SpeakOut is Truthout's treasure chest for bloggy, quirky, personally reflective, or especially activism-focused pieces. SpeakOut articles represent the perspectives of their authors, and not those of Truthout.
Eric Schlosser’s hair-raising new book about actual and potential accidents with nuclear weapons, “Command and Control,” sharpens the dialogue, such as it is, between the anti-nuclear peace movement and nuclear strategists who maintain that these weapons still enhance the security of nations.
We can imagine a hypothetical moment somewhere in time. No one can say when exactly, but for my money it is definitely far in the past. Before that moment—perhaps it was the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, or perhaps one of the terrifying incidents Schlosser describes, when computer glitches caused the Soviets or the Americans to misperceive that nuclear missiles had been launched—realists could argue that the deterrent effect of the balance of terror was preventing world war. After that moment, the more nuclear weapons, the more risk and insecurity for the planet as a whole and therefore for all nations whether they have the weapons or not.
Are we living in a time of inverted totalitarianism? Pulitzer prize-winning author Chris Hedges tells me we are in this first episode of the Moment of Clarity Show - SEASON TWO! This episode was made possible by Coalition Films and our generous Kickstarter supporters!
You have to think of the circumstances that exist in this world. For example, discrimination based on ethnicity, class level, income, etc. Do these not count? YOUR destiny is never in YOUR hands. It is in the hands of the system and society. Let us take a look at the Trayvon Martin case. A 17-year-old African American boy in Florida comes home from the corner store with a bag of skittles and a can of Arizona Iced Tea. What occurs? He gets shot by a white man (George Zimmerman). Zimmerman was found not guilty, for supposedly using self-defense. What was Martin doing to him? Nothing. Was that just? Did Trayvon Martin have control of his destiny? What if he was a white male? Would he still have gotten shot?
Obama spends his time speaking about the decisions people make for themselves, but it's also the government who plays a big role in the choices that people make. According to Barack Obama, "We know that too many young men in our community continue to make bad choices... But one of the things you've learned over the last four years is that there's no longer any room for excuses... And whatever hardships you may experience because of your race, they pale in comparison to the hardships previous generations endured - and overcame."
According to Obama, people can succeed due to self-responsibility. Obama says there is "no more room for excuses" and to stop blaming our hardships on our race. I disagree with Obama, because the system has just as much "fault" as the individual does. This system has put a lot of limitations on blacks, Latinos, and other immigrants. There is statistical evidence to prove that the system and society we live in does play a role and does influence our lives. There is proof to show that jobs do discriminate against different races.
People blame the government for all types of different problems. It's not the government's fault that a company laid off half their staff, or that someone broke their ankle while working, or if someone has to be on disability their entire life. Nor is it the government's fault that there are veterans that served this country that are homeless now, or in a mental hospital because of what they had to go through to keep this country "free." But wait. Is it? Is it the governments fault? Should they be blamed for all this? There's a desperate need for a change in government.
“We know that too many young men in our community continue to make bad choices…But one of the things you’ve learned over the last four years is that there’s no longer any room for excuses...And whatever hardship you may experience because of your race, they pale in comparison to the hardship previous generations endured- and overcame.” — Barack Obama
Many people have endured more hardship than others, and many have become successful people despite those hardships. Most people want to succeed, but they are let down by the way society treats them. The type of pressure that the government and society puts on young men and women makes it very difficult to succeed, but individuals should overcome these obstacles and prove society wrong.
Racial and economic inequalities are hardships in the United States. Some people in the United States feels that it is an individual choice for them to be where they are. They feel the individual is responsible for themselves and everything around them. If they do not have a job, that is on them. People like me feel it is society's fault that certain things are the way they are. How are people supposed to get a job if they do not really have a chance because of their ethnicity or personal background? Everyone should have an equal chance. My father was shot and in no way do I feel it was his fault. He was an innocent man walking down the street when some boys who were about twenty decided to start shooting at a forty year old man.
When our President Barack Obama first got elected he said, "To parents--For our kids to excel, we have to accept our responsibility to help them learn. That means putting away the Xbox--putting our kids to bed at a reasonable hour." I disagree with President Obama, because you cannot blame the children for not being successful in their lives. Even if they do follow their parent's orders and do everything there is to do to be successful, there's no point because of the system we live in. People of color get oppressed and racially profiled on a daily basis and there is nothing we can say about it. We cannot blame the individual when it is clearly the system that doesn't work.
On Friday, September 20th 2013, the Full Frame Theatre in Durham, NC hosted the premiere of a film called Let The Fire Burn by filmmaker and director Jason Osder. It was supposed to premiere during the Full Frame Film Festival in April, but had to postpone its Durham debut until Full Frame's Third FridayFree Film Series. For those of us who attended, it worked out perfectly. It was a packed house as no seat went unfilled for the 7:30 pm screening. Little did we know, Durham was about to view the Philadelphia Police Department's most heinous act of brutality in the city's history. It was a documentary about the bombing of an organization called MOVE and historical developments concerning the group's political repression by the city of Philadelphia since 1978. Osder's premiere of Let The Fire Burn was absolutely riveting.