Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it in a constant swirl of Déjà Vu! Welcome to the world of Literary Journalism. Following is going to be a five part series about where, which, why of world events instigated by our very own Daniel Lee, expounded by Brother Theo, and edited and blessed by me, Bill the Butcher! To quote the prophet, Willie Nelson, It’s All Going To Pot, and if you know the Butcher Shopper, Daniel Lee, it probably is. He hails from the East Texas nation of Holland, over in Europe and has a very expanded view of world politics.
With east against west, Muslim against Christian, liberal against conservative, and the West End Baptist Church against everybody we’re gonna keep our powder dry if we’re gonna survive until supper. This series will look at those factors from a number of views. Daniel Lee started this, and this will be the first time such a concerted effort at social consciousness will be delved into from three levels; Liberal, Conservative, and of course, Daniel Lee. So strap in, hold on and learn Dèjá vu!
By Daniel Lee
Always remember the mystery you never remembered to solve…. And continue supporting the people who export war and import division…remember the folks who never got caught even though they murdered 2900+ members of your friends, family, and neighbors! Who did it? I will wait while you think… That is the affect of the deep corruption caused in part through Deep State’s lobbying and special interests groups in the USA, not the people, the damn federal government’s misrepresentation and their very consequential decisions. The Federal Reserve Bank and the military industrial complex. For instance; Who wanted to lose there kids in Viet-Nam? Not the average poor person, for sure… But now, ask yourself, who made the most money?
Always remember the propaganda and not the truth.
Always remember the truly corrupt justice department and the multi billion dollar prison system both public and private, and recognize that somehow speaking about injustice or the need for a reprieve from government makes you a conspiracy theorist or automatically hate the troops or police or the safety of your own neighborhood or puppies or anything American. Always remember the propaganda and not the truth. Good American, now sit! Paawwww! Goooood boyy! Yes you are! Who’s your daddy?
Please do recall, in vivid detail, every scrap of plane debris that was not left on the lawn of the Pentagon and the complete lack of human remains and do not question mainstream media or any other authority unless you subscribe to a Marxist belief system, you dirty communists. Always Remember, not to read up on Thomas Pogge; “Assisting” the Global Poor or try to not remember to scan through (Globalizing Justice, The ethics of Poverty and Power). While not reading, keep in mind how fervently the so called “black community” is against Trump and police violence but sincerely claim to be against war while maintaining bank accounts at financial institutions that largely invest in the production and distribution of our weapons of war. Remember that the bullet is the only weapon of mass destruction being used on the south side of Chicago. Remember to invest in your own death.
Always remember… Mostly all of us, at one time or another, have supported politicians who promise change we can all believe in (closing down Guantanamo bay prison, yes we can) and then turn right around to their own voting base and sign up the least educated with promises of education and false grandeur only to send those same black, brown and white soldiers to kill other brown and black people so “we” won’t get attacked by enemies even poorer than us.
Always remember that creeping sensation you felt anytime you were being conned out of everything you have, like when the news slowly transitioned from talks of Bin Laden to Iraq. Always remember your skin crawling when you saw the people leaping from the World Trade Towers to avoid being burned to death and those final gasps of fresh air, the ones they got on the way down to street level, were a relief to their smoke charred lungs… Always Remember that the buildings were demolished not by planes but by bombs planted weeks before 9/11. Remember, 9/11 is the day a mass murder took place and war was used as a cover up, the bright side, it is also the biggest insurance pay off in human history.
Always remember that creeping sensation you felt anytime you were being conned out of everything you have
Always Remember or just forget all that I have said and just be mad at Trump for being a blunt son of a bitch. Drain the swamp and prosecute the guilty. We are not leftists or rightist, we are the divided crown holders, we are America and we are all being subjected to the same vile excrement that is human indifference and greed… Always Remember that you are not special, even if you are reading this, you are no better than the idiots who voted for Hillary in the name of progress in this matter. You failed, I failed and you should start your redemption by Always Remembering how they murdered us… In the name of Jesus, always remember.” Or be condemned to Dèjá Vu!
By Brother Theo
I remember the day that changed my life. It was, as the Hoi polloi say, a day that changed the rest of my life. I had just turned thirteen, and my family had moved from Cedar Rapids Iowa to Dearborn Michigan. Personally, I hated it. And why shouldn’t I?
Dèjá Vu? Yeah. Black Lives Matter isn’t so new. It takes me back To Dearborn, Michigan. My dad had been an executive in an accounting department at Kellogg’s, and we lived in a nice house. It was a nice neighborhood too, and there were lots of kids my age, or close to my age living there, and most of them were my friends. It was great! My friends and I played baseball nearly every Saturday during schoo when the weather was nice (couldn’t play in the winter much, because of the clothes.) Try to play winter baseball in Cedar Rapids in baseball clothes, and you’d freeze your acorns off, as my uncle Wally used to say. But nearly every day during summer, it was game on.
He wasn’t uncle Wally, but sometimes Plato could put the nail right in it
And the truth is, We had a pretty good team. Some of the fathers came and coached. Some guy at Kellogg’s even bought us some pretty good uniforms so that when we rode our Schwinns to the crappy neighborhoods to play ball we’d look good. Mostly we’d play ball with the kids whose dads worked in the manufacturing and warehouse divisions of Kellogg’s along with the families of paper-mill workers, truck drivers and other workers Plato referred to as deltas and epsilons, and uncle Wally referred to as the losers. He wasn’t uncle Wally, but sometimes Plato could put the nail right in it.
Anyway, even though we usually kicked those losers asses (a lot of them couldn’t put together a pickup game without using girls and little kids!), every once in a while we got beat. Some of those black kids could sure play ball.
That’s something I learned when we got to Dearborn too, because it seemed to me that nearly everybody in Dearborn was black. At least the ones that went to my school. See, when we moved to Michigan it was because my dad got a promotion, and he got that promotion on account of the guy whose desk chair his butt was soon to be warming had croaked, and they needed dad there like yesterday. Which is why Uncle Wally stayed there in Cedar Rapids to sell the old homestead, and we had to hoof it quick to a rented house in Dearborn that was in a neighborhood a neighborhood that, like Dearborn itself, was an armpit. It was so bad in that first house that my mom had to put down boards for us to walk on until she had some people in to scrub the cooties off the floor! And the school!
All I can say is two things about the school; one is, don’t give me your sob stories about prison, because that school, Edison Intermediate School, was where kids went to train for prison. And two, the basketball team was called the gladiators! I always tell people that I learned everything important in gladiator school, and that’s not far from the truth. So there I was a soft white rich kid in a predominantly black junior high school fresh out of the sixth grade. Fresh meat. I would learn what that meant too.
Ok, so my life changing moment. I digress. Sometimes I sound like that Peckerwood Brother Theo as he calls himself, down in Texas. What happened is this: there was this older guy named Devon, need I mention he was black? He’s going with this girl his own age, seventeen I’m pretty sure, who’s going to high school over at the Carla B. Ford school for disadvantaged girls. Sounded like a real homecoming queen. I saw her once, and she scared me worse than Devon.
I didn’t fully understand until some “Gladiators” had ripped everything out of my locker and stuffed me in it
Now Devon and a few of his buddies scared the bejesus out of me the second day I was in school. I had my head in my locker between Mrs. Murray’s English class and Mr. Eppinger’s math snooze. I was torn between boredom (Mrs Murray’s voice was like verbal chloroform), and the terror of being a piece on a giant Jumanji board I didn’t fully understand until some “Gladiators” had ripped everything out of my locker and stuffed me in it, locking the door and I was trapped upside down, folded in half like a taco! If anyone noticed they didn’t say anything. (Don’t tell the man nothing!) Upside down and facing the wall like I was, I couldn’t budge, heck it was everything I could do to breathe. I listened as the noise in the hallways dwindled.
I heard the sharp metallic buzz summoning all us kids to class. I heard the late bell, and wondered if I would be in trouble. I heard my uncle Wally’s say in my head, “Of course you’re in trouble bucko, you’re walled up just like that brainless idiot in that book you like called “The Cask Of The Amontillado” and the boys who put you there are blacker than Othello ever dreamed of being.” After they took everything from my locker up to the second floor boys room and divided it up, the boys, men really, came back, pried me out of my locker, took everything from my pockets and told me to follow them. It was the first day of my life I ever played hooky from school, and beneath the electric current of fear I felt (I was pretty sure even uncle Wally would be wetting his pants in this situation), I felt the first tendrils of excitement which accompany acts of conspiratorial malice. In time this excitement would grow, and become a part of my character, becoming a reward in and of itself.
Sitting inside a short outlet tunnel of the concrete drainage ditch that ran through this ritzy part of my new home town I met Devon and his gang. And they were a gang, something that had only bounced around in my teenage skull as an amorphous combination of the cast of the movie Grease (the old one, not the new one), and those old Batman villains with their legions of henchmen. But surrounding me on that day, the day that changed my life, were five of the scariest looking thugs that I might have imagined during one of those terror filled walks I sometimes made in the darkness on my way home from a late baseball practice; the ones where I would imagine the wolf man treading on soundless, deformed paws behind me, a snarl identical to the one on the plastic model which resided on the bedside stand in my bedroom would have on its face right then!
But then no one like Devon or his henchmen ever lived in my old neighborhood in Cedar Rapids. Hell, they wouldn’t have been within miles of that neighborhood, but here I was, squatting in complete isolation like one of the three little pigs, with five big bad wolves surrounding me having a vote on what’s for dinner.
“Now, I ‘magine you sittin’ there thinkin’ me and Smiley and the rest of us done you wrong today”
Devon said this leaning forward on his corded forearms. As he squatted before me his shadow enveloped me completely, and I noticed that the bristly hairs of his arms sprouted from his forearms in a way that reminded me of the clumps of thistles that grew in the unused yards separating the houses in my new neighborhood. Smiley, a name I never once saw him earn, nodded sympathetically at these words and the others looked at me concernedly. I wanted to say “No, no, not at all, why would I feel that way?” But my tongue felt like it was stuck to the roof of my mouth, like it was stuck there by a big old glob of sticky peanut butter. And even if I could have said anything I wouldn’t have, because some primitive instinct made me be still. Devon’s merciless eyes searched mine, and in that long, endless moment I realized I was on trial for my life.
“What’s the matter little Peckerwood? Cat got yo’ tongue?”
Not knowing what to say I shrugged and managed to say “I guess I don’t talk much.” Devon stared at me in disbelief and then threw back his head laughing so uproariously that the sound bounced up and down the cement walls of the riverbed, but it’s echoes took the last of his humor with them. After another searching gaze he stood up. Gesturing for me to stand, he put a heavy arm on my shoulder, and we walked back toward the school.
On the way he explained three things to me. The first was that I wasn’t getting any of the stuff they took from me back. The second was that he was going to take anything he wanted from me every day from now on; in fact, I had to find him every morning so he could take it. “That what you white folk call robbin’ when a black man do it, but taxin’ when a white man do it” he explained. The third thing he said was what changed me forever. Not all at once you see, but “slow like,” as Devon would have put it.
What Devon said to me was this, as we arrived at the boundary of the school property. “One thing you can count on fo’ sure the rest of yo’ life. If a man can hurt you,” he jabbed my chest with a thick forefinger for emphasis, “and get hisself ahead in the doin’ of it, he gonna do it certain as I’ll whup yo’ little ass the first time you show up with nothin’ fo’ me.” I nodded dumbly as his gang walked ahead of us toward the school. Holding me in place by my shirttail he waited until they were out of sight. Inclining his head toward the school he said, “The lie is that you get your learning in there.” He inclined his eyes toward the school. “The truth is, that’s where they tame you, take away your imagination, show you your place.” Relaxing his grip on my shirttail he said, “Out here, there ain’t no law a man can’t learn to avoid. IF you live through this school year, I’ll teach you that.” It WAS a teaching moment. Plato didn’t have squat on Devon! And Devon is my Dèjá Vu!
Bill the Butcher