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Friday, May 29, 2020

Friday Fun: Bridging the Great Divide

Friday Fun: Bridging the Great Divide
So, while the pics for today's post remain 'fun', the subject is a bit more serious. Forgive its schizophrenic nature, but it reflects the way my mind works.
I am heartsick, as many of us are, over the recent events that have taken place in Minnesota’s Twin Cities. 
The senseless, brutal death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer has set off a powder keg of pent up frustration and anger in the form of peaceful protests, looting and fires. The internet and social media are already ablaze with speculation, questioning everything from the police officer's record of service and personal life, the victim's past, the intentions and response of the MPD, to the true motivations of the protesters, whether the looters are a gang from Chicago, and the culpability of the merchants' affected
It's madness. 
But we live in a time when chaos and misinformation rule. 
It all goes to shine a spotlight on the ugly truth that is the undercurrent of this country: The Great Divide. 
The division between the haves and the have-nots. The division between the ignorant and the persecuted. The division between people of color and people of assumed privilege
Yesterday, Minneapolis Council Member Andrea Jenkins, incidentally a black trans woman, spoke out regarding those who believe that bringing up racism and pointing it out is, in and of itself, racist. She said that if we did not speak of cancer, then we would never concentrate our resources to find a cure. Racism is an illness. It must be named. It must be spoken about. It must be identified. Or we have no hope of finding its cure. 
I realize that posting a bunch of pictures of men wearing thongs, with a thin piece of fabric running up their ass cracks may seem a crass and inappropriate way of illustrating this issue. But 'Bridging the Great Divide' was always going to be the title of this particular Friday Fun. It's just that recent events have brought a whole new meaning to the term. 
I hope the Twin Cities can heal. I hope there is justice for George Floyd, his family and his friends. I hope more and more people of privilege come to see this as an opportunity to educate themselves, rather than defend. I hope they come to realize that racism isn't something from the past, but something that percolates and is perpetuated in the present due to a lack of access to education and resources. A lack of fairness and hope which leads to a lack of motivation. All of which creates a crippling loop of poverty that is suppressing, depressing and devastating a portion of our community. 

The economic foundation of this country during the industrial revolution continues to haunt. It is not going away until we all work to find a way to atone. One nation robbed an entire continent of a future. Of course there are going to be consequences, Of course there is going to be discord. Of course there is going to be a great divide.

Question is: how do we bridge that divide? I would like to think it's possible. I would like to think there is a chance to achieve social justice and restore some kind of equality to this nation.
I don't want to believe or accept that 'this is the way it is' and the way it will always be. 
Listening would be a great start. But listening without hearing is a hollow gesture. It must also be accompanied by a desire to change, to admit fault, to own our behaviors and words, and yield both economic and political power. 
Closing ourselves off and 'defending the castle' is senseless.
The barbarians are not at the gate. We are the barbarians.
And we must atone, in order to heal.

Update: The gas station three blocks from my house is on fire. The Dollar Store that I frequent in Robbinsdale has been looted. And the Holiday Station three blocks from one of my rental houses on Washington Avenue burned to the ground. Shit's getting real, real fast. I am as scared as I am sad. 
Okay. Enough. I’m jumping off my soapbox. If you made it this far, thanks for letting me bend your ear. My intent is not to offend, but to share a few thoughts. If you find those thoughts ignorant or tone deaf, use the comments section and enlighten me. I am always willing to evolve.
And now, in the Warner Bros. cartoon that is my life, it only makes sense to... bring on the thongs! 

One hundred of them, to be exact!

Have a great weekend.
And please keep Minneapolis and the Floyd family in your thoughts and hearts.
- Uptonking from Wonderland Burlesque

I Shall Be Released - Bette Midler