Thursday, June 30, 2016

Disgrace Of My Birthplace: "Pocahontas"[sic] Taunt And Fake War Whooping In Bangor #MEpolitics

Photo credit: Christopher Cousins, Bangor Daily News
"George Neptune, a member of the Passamaquoddy Tribe and educator at the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor…

after a speech on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, at an Idle No More rally in Portland."
Maine is an interesting place for native wise women, men, and two-spirits to confront the blatant racism of the demagogue with the bad hair. The demagogue who apparently will be nominated by the Republican Party this summer made an appearance in Bangor yesterday to campaign with our odious governor, another crude and boorish man famous for spouting racist epithets, and insulting people of color in our state from practically his first day in office. (How did he ever get elected and even re-elected? Venture capital split the vote. Details here.)

It's an interesting place because the natives of Maine have not been driven off all of their ancestral territories; the Penobscot Nation continues to operate its own government and exercise its sovereign rights on the very doorstep of Bangor and along the Penobscot River, keeping its culture and language alive since prehistorical times. Penobscot, Passamoquoddy, Mi'kmaq and Maliseet nations make up the Wabanaki Confederacy which continues to educate the rest of us about proper relations to the Earth and other sentient beings. The Confederation helped make history by winning a land reacquisition and reparations lawsuit in 1980, after which some of their (heavily clear cut and polluted) territories in Maine were returned to them.

Further, Penobscot leader Maulian Smith has been in international news repeatedly as a spokesperson for the ongoing campaign to retire the racist high school mascot -- the Skowhegan "Indian" -- sole remaining mascot based on native people among our state's high school sports teams. 

Maulian commented yesterday on Facebook:
I will not be attending because I am a mother and my life is not my own, if I did not have kids I would be more willing to put myself at risk. When you have dark skin you are in danger at trump rallies, that is the America we live in right now.
So when a comedian led off yesterday's rally in Bangor with an indigenous-themed insult aimed at a senator from nearby Massachusetts (a state of which Maine was once a part), it resonated deeply. Because the senator claimed native ancestry based on family lore, right-wingers have dubbed her "Pocahontas" or in some cases "Fauxcahontas" ever since. Every rally needs a good opening joke and apparently this was considered such by the white people assembled as they responded with glee and a chorus of faux "Indian war whoops" when the comedian mentioned the senator by name.

When the demagogue with the bad hair took the podium he followed up by actually saying "Pocahontas" which further delighted the crowd.

The historical truth about a Powhatan woman nicknamed Pocahontas can easily be discovered, if one were inclined toward education. The Powhatan people were living in the area now known as Virginia when English settlers disrupted their way of life and kidnapped a woman whose actual name was Matoaka. Of course the P-word as used by racist demagogues references not the actual history but only the Disney movie which appropriated this unfortunate woman's nickname and promoted a lie told about her by the Englishman John Smith.

There's a video going around with some supporters of the presumed Republican nominee making claims such as: "It's not about race. You people just make it about race because you're trying to be politically correct." 

The p.c. meme is a talking point drummed into listeners of right-wing hate radio and it crops up constantly in online comments that are, um, racist.
Outside the June 30, 2016 rally in Bangor. Photo credit: Maine People's Alliance
But it is about racism. As a woman born in Bangor and a long time Maine resident, it chills my soul to witness the outpouring of racism which I knew was here all along but which people used to hide from public view. Now, they display it proudly.

It makes Maulian and her daughters and lots of other people in Maine much less safe, psychologically and physically. It makes me sick.

One last facebook post from the demagogue's last appearance in our state, in Portland. I heartily endorse this message!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Maine BDS Coalition Win As RE/MAX Announces End To Illegal Land Sales

BDS actions outside Maine have included disruptions at RE/MAX events, most recently at the annual shareholders meeting
at RE/MAX LLC headquarters in Denver in May.
Activists in Maine and around the globe were cautiously optimistic at news delivered by RE/MAX real estate CEO Dave Liniger this week. Liniger, a co-founder of the company, sent a letter stating that RE/MAX had “recently taken action to ensure that RE/MAX, LLC will no longer receive any income from the sale of Jewish settlement properties in the West Bank.”

Maine BDS Coalition member and former candidate for the U.S. Senate Bill Slavick responded, “It remains to be seen what ‘receives no income’ means and whether RE/MAX will continue real estate activities in the Occupied Territories.

RE/MAX agents and franchise holders in Maine have been the recipients of hundreds of letters and emails asking them to bring pressure on their head office to divest from the sale of property and homes stolen from Palestinian families living under Israeli occupation. RE/MAX franchises in Portland and Ellsworth have also seen actions outside their offices with activists displaying banners and “settlements” to call attention to the unethical business practice. Letters to the editor and op-eds published in several Maine newspapers have also been part of the campaign.

Other companies which have responded to international BDS pressure to divest from doing business in occupied territories include Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories, SodaStream, Veolia, and G4S.

Aside from these successes, a further indication of the perceived power of BDS is the backlash against it. New York Governor Mario Cuomo recently issued an executive order prohibiting state agencies from doing business with organizations engaged in BDS targeting Israel’s human rights violations. While probably unconstitutional, the order nevertheless indicates that the pressure of groups like the Presbyterian Church, which received Mr. Liniger’s letter, is having an effect. Likewise, the state of Israel has made BDS a criminal offense, and several nations, including the U.S., have attempted to pass legislation outlawing BDS.

Boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) is a nonviolent campaign initiated by Palestinian civil society to bring pressure on Israel to end the occupation of Palestinian territories left for a Palestinian state when hostilities ended in 1948 but were occupied by Israel during the 1967 Israeli war on Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt.

Under international law, Israel was obliged to reach a peace settlement and, in the interim take possession of no land or natural resources and assure the wellbeing of residents of the Occupied Territories.  

Instead, Israel has confiscated much of the land, 8o% of the water and engaged in myriad forms of repression and harassment of the population, from arbitrary killings and maimings to home demolitions, destruction of over a million olive trees, poisoning of farm animals, military checkpoints, indiscriminate searches, arbitrary imprisonments, torture of prisoners, and construction of walls and fences separating farmers from their land and West Bank residents from mosques, hospitals, and schools.

The BDS strategy is patterned after a tactic used successfully in the international effort to  end apartheid in South Africa.

Maine’s BDS Coalition will meet this summer to consider further actions for continued pressure on Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territories. Airbnb is another company doing business in both Maine and the Occupied Territories. As it profits from the renting of homes stolen from Palestinian families, Airbnb has been the recipient of attention from BDS activists and may become a focus for the Maine BDS Coalition if RE/MAX does, indeed, divest from selling real estate in the West Bank and East Jerusalem per Mr. Liniger's statement.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The (Exceptional) American Way Inspires Resistance All Over The Planet

Photo credit: Roger Leisner, Maine Paparazzi
Meet Jason Rawn, the youngest member of the Zumwalt 12, arrested for civil disobedience in the street outside General Dynamics' Bath Iron Works shipyard on June 18.

Jason recently returned to the U.S. from participating in protests of U.S. military presence in Okinawa that look like this:
Photo credit: Reuters via Irish Times, "Huge protests at U.S. bases after Japanese woman's murder" June 19, 2016
Much of Jason's recent trip to Asia was also spent in solidarity actions, including planned arrests to block ongoing construction in Gangjeong Village, Jeju Island, South Korea. The Bath action on June 18 was in solidarity with the resistance group whose soft coral reef was entombed in concrete by South Korea's Navy working under the direction of the Pentagon to port large warships such as the Zumwalt class destroyer. 

Photo credit: Jason Rawn
Here's Jason being arrested by South Korean police for civil disobedience outside the navy base on Jeju Island:

Photo credit: Jason Rawn

As you can see from these photos, Jason has the gear and the determination for civil disobedience to resist militarism in every season. Here we see a banner displayed by activists on Jeju with Jason's trademark slogan, Dive$t from the Pentagon:
Photo credit: Jason Rawn
I have followed Jason's posts from Jeju and Okinawa these past several months with interest. He often highlighted the creative components of resistance there including performances, songs and visual displays.
Photo credit: Jason Rawn
Singers lift spirits at naval base resistance on Jeju Island
Photo credit: Jason Rawn
Artists at work on Jeju Island
The role of artists in lifting the spirits and supporting the solidarity of resistance movements cannot be overstated. It, too, finds a parallel in Maine where those arrested on July 18 held a banner created by the Artists Rapid Response Team (AART!) of the Union of Maine Visual Artists:
Photo credit: Regis Tremblay from "One More Warship: Remarks at the Launching of a Stealth Destroyer" by Dud Hendrick in Common Dreams, June 20, 2016
Photo credit: Roger Leisner, Maine Paparazzi
Another of the Zumwalt 12, artist Russell Wray, created and displayed a sculpture entitled "Maka the Dolphin" and a banner as beautiful as it is clear about why to resist the militarization of our oceans. Many children who passed by the display in Bath on June 18 remarked with excitement about the lovingly rendered dolphin.
Photo credit: Regis Tremblay of Rosie Tyler Paul harmonizing with singer-songwriter Mike Hasty in Bath.
From "More Photos From 'Stealth' Destroyer Protests at BIW in Maine" by Bruce Gagnon in Organizing Notes, June 18, 2016
As is evident from the reflection in Jason's sunglasses at the beginning of this post, the photographers who document resistance actions are another integral part of the movement resisting militarization. I have credited many of them here but it would be difficult to note them all; no matter what the corporate press in the U.S. lead you to believe, there are many of us working to resist the Pentagon's encroachment on our natural resources, our financial resources, and on innocent people around the planet. 

One more photographer whose contributions I'll note is Jenny Gray, who provided some of the most compelling photos of the civil disobedience sit-down action to block Washington Street in Bath:

Photo credit: Jenny Gray

Photo credit: Jenny Gray. Note Russel Wray in the dolphin hat he created for the occasion.
Can you find Jason Rawn in this photo? He's right there amid his blessed community of those not afraid to speak out and act out for peace. This is his rightful place and he often looks the happiest there. Let's join him.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

“I’m Not Sure How The Destroyer Addresses Terrorism, Exactly”

Civil disobedience in progress at General Dynamics in Bath, Maine on July 18.

For the first time at the christening[sic] of a warship in Bath, Maine, civil disobedience was part of the protests. Barred from entering with other members of the public at the last "christening" of a destroyer, protesters yesterday decided to block the busy street directly in front of the gate where some of them were denied entrance last time around. 

During the arrest process a police officer told them, "You all are the conscience of the community."
The Zumwalt 12 after being arrested for blocking the road in front of General Dynamics' Bath Iron Works shipyard June 18.
Back row, L to R: Jason Rawn, John Morris, Bruce Gagnon, Joan Peck, Brown Lethem, Connie Jenkins, Dud Hendrick
Middle: George Kehoe-Ostensen Front: John Peck, Tarak Kauff, Cynthia Howard & Russell Wray

VFP member Peter Morgan had the quote of the day, telling the Portland Press Herald (PPH) about a warship that cost $4.1 billion to build: "I’m not sure how the destroyer addresses terrorism, exactly."

Possibly because the Bath Police Department put out a press release about the arrests, several corporate media outlets covered the protests. (Reporters have told protesters in the past that they are not "allowed" to re-enter the shipyard if they step outside to report on the scores of people calling for an end to building weapons of mass destruction at BIW.)

The PPH's coverage of the protests read:
Not everyone who traveled to BIW on Saturday was there to celebrate the christening of a new Navy destroyer. A group of about 30 protesters held a rally just outside the shipyard to draw attention to concerns such as the human and financial costs of wars, and the U.S. military’s contributions to pollution and global warming. 
Twelve protesters were arrested after they blocked Washington Street in front of the shipyard’s south gate, Bath police said. The protesters were from Maine Veterans for Peace and the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, police said. 
The dozen – all from Maine except for one man from Woodstock, New York – sat down in the road and refused to move, at which point they were arrested and charged with obstructing a public way. Police said the protesters were cooperative and were released on their personal recognizance after booking, with a court date of Aug. 2. 
Peter Morgan of Veterans for Peace said he thinks the money spent on building Zumwalt-class destroyers could be put to better use, such as by helping those in need and repairing the country’s aging infrastructure. 
“I’m not sure how the destroyer addresses terrorism, exactly,” he said.
An excellent question. If the U.S. taxpayer is gulled into buying a $4.1 billion destroyer even as the infrastructure of Bath's own roadways crumbles and fails, it is usually justified by the endless so-called "war on terror." But an enormous destroyer capable of evading radar off the coast of Russia or China is of little use against insurgents employing terror tactics in Iraq or Syria. 

What a destroyer is for: provoking big nations that threaten U.S. global dominance -- and thereby making General Dynamics' owners even more obscenely wealthy.

No news outlets connected the dots between warships built in Bath and the destruction of sea life and fishing grounds halfway around the planet to port the behemoths. But I was pleased to be asked to read out the solidarity statement sent by the resistance community of Gangjeong Village on Jeju Island in South Korea.

Many from the peace community spoke or sang at Saturday's rally. Jorgen Ostensen, 17, told the crowd he has been joining protests of weaponized warships at BIW since age 1. He said during the closing circle that if Muhammad Ali were alive and in Maine, he thought Ali would have come to Bath to protest. I think so, too.

Arraignment of the Zumwalt 12 will be in West Bath District Court on August 2 at 1:00 pm. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Violent Patriarchy On The March Toward Its Own Doom

With people in the U.S. reeling from the mass murder of openly gay men in Orlando this week, very few even noticed the creep of the latest "defense" spending bill through Congress. Instead they focused on the ethnicity and alleged beliefs of the latest in a string of military weapon-wielding men who enter public spaces and shoot everyone in sight. The argument that access to such weapons must be curtailed in order to achieve the low death by gun rates of other rich countries falls on deaf, NRA cash stuffed ears in Washington DC. Anyway, your "representatives" are busy funding their campaign contributors via the next gargantuan budget for weapons of mass destruction.

Does violence breed violence? Let's look at some of the amendments to the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to see what might be growing there.

Both the House and the Senate added amendments requiring women to register for the draft, but only the Senate's version passed thus far. In light of the fact that a woman in the military runs a one in three chance of being sexually assaulted by a man serving alongside her -- and a nearly 100% chance of having her case stonewalled by the senior command if she has the guts to report her rapist -- this is a giant leap forward for violence aimed at women.
Joint Chiefs of Staff from Pentagon at congressional hearing on military law.
On the other hand, if more troops in Okinawa were female, perhaps the local women would be safer

(If you know me at all you know that I oppose U.S. military bases in Japan or anywhere else on the planet. But I am following the logical outcomes of drafting women into the military.)
Codepink protesting the governor of NY's anti-BDS order in Albany this week.
Another NDAA amendment that reeks is the attempt to render the non-violent boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement illegal if it targets the human rights abuser Israel. BDS has been gaining traction internationally and Israel is feeling the pressure, as evidenced by New York state's governor issuing an executive order that creates a black list of companies and organizations engaging in BDS.

How does Israel control members of Congress or the governor of a vast state like New York? The same way defense contractors control those who allegedly represent us -- campaign contributions and other piles of cash, often funneled through shell entities like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Then there was the amendment to legalize discrimination against lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and trans-sexual (LGBT) persons by the federal government's contractors. This amendment was offered under the guise of "religious liberty" which makes about as much sense as claiming that Islam is a religion that promotes violence.

Systems of oppression and a jobs program that is almost entirely dependent on manufacturing weapons are what promote violence, extremists of any religious persuasion and their claims to purity via murder notwithstanding.

It is increasingly clear to the people around the planet that the U.S. brand of violent patriarchy contains within itself the seeds of its own destruction.

What to do as patriarchy descends into climate chaos and endless war whether led by violent men or violent women? Lift up your voice. Rattle your chains. If you're in Maine on June 18, join us at General Dynamics' Bath Iron Works shipyard for civil disobedience to protest the "christening" of a $4 billion Zumwalt destroyer warship. It's the epitome of what Rep. Barbara Lee called out when explaining why she will not support the NDAA: "We can no longer afford 'pet project' weapons systems that re unnecessary or the Pentagon's unchecked levels of waste, fraud and abuse."

Friday, June 10, 2016

Protest Drones In Germany, Protest Destroyers In Bath

Source: Protest in Pakistan by those targeted in drone strikes flown out of Ramstein.
Crowds numbering in the thousands are expected to protest the operation of flying killer robots from Ramstein Air Base in Germany tomorrow, June 11, 2016. Even Stars and Stripes, a military publication, is publicizing the protests while assuring its readers that the Antiterrorism (sic) force on the base will be ready to handle the peaceful protesters.

The last time they gathered, in September, 2015, protesters were responding to leaks by NSA whistleblower Ed Snowden indicating that officials who deny that Ramstein participates in drone strikes are lying.  It was a peaceful protest, unlike what goes on inside the base. In its coverage of the 2015 protest, RT characterized German sentiment thus:
Polls show that the majority of Germans have consistently disapproved of drone strikes, saying they are secretive, do not follow a legal process, and can prove ineffective if the wrong targets are eliminated. 

I'm not sure if any acts of civil disobedience are planned for tomorrow. There are often arrests at drone bases in the U.S., such as Hancock Air Base in NY and Creech Air Base in Nevada as activists attempt to block access to the base, or deliver messages to those in command.

Civil disobedience is planned for the protest June 18 at General Dynamics' Bath Iron Works shipyard in Maine. General Dynamics is launching another Zumwalt destroyer, a weapon that cost enough to send 40,000 kids through four years of college debt-free.

According to a press release from Bruce Gagnon, an organizer with Global Network Against Nuclear Power and Weapons in Space:
Maine peace activists have announced their intention to commit acts of non-violent Civil Disobedience at the planned June 18 ‘Christening’ of the $4 billion Zumwalt ‘stealth’ destroyer at Bath Iron Works (BIW).
The activists maintain that the Zumwalt is a provocative escalation of the already out-of-control arms race aimed at China and Russia. “It is time for us to stand up and call for the reversal of this endless and illegal war cycle that our country is engaged in,” the peace activists maintained in a statement released to the media. “It is the children that these weapons are ultimately aimed at as we see the growing refugee crisis from countries where the US has been waging war.  “We stand in solidarity with people around the world who are protesting at bases where the US will port these warships.  Not only would these destroyers kill innocent people but their sonar also severely impacts ocean life and the toxic materials released by these ships pollute the seas and the local environments where they are ported. “Christ would not approve of his name being used to ‘bless’ such violence and the massive waste of the public treasury, especially when so many are hungry, homeless and without jobs and medical care.”  
A University of Massachusetts-Amherst Economics Department study reveals that military spending is actually the worst way to create jobs.  At the very time we face the coming ravages of climate change our tax dollars should be spent on building commuter rail systems, offshore wind turbines, tidal power systems, and solar power – all of which would create more jobs at BIW. “We intend to stand at BIW on June 18 for those who can no longer stand or speak out, like Fr. Daniel Berrigan who left this world in May. Our elected officials don’t seem to hear the many calls for the conversion of the war machine to peaceful and sustainable purposes.  We feel we must risk arrest to wake up all those whose hearts are closed to the real message of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.”  
A legal demonstration will also be held on June 18 at BIW from 9:00 am to noon along Washington Street in Bath.  Speakers and music will be featured.

I will emcee the program outside the gates which will feature songs, artwork and messaging from Maine's vibrant peace community. 

Our program in Bath will likely be ignored by the corporate press covering the Zumwalt launch and the many politicians who will attend. General Dynamics has told reporters in the past that if they leave the shipyard to speak to demonstrators, they will not be allowed back in.

Zumwalts thus destroy the freedom of the press while menacing the world and gobbling up resources. Artist Russell Wray detailed the many things that Zumwalts destroy in an eloquent op-ed published by the Bath-Brunswick Times Record:

Zumwalt-class a Destroyer of Lives

I am writing regarding the christening of the Navy’s Zumwalt-class guided-missile destroyer that is going to take place on June 18 at Bath Iron Works. I do not believe many things that the Navy, or the Pentagon states. Those two entities are masters of deception in many ways. However, the designation of the ship as a “destroyer” is one instance where they speak the truth. Does it strike anyone else as being sadly ironic that a vessel that is designed for destruction, including the destruction of who knows how many human beings, would be blessed in the name of Jesus Christ, also known as the Prince of Peace? 
Human being are not all this destroyer will destroy. How many opportunities for the betterment of the lives of people are being destroyed as our government chooses to spend over $4 billion for this destroyer of lives? That money could do an amazing amount of good if it were funneled into things that actually improve people’s lives, such as education and health care. The government could even put that money into dealing, for once, in a realistic manner with a genuine threat to our national security...the very real threat of climate change, which even the Pentagon understands and acknowledges (not withstanding the fact that it does have the single largest carbon boot-print on the planet). 
How many lives, among those beings who live in the sea, will be destroyed by this destroyer? It is well known that the Navy’s use of sonar can wreck havoc on the lives of marine species, disrupting biologically important behaviors such as feeding, breeding, migration, and communication. It can raise stress levels, lowering animal’s ability to successfully reproduce, and making them more susceptible to disease. And sonar use can and does result in hearing loss and other injuries, as well as death. Not all sonar victims wind up mass-stranded upon some shore: those that do are likely just the tip of the destruction iceberg. 
And what of the lives of people living in places such as Gangjeong Village on Jeju Island in South Korea? Although the people there overwhelmingly opposed the building of a navy base on their shore, and have non-violently and heroically resisted its construction on a daily basis for going on 9 years, sustaining fines, imprisonment, and injuries at the hands of police, the base is now complete and soon will port US Navy warships. Perhaps this very same destroyer. Those people, who even today continue to resist, have had their village, their sacred places, and their once-beautiful environment destroyed by this base. 
Yes, this Zumwalt is a Destroyer … of lives, opportunities, and peace. I do not believe the Prince of Peace would ever bless such a thing. 
Russell Wray, Hancock, Maine

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Has The N-Word Now Become A Generic Insult In The USA?

My husband wearing his Maine Natural Guard t-shirt protesting the war last tax day in Portland.
It was Sunday and, once again, we went to the bridge. We went to protest the endless wars that scores of people used to join us in protesting, before they decided to look away. We went because the "cruise missile liberals" won't go, and because we don't care who is in the White House deciding to kill brown skinned children with oil under their sands. We went because that's what we do to keep our heads from exploding.
My husband holding the banner we tie to the bridge railing on Sundays.
This Sunday, there were only three of us. My husband attached the large banner that says Bring Our War $$ Home to the bridge railing, and held a sign I had hastily made the night we met 13 years ago. On that night my sign read NO WAR but in later years I appended the phrase FOR OIL. 

This Sunday, juggling our granddaughter and a stroller, I wasn't holding a sign. Heading back to the car for something or other, I heard yelling and turned around.

A man around age 30 was hanging out of the driver's side window of a passing car shouting at my husband: "Why don't you do yourself a favor and jump off the fucking bridge, you fucking nigger!"

There were other passengers in his car, including a child in the seat behind him, small enough so that the top of her head was just visible through the window.

I imagine that the shouter perceived my husband as being alone on the bridge. I was down at the far end of the pavement and could have been a random passerby. I imagine that I will continue to puzzle over this latest in a long string of insults and threats we've heard on the bridge over the years. My first thought was this:

Has the N-word become a generic insult since the demagogue with the bad hair rose to media-annointed prominence?

A family member suggested another explanation: that the shouter meant to say "nigger lover" -- that is, Obama supporter -- but flubbed his line. This is plausible, I think. For years people have shouted things at us such as "You voted for Obama!" as they drive by on the bridge. This is ironic since my husband has been the target of invective for years from liberals who insist (in error) that his vote for Nader caused the Bush victory in 2000 which in turn led to 9/11 and a cascade of invasions that roll murderously onward.

And I will leave you to ponder why calling someone a "lover" of any race would be considered disparaging.

Also, our friend wasn't there last Sunday with his usual sign: Nobama Depleted Uranium Equals War Crime. A message which I am sure perplexes many who drive by it. Because if we're lefties we must be for Obama --- right?

But I'm not ready to give up the generic insult theory, either. My husband isn't quite as pale as I am, but he's a blue eyed guy with two English grandparents and two Slovak grandparents. People are unlikely to see him as other than white.

Black families walking down the street with ice cream cones get the N-word shouted at them in Maine's largest city. Their young children have to hear and process the ugliness. They live and sometimes die in fear of the shouters and haters. Nothing new, yet heart breaking just the same.

Will it be better or worse for them if the N-word now gets yelled at anyone deemed undesirable?

Arabs, Afghans and other non-Africans have been called "sand niggers" by U.S. soldiers and marines for years now. It's part of the dehumanizing process in place to keep a soldier's finger on the trigger and his or her conscience in cold storage.

My husband and I will keep going to the bridge. We'll vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein for President. Our friends may or may not vote that way due to the fear factor that the race-baiting demagogue with the bad hair could win, but they will keep protesting the wars for empire that are killing us and the planet -- whoever is at the helm. Our grandson who is almost twelve won't stand on the bridge with us anymore, because he is embarrassed when people yell at us or flip us off.

We'll go the bridge anyway, and people can yell what they want. I'm listening.