I Don’t Know About You…

Pray for Orlando

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I don’t know about you, but whenever a horrific tragedy, like what took place this weekend in Orlando…my city, takes place it’s hard for me to collect my thoughts. If my thoughts could be seen they’d look like this…

ANGER

SADNESS

PRAYER

WHY GOD

back to ANGER

a little more SADNESS

And when I sit down to speak about it or write about it, I feel fractured between wanting to find assurance that the world is a way more beautiful place than it feels and not really believing that it is. Fractured between wanting to cry and wanting to scream. Fractured between thanking God for my life and asking Him why things like this happen at all. Fractured between knowing that my everyday life is waiting and wanting to become some sort of vigilante assassin the likes of Elektra or Black Widow.

Lord knows I’m not alone. Take a look at social media right now and see that people are fractured. Spirits are torn apart. And yes, it’s beautiful to see my city come together and rally around the victims and their families. It’s amazing to see the blood banks so full of donors that they had to turn people away. That is an encouraging sight that we cannot forget!! But we also cannot ignore the bigger community of humans that continues to be divided when horrible things happen. Half the country says “get rid of guns,” the other half clings tightly to their weapons. And who is right?

Can we all agree that humans aren’t the only common element in these tragedies. Can we start to talk about other countries that don’t have the staggering statistics of gun violence that plague the whole of America? Can we start holding the human(s) responsible…responsible, not the community that human is a part of, not the religion that human is a part of, not the sexual preference that human identifies with?

I am not the white, American that killed Christina Grimmie on Friday.

And neither are you the statistic that groups you to a killer. If you take up semi-automatic weapons or any other kind of weapon and shoot up a bar of happy people celebrating life…then you are that KILLER. It’s that simple. It should be.

But it isn’t. Why the hell isn’t it!!!??

There’s the bigger issue at work here. The issue of people vs people. Forget the fact that an Islamic extremist shot up an LGBT club. Forget the fact that a white man with 2 guns killed a singer the very night before. Forget the fact that a South Korean shot up a college campus or that a privileged, white, Stanford student raped a girl and is getting off with light sentencing. Forget all that for a moment. Only for a moment because we have a human problem.

Until humans value the lives of other humans above their race, religion, sexual preference, gender orientation, occupation or anything else that divides us as simple human beings, then the blood shed will not stop. 

I read someone who was arguing that if we make gun laws stricter, then we have to take away people’s cars because car accidents cause more deaths than shootings. I think they’ve missed the point. It’s easy to miss the point if you’re looking for reasons to miss the point! The operative word here is accident. Car accidents are horrible and tragic and sad and i wish they never happened to anyone, ever. The difference is that shootings like what happened at Pulse on Saturday night are no accident. No one “accidentally” purchases an AR-15 and then “accidentally” calls the police to “accidentally” align themselves with a terrorist organization and then “accidentally” shoots 50 people dead and wounds 50+ more. Nope…not an accident!

The people who are spreading hatred towards Muslims for being killers and towards the LGBT community for deserving death for “sinful lifestyles” and towards white men for being rapists and black men for being thugs are hardly better than the killers themselves. The lack of respect for human life doesn’t begin when a gun is purchased. It doesn’t begin when the trigger is pulled. The lack of respect for human life begins long before that. It’s in the words we say to one other. It’s in the way we handle conflict. It’s in the way we choose to believe the best instead of assuming the worst. And it’s in the way we respond in the aftermath.

How will you respond?

I implore you…do more. Even if it’s as simple as trying to change your own damn mind about something. Even if it’s simply seeing another person’s point of view, stepping in their shoes, trying to understand instead of sticking your feet in the mud and holding your ground come hell or high water.

“The time is always right to do what is right!” You know who said that? Martin Luther King, Jr. You know how he died? From a gun shot. Do you think that would have changed the message of his life of non-violence? Would he have bought a gun if he knew he’d die from one?

I would never suggest you lose your right to bear arms. It is Constitutional. I’m simply saying there’s something missing in the Constitution. The right to live. Is that not more important? Is that not something we can agree upon? I’m scared that the answer is no. And that is not encouraging at all.

I don’t want to end on a note of sadness. I like to keep it upbeat. But I don’t think I have it in me to turn this one around. So I’ll simply end by saying that I love you.

What color are you? I DON’T CARE.

What do you believe? I DON’T CARE!

Where do you come from? I DON’T CARE!!

Who do you love? I DON’T CARE!!!

I believe in you. I think your life is worth living. I just love you!

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Jr Day quote

When I opened Google this morning I saw that today’s logo was dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr., as well it should be! When I clicked on the logo, I was taken to Google’s search page where all manner of MLK Jr. information lies. The first thing that comes up is NationalService.gov, a site that encourages people to make MLK Jr. Day a day on instead of a day off and where you can find opportunities to serve in your community. The next thing that comes up is Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Wikipedia page with the history of his life and legacy. And third, from the “in the news” section, a list of stores that are open and closed today…. In fact when you click Google’s “News” tab it takes you to even more listings of stores that are open and closed today.

What is disheartening is that today has become merely another bank holiday. Another blessed day off work to run errands or go to Disney or what have you. And I even understand that work and the daily grind can be hard. Days off are precious.

Martin Luther King Jr Day

I was talking to someone the other day who had never gone back and watched MLK Jr’s ” I Have a Dream” speech. It’s available on You Tube, right there for all of our eyes to see. And King didn’t just give that speech, he gave a great many more that are poignant and important and inspiring. His “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech is wonderful! Now, I didn’t scold my friend for having never seen it, I merely suggested that maybe this was a good year to go back and watch it.

I get it. That was then and this is now. That’s history. This is where our focus should be. The past is the past and we should leave it there. What I want to point out, is that perhaps the things that King was preaching and speeching and dreaming about are not just issues that are behind us. Look at our political climate. Look at the relationship between the races in America. It ain’t good, guys!! I think that if Martin Luther King, Jr. were to come back to life today, expecting to see his dreams realized, he’d be disappointed. It’s the year 2016 and we are lightyears behind where we should be!

I don’t know how to fix it all. If I did, I’d run for office! But I know when things feel wrong. I know when it feels like there is more that we as a country should be doing. More that I as an individual who believes in freedom, should be doing! And I wish I’d discovered NationalService.gov in time to be able to volunteer for some of the projects going on in my area. Next year I’ll know that there are other people who believe that today should be a day on, not just another day off!

Martin Luther King Jr. Quote

Today, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, please go back and watch the speeches that were made and maybe pick up a few books about King’s life. If you have the change to volunteer somewhere, this is a great day to do so. Yes, our past is behind us. That’s how time works. But being able to remember and learn from our past, that’s a gift that we greatly underuse.

I HAVE A DREAM

I’VE BEEN TO THE MOUNTAINTOP

And so many more…

Martin Luther King, Jr. Speeches

Martin Luther King Jr Day Let freedom ring

Here’s a poem I wrote about King a few years ago.

When a Man Marches

All week I have been thinking about the impact of Martin Luther King Jr. on the very fabric of our existence in today’s world. Monday saw the birthday of this honorable man and I couldn’t help but wonder what our lives and even more, our world, would look like without his work.

And in that thinking I wrote this down…

When a Man Marches

by Liz Tailor

When a cause becomes too lofty to stay seated on the ground

When the innocent are battered and are smacked across the brow

When the freedom’s everyone deserves are taken from the “free”

Do you stand aside in blindness just refusing what you see?

That’s when a man marches.

Are you scared to speak and scared to yell and scared to raise your hand?

Is the world too rough to carry on, so rough that you can’t stand?

Do you feel betrayed by people who have vowed to raise you up?

Are you praying for a clean way out, are you crying, ‘That’s Enough!”

That’s when a man marches!

It was hot that day in August when the tide began to turn.

With laces tied the people walked knowing how the hatred churned.

Men and women less than they might stop and turn around.

Men and women greater than they had lied upon the ground.

But those who marched knew well the pain a country can inflict.

Yet still they marched upon the soil, though danger near the mortal coil.

A dream was dreamed and given voice and all who heard it had one choice.

To stand and fight or back away, though who would choose the latter?

I ask you now what you would do if given such a matter…

Because THAT’S WHEN A MAN MARCHED!!

The Butler

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It is impossible to watch Lee Daniels’ The Butler and not shed a tear. It is impossible to walk out of the theater and not be changed.
The Butler is a drama, an action film, a love story between a father and son. It made me cry (about every 15 minutes) and it made me think. In fact, it’s ability to make you think is perhaps the most important and enduring reason to go see this film.
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I have to confess something. I am guilty of ignorance. I look at our time and think that these issues must be long past because it is 2013 and i think ‘how can bigotry and racism survive our modern age?’ I am guilty of indifference in an age when these events seem to be taking place all over again because I’m too busy or too concerned with my own life. I’m guilty of knowing that our country is currently facing hard truths depicted in this very film. Truths that, for too long, have been ignored or swept under the carpet. Or worse believed to be corrected.

Do you realize we are a mere 50 years out from these events in our country’s history? And only a 150 years out from slavery itself. That is baffling!

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Screenwriter, Danny Strong (nerds-you will best know him as Jonathan from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) has crafted a tale of truths. An honest portrayal of our history that desperately needs to be told and remembered.

Forrest Whitaker, Oprah, Cuba Gooding Jr, Lenny Kravitz, Robin Williams, James Marsden, Alan Rickman, John Cusack, Liev Schreiber and so many more turned out powerful performances.

In an industry obsessed with beauty and the bottom dollar, this film is beautiful for a different reason. The beauty comes out of the ugliness of our country’s history. The reality of events that happened, not so long ago.
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I walked out of the theater moved and confused. I felt a strange dicotomy of both shame and pride in this country.

Today is the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. And this is the movie we need to be watching!! Especially now. Especially today.

Go see it.