I have been the most imperfect parent ever, in my eyes. I knew my kids football stats but never went to a game. I lost time with my oldest boys, precious time. The most important and fun years of their lives because of my selfishness. My need to feel perpetually buzzed. And then my freedom taken because of that need. I used to tell them because I raised them up to 8th grade on my own that their father would be back in their lives to claim the glory of them being good at football when they were in high school. I meant it, somehow to be like a snide parent. “He won’t help me now, but wait until you get good at football, he will be there.” I used to say
Yeah, Karma hit me bad. Sent me away and their father was man enough to step up and raise some strong men those last few years. Not only that, I think my attempt to be snarky about their dad coming back in their lives pushed them to be better ball players. They wanted their dad back in their lives. Of course they did. What kid who ever had a connection with their father wouldn’t? But I would say that in my inebriated haze. Probably feeling more sorry for myself even though I did a fine job raising them and loving them. I felt sorry that I couldn’t give them the American dream of having a complete family. Which I promised myself I would do and failed. Well, not only me, but you know. You go on in life blaming yourself for everything all the time, or you blame the system. I had no system to blame on my failed attempt to have it all. The American Dream.
However, as bad of a parent as I label myself or am labeled, I have four wonderful, wonderful children who do love me. Even if they tease me about the Yankees, they wrote to me when I was away, even the one I fight the most with. They told me how all they wanted was me back in their life. I knew from that point on, my only priority was to them. I never made it to any games due to traveling and financial restriction, but I followed them that last year as much as I can via media. I talked to them on the phone and I practically hitched a ride down and back for graduation. That does not make me a super parent. Not one bit and I will never brag what a good parent I am but I can’t help but to be overjoyed by the smallest gestures like my sons letting me sleep in a little bit and cooking or my daughter bringing me a pine cone or rock and telling me she loves me.
See, I used to be for legalization. It wasn’t even that long ago. I wanted to gain the right to drink a beer without hiding from the cops. I wanted the damn tribal cops to quit scaring my kids and breaking windows and crawling in my house, breaking doors down like they were the Gestapo and telling my kids they were going to foster care for the rest of their lives. Quit taking me to jail from my sleep because there was an empty six pack in my trash. In the back of my head I still think, yes, let’s take that money from Whiteclay. Why not let our kids be as rich as these muhfugger’s kids! But will our kids be rich? Is that what we want? Will we be rich or will we simply recycle the money? Like our casino. Do we have grasp on the floodgates of gambling on our reservation? Do we have gamblers anonymous or any such service for our gamblers? Will we really build posh treatment centers like we say we will and like we didn’t do a thing for gambler’s? Are we even on board with the fact that gambling is an addiction? That the Red Road does not lead to a casino or bingo hall?
See, I have always wanted legalization for my own personal greedy self, let me have a got damn beer when I cook out dammit! Don’t break my door down when there are cho-mos and child abusers crawling around the hood and I’m just trying to cook out.
That was my argument.
And the argument now is about money. Many, many people want legalization because it is a treasure trove. Millions of dollars, right? We just have to remember whose millions of dollars that is.
We will take this money from Nebraska, millions. An let us be honest as a tribe here, as much as people point fingers it is NOT the street people that stand around in Whiteclay, Nebraska who buy the 12 or 15 million cans a year. No, those are our relatives who are lost. Those are the relatives that someone tried to drag home. Someone tried to give them soup and sober them up. Someone tried to show them their shame. They can’t afford millions of cans of beer a year. It is those who point fingers at them and act better as they buy beer also, because they are the ones who have the money. The federal and tribal jobs.
It is the people of the reservation who are promising to drive anyone over 18 to a voting booth to vote yes for alcohol. It is our working class who have the money to buy beer. It is them who buy the millions of cans a year. I bought more than my share, when I lived and worked there.
So my question is this; from the millions and millions we gain to profit from this venture, will our children still be safe?
We are going to have a whole new set of laws here. Will they really be more safe? Will we have it in our budget instantly to afford more cops for our rez? Or will crime drop? How will these new laws protect our children when the old laws couldn’t? Especially when it it is perfectly legal for those abusing children or with that intent or legal to drink?
Whiteclay, Nebraska is the 2nd biggest beer capitol of Nebraska right behind Omaha.
As Lakota people are we going to be so proud to proclaim our reservation the beer capitol of South Dakota? See nobody wanted change until they talked of legalization, people were defending Whiteclay. Once legalization came to the forefront now people want to talk change. Nobody wants to shut down Whiteclay but everyone wants to put Whiteclay in their yard.
This state hates us anyway but I bet the Senators that will get money to grease their palms from the distributors will be kissing our butts like they do in Nebraska.
Then we will be bought, sold, paid for.
Almost as if we may as well cash in on the Black Hills settlement. Are the Black Hills next? Shall we sell them to insure the future of our children so they grow up without Lakota values? Shall we go that far for the almighty dollar? Or is it about the dollar or about being able to drink?
Yeah, I don’t live there. I haven’t for a couple of years and even when I did I moved back after a number of years. But I was born and raised there. Maybe things changed, maybe they didn’t. Maybe they never will. And it don’t even matter what I think anyway, right. Because I don’t live there now.
We will see.
It is all for the children anyways, right? That is why people want to legalize and keep it illegal, right?