This is why we can’t have nice things. And by nice things, I mean peace and prosperity for all. For those wondering why so much racial tension and strife in cities all across America, all we have to do is look at two recent examples of victim shaming and intolerance (at best), or rabid racism at worst, perpetrated by the very people who are supposed to be the guardians of this country’s “sacred” constitutional freedoms and basic human rights: federal government officials and local police departments.

Let’s start with Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay, who was criticized by a police union president for being photographed on New Year’s Eve holding a sign that says: “I resolve to challenge racism @ work.” Fraternal Order of Police president Howard McQuillan said the sign paints city police as racists. To his credit, Chief McLay, who is white, responded that “The predominant pattern of our city’s increased violence involves black victims as well as actors. If we are to address this violence, we must work together with our communities of color.” Sounds innocent enough and appropriate, doesn’t it? Apparently not, especially if you represent a group that was originally formed with the purpose of enforcing “laws” largely based on race, and in keeping one race perpetually subservient to another. It has been widely noted that the first police departments and Sheriffs were formed in order to keep slaves and free blacks in line or to catch runaway slaves and return them to their slave masters. And so it continues today.

Moving right along, In a ridiculously myopic statement, Jim Pasco, the executive director of the National Fraternal Order of Police said that “Right now, it’s a hate crime if you attack someone solely because of the color of their skin, but it ought to be a hate crime if you attack someone solely because of the color of their uniform as well,” as he called for Congressional hate crimes statute to be expanded to include crimes against police officers. The union reportedly has more than 300,000 members. This attitude is what is preventing this country from having a real conversation on race, on a bigger scale. These union officials represent the views of most of their constituency and it’s very troubling (and goes to the heart of the police-brutality problem) that they just don’t get it. Well, then, to take him at his word, congress should also prosecute cops who profile people because of their race, discontinue to stop-and-frisk black/brown teens at an astonishing rate, and stop brutalizing/killing black and brown people just because of their skin color. I’m all for it. While they’re at it, congress should do away with other entities whose main crux is based on racial hatred: indict their Republican peers for gerrymandering voting districts, in order to disenfranchise Black/brown/poor people, shut down FOX news, incarcerate Rush Limbaugh and Ted Nugent (among many), and immediately raid the compounds of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell, Wolfowitz and throw them in Guantamo for hate crimes against Arabs and Muslims. Where does it stop?

Finally, the federal government, in their latest, worst example of capitulating to the Zionist regime that runs Israel, are threatening to cut aide to the Palestinians for daring to seek join the International Criminal Court.  At a recent State Department briefing, spokesperson Jen Psaki warned that the Palestinian accession to the International Criminal Court could result in a reduction of US assistance to the Palestinian Authority. The New York Times wrote: “Washington… is expected to cut $400 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority if the International Criminal Court bid is not reversed.”  This is incredible! The U.S. is threatening to withhold aid to an entire nation of refugees, who is seeking their day in court. And the media and American people are either supporting it or tacitly going along.

This is why we can’t have nice things. How can Black/Brown/Poor people expect justice from elected officials, people who are supposed to represent and safeguard their rights and well-being, while these same people behave with such callous disregard for the powerless, poor, and Black/Brown people at home and abroad. And the worst part is that Americans who don’t speak out against these injustices, are complicit. And they make up the majority.

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 It’s amazing how the basis for Americans’ unhappiness with the POTUS is his skin color. From what I’ve seen, people tend to blame this president for things that have been going on for more than 100 years! All presidents have been open to criticism, it comes with the job. However, Americans routinely spew vile hatred and racism as though this president is the worst thing that ever happened to this country. ALL US presidents have played politics (and all that it entails), used cronyism, badgered, lied, cheated, “bent” the rules and stacked the deck in their (and their backers) favors. Many have committed atrocities and outright ordered (or looked the other way while it was being committed) genocide. Starting with the first president, to the beloved so-called first Black POTUS (Bill Clinton). ALL of them have put American imperialism, colonialism, classism, and racism (which benefit a tiny minority of the population the most, and then trickles down according to color and then class) ahead of the interests of the masses of the people. ALL have been terrible neighbors and made America horrible “citizens of the world,” and then hypocritically cry out loud, “they hate us because of our freedom.” And the 85% sheep cry along with them, fueling ignorance and enabling murder and oppression all over the world. Perpetuating the very system they claim to know is not right or good, and which many will also claim to dislike…SMH.

“Mindless violence cannot be tolerated!” I have read this sentiment, and similar others in at least 20 articles and many statuses/tweets condemning the murder of the two NYC police officers in Brooklyn. Of course, I wholeheartedly agree. My question is, did it just now become “mindless violence?” Is it not mindless violence when law enforcement kills a Black person an average of every 28 hours in this country? Is it not mindless violence when law enforcement taser and beat up handcuffed suspects, breaking bones, etc? Oh, NOW it’s mindless violence!? ANYONE who thinks this way or expressed such sentiments is either ignorant or a hypocrite! The police unions and politicians who are blaming these officers’ deaths on the NYC mayor, the protesters, even the POTUS, are vile opportunists who are trying to hang on to the status quo, in order to continue murdering people without any consequences. Most people are calling for police accountability and an end to police violence. People are (Finally!!) fed up with the mistreatment and murder of innocent, or just regular citizens. People want the system to change and hold law enforcement accountable when they MURDER or abuse people. We are not less of a human being because we are not cops! and cops are not above the law or have the right to take away my natural, God-given rights because their job is tough, or my skin color makes them fear for their lives. And if the best you can do is say, “when you’re getting robbed, call an activist,” then fuck you! Do I have to put up with abuse from a cop because he may one day help me? Abuse and mistreatment are NOT law enforcement rights! Professionalism, courtesy, and public service are.

Interviewed was my friend Nicole, whose “two seconds of fame” just got extended…indefenitely.

WPIX 11 New York

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MIDTOWN, Manhattan (PIX11) — The protests continued into the weekend. The fourth day of rallies and marches following a grand jury’s decision not to indict a police officer in the death of Staten Island resident Eric Garner.

Several hundred people staged a “die-in” at Grand Central Terminal Saturday afternoon. They lay still with their signs by their sides for up to an hour. Commuters gathered around and watched.

Then they left Grand Central chanting “we can’t breathe” as they walked. They marched onto 42nd street and then to Times Square.

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From Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom:I have walked the long walk to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”

In hindsight, I think that I took the first step in my “Long Walk to Freedom” during the winter of 1986. The Black Student Union at Nazareth College (Pittsford, NY), hosted the play Asinamali!, a production brilliantly written and directed by Black South African Mbongeni Ngema. It means I have no money, and depicted the horrific degradation suffered by all Black South Africans at the hands of the apartheid regime. At the time, I was a student at St. John Fisher College, which is about two miles away from Nazareth. My friend Annie, a student at Naz, got me a ticket to the play and to the reception afterward. The students spoke at length with the five actors who made up the cast of the play, who went into detail about life in South Africa. They also told us that some countries (such as the US of A) publicly condemned the SA government, and even participated in the United Nations-imposed sanctions against SA, but secretly continued to do business with SA through multinational corporations and through countries who refused to take part in the sanctions (Israel). They asked us to look at our schools’ financial portfolios and in them, we may find that our own schools may still be investing in companies that continued doing business in SA. We took them up on it and found out just that. Black students at St. John Fisher and Nazareth colleges demanded that the schools stopped investing in companies doing business in SA. The response from school administration was not a positive one (though, honestly, I can’t remember exactly what their response was. I do remember them stating that they wouldn’t change their investment strategies). Thus, in the spring of 1986, Black, and some white, students held a protest march from Nazareth to St. John Fisher, where it culminated in a rally condemning apartheid, calling for the liberation of SA political prisoners, especially Nelson Mandela, and demanding that U.S. colleges stop investing in companies doing business in SA. It was a huge deal back then, with live local press coverage. I remember the derisive looks from many white students as they walked by, during the rally. They seemed to resent the fact that we wanted justice and freedom for Black people. This experience would serve as a precursor to the Fisher Black students having ex Black Panther Party founder Bobby Seale as a speaker at the school. I’ll leave that one for another day.

ImageSweet mother of Jesus,” flashed in my mind and the words escaped, falling off my lips like water off an old faucet with a slow drip. It was a bright, sunny Sunday afternoon in the spring of 1993. I had just pulled up my black Dodge Daytona and rolled to a stop in front of the hair salon next to the mosque. At that time, the neighborhood around Genesee and Sawyer Streets was Black Mob turf. 760 Genesee Street, however, was off limits. Painted in bright red letters and highlighted in gold, the flag of Islam, the Star and Crescent, and the words, “Muhammad’s Mosque Study Group” announced to the world that Black Mob rule didn’t apply there.

For the most part, the brothers in the mosque had an amicable, if at times tense, relationship with the hustlers that made Genesee and other parts of the Westside of Rochester their stage.  Deep inside, in their core, they knew that something wasn’t right about what they were doing in the streets, but many felt as though they had no other alternatives. Some didn’t care, and yet others knew no better. There is an aspect of being ignorant that many don’t consider: some people just don’t know no better. And this abject ignorance was personified on Genesee St. The corner of Genesee and Sawyer was a jungle in 1993.  Boarded up, burned out buildings, run-down, bug and rat-infested shanty houses that looked more like Soweto in 1963 than an affluent upstate New York city 30 years later. The littered side alleys, filled with the filth of dead animals, human excrement, bloody syringes, crack pipes, empty liquor bottles, mirrored the lifetime of neglect and despair that the people who treaded on them logged around day after miserable day. Lurking around every corner, waiting to jump out like the boogey man, were unfulfilled dreams, a countless number of eroded hopes and stunted manhood, discarded lives sitting on stoops, waiting for something or someone to arrive and make this hell right.  

 I was in awe from the second I laid eyes on her. The sun was directly overhead and there was not one cloud in the sky. As she walked toward the mosque and approached my car, the sun seemed to be brighter where ever she was stepping. Her face slightly tilted upward, welcoming the sun, as though she were a battery and the sunrays were charging her up. Her face met the rays and they blended into her, never to be seen again, powering her forward. In front of her were her three little boys. The oldest was probably no older than five years old. They were beautiful and each dressed in a dark suit and tie. They walked in perfect rhythm with her, as though they had rehearsed the walk many times before. Not one step out of sync. Not one looking to the side or talking or playing or laughing. Just looking straight ahead, placing one foot in front of the other, barely touching the sidewalk with the soles of their Sunday shoes, peaceful, orderly. It was the kind of control only achieved through a highly spiritual connection. This was no mind trick and to call it control by fear would be a misnomer. There was no tension, no strife. There was a continuous, flowing directive line from her brain to those children, which kept them moving forward just as she wanted, without having to utter one word. She was in tune with her nature and they were as well.

She wore the sister’s brown satin garment regularly worn on weekdays or to public events. Sundays, the sisters usually wore white, but on this Sunday, she wore brown. It was a deep, dark brown that shone brightly as the sun beamed down on it. The headpiece was the same color and covered her hair, down to her forehead and swooping back down to her shoulders. Sisters in The Nation don’t cover their faces. And her face was the only skin showing on her. And what a magnificently beautiful face it was. Her color was the color of cocoa: dark, rich, beautiful brown. However, with the sun shining down on her, she looked rather mystical. She glowed. No, she shone. Well, the sun was shining, so one would think that it was brightening her up. But it looked like it was the other way around: the sun followed her, looking for her approval. As she walked with the majesty of millions of queens who came before, she held her head up high, bathed in dignity, face slightly tilted upward, and projected a look of serenity and purity. She was in full control of her attributes, her presence, her children, the sun that followed her. Her body gracefully undulated with every step, sending out hypnotic waves. Her steps were not hurried, but she walked with a purpose, a calm determination that she had somewhere to be.

As I sat in my car and watched this surreal scene unfold right in front of my eyes, this was the precise moment when I understood what Mary, the mother of Jesus (The Son of God) must have looked like. I heard my voice echo in my head saying this out loud. My entire being was transfixed on this particular moment and place in time.  Time slowing to an almost complete halt. Yet my awareness and connection with everything natural fully engaged. I realize that this may sound like mere hyperbole to some, but I’ll explain. Mary was a prototype. Inasmuch as she was a real woman, she was a sign of the woman that the Black woman in America would need to become in order to produce children who would one day break the shackles that kept Black people in American ghettoes in the terrible condition of being blind, deaf and dumb. Another religious nut, says you? Hardly. Go back and read the description of the neighborhood again. Around the time of Jesus’ birth, the question was asked, “What good can come out of Nazareth?” Nazareth was the ghetto, “Da Hood.” Just as Genesee and Sawyer was. What good can come out of this wretched place? Unless a woman, especially prepared by God Himself, with the mind of a virgin, meaning that the enemy has not corroded her thinking, corrupting her, can emerge from this filth and decadence, clean, shinning, dignified, in full self-control and create a shield around her and her children, where there can be proper learning and growth and security. Do you think outstanding people just come out of nowhere? Extraordinary people, such as Jesus, have to come from extraordinary people and circumstances. Jesus came out of Nazareth. He came from a young Black girl from the hood. She was an unwedded teen. Back then, this was a deadly indiscretion, just as it can be today: too often, the child is condemned to a life of having less (than the Jones’), trials and tribulations, mental and physical abuse, substance abuse, often going hungry and cold, learning to place more value on wearing a certain shoe brand than on going to school and overcoming poverty and want through work and sacrifice. In the hood, as it is in the jungle, it is survival of the fittest. It is not hard to imagine that Mary had the kind of connection with a young Jesus that this sister had with her children, guiding them with her mere presence. Neither one would allow their precious Black Boy to be taken by the enemy. She would show the world that with the proper connection to God, discipline, patience, sacrifice and limitless love, one could overcome the ghetto, wherever and whenever it may be.

As Mary walked past my car, without ever noticing me, she was greeted outside the mosque by a brother, who opened the door and ushered her and her children inside. I sat in my car stunned for a while, trying in vain to categorize what I had just experienced. Although I had already decided that I wanted to be a part of the solution to the problems, the reason for wanting to were never as clear and evident as they were at that precise moment. I now had a face to my desire to bring sanity to the world in which I lived. Just as the sun was bright that day, it was evidently clear that every Black woman should reflect “Mary.” Every Black woman should walk down her street in complete confidence and in control of herself and without any fear. The wind should part when she walks and the sun should ask her permission to shine upon her. She is, after all, giving birth to God. And all of God’s creation should bow to the one who brings forth God’s children: to Mary, mother of Gods.

ImageAs much as I’d like to proclaim my brilliant powers of deduction, I’m pretty sure most intelligent people knew that this would happen eventually. All signs pointed to it. All one has to do is look at history and one would come to the conclusion that United States Secretary of State John Kerry would soon announce that  “this is a fight that belongs to the Iraqis. That is exactly what the president and the world decided some time ago when we left Iraq, so we are not obviously contemplating returning. We are not contemplating putting boots on the ground. This is their fight. … We will help them in their fight, but this fight, in the end, they will have to win and I am confident they can.” This magnanimous proclamation came in the heels of reports that “Al-Qaida linked militants” have overrun and now control two Iraqui cities (Fallujah and Ramadi) and that bombings in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, killed at least 20 people Sunday (yahoo news). Inasmuch as this announcement is meant for the fledgling Shiite-led government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, it is also a message to the rebels fighting the Assad regime in Syria: don’t expect anything more than some conventional weapons, CIA and special forces operatives to lead raids, intelligence and maybe some nerve gas (to later justify ousting you from power). Moreover, to the fighters in Libya, South Sudan, DRC, Egypt, Lebanon, Mali, and elsewhere, never mind that the CIA’s subversive operations and illegal underground machinations helped to fuel the fires of uprisings and often provided the means to start said uprisings, you’re on your own. The wheels have been set in motion and in the not-too-distant future, the benefits will be cashed in: weapons sales, defense contracts, spies sent in under the guises of USAid workers, and political envoys who will be espousing the wonders of democracy (in order to set a pecking order in the countries’ political arenas) .

Mr. Secretary, some time ago, the world decided that the US war machine had no evidence of WMDs or Iraqi ties to the 9/11 attacks on the US, which Americans officials repeatedly alluded to (even though they knew it was false), to justify an invasion of Iraq in the first place. The invasion was not supported by the United Nations and the war mongers in Washington pieced together a “Coalition of the willing,” then proceeded to drop a one TON bomb for every 52 Iraqi citizens. With a population of around 26 million people, the US admitted to unleashing what equates to roughly 40 pounds of explosives for each and every Iraqi citizen (as of 2005).

In his 2005 book, Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, William Blum writes that “The US government speaks sternly of WMD, defining them as nuclear, chemical and biological in nature, and ‘indiscriminate’ (meaning their use can’t be limited to military objectives). Washington does not apply the term ‘weapons of mass destruction’ to other weapons the US has regularly used, such as depleted uranium and cluster bombs, which can be, and often are, highly indiscriminate. WMD are sometimes further defined as those whose effects linger in the environment, causing subsequent harm to people. This would certainly apply to cluster bombs, and depleted uranium weapons, the latter remaining dangerously radioactive after exploding.”

Since then, of course, a new wave of terror has rained down upon, among others, wedding parties and residential neighborhoods, in the form of drone missile attacks across Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Mr. Blum pointed out years before drone warfare became the controversial topic it is today, “It seems highly self-serving and specious to try to paint a human face on a Tomahawk Cruise missile whose payload of a thousand pounds of TNT crashes into the center of a densely-populated city, often with depleted uranium in its warhead.”

American foreign policy remains predictably entrenched in its racist colonial and capitalists roots: equating the worth of people’s lives (and thus the measure of “American involvement”) to the amount of natural resources that can be extracted from those countries, as well as their strategic geographical location (ie, are they a real, imminent threat to Israel). This is why Iraq and Afghanistan were invaded, and why Libya and Egypt (among others), were destabilized from within, until implosion.

Secretary Kerry said about the Iraqi “insurgents,” “Their barbarism against the civilians in Ramadi and Fallujah and against Iraqi security forces is on display for everyone in the world to see.” Many intelligent people around the world would argue that the same  can be said about American intervention.

As it often does, this new year brings endless possibilities with it. Everything we wanted to do, but couldn’t, because of, you know, them, is once again at our fingertips. All we have to do is grab it. But, alas, as 2013 proved (as well as so many other years), wishing things to happen (or not happen) and actually making things happen (or preventing them from happening), are totally different beasts.

I think it starts out all wrong from the first day of the year. Who said resolutions can only be made to start the year? What about to start the day? daily resolutions seem more realistic to me because it focuses one on actual events or things that can be achieved or get done this day.  People usually have a grandiose big picture of something they want or what they want their lives to be like. Attaining this life or these things are what drives people mad, regardless of Yoga, Zen Buddhism, chocolate, alcohol, cannabis, or whatever other blue pill we choose to swallow. However, I bet that if you ask any financially successful (or otherwise happy or content) person, about the secret to their success, they will probably tell you that they take care of the small, mundane, daily things, regardless of how tedious they appear to be.

Now that we are working on the small things, how about realistic, reachable goals that we can actually achieve within several weeks or months? Anything. A certification at your job, a coaching class to certify you to coach your child’s little league team, a class at your community college, making the world a better place by volunteering at the humane society, or making a pot of soup and setting up a stand and giving away heaping, steaming, healthy bowls of goodness to anyone who is hungry? You may save lives just by engaging some people in conversation and maybe giving them a ride to a shelter or hospital. What does that have to do with you and improving your life, you ask? Thanks for asking. Many (most ?) people just want to live our lives without contempt, strife or regret, yet constantly engage in self-defeating behavior. We are inherently unhappy in this world. It is obvious why and I won’t bore you with a dissertation on society’s ills. However, We are the sum part of our actions. People look at the enormity of the task and throw up their hands. We feel helpless and sometimes hopeless at the complexity of the problems. We do this when pondering the big picture (world at large) and, consequently, it seeps into our private lives. My assertion is that if we do small things daily to help ourselves and others, simple acts of kindness, we would be much more happy and satisfied with ourselves and would thus free up space in our brains and wills to start working on other goals. I could give you many examples in my personal life. This is how I know that what I am saying is true…at least for me.

One of my favorite sayings, which I quote in most of the groups I facilitate, is: “You will never get chicken noodle soup if you keep putting beef in the pot.” It is insane. Simple, but we, insanely, expect to continue to engage in the same behavior, do the same things, take the same approaches to solving our problems (often doing nothing), yet have a yearning desire or longing for “things” to be different. I blame Disney for this insanity. Well, not really, but it is a “believe in magic” mentality that keeps people stuck. There is no Prince(ss) walking through that door to rescue us from the lives we have created. The Big Bad Wolf lives within, people. We need rescuing alright, from ourselves. And guess who is the one who will have to do the rescuing? Yep, it’s you. So gear up. Make up your mind that today is the day, and start doing it. A naive young person asked a very wise old man once, “Master, what can I do to quit smoking?” He replied, “If you want to quit, then do it.”  It is that simple. And what a perfect day to start: A New Year!

ImageFrom my perspective, the real question is, “are you really so blind?” There are so many American people up in arms, outraged even, at what a “reality television personality” said publicly to seemingly ruffle some feathers in the fragile collective “American psyche”. Phil Robertson, of A&E’s Duck Dynasty fame, didn’t use his show as a forum to spit racist, hateful rhetoric. He did this elsewhere. No one, other than the handful of people present, heard him. GQ magazine printed his words and media execs ran with the idea of building a fire with it. Knowing very well that everything anyone has ever said in the last 40 or so years is apparently recorded somewhere, and subject to public scrutiny. Media “geniuses” saw this as an opportunity to create “controversy.” By stirring the pot, they have created an amount of interest in this program (and the network), that would have taken tens of millions of dollars in marketing to achieve.

I recently read an article on breitbart.com that highlighted the fact that A&E knew about the GQ statements the very day of the interview because the network sent a publicist with Robertson to the interview. I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but it certainly appears to me as though A&E orchestrated the whole controversy. Isn’t that the capitalist system: “Win at ANY cost?” Knowing this, “Why the long face?” This ensuing controversy is contrived and ridiculous.

“It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus; that’s just me, I mean, come on, dudes! … It’s just not logical.” Robertson said to GQ magazine. Whatever else he may have spewed (and don’t claim to have heard/read it all-I can only take so much before I feel like vomiting), this statement is NOT homophobic. Yes, he sounds degrading and appears to be mocking gays. But hell, most men I know think in these terms. The notion of being sexually attracted to a man is foreign and I just don’t understand it. At the same time, I could care less who is attracted to whom! I live and let live and no one has the right to determine for others whom they should love or be attracted to. Most people do have a filter between their brains and their mouths. Apparently, Mr. Robertson doesn’t. Apparently, GQ and A&E have not filters when it comes to making money, as well.

On a bigger scale, this controversy is an opportunity for people to realize just how far American society has degraded. The American capitalist system has gone totally rogue: corporations run the government and use their influence to turn elected officials into “plantation overseers.” The vast majority of the population is either poor or one paycheck away from it: we live in a nation where 1% of the people own 42% of the nation’s wealth and the top fifth controls 84%, while the bottom fifth owns 0.1%. Obviously, this points to a continuously shrinking middle class and the disintegration of the “American Dream.” Yet, people are more concerned about “political correctness,” and “gift-giving this holiday season.” Organizations like the Jewish “Anti Defamation League”, and others, constantly monitor the news wires looking (to create) an opportunity to jump on something someone has said that may be either misconstrued or blown out of proportion, in order to further their agenda. Their aim is to divert attention from the real issues, such as right-wing legislation that takes more money from working people (or takes away more rights), or their decision to crash another wedding party with a drone strike, or invade another brown/black country looking to steal natural resources for  “terrorists.”

So, please count me out of the “moral majority’s outrage” at the bigotry of Mr. Robertson. What, you thought that because he has money and a television program, he would be “enlightened”? It, HE, is irrelevant in my life and in the grand scheme of things and people should be able to recognize this whole thing for what it is: a money-grab.

ImageI shake my head in disgust and grip the steering wheel until my knuckles turn white. I examine it intensely, inexplicably expecting oil or juice, or something, to drip from it. Resigned, I look up in front of me at the endless, winding sea of vehicles, halted as far as the eye can see. Winding in the distance, glistening against the black pavement like scales on a giant sea monster. I draw a big breath and finally let it out begrudgingly, slowly. This is D.C. traffic. But it’s not supposed to be like this at THIS time. It’s 9:30 AM. Rush hour should be over. Why are there so many damned cars on 395, heading into DC? WHY?!

It has taken almost an hour to drive roughly a mile. The distance between the pentagon exits and the 14th St. Bridge. Suddenly, from my right, a bronze-colored Acura swerves and lunges, trying to squeeze inside the 13.2 inches between my car and the car in front of me. Startled, l slam on my brakes without thinking. The car in front of me moves forward and the driver of the Acura cuts right in. Had I not slammed on my brakes, she would have definitely hit me (in hindsight, I should have let her hit me and then hit her car back. Twice. Her late-model Acura probably costs 25 grand. My 1999 Altima, with over 200K miles and more than a few dings and dents is worth…a lot less). This was my chance and I blew it, Damn it! My chance to stick it to some rich a$$hole with bad road manners. You don’t understand, for years (since I lived and drove in the perilous road conditions of upstate N.Y in wintertime), I have longed to hit someone on the road. Not just anyone, but her, that person who cut me off unceremoniously and without a care in the world just went on about her business as if she does it routinely. And she probably does, that damned…witch!

For over an hour, I had dealt with rude, selfish drivers. People who feel as though theirs is the only vehicle on the road. People who have very important jobs, where lesser forms of life have to capitulate to their every whim, laugh at their tasteless, corny jokes, shamefully lower their gaze and bite their lips, walking away feeling dirty when those cold reptile eyes inspect and undress them shamelessly, and hiss “compliments” that shouldn’t be said to a hooker in a Saigon alley. I came to the conclusion that the road was full of Republican congress members and senators (and their staffs and cronies). It was not John Boehner who cut me off, but the back of her head sure looked like Michele Bachmann’s. She appeared to be as reckless (and smart), anyway. In order to be so selfish and careless on the road, you need to have the audacity to shut down the federal government, at the cost of billions of dollars, further unnecessarily increasing the national debt, putting people out of work, cutting off many needed services to the poor, and making this great country the laughingstock of the entire world. In short, you gotta have cojones!

You may think I’m exaggerating or overreacting a bit. If you live in the DC area you’ll know that I am not. Drivers here are not like in the rest of the country. I’ve lived and driven in NYC, I’ve driven in LA, Chicago, Detroit, Toronto and Niagara Falls, Canada. Charleston, S.C. as well. In addition to a great number of smaller cities and town across the nation. DC drivers are by far the worst. A friend, Eddie, a transplant from Connecticut, is the one who first gave name to my frustration. “They are just selfish here,” Eddie said to me. YES! and to take it further, they also suffer from “Affluenza.” Aha! Not only are they ignorant, uncaring, cold-blooded, arrogant, entitled, reckless, and lazy, their collective state of wealth makes them utterly and disgustingly bad “elected” officials, and the worst drivers in the country. They are driving people off the road and driving the country off a cliff. They feel as though they own the country and the roads too. Their station in life totally disconnects them from the rest of us. It also disengages them from any feeling of accountability to us. This is true both while conducting the nation’s business and while on their way to doing it.

It is time that “average” Americans use their collective voting power to oust these…neanderthals from office, but also cut them off in traffic and give them the bird whenever we have the chance. Oh, and please take one for the team: in the future, if one of them tries to cut you off on the road, hit them! Twice.