What a difference five years can make

Remember when the Obama administration lit up the White House in rainbow colors for Pride month in 2015? Remember when diversity and inclusion were something that we strove and worked towards? Elections matter folks. We simply must take back the White House. It’s bad enough we elected and unqualified, racist, narcissist with dictatorial tendencies to the highest office in the land. In less than 5 months we will be headed to the polls again and we must, as a nation, course correct. Our democracy is under attack and long standing, cherished institutions are being weakened at their foundation each and every week.

We are at war. We are at war with the foreign power that put their thumb on the scale in 2016 in an effort to put their preferred candidate in office. Russia has invaded our country and to think about it in any other terms is to not bring to bear the right mindset to the biggest threat our country has ever seen. We are also at war internally. Factions of white supremist organizations and racist sentiment have seemingly been boiling under the service for a while now. Perhaps it better put that old Confederacy never really went away. I think maybe they have just been shifting arenas, and strategies, and strongholds ever since the Civil War.

In the words of Barack Obama…

Selma movie thoughts and review

Yet another relevant movie (African American oppression) is completely free to watch on probably every digital platform (such as YouTube). Selma is a movie representation of Martin Luther King and what went down in Selma, which is somewhat familiar to the documentary film Freedom Riders. I won’t talk much about the plot, but about points and historical elements the movie itself has brought out.

Lyndon Johnson:

I simply had no clue this guy used the n word. His usage of this racial slur, which always happened behind closed doors, was no doubt very odd and disgusting. (There is audio clips to back this up that I just won’t link here) It was more surprising considering his “war on poverty”. However, this isn’t a review of a presidency so I’ll keep it short. Johnson was in the very least tilted in the right direction overall. His presidency just shows how far as country we’ve progressed as a country. Unfortunately, it also saddens me to also see how far we’ve stepped backwards as a country in 2016; when American elected a racist, small handed internet troll.

Non-violent protesting and MLK

Most importantly, the movie did some demythologizing of MLK’s non-violent protests. It showed how and why they were so effective. It revealed that non-violent protesting is not easy, but requires patience, endurance, and some stage craft. The non-violent protests effectiveness (horrifyingly) comes by having the opposing side beat you down. In this, you need to have cameras pointed at you, and gain the support of many people by not fighting back, and enduring beatings. Another obvious reason for not fighting back is simple; it would result in much more casualties. You can see why some of today’s protests aren’t non-violent: Untrained, angry, impatient, and vengeful youth that can no longer tolerate the police’s systematic killing of African-Americans.

African-American voting

Voter suppression of any kind is still practiced to this day by Republicans. You’d think gerrymandering, cheating, lynching, corruption and dogmatic brainwashing would be enough in their mission of corruption, but it just isn’t. African American males were technically being given the right to vote in 1870, yet voting was still impossible for African Americans until the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Still, since then, there have been many scandals relating to votes. A good first read to many of them can be seen on this handy Wikipedia page.

In bringing more attention to these and “demystifying” non-violent protests I give the movie a 10/10 for being so relevant to what is happening today. I recommend watching Just Mercy if you haven’t already, which by the way, is free in 4K.

Lewis Creek Trail review and photos

Since my return to the Central Valley after a 5-year job hiatus to the San Francisco Bay Area I have absolutely fallen in love with our national parks and various lakes. Can you believe that Fresno is only an hour or so away from Yosemite National Park and that I’d never visited it before 2017? I know, I know, believe me I have scolded myself plenty. I’ve really started to change all of that over the last 2-3 years and I even bought an annual National Park pass last year. Anyway, I have made a pact with myself to change all that one of the local gems I visited last week was Lewis Creek Trail.

Lewis Creek is less than an hour away from River Park and Woodward heading north on Highway 41. The southern most trail head is off Cedar Valley road. About a quarter mile down the road there is a nice clearing so you can park and the trail is clearly marked so you can’t miss it. The trail is just over 3 miles (one way) and 6 miles if you do the whole thing up and back. Ronan and I snuck away last Friday just to get out of the house, get some fresh air in our lungs, and still observe social distancing. On the scale of low, medium, and hard I would rate this trail as medium. Serious hikers won’t bat an eye at it but it’s not a walk in park so if you are beginner make sure you are wearing hiking shoes, comfortable clothing, and plenty of water. I’d highly recommend taking a day pack with a water reservoir.

The trail follows Lewis Creek most of they way up and back and you’ll get a great gander at Corlieu and Red Rock falls. With the spat of warm weather we had last week you could tell the beginning of the snow melt from the mountains was gearing up and the creek was full. There is just something special, and I daresay spiritual, about hiking in nature with the sound of rushing mountain water in the background. If you like the outdoors, want to get out of the house, and get a good workout to boot you should put Lewis Creek Trail on your radar. You will not regret it!