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justice

The Tired

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Doesn’t matter if you are young or old, some days you’re just tired.

No energy to go about the tasks that you do each day. You just want to sit or lay down in your favorite spot and do nothing.

Just the other day I felt that way. I got away from my desktop of drawing and writing and sat on the couch. It was an unusual day for Los Angeles, there was cloud cover and a slight pissy rain falling.

I looked over at Wolff’s book glaring back at me and said to myself, “No, not now.” 

Beyond the rain-dappled window, you could hear, as you can hear every moment of the day, the sound of the freeway traffic on the 134 humping by.

Relative silence.

Melancholy.

I picked up my phone like we all do and started to thumb through the Facebook as a last resort before I found myself inevitably doing something.

There were the usual memes people have discovered for the first time. The pictures of meals about to be consumed. The harsh language of anger at the world and how it’s treating these first world citizens.

Then I thumbed upon a strident voice wanting immediate attention.

It begged a question, “If you want to be an American, why don’t you go through Ellie Island like my grandmother did?”

I smiled at first at the spelling of Ellis Island, just a typo I suppose.

Then I frowned at the sentiment. The intent. The belief in a legality that didn’t exist. 

My own perplexity at the lack of knowledge of history, of place, of time, of the peoples involved, are really let’s all be honest, the sausage making that is Facebook communication.

It’s a bowl of watery mush. It’s a conglomerate of half-baked ideas held together and cooked with feelings instead of knowledge. Its banter, gossip, theory disguised as a platform for the exchange of ideas. Both good, bad and indifferent.

That being said, I come back to the sentiment about Ellis Island.

When Ellis Island opened its doors in New York City Harbor in 1892 people before and after came to America with no prerequisite for their admission.

All they wanted was to be free.

They didn’t have to speak English. They didn’t have to have money. They didn’t have to have a job. They didn’t have to have an education. They didn’t have to sign their name. They didn’t have to have a home.

They just had to have the will to leave desperation, murder, rape, intolerance, bigotry, persecution to go to the land of opportunity.

The arms of Liberty were open for all.

All they needed was the desire for freedom.

What made the people who lived in the golden land feel the need to shut the door behind them on those wanting to also breathe free?

Consider a proposition that all of humanity wants to be free. However, they who deny a person, a people who are seeking freedom are not friends of mankind.

They don’t have a connection between the law and the heart of the law.

Have you ever looked at the statue of Justice? She is a woman, not a man which entails everything that women represent in nurturing and caring. She holds a scale that balances right and wrong. However, she is blind which implies she applies justice without prejudice equally.  She also carries in her left hand a sword which declares a decision will be made, life or death.

But wait, she is also a living being with a mind and a heart. There are degrees to which justice and legality are applied. It does not represent the old Hammurabi code of an eye for an eye. Since the Age of Enlightenment which is the cornerstone of the ideology of the founding fathers, it asks the participants in justice, the judge and the judged, to weigh a given situation and come up with the right, the best solution.

Justice today is not like the judgments given by Solomon or Newman who both wanted to cut either a boy or a bike in half to give each claimant an equal half.

No. Society at large has moved on from that simple understanding of rules equally applied with no exceptions, no gray areas, no application of empathy or quality of circumstance.

The rain suddenly came up upon the window pane.

Melancholy..

I’m brought back to the words, “If you want to be an American, why don’t you go through Ellie Island like my grandmother did?”

Another statue ahead of us there. Mother of Exiles. Its feet wrapped in fog. It’s meaning confused by time and the tired.

Do you see where we are traveling now?

It’s one hundred years ago… 1918.

We’re on the deck of a ship. We’re cold and hungry. The memory of the Germans marching into our Polish village outside of Warsaw is what made us leave our parents. It was the First World War, the war to end all wars they said. Our younger brothers and sisters all looked up to us the oldest girl in the house. We all picked onions on the farm. That was until the war was over and nobody had a job and the money we had didn’t buy anything.

Accept one ticket.

Our parents were not angry. They understood. Why we had to leave. Warm thoughts on a cold morning late in December. So many people on this big boat. We took the little boat to the big boat. All the money we had, our family had to send just me.

Just me.

Alone.

There she is.

Lady Liberty.

This is the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Americans are not afraid. 

I want to be like them. 

I don’t want to be afraid anymore.

Peace

DFrey

Forces Film, Again Begin

Why

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Every day we wake to questions that we have no answer to.

Some are simple while others are complex.

Why?

Why does my back hurt when I wake up in the morning?

Who used all of the toilet paper?

What’s happening across the street?

Where are my leftovers?

Who the hell is driving that car?

Why is it so hot out today?

What does that street person want me to do?

How come God doesn’t answer me?

Why?

What made that congressman smarter than me any ways?

What’s this spot on my shirt from?

Why does my knee hurt every time I climb the stairs?

Look at that asshole, doesn’t he know you can’t do that?

What are brown people complaining about? Aren't we all equal?

I don’t use drugs, why can she?

What does that black guy want me to do? Give him all my money?

Why is that woman proud? Doesn't she know she’s poor?

Who has the time to listen?

Why can’t we kick all the bad people, and you know who they are, out of our country?

Why does the president think that nazis and the klan are good people too?

Why doesn’t our legislature tell the president he’s wrong about white people losing their heritage?

Why would a president give a pardon to a known racist?

Why?

Why?

Why?

Sometimes, we don’t want the answer to our question because it will reveal a truth we are not comfortable about.

A truth we are not comfortable about our nation, our community, our selves.

A truth we do not want to examine because it means we will have to act. To do the good work. To stand against the darkness which wishes to extinguish the light we have fought for.

Peace

DFrey

Forces Film, Again Begin

Where is the Hero

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The boy stands on the corner of the street. His mind races, not letting in the questions that pummel him from the bystanders. At his feet lays his father.

Is he drunk?

Are you lost?

Who is that old man?

Look at that piece of shit.

The boy can't cry out. His mind caught by jagged thoughts. Thoughts that back him into a choking, dark corner. 

As all of time comes to a stop.. 

A hand reaches past the boy and checks for a pulse on the neck of the fallen guardian.

The same hands flex, move the body into position, force life back into the tired heart.

Who are the strong?

Where is compassion?

The heart knows what the mind cannot conceive.

The hero does what is needed.

The answer to all of our problems lies within the grasp of the hero that is in each of us.

Not born of radiation.

Not created by gods.

Not given birth by a miracle of DNA.

We all know what is the right thing to do. What prevents us from moving forward is the familiarity of our own doleful ignorance to accepting that the everything changes. Nothing stays the same.

We either accept that or we find ourselves at odds with our fellow participants in life. We constantly are at odds with the news, with people in line, in traffic, at the store, at the DMV, at places of worship, at places of amusement, fellow diners. The list is as endless as living itself.

We can make the promises of heaven here and now.

We, the hero, accept the call of the future to, “do”.

Peace

DFrey

Forces Film, Again Begin