Tales From the Hilltop
An intelligent, yet Devil's Advocate view of the world

Aug
03

It’s been a whole year since former-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (who will be referred to in this episode as “Kappa Kap”, due to his Kappa Alpha Psi membership) decided to protest the national anthem at the start of NFL football games, and with it, has come a whole year of a divided country on whether his stand has merit. Kap, who came out of nowhere last year with this sentiment, said that he chose to do this to speak against the ongoing issues regarding police brutality against Black people in America, which has seen black people – especially black men aged 19-34 – killed at a very disproportionate rate than any other demographic in the country over the last five years. The killings of Freddie Gray, Alton Sterling, Tamir Rice, Akai Gurley, and Philando Castle as well as scores of others seemingly came and went, almost as fads in the same, horror-and-anger fueled cycles: where protests where held, hash tags were created, the officers involved were indicted, then acquitted, and no one ever faces any true justice for their deaths. Sure, settlements were involved in some of these deaths – Tamir Rice’s family was awarded $6 million, and Mr. Castile’s family received $3 million – but all that did was try to buy the city’s negligence in excusing an officer to shoot to kill instead of police.

Most of this nation-wide trend went unnoticed in sports – until Kappa Kap stepped, or should I say, kneeled in.

By refusing to stand for the Star Spangled Banner, Kap shocked and angered many in the nation. “How dare he disrespect the flag and all those who died and serve for it!” became the battle cry to people opposing his actions. Even after explaining his views, it didn’t matter. Most saw Kap’s actions as nearly treasonous, proclaiming that Kap was “un-American’, “a spoiled millionaire”, and “ungrateful to his country” for not paying homage to the flag and song which symbolizes our nation. This went on for the rest of the season. Kap continued his protest, and other players joined in: some chose to kneel with it, others raised a fist – the symbol for “Black Power” – in solidarity. This didn’t stop with the NFL, either. Youth teams, soccer players, cheerleaders, even marching band members also felt the needed to express their outrage of law enforcement’s overall treatment of minorities, and took to the field to show.

Kap’s movement had begun.

So now, fast forward to today, on the cusp of the Hall of Fame game – which officially starts the NFL’s pre-season. After opting out of his last year with the San Francisco 49ers, Kappa Kap still remains an unsigned QB. Some folk have delighted into Kap not having a job – including our fearless leader, 45, who made a point on one of his “cheer-for-me-and-my-greatness” rallies to take personal credit for why Kap hasn’t been signed as of today. There are others who have vowed to not watch a minute of the NFL season until Kap is signed to a team. And who could blame them? We have been told that Kap’s absence is “a team’s decision” when this clearly reeks of him being blackballed. Many owners have already been quoted behind closed doors as saying they would NEVER sign Kap and “Fuck that guy. He’s a traitor.” This is what I – as well as anyone with any real sense of logic in their brains – is having trouble coming to terms with.

An owner’s #1 priority to their team is to fund the means to put together the best product they can, both in entertainment value and actual competitiveness. After all, what good are your sports team if you suck ass every year? If you’ve been following football for the past year, you’ve heard Kap’s stats 2016 repeatedly: tossing 16 touchdowns, only throwing four interceptions, as well as nearly 500 yards rushing, and two TDs, garnering an 90.7 overall passer rating. Those stats aren’t mind-blowing, but they are very serviceable. The stats also seem like Pro Bowl-type stats when stacked up to others who not only have been started last year, but also have been signed to other teams, or re-sign to their 2016 squad. Here are some of the QBs that have been snatched up on teams that had worse seasons than Kap:

Case Keenum (LA Rams) – 10 starts: 9 TDs, 11 INTs, 2201 yds, 76.4 rating

Ryan Fitzpatrick (NY Jets) – 14 starts: 12 TDs, 14INTs, 2710 yds, 69.6 rating

Brock Osweiler (Houston) – 15 starts: 15 TDs, 15 INTs, 2957 yds, 72.2 rating

Josh McCown (Cleveland) – 5 starts: 6TDs, 6INTs, 2109 yds, 72.3 rating

I could go on here, but you see this point. This clearly isn’t about football. Look, it’s obvious that Kappa Kap could start on about 5-7 teams, but he can be a backup on every team, no question. So, this is not a football option. Not when the Baltimore Ravens has express deep interest of signing him. Not when the coach, John Harbaugh and the GM Ozzie Newsome has said they would sign it, but the owner, Steve Biscotti has pushed it down. Not when other teams have actually reached out to Kap, and nothing has been transpired. Don’t tell us this is about football, when he has CLEAR evidence to the contrary. Don’t insult our intelligence. We’re not buying it; in fact, this league is turning off more fans when this happens.

I think the biggest thing here that’s pissing a lot of us off here is the outright and blatant hypocrisy used by owners and detractors of Kappa Kap’s actions. Here is a man who has committed no crime, been a decent citizen, and has actively engaged in community relations, both in the United States and abroad, donating everything from suits to clothes to his salary (to the tune of a few millions) to better the world in which we all live in. Yet, players who have been arrested on charges ranging from DUIs to assault to disorderly conduct to yes, even domestic violence (even after the whole Ray Rice debacle and the year-long crusade the NFL took to combat DV) and have still been given chance after chance after stupefying chance. It just makes you wonder why standing up for your first Amendment rights is a cardinal sin, but hurting people and endangering the lives of people on the road is not.

Here’s the moral of this story: Kappa Kap is a knight. A knight for social justice, not seen in sports since the day of Muhammad Ali, who was stripped of his title for reducing to enlist in the Army during the Vietnam war. He too, was vilified and chastised by the public, but managed to win the hearts of everyone again and was universally loved at the time of his death. This knight of the pigskin may never see that type of admiration – especially amongst law enforcement supporters – inn his lifetime, but have won the respect of many people. This knight showed the world that even in risking your career for taking a stand, you could come out a champion to the people. In a time where players are more paid than ever and are mainly focused on “building their brand” even more so than winning championship, this Pigskin Knight gave us a light that showed that money and fame is sometime just not worth staying silent when you see the chance to make an impact. Kappa Kap is not being “punished” for kneeling; he’s being punished for inspiring others, young and old, male and female, minority and majority, to let your voice be heard, even if it means saying nothing at all, and letting your actions do all the talking.

Who says bending the knee is always a bad thing?

 

8/3/17

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Nov
18

So, when we last left off in this blog, we were (mostly) horrified to learn who would be America’s new Commander-in-Chief to close out this decade. (Fair warning: that mammal will only be referred to in this blog as “45” from here on out, and you’re lucky I’ve even toned that down). Like many of you, my emotions about this ran the gamut, but mine actually went a slightly different way than others. While most people watching this travesty have gone from horror to fear to outright defiance, mine took a whole separate route: laughter, to anger, than back to laughter.

I’ll explain, because I’m sure you’re reading this and cursing me out, screaming “How could you possibly think any of this is funny right now, asshole?!”

On the night of impending doom (i.e. Election Night), as I watched states that were supposed to turn blue turn red (and Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, and North Carolina…we will NEVER forgive you for this. I would say may all your college and pro teams suck massive failure for the next four years, but I remembered that the Philadelphia Eagles and Sixers are trapped in that calamity, so I’ll have to find a new hex to place upon you.) I actually did laugh at what was happening before our very eyes. Maybe it was a laugh to cover up my own disbelief that America really did forgo that fact that a guy could literally run a campaign on basically every evil form of human separation, and still win the most important title on Planet Earth. The sheer gravity of it made it feel that we had just crossed over into a real-life Twilight Zone. Maybe I was nervously laughing at that.

The next morning however, I was angry. Angry that this wasn’t a dream at all; that this….this human, 45, would in fact be the new POTUS. My outright disgust had resigned me to stop using his name and title altogether. Titles are for people I respect, and I could never respect a person who literally resurrected the KKK from their graves and brought them back into power, taking every supremacist with them that could crawl out from the holes we’d all thought we buried them in. I was (and still am, a little) even angry at family members for voting maybe not for that, but voting for 45 as a whole, and everything 45 has stood for over these last two years. It just didn’t make any sense at all to me: why would anyone – especially anyone of color – support policies that sounded akin to the birth of US fascism and massive racism? Why would anyone not of that white male demographic actually want some of these policies that are sure to destroy lives in the coming years and families to be implemented, especially the outright stupefying, civil-rights violating, and ultimately unconstitutional “Stop & Frisk” policy? My anger stayed with me for a few days, until a few of my fiancé’s friends (and random others) tried to let me know that this whole debacle was MY fault.

OK, let me clarify: by “my” fault, I don’t mean just me. They meant that 45’s rise to the Oval Office is squarely on the blame of all those people who decided to vote for a third party. Once I heard that, my demeanor turned back to laughter again. Why, you say? The voting numbers can certainly try to make that claim on their own. But, those numbers alone are misleading at best and utter comedic at worst. Gary Johnson, the former Republican governor of New Mexico, ran as the head of the Libertarian party, and did a lot better than people thought, eclipsing the margin between Hillary and 45 on his own. So, it’s safe to say that if Gary Johnson never would have ran, those votes could have gone to Hillary in the aforementioned swing states, changing the whole course of this election, right?

Right?

WRONG. First off, let me reiterate: Gary Johnson was a former Republican governor. Why would it even be feasible to assume that if people were willing to vote for someone on the more conservative side, and their main GOP candidate was someone like 45, that if they were so outraged by his antics, they would totally flip to Hillary Clinton, a Democratic candidate? There was no evidence, basis, poll, or anything tangible to suggest that if Gary Johnson had not run at all, that all those people (or even 50% of them) would have chose Clinton instead. If anything, Gary Johnson’s “interference” help narrow the gap between 45 and Clinton in those swing states, so wouldn’t that have been a GOOD thing for Democrats to have him in there, just to siphon votes from 45 in the first place? (You can see where my laughter is coming from now, right?)

Secondly, the candidate I chose – Green Party nominee, Dr. Jill Stein – had voter numbers less than Johnson, but not close enough to effect the outcomes of any of those states at all, though she did get a good turnout in New York. I chose – let alone many of us – to vote for a candidate I truly believed in (one of the perks of being an Independent….no pressure to assume loyalty to any parties at all, but just trying to vote for good people), and to be blamed for that also makes me laugh, as it totally goes against the entire concept of voting; that we look for people who want to make lives better for us and those around us, not to vote for people out of fear of other people.

Third, I tried to convey my point that Hillary’s undoing more than likely came from any number of reasons from both her party, and herself:

1) The fact that the Democratic party totally ignored the non-racist version of White America in those swing states, mostly the people that seen factories shut down, jobs bounce overseas, their lives diminished, and wanted answers as to how she would even try to get them back. Her husband and Former President Bill Clinton was even on the news stating that he pleaded with her to go out and see those people, because they would help decided the fate of this election, a request that apparently fell on deaf ears.

2) Her record of taking money as a Senator of New York from the very lobbyists she once fought against as First Lady when she was fighting for Universal Health Care.

3) The outright ignorance (and partial arrogance) of the plight of the black male community, which drew so far away from supporting her, even though black women supported her wholeheartedly. Like she forgot about the whole “super predator” comments and policies that put so many black men behind bars when Slick Willie ran the country in the 90s. She learned the serious lesson that “payback” came on two legs, not four, with the black male population. However, to her black supporters, this was condescending known as the “hotep” non-vote. (Imagine the glorious rotation of my eye roll upon hearing and reading that silly shit…)

4) Speaking of women, the shocking “betrayal” of white women that she thought would come to her aid, most of whom actually voting for 45 instead. (I guess they knew where their true loyalties lied at the hour of truth, huh?)

5) Lest we forget, the 46% of people who didn’t even to come out and vote, PERIOD….most of whom were gung-ho with Obeezie’s two presidential runs in 2008 and 2012. That alone gave me cause to dismiss any other claims. You can’t cry about the state of America if you willingly forfeited your spot to have your say in it, so those people catch the “blame” of what happened more than any other group, to me.

This all fell on deaf – and frankly, supremely butthurt – ears. Instead of recognizing these faults of Hillary and their party, trying to maybe looking inward as to why her clear path to the Presidency resulted in such massive failure, the “I’m With Her” coalition chose the easy way out, and blamed the 2-3% people who decided to vote “someone else.” (And by “someone else”, I meant any and almost everyone else: people not only voted for Mr. Johnson and Dr. Stein, but wrote-in names such as John Kasich, our good friend Bernie Sanders, Game of Throne’s newly crowned King of the North – Jon Snow…LOL, Deez Nuts, everybody’s favorite gorilla Harambe, and even a literal “Hole In the Ground.” You can’t make that up.) So, as you can see, my laughter was more so engulfed in ridicule at the outright hubris-turned-lashing out by the smartest Democrats in the room thinking they had it all figured out, only to find out that well….they knew nothing. (Ygrette would be proud of me right now, I’m sure.)

Oh, but there’s mocking to be done on BOTH sides of the table, here……

Just hours after 45’s triumph, he seemed to learn the best lesson of desire: “Be careful what you wish for, for you just might get it.” And over the last few days, the humility he’s probably never known has shown up and bit him all over his smug ass. He’s seemingly found out that fascism won’t come in this country without a helluva a fight by its citizens:

  • With the protests that have gone strong seemingly every night in major cities all over the country by the younger generation, with the theme of them outright rejection him as the new leader of this country, themed by the phrase “Not My President.” (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/11/10/not-my-president-thousand-protest-trump-in-rallies-across-the-u-s/)
  • With organizations such as the ACLU, who took out a page in the New York Times to specifically welcome 45 into the Oval Office with a warning that if any of the policies he promised to his supporters goes into law, they will fight him with every resource at their disposal. (https://www.aclu.org/letter/aclu-letter-president-elect-trump-published-new-york-times)
  • With most of those crazy campaign promises he made to his army that are already getting backed up on (most of which was said on his 60 Minutes, post-election interview):
    1. Like America’s “Great Wall” being financially impossible to build, and may only end up a pitiful fence (https://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/trumps-border-wall-may-be-collapsing-231567)
    2. Like the deportation force he promised he’d get together to round up illegal immigrants already being brushed to the side…at least, for now.
    3. Like the promise to investigate, prosecute, and ultimately jail Hillary Clinton.
    4. Like undoing the ruling of same-sex marriage set by the Supreme Court last year.
    5. Like his promise to “drain the swamp” of corrupt politicians, only to pretty much invite the swamp into his Cabinet.
  • Lest we forget, 45 and his army have found out that while maybe in 1952, black people would go home and cry if racists would refer to them as the dreaded “nigger” term, in 2016, consequences can and HAVE been taken.

The most supreme piece of irony in all of this probably have to be the reports of the hand-holding President Obama has had to give this guy as his transition into the chair has proven to be eons tougher than he imagined, and running a country as complicated as America isn’t something you can do from a campaign bus. C’mon, who wouldn’t find a bit of humor in knowing the fact that the guy 45 tried to deem not even an American citizen in the first place with his failed birther quest now has to drag this fool through the ropes, just so he has a basic understanding of what his new job will be, and who is already behind the 8-ball in doing this. (http://qz.com/839947/how-far-behind-is-donald-trumps-presidential-transition-compared-to-barack-obama-in-2008/)

Who wouldn’t find a bit of humor in knowing that America wouldn’t be made in Berlin overnight, and that he’d have more of world laughing – and condemning – at him in the last six days then probably his whole life for thinking that we would all just roll over? Why wouldn’t I laugh at the “Littlefinger-ese” run he made to the White House, only to pull off a nWo befitting, Hollywood Hogan-like heel turn on those idiots he played in only 10 days or so?

Look, I realize that at least some of this really isn’t funny. The fact that remains is America still dropped ALL the balls when they (or the Electoral College, rather. Clinton still won the popular vote by 1.3 million votes and counting.) made this human the new leader around here. The things he stood for in getting to the Oval Throne has brought out some real ugliness in people, from school kids on up. So, I’m not a total dick here in understanding that some of this stuff is no laughing matter. Healthcare still is on the chopping block, and the Roe v. Wade landmark case may end up a memory. That’s not funny at all. Also, as much as I want to believe people of color can fight back the bastion of white supremacy, incidents have been reported all over the country in seemingly-record numbers in 45’s first week as Pres-elect. (That lame-ass plea he made on 60 Minutes for racists to “stop it” doesn’t seem to matter, either.) All of which gives me pause to laugh at everybody, and mostly stick to my original message from my the last episode of this blog to “tool up” and protect yourself, both legally and physically, if need be.

At this point, I think my humor is based on trying to find a light to this astoundingly dark tunnel, which seemingly is getting darker by the day. As we count down the days left of Obama’s tenure, we are reminded of what a real leader can do and has done, even when he’s tested by seemingly all sides. As most of us dread the inauguration of 45, many of us can only wonder if any of Obeezie’s qualities can actually rub off on this guy, as he’ll now have pretty much the world in his and his administration’s mostly (if not entirely) monochromatic hands. As for me, my humor to this quagmire is more of a coping mechanism at this point: it has provided me with a shield to the ignorance – on both sides – and a way of fighting back as well. It has given me a reason to embrace the challenges that we all know are surely coming, and it has allowed me to press on in accepting my choice for whom I wanted to be – and NOT to be – the new President, allowing me to fully live with that choice, guilt-free.

I think we’re ALL going to need laughter in the coming weeks, months, and the next four years, so the way I see it, I’m just ahead of the curve.

11/18/16

Nov
09

After a two-year absence, I decided that this blog needed to be resuscitated. Especially on what probably will be America’s most important (and gloomy) night in recent memory.

As for the show itself, it looks like it doesn’t matter how gross you are, how many women you’ve harassed, how literally inexperienced you are in politics, how many legal cases are pending against you, where your taxes have mysteriously been hiding, or how many fights you can cause; apparently you CAN be the new President of the United States. That’s what is happening right now. One Donald J. Trump, formally known from hotels, casinos, WWE appearances, and “The Apprentice” has now seemingly made his way to the most important chair in the free world.

How did this happen? Seriously, man……HOW?

First off, I think this country forgot what the real demo make-up of it is. The WASP population is still the majority here, and they were ANGRY. Angry at what they believed to be their America being taken away from them by Obama’s America. Angry at lies and quid pro quo in government actions. Angry that the LGBT community got cart blanche to marry and be happy. Angry that athletes could openly protest against police brutality. They spoke.

Meanwhile, what no one counted on, (or at least, not the Democrats) is how angry the black community was, too. Try as she might, Hillary Clinton is not Barack Obama, and she learned that assuming black people were going to follow her like they did him might have proved to be a fatal flaw, especially when even Obama didn’t seem too much interested in listening to black people’s issues for about 75% of his tenure as commander-in-chief. Also, all the Jay-Z, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, and Bon Jovi concerts weren’t going to undo that fact. Quite the opposite. If anything, it only reminded us black folk of how much  we were being pandered to and not LISTENED to – or taken serious. So, a lot of the much anticipated black vote needed to elevate her didn’t come….most black people either took the third party route, or just “protested” their vote and sat out altogether.

So, now here we stand. America now gets to cry, cheer, riot, whatever as we’re bracing for the next chapter in this country. And, as my blog has been, I’m going to ask a few things:

1) So…what happens now? You know, besides the millions of comedy routines that will see  that surely will shame America for allowing this to happen, and satire after satire of a massive evacuation to Canada. (I hear Montreal is very nice this time of year, and i’ll find out on Thanksgiving firsthand.) So we sulk and moan? Do we hide in fear? Does Black America FINALLY realize that they only way to survive in this America is to work together? Seems to me that if there was EVER a time that Black America needs to Voltron up, it is NOW.

2) What will it take to get you all to finally tool up? And let me explain what I mean by that, because there’s levels to this shit.
– Tool up by arming yourselves with knowledge of this system, in order to counteract it when you are confronted with unfair governmental treatment.
– Tool up by becoming more more empowered with your economic capital, and not just giving money away for Js, BAPE jeans, lean, and new designer clothes.
– Tool up by learning self-defense (and teaching your kids), because I guarantee you, a lot of the racist folk who just voted this man in have already become much more emboldened.
– And yes, tool up FOR REAL, by exercising your 2nd Amendment right to defend yourself by use of weapons if need be.

This election season has brought out the worst in pretty much everyone. Now, it’s time to find out that since the “worst-case scenario” finally showed up on our doorsteps, how are we going to get out of the darkness that it surely upon us? I just hope that Armeggeddon people were predicted should Adolf J. be actually given the White House doesn’t come to fruition. In the meantime, Bushido Blade #2 is on its way. Be safe out there. Winter Is Here. Dress warm. Think and act HOT.

11/9/2016

Oct
30

One of the truest things I’ve heard about the American public came from an episode of The Wire. It’s when a detective was asked if people would believe a story that may or may not have actually happened. His response was pure genius:

“By in large, people are pretty stupid, especially here in America. We pretty much believe everything we’re told.”

That, right now, hasn’t been any truer than the American public’s general reaction to an outbreak of a deadly virus called Ebola. This virus, which was made its way in the continental United States, has infected only a handful of people in the U.S. since its arrival last month. However, the chaos and mass hysteria that has come with it would have you believe we have a pandemic that’s going to challenge the Black Plague of Middle Eastern Europe on our hands.

Yes, it true: is certain countries of West Africa like Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, and Nigeria, Ebola is very much prevalent. Due to the lack of up-to-date hospitals and treatment centers in those areas, the virus has hit outbreak status. In a developed country like America, which started planning from the day it heard one of its citizens has contracted the disease in that region, this should have been a much less crazy issue.

Enter the hype machine that is the media.

With constant reporting on whose got the disease and where in America they are, news stations everywhere has driven people into frenzies and mass panic of fear that they may catch the virus.

Suddenly, places like Dallas, Maine, and of course NYC has become ‘hot spots’ for Ebola in America.

* Sighs * Oh boy….here we go, yet AGAIN.

It seems like every year for the past four years running, we have a new “scare” to have us all believing we’re doomed, and some form of Armageddon is here.

In 2009, it was H1N1….

In 2010, it was SARS…

2011, it was Bird Flu…

2012, the Mayan calendar predicted the end of the world…..twice….

Last year, everyone swore up and down that World War III was going to start.

You see where I’m going with this?

Look, maybe I’m one of the cynical ones around here, but this whole Ebola “scare” seems like another attempt to stress people out for no reason. Now I know, the rational portion of the population probably feels the way same as I do. Unfortunately, I also know that the majority of the public is anything but rational.

If they were, a teacher in Maine wouldn’t been banned from school for 21 days, cause they visited Dallas, where ‘patient zero’ was….

If they were, a high school principal in Mississippi wouldn’t have had to withdrawal himself amidst rumors that he went to Zambia (where the Ebola outbreak isn’t even at, mind you), and parents started withdrawling their children from school until the principal quarantined himself….

(and since I know you want to call my bluff, that article is here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2799014/ebola-hysteria-sweeps-schools-maine-teacher-visited-dallas-told-not-come-work-21-days-hundreds-mississippi-parents-pull-kids-school-principal-visited-zambia-3-000-miles-countries-hit-disease.html)

OK, people…seriously? This is starting sound like the beginning of the HIV/AIDS outbreak in the early 1990s, where people were being unjustly accused of having the disease, and those that actually did contract it, were having their lives turned upside moreso dude to the public’s reaction then to the disease itself.

I thought we have all learned these lessons of the past. I thought most of us adults knew what hysteria can do when people are very ignorant on facts about a disease. I thought people were aware that reactions without thinking doesn’t help ‘contain’ the disease; it only makes dealing with controlling it much more difficult.

I thought people would have acted better at all these things. Shows what I get for thinking. You’d figure with all the other diseases VERY rampant in America right now (cancer, obesity, etc), that less than 20 people getting this disease thousands of miles away, we’d have a little more common sense on how to handle ourselves. You’d figure that, at least.

Listen: do better, people. Get the facts about how Ebola actually spreads. Learn. Pass on to others. Stop it already with the blind hysteria and MASSIVE ignorance. In fact, I’ll tell you what you need to know about Ebola right now:

(taken from the CDC website: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/2014-west-africa/qa.html)

  • Wash hands frequently or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid contact with blood and body fluids of any person, particularly someone who is sick.
  • Do not handle items that may have come in contact with an infected person’s blood or body fluids.
  • Do not touch the body of someone who has died from Ebola.
  • Do not touch bats and nonhuman primates or their blood and fluids and do not touch or eat raw meat prepared from these animals.
  • Avoid facilities in West Africa where Ebola patients are being treated. The U.S. Embassy or consulate is often able to provide advice on medical facilities.
  • Seek medical care immediately if you develop fever, headache, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, or unexplained bruising or bleeding.
  • Limit your contact with other people until and when you go to the doctor. Do not travel anywhere else besides a healthcare facility.

There. Now you know. And as an awesome cartoon taught me, “Knowing is half the battle.”

GI JOE!

10/30/14

May
13

It’s pretty incredible how social media has “evolved” all of us. It’s made us more aware of the world, it’s brought us closer to everyone we care about, and it’s open the doors to find out more about people than we’ve wanted to admit. Unfortunately, with all this awareness, has come a horrible thing for men: gossip. TONS of it.

This episode will focus on the now-most famous camera-captured elevator fight since Ray Rice went all Little Mac from Punch-Out on his fiancé; the fight known as Solange Knowles vs. Jay-Z. No, this episode will not be about what started the fight, or why Beyonce stood there and did nothing, nor the skills that bodyguard had in (somewhat) successfully keeping the younger Knowles from Chun-Li kicking S. Carter in the Carter jewels. In fact, this episode isn’t about the four people in the elevator at all.

It’s about YOU. And by you, I mean the men that have seemingly wasted 24-48 hours of their lives dedicated to finding out everything there is to know about why this happened.

Now, I’m not trying to be sexist or anything, but I’ve heard more of the male population take the stupefying low road here and turned into domestic dispute detectives to find out the details than the female populous. I’m actually quite baffled at this.

WHY??? Seriously, as a man, why it is my business to find out why a private moment (albeit caught on videotape) happened? Why is any of ours? Men, I’m not getting this? Someone help me out, here…seriously.

Now, I admit; I had a joke or two, like the next person did. That’s also what social media has done; seemingly brought out everyone’s inner comedian. However, where’s the line between harmlessly commenting on a hot issue, and trying to go to bat for a side to an issue that has nothing to do with anyone? This all seems like a colossal waste of time for a myriad of reasons:

1)   If you know that couple, damage control is working overtime to make sure this is all forgotten in eight days or less. More than likely, it’ll work. In two weeks, no one will know…or care…. this happened, and Jay will still have the ‘Michael Jordan Teflon Don Pass’ the public (mostly dudes) has bestowed upon him.

2)   For all those people that can’t stand either Jay-Z or Beyonce, they have no idea you exist outside of hate tweets.

3)   For all those people that love one or both of them, whatever music they put out next, this incident won’t feel not one shred of affect on it. NONE.

OK, I guess I have to explain the sexist rationale of this episode; look, I’m not even mad that this whole thing has been #1 on the female attention span. Unfortunately, gossiping is more reserved for women, and much more tolerated by women as their unofficial sport. Not being a pig here; I just calls it how it is. Dudes getting this involved in a story that’s not really that big of a story have seen male sewing circles sprout up like hotcakes. What’s next? I’m actually too scared to find out. This is a prime reason why males in America are losing respect around the world by the day.

Men, we are better than this. And there’s sooo many more things that need our attention than another celebrity family blow-out….like our OWN families, for one.

I’m going to leave all you XY-chromosomal laden folk (that’s men for the scientifically ignorant) to words of Nene Leakes when she told Peter about himself for meddling in women-like affairs:

“You need to stop trying to roll with the damn women, OK? You need to stop trying to be a damn bitch!”

Honestly. Chill with this, yo.

 

5/13/2014

Apr
29

So, it appears justice has been served, for once. The NBA has taken a strong stand on it’s zero-tolerance on racism , and the people who perpetuate it in the NBA. This was made true by the league’s action against hopefully-soon-to-be-ex Los Angeles Clippers owner, Donald Sterling.

If you’ve been in living in a cave for the last week, here’s a short recap:

Last Friday, a audio tape of Sterling surface on the internet, with him telling his mistress that he didn’t want black people at any of his games, nor did he want her to be seen in public with them.  I won’t even go into all the racially offensive garbage spewed, because you can pretty much hear it everywhere, starting with here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZh6WGbZUvA. Of course, this pissed the league off something awful, as about 75% of the league is black, including about 90% of the team he owns. So today, the new NBA commissioner Adam Silver went balls-out, banning Sterling from the NBA for life, as well as fining him $2.5 million, which is I’m sure a record amount in pro sports.

Let me just say on the record, I applaud Silver’s actions. I clapped with i watch the press conference live, to know that this type of thinking should not nor WILL not be tolerated within the NBA, or most of society. Sterling needed to be gone after that tape hit cyber space. However, I do have questions and answers to other questions that surround this whole ordeal:

1) Why does everyone now say that the league should’ve been done this, based on his past? Where was everyone back then? Since there is proof Sterling’s racism was evident in refusing to rent apartments to black and Latino families? Why didn’t anyone speak up back then? I’ll tell you why: it wasn’t made public. Yes, it was documented. Yes, the discrimination suit Elgin Baylor filed for his wrongful termination was documented and made available to anyone who bothered to read it. Trobule is, NO ONE CARED back then. Hell, 99% of the world had no idea of Sterling’s past bigotry until this tape surface. Where were the 1% of folks that knew he was bigoted, that KNEW he felt this way about black folks? What about former commissioner, David Stern? If Sterling has indeed done racist actions under his watch, shouldn’t there be some outrage towards Stern as well?

2) Since he was taped having a private conversation with his sugar baby (cause, let’s keep this 100, that’s what she was), where’s the outrage towards HER? One of the most disturbing things about all of this, is while he’s making this racist diatribe, she’s listening to it, despite the fact she half-black (and half-Latino)….and still stood by him, even after the tape came out?

Whoa. Let that one sink in a bit.

Why hasn’t the mob come after her for being a gold-digger so bent on not being thrown off the Sterling gravy train, she was willing to forgo her race and get rid of all her black friends to please him? Where’s the outrage for this woman who clearly sold more than her body for the finer things in life?

3) For all the people stating that where all are the players when athletes get caught up in their own dramas, ranging from wife-beating, to DUIs, to illegally owning weapons, how can they even compare these situations? My thing is, when athletes get caught up in off-the-court legal issues, I fully believe they should be dealt with by the league just as any player can. But in the end, other than the athlete and any parties involve, who else gets affected by their transgressions? The owners? The fans? Society? Not a chance.

Sterling’s comments effected a ton of people, which is something people are downplaying in trying to defend him. They effected the players, who have to live with the reality of playing for a guy who really doesn’t want their there other than to entertain him. They effected the coaching staff (especially Doc Rivers). They effected ALL of the black folks in the front office. They effect anyone who works at the games. Comparing other private players’ issues to this was an apples-to-oranges move, and most people know that.

Look, this ban on Sterling won’t cure racism in America any more than the election – and re-election – of President Obama did. There will always be racism in America (at least, in our lifetimes. Maybe in a few hundred years, this may change). I absolute abhor it, but as a black man in America, I’m not naive enough to deny it. That doesn’t mean racism should be accepted or tolerated, especially by the ultra-wealthy and powerful. My thing is, with all of the side stories that went with this (including the whole “invasion of privacy” issue), I hope that doesn’t derail the main point here. Racism, discrimination, and hatred of ANY kind must be tackled head-on, and should NEVER be allowed to profit in this day and age.

Adam Silver just made a fan out of me. I hope he made a whole bunch more.

 

4/29/14

Jan
27

If you are black living in America, chances are at some point in time, you’ve seen your share of injustices. Some may happen directly to you, some just may affect you from afar. From overt and subtle racism to police brutality, to economic sabotage (some done by our own selves) and everything in between, we’ve experienced it all. Even in music, where we hear how some artist gets screwed over for money owed to them or an award the masses know they should’ve received but didn’t, sometimes living in this country will mean we as a collective whole will watch our livelihood get humiliated.

And that humiliation hit way too close to home last night at the Grammy Awards.

For all those that bothered to watch in a cross between confusion, horror, and outrage, we witnessed Hip-Hop basically being used like a prostitute on a world wide stage, as the Grammys (or the “Shammies”, as I like to call it) basically whored out this once wild, rebellious, and masterful art form to satisfy two agendas at the same time: fulfilling the next “Great White Hype”, and pretty much shoving the LGBT movement down all of our throats. I’ll explain this further.

After releasing one of the most successful Hip-hop albums in years, a young emcee from Compton named Kendrick Lamar was pretty much on target to win his first Shammy award for best Rap Album. And why not? Anyone’s who heard this album, entitled, “Good Kid m.A.A.D. City” agreed that it’s been a modern musical masterpiece since its debut back in October 2012. The field he was up against didn’t seem to be much of a challenge to topple this album, either.

Not so fast.

Enter a young emcee and from Seattle named Macklemore, who himself had been on a rise in 2013 with his album (along with his DJ, Ryan Lewis) “The Heist” and figured to give Kendrick a challenge, at least. But hey, he wasn’t going to win most of us thought, so it didn’t matter, right? Right? Wrong.

Not only did Macklemore take home the award for best Rap Album, but also won in every major Hip-Hop oriented award. Shows what we all know, I guess. This insult, to award an artist an award he himself said he didn’t deserve (maybe in an act of predictable humility to avoid not becoming a villain to the Hip-Hop masses in the process) wasn’t the end of it. At the end of the night, one of his singles entitled “Same Love” was performed live. Who cares, right? Wrong. You see, “Same Love” is pretty much the most progressive pro-homosexual based song ever, and it was done in over-the-fashion, complete with a live mass marriage ceremony of lesbian and gay couples during the song’s performance at the awards show.

Now, understandingly so, the Hip-Hop community is beyond outraged at these events.  Not only has a mediocre artist been given one of music highest “honors” in a culture that clearly never saw him as that deserving of it, but the art form has also been used to push an agenda that Hip-Hop itself has never come to terms with being OK on. Basically, what has happen is that “the machine” that we all knows run the music industry was on full-display last night, and the message was clear,

“Hip-Hop is no longer under it’s true fan base’s control. We have taken it over and it no longer matters what you think, say, or do about it.”

So honestly, here’s the only solution we have left as to what to do with this once proud art form:

Kill it. Destroy it. Totally dismember it, brick by brick, until it fades away.

As I’m sure you’re reading this is wondering if I’ve lost my mind, just read further. There are too many people involved in Hip-Hop for all the wrong reasons. Like any musical art form, this is supposed to be about expression, about our voice in the inner cities where it began, about the state of the youth, and about how hip-hop was living poetry crossed with musicianship, attitude, and a sense of humility that stemmed from it originating in the “underground”, away from mainstream eyes and schemes. Now, it’s been about chasing a dollar, making the best hit, or selling the most albums. It’s about using songs to promote the next big product. And yes, it’s now about pushing out agendas that were once against the fundamental core of Hip-Hop.

OK, let me state some things: for the record, this is not (just) about Macklemore being white. Truth be told, white folks that have come correct in this genre have always been welcomed with open arms and honored as such. The success of acts like Eminem and the Beastie Boys have most came on the co-sign of the Afro-American populous, because they present their music with such skill and flavor, that the populous didn’t care about their skin tone. However, when you know once artist didn’t deserve that award and was given it anyway, mostly to the Shammy committee deciding it was time to introduce a new white sensation, it’s hard not feel a certain type of way about the results.

Believe it or not, this isn’t about gay marriage either (not entirely). This country has made major strides in the past decade about becoming acceptant (or tolerant, at the minimum) about people choosing that lifestyle. However, when you have a show literally throw in the country’s face that being personal affairs on public display just to prove that they can, it becomes less about genuinely being for the cause and more about the LGBT community proving that it has enough political power to present anything it wants to anyone. The issue with this is if we have been taught that while everyone deserves respect for any choice of that magnitude of their life, while at the same time been asked to keep their private matters well…private, then shelving a mass LGBT marriage ceremony on live TV seems contradictory at best and condescending to the rest of us all at worse. The fact that Hip-Hop seems to be the choice vehicle to move this on has proven that Hip-Hop is no longer a looked at as a true genre of music, but has been relegated to being a sub-genre of Pop music, which is completely opposite to it’s true essence.

So now, killing hip-hop would make total sense. Destroying Hip-Hop would take it away from the mainstream, sending a message that the population who built this art form should have the final say of what’s acceptable to use it for and what’s not, not agenda-pushers or people with a get-rich-quick scheme. Deconstructing hip-hop also would tell “the machine”, the “powers that be”, or however else you choose to address them that the people, not corporate execs or label A&Rs determines who is deemed the top artists and who’s still climbing that mountain. This right has been taken away from the true believers of this culture over the last two decades or so, but never in such a brazen and outright disrespectful way as it was last night. If you love Hip-Hop like I do, no doubt you felt that watching this (which I did for all of 30 seconds, because I have given up on the Shammies since 1997) was like seeing a person being sliced open straight down the back, and having a bucket of salt being dump trucked into their wound in a public square. So, to end this pain and shame that Hip-Hop has now been reduced to, I believe this is what needs to happen; Hip-Hop simply has to die. Only then, when it’s no longer cool for people who never respected this culture or its principles in the first place to use it for their own doings or to score “cool” points with the rest of us, can it be re-born on the strength that it will remain an underground phenomenon until the people decide if it’s ready to be shared with the rest of world, in a manner that doesn’t totally exploit it. At this point, blaming the Shammies for allowing this to happen seems to cliche, this needs to be addressed more at the source since this seems to keeps happening when it’s time for Hip-Hop to be presented to the masses in this light.

I find two things very sad and telling about last night’s events. One is that Macklemore’s album is entitled, The Heist, which has never seemed more appropriate and ironic. Two is that rappers all the time are heard saying “death before dishonor” when it comes to the respect of their craft in songs, in interviews, and on social media. Well, hip-hop, if it hasn’t been dishonored enough, certainly was last night. So, if this is true, what do YOU think should happen next?

 

1/27/2014

Nov
06

It’s a shame sometimes how a society mentally shifts, in terms behavior-wise.

Sometimes, it is for the common good that old ideals are rendered obsolete thinking. Take for example, the whole idea of being un-American in the 1950s, mostly with the HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee) that started a witch-hunt allover the country fro pretty much anyone who had a dissenting idea of our government. Now, this line of thinking is pretty much the one last thing we have to express different views on how this government operates to keep it honest.

However, when it comes to standing up for yourself and fighting “bullying”, this country has gotten so sensitive and soft, that regular action that was perceived as normal behavior is now treated as treacherous acts by despicable human beings.  This seems to happen more often now; to where people are afraid to interact with others for fear that any aggressiveness will be portrayed as being a bully. Not only this, but now people are no longer taught to stand up for themselves, but to simply allow themselves to take abuse, go to the authorities, and hope the society around them will pity them.

The latest national case is the turmoil going in the Miami Dolphins locker room between Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito.

For those who don’t watch football, I’ll summarize what’s been happening:

Incognito, a veteran lineman, apparently bullied Martin, a rookie offensive lineman. As the story started to reveal itself through sources, Incognito was “old” by someone on the team to ‘toughen’ Martin up during summer workouts. Incognito then started to be aggressive towards Martin, making him pay upwards of $15,000 for meals and trips for other teammates, threatening to “defecate in his mouth and slap his mama”, all referring to him as a “half-nigger” on a voice mail. After one too many acts of bullying (in which his lunch table teammates got up and left Martin alone, effectively ostracizing him), Martin left the team facility mid-meal, checked into a mental facility, and pretty much walked out on the Miami Dolphins.

Now, if you’ve read the premise of this episode, then you’ll think I’m siding with Incognito on this issue. My response to that is, “HELL NO!” I don’t condone racism ever, and I’m more disgusted at the locker room, which seemed to side with Incognito once the evidence came out of said actions.  Incognito may have been carrying out the request of higher-ups on the team to add some toughness to Martin, but he went about it in an extremely wrong and racist way. Incognito’s actions have no place in the NFL, and I suspect we’ve seen the last of him in a football uniform, to which I say, “Good riddance.”

HOWEVER, this is my Devil’s Advocate point on this subject:

I have an issue with a grown man, rookie or not, allowing himself to be subjected to extreme level of bullying and abuse. My biggest issue is that Mr. Martin didn’t once stand up to Incognito, and instead ran home when someone took his milk money. (which, in all fairness, is what happened).

Look, I’m going to be in the minority on this one, I know, but most of us grow up being taught to always stand up for yourself in the face of bullies and unfair treatment.  In the culture of professional football especially, testosterone (and intelligence) normally determines who survives and who falters. The Miami coach (who most likely will be fired once they find out who it was, not too mention head coach Joe Philbin may lose his job as well) who sicced Incognito on to Martin had to have seen something soft in Martin, and determined that he had to get a little tougher to survive in that world. Now, while Incognito’s actions certainly went overboard, they DID prove a point: that Martin may not be mentally tough enough to make it in pro football.

As I know some of you are wondering, “well, what should Martin have done in that situation? Fight him?”

My answer: if that’s what it would take to stop the “hazing”, YES. If he were disrespected to that extent, then the only way to gain any respect from his teammates would’ve been to have it out with Incognito in private. Martin wouldn’t have been kicked off the team; fights during training camp happen all the time, and the majority of players don’t really get disciplined to a serious extent. Even though most people will say Martin “did the right thing” by walking away from the situation is now that locker – nor any other in the NFL – will trust OR respect him to keep team business within team business. Unfortunately, in a culture like pro football, light hazing is just as natural as any other part of training camp. Yes, Mr. Incognito took this to an unwanted level, but Mr. Martin’s actions (or inactions, rather) pretty much demonized a whole sub-culture of football life that really doesn’t go THAT deep past pranks, buying a lunch or two, and carrying older players pads.

This is my biggest issue with young America these days. The quest to establish an “anti-bullying” culture has left the youth pretty weak, and with a mentality that they shouldn’t stand up to bullies, but rather let society console them. Now, I’m not saying fighting – and possibly shootings – should be rampant to stop bullies, but I AM saying that everyone has the right to defend themselves, and no one shouldn’t feel ashamed to do so, by any means deemed necessary to protect themselves. Everyone in this world should never have to fear being picked on by anyone else, whether in real life interaction or on the internet, but everyone should learn that the only way to stop bullying is to stand up to them, as most bullies are cowards and only target those they perceive are “weak” and won’t fight back.

I’ll just put it like this: when you have moms complaining of bullying because their son’s football team got beat 91-0, that’s when you know America is being coddled too far. At this rate, Charmin toilet paper will be deemed stronger than most of these kids’ mental stability. I’m all for stopping bullying, but there has to be a line, and the kit gloves have to come off, sooner or later. Otherwise, events these – grown men being bullied – will be much more rampant.

11/6/2013

Jul
16

OK, so if you’re like me, you are now heartbroken and outraged at what happened in America on Saturday, July 14, 2013. Starting back in February of last year, A man named George Zimmerman, who was not a police officer – yet wanted to assert his authority like one – confronted a 17-year-old kid named Trayvon Martin for looking “suspicious” in his neighborhood. This man called even 911 about the kid, and was told not to pursue this kid, but he chose to disregard that order by the dispatcher and take matters into his own hands.

He confronted the kid, the kid fought him, and then Zimmerman shot the boy, claiming to be in fear for his life. Trayvon ended up dead. Those facts we know.
After a very questionable investigation (which almost never happened in the first place), Zimmerman was indicted on the charge of Murder in the 2nd degree, and later, Manslaughter. We all watched in shock and bewilderment on the aforementioned date as the jury found Mr. Zimmerman not guilty of all charges by a six person, all-female jury.

This you all know by now.

The result of this has sent shockwaves throughout the country, and has resulted in mass protests around the country from coast-to-coast, and even rioting in Oakland, CA.

This you should all know, too.

Here what people don’t know and SHOULD by this: these inactions of what we consider “true justice and equality” in this land have motivated a lot of us to really look at this country in a very different view from now on. Not just the African American community (though, I’d be lying if we weren’t already skeptical about our standing in America to begin with), but also the majority of the population.

In speaking for myself, what I see now – in addition to my own outrage at how a young black man is really valued in this country – is drive.

The drive to fight back at this obviously broken system.

The drive to educate the youth, so this never happens again.

The drive to help us stop the dreaded lifestyle that killing of anyone (whether it’s race related or not) should not, can not, and WILL not be tolerated.

The drive to make my presence felt in this world.

Most importantly, the drive to never lower myself to the awful stereotypes us men of color are assigned with everyday.

If there’s one thing I think that needs to be taken away from this entire event it’s this: if this didn’t motivate you to do better, then nothing ever will.
So, the anger, hurt, pain, frustration, and all-out rage that we may feel needs to put to the greatest uses of our capabilities. What I mean is this:

If young black men that are around Trayvon’s age feel as they are being unfairly disrespected in this world, then things to need to happen to change that perception. Make your mark in better ways than shooting, hustling, and overall ignorance – towards yourselves and the communities you live in. Take better care of your neighborhoods. Have some pride in your appearance. And if you think that’s too much work, remember July 14th, and channel that outrage into focus.

If young black females that are around the age of Rachael Jeantel feel people may look that them the way we all saw her portrayed (even if it WAS mostly validated), then this should be that motivation to change it. Take your education more seriously. Show a little more dignity in public. Cut out the twerking on social media, and stop throwing yourselves under the cyber buses. Learn your true worth…and value it. STOP having kids when you all know you aren’t ready. If that seems too much to bear, just think back to how angry you were when you saw the verdict come in….and your motivation will come.

If the older community feels as though as a whole we are being disrespected and disenfranchised, then DO something about it instead of complaining for five days on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and then going back to the same cycle of ignorance and “ratchetness.” Boycott influences in this world (the radio, various “Housewives” shows, BET as a whole for right now) that portray us as destructive beings, incapable of advancing our communities and race. Educate the youth better. Set better standards for them (and yourself)…and most importantly, LEAD BY EXAMPLE. If you believe this doesn’t matter, just replay your feelings when you heard the words, “NOT guilty….so say we all.” Then you’ll find out why it DOES matter.

This motivation won’t change us overnight. No true revolution ever did. However, if we as a people want real change in America it has to start INWARD. At ourselves. No slogan will trigger this. No lawmaker will argue for this and win. We the people have to. That’s the only way we’ll ever get any respect in the face of this system.

I saw that energy and motivation at a Trayvon Martin rally at Union Square in Manhattan, NY this Sunday, as well as several rallies taking place. Now, we have to sustain this momentum. So, my real questions to you all are this:

As outraged and hurt we all feel now, will you still feel this way next week? On August 1st? On January 1, 2014? Or will this whole Trayvon phenomenon be nothing more than a social media fad, fading away once the next big thing to grab our attention comes?

This event alone shouldn’t have been the catalyst for our outrage at the American justice system: we’ve seen it several times before in the unjust and tragic ending of lives like Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Amadou Diallo, Troy Davis, the Scottsboro boys, George Stinney, and so many others. However, if we ARE going to truly change this country, we also have to stop the killings of our own. Until we get a handle on ourselves first, then we’ll never accomplish any real goals of being taken seriously.

We have the motivation once again. We’ve been re-awoken. So, what will YOU do with it?

7/16/13

Jul
08

As we speak, there is another “revolution” going on in Egypt. In the wake of the Egyptian people’s successful overthrow of former president/dictator Hosni Mubarak of 2011, a new leader was elected by the people of Egypt. His name is Mohamed Morsi, and for the last two years, he was given the leadership position to help build Egypt back. However, the majority of the people decided that he wasn’t performing up to the standards and promises that was made to the people, and so, the people decided to once again take matters into their own hands. On July 3rd – one day before our OWN Independence Day – he too would suffer the same fate of Mubarak’s tenure, and was declared no longer president of Egypt, with backing from Egypt’s own military.

I see these things, and I can’t help but wonder: where did this spirit of civil unrest go from American society?

In today’s America, we have been faced with crooked politics and power-hungry politicians, an absolutely broken education system, a neglected and disenfranchised middle class/poor population, and severe distrust of the collective whole of the law enforcement conglomerate. so, why haven’t we as a people taken…well, any action? Seriously, any AT ALL??

Where exactly DID our fighting spirit go? We have been fighting injustice as a people since America’s beginning from the American Revolution. From the Women’s Rights Movement going back to the late 19th century, to the Labor Movement of the 1930s to improve the quality of working conditions, to the Civil Rights Movement of the 50s and 60s, when black people marched and protested all over the South to fight for the end of segregation and the death of Jim Crow. The late 60s – early 70s brought forth a peace movement of “Free Love and Flower Power” for a new generation to stop war. Even protests that turned violent like the L.A. Riots of both 1965 in Watts and the fallback of the Rodney King ordeal of 1992 in South Central had their statements made that the people weren’t going to stand idly by and be taken advantage of by people of higher stature and power.

So, what happened? How did we as a nation become so placated to accepting what used to be considered unacceptable to the people who make this country the “greatest nation on Earth?” I have my guesses as to why we’ve succumbed to these conditions:

1) As a people, we are the most individualized country on the planet. One of the main drawbacks from being free to pursue your own version of happiness is the effect that barely anyone shares anyone else’s pain. We read, watch, and record everyday bad things happening to people, and we’ve become desensitized to anyone else’s plight that doesn’t directly effects our lives or our families. As a result, there hasn’t been any TRUE unity – and by TRUE, I mean unity totally absent of race, color, or beliefs – amongst the people as a whole and we’ve become severely divided. Because of this, the “powers that be” can control everyone.

2) Today’s media has played a driving role in controlling people’s emotions. The media used to be nothing more but an outlet of distributing information and sources; now they’ve become the source of information people have turned to, and have been presented in ways that are specifically designed to sway people’s views and thoughts. It’s now to the point where the perception is that the American people can no longer think for themselves but rely on the media to do their thinking for them, which has led to the media creating the stories more than just reporting on them.

3) We’ve become a “instantaneous” quick-fix society, with the belief that any problems we want solved, or goals that we want to reached MUST be achieved overnight. We’ve seemingly forgotten that anything worth attaining will require the most precious commodity we can give: TIME. One-day protests or social media fad trends that usually dissolve from our attention spans after about a week don’t change anything; they just make for a “fashionable” footnote in that year’s history when we review them on our “Top 10″ lists of the most eye-catching events on TV network and magazine reviews. Such was the case of the infamous “Occupy Wall Street” movement, the Arizona Latino Immigration protest, or the various “Million ______ Marches” in recent years. Instead of capitalizing on the momentum these actions of civil unrest created, they simply were allow to fade away, to the point where it became no longer a serious issue to the rest of the country.

4) I believe the biggest reason our unwillingness to fight back is simply this: the people are SCARED. Scared of losing anything that matters to them. Scared of retailiation from our jobs, the law, or the government and a whole. Scared to sacrifice everything to change anything. I’m not saying this to insult anyone, but this is the honest truth. When the powers that be KNOW the people are scared to speak up or fight back in masses, they know they can essentially do whatever they want, however they want, whenever they want to do it. They know no one’s really going to rise and stop them, so why pretend to care about those people?

So, here’s the kicker: how can the American people regain that spirit? CAN that be regained?

We’ve seen outrageous events in the new century that have gone virtually unchallenged by the American citizens: the Hurricane Katrina diaster, the Iraqi Invasion, the Stop & Frisk policy in New York City, hundreds of schools closing in BOTH Chicago and Philadelphia, countless massacres of children due to gun regulations, wrongful arrests and shootings by police (Amadou Diallo comes to mind) being taxed more than ever before, and most notably, the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman ordeal. I wonder if the people as a whole will continue to just take whatever’s given to us and try to hope for the best instead of us standing up for our rights.

On a trip last year to Montreal, I saw something amazing happening in the streets. The college-going populus were going on their 40th day of marching in the streets to protest the rising costs of tuition for their college expenses. They’d had enough of the gov’t gouging them in their pockets to get a decent higher education, and for more than one month straight, they took to the streets to have their say. When I asked how much tuiton had gone up to spark this protest, I was blown away by their answer: 300$….a YEAR. No lie. Marching through the streets for 40 nights to stop a price increase of about $285 American for a entire year’s worth of school because the people felt the government had gone TOO far. And they were THAT serious about it.

Think about that.

I leave you all with a very famous quote: “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for ANYTHING.” Truer words have never been spoken in our country today.

7/9/13