When Pain Makes You A Monster

Have you ever found yourself in so much emotional pain that you stepped outside of your character; that you became a person you didn’t recognize? Ever had that feeling for a few fleeting moments that your entire world was falling apart? And the intensity of anger caused by deception, betrayal and or rejection was so strong, that you found yourself in your most primitive state of mind; as if you were a barbarian who doesn’t understand reason or language, only the most tender and unabashed reactionary flailing towards both survival and hopelessness simultaneously?

Have you had that inward confrontation after writing something in a state of desperateness angst, having to decide whether to hit ‘send’, (email or social media) whether to dial a phone number, whether to drive to the certain place, approach the door, knock on that door, knowing that there are no scenarios in which this will result in something positive, let alone beautiful. Logically you are fully aware.  But in the moment you DON”T CARE!

Have you ever been there?

I have.

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As a matter of fact, more of us have been there than care to admit. It’s not uncommon at all.  I’ll get to that later. What I want to address is what to do about it in the aftermath of such a traumatic experience. Unaddressed, the affects of this trauma can linger and hide dormant. You may think it’s not there. But in reality it’s ready to be unleashed in a moment’s notice. After the meltdown in addition to the residual anger, you may feel guilty or foolish over the way you behaved. You may sense some feelings of hopelessness. This is because in that state of rage, consequences are not seriously considered.

“What if I do something to cause me to go to jail? What if I hurt someone or I am the one seriously injured or worse?  I don’t care.  The only thing that matters is that I deal with this thing that is killing my soul!  Whatever the consequences are, I will live with them!”

This is what hopelessness does.

Whether you quenched the thirst of the blood you wanted in the heat of your desire, or you walked away before the most damage could be done, here are some suggestions to deal with the aftermath of this emotional and psychological trauma.

1. Acknowledge And Own It: Something happened and whether it’s ultimately justifiable or not, you went to a dangerously dark place. You are wounded and the residue of the damage probably isn’t going away quickly.

2. Be Good To Yourself: There is nothing wrong with you. The only differences between temporary or permanent insanity for any persons are brain chemistry balance and/or a special set of circumstances. It’s a blessing to have any sanity at all on a regular day. No matter how calm and logical we are as people, sweet and beautifully innocent, (HA!) the fact of the matter is, if we are pushed far enough into a corner and all other key ingredients are present, we can change in an instant to become our worse selves. The most dangerous mental state to be in is when we feel we have nothing to lose. When that happens, life altering worst case scenarios are but a moment away.

3. Be Thankful: If you aren’t in jail, and haven’t hurt anyone then you survived having to deal with the legal ramifications of the situation.  You can start the process of healing and start to recognize and understand your own potential towards internal fragility.

4. Compartmentalize Your Steps: People say, “One day at a time.  Soon after the trauma, the sting can linger causing the day to seem eternal.  You may have to take things in groups of 10-15 minutes. If that is the case, then accept it.

5. Allow yourself to properly grieve: You can’t push the grief aside. Trying to mask or cover the pain is like trying to push a rubber ball under a pool of water. You can hold it there but for so long. Eventually it’s going to rise back up. For each time it comes back it’s going to eat at you a little more as anger and resentment increase. It increases because we want the person to acknowledge or pay for their sins against us. Each time that ball rises, it breaks the surface of your heartstrings reopening the wounds afresh. Allow yourself the grace of experiencing the grief process without allowing it to overtake you. When you sense it coming over you, tell yourself you will allow for a few minutes or hours to experience grief, then at the appointed time, direct you energies to something else until it’s time to grieve again.

6. Get Help: Doesn’t matter if you talk to a trusted friend, or seek the help of a professional therapist. You need an outlet and someone to give you a loving and affirming word. When you are by yourself, you may get into some meditations practices to began to train your mind on radical acceptance, self peace, self love and forgiveness. You may have to forgive someone, yourself or both. There are some wonderful meditations on YouTube for differing challenges. Check them out. Try some of these ideas, all or more if necessary.

7. Decide What The End Game Is: Where do you want to end up when it’s all said and done. What does the best case scenario look like? What will healing look like? What will it take? How are we going to get closure? Are the questions of why important? Do you seek answers from the party who hurt you?  Truth is, unfortunately we may or may not get the answers we seek from the other person.  Still we must manage to survive.

8. Exercise Humility, Grace, and Forgiveness: We are all human. No matter how great of a path we have walked, we have all hurt people, disappointed loved ones, and behaved in ways that are at best regrettable.  Seek to forgive the person who hurt you. Forgiveness is not excusing or even justifying the behavior that hurt.  It’s simply recognizing that the other person is a person. He/she is not perfect nor in reality worse than we are. For we too have in times past been the torturer. What determines the people we are or who we turn out to be?  Do we have a conscious or are we sociopaths? Do we care about causing damage to others or are we out for destruction? Are we redeemable and should we get a second or a 99th chance at life and happiness? If we can see the person who hurt us as simply human, we free ourselves from self-righteousness. We can legitimately have done some things or most everything right, and still be wronged! We are legitimate people even when we are hurt.  We have a right to ask for and even demand answers, regardless of whether we get those answers or not.  But that does not allow us the privilege to become self-righteous using our pain as a pedestal to stand on. We should seek to gain the search for peace and contentment for our own sake.  And if anything, perhaps our experience will push us even harder to be the quality people we seek when seeking to share our lives with another. Beloved, oh how I wish you grace, peace and eventually joy as you walk through this journey.  May you be healed.  And may you find the love you truly desire.

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Megyn Kelly, Not Buying This Act

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Minding my own business but ole Megyn Kelly just keeps on coming with her book tour.  Great!  It’s America after all.  But I just can’t buy her shtick!

Don’t get me wrong… I’ve learned to challenge myself by reading what I may not agree with.  I was very reticent to read JD Vance’s, “Hillbilly Elegy, A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis.”  Initially I had no desire to read about the hillbillies who live in the small towns of Northern Kentucky and Southern Ohio.  I didn’t care about the way they think nor the reasons they think them.  After hearing how well the book was written and seeing JD on television talking about it, I sucked it up and took it on.  I was very happy that I did.  JD’s piece is brilliant and I hope to interview him one day.   The same can’t be said for the Fox News host.

You see though I would would never bother watching her show, being the nuanced brother that I am, I was Team Megyn when she stepped to The Donald during the debates hosted by Fox News.  I thought her question about his statements regarding women were heartfelt and sincere.  When Trump clapped back at her on Twitter, his tool of choice for midnight saber rattlings and insecure bullying tactics, I had her back as well.  I didn’t expect that as a reporter she would get into a war of words with him.  But I did expect her to stand her ground on her principles, ethics and integrity.

Instead she waffled.  One one hand she wanted to have the empathy of her audience, the image of being a strong female journalist, and yet still access with a willingness to interview Trump again without an apology; thus helping the Trump brand in his bid to seek election.  Kelly wants that 20 million from Fox and I don’t blame her for that. If she wants to be the female Bill O’Reilly more power to her!  She’s not a good interviewer either.  But neither is O’Reilly.  My point is don’t play the fences.  Fox News is nothing more than entertainment mean to generate ratings and revenue.  So are all the other cable news and mainstream news stations. Journalism as I knew it growing up is dead!  It’s pure show business. I’m empathetic to the path women (even white women) have to walk to prosper in her field.  But she can’t be Sara Palin and still expect Erin Brockovich respect.  This is why I’m not interested in reading her book.  If it’s anything like her life in this business, it’s shallow and inauthentic.

The Blessing in The Bulls#@!

This is a Facebook thread in which I was engaged in yesterday.  It’s long… but the ending is where the gem is!

It starts with the photo below posted from a previous friend of mine.  This was my attempt to work through it.

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Christopher McCaleb #disappointed 😦

Like · Reply · 1 hr

 

Cari Atkinson Sorry…I will not leave myself in any situation that I could get injured.

Like · Reply · 55 mins

Christopher McCaleb But you would drive the truck or advocate to injure or murder those who are using their constitutional right to assemble and protest?

Like · Reply · 53 mins

Cari Atkinson Christopher McCaleb Not advocating anything, but not ok with the protests that are blocking any persons right-of-way. Protests could be made without making people late to work, blocking medical needs, etc. Again, I will not leave myself in a possible situation to where I could be in danger.

Like · Reply · 49 mins

Christopher McCaleb One may or may not agree with the WAY a protest is done. The thing about them…is that by nature they tend to be uncomfortable. That’s kind of the point. That being said, regardless the image of the truck is saying… = those who protest run the over! It’s very explicit and prolific. The person posting, liking the photo are saying, “run them over!” That is the solution… to a specific group of people. This could be me, my sons, daughters, friends, (white and black) I’ve supported your fight to live at all cost. This is what supporters of protest are doing as well…fighting for the right to live and be protected. Making statement or posting images that they should be run over, that they don’t have jobs, is horrifically insensitive at best, hateful at worst. I’m speaking to you not as a critic, but a friend. I hope you will reconsider this position and take into consideration what I am saying… if you consider me a friend as well. Which I believe you do!

Like · Reply · 42 mins

Cari Atkinson I did not state any of the protesters didn’t have jobs! I stated I will not be late for my employment, late for a medical procedure or emergency because of the right-of-way being blocked. Protests can be done without shutting down highways! I again will not leave myself or my family in danger. I do consider you my friend, we just have different views on closing down highways or businesses!

Like · Reply · 29 mins

Cari Atkinson My fight against cancer and my life has not stopped anyone from anything!

Like · Reply · 27 mins

Christopher McCaleb I agree… but everyone I know is pretty united on standing with our friends who are fighting cancer. And if cancer treatment and research were to be halted, not fully endorsed by society and people died, you may find it worth interrupting the normalcy of life. Well, you would let’s just affirm that. I definitely don’t recall large numbers of anyone missing medical service because of a protest.

Like · Reply · 23 mins · Edited

Christopher McCaleb Jobless post you posted today…

 

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Like · Reply · 23 mins

Cari Atkinson Let it go Christopher McCaleb…we have total different mind sets and will never agree. I would never block a highway or close down a business because of cancer!

Like · Reply · 20 mins

Christopher McCaleb Even if you wouldn’t Cari Atkinson, saying that protesters don’t have jobs, (which is a harsh, unfair and UNTRUE statement, and you DID post it though you denied it initially) and posting a truck photo that says it’s going to run protesters over… (does not mention emergency vehicles…it mentions being late for work) is therefore very offensive, is not misleading. These two photos paint a very insensitive and hateful narrative. Would you disagree in this light?

Like · Reply · 12 mins

Cari Atkinson I am ending this conversation…I posted what I posted because I will not be blocked from work or medical needs, etc and in potential danger due to protests. Everyone needs to get back to work and trust that things will work out the way it should. These protests are not peaceful and are causing more damage then good as far as I am concerned. I am one of the nicest people you will ever met and have never done harm to anyone! If you cannot accept this then please feel free to delete me…sorry!

Like · Reply · 6 mins

Christopher McCaleb End it if you must. What you cannot do is veil your so called niceness while dismissing the hatefulness withing the dismissal of a people who cannot wait and trust that things will work out the way it should. No change in the history of the world every happened that way. FOR ANYONE including women. Your words and photos speak for your character in this case. Meanwhile, if that bothers you, then you are free to do the deleting.

Like · Reply · 2 mins

Christopher McCaleb In a nutshell this is what those post say to me: All you black folk screaming Black Lives Matter need to go somewhere and get a job. Stop protesting. People like Philando Castille and Alton Sterling and every other one deserved what they got. If I had this truck and you were in my way while I’m going somewhere, I would love to use it to batter my way through you all inconveniencing my life!

Nicole Richardson Protesting is fine when it is not keeping others from getting to where they’re going. It is not OK to block roads, why do protesters feel that what they are doing comes before others and where others are going? Smh…this is not peaceful protesting goi…See More

Like · Reply · 2 · 3 hrs · Edited

Tompall Gibson If law biding citizens were protesting, there would not be a need for such a truck. With that being said, over the last couple of years we have all witnessed these protests being more about criminal actions rather than a well-educated debate on fairness & equality.

Like · Reply · 2 · 2 hrs

Cari Atkinson Well stated…thank you!

Like · Reply · 1 · 2 hrs

Christopher McCaleb Let’s examine this a bit before I go about my merry way. #1) There is NO data that says that the protest do more harm than good. That seems to be theme with you guys but its unsupported. The same goes for the protest not being peaceful. Again looking at DATA, not hyperbole and bullshit – of the hundreds of thousands of protestors nationwide, the number of incidents and individuals who protested in anyway but peaceful is miniscule. That’s just a fact!
#2) What you are really saying… by not acknowledging these law abiding citizens as relative and relevant is that you look at them and their mere presence as an affront to your own comfort zone.
3) Imagine if someone had said, “If police didn’t kill unarmed innocent black boys and men, there would be no need for a sniper to kill 5 police officers? YET you are totally comfortable with speaking of the need for the truck. This is because you don’t value the lives of black people who are fighting for survival.
4) And this is the best point of all. Today in my class where I teach Critical Thinking Debate Skills, I taught my young students, (only ONE who happens to be black) the concept of sacred cows. After explaining the origins and definitions, I used examples of people worshipping their sacred cows using examples of police and BLM. Then I showed them the photos of the truck, and the frog, and read each of our written statements to the class. I didn’t make any judgements but I did ask them to make sure to let me know if I was in anyway sassy, threatening or unreasonable. I did NOT ask them to comment on anything any of you said.

As it turned out, each student found the truck photo horrifyingly hateful. They were disgusted. I never commented one way or the other. Upon reading your reasoning and responses, to a person they commented that your comments were condescending at best, racist at worst. They were surprised that I reacted with reason in stayed the course in an attempt to gain at least a small bit of consensus…something we could all agree on.

Afterwards, and after they shared their own thoughts without my comments, I told them the story of how I met Cari, how we helped raised over $100,000 for Backstoppers. I told them how we remained friends and how I supported her along with many others during her fight against cancer. Then I explained that when it comes to MOST of the white friends I met during this event and others, they were good with me as long as I was with them and supported their causes. But when it came to my life or the lives of those who look like me, they were not willing to stand with me at all. Not only that, but when I tried to have intelligent and heartfelt conversations with them, they would prove like Cari, dismissive, combative and put off. My students recognized that the cops for you guys are sacred cows. That you disdain anything that comes between your concepts of challenging your comfort level of white superiority. THESE WERE WHITE KIDS! I explained that whenever I am having racial conversations with these particular set of white friends, they never give an inch about anything. For instance, though I have protested before, I wouldn’t block a street or a highway. But I can empathize with those who would. I’m willing to concede that this may not be the best way to get a point across. But Cari nor any of you are willing to back off this image and message of a truck running over American citizens as if this were Tiananmen Square. Not even one…  ”Well Chris, I can see what you mean by the image being threatening and offensive.  NOPE… can’t give an inch. NOT ONE BIT.  So next time people say WE should come together, remember it takes two people. Its easy to see from the thread, that my friend Cari does not value my life nor is she concerned about police violence as it relates to people like me. She’s refuses to VALIDATE me or my experiences or engage in a serious discussion. My students should do better. Kill their sacred cows and argue from a position geared towards respect and solutions.

One white student in particular came to me and said, Mr. McCaleb this was really great. My parents are like those people in the post. They are really sacred towards the police. Won’t give an inch in any discussion. I used to be that way too. I’m white, middle class, private school. This issue really bothers me.  And this entire environment scares me!   But I was so afraid to talk about it. This class was a safe place to do so. I feel so much better.

For that I say, THANK YOU to you all for giving me content to teach our youth. I have hope for them. And while you may dismiss me, I am out here making a difference and changing lives for the better…for all people INCLUDING my own.

Like · Reply · Just now

 

…..AND WITH THAT SHE DELETED ME!  And she took down the post… not because she thought better of it, but because her racism was exposed and undeniable!

 

My Evening With the G.O.A.T.

BB&Gcmac's Weblog

****Re-post in honor of The G.O.A.T / Original January 17 2012****

Upon hearing that today is the 70th Birthday for the (Greatest of All Time) Muhammad Ali, it reminded me of the evening that I was honored to spend with The Champ.  The year was 2005 and the occasion was “The Butterfly Ball” in Atlanta, Georgia.  The event was a fundraiser for The Ali Center, a museum dedicated to the career and humanitarian efforts of Ali that was being constructed in Louisville, KY.

Before I go further you have to understand what Muhammad Ali meant to me growing up in the 70s.  As a child there were two celebrities that I looked up to.  Muhammad Ali and then Sugar Ray Leonard.  At the time I was too young to understand Ali’s political and heroic defiant stand against participating in the Vietnam War, and I wasn’t necessarily a boxing aficionado. …

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In Defense of Empire, Black Images and Nuance

Isn’t Empire returning tonight? Posted this about a year ago. Getting ahead of the hate.

BB&Gcmac's Weblog

Image matters!  I agree!  Race matters!  Absolutely! African-Americans don’t have much power in Hollywood. Check.

The images of black folk in television and film has been both marginalized and groundbreaking.  From Bert Williams, Bill Robinson, George Walker, Hattie McDaniel,  Paul Robeson, Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier, to Ron O’Neal, Billy Dee Williams, James Earl Jones, Diahanne Carroll, Richard Roundtree, Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington, our images have fit most every possible dynamic.  I am conscious of the image game.  I care about how black folk are portrayed.  If you can’t read any of the dozens of books available on the subject, Spike Lee’s somewhat satirical film, “Bamboozled,” covers the darker history and current struggles in how black images are portrayed.  It’s important to know this history. It is with this in mind that I approach the subject of critics like Dr. Boyce Watkins.  He’s been going in hard via social media…

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Race, Responsibility & Basketball Moms on That Spice (Explicit Language)

Those that know me, and those that read me are not surprised to know I am not afraid to confront so called controversial issues.  This includes the most sensitive topics concerning politics, race and religion.  Those who are closest to me know that I am just as active, aware and nuanced in my living.

When I first started officiating I had long dreadlocks.  And as a new official, many of the places I reffed were far away from home.  It wouldn’t be unusual for me to travel 40-60 miles away from home for 1 or 2 Jr. high school games. Some games would be in small towns in Southern Illinois or Southeast Missouri.  In many cases, I was the only person of color I would see until I was close to home again.  Most of those experiences were positive.  There were plenty of times I got funny looks.  Curious looks perhaps.  But I always focused on two things.  #1) Doing my job.  #2) Being myself.  Part of my personality is to have fun with young people.  Anytime there is an opportunity for a little laugh, or even a moment to insert some humor, I would do it.  It put kids at ease, some who may have not ever had any interactions with a black male.  It also made many of the parents, family and fans comfortable too.  Often many would walk up to me on the way out and say something like, “Hey ref, I really like how you teach the kids.”  Or, “It’s so cool how you interact with them.  Thank you.”   Those words always encouraged me.  This is because I always felt that when it comes to meeting new people, or people who have different backgrounds and experiences, there is an opportunity to connect.  As a black man, I always believed it is my duty to be a part of the solution when it comes to race.  I know that if I am the one in a few people of color some white people come across, they could never say they didn’t witness a black man of grace and class… and dreadlocks.

Those that know me know that  I tend to practice what I preach. I don’t embrace sacred cows.  I can praise and support a person 100% in one area, and criticize a behavior of the same person in the next breath.  Mostly we are not the sum of one act or two mistakes.  There are many opportunities for nuance.  We all need to make improvements.  And then there are times when right is right and wrong is wrong.

Saturday, while officiating some youth basketball, a group of women walked into the gym and assembled along some bleachers underneath one of the baskets.  (They happened to be black) Soon it became obvious which 6th grade child on which team belonged to them. One woman in particular really got into ‘coaching,’ shouting instructions for all to hear.  My partner, who was white, (a man I had never met before) called a foul on her preferred team.  She shouted to the penalized player that he did nothing wrong and that the official made a bad call.  We ignored her.

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – Spice is originally sold as an incense, but has now swept the military community with controversy as a ‘legal’ designer drug. However, Marine Corps Order 5355.1, issued Jan. 27, directly prohibits the use, distribution, sale and possession of it and others like it. (Courtesy photo)

At halftime he and I discussed the sideline ‘coach,’ and he told the tournament supervisor and myself that on the previous night, the same woman called him a ‘cracker ref.’  We both noticed the smell of marijuana around the entire family where they sat.  If I wasn’t going back and forth, I would surely have caught a contact.   I told my partner, “She can coach all she wants.  No worries there.  But if she calls you anything like that this game, she’s going to leave today.  And let me tell you up front, you won’t have to say a word.  I will take care of it myself.”

We got to the second half of the game and 5 minutes didn’t go by before this woman stood up, and while talking at the kids on the court said, “I don’t give a fuck!”  I paused for a moment, a bit surprised at what just flew from her pie hole.  I blew my whistle and told the sister she had to go.  She started to make a scene stepping towards me.  I told her that she was not allowed to stay in the gym while lobbing F bombs in the presence of these children.  The supervisor then came over and asked me what was going on.  After hearing me he concurred and instructed her to leave.  This is when things got really incredible.  The woman, in addition to saying that she didn’t have to go anywhere walks up to me and goes on a tirade.

You a punk ass bitch!  Yea that’s right I said it.  Whats up? *Walking towards me.  (I smiled at her but held my ground.)  That’s right you and your momma a punk ass bitch. You can suck my dick you bitch ass motherfucker!  (I smiled more waving my hand as she walked slowly backwards to the exit) You and your momma can suck my dick!  Bitchass! You too! (talking to the supervisor)  I’ll be back motherfuckers!  

*** And here I was thinking that weed made you more lax, not psycho!  She must have been smoking that spice or something!

After all the madness we finished the game.  Many parents came up to me and thanked me for ridding her from the premises.  It’s as if they were waiting for someone to step in and remove this cancer of presence. They said she disrupts the games every weekend.  The coach of the team she favored asked to speak with me privately.  He thanked me profusely.  Said it embarrasses him as a coach as well as her son who has to put up with it in front of his teammates.

The supervisor of the gym (who happens to be white,) and who happens to be a friend, felt comfortable enough to say to me, “And people wonder why there are problems sometimes between blacks and whites.”  Though the fan could have been any color, I knew what he meant.  She exemplified every single negative stereotype known to man about black people.  What I told him was this however, “This is the bigger point.  As I told my partner, he wasn’t going to have to deal with her if she acted a fool.  I would.  This is all I ever ask of white people.  When they see their own acting out a certain way, handle it!  Don’t leave me out there by myself.  I’ll stick up for you when you are right.  She wasn’t going to be able to say, “the white cracker ref” did anything to her.  I need that same support.  So stick up for me when I’m right even if others who look like you may think you’re wrong!”  (Cause her entire family mother-fucked me on the way out the door.)

I’m glad my supervisor and friend had my back this day.

 

 

 

Don’t Cry for Him Judge Scalia? Conversations and Conflicts of a Judicial Tyrant

Sitting at my computer I got a notification on my phone.  I opened it and said, “Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Found Dead in His Home.”  The moment was surreal.  Kind of like the moment I learned Natalie Cole had died.  For me it just came out of nowhere.  Mouth wide opened I took my phone to where my wife was sitting and just showed her the screen.  She hesitated as well with a look of, “like for real?”  

The next thing I told her that as the members of the GOP find out what we just learned, they will be scrambling as hard as they ever have in order to come up with a talking point about the open position on the court that President Obama has 11 months to fill.  “Make no mistake.  There are emergency meetings and conference calls being set up we sit here to orchestrate a plan.  For them the timing couldn’t be worse.  They are going to block whomever he nominates.

Within minutes my wife and I went to dinner.  By the time we started to eat I saw that Mitch McConnell had demanded that the POTUS not nominate anyone in Scalia’s seat and that if he did, they would block the nomination.  By the time the GOP debate in South Carolina began, the message had been repeated a thousand times.  I started posting my own views on social media.

You know how after every mass shooting republicans never want to talk about gun control?  They say things like, “We haven’t even had the funerals yet and here you are trying to politicize this tragic experience.”  It’s not like they ever want to talk about it regardless of how much time goes by.  But I digress.  I expressed that the man’s body isn’t even cold yet and here they are politicizing his death.  I expressed that right wing conservatives don’t care anything about Scalia.  They only care about what he stood for and what he represented.  They cared that he reinforced their beliefs and helped solidify laws that crushed black people, poor people, gay people, and women.  Their court appointed ace in the hole, their god who brought vengeance on anything that wasn’t rich, Christian and Caucasian was suddenly and without warning taken.  And now just a few hours from him being put in a morgue, the right wing establishment is devouring their god like he’s high priced steak and lobster.

In the midst of this I became fascinated with my own response to finding out Scalia was dead.  Unlike Natalie Cole death, I wasn’t at all sad.  I felt some kind of joy about it.  I’ve had a secret list of 3 people who I’ve said to myself, ” I won’t wish death upon them.  But if they die, I won’t be mad.”  Scalia happened to be on that list.  And no I won’t write the others.  98% of me rejoiced that this tyrant of a man won’t be able to ruin anymore lives, or do any more damage than he’s done beyond previous judgments that the rest of us will have to live with.  2% of me felt kinda bad for the 98%.  Because I am a person who is full of love and compassion, it seemed a tad bit unsettling that I rejoiced.  I could never see Scalia, a man who loved himself perhaps more than any other Supreme Court judge in history actually retiring.  Death was the only way out.

mitch

As I posted short commentaries on Scalia’s court decisions and the GOP’s hateful responses to Obama’s presidency once again, I waited for reactions from people who may agree or disagree with my observations and opinions.  I wondered especially if any of my African-American friends were experiencing the same inward duality that I was.  Black folk in general are raised not to celebrate ones death.  No matter how evil that person is or was.  My guess is that’s related our faith and history in Christianity. It hasn’t been often in my lifetime that a significant oppressive figure had passed on.  I know well the history of assassinations against progressives.  I know of state sponsored murders of people who fought for freedom for me and those who look like me. But when was the last time a figure whose name is so polarizing for black people been so suddenly and permanently removed… even naturally?

I sent text messages to a few friends of mine.  “Dude, Scalia is dead!”  One wrote back, “I see.  Sad.” I responded,  “Sad for who? Not us!”  He responded that loss of live is loss of life.  He did not agree with Scalia judicially or politically.  We exchanged a few more sentences and phrases.  But one of the things I mentioned is that if I did not grieve for Osama Bin Laden when he met his end, how could I grieve a man who has spent his life’s work attempting to destroy every piece of equality and progress we’ve fought to achieve?  It was only a couple months ago when Scalia said in open court that black people needed to go to lesser and slower schools because we were too stupid to function in the ‘big ones.’

As custom, it’s natural to speak good of any figure who holds such a prestigious position.  People have described him as brilliant, colorful, a legal giant.  I wouldn’t use those words.  But I’m not the only one.

Tim Wise put it this way: While I revel in the death of no one, I cannot abide the hagiographic nonsense that is presently being offered by persons across the spectrum about how Scalia was “passionate” and brilliant, ad infinitum. There is nothing brilliant about putrescence, nothing insightful and worthwhile about venality posing as insight. To say that there is nothing unconstitutional about executing innocent people (as he did in fact say), or that it’s OK to imprison persons for “gay sex,” among other things, is never the work of a genius no matter the big words and poetic flair with which they might say it. Those opinions are evil, vile and worthy of utter derision. They are not the work of a genius, but a fetid little man whose moral calibration slouched towards those of Torquemada and the Inquisitors. I feel for his family and mourn their personal loss. And that is the extent of my mourning, as it is the only type of which one such as this is deserving.

More on Scalia’s legacy in this link:

Perhaps some may think my Bin Laden comparison was a stretch.  Though I could argue judicial terrorism on blacks, women, gays and poor people, I can bring it closer to home.  If I lived during The Civil War, would I mourn the death of Robert E. Lee?  How about Jefferson Davis?  These people fought to keep my people in bondage.  If Scalia had the wherewith while he was here, whose to say he wouldn’t bring back slavery?  I can easily see him saying, “If the Founding Fathers wanted slavery to end, they would have indicated this in the text.  Since they didn’t, I don’t see anything unconstitutional about it remaining in tact.”

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I discussed some of this on social media with a very well respected minister Traci Blackmon.  She is as progressive and courageous as Christians go.  She expressed via her Facebook page; “Tonight I offer prayers for the family of Justice Scalia. He was not a friend to me or my people. But he is still God’s child.”   As I write this it has 430 likes.  Some talked about his children and the devastation they must be feeling.  Others were less than sympathetic.  One person’s response in particular touched on my earlier thoughts:  “Yes I know. I felt guilty and unChristian like to have no sadness in his passing, almost a glimmer of happiness. I checked myself and voiced it. But there it is.”  Another responded, “What an example of God’s grace. Thank you for helping me check my own internal feelings. I did not wish him ill, but I am delighted he’s no longer on the bench. I pray that our next justice will have more compassion and understanding.”

Ahhh see where I’m coming from? What is to say the original sentiments were wrong?  Is it possible that it’s natural to delight in the death of your oppressor and not at all unrighteous?  If it is righteous, would I care to pray for the family now that he’s dead?  Does it matter what his family thought of his work?  Did the Jews say prayers for Adolph Hitler’s family members after he died? Did my Christian parents and grandparents believe it properly pious to pray for the family of Alabama Governor George Wallace after he died?  I understand that THEY were not the ones siccing vicious attack dogs on us and spraying us with water hoses while authorizing police to savagely beat us in the public streets.

Where exactly is the line of demarcation?  As I told Traci, I just don’t know.  Proverbs 11:10 says, When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices; when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy.

Regardless, I know what the right wing establishment feel.  Not only will they hold Scalia up as a hero of epic proportions, they want to do everything in their power to replace him with one just like him if not worse.  Someone who hates me, my wife, my mother, my kids, my grand kids. Hoping and praying that this doesn’t happen is not something I am conflicted about at all.

SCOTUS Blog on Recess Appointments to the Supreme Court