#veteransforkaepernick - revisited

#veteransforkaepernick - revisited

I hoped that Kaepernick’s protest would shed a light on the legitimate fears of the African-American community; I prayed that Trump’s spoiled special sauce of racism, misogyny, and fear mongering would prove to be too outdated to win the presidential election; and I wished my feelings of trepidation, concerning the direction of this country, would disappear and prove groundless and without merit because my country was inherently good and blessed by God (or so I was force-fed as a youth) and thus this blip of national selfishness and demagoguery would dissipate.

Thoughts at the Roma-Sinti Memorial in Berlin

Thoughts at the Roma-Sinti Memorial in Berlin

And as we make sure that millions, if not billions, are subject to the twin horsemen of our bombs and climate change while also fearing their exodus (or rather, escape) as a “horde” (or “rapefugees” as the alt-right and pro-Trump crowd calls them), anyone with a shred of humanity should understand how these fears are akin to “reasonable” fears of the past. Fears that led to the Nazis and their ilk.

We’re All Apes. Remain Vigilant.

We’re All Apes. Remain Vigilant.

In the aftermath of the attacks in Paris, heart in mouth, I immediately reached out to my friends who lived in that beautiful city. A city in whose cafes I’d written much of my first novel. A city whose museums still sent sparks flying from my bourgeoisie soul and one which I wish to visit as often as possible. Luckily, everyone I knew was unharmed, though all were shaken up.

Becoming a Racist: The Unfortunate Side Effect of Being American?

Becoming a Racist: The Unfortunate Side Effect of Being American?

In the aftermath of Charlottesville, David Fagin published an opinion piece titled Becoming a Racist: The Unfortunate Side Effect of Serving Your Country? about a group of veterans that served as armed guards for Nazi protestors. Noting that this group of veterans claim their deployment experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan radicalized them towards racism and hate, Fagin quickly draws a link to the epidemic of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and a lack of support services on the part of our military and government, for spawning this ugly display.

Mind the Blowback: Nelson Mandela in today’s world

Mind the Blowback: Nelson Mandela in today’s world

I believe that my duty as a writer is to expand minds so that people see the world differently and, hopefully, change their minds about it. This includes trying to change the minds of people who think as I once thought, who think violence begets peace. Yes, it is a work in progress—to say nothing of people’s desire to attack the messenger. In fact, I’ve only recently understood both fiction and non-fiction and some blend thereof—fake news not withstanding—as vehicles for this goal.

Why James Baldwin Matters More Than Ever

Why James Baldwin Matters More Than Ever

In the aftermath of the latest attacks in Europe [1], the usual platitudes and xenophobic accusations were launched. And as everyone tried to act as innocent as newborn babies—I’m speaking historically here, though I suppose it could count for the blood currently wetting our hands as well—I felt once again as if I were living in some matrix where people are surely possessed.

The Uniform Does Not Stand for Hate

The Uniform Does Not Stand for Hate

I want my military back. The military that was used as litmus test for a higher social good that affected the entire country. I want the military that slowly but surely refused to discriminate because of race, color, sex, sexual orientation or creed. I want the military that gave me so much heartache but nonetheless blessed me with so much

Courtesans To the Left of Me. A Greek Chorus to the right.

Courtesans To the Left of Me. A Greek Chorus to the right.

Sometimes, our species’ darker side sneaks up on me and ends my attempts at an “ignorance is bliss” lifestyle. This tightens my grip on reality, or rather reality’s grip on me. It was a beautiful day in Seattle—the normally smeared gray ceiling shattered and now a light blue sky cut shadows short and crystallized the edges of the cloud shards, now white and billowing.

The Veteran and Pit-bull-itus

 The Veteran and Pit-bull-itus

We were picking up a friend when I saw a man pushing down a woman. I walked over and managed to pull him off of her. Of course, he wouldn’t leave her alone, a little too much alcohol on board.  I told another bystander to call the cops, after asking if she wanted them. I asked because it was Seattle, they were minorities, and I was hesitant to add cops in the mix, especially since I wasn’t sure what would happen next