Entries related to things political.

#FergusonDecision Blaming the Victims

Had Michael Brown not believed that he had the right to "strong arm" a shop owner from his own small community he might be alive today.

It was determined this officer was justified in this incident yet he'll never work as a cop again, he will have to move if not hide the rest of his life for doing his job !!!

And so it begins, the collective efforts to make sense out of Ferguson. As a professional social media manager, working to help the underserved and who has conservative friends, I had a pretty good idea about what would happen once the verdict was announce, and I chose to go to bed at 8:30 Monday evening. There would be time enough to hash things out later. So, now, it is time for me, like everyone else, to add my voice.

And so it begins, the predictable responses of blaming the victim and defending the victim. Michael Brown was the victim of the shooting, yet if he hadn’t been out that night, he wouldn’t have been shot. Would he have been shot if he were white? Would he have acted the way he did if it wasn’t for the way he was brought up? How much of this upbringing is the result of racial tensions that grew out of policies about segregation that dated back to before the Civil War?

From the Gateway Arch, the Dred Scott Case, to Torrington, CT’s John Brown participating in “Bleeding Kansas”, St. Louis and the surrounding area has been a key racial fault line for generations. Yes, Michael Brown was a victim, not only of a shooting, but of our history.

As one of my friends above notes, Daren Wilson is also a victim. His life is forever scarred. He probably never will work again as a police officer. He was a victim of the same racial tensions dating back over a century. If he hadn’t been out that night or had worked in a different place, he wouldn’t have killed Michael Brown. If he had had better training, perhaps he wouldn’t have killed Michael Brown. If there weren’t years of racial tension affecting how he saw the situation, perhaps he wouldn’t have killed Michael Brown.

Beyond this, we can look at the shop owners as also victims. Yes, they set up their businesses on this racial fault line, and they have had their livelihoods shaken, damaged, and in some cases destroyed.

In fact, John Donne’s words apply.

Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

We are all the victim of Ferguson and we are all to blame. We have not done enough to address racial tensions in our country. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.

At the end of Romeo and Juliet the Prince says

See, what a scourge is laid upon your hate,
That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love.
And I for winking at your discords too
Have lost a brace of kinsmen: all are punish'd...

A glooming peace this morning with it brings;
The sun, for sorrow, will not show his head:
Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things;
Some shall be pardon'd, and some punished:
For never was a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

All the Time in the World

Recently, people have shared some links on Facebook that combined with some other links make an interesting story. I’m sharing these links, without comment.

The Disease of Being Busy.
A ton of people didn’t vote because they couldn’t get time off from work
Connecticut voters defeat early voting measure
Gathering Time - Haleys Comet
Lowen And Navarro's All The Time in the World

A Political Victory

For those who haven’t seen the results of my campaign for State Representative, let me share the most important result. Prior to the election, I spoke at to a couple classes on Critical Issues at our local high school.

Last night, a student left this comment on one of my Facebook posts:

Mr. Hynes, you were an inspiration for me. Your views and approach to leadership are fresh and exciting. I can honestly say I am truly sorry for the results of the election, but I am proud to have helped work on the campaign. Your idealism and grasp of the bigger picture are inspiring in a political world too full of short-sighted cynicism.

I won! I can think of no greater victory than inspiring people to work together to make the world a better place. Thank you to everyone who helped make this victory possible.

The Long Run

Well, I dreamed I saw the knights in armor coming…

I’m not sure why that song came to my mind after Election Day, but it was one of the first to come to mind.

Look at Mother Nature on the run, in the Twenty-First Century…

Yet, I am not feeling as down about the election as others. I’ve been skipping over much of the gloating and hand wringing on social media. It is all just part of the ongoing process. I ran. I did not get elected, but I talked about issues and got people involved. I won.

Another song came to mind soon after Neil Young’s “After the Gold Rush”. Fiona is a big fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There is a musical episode of Buffy with the song, “Where do we go from here?” That’s what I’ve been thinking about.

It is National Novel Writing Month. I’ve written the first draft of two novels in previous National Novel Writing Months. I had kicked around the idea of writing a parody of the political biographies that presidential candidates need to write these days. My working title was, “Let’s Get Real”, sort of like Hunter S. Thompson meets the presidential candidates’ autobiography. But I knew that I wouldn’t have the time or energy to make a full out effort, so I decided not to tackle NaNoWriMo this year.

Yet as I’ve thought more about it, I’ve started thinking I need to write, “The Long Run”. I’ve gone back and forth on whether it should be a memoir or semi-autobiographical novel about running for office. I’m currently thinking of the novel approach so that I can amplify aspects of running for office without worrying about offending friends who have been so helpful. This way, I can also weave in parts of other people’s stories about running for office.

I’ve put together an outline and started writing my introduction. At the same time, I’m trying to decompress from the campaign as well as find other ideas to weave into my narrative.

On the campaign trail, I spoke about how I was not running against the incumbent, I was running against apathy. It is an idea I used in 2012 as well. This year, I expanded it to talk about not just what I was running against, apathy, but also what I was running for, empathy.

So, the question becomes, how do we increase empathy? To get ideas, I’ve been listening to various TED and RSA videos. Brene Brown has a couple good ones worth viewing. She talks about empathy and sympathy, shame and guilt, worthiness and vulnerability. All of this is tied up in connectedness.

Who is worthy of running for office? Who is worthy of being elected? Who is worthy of receiving help, whether it be food stamps, or a meal distributed to homeless people in parks in Fort Lauderdale? Who is worthy of success? How does this relate to internalized racism?

I continue to try and make sense of my experiences over the past half year as a candidate. I continue to think about empathy and politics, and I continue to seek ways to make a positive difference in the lives of those around me. You see, I’m in this for The Long Run.

We Will: A Reflection on Elections and Anniversaries

It was fourteen years ago that Kim and I stood before God and two priests in the Episcopal Church, and in front of friends to publicly proclaim our intentions to love, comfort, honor and keep each other, in sickness and in health. There have been good years and there have been rough years and I come back to a comment a philosophy professor once told me in college. “It isn’t love that keeps marriage together, it is marriage that keeps love together.”

We all make commitments in life that seem like a good idea at the time, but at other times seem like folly. When things get rough, when the love and excitement are less obvious, if we haven’t made a solemn vow, it becomes easier to just walk away, but in doing that we are likely to lose much more than we would gain by powering through.

It isn’t just our own will that gets us through, but it is God upholding us, directly and through God’s people. To me, one of the most important parts of the Episcopalian wedding service is when the priests asks those gathered, “Will all of you witnessing these promises do all in your power to uphold these two persons in their marriage?” and they respond loudly, “We will.”

Thank you, to everyone who said they will support Kim and I in upholding our vows to one another. Marriage has kept our love together.

Today, Kim and I will celebrate our anniversary poll standing. We will support our fellow citizens in their commitment to democracy. We know that elections, like marriages, don’t always turn out the way everyone wants, but that we must support them and celebrate when people uphold their democracy.

Whether you are voting for me, my opponent, or candidates in a district far away, thank you for voting. Thank you for supporting our democracy. If you are struggling with who to vote for, I’ll stay with my Episcopalian vows and encourage you to consider the Baptismal vow to “seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself”. Ask yourself if the candidates you are supporting are truly seeking to serve all people, or just the interests of their friends.

So, just as I thank those who have supported Kim and I in our married life together, I want to thank everyone who has supported me during my campaign for State Representative. No matter who gets elected this evening, I’ve already won. Kim and I have already won. All of us have already one by supporting one another in standing up for what is right and good.

Thank you!

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