Fresh air…

We clapped and cheered and cried… for justice, for the Floyd family, for America. It was almost more than we dared hope for, a clean sweep, guilty on all counts, and within seconds the killer’s bond had been revoked, he was (gently) handcuffed in front of us, and taken to jail, where our next sight of him is his mug shot, complete with orange jumpsuit. “The Arc of the Moral Universe is Long [seemingly endless], But it Bends Toward Justice.” Maybe we haven’t become a nation of monsters after all… and yet the struggle for equal treatment of all humans goes on into infinity. Just seconds before the Floyd verdict was delivered, a 16-year-old honor student involved in a neighborhood girl-fight was shot in the chest by a police officer, no questions asked, and died in her yard still wearing her rainbow Crocs. I hardly need mention that she was Black.

Yesterday’s verdict, the only possible right outcome, provides a sorely-needed whiff of hope that a heinous practice, set in stone in this country after 250 years, can be ended… somehow. The relentless hounding of people of color in this nation has to stop. Full stop. End of story.

The entire mindset of the country has to change, that’s not asking too much, is it?

*******************

AMEN

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Wow, it’s Wonderful Wednesday…

Kim Smith 04/11/2020

It’s a beautiful day and Kim’s on his way to Menard’s on his e-bike to research a project – he wasn’t made for indoors so spring is especially timely this year. Just when I think I couldn’t love him more it’s another good day, and yesterday was one of those. After a morning meeting, we had lunch at a Bar & Grille new to us and got our socks blown off – wow. The menu is amazing, and we weren’t surprised that they were nearly at COVID-restriction full-capacity before we left. The specials were meatloaf, chicken enchiladas, and pot roast, the last of which we glommed onto before the waitress could walk away, and it was… OMG, so good. Fall-apart roast beef cooked with carrots, brown gravy, mashed potatoes, and cornbread… with real corn in it… and a bit of streusel on top. Felt like coming home to a big Sunday dinner and we couldn’t stop grinning at each other. We had no room for any one of the four desserts listed, but there’s always next time.

It’s been a heartbreaking week, and with more deaths and assaults of young Black men, I lack the stomach for watching the defense of George Floyd’s murderer. It pains everything I’ve got when people tell us we didn’t see what we saw, nor hear what we heard, nor do we recognize the evil that wears the killer’s skinsuit. It’s too much, all of it. Why do all the “accidents, mistakes, and errors in judgment” happen to Black people? A taser (8 oz.)… a gun (2 lbs.)… all same difference unless it’s a white person in the line of fire – then it matters. The anguish of Black mothers is gut-ripping, and even loving Anthony like I do I cannot register the depths of his mother’s love for him and his brothers and sisters, nor know her sleepless hours. It’s too much.

“I need to drive my two-year-old to daycare tomorrow morning. To ensure we arrive alive, we won’t take public transit (Oscar Grant). I removed all air fresheners from the vehicle and double-checked my registration status (Daunte Wright), and ensured my license plates were visible (Lt. Caron Nazario). I will be careful to follow all traffic rules (Philando Castille), signal every turn (Sandra Bland), keep the radio volume low (Jordan Davis), and I won’t stop at a fast food chain for a meal (Rayshard Brooks). I’m too afraid to pray (Rev. Clementa C. Pickney) so I just hope the car won’t break down (Corey Jones). When my wife picks him up at the end of the day, I’ll remind her not to dance (Elijah McClain), stop to play in a park (Tamir Rice), patronize the local convenience store for snacks (Trayvon Martin), or walk around the neighborhood (Mike Brown). Once they are home, we won’t stand in our backyard (Stephon Clark), eat ice cream on the couch (Botham Jean), or play any video games (Atatiana Jefferson). After my wife and I tuck him into bed around 7:30pm, neither of us will leave the house to go to Walmart (John Crawford) or to the gym (Tshyrand Oates) or on a jog (Ahmaud Arbery). We won’t even walk to see the birds (Christian Cooper). We’ll just sit and try not to breathe (George Floyd) and not to sleep (Breonna Taylor). These are things white people simply do not have to think about.”David Gray

“Today’s policing is nothing more than modern slave patrols.” -Bishop Talbert Swan

It’s.Too.Much.

********************

********************

I read this morning that Lawrence still has some 200 people living outside, sleeping rough, and that efforts are being made to alleviate that, in keeping with the tent city already operating in “midtown.” Living here heals us in ways we could never have asked for.

Safe shelter for those who have none.

********************

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It’s Thursday in America… page 225

Kim Smith 03/04/2021

Day 354 – 03/04/2021

This is the day. We’re here… March 4th. Word on the street is that Q is in charge, the former guy will be re-inaugurated today as America’s rightful president, JFK Jr. and Elvis will appear on the Capitol steps, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will be impeached, and Mike Pence will turn into an actual Q-tip and spontaneously combust, setting off fireworks INSIDE the dome. It’s gonna be LIT, America! Meanwhile, Congress opted to take a skip day, which puts a damper on the fun and games, and I’m just gonna hide and watch while the dreams go somewhere to die. My sympathy to those who find themselves on the wrong side of history today.

We’re still bathed in pleasant temps and sunshine, and we have things to keep us occupied and moving forward, so that’s the plan. Kim’s morning and part of his afternoon are full, and this evening is our date with destiny at Sigler’s for second shots. I felt life returning as soon as we got the first one, and all the things I haven’t let myself think about for the past year are rising to the top again.

This picture my friend Ivy posted has all the feels in it and says things I want to but can’t. I don’t think he’ll mind if I save it in my diary for future times when I need its message…

Each successive generation of humans sees itself as the be-all-end-all to the world, but life goes on, over and over. We’ll soon be returning to a less-tethered lifestyle and I hope it will be with the intent to make things better than The Before. It would be a tragedy to have isolated ourselves for a year and learned nothing.

Good news, the Ship of State is afloat again.

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A Saturday P.S.

Image by Paula Belle Flores

You’re not imagining it, nobody seems to want to talk right now. Messages are brief and replies late. Talk of catch-ups on zoom are perpetually put on hold. Group chats are no longer pinging all night long.

It’s not you. It’s everyone. We are spent. We have nothing left to say. We are tired of saying ‘I miss you’ and ‘I can’t wait for this to end.’ So we mostly say nothing, put our heads down and get through each day.

You’re not imagining it. This is a state of being like no other we have ever known because we are all going through it together but so very far apart.

Hang in there my friend. When the mood strikes, send out all those messages and don’t feel you have to apologize for being quiet.

This is hard.

No one is judging.

Donna Ashworth, author of poetry book, ‘to the women’

https://www.amazon.co.uk/…/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp…

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Thursday sunlight… page 217

East Lawrence 02/18/2021 – Kim Smith

Day 340 – 02/18/2021

Heat wave today! Twelve degrees at 7am, feels like 4, headed for a high of 22º and sunshine. There’s still something shiny in the air that resembles snow, switching from flakes to sparkles every few minutes, so the snowpocalypse that wasn’t… continues.

We’re in fine shape here but feeling for the people in Texas and elsewhere who are without resources for coping. Also without leadership – TX guv is ineffective, and the guy with the skunk mullet has fled to warmer climes. Cancun sounded good to him this season, while at least one 75-year-old Texas couple are sleeping in their car at night to keep warm and the people down the street are burning their wooden fence in their fireplace. The world’s asking if America’s finished, and I’ve seriously wondered the same thing over the past few years, but I’ll keep hoping and working on the things I can, and I’ll run my mouth ’til I die, that’s a given. If it has no other effect, it keeps me square with myself and able to sleep at night.

In general, the realities of life are improving. A month into his administration, President Biden is quickly getting a handle on the fallout from the previous one. COVID vaccine distribution planning is being rescued, repaired, and put into action. The president’s goal of one million shots per day in his first 100 days is being surpassed – we’re now approaching two million per day and should soon reach three. COVID financial relief is very much in the pipeline at last, world leaders who don’t respect us are being firmly and calmly dealt with, and racial conflict is being addressed in more mature ways by knowledgeable, caring people. The Biden team is tackling our economic issues realistically, and infrastructure may yet get its fifteen minutes of fame – all without Uncle Joe’s face on TV every hour, yelling incomprehensible monologues out of his mouth hole. Good stuff… and wait, there’s more!

Life here, barring interference from nasty COVID variants or other unforeseens, could actually return to a semblance of normality by Christmas. Christmas THIS YEAR. That’s a carrot for my psyche, propelling me forward. From here, December looks like a warm comforter filled with the stuff of life – people, sweet occasions, food shared, uninhibited laughter, the pleasure of getting in the car and going… anywhere. That’s been the goal since we sheltered last March, with everyone still alive to share in it. So far, so good on a strictly personal level – but there are a half-million families grieving the ones who didn’t make it through. Life has changed in the nation over the past year, and I’ve changed with it in ways I won’t be able to reverse when the doors are open again. I don’t foresee myself going to any future big events without a mask… shaking hands was always a squicky habit, so it’ll be hugs for the people I know and love, elbow-bumps for the rest… and I may never break out of hermit mode because it works for me. I live and breathe solitude… and in here, Kim’s the only one who knows the goofy things I say and do.

Oh, but people… Streisand knows the answer to that one… so staying in here forever probably wouldn’t be a good plan. Deciding to trust hearts again, that’s the mission, should I choose to accept it.

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