(Copyright 2017, Dr. Diana Beard-Williams. “An Absence of Honor”) Sometimes I think heaven is a convenience more so than a real place. Angels are always white, their garments are always white, and there’s not a black face in the group unless it is Lucifer’s who drops by from time to time to pick up the discarded souls of the cursed.
I must have know my life’s journey was going to be difficult because at the age of 10 years, in Englewood, New Jersey, at Saint Cecilia’s Elementary School, I won my first American Legion Essay Contest. It was a city-wide affair and I bet out 8th graders from both public and private schools. My topic…..FREEDOM IS NOT FREE, 500 words, nicely handwritten with those Roman Catholic pens, on lined paper and penmanship counted. I won! And here I am 53 years later remember that my main focus was that “freedom is a two edged sword.” That is when I felt the spiritual gift from the Holy Spirit that writing was my calling and that the more hurt I felt, the more sentimental I felt, the more I could feel someone else’s pain, the more empowered my words, my actions, and my deeded because. I never lost an essay contest after that. I even made money writing letters, essays, papers, you name it for friends because they said I wrote from my soul and they were right. I could feel every work and there are times when I even cry when I write. Every word is emblazoned on my spirit whether it is good or bad. I have written freelance columns from everything from throwaway newspapers to major newspapers across the world and every article affects me in the same way. I read it at least ten times because I savor my words, the feelings, the thoughts, the what if I can make a difference.
As an Activist, Child and Family Advocate, or just savior of the “people” for over 35 years, there are times when sadness has been so suffocating for me that I think about what it would be like to move on. I think about floating, drifting, feeling no more sadness or pain and then I snap back to reality because what pain am I really feeling. Is it a physical pain such as what comes with cancer and morphine and no other drug induced state seems to be able to rid me of the knowing pain. Of is it something emotional that I let someone visit upon me because I let the person get into my head and play all kinds of games that make me the prey and unable of being victorious. Or is it that psychological suffocating pain that come from not being able to cast a bad feeling or though adrift? The kind of pain that seeps into your mind when you least expect it and you want to just bang your head against a wall, the ground, or any hard surface to stop the pounding, pounding of that memory or thought? Sometimes the later has got to be worse then any other kind because I can put up a few roadblocks to keep the perpetrator from entering my mind and if it is physical, oh well, I can morphine or drug myself into oblivion where I feel no pain until I draw my last breath and that heart muscle stops. But it is the pain of that memory or thought that is the hardest to push back into the genie’s bottle because it just refuses to be suppressed anymore. It wants to be free and expose you to every last detail, every nuance of the horrible, debilitating, horrendous, mind fucking event and it refuses to let you skip over any of the details no matter how small or insignificant. In cases like these everything is significant and nothing is forgotten and there are even opportunities to embellish, exaggerate, or add another chapter and verse to what is already a death defying experience.
That is what it feels like to be a whistle blower in a community like Palmdale / Lancaster, California where you have sat and watched the roster of the community’s richest and politically connected men almost literally cannibalize your life. Where you have to sit back and ride it out and wait for the local newspaper the Antelope Valley Press to tire of writing lies about you, politicians like Lancaster’s Mayor R. Rex Parris to stop taunting you because he has the type of law practice where he can call in judges, prosecutors, and sheriff’s deputies to take you an emotional roller coaster, and where the state and federal government does not give a damn because who are you? A do-gooder type who thought, yes thought you were going to save the world?
No one saves the world my fellow activists. You can barely save yourself. Even those whose hands you think are clean are dripping in the blood of others or sullied from the from the dirt they have created or dug up on you. Who does not have skeleton or two in his her closet but suddenly your missteps in life because huge craters of intrigue and the worse part of the whole whistle blower and / or ACTIVIST EXPERIENCE is that you really thought you were being PATRIOTIC AND SHOWING A LOVE OF YOUR COMMUNITY, OR YOUR COUNTRY.
HOW FOOLISH OF YOU TO THINK THERE IS ANYTHING GLORIOUS ABOUT BEING AN ACTIVIST. You may be admired at times, spit on at other times, and mostly crucified unless you carefully follow the lessons I SHARE WITH YOU IN THIS BOOK ‘AN ABSENCE OF HONOR.”
What is worse is you loose your sense of idealism for your government, you have few friends because people do not want to climb out on that limb with you, and you learn very quickly that you jeopardize the lives of the ones you love, your family, either physically, emotionally, or psychologically. All because you felt this spiritual push to do the right thing, it came easy for you, you think God wanted it to be your destiny, and even those you helped turned out to be the most ungracious and cruel in the end.
AND YES YOU WILL KNOW PEOPLE WHO WERE KILLED OFF, WHETHR BY ACCIDENT OR ALLEGED SUICIDE, BY THOSE POLITICIANS, POWERBROKERS, AND DEVELOPERS WHO BUILD AMERICA’S COMMUNITY AT THE TAXPAYER’S EXPENSE.
From local government to pubic school districts, to charter schools, to the district attorney’s office, to the judges in Superior Court and occasionally in the Circuit Courts, to every facet of the community you can think of including HOMELESS SHELTER, CHURCHES AND FOOD BANKS……… EVERYTHING IS BUILT ON CORRUPTION, GREED, PAYOFFS, AND WHAT’S IN IT FOR MOST POLITICIANS AND SENIOR MANAGEMENT.
And it is not just about your local community …… it is about the UNIVERSITY SYSTEM LIKE CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY AT NORTHRIDGE where the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors have swept so much corruption, malfeasance, fraud, THEFT OF OVERTIME PAY, nepotism, cronyism , racism, sexism under the rug in departments like PHYSICAL PLANT MANAGEMENT.
Ever see someone with a bullet in the head, a crime scene cleaned up so fast, a story prepared of suicide that made no sense, and a community of rich men circle the wagons to protect their investment? COME WALK WITH ME THROUGH “AN ABSENCE OF HONOR.”
COMING TO A BOOKSTORE NEAR YOU IN THE UNITED STATES AND EUROPE THIS SUMMER!