The Pollitikat



8-28 Honor Rally Wrapped Up In Dreams From One “Black” Person

I heard about the rally about a month before, both of them, the Restoring Honor and Reclaiming the Dream. I knew that the Restoring Honor rally was a Tea Party/Fox News/Glenn Beck event. I decided to go to the Fox News Rally. We started walking to the park at around five-fifty in the morning and ran into two ladies who were participating as marshals. “Are you going to the Restoring Honor” when we replied yes “oh” one of them said, we went on to talk about how they met Glenn Beck the night before, he was at a buffet they had and he shook hands with one of them. I thought it was funny they were acting like school girls going to a rock concert, they were genuinely excited. As we approached the park we saw more and more people heading towards the Lincoln Memorial. We did not see any other brown skinned people and whenever we told one of the white people with beach chairs and wearing a flag of some kind that we were going to the rally they always seemed surprised.
When we got to the park we stood out, one of the people on the tape even said so. This was obviously a white event. As we walked through the park the strangest thing happened, people started walking up and thanking us for coming. My daughter was very nervous in the beginning because of how we stood out and people were looking at us. Were there racists in the crowd no doubt about it, were the majority of the people there racist? Since I can’t read minds and going by the people I spoke to personally I would have to say no.

It seemed us being there made some of them feel better and I started to feel better. As I talked to people and asked them why African American weren’t joining their movement they were truly perplexed. I sensed they really didn’t know why because they believed they were hearing the facts from Fox News and the word of god from Glenn Beck. Many people said Glenn Beck was calling people together but the rally itself was a contradiction, there were a light sprinkling of minorities, there weren’t many African Americans but there weren’t any Asians, Latinos, Native Americans, or Democrats, and let me just say the diversity was sparse at the other march as well.

I did notice these people had three things in common other than being white, and that was Glenn Beck, Fox News, and God (as in Christianity). Glenn and Sarah Palin were stars because they believed in god. Some had been listening to Glenn for years many had just started; they referred to his show as educational and inspirational. Glenn Beck, they said was an educator and historian and that he was teaching the people. They said god and faith was missing in history books. They wanted to bring the country back to the “founding fathers” –that meant honor, faith. There was nothing racist about that because some of the founding fathers were black and “they just found that out the other day”, Glenn Beck told them.

They wanted to bring god back into our society, country and government but mainly in the schools. They want to stop spending but don’t know how that should happen, maybe social security, they fear social security may not be there in the near future. They want to preserve their rights, they meant they wanted to keep their money, guns, and do whatever they want, freedom—but were all against building a mosque near the former world trade center sight. They were also not sure exactly what rights they had lost, they talked about things that may come but nothing that was really happening right now. They talked about TARP and the Healthcare Bill as bad, but the war was okay–necessary. They were against corporations and did not associate the rich with corporations.

They wanted more self-reliance and less “socialism”; socialism meant redistributing wealth. socialism and God were the words of the day, as in god-yes, socialism-no and they equated Obama not as being black but a socialist and inexperienced, so he too was a no. I took “socialism” to be the new code word for “black”, but I don’t think that they understood that. I think some really believed Obama is a Socialist, but for some it was a way out of being called a racist. Oh and Obama may also be a Muslim terrorist. Honestly I didn’t like the America they said existed but wasn’t sure I’d be happy in the one they described as ideal.

They spoke a lot about unity and I believed they wanted unity but the crowd was majority “white” Christians so I wasn’t sure with whom or that the controversy surrounding the rally helped in that.
I started to think about the rally that was happening down the road. I was sure that rally was filled with “black” people, when I went later that day there were mostly black people. How was that going to help bring people together? Was that any different than what I saw at the Tea Party rally. And everyone at the Reclaiming the Dream rally claimed they did not know about the Restoring Honor rally. Sort of like the Tea partiers claiming to have no clue as to why people might perceive them as racist. Both of these groups were being “ignored by government”, and exploited by politicians and pastors. These rallies showed me how far the media is going to shape news and opinions. In the spirit of conspiracy I wondered if they weren’t being used by some other entity, let’s say “terrorists”. Particularly, Fox, they have been able to mold its audience’s point of view and control the news of the last decade, as well as influencing all the other networks.
I also knew that Glenn Beck and Al Sharpton were not going to bring this country together—they were too polarizing and they had gained financially from our division.

There are good people on both sides; I don’t think Marlene and Heather had hate in their heart they are just being schooled in a particular ideology. Camille was adorable and walked right up and told my daughter she loved her glasses and the two started to talk. That was a beautiful moment and it solidified my faith in the youth, they were not going to let America down. We needed more individual conversations. The couple that made $40,000 combined broke my heart the fact that they made so little money and took this trip to listen to a con-artist who was swindling them out of their real voices—their vote, was depressing—they were willing to get rid of social security. Chad was a youth just looking for direction, how many of them do I see walking around my own community with their pants hanging low. Both sides are being used and neither is being helped.

This rally let me know that Fox News and the media are probably more racist than the people watching, and may be playing a role in creating racists if anything. The media is aware people are suspicious of differences and they play up our differences and heightens our fears. It made me think of the greatest trick – presenting an illusion as reality, convincing people you are the opposite of what you really are? Like WAR is PEACE. After all, it’s not so hard to get a person to believe in something that is not real, is it?

At the end of the day I have only seen one person bring Americans of all colors, ethnicity, social and economic backgrounds together and that man is OBAMA.
Get out and Vote in November. VOTE FOR your America.

Please go to my youtube channel to watch all four parts:

Healthcare Dying In Waste, Corruption & Ignorance

I think Obama is doing a great job trying to rebuff the lies that are being spread by the Republicans. I don’t understand why we can’t have a legitimate debate instead of these shouting matches executed by republicans and special interests. If Republicans have ideas, now is the time to put them forward. Instead of talking about what you don’t want lets hear what you do want. Let’s hear the kind of healthcare system you want in place. We all agree something has to be done; I know I am not comfortable with what we have because of many of the same reasons out there. Insurance companies are taking over, doctors and politicians are corrupts and we the patients are not free to make decisions affecting our health. What would you like to see different in the health care system. Now is the time for suggestions, not shouting. This is our future it affects our very lives.

I took my daughter to get braces a few years back and I was told by the doctor that it would cost about $2000 just for the braces but that did not cover the pre-requirements to getting the braces. I had to get a brain scan and x-rays as well as molds made and of course the health insurance did not cover it. So I went ahead and first got the molds done. I paid hundreds to get the molds made, I cannot remember the exact amount but it was either $250 or $400. When I asked the doctors for the molds they told me the molds belonged to the doctor, even though I paid for the molds. The molds should belong to me I might want to visit another dentist, but the doctor held on to the molds so if I decided to take my child to another dentist I would have to pay a new fee to get molds made. That’s why we need to reform healthcare because of things like that. What benefit does the doctor have to hold on to the mold, maybe they feel that would compel me to use them as my dentist, but that is not fair to me, why was I paying a fifty dollar co-pay, to be jerked around by the doctor. I would like a system that gives one fee that covers the braces and everything needed to get braces. The initial $2000 I was quoted was not accurate because the doctor did not tell me the out of pocket expenses for the braces, the $2000 was only what the insurance covered.

Also it gave me a chance to reflect on the fact that braces amounted to cosmetics and though the healthcare covered most of it, it was not necessary, even though most dentist will recommend that a child gets braces. Braces is constant maintenance and generates income for the doctor, however if I joined the gym and visited a nutritionist none of that is covered. There is no real choice in medicine as far as I am concerned; we are just forced to use popular medicine which is all about pushing drugs and surgery.

One day my daughter said her wrist hurt, I suspected it was because she was moving furniture and cleaning during the weekend. I took her to the doctor just to be on the safe side, because her primary care physician was an arthritis specialist, guess what, she found a lump in my daughters wrist, she asked me and my daughter to feel for it, we tried and tried but somehow could never feel the lump. She asked if she did anything different that might have caused the pain and no matter how many times I told the doctor about the moving furniture she insisted the lump was there. Either way my daughter would need surgery to remove or correct whatever was wrong with her wrist she made this diagnosis before any x-rays were done. It was the insurance; it covered this type of surgery. Just to be sure, she did want us to go to a lab to get x-rays and blood work done, of course more money.

The point is I didn’t really think anything was wrong with my daughters wrist, not wanting to be neglectful I took her to someone who I thought was going to back me up calling out what I thought for sure was a teenage scheme–but left needing to spend more money and faced with a potential surgery. I didn’t opt for the surgery, and my daughter hasn’t complained about her wrist hurting unless she has been doing strenuous work, she was terrified of the possibility of surgery for an aching wrist. Someone with something simple that could have been treated probably with an aspirin or just waiting it out ended up being a candidate for major surgery.

I am not saying that doctors are the villains in the healthcare issue but they are part of the problem along with the health insurance company. I did not understand why the molds weren’t covered under the health insurance it they are part of the requirement in order to get braces, the molds should be covered under the braces expense to me that is just common sense. You pay one price and it covers the molds plus whatever x-rays that is needed all the expenses and eliminates unnecessary ones like the brain scan, which I just couldn’t wrap my mind around.

When my insurance dropped my daughter and she tried to get healthcare insurance she kept on getting denied because they insisted she already had insurance, and she didn’t. What ever network they used to check her status still showed she was covered by my insurance company. The paperwork hadn’t caught up to her status and it had already been a year since she had been dropped. Why did it take so long for records to update? We are paying for ineptitude, for something serious as insurance coverage why should we accept when the insurance company lags their feet when it comes to getting the paper work done, this lag could be the difference between life and death.

That’s why we need to reform the insurance system, that’s why we need to fix healthcare, because of all these kinks in the system, it is ultimately impacting us the consumer and affecting the kind of care we get. I firmly believe that healthcare needs to be reformed, and reformed like right now. The system is mired in corruption at all levels. I know that we like to blame the insurance companies, it’s easy to blame the insurance companies they are the obvious target and the pharmaceutical companies. We are saturated with advertisement pushing drugs; I would like a system that regulates the number of commercials. They control many members of congress as well as the media market. We also have to hold our politicians accountable and get involved with the debate. We all share a role.

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I want to be able to sit down with my doctor and have a free flowing conversation. I don’t want to wait thirty to forty minutes just to see my doctor for five minutes. Patients go home after major surgery only to die in their living rooms because insurance companies will only pay for one or two days post surgery in hospital care. This is happening now in our current system. The health insurance companies have no problems short changing the consumer when it comes to care, but will spare no expense to make sure their influence in Washington is not undermined by the people wanting to change the current system.

Many health companies and associations increased their first-quarter lobbying expenditures, sometimes dramatically. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association upped its lobbying expenditures by a full million, to 2.8 million dollars in the second quarter; GlaxoSmithKline’s spending jumped from $1.8 million to $2.3 million; Novartis grew from $1.4 million to $1.8 million; and Metlife Group reported $1.7 million, up nearly 50 percent. Allstate, which spent less than $900,000 on lobbying through March, boosted its spending to more than $1.5 million from April to June. (written by: Dan Eggen for Washington Post 7/21/2009)

The opposition is very organized as we saw in the 2000 election, demonstrated during the last election and now in these town halls. They are Americans but many have a very different view of what America should be like and that’s a fact, but the people voted for change. This is our biggest challenge, the Republicans are doing what they always do, preying on the ignorant, the angry, and the racist. We have a disagreement out the type of healthcare we want that’s all this is, surely we can present some ideas. I am not interested in stopping others from having a voice on the issue, post your suggestions in the comments, add to the dialogue.

I think one of the underlying reasons why healthcare reform is so difficult to achieve in America, people don’t want to die. It doesn’t matter how much money you have or what kind of life you have, most people don’t want to give it up. But the reality is we are all going to die and we have to die some day. I used to wonder what age I would like to live up to and when I was younger fifty seemed great, but now that I am approaching forty I am seriously rethinking that. The fact is whether we are sick or healthy we don’t want to give up life. It’s one thing most have in common– people, everywhere wishes they had more of it, more time on earth. To many quantity still beats quality. Some of us have to say enough but just when do we say it—after the fourth or fifth surgery, after the addiction to pills and illicit drugs, maybe after we need diprivan, after the amputation or prosthetic, or the transplant—that’s for you and the doctor to decide and should they be paid for their consultation, yes.

Much of our healthcare dollars are spent on these end of life, or extension of life treatments. The Terry Schiavo case is the most recent high profile end of life case, the president and congress got involved. In many of these cases it the families that won’t let go. Most of the people who believed Terry Schiavo should live would put to death a perfectly healthy person under the death penalty, these same people fight to protect the life of the unborn. These are the same people who are fighting against healthcare reform that would provide healthcare for the millions living without it. These are the same people who profess to love god and country, and they also love guns and war.

Obama is pointing the way on healthcare and we need to follow his lead. He knows a public option is the true way to ensure that all Americans get the medical care they need when necessary. The Obamas have tried to be an example by starting a vegetable garden at the White House and advocating for eating healthier and keeping fit. He is sacrificing political capital to get this legislation through Congress we cannot allow our voices to be drowned out by the noise of the status quo. All I know is that we rank 37th in the world when it comes to quality; Cuba is 39th. We rank behind Israel, Colombia, Dominica and Costa Rica. We are second in spending for healthcare spending more than all the countries that rank higher than us on quality. We burn 15% of our GDP, France 11%, Canada 10%, and UK 8%. We are 50th in life expectancy ranking behind Boznia and Herzegovena. We rank behind many countries that offer some kind of government sponsored healthcare. Something has to be done, we need real solutions. We need to fix the system.

Sometimes a Jerk Is On Duty — Obama’s Beer Summit

A few years back I was involved in a family dispute and the police was called. Initially the police determined that there was no need to escalate the incident and they left the scene. About one week later two detectives show up at my door stating they wanted to talk to me. It was a Thursday and I happen to be home from work. I answered the door and let the detectives in. We stood in my kitchen and I spoke with them openly about the incident that took place a week earlier. They informed me that I had to go to the station with them to be fingerprinted because I had a warrant. I obliged, I had nothing to hide and wanted to cooperate. Coincidentally my daughter forgot her keys when she left for school that day. I informed the officers that my daughter was at school, she did not have a key and I would be the only person available to let her in the house when she returned from school at around 3:30 pm. She was twelve, it was around 11am and the police station was a five minute drive from my house, since I was only going to get fingerprinted I felt confident I would be home in time. I got dressed and followed the officers as they led the way to the elevator and down the seven floors to the lobby. I was not in handcuffs and followed the officers willingly. Once we exited the elevator, and there were some neighbors standing in the lobby, one of the police officers said in a loud whisper right in my ear but loud enough for the neighbors to hear “you better not act up because you’re under arrest”. I was startled by the comments as I looked him in the eye, I could see how his actions could arouse a quick tempered person; he was clearly trying to spark a reaction from me. My mood began to change and I made a conscious decision to remain calm, I did not want to get shot I didn’t know if I had a trigger happy cop. I followed the officers to their car and was driven to the precinct station.

I was then placed in an interrogation room where I recounted the events as I saw them and answered countless questions for approximately one hour. I asked if I was going to be put into jail they said no they just wanted to check my fingerprints, get my version of events and give me a court date. They asked me to sign a statement and I told them I would not sign anything they had my verbal statement. I requested to have the fingerprints taken because the officers explain they would have to check to see if I had any outstanding crimes against my prints and that would take time, I told the officers again that I needed to be home by 3:30 pm to let my daughter in the house. The officers mouthed the words expressing they would be done in time for me to get home to my child but I could tell by their attitude they did not mean it.

I was asked question after question for what seemed to be another hour; I was yelled at, called names, and even poked. They seemed to be looking for a certain answer. When I dared to raise my voice I was told to be quiet and I did not have the right to raise my voice even though I was being verbally assaulted by the officers. They questioned me about everything even other activities in the neighborhood none of which had anything to do with my case and it was obvious I had no knowledge of them. They just seemed to be fishing, operating in their own little realm of reality. When I realized that they had no intentions of taking into consideration anything that I told them about being a single mother, about wanting to be there when my child got home from school, when I realized they were not taking into consideration that I had cooperated fully with them I became annoyed and stopped talking, I began to insist my fingerprints be taken so that I could go home and that was willing to talk about. I threatened to file a complaint; I asked for a pen and paper and began taking notes, documenting my treatment while in police custody. When I asked to go to the rest room one of the officers even had the audacity to tell me that I could leave my notes in the room, the nerve.

At approximately three pm my fingerprints were finally taken, around six pm an officer came and told me that I was free to go. I was in police custody for seven hours for a bench warrant in a domestic dispute. A dispute the police admitted to pursuing only because the other party insisted. I was let go without going before a judge and having a bail hearing. In other words this was no serious offense, but they held me unnecessarily for seven hours for something that should have taken one or two hours at most. I was pissed and I wanted to file a complaint but all I could think about was the fact that my child was outside for about three hours and I hurried home. Being a single mother and not wanting to get caught up in anything that would take me away from work or my child I did not follow up with a complaint about the harassment I received while in custody because I thought it would be a long losing battle.

I tend to believe that the way the police treat people like me is an institutional problem. I remember once my car was stalled and I needed a jump to get started. I flagged a police unit and explained to the officers my situation; they told me that they could not give me a jump because their vehicle was restricted from doing so. I remember wondering if I were in a white community would things have been different.

Last year in New Orleans I was at a Marti Gras parade when a mob started jumping over the barricade and stepping on people who were standing orderly behind the barrier, I was among them. Parade goers started shouting for the officer standing nearby to stop the offenders from jumping over because we were being trampled. I commented that the officer was standing there and not doing anything about it. Well the officer came over to me and started screaming in my face threatened and insulted me and telling me to shut my f-ing mouth. Others in the crowd tried to come to my defense but nothing would stop this officer from using me as an example. Did the fact that I was a black woman and the officers white play a role in how I was treated, maybe. Did I feel like those officers had something against me personally, no I didn’t —- but I couldn’t help feeling because I was black they cared less about me or my situation. There are many occasions where I was able to observe officers in action and in many cases they were behaving badly —asserting their position and power—being a jerk.

There are other times when I had to deal with the police where I felt I was treated fairly, would there be a different outcome if I were a different color I don’t know but what mattered is I felt I was treated fairly and respectfully. What I did learn is that it matters who is on duty. It matters who responds to the call or who is writing the ticket because a jerk could show up. I don’t think there is personal bias on the part of all police officers, on the part of some, yes—-and I do think there are certain prejudices built into the system, left over from our turbulent history. I get the feeling that there is a culture of acceptance when it comes to discrimination against minorities.

Are you more likely to get arrested or ticketed if you are black or Latino, yes. This tendency for discrimination is adopted by officers no matter the color. These prejudices are played out across the country in random acts of discrimination and police brutality against minorities and the poor. We see it when a man reaches for his wallet and gets shot 41 times, when a black man is raped with a broom stick by white officers. The discrimination was evident in the Central Park Jogger case and recently in Jena. We see it when minority defendants are given twice the prison time at sentencing as their white counterparts. These cases gave me the impression there was a predisposition towards minorities as inherently bad people, so if you use excessive force or antagonizing tone it’s ok.

But most officers are just doing their job while some officers are just jerks—an attitude with a gun, a license to shoot and searching for a reason. In the incident between Professor Gates and Officer Crowley it is clear that Crowley did not follow his training, but sought to impose his authority. In his report and by his own admission Officer Crowley did not immediately identify himself or why he was at the professor’s residence. According to Crowley he was “standing in plain sight of this man”, but he only asked the professor to come outside to talk to him and the professor said he would not—It was only after the professor demanded to know who he was that officer Crowley gave his name and informed the professor that he was investigating a call reporting a burglary. What was Officer Crowley’s tone and manner when he approached the professor? We know Officer Crowley did not like the way the professor was talking to him, the professor was demanding identification from him, talking about his mother and complaining about being a black in America.

I am shocked that officer Crowley led sensitivity training—where was his sensitivity in this incident. He had “determined that Gates was lawfully in the house” but was “confused by the behavior he exhibited towards me”—Crowley’s words. And while Crowley has a right to feel the way he does, and why did the professors have to pay for his confusion? Maybe Crowley should have taken it up with the therapist that we pay for. Why should the professor be arrested because the officer was emotional? The professor was obviously not a burglar or a hostage because he produced identification and was moving about his home quite freely; at that point there was no evidence to support a burglary. Why did Officer Crowley enter Professor Gates home without permission? All he had on hand was an angry “older male” in his own home yelling about being a “black man in America” this is where officer Crowley’s sensitivity training should have come to fruition, instead he lost his cool and essentially wasted taxpayer money by arresting the professor. Maybe officer Crowley should have waited for fellow officers to arrive on the scene. Maybe a citation would have been more appropriate instead of an arrest, after all Professor Gates was standing on his front porch exercising his freedom of speech.

It is hard to distinguish good cops because when there is a bad one, the force forms a shield, protecting them with the blue wall. It is the wall of blue that is more dangerous than a bigoted cop. The thing that bothers me the most when I see these acts of intimidation by the police is how hard it is to root out the corrupted and the bigoted. I think about the fact that we pay their salaries; I am upset when I see an obnoxious officer. That’s why it matters who is on duty not only because we pay their salary but an officer like Crowley could show up at your door, an officer who leads sensitivity training but is still confused. You could get a cop like Mark Furman who admitted to having aggression towards minorities especially blacks, is suspected of planting evidence, now he is a television consultant and considered an expert on matters pertaining to law enforcement.

Could a black officer have the same success as Mark Furman? I don’t know, but I do know that a black officer is just as likely to act out one of these random acts of discrimination as their white counter part, because when it comes to the police the color that binds is blue. Even though some black officers experience discrimination by their co-workers, they tow the line when one of their fellow officers is accused of misconduct. I’m not sure if Crowley had a chip on his shoulder and because of the blue wall we won’t know, but we pay him to stay cool and exercise discretion and I don’t think he did.

Crowley was being a jerk, because even when other officers arrived on the scene he did not remove himself and hand off to one of them. He knew his presence was upsetting to the professor. Maybe an officer with a cooler head, tougher skin and adherence to protocol would have made a difference. Part of leadership is knowing when your presence is not helping a situation, but based on Mr. Crowley’s action I have the suspicion he already concluded he was going to arrest the professor so continued to agitate him. I have no doubt that Officer Crowley requires additional training. I do commend officer Crowley because the professor did not end up like Eleanor Bumpers or Sean Bell, so I guess there is an upside.

I was insulted by the behavior of the Boston Police after President Obama made his commentary; I think we got a glimpse of what the professor might have gone through. The message transmitted by the force seems to be; talk about the police and you are going to have all of law enforcement to contend with. I thought the press conference held by the union and police officials was a disgrace and I hope it was not paid for with taxpayer money. Their loyalty was to the uniform and not the public; I felt I was watching celebrity wannabees. Why can’t we critique the police are they above the law? Why is there absolution when it comes to the police force, aren’t they mere humans? In this case they behaved “stupidly” and because Obama said so they launched an attack against him. This is just an example of the intimidation felt by citizens daily from the police. The actions by Crowley and the police force after Obama‘s statement led me to question Crowley’s version of events. When Obama reached out to him by phone Crowley and the force wanted more, they weren’t satisfied with just a phone call and in a way bullied Obama into having beers right in front of our eyes. Now Obama has to take valuable time out of his day to stroke the ego of the police.

Yes this is our tax dollars at work, that’s why it matters who is on duty, and it matters who we give a badge and gun. There are too many incidents of brutality towards the general public from the police. Serving and protecting the public is a privilege and should only be awarded to the finest among us. The police force is no place for an egomaniac with sensitive skin. An out of control police officer is no different than the criminals they pursue; they are both a menace to the society.

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