My Own Antidote

I realize that some of what Republicans say makes sense. Yet they’re destructive on the issues that do matter to me.

My biggest screed I’ve written in here about is climate change–I’ve written about this in every incarnation of the blogs I’ve kept. Our elected officials voted to prohibit independent scientists from advising the EPA on climate change.

Yet you can’t tell me that in Brooklyn, NY when it’s 16 degrees with a wind chill at 0 on a Sunday and two days later it’s 54 degrees on a Tuesday–you can’t tell me that’s a natural and normal occurrence.

No–Monsanto–you can’t tell me that industrial agriculture is sustainable–it’s not sane either and it’s destroying our planet.

This is where I break away from believing that whole swaths of people buy what they hear and what other people and leaders and corporations are selling. I didn’t ever trust anyone else to have my best interests at heart. One of the antidotes is simple: don’t believe what you hear.

My prime beef is that books like The Antidote conflate political ideologies with actual racism. This is where I differ: I think actual racism does still exist. I learned this the hard way when I was attacked. Yet I’ll be the first one to tell you that stereotyping people is not the way to go.

A better antidote exists: think for yourself.

A clerk who gave me a makeover in The Body Shop in 1996 told me: “Everyone tells me to hate white people and have nothing to do with them. I refuse to go along with that.”

In this way it boggles my mind that The Reverend thinks any rational person would allow another person to tell them that living in poverty is perfectly acceptable. I lived in a dangerous apartment complex for a little over a year. Crack vials littered the hallways. One day I arrived home from work and saw a guy lying on the pavement in front of the lobby door–he’d been stabbed or else OD’d–I knew better than to go close enough to find out.

Is that something to aspire to? I kid you not: who would accept this as a way of life if an alternative existed? I got out of that mode of living as soon as I could.

Corcoran’s in Brooklyn was accused of steering. I kid you not about this too. I lived on Staten Island in the 1970s and 1980s. Back then all the African Americans lived in apartment buildings–buildings that were mostly housing projects. You can’t tell me this was by choice that they chose to live in impoverished areas.

Tell me again why preaching God as salvation and telling women not to have an abortion is the way to go. The authors of Freakonomics claim the good thing about legalizing abortion was that fewer kids were born into poverty–thus the crime rate went down. This actually makes sense as a theory.

Like I said I think the Reverend author of The Antidote is right-on in the issue he tackles. I agree that we can’t whitewash the truth.

My point though is that we can’t–and shouldn’t–conflate a political ideology with actual racism.

My point is that every American should rise up to speak out about the issues that matter to them.

Even if our elected officials are mostly on the take from Big Business–I think the solution is to rise up and think and speak for ourselves.

Which is what I applaud the Reverend for doing. More of us should do it.

The antidote to hate is love. My mother and I crashed the wedding of a neighbor’s daughter (we weren’t invited.) I remember 20 years later what the priest told the new spouses: “When you fall out of love you can decide to love.”

It’s as simple as this folks: each of us can decide for ourselves to love our neighbors.

It comes down to choice. And I have a hard time believing that most people choose to hate or buy into hate as a way of life. I say this as a person who was attacked.

I say this as a person who doesn’t think other people need saving–either by God, a political party, or some kind of leader.

We just need to treat each other with dignity. It starts when we think for ourselves about how we want to act towards others.

And you’d better bet that if climate change continues unchecked it will hasten widespread poverty in the world. Something that no Republican will admit to.

The antidote to what ails us extends beyond our own zip code. We have to heal the planet at the same time we heal ourselves. If we don’t heal the planet, what will be left?


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