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First of all,
I must contradict my title,
to some extent.

America has deep divisions,
frightening divisions,
between
black
and white
and brown,
between men
and women,
between straight
and LGBT,
and,
most of all,
between
conservatives,
and liberals.

Conservatives feel that their moral standards,
the implementing,
the making into law,
of their moral standards,
is the most important thing to do.

So important,
they will let folks die,
rather than help them.

Rather than let Democrats help them
with tax money.

This refusing to help
is done to get Republicans in  power,
so the conservatives
can force their moral standards
into the law of the land.

Yes,
we have deep divisions.

However.

We have more guns per 100 citizens,
(90),
way more than any other country.

link to chart

Way more.

Yet.

Did Americans,
in the wake of 9/11/01,
use those guns
to slaughter Muslims,
all over America,
by the thousands?

I wasn't following the news that closely
at that time,
but I don't recall
thousands dead,
killed in acts of
off-target revenge.

And that's my point,
it would have been
off-target,
way off the mark.

Because,
here in America,
we have a way of connecting
with each other.

In spite of all the deep divisions,
we Americans,
apparently,
feel,
deep down,
that all Americans
are family,
our family.

And we don't kill family.

We may have divisions,
arguments,
resentments,
furious anger,
aimed at each other.

But.

We are angry
at our family members.

Our family.

And we don't kill family.

Of course,
I understand,
our homicide rate is
more than 5 murders
per 100,000 folks,
per year.

But the killing seems,
to me,
mostly petty bickering,
heat of the moment,
not organized,
not systematic.

I think the reason for our unity
is this:

None of us,
not any ethnic group of us,
is the "regular"
or
"real"
Americans.

None of us.

First nations?
(native Americans)

They are a small minority,
with many of them
having membership in tribes
that have treaties
with the USA.

?

If you are an American,
how can you have a treaty
with America?

And that's the situation
of the Americans with 25,000 years
of advance claim to belonging here.

And,
the rest of us
are recent immigrants.

Bottom line,
unless you make it clear
that you just got off the plane,
and you're getting back on,
real soon,
to get back to your home country,
unless you make that clear,
we will accept you,
as an American,
as family.

And we won't kill you.

Not saying no one gets killed here,
but you won't be killed,
not likely to get killed,
because of your language,
because of your religion,
because of your clothing,
or hair style.

Welcome to America.

Thanks for reading.

Originally posted to Smarter Prepping With Big Jack on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 03:54 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The New Colossus (15+ / 0-)
    Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
    With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
    Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
    A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
    Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
    Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
    Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
    The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
    "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
    With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

    Dudehisattva...

    "Generosity, Ethics, Patience, Effort, Concentration, and Wisdom"

    by Dood Abides on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 04:36:49 AM PDT

  •  Well said. (6+ / 0-)

    Thank you for posting this.

    I started with nothing and still have most of it left. - Seasick Steve

    by ruleoflaw on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 07:14:03 AM PDT

  •  I thought we humans immigrated further (9+ / 0-)

    than Alaska roughly 15,000 years ago. Biologically we are all extremely recent arrivals.

    Hard to follow your writing the way it's written.

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 07:45:51 AM PDT

    •  I'm not sure about the timing of arrival (9+ / 0-)

      and I just woke up so I'm too lazy to go look. I tipped because I agree we are all fairly new arrivals.

      Try reading bigjac's writing like free form poetry. It's how he writes always.

      "Humidity built the snowman. Sunshine brought him down" John Prine

      by high uintas on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 08:48:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The anthropologists keep pushing it back, anyway (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fresno, bigjacbigjacbigjac

        so whatever you knew yesterday will be superseded by tomorrow's knowledge.

        At some point there ceases to be a meaningful distinction between "n thousand years ago" and "always been here".

        Ask the Basques about that, too.

        If it's
        Not your body,
        Then it's
        Not your choice
        And it's
        None of your damn business!

        by TheOtherMaven on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 03:45:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  (he writes his screen name the way he writes) (0+ / 0-)

        Ayn sucks. Please know I am not rude. I cannot rec anything from this browser. When I rec or post diaries I am a guest at some exotic locale's computer.

        by Floyd Blue on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 12:11:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The first wave(s) of humans coming (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ban nock, Lujane, bigjacbigjacbigjac

      to this continent are (probably) not related to any of the current inhabitants (although courts of law have disagreed on this point, I would argue that they are not the best venue to decide such things.)

    •  Biologically recent, intellectually and culturally (6+ / 0-)

      ancient.

      When Indigenous people claim they were created here, they are correct in that their nations, their communities, are autochthonous -- they emerged from the earth, in place. On the other hand, the underlying philosophical foundations of the United States -- for instance, the strong American support for the idea of private property as a product of labor -- emerged elsewhere: Greece, Rome, England, France. These ideas provide all the motivation and justification colonial settlers need to claim land as their own.

      And bigjacbigjacbigjac is correct that you cannot have a treaty with the United States unless you are a citizen of a distinct nation. Many Indigenous people live in two nations, and the overlapping jurisdictions and cultures make for a complex life.

      It's common to insist that "we are all immigrants," but to do so is to deny that Indigenous creation stories -- the "founding documents" of Indigenous nations, if you will -- have any validity. When combined with bigjacbigjacbigjac's statement that "they are a small minority," the message becomes the constant refrain of the colonizer:

      We will crush you.
      To which Indigenous nations, with their creation stories and their treaties, reply:
      We are still here.
      •  From reading, I think 9 out of 10 indigenous (3+ / 0-)

        peoples died before Euros even advanced across the continent. Invasive diseases. Around here Hispanics have been here for so many centuries, and it's getting on more than 150 years for Euros, and we have mixed our families so much, it's just hard to tell anymore who is who.

        “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

        by ban nock on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 10:31:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  True enough, for the most part, but if you know (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ban nock, Lujane, bigjacbigjacbigjac

          your people's stories and language (even if it's only a non-standard form of English), you know who you are.

          There's an excellent book called American Indian Literary Nationalism, by Weaver, Womack, and Warrior, that argues against the idea that we are all now cultural hybrids.

          There's also a bunch of studies out there about distinct Indigenous cultural variations in communities around the U.S.  The Invisible Culture by Susan Urmston Philips is a good one.

        •  Another couple of things... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lujane, bigjacbigjacbigjac, ban nock

          150 years in a place is significant, but it pales (excuse the pun) in comparison to the millennia of lived experience as encoded in the stories, songs, visual designs, etc. of tribes.

          Also, I ran across this link with a good panel discussion including Craig Womack and others:  http://www.southernspaces.org/...

          Here I notice how literary concerns tend to lead to political topics:

          As indigenous peoples engage the language of human rights, they challenge Western discursive parameters of international law.
      •  It seems to me that accepting (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bigjacbigjacbigjac

        modern anthropology and archaeology, and other scientific approaches to understanding the origins of modern peoples, inherently calls all creation myths into question, including those of indigenous people.

        Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

        by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 05:25:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think that to question creation myths on the (0+ / 0-)

          basis of modern anthropology or archaeology would be to commit what philosophers call a category error.

          You may as well call into question the Declaration of Independence or the Gettysburg Address for their references to creation ...or maybe call all of Shakespeare into question because you can prove that all the world's not, in fact, a stage.

          •  that depends on the purpose (0+ / 0-)

            of those myths and how they are being used.

            It's common to insist that "we are all immigrants," but to do so is to deny that Indigenous creation stories -- the "founding documents" of Indigenous nations, if you will -- have any validity.
            Seems to me that if I'm committing a category error, you set me up for it. If these creation myths have no bearing on anthropology or archaeology, and vice versa, then how does making a statement about where people came from invalidate those myths?

            Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

            by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 11:07:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I guess my question is (0+ / 0-)

              why is it so important for some to prove that we are all immigrants? I'd submit that those who insist on this point are simply trying to hasten the final, complete assimilation of Native peoples into the colonial state, to prove that "we are all the same," that there's no basis for honoring the sovereignty of tribal nations.

              Why should anthropology and archaeology -- e.g., the scientific dating of migrations -- have any bearing on the validity of the founding document (the creation story) of an Indigenous nation? "Proving" that Indigenous nations did not emerge from the earth seems a trivial waste of a scientist's work, sort of like marshaling evidence to show that wine is not really Christ's blood, or to show that, depending on the criteria you emphasize, all men are not actually created equal.

              If Native creationists are not insisting that their stories be taught in science classrooms, why would anyone bring science into a socio-political discussion to insist that we are all immigrants? It's an irrelevant point - philosophically, it's a category error, and politically it's too often a transparent strategy to strip tribes of communally held, aboriginal rights to land, water, and cultural resources & bring those resources into the market, where we are all the same, all immigrants from somewhere else, with no fundamental attachment or rights to the land we found here.

              •  I don't think it's "so important" (0+ / 0-)

                to prove that we're all immigrants, or that creation myths are wrong. It's just part of the larger story of human origins and migration, which I find interesting. Mythology may be interesting as well, but not for that purpose.

                This sort of conflict isn't limited to indigenous people and their mythologies. Similar conflicts arise with the field of biblical archaeology. Some want to avoid it because it may call the literal truth of the bible into question. Others want to use it to provide corroboration of the events in the bible. Others want to disprove it. Others are interested in discovering what went on during that period, and while they may use the bible as a jumping off point, will follow the science where it leads them.

                Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

                by AaronInSanDiego on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 06:55:41 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Maybe, but I don't think biblical archaeology (0+ / 0-)

                  is put to the same sort of political purpose as is the refrain of 'we are all immigrants' regarding Indigenous people.

                  If Indigenous people come to be seen as just another immigrant group -- just another ethnic group -- then it may eventually seem unnecessary to engage in government to government relations with tribes. People who insist we are all immigrants are not simply following science where it leads, they are mis-applying a modern notion of the migration of individuals to a vast stretch of time, to time immemorial. The effect is to downplay, discount, or denigrate the origin narratives and the continuing status of tribes as collective entities, as nations. Scientific migration theories are irrelevant to the origin narratives of nations. For the most accurate picture of the land tenure history, identity, and contemporary political motivations of tribes, listen to their origin stories.

                  •  Well, I guess that goes back to what I said about (0+ / 0-)

                    what the purpose is. Even saying we are all immigrants doesn't necessarily lead to what you are describing, if one doesn't ignore other facts and history.

                    Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

                    by AaronInSanDiego on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 07:42:44 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  And actually, given some of the (0+ / 0-)

                    discussions some people get into regarding Jews and Palestinians in Israel and Palestine, and who has a right to claim the land, I think there are some similar agendas involved, although the situation is very different.

                    Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

                    by AaronInSanDiego on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 07:46:05 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  A shorter version of my reply (0+ / 0-)
            •  the founding documents are in the arrowheads... (0+ / 0-)

              the pottery shards...
              and the tools worked from bone

              They are found in the footprints along the trails
              and in the Pueblos

              They are enshrined in song and story
              and in the spirits
              of the Earth

              They are woven into the hunting grounds
              and the rivers
              and the sky

    •  25000 years (0+ / 0-)

      of human beings in the Western HEmisphere.

      The Alaska stuff is flat earth dogmatism.

  •  Your message has its heart in the right place. (6+ / 0-)

    I agree that we're not divided: Insofar as we're not in a civil war, and red states and blue states aren't invading each other, or flying different flags - oops, except a lot of red staters are still flying the flag of rebellion, from the last time we had a civil war.

    But we're also not very united: There's so much hate between the right side of the country and the left. There's so little listening, that we're starting to develop two alternate realities, where all our facts and theories, contradict all theirs.

    We certainly need more common ground, for that is where we'll build a better future. Which is what Barack Obama was talking about, when he first appeared at that Democratic Convention, saying we are all purple states. It sure seems like a lot of Americans weren't listening hard enough. Too many hate Obama for looking a little bit purple himself.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 10:24:34 AM PDT

    •  I'm thinking that (metaphorically).... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dinazina, jabney, bigjacbigjacbigjac

      ....you're all wrong. And right. By that I mean missing the point.

      I look at it this way: There are circumstances under which almost all of us would unite. The response to 9-11 cut across all racial and religious lines, with the outlying few of course, and we did not embark on a pogrom of Muslim hatred. Most of us being sentient realized these were enemies of ALL of us who happened to be Muslim.

      What divides us is ignorance. There is no such thing as race. Race doesn't really exist, but local adaptations to environment causing changes to the amount of melanin in one's skin over thousands of years DOES exist and that's what most people call "race." What people "hate" is other cultures, other practices, other styles of living not conforming to the hater's own.

      The Other.

      But Brecht, you're absolutely correct on point three. We need more common ground. We won't find it, however, because we live on a planet of seven billion people with room and resources for about two billion people. Here in the US we are no different than anywhere else: We squabble among ourselves for available "resources" i.e. jobs, safe housing, clean environment, etc.  Ultimately, we are no better than a bacteria in an agar cup: As soon as the food is gone, we poison ourselves and die.

      "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

      by CanisMaximus on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 02:01:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  One quibble (3+ / 0-)

    while it is certainly true that there seems to have been an amazing degree of forbearance in terms of the potential for slaughter that exists in an America where so many families possess military-style weapons....and that lack of open warfare may indicate the degree to which the right's violent rhetoric is detached from everyday reality...yet

    "Family" is precisely who we are most likely to kill. Most of us, of course, don't kill anyone. But those who do kill, mostly, kill family.
     

    "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

    by Alice in Florida on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 11:11:44 AM PDT

    •  Actually, even though I'm not certain (0+ / 0-)

      what numbers,
      what statistics,
      you have in mind,
      saying most homicides
      are homicides in which
      the killer and the deceased
      are family to each other,
      but,
      even if that's true,
      you missed something else:

      In America,
      the homicide rate
      is well under half
      the suicide rate.

      The suicide rate.

      Since the suicide rate
      is well over twice the homicide rate,
      that gives me the feeling
      that Americans are simply not very likely
      to kill each other
      in large batches,
      because of a desire to kill
      the "other."

      But our one big civil war
      may have shown that you're correct:
      when Americans got started
      killing each other by the thousands,
      it may have been
      with the full feeling
      of killing family.

      Maybe I'm just indulging
      in wishful thinking.

      Time will tell.

      Bringing a child into the world at this point in history is a crime, the crime of child endangerment.

      by bigjacbigjacbigjac on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 03:47:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yeah? Well I say we ARE divided! (3+ / 0-)

    So who's with me? Everyone who's with me stand over here!!!

    Everyone who's with BJ -- you go stand over there, so we can keep an eye on you!!! Splitters!

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 11:34:19 AM PDT

  •  If I (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bigjacbigjacbigjac

    write
    like this
    can I get

    on

    the community
    spotlight

    too

    ?

    But seriously, because we don't kill each other more than we do, we're not a divided country? I don't get it. I think America has always been a deeply divided country, between people who support the privatized white money-power establishment, and everyone else.

    Banking on the American people to be able to sort all this out and declare the adult in the room the winner is a very big bet. -Digby

    by Boogalord on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 07:25:32 PM PDT

    •  Maybe. (0+ / 0-)
       
      If I write like this,
      can I get on the
      community spotlight,
      too?

      But seriously,
      because we don't kill each other
      more than we do,
      we're not a divided country?

      I don't get it.

      I think America
      has always been
      a deeply divided country,
      divided between:
      a.
      people who support
      the privatized,
      white,
      money-power establishment,
      and
      b.
      everyone else.  

      Free verse poetry
      gives the reader
      natural pauses,
      and emphasizes points,
      makes everything more clear.

      Seems to me.

      Bringing a child into the world at this point in history is a crime, the crime of child endangerment.

      by bigjacbigjacbigjac on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 03:56:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Whack..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bigjacbigjacbigjac

    ...adoodle.

    If you hate government, don't run for office in that government.

    by Bensdad on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 12:00:09 AM PDT

  •  So what do you do about (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    starduster, bigjacbigjacbigjac

    "...in his heart he isn't an American."  Or the failure to pull together to allow legitimately elected officials work for the betterment of our society?

    SOME of us may be family, but our nihilists are long, strong, loud and commanding the attention of a cowardly media.

  •  This is what Martin Bashir said in one of his (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bigjacbigjacbigjac

    MSNBC commercials, in that wonderful accent, about why he loves this country.  He said it is beautiful the way we pull together at times....and very unique in the world.

    Ayn sucks. Please know I am not rude. I cannot rec anything from this browser. When I rec or post diaries I am a guest at some exotic locale's computer.

    by Floyd Blue on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 12:12:28 PM PDT

  •  Dude- what is up with your return key? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bigjacbigjacbigjac

    Are you trying to haiku or what?

    •  Yes! Haiku got me started. Then I tried, (0+ / 0-)

      truly tried,
      to express myself
      in the clearest way,
      the clearest way I could find,
      and this is it.

      This
      is
      it.

      It flows so well,
      in my brain;
      my wife is a speed reader,
      and she loves my writing;
      it lets her flow,
      and understand clearly
      everything I'm trying to express.

      poetry link  

      Asphodel, That Greeny Flower [excerpt]

        by William Carlos Williams   
      Of asphodel, that greeny flower,
              like a buttercup
                      upon its branching stem-
      save that it's green and wooden-
              I come, my sweet,
                      to sing to you.
      We lived long together
              a life filled,
                      if you will,
      with flowers.  So that
              I was cheered
                      when I came first to know
      that there were flowers also
              in hell.
      - See more at: http://www.poets.org/...  

       

      See,
      I didn't invent this style.

      Expand your mind!

      Narrow minds are not helpful.

      I also walk around my home
      naked,
      anytime I wish.

      Don't you?

      Bringing a child into the world at this point in history is a crime, the crime of child endangerment.

      by bigjacbigjacbigjac on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 03:23:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  America isn’t divided, it’s shattered. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bigjacbigjacbigjac

    We all just waiting for the economy to finally drop dead… hopefully it doesn’t drop on me!
    Yeh know, like that idiotic Rolling Stone’s tune: I’ve been shattered—kunuby –shattered—kunuby--my brains are spattered (all over the internet)-kunuby ...etc.

  •  American Indians and African-Americans (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bigjacbigjacbigjac

    are here with all the rest of us, immigrants all, one way or another.  The first people, American Indians and decendants of slaves forced to come here against their will and all the rest of us probably from poor people liucky enough to have the fare to the New World.  Yes, you point out a little looked at part of our body politic the immigration experience for one and all as a factor of great unity among us.  

  •  Disagree (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bigjacbigjacbigjac
    Not saying no one gets killed here,
    but you won't be killed,
    not likely to get killed,
    because of your language,
    because of your religion,
    because of your clothing,
    or hair style.
    Really? You are really claiming that?

    Tell me.... Can

    You Use

    A Search Engine?

    Try "Dr Tilller"

    For starters

    •  I live in Wichita, Kansas. Dr. George Tiller (0+ / 0-)

      was killed here,
      in my home town.

      One radical anti-abortion man
      killed one doctor.

      The doctor he killed
      was a very important doctor,
      one who truly cared about his patients.

      But that's not a group of Americans,
      who see themselves as the regular Americans,
      killing a sizable group of folks
      seen as the "other" folks.

      Maybe I
      did not understand
      your point.

      Maybe you
      did not understand
      my point.

      Anyway,
      thanks for reading.

      Bringing a child into the world at this point in history is a crime, the crime of child endangerment.

      by bigjacbigjacbigjac on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 05:59:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Two guys dragged a black man to his death (0+ / 0-)

    Here is Southeast Texas.  His head came off.  Got a long way to accept "different" in the South but it is a nice thought.

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