Archive for June, 2020

Time for Reparations

June 24, 2020

President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865.

His successor did not have the vision, nor the moral authority, nor the will to oversee a proper recovery from Civil war and slavery. 

After that war, both sides were fought-out, worn-out, and without a clue about what ought to be done to reconstruct the smoldering  train-wreck of a nation that was still named the  United States of America. 

As decades dragged by, the main real-politic effect of the Union victory degenerated into a woefully inadequate provision for the peace, safety and opportunity of those newly-emancipated, displaced black citizens.  

But what the hell could anybody do in the wake of such a god-awful war as that one was?

I wasn’t there of course, but this southern boy baby boomer can tell you from hear-tell traces of rebel memory, that recovery in Dixie was no walk in the park.

Especially, as it turns out, for black folk.

We were surely dazed, war-weary, and PTS-ed to the point of shell-shocked idiocy after that very first, mid-19th-century technologized exercise in hostility futility. 

A constructive-minded group of Americans worked, post-Civil War, through Congress, toward legislating laws to provide reconstruction and resettlement for the defeated Dixiecrats. But their first efforts toward any compensation whatsoever for formerly enslaved people were—as the decades rolled by— shot down, time after time, by a white-privileged Southerine  courthouse gang of inglorious bastards.

Congress had managed to somehow pass the Southern Homestead Act in 1866. It barely squeaked by Andrew Johnson’s first and second veto. 46.4 million acres in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas were supposed to be made available for the newly-emancipated black folk to drive their homesteading stakes in the ground and call it home, with the 4-footed help of a federal mule.

But the shadow of johnny-reb’s frankenstein reconstructed monster cast a long, late afternoon shadow on the best-laid plans of mice and men. 

By ’n by, our post-Civil War Reconstruction Plan degenerated into a long, drawn-out mess; it never did include any adequate compensation for black Americans. In the wake of a dreadfully destructive apocalypse, the postwar well-being of those souls on the bottom of the totem pole was not the first thing on white-privileged principal players’ minds.

Nowadays in the postmodern, post-assassinations, post-LittleRock, post-Montgomery, post-Memphis, post Jackson State, post-20th-century, twittered-up, facebooked-down South, we find ourselves suddenly deja-vu shell-shocked as the videoed murder of George Floyd has ripped wide open an old wound that should have been stitched up for healing 165 years ago.

So now we discover the cold, hard, read-em-andweep truth:

A Reparations Plan for black folk that is 165 years late would be better than no plan at all.

We need to fix this thing once and for all. 

Our federal .gov needs to be supplied to do now what we should have been done long ago:

Dispense federal assets—land, money, loans, whatever is needed—to black folk so they can get a hand-up toward equality, justice and the American way, the American dream!

We need to repair, at last, what should have been fixed long ago.

If this were a Monopoly game, it’s as if the classic player— Mr. White Privilege, with his top hat and cane— just  rolled snake-eyes and landed on “Go To Jail”.

Do not pass Go. Do not collect 200 of anything, until you repay this long-overdue—as Dr. King called it—“promissory note” on which the nation has defaulted.


Congress, fix this now or forever hold your peace. 

To put it another way: Pay up on this Promissory Note. Or forever, our domestic peace and tranquility will be held-up!

Glass half-Full

This One’s for Bubba!

June 22, 2020

Way down yonder in land of tom cotton

old grudges there will be forgotten,

‘though some rebel made a noose for Bubba

‘cause he couldn’t stand to see no Bubba-lover.

But that sneaky nooser  was so mad to see

so many drivers supporting Bubba in his  43

as they escorted Bubba to the front of the line

so he could drive his NASCAR in these troubling times.


So they’ll drive their race in Dixie, hooray! hooray!

In Dixie land they’ll take our stand to live and drive in Dixie,

Away, away, away down South in Dixie;

Look away, look away,  away from our past in Dixie!

King of Soul

Ambiguity in Polarity

June 19, 2020

I hear America fading:

it’s like . . .

like a lotta young people are trying to say,

you know?. . .

they’re like, and the talking tubeheads mutter it too.

I mean

even educated,  expert voices . . . they’re,

like trying to utter,


I mean, they kinda know what . . .

like, what it’s really like.

And they sort of feel it in their bones what

needs to be done, you know . . . and like

anyway,   they’re dulling . . their

. . .um, like, what they’re trying to say and

express, like . . . what’s  important to them.

You know what I mean?

But what its really like– as if they kind of know what

they want to say. Anyway,

I’m not really sure about this because 

we do, like, live in an age 

of fuzzy ambiguity where you can’t . . .

you can’t, like, really be sure . . . or,

appear to be sure about anything, cuz

. . . the truth . . . if

there is, like,  such a thing

as truth, its . . . well, you know . . .

and I can submit my, um, my statement here

with that . . . sort of cool . . . 

like, obligatory temerity 

because, you know, the left is so

um, so insistent about their program 

and their agenda— whatever needs to be. . .

like, done.

Whatever you wanna call that, 

but the right is so

like, stubborn and set in their ways

because they, like, they think they’ve

been running the show for,

you know, for so long

that they think they own the place.

So, yeah, I would say that, um,

yes it could happen here

but on the other hand

let’s hope not.


But hey! On the other hand we hear 

Kshama in Seattle

defending their CHOPchaz neighborhood.

She speaks with absolute clarity.

One can sense the conviction in her voice:

Let communities make their own choice! 

Let neighbors congregate to police


In the Councilwoman we hear clearly

what they’re calling for:

to be left alone

on their own.  

We detect no waffling obfuscation

from Kshama— no ambivalent um-umming.

But now we do hear a distant, dreadful drumming,

from the other coast of this, our vast continent:

it’s potus promoting his own estrangement: 

The Fearful—in—Chief 

is threatening to drum up more grief

with teargas troops–their  ordnance to shoot 

and they’re packin’ rubber bullets to boot.

There’s a man with a gun over there

telling us we got to beware.

Now I don’t know, but if I may prevent a rumble:

I feel our ole American civility is starting to crumble.

This currently charged-up polarity

so brutally hypes-up our barbarity!

But listen . . .

Friends, Americans, Country(wo)men

Surely now is the time to renew our goodwillity—  

and restore our domestic tranquility.

Hey! Good luck with that! 

Glass half-Full

The Tragedy of our America

June 16, 2020

The crack in our “liberty and justice for all” has been there all along.

Liberty Bell

From the moment that a human was placed on a colonial auction block for sale, we were in tragic territory.

Our grand immigrating odyssey to escape religious oppression, our epic fleeing from ethnic oppression, our pioneer yearning for wild open land—it was all fractious, unbeknownst to us, the moment we tolerated humans being shackled in slavery. 

’T’was then we became double-minded behind the eloquence of our independence declaration, allowing our rift to lengthen further  when we dilly-dallied with terminology of “three-fifths” of a Person in the very first Article of our Constitution. We were already cracked in the head although we knew it not.

We admitted it not.

The reverberation of our ringing liberty signaled a grand, noble experiment in split-personality disorder reverberating from sea to shining sea for all the world to see.

We’ve been evading the issue for 300 years. Freedom was supposed to be our main deal—supposed to be what separated our grand democratic experiment from that ole fuddy-duddy monarchical feudal system back in the old country.

But our guiding principle was splitting from the start. We were cracked in the head, missing  a rhetorical point or two, not playing with a full deck, and we didn’t even know it.

Or we admitted it not.

We were split in two when we allowed Kansas the legal machinery of enforced servitude while turning Nebraska loose to freely settle the wide open prairie.

Bipolar racism degenerated into suicidal atrocity when we turned George Custer loose to show Sitting Bull who was boss at Little Big Horn. Our  cracked cruelty bit the dust that day as the American project descended into new depths of Tragedy.

     Sitting Bull’s Eyes 

There has been something wrong with us all along. Our great quest for liberty and justice for all was deformed from the start. 

When we denied Dred Scott freedom for himself and his family, we were already on the slippery slopes of failure.

When we allowed the Fugitive Slave Law of 2850 to foil Harriet Tubman’s grand underground railroad project, we were moving in the wrong direction.

Even a goddam civil war did not solve the problem of our schizoid derangement. 

No, our  Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde malaise persisted past that bloody war; it dragged on into 20th-century malevolence, smoldering beneath pointy-headed sheets; it became set in splittering stone as we raised monuments to the heroes of racist rebellion; it slithered beneath legislative obfuscation of segregation, discrimination, spawning incrimination. . .

Until  enforced integration began making a dent in our misdeeds.

Our white privilege hypocrisy was still obstinately taking us one step forward, two steps back in our grand liberty experiment. All along the pathways of freedom, our motivations were rift, double-minded in all our ways as the ancient serpentine spirit of split-nature slithered past Dr. King’s good dream before assassinating him in the process. 

Rodney King’s bad roadside dream morphed into a national nightmare; it permeated our personality, sliding into  our social media scheme through a blindsiding video of deranged Derek-cop smothering Big Floyd under his knee.

 Now, staggering under the influence of a chief executive whose power-hungry pursuit is grounded in an agenda  to divide us instead of unite us— so as to conquer once and for all our noble impulse toward justice and equality— we are doomed to another bell-splitting death-knell as all hell breaks loose.  

Tragedy! Tragedy! I say unto thee. All is lost! Although founded in liberty, we are steeped in Tragedy! Tragedy!

Then I woke up. What the hell?

King of Soul

Welcome to New Frontier

June 13, 2020

This is back to the future time for America. 

We look around us and see a broke-down junker that only a few months ago was a well-oiled humming machine.  


We thought we had a finely-tuned system spurting out plenty of moolah and broohaha for all.

But within the space of a few months, an invisible invasive monster has changed all that.


Now We turn our masked heads  and look around to see what was a reasonably productive national economy that has damn-near stalled out. 

So we conduct nonstop public verbiage about how to fix this post-covid wasteland. Our Congress attempts to bail us out with stimulus checks. Even large corporations are begging at the public trough. 

There probably isn’t enough of anything to really go around any more, especially that federal reserve liquidity that has for so long greased the wheels of our great fat ’n happy perpetual motion prosperity machine. 

Not as perpetual as we thought. 

Nope. Now that great fine-tuned set of wheels throttles down to a slow idle while we wait for the big red-light of Covid clearance to turn green again.

People are getting antsy, stir-crazy, hot-to-trot, ready to throw all caution to the wind. 

So where the rubber hits the road the terrible reality comes down to this: Widespread debilitation of our institutions due to defunding and large-scale layoffs is epidemic. Recovery will require a widespread renewal of personal responsibility.

We are going to have to wean ourselves from some of our institutional expectations.   The days of hot-wired circuits and safety nets are over. Mighty Casey has struck out, the jig’s up, the well’s run dry, the bell has tolled for me and thee, and  the ole gray goose is dead. It died of Covid-19.

Peering ahead, around the corner of inconclusive data and  through the distant windows of expert directives, I think we find in this new juncture a brave new world:

A world in which we will have to be brave.

We will have to discipline ourselves to step out of our den of entertained comfort, and back into the wild, wild west of real-world uncertainty. 

While wearing a mask and keeping distance, no less.

So whatever you need to do to provide for you and yours—just do it. Don’t think of it as an inconvenience or a pain in the arse; think of as it trekking out into a New Frontier.

As a nation, we’ve done this before. We did it back in the 1930’s.

But even before that, before we had all these built-in institutions. governmental safety nets and consumer comforts . . .

 Beginning over two hundred year ago, our nation expanded through a grand, 3000 mile frontier. We had no traffic lights to tell us when to stop and go; we didn’t even have any streets! No hospitals, no fast-food, no grocery stores, no drug stores, no twitter, no facebook, no netflix, nor amazon (We did have to cross the Ohio, the mighty Mississippi, the Missouri, the Platt, the Colorado, the Columbia rivers. . . but no bridges!)

Wide open spaces and vast prairies of untilled land were converted, by blood, sweat and tears, into productive resources.

Although the challenges of this present unanticipated phase are very different from that grand 19th-century expansion time, we can— we must!–find a way to enter and pass through the terrible terrain ahead.


 Before there were massive agencies and corporations with vast safety nets and padded payrolls, individual citizens had to accept personal responsibility for their own provision and well-being.

Now with governmental budgets bleeding dry, and corporate payrolls thin, with Main Street looking like a ghost town and Big Business as if they had just seen a ghost,  citizens will find themselves having to perform without a safety net, having to juggle the budget without a regular paycheck, without that commission or bonus we were counting on. . . 

Time for all us couch potatoes and lounge lizards to step up, and step out!

Into the future, into the New Frontier. Let’s make it a Jubilee of cooperative harmony!

So Just Do Now whatever is necessary and legal to provide for you and your people. Step up your Personal Responsibility to offset the shortfall of Institutions.

Just Do It! as Michael Jordan would say.

But keep in mind that 3-pointer we’ve been practicing; it’s most likely the arc shot that will pull this game out of the defeat column for us:

Six feet apart—or six feet under.

Don’t be a dope. Grab the soap.

No need to ask,wear your mask.

Glass half-Full

First American Looters

June 11, 2020

December 16, 1773.  Sons of Liberty protested unfair taxes imposed by the British .gov in the Tea Act of 1773. Armed renegades, many of them disguised as indigenous natives,  destroyed an entire shipment of tea by dumping the tea kegs in Boston Harbor. 

As days turned into weeks, months and years, revolution-minded Colonials wrangled their upstart rage into a Revolution. 


227 years pass.

May 26, 2020.  Citizens of Minneapolis gathered in the dusk hours to protest the police asphyxiation of unarmed local resident, George Floyd. 

As news of the gentle giant’s death was reported nationally through mainstream and social media, widespread protests were rapidly organized in cities across the USA. Irate Americans, many of them masked as Covid-resisters, marched through streets all across the continent and beyond.

As days turned into weeks, a viral-video of Big Floyd’s  cop-inflicted murder propelled thousands of  Americans to become more and more infuriated. They marched in vehement protest against the obvious injustice of Officer Derek Chauvin’s smothering his gently-pleading victim. 

As protesters gathered across the nation, their  intentions became more difficult for police and other law enforcement personnel to identify. Joined by multiple interests groups and, in some cases, extremist instigators, protestors in some places descended into rioting and looting. Unpredictable crowds became unmanageable in some cities. 

Law enforcement officers across the nation faced very difficult decisions. Protecting private property and restoring law and order became no easy matter, no walk in the park, and certainly no walk in Lafayette Park. 

In the midst of nationwide mayhem, the chief executiive expressed adamant resolve to protect private property, while voicing no sympathy for the deceased citizen whose unjust death had sparked the protests. Our temporary chief executive  demonstrated no awareness of the injustice in that original offense—the murder of an innocent American.

Rather, he seemed preoccupied with using the news development to foment political division among his people in pursuance of his own obsession with power.

 Lines of ideological and political association became blurred in the fog of teargas and an insidious fog of class war.

As public law and order deteriorated, the President’s stubborn insensitivity silently implied his approval of police overreaction, as law enforcers were convincing themselves further and further that protection of private property would be their highest property.

“Don’t tread on me,” enraged American Colonials had said after the Tea Party ignited their wrath in 1773.

“Don’t tread on me,” enraged Americans are saying now, after one lethal-weapon knee  treading on George Floyd’s lifeless neck.

In American history, the upstarts who instigated the Boston Tea Party are lionized as heroes. 

They were mad about taxes, so they destroyed British property.

In our third century as a nation, enraged protesters have regrettably provoked some destructive overreaction.

They were mad about the murder of their brethren; then some property got destroyed along the way.

Will the judgements of history render our present dissidents as heroes?

Or will the dissidents of 2020 go down as rioting looters?

I tell you what. When I get to heaven, I’m going to ask those Boston TeaParty protesters what they think about it. 

Which is the greater offense to spark protest in a free society—Unfair Taxes by King, or Murder by Cop?

And just how pertinent is some lunatic-fringe  looting when compared to the ongoing crime. . . killing of American citizens ( George Floyd, Brionna Taylor, Ahmed Arbery, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray . . . Emmett Till, Dred Scott, 3/5ths of a person here, 3/5 of a person there . . .) killing by their own appointed protectors?

Glass half-Full

Big Floyd’s Houston Launch

June 9, 2020

Fountain of Praise Church gathered in Houston today to send George  home to Jesus, because it was through this city—Third Ward and Cumi Homes and Jack Bates high school that George Floyd lived his formative years.

Here are a few thoughts and words brought forth along the way during his memorial service; these remembrances and truths become a small part of  the legacy of George Floyd. In today’s memorial service,  many like-minded Christian believers—inspired by these words, songs, praises— renew their resolve to partner with God in redeeming the world.

From Pastor Remus Wright:

“. . . when this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. . .”

Big Floyd is now re-united with his Creator, Savior.

George Floyd changed the world.

 “Let justice flow down like the waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

A warrior mindset in the mind of murderous cop killed George, when the officer’s mind should have rightfully been to perform his duty of protecting the people in that Minneapolis neighborhood where George was smothered, in eight minutes and forty-six seconds, under the knee of a bad cop.

But now, in the wake of his death, we wirtness and hear the worldwide celebration of George Floyd’s life.

“What good can come out of Nazareth?. . . What good can come out of Third Ward Houston?” someone said at the funeral today. . .

His little brother said George is going to change the world.

Yes, that has already happened, and continues to unfold and proliferate in an incredibly big way that nobody could have ever predicted.

The mayor of Houston pointed out that what men meant for evil God has used for good.

His family and friends said . . .


Big George was everybody’s shelter, a ghetto angel, gentle giant. 

All students and graduates of Jack Bates high school love, admire and fondly remember Big George, a great athlete and friend.

Cyril spoke for all the Christian believers present  when he said To God be the Glory for Big Floyd’s incredible life. 

God took a rejected stone and made it the cornerstone of a worldwide movement. 

We need to be partnering with God to redeem the world.

George’s daughter said “My daddy changed the world.”

We see that happening now.

One person expressed this hope: Racism did not start in our lifetime, but racism can end in our lifetime.

That’s what I call faith like a mustard seed.

“All things happen for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose.”

Nakita Foxx and Houston Ensemble sang: “We offer Praise.”

Rev. Al Sharpton urged all believers to put on the armor of God to fight against principalities and powers in high places. . . to resist wickedness in high places.

We still have a lot of work to do to get this racist mess straightened out. 

Seismic reformational life-changing work has been launched in the wake of big George’s life, in the name of Jesus Christ.

Make straight a way in the wilderness— a path of righteousness for our Lord.


Many thanks to TVstation  KHOU-11 of Houston, broadcasting this memorial send-off so that we could experience its power and historic thrust in other parts of the USA and the world.

Glass half-Full

Freedom rings from our Mountainside

June 8, 2020

Yesterday, about a thousand—I guess—people gathered here in our Appalachian town to march, cheer, listen, and show solidarity with black citizens of our United States of America.  

Our positively excited assemblage of people reminded me of the good ole days. Back in the ’60’s-70’s when I was an LSU student we would conduct such gatherings to express public dissent against unjust killing and mistreatment of humans.

Our march yesterday in the bright June sunshine was organized and led by Raheim Andrews, a home boy who graduated from the same high school as my three offspring.


With urging from Raheim, and a little divine help urged by Reggie Hunt, we gathered peacefully and joyfully to emphasize the truth that Black Lives do indeed Matter.

. . . especially the lives of now-deceased citizens George Floyd, Brionna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, whose names will go down in American history.

Toussaint Romain, deputy general counsel at Appalachian State served as keynote speaker, passionately linking our collective message with the legacy of Dr. King: 

“I have a Dream!. . .”

“From every mountainside, let freedom ring!”

That  freedom ringing from the mountainside includes our local voices reverberating beneath our Boone mountain, Howard’s Knob, in the background. . .


Here’s a personal aside: to hear my musical portrayal of Dr. King’s mountain inspiration, listen at:


Keynote speaker Romain strongly emphasized that this movement is all about fixing a broken justice system, not just disciplining a few bad cops.

Boone Police were very friendly and helpful in their conducting the crowd along King Street.

Alex Fuller and Montana Mills, local young people, also spoke to encourage us that racial justice can be achieved when folks are willing to come together and work toward fixing our broken justice system.

For a more thorough coverage of our march from ASU to the Watauga County courthouse, go here:

King of Soul 

Thanks to Esper and the 3 M’s

June 5, 2020

Many thanks to you:

~ General Jim Mattis, former Secretary of Defense

~ Admiral Mike Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

~ Gen. Mark A. Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

~ Mark T. Esper, US Secretary of Defense

Thank you for speaking on behalf of the citizens of these United States of America.

Thank you for standing up for our Constitutional right  to peaceably assemble, even during this time of  confusion and disruption.   

Even while intrepid extremists act stealthily in the midst of some protesting groups—these provocateurs  who illegally instigate violence in the midst of lawful protest—these anarchists have no power to derail the legitimate assembly of law-abiding citizens to petition our Government  for the redress of grievances. . .

. . .these trouble-makers have no power to usurp our Rights, because you, our military leaders, stand on our behalf in defense of our Constitutional rights . . . most assuredly, our right to assemble. 

With the vigilance and courage that you have shown in standing against unrestrained power, we are enabled in retaining assurance–as President Abraham Lincoln assured us at Gettysburg–that government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth.


Thank you.

Glass half-Full

Death to Derek

June 3, 2020

I have been a Christian since 1978; that was the year that I fully realized the moral limits of my own judgements about this life and what is important, or not.

Since that time, I have read the Bible and learned some truth about our human condition, and how we can justifiably deal with our own failures, and the failures of others.

I say failures because I think it is a more appropriate term than the old over-utilized “sin” words that we Christians generally employ in referring to such acts as hurting other people, or stealing from them, or killing them.

Throughout the world, a truth is generally accepted that killing a person is wrong, and should not be done. In fact, murder cannot generally be tolerated if a just society is to be maintained by any people group.  

As I get older, I can see more clearly the purpose of law in the societies of men. Law is generally a good thing, insofar as it enables men and women to live together in community or in society without tearing each other apart. 

When l became a Christian those many years ago, I learned from the New Testament scriptures about a divine gift which we call grace. 

In cases of human sin-guilt, or crime-guilt, grace means the offender receives a sentence of some earthly punishment such as prison, instead of the ultimate sentence of death.

We Christians have generally separated ourselves from the older root of our faith—the Judaic one that was so dependent on law for administering justice in cases of man v. man, such as . . . let’s say, murder. 

With the advent of Jesus, and his ultimately sacrificial death—in spite of his innocence—a new way of judgement was brought forth in the annals of civilization: grace.

His ultimate sacrifice ushered in a new age in which grace is often recommended instead of strict judgment; this application of grace in some legal matters may take up some of the slack of human society-building, instead of enforcing a constant insistence on the  strict application of law. 

Within that “Law,” brought forth by Moses many centuries ago, is a prescription of how to deal with murder. Recorded long ago in Exodus 21:12, it reads like this:

“He that strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death.”

In my churchified associations with people since I joined the ranks of Christianity, we have generally emphasized this grace of which I speak. Insofar as we are all sinners—we all screw up in some way or another (do you know anyone who doesn’t?)—we Christians lean heavily on that grace of God to get us off the hook when we screw up.

Personally, I have greatly appreciated that divine grace when dealing with the consequences of my own sinful shortcomings.

Furthermore, I advocate the application of grace toward any person whose response to their own sinfulness includes sincere repentance. 

Recently however, a certain heinous offense against our civil law has risen to the forefront of our collective American consciousness. As a people who strive collectively and nationally toward a just society, we would do wrong to excuse Derek Chauvin’s apparent murder—should he be found guilty of same—of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Now I am realizing the practical value of the death penalty in human law. In this case, a merciful sentence would not be appropriate; nor would it prove beneficial in the restoration of our national law and order.

In this present homicidal offense against God and a man, I believe the application of the death penalty to that offending cop’s life would be a necessary element in dispelling our present disruption of law and order in this country. 

Therefore I urge the District  Attorney in Minneapolis to bring a charge of murder, in the first degree, against Derek Chauvin, in the killing of George Floyd.

Such justice is the only thing that could even come close to setting things right in this country again.

I just don’t see any other way that the shock and disgrace of this murderous act can truly be dispensed with.

If and when he is found guilty in a court of Law, Derek Chauvin ought to be executed. 

Glass half-Full