Tag Archives: education

It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another.

On September 19, 1796 in his Farewell Address George Washington warned America on the rise of a Donald Trump and today’s Republican party.

The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty. Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it. It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. – George Washington, Farewell Address, 19 September 1796

There is no doubt that today we as a country are senselessly divided. Sadly, much of this division is not based on any ideology by the people on what is best for the people, but rather on the fear of the unknown, an irrational fear that leads to isolation. Which in turn leads to a lack of understanding about our differences which leads the continuous growth of the prejudices we all have with-in us. Prejudices that are only stripped away as we begin to understand those who differ from us.

The Donald Trumps of the results of the world prey on these prejudices to advance their own wealth and power. Thriving on chaos and division, which they create, they speak non truths and keep the people divided against each other rather than uniting for their betterment.  Their power rooted in our fear of each other.  It is to their advantage for us to hate each other, to lose our compassion for each other, to build walls separating us. This strategy allows them to take advantage of us all. As Suzy Kassem wrote

When two brothers are busy fighting, an evil man can easily attack and rob their poor mother.

This has allowed them to divide America based on political parties, and as Washington warned this is disastrous.  The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

As Americans they have led us down a path where we are more concerned with ensuing our “team” wins rather than educating ourselves on the issues and how it will impact us. We have a blind allegiance to those in power if they have a {R} or a {D} after their name. We have ceded the very government we so proudly hold dear to a few hundred individuals who profit on our ignorance. Our desire to have our “team” win means the powerful does not even need to hide their deception they do it right in front of us.  Our minds have become blind to their lies, deceit and corruption.  The more the masses allow their minds to be blinded the easier it is to manipulate them. They simply follow their “team” nodding in agreement with whatever decisions it makes. This thinking removes any sense of accountability from those in power.  Albert Einstein once commented

“Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”

For any democracy to effectively govern for the good of the citizens it represents those citizens must be informed about issues that can improve their lives. In many countries the will of the people has been sapped by the government. In Donald Trump’s America a segment of society has made the conscious decision to abdicate their will to a small percentage of the rich and powerful depending on what letter they have behind their name.

For our democracy to survive we cannot allow our government to be dependent on political ignorance and blind allegiance as it will surely be the downfall of the great experiment America was born of – a government of the people, by the people, for the people.  If we continue along the path, we are on now we will become a country whose citizens:

Turns a blind eye to social injustice,

Condones immoral behavior from their leaders

Believes anything that those in power tell them rather than educating themselves.

Allows their government to be run by and to the benefit of the wealthy few.

Once we have allowed this we need not worry about our enemies because in time we will destroy ourselves from with-in

It is only in the thinking of a free and educated country that we will inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. An encroachment that tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create a despotism.

Donald Trump’s lust for power, greed and corruption is an intrinsic characteristic of human behavior and while most of us make a conscious decision not to embrace these traits Trump has shown himself not to be one of the.  As a nation we must not be blinded to this and consider he is above reproach simply because of the {R} after his name.  We must strive as Americans to rise above the evil that seeks to divide us.  We must stand together and keep moving forward as a society. We must marginalize those who refuse to embrace the diversity that made us great in the first place. It is only through one unifying voice that we will be able to change the despair of today into the promise of tomorrow.  It is our moral responsibility to foster an atmosphere that strengthen the capacity of society at large. To point out corruption where it exists and to build transparent and accountable systems of governance to ensure that the vulnerable are not take advantage of. For a society that boasts of being so enlightened this should be an easy task, but alas it is not.  Sadly, there is a segment among us that is caught up in their own prejudices easily manipulated to embrace as their leaders anyone who enables their innate distrust and in many cases hatred of anyone who doesn’t look or think like them.  To believe that only the Donald Trumps of the world can protect them.

But of course, Trump promotes this narrative only to increase his power, and wealth and promote his agenda of hate.  He does this through lies, corruption and without any concern for Americans.

He tries to silence those of us who would rise to question him by questioning our patriotism, but we must not allow his noise to cower us into silence. We must remain vigilant and continue to point out his hypocrisy, hatred, and corruption at every turn.  If we do not, we are doomed as a society.  As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said:

“In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations

Yes, some of us are republicans some democrats and some independents, some people of color some not. Some heterosexual some homosexual some bisexual.  Some Christian some Muslim some Jewish some atheists but in the end, we are all American, we are all humans, and we will never move forward until as a nation until we come to understand that.

You Were Too Busy

You never saw me. Oh you saw the color of my skin but you never saw me. 

How could you?

When I walked in the store you were too busy following me around.

When I sat down at my desk you were too busy wondering how did I get into this school. 

When I moved into my office you were too busy thinking I was just another affirmative action hire. 

When I moved into my home you were too busy wondering if the property value would go down.

But what you didn’t see is while you were too busy to see me I was too busy to see you either.

Not because of the color of your skin.

That was of no Importance to me,

Because I know you have the system rigged against me  

I was too busy studying and working twice as hard as you.

I was too busy finishing in the top 10% of my high school class.

I was too busy deciding what university was worthy of me accepting their full academic scholarship.

I was too busy graduating from that university summa cum laude.

I was too busy upon graduation shifting through my countless job offers

I was too busy purchasing my home because that full academic scholarship I got meant I didn’t have all that student debt you did.

So since you can’t see me let me tell you who I am.

I’m that person who will never fake who I am just to make you feel comfortable, 

who has no desire to prove my worth to you, 

who will never apologize for the hue of my skin.

So, you keep busy looking at my beautiful bronze skin 

or

get with the times and see me for who I am.

Either way I’m going to keep soaring.F5167870-9AAD-48EF-9F41-E53E1F938343

 

The character and conduct of a nation’s leaders

In many of the open America protest it is not unusual to see signs saying or paraphrasing the familiar refrain:

“Give me liberty or give me death”

But what many in this country have forgotten is liberty is not something granted to us at birth. Nor is it something that is maintained without a willingness to acquire the knowledge required to see the true character of its leaders and to use that knowledge to hold them to a standard of accountability that is high, if not higher than they would hold themselves.

It is true that even when the people have a desire to inform and educate themselves on the issues that impact their daily lives, an individual of poor character thrust into a position of leadership who lacks integrity and accountability and whose vision is only the advancement of their own selfish agenda can through lies and misinformation blind the masses to the truth and in the process withhold the very liberty they seek to maintain

Unfortunately, America today has allowed the polarization of our country along political lines to supersede the thirst for knowledge. It has become all too easy for many of America’s so called “leaders” to manipulate the masses. To have them bend to their will wrongly believing that these leaders act in their best interest.

The open America protest is one such example. Through a campaign of misinformation and lies leadership at the highest levels they have been led to believe that the very measures implemented to protect them, is in fact an infringement on their liberty. They rally around the very leaders who perpetrate the misinformation to advance their own economic and political agendas.

The dangers of not acquiring the knowledge required to identify the character of one’s leaders is not a new concept. John Adams warned us of it in 1765 when he said.

Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right, from the frame of nature, to knowledge, as their great Creator, who does nothing in van, has given them understanding and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to the most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean, of the characters and conduct of their rulers.

We should heed his words for it would be foolhardy to believe the concept of America is forever. Lest we forget that the history of world shows our country is but a baby. One that will never get the chance to fully mature unless we cast aside our differences, stop allowing the few to manipulate the many and come to value knowledge needed to educate ourselves on those would be leaders of questionable character.

STEP INTO THE GAP

On May 12, 1961 in Rock Hill, South Carolina. John Lewis, an African-American seminary student and Albert Bigelow a World War II veteran and white Freedom Rider were viciously attacked as they attempted to enter a whites-only waiting area. Two days later in Anniston Alabama a vicious mob of about 200 people bombed a Greyhound bus and brutally beat the Freedom Riders as they fled the burning bus. Later that day in Birmingham Alabama a Trailways bus carrying another group of Freedom Riders was meant with a similar fate These Freedom Riders were aware of the dangers they would encounter and over several months they were attacked repeatedly yet they persevered so that the racist practice of segregated bus terminals would come to end and in the fall of 1961 their perseverance bore fruit as the  Interstate Commerce Commission issued regulations that prohibited the segregation of interstate transit.

THE FREEDOM RIDERS STEPPED INTO THE GAP.

Liu Xiaobo was a human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate from China who through nonviolent protests fought against communist one-party rule in China. For his efforts he was imprisoned in 1989 to 1991, 1995 to 1996, 1996 to 1999 and 2009 until his release in 2017 after he had been diagnosed with liver cancer. He died less than 3 weeks after his release. Despite his multiple imprisonments he continued to fight until his death for the betterment of the Chinese people.

LIU XIAOBO STEPPED INTO THE GAP.

Razan Zaitouneh was a Syrian Human rights activist who was involved in the Syrian uprising. She acted as a lawyer for political prisoners, was one of the founders Human Rights Association in Syria and the Syrian Human Rights Information Link through which she reported about Syria human’s rights violations. Razan Zaitouneh worked tirelessly for years to bring light to Syria’s oppress regime despite the obvious dangers involved with doing so. On December 9 of 2013 she was kidnapped and has not been seen since, presumed to have been killed.

RAZAN ZAITOUNEH STEPPED INTO THE GAP.

Michael Todd has been getting bullied at his new school since the year began. He would wear the same clothes every day and students at MLK College Preparatory School would make fun of him for it. High school football players Kristopher Graham and Antwann Garrett didn’t just go along with their class mates to be part of the crowd and on September 10, 2019 they surprised Michael with a bag full of bags full of shirts, shorts and shoes and apologized to him for previously laughing at him.

KRISTOPHER GRAHAM AND ANTWANN GARRETT STEPPED INTO THE GAP

Everyday countless number of individuals step into the gap. But sadly many in a position to do the most good lack the courage to step into the gap Last week at church my pastor preached to us from the book Ezekiel 22:30 “I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.

In Bible times, cities had walls around them to help defend them from attack. Broken parts of the wall created a physical gap in the city’s ability to protect itself from invading armies.  In this Bible verse, because there is a gap in the wall, God is looking for someone to step in and guard the broken, vulnerable territory.

Today God is still looking for us to step in and guard the broken and the vulnerable. Victims of violence, oppression, discrimination, bigotry.  Those who are denied fundamental human rights such as medical care, food and shelter and education. Yet when we turn our eyes to Washington D.C. we find there are far too many concerned with their own self, maintaining their power and reaping the benefits that come along with it than with stepping into the gap.  We see children, the Lord’s most innocent souls, gunned down in mass shootings yet no action has been taken to enact sensible gun control to protect them. We see mothers and fathers working two and three jobs, sixty and seventy hours a week yet still unable to earn enough money to put a roof over or adequately feed their families. Yet at every opportunity the very social programs designed to help them through these troubled times are slashed, and more and more money is appropriated to building weapons of war.  Racism is unbelievably on the rise again in this country but far too many in power either pretend it doesn’t exist and simply ignore it or worse tacitly give their approval, so they can appeal to a base of unenlightened individuals they believe will allow them to maintain their power. Education budgets are cut and college tuition soars while tax breaks for the wealthy are passed into law. Prescription drugs prices rocket, inflating the pockets of the pharmaceutical companies while the affordable care act remains under constant attack. The gap between the haves and have not continues to expand as CEOs take home millions and workers struggle to survive yet steadfast opposition to raising the minimum wage continues.

We are witnessing the abject failure of the very individuals we have tasked with stepping in the gap. However, it is never too late as a people to change things.  United each of our whispers becomes a mighty roar for change. We can demand that change takes place and we can start at the voting booth. We can educate ourselves on the issues and not let some 24-hour news network “opinion” show host skew our perception of reality. We can protest racism and social injustice and when those in power try to change the narrative and quiet us we can roar louder.  We can rise as one and let our voices be heard.  We can let them know that it is we not them who are the coalition of the many and if they won’t stand in the gap we surely will find someone who will!

Pawns for the Rich

Next time the GOP complains that Democrats are giving the store away with all these social programs think about this:

In 2017 oil companies like Shell and Exxon companies not hurting for cash was awarded $14.7 billion in federal subsidies and $5.8 billion in state-level incentives, for a total of $20.5 billion annually in corporate welfare.

Farm subsidies were designed to help the mom and pop farmers.  Hmmm, not true, farm subsidies act like a regressive tax that helps high-income businesses, not poor rural farmers. Most of the money goes toward large agricultural businesses. Between 1995 and 2017, the top 10% of recipients received 77% of the $205.4 billion doled out. The top 1% received 26% of the payments. That averages out to $1.7 million per company. Fifty people on the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans received farm subsidies. On the other hand, 62% of U.S. farms did not receive any subsidies.

In the mind of the GOP social programs designed to help the poor and needy in times of need equals. Pull your pants up and get a job you lazy American.

Corporate welfare to help the richest of the rich get richer on the guise that the money will trickle down, yet somehow it never does equals good.  Let’s meet for cocktails aboard your yacht and talk about your next campaign contribution. 

Hypocrites and snake oil salespeople who keep selling this illusion to poorest who continue to vote for them and keep them in office for some reason, possibly They are manipulated by the racial politics Trump plays. They believe the myth that only black and brown people benefit from these programs while simultaneously taking advantage of themselves.

We hate Obamacare they scream yet based on 2014 Census Bureau data, that echo other studies, a key demographic for the GOP, blue-collar whites have been among the principal beneficiaries of the Affordable Care Act.

Stop all these Safety Net programs they yell but Donald Trump won about two-thirds of whites without a college degree—the most for any Republican since Ronald Reagan in his 1984 landslide—and they provided almost exactly half of his total votes.  These voters represent only about one-third of the electorate yet it is the same Safety-net programs they decry that are particularly beneficial for adults without a college degree as studies show the vast majority of working-age adults lifted above the poverty line by government benefits and tax credits are people lacking a college degree.

If America is ever to move forward it must stop voting based on sound bites or what a quote unquote news network tells them and get become informed about the truth of the this country’s economics and how it benefits the rich at the expense of the masses.. Otherwise we will remain just pawns the rich move around the board.

An uneducated society is the biggest threat to our democracy

0FC0D456-20B3-4A48-A1A6-5C1D5BF12106.jpegThe surest way to control the narrative, to ensure that the few can control the thoughts and choices of the many through clever slogans and sound bites is to endeavor to keep the many ignorant.  An uneducated society is the biggest threat to our democracy.  The founding fathers understood this as Thomas Jefferson stated:

“Educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”

Public education has been under attack by some for many years now.  Just last week The Washington Post reported that the Trump administration’s initial education budget would strip $10.6 billion from federal initiatives.  Many of the cuts would disproportionately impact poorer school districts.  Something the founding fathers would be dismayed at. John Jay was quoted as saying:

“ I consider knowledge to be the soul of a republic, and as the weak and wicked are generally in alliance, as much care should be taken to diminish the number of the former as of that latter. Education is the way to do this, and nothing should be left undone to afford all ranks of people that means of obtaining a proper degree of it at a cheap and easy rate.”

And John Adams wrote:

 “The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves.”

Turning a blind eye to the dismantling of public education is to in essence relinquish our democracy over to the few who will continue to bamboozle the masses in order to maintain their wealth and power.

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The danger within

A country whose citizens:

Turns a blind eye to social injustice, 

Condones immoral behavior from their leaders,

Believes anything that those in power tell them rather than educating themselves.

Allows their government in essence to be run by and to the benefit of the wealthy few.

Need not worry about its enemies because in time it will be destroyed from with-in