Thanksgiving 11/28/2008 -I do protest this day too…..

The only way I look at this day we call Thanksgiving can be explained here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Day_of_Mourning_(United_States_protest)

It has been nearly 10 years since I set foot on Plymouth Rock, in Plymouth, Mass, in protest with my Native brothers and sisters.

Please take a look at their website and go and support our brothers and sisters at Plymouth Rock this year.

Website: http://www.uaine.org/

Here are a few excerpts of some of the great speeches I had the privilege to hear in 1998. These speeches are written by a few of my heroes who have been labeled for a long time now as the government’s enemies and or prisoners.

Message #1: From Leonard Peltier to National Day of Mourning, 11/26/98, Plymouth, Mass.

THANKSGIVING DAY STATEMENT

Greetings, Friends and Supporters.

Well, here we go with another holiday that America loves to celebrate, Thanksgiving Day. I know this has been said numerous times by many Native people of this country, but it is just not a day for many of us to celebrate. Although some things have improved on some reservations, there are an overwhelming number of us that have nothing to celebrate. These are the people who still have my concern, my hope and my love that things will get better. I’m talking about the people of Big Mountain, some of whom have already received their eviction notices. It’s about the Western Shoshone, about the people all over this continent who are fighting for their treaty rights and sovereignty. It’s about the people in Chiapas, the people in Central and South America who are being tortured and slaughtered every day. It is about the people whose stories we do not hear. The people who are resisting by simply surviving the “third world” conditions that they live under in the wealthiest nation on Earth.
As you gather today at this historic spot, remember those who struggled and gave their lives before you. Remember those who are in prison and those who are being tortured and denigrated today. Remember those who gave you the teachings that were handed down generation to generation. Remember as you continue the struggle for justice and equality in this land that is ours to caretake.
We need to reach out to the youth and embrace and encourage them to follow in our footsteps in order to continue the struggle. We are losing part of a generation of our young people to drugs and alcohol and consumerism. My time on this Earth is rapidly passing by and the young people must step in mine and the shoes of others who have fought this long hard struggle. I encourage and challenge you to educate yourself and your children in social concerns and the politics of the world. We have to remember that only true unity of all people will allow us to be successful and victorious in effecting change.
I also want to thank all of you who continue to sacrifice and work for my freedom. It is through your love and support that I make it through the hard times. And there have been many and I’m sure more to come.
Before I end, I ask you to remember our teachings. Thanksgiving is every day. Wake up and thank the Creator for a new day every day.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse.

Leonard Peltier.

Message #2 from Mumia Abu-Jamal to National Day of Mourning ’98

When one considers the historic holocaust waged against the original people of this continent, one wonders, not about a “Day of Mourning,” but about ‘500 years of Mourning; for it has been over 5 centuries since this continent was invaded by mercenaries seeking the land of ‘El Dorada’, the land of gold, riches, and natural abundance. For Native peoples, the holocaust continues, every day, as they remain a people largely colonized in the land of their ancestors.
That said, “Thanksgiving,” for the United American Indians of New England and millions of Native folks across the continent (as well as millions of friends and supporters of them) is hardly a day of celebration; for how do you celebrate a holocaust? If it were a real “Thanksgiving”, it would mark not white dominance of Indians, but Native Independence and true freedom in the land of their ancestors!
On the Move!

Mumia Abu-Jamal

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Harvey Milk day, 11/27/08

I know I am writing this a bit too late, but as Harvey would say “It’s never too late.”

See who Harvey Milk is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvey_Milk

I can’t write a long blog about Harvey Milk, because there is too much I have to say.  My laundry list about the man, his achievements, and ideology would take too long to type out..and others have explained his life more eloquently than I. 

I will say this: Go see Gus Van Sant and Sean Penn’s new film “Milk”, and you will be surprised.  Harvey’s life almost seemed over at age 40, stuck in a closeted lifestyle and in a dead-end job in New York City. Then, a 40 year old Harvey came to have some wisdom and enlightenment and changed himself, and in time would change all that knew him.

Harvey started a movement that spans and thankfully has outlived him and many other great civil rights leaders; Leaders for Human rights that were struck down long before their day and times were up. The death of Harvey Milk was a sad end, but his life is an example of hope that far outshines those tragic final moments.
So on this day, November 27th, 2008, on the very anniversary of his assassination I will raise my glass and my heart to you, Harvey Milk.  May you inspire many more generations to come: Black, Latino, Arab, Jewish, Asian, gay, straight, transgender, bisexual, and more.  We are all just simple hearts beating under flesh and bone, but there is nothing so simple about us.  We are the human race and we all deserve to be treated as just that-with equality, virtue and love.

Harvey never gave up, and we shouldn’t either. Dignity is not a dirty word, it’s just a right we all should have been born with. Finally, in time I hope you all will see in this lifetime that the words “Gay Marriage” are not dirty words either.

Peace,

Carmelo

Ps. Please look at this while you are reading:

http://www.eqca.org/site/pp.asp?c=kuLRJ9MRKrH&b=4026595

2008 Legislation

AB 2567 | Harvey Milk Day
This bill would require the governor proclaim May 22 each year as Harvey Milk Day. It would encourage public schools and educational institutions to conduct suitable commemorative exercises on that date.

Status: Introduced on February 22, 2008. Passed Assembly with a 45-23 vote. Passed Senate with a 22-13 vote. Vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger on September 30.

Lead Author: Assembly member Mark Leno

Sponsor: EQCA

Co-Authors: Senators Kehoe, Kuehl and Migden; Assembly member Laird and Speaker Núñez

Note who vetoed this bill..our fearful leader of California.

Deeper Reflections on Love for Obama

I originally had written this before on November 4th. I was going to publish it regardless if Barack Obama had won or not. But I waited. I wanted my ideas to grow much like the hopefulness that has grown in the land we live in.

Barack Obama has simply worked hard his whole life.
Part of me hates the fact that he has worked so hard to be where he is. I hate the fact that he has put so much effort into being the man we now look to for answers. I have faith that he will lead us out of the darkness; he is obviously not lazy.

This country and Americans as a whole have become lazy. Obama, since first stepping into public office, is the first one out the door in the early dawn’s light.  At night I picture him as the last one to sleep. This is what I hate about Obama-that he, in affect, is the American Dream. Why can’t everyone be that American dream? Why can’t more people have that drive to pick up and read books, and shut off their TV’s? Why can’t more Americans take the literal proof i.e. the failed war in Iraq and the failed economy as the evidence that we all need to do something?  Then we, as the people of every state, could whole-heartedly have the common sense to call for a brand new smart and human leader. Why can’t more Americans just have the damn common sense to know better?  Because America is sick and tired, but mostly tired, and has given up.
Fortunately for all of us there are more people coming out of the woodwork to say and do and be like Obama.

If I sat down and analyzed how many Americans woke up everyday and said, “I’d like to take this mess of a country and world and make sense of it,”…or…“I’d like to take control of my own life and environment, and do what I can do to help make my fellow man live in a better world,” it would be a lower common denominator than the numbers that plague our failing stock markets.  Most of the general population just don’t try to do much more than the bare minimum of what is expected.  The words “Don’t Try” are a reference to one of my favorite authors, Charles Bukowski. His gravestone epitaph say those exact two words.  Most people don’t try. They just sit on their computers, listen to their ipods and wait for it all to end so they can complain some more.  Not Barack Obama. He would never do such a thing in this race to become, and be, the human race that I feel we all must try to move forward into. There is a larger scale social and mental evolution that is needed before we are all destroyed.

So do I hate Obama? No, I love him more right now more than I could love any other human being, because he is not only a highly evolved person, but also a politician-this is the rarest of our human species in North America. My love and admiration for him grows because Obama is true and genuine. Also because he actually did it: He put down his television remote, and tried and tried without giving up.  He took a few lemons and made an entire grove, and then made a new brand of lemonade for all of us to drink down easily like so much cheap beer on tap at the local bar.  I also resent the fact that it has taken all of us so long to get to where we are today.  We had to nearly drown in order to learn how to swim.

Why aren’t there more leaders of his caliber, let alone people working in the factories, halls, and corporations of America who have those same ideals?  Those moral and historical lessons that we were all taught in our high-school history classes?  Lessons we all forgot and or put away until trivial pursuit game night.  My lesson today is that America is a sick dog. The bigger question is will the upcoming four years of being adopted by a loving and smart family help erase the pain of having such an abusive past owner?  Time will tell, and faith might help along the way.

I am certainly not Barack Obama, but I have always held myself in my own light of hope for a better future. In my opinion it all goes beyond just reading his philosophies and ideals in some hip newspaper or magazine. If I hear a song on the radio that gives me hope or a speech that makes me smile…..did that smile exist before or without the inspiration? Yes, it did, but perhaps Barack Obama was that sleeping giant that made it all come to fruition.

The Humpback whale is a great example of evolution and living. Those whales that migrate thousands of miles from Antarctica to the sub-tropical coastal waters of western and eastern Australia and Fiji aren‘t going on vacation. They make the journey periodically to give birth and mate during winter and spring. Those creatures didn’t need a speech to get that inspiration to live on, reproduce, and make their race survive, they just do it to this day because they exist and know that it is their duty in order to propagate their own species.

We need to instill these ideals to exist within every man, woman and child. We need to find it everyday that we live, die, and love. We are the whales that we used to hunt and kill. We are the dying breed that must naturally find more and more hope, and  invent, create, and recreate a brave, hope-filled new world.  It isn’t just Obama’s job to save us, we must save ourselves.  So, in closing, do I hate Barack Obama really?  You tell me..perhaps I don’t hate him after all.  Maybe I just resent him a little like most people do.  Again I say because he has made it so easy for all of us who choose to listen, to find the light at the end of the tunnel. You know that tunnel-the one we all thought would just end in blackness and ultimately in the death of another sad, failed, Democratic country.

Perhaps sometimes when I reflect on my porch by myself about my father and my troubles growing up, I see that same troubling part that was Barack Obama’s life as well. After all, there was a whole generation of us that grew up as latch key kids with absent fathers and or mothers, wondering what will happen when we all finally grow up?  Who will lead us?  Can we lead ourselves without using our own hidden agendas to hinder ourselves? I think you know the answer to this question: Yes we can, after all.

Finally, I have realized that you and I aren’t so different either.  Perhaps I figured out and thought about the other true nature of my resentment towards our new president.  Maybe I have finally realized the fact that I have resented Obama is because it could have been me or you on that stage saying those words, “I am proud to accept the nomination for President of the United States”.
If only you or I had found that hope in ourselves so long ago. We all got too accustomed to our presidents being oil barons, billionaires, and war mongers. We had quite possibly forgotten that being the president of the United States is a position that every American has the right to become. We had preemptively erased that as a part of that American dream that this country was founded on.

In closing, let’s all start to become our own hope and listen to Obama’s words, because they are all our words too.  Hope is a four letter word, but not all four letter words are so bad after all.

Reflections on Obama winning our Presidency

After so many of my troubles, worries, and hopeful aspirations we have won. The truth is we have just begun to be on the right path to a brighter world and a new tomorrow.

My apology goes to all the folks that have put up with my years of debating, rhetoric, and blogging. Welcome to Democracy is what I say.  I won’t exactly stop being political just because our election is over, but I will breathe a little easier, and even sleep a little better now.

During this campaign I even at desperate times shouted off rooftops about my love and hate for this country we call America. Then last night there was a bright sun that came over that dark and cold horizon around 7:36 p.m. PST; a bright sun named Barack Obama.

I will recall my most powerful memory of this election.  Earlier this year I spent my 4th of July vacation in a little town called Solvang, CA. It’s right in Southern California’s Central Coast, and it’s a quaint little town.
There were no fireworks that fateful 4th of July night due to the wildfires that raged on not too far away from us; fires that ravaged the Santa Barbra Mountains.  When I talked to the sleepy wine-drinking and grape-growing residents of Solvang, we all had one thing in common-Hope. Hope for a better tomorrow via a mutual support for a man named Barack Obama.

Last night my anger, fear, and hatred for this fully grown dysfunctional government finally dissipated. Most of it all turned back into love for my country again. I once again now believe in my fellow Americans as well as my government.

My less provocative question and statement:

How many comedians will go hungry? There will be no more jokes about Bush, McCain, and redneck women who hunt defenseless animals and so on…..where will they all get their material now? What will these comedians do? They might just have to go back to the old ways, of actually creating jokes from pure creativity. Think about it, my fellow Americans. The art of story telling might just make a comeback as opposed to just commentating on life.

Thank you again everyone for tolerating my democratic blue state of mind. I will also recommend reading Barack Obama’s books. They aren’t so hard to understand, and they make his political and life journey very understandable. My own difficulties in my own life are not muted in comparison to his but very comparable. I say this because every single one of us all have what seems like at times insurmountable odds to overcome. We can all overcome just about anything, if we just don’t ever let up, and keep moving forward, forward into the sunrise.

My final thought is that a big part of me likes to think that the supporters of Barack who have passed on would have loved the way his election ended.  The shortened list would include my life long hero, Paul Newman. The other hero would have been my childhood hero, and my former high school English Teacher, Tom O’Connor.  My girlfriend’s mother died a few years ago an ardent Democrat and celebrated teacher of Civil and Human Rights.  This presidency is for them, for you…Hell, this win is for all of us.