The laws, the violence and our new President…

I have long contemplated writing my own take on what is going on in the USA, especially with regard to Trump, his policies, and the violence going on in many cities.

I voted for Trump, I will admit that, even if I can’t discuss this with friends and co-workers. We talk about many subjects, except for politics, and I turn to my stack of work while they talk amongst themselves. I have some nice friends, but politics is where we separate. My family and I aren’t even on the same page, with varying ideologies. I believe in laws, I believe in the U.S. Constitution, and I believe in the exchange of ideas. I don’t agree with the notion that if you supported one candidate you are a racist, and that  if you supported another candidate that you are a good person in support of rights.

Some people will read this and think I am heartless, insensitive, a racist, etc. I am not. I am, however, sick of being blamed for all of the ways every group outside of my ethnicity has been wronged, and I am sick of the ways each group has allowed ourselves to be manipulated to fight each other over bullshit.  In reality, those in power made bad decisons for a very long time, and now we have a bad economy, lack of jobs, a skewed sense of justice, wars still being fought in multiple countries, and a restriction on the rights of Americans.liberty_and_justice_for_all_poster

I have worked with and befriended people from all walks of life, as I have written about before. I have gotten to know them and learned from them, even while not agreeing with all of their views or decisions. I have worked with diverse backgrounds of people, and I have seen the choices families have may have made out of desperation which have long-lasting negative effects on their children and on their communities . First off, because the parents broke the law, they have shown their children that it is ok to break the law… And we as a country have shown these young people that they might have to follow some laws but not other laws. We have shown them also that, not only do they not have to follow the rules, but that not following the rules allows you to get stuff that other people pay for, and that it is ok to bash people while they are helping you.

I understand that people can fall on hard times. I have had my share of hard times, where I had to figure out how much food to buy  because I was broke. I had poor credit at one point because I couldn’t pay my bills, and I have slept on the floor and washed my clothes in the bathtub because I had a low paying job. I rented an apartment in a neighborhood drug addicts and rundown buildings because it was I could afford, until I could afford to move to a better environment. Boyfriend has also had very hard times, but the only people who could pull us up and out of the hard times was us because we are white, childless people, rather than minorities or foreigners or people with children.  People think that being white exempts people from struggling or suffering or being broke.  Struggling is struggling regardless of race, color, sex, or creed.  People of all walks of life can struggle and suffer, regardless of what the politicians tell you, right Bernie Sanders?

Being that I live and work in Central Texas, I am very aware of the policy battle raging between the governor and the Travis County Sheriff. I follow the local news and the real (alternative) news very closely. I see people walking into my work building to handle their business and I have met some very nice people, while also meeting some people who don’t get it, don’t want to get it, and who will never get it… they don’t want a hand-up, they want a hand-out, expecting someone to let them keep breaking the rules, not assimilating, and taking no responsibility for their actions.  scales-of-justice-glass-effect-800px

I am not against people coming to this country legally and lawfully. My ancestors came to this country from Europe through Ellis Island, including my grandmother, whose family made three attempts before successfully escaping the czars nearing Russo-Poland. I am an Irish/English/Scottish/German/Russian/Polish/Lithuanian/Texan-American. One of my proud moments was visiting Ellis Island 15 years ago to see where my ancestors entered this country.

So,  I am not against foreigners coming to the U.S. and wanting to become Americans. I do not appreciate my country opening the door to people who tell us what is wrong with our country while we give them food, shelter, clothing, etc., while they say it in their language, don’t follow our laws, and while their country(ies) tell us what to do. These countries would not give me or any other American the option of crossing their border and setting up camp in their country because things didn’t work out for us in the U.S. Rather, we would have to have money to afford living there and would still have limited rights, or we would be imprisoned for trying to live there illegally.

I understand helping someone in a truly desperate situation. I have done that many times without a thought, but that would not give someone the right to take over my house, eat my food and tell me what the rules in my house should be. Other countries have laws and rules and procedures that visitors must follow, I don’t think my country should be any different. Other countries get to decide who comes in and who doesn’t, who stays and who doesn’t. I also think that we as a country should be able to protect ourselves against intruders and enemies, foreign and domestic, by way of personal defense and keeping enemies out. I hope to never see another event like 9-11-01, 0r 9-11-12, or what happened in San Bernardino, Ft. Hood, Orlando, Boston, or the events that have taken place in Paris, Berlin, and so many others. I believe that people having the ability to defend themselves would have lessened the loss of life in most these and other terrorist situations. wp_20151108_002

We have started to hear a lot more about the violence that has plagued Chicago for years from Donald Trump and the news media, but society has blamed the guns rather than the criminals and gang members who shoot with reckless abandon, often striking the wrong, innocent target(s).Oh yeah, and the guns are often illegally obtained through straw buyers or on the black market, not usually through legal means (going through a background check and purchasing at a legal firearm distributor). However, it’s perfectly OK  for people angry that their candidate lost an election to destroy property, assault innocent bystanders, burn up vehicles, smash in windows, loot businesses, commit hate crimes, and fight the police. That’s just normal. And, again, I am pro-Constitution so I fully support free speech and peaceful assembly. What I don’t support is for anyone to lash out at other people just because you are pissed off, because you are might be held accountable for breaking the law, or because someone has simply offended you. I get offended everyday and I learned to deal with it, and I have learned to use effective means to hand my grievances or other situations.

I hope that things will get better in this country, and in the world. I hope people do their own research rather than be spoon-fed propaganda by the mainstream media… the same media that covered up some politicians’ crimes, indiscretions, bombing of Middle Eastern countries, political affiliations and business dealings, while openly trying to sway an election, dig up mistakes and oversights, and distort information. I am not saying that anyone who has made it in politicians is an angel, and I would dare that say that each and every one of them has made deals, justified behavior, and done things that most of us could not rest well with. I am saying that for all we have heard about someone’s marriages, flirtations, inappropriate language, and dalliances, we didn’t hear much about similar or worse behavior from other candidates and/or their spouses. poorunclesam

My intention in writing was not to piss people off, but done so in the hope they will realize that there are two sides to every story. So people will realize that the truth is not being told, and that the people who voted for Trump are not all angry, hateful people but are people who want things to improve in this country for all Americans. We can’t help others until we can truly fix our own problems.

It’s just sad… Chicago, etc.

So, as I sit down and type, it is 8:28PM CST on Friday, March 11, 2016. Boyfriend and I browse the news online and see that the Trump rally in Chicago at UIC has been shutdown because Chicagoans don’t know how to act. From the few articles I browsed next, it appears that conflicts broke out among Trump supporters,  Bernie Sanders supporters, the Black Lives Matter group, and other groups of people in attendance. I next decide to look at the Chicago Sun-Times Website for local reports and see the news wire feed, which shows that four people were shot in a four-hour time span in four different neighborhoods, with one dead so far.

Reading this news, all of it, really annoys me. I am no longer a citizen of the Chicago area but I grew up there, lived there for most of my  life, and still have family and friends there. I still keep track of the major Chicago news and know that the state of Illinois, which couldn’t figure out how to pass a budget, is broke; that the Chicago Public School system is broke and will likely end up like Detroit, who will soon be unable to pay their teachers; and that the violence problem, which has risen to the murder rates likes of 1999 in the first 80-something days of 2016, will not be solved by protesting Donald Trump nor by inventing more gun laws.

I understand that there is a lot of anger going on right now, but violence is not the answer. Going to an even with the sole intention of starting sh*t with the other people at the event doesn’t solve anything. Chanting “Hail Satan”, which was reportedly heard by Bernie Sanders supports, doesn’t solve anything either – it just shows that you are evil or ignorant. And, I’m confused by the protestors with the flags from neighboring countries… how does that show that you want to be an American or considered an American?   I feel like everyone wants to blame someone and that no one really cares how to solve our problems at large, or even cares what is REALLY going on. I watched a video posted by Kelly Bauer  of DNAinfo.com/Chicago  with a guy dressed like the pope, and the man observantly states that people at the rally are accusing Donald Trump of hate but then turn around and stated that they hate him. RT America’s report include several pictures and video links regarding what took place. Everyone’s anger should be focused on why cities like Chicago are broke, why our politicians continue to lie while selling us a bill of goods, and why we are being manipulated to fight each other.

Every time I look at news involving Chicago I find negative news. I realize that negative news gets reported more often than positive news in general, but the Chicago news reads about the same regardless of the day, with only names changing. I don’t know that Trump is the answer to problems in the U.S., or  in Chicago for that matter, but I know that more violence is not. Oh, and by the way, two more people who shot in Chicago by the time I finished this post, at 9:30PM.

 

I’m still learning…

I was writing something a few nights ago about the violence in my hometown, Chicago, when I had a glitch. I had written what I wanted to say, saved the draft, decided to add a picture, and scrolled down to find half of my piece gone along with several links to articles supporting my point. God gave me the sense to put the computer down before I got really angry. I don’t know what happened. I am nearing a year of being on Word Press but I am learning, and there is a lot I don’t know.
So, I haven’t forgotten about my blog, I took a few days off to handle other things and to forgive my computer for the glitch. I will finish the post in the next few days and have up soon. Meanwhile, I have the possibility of an exciting opportunity… Stay tuned.

Thoughts on Embracing our differences and similarities as people, Chicago, and Violence…

I feel for the people who lost loved ones and community members in South Carolina. If you feel safe anywhere, it should be in your community and especially in a house of worship. I am truly sorry for the pain and suffering that these families and this community are going through.

As someone who grew up in, lived in, and worked in Chicago for most of her life, I am fully aware of the violence and hardship that people of Chicago go through on a daily basis. I was a Case Manager for a prevention and intervention program with juveniles on the Southside and Westside of the city. I met many families that suffered the loss of loved ones to violence, namely gangs and guns. I feel fortunate that I never witnesses any shootings while visiting many neighborhoods that make the news: Englewood, Back of the Yards, Lawndale, Little Village, Grand Crossing, Chicago Lawn, Marquette Park, Gresham, South Shore and others. I did see mob fights, domestic violence in public, people getting run down by rival gangs, and drug transactions. I often saw the aftermath of violence with police and emergency vehicles flying by, and I got good at listening to my instincts. The violence and tragic situations I speak of happened while handguns were still banned in Chicago, which was not overturned  and new laws implemented until 2013.

My job was to help youth and families to the best of my ability, and I did.  I was not perfect. My clients came from many walks of life in Kenwood/Hyde Park, Bronzeville, Canaryville, Brighton Park and they were Black, White, Latino, mixed race, documented, undocumented, poor, middle-class and toward the upper-middle class. Some of these families met me at humanity, taking what I could offer in support, information, service referrals and financial means. Some families agreed to our program rather than having to sit in juvenile court, doing the bare minimum until I disappeared. A few families were blatant in telling me that “you couldn’t possibly know what it’s like. It’s not like where you come from,” as they sneered and looked me up and down as if I were a martian from the outer space.

Admittedly, I don’t know what it’s like to be anyone other than me – a white, middle-class female from the Southwest side of Chicago, who grew up with short-hair, a German-English name in a neighborhood full of Ryan, O’Neil, McCarthy, McLaughlin, Coughlin and Dougherty, playing a sport that no one but my brother and I played, teased mercilessly for said reasons, in a family on a tight budget, and being a shy kid on top that. I travelled around the city to play tennis as I got older and felt fairly accepted at Hyde Park Tennis club, where I was one of the few white players and at McFetridge Tennis Center on the Northside, one in a rainbow of cultures. These people were educated and well-mannered in a very diverse environment and, if they didn’t like me or want me there, it wasn’t obvious to me.

I have learned that you typically know mostly what you are exposed to. For example, young people growing up in a neighborhood with people who think a certain way, raise their families a certain way, worship or not, educated or not, are molded as they develop. That’s anyone, even me. If you live in a crowded, noisy, violent environment, going to a rural, peaceful, small environment will be a very life-changing experience.  For the youth and families who were receptive to new opportunities, I was open with them and tried to offer them a chance to learn and grow, yet still be who they were. I learned a lot from some of these families and missed them after the case was complete. I felt sad for the youth and families that just saw a “white girl from the suburbs” (which I’m not) who came into their lives to tell them why they were wrong or bad or needed to change, instead of seeing a chance to work together to enrich their lives. We were not people to each other,  we were a White person and a Black/ Latino/etc. person, and it was your culture against mine. My job was not to “change” or “fix’ these families, it was to extend opportunities to their sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren to keep out of or from returning to the system at large.

I get that on some level, I am not the typical “white experience” that some of my client families had previously encountered but some were not willing to give me or the program designed specially for disadvantaged, underprivileged youth from populations with high rates of arrest, imprisonment, gang violence and gun violence to keep them alive and from becoming a news blurb and a statistic.  Overall, I feel that I had good success with my clients and that our program helped a lot of people in Chicago. I know that racism exists, and I, too, have experienced it. I hope that these families not only saw someone who cared and genuinely wanted to help, but also found that people can reach across cultural divides to help them and their communities and to enrich humanity. By embracing our similarities and our differences, we can overcome many of the problems our country and our society face. We are more alike than we are different, we are  all human beings.

© 2015 blogdaysofchrell

Chicago Shootings: 1 Day, 3 dead, 12 wounded

As a Chicagoan who moved two years ago but has family and friends residing there, I regularly follow the Chicago news. With all the violence in Ferguson, MO and Baltimore, MD, there has been lots of coverage and outrage. Where is the outrage about Chicago? The only outrage I’ve heard about lately is the “Chiraq” movie that Spike Lee plans to film. The violence in Chicago is among many of the city’s problems, in addition to high unemployment (regardless of the official numbers) for everyone but especially African Americans and African American teens. I am glad, however, that the likes of Al Sharpton are not involved because he would only exacerbate the problem. What is the answer? Please add your thoughts in the comments.

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3 dead, 12 wounded in Chicago shootings – Chicago Tribune.

No marches. Media not flocking to Chicago. Sharpton, Jackson, Obama quiet. What matters? Sad, very sad.

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