Granddaughter J




She wakes each day with the sole intention of bending the universe to her will

Most often she succeeds

Everyone she meets is her “friend”

She speaks to strangers

She got that from her mama


She can’t comprehend that someone’s birthday is not synonymous with a party

Therefore, a birthday is not something that occurs it’s something you attend

She’s Three


She takes naps only when riding in cars and when totally spent

Life is too full to waste it sleeping

Running, jumping and dancing are preferable to walking

Where does all the energy come from?

She’s Three


She has the very best hugs

In every picture taken ever, she’s posing

She got that from her mama too

She enters a room and totally owns it

She is the center of the universe wherever she may be

She does not leave she departs, hugging everyone goodbye



I See You

I don’t see you for what you are not

I see you for who you are





I don’t see you for what you are not

I see you for who you are

I worry that you worry that you have to be perfect

It’s only required that you be you


You require a standard for yourself you’d never apply to another

You accept all that walk in truth while not assuming this applies to you as well

You are mother, sister, mentor, teacher, friend…

You do them all well


Find peace in knowing all that you’ve accomplished

Though the struggle isn’t over, you know the way, you have the tools to deal with whatever comes your way

And most of all

Most of all

You have a circle

Friends and family that know you matter

People that owe you and those that just care

People that love you


For all that you have not, are not and might never be

You are rich in what you have done, what you will do and who you are

You are magic

The History of American (White) Exceptionalism: Chapter Three

“Throughout American history, the term American Exceptionalism seems to derive most meaning from one of its root words… except!”

CHAPTER THREE: The History of American (White) Exceptionalism

Every October Americans pause to celebrate Columbus Day. Children are taught that the Italian navigator discovered America. Parades are held in his honor and tributes tell of his skill, courage and perseverance.


Historians, archaeologists, anthropologists and other scientists and scholars now know that Columbus did not discover America. Not only were native Americans present when he reached the New World, but also Africans, Asians and Europeans, among others, had been sailing to the Americas thousands of years before Columbus ventured across the Atlantic.


Of the various people who reached America before Columbus, Black Africans appear to have made the most contacts and to have had the greatest impact. During the 19th and 20th centuries, several scholars wrote books and articles about this subject and urged the academic establishment to change primary and secondary curricula across the country to reflect the great contributions of African people to early America. Unfortunately, such pleas fell on deaf ears; so again this October our children are being taught the myth that Columbus discovered America. – Legrand H. Clegg II

Columbus did not discover America. Other Europeans, Asians and yes black Africans beat him to it yet American history generally only acknowledges the exploration of white Europeans. Said another way, whatever happened prior to white people doesn’t count. Current history books are racing in contradictory directions. Some seek to at least acknowledge the prior existence of at least Native Americans while others (led by Texas) seek to whitewash slavery making it seem almost voluntary and mutually beneficial and require the introduction of American Exceptionalism. The American Exceptionalism component seeks to justify everything done in the name of creating this country which generally happened at the expense of minorities who became forced labor or whose land was stripped from them using terms like Manifest Destiny or far more recently Eminent Domain.

Eminent Domain allows for the government to take private property involuntarily if for public use and the owner is paid a fair price. Eminent Domain has not been exclusively used against minorities but I can’t find a single example where it was specifically for their benefit. Recently Donald Trump tried to take an elderly woman’s land using Eminent Domain so that he could expand a casino parking lot. Was that truly for the public use? Recent interpretations have expanded “public use” to extend to anything that might increase the tax base and therefore theoretically benefit the public. When local governments carve out space for new arenas and stadiums they most often take land in the heart of minority communities because it is “the cheapest” and improves the bottom line. The “fair price” is then determined and then imposed on the residents by those who have a direct interest in paying the least amount possible.

One of the main reasons for the American Revolution was “taxation without representation”. Britain imposed several taxes on the colonies who were not a part of the process in England where taxes were levied and had no representatives to speak on their behalf. No taxation without representations is not only one our founding ideals but our most lasting ones yet let’s see how that has been practiced.

America has never been afraid to tax many if not most of its citizens without fair representation. If you follow the history of voting rights in America and correlate that to people without representation it becomes clear. The people who made the decisions were white males with land. The list of those without representation includes but is not limited to; women, slaves, indentured servants, white men without land, Native American’s, Asians and free black men. The right to vote was never simply bestowed on any of these groups and had to be fought for via Women’s Suffrage, protests, civil disobedience, riots and more. The white men with land saw every concession as a loss of power and took then and take now every opportunity to keep the playing field from being level. They instituted literacy tests, poll taxes and let us not forget lynching’s. Where the KKK wore hoods and primarily met and acted in secrecy. White Councils walked prominently in the daylight and included many communities most prominent citizens. In place of literacy tests (still being advocated by some on Fox News to eliminate the “low information voter”) we have the new Voter ID laws. If a woman marries or divorces and her new name does not exactly match her ID she may not be allowed to vote. Students with photo ID from State colleges may not be allowed to vote whereas a gun license is acceptable because demographically gun owners fit the acceptable profile. Poll taxes have not been eliminated, simply revised as the cost of compliance with the new laws may include ordering a certified birth certificate or paying fees for a government ID. There is also limiting the number of voting locations in urban (read minority) locations, causing long lines and discouraging voters. Alabama recently attempted to reduce the number of polling and registration locations in majority black counties to so few as to impose an incredible hardship for those wishing to register and/or vote.

In May of 1787, each of the 13 Colonies sent representatives to Philadelphia for a Constitutional Convention sometimes known as the “Secret” Constitutional Convention. It was not that the convention was kept secret to protect the lives of the attendees. The war was over and they could openly meet where they pleased. It was the proceedings that were kept secret as James Madison explained to Thomas Jefferson who was in Paris at the time, to “secure unbiased participation” of the delegates. They didn’t want anyone to feel inhibited lest their comments be repeated elsewhere.

One topic of discussion was how the people would be represented in Congress. Larger states wanted representation based on population whereas smaller ones wanted equal votes per state. It was ultimately decided that the upper house (the Senate) would have the same number of representatives for each State. It was the lower chamber (the House of Representatives) where the problems arose. It was generally acceptable to base representation on population but the slave holding states were an issue.

Slave states wanted slaves to count as population though they couldn’t vote and had no rights. Non-slave states didn’t want their influence decreased based on counting slaves. It was at this convention where the compromise was agreed to that in the slave states, each white person was considered a whole person yet every slave only counted for 3/5th’s of a person. The point generally made is the slight of considering a black person only 60% of the value of a white one. The point missed is that they had no rights at all… making their legal status 0% of white people. Throughout American history, the term American Exceptionalism seems to derive most meaning from one of its root words… except!

If Not For a Teacher

It was Dr. L.M. Collins who presented the challenge and got me to produce at least in his class at something close to potential. Although not an English major, I took every class he taught, asked for no special consideration and was offered none.


If not for a teacher, where would I be?

How wasted the knowledge, if I didn’t truly see?

Were I never inspired, how sad what a waste.

If not for a teacher, no wisdom to taste!

I have been blessed in my life to have had several teachers that made a difference. Miss Sorenson in 1st grade that encouraged reading and was responsible for my several trips to the public library to get books about a talking dinosaur in the desert which began my interest in Literature.

It was Ms. Archibald in 4th grade that on the exterior seemed the prudish stereotype but reminded the unruly class, “these are pearls of wisdom and you shall never hear them again!”

In 7th grade a science teacher whose name I can’t recall who got us to the school roof at 5 am to look thru a telescope and view the stars.

Second on my all time list would be Tom Keljik who with his creativity expanded my interest in other political systems, history and politics. I still look for opportunities to let people know about the Sino-Soviet Alliance of 1950 where Russia lent China $430 million worth of arms, cash and submarines which I learned of in his class. The day we took over another class proclaiming “Power to the Proletariat” was a highlight of my high school career.

I should back up a second and say that during most of my late high school and college days I considered myself an athlete first and student might fall somewhere from 2nd to 4th depending on the day. It was Dr. L.M. Collins who presented the challenge and got me to produce at least in his class at something close to potential. Although not an English major, I took every class he taught, asked for no special consideration and was offered none. Public Enemy had an album, “Fear of a Black Planet” which was ranked as one of the most culturally significant albums of all time. I assure you the fear of Dr. Collins red marker on a paper could be equally empowering. Dr. Collins encouraged me to enter a university wide essay contest on, “The Value of a Liberal Arts Education” which I won. Although my primary motivation was the $200 cash prize (big money back then). It was hard to distinguish which of us was most proud when he presented the award.

For all of us that can acknowledge that we didn’t do it alone. Remember the teachers that were part of your life and the sacrifices they made in order that we might achieve. Should you choose to comment, mention a teacher that was important to you and why? To my teachers I owe apologies to some but definitely thanks to all!

Living the Dream

Letting my followers here know. I’ve submitted my first manuscript for a consideration by a publisher. I’ll be submitting to other publishing houses and they may take an incredibly long time to respond but I have a finished product which is a huge blessing considering it all started as an idea. I won’t be saying much more about this until prayerfully there’s a deal. Many of you have already been highly supportive for which I thank you.

William Spivey

The History of American (White) Exceptionalism: Chapter Two

Chapter Two: America is not a Democracy


Happily for America, happily, we trust, for the whole human race, they pursued a new and more noble course. They accomplished a revolution which has no parallel in the annals of human society. They reared the fabrics of governments which have no model on the face of the globe.”  James Madison November 20, 1787


One of the basic premises of American Exceptionalism is that our form of government is unique. Born of revolution our founding fathers in their great wisdom formed a constitutional republic where “The People” ultimately ruled. They firmly rejected the notion of Kings and Queens (despite the fact that it was at least suggested to George Washington that he become King) and other royals in favor or a representative government.

Reading the quote from James Madison, one might believe that the founders came up with a totally unique style of government. Closer to the truth is the fact that they did their best to duplicate that with which they were familiar. What they created was basically European style government minus the Kings, Queens, and taxation without representation. Some of the things an American with no knowledge of the world (most of us) might well believe that “Separation of Powers” and “Separation of Church and State” were unique to our country. Truthfully these elements can be found in governments around the world and Oliver Cromwell might easily had as much on our Constitution as Thomas Jefferson.

While America indeed has never had royalty per se. We have given the wealthy the same power and deference as that bestowed on dukes and duchesses and barons and baronesses. Since the beginning of our history, we have given the rich undue influence in selecting our supposed representatives to endure positive outcomes for their preferences. Even recently this has become enshrined in our elections through Citizen’s United which ensure the rich can throw unlimited anonymous money behind their candidates who will in turn promote their will. It took a while for the rich to assume their place in America as after the American Revolution, most of the rich were Loyalists and returned to England. After a time the robber barons took their rightful place and the most familiar names include Carnegie, Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Astor and Mellon. They ruthlessly used power and money to buy politicians, snatch resources, crush unions and obliterate opposition. Today these names have been replaced by Koch, Adelson, Murdoch, Trump and the most worrisome of all, Anonymous. It is the rich and powerful that have become our royalty and as they now control most of the major mass media the revolution will truly not be televised.

We keep telling ourselves that we have free elections and a representative government. We presume that they are subservient to our will and ignore the financial requirements to get and stay in office that make them beholden to contributors and not the public. We can take apart this fallacy by first examining who is allowed to vote.

The only constituency that has always had the power to vote in America is white males with land. There were theoretical early exceptions like in New Jersey where female land owners had the right legally to vote but might be discouraged to do so. Freed slaves had the right to vote in four states assuming they also owned property and met whatever tests were thrown up in their way.

By the time of the Civil War, all white men could now vote in all states whether land owners or not which is progress of a sort I suppose. 1870 gave us the 15th Amendment prohibiting denying the right to vote based on “race, color or previous condition of servitude”. This combined with the 14th Amendment granting citizenship to anyone born in the United States in theory created a large new group of eligible voters. Many states however proceeded to pass a number of laws including literacy tests, poll taxes, white only primaries and voter intimidation tactics to prevent blacks and other undesirables from voting. I don’t mean to gloss over “voter intimidation tactics” which included threats, beatings and lynching’s which needed to be explicitly mentioned.

It was 1920 before women gained full voting rights as part of the 19th Amendment. This followed the suffrage movement being fought on both state and national levels. They earned the right in time to vote in the 1920 November Presidential Election. Women had been winning the right to vote on a state by state basis but only in 1920 did it become the law of the land.

It was not until 1966 that poll taxes were eliminated (at least on paper) from the states arsenal of voter suppression tactics. While the 24th Amendment saying just that had been enacted in 1964, most states were not forced to comply until later. Several states now had to seek prior clearance to making changes in their voting requirements and redistricting due to their extensive history of discrimination. This was mandated by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. You may know that that section was recently gutted by the United States Supreme Court eliminating the preclearance requirements. Texas and other states went to work immediately placing new requirements and changing districting on the first day after the elimination of the preclearance requirement.

In 1971, before a backdrop of Americans being sent to Vietnam and not old enough to vote on the representatives sending them there, the 26th Amendment was passed lowering the national voting age from 21 to 18. A few states like Georgia had already lowered the age but the Amendment made it Federal law.

Lest one think that voting rights are settled in America I offer these examples. As I write this on April 6, 2016. Yesterday the Supreme Court unanimously turned back an attempt by Texas to do away with one man one vote (really should read one person one vote) in an attempt to not count members of the population ineligible to vote. Fights are ongoing in several states including North Carolina, Wisconsin, Texas and more to resist new draconian laws intended to make it harder if not impossible for certain segments of the population to vote. It is universally Republicans and other conservative groups proposing these changes and despite their claims of fighting almost non-existent voter fraud. The actual intent and result is to diminish the voting impact of minorities, the elderly and youth in an attempt to change elections. This combined with the successful attempt by Republicans to redistrict America and assume State and Congressional control after the 2010 census is how you get a result like in 2012 where Democrats won the national popular votes for congressional seats by a large margin yet Republicans end up with a stranglehold on the House of Representatives.

There is much more to say about the systemic attempt to dilute the power of specific voting groups but if I tried to say it all I might never get done. I do want to say that one of the methods by which a limited few conspire to control outcomes of elections is by limiting who gets to vote. The second way is by determining who is eligible to run for office.

Even in most local elections, requirements to run for office may include a filing fee or a number of petitions from constituents in order to be eligible. Sometimes one can cite undue burden and request the filing fee be waived (or fees to have petitions accepted) but the bottom line is that if you have money there is no burden and if you’re broke the struggle is real. For national elections each state sets requirements to get on their ballot which inevitably require deep pockets as well. None but the well to do need apply. Now there are some who line their own pockets and those of friends and family by paying themselves for campaign work and consulting. This may explain why some candidates destined to lose, stay in the race as they raise more funds and sell more books.

Political parties have more say than the voters. In the rare case I agree with Donald Trump. If a candidate wins an election, he/she shouldn’t see their delegates handed off to someone else demonstrating the will of the people never mattered. Should a candidate arrive at their political convention without the delegates to become the nominee. The outcome will be settled in a smoke filled room, out of the public eye.

One might reasonably ask who is in that room, making decisions that affect our futures. Out of sight and uninfluenced by the will of the people. That room will be heavily if not solely populated by white men. These white men will have been selected by other white men to fulfill the desires of white men. When I say white men in this context, I’m not speaking of all white men but the power brokers who have always presumed to know what’s best for the rest of us. Whether it’s the Republicans discussing “Convention Rule 47” or the Democrats use of “Super-Delegates” the one thing is clear is that this is not democracy.


The Trump Effect

Another answer not spoken of in polite circles is that people are not voting for him in spite of his racism, xenophobia and misogyny but because of it.

We are witnessing a variation of the Bradley Effect where white voters when deciding between a white and a black candidate might profess to have no opinion or indicate they will vote for the black candidate in polling while they actually intend to vote for the white one. They do this because they don’t want to open up themselves to criticism of racial bias so they give a response that is more politically correct.

One thing we know about Donald Trump is that his followers have no concerns about being politically correct. We also often hear, “he’s saying what we’re thinking” which is likely true. Trump has consistently outperformed his polling which tells us that even more people than admit to supporting Trump are voting for him. Despite the recent horrific media cycles he’s had the past two weeks after his attacks on a rival’s wife, arrest of his campaign manager and desiring to punish women for having abortions. He still leads by a large margin in national polls which I submit is likely understated.

They say that Trump has tapped into the anger of largely white males which deserves an entire conversation of its own as to what they are angry about. The answer most often given is related to economics and the increasing gap between the rich and the rest of us. Another answer not spoken of in polite circles is that people are not voting for him in spite of his racism, xenophobia and misogyny but because of it. The Trump Effect like the Bradley effect before speaks less of the candidates than it does the hearts and minds of the populace.

The History of American (White) Exceptionalism: Chapter One

Chapter One


American Exceptionalism has been described by historians since the mid 1800’s. Definitions fall basically into three camps.

  1. Because of its unique origins, born from revolution, America is unique from all other nations. Never having Kings and Queens it had always been ruled by the people thru its elected representatives.
  2. America has a unique mission to transform the world and has the responsibility to ensure that its form of government always exists.
  3. America’s mission, resources, and history make it superior to all other nations.


The first premise makes the case on its own that American Exceptionalism is simply a metaphor for White Exceptionalism in that it assumes the “origin” of America begins when white people arrived. Some history books pay a bit more attention to the inhabitants already present when European’s got here. Generations of Americans however were taught from American History books whose first chapters began in Europe with religious freedom being the main reason for their migration. What you might not know is that a high percentage of colonists were criminals. Beginning in 1615 British courts started sending their convicts to the colonies to alleviate their own large criminal populations. It took until 1697 before colonial ports began refusing “convict ships”. In 1917 British Parliament passed the Transportation Act revising the method by which convicts were sent to America. Between 1700 and 1775, over 50,000 more convicts were sent to America with over 20,000 settling in Virginia. Donald Trump speaks of Mexico sending “not their best” and claiming “they’re rapists” in his popular claims with no evidentiary basis. England formally and systemically sent America its convicted criminals who could be had for a lower rate than the indentured servants who also helped build America. And then of course there were the slaves who were cheaper still. Making America’s unique history the basis for a claim of exceptionalism requires we ignore its reliance on slave labor, indentured servants and criminals, all of whom were exploited for the benefit of the white land owners and politicians who benefited from their abuse. We haven’t even mentioned taking the land from the remaining existing inhabitants that had managed to survive being killed off by European diseases.

The second part of the initial premise is that America has since the Revolution engaged in self-rule by duly elected representatives of “the People” when the reverse is often true. Examination of the current Presidential Election has revealed that the Political parties often have more control than the people whether it be thru the obscure rules that govern delegates to party conventions, the electoral college and the combination of redistricting and gerrymandering. Our elections often give the people a chance to offer an opinion, but one that can be taken away should the desire be great enough. We may never have had a King or Queen but true power rests in the hands of such a small number of people that we do have an Oligarchy and Citizen’s United has all but preserved that.

The next premise is about America’s unique status in the world and its mission to ensure its form of government always exists. It speaks volumes that America presumes it has the right to dictate to the world and to superimpose its values on other countries. If one pays special attention, there is a pattern as to when and where America usurps control of the decisions of others. Routinely America has overthrown leaders and promoted insurgencies in countries where the populations are other than white. While suggesting our goal is to preserve or promote Democracy. We’ve never had a problem supporting dictatorships or monarchies when we had favorable access to their resources or they provided a strategic alliance in their part of the world. Our status as “The World’s Policeman” is actually correct as long as we know that protect and serve only applies to America and even then primarily to the institutions primarily under the control of our white power brokers. Unfortunately their needs also rely upon the revenue generated from the sale of arms across the world and depend on the continued instability caused by the wars they promote.

However one might feel about the first two false premises. It is the third that makes America the most dangerous, even to many of its own citizens. The conservative right is reviving the ideal of American Exceptionalism and the way they use it is proof of the prejudice that is its foundation. They say our history, mission and resources make us superior to all other nations. Efforts are underway in Texas and other places to incorporate the teaching of American Exceptionalism in history books. Ensuring the propaganda of superiority is entrenched for future generations. They feared our actual history wasn’t “patriotic enough”.

Make no mistake, when politicians speak of American Exceptionalism it is much more likely to apply to Mexico, Iraq or Iran, China, Japan, Venezuela or any country where the inhabitants are primarily brown, black or yellow. America cares deeply about the human rights abuses or terrorist attacks in France, Brussels or England but not so much in Sierra Leonne or Kenya. Israeli lives matter much more than Palestinian ones. American Exceptionalism has always been about the preservation of white interests and it is the demographic march of America into a majority-minority nation that provokes its revival. It is American Exceptionalism which allows the country to engage in voter suppression, gerrymandering to ensure state governments are controlled by giving more power to rural white areas, disenfranchising the more “urban” large cities. We worry about the southern border dividing us from our brown neighbors while the northern Canadian border elicits no fear. American Exceptionalism is but the polite name by which those white Americans so inclined can promote their ideals.


#whiteexceptionalism #americanexceptionalism

Mark Fuhrman, Fox News, Donald Trump and America

Fox News presents Mark Fuhrman to assure their white base of viewers whose side they are on and that they give zero damn’s about whoever might be offended.


I’ve been watching “The People vs. O.J. Simpson” and Tuesday night I happened to catch the episode about Mark Fuhrman. You may remember that in 1995, he denied under oath he’d used the word “nigger” in the past 10 years. Afterwards, over 13 hours of audio tapes came out where not only did he frequently use the word, he discussed a pattern of policing where it was typical to beat and or frame black defendants. He outlined that the abuses were not rare but systemic in the Los Angeles Police Department happening frequently. To quote a line from the show, “it proved what black people have always known”. Although only two sentences from the tapes were able to be used in testimony to show Fuhrman committed perjury. All of America came to know he used the word “nigger” 41 times in the tapes and described his personal mistreatment of blacks and animus for blacks, Mexicans and women.

Fast forward to the present and Mark Fuhrman hosts a radio show, has written best-selling books and is a frequent contributor on Fox News. While I would love to single out Fox News, prior to his appearances there he worked for ABC, CBS and Court TV. My question is, what is it about Mark Fuhrman that makes his opinion desirable or acceptable. He was found guilty of perjury (only got 3 years’ probation) which calls into question his credibility and the tapes he made demonstrated no concern for following procedure except for how to get around it. Most of all he demonstrated he was an avowed racist who used his position to persecute those who didn’t look like him.

Make no mistake; his presence on Fox News is not in spite of his clear racist beliefs and abuse of power. It is because of it. Fox News presents Mark Fuhrman to assure their white base of viewers whose side they are on and that they give zero damn’s about whoever might be offended.

Given this background, it is easier to look at the campaign of Donald Trump and see more clearly how he enjoys a certain level of support despite his clear racism, xenophobia and misogyny. He is not receiving votes in spite of his clear views but because of them. If you have any doubt who Trump is nakedly appealing to, look at who attends his rallies. The people that have few other places where they can publicly display their confederate flags, or swastika tattoos have found a home at Trump events. Donald Trump is who he is and has discriminated against blacks in housing, taken out a full page ad advocating the death penalty for 5 black youth who turned out to be innocent. Hired illegal workers and paid them a fraction of their worth and done what he said you have to do which is, “treat women like shit”. Donald is who he is which is finally becoming clear and he will not become the next President of the United States. What he has revealed is the number of Americans that feel he is speaking for them and their desire to make America not great again but white again.

America has become far less of a melting pot than a place where a percentage of the population has a great fear of losing the privilege they have always enjoyed. They have done all they can to retain power despite shrinking demographics thru gerrymandering and redistricting and voter suppression. Trump’s campaign has helped shatter the illusion that racism is a thing of the past. It is front and center as perhaps it has always been.



Friendship is the sincerest compliment I can offer. Typically when I meet someone I analyze them, seeking to categorize them and determine how they might act in a given situation. I am not always right and evaluations are subject to change but I am apt to classify them all the same.


Should I define you too quickly, we may become acquaintances of a type but we will likely not become friends. With my friends I require a degree of complexity, layers. I do want the comfort of reliability without however the kiss of death of predictability and the difference is a fine line.


Friends are forever. Not defined by frequency of contact or distance or even life choices with which one might disagree. Friendship is not questioned, it simply is, and can always be depended on.


The best of my friends have somehow evolved beyond the process of analysis. No longer do I attempt to classify them and place them in a category. The best of friends I acknowledge, accept and indeed love them for whoever they are without having to define them being part of the equation. We pick up where we left off no matter what has transpired since last we communicated. We have a language and history and a sentence started by one can oft be finished by the other. These relationships are defined by a lack of judgment, only acceptance and embrace.


I am blessed to have not only old friends but have found the capacity to accept new ones. They appear as if by magic at a time when the need was present. If you have a friend, someone who you actually have permission to take for granted. Thank them anyway for they are part of your backbone. Thank you friends!