Stop the Hate and Step Up to the Plate
Note: For those of you who don’t have the attention span to read this whole blog, you really need to start meditating. If you need help for this condition (sense of not enough time), please reach out to me. In the meantime, you will find a three point summary at the end.
Good Job, US Government! (Well at least one side of it)
The American Rescue Plan, aka the Covid-19 Relief Bill passed. I am thrilled that this was able to get through the obstruction on one side of the aisle in our house and senate. I celebrate that it is bringing cash to people, and I especially celebrate what it is doing to up the tax relief for parents of children this year.
A study funded by the National Institutes of Health on the effects of poverty on children states:
“We find overwhelming evidence from this literature that, on average, a child growing up in a family whose income is below the poverty line experiences worse outcomes than a child from a wealthier family in virtually every dimension, from physical and mental health, to educational attainment and labor market success, to risky behaviors and delinquency.”*
One of their major conclusions is that when a family has the money to buy food and clothing, and even other supports they may need (like child care when both parents are working), it helps both obviously in that child having the material things and food they need to grow, but also because it may help alleviate the stress in the home that comes from not being able to provide the basics. This is huge, and I have seen first hand the difference this can make for a family.
So yay for the US for finally seeing the importance of helping out. There was a lot more of good help in that bill, and the majority of it was aimed at those with the least who need the help the most. Yet it wasn’t unanimously voted for. For a bill that had something like 75% popularity of the citizens of the US, it was voted on in party lines in the congress and senate. Did Republicans just simply not want to give any money to US citizens and families in poverty?
The reason no republican voted for this helpful bill is to cause obstruction in the working of the government because there has been a change of who is in power. Its kind of like politics as done by five year olds If its all about party politics, then we as the people who are supposed to be represented by this government need to stand up and say ‘ENOUGH”. I want to have elected representatives who are looking for the best solutions for all people, not just their voters, nor their preferred news channel. And I expect them to be responsible adults, get beyond just being obstructionists and deal with the very real issues in the US and the world.
Not the least of which is racism. From the stark difference in which the rioters and looters of the Capitol were treated versus those involved in the numerous Black Lives Matter protests, to the young white man who last week killed eight people, (targeting Asian-owned businesses), who was just “having a bad day”, we’ve got big problems with racism. As John Oliver puts it so well:
“A white man driving across two counties going to three Asian-owned businesses shooting and killing six Asian women in a city that’s only about 4 percent Asian sure as shit seems more like a hate crime to me than a ‘bad fucking day.'”
The number of attacks against AAPI people reported in this past year has risen 150%, and the number of unreported has got to be vast. Why? Because of the way in which the pandemic has been blamed on the Chinese, and promoted as the “China Flu” or the “Kung Flu” by some racists with big microphones. It’s a mindset that in essence believes its fine to make someone who is not like you the blame of things. Scapegoating at best, hate at its worst. When that gets repeated enough, some folks will believe it. How do we see racism taught? It is repeated by parents and picked up on by kids. It gets repeated through news channels and social media, and picked up on by those who want the ease of seeing things in black and white, without doing the hard work of living a life of understanding nuance and big picture. Its much easier to say “china flu” than to report the whole story of the disease beginning in one part of the world and spreading. It doesn’t sell as much or capture as many views when the message is more nuanced and truthful. Research has clearly shown that negative language grabs more attention in written news sources and gets more likes on social media. Easy for racism to spread by blaming a certain group of people for something (think of the term “welfare moms” for an older example). Unfortunately, we are only starting to see how deep racism is in the US. Its up to those of us who have white privilege to step up to the plate and take some action. Within our families and within our communities.
We don’t yet know the motivation of the shooter of 10 in a King Soopers in Boulder, Colorado the other day. Yet, another white, 21 year old male. And, get this. It was just 10 days before the shooting that it was once again legal to buy assault weapons in Colorado, because the NRA sued Boulder about the ban on selling them that was enacted in 2018. Four days later, this man went and bought the weapon he would use to kill innocent people. Had the NRA not intervened, would those people still be alive? We don’t know the answer to that question, yet I hope it is in the hearts of our legislators as they once again pretend to actually consider gun reform. Our forefathers did not have assault weapons in mind when they wrote the 2nd amendment. I don’t think the late 1700’s had as much misinformation and mental health issues that seem to be prodding young men into becoming mass murderers these days. None of these multiple victim killings is about the shooter defending themselves. What we need are better access to mental health services for all, and less access to weapons of war. The shooter in Atlanta bought his gun the day he killed 8 people. The shooter in Colorado bought his gun 6 days before he killed 10 people.
Racism is also being seen in the 250 proposed bills to prohibit people from voting. Why are Republicans so invested in making it HARDER for citizens to vote? Why, for example, in Georgia is it that you can buy a gun and use it that same day, but they are trying to make it illegal to register to vote and then vote on that same day? Which one sounds more dangerous to you? To the Republican party, getting to vote so close to registering is more dangerous. Same reason they are hoping to be able to redraw district lines to make it so that congress will become much more republican. They would rather win power through manipulation than actually forming a platform that would benefit their constituents. Not only racism (most of the bills would target people of color and lower economic status), but again, partisanship.
Its not an easy road to fix any of this, yet I am looking to see who is willing to roll up their sleeves and dig in. I beleive its going to be up to all of us to start voting out those rich, white, men who only want to point fingers at the other side and stand in the way of real progress, and vote in more diverse, smart, young people who arent’ afraid of the hard work. Who aren’t entrenched in racism and misogyny. Who are ready to admit they may make mistakes, not be perfect, yet will not go out of their way to keep you from voting and having your say. Its time and there is much real work to do.
Here’s a new mantra for us all:
Stop the hate. Step up to the Plate.
Here’s the Main points:
- The US senate and congress is a partisan shit show.
- Misogyny, Racism, and the NRA are still winning.
- What can we do? Act Locally.
Figure out what is most important to you in these issues, and take action locally. If nothing else, start to follow people on social media from a variety of backgrounds and races. Promote those who are working with the issue you strongly believe in and perhaps contribute to them if you can. I also highly recommend getting involved in your local government – it is there that you can probably make the most difference. I also highly suggest supporting and following your local news people. They are the ones who will have the best information on how things are related to your issues in your area. If you have privilege, find a marginalized group in your area you have an affinity for, and figure out how to help. If you live in a state that is trying to pass bills to restrict voting rights, start to get informed and speak up. In many places, these bills are not being given much press, yet can have devastating consequences. It is time we honor the rights of all citizens to vote.
What am I doing?
I have diversified what I am reading and following, and I repost and promote brilliant, young, diverse thinkers and artists on my social media feeds.
I am working with young yoga teachers who are of the social justice mindset to mentor and support them in becoming the new voice of yoga.
I am including a lot more in my teacher trainings on social justice itself and why this is an important part of yoga. Motivated a lot by how many in the yoga and wellness industry fell into the Qanon rabbit hole – that’s a whole other story if you haven’t been following. Teaching teachers to be discerning and anti-racist is more important than ever to me.
Working locally to offer what I have to those who need. While I am still a citizen of the US and involved in what is going on there, I help to feed locals, give free yoga to locals and donation-based classes to make accessible for all, provide scholarships to Costa Rican natives in my workshops and YTTs, and donate as much as I can to an excellent local organization for the seniors in our area.
And rant in my blogs.
May we grow in love and service,
*Le Menestrel S, Duncan G, editors. A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2019 Feb 28. 3, Consequences of Child Poverty. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547371/