studied Critical Theory with Angela Davis at UCSC. There is nothing to fear from learning about how race functions in the context of U.S. history and the present moment. Racist ideology is bad for everyone including the white supremacists. They believe they are better than other races for no good reason. If we think more deeply about how race functions and disentangle the lies about racial identity, then we all will understand our culture better. Our collective intelligence and ability to prosper will increase. Race and Gender are social constructs. They are cultural. When we understand that, then we see the world more clearly. That is a good thing.
What do the people of Uvalde need? What will help them to heal? One thing that I have constantly heard is that parents do not want their children to be remembered as victims. They want something good to come from the tragedy. What good could come from this event? We could enact gun reforms. We could reinstate the ban against assault rifles. We can do a lot that will make this moment not just a tragedy but a turning point for the better. When we take responsibility for the problem, then we will be able to create a solution.
Good family planning is possibly the only thing more important than good public education. Since it is not always possible for families to plan for what happens, we need good public schools. They are the best way to ensure a thriving populace. When it is possible, however, starting with the family is incredibly important. It is expensive and difficult to raise children today, and it requires good planning. Birth control and access to abortion are a key part of that picture. Without them, it is far harder for family planning to occur.
People have been getting swept away by powerful flows of water in California’s rivers and it seems likely that it will only increase as the snowpack melts. It is super important to raise the public’s awareness about the danger of highwater rivers. They are powerful beyond your comprehension and unfortunately it is only when it is too late that their true power is revealed. Talking about river safety will save lives this year.
One good thing about Twitter is the platform it has provided to different voices. We have seen the emergence of a number of public voices from Black Twitter.
We must support indigenous peoples’ work to conserve the environment. Their wisdom is critically important to solving many of the problems we currently face. Nobody knows better than the people who have been here the longest. If we succeed in supporting them, then their efforts will support our ability to continue existing in this place.