This is my final (for now) of three columns offering fifty-year projections concerning the following question: as a nation, where will we stand in 2070 when it comes to the contested interplay of diversity and speech?These three columns are based on a December, 2019, public presentation on diversity and speech that I gave at the Speculative Futures in Education Conference at the University of California, Riverside.In my previous two columns I argued that, during the next fifty years, there are likely to be significant changes in the legal framework for dealing with Hate speech and Harmful speech.
First, Hate.In the past decade the internet has dramatically altered the hate speech conversation.As an easily-accessible mechanism for spreading hate and precipitating action, the internet has developed into a true weapon of terror.First Amendment absolutists repeatedly proclaim that the best way to fight hate is simply through “more speech.” However, “more speech” has proven to be decidedly ineffective in combating the internet hate speech avalanche, including troll storms and doxing.For that reason, I predict that the necessity of curbing hate-speech-fueled violence, particularly against marginalized people, will ultimately drive government to restricting at least some forms of hate speech by 2070.
As America wages a life and death battle against the skyrocketing spread of novel coronavirus, the critical importance of preserving Obamacare is more relevant today than ever. This is particularly true as more litigation to cripple the landmark law is pending at the Supreme Court.
In case you missed it, May 23 marked the 10-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), more commonly known as Obamacare. The ACA signifies one of the most groundbreaking and comprehensive healthcare laws in history, along with Medicare and Medicaid.
On the way to I forget where recently, I was listening to the radio during which the news was, not surprisingly, about the coronavirus pandemic that’s sweeping the world. Businesses are closing, schools are closed, and people are strongly encouraged to stay home.
However, I was suddenly stunned when one report cited surges in reports of domestic violence when an increasing number of “stay home” directives are being issued. For me, there are few things more troubling than the thought of anyone suffering from domestic violence. More disturbing is the unsettling image of victims forced by edict to remain home with her abuser.
And on top of that, feelings of helplessness when grappling with what to do before – or what you could have done – when you find out later that the victim you knew was further abused …orworse… is unfathomable.
Which takes me to petite little “Kim,” a credit union cashier of no more than 110 pounds soaking wet.
When we left church one Sunday afternoon, I saw Kim and her spouse who I’d not met heading to their car. But they drove off before I could say hello and introduce myself. The next day I went to that credit union to take care of some business.
“I saw you at church yesterday Kim and had hoped to introduce myself and my family to your spouse, but couldn’t catch up with you,” I said as I completed a deposit slip.
“Can I share something with you Terry?” she whispered while leaning closer to me to make sure no one was within earshot. “When we were halfway home my husband used the Bible you probably saw him carrying to hit me over the head because something upset him. He’s my second violent husband.Because I only seem to attract abusive men, it’s all my fault.”
Recalling that conversation with Kim haunts me to this day, even after I assembled literature on domestic violence and slipped it to her in an envelope a few days later.
Was that enough? Did I further jeopardize her by sharing literature and he was to find out? Was there more I could have done? What can we do to help as outsiders to help people like “Kim”?
True, there are social services available, police (911), agencies and churches. But how can we help the victim who fears getting caught reading literature on the subject, let alone utilizing external resources?
And bring this into today’s realities, how can we help victims who are trapped at home because of a pandemic with no end in sight? Where once they could escape to a job outside the home, that’s no longer an option.
Well, if a home visit is not possible or safe, consider using technology. Check in on someone you know, or suspect, being abused by phone or text, particularly if they’ve evidenced signs of physical (and emotional) abuse. But here you should consult with local resources for other ways you could help since the abuser may monitor her phone calls and text messages.
You could also muster up enough courage to speak directly to someone you know, or suspect, may be a domestic abuser and point the person to resources for counseling and anger management. Here again, an expert can provide a composite profile of a typical abuser along with what and what not to do if you may be weighing speaking to him directly.
Will this help prevent domestic violence? I don’t know. However, this does present opportunities for education on domestic violence and sharing resources to those we know – or suspect – may be its victims. The National Domestic Violence Hotline – https://www.thehotline.org/ – available around the clock in 200 languages – is a good one to start with along with local resources.
For me, there’re few things more upsetting than regret for not doing something (e.g., intervening in alcohol/drug, tobacco abuse) you could have when you hear later about a tragic outcome you may have influenced differently.
So, what became of Kim? As much as I want to know, a part of me doesn’t want to know.
There is no question, flattening the curve is the need of the day. It is a critically important action on the part of every individual, inside and outside the medical system, to slowdown the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of flattening the curve is to ensure that we can deal with this outbreak within the current medical system capacity we have in place.
Flattening the curve, however, has flattened the economy by shutting down businesses, industries, mobility, education institutions and, extremely concerning, taken the ability from people to make a living. It is relatively easy for a small percentage of privileged folks to go in a lock down mode and work from home… but not for the first responders, the healthcare community, grocers and folks required for critical systems and industries. COVID-19 has created a crisis scenario for a vast majority of Americans who were already living paycheck to paycheck – many of whom would find themselves in a crisis mode should they run into an emergency requiring mere $400/-.
One of the hardest things you may have to do over the next few days, weeks and monthsis to BE the Leader that holds the light and strength for everyone around you.
You have all learned by now that certain people have special spirits, and people are drawn to you for your leadership, your courage and your inner strength.This will happen even more right now, when there are so many searching for answers. In order for you to do that, you need to understand that these experiences will cause you to blossom into the leaders you are meant to become!
On March 19th 2020, Warwick Marsh and Kurt Mahlburg, Coordinators of National Day of Prayer Australia, sent me an invitation wake-up call saying, “Join us tonight and every night for the next 11 nights as together we cry out for God’s mercy for our nation. against COVID-19 Virus.”
Although I could not connect through the live-streaming webinar, I did connect with my Prayer Generals from Africa, marshaled by Missionary Protas Bulinda, Coordinator of American Diversity Report NEW BEGINNINGS in Africa and Apostles Khassim Nyundo and Rev. Joel Ndunde, Intercessory Prayer Warriors who lead Intercessors of Prayer in Kisumu and Kakamega Counties respectively.
Before I got up for my Morning Prayer Watch on Saturday, March 21st, I was woken up with a Voice that told me to audibly tell all Nations to Put Away All Idolatry & Destroy Global Pestilence COVID-19 and Hate by applying Ezra 10:1-19.
We live in a world that is adversely affected by another virus more lethal than COVID-19, called HATE. For the past 15 years, Deborah Levine, President of American Diversity Report, has been addressing this enemy of humanity called HATE. Together with the Mayor of Chattanooga, Andy Berke, they established the Council Against HATE, that I believe can be adopted by every state, religion, culture and nation worldwide to overcome our biggest enemy today, called HATE, through Global Interfaith Harmony that is celebrated every year in February.
In her very recent email to me, Liz Scrayer, the CEO of the United States Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) raised her great concerns for the Corona Virus and said, “But it also isn’t lost on me that in the era of COVID-19, the USGLC’s message of America’s global leadership is mission critical to our nation’s interests. So we are trying to track it all: the global impact of coronavirus from the legislative to the diplomatic front to the developing world to the economic uncertainty. The magnitude of issues for U.S. interests and the world is daunting.”
As I am writing this message, Apostle Khassim Nyundo based in Kisumu City (former Nyanza Province) in Kenya is spearheading National Day of Prayer in line with the Prophetic Word that the LORD gave me on March 9, 2009 while in Mbale in neighboring Uganda after 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting for Revival. At the same time the President of the Republic of KENYA, President Uhuru Kenyatta, Vice President William Ruto, and Prime Minister Raila Odinga are leading the Nation of Kenya in the National Day of Prayer and Repentance in Nairobi, Kenya’s Capitol.
Through this short but urgent message, I am calling on us all, as respective leaders in our respective fields, to join Australia for the rest of the days left in this month of March to PRAY every Day and/or Night, for not only Australia and Kenya, but for their nations and cities as well, wherever they are located. We need a synergy of different capacities to address the common challenges/ opportunities confronting Humanity.
I’m not the only soul who’s discombobulated by the coronavirus pandemic. Heck, it’s got me twisting, turning and loading up on toilet paper without the foggiest reason why. But on the upside, it’s made me reflect on the inconveniences the virus has heaped on us and, strangely enough, how we should perhaps “relish the inconvenience.” Case in point is a trip to Germany years ago.
You see, it took me 25+ hours to go from Dallas to Germany, double the time it took me on previous flights. But, inconvenience aside, that trip turned out to be one of my best ones ever. That’s why I suggested then and suggest now that we make “relishing the inconvenience” a health and wellness priority, a core competency in a global economy.
National Vietnam War Veterans Day recognizes veterans who served in the US military during the Vietnam War – observed annually March 29.
It’s one thing to return to a place for the sake of your own memories, quite another to go there on the pretext of someone else’s, to walk through their shadows and rekindle their nightmares. As a member of the subsequent generation, the Vietnam War is not a living memory for me, much like the East-West divide and Berlin Wall are not so much defining moments in cultural identity for today’s German teenagers as they are fodder for museum exhibits and high school history exams. Even as someone raised in part by a Vietnam War veteran, somehow, the war was something that just simply was, a small, if persistent, shadow in the background of our lives.Continue reading Honoring Vietnam War Veterans – Jenna Spain Hurley→
Last night I was a child again
in Jutland, Denmark, nineteen forty-two.
My mother’s milk surged as I suckled
and kneaded her distended breast.
A growing roar shook windowpanes,
her dripping nipple swung away.
She shuddered, looked outside and up
as dark things in a wedge crept by.
She wept and trembled, crushed
my face into her breast as engine noises dimmed.
I sucked in eerie silence, blissful, unaware
that German mothers and their children
soon would suffer, starve and die.
Author’s Comments: Corey Mesler’s poem, “Last Night I Was a Child Again in Raleigh,” was published in his book, Among the Mensans by Iris Press, 2017.
According to family legend, British bombers flew over the hospital when I was born on March 7, 1942 in Nørresundby on the north shore of Limfjorden in northern Jylland (Jutland). They would probably have been headed for the German naval bases and industry around Hamburg, Germany, where many civilians would be killed.
We were relatively safe in Denmark under German occupation.
Image credit: British fighters, bomber escorts, superimposed on Pablo Picasso’s painting, ‘Maternity’