As I contemplate what has been the circus of the past three nights at the Republican National Convention, and, I must admit, since I did not feel it worthy of my time to actually sit and waste 12 hours of my life viewing such bombastic behavior, I have seen enough via numerous social media channels to give me a great deal of concern. Concern for the sanity of our still-evolving nation. Concern for the safety of people who have varying degrees of melanin in their skin. Concern for the rest of the world who must be wondering how could our nation, through a process of primary voting that took much too long, have left standing, as the now-declared nominee, one of the most unimaginative, unsuccessful, fear-baiting men who ever sought to glorify his own narcissistic existence.
My sense of what is reasonable and plausible in this nation is under siege. I can not grasp how we, as a nation of multi-cultural people who have proven ourselves to build both great underwater and earth-orbiting machines, create nano-technological devices that change how we live and work, and have the courage to elect a non-white man to our highest office…yet, we are now on the precipice of reverting back to those less-than-glorious days when fear was not just a concern, it was tangible. Ask any person over 70 years of age who survived Japanese internment camps, Chinese Americans who were used to build railroads and then exiled, or the many African Americans who never came home, found hanging from some tree. That is not the America that we can return to…
No. We will not allow fear to undermine the progress, though small and yet, important, that has been made here. We must, if never at any time before today, stand in unity and resist the hordes of “right-wing-fundamentalists”, whatever that term means, to undo what has been put into motion. This “melting pot” of cultures and creativity in America must repel the ignorance that comes from the likes of Donald Trump and his “bully gangs.”
Yes. We will find more common ground upon which to build a “more perfect Union.” We will dismantle the apartheid that still lingers in our yet-to-be-equal education systems, housing, and employment opportunities in America. We must strive to create real equality in financial sectors and in how to insure that no citizen is prevented from justice and their “day in court” by a fearful and shoot-first police force.
This time in history, the one directly succeeding the historic eight year Presidency of Barack Obama, will either set us on course to reach heights that will honor the Creator of us all…or we will sink to the depths of despair, and become fodder for historians in another century who will recall how we imploded from within. How we allowed fear to unravel and undermine the beauty of the great “American experiment.”
The choice is ours, come November. How shall we be remembered?
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Words play such an important part in our everyday lives.
We say something, and hope that what is in our head, and comes out of our mouth, is understood by the person to whom we are speaking.
Today I met with a member of an organization that serves the community each week with free food. We discussed a number of ideas about how to improve their social media outreach. In that conversation, I made the comment about how seniors are increasingly among those who are affected by poverty. The next most affected group, and the words that came after…”the working poor” were, “isn’t that an oxymoron?”
How can we feel proud of our country, the wealthiest nation on the planet, and so readily accept that we have an abundance of families in poverty, while the parents work full time jobs. That, my friend, is where this commentary gets its title.
We are preparing to see, hear and experience the pomp and pageantry of the Democratic and Republican parties presidential nominating conventions. As if all that we have seen and heard the past 16 months, from still-standing and now-forgotten candidates, wasn’t enough. We will be bombarded with bullshit from all credible and incredible sources.
So, how shall we get through it all? Just remember those times shopping at various discount outlets; where the clothing on the rack is marked “irregular.” They look like the real thing. They appear no different than the item we see in the print ads. Yet, there is one, small thing, out of alignment. A bad seam. One sleeve shorter than the other. A lie brought to light via video/social media. And for that, we pay a discounted price.
Keep that in mind as we ramp up to this season of “regular irregularities”. We are going to only have a choice between the best of the worst regular irregularity.
Rather disappointing, for those who prefer more options; shopping or in politics.
Maybe we will get lucky and get some help for the “working poor” from the “honest politician” who is “freely elected” in this the “land of the Free.”
Peace and prosperity.
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O.M.G. (Older Man’s Gift)
As I contemplate the pending ascension of my soon-to-be freshman in high school daughter, Meisha Kalila, I take a look around to see how quickly this all came about. It feels like it was just a few short years ago when I accompanied her to her first day of Kindergarten, this bouncy, yet shy girl who could already speak another language other than English. Her day care provider, Sara Chinchilla, a woman born in El Salvador, had been mindful to teach Meisha and the other children trusted to her care, the language of her native land. And now, my bi-lingual five year old was ready to begin her formal education.
Within three days the kindergarten teacher had consulted with the principal of the school to say that this Lampkin kid was not going to last long in her classroom. Seems that she was a bit more advanced than most of the children and she feared that she would be bored. And so, in just one week, Meisha had been promoted to first grade. It was quite an auspicious beginning to her educational journey.
It didn’t get any easier from that point forward. For it was then that we saw how mean kids can be…when it was learned that the first graders in Meisha’s class would tease her for not being a “real first grader.”
Just one week ago I saw my daughter walking proudly with many of those same kids who are also preparing to become high school students. No one had anything to say about the girl who was a full year younger than many of them. A girl who, when she felt like it. held her ground with each of them scholastically and athletically. Yes, the distance between them that had seemed so cavernous eight years ago is now the bridge that they individually and collectively traverse.
What a gift she has been to me. A father once more at the age of 48 years…
I know that the chance to share my story with her, in an effort to inform her of the possibilities available in this life, is what I seek to impart. The challenges we face as a nation, as a people and a family must be channeled in a positive, yet honest, conversation for Meisha to grasp. Truth with tender love is a recipe for a nurtured soul capable of serving humankind in ways that we may all gain benefit.
Today, as I have been for all of her days of living, I am a proud Father.
The next time you see the letters OMG, think of something other than Oh my God. I do.
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How Many of us Will Just keep Working?
A greater number of us who have topped 60 years of age, and are now realizing that our “Golden Moment”, where our retirement income provides for a comfortable lifestyle, has not materialized. And the question is, what now?
Not what we planned for…
Truth be told, far more of us will be working well past 62, 65, 70…for a myriad of reasons.
In the article that I have linked below, one of the reasons many are still working is that the retirement that so many “thought” would be so much fun…isn’t. Take a look at the article here and let’s talk.
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Great morning to all.
I watched most of the 3 Matrix trilogy movies on yesterday…and plan to watch V is for Vendetta over the weekend. They are among my favorite “fight the power” movies. Then I came across a video piece created on YouTube that meshes a powerful element of each…the “true essence” of the movies messaging.
Take 15 minutes and watch here: The CHOICE is YOURS
Then…go about your day, everyday, with a renewed sense of purpose and CHOICE!
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Working after Retirement…still getting taxed?
If you are one of the many people who decide to continue working, and earning income after you have begun receiving Social Security benefits/income, you will want to read this article: How to stay out of IRS trouble.
Some of us with children yet in high school (stop laughing) or college, we know that we will be working, and not retiring, for a number of additional years. However, there are some people who are receiving SS benefits and are now seeking to get out of the house due to boredom, or are in need of supplemental income.
With inflation on the rise and a continued fight about SS benefit dollars from the U. S. Congress, it is wise to know how to steer clear of the IRS and their desire to tax your incomes. Now that I visit a local Senior Center in my city of residence, I learned what is legal…and wanted to pass this information along to you.
Feel free to share this with others whom you know and let’s insure that no one has to face an IRS inquiry.
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Let it Lay…
In my morning meditation today I had the thought that there are so many things bombarding us each and every day;
• Commercials showing young people having fun when drinking
• TV Ads exhorting us to take a prescription drug that has more side effects than the actual symptoms we are seeking to overcome
• Presidential candidates who are the newest puppets of the ruling class
So much that we have to filter out in our attempt to discern truth from deception.
With that in mind I remembered a song from 40 years ago by Les McCann. He was truly ahead of his time in creating songs that decried the state of life that was being sold to us all, with a powerful Compared to What. However, I wanted to ask you to listen to another song that has often kept me focused on being mindful that some things are better left alone. Click here and listen to Let it Lay.
And today, Let it Lay. Whatever that is for you…
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April 29, 2016
When Doves Cry…
It’s been one week since the tragic and sudden death of the Artist Prince. It is really interesting how so many of us have felt a deep, personal loss when we heard the news of his passing. And, yet, Prince is someone that most of us have never seen in person nor met.
Why, then, do we feel like we have lost someone so dear to us?
Was it the music that endeared us to him?
Was it his stance against the music industry that made us feel like he knew our struggles against the Corporate machines in America?
Was it his ability to remain scandal-free in the midst of an always-salacious industry that thrives off of misfortune and chaos?
Was it his refusal to “prostitute” his music to make money on TV commercials?
Was it the damn fashion that he embodied that made us proud of his independence?
To all of that.
He was our Prince…who “could take your girl while wearing heels” to quote music mogul L.A. Reid in a recent interview describing his friend, Prince.
I am so very glad that he came our way, and shared his genius for the world to marvel at.
Touch here for the song that always had me torn between smiles and tears.
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In God We Trust…
It seems that in the chase for more money, dineros, Benjamins, there is such irony in four words that are prominent on the bills of our currency, “In God We Trust.” Those words are once again at the center of a controversy in Congress, as to whether they belong on the currency of a nation that is ever-leaning away from it’s once Christian based majority.
I had a thought today, as I considered what a Christian believer might think about the expectation that The Creator, God, Yahweh, might be looking for from them. Might He want people to treat each other with more compassion? More love? To feed the hungry? House the homeless? Insure the safety for elders and children?
Yet, today in America, we have an entire city, Flint, Michigan, which has gone without clean water for the past year, because the elected officials wanted to save money…In God We Trust?
In America today, we still have gas prices at elevated levels, even though the trading price of a barrel of oil is less than $30 per barrel. And at-the-pump prices are one dollar ($1.00) per gallon higher in under-served/ghetto neighborhoods, than in those less than three miles away. In God We Trust?
In America today, and particularly every Monday, many congregations make hefty deposits in banks that likely will deny loans to the very same people whose deposits are now in those institutions. In God We Trust?
What might we as a Nation do going forward, in this election year, to embody the values and ethics that the Creator requires of us? Is it at all possible to separate the love of money from the notion that the wealthiest nation on Earth is also the one that has so many isms? Racism. Sexism. Classism. In God We Trust?
In God We Trust.
Maybe He would like to see more proof…
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As we approach the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas season…it’s ironic that somehow we’ve gone from a time of year that was about family and food, to one that promotes and embodies consumerism. A time now that many look forward to only in hopes of saving lots of money while shopping on Black Friday.
As a kid, and even later as an adult, I knew it was important to get the food, beverages and any items needed for the family meal, the days before Thanksgiving or Christmas, because of the knowledge that nothing would be open on those days. What you did not have…you did without. It made meal and event planning something everyone had to participate in. To forget the eggnog, or cherry pie would be scorned upon by all who had their taste buds ripe and ready. You got it right or got talked about.
Somewhere in the past 20 years the owners of grocery, department and corner stores decided that their perceived loss of revenue was more important than allowing their employees time off to spend with loved ones. We now have a generation of adults who have never known a time when Walgreens or Wal-Mart were not open for their needs to be immediately satisfied.
Is it unreasonable for us as Mothers, Fathers, and friends to insist that our family members be afforded time to fellowship in the old-fashioned American way? Somehow, in the never-ending-drama that is the Republican or Democratic debates, not one candidate dare suggest that family values outweigh net profits. Not one.
So, I challenge you, my friends, to NOT shop on Black Friday or Thanksgiving Day.
Will you join me to make a powerful statement by boycotting the mass hysteria that is created by profit-driven corporations? Or, will you go along like too many who have no recollection of what it means to have the entire family around the table? I am counting on you to honor Conscience. Not convenience.
And should your lights go out over the holidays…just light candles and tell stories. Those memories will last forever. Not who ran out to get replacement bulbs…
Family Eating Thanksgiving Dinner — Image by © Larry Williams/CORBIS
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