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PRESIDENT OBAMA: I’M GONNA MISS YOU!

Do you know what I’ve discovered? I can’t believe I’m not living in a nightmare. I woke up this morning to our President-elect in an ongoing twitter war with the CIA (Oh, my God, has this man lost his mind?!), Saturday Night Live, and Rep. John Lewis (a civil rights icon)—all in the last forty-eight hours. Shoot me now!

where-is-trump-ii-bob-englehart-caglecartoons-com

Cartoon used by permission: Bob Englehart, CagleCartoons.com

Of course, it hasn’t helped Trump’s case that I’ve been watching all the emotional farewell rounds of the Obamas on TV—from Oprah to Jimmy Fallon to 60 Minutes to President Obama’s good-bye speech. Not to mention the surprise honor that President Obama bestowed upon Vice President Biden that made us all lose our composure. Their friendship is enviable.  I’ve also been crying for days because I realized that a grown-up will be turning over the keys to the kingdom on January 20th to a petulant child who doesn’t read, loves grabbing “kittens,” and gives credibility to bullies as his friends.

The juxtaposition of President Obama and Trump couldn’t be more black and white.   One is the embodiment of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream,” and the other is a Central Casting character of my worst nightmare. On top of everything, Trump hasn’t acknowledged Martin Luther King Day as most Presidents have in the past, and as of this posting, has cancelled his trip to tour the new African-American Museum on Monday where he could actually learn why going after Congressman John Lewis was a big mistake—huge!  Maybe his actions will change, but as of this posting, he’s acting anything but presidential.

The Bible says that “we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses . . .” If that is so, it seems as if that cloud is watching the “big game” in another galaxy because right about now, the baton is being passed from someone who I consider will go down in history as one of our greatest presidents (who did seem to have a heavenly cheering squad while in office) to someone who historians will label as the worst of the worst as presidents go.

obama-made-history-nate-beeler-the-columbus-dispatch

Cartoon used by permission: Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch

As I fretted over all this, I feel asleep on the keyboard of my computer, and I dreamt . . . In my dream, I sent an email to heaven in search of Dr. King. Perhaps he could ease my aching heart.

***

martinlutherkingjr@magnificentheaven.com  

DEAR DR. KING:

First of all, happy birthday, Sir! We sure do miss you down here. There is so much more of your legacy that needs to be fleshed out.  Had you lived, you’d be 87 years old, and if you had lived this long, you would surely have had a heart attack today. Oh, not that things haven’t gotten a helluva (can I say that?) lot better than when you were in our midst, but we still have a long way to go. Don’t know if you’ve been watching, but we are about to say good-bye to your dream, Dr. King: a Black man and his family whose character is beyond reproach. A Black man who won not just one term but TWO terms as President of the United States. Bet you didn’t see that coming?

2nd-term-christopher-weyant-the-hill

Cartoon used by permission: Christopher Weyant, The Hill

Dr. King, not only was this our first Black president, but he had the nerve to be named Barack Hussein Obama. I’d have to say that God has a fabulous sense of humor—the two of you must still be cracking up over that one. Anyway, tell God that he sent us a really good guy to be our leader eight years ago. Although he was treated with the worst disdain, racism, and obstructionism of any president we’ve ever had, President Obama had the character that you said we all should be judged by. When the haters went low, he and his wife went high. It was a marvel to behold. No preacher that I’ve ever known or who has ever criticized Barack Obama’s Christian faith has ever modeled this type of Christlike behavior towards his haters as has our departing President. The President-Elect (you may know him as “Trump the Tweeter”) led the so-called birther movement against your man for years trying to delegitimize his presidency and quite a few people believed him.

repubs-dont-know-obama-is-christian-rj-matson-caglecartoons-com

Cartoon used by permission: RJ Matson, CagleCartoons.com

You probably already know this as part of that great cloud of witnesses that watch over us, but in spite of the fact that the GOP leaders made a concerted, coordinated effort to thwart Barack Obama’s every move and make him a one-term president, he still did an outstanding job. According to the Washington Monthly, he . . .

Rescued the Economy, Passed Wall Street Reform, Negotiated a Deal to Block A Nuclear Iran, Secured U.S. Commitment to a Global Agreement on Climate Change,

Eliminated Osama bin Laden

the-guy-obama-got-cardow-the-ottawa-citizen

Cartoon used by permission: Cardow, The Ottawa Citizen

Ended U.S. Combat Missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, Turned Around the U.S. Auto Industry, Repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’’ Supported Federal Recognition of Same-Sex Marriages, Reversed Bush Torture Policies, Established Rules to Limit Carbon Emissions from Power Plants, Normalized Relations with Cuba, Protected DREAMers from Deportation

Passed Health Care Reform

obamacare-victory-paresh-nath-the-khaleej-times-uae

Cartoon used by permission: Paresh Nath, The Khaleej, Times UAE

Kicked Banks Out of Federal Student Loan Program, Expanded Pell Grant Funding, Appointed first Latina Judge, Diversified the Federal Bureaucracy, Passed Fair Sentencing Act, Revived the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, Reduced the Threat from Nuclear Weapons, Cut the Deficit, Strengthened Women’s Right to Fair Pay, Expanded Health Coverage for Children

Just to name a few . . . And yet the dude who will take President Obama’s place on January 20th and his GOP cronies are doing everything in their power to turn back any good he might have done.

creatures-from-the-swamp-wolverton-cagle-cartoons

Cartoon used by permission: Wolverton, Cagle Cartoons

But I will not dwell on the negative. This week as the orange Twitter King takes the throne, I will think on all that is good and lovely about President and Mrs. Obama. How their legacy to us is not only Barack’s intelligent, patient, strong leadership, but Michelle’s intelligent, witty, inclusive, and beautiful spirit as FLOTUS. I will celebrate Barack’s stellar character as a husband and father and Michelle’s indomitable strength as a woman, wife, and mother—much assailed by her haters who always “went high when they went low.” I will always remember and celebrate President Obama’s legacy as “Comforter in Chief”—his amazing grace at Sandy Hook, Charleston, and Orlando.

Most of all, I will remember his legacy of HOPE—the “audacity of hope!” The other day, my eight-year-old grandson was asked by his mother where he would like to go to college when he grows up. He said: “Probably Harvard or MIT.” (I had no idea Harvard or MIT existed until I was in college—it certainly never crossed my mind that I could ever aspire to matriculate there.)  His mother replied: “Oh, like Barack Obama. Do you want to be President when you grow up?” My little African-American grandson who has never known any other President in his short life responded—without hesitation: “Sure, why not?”

Dr. King, I want to thank you for paving the way for Barack Hussein Obama to become our president with your own life and sacrifices. You’ll be happy to know that on top of all that President Obama did for our nation is the icing on the cake that his two-term administration was without a trace of scandal because of his stellar character.

By the way, the next time you bump into Jesus, would you please ask him what his strategy is for our country with this new turn of events regarding the orange king with the Putin fetish? Most of us are a tad bit hysterical with fear and trepidation for the future. We could use a little touch from God right about now. Take care, and Happy Birthday, Dr. King!

obama-farewell-ii-fb-plus-pat-bagley-salt-lake-tribune

Cartoon used by permission: Wolverton, Cagle Cartoons

***

ELEANOR’S SELAH (“AHA” MOMENT) ABOUT PRESIDENT OBAMA

I am discovering that what I want to broadcast to the world is: Thank you, President Obama. You have changed our nation—for the better—forever!  Then I want to get on a plane on Friday in the wee hours of the morning of Trump’s inauguration and fly to another country before I have to witness the ceremony of the abomination that is to come. I think I’ll go down to Mexico (my bags are already packed), drown my sorrows in copious margaritas with my wonderful husband, get a couple massages, and return sometime next week when all is said and done with “he, who shall not be named” moving into the White House. (I promise to slip back into the country before President-Elect Trump erects the wall between Mexico and the United States.) But even if he manages not to fuck up his first term in office (only one term, God, please—if you love us!), he’s still no Barack Obama and never will be!

president-mic-drop-rj-matson-roll-call

Cartoon used by permission: RJ Matson, Roll Call

***

INSPIRATIONAL KING/OBAMA QUOTES

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”—Martin Luther King, Jr II

“If we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth. This was the moment – this was the time – when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves, and our highest ideals.”—Barack Obama (after winning Democratic primary in 2008)

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”—President Obama

“The future rewards those who press on. I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain. I’m going to press on.”—President Obama

“But laws alone won’t be enough. Hearts must change. It won’t change overnight. Social attitudes oftentimes take generations to change. But if our democracy is to work the way it should in this increasingly diverse nation, then each one of us need to try to heed the advice of a great character in American fiction, Atticus Finch, who said “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”—President Obama’s Farewell

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Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , ,

LET’S TALK ABOUT RACE—BABY!

I have repurposed a post I wrote a few years ago for the 50th Anniversary of MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech.  The humanity, sacrifice, and love celebrated in this post really stuck with me, and I have rewritten and updated it with new cartoons in the hopes that the subject matter will strike a deep chord within all our hearts as we celebrate the 87th birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.

***

Do you know what I discovered about Martin Luther King Day in 2016?  What he said in his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963 was prophetic, but we’ve stopped listening and remembering since then.  We’ve forgotten or chose to ignore what it is we ALL need to do to keep the dream alive—thus the nightmare is recurring.

Racial Justice Steve Sack The Minneapolis Star Tribune

Cartoon used by permission: Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star Tribune/Cagle Cartoons

There is no such thing as a “post-racial America.”  This lie was started by a group of people who didn’t want to deal with the issues of race.  One can’t have 200 years of caustic, brutal slavery, 100 years of Jim Crow segregation resulting in abject poverty, ignorance, and want, and think that all it takes is the election of a half-Black president and racism will be banished. Whether it is the racist screed coming out of the GOP or Black on Black crime, it’s as if most of us have forgotten the sacrifices made to eradicate racism in our country.  All we have to do is listen (and watch) the front runner of the Republican candidate running for President, as he unleashes his dogs on the Black Lives Matter demonstrators who are protesting the murder by the police of a twelve-year-old Black kid playing with a toy gun in a park, along with the countless stories of other unarmed young Black men being gunned down by policemen, and you know that justice for Black people is the furthest thing from Trump’s mind and heart.

Trump Black Lives Matter Pat Bagley Salt Lake Tribune

Cartoon used by permission: Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune/Cagle Cartoons

And where did all these angry White men and their Tea Party hags come from?  Their rage has blinded them, stopped up their ears, and shriveled their hearts.  (I personally know a couple of them, and all their loss of income, health issues, and disappointment with their children’s lives they now blame on our President and a political party that has not given them what they think they deserve by divine issue.)  They cling to their guns while spouting Bible verses taken out of context, and both Jesus and Martin Luther King are weeping—of this I am sure.

MLK Angrywhitemenistan Pat Bagley Salt Lake Tribune

Cartoon used by permission: Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune/Cagle Cartoons

I watched people I once knew and loved from the 70s—who said they loved me—go to bed one night wearing Hippie dresses and spouting Born-Again Christian philosophies of love and tolerance, and wake up on the morning of the inauguration of Barack Obama in 2008 spouting racism, fear, and hatred.  (It’s as if I never knew these people—never broke bread with them—never shared the vision of seeking the grace of God toward all men and women with them.)  I watched their eye balls rolling, their mouths frothing, and their heads spinning on their necks in anger at the thought of the White House turning Black.   Dr. King may have had a dream that paved the way for our first Black president, but he didn’t tell us about the nightmare of the raw hatred, obstructionism, and horrid disrespect that would assail both his terms in office.  It doesn’t matter what this President does—it will never be good enough for most of the GOP (there are always a few exceptions to the rule—thank God), and if we are being honest, the major bone of contention is his race.

President Obama Haters Pat Bagley Salt Lake Tribune

Cartoon used by permission: Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

I have tried to calmly, but urgently, address the racism, xenophobia, and homophobia with the “friends” I no longer have (influence who you know), but to do so only hardened their hearts, and increased their negativity toward our President even more.  It is as if they forgot the history of the Jim Crow and the McCarthy eras and were dooming themselves to repeat them.  I was bordering on despair until I meditated one morning on our civil rights history and remembered that there have always been angry White people, but there were also those righteous White Americans who fought alongside Black Americans to bring about Martin’s dream.  In most cases, they lost their lives to do so.  I especially remembered James Zwerg who lived to tell his story and should be seventy-six-years old now.

James Zwerg

James Zwerg in 1961 after being beaten by a racist mob in Montgomery, Alabama during a Freedom Ride/Courtesy of Wikipedia

***

James Zwerg was the White college student from Wisconsin who’d been raised in a really tight-knit Christian family, and he eventually became a Freedom Rider (civil rights activists who rode interstate buses to force the South to obey Federal Law banning segregation on public transportation).  He became a Freedom Rider after seeing his black roommate treated with contempt at Beloit College in Wisconsin.  James volunteered to be an exchange student to an all-black college in the South (Fisk University) for a semester so he could get a taste of what it felt like to be a minority.

When James went to Fisk he made a decision to join the Freedom Riders from Nashville to Alabama.   James said the morning they set off, he read Psalm 27 over and over again as he prayed that God would give him courage and forgiveness for his attackers.  He prayed that the Lord would keep him from striking back if and when he got attacked by the white racist mobs, who considered white Freedom Riders as traitors and deserving of death.  The first line of the Psalm he read was, ‘The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?’ and the final line that James read was, ‘Though my mother and father forsake me, the Lord will receive me.’

James was severely beaten along with the other freedom riders by the racists who stopped their bus. When the picture of James’ pulverized body appeared in the local newspaper, his parents never forgave him because they felt, as James’ father so articulately stated: ‘Those damn niggers used you.’

mlk

I remember reading that the parents’ relationship with James Zwerg was never restored even when he tried to explain that he was simply living Christ’s love as they had taught him to do.  He was beaten so badly that his teeth were shattered, his vertebrae were broken, he suffered from PTSD, he drowned his sorrows in alcohol for a season, he tried to commit suicide at least once, and he ended up in therapy for months.  As I meditated on the sacrifice that Pastor Zwerg made for me and mine, I momentarily forgot the hatefulness of some of the White people I have known in my life as the scripture rang through my head:  “Greater love has no man than he lay down his life for his brother!”

And then the roll call of other Whites who stood brave and tall against the racist order of the day came to mind, and I sat for a moment of silence to thank them for laying down their lives so my children and grandchildren might live Dr. King’s dream:

Viola Fauver Gregg Liuzzo, ethnicity:  white.  Viola was a mother of three children from Detroit and was murdered by Ku Klux Klan members after the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches in Alabama.  The last words she said to her husband were that the civil rights struggle: “was everybody’s fight.” (Wikipedia)

Michael Henry Schwerner, ethnicity:  Jewish.  Michael was one of three Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) field workers killed in Philadelphia, Mississippi, by the Ku Klux Klan in response to their civil rights work. (Wikipedia)

Andrew Goodman, ethnicity:  Jewish.  Andrew was one of three American civil rights activists murdered near Philadelphia, Mississippi, during Freedom Summer in 1964 by members of the Ku Klux Klan. (Wikipedia)

Paul Guihard, ethnicity:  white.  Paul was a reporter for a French news service and was killed by gunfire from a white mob during protests over the admission of James Meredith to the University of Mississippi. (Southern Poverty Law Center)

William Lewis Moore, ethnicity:  white.  William was a postman from Baltimore, and he was shot and killed during a one-man march against segregation. Moore had planned to deliver a letter to the governor of Mississippi urging an end to intolerance. (Southern Poverty Law Center)

Rev. Bruce Klunder, ethnicity:  white.  Rev. Klunder was among civil rights activists who protested the building of a segregated school in Cleveland, Ohio by placing their bodies in the way of construction equipment. Klunder was crushed to death when a bulldozer backed over him. (Southern Poverty Law Center)

Rev. James Reeb, ethnicity:  white.  Rev. Reeb was a Unitarian minister from Boston, and was among many white clergymen who joined the Selma marchers after the attack by state troopers at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Reeb was beaten to death by white men while he walked down a Selma street. (Southern Poverty Law Center)

Jonathan Myrick Daniels, ethnicity:  white.  Jonathan was an Episcopal Seminary student in Boston, and he had come to Alabama to help with black voter registration in Lowndes County. He was arrested at a demonstration, jailed in Hayneville and then suddenly released. Moments after his release, he was shot to death by a deputy sheriff. (Southern Poverty Law Center)

Vernon Ferdinand Dahmer, ethnicity:  white.  Vernon was a wealthy businessman who offered to pay poll taxes for those who couldn’t afford the fee required to vote. The night after a radio station broadcasted Dahmer’s offer, his home was firebombed. Dahmer died later from severe burns.

After all was remembered and gratefully acknowledged, I got up off my knees and turned to face the new day with peace in my heart, knowing that the hatred I see in 2016 will not win the day because there will always be people of all ethnicities who have courage enough to fight for the freedom needed so that everyone, of every color, creed, and gender, can live the dream.

I have a dream Nate Beeler The Columbus Dispatch

Cartoon used by permission:  Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch

***

ELEANOR’S “SELAH” (AHA!) MOMENT ABOUT RACE IN AMERICA—2016

I am discovering that “we the people” have an ongoing, ever vigilant job to embrace that dream afresh, if we are to erase the virulent infection (and reinfection) of racism from our hearts and our country.  We must never forget the corrosive stain of slavery on our nation’s psyche.  Our white children should be reminded, not so that we hold the sins of the parents over the heads of their children who are not to blame, but to serve as a beacon of light so that they don’t repeat that history again.  We must not let our black children forget so that they don’t take for granted the freedom and liberties that have been won for them by the blood of others—both black and white.  But it can’t be done if we are too afraid to talk about racial issues that still swirl like roaches in and around our churches, mosques, synagogues, homes, businesses, and legislative hallways.  We do not live in a post-racial era.  That’s called Heaven.  As long as there are imperfect people with access to free will, we will consciously and unconsciously fall over the racial tripwires of each other’s history, and the only way to become righteously untangled is with the scissors of love, forgiveness, and grace.

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES

“James Zwerg remains a devoted loving Christian to this day and what is most important to him is love. ‘I think the thing I would add is love is still the most powerful force in the universe. Hatred will never beat it. Violence will never beat it.’”—Wikipedia

“Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other’s welfare, social justice can never be attained.”Helen Keller

“The function of freedom is to free someone else.”Toni Morrison

“And yet words on a parchment [the Constitution—parenthesis mine] would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part — through protests and struggles, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience, and always at great risk — to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.”Presidential Candidate Barack Obama

EXCEPT WHERE NOTED, ALL INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES ARE FROM http://www.brainyquotes.com

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR?  Check out http://www.eleanortomczyk.com

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REFERENCES

http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/15/living/martin-luther-king-dream-feat/index.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/martin-luther-king-facts-they-didnt-teach-you-in-school_5699305ae4b0ce4964244476?

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithforward/2016/01/shall-we-overcome-an-invitation-for-mlk-jr-day/?utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Pan%20Patheos%20011515%20(1)&utm_content=&spMailingID=50475805&spUserID=MTIzNjQ2MzAzOTI4S0&spJobID=842032391&spReportId=ODQyMDMyMzkxS0

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/republicans-took-insulting-obama-to-a-new-level-at-the-gop-debate/ar-BBof5co?ocid=spartandhp

http://www.salon.com/2016/01/16/martin_luther_king_rachel_dolezal_and_donald_trump_the_recurring_story_of_race_that_has_shaped_our_history/

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
15 Comments

Posted by on January 17, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

MARTIN, MY MAIN MAN

Do you know what I discovered this week? I would love to chat with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and let him know that I am one black woman in America who has been living the dream for quite some time now. So much so, that the only problems I have are white people problems, which is amazing given the background I’ve come from. In my memoir, Monsters’ Throwdown, I vividly described living through the Jim Crow era as a poor black child, and it was a bitch! It’s a good thing Dr. King came along when he did or I would have been burnt toast. I’ll tell you now, I was not cut out to suffer. Let’s just say, I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor—rich is a hell of a lot better.

Since I can’t see Dr. King face-to-face at this point, maybe I’ll write him a letter. Yeah, that’s exactly what I’ll do. I’ll bring him up to date as to what’s happening in my life and the general state of affairs on the Earth vis-à-vis his legacy.

Massage Appointment

The main problem I had this month—E. Tomczyk

Dear Dr. King:

Hope all is well. But of course it is, because compared to Earth, I am sure Heaven is a walk in the park. Did you just flip when Mahalia Jackson sang her way into Glory shortly after you did in 1972 and when Maya Angelou strutted her stuff through the pearly gates this past year? I can almost hear the three of you civil rights icons harmonizing on “Just a Closer Walk with Thee.” And what was the look on Strom Thurmond’s face in 2003—that old humorless racist from South Carolina—when he saw you laughing it up with Jesus, et al? Did that staunch segregationist tell you that he had a secret bi-racial daughter that he fathered with a sixteen-year-old maid in his house when he was twenty-two-years-old? (Nowadays they’d call that statutory rape.) Of course, it must have been so exhilarating to see your wife, Coretta, again in 2006. She did a great job in carrying the torch once you’d gone, Martin. You would have been pleased at how she preserved your legacy. (Now your kids, they are a horse of a different color, but I’ll tell you more about them later.)

MLK I Nate Beeler The Columbus Dispatch

Cartoon used by permission: Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch

Dr. King, I have been living the dream! First of all, I got a great education—it wasn’t easy—but I worked my ass off to get my degree. I was one of the first to go to college in my neighborhood. I did well, too—even made the Dean’s List a time or two. Then I met this adorable man who turned out to be a white man. Can you believe it? As you know, the Supreme Court didn’t strike down the miscegenation laws until 1967 with the Loving v. Virginia case, but we didn’t meet until 1972. We were pretty much free from any bigotry against our marriage (unless you count my mother-in-law) as long as we stayed out of South Carolina and Alabama, which still kept their miscegenation laws on the books until 1998 and 2000 respectively. There was still a Justice of the Peace in Robert, Louisiana as late as 2009 who refused to marry an interracial couple, but I never had much account for Louisiana and pretty much avoided that state like the plague.

Anyway, I got myself a darling white man. He’s a keeper! You’d be pleased, Martin—he’s so kind. He’s my best friend. I’m sure interracial marriages hadn’t even crossed your mind when you said “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood.” And do you know what we do—this milky-white man and I—to celebrate your birthday? We spend the entire weekend in places that would have, at best, dragged us out by our hair, and at worst, lynched us from a “poplar tree as strange fruit” for breaking the miscegenation laws in years gone by.

I know our first black President says we should spend your holiday weekend in service to others, but I do that all year round anyway. I get way too much pleasure from these traveling adventures to set them aside. This year WW (White and Wonderful) and I plan to go to an antebellum resort that was started in 1778. It has been the vacation site of presidents, judges, lawyers, politicians, and at least one princess. You should see me when I roll up to these places. I’m always dressed to the nines, dripping with jewels (tastefully, of course), and as my husband hands the valet the keys to our car, he extends his arm to me and I loop my arm in his as we stroll confidently and with grace through the front door to the check-in desk. Then I take a deep breath and wait for the line that is always music to my ears: “Welcome, Mr. and Mrs. Tomczyk. It is a pleasure to have you as our guests!”

MLK Obama 2nd term Christopher Weyant The Hill

Cartoon used by permission: Christopher Weyant, The Hill

Life has definitely improved since you left us, Martin. More minorities are educated with good jobs, great homes, and doing well. We can eat where we want, live where we want, and vote for whom we want. Our first black President was elected for a second term (nobody saw that coming), and although he has his haters by the truck load, I think he’s going to end his presidency just fine, and history will treat him kindly. Unless you’re watching Fox News and their right-wing bedfellows, the entire world has seen his grace under fire, his self-control, his uber-intelligence, and his compassionate heart. We just have to keep him alive to finish the job. (You know what I’m sayin’.)

Now, I’m not going to lie to you—even with our first black President we still have many, many issues to deal with, and some of them might end up derailing all your hard work and sacrifice. One of them is that our black children seem to either not understand the depth of your sacrifice (and others) or they have been raised in such affluence they don’t see the potential dangers that they could still encounter. Granted it was years ago, but one of my kids announced to me that there was no more racism—her generation didn’t see color (she does have an amazing gaggle of multi-cultural friends). Of course she is the color of vanilla cream, so half the time, people just assume she’s white. She didn’t change her tune until a stranger in an airport bar recently mistook her for being white and jokingly made good-old-boy cracks about how much he was sure they’d both enjoy seeing the President assassinated, as if this was a first-line agenda item on every white person’s list. Sigh!

MLK Meaning to Young David Fitzsimmons The Arizona Star

Cartoon used by permission: David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star

Other black children have given up on your dream, Dr. King because of the ravages caused by income inequality: eroding public schools, the new slavery (one in ten black men in prison—more in prison than enslaved in 1850), absentee fathers (cause they’re mostly in prison!), joblessness, homelessness, black-on-black crime, police brutality . . . black folks hardly vote anymore because they are so disheartened. We’re losing our youth to drugs, murder, and mayhem, Martin. The black middle-class is melting away and most of our black families are ending up in the 99% of the have-nots because the richest 1% now control 48.2% of the global wealth. How can any of the poor compete with that, no matter what their race?

MLK 1 percent Pat Bagley Salt Lake Tribune

Cartoon used by permission: Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

But the fear that keeps me awake at night is the resurgence of widespread racism. Dr. King the world has gone nuts since you’ve been gone. Religious extremists are bombing here, there, and everywhere. Anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe—it’s as if all of Europe has collective amnesia. In America there are “angry white men” who have taken up residence in the Tea Party and white supremacy groups because they are convinced that your legacy has made them victims of reverse discrimination. It’s as if they are trying to turn back the clock for minorities, women, and the gay and lesbian population to the 1950s. It’s just crazy-go-bananas in our legislative branches and in the marketplace. Sometimes it makes me want to stand up and holler.

MLK II Pat Bagley Salt Lake Tribune

Cartoon used by permission: Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

Well, that is the gist of it Dr. King. I could rattle on for days. Pray for us in the hour of our need. The jury is still out as to whether we can continue to live the dream that you so valiantly gave your life for. I’m getting up there in age, so I won’t have to deal with this disillusionment much longer. I’m sure I’ll be seeing you sooner than later. Take care, my hero.

Je t’adore, Eleanor

P.S. LATEST CHIT-CHAT: Bill Cosby assassinated Dr. Huxtable and broke millions of hearts; we have a popular TV show where a white president of the United States is having an affair with a kick-ass black woman who is a miracle worker; we have another popular TV show where the protagonist is teaching everyone how to get away with murder; and we have a brand new hot TV soap opera where the cast is 99% black and they are all rich hip-hop moguls (all three shows written by black folks). Dr. Ben Carson, who used to be arguably the best neurosurgeon in the country has lost his freakin’ mind and become a Tea Party darling and wants to run for president. Your grown-ass kids are a HUGE embarrassment (sorry to be the one to break the news)! Dexter and Martin III are trying to oust Bernice as CEO of King Center, and Bernice is counter-suing because the brothers tried to sell your 1964 Nobel Peace Prize (oh, hell to the no!) and your Bible you took with you to prison that Barack Obama swore his inaugural oath on. One of your kids is suing your old friend Andrew Young for intellectual property that he says you and Coretta gave him, and the King kids made DC pay them a butt-load of money ($800,000 I think) to erect a long-awaited statue of you. Also, I heard your Center has fallen into disrepair—algae is growing in the pond which is cracked, and the place is looking real ghetto-like. Looks like your kids aren’t living the dream, either (judging by their character, and all). Kids! What you gonna do?

Live Together as Brothers

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.”—Martin Luther King, Jr.

Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”

—Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”—Martin Luther King, Jr.

***

WANT TO READ THE AUTHOR’S LATEST BOOK (Monsters’ Throwdown)? BUY NOW AT AMAZON!

LIKE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR? CHECK OUT www.eleanortomczyk.com

QUOTES COURTESY OF www.brainyquote.com

***

REFERENCES

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/clarence-b-jones/remembering-martin-luther-king-jr_b_6471172.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andre-shashaty/mlks-birthday-hitting-us-where-we-live_b_6465862.html

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2015/01/14/empire_episode_the_outspoken_king_features_a_bizarre_scene_about_president.html

http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2015/01/a_timeline_of_the_ongoing_legal_fights_among_mlk_s_surviving_children.2.html

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
21 Comments

Posted by on January 15, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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WTF HUCK!

Do you know what I discovered when I turned 66 this month? Sixty-six is not the new forty-six.  Whoever told us that is lyin’ through their teeth.  I mean I don’t look my age because it is true, for the most part, “black don’t crack,” but my innards are falling apart.  The morning of my sixty-sixth birthday, I swear to God my boobs dropped two more inches in search of the floor, and my stomach distended four more inches making me think I might be pregnant again (generating murderous thoughts toward WW’s thingie until I remembered that I’d gotten the “snatch” 20 years ago, so a pregnancy is damn near impossible).  As to the rest of my lady bits, lately I’ve been using my iPhone to locate women’s rest rooms and planning my events around bathroom breaks with declarative statements like:  “My Potty App is showing a toilet within 10 feet—why don’t I pee while I’m still here and the going is good.”

Old Age Pinterest pin Carol Middendorf

Pinned by Carol Middendorf from Pinterest

As I was “kvetching” over the sorry state of my body, I was mourning the passing of the years and wondering if I had grown spiritually and intellectually, or was I simply deteriorating back into the dust from which I was formed.   While I was downing a pint of coffee strong enough to cause internal combustion, I noticed two news articles online that made me spew my hot coffee all over my computer screen and summarily scream:

“WHAT THE FUCK, HUCK?”

Both news articles confirmed and reported on the second annual March for Marriage (organized by the conservative National Organization for Marriage) in front of the Capitol.  Fortunately, it was a bust with a showing of only 1,500 people (they expected tens of thousands) and one low-level elected official as one of the speakers. This “Christian” hate-filled march was such a yawn that I had no idea they were in town until I read that one of the speakers (Rev. Mike Huckabee) said something which made my head explode and prompted me to place an immediate phone call to Martin and Coretta King at “H-E-A-V-E-N-S-G-A-T-E.”

GLENDA: Heelloooo!  You’ve reached Glenda Angelina, assistant to the good Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife, the lovely Coretta King.  How may I help you?

ME:  Good Morning, Glenda.  I’m ET the Blogger and author of Monsters’ Throwdown, and I’d like to speak to Rev. King about an urgent matter.

GLENDA:  I know who you are.  I just ordered your book from Amazon Cloud”—it got great reviews in the Celestial Times.  Congrats.  Monsters’ Throwdown has become one of our favorite reads around here—poor black child makes good due to the courage and sacrifices of activists in the Civil Rights Movement really hits home.

ME:  Thanks . . . that’s so sweet.  I will always be indebted to Rev. King and all the others who laid down their lives for me.  Which is why I’m calling.  There has been an attempt to coopt Rev. King’s words and legacy in the name of an anti-gay movement.  Let me read you the titles of the two articles I read today that Dr. King should know about:

The Raw Story’s Mike Huckabee: Martin Luther King Jr. would agree that gay marriage is like the Holocaust” by David Edwards and Salon’s “Mike Huckabee on Martin Luther King Jr.: ‘I wish he were here today’ to join me in discriminating against LGBTQ people” by Katie McDonough.

Persecution of Gays Pat Bagley Salt Lake Tribune

Used by permission:  “Who Would Jesus Hate?” || Pat Bagley Salt Lake-Tribune

GLENDA:  Oh God, not again (remember when Glenn Beck tried to do this?).  Not only will Rev. King be appalled at how this “Rev.” Huckabee is abusing his reputation and words, but I think King Jesus will be none too pleased at how his words of love and not judging others have been twisted into actions of hate and harassment.  Haven’t the followers of Jesus discovered that in the end “love wins?”

ME:  Well, it’s not all Christians.  This Huckabee guy just has a misunderstanding of the Bible and a big mouth.  He also wants to be elected president in 2016, so he’s pandering to the African-American and Hispanic churches because he knows these denominations are still clinging to some pretty harsh anti-gay rhetoric and lack of inclusion within their churches.  Yet, I don’t know a black church that doesn’t have a ton of gay members who are hiding out in their churches’ closets (starting with the choir directors and moving on down to the deacon and mission boards), just waiting for their place of worship to be a safe haven to come out.   I’m a black Christian, and even though I was against gay marriage many years ago—like President Obama, I evolved.  During the time I was conflicted, I made a list one day of all the pathetic “Christian (heterosexual) marriages” I intimately knew about—husbands cheating on their wives, husbands feeling up other men’s wives, husbands abusing their wives and children, churches instilling fear that gay rights would ruin Christian marriages and children while covering up massive pedophilia cases within their schools and Sunday Schools  (all of them virulently anti-gay)—and I compared these vile stories to the lovely gay and lesbian families I knew (solid faithful marriages, better parents than I’d ever been, and more service-oriented toward the homeless and the disenfranchised than any Christian I had ever known).  Not to mention that their gay marriages had not hurt my marriage of 35 years one iota.  At that point I decided I was “mashugana,” and I repented regarding my ignorant stance on gay rights.

GLENDA:  Mike Huckabee needs to do his homework because he is dead wrong.  Rev. King would have been marching with the LGBTQ community in support of Gay rights because he, too, was always evolving.   Anyway, his wife knows where Martin stood on these issues because she spoke to this point on many occasions—not the least of when she spoke at an event in 1998.  If I remember correctly, Coretta Scott King said:

“I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice.  But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream to make room at the table of brother-and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people.”

Gay Marriage Horsey Los Angeles Times

Cartoonist David Horsey, Los Angeles Times

ME:  I know, I know . . . I am sure that Rev. King would have lead a march against the NOM organizers and made his position known loud and clear that he despised their stand on gay rights.  Can you deliver my message to him that his legacy and words are being coopted by the likes of that hater Huckabee and have Rev. King do something about this before it is too late?

GLENDA:  I’m afraid neither Rev. King nor Mrs. King can be interrupted right now.  Rev. King is watching the World Cup with Jesus, Gandhi, Golda Meir, Anwar Sadat, Menachem Begin, Harvey Milk, Marilyn Monroe, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant , and a slew of Palestinian martyrs (don’t ask).  Mrs. King is having lunch with Eleanor Roosevelt, St. Teresa of Avila, Joan of Arc, Anne Frank, and Rosa Parks.  But I know what Rev. King would say to you.  He would tell you that his fight is done.  He has passed the baton of civil rights for all to you and others like you.  You must fight the good fight and never give up—build on the legacy he left you.  Can you do that?

Gay Rights John Cole The Scranton Times Tribune

Used by permission:  Gay Rights John Cole The Scranton Times Tribune

***

I am discovering that I may be an old fart but I am evolving into a better human being.  As I’ve grown older, I may not be able to hold my urine for more than a couple hours, but I’ve learned not to judge others and how to love those who are different than I am.   There was a time when it would have been against the law for my white husband and me to be married, and there would have been no where we could have lived together without fear of harassment and scorn. Today we live in neighborhoods where our neighbors adore us because of who we are and what we contribute to the common good.  I will not stop speaking out in support of gay rights until my gay brothers and sisters enjoy the same.

Anti Gay Agenda Nate Beeler The Columbus Dispatch

Used by permission:  Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch

We are each made for goodness, love, and compassion. Our lives are transformed as much as the world is when we live with these truths.”—Desmond Tutu

“Here are the values that I stand for: honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values.”—Ellen DeGeneres

 “Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood. . . .This sets the stage for further repression and violence that spread all too easily to victimize the next minority group.”—Coretta Scott King, Source: Chicago Sun Times, April 1, 1998, p.18.

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE BLOGGER?  CHECK OUT www.eleanortomczyk.com

REFERENCES

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/06/19/mike-huckabee-martin-luther-king-jr-would-agree-that-gay-marriage-is-like-the-holocaust/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/20/nom-march-for-marriage_n_5515276.html

http://www.salon.com/2014/06/20/mike_huckabee_on_martin_luther_king_jr_i_wish_he_were_here_today_to_join_me_in_discriminating_against_lgbtq_people/

http://www.sdgln.com/causes/2014/01/15/what-would-martin-luther-king-jr-say-about-gay-rights#sthash.RzzkmE3Y.dpbs

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

MLK, LOL, OR IDK?

Do you know what I discovered?  I need to know if “anybody’s seen my old friend, Martin—can you tell me where he’s gone?”* I need to talk to him and let him know that I think his dream is slipping away.  I’m almost afraid to text any child—of any race—under eighteen years old, and ask what MLK lived and died for.  I’m afraid they’ll text back:  IDK!

MLK FB

Used by permission: David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star

Recently, I had a dream that I went “knock, knock, knocking at Heaven’s door” (sorry Bob Dylan:  I’m in a musical pun mood today)—trying to get an audience with both Martin and Jesus.  I needed to speak with both of them because, if you think Martin’s message is waning after 45 years, poor Jesus’ primary message after 2,000 years (“Love one another as you love yourself”) is almost without resonance in a nation where 77% of people identify as Christians.

Martin wasn’t at home (probably went fishing with Mandela and Gandhi), so I slipped a message under the door.

MLK Bill Day Cagle Cartoons

Used by permission:  Bill Day Cagle Cartoons

Dear Dr. King:  I know that you are well—who wouldn’t be where you’re living these days and with the lofty company that you’re keeping.  I’d love to be a fly on a cloud to hear some of the conversations between you, Mandela, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Frederick Douglas, and Harriet Tubman—just to name a few.  You must be having the time of your eternal life.  Anyway, before I get started into the core of this letter, I want to tell you that I really miss you.  The Earth misses you.  I first heard about you when you came to Cleveland, Ohio to talk about the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott.  I was only eight years old.  I didn’t actually hear you speak, but I heard enough about your speech to sassily reiterate a part of it (“a change is coming”) to my caretaker Aunt who promptly knocked me down a flight of stairs for being insubordinate when I used that phrase against her child abuse labor dictates.  I wrote about it in my book Monsters’ Throwdown in case you care to check it out.  Do they have Amazon.com in Heaven?

I got out of ignorance and want—significantly due to your efforts and others like you.  I got a great education, had great jobs through the years, lived well because of your efforts, traveled the world, and I have been married to the love of my life for 34 years because you made it clear that equality granted me the right to marry anyone I pleased.  I have lived your dream.

But, Dr. King, things are getting’ really crazy down here.   Almost everything you fought for is slip-sliding away for one reason or another—either because we aren’t paying attention and we’re throwing your dream away, or others are stealing it from us.

MLK FB II Joe Heler Cagle

Used by permission:  Joe Heller, Cagle Cartoons

I’m sure you’ve heard that income inequality in America is spreading faster than I can say “I have a dream” five times back to back, and proven character for all races and ages is becoming more and more a lost commodity.   Black-on-black crime is out of control in our major cities, the new slavery is the inordinate number of black males in prison before the age of 23, and the Supreme Court gutted the Voter Rights Act of 1964 that you died for.  It’s almost overwhelming.  In the meantime, I’ve stumbled on a couple of seemingly stupid things that point to deeper issues.  On the mundane level, have you seen what your image is being used for this year, and what it must suggest is happening with our teens about the sanctity of what you stood for?

Your birthday and image is being used to advertise everything from a Miami strip club to a teenage weekend party.  I’ve enclosed a copy of a poster to one such project (the strip club poster was too racy to send to Heaven—I thought I’d be struck by lightning).  I think the teen party poster speaks for itself—you are no longer the Nobel Peace Prize Winner who fought for justice and freedom, but you are the gold-chain, Rolex-wearing, hoody-popping shill for a teen twerk party.

It gets worse, Dr. King.

Some of us who have gotten out of the ghetto, made lots of money, and basically “gotten over” don’t seem to have the brains we were born with.  The proven character that you spoke so much about as being our most valuable asset has gone AWOL.  Have you seen some of the Black reality shows:  “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” “Love & Hip-Hop,” “Basketball Wives,” and “The Sisterhood” (preachers’ wives acting the fool)?  Yikes!  Money seems to be their most valuable asset—not character.

Then there is Dennis Rodman—a major example of freedom without character.  Why was he given all that game and money if he was just going to act a fool on the international stage?  We finally got something you wouldn’t have dared to dream about:  a two-term Black President.   But along comes a tattooed, alcoholic ne’er-do-well who uses his money and clout to kiss the ass of a cruel dictator who is a mass murderer and wants to bomb the USA into smithereens.  The President has enough assailing him without one of our peeps causing him so much embarrassment.

Yet, as I write this, I have a funny feeling that I need to pull the log out of my own eye before trying to pull the splinter out of the eye of the people I’ve cited.  What am I doing to keep your memory alive? Who am I serving?  What am I giving back to the community—to my country?   I better think about that before I get a chance to chat with you because I’m sure you’re going to tell me “physician, heal thy self.”   I’ll get back to you.

In the meantime:  Happy Birthday, Dr. King!

Love, from someone who owes you a great debt of gratitude.

Dennis Rodman Rick McKee The Augusta Chronicle

Used by permission:  Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle

I am discovering that I am guilty of taking Martin Luther King’s quest and dream for granted.  The celebration of his birth comes and goes every year, and I have come to think of it basically as another day off for me to catch up on my sleep and run some errands.  I confess that in the past, I focused more on assimilating my children onto the world stage so that they could have comfortable lives rather than making sure they knew and understood the cost that had been paid by Martin, Medgar, Meredith, John Lewis, and so many others who sacrificed everything for my children to live where they wanted to, attend the schools they wanted to, vote for whom they wanted, and marry whom they loved.  I have not done enough to affect the poison of poverty, unfair imprisonment, inequality, and racism in our country, which are rapidly rising and merging together like demonic rain-soaked rivers overflowing their banks that could consume my grandson and so many of his generation.  As one of the ones who has greatly benefited from Dr. King’s dream, I pray that in my sunset years, I may find the way(s) to make more of a difference—not only with my words, but through proven character.

Martin Luther King Live the Dream Nate Beeler The Columbus Dispatch

Used by permission:  Nate Beeler The Columbus Dispatch

MARTIN LUTHER KING QUOTES

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

“Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.”

 “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

 “Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.”

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”

REFERENCES

http://newsone.com/2533345/black-reality-shows/#

http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/18/us/dennis-rodman-rehab/ 

*”’Abraham, Martin and John’ is a 1968 song written by Dick Holler and first recorded by Dion. It is a tribute to the memory of four assassinated Americans, all icons of social change, namely Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy. It was written in response to the assassinations of King and the younger Kennedy in April and June 1968.”—Wikipedia

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
13 Comments

Posted by on January 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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