August 29, 2007

Gone to the Dogs

Okay, I don't typically dwell on current events long enough to comment on them, but when they involve a bigger picture that is a social misnomer, I need to have a say! America needs to get over itself! It needs to REALLY examine itself. The Michael Vick Story is so much more than a man abusing dogs. Here is a man from a housing project in Newport News, Virginia. Expectations that he would not be a young, black man with an inner city mentality are unrealistic.

I challenge the media to go into society to see how people really behave. It is essential we encourage conversation because we can all be ashamed. With our real selves exposed, we may begin to challenge each other to improve. The leaks of peoples' sexuality, self-abuse, marriages etcetera, are how people really live. Exposing one here and then there is not fair. All of us live. We live hard. We live gay, black, white, asian, hispanic, adulterous, religiously, defiantly, addicted, murderously and sexually. We live in an environment that wants to hide reality, but in the background lurks what we all are really like.

Where we live and where we grew up influences us in ways we like to ignore, but it is always there influencing our decisions. We judge, but we are all the same. Michael Vick grew up in the streets, in the south. Many inner city families live raw. The treatment of dogs is ignored because society ignores that many are living worse than dogs. Recently, in Chicago, I was in an inner city neighborhood observing a local youth football game. All of the families participating arrived in nice vehicles, with culture, class, and were intermingling -- evidence of socialization. The surrounding neighbors who were going on about their lives oblivious to this extra curriculum were so out of control. Little dirty boys eating cheetos, drinking that all sugar juice and water concoction that many of you probably have no idea what I am talking about--that is only available in poor neighborhoods, dragging pit-bull puppies on chains through the mud. All of the kids were just walking around aimlessly. Not one parent was seen. These kids were dirty. These kids were using language I didnt hear until I was 20 years old. These kids-- mostly under 6 years old, were back and forth, in and out, of the corner store eating: nachos, pop, candy, chips and a variety of junk. I can only assume, but there is a good chance that this is how Michael Vick grew up. I am not making excuses. My very own beloved pit SandyGirl was an 8 month old when she was rescued by 911 responding to a pit-fight in progress. The call was that a docile puppy was being used as bait. My beautiful angel was such that she was about to be thrown into the ring to rile the other dogs up. I LOVE her. I have carried this now 50lb dog outside to go potty when it rains because she doesn't like to get wet outside. I really can not imagine life without her. But, having grown up in the inner city, I am all too familiar with the realities of the day to day existence of Americans who have been forgotten. Americans of all races and creeds withering in the land of plenty.

People have complexities. People have deviance and problematic characteristics. We point and we judge and move on instead of tackling the roots of all of our societal malfunctions.

Children should be taught basic respect of self and others. Children should learn fiscal responisibility in the classroom and in camps and programs. For the children who are being raised wild, or rather not raised at all, who are only getting their basic needs met, are the ones who are in our criminal justice system. And we sit in front of our telelvisions at night after a long day at work struggling to keep our perfect lids on our perfect lives sealed tight, pointing our fingers, shaking our heads in caricature, reciting epithets and "Oh my God" as we drift off to sleep on our comfy couches to dreams of a world that does not exist.

Phrase of the day: Make a difference.

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