Saturday, January 24, 2009


I read another short story for my diversity class and it really made me think about how we as a nation treat those who break our laws. Obviously I have a very liberal stance on this but I would love to hear from someone who feels differently.

Norton #59900
Judee Norton
Anthology of American Literature pg. 2674

I chose to write this piece after reading the Reader Response of Lisa Watkins. In her response she stated, “Illustrated is the misuse of power by the governing authorities in order to keep the prisoners emotionally down-trodden and without a voice. The struggles this prisoner faces between “saving face” with her fellow inmates, standing up for the truth, pleasing the staff, and her own emotional torment is unfathomable to most of us here on the outside.” Her statement indicated to me that this essay would be full of emotion and conflict.
After reading and reflecting on the piece, I could not help but think about how futile our efforts are in incarcerating those people in our society who need our help the most. In her short biography of Norton, Judith Scheffler explained that Norton was in a State Prison from 1988 to 2002 and came from a background of addiction and poverty. In her writing, Norton clearly expresses her feelings of oppression and her need to save what little pride she had in order to survive the brutal environment surrounding her.
Hubert Humphrey said, “The moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the aged; and those in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped." Here in the United States we failed this test. We choose to place the “sick” among us in prison, where drugs are easily accessible, rather than helping them overcome their addictions. Our government looks to please those who will vote for them, as well as those who will donate money and time to keep them in power. They overlook the fact that our prisons are full of poor minorities because these individuals do not have the means to “buy” freedom.
In her writing, Judee Norton captures the humor of the irony embedded in the Justice System. It is unfortunate that we live in a nation that supports and engages the principle of breaking the will, soul, of our prisoners. By attempting to show dominance they are only fueling the fire of hate that is so rapidly spreading across this planet. I am not saying that we should show mercy to every prisoner, there are those in the system who intentionally destroyed the lives of others. These people should be removed from society. What I do know is that we as a people need to stop destroying the lives of those who can still be saved.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Civil Rights

Here is my most recent essay that I will be handing in late due to the fact that I am still learning when a teacher says "hand in your thoughts" she means "write a paper".

“I Have a Dream”
Martin Luther King Jr.

“Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this son of York.” When William Shakespeare wrote these words for the play Richard the Third he alluded to the premise that the struggle these people faced was over and a new age of prosperity lay before them. This prose has a striking resemblance to the speech given by Martin Luther King Jr. on the steps of the Lincoln memorial. Said King “This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning.” King recognized that there were many struggles ahead and many more marches to be walked but he foresaw the end, the “mountaintop” and knew the glory that awaited his people.

King made reference to the Gettysburg Address given by Lincoln at the Civil War site of the same name. As much as Lincoln is revered by those in the Civil Rights Movement, I have a difficult time believing his words after learning about his personal feelings of the Black race. I am not putting Lincoln down. I recognize that he is a beloved figure in the American history and perhaps the best President this nation has had. Thankfully President Lincoln met Frederick Douglass who was able to persuade him to elevate the Black Union soldiers to equality with their White counterparts. It was Douglass who showed Lincoln the disparity that existed for the men who fought for their freedom while being denied it from their own army.

I too will echo the words of Walt Whitman “O Captain My Captain!” in giving praise to Abraham Lincoln’s role in advancing a noble cause. He was brave enough and savvy enough to make choices that were not popular even if he did them for the wrong reasons. Mostly I am proud to know that we do have a government that will, at times, listen to the people who “matter the least”.

In my lifetime one of the most important advancements in Civil Rights happened June 26, 2003 with the death of Senator Strom Thurmond who was greatly opposed to the Civil Rights Act of 1957. Shortly after his death, Essie Mae Washington-Williams, a Black woman, revealed that she was the illegitimate daughter of Senator Thurmond. This illuminated the hypocrisy and contempt that he had for people he considered unworthy of equal rights, striking a blow to those who admired him for his outspoken racism.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mr. Rogers

I read a profile this week that Tom Junod wrote on Mr. Rogers for Esquire and it made me smile. Just thought that I would pass it on to you.
Mr. Rogers article

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Two Years

Well Babe, it has been two years since our first date. Just in case you forgot anything I thought I would remind you of what we did.

I waited for 30 minutes at your office reading a cereal box.

We went to Union Square and ate at Republic.

We saw Zully at Max Brenners... Yummy.

We saw a flippin sweet movie across the street. The End.

Love you Babe!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Our Kids

Little Man posing with Trucha and Akela.

School Days

The boy has grown. We moved into a bigger place not far from where used to live. We got two dogs and life keeps us busy. I wish that I could go into detail of all the ups and downs that have happened since our little man entered our life but there just isn't enough time. I have started going to school again to finish my degree in Religous studies.

What I am most excited for is the chance to learn and share ideas with my wife and friends. This little essay that I am posting was done for Englis class, Diversity in American Literature. We were assigned to write a couple paragraphs about what diversity means and find a relevant issue in the media to highlight it.

I welcome your thoughts and ideas especially the ones that may not agree with me.

January 14, 2009

Gay Bishop Is Asked to Say Prayer at Inaugural Event
Published: January 12, 2009, New York Times

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both and be one traveler”. These are the opening words from the poem “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. There are many different types of diversity; cultural, racial, socioeconomic, and religious to name a few. Diversity is recognition that there is a life different from our own. This difference is essential for us to expand our understanding and our compassion in this world.

In a New York Times article, Laurie Goodstein wrote about an openly gay Bishop who would be giving an invocation at an inaugural event of President-elect Obama. Bishop Robinson is married to Mark Andrews who has been his partner for over 20 years. The events involving gay marriage over the last few months have cast a strong light on the sexual diversity that we have here in the United States. This choice that was made by Barack Obama was not popular by all people however, neither was his choice to have Rick Warren, a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage, give the invocation at the inauguration. The Bishop could possibly start the prayer to “the God of our many understandings,” to recognize the religious diversity which we also experience around us.

Bishop Robinson said the following about the President-elect: “In many ways it just proves that Barack Obama is exactly who he says he was and would be as president, which is someone who is casting a wide net that will include all Americans.” This example is a path to celebrate diversity. By sharing our differences we may never come to a cordial understanding but we can learn from each other, should we so desire.