I appear on MSNBC with Rev. Al Sharpton on Tuesday, September 30th at 6 p.m. e.t.. The White House is expected to respond to a series of Secret Service failures over the last few years. Considering the numbers of protocols and procedures that were not followed, it should be interesting to what comes from this.
Hope you can join me.
I appear on MSNBC with Rev. Al Sharpton on Monday, September 29th at 6 pm e.t. More information is coming out about another security lapse and failure by the U.S. Secret Service and White House security. In some ways, this one is worse than the previous failure although recent revelations reveal that the intruder was able to go much further into the White House than the front door. There are protocols and procedures in place to deal with threats to the President and his family. And yet, are they being followed? Has the Secret Service learned anything after a series of mistakes.
I will appear with Rev. Al to talk about it. Should be fun.
I appeara on KOA in Denver, Colorado with my friend Steffan Tubbs on Tuesday, September 22nd. The U.S. has been conducting airstrikes throughout Syria to take out Syria. It is an incredibly complex operation and the difficulty will be to determine who our friends and enemies actually are. We will see.
This should be really interesting.
The best of America. It flowed out of the mouth of some twenty something hipster in a carefully chosen torn red t-shirt as he mounted the steps to get a closer look at the Mt. Rushmore Monument in the Black Hills. As soon as I heard it, I thought to myself, what the hell does that even mean?
As I walked under all of the United States state flags following this guy, I tried to answer the question for myself, the best of America. Physical feats? Engineering feats? Military conquests? After all, we can kick the shit out of anybody. Well, most people, excluding Afghanistan and Vietnam but let's ignore those guys for a second, shall we? Ain't that enough? Look what we can accomplish. Then following this logic, I started thinking about Americans in general and what the best Americans look like.
I stepped up to the railing and looked up at Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln staring out over the landscape. While I've seen it before, it's still strange because we seem to use this iconic image to sell America as the greatest country on the face of the planet. As I looked up, and thought to myself, in my ridiculous rhetorical fashion, so these are the best that America has to offer? I can't really deny their various accomplishments although revisionist historians have certainly had to reconsider whether what these guys did was as masterful as we were taught in elementary school. But then I thought about something else.
The Black Hills here in South Dakota are geographically and spiritually critical to the Lakota people. This is their Garden of Eden, their fertile crescent, their Mecca. What must it be like for the Lakota to see this place scarred for any reason? Then, I considered taking it a step further and carving four white U.S. presidents into these mountains, a country younger than the Lakota and also one that has repeatedly kick the shit of of the Lakota. Nothing like seeing your conquerer's face carved onto the doors of your place of worship.
I then traveled to the Crazy Horse Monument only a couple of miles away and also in the Black Hills. Strangely, it felt like a much different experience and seemed to acknowledge the existence of a people in a way that Rushmore had decidedly scrubbed clean. But it did something else. It brought to mind what Americans looks like. As I looked around at the crowd, I saw Lakota there as well and I knew immediately that these were Americans too. Some, maybe the best that America had to offer.
So, what the hell does any of this mean? The best of America comes from many different places and holds many different perspectives. Not really sure what the right answer is. As for the best of Americans, seems to me that some of them certainly are white and are carved on a sacred mountain that some consider highly offensive. However, I bet some of them look nothing like those four rich dudes regardless of what that 20 something hipster said.
I'm here to do some preliminary work on a documentary that my partner Dan Patterson and I are working on about the Lakota people. So that's why I'm here in the Badlands at the epicenter of their culture, tradition, and identity. And yet, I'm completely overwhelmed.
How the hell do you take all of this and then package it in a way to do these people justice? They have been screwed by everybody who has ever touched them and I'm just one in the latest, right? That's my problem. There is more to these people than poverty, and despair. There is more than just little kids playing the dirt in front of tar paper shacks. We need to find that. We need to articulate that.
The Lakota Nation, or, Sioux, as many know them, have been in this place for longer the than U.S. has been in existence. A minor point, right? To some, maybe. And yet, we know so many of their names like Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, Spotted Tail and Rain Cloud. These people didn't take much shit while the U.S. and settlers and profiteers shoveled bucketloads onto them. I know a little something about having problems with authority so I like these people immediately. Can't help it. Of course, what these people have experienced is almost beyond comprehension. Think Little Big Horn. Think Wounded Knee. Think just about every contact you have ever heard of and thousands more you haven't.
Two of the poorest reservations in America are still here, Pine Ridge and Rosebud. An estimated 25,000 people live here. We will go to these places and spend time with the Lakota. But if you think we are simply going to do poverty porn or some shit like that, you should probably move along. Nothing to see here. Nope. There is beauty and honesty and love and food and culture here that doesn't fit into the Indian as victim box. And I'll be damned if we don't capture that.
The Badlands demand nothing less. These people demand and deserve nothing less. And yet, I have heard this idealism spouted from so many who then simply role out the same shit. Well, Dan Patterson and I refuse to do that. Not this time. Ain't gonna happen. That's right.
You heard me you bastards.