Monday, August 21, 2017

Lessons from the Eclipse

  • Sometimes it gets dark at unexpected times in life.
  • When it gets dark, keep moving forward, the darkness passes. 
  • Those who plan ahead are able to deal with the darkness better than those that don't, 
  • but even if you don't plan ahead, you can adapt to the situation. 
  • After the darkness passes, you wonder what all the fuss was about. 
  • Sometimes it gets dark at unexpected times... but those times can become some of our favorite memories.
My hope is that any shadow in your life passes quickly, and you will be celebrating the brightness of each new day soon.

#solareclipse #weirton #binocularsprojection

A post shared by Jim McKay (@jimmckay_) on

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Thoughts on Charlottesville

With a few more votes in Wisconsin, Michigan or Pennsylvania, Hillary Clinton would be President. 

Instead, Donald Trump won the election and his messages have emboldened white supremacists to come out of the shadows - not even covering their faces with hoods of the KKK - and openly attacking others with torches Friday night and running them over with a car Saturday afternoon. 

But make no mistake, the racist, white supremacists who tried to start a race riot Friday night and Saturday in Charlottesville were walking among us prior to the election - they were just hidden a bit more in the shadows supporting the institutions of structural racism and oppression. 

They were evident when Trayvon Martin was killed... and Tamir Rice and Michael Brown and so many others. They were there when a resume is placed in the trash or a rental application is denied because someone's name "sounds black". They were there when a person of color is far more likely to be suspended, expelled and incarcerated than someone who is white. They are there when voting rights have been denied again in the same precincts that disenfranchised black voters in the 20th century during the Jim Crow era. 

In order for our country to transform into a nation that truly preserves the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for ALL - we must actively dismantle the systems of racism that support the LIE of white supremacy. 

The one silver lining of a Trump Presidency is that the myth that a strong, white, wealthy man is supposedly superior to others is being exposed for the fraud that it is. 

Just as a caterpillar transforms through a cocoon into a butterfly - our society must also be transformed. Unfortunately, I think we are in the "ooey-gooey" stage of that transformation. 

It will take each of us working together to not only remove symbolic statues that commemorate our racist history, but to actively dismantle the systems that oppress people of color including discriminatory hiring practices, mass incarceration, housing discrimination, inadequate schools, etc. 

We need to dismantle racism with concrete actions. Taking down the statues is one small step. Dismantling the systems and policies that directly and indirectly oppress people of color requires even bolder actions. 

The world is changing. There are those who would have us go backwards, but our ingenuity as a nation compels us to move forward and leave the old systems of oppression behind. 

When we allow one segment of our society to lag behind - and worse yet to exploit one segment of society in order to benefit another segment of society - then we are living in contradiction with our nation's fundamental belief of one nation, indivisible. 

It's time to stop having discussions about race in this country and start fixing the problem. One important step is to name the problem for what it is - systems and policies that preserve "white supremacy". We talk a lot about race and discrimination "on many sides" but the reality is that our nation was founded on the oppression and enslavement of black people taken from their homes and the slaughter and near genocide of Native Americans. 

That is our history. Some in Charlottesville and across the country want that history to be our present and also our future. 

I am fighting for a different future, a transformed future where we love ALL thy neighbors and these institutions of white supremacy are dismantled forever. 

Thankfully there are many more who join me in this fight - those who are fighting every day and have been fighting for many years. I am grateful for their leadership and sacrifice. I look forward to our hopeful, more positive future - together

Monday, November 07, 2016

2016 Election Prediction

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Prediction Time! Here is my prediction for tomorrow's election. 

Clinton gets 323 electoral votes powered by close wins in North Carolina and Florida and is elected the 45th President of the United States! 

Nevada also goes to Hillary Clinton on the strength of early voting and strong support from latino voters. Even if NC and/or Florida go for Trump, Hillary gets to 270 with wins in the western states of Colorado and Nevada. 

Ultimately, Trump's lack of a ground game to get out the vote makes the election far less close than it would have been otherwise. 

I also predict the Senate ends in a 50-50 tie. I think the Democrats win Senate races in PA - McGinty; WI - Feingold; IL - Duckworth; and one of the 3 Senate toss-ups either Bayh in Indiana, Hassan in New Hampshire, and/or Kander in Missouri win their races against GOP incumbents. With a 50-50 tie Vice President Kaine will cast the deciding vote for Democratic control of the Senate. 

The House of Representatives stays in GOP hands, but with Dems picking up about 15 seats and having more Democratic votes cast for Congress than GOP votes, but the GOP retains the majority due to redistricting lines of Congressional Districts. 

 That's my federal level predictions. What do you think? And please, go VOTE!

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Outrageous Outrage

So we have outrage over the killing of the gorilla (Harambe) at the Cincinnati Zoo. We have outrage over the child’s mom for apparently looking the other way and losing track of her child for a moment. We have outrage over bathrooms. We have outrage over the outrage and over so many things.

But it doesn't seem like we have outrage over children fending for themselves while their moms and dads work two jobs just to barely make ends meet.

We don't have outrage when children live in substandard housing because their parents pay predatory interest rates for their mortgage or pay rent to landlords who don't fix leaking roofs.

We don't have outrage when children go to bed hungry (or when Congress votes to cut school nutrition and SNAP programs).

We don't have outrage when a parent battling addiction, often due to drugs prescribed by their doctor, can't get the treatment they need to be healthy and sober.

The dangerous threat to our children is not a gorilla. It is not a stranger using the bathroom in Target.
The real threat to our children and their future is our system of policies and systems that leave too many of our children (and their families) out in the cold.

Instead of blaming each other and being outraged at the most recent sensational headline, it's time we enact laws and public policies that remediate child and family poverty. It’s time that we increase efforts to meet children’s basic needs. It's time that we develop partnerships with families and respect culturally diverse practices. It’s time that we address our flawed systems of racial and socioeconomic disparities in this country.

It's time that we build public will and grow social norms that encourage giving of ourselves to benefit those less fortunate. It’s time that we offer help when we can give it, and it’s time to ensure that we get help when we need it.

It's time that we stop pointing fingers and start lending a hand.