Liquid Ink

The official website of Gint Aras, Finalist 2016 CWA Book Award


Your right to hate speech

This should only be said once.

Dear Nazis, no one is taking away your right to spew your hatred. You’ve been doing it all along: on the Internet, at dinner parties, on bar stools, during Thanksgiving dinner, and now in Portland, where you were met with opposition.

The reason you believe you’re being oppressed or denied rights is because you conflate your right to spew blather, ignorance and mental sewage with the listeners’ need to believe you or agree with you. This is how freedom of speech works. You stand up and spew your hatred, express your ignorance, make public fools of yourselves, and your peers duly note it. When you stage your protest, the counter-group stages theirs. That’s not a denial of your rights. On the contrary: it’s you expressing your right to stand up in public and say “I’m an imbecile!”

We know, and we’ve known all along.

There’s a reason most people don’t believe you. You’re blatantly and idiotically wrong, and your world view is psychological and sociological pollution. Your loathing is based on a false perception, on constructs you’ve never taken the time to investigate or think over. Your ideas would bore most of us if they didn’t lead to violence and the destruction of lives.

It bothers you to witness those you loathe supported politically or enjoying economic success, larger acceptance into mainstream society, or just greater confidence to walk hum-drum down city streets as everyday people and not “others” or “freaks”.  You believe that the success of those you loathe disenfranchises you. That’s to say your power or station in society is not actually the result of anything you yourselves can do or manage. In order for you to feel secure, you need someone else to be struggling or denied their humanity. “How come I’m not wealthier than these people I hate?” Good question. Don’t most of you believe that you get what you deserve, that individuals determine their own fates all on their own?

Your mistake is to think that power and acceptance are ladled out like soup. More soup for “them” means less soup for “you” until the whole pot has been distributed. Forget about the idea for a moment that the difference between “them” and “you” is constructed in your mind. If you woke up to see that your neighbor’s success actually makes your life easier, you’d have no need to raise your right hand in defiance of your society’s democratic values.

But you won’t ever see that. It’s obvious. Every time you speak freely, raise your hands into the air, you make that perfectly clear. It’s clearest when you stand up and wonder why you don’t have the right to speak freely, as if you’re unaware that you’re speaking. That has always been to most baffling part to me. It’s always the loudest and most hateful drunk in the bar screaming “Why isn’t anyone listening to me?”

Soap Box

 

 


Own it, America

We’ve left the Paris Accords.

Let’s face it, Americans. This is who we are. This is our face. This is what we’ve done to ourselves and everyone else. It’s malignant, profane, destructive, and we’re beyond the point that we should be embarrassed. Our current course should be terrifying.

Left-wing talk on social media and over airwaves today begs the world to understand a variety of platitudes, all meant to separate us from the act.

Not all of us are this way! 

A minority elected him!

It’s just a fringe that think like this!

I recycle!

None of that matters. We have a half-literate madman at the helm, driven by greed and narcissism. He’s not supported by some mythological horde of angry and bitter maniacs who deny reality or know no alternative to their passive aggression. Currently, the vast majority of Republican politicians support him. There is no rational, civil or sensible case to be made for the support of a man who puts short-term profit and thumb-nosing above the destruction of our planet. Yet there he stands, complete with his covfefe (which my autocorrect kept trying to change), his party toeing the line as he stomps about the garden.

Our process elected him. He is the result of our apathy and adoration of ignorance. This is from Business Insider:

Nearly 139 million Americans [turned out in 2016]…but that total suggests that only 60% of the country’s 232 million eligible voters actually voted…

For some Americans, the two names at the top of the 2016 ticket were so unpalatable that they opted not to vote for president at all, instead focusing on down-ballot races.

In 14 states, more people voted in the Senate races than voted for president. The overall results show that nearly 2.4 million people nationwide cast ballots but left the presidential line blank.

Inexcusable. We need to be done with the excuses and platitudes and realize that a critical mass of Americans support a party that sees no problem with our current course of mayhem. Not even the potential for mass extinction humbles them before their desire for profit and power. They see a malignant narcissist and wonder what they personally might gain from his madness. Opportunists are everywhere. Presidential candidate Lindsey Graham, who once said our president “doesn’t know anything” about foreign policy, just yesterday tweeted this utter non-sense: “I support President Trump’s desire to re-enter the Paris Accord after the agreement becomes a better deal for America and business.”

Our system is flexible enough that we can change this course, but the first step has to take place in our consciousness. Right now we are a nation led by a party whose only compass is profit and personal gain, whose God is Ayn Rand, not Jesus Christ. Its leader is a man so toxic that he poisons any system he enters. We are, all of us, members of that system, and we can’t change it by putting forth an effort to separate ourselves.

We left the Paris Accord because we elected a man and party who see no course as wrong so long as their wealth is growing and protected, even at the expense of their grandchildren. If we want to change that, we have to take responsibility and action ourselves, and the first step is to look at the mess. It’s in our house.

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The 21st Century Holocaust

The video below is from December. Lucy Aharish told us then that we were facing a holocaust, and the world is witnessing that holocaust right now, amplified and accelerated before us: a barbaric, categorical slaughter of citizens.

While American leaders demonize these innocents, using them to fan fears among imbeciles and racists in an effort to secure votes, our global adversaries dare us to stop the slaughter, thumbing their noses while children lie dead on concrete and dirt, their mouths open like suffocated fish, their skin bleached and burned.An_Aerial_View_of_the_Za'atri_Refugee_Camp

Our grandchildren will ask us why we did nothing to stop the slaughter, why we allowed it to get to this point, and why we did not welcome the victims, offer them refuge. The answer isn’t complicated: we didn’t care. We believed in the delusion that these people were “over there” while we were “over here,” that there was some massive difference between them and us. We saw the videos and photos, read the testimonies, understood the geo-political game and sat back to say, “It doesn’t affect me.”

Whatsoever you do to the least of My people, that you do unto Me.

Realize who our most influential thinkers have been. We are not followers of Hamilton, Franklin, Lincoln or any of the people on our money. We are certainly not followers of Christ, who told us whatsoever we did to the least of His people we did unto Him.

There he is, Jesus of Nazareth, asking to be let in to our home, and we refuse because he might be a terrorist, this Middle Easterner with a beard.

Our most influential thinker is Ayn Rand. She would shake our hands right now and say, “Well done. Help is futile. Fools get what they deserve.” And look at the evidence! The stock market is rising, isn’t it? Haven’t the prices of homes gone up? Aren’t we “bringing back coal” and reducing regulations, cutting aid for the poor, ruining our presently bad schools, getting tough with unions, keeping terrorists out, making sure married people don’t sit at the table with members of the opposite sex, taking rights away from women, from minorities, from people we hired ourselves to work for less than minimum wage? All while shrugging at the images of a holocaust a half-hour after the electorate shrugged off a madman’s racism, rationalizing their vote by claiming they wanted “change” and had “economic reasons,” lying to themselves all in to the trope of bringing America back to some former greatness?

Greatness is just around the corner. Our grandchildren will be interrogating us sooner rather than later. They might not ask us why we did nothing to help. They might be wise enough—er, great enough—to ask the obvious question: “Grandfather, grandmother, why didn’t you care?”

 

Lucy Aharish – nobody stopping holocaust in Halab, Syria from EurOpinion on Vimeo.

Photo of the Za’atri camp in Jordan from Wikipedia


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How to kill the middle class and ruin the environment 

In our attempts to make sense of how anyone would have voted for the president (when the answer is obvious), we keep losing sight of what’s happening. 

The following bills have been introduced:

1. HR 861 Terminate the Environmental Protection Agency

2. HR 610 To distribute Federal funds for elementary and secondary education in the form of vouchers for eligible students and to repeal a certain rule relating to nutrition standards in schools.

3. HR 899 Terminate the Department of Education

4. HJR 69 Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the final rule of the Department of the Interior relating to “Non-Subsistence Take of Wildlife, and Public Participation and Closure Procedures, on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska”. 

5. HR 370 Repeal Affordable Care Act

6. HR 785 National Right to Work (this attacks collective bargaining, ending unions)

7. HR 147 Criminalizing Abortion (“Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act” or PRENDA)

8. HR 808 Sanctions against Iran

The assault on unions and public schools all at once is driven by nothing more complex than basic human greed. At institutions of learning nationwide, educators are perceived as liabilities, a waste of money that could go to an administrator. If they could get rid of the teachers union and all faculty, they could teach classes with software, and a pile of money would appear for whomever was left.

How are any of these proposals acting in the best interest of the middle class that “feels forgotten”? How is the pollution of our planet, and acceleration towards an extinction event, in the interest of the wealthiest Americans, or of college administrators, or of tea party activists, or of Nazis? Don’t you think it’s weird that the 1%, tea party “patriots”, gun addicts, skinheads, Nazis and champions of Jean Raspail now form a political coalition? 

The swamp was drained to reveal monsters who had only been stuck in the muck. Now they get to crawl up on shore. 


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Coleson Whitehead on delusion

I must admit that I’ve yet to read The Underground Railroad, although it’s high on my list of books to get to soon. This quote gets to something I’ve been thinking about for a long time, for longer than we’ve had a fascist leading our country, a man most everyone in America disapproves of, except for white men.

And America, too, is a delusion, the grandest one of all. The white race believes–believes with all its heart–that it is their right to take the land. To kill Indians. Make war. Enslave their brothers. This nation shouldn’t exist, if there is any justice in the world, for its foundations are murder, theft, and cruelty. Yet here we are.

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Photo of Coleson Whitehead from Wikipedia


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Roger Reeves on severed tongues

I’ve had the pleasure and honor of reading together with Roger Reeves on a few occasions here in Chicago. I think you’ll appreciate what this poem does to you.

Cymothoa Exiqua

cymothoa exigua*: the tongue as what it is not—blemish
and parasite: gimp and glottal stop: what question can be
answered with a truant mouth: can the lynched man hung
from the sails of a windmill taste the lead pipe wedged
between his lips: when the signifiers dangle, empty chum
lines in a cold creek: when the men in Waco, wearing white
straw hats, fraying at the crisp edges of their white shirts,
leave Jesse, leave John, leave Paul in ashes in the unpaved
streets to choke passing mules into prophecy: when we pinch
our noses to staunch the smell of the twice burnt black man
burning for a third time this day: when the boys, sweet
and good animals, come to what’s been left in shallow ditches:
false rib and femur, clavicle and severed hand—quite simply,
the language of sorrow: glyph of the gadfly rooting himself
into the rotting meat of the dead: when it is too late
to refuse our bodies being made urns: corn, unharvested
and heavy in its husks: when, in the marketplace, the butcher lifts
our tongue from a bed of ice, shouts: who will speak for this flesh:
when the tongue answers as all severed tongues do:

*Notes:
Cymothoa exigua is a parasitic crustacean that attaches itself to the tongues of spotted rose snappers and extracts blood from the tongue until it atrophies and falls off. Then the parasite attaches itself to the nub and acts as the fish’s tongue. According to scientists, the fish is not harmed in the process.

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Photo of Roger Reeves from the Whiting Foundation


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Rita Dove on transcendence (or something like it)

I missed a few days due to some matters I won’t get into. My apologies. I hope this beautiful poem by Rita Dove makes up for it.

American Smooth

We were dancing—it must have
been a foxtrot or a waltz,
something romantic but
requiring restraint,
rise and fall, precise
execution as we moved
into the next song without
stopping, two chests heaving
above a seven-league
stride—such perfect agony,
one learns to smile through,
ecstatic mimicry
being the sine qua non
of American Smooth.
And because I was distracted
by the effort of
keeping my frame
(the leftward lean, head turned
just enough to gaze out
past your ear and always
smiling, smiling),
I didn’t notice
how still you’d become until
we had done it
(for two measures?
four?)—achieved flight,
that swift and serene
magnificence,
before the earth
remembered who we were
and brought us down.

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Photo of Rita Dove from Wikipedia.