I don’t understand today’s Social Justice Movement

Let me start by saying, I will not respond, reply, acknowledge hateful comments. You will be deleted and blocked.

The death of George Floyd sparked angry protests and riots all over our country in late May. It’s now late September and they haven’t stopped.

They’ve been fueled by other conflicts and shootings between cops and suspected criminals, suspected criminals who happen to be black.

DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE? I didn’t called George Floyds death murder, I called the protests protests and riots riots. I correctly pointed out that all the news stories about so-called police brutality involved cops and suspected criminals.

Many have called for defunding the police to diminish the incidents of conflict between the men and women in blue and criminal detainees. Many cities like Seattle, and Minneapolis have city councils that have already voted to eliminate the police or significantly cut their budgets; obviously having carefully studied the matter and examined the consequences of such an unprecedented move.

You see what I did there? I sarcastically suggested that these city councils had a rush to judgement on the defunding question. Because clearly there was no study or legitimate debate on the subject.

I believe racism exists. It’s real. And its unquestionably bad and deserves to be dealt with harshly every time it rears its ugly head, on an individual basis.

But, you may ask, what knowledge and experience do I have as a white guy in American, raised in the white suburbs outside Seattle to comment on race and racism. I’d like to address that two ways.

First, it doesn’t matter that I’m white and it doesn’t matter the ethnicity of anyone else who wants to comment on this subject. We are all humans. And I’m guessing those reading this are all Americans, which is to say United States citizens or legal residents. We’ve all been scared by the leftist screaming crowd that we aren’t entitled to talk about race or racism unless you are black and unless you completely agree with the Black Lives Matter agenda as it currently stands. As a result many scared people who don’t agree with BLM are intimidated into keeping their mouths shut. So we lose voices in this important conversation. And when you are told that your opinion doesn’t matter because of your race or ethnicity, isn’t that racism too? We’re allowed to speak our peace because we’re the ones assumed to all be racist and practitioners of a systemic racism problem in our country. Since we’re the problem, supposedly, you might want to listen.

Second, I have as much knowledge and experience on this subject as any white suburban, middle class, public school educated baby boomer alive. I suppose others could surpass my expertise under these qualifications. But they would be few and their experiences are not my own.

In 1985 I started living with a black woman. We were subsequently married and had three child, all of whom are and identify as black. I was completely embedded in my ex-wife’s black family for the whole time we were married. After 30 years we were divorced in 2015. I have since happily married another woman. She is Mexican.

SO HERE IS THE BIG QUESTION: Having lived with a woman of minority status for 35 years, and having raised three black kids to adulthood and being thoroughly active in their lives you would think I would have a story or two or twenty of all the incidents of racial discrimination, hatred, and bigotry that I or someone in my family experienced. Given how this is supposedly a racist culture with systemic racism in every corner of our nation there is no way I could escape the vile acts of a racist or the road blocks imposed.

The fact is I don’t have one story. I don’t have a single anecdote. I can’t even share with you any single incident in which my kids or either of my wives expressed to me the sense of having been targeted by racist activity. Quite simply, it never happened. I’m not a small man nor am I a shy one. Were any loved one of mine hurt by racism I would be fighting somebody.

Oh, there was one time where I suffered tremendously from an act of racial discrimination. It occurred in about 1990 when I was about 26 years old when I was passed over for a very lucrative, high paying job with the Washington State Department of Transportation due to their affirmative action policies. I was told by the Director that after three interviews I was the highest scoring applicant, but that I wouldn’t get the job because a black man and a woman were each awarded points for their race and sex that I wasn’t entitled to, and those points were enough to give each a higher score than me.

This is why I struggle with today’s Social Justice argument. Seemingly everyone has drank the Kool-Aid. All walks of life, businesses, entertainers, athletes…they are all on board with the belief that our country is inherently systemically racist.

All we have to do is look at the incident that prompted these riots and protests to understand my internal conflict. Like absolutely everyone (seemingly) I saw the video of the death of George Floyd and I was outraged. It looked like Floyd was murdered. But, I only saw the video of him already on the ground with the police officer keeping him there with his knee on the back of Mr. Floyd’s neck. Since that initial video and reaction more video has come out and more news. Quite simply the police did not murder George Floyd. The medical examiner says there was no evidence of asphyxiation. At worst the cops should be convicted of failing to provide him needed medical attention.

Here is what we know: Floyd resisted arrest for something like 10-15 minutes. He was acting very strange. Toxicology tests revealed that he had four different illegal drugs in his system including cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, and a lethal dose of fentanyl. He was complaining that he couldn’t breath long before he was pinned to the ground. And respiratory distress is a symptom of fentanyl overdose.

And Dear God! Why is nobody reporting that this man was huge! He was 6-foot, 6-inches tall and clearly physically strong. Couldn’t that have played a part? You think the police may have been physically intimidated? You think they might have needed to use considerable force to subdue this man? And when you are high, acting strange and fighting with police while resisting arrest what does skin color have to do with any of this?

I know incidents of racial discrimination occur. I would never stand for it personally or where it affected my loved ones who happen to be minorities. But it’s long past time that we realize that a lot of people make an awful lot of money by jumping up and down and screaming racism wherever they see conflict. It’s also long past time that we stop blaming society for the bad decisions of single individuals. It’s also long past time that we recognize that those who live by the sword will die by the sword. If you commit crimes, at some point you are going to meet police officers. And if you resist arrest with those police officers you may end up dead. Police are humans too. They have a right to self-defense. And your criminal butt who puts the cops lives in danger will suffer the consequences for doing so.

Lastly, this is not the final word on this matter. Evidence I haven’t and you haven’t seen will still come forward in the George Floyd case. And if there is a trial a verdict will determine guilt or innocence of the four cops charged. God help us if they are acquitted, as I’m sure some of them will be. It’ll be another occasion for protesting/rioting. And just like the current riots, it won’t accomplish a damn thing.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome…to a point.

 

 

 

A Bad Dad

In January 2018 Conservative FOX News talk show host Tucker Carlson said during his show and wrote on Twitter, “No matter how successful you are, if your kids hate you, you’ve failed.” I saw him say this and began to cry. It hurt me terribly to hear words that I feared were correct. And, I feared my kids hate me.

I have wanted to write this blog for a long time. I’m not sure my motivation for revealing something so personal and so painful. I guess I hope for some absolution. I guess, in part, I hope to let others in my position know they are not alone. But I do know what prompted me to make this writing today.

The above Tweet by journalist Andy Ngo shows a crowd of college aged kids at the University of California-Berkley who formed a human wall to block people from attending a speech by ultra-Conservative antagonistic writer Ann Coulter. These actions repulse me and worry me about our nations future. It also led me to think that were this event in Seattle my three adult kids might be among this objectionable crowd. And this type of thinking is, I believe, at the heart of why my kids ostracize me.

At the time I heard Carlson’s hurtful words I had just come through a difficult Holiday season in which my kids chose not to spend any time with me. It was also my first holiday season in my new home, which I purchased as a single man recently divorced from their mother. I was, and am, proud of being able to buy my own home as a single individual who also happens to be self-employed. You can ask around. That’s not easy to do. And the fact that my kids didn’t want to help mark this special season left me depressed. Carlson’s words made it worse.

Unfortunately my relationship with my kids has only gotten worse. I haven’t seen my 32 year old daughter in 2 1/2 years, or my soon-to-be 21 year old daughter in 2 years. I’ve seen and talked with my 27 year old son with a little more frequency. But it too has been minimal. It is truly the lone hole in my life that has otherwise been pretty happy, and fairly successful.

When they were growing up I was diligently involved in their upbringing. I attended every single parent-teacher conference any of them ever had. Never missed a recital, or performance by them in a play, or a concert, or a dance performance. Their sporting lives were full year round. And I was there. I coached them in Little League softball, baseball, soccer, football, and basketball. For those who have coached a youth team any time in the past 20-30 years you know as I learned, it’s like having a second job. But I did it because I wanted to be close to my kids and to help and encourage them to grow into healthy and happy adults.

I was proud to call myself a strict parent. But aside from the occasional swat on the butt for the two oldest in their elementary years I never struck them or abused them in any way. My youngest was the least challenging of my kids and never was spanked any time in her life, aside from a notable occasion when she was being a precocious 2 year old. It’s notable since it occurred at a Little League field in which my son was playing. Since her mother and I couldn’t get her to sit still and behave I gave the diaper wearing little girl a bare hand swat on her fanny. A nosy, opinionated woman, a mother of one of the other boys playing that day, took offense to my harmless discipline of my girl, spoke up, and harshly said, “Would you mind abusing your daughter somewhere else!” Naturally, I was shocked and angered by the woman and responded accordingly. I told her to “Mind your own damn business!” As for my daughter, I can’t imagine she has any memory of it at all. She was too young.

Those who know me know that I can be a softy, and emotional. Never a day passed without me telling my kids that I loved them. Never a day passed when I didn’t try to show that love in any way I could. As they grew into their teen years I would nearly always invite them to join their mother and I in whatever we were doing whether it was watching a movie, cooking a special dinner, or in my case going fishing on one of the many local lakes near our home. Seldom was my invite accepted. It never bothered me. Because as I told their mother when she asked why I always did this, I always wanted my kids to know they were wanted and that their inclusion in our lives involved any and everything, even if I knew they would decline these invitations.

I was married to their mother for 28 years; though the last two were a slow march toward our ultimate divorce after having learned of her disgusting infidelity. Regardless of how it ended we had a good marriage and a happy family for most of those 28 years (any claim to the contrary is revisionist history). It ended when I could no longer stay with the immoral woman my wife had become. I’m sure the divorce was hard on my kids, especially the two youngest who were still living with us when the shit hit the fan and their mother’s secret life became revealed. In their eyes, I’m sure it didn’t help that I started seeing a beautiful woman almost immediately after our divorce. They would never understand that despite living under the same roof I’d felt alone for 4-5 years, and that divorcing gave me the freedom to see this woman completely guilt free. I’m so happy and proud that Maria became my wife, just over a year ago, in a wedding that my two daughters chose not to acknowledge, let alone attend. And though I believe my kids resent my wife and me for getting together so soon after my marriage ended, they didn’t seem to hold their mother to the same standard even though she didn’t wait until the marriage ended to have another man in her life. My Ex didn’t want to divorce and tried to convince me to stay together, right up until the night before I moved out. But it was my decision because I simply no longer trusted or respected her. Being my decision alone, my kids blame me.

Being a strict dad is a contributing factor to my kid’s currently being out of my life. It doesn’t help that their mother never, NEVER disciplined them at all. This knowledge was confirmed by them in a frank discussion we had at the time of the divorce. According to them, their mother never even sent them to their room as a form of discipline at any time for anything. Being the one and only adult who held my kids accountable for misbehavior was tough for me. Especially as the troubling teen years for the older two ravaged our household and I became the enemy while their mother not only didn’t discipline them, but I found out years later, got HIGH with my sonFinding out that their mother was getting high with a son who was not only being disciplined by me for marijuana we would find in his room or in his possession, and who also faced school suspensions for it, further lowered my view of my Ex and further helped explain our current difficulties. Dad is bad. Mom is cool.

For those who don’t know me another factor that I am confident is a contributing factor in this rift is the fact that my Ex is African-American, and as such, my kids identify as black. Furthermore, in terms of society and politics I am Conservative while my Ex is quite liberal. To call my kids liberal would be generous. They are clearly of a socialist mentality. I wish they weren’t. But I am genuinely pleased to have them be politically aware and involved. I have told them so.

To me the real problem is what has happened in society. The narcissistic, judgmental, facist, behavior of today’s millennials, of which my 21, 27, and 32 year old kids qualify, teaches those of similar thinking that they not only have to oppose thinking different from their own but that such people are the enemy and are evil. So, my kids look at me as the privileged white, angry, racist Conservative that all people like me are.

On the night Donald Trump was elected President I jealously watched my girlfriend (now wife) Maria texting back and forth with her adult kids, talking about the returns coming in. Being such a momentous night I wanted to reach out to my kids too. Knowing they would unquestionably be upset by the election results my first text to them was completely benign and non-threatening. My oldest daughter responded with a very angry text and told me I was only gloating and basically to shut-up and go away. Here was just one more occasion that she broke my heart a little bit.

In being reminded of Tucker Carlson’s words I am not absolving myself of all responsibility for what is becoming the tragedy of my life, the ostracizing from my kids. I have regrets. I especially wish I hadn’t shown anger as much as I did. But aside from that I take comfort from those who know me and knew my time with my kids. During those times I was told repeatedly by admiring friends and family that I was a great dad. Not a bad dad. And though I have far more doubts than I used to have, I know I gave my kids everything I could, to see to it that they were raised with a knowledge of God, and a value system that I cherish. I didn’t do everything right. But I love my kids in spite of everything. I miss them terribly. And I look forward to the time when whatever they hold against me will be replaced by a maturity that is currently lacking, and life experiences that will also teach them that their dad wasn’t that bad, and may even have been pretty good. And, Mr. Carlson, because my kids live and are moving ahead in their lives, and I hope are happy, I am not a failure.

I love them all.

 

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