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To Wear a Mask or go Maskless says what about you?

Monday, January 25th, 2021

by: Marceline Donaldson

I am old enough to remember and to have been through the campaigns against smoking.

When it was discovered that smoking caused cancer and even second hand smoke could damage the health of the person inhaling another persons’ cigarette smoke, it was quite a brawl. Sort of like the one we are having with masks or going without a mask. The arguments are the same and the people I have encountered without a mask are the same people who refused to give up blowing smoke into the environment of those who don’t smoke.

What is also amazing is that these are the same people who refuse to give up their identity as “better than.”

Your identity is basic to your being. To have been raised with an identity which claims you are “better than” and experience that as comfortable and that by which you live and move and have your being and by defining others as “less than”, as people who owe you their agreement to stay in “their place” and not disturb the outer, better, larger environment where the “better than” thrive, is a soul destroying thing.

Once upon a time, many years ago, I was on the National Board of NOW. At that time, the law suits and one push was on stopping people (actually men) – (actually white men) from smoking cigars on airplanes because the exhaust and replenish system on the airlines could not effectively remove all of the smoke and other pollutants which such smoking put into the air. Only one or two people were needed to smoke cigars on the plane in which you were traveling to cause problems for everyone else. That, according to the science coming out, not only caused health issues with everyone, but created an extremely uncomfortable environment for those flying.

It was a pitched battle. Finally, after many resources spent – time, money, etc. – the airlines decided to eliminate cigar smoking on planes. That was an incredible victory.

Later, the battle began to eliminate cigarette smoking as the scientific papers were published about the damage cigarettes could do to the human body. That battle was worse than the one around cigars. The cigar smokers just started smoking cigarettes on planes instead of their beloved and deadly instruments of disease.

Gradually, the fight was and still is being won as people today have to deal with even apartment buildings which now say if you live in that particular apartment building and are a smoker you have to agree to smoke outside and not in your own apartment building for which you pay substantial amounts of rent.

Restaurants were another place where the battle against smoking inside the restaurant raged. It was won and people started moving to eat in the “bar” side of the restaurant so they could smoke while eating. The war against smoking found them and today even those in bars can’t smoke inside the bar, but must go outside for their favorite bit of poison.

When that fight was raging I was at IBM. They had a thing where you had to go to Atlanta, GA. for six weeks of training before you could sell those wonderful machines. In the training classes people, of course, could smoke. Light up anytime and foul the air for those in the class who found that a horribly filthy and very uncomfortable habit.

We fought that in many ways. During my class time, success was not gained, but in subsequent classes smoking was outlawed in the classroom. One had to go outside to smoke. So progress does happen. It happens excruciatingly slow and people lose their lives and health in the process, but it happens.

One action we took, as an aside, was to also challenge IBM’s inviolable “dress for success” class and rules. On one of the last days of class we arrived (females, of which there were almost none), in MuMu’s, hair in large curlers, no make-up and slippers. The men arrived (not all, but many) with their jockey shorts over their dress pants and cut off t-shirts over their dress shirts. It was hysterical and great fun, but produced no change in IBM’s dress rules or the necessity of taking such a class.

What is it about human beings and the human spirit that everything must be as we are and everyone must live according to how we live and want life to be. We change facts to accommodate our comfort zone and claim we have the “right” in this country to jeopardize the health of and make uncomfortable and even denigrate and destroy those who aren’t like us?

Those who don’t live our lifestyle? Those who insist on refusing to change when the growing body of science shows us problems which we could address and make better with some simple changes of our lifestyle? We prefer to demand our “rights” to do things harmful to others while totally overlooking the other persons’ “right” to be safe and more. Doesn’t that come from our basic need to be “better than”? The belief system, culture and more that many would rather died for than give up and change.

If we are “better than” our neighbors, friends and all others then we can go about without a mask because we find wearing a mask uncomfortable, not pretty or stylish and all the other reasons we have thrown up. We do not want to become comfortable wearing a mask because it is our “right” to go around without one. Isn’t it interesting how we can demand what we consider our rights, even when those rights that we claim jeopardize the health and well being of others?

It is no mistake that we elected a man who exemplifies all of that and demands his rights over all other human beings? The man who demands to be top of the heap and all others are under him accepting what he doles out to them and for which they are grateful. How come we do all of that? What is there in the human spirit which thinks that is great. We join wild groups because they reinforce the identity we are on the verge of losing – “better than”.

That “better than” need is more lethal than the most terminal and painful of cancers. Yet we insist on living through that kind of culture and that kind of life.

That “better than” need led our ancestors to euthanize attempt to exterminate American Indians. It allowed and encouraged us to use slavery to build these United States. Used the Chinese in a slavery kind of structure to build our railroads – and all through we use denial so we don’t have to acknowledge what we have done and are doing to the detriment of ourselves and others.

To care for others. To be concerned about those with whom we live on this planet doesn’t take much.

An example from my IBM experience shows the difference. I lived in Ambassador Andrew Young’s house while I was in training at IBM. I could not live in the townhouse apartments right next to the classes during that time because I had two young children with me. They had me and I had them and wherever I went they went for all the years of their growing up.

It was difficult driving the 30 to 45 minus to class each day instead of walking a short distance to the classes. It was horrendous trying to figure out and find ways of making sure they were taken care of during the day. That would have been simple had I been able to live in the housing provided by IBM, It took a lot away from my time and ability to really get into the training – although I did a respectable job of it.

No one at IBM cared about the situation I was trying to handle. Men were the main people in those training classes. Men had wives at home who stayed there and took care of the children and anything else that needed to be taken care of because society looked at that as the job of women.

Towards the end of my time in training at IBM, I had caused such an upheaval that a couple people turned their attention to seeing what they could do to make things right.

My girls were learning horse back riding during that period of time so the IBM people found a camp not far away which had young people – about the ages of mine – who lived at the camp and followed their program of learning to ride, show and jump horses. That was a near miracle. I picked up the girls on the weekends and we went ‘home’ and were able to do touristy things satisfying to all.

How wonderful if IBM had put together a few people who gathered such possibilities for people in my situation so my time during training could have been more productively spent. It didn’t take a lot, just caring. Their response, at the time, was to eliminate people like me because it was too much to include us and much better to carry forth the “better than” attitude.

The caring that is missing amongst the people who refused to smoke outside; who wanted to smoke while in class; and so much more.

There were only two or three people in those classes who smoked. They, however, made the room unbelievably uncomfortable and dangerous to the health of the rest of us. The same attitude prevails among people who refuse to wear masks. One would think that past ones time as a rebellious teenager, the need to “prove” things would have abated.

All of those folks have something in common – their identity, which contains the strong belief that they are “better than” the rest of us and why should they accommodate. What a wonderful change in this world when and if they are able to do show some kind of caring for others where there is no payback that they can see for themselves.

“Better than” is a vicious philosophy by which to live. It is incredibly destructive of the human soul as it takes hold of ones personality, character, lifestyle and makes them so incredibly ugly to the rest of society. “Better than” so blinds us as humans that we can’t even see how negative is the way such people are seen by others.

May God forgive your sins against one another and give you the ability to open your hearts in a caring, healing, wonderful way to experience this life as it was intended to be experienced, not to experience it within the confines of a lifestyle with ways of living and choices which lead to a life of denial which leads to a life of lying, cheating, etc. etc.

Some Parallels – the KKK and the Police at Dr. Bennett’s House!

Wednesday, March 18th, 2020

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Before we start this article I would like to leave a note as to Robert Bennett and how he is doing. It was very concerning to me after visiting to see how he is treated. My husband is not used to be called “cutie”, “hi, handsome,” “oh, isn’t he cute” and more. He is talked to as though he has a hearing problem which he does not and talking to him in his room as though he can’t read or write. He is accustomed to be addressed as Rev. Bennett and he needs to be respected enough to call him by his name. He does not lose his identity because the police have put him into this situation and the powers that are attempting to rip off the aged puts them in this ‘lock up’ so that can proceed with things put in place needed for that to happen.”

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I had a phone call today from a friend of over 70 years ago.

Friends from your growing up days may get lost through the years as you do other things, but you don’t forget them and you think of them off and on while you move ahead doing what you think is so important. But really, when the chips are down good friends are life’s gold, silver, diamonds and more

I grew up in this circle of friends in New Orleans, LA. We all went to Central Congregational Church, which was a church vey important in the civil rights movement of the 1960’s and beyond. St. Luke’s, at that time was the society church. My great-grandfather was an Episcopal priest – the Rev. Dr. Taylor. He was rector at St. Luke’s in NOLA – half Black Feet Indian, married to a woman who was French and didn’t hide her race, joining and being active in the exclusive tennis club in NOLA – for white’s only and then only for a very upper class white. Don’t know what that was about so don’t ask. Don’t know how it happened – I have pictures of her and her daughter in their tennis clothes, some pictures in front of the club and while she was very white, her daughter was fairly dark skinned so they could not have been a part of that tennis club “passing.”

Rev. Nicholas Hood was the pastor at Central during my time there. His son is now pastor of a church in Detroit, Michigan where his father moved from New Orleans and where they built a tremendous congregation of caring people. I read the lessons he sends out every week from Plymouth United Church of Christ in Detroit where he pastors the Church his father and now he, following in his father’s footsteps, is building.

Besides Walter and Andrew, another friend from those early days called today and said “Cookie, get out of yourself and look around. What do you see? What similarities are there between where you are now and where you were then.”

We used to get into all kinds of civil rights battles. Going home from school I would throw the signs out the window of the bus which said “for colored patrons only.” Nobody bothered me for doing that then because they knew my grandfather – co-founder of the Louisiana Weekly and all around upsetter of the racist status quo and builder with George Schuyler of the Pittsburgh Courier. The first office of the Pittsburgh Courier in NOLA was our living room. Sure wish he was here now.

My mind went back to what happened to us when the police invaded our house; demanded that Robert leave with them; refused to give me a copy of the paper giving them the right to take my husband out of our house by force. It was so familiar. And then it hit – the KKK took on this persona and its mission to scare N*****s with their white sheets and pointy hats to scare blacks into doing whatever they demanded. Sit, stand, talk, shut up, and more which was much worse. Whenever they found a Negro who wasn’t bowing to them and showing them “respect” – shining their shoes, doing whatever they bid, they turned up at his home and wrecked havoc. On horseback with torches and most times much more.

Wow! It hit me. The police being sent to our house was the same thing only in 20th century garb. Folks have been trying to make Robert and I heel for decades. We just keep on keeping on and ignore the insults, the jabs, the hurtful actions. This time it was so in your face that it was impossible to ignore. The new neighbor high up in the medical profession who made complaints against us and wound up trying to stomp on my toes on the sidewalk, who was stopped in the act by Robert he came walking fast around the corner because he had seen what was happening from the window where we sit and have coffee most days. – At least where we used to sit and have coffee before this attempt to destroy our lives together.

My mind started clearing further when I called Medicare and they spelled out what Medicare Fraud was about and when they told me about forcing someone to get services fraudulently, mistreating that person in the process. Wow! That is exactly what we have experienced. That wallop from the past is another part which defines this experience. When my friends from days past started calling on the same day with the same message – Thank you, Jesus, I know from whence that has come!

No one we have ever talked to has ever heard of anyone being forced into a hospital with policemen forcing them from their home with EMS/EMT’s with a Court Order allowing the police to break down doors and don’t worry about the damage being done in the house if you have to go in to find Robert Bennett as long as you drag that black man out of his house, scare the life out of him, bring him back and lock him up. There are many ways to incarcerate a Black Man. It doesn’t have to be in jail because he committed a crime. It can be all of these other ways you have to engage, especially when he has done nothing wrong. I don’t know many people being forced into the hospital for medical treatments they don’t want, being classed as indigent by a judge who had no idea what he was doing and apparently didn’t care. I have met a couple women to whom that happened, but they were not called “indigent” they were classed as “homeless” when they lived in very nice homes – and of course were African Americans.

I guess we forget the big money made on slavery was made in this New England part of the country.

We forget that you do not have to accept medical treatment, medicines or anything like that. It is your choice to go to a hospital. It is your choice to see a doctor. l It is your choice to take medicines some people think might be good for you. If you choose yes, that’s fine then that is the way you go. If you choose no and to go in another direction that is your choice and should be respected by everyone – police, attorneys, judges, people of all colors, religions, descriptions, etc.

I wonder what it takes to have someone disbarred. That would certainly be something I would consider attempting around someone like O’Sullivan who, they say, was the attorney who has this relationship with the Court which would allow him to get these Court orders for the police to appear and for a hearing at which he presents what he wants and makes sure the other side is not informed so nothing counter to his presentation would be seen by the judge. I don’t know that, but I have certainly heard a lot about him since this started. We will have to do a Bettina investigation to see what’s up and publish what we find.

In that hearing, at which Robert was the topic but the judge refused to have notice served on Robert so he could present his side of what was being claimed – not the first such extreme miscarriage of justice. Apparently, documents to disprove what was being said were withheld from the Court. And so many other mistakes and intentional twisting of the facts happened. The judge was apparently happy for that kind of Court hearing. What are the penalties, if any for such abuses and for so ruining the lives of people.

I always hearken back to the black woman who was awarded $10 million dollars in damages by the Court because of how she was mistreated by Cambridge people in charge. The Courts don’t normally award black women anything and you can be sure whatever the award to a black woman it is peanuts compared to what she suffered and what happened that she was awarded anything.. You can be as damaged as possible and any award you get as a black woman will be minimal. What must they have done to have caused those kind of damages. And what happened that the award received so little coverage in the press. Hardly anyone knows about this. Because of the tax payers money that has had to cover those damages you would think every Cambridge taxpayer would know all the details.

Having experienced some of the kind of damage of which they are capable I can do a little more than imagine what that woman suffered.

To hear from Walter Young with his brother Andrew Young it brought back so many good memories. Of going to Andrew’s wedding; of singing in the Jr. Choir at Church; of playing the organ with friends who crowded into the first pew when I played the organ because I played in my bare feet – it was how I could best feel the pedals at that age and the teasing after the service could be merciless.

It was a relief from what is going on today. Didn’t ever think I would experience eight (8) policemen coming to my door with one just as happy as he could be showing me his cell phone with the Court Order and refusing to give me the actual order. Using his ‘power over’ at that point to draw himself up and make himself ‘better than’. Dusting off his identity to try to make it larger and closer to that of the local White Supremacist ( if he wasn’t already one.) What an ugly sight that was. It was not as bad as this, but do you remember Skip Gates and the police?

That must be illegal and the people who did it need to have to pay the price.

What should also be illegal is bringing someone into Court for the same thing over and over again with dire results for the person. Robert was brought in twice in the same week. Twice within four days on a section 12. It was removed by Mass General Hospital people who examine people under those circumstances. Robert was brought in again by the police on a section 12 – identical – just two days after Mass General discharged him from the first one with no medicine prescribed; normal blood pressure and other such markers in the normal area. What happened when the attorney for Somerville Cambridge Elder Affairs presented that to the Court. Did the Court decide it should be done again and jeopardize the health of a man shortly out of the hospital from a real problem? Or did the Court not care and simply do what it was asked by someone who does this on a regular basis.

And first off, Jim O’Sullivan needs to be removed if indeed he is the person who moved ahead that Court and police business KKK style. He should come under serious questions even if he was the one who sent someone else to do this dirty work.

But in the meantime, my husband is still in Massachusetts General Hospital and the Hospital needs to take an action to stop allowing itself to be used in such vicious ways. They can’t cure beautifully on the one hand and let others destroy what they have done on the other. There is a ground point where a part of the responsibility for this falls on the Hospital.

Thank you, Walter. Give Andrew a big hug for me and God bless Raljean.

Robert and I have always looked out for each other and I will continue to look out for him. I know he will also do the same for me. I also know he would not want me to grovel or demean myself anymore than I have already been demeaned and disrespected with this attempt to destroy our lives together. Why! Because someone wants our assets?

They weaponized my daughter against me and I will never forget that. I live in a universe, however, in which my God is a just God and a God with a memory that does not fail.

This to shall pass – the sun will shine on all of it and God’s justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

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