Tag Archives: discrimination

Open Letter

Open Letter

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you’re a leader.” John Quincy Adams

Dear Reader:

I unequivocally stand up and speak out to recent egregious events, actions and words put forth by America’s leaders.   

The United States of America, as an ideal, is greater than all Americans combined.  However, our history is splattered with blood, violence and death.  That history splattered, yet again, on the streets of Charlottesville most recently.  

Throughout our history there have been lies, deceptions, cover-ups, atrocities in the name of “science”, lynchings, and slurs. “The rule of law” has become almost unrecognizable. Rampant, thinly-disguised discrimination from our “discovery”: based on race, sex, color, religion, sexual preference, income, education, place of residence, national origin, occupation, attire, hairstyle, etc., has been/continues to be the norm. The lists go on.

If we continue to make the choice to hate, demean, insult, disrespect and attack each other, at home and abroad, based on whatever characteristics we want to use for our own “agendas”, this is the America we’ll continue to create and this is the America from which others will move away, distrust and attack.  

I’ll have none of it.

This is not my America.  Hate is not my choice.  The values of the present administration and other leaders are not my values.

Each morning I wake up grateful for another day.  Nevertheless, when I look in the mirror of the America that’s been created today, much of what I see is self-serving hubris, pandering, hissy fits, policies inarticulately blurted out in 140 characters from a bogus Twitter account, some of the worst “positioning” to sustain and accrue more apparent and presumed “power”(while not “offending” too many people); and, making absolutely certain that “the base” is kept re-invigorated and juiced up with rallying cries of political promises that cannot be kept. Neither predominant political party is exempt.

This is not my America.

We can agree to disagree on many points, with respect. But, when our “leaders” persist in appealing to the basest human emotions of fear and hate, bullying anyone and everyone who disagrees or gets in their way, our American mirror must reflect what’s there, be seen clearly, no flinching and called out.

For my part, I re-affirm to treat others as I wish to be treated.  I resolve to listen and respond with respect, even if we passionately disagree.  I stand firm on the side of tolerance, understanding, empathy, compassion, social justice, non-violence, equality, ethical and individual responsibility, respecting our Constitution; and, my right to question authority.

Is this what we, the people, accept?

Most sincerely,

~ Jessan

Jessan Dunn Otis|Writer

 

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“Dirty Money”

“Dirty Money” 

Think of all the things you’ve done to “make money”.  That, in itself, is a ridiculous concept.  We don’t “make money”, the government does.  We, you and I, earn money.

I started earning money as a girl – granted an allowance for accomplishing certain chores.  Chores done, allowance paid.  No chores done, no allowance.  Some chores completed, partial payment.

Simple.

Time passed.

At 19 I landed my first “adult” job as a clerk-typist at a social service in Providence, Rhode Island.  Paid weekly.  Still living at home with my parents in Warwick, RI.  Within a few months I fledged myself.  Time to go out on my own.  One room apartment on the East Side, shared bath, no parking.  Independent. Earning money. Paying my own bills.

Time passed.

Many changes.

Some time later I began to see and understand better about what money, as a thing, did to folks.  The earning of it, who had more of it, who had less of it and how those two conditions stratified and segregated people from and against each other.  Judgements.  “Better than” because one had more money.  “Less than” because of having not so much money.

This is nothing to say about how the getting of that money perverted folks – what one did to get more, as if the flash and bling and apparent “power” that all that money was had made a person, somehow, superior or more influential, ultimately.

I still earn money and appreciate what it allows me to do – support a household, buy food, purchase something beautiful, share it to support a charitable cause or new initiative.  There are times, however, when I think about the earlier tradition of barter – I have something you want, you have something I want, we determine a fair value, make the deal and each of us walks away satisfied and happy.  Simple.  Neverthemore, in most Westernized societies, barter has faded and it’s the dollar that rules.

Next time you think about money, think about what it really is – a coin or a decorated piece of paper – and, what it takes to earn it, how the having or not having it creates false and devastating divisions between us (as people and as nations); and, what’s the true value and human cost of “earning money”.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

(c) 6/8/ 2017

written by:  Jessan Dunn Otis|Writer