Uprisings: Our new quiet terrorism

By : Billy Manes
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There was a day in my life when all new life seemed caught up in the politics of worthlessness, and I remember that day clearly. Having spent the better part of post-adolescence trying to bridge the gap between harmony and hostility, I did not know of the gun scourge, of the hatred, nor of the political machinations put in place to destroy that order and, in its face, murder people for the sake of a headline. Why should I have? I always understood the abortion battle to be one that took place personally, in a home, dangling in the well of a tear, lingering in a personal weight. Bang. And then they shot Dr. Gunn in Pensacola in 1993. And then I was on TV.

Why else would I have driven girlfriends to warzones, walked them through, kept silent and comforted them as if at home. There were actual people who thought their semen to be sacred (men); there were people who thought their excrement in ecstasy to be a thing of genius. I was not one of them. I lived and breathed for my friends; I never asked questions about wherefore and why. If you knew, you knew. You moved forward as briskly as forward allowed. This was not a true story. This was real life.

So last week’s attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado, an attack that has followed the rumbling rhetoric of terror surrounding the body parts of women without ever explaining their worth to our society (as if that is a necessary caveat) has been horrifying. Frightening photographs of a man unhinged, terrifying thoughts of women abused, likely considerations of a desperate politic reified, it came off as something we should all be afraid of. Did Robert Dear have an excuse? Of course he did not. He does, now, have a headshot and likely a publicist.

And this is where we stand. When Republican politicians like Carly Fiorina are piping out versions of hatred that seem acceptable in the current political climate of reproductive health, when Donald Trump is coming down the mountain of spite in the face of the poor and the trying and the disabled, when everyone hates the black guy who is our president because, well, he’s black, we definitely have a problem.

Life’s path doesn’t travel very far for this humble columnist or editor when he throws his hands up and hopes to fly away from the horrors that occupy our society. I know all too well the terror of the gun, the moment swirling in the gunsmoke, the part where we lose everything and accept that life is meaningless.

“He was an independent art dealer with a degree in public administration from a Midwestern college,” a neighbor to Robert Dear told the New York Times, saying he was one “who struck deals with artists, mostly Southern ones, who painted Charleston, S.C., street scenes, old south plantation tableaus, magnolias and pictures of the Citadel campus.”

Any more digging into this would likely be pointless – we all have our histories – but it’s worth noting that we cannot any longer abide the “southern charm” that has brought us to yellow-taped murder scenes. “No more baby parts,” Dear allegedly said, according to the New York Times.

Well, no more babies, no more excusing terror, no more living outside of the means of your own existence and no more blatant running with the course of violence that has brought us to this peak of discussion. It may not be popular, it may just be an anomaly, but try telling that to the family of a dead man. Or to the families of three dead people. Sometimes politics aren’t ephemeral, you know. Sometimes these sad politics we wear as badges are just the means required to kill people who ought to stay alive. Shame on this country and apologies to the families involved.
We will survive. But we will know better.

UpRisings_WorldAidsDayWorld AIDS Day 
You might have noticed that we took the better part of our last issue to discuss the importance of World AIDS Day and the continuing significance of HIV/AIDS in the LGBT community. We’re not the kind to play sit-on-hands-worry-warts, but it’s worth pointing out that, at least in Florida, the number of new HIV cases rose by 23 percent in the first six months of this yar, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal. Advocates for awareness of the disease are clearly concerned. “When the Centers for Disease Control released a map this year showing the most distinctive causes of death per state, or where causes of death were higher than the national average, Florida was cited as the HIV state, based on the 15,000 deaths between 2001 and 2010,” the paper reported.

UpRisings_CurtainLightsCurtain Lights
There’s been a lot of noise floating around about Hollywood East – er, Orlando – for decades, with incentives and political drivel lubricating the whole mess. Well, it turns out that Hollywood East is indeed Hollywood Least, as, even with Floridian facades, most “Florida-based” films are picking up incentives from states more interested in feeding the machine. The Bradenton Herald reports that projects meant for Florida have lost out on some $650 million in economic spurts thanks to a state bent on tightening its belts. Previous funding has dried up, so now we’re just pretending Georgia is Florida and teeth are teeth. Big incentive-backer Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, is already throwing up her hands at the issue. Florida could do better, of course. “The criticism has continued through the years to the point that your program is now killed,” she told a gathering of state senators last week. We’re dead to us.

UpRisings_JoeBelIf at first you don’t succeed
Just as we all danced a jig to the rhythm of Louisiana electing a pro-Medicaid-expansion patriot Joe Bel Edwards on Nov. 28, the entirety of sentient beings thought aloud, “hey, could this also happen in Florida, where nearly one million people fall into the Medicaid gap?” Well, that’s not immediately likely, but in the land of Jindal and the idiocy he’s continued to dance along with, it does make the possibility of a post-Rick-Scott, post-Republican Florida seem a valid possibility. (We know; we bite the insides of our mouths, too.) The loss to serial philanderer David Vitter, R-Hooker, wasn’t the easiest for his supporters to swallow, but the fact that a southern state, let alone Louisiana, could lean in favor of institutionalized philanthropy is enough to make us smile. Cheers, Joe. Let’s do this.

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