Thursday, November 28, 2019

All across America, families are either sitting down at the table or they’re letting their belts before they go into a glutton coma. Here in Mississippi, we’re taking bets on who’s going to win the Egg Bowl. Not being a partisan on the matter, I’m giving it a solid win to Ole Miss.

Before I get too deep into things, I want to recognize the National Day of Mourning. Organized in 1970 by the United American Indians of New England, this marks a day of protest and remembrance for the country’s Native tribes and citizens of both the original democide of the Native American and the continued suffering of the people. It takes place at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts, taking a look at the first Thanksgiving from a different point of view.

On the West Coast they do something similar with Unthanksgiving Day, or the Indigenous Peoples Sunrise Ceremony, on Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay. Began in 1975, it honors the 1969 Alcatraz-Red Power movement protests that took over the island. It’s organized by the International Indian Treaty Council and American Indian Contemporary Arts, and celebrates the survival of the Native peoples through European colonization of the Americas.

I may have said it before, but I really don’t feel comfortable digging into the heads of anyone who doesn’t look like me; that is, a straight middle-class white dude. When it comes to topics like this, I am content to sit and listen to other people who are more qualified, and for what it’s worth, I don’t deserve a cookie for that. We screwed the Native American over and continue to screw them over as much as we can get away with. On my Big Trip, I passed through a lot of reservation land in places like Oklahoma and California, among others, and like everywhere else I went, I saw people just trying to be people who enjoy their lives as much as possible.

This isn’t to shame anyone, and even if it was, I ain’t the one to lay on that shame. We just need to recognize and remember actual history. Like chattel slavery or Chinese workers, we do ourselves a disservice when we pretend our hands are clean. Worse, we’l never shake loose the chains of the past until we do. I grew up and live on land that used to be Chickasaw land, and it there’s nothing else I can do, I will honor this land that’s become my home and respect the memory of those had it taken away from them.

And that’s really all I got today. I finished Vampires Don’t Sparkle, so all I have left is the last book in the Deathless series. VDS started to drag on me a little bit, I’m not going to lie, but I don’t know if that’s the fault of the book (or writer) or just my normal dislike of multi-book stories. The stakes keep getting ramped up until all the plot becomes numbing. Still, it’s worth finishing, so I’ll jump into The Great Pack.

I will give Chris Fox this, he does ramp up well. The story’s given plausible reasons why werewolves, vampires, zombies, private military corporations, greys and ancient gods exist, and it looks like they’re going to rope in horrors from between the galaxies and before the dawn of time. That’s always fun.

And it being a holiday – and one of the few most people actually pay attention to – the really isn’t much news going on. Trump made a surprise visit to the troops in Afghanistan to do the turkey thing, but I’m not going to give him much guff over that. He’s the president and that’s what president’s do, it’s called “politics”. Granted, his jock sniffers are trying to make out like this is unprecedented, but it’s not and not worth the effort to prove otherwise.

I’m also not going to give him much hell over signing a bill in support of the pro-democracy movement that’s been making Hong Kong an even more interesting place to live for the past couple of months. The bipartisan bill will hit individuals who commit human rights violations in Hong Kong with levies while preventing them from entering the U.S. It will also require an annual report from the State Department informing lawmakers on whether Hong Kong remains “sufficiently autonomous” from mainland China.

This has, of course, gotten up Beijing’s nose and marks the latest ruffle in the long-stewing trade war between U.S. and China, one that Trump hasn’t really done all that well with, particularly not enough to pull a stunt like this. And that’s where I hope everyone stays on their toes with this. For one, America has not got the best record, especially recently, when it comes to backing pro-democracy movements and sticking to its word. Ask the Kurds.

Furthermore, China has a serious mad-on for Hong Kong, where there’s plenty money, and we’ve been shown time and again how easily the Great Deal Maker can be outmaneuvered or even cowed into submission by any foe, superior or not. So, credit where credit is due but I do hope no one will be surprised if President Xi manages to get one up on him before the year’s out. Time will tell.

Well, the game’s started and Mississippi State’s up 14-0. How about that. We did our Thanksgiving this past weekend when the brother and sister-in-law came down, so I’ve just enjoyed the quiet. Hope everyone has a nice Thursday, if nothing else. And that is that.

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