“Obama and Presidential Library” Independence Day Parade Float

This 4th of July parade in Norfolk, Nebraska featured a flatbed, blue pickup truck with an outhouse and the words “Obama” and “Presidential Library”.

This demonstration of tastelessness is NOT a BANNER OF CLEVERNESS but an ENSIGN OF IGNORANCE.

Parade organizers with the local Odd Fellows lodge said, “The float was the most popular ones in the event and received an honorable mention award”.

What an appalling statement and to think someone thought this was a viable justification of this despicable act!

I will comment that the Odd Fellows as a whole are an honorable group much like my own Freemason Brothers, but this Norfolk local lodge should be disbanded along with those who approved this float, should be thrown out of their organization in reprimand, and disgust.

I am calling out the Odd Fellows to act honorable to do so.

On the counterpoint, I am pleased to pass on that the Obama “Outhouse Float” sparked a political firestorm across the nation. The disrespect for the office stands paramount far beyond the man holding the position. There is a level of respect for the office of the Presidency which should not be crossed…and the citizens of Norfolk cleared this disrespectful bar level in their streets shoes.

The Omaha World-Herald reports receiving several emails from people upset about the float, including one person who said that it was wrong to allow this sort of image to be displayed at a July 4th parade.

Those citizens of Norfolk who pointed and laughed at the float, seeing it as humor instead of finding the distastefulness in the act, displayed the deteriorating of our society. I will lay the direct blame for this at the feet of Conservative Talk Radio and Fox News.

It’s beyond disappointing the City of Norfolk, its officials, and citizens would allowed such a thing. This float was not a political statement, but one of the worst displays of racism….plain and simple. For me, no one can argue successfully against this statement.

The Washington Post notes that this was not the first time that an outhouse has appeared in a parade with the words “Obama” and “Presidential Library’ written on it.

In 2012, a Montana man expressed his views in a similar fashion, attaching a fake birth certificate to the outside of the float. That float was eventually banned from other events in the state of Montana.

In closing I will state that just as Jackie Robinson, when he broke the color barrier in baseball, is admired today across the country when he maintained control of his emotions as racial slurs were constantly hurled at him at the baseball games; President Obama for the betterment of the county and the office of the Presidency, has to maintain his emotional control ignoring the ignorance displayed by the citizens at the Independence Day Parade in Norfolk, Nebraska’s shame. President Obama too will be honored in the future for the same reason just as Jackie Roberson is today.

Extreme Conservatism, by its own reflective definition, is Wrong.

Definition:

Reactionary Conservatism – the self-inflicted, delusionalism drug ADDICTION of choice. Can many times be found running in tandem with excessive alcohol consumption or the corrupted, and distorted, overindulgence with religion. The deteriorating effect on the human brain is the same.

Much like the examples of the Ultra Conservative icons of their day, George Wallace, Asa Carter, and Lee Atwater, when faced with the SOBERING realization of their own last waning days of their mortality, reached out publicly asking for forgiveness for their transgressions.

Even through their own rhetoric trying to convince others of their hateful views, all three displayed regret, and the desire to apologized to those whom they demonized, defamed, and offended for their own personal gain. All three men knew of the need to make right, and to clear their conscience of their offenses to others before their passing.

I see this basic need to make amends and asking for forgiveness, exposingly demonstrating the Freudian sub-conscience aspect of their inherent, and basic knowledge that what they were doing through most of their adult lives the whole time of their actions, was WRONG.

I will close with the positive note that I hope for their sake, all three men made their repenting piece with their consciences and God before their deaths.

“Sing Me Songs”(An Independence Day Reflection)

I thought on this Independence Day Weekend, I would post one of my first published poems. This poem calls out to us in this country to reflect of what had been our founding values of this country, comparing where we are today with the idiocy of the Reactionary Right’s Lunacy.

Sing Me Songs

By F. Wayne Johnson

Sing me songs of our days past glory,

To contemplate how we came this far.

Sing me songs of our country’s origins,

To confirm whom we say we are.

Sing me songs of simple beauties,

Like the sky before the beginning of night.

Sing me songs of mourning doves calling,

As children catch fire flies by star light.

Sing me songs of children playing,

Life where no tears of sorrow are shed.

Sing me songs where there is no illness,

With all tucked safely at night in bed.

Sing me songs of frosty fall mornings,

When you need a sweater and it reveals your breath.

Sing me songs of the tree’s leaves falling,

And all the birds have empty nests.

Sing me songs of a warm hearth glowing,

Where love grows and happiness thrives.

Sing me songs of the generations caring,

To make sure the family survives.

Sing me songs of geese flying in formation,

Filling the sky with calls for the South.

Sing me songs of this traditional pageant,

As they perform this play just over our house.

Sing me songs with prayers for peace,

Working together or we all will loose.

Sing me songs with tolerance for others,

The direction and success is for all to choose.

The Shame In Murietta, California

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
Citizens of this country use to hold up with pride these words that were emblematical of our values as a nation.

July 1, 2014 when I saw the news footage of the “foaming at the mouth” lunatic hordes of people brandishing their venomous insults towards the Border Patrol’s buses filled with Central America’s growing migration crisis of women with their children refugees, my heart was saddened at the loss of compassion for others that has become so prevalent today in this country by the Extreme Reactionary Conservatives.

“The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

I cannot help but think of the poor Italian mother who had to send her child, particularly her male child, to this country for a better life. One that could provide the hope for employment to combat starvation, to put a roof over their heads, and with the hope of a safe life to build a family around.

A hard, and heart tearing decision to send off her child to another country from that of her birth, but the only survival choice, and prevention from being absorbed into the corrupt, criminal Mafia that was so prevalent for the poor in Italy at the turn of the 20th century.

I thought of the Irish who were starving in the land of their birth when a wealth of food was being shipped out to England by the controlling wealthy 1% in Ireland at that time.

In a single day on the 15th of September, 1847, at the height of the famine, the following goods were shipped out of Cork Harbor for England:
186 bags of flour
286 barrels of barley
334 barrels of wheat
96 casks of ham
486 boxes of eggs
219 head of cattle

“Eighteen forty seven,
Was the year it all began,
Deadly Pains of hunger,
Drove a million from the land,
They journeyed not for glory,
Their motive wasn’t greed,
Just a voyage of survival,
Across the stormy sea.”

I thought of those of Jewish descent for centuries who had to flee from countries such as Russia and Germany to keep from being exterminated by the ignorance of others in those countries simply for the beliefs of their faith.

This country was built and prospered from the many waves of immigrants over the years looking for a better life not only for themselves, but more importantly for their children. That is a pretty good motivation to succeed in a person’s adoptive country. The real plus benefit for our nation is this indisputable truism. “Sometimes from humble beginnings, greatness can bloom”.

Immigration has always been the fresh blood transfusion to keep our country growing and aided toward its progressive development. It is this diversity that makes us, The United States, great.

So I will close with sadness for how far many in this country clamming to be “good Americans simply trying to take back their country” hollow, bull shit verbiage, but while tomorrow as we celebrate our proclamation to the world on July 4, 1776, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.

I give this last example of the ignorance, the intolerance to their fellow man, and claiming Christian Values, when their actions are anything but. To the “Tea Party, Ultra-Conservative, Whipped Up Nut Jobs,” I say; “You are not the answer, you are the problem”. I hope your hatred will be short lived for the sake of the United States of America.

How The South Became A Republican Stronghold

During the hot summer of 1967, racial disturbances swept through Detroit and Harlem and then through Minneapolis, Dayton, Cincinnati and other cities unaccustomed to civic violence. But the turning point that summer, and indeed for that era, occurred in a town few Americans knew existed.

Forty seven years ago in the small city of Cambridge, Md., H. Rap Brown crossed rhetorical swords with then Maryland’s Gov. Spiro T. Agnew. The two put the convulsive actions of that summer into words in ways that deepened the nation’s racial divide. They popularized a style of political speech that would increase black / white antagonism and drew millions of White Southern Democrats into the Republican Party.

Maryland’s Mississippi Freedom Riders from Swarthmore College came to the Eastern Shore to help the fledgling Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee push open the city’s segregated restaurants and the chief source of entertainment, the local movie theater. At this time, the Eastern Shore of Maryland was a lot like growing up in Mississippi.

This fertile hook of Maryland that extends into the Chesapeake has always been isolated and heavily agricultural, with a profoundly different character from the rest of the state. While Maryland sided with Union forces during the Civil War, the Eastern Shore was a slave region and sympathized with the South. Harriet Tubman was born and was a slave on a farm outside the city limits of Cambridge before escaping and starting the Underground Railroad.

Frederic Douglas was also born a slave in this same geographical area.

The attitude in this area as late as 1973 still had the “Black Only” and “White Only” signs on the bathrooms and water fountains and people still obeyed them!

That summer in 1967 young, black Cambridge school students joined the Freedom Riders movement, and when some sat down to pray in the restricted lobby of the town’s segregated movie theater; they were arrested and sentenced by a local judge to up to six years in a juvenile reformatory. When state authorities released these youths after three months, they returned home heroes in their communities.

In the following years, civil rights efforts in Cambridge sagged as key activists left and the Freedom Riders ceased their visits. To build support in 1967, the members of the recently organized Black Action Federation invited the new head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, H. Rap Brown, to speak.

This was the summer that H. Rap Brown gave an impassioned speech on civil rights in the town of Cambridge, Maryland which resulted in a riot. As a result Brown found himself on the FBI’s top ten list of most wanted.

“If America don’t come around, we’re going to burn it down,” shouted Brown, standing on the trunk of a car, to a crowd of 500 cheering Cambridge supporters. His speech occurred an hour before police exchanged gunfire with residents and several hours before a blaze engulfed a black elementary school and most of the city’s black-owned businesses.

The National Guard was called in along with local and state police to restore law and order.

The day after the fire, Governor Agnew inspected the Eastern Shore city and scratched out a statement. “It shall now be the policy of this state to immediately arrest any person inciting to riot, and to not allow that person to finish his vicious speech.” Through their uncompromising rhetoric, Agnew and Brown climbed instantly from obscurity to icon status and would rise unexpectedly to positions of national importance, swept along in historical currents beyond their control. Their words split the pro-civil rights coalition, and inspired the “Southern Strategy” of the Republican Party.

This then led to an unprecedented federal counterintelligence campaign against black political moderates. When Brown came to Cambridge July 24, he was at a point of believing that armed self-defense was necessary. Blacks had battled bitterly with police in Prattsville, Ala., Detroit and other cities already that summer. According to police, Brown led a group of marchers to Race Street, the main commercial street of the city, which divided the black and white neighborhoods. Brown said later that he was simply escorting a girl home.  As he approached Race Street, a buckshot pellet struck Brown in the side of the face. He was treated at the home of Cambridge’s only black doctor and left town shortly thereafter.

Within hours of the shooting, however, the elementary school in the heart of black Cambridge was in flames. Citing the threat of snipers, the local fire department refused to fight the fire despite pleas from black community leaders. Flying embers spread the blaze to 16 adjacent buildings and the sky over Cambridge was bright with fire.

Despite a lack of evidence that Brown himself had participated in the burning of buildings in Cambridge, he was charged with arson and the FBI entered the case. Before being released on bond, he issued a statement declaring that America stood “on the eve of a black revolution.”

The summer of 1967 revealed the power of black people to get national attention through unfocused expressions of rage. The summer also revealed that a year of talk about black power had left SNCC militants more powerless than ever.

Congress passed anti-riot measures in deliberations that revealed the increasing ability of conservative politicians to strengthen their popular support at the expense of liberals over the issue of black militancy. Agnew’s response to Cambridge set the pattern for his future political career. The man elected governor as a moderate began a national ascendancy using the political instincts and style of George Wallace’s speech writer, “Asa Carter”.

When the city of Baltimore rioted in 1968, in the aftermath of the assassination of King, Agnew asked 50 black leaders to meet with him. Most walked out as he immediately asked them to denounce inflammatory remarks from Carmichael and Brown. The meeting was a disaster and Agnew’s relations with black leaders were nearly destroyed.

Agnew’s calculated tough talk earned him time on the national news and caught the attention of a young aide to Richard Nixon named Patrick Buchanan, who kept newspaper clips of Agnew to show to his boss, who eventually selected Agnew as his running mate in 1968.

As a vice presidential candidate and as vice president, Agnew delighted supportive crowds denouncing “thieves, traitors and perverts,” and “radical liberals.”  He became the leader in the Republican effort to woo white Southern and blue-collar voters who had traditionally voted Democratic.

Today Agnew’s legacy lives on. Republicans have picked up conservative white votes and become the dominant party among white men in the South.

So in conclusion, the South today that is now the “Reactionary Conservative Republican” strong hold all comes around to the same old variable of 150 plus years ago….”Racism!”

The Full Quiver Project

As many have heard me speak of the “Full Quiver Project” on the radio program, “Here Be Monsters, The Sunday Show,” I thought I would post more on this subject so the listeners may educate themselves as to what I am speaking of.  This is a very disturbing aspect from the Reactionary Fanatic Fundamentally Religious within our country.

I would never use the “Generalization Statement” to say that ALL Tea Party Members believe in the “Full Quiver Project”….. but I would say that those most who practice the “Full Quiver Project”…most are probably Tea Party Members.

Once again we are seeing the examples of the “Extreme Supporters of the Religious Right” who are trying to move legislation farther to the right than ever before, and they want to take the country along with them.

A professor of Christian Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, whose name is Bruce Ware, is pushing their religious right agenda to the extremes. This person finds passages in the Bible to justify that God meant women to be submissive to men. It is within the same passage that states, children should honor their mother and fathers, and slaves should honor their masters etc.

This Southern Baptist Seminary now has some of the other ideas from their fundamentalist positions. This new teaching is being called “The Full Quiver Theology” and is based on Psalm 127: 3-5 which reads, “Children are a heritage of the Lord, the fruit of the womb, a reward. As arrows in a soldier’s hand, so are the sons of the young. Blessed is the man who has filled his quiver with them.”

The seminary’s president, Albert Mohler, explained that under-population was a pressing concern. Couples who choose childlessness are guilty of “rebellion against parenthood that represents nothing less than an absolute revolt against God’s design.” God will decide whether to open or close the womb. Using birth control is an act against God’s will. The truly Christian couple will allow God to decide whether each act of sex will result in procreation and sex will be returned to its proper place in a Christian’s life. What part of this decision does the Christian woman have? None because she should submit, of course.

When asked about his position, President Mohler explained to the Chicago Tribune, “We are barely replenishing ourselves,” he said. “That is going to cause huge social problems in the future.” Now the first alarm that should go off and one should ask themselves, “What did Mohler mean by “we.” The world’s population is expected to grow to 9 billion by 2050. The United   States’ population is expected to grow to 400 million by 2040. No under-population there.

There is one trend that President Mohler could be referring to is the influx of new Latino immigration and if the trend continues Euro-Americans will cease being the majority race in the United   States by about 2050. Over the next half century, America will become a predominately non-white nation. Is this religious call for “Full Quiver” theology a white-supremacy code language advocating for the increase of white babies?” Is the “huge social problems in the future” going to require the need for the “Full Quiver” of white arrows, “arrows in a soldier’s hand,” to defend their religious views?

This really sounds a lot like the Adolf Hitler’s Nazi speech’s warning Germans of the threat from Jews during the 1920’s and the policies and laws that were enacted in the 1930’s. Of course President Mohler and Professor Ware are backing up their contentions with plenty of Bible verses; which for some people means they are teaching the truth.

I have a good friend who has a Nazi Gold Mothers Cross.  This was awarded to the woman who had seven children, five who were males that filled the ranks of Hitler’s WWII army.  This was the honored German Mother who did her duty and filled the German Ranks of the Aryan children that would fight for the Father Land, and fit into Hitler’s views.  This “Full Quiver Project” is the exact same thing.

Remembering Juan Gelman, an Argentine Poet

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In my early 20’s, I served in the U.S. Navy and in 1975 I was deployed to South America.  I spent time in Argentina and Chile during the time of the military juntas’ control. I saw the results first hand of the ultra-conservative mindset from these military juntas in both Chile and Argentina to the general population of those countries.

As everyone is the sum of their life’s experiences, this is one of the major reasons why I have to speak out against the ultra-conservative movement going on in our country today.  I have seen, and know where this all leads if left unchecked.

So today I want to remember a poet who challenged his country’s military dictators.  Juan Gelman died at age 83 at his home in Mexico City on January 14, 2014.

Juan Gelman was an Argentine poet who became a major literary figure throughout Latin America and in Spain.  He was known for his fight against the military junta that ruled Argentina in the 1970s and ’80s, and for the personal tragedy that came from that.

His daughter was kidnapped and tortured by the local military police force.  His son and daughter-in-law were killed and buried in a mass grave behind the local military police barracks, and their child, Gelman’s granddaughter, was taken and given away for adoption.

This unfortunately was the norm and not the exception when I was there.  This time period is now referred to as, “The Lost Children of Argentina.”

Gelman finally located his granddaughter in 2000.

As I have often passed on the internet radio program which I am a co-host, “Here be Monsters,” “The Sunday Show,” the Charles Percy Snow quote, “When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion.”

So I will conclude with John Stuart Mill, “There are many truths of which the full meaning cannot be realized, until personal experience has brought it home”.

My Father, his two brothers, and their “Greatest Generation” served during WWII to fight repressive dictators and atrocities committed by those leaders and governments.

By contrast, in 1975 my government sent me to South America to prop up and enable those repressive juntas and the atrocities committed by them on their citizens.

A blog to complement the internet radio show Here Be Monsters, The Sunday Show