Cooling It

by on May 13, 2010 · 15 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, From the Soul, San Diego

ernie mccray Kicking back

Is there anything in the world as cool as just “cooling it,” you know, kicking back in your comfy jeans, and that nice fitting tee-shirt you found in Borrego Springs, some broken in running shoes, acting and feeling like you just know you’re cool.

Talking about a little respite from rising everyday and entering into Twilight Zone like scenes wherein wee-minded anti-this and anti-that beings scurry about frightened to death of life, all caught up in their “America Love it or Leave It” proclivities and philosophies.

You spend a few moments in their world and you just have to “cool it” whenever you can because when you get back up on your feet again the “antis” will be there, right where you left them, ready to make your day at, say, something as innocent as a rally for dignity and decency on a bright and sunny day in May called May Day.

Oh, they were like stoned bantam roosters, that day, the antis, chests out, nowhere near as far as their bellies, crowing nonsense they’d heard on right wing radio, so numb, so compassionless, so willing to jump on a white horse (poor pony) with a Lash Larue whip and round up all the Latinos and ship them out on a rio to Mexico. These folks will never forget the Alamo.

But who writes their material, I want to know? I mean what’s with a slogan like: “Why in the Hell Should I Have to Press 1 for English?” So you can understand the message, Fool!

Or this: “What if the next illegal immigrant is carrying a nuclear device?” Then you’d better corra le, bato (loosely translated: run, mofo). And don’t let the atomic bomb hit you where the good Lord split you, to paraphrase a saying of my day.

Or this: “Why does liberalism want to erase our language, borders and culture?”

Was I asleep when liberals discussed such desires? Who among us would dare try to erase our language with English Only attitudes firmly in place in an atmosphere where speaking Spanish is seen as a disgrace? And I don’t think it would be the least bit easy trying to erase the border in the midst of our society’s “Let’s build a fence equal to the Great Wall in China” mentality.

And what, pray tell, is our culture: thinking so much of ourselves that we can’t relate to anyone else, even going to the length of seeing some as less than ourselves when all they’re trying to do is just survive, just stay alive, just do exactly what anyone would do who hasn’t given up on life as an enterprise?


May Day Parade arriving at Federal Building where anti-immigrant protesters were quickly outnumbered. May 1, 2010.

But these Modern day Jim Crows couldn’t put as much as a dent in that colorful May Day event as they were absolutely drowned out and blown away by bronze colored dancers who came along the way, moving to the powerful drum rhythms and haunting melodies born in ancient times when the “Americas” was a horse of a different color and kind. Following them as far as the eye could see, were hundreds of gentes, mostly Latino, all having marched from Chicano Park, a place of the soul and of the heart, a place filled with murals depicting art that captures the spirit of what we were all basically seeking that day: peace and human understanding. Why should such pursuits be so demanding?

I reflected on such a beautiful sight the other night, nursing a little red wine, cooling it with a couple of friends of mine from Sun & Moon Vision Productions at a fund raising party for one of their latest productions, Youth Out Loud 2, a sequel to an earlier documentary film they did a few years ago that chronicled the struggles in the lives of young gays and lesbians in their schools. Why a sequel? Well, gay people have a rather large following of “antis” so LGBTQ children still face and have to tolerate way too much harassment and bullying during a typical school day.

But, as we were all locked into our best “cooling it” postures and stances that night we didn’t get into any of that to any large degree, knowing that there will be plenty of time for that the next day because the next wrong to be righted is always a mere day away. Unless, of course, you’re cooling it that day. Like I’m cooling it today.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Jon May 13, 2010 at 8:50 am



lane tobias May 13, 2010 at 9:50 am

Ernie, your articles read like a trip into the collective consciousness of right minded folks everywhere. Indeed we need to step back sometimes and just chill out, and you make it look so…..easy. Can you pour me a glass sir?

Modern day Jim Crows = truth. Keep ’em coming dude.


Gwen Pierce May 13, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Cool article! Right wingers are so uptight!


Janell Cannon May 13, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Hi Ernie–

As always, I much enjoy your musings, probably because I agree with everything you say.

At the gym today, I was on a treadmill facing a TeeVee with Glen Beck wildly gesticulating, writing on his chalkboards, showing pictures of the faces of The Enemy and I got to thinking how fun it would be to translate his various hand movements into a unique language called Beck Interpretive Technique of Collective Hysteria–its acronym would sum it all up.


Ernie McCray May 13, 2010 at 7:28 pm

I think you’re on to something with the Acronym de Beck.


Sarah May 13, 2010 at 11:35 pm

I’m making a collection of Ernie McCray quotes. (’cause I’m a huge Ernie McCray fan)

Latest addition to the list:

“Is there anything in the world as cool as just “cooling it,” you know, kicking back in your comfy jeans, and that nice fitting tee-shirt you found in Borrego Springs, some broken in running shoes, acting and feeling like you just know you’re cool.”


Peter May 14, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Hey Janell ~ I love the idea of Ernie’s ONE LINERS!

Wha’ da ya say Ernie…how about a coffee table book using your quotes?



Lauren May 15, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Dear Ernie,

Way cool! And a great “cooling it” photo.

As I grow older I remind myself I would rather focus on creating what feels uplifting to the human spirit and focus less on the current of hatred and divisiveness.

At moments I fool myself into believing it is lessening in our culture and this past year or so it seems to have reared its ugly head to an astonishing degree. I know it’s far from a new invention, yet seeing the extent of “it” is both discouraging and sobering.

Still, the beauty of those who do have compassion, who seek connection and understanding, whose spirit and soul and passion remain intact, restores my belief in humanity.

Your post is hilarious and filled with a sweetness. Most of all, balance. Getting it that we can cool it enough to enjoy the beauty life places at our feet. I do so love it! If we lose that perspective, we miss out on JOY.

Thanks for a lovely reminder.

Warm regards,


Ernie McCray May 15, 2010 at 12:35 pm

I’m trying to be the “lovely reminderer.”


Lauren May 15, 2010 at 1:40 pm

You make a great poster child for the cause! ;-)


Wireless Mike May 15, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Ernie, you brought a smile to my face. Thanks for reminding us to chill out every now and then. It is so easy to get caught up in all the negativity around us, sometimes we forget about all the goodness in the world.


Sunshine May 16, 2010 at 7:16 am

Once I was able to get past your marvelous pic, you captured my attention at “…what we were all basically seeking that day: peace and human understanding. Why should such pursuits be so demanding?”

Why indeed. Ever since I can remember I’ve been pursuing these things. Clover chains, dandelion bouquets, and Joni Mitchell were my tools/instruments in the 60’s and I still love them to this day. While I’ve endured my share of detours along the way (haven’t we all), learning to kick back and chillax has been one of my most rewarding assets. I’ve often taken time to stop and smell the roses, literally, yet now the rest of the journey has become equally enjoyable.

Beautiful focus, Ernie. Accolades on yet another reminder of what’s right in this world. Nice to know I’m not alone in my pursuit of peace, love and light.


Ernie McCray May 16, 2010 at 9:05 am

To use words from an old song, Sunshine, as it pertains to knowing you’re not alone in pursuing peace, love and light: “You’ll never walk alone. You’ll nevvvvv-evv-er walk alone.”


Sunshine May 17, 2010 at 3:50 pm
Ernie McCray May 17, 2010 at 10:50 pm



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