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Wisdom Wednesdays

If you can keep your wits about you while all others are losing theirs, and blaming you. The world will be yours and everything in it, what's more, you'll be a man, my son. -Rudyard Kipling   

As we grow with life's experiences, it is often difficult to remain restrained and oh so easy to let loose when we come upon a perceived injustice. We respond swiftly sometimes with a sharp edged tongue and sometimes with a harsh action in order to "set things right".  Often, when we have time to reflect or when others have time to correct we are able to view the experience in a new light. If we are open to the learning we come away with not only a greater understanding of the person, but also a greater understanding of ourselves. In this instance, we use the outcome to exercise our capacity for growth. Then there are the times when we allow ourselves to "dig our heels in" and hold on to anger and disappointment about how the person should have behaved in the first place. In this scenario, we walk away and wait for a full apology that may never come or may not come in a form we recognize. One might say we were blinded by our hurt feelings. Kipling would say "we did not keep our wits about us". The difference between a child and a mature adult is how we utilize our experiences to adjust our perspective. When we maintain our self control we are able to stay our course and achieve our goals. Furthermore, we display character worthy of our best selves. As we strive to leave our mark and leave the world a little better off for us having been here, we must remember to keep our wits about us as exemplary men and women. Until seven sunsets, "keep your wits about you" as you LYM (Leave Your Mark)..

                                                                                                                          -Mother LYM

Know Your Worth

In the movie Batman there is a scene where Bane appears and is arguing with the CEO of a large corporation. The CEO abuses his power by talking down to Bane. Knowing Bane is not a man of many words bane simply tells the other man in the room to leave them to speak in private. Upon realizing that he has crossed the line the CEO tells Bane "But I have given you lots of money" Bane simply asks " And that gives you power over me?" This small statement speaks monumentally to those who claim Civilized Savagery. We are not moved by the money of rich men.

In all my years of life I have known my worth and not once have I put a monetary price on myself because I am priceless. My soul cannot be bought and seeing as slavery has been over anyone who goes to cross that line is sure to face a truly painful experience. Its a hard lesson in humbleness. I will not bow to men who have money and I will never bow for money. If that was the case LYMLIFE would have been popular by now. We would have sold stock and our souls to this thing people claim "Illuminati" whenever someone reaches a certain level of fame. My mother always told me I'm special as do many good mothers across the globe but you can only make this true if you carry the statement in mind on a daily basis. If you allow the petty nature of people in power who abuse it to change what your parents raised then you might as well let your mother eat her words for you have sold yourself short. People call me extreme because my mini revolutions are very absolute. They are only absolute because I do not fear the unknown. Men think because they sign my checks they own me. I would rather be a homeless man with a good heart than a wealthy man with no backbone. They think because I am employed by them they can tell me what my life is. They believe themselves demi-gods. I am here to say all men are created equal and as long as I live no man shall ever reign supreme over me. We either break bread as equals or you find some other kingdom to run. Call me socialist or a true Marxist and I will tell you I am neither. For once you allow yourself to put a label on me all the negativity that goes along with that label will be associated with me. Instead I am a savage of the civilized kind. I am a dreamer a LYMLifer who believes hard work and good deeds can carry me to the promise land. I am that which makes true evil shudder in its sleep.

I once met a man by the name of Ramen Kootala. A man who had seen the downside to working in the corporate world. We had many conversations on the caste system in India and the equality of man. Funniest thing Ramen told me was "Joshua you cry for the Untouchables but me and you are the Untouchables of the corporate world". That's when I realized they got me. They had caste me right under my own nose. So I started demanding the respect for both me and Ramen when any higher ups approached. We were not minions we were men and we must be treated properly. At the end of my internship Ramen told me "Joshua You are a good man and to keep fighting the good fight, never give up". Those words have never left my thoughts not for one day. I will continue to fight this fight because there are many hardworking men and women who just don't have the energy to keep fighting. For them I continue to show the world that kings walk among you and they do not wear crowns or badges. They are just good men making their way through the waves of mislead, oppressed, and tired people out there. Trust in these men for they do not concern themselves with selfish pleasures of power. They seek to show you that you are what makes the world go round. Petty men are in power, they are the CEO's, owners, politicians, and managers. They forgot that without us they would have no job. Know your worth and never go on sale. Jump off the damn clearance rack and show me what you got. My one voice is not enough we must be each others echo. The moral of the the story is be good and your attitude will ripple through those you interact with. Until next time keep it LYM....

Why the Inauguration of President Obama will Besmirch the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Today, Monday January 21, 2013, President Barack Obama will be inaugurated into his second term as the Commander-in-Chief of the US Armed Forces and leader of this great nation. To many it would only seem fitting that, on this momentous occasion, the president should take his oath of office on the Bible that once belonged to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Given that this event also falls on the same date as Martin Luther King Day, in many ways it represents the maturation of a country that has come full circle and gotten past a long and bitter history of exploitation and disenfranchisement of it’s Black minority. Not only have we as a country chosen to have a Black man lead our country, but we also have validated his leadership by awarding him the maximum amount of time that we can possibly give to any occupant of the Oval Office. This event speaks volumes of the progress that we have made as a nation. And what better way to commemorate such a milestone than to do so on the day designed to commemorate the struggles faced by people of color and with the tool that the man at the front line of that struggle used for guidance.

…so why is it that doing so would be an affront to everything that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. fought and died for?

If we take a look back at the legacy of Dr. King and what he stood for in its entirety, the answer is really quite simple. The core of who Dr. King was is that of a man filled with a radical, unequivocal, and unapologetic love for humanity. This unwavering commitment to mankind and to truth is what made Dr. King a relentless critic of unregulated capitalism, imperialism, the military industrial complex, and the many institutions within American society that facilitate racism, poverty, and war. This was a man whose depth of vision realized the interconnectedness between the neo-colonialism that drove the Vietnam War and the poverty and disparity of wealth that people of color were subjected to back home. As he said in his 1967 speech The Casualties of War in Vietnam, the bombs that were dropped in Vietnam exploded back home. They exploded in the city slums, barrios, and reservations from which the government siphoned off billions of dollars to fund its neo-colonial cause while ignoring the thousands of black, brown, and red people suffocating under poverty’s grip.

Dr. King new what the consequences were of an America who refused to recognize the right to self-determination for indigenous peoples. He new what would become of a United States that touted its commitment to democracy while sustaining the regimes of authoritarian dictators in Latin America. He also knew the great risk he was taking if he were to speak against these practices that led us into the Vietnam War.  On April 4, 1967, exactly a year before he was assassinated Dr. King followed his conscious and broke his silence on the war by giving a speech at the Riverside Church in New York City entitled Beyond Vietnam.  As a result, many labeled Dr. King a traitor, leaders of the NAACP rebuked him, and his ally in the White House Lyndon Johnson no longer supported him. He spoke out against the war not because it was strategically smart for the Civil Rights movement, but because it was morally right to a man who knew what our country would look like in the future if only one aspect of it’s morality was appealed to. What he saw is a country that is not much different from the one we live in today.

When we compare Dr. King’s vision of America, to the America that the policies of President Obama reflect, we see just what a stark contrast there is between the two men. President Obama has been a trailblazer in the use of unmanned drones that terrorize and take the lives of hundreds of innocent people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. Yet again, the bombs that those drones drop are felt in the inner city where schools that lack the proper funding and resources are put on the chopping block and are offered up to private corporations to manage. Similarly, every air strike made by the fighter jets Israel purchased with the billions of dollars of annual military aid that the US sends is felt by the growing number of homeless families across our country who are out in the street while hundreds of thousands of homes remain unoccupied. The President’s complacency with the rampant penchant for war and the endemic poverty that plague these United States finds itself at odds with the radical pacifist from Montgomery, Alabama who warned us of those in power who spoke of peace while rolling the drums of war.

This Dr. King I speak of is not the watered down version that is found in our schoolbooks. Because to highlight his view gives legitimacy to criticism of the way our country was operated and still has been since the turn of the twentieth century. But even when we speak of the one-dimensional Dr. King we are told about in school, the heroic master of civil disobedience that shattered the institutional racism brought on by Jim Crow. When we speak of this Diet Dr. King who never criticized our ruthless capitalistic, imperialistic, and militaristic society, we overlook the fact that the Jim Crow he relentlessly fought against is still very much alive and well in our present society. All across the country in the same inner city schools were you find people of color living in poverty learning about Dr. King’s inspirational life, you find a school-to-prison pipeline that criminalizes those students for minor misconduct. So we find our selves with a system where a growing number of young people of color are treated as criminals before they are given a chance to understand the nature of their behavior.

At the same time we find ourselves with a justice system that allows private corporations to exploit and profit from the growing number incarcerated Americans, an overwhelming majority of which come from those same schools that forwarded their misbehaved children to uninterested police officers rather than concerned educators. As this Prison Industrial Complex grows we see that people of color, especially those in the grips of abject poverty, are living under a new mutated form of Jim Crow, immune to the vaccination of the Bill of Right, and much harder to cure. The New Jim Crow thrives of the War on Drugs, the Prison Industrial Complex, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline, all of which the President has refused to address or even acknowledge.

Dr. King’s vision stretched much further than just giving basic civil rights to a minority population that lived with out them. His vision is one that called for a revolution in this country. When he gave his speech at Riverside Church, Dr. King made it clear that he was a man of moral consistency and he knew that the injustice of refusing people of color their rights was just as morally depraved as the injustice of not allowing the people of Vietnam to break away from their French colonizers. Dr. King let the world know that he was against the imperialist, neo-colonial character of our nation and that he will not be silent about it because it affects every facet of American society. To many people, it is not a coincidence that Dr. King was assassinated exactly one-year to the day that he broke his silence on Vietnam. Because if Dr. King had his way, we would be living in a much different America than the one we find ourselves in. An America shaped by the his interpretation of the very Bible that will be used later today as President Obama takes his Oath of Office.

Given his record, the President is a far cry from the man that Dr. King was. He has effectively maintained the institutions that Dr. King denounced, and remained complacent in the enactment of policies that perpetuate their influence. For the President to take his Oath of Office on the Bible that acted the moral compass to such a man who died fighting against the very powers that the President serves is a great insult to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Not only will it be an insult but it will also cheapen his legacy of a man who spoke out against the war crimes in Vietnam, who spoke out against the horrors that the Jim Crow system bestowed on people of color, who spoke out against the poverty that ravaged the richest nation on the planet. All this is enough to make one shudder at the thought of the President placing his blood stained hands on the document that served as the source of inspiration, guidance, and strength for a man who tirelessly wrestled against a violent, imperialistic society with nothing but an unrelenting message of peace and love.

WIsdom Wednesdays

 "You must be the change you want to see in the world."
Mahatma Gandhi

 I hope the good intentions of the past week produces a positive ripple that  helps make the world a better place. As we leave our mark in ways big and small, we strive to improve not only our lives but the lives of others we know and love as well as friends and family we have not yet met. Many among us believe that it is hard to make a real difference in the world. I believe it is quite simple. Transformation begins with the small acts of individuals. Think of a time when an unexpected phone call, message or letter changed your day for the better. Remember a time when a small idea shared with others morphed into a project that benefited an entire community or nation..The key to change is just to start. DO something.....anything that is positive for someone...just because. With any luck it will create a ripple that affects many people down the line in ways you could not have imagined. Big ideas do begin with small thoughts and we as individuals are responsible for the society as a whole. The sooner we embrace the responsibility of taking care of each other, nature and the world, the sooner we will see a change. Challenge yourself in this new year to commit small acts of kindness for friends,family, and those we have not formally met.  Until seven sunsets........LYM positively.

Wisdom Wednesday

"All great acts are ruled by intentions. What you mean is what you get." -Brenna Yovanoff 

Intention is not only what we mean to do, it is how we mean to do it. Intention represents our wants with action plans attached. The gap between want and intention is action. When we desire something and we begin to put forth effort into attaining that want, we have converted it into a reality. Quite often when a new
year or a new term or a new season arrives we express things that we want to happen or change. but until we do the work our goal cannot be realized. Our challenge is to examine our intentions and act accordingly.

Until seven sunsets...LYM with good intention