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Taking a Knee in Two Different Americas

I am a white man, raised and educated in the City of Detroit. I am a former prosecutor in Wayne County. My 10th grade educated father was a "bookie." My 9th grade educated brother was locked up at Jackson Prison in the 1960s for fighting cops... where he then fought Detroiter, Alvin "Blue" Lewis, for the heavyweight Championship of the "Joint." My 8th grade educated mother was a tough "take no prisoners" Irish woman. Our financial circumstances ranged from adequate to needy, depending on the day of the week. But, I was a "fair haired" white child of white America who was lucky enough to get a football scholarship and inherit all of the opportunities that an education brings. Women and black men of my era didn't receive the opportunities I did. I received the serendipitous luck of the draw by being born a white man in white America.

I was the lucky white kid who had a leg up in the "land of opportunity" as I set out to pursue the American dream. Work hard? Of course, I did. But, hard work without opportunity does not open the door where the ladder of economic advancement is hidden from many. Ask black lawyer/opera singer, Paul Robeson, who was shut out of the legal profession because he was black. Ask Negro League Hall of Famer, Satchel Paige, who, for almost his entire pitching career, was shut out of the white man's Major Leagues. Ask Satchel's contemporary, Hall of Fame catcher Josh Gibson, shut out of the Major Leagues because he was black. Ask hundreds of thousands of other blacks. Ask all the women of the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 1980s. If I wasn't fortuitously and serendipitously born a white male in America, I would not have gotten very far up the economic ladder in my lifetime. As my "bookie" father would say about a sure bet, "Take that to the bank." As Donald Trump and his advisor, Steve Bannon, would say, "That's the America we have to make great again."

When a black man looks at the American flag or hears the national anthem, do you think he has the same perception of America that a favorite son, white man like me does or that Donald Trump and his followers do? Or, do you think a black man's perception of America is colored by the institution of legalized "slavery" in the days of old and colored by the institution of legalized "segregation" and colored by the fallacy of "separate but equal" with black soldiers being told they are not good enough to be quartered with white soldiers (Tuskegee Airmen and all other blacks) and colored by black soldiers returning home for World War I, World War II, the Korean conflict and Vietnam and being thanked for their service by being told to get in the back of the bus with Rosa Parks and being told to stay out of the white man's hotels, diners, theaters, schools and baseball leagues and thereafter colored by legalized "discrimination" and being told what neighborhoods they can or can't live in and colored by being disenfranchised by having to pass literacy tests or pay a poll tax as a condition of voting or, recently, being suffocated by the cops on the sidewalks of New York while crying out in agony, "I can't breathe" eleven times before the execution of black man, Eric Garner, (for the misdemeanor of illegally selling cigarettes) was completed by cops who acted as charging authority, Judge, Jury, executioner and God?

Obviously, a black man looking at the American flag has a different perception of America than a white man. And the black man's perception is captured by United States Supreme Court's first black Justice, Thurgood Marshall's, insightful words (about the disconnect between America's political promises and America's actions), "Ah America, the greatest country that never was, but, hopefully, always will be." Yet, many white men in the throes of their angst and their continuing effort to hold the black man down rail against the black man who dares take a knee during the National Anthem to protest the black man's own particular perception of America. Does not the white man see his hypocrisy? Does not the head of the Michigan State Police, Kriste Etue, see her hypocrisy when she claims the protesters are degenerates who hate America? Why do so many white men and some women insist that the protesting black man should have the same "perception" of America that the white man has? Why does the "colonizing" white man try to force the black man to have the same mind set about America that the white man has? Why does the white man insist on "co-opting" the black man's perception of and his vision for America? Why is the white man so out of tune with his black brother that he insists on a self righteous attack on black men who are merely engaged in peaceful, non-violent protest for "redress of grievances" under the First Amendment, as the black man holds up a mirror to white America, telling white America, "You can do better"?

Question? Do my comments make me a bleeding heart liberal? or a "progressive"?... or, perhaps, just another misguided American soul, out of touch with the "lives and times" of Donald Trump and present day America?

The Evolution of Sex... Revolution at Michigan State

Michigan State football... four players kicked off the team for sexual improprieties (perhaps crimes… time will tell) and one assistant coach gone. 

Sex and young men and women… always problematic, the eternal challenge: "Hang down your head, Tom Dooley.” The survival of our species depends upon sex and young men and women. As the great historian Will Durant says in his fine book The Lessons of Historynature does not care about the welfare of individuals within the species; nature cares only about the survival of the species and, therefore nature smiles upon multiple births and more and more procreation and thereafter for nature... it’s just “survival of the fittest” to insure the strength of the species and its ability to survive. That is still the rule for the animal kingdom today. 

But man has spiritually evolved (through the message of the Jesus and through the message of the prophets, I suspect) and changed the rule of nature and "survival of the fittest" to a modern day rule that says, we must concern ourselves with not only the species, but with the rights of the individual members within the species. Under nature’s law, neither Beethoven, Helen Keller, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles or Andrea Bocelli  (handicapped as they were) would survive. They lose nature's “survival of the fittest” battle because they are not physically equipped to survive. They couldn’t hear or they couldn’t see, so they couldn't escape the threats to their survival. But, under man’s modern rule that protects the rights of the individuals within the species, they all survive and go on to great success. 

But, a caveat… much of the nature's "evolutionary urge" to procreate, procreate, procreate and keep on procreating for the benefit of survival of the species still remains today in the "evolutionary psyche” of modern man. We call it “sex drive” and it varies in intensity from man to man and woman to woman depending upon (I suspect) their DNA and varying amounts of testosterone and estrogen.   

Therefore, in our modern world, there still exists as part of man’s evolutionary past an overwhelming urge (some would say “irresistible impulse”) to engage in sex, engage in sex, engage in sex and keep on procreating and procreating and keep on strengthening the species with multiple births and larger and larger populations. This left-over “evolutionary psyche” of rampant procreation has left us with a host of modern day problems even though modern man is no longer a pregnancy machine, herd animal. These modern day problems include non-consensual sex, miscommunication... young men with one agenda and young women with another agenda, broken relationships and broken hearts, lack of knowledge re birth control, unwanted pregnancies, termination of pregnancies, right to life, religious taboos, double standards and more. 

What the hell is a father or mother or Football Coach suppose to do??? control all of this??? control the overwhelming urges of evolution and nature??? Impossible. Anyone who tells you that it’s just “mind over matter” is either a eunuch or is “sophomoric” or both. Would that it were that simple. Man is not that far removed (evolutionary speaking) from the animal kingdom that impregnates every female it can in the herd, and, if you think otherwise, I think you fail to grasp the overwhelmingness of the sexual urge in young men. 

All you can do as a Football Coach is try to recruit the right athlete from the right family (a roll of the dice many times) and then set the culture, the culture that tries to stop young men from physically/sexually abusing women (and women from taking emotional advantage of men). But, the sexual urge is evolutionary and is so much stronger in young men than words or the setting of culture. All you can do is hope and pray that no one takes physical or emotional advantage of anyone else.

The last 20 years of technology have changed the world forever. Yet the last 2000 years of the pursuit of understanding life have brought very little insight into the ongoing sexual dichotomy between the overwhelming, evolutionary urge to procreate and the accompanying need to control that urge… varying, of course, with the amount of testosterone in any given male.

Despite the best laid plans of Mice and Men and Football Coaches, when it comes to the sexual urges of procreation... predicting (or controlling) the sexual behavior of athletes and non-athletes alike is always a roll of the dice… perhaps, even a “fool’s errand.”

Outline & Syllabus For Original Thinking

When I open the door for "original thinking" and invite you in, I give you the gift (the permission and encouragement, if you will) to start to become your own person with your own original thoughts... although I fully understand that, in the pursuit of "originality," we are all "standing on the shoulders of giants" who came before us.

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Michigan Courts: Open Season on Our Children (Flint Children in the Crosshairs)

The repeated "the King can do no wrong" theme that is sent out from the Michigan Courts to the State of Michigan and all its employees: "It's okay to play Russian Roulette with the lives of children and throw all caution to the wind because we are all the King's men." But, I ask: "who will put our children back together again"???

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Open and Obvious . . . Best Friend of the Chamber of Commerce

"Open and obvious'' is a flat out denial of trial by Jury, as Judges dismiss case after case again premises' (business shop) owners..., taking cases from the Jury and illegally assuming the role of juror to decide the "fact" of whether a Plaintiff could have or should have avoided a known ("open and obvious'') danger.

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