The Second Space

Regular readers of my blogs will understand what I am referring to in the subject line of this particular one. My previous blog was about how we had spent the morning doing our usual Sunday outdoor activities in the park. These activities tend to free up the mind, and to remind you that there exists another world independent of us human beings out there, a world that can continue to exist without our meddling. You tend to forget your worldly concerns while you are out there in the park.

We had a completely different agenda and experience on Sunday afternoon. We attended a rally and march organized by the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. The march was in the Kentlands, a neighborhood community close to us in Gaithersburg. The Kentlands are actually within walking distance, but I was already tired from the morning’s activities. I was in two minds about going. We also had very little time to rest before departing for the rally. We finally ended up driving to a parking lot at a shopping center close to the site of the rally, and walking the rest of the way.

This was the scene early on, as people were gathering. You can see that it was relaxed atmosphere. The crowd was diverse in every sense of the word.

The place began to fill up by the time the event began in earnest and people began to speak. This speech was by Will Jawando, a Councilmember for Montgomery County.

It was crowded by the time we started marching – after the speeches – but it was possible to practice physical distancing. People were generally good about wearing masks.

The march itself was a laid-back affair.

We did a loop within the Kentlands, probably not more than a mile. We were led in the chants by a person at the front of the march. People were quite relaxed. At one point, there was a person who seemed to disapprove of the subject of the march who stood on the side where the people were walking insisting that “Blue Lives Matter”. Luckily, nobody engaged with him. But it was a good moment for me to actually think about how I should respond if somebody said something like this to me. The response would start with, “Yes, all lives matter, but…”.

We marched past the front of Lowe’s, the big-box hardware store in our neighborhood, and noticed that it was all boarded up, to the point that the massive doors in and out of the building were completely covered up. If you did not know any better, you would not have known that there were doors there. This is an indication of the thought process of the people running the store. They were scared, even though the people marching past were a bunch of suburbanites – all ages, genders, and races. And it was in the middle of the day! It felt like ignorance to me at that point. But, having said that, I have to admit that I myself had also been somewhat ignorant about what to expect at the march earlier on. None of the other stores were boarded up. In fact, some of the employees at Chipotle, a restaurant that we marched past, came out of the store to offer people drinks. A notable moment in the middle of the march was when we all stopped for a minute and knelt on the road while the names of the people who had been killed by police action in recent years was announced over the megaphone.

The march ended back where we started. There were a few more speeches made before the rally came to an end. Throughout the event, the organizers handed out snacks and water to people who needed it. Thankfully, the weather was nice the whole time. Of particular note was the fact that the organizers were all young people. Bravo!

There was a light atmosphere to the whole event. There were police cars parked around the venue of the speeches, but at a distance, beyond the crowds, and they had their flashing lights on. The Gaithersburg city police who were standing around the place where the march started – the place where the speeches were given – were in casual-looking uniforms, wearing biking helmets and shorts. They had their bikes with them. They were also unarmed. They did not look menacing as in some other cases that we had witnessed on TV. They also looked relaxed. The Montgomery County Police who were along the route of the march looked professional and serious. They generally kept a distance from the marchers. I wonder how they all felt about the speeches that were being given, speeches that addressed the impact of the bad behavior of their brethren. The head of the police for Gaithersburg chose the opportunity to speak in solidarity with the marchers.

I have to say that while I enjoyed the new experience, I feel that I was not completely drawn into its spirit. I say this because I was not particularly moved by the experience. I did not learn too much either. I did not get worked up and emotional. I did not get much useful information or motivation to engage further. Perhaps, we should have at least been carrying a a couple of banners ourselves, but we were nervous because this was our first time taking part in a rally. Being wimpy comes easily to some of us. I suppose one has to also consider the overall objective of a peaceful demonstration. In our case, I think it was an expression of solidarity of overall purpose. Other people, especially those who are most directly impacted by the injustices, have more in their hearts. They are crying out to be heard.

I will end with a few more pictures.

American Opinions on a Tough Topic

In my opinion, this is a subject that our politicians and religious organizations, in general, have made very difficult to address rationally. The citizenship seem to have a more nuanced set of opinions on this subject than you are led to believe, opinions that seem to change little over time. In my mind, the topic also seems to dominate the national discussion excessively, to the detriment of other issues that can more critically impact the well being of the nation.  But it does seem to be a good topic to push agendas and foster divisiveness.  The politicians of today are mostly a bunch of hypocrites.

First of all, the results of a survey.

I was led to the survey by this article.

The last section of the article seems to suggest that attempts to legislate in this regard may make little or no difference in a practical sense in the final count.

Dovey Johnson Roundtree

“As a lawyer, she helped win a landmark ban on racial segregation in interstate bus travel, and her representation of poor black defendants — including her successful defense of a man accused of the notorious murder of a Georgetown socialite in 1964 — blazed new trails for black lawyers.”

Celebrating a black woman who thrived in a Washington ruled by white men – Washington Post.

‘Resist White Supremacy’: A sign. A farm. And the fury that followed. – The Washington Post

This farm is not too far from where we live.

There is a battle going on for the soul of the country, between those who would like to extend the past, and those who are going to be its future.

via ‘Resist White Supremacy’: A sign. A farm. And the fury that followed. – The Washington Post

A Morality of Convenience

“ ‘All this will I give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’ ”
Matthew 4:9

via Republicans are failing the Roy Moore test – The Washington Post

You have to understand that some of the garbage being spewed out these days when it comes to influencing the politics of this country comes from religious leaders who are supposed to be the voices of morality.

There is a part of this country that is so afraid of the changes going on around them that they will do anything it takes to try to go back to the so called “good old times”, a time that cannot be brought back, indeed a time that might have been good for some but not for many others (think racism and slavery).   I used to think that it is pointless to stand in the way of change, but if folks are willing to do anything it takes to twist the political system, to change it and stack it permanently in a regressive way, then who knows.

Here’s How the End of Net Neutrality Will Change the Internet | WIRED

Ajit Pai should be ashamed of himself.
via Here’s How the End of Net Neutrality Will Change the Internet | WIRED

I wrote a blog on this topic myself a while back.

Here is another relevant link.
https://www.theverge.com/2017/11/22/16689838/fcc-net-neutrality-comments-were-largely-ignored

We can still speak up.
https://www.savetheinternet.com/net-neutrality-what-you-need-know-now

 

FCC: Your cybersecurity isn’t our problem

Right from the get-go, in spite of statements that may be made to the contrary, the current administration in the US has made it clear that lives of the common man are not at the top of its priority list.  Government is supposed to work for the people, but the folks in power have gone out of their way (and gone about it with a vengeance) trying to gut programs that have been designed to support those who truly need help.  There is the driving focus to shift more of the government support and the nation’s wealth to the corporations and the rich.  There is also a desire to go back to the good old days, and a yearning for a way of life that seems to have worked in the past for a demographic of people in the country who are now diminishing, a group who now find themselves being left behind.

Programs for addressing healthcare, poverty, housing, education, etc., topics that are most important for the less privileged, are those that folks seem to be intent to tear into and tear apart. Top this off with the disdain  of the folks in power today for the environment and for science, and the tinge of racism and xenophobia that people now feel freer to admit and act upon openly, it is hard to see anything good coming out of the political sphere during the next four years.

Yes, they are in the process of gutting even the regulations for our essential communication systems that were meant to protect the consumer.

Below is one aspect of the rules in place that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is in the process of changing.

FCC: Your cybersecurity isn’t our problem
Our privacy was on life support. The FCC is pulling the plug.

via FCC: Your cybersecurity isn’t our problem