Fear

It is somewhere around 1:00 am. All but two of us are asleep.

I am hugging my daughter tightly as she sobs uncontrollably, her heart pounding with disappointment and fear.

There is nothing, really, I can say to comfort her. The best I can attempt is, “I will always fight for you,” as my own tears flow.

The Thoughts of One of Many

My name is David Isaiah Wilcox. I am black or African american or whatever you want to call me. I am also agoraphobic, but that will tie in later. I see all that is happening in the world, and I am hurt, not just because I am black but, because I am human. The blind eye that society has turned to the suffering of all those of different walks of life than the “majority” needs to stop. And it won’t be easy.

First I speak to those that are claiming to be ignorant of the atrocities of man, Then I speak to those that might hate or feel dirtied by my mere existence. First the virus known commonly as COVID-19 (called such because of the year it originated in)  Isolated us, forcing us to stay home or risk the lives of our loved ones that could be harmed or killed by the disease. Little did I know that twenty-twenty would be the year where another sickness would also be addressed, I of course speak of racism. It is odd for me to speak on this topic as I have been locked away in my home with little interaction with the outside world for much longer than the rest of you. I have been stuck at home for seven, coming on eight years now, due to a crippling anxiety disorder. I, when around people begin to ache through my whole body, this pain grows worse and worse until I just can’t take it anymore. In addition if I am outside too long I stop being able to think, and I do mean that in the most broad way possible.  If outside too long I begin to lose the ability to do simple tasks. Such as pace, five steps forward, turn, five steps back. On two occasions has it gotten this bad. Never again do I want to feel my brain turn against me to that extent.

I have strode a little off topic but I felt it was necessary to share what exactly I go through when I try to leave the boundaries of my home. Outside it seems the world has descended into chaos. When I heard what happened on May 25, 2020, I was appalled—sickened by what I was hearing. How could men, sworn to the protection of others, take the life of a man for the possibility that he paid with a counterfeit twenty dollar bill. For those that have not figured it out I am speaking of the murder of George Floyd. I found myself asking why aloud; I don’t know who I was talking to, perhaps God. Asking if all this is truly necessary, and if so to what end. Just end it already. I pleaded before and pleaded now “God, please end us all.” 

Racism is a disease, a plague that exists in the hearts of man, and can only be conquered if we as a whole acknowledge it, and strive to push past it.

Of course that would not work, we must rise above this adversity, this tragic condition that exists in far too many people. Racism is a disease, a plague that exists in the hearts of man, and can only be conquered if we as a whole acknowledge it, and strive to push past it. To make matters worse, we have a government that has decided that it is best to use rubber bullets, tear gas, and brute force to corral an unwarned and non-violent crowd of protesters. This reminds me of an event in our history, as a nation we once stood against tyranny, rallied together by the deaths of five and injuries of six. We were smaller then, and we had more problems, but how would we have responded had the very scared British Soldiers only used rubber bullets, avoiding the “Boston Massacre”? I guess we will never know. 

To close this session of writing, I should say there is hope. Not everyone is racist, for one reason or another. It doesn’t matter what pigment your skin is, if you notice you have a prejudice towards another, based on the pigment of their skin, stop, take a breath, and ask for help. It doesn’t matter who you ask, just talk about it, get it out in the open, and figure out where you picked it up from and how to get better from there. To those that deny that this is a rampant problem in our world, our lives, our souls, I ask you to look again, and ask someone about the pain that they have endured, just because they were born with a different amount of pigment in their skin.

A Teacher Worthy of Notice

(A reflection from November 9, 2016)

While my wife—Sarah Latimer—and I were walking our dog, Juno, we chanced upon an outside window of this history classroom at Nashua’s Fairgrounds Middle School, where our daughter, Naomi, attends.

I was moved to tears at the display, particularly given the anniversary of Kristallnacht. This was a meaningful reminder that, despite what we have seen all too often on social media and propaganda outlets, there are, indeed, those like this English teacher who are quietly and efficiently going about making the world a better place for all our children.

The Signs of Science

One of the best parts of the March for Science Sarah and I attended on April 22, 2017, in Washington, D.C., was the nearly endless creativity the marchers put into their signs. Not too many were repeated, and few would have been considered offensive. The preview image here is my sign, cribbed from “Stand back! I’m going to try science!” of XKCD origin.

All the signs we photographed:

Signs of Science
I'm powered by science.
I'm powered by science.
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What Is Wrong with These People?

On the eve of the nomination of Donald Trump as President of the United States:

My biggest complaint* of the past year has been this: White “Evangelicals” ignored virtually all of Scripture to support a man who represents a near perfect antithesis of Christianity.

I have watched those on the fringes and outside of Christianity shake their heads, and wonder what is possibly going on in the minds of these Christians, and determine that they never, ever want to embrace a religion with such obvious hypocrisy. The Evangelical swell of blind support for a preacher of hate, lust, greed, lies, and ignorance has done more to harm the cause of Christ than anything else I have seen in my lifetime.

But I remind myself of this: Paul explained we should pray for our leaders—and I shall. Paul did this under perhaps the most corrupt government ever seen on earth, where his brothers were routinely murdered for sport.

So I will pray for (as of tomorrow) President Trump. I will also pray that we are spared from the horrors he has promised. I will also pray that the binding of extremism and near-insanity of the Republican Party to White Christianity is revealed for the disaster it is and forever abandoned. I will also pray for the healing of a nation terribly divided—while I, as promised and commanded, pray for the one who most wanted to divide it for his own gain.

1First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man[a] Christ Jesus, 6who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 7For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. (1 Timothy 2:1–7, ESV)

*This complaint is probably tied for first place with the practice of those same people chain-posting completely fraudulent and easily refutable propaganda. (No, that’s the Black Speech from Lord of the Rings, not a school distributing donuts with verses from the Qu’ran.)

A Republican No More

My voter registration is now undeclared. (Sadly, no exotic options, like “Rational Anarchist” are available in New Hampshire—not even Communist.)

Man with a 1950s style fedora waves goodbye .
Goodbye, sewage-ridden idiocracy.

In a time when a voice of reason is desperately needed, your leadership has proven itself unable to take a stand against an obvious megalomaniac. You continue to propose revoking the victory of universal health care. You have protected and praised racists and worse. You have gone to war without cause, and destroyed our great nation’s international reputation. You have chosen a Presidential candidate who makes Vermin Supreme a rational choice by comparison. You have defended environmental destruction, and embraced ignorance over science.

I am saying goodbye to the sewage-ridden idiocracy the Republican Party has become. You are now, indeed, “Not my circus—not my monkeys.”

Adios.

“Sewage-ridden idiocracy,” is a phrase coined, as far as I know, by Connor Houghton.

What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown?

What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown?

Quite often I think about a Charlie Brown special I saw when I was in my mid-teens, in 1983. It’s designed to continue the story of the film, Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don’t Come Back!!), and commemorates some of the events of World War I and World War II.

Linus quotes John McCrae’s In Flanders Fields. I find it nearly as moving as the recitation of Luke 2 in “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Periodically, I’ve searched Amazon, hoping that this had been released on DVD or better (the only consumer release was on VHS video). It’s finally coming this fall, as part of Peanuts: The EMMY Honored Collection (DVD)!

Sadly, the as-I-recall-excellent Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don’t Come Back!! is still, apparently, only available on used VHS.

Racism: Things Really Have Changed

Racism has always shocked me. When I was 7 I was astounded to hear a neighbor declare, “Randy’s father doesn’t like black people.” I can’t remember how old I was before I understood what the “N word” employed as a quotation in a comic book adaptation of The Cross and the Switchblade meant, because I had never heard the word. In my family, thanks to my parents, racism simply wasn’t employed, ever.

One of the things I am proud of with my own children is that they don’t “get” racism. I tried watching one of the few sports films I like—Remember the Titans—with them a few years ago, and it was meaningless. The main point of the drama’s racial tension went completely over their heads, as they had no context for it.

It is very rare now for racism to intrude on my life, and it still surprises me. In Florida, I overheard someone claim that a recent increase in drug problems in the local area were all due to blacks. I laughed, though, when, the next morning, a photo of the two major drug dealers in the town was on the front page after a sting operation had gone down: They were both most certainly Caucasian.

Over time, though, with so few reminders of our country’s very racist past, I’ve tended to minimize it, much like Louis CK explains in his appearance with Jay Leno.

Then I read this week’s “Honorary Unsubscribe” in the “This Is True” newsletter to which I subscribe. It tells the story of Lee Lorch, who passed away last week. Give it a read.

Due to his stand for equality, Lorch, a Jewish mathematician:

  • He was fired from his teaching position at City College of New York
  • He was fired from Pennsylvania State University
  • While at Fisk University (a historically black school), he argued (but failed) to prevent a meeting of the Mathematical Association of America from being, as per policy, “Whites only”
  • He was ordered to testify at the House Un-American Activities Committee, where he directly denied being a Communist, and then refused to answer questions about his politics, citing the First (not Fifth) Amendment to the Constitution. This got him indicted, and tried (but acquitted) for contempt of Congress, and then fired from Fisk.
  • While at a Black College in Little Rock, he and his wife volunteered to help escort the Little Rock Nine to school, earning them numerous death threats, and leading them to move to Canada.

This is greatness. Not winning an Oscar, not being elected to office, not amassing wealth …

May I be so determined to fight, and live, for what is right.