Tuesday, July 29, 2014

"I'm the guy doing his job"

A few months ago President Obama gave Speaker Boehner an option: either pass immigration reform before the August recess, or he would take executive action. I think Boehner was listening to the Chamber of Commerce and actually wanted to pass something. But the teapublicans stopped that from happening.

And so today we're hearing reports about what kind of executive action the President will take. The only question remaining is "how far will he go?" I think Greg Sargent found the sweet spot:
I tend to doubt that Obama’s move will be as ambitious as even some of the reports are indicating. But in the end, I hope the administration makes its decision based solely on what it genuinely determines is legally, rather than politically, possible. 
As Sargent points out, the legal options have actually been provided to President Obama by Congress.
What Obama has done so far on immigration and what he’s likely to do in the future can be justified on the theory of prosecutorial discretion, the long-standing executive branch power to decide in which cases the law should be enforced, [University of California professor Hiroshi] Motomura said.

“We have a system that runs on discretion. There are 11 million people in the country who in theory are not supposed to be here. Congress has funded the capability to deport maybe half a million people a year,” the professor said.
Its a given that the administration has to use discretion in its deportation policy priorities since full implementation of the law (deporting all 11 million) has never been funded. The only question remaining is how that discretion is exercised. It is up to the chief executive to make that call.

When the President announces his executive action and Republicans start screaming about what a tyrant he is, lets remind them that they are the ones who gave him this authority.

This has always been the bugaboo in the Republican position on immigration reform. They can't come out and say that they want to deport 11 million people...its just not feasible. If you remember, that's why Romney came up with his ridiculous notion of "self deportation" during the 2012 Republican primary debates and Newt Gingrich got in such hot water with the base for suggesting deportation wasn't a good idea.
"I don't see how the party that says it's the party of the family is going to adopt an immigration policy which destroys families that have been here a quarter of a century," said Gingrich.
Of course talk like that has the Laura Ingraham's of the party crying "amnesty!!!!"

The Republicans are gridlocked because they can't agree on what to do to resolve this most basic problem. In the meantime, President Obama will use the authority given to him by Congress to craft a policy that begins to address it. In other words...

Monday, July 28, 2014

Is the world really exploding?

You don't even need to read the article. Michael Tomasky's column today is titled: Is it just me or is the world exploding? So why isn't Obama doing more? I'm going to pick on Tomasky. But he's hardly the only one. The Very Serious People in the media have created a reality out of world events that they want us to ponder. What Tomasky did was pretty much summarize it all in a headline.

But I'm not buying it and here's why:

First of all, lets consider whether or not the world is really exploding. Its true that several "hot spots" have developed in the Middle East. I'm not going to minimize the seriousness of what is going on in Israel/Gaza, Syria or Iraq. I'd simply point out that, for some reason, the U.S. seems to get fixated on what happens in that region of the world. We tend to pay precious little attention when the same kinds of things happen all over Africa, for example. And we certainly don't have columnists who declare that the "world is exploding" when those hot spots flare up. Why do you suppose that is?

If we were to pay attention to the whole globe, I'd suggest there is a framework for understanding what's going on. For decades the places that are inhabited by black and brown people were the playground of colonizers. About the time that was coming to an end, the Cold War heated up and they became pawns in our proxy battles with Russia/China.

Once the United States "won the Cold War," the neocons vision of a new world order was Pax Americana (think: Pax Romana for the origins) as outlined by the Project for the New American Century. Their goals were three-fold:
  1. Total U.S. military dominance
  2. Pre-emptive war against any challengers
  3. U.S. control of the world's oil supply
These are the folks who were advocating for "regime change" in Iraq all the way back to the Clinton administration. The 9/11 attacks simply provided them with an excuse. But it was also their un-doing. The fiasco of our occupation of Iraq dealt a serious blow to the neocons and PNAC was disbanded in 2006. 

I would suggest that when the media reduces our understanding of global concerns to either the activities of Russia and/or what is happening in the Middle East, they are playing right into the hands of the script laid out for us by the neocons. It doesn't surprise me when this kind of tunnel vision comes from Bill Kristol (PNAC founder). Someone like Michael Tomasky should know better.

Secondly, this approach to foreign affairs has the added benefit for the neocons of framing the conversation in such a way that Tomasky asks, "So why isn't Obama doing more?" We've been hearing that one for a while now, haven't we? But the truth is that the real critique comes in simply asking the question. It implies that the President isn't doing enough. As Bill Maher so powerfully demonstrates though, the answer to the question about what he SHOULD be doing is always a vacuous reference to "leadership." Tomasky's two big suggestions come down to (1) more positive rhetoric about the Syrian rebels and (2) more pro-democracy foreign aid. Pretty damn weak tea if you ask me. 

What we need from our media is for more of them to go back to first-principles and begin to examine the question of the role of the United States in global affairs. President Obama carefully laid out his own vision in his speech last May at West Point. The reason so many in the media have avoided applying that vision to his actions is that they remain wedded to the idea of Pax Americana - the idea that the United States can/should control world affairs via dominance and that any president who fails to do so is not doing enough. 

As countries in Africa, South/Central America, the Middle East, and Asia emerge from the effects of both colonialism and the Cold War, a certain amount of chaos is inevitable. I believe that President Obama has articulated his North Star when it comes to responding to that chaos:
  1. The people of those countries have the right to determine their own destiny
  2. Global norms and ideals must be followed and enforced
  3. We must face our challenges via partnership
That's an American foreign policy for the 21st century.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Racism is a white people problem

I've always found it interesting that most anti-racism initiatives tend to be about helping people of color overcome the effects of racism. I have no problem with that. But the truth is - if we're ever really going to end racism, its white people that need to change.

That's why one of my favorite authors is Jonathan Odell. He is a white gay man who was raised in Mississippi. As if that wasn't enough of a challenge, he's also a recovering alcoholic. And so he makes a rather interesting comparison.
I am a Mississippian as well as my family’s most notorious drunk. But six years into sobriety, I discovered that alcohol wasn’t my only addiction. Even more insidious was my soul-crippling dependence upon whiteness. I couldn't get through the day without seven or eight stiff shots of feeling superior. That began to change when I decided to write novels about Mississippi. I knew very little outside the white-bubble in which I was raised, and therefore was blind to the story of nearly half the population. Only after interviewing hundreds of black Mississippians, listening to their stories, did I begin to fathom the immensity of the lie behind my superiority and the real cost of my addiction.
But he says that recovery is possible. To get us thinking in that direction, Jonathan shared his first 5 steps (your mileage may vary):
1) I came to believe that I am powerless over my racism. I’ll always be a racist, and might as well stop pretending otherwise. Voting Democrat or watching Oprah won’t cure me. It goes too deep.

2) I came to accept that racism was a gift of love. No evil person made me a racist. Racism was given to me by those whom I love the most, because they wanted me to feel special. Nor am I evil because I accepted the gift. But today I will be responsible.

3) I admitted that it feels good. I enjoy the privileges of whiteness. As soon as I stop pretending otherwise, then I can begin spreading it around.

4) I seek out other recovering whites and listen to their stories. It’s important to find a way out of the right-wing noise machine. Stop listening to those who try to incite the anger and fear that drives my craving.

5) I continually share my story. Not about how I used to be a racist, but how I still struggle with racism, day by day.
Just imagine for a moment how everything would change if white people were to finally accept #1. No more "how DARE you call me a racist!!" We could actually get on with a conversation about how/when we do/say things that are racist.

Some of those steps might come as a surprise to people of color. For example #2. But its helpful to remember that many of those who taught us to be racist weren't consumed by hatred. As a matter of fact, they often had a "good heart." That's what made it appealing. Our job now is to face the fact that our "specialness" is predicated on silencing its impact on others. The best example of that is the racist lie the Duck Dynasty guy tells himself about the "happy Negros" he knew in Jim Crow Louisiana. Overcoming that lie is precisely why Jonathan's novels are so important for his recovery. A good way to advance your own would be to read The View from Delphi and The Healing.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

President Obama's search for his North Star

I read Barack Obama's Dreams From My Father just after his speech to the 2004 Democratic Convention. At the time a lot of people were suggesting that he could be the country's first African American president. But not many folks thought that would happen in four short years - I certainly didn't.

What seemed important to me about the book at the time was that it was one young Black man's search to find his own identity. While Obama's journey was unique in its particulars, it is a road that most of us have to traverse at some point if we are interested in something more than simply following the herd.

I specifically remember how Obama described his teenage years and his attempts to "try on" various identities to see if they fit. At one point he considered Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam. But that was before Malcolm's hajj experience when he was still preaching a rejection of the white race. The young Barack considered what that path meant for his relationship with his white mother and grandparents - not to mention the white half of himself - and rejected it.

I say all of this because not many of us go through such a systematic and conscious journey to find ourselves - especially beginning at such a young age. But I believe that journey is why our 44th President is able to maintain his integrity in a political world that often demands it be abandoned. He eventually found his own North Star and demonstrates a relentless ability to keep that in focus through headwinds that knock an awful lot of other people off course.

And so it was fascinating hearing the President respond to questions at the My Brother's Keeper town hall meeting this week. One young man (in the green shirt and bow tie above) asked him how he copes with other people's judgement of him.
But I do think that as you get older part of what you have to determine is what’s important to you -- who are you, how do you want to live, what are the principles that you abide by, what are the kind of fixed foundations, what’s the North Star that steers you -- so that when things happen that aren't always according to plan, and when you have tough times and when you are struggling, what is it that's going to keep you going and keep your bearings.

And I think through trial and error and mistakes and self-reflection, over time I've sort of figured out who I am and what’s important to me and what I care about. And I try to stay focused on that. And that can come about in a lot of different ways. Some people come at it through their faith and God centers them. And some people come at it through their work and they determine, this is what I think is important in terms of my work. There are different paths to it, but at some point, to be a man or a woman, to be an adult, to be a full-grown person, you have to move beyond just what other people think and you have to make a determination about what do you believe in.

Not just what’s your opinion are any given day -- because folks have opinions about everything, and I change my mind about issues. There are times where I think one way, and then I get more evidence, new information comes in, and I say, oh, maybe I wasn’t right about that, let me rethink this. So there’s nothing wrong with changing your mind. But that's different from losing your sense of who you are and what’s important, or just changing your mind because it's easier or expedient.

And what I try to do is be open-minded to new facts but stay pretty fixed in terms of what I think is important. I think, for example, it is really -- this sounds corny, but I think it's really important to treat other people with kindness. So that's a basic principle that I've got. Now, I've got to translate that sometimes in very abstract ways. All right, well, what does that mean if you’ve got suffering children halfway across the world -- what are my responsibilities to them and how does that translate into policy?

And sometimes I've got tough choices because, on the one hand, I may want to help those children; on the other hand, I've got a bunch of young people I need to help here. And if I want to help those children I may need to, then, deal with bad people who are hurting those kids, but that may involve the United States in the kind of conflicts that ultimately hurt some of our young men and women who I might have to send there. So there are complexities to it. It’s hard. But I don’t lose track of the fact that I think treating somebody with kindness, that’s a core value of mine.
Frankly, that interchange kind of blows my mind. Can you think of a time a POTUS talked this deeply, candidly and authentically about - not only his own personal experience - but what it means to  mature into adulthood (a place an awful lot of adults never reach)? The fact that President Obama could do this unscripted means its a process he has reflected on quite a bit.

Agree or disagree with the man. He's the real deal.

Friday, July 25, 2014

A Field Full of Roses

If I had another life
I would want to spend it all on some
unstinting happiness.

I would be a fox, or a tree
full of waving branches.
I wouldn't mind being a rose
in a field full of roses.

Fear has not yet occurred to them, nor ambition.
Reason they have not yet thought of.
Niether do they ask how long they must be roses, and then what.
Or any other foolish question.

Mary Oliver

The Great American Freak-Out

Ever since the BP gulf oil spill we've needed a name for how we tend to respond to immediate crises in this country. I'll nominate "The Great American Freak-Out" for the honor. But if you have a better idea, I'd love to hear it.

The general pattern goes something like this:
  1. The media airwaves are saturated with stories about the crisis.
  2. Conservatives scramble to find a way to cast it all as Obama's fault.
  3. Liberals wring their hands over the President's lack of decisive action.
  4. Pundits pontificate about whether or not this is "Obama's Katrina" and are convinced that this will be the one thing that dooms Obama/Democrats in the next election.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration keeps plugging away at analyzing the problem and working on ways to resolve it. But in the end no one notices what they've actually done because by then everyone's bored with it all and has moved on to the next Great American Freak-Out.

The Republicans have exploited this tendency in the media ever since the 2010 summer of "death panels" by creating hostage-taking and government shut-down crises. But when the media doesn't have a real crisis, they can do one of two things:
  1. Create their own - "the government is listening every phone call you make and reading every email you send," or
  2. Rely on those that the right wing conspiracists are always generating - Benghazi!, IRS, VA.
The impression this leaves low information voters is that the President has failed to address the crisis because they never hear the end of the story. This isn't just the media's fault. They feed the cycle, but we participate by chasing after every hysteria and getting bored with the nitty gritty of actual solutions. For example, congratulations to you if you are up to date on what is being done to resolve the backlog at the VA. I'm pretty sure they're not talking about that any more on CNN's Crossfire.
Years ago then-Senator Barack Obama acknowledged this problem. He didn't have a simple solution though.
The bottom line is that our job is harder than the conservatives' job. After all, it's easy to articulate a belligerent foreign policy based solely on unilateral military action, a policy that sounds tough and acts dumb; it's harder to craft a foreign policy that's tough and smart. It's easy to dismantle government safety nets; it's harder to transform those safety nets so that they work for people and can be paid for. It's easy to embrace a theological absolutism; it's harder to find the right balance between the legitimate role of faith in our lives and the demands of our civic religion. But that's our job. And I firmly believe that whenever we exaggerate or demonize, or oversimplify or overstate our case, we lose. Whenever we dumb down the political debate, we lose. A polarized electorate that is turned off of politics, and easily dismisses both parties because of the nasty, dishonest tone of the debate, works perfectly well for those who seek to chip away at the very idea of government because, in the end, a cynical electorate is a selfish electorate.
In other words, he suggested that we NOT join the freak-out. This is one of those places where he displays an almost unfathomable faith and trust in the American people. Because he thinks we are capable of this:
Our goal should be to stick to our guns on those core values that make this country great, show a spirit of flexibility and sustained attention that can achieve those goals, and try to create the sort of serious, adult, consensus around our problems that can admit Democrats, Republicans and Independents of good will.
That's the kind of thing that makes partisans "suck their teeth" (as Ta-Nehisi Coates put it) and the Very Serious People call the President "naive." My response to all of them would be to ask "What's the alternative?" A cynical selfish electorate addicted to freak-outs?

Even after all these years of being obstructed and maligned, President Obama still believes we're better than that. Here's what he said in Austin, TX a couple of weeks ago.
There are plenty of people who count on you getting cynical and count on you not getting involved so that you don’t vote, so you give up. And you can’t give into that. America is making progress, despite what the cynics say...

Cynicism is popular these days. It’s what passes off as wisdom. But cynics didn’t put a man on the moon. Cynics never won a war. Cynics didn’t cure a disease, or start a business, or feed a young mind. Cynicism didn’t bring about the right for women to vote, or the right for African Americans to be full citizens. Cynicism is a choice.

Hope is a better choice.
So I'll keep plugging away here in my little corner of the internet in the hope that people will forgo the freak-out and be interested in a conversation that "can admit Democrats, Republicans and Independents of good will."

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Best read of the day

Here's my favorite: Number 5
No one trash-talks like a New Yorker. And so it’s no surprise that Holder found it preposterous that anyone would suggest that a guy from Hawaii, President Barack Obama, was better at basketball than a baller like himself, from the mean streets of Queens, N.Y.

“He’s from Hawaii. I’m from New York. You figure out who has the better game.”

The good news about Obamacare you might have missed (updated)

While almost everyone is focusing on the recent Halbig decision by a federal court, you might have missed some good news that was just announced about Obamacare. As background, I've been paying a lot of attention to what I think is one of the most important insurance reforms included in the legislation - the medical loss ratios. They require insurance companies to spend 85% (80% for those in the small group market) of premiums on healthcare. If they spend more than 15-20% on administration/profit, they are required to pay it back in a rebate to their customers.

The Department of Health and Human Services just announced that those rebate checks will be in the mail shortly.
U.S. health insurers will send out about $330 million in rebates to employers and individuals this summer under President Barack Obama's healthcare law, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said on Thursday...

The rebates will go to about 6.8 million people and have a value of about $80 per family. They are to be sent by Aug. 1 either directly to consumers or to the employer providing the health coverage, who is required to pass the savings onto employees, the agency said in a report.
But perhaps even more important is the impact this provision has had on premiums overall.
If insurance companies had maintained the 2011 ratio of premiums relative to the cost of medical care, consumers would have spent $3.8 billion more in additional premiums in 2013, the health agency said.
In other words, in 2013 Obamacare saved us all $3.8 billion in premiums via the medical loss ratios. That, my friends, is a BFD!!!

UPDATE: The White House just released this image showing the total savings from 2011-2013.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Some food for thought

In some ways, Rep. Steve King is right

Apparently Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) went on a racist tirade against President Obama recently.
“His vision of America isn’t like our vision of America. That we know,” King said about Obama at an immigration rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa, according to Buzzfeed.
It was racist in that he went on to say that President Obama's experience was not "an American experience." But the truth is, he was right in saying that his own "vision of America" is different from Obama's.

As a white person, I can only speak for myself is saying that my experience of America never included:
  • having my qualifications for a job questioned until I proved my citizenship
  • being racially profiled
  • an assumption that I got into college only because of affirmative action
  • being called "gangsta" if I got angry
  • having to carry my papers with me in case of a traffic stop
  • regularly being followed by security in stores
  • threatened with my life if my music was too loud in my car
  • an assumption that I was a threat because I wore a hoodie
  • a demand that I prove I'm in my own home and subsequent arrest for disorderly conduct when I resisted
  • getting pulled over by police for "driving while black"
  • being stopped and frisked for no reason
I could go on. But perhaps you've gotten the point by now. Those are the kinds of things that are happening to brown/black people in this country. President Obama's vision of America is one where the idea that "all men (and women) are created equal" applies to everyone and those kinds of things don't happen anymore. In that way, his vision of America is very different that Rep. King's - who seems to have no problem with the status quo.

I say all this because it goes to the heart of the challenge we are facing as a country today...who's vision of America will prevail? Does our vision include the experiences of everyone - or only those of white people? The truth is - I don't know what its like to be a person of color in this country because I haven't experienced it. In order to craft a vision that includes everyone, I need to listen to those who have a different experience. That is the only way we'll ever "form a more perfect union."  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Four Simple Questions

In many shamanic societies, if you came to a shaman or medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions:
  1. When did you stop dancing?
  2. When did you stop singing?
  3. When did you stop being enchanted by stories?
  4. When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?
Let's see...it seems I've heard something similar from a great man. Where was that? Oh yeah, here:

"It is music and dancing that makes me at peace with the world...and at peace with myself."
Nelson Mandela

The most unrecognized element of President Obama's legacy

When people consider President Obama's legacy, most often they'll talk about health care reform or saving us from another great depression. But rarely do people cite what BooMan talked about.
I have a theory that when the Republican Party finally collapses as a national party it will happen suddenly and without much warning. It could happen as early as this November, although I am not ready to make that prediction just yet...

But the game is nonetheless up. The best movement conservatism can hope for at this point is a flash in the pan confluence of bad news timed at just the right moment to give them the unlikeliest of national victories. This country has totally moved on from their ideology.
Actually, the country moved on from their economic and foreign policy ideology after the disaster of the Bush/Cheney administration. On cultural issues, it was just a matter of time.

But it didn't have to be this way. From the beginning, President Obama reached out to Republicans to work with him on developing bipartisan responses to the challenges we faced as a country. David Frum lamented the fact that Republicans could have taken another path on health care reform.
At the beginning of this process we made a strategic decision: unlike, say, Democrats in 2001 when President Bush proposed his first tax cut, we would make no deal with the administration. No negotiations, no compromise, nothing. We were going for all the marbles. This would be Obama’s Waterloo – just as healthcare was Clinton’s in 1994...

This time, when we went for all the marbles, we ended with none.

Could a deal have been reached? Who knows? But we do know that the gap between this plan and traditional Republican ideas is not very big...Barack Obama badly wanted Republican votes for his plan. Could we have leveraged his desire to align the plan more closely with conservative views?
As I've written so often, in response to this kind of obstruction, President Obama implemented conciliatory rhetoric as a ruthless strategy. In other words, his outstretched hand demonstrated the intransigence on the Republican side of the isle and left them with no choice but to embrace increasingly marginalized positions in order to justify their obstruction.

Just as Frum speculated on a different course for Republicans, imagine with me for a moment what would have transpired if President Obama had taken the advice of many on the left and decided to fight fire with fire. What if, for example, he had responded to their obstruction by insisting on single payer for health care reform or refused to include tax cuts in the stimulus bill? Don't even THINK about suggesting Republicans would have budged on either of those if he had insisted. Neither side would have prevailed and the resulting chaos would have been a Republican dream come true.

In the end, the Republicans chose their own path of obstruction and increasing marginalization. President Obama's response ensured that would mean their demise...not his. It might take years for us to see the full result of those decisions. But when it all unfolds, it will be one of the most important ingredients of this President's legacy.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Photo of the Day: What the world needs now...

Will Bunch writes that "What the world needs now is more like this guy...James Garner." He goes on to quote this from a 2011 interview with Garner.
Garner is what he calls a "bleeding-heart liberal," having participated in the 1963 civil rights March on Washington and later advocating for a number of progressive causes. He voted for Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952, he writes, but never cast a ballot for a Republican again. He voted for Adlai Stevenson in 1956, and calls him "the most intelligent presidential candidate we've ever had. I think Obama runs a close second."
And then Bunch adds his own commentary about current events.
Yes, the world needs some replacements for James Garner, and it also needs, in the words of the song, some love, sweet, love. One reason I posted this photo tonight is that it struck me as the antidote to the last week -- to the brute force and continuing stupidity in eastern Ukraine, to the non-stop killing in Gaza, to the haters blockading buses of refugee kids fleeing from violence, to the senseless police brutality that took place this week on a Staten Island street corner. It's hard to deal sometimes. For just a minute or two, I'd rather think of these two holding hands in the maelstrom, 51 years ago this summer.
Ditto a thousand times!!!!!

Hat tip to my friend Alan who somehow knew I needed this today.

I'm going to let the kids of PS22 finish things out for me.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Building a moral fusion movement

I know a lot of you will think that you don't have an hour to listen to Rev. William Barber's speech at Netroots Nation. The media ignored it because he's not likely to be a presidential candidate in 2016. But if you want to be inspired to build a fusion movement that takes our political discussion above the snake line to the moral high ground, I suggest you find the time. Lordy...this man is just what our spirits need these days!

How my grandmother learned to be racist

My maternal grandmother was raised in Kentucky. She was a church-going woman with basically a good heart. And yet as a child, I remember her saying things like, "When a chigger becomes a chigero, a n*gger will become a negro." How does one reconcile that?

Peter Smagorinsky provided some insight that helps answer that question. He recently ran across a 1906 elementary school textbook titled Frye's First Steps in Geography that contained things like a chapter explaining the world's five racial groups. Included was a picture of the "ideal head."

Smagornisky goes on to summarize:
According to this textbook, the white race is the most advanced in the world. Most other races, schoolchildren were taught, tended to have a “savage” character, living in remote areas without industry and Western-style education.
This is the kind of thing my "good-hearted" grandmother would have learned when she was in elementary school.

I grew up pretty blind to how all of this affected me until a few years ago when I watched the series Race: The Power of an Illusion. The film documents that, beginning during the years of slavery in this country, many of our most renowned scientists (i.e., Samuel Morton) devoted themselves to proving that dark-skinned people were inferior. It was a classic case of science being used to bolster ideology. When a country incorporates slavery based on race and its founding documents state categorically that "all men are created equal," it becomes necessary to find a scientific basis to exclude black (and brown) people from that "all."

And so for well over 100 years, children in this country were taught scientific racism. Its more recent manifestation can been seen in Charles Murray's The Bell Curve, which posits that African Americans have lower intelligence than white people.

Of course we now know that there is no science to the construct of race. That's why the documentary calls it an "illusion." But that doesn't change the fact that these notions have been embedded in both our institutions and our psyches. To finally rid ourselves of them requires introspection and examination. For people who haven't begun that journey, images like this one ignite all kinds of unconscious triggers that have been passed on for generations.