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A heavy cleaning trouble maker

My first job at The Detroit Free Press was as a heavy cleaner at the newspaper’s printing presses on West Jefferson. And I got in hot water because I worked too hard and had a big mouth.

I was young and ambitious. Although my job was to mop ink off the floors of the building I took pride in the job and wanted to do the best I could.

I began my afternoon shift by scrubbing down offices and worked my way to the lunch room. After that we mopped down the floors of the printing presses before the press men came in. It was tough work swinging that mop filled with water and chemicals. I lost 15 pounds that summer.

But here is where I got in trouble. I worked too fast.

We had a crew of eight men and they worked at a certain pace. I’d always finish up my offices before everybody else and waited for them to begin on the cafeteria. My belief is they had to justify to management that their shift was worthy of eight hours of work and eight hours of pay.

It wasn’t.

So one day, David, the shift supervisor said the other workers wanted to have meeting with me. I meet with the crew and we walked past the printing presses into an out of the way corner hidden by giant reams of paper.

In back was a mattress with dirty magazines. I was told that I needed to come back here and chill for a half an hour midway through my shift. I never did because there were rats back there. But I got the message.

Slow down.

The other guys called the main Free Press building on W. Lafayette the Ivory Tower. Their goal was to work there for easier duty and more pay. I wanted to work there as a sports writer.

I also got in trouble for yelling at a pressman. We were always told to keep our heads down, work hard, and ignore the dirty glances and demeaning words from the pressmen.

I failed that challenge.

One day a pressman scolded our crew, saying we were stupid and that the only thing we could do in life was clean up after him. These were my boys now and I had to stand up for them and stand up for me. I got mad and I broke the cardinal rule of talking back.

“Look mother fucker,” I barked at the startled man. “You see this paper you are printing? I am going to be in it someday and you are going to want to know what I am writing. You are going to want to read what I have to say.”

The dude said I was ignorant and illiterate and would never find my way into a newspaper except as a cleaner or gopher.

I showed him.

 

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The white people’s guide to getting along with this black man

Now that we have your attention I’d like to present the White People’s Guide to Getting along with This Black man.

I am actually easy to get along with. My demands and standards are not as strenuous as many. But there are certain things I wished white people would stop doing and saying to me.

Here we go.

STOP ASKING ME IF MY DAUGHTER CELINE GOT INTO STANFORD BECAUSE OF AFFIRMATIVE ACTION.

The girl gets on my nerves sometimes but she is an exceptional student. She had a 4.4 grade point average in high school, was student body president and gave the graduating class speech.

She is finishing up her junior year at Stanford and is carrying a 3.8 grade point average. She was her class president for her first three years and has decided not to run for a fourth term. She is vice president of Stanford Women in Business and is a busy body on campus that students know about.

She belongs.

PLEASE STOP SAYING I AM ONE OF THE GOOD ONES.

What you are saying is blacks are not good people, but I am an exception. That is not a compliment.

I’ve never told a white person they are one of the good ones, even though there are plenty of evil white people who are mean spirited. But there are millions of good white people, just as there are millions of good black people.

But when I hear that I am one of the good ones it is telling me that my race is no good. I don’t like that.

PLEASE STOP ASKING WHY YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO US THE N-WORD AROUND ME.

It is not your word. Why would you want to used it? The word used to be a positive word in society until the white race mucked it up and turned it into a slur.

Yes, younger blacks use that word. I rarely do.

Let me give you an example. A few years ago I hung around a group of Gay guys in Palm Springs. During the course of the weekend they called each other queers, queens and fags. Those were not my words. I could not engage them in the same way they engaged each other. And I did not want to.

Do you know what I called them?

Bill. Frank. Steve. Joe. Or whatever other name their parents gave them.

PLEASE STOP SAYING I DON’T SEE COLOR.

Of course you do. We all do.

When you say that it is like denying my difference I bring to the world. Blacks, whites, Asians, Hispanics. We are all different. Instead of saying we don’t see color, let’s embrace our differences. Let all the colors and flavors we bring melt into a beautiful rainbow.

If we allow our differences to melt into the soul of our country, we will be a better land.

STOP ASKING IF A BLACK GUY IS QUALIFIED TO BE A HEAD COACH.

When I debate with my sports fans about possible coaching jobs, they almost always ask if a black coach is qualified for the job when I bring their name up. But they never ask if a white guy is qualified for the job. It’s just assumed that he is.

PLEASE STOP SAYING I DON’T SOUND BLACK

What does a black person sound like?

Does James Earl Jones sound black?

Do people from Africa with their cute British accents sound black?

Or do some people in the inner city who split their verbs sound black?

We have a diverse sound, as do most cultures.

SECURITY. STOP FOLLOWING ME IN STORES

I do not steal. My aunt, mother and grandmother taught me that at an early age. I understood following me when I was young. I am an old man now. I did not come into your store to swipe a pair of socks.

I can afford them.

There are other people in your store. Watch them also. You do not have to follow me around in the store. I’m one of the good ones.

Opps.

I’m a clown.

I deserve a social distancing gold star

Social-Distancing-6-Feet-Featured-ImageI am feeling proud today.

I am getting this public social distancing thing down finally. I was tasked with buying a vacuum from Wal-Mart today and I stayed out of everybody’s way.

I deserve a sanitized gold star.

A few weeks ago I went to the grocery store and bumped into every living soul at Kroger. I failed to do one thing. I did not read the floor. Your guide to safe shopping is plastered all over the place. I failed to notice.

I’m a quick shopper. My goal is to get in and out as quickly as possible. I take long strides while racing to my next destination. That’s why I kept bumping into people at Kroger.

No more.

I now take it slowly and I keep my head down to read my marks. I never noticed green stickers saying it is OK to walk down this aisle and the red ones that tell you don’t. I didn’t get any dirty stares today.

I wore my mask correctly and even waited for the lady in front of Wal-Mart to sanitize my cart.

I’m a little behind the rest of the world because I barely come out of the house. I fill up my tank with gas every third Friday. I’m not allowed to go grocery shopping. I am not allowed to pick up carry out.

I have to sneak out of the house because my wife Abs is the female version of Dr. Fauci. The difference is her guidelines are tougher. She even makes Gov. Whitmer look weak.

Abs would have been proud. I wiped down my steering wheel. I did not hug or kiss anyone in the store. I did not squeeze any woman’s ass. I was a good boy. And I washed my hands as soon as I walked into the house.

Today should be an exciting day for me because the bars and restaurants are back open at 50 percent capacity in Michigan. The bad news is my Dr. Fauci won’t allow me to hit the bars and restaurants until August — in the year 2023.

 

Let’s ditch the term White Lives Matter

I do not like it when people use the term “White Lives Matter.”

Let me explain.

It does not mean I am an advocate of killing white people. I simply believe many people say it to mock the important “Black Lives Matter” movement. In our society we already know that white lives matter. We already know that blue lives matter. What we’ve had a difficult time understanding is that black lives matter also.

That’s why it is easier to choke out black males like Eric Garner and George Floyd. That’s why its easier to hunt down Ahmaud Arbery in the streets of Georgia.  Our lives are not as important. That’s one reason we have protests and the Black Lives Matter movement.

We are teaching the world that black lives do matter. White people are not the only students that should learn from this valuable lesson plan. Many in the black community don’t get it either.

We sing songs about killing niggers. We too often watch blacks murder other blacks for a fist full of dollars or gym shoes or jackets. Black lives should matter then also.

I used to have a saying that “Black lives don’t matter.”

Philadelphia Inquirer executive editor Stan Wischnowski resigned from the newspaper after it used the insensitive headline “Buildings Matter Too” on a column about property damage.

I’m sure the editors thought they were being cleaver. However, they dug another knife in an open wound and there was outrage in the black community.

I remember having a conversation about race with a white woman and her young daughter. The little girl asked her mom if black people were sad when one of their children died.

Instead of an immediate yes the woman had to think about it before saying: “I think so.”

For the record, we do mourn our dead. We have feelings also.

Back in the day the Detroit newspapers ran Monday briefs on all the murders that occurred in the city that weekend. I used to call it The Negro roundup. Then a white lady from Grosse Pointe was murdered in the city while buying drugs. That story made the front of the paper. In editor’s mind her life was more important than the eight or 10 black people that were murdered that weekend.

We need more love in this country. We must root out hate and ignorance.

I hate murder and I do believe that all lives matter. We are all part of a family. We all have somebody who loves us and depends on us.

I do believe that we have reached a tipping point with all the protest that are happening across the country.

If things go right The Black Lives movement will disappear because it won’t be necessary. That would mean Black Lives Matter is no longer a movement. It is a reality.

 

Let’s open those restaurants back up

restaurant2I woke up last night because of a dream.

Bob Wojnowski, who is often my Friday night date, and I were so eager to go to a restaurant for the first time in three months that we took the bus. Our cars were broken and we wanted good food. We wanted to listen to the clank of dishes and the murmur of the crowd.

Those are the things I miss about going to a restaurant with family and friend. Of course good food is the main star, but there are other things about bars and restaurants I miss.

Monday is opening day for our bars and restaurants to open again during this annoying and deadly Covid-19 crisis. Although I will skip opening day at my favorite place because it falls just before an important doctor’s appointment, I hope to be there soon.

I don’t need fine dining. I don’t need fancy decorations.

For instance I love taking my son Brandon to Shake Shack for lunch. He loves the hustle and bustle of officer workers who try to cram a burger, fry and shake down their throats during a 45-minute lunch break.

Those moments remind me of my childhood when my grandmother and I ate at a now long forgotten downtown Big Boy. I loved my Big Boy combination and free comic book, but I also loved being around men in dark suits and ladies in pretty dresses who went over briefs during their lunch break. I pretended to be doing the same as I stuck my nose in my Big Boy comic book.

I felt like a big shot.

During Michigan’s stay home orders we mostly cooked at home and saved a lot of money. The family treat came Friday nights when we had Door Dash deliver a meal from one of our local restaurants.

We had one bad experience. GPS sometimes sends you to a house that sits behind ours on a dirt road. My son ordered barbeque. That house received a free meal and ate it. My son did without his meal that night. Other than that we discovered a new way to eat without leaving home.

Sadly, some of my favorite restaurants may not return. This stay at home order was devastating for many restaurants as their business decline by as much as 90 percent. As it is I wonder how many can survive with a 50 percent capacity cap when they do open back up.

I’m excited. I’m ready.

See you soon. And don’t forget to tip well. Your server has had a rough go of it.

 

My view of the 1967 Detroit riots

 

1967 Detroit Riot (10)On a cool November night in 1966 we heard the first salvo of the summer riots that would change Detroit forever.

My friend Big Mac and I were two of the younger players during pickup games played on a rickety hoop and backboard hung on a light pole in a glass filled alley. We were not allowed to play during the early afternoon games because we were too small. So we waited our turn to dust the older boys who mistakenly thought they were better than us.

We were 7 at the time and I thought I was a mini-version of Dr. J. Big Mac was big and a bit clumsy but he had his moments of success when he got to play.

We leaned against a green garbage bin when one of the boys climbed on top of it. So we got a front row seat for his speech on things that were about to come.

“This mother fucker is gonna’ burn next summer,” he shouted.

This was the first predictor of riots that would devastate the city of Detroit in the summer of 1967. The spark came in the wee hours of July 23 when police raided an afterhour’s joint called a blind pig. That’s where black folks gathered to dance, drink and laugh after the regular establishments closed. My cousin Miss Boots went to blind pigs because some of the bars downtown would not serve her. So she partied at blind pigs, saying they were more fun any way.

But these places broke the law because they poured drinks well after the mandatory 2 a.m. closing time. That’s why police stormed the place. But in the process they caused a five day disturbance that swelled to 10,000 strong. Before the riots ended the United States Army and the Michigan National Guard were called to squash the disturbance.

More than 2,000 buildings were destroyed, 43 were killed, nearly 1,200 were injured and 7,220 people were arrested.

Why did this happen? It wasn’t just because of the police raid. Anger simmered in the black community for many reasons. Too many of us lived in poverty. We were angry how blacks were murdered and beaten during the civil rights movement.

Months earlier this young boy gave a fire and brimstone speech on what was to come and why.

He said black people were tired of white folks, that we were tired of being harassed by the police and shot for no reason. We demanded better jobs and better housing. It was time to teach “whitey” a lesson and to end oppression. If you closed your eyes you’d swear you were listening to Malcom X giving a lecture rather than a kid who lived down the block.

Do his word sound familiar? Black people’s complaints in the 60s sound like their complaints in 2020.

He turned to us during his speech.

“You little brother are going to have to be soldiers in our fight.”

The civil rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King played on television every night. We watched in horror as black people in the south were attacked by police dogs and penned against buildings by the powerful spray of fire hoses.

We stood in silence and listened to the boy preach. It was a preview of the 1967 Detroit riots that still cripples our city today. Most people talk about the revival of Detroit. Some of that is true, but too many of our neighborhoods look like a war zone more than 50 years later.

Abandoned store fronts from the riots remain. The United States government talks about rebuilding cities in Afghanistan and Syria. When are we going to rebuild Detroit?

We were not at ground zero of the riots, but we were very close.

A pungent burning tar smell permeated my neighborhood as thick clouds of smoke passed over head. Sheets of burning paper drifted in the air creating fears of secondary fires. My job every night was to grab a fire hose and drench our roof so debris would not set it on fire.

I was never afraid during the riots because I knew many of the looters and snipers. Many were friendly.

My cousin Juanita sat inside a two bedroom apartment about three miles away with one of her female friends when a loud knock startled them both.

“Yall gotta get out,” a man shouted through the door. “We about to burn this mother down.”

The woman who lived in the apartment pleaded for the men not to burn her home. Too late. A mob had already gathered outside. They wanted blood. There was no stopping them. In the only sign of humanity the men offered to help move the woman’s furniture to the curb before torching the three story apartment complex.

No one bothered her furniture in the street while she waited to move into a new place the next day.

A few days later a parade of couches and television sets were marched down Vancouver Street. Looters had burned a local furniture story to the ground. They also broke into Mr. Solomon’s party store. The next day they burned it to the ground.

I was on the front porch with my grandmother during the parade.

She hated the riots and grumbled about the devastation.

“They are burning their own community. Where are we supposed to shop now?” she said.

Two men placed a couch down about 30 feet from our front porch.

One of the dude was named James and I recognized him from my ventures through the neighborhood.

“Hey little brother we did not forget you,” he shouted to me. “I know you like Almond Joys. We got something for you.”

Perched on the couch was a box filled with 24 bars of Almond Joy candy bars. That was a box of heaven to an eight year old kid. I took two steps towards the candy bars when an angry voice demanded that I stop.

“You better get your narrow ass back on this porch boy. That is not your candy.”

My grandmother was very angry. When she used the terms “narrow ass” it meant I’d better pay attention and obey her or there’d be strong consequences.

I made one feeble attempt to get her to change her mind.

“But Mother Dear. They already stole.”

It did not matter. This candy did not belong to me.

I slowly turned around and sat back on the porch. The fight was over.

“Are you sure little brother?” James called out. “I’m just gonna’ give the candy to somebody else.”

No words came out of my mouth because I was choking back tears. I motioned for James and his friend to keep on moving down the street.

My grandmother had a strict policy about stealing.

Looters initially did not burn down black business. That is why family friend Mr. B and many other black business men spray painted “Soul brother” on their stores.

Mr. B owned The House of Hats on 12th Street about three blocks from the spark that ignited the riots.”

He did all he could to save his store, including spending nights in the dark with a pistol by his side. They left his business alone for two days. On the third night a Molotov cocktail crashed through his front window and looters broke through gates that were supposed to keep them out.

They confiscated silk pants and shirts. But they did not get everything because Mr. B came from the back room firing his pistol.

A few weeks later my aunt, cousin and I helped Mr. B unpack clothes from dozens of boxes to stock his new House of Hats on Grand River, a stone’s throw away from the Rivera Theater where we went to see Bruce Lee and Dolomite movies.

 

 

Dear Brandon: A letter to my son during times of crisis

Dear Brandon,

You are my son. I love you.  I am scared for you, but I believe you will make it in life. I believe you will be safe in life.

Why do I believe that? I don’t know. I guess I am an optimist.

You are now 18 years old. You are a man. You are leaving high school with a better chance at life than I did. But you are still a black male who is feared by others although you would never hurt a fly.

I wanted your life to be easier than mine. I wanted your life to be better than mine. I wanted your life to be safer than mine. But first I needed to escape the hood.

This is a game plan that began when I was 18 years old. It began before I enrolled at Central Michigan University. It began when I was afraid of asking girls out and well before you came into the world. I began thinking about you decades before you were born.

You are on this path during troubling times. You are a black male. You are feared and you are targeted. We’ve seen this play out on television with the murders of black males across the country.

Do you remember when you hung out with your white friends at the mall? One of them stole from a store. Mall security immediately came to you even though you knew nothing about the heist. Thankfully your friend fessed up and let you off the hook.

Do you remember how mad I was when security followed me in Macy’s? I built a career in this city along with a reputation. I was taught by the women who raised me never to steal. And I never let them down.

You’ve been stopped by the police for speeding. But there was no incident. You remembered the talk we gave you and you executed the game plan to perfection although you were scared.

Remain calm. Do as you are told. No sudden movements. And you remembered that the police are right even when they are wrong.

The saga of George Floyd created an uproar in this country. Blacks, whites, Asians have all said they’ve had enough. Maybe there might be change. I’ve always told you that change will never happen until white people say they’ve had enough.

The world appears to be fed up after the murder of Floyd by a Minneapolis officer. I was through after Travon Martin and Eric Garner. I felt the pain of the choke holds when Garner and Floyd lay dying on the ground.

I could see me begging for my life. It was your sister’s biggest fear that dad would run into the wrong cop at the wrong time.

Change could not happen until white people took to the streets because they have more numbers and are more powerful in this country. That change appears to be happening. You attended a peaceful protest and I was proud of you for doing so.

You are in a better spot than me when I was 18 years old. Now you must take advantage of it. You found your passion, marketing and communications. You have found the next chapter of your book. Michigan State University.

Don’t blow it.

This path you now walk was paved when I was 18 well before you were born. In order to blaze this trail I needed to escape the hood. I needed to escape the hood even when my hopes and dreams were called selling out by my black friends and called impossible by people who did not believe in me. But I escaped in a series of chaotic moves with the help of family and friends which sometimes looked like a middle of the night jail break.

I had a policeman train a shot gun at my chest at age 11. A neighborhood tough threatened to shoot me at age 13 for the crime of walking past his house. I watched firemen wash the caked blood of a murdered insurance adjuster two blocks from where I grew up because the gun man wanted a pair of orange pants.

Also it was time to teach whitey a lesson. So it made it easier for that guy to pull the trigger.

I’ve been detained by the police for suspicion of bank robbery. For the record. I did not do it. I ended up having an enjoyable experience with the officers who stopped me. They showed me the photo of the suspect and I screamed: “Hey I’m not that fat.”

We all laughed.

You have seen none of that growing up in West Bloomfield. Your world is different. You grew up with white friends, black friends, Muslim, Gays and friends who identify as Sikh. I did not know what a Sikh was growing up on the west side of Detroit.

All my friends were black and Christian. They were also angry at white people.

You embrace Gay people. We made fun of them.

You come from a family of pioneers although the barriers they broke are nothing to write a book about or create a documentary on CNN. Your great aunt was the first black to work as an elevator operator at a downtown department store called JL Hudson’s. She got the job because she had a great personality. And Hudson’s HR thought she was white.

Your great, great grandfather was the only black to work as a carpenter when they built the Penobscot building in downtown Detroit.

You have a great opportunity in life now. Your chances would have been greatly diminished if I remained in my old neighborhood. Many of the houses are burned out shells along with the dreams of the people.

There are abandoned boats although there are no lakes, rivers or streams in my old neighborhood.

The party store I got penny candy was burned to the ground. The drug dealers and numbers runners are still there. So are the criminals who are so desperate in life that they will knock you upside the head to put food on the table.

I did not want you growing up in that environment.

A few years ago I got mad at your sister because she said our 2,700 square foot home with the finished basement was too small for four people to live in. I immediately took you to a 700 square foot home  built on a slab where eight people lived in inner city Detroit.

You guys did not understand why I wasted a Saturday usually reserved for the Eastern Market or the bakery to go to this run down home in Detroit. I wanted you to see what life was like for other people.

I grew up without a father. Ronald Eugene Foster enlisted in the Army, fought in the Korean War and was stationed in Germany. When he returned home he was shot dead within two years by a police officer who accused him of stealing a car.

The car my dad was accused of stealing was his. It was the same Volkswagen Beatle he used to drive around Belle Isle in.

You are the primary reason I fought so hard to live after suffering a stroke four years ago. I did not want one second of your childhood to be without a dad. Even though you get mad at me sometimes I wanted to be there every step of the way for you.

Son, I want you to move forward and make life easier for your children than the life I provided for you. Be a good husband. Be a good father. Be a good provider. And be a good citizen.

Despite what we see on television, it will all work out. I’m an optimist. Maybe that’s my biggest flaw.

Love,

Dad

 

 

 

 

My dad was murdered by a white cop

 

father-son-golfThe phone kept ringing in wee hours of this summer morning in 1970. That is usually bad news – a phone ringing persistently in the night.

The old ladies – my great grand mother and aunt –paced through the house whispering in anxious tones.

Something was wrong.

I rolled out of bed and walked through the basement and climbed up the back stairs to my aunt’s second story flat. It was about 4 in the morning and a fresh pot of coffee brewed on the kitchen table. CKLW’s 20-20 news blasted on the radio.

This Canadian station updated breaking news every 20 minutes in the most sensationalized manner. The baritone pipes of Byron McGregor announced to the world that my father was murdered by a police officer on Detroit’s west side.

The radio seemed to move as the update blasted from within.

“A black male attempting to steal a car near Tireman on Detroit’s west side was met by an off duty undercover cop. The black man from Detroit turned to face a blue plate special and was filled with hot led.”

Hot led? Blue plate special?

That’s how I found out my father was murdered more than 50 years ago. He was 32 years old.

I write this today in the wake of the George Floyd murder in Minneapolis. Someone asked how many black males have been affected by the killing by a white police officer. I am one of those people.

Not only did the police murder my father, but lied about it.

I knew that details of the story were not true. My father did not attempt to steal a car because he lived under the same roof as I did as a child. The old ladies stabbed the fear of God into you so deeply that you were afraid to steal, even as an adult.

My aunt knew the story was bull shit also. She convinced a reporter from the black run newspaper, The Michigan Chronicle, to investigate. The newspaper found that dad was at a party and got into an argument with the police officer. They knew each other prior to the party and had a rocky relationship. Apparently this dude held a grudge because my father lived with a white woman named Sherry in Royal Oak.

The car my father “attempted to steal” was an off white Volkswagen Beetle, the same car he drove around town and often repaired with his own hands when it broke down. If he were attempting to steal a car why were keys to the vehicle in his hands?

The man that murdered my father was never charged but his justice came a year later. He attended another party, got drunk and fell asleep in the guest bedroom upstairs. He woke up early the next morning in a drunken stupor and stumbled down the stairs. The home owner thought he was an intruder and shot him. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

This man robbed me of years of going to ball games with my dad, learning to repair cars and listening to old war stories. I do not know much about dad. He fought in the Korean War and was stationed at Fort Bragg military base in North Carolina, although the old ladies insisted the facility was in Missouri.

The old ladies spoke about him often. He was tall (6-foot-2), handsome and was quite the lady’s man. I have two half-brothers that I know of. Alec lives in the Detroit area while another boy grew up in Munich, Germany where my dad spent part of his military career.

I never got to know my father like other sons. He survived wars halfway around the world. But he could not survive Detroit. Within 16 months of him walking up the driveway onto our porch after being discharged from the Army, he was dead.

We did a few things together as father and son. But we never developed a strong bond.

As they closed his casket at the funeral home, the song “Close to You” by the Carpenters played. I began to feel guilty. I had yet to cry over my dad’s death. I forced a whimper and somehow got tears to stream down my eyes. They were forced.

My grandmother saw this and turned to console me.

“Poor thing,” she said. “He misses his father.”

Actually I didn’t. That was the problem.

The emotion of mourning my dad was taken away from me.

 

Can someone provide solutions during our troubling times of division?

riotI never want another 911 type attack to hit the United States. However, I crave the unity and love we showed one another afterwards.

Today, we are fighting a pandemic and the ugly protests following the death of another black man to the hands of police. I do not see unity during these times of troubled waters.

I see division and hate.

If you wear a mask to fight the pandemic you are an ugly screaming liberal.

If you don’t wear a mask you are a racist who does not care that the virus is devastating the black community.

Conservative politicians tell us the riots are the fault of Antifa liberals trying to push their agenda.

Liberal politicians are telling us that White Supremacists are doing most of the damage.

No wonder this country is so jacked up. We receive wildly different and conflicting messages daily from our leaders. It is sensory overload and the general public chooses what it wants to believe.

That usually leads to a 50-50 split in opinion and further division in this country. I’m sick of it.

I often go back to the words of Rodney King. Can’t we just get along?

I had hope for us in the immediate murder of George Floyd when I saw white people marching next to their black brothers and sisters. Then things turned ugly and riots hit dozens of major cities across the country.

People were more interested in looting Target than seeking justice.

Instead of solutions we look to place blame. I am still waiting for one politician to tell us how he or she plans to lead us out of this mess and formulate plans for this to never happen again.

Maybe I shouldn’t hold my breath.

Since we are playing the blame game, let me get my licks in.

Do you know who I blame for the crisis we are in regarding the protests and riots?

Is it the liberal politicians who lead these cities? Nope.

Is it Donald Trump? Nope.

I blame the hundreds of jurors who watched the same videos we saw of evil cops killing harmless black men and finding them not guilty. That led the public not to trust the system. That led to more anger and feeling of helplessness.

That leads us to today where America is burning.

We don’t have time for solutions. We are too busy trying to place blame.