Very rarely do I put on sunscreen (suncream for any of my students who may be reading) for a training run. Marathons, Ultras, yeah, definitely need to protect my skin, if I’m out for 4-5-6 hours in the Sun, there is a chance I will burn. But when I initially left for the run, I realized how strong the Sun was today, went back upstairs and threw on some I don’t know, think it’s Coppertone Sport SPF 30, it’s like 4 years old. As I said, I barely ever have to use it. I actually got it for free at a race. So I threw it on any exposed upper body skin (including the ears, why do people forget their ears?) and I’m glad I did. When I got back to the apartment, I looked like I was still wearing my Gulf Beach Half Marathon Singlet, but no burn. So it was a pretty good run, but between the miles yesterday, the ankle injury, and the heat, I bonked for a bit, still managed to finish well though. Bringing my water bottle was also a very good idea.
So when I got back, I got a few chores done and then headed to the sea. I laid out for a bit to try and even out. Because, as I stated, my runner’s tan looked ridiculous, even though it didn’t at the start of today. I did put my legs in for a bit, but my ankle is precluding me from swimming. I tried to kick, and it was worse than running. The funny thing is, it really only hurts first thing in the morning, and then it’s mostly fine all day. Trying to kick though, that was too much. That and the salt water caused a little pain with some chafing. It happens.
So back in the States it’s Memorial Day Weekend, and all my friends are posting “Home of the Free, because of the Brave” memes. Whether I agree with the supposed justifications for wars (which I clearly do not), people have died under the impression they were sacrificing themselves for the greater good. My heart always aches for them and their families, regardless of my “opinion” of the justifications for war. However, we never do this on Labor Day, and mark the sacrifices of so many men, women, and YES children, who have been offered up on the altar of Capitalism. From the National Guard opening fire on striking worker camps, to private forces fighting striking workers, we never mention this part of our history. These are people directly fighting to express their self-inherent freedoms, and forced to do so against the very forces who supposedly go out and fight for our freedoms “over there”. Or worse, against the “businessmen” who make our freedoms “possible” through Capitalism. I’m sorry, but something doesn’t add up here.
But let’s be completely honest, we’ve never really been the “Land of the free”, we’re the Land of the kind of free, but not really. How do I know this? “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…” written by a bunch of men who owned other human beings. At the end of their rebellion, would they free these slaves as equal humans, deserving of rights? NO! Those slaves were held in bondage, and more were brought in, children were ripped from parents, husbands and wives torn from each other for another 80+ years. Their descendants were subject to one of the worst apartheid States the World has ever seen, and to this day, the further descendants are subject to conditions where the police see them as a threat just because of their skin color. A large portion of the media ask questions that they never ask of any other people like “where are the parents?” and 240+ years later so many people are still policed based on what they look like, who their parents were, what version of god they worship (or any god at all), who they love, etc.
You know who fought for freedom? People like Nat Turner, Gabriel Prosser, Gaspar Yanga (I know it’s Mexico, I care not), Sengbe Pieh, and so many others. They literally fought, or tried to fight, for their freedom. While there is a monument to the Amistad in my hometown of New Haven, CT, most of the time, we don’t have statues of these figures. These giants of history, who truly fought to be free, in a land that told them they were not. In a land that treated them and their descendants as property. Let’s be honest, at least about this much. We want to talk about fighting for freedom, we have to acknowledge the reality of our history.
Freedom is self-inherent, and can only be limited by violence. Even as far as that goes, you can only limit freedom when you’re watching the other party. Who do we watch now? Still minorities, as I stated above. Either ethnic minorities, or religious minorities, or any other minority we can sell to the public as the reason for their suffering. We even sell them themselves, as economic burdens, it’s amazing how people will vote against their own self-interest. I keep seeing stories of Trump voters crying foul now that some program they are dependent on is about to get slashed. I hold no sympathy for these people, as I doubt they will learn their lesson. Just as Sherman was sure that the South would not learn the lesson he taught them. As clearly they did not.
The point being, until we come to terms with the true history of this world. The history of colonialism, slavery, oppression, we will not progress. Given that we are near a tipping point which may see the extinction of most life on this planet, and possibly all life (highly unlikely, bacteria are amazingly resilient, as are tardigrades), it may behoove us to really pull our shit together here. That requires a reckoning with our past. That means tearing down the system built on the many different levels of oppression we’ve created, leveling everything, and putting something in place that works for all people, that lifts all life up and protects all. If we just keep worshiping armies and wars, and calling it “patriotism” and “freedom” we are doomed.
Have fun, keep running, and remember; if Gil can run then so can you!
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