In the Words of Jeezy: “Nothing Beats a Cross But A Double Cross”

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I have to admit that even I sometimes get caught up in the idea that perhaps maybe, just maybe, the pot and the kettle may one day realize that they are the same. That despite the functions of the two appliances, they both share the same hue. Then again I wake up and remember that this is America. This past weekend Robert Mueller’s complete probe into Russia’s possible interference in the 2016 election was handed over to the Department of Justice and Attorney General William Barr. Yet instead of releasing the findings to the public, especially after the public had to endure endure almost two years of constant news coverage and speculation of foreign influence on the supposed “democratic” election practices held dear to the country (not to mention putting up with the head of the current presidential administration shenanigans), all that was released to congress and the public was a four page summary. Wow! This verb expresses both my astonishment at the decisions of the powers that be to release the findings of the probe to the public as if we are calves suckling from its mother’s teats; as well as to impress upon those powers the fact that as the public we can decipher the difference between water and urine. Weather flash, where I am standing, there is not a cloud in the sky. While I can perhaps go and on concerning this skullduggery of the elitists; it is my issues with what perhaps (by perhaps I mean I am almost certain) was found in the in the probe and not what was being investigated.

As an educator of the public school system, I grade essays upon essays on a yearly basis. Throughout my career, I must have read over 10,000 essays. The process can be tedious and exhausting; however the content from the essays can range from a myriad of adjectives (I’m a high school teacher). Needless to say, these adjectives can make the grading a task in itself. So, as a rule of thumb, I often will alert my students to what I will be focusing on in regards to grading (yes, I do give a rubric); let’s call this a verbal rubric. Stay with me guys, I am getting to my point. The purpose of my alert to my students is to increase the students’ chances of mastering those particular areas of focus. However, during my grading if I come across grammatical errors, errors in syntax, or any other types of errors which were not identified as focal points, I will still deduct points from the essay; especially if the concept has been taught. In my ancestors and elders prescribed philosophy, I do this because “they know better.” Now I’m certainly not an investigator, political analyst, or news pundit; but I am convinced that Robert Mueller uncovered discrepancies from here to over “yonder” in his probe. Perhaps enough discrepancies to make the possibilities of a Russian interference in an election look like a jaywalking offense (well unless you live in Florida). Which leads me to a number of questions.

Questions like: Are we, the public, perceived by the political machine to be that naive and gullible to think that nothing criminal from the top to the bottom in this administration (excluding Trump’s attorneys) was discovered in the probe? Do we expect to get an untarnished report from Attorney General William Barr and the DOJ when and if they ever release the full results of the probe? Why Robert Mueller? I mean there are more questions after the probe was completed than before the investigation began. But then I snap back to reality and realize that in the words of Jeezy: “don’t nothing beat a cross but a double cross.”

I refuse to believe that the outcome of an almost two year investigation from an experienced, Vietnam Veteran, who has been ridiculed and belittled by the very person who is at the center of the probe, did not yield anything but a few subpoenas and petty indictments. As my elders and ancestors like to proclaim, ” I was born at night, but not last night.” In addition, the public deserves to get the information the moment that it became available to DOJ and Attorney General William Barr. And please don’t insult us with the narrative of information overload when the public was just bombarded with a litany of scandals, fear tactics, and government shutdown proceedings that is still wreaking havoc on the country. The public does not ask for much. For the most part, we harvest the fruit for the nation but only get to eat the rind. However, what we do desire is that those who are elected to office do the job which they say they will do. We desire that when corruption is evident that those in these offices be held culpable just at any regular citizen would be. Is this too much to ask? Or perhaps I am asking the wrong questions to the wrong people.

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Naysayer be damned…Continue to Boss Up!

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I have often heard of the phrase “those that can’t do, teach.” Being an educator, I found that there is some truth to that. Perhaps that only word that I would add to this phrase is the word “anymore” after the word do. Now of course there are certain things that should never be taught; racism, hate, or any things that does not add value to humanity. You know those things that cause chaos on both a mental and a physical level. I call those things, as well as those who perpetrate and spread those thing, “agents of chaos.” And in today’s society, it seems that those individuals are winning.

In my past blogs, I have not shied away from the fact that I think LeBron James is not only the most dominant force ever to play the game; but that his impact on and off the court will never be duplicated. While this is not the topic or purpose of this blog, if warranted, I can definitely come back to this topic on a later post. One of the things that I see so often is blatant attack on James and that he has someway ruined the NBA because of his decisions to leave Cleveland and team up with Wade and Bosh. To be honest I could name tons of players before and after LeBron who have made similar moves to achieve goals, but then again this is not what this post is about. The reason behind some of the unfair criticism is that James thinks just and acts just like the thoughts and actions of a general manager; and he and his brand is a team in itself. Allow me to explain.

Teams in any sports are built by the draft, trades, and acquisitions of free agents. 2/3rds of the before mentioned building blocks are done solely by the owner and general manager; with the exception of a few stipulations (no trade clauses and breach of contracts). Other than that, a player has to fulfill his contract and then see which team is willing to sign him. The hopes of a franchise is that they acquire enough players to be competitive, sales tickets, and eventually try to reach the pinnacle of their perspective sport. If this does not happen within a certain time frame, the front office brass make moves to improve the  team’s chances, in most cases with little to no regard to the players well-being (it’s a business). In a sense; out with the old, in with the new. And here is where the genius of James comes into play. After making the NBA billions, the franchise billions, the owner billions, and making himself millions; LeBron understood that he was better skilled at assembling a team of players to do what 29 of the 30 ball clubs in the NBA can’t do each season in the NBA. Put together a squad of players with a single goal in mind; win. And win he and his teams did. But with winning comes naysayers and agents of chaos who will try to poke holes in what James did; which is the exact thing that the front office does. The only difference is that he was able to do it better and more effectively.

So now we have the LeBron and the Lakers; oh and of course the naysayers who are only waiting for his fall. Somehow forgetting that James, even hurt and aging, is still the best player on the court each night he steps on the court. Yes, that includes whatever your team is and whoever plays for your team. Oh and by the way, notice how teams are now all of a sudden stacked with 2 or 3 big time players (with the exceptions of the Warriors, they have 5). Probably not, because this is nothing new. What is new, however, is the phenomenon of stacking the team just to beat one player. Want to guess who that player is?

Each day sports pundits (journalists and former players with an axe to grind for some reason) try to chip away at the legacy of a player who has been nothing more than an exemplar to both the league and more importantly, the community in which grew him into the man he is today. Which leads me to question those who takes jabs at him because he utilizes the tactics of the owners and front office brass to assemble and build. Is it too much like being a boss? Does he suppose to stay in his place and let those who can’t do, teach? Is he supposed to take what he is given and be appreciative of that and be a good worker? The thing that I find comical is that the ones who criticize him the most look just like him. But then I digress. However, I would note my last line.

Readers,  there are going to be those who look like you, dress like you, speak and go to some of the same places as you. They may smile in your face and even praise you while in your your presence. While at the same time whispering, hinting, and conspiring with others to usher in your demise. I can’t tell you that they want succeed. I can only tell you that these “agents of chaos” exist. They exist because there is nothing sensational or titillating about positivity; it doesn’t sell. And trust me there are tons of those who are waiting to “sell out” just to sell a story or position themselves to be the one to bring about another person calamity. Again, as the poet Jay Z say this is nothing unusual “it’s politics as usual.” My advice, just continue to boss up. Oh and by the way LeBron and the Lakers won last night. Shout out to my partner from the Bay area who being rocking with both the Lakers and the Warriors. You got some explaining to do.

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“A Stand-Up Guy…” and The Green Book

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My brother, who is one year and 2 months younger than I am, use to get into all types of mischief when we were growing up. From destroying items in our mother’s meager abode to being followed home by adults because he used some explosive curse words when joking; he was the cause of many of our whippings from our mother. I say we because, even though my brother was mainly the culprit, we never told on each other. That was the unwritten rule growing up. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t until we were much older that we let our mother in on some of the shenanigans that were perpetrated by us in our youth. Of course, we are all successful now and have hopefully made our parents proud and give all recognition to them for what we have accomplished; and perhaps even my brother has atoned for the those he joked out growing up. To be honest I think that even to this day; even those individuals believe us to be some “stand up” guys.

This weekend, and I mean all this weekend, coverage of The Academy Awards (The Oscars) were shown on several media outlets. And while I did not watch any of the festivities or the award show, I did get a chance to see the many talented actors who won in their perspective categories from news and internet reports a few hours ago. One such talented actor who always catches my eye, and who is one of my childhood crushes, is the talented and drop-dead beautiful Regina King. King took home the Best Supporting Actress for her role in Beale Street. Unfortunately, that is about as far as I got into checking out the winners because of my intrigue into a certain movie and what the media called the “controversy” surrounding it. The movie Greenbook pretty much sweep up many of the most prestigious awards including Best Male Actor, Best Supporting Male Actor, Best Original Screenplay, and the most controversial The Best Movie Award. While I have a bit of contention with the last two awards; it is only the last one which I will give my take on. Oh, but I think I may state my position on the Best Original Screenplay on a later post.

Screenwriter and film producer Nick Vallelonga , when asked why Dr. Don Shirley’s name wasn’t mentioned in any of the thank you acceptance speeches, responded by saying “you get nervous up there…we thanked Mahershala Ali…” The producer went on to address the controversy surrounding  Dr. Shirley’s family not being apart of The Greenbook project. Vallelonga claims that Dr. Shirley told him not to contact any of his family about the movie and not to make the film until after his death. Perhaps that is true…perhaps. However, it’s his statement about being a “stand-up” guy that draws my ire. Vallelonga states “I was personally not allowed to speak to his family per Don Shirley. I’m an Italian from New York, they call that a standup guy. I kept my word to the man, and that’s the reason for that.” Again perhaps that is true…perhaps. But see this is when better judgement, knowing history, and human decency comes into play.

There has always been a history of shadiness and outright thievery when it comes to the music industry; specifically, between the artist and those who run the label. Perhaps no other time was as horrendous as when the use of a “greenbook” was not a cinematic venture but a useful tool for Black Americans who were traveling through the treacherous south in order to find lodging as well places to eat where they would not be turned away because of the color of their skin color. Many entertainers from both the south and north used this book despite their celebrity status. Even though these entertainers were in many ways relieving the oppressed Black Americans living in the southern states from the day to day struggle of being deemed second class citizens; in the south they themselves were not immune to the same treatment. As cruel as the south was to these entertainers; those responsible for handling their careers and finances in the north were as equally and in many cases much more savage to the entertainers.

Many of these entertainers were swindled out of their publishing and royalties by record labels who signed these great entertainers with a few bucks and promises of more to  come; however with no intentions to make good on the promises the labels and managers got rich while many of the entertainers died penniless despite the success of their songs. With little to no recourse, many of these enterainters’ family members have only been able to watch as others make millions through royalties from the success of their love ones, while they are only left with memories, songs, or music sheets.

Thus, the ire I have with the use of the term “stand-up guy”  by Nick Vallelonga. I understand keeping the word of Dr. Shirley, but your version of The Greenbook doesn’t exist without him; which leads me to wonder how is it even conceivable that through nervousness any of you forget to mention him. A standup guy wouldn’t have ever allowed that to happen. And if it were me…and that hat is if it were me; if I know for a fact that I have told the story of an individual and I was prosperous from that individuals’ story,  I would definitely make sure that the individual’s family shares in the success. Money, public recognition, or perhaps just an acknowledgment of the deceased or acknowledgement to the deceased family members would definitely be a part of my agenda.Again, I would definitely do that if it were me. But then again, that’s what “stand up guys” do.

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Smoke or Fire?

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I’ve often heard the saying “where there is smoke there is fire.” This cliché was used as an expression when an occurrence happened that caused a significant difference of reasoning or deducing. Not like trying to figure out who is better Michael Jordan or LeBron James. Michael Jackson or Prince. Kenny Rogers or Willie Nelson. Judge Joe Brown or Judge Joe Mathis. You get the point. Those are all non-consequential. To each opinion, his or her own. An individual’s choice in either of these matters will not determine policies, legislation, nor possible imprisonment. Enters the state of Virginia. One of the 13 original colonies. Beautiful coastlines and producer of some of the world’s finest fish and seafood; she is indeed a beautiful state. And though she does rest in between the Atlantic Ocean and the gentile Appalachian Mountains; she has eluded the fire storms which has decimated some of her sister cities on the Pacific Coast. That is until recently.

The current political debacles and incompetence running amuck 3 and ½ hours due north east of the capital city of Virginia, pales in comparison to what her incumbents are desperately trying to maneuver through. There is a governor who has admitted to dressing in black face while in college. The Attorney General soon followed suit; yep he too likes to paint his face and pretend to be black as well. While these acts are not criminalistics in nature, deplorable, but not criminalistics; it has cast a dark cloud over the capitol city and the whole state of Virginia. And then there is the Lt. Governor. Allegations of rape and sexual assault from two women who he admitted to having consensual sex with; has definitely sent out smoke signals to all things media related. However, I would caution against the fire.

An allegation of sexual misconduct and rape are crimes that are not be taken lightly. However, it becomes incumbent on the media outlets to allow the proceeding to materialize in either civil or criminal court. This diligence is not only beneficial for the oncoming investigation (which is most definitely going to happen) but also the accusers and the alleged rapist. Rapist. Whatever your feeling was when you read it, is the same feeling I had when I typed it. Such a strong and negative aura surrounding the word; as it should be. If proven guilty that tag should be forever attached to him for taking away both physically and mentally something that did not belong to him. However, if this crimes are unfounded for whatever reason, he will forever be viewed with suspicion and negativity. In saying that; is there smoke? Absolutely. An allegation of rape alone warrants an investigation. However, two allegations of sexual misconduct to include rape, deserves all the proper judicial attention allegations of this nature is entitled to receive. However, while there is smoke and it looks to be getting smokier by the day; there is no fire.

I like everyone else who is watching this unfolds, should be aware and cautious of a rush to judgement. The precedence has already been set for individuals who have denied, denied, denied to only confess after the screws of their consciousness became too much for them to bear. Then vice versa, there have been those who have accused, accused, accused to only confess after the screws of their consciousness became too much for them to bear. However, in these types of scenarios (rape allegations); the accuser walks away unscathed while the accused will forever be looked at with negativity and curiosity. Again, I reiterate, if these accusations are true, there punishment for the accused should fit the crime regardless of how much money or political backing is involved. However, there has to be consequences for knowingly leveling accusations of this magnitude against someone. This is only fair. At least that is what Judge Brown would say. Or is that Judge Mathis.

 

If not for you then do it for our love ones.

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I feel off from working out for the last few weeks and to be honest; I feel refreshed. Well, I do feel a bit disappointed in my not going to the gym; but not enough to beat myself up over it. Of course I wish I would have not missed the last few weeks, but as I prep my body for the upcoming work out session; I am convinced that I (especially my shoulder) needed time to recoup; which many of my peers and a few workout buddies were telling me recently. My response was simple. I am a Marine. Although a veteran; I don’t need no stinking rest. Oh contraire, per discomfort of my aching shoulder.

Men, one of the dumbest things that we can say in response to the nagging aches and pains that we often overlook is: “I am a man” or “It will go away.” This has put many of our brothers, uncles, cousins, friends, and fathers in dire health conditions and sometime even much worst. Those minor aches and discomforts many times masks aliments which if detected early, may be remedied by a physician. I am aware that as men, we despise visits to the doctor’s office. It doesn’t matter if it’s a yearly check-up or a bad bout of flu-like symptoms. The visit always end with the same results; meds and miss work days. Trust me, I understand.

Which is perhaps why I am writing this blog. Not so much to encourage you guys to go; but to force myself to go. Yes, I stated earlier in the blog that my shoulder was giving me warning signs that I probably need to seek attention. Well, unlike my stomach which showed me that I needed to lay off several things, my shoulder looked fine. That is until nighttime, when it was time to catch some much needed rest from, yep you guessed it, heavy lifting. The pain was intense, but nothing that a rub down of some military grade prescribed cream couldn’t fix. Wrong! The pain persisted; it even decided to accompany me to the gym. I had to actually clamp down on a towel when working my shoulders, biceps, and triceps. Crazy, I know and I agree. Which is again why I am writing this blog.

I am concerned that the Veteran Affairs will want to have surgery instead of therapy. I am concerned that I will miss days from work. I am concerned about being a burden to others who may have to see about me. It is amazing at the amount of excuses that I have allowed myself to stand in between me and having the doctor at least x-ray the shoulder. Men, we have to take care of our body. If not for us then for the people who depends on us to be there every day for them. So, whether it is nagging ache, persistent headache, or just a check-up; take care of your health and body. Because you can’t live without it.

Are you going to believe what you see or what “I” told you and showed you?

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Throughout my time in both grammar and secondary school, there were both some good times as well as some bad times; which I am sure we all can attest to. To say that I don’t wish for those simpler times every now and again would be an understatement. But I do realize that all was not peaches and cream. For example, in kindergarten one of the good things that comes to mind were the afternoon naps after the lunch period, one word; amazing. Wow, even as I type at this very moment my mind returns back to Mrs. Johnson’s class. Man do I miss afternoon naps after lunch. However, in hindsight, the bad part is that most of us woke up with spit and slobber slathered all over the sleeping mat. But what is worse, is that I don’t remember the sleeping mats being assigned to us individually. Also I can’t recall if whether or not the sleeping mats were sanitized each day. Maybe or maybe not. Yuke! Regardless of those times in my life, both good and bad, the moments are etched in the folds and fabric of my brain even till this very day. This is despite the numerous amounts of ammunition shot and heard while serving as a Marine, the amounts of celebratory and social libations consumed during those days, or the amount of high school students who on any given day call my name as they enter or exit the school each day. Again, I can never forget those moments from kindergarten. Did I forget to mention that those moments are ones that I will never forget?

So, imagine the shock on my face when Virginia’s Democratic Governor, Ralph Northam, decided that he is now certain that the racially insensitive photos which he previously admitted to and apologized for, are in fact not him. Now for those of you who are clueless on the matter of which I am referring to please allow me to brief you. Last week a college yearbook photo, bearing the name of the now troubled Virginia Governor, from 1984 surfaced. In the photo two individuals, one wearing KKK apparel and the other in black face, appear to be in celebratory mode as they poise for the shot. Honestly, his retraction doesn’t shock me one bit. What is shocking however, is that with the advances in technology over the last several decades, that the photos are just now surfacing. Perhaps even more shocking is the Governor of Virginia is either so arrogant or cowardly, that he thinks that his constituents will allow him to back track from his admittance. Again I stand corrected, because some of them are allowing for him to do just that. Yet, that is a topic for another post.

Ralph Northam actions over the past few days are both par for the course when it comes to politicians and only strengthens the notion that neither political side, when confronted with truths, can be expected to do what is right. What ever happened to the days of “owning up” to the things, which you know that you should “own up to,” when you are wrong? I teach my son as well as my students about character each chance that I get. I let them know that it is easy to do the right thing when all eyes are on. However, who you really are will rise to the occasion when you act in situations when you think that no one is watching. A photo, a phone call, or something as simply as a piece of candy that you thought would not be missed; it all goes back to character. So, to the character in the photo from 1984, since you showed no character by taking those photos because you probably didn’t think no one was watching; you now have the chance to do what is right when millions of eyes are on you. You are given a chance to display traits of having good character. Or perhaps the person who you say is not you in the photo is in fact, your true character.

Reach the Masses, Teach the Masses.

There seems to be fewer and fewer things left in the world that we live in today where one can say, and truly mean it when they say: “today I left a positive imprint on the masses; especially our youth. Sure, for those of us who are blessed to have our own children who will carry the torch and our name; we hope that they accomplish this with pride and diligence. Well at least that is what I am hoping that my son continues to do. He is truly an amazing young man. Perhaps he is the catalyst these days that propels me daily to try and make each day that I walk into my school a better day than the day before for all+ my students. Without one shred of doubt and ounce of regret…. I love Teaching and Education. More importantly is the realization that our youths are…. Phenomenal.
As a young man growing up in Southwest Georgia, I could not get enough of reading. It was as if each word, each setting, or each character gave me a personal invitation to come an be part of their world. My mother was a strong advocate of reading and making sure that we knew the importance of education. My father told me that the world is full of dummies and already has enough of them; don’t go and add your name to the list. Despite whatever trials or tribulation my family endured (I’m a 80’s baby) I could always escape or find solace, if just for a moment, in a book. Which is why I think that it is each human responsibility (those humans are positively productive) to reach and teach our youth when given the opportunity. And if not given the opportunity; find or make one.

As an educator I see and fight each day against an enemy that does not believe in taking a day off. They offer many of the things that I and other educators tell them to stay away from. Unfortunately for us, what we are offering is not glamorous, is not instantaneous, and is not easily earned. However, and despite the flaws of historical education, once earned can be a springboard to obtaining self-realization and prosperity. Education once obtained is one intangible that can not be taken; and when shared can turn the down trodden into Kings and Kings into beggars.

This is the power of education. This is why I love teaching. Our ability to spark the flame in the mind of someone who may go on to make humanity better is truly fulfilling. Yet, this is not the reason (and I hope I am correct in my assessment; if not let me know teachers) for doing what we do? The reason are moments that can’t be quantafied by compensation (though we can want complain if we made more) nor can be qualified by how many students pass The End of the Courset Test (even though we are sometimes graded more harsh than the students). The moments are subtle. It is the look in a student eyes when he or she realizes that: someone believes that I can learn. It is the moment when a student says, “and I was about to give up…but I came to your class one more time.” It is the moment when a parent say to you: “my student talks about how much you personally have meant to their success.” It is the moment that you realize that you are a teacher because it is in your DNA. It is in your bones. It is the moment when you realize that this is more than a job; it is the realization that you were chosen to teach the masses and reach the masses.

The Cast of Characters in Life Imitating Art…or Vice Versa.

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Scene: Round wooden table. Eight shadowy figures sit around a table littered with photos and filed envelopes with the words “Top Secret” stamped on them. The envelope partially covers an insignia of an eagle with a ribbon in his beak. A large round figure enters the room and the seated rise to their feet and in unison says: Good morning Mr. Presi… (the sentence is inaudible because the theme music from Puzo’s Godfather saga begins)

This is the scene that I envision each time the current administration begins any of it’s meetings. Maybe I’m a little cinematic in my depiction but what is not scripted (and if it is; then life is really imitating art) is the border line criminalistic and rogue like behavior that is associated with many of the advisors and behind the scene figures presently serving or who have served and are not in service any longer for whatever reason. And while I may be a novice at best in my attempts to paint the clear picture; the individuals involved are doing their best to act out the parts.

On October 15, 1970 the federal government created an act that supposedly leveled the playing field in the fight against “gangsters” and “good guys.” The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, referred to as the RICO Act, helped to put away heads of criminal enterprises and organization that ordered or influenced the criminal deeds but who did not themselves participate in the commission of the crime. I know, a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo; so let me kind of give you an example or paint the picture. And since we already have a scene in the opening; I’ll just continue with my depiction. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Let’s just pretend that the round man that enters the room name is …. Felonious Rump. And seated around the table is a host of people with rather interesting names as well: Pike Sense, Maul Panafort, Michael Bohen, Michael Wynn, Seff Jessions, Soger Rone, and 3 other individual whose names I have not created yet. Yet, for some reason I think I will give them an Eastern European make-up. After Felonious Rump takes a seat all of the others follow suit. Then they began to engage and devise a scheme that if they were ever to get caught would have very dire consequences. Maybe even significant amount of jail time. They all receive their respective roles and responsibilities and commence in carrying out the scheme. However, and through a litany of unfortunate occurrences, the gig is up. And several of the key figures are caught, some jailed, and some awaiting their day before the court of law. Yet the obvious head of the enterprise or organization, Felonious Rump remains free; for now. Now let’s pretend that a special counsel were to convene and look into the actions of Felonious Rump and in what appears to be shaping into a continuous or habitual violations of laws (some civil); then the RICO Act may be enacted. Now of course this scene is strictly fictional; even if there seems to be what some may view as eerily  similarities between my scene and the current political shenanigans shaking up the White House. Coincidental or not; I plead the 5th.  End of story; for now.

Ever heard of the cliché: “Your slip is showing?” Well….we need to look down.

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Just like all lessons in life should not be forgotten; there are some clichés and idioms that should never leave your thoughts as well. I’m not talking about the ones like: “step on a crack break your mother back.” Imagine if there was even an ounce of accuracy to that. The number of orthopedic back specialist would skyrocket; and the use of opioids would almost double (what…wait…my research team just informed that 130 Americans die daily from opioids overdose). Well it’s not like pharmaceutical companies are profiting from the millions of Americans being prescribed powerful opioids to… (shhh…what…more hand gestures from the research department…oops). I digress. Where was I? Oh yeah…clichés and idioms. I’m not referring to the ones like: “don’t let your right hand know what your left hand is doing.” Really? So, basically cheat yourself. So, what am I referring to? I’m referring to clichés and idioms that make one check his or herself. Those that make one check their moral compass; their character; their ability to do and stand for what is right regardless of what it may cause (crickets). I may lose some followers or potential followers today. Well I have a cliché for you in advance: “A hit dog will holler.”

I remember my beautiful mother sometimes telling my brother or I before Sunday morning church, to go the corner store to buy stockings (if she had money left over from bills) or knee-highs (if things were kind of tight) for her so we all could attend church service. This was a daunting task in that I knew I had to get in and out as quick as possible to make sure that my friends did not see my purchase. What can I say; I was young at the time. I never really question what my mother did or why she did it; I just watched and learned. This went for my father as well. Yet, I always wanted to know why she would insist that she walked out the house with what she considered “appropriately.” It wasn’t until later in life I realized why. My mother was not only making sure that she felt that she was appropriate for her own satisfaction; she was also making sure that she set an appropriate example for my sisters and gave my brother and I an example of how a woman conducts themselves. However, this is not the purpose for this post. Well, not entirely. In addition to the stockings and other non-negotiables; my mother would always check my sister, as well as have them check her before they left the house, to see if their slip wasn’t showing. Note the words: before they left the house to show themselves in public. She made sure that “their slip wasn’t showing” before they left the house. Because the last thing you wanted to do was to have “your slip showing” and have someone not of your house to point it out. Get it. No! Well allow me to elaborate; cautiously but honestly.

While I used the above cliché, it is not intended in this post to be looked at literally; but more so from a figurative stand point. So, what is the figurative meaning of the aforementioned cliché? Simple. It means that you have exposed something that should be covered and not intended for public viewing or ridicule. Now, here is the dilemma. If one has to hide what ever that “it” is; it should not be there in the first place. Still not following? Okay, I am getting there; but cautiously.

Over the last few years I watched several high profiled entertainers see their deeds exposed. Now, I am not here to judge or talk guilt or innocent; that job is not left for any of us to do. Between guilt or clear conscious; judicial system or the divine wisdom of The Most High; all will be settled. However, “our slip is showing.” And it shouldn’t take what is being televised and exposed through media for us to see when things are not right. In addition, it is not nor has it ever been in our best interest to sit back and watch as things that are obviously not conducive for any of our well-being to be threatened. In plain proletarian language; “we have to check each other.” Especially when it comes to any degradation aimed at our youth. It should not matter from who. Family, friend, or stranger should all be held with the same scrutiny; no exception. When or if this returns to our thought process, the occurrences that seem to be happening with astonishing frequency would be an oddity and not what seems to be the norm. But then again I could just be “silly wishing.”

“We done Slipped…”

Image result for images of america shutdown

Spike Lee’s 1992 biographical epic movie, “Malcolm X” is one of my favorite cinematic works of all time. Lee, as well as the phenomenal thespians associated with the film, were able to capture all of the elements that are associated with an epic hero. From Malcolm X’s birth into one of the most tumultuous time in United State History up to his tragic death, as well as everything in-between; this is truly a testament of both self-realization and redemption. As impactful as the movie and story of Malcolm X continues to be; there is one quote that stands out to me that is most fitting in today’s social, economic, and political and landscape. The quote is: “You done slipped.” I know. Not quite the monologue or soliloquy one may have expected. However, I did say in today’s landscape.

“Red”, a name earned by Malcolm X before he found teachings of The Nation, had gotten into a misunderstanding with West African Archie (a local numbers’ man) over winnings from a number that he’d played. Numbers that West African Archie had indeed forgotten that “Red” had told him to play. “Red” not wanting to further escalate the situation said to forget about the whole thing but with a parting shot to West African Archie told him: “but you done slipped.” If you watched the movie, then you know how the story plays out. But why this quote?

I, no the world, has watched the ongoing saga between the Republican and Democratic Party over funding for The Wall. This circus, which is being shown on every major global media outlet, has shifted from being somewhat of an actual debatable issue or topic of concern into what I feel is another jab to the eyes of democracy to blacken them even more. Again, yes there are valid points on both sides of the argument, and eventually one side will win out; but at what cost? And perhaps more importantly; who will be the collateral damage left to pick up the pieces of their lives once the smoke settles. Oh, trust and believe, the fallout from this one will be great. This is where the quote “we done slipped” rears its head.

For years America has always claimed the existence of a middle to upper-middle class in our society. And for years, there has been many events that threatened to destabilize that phantom notion or existence. Whether the tech bubble burst, housing market crash, or drastic drops in the stock market sending people in a frenzy; things always seem to settle before they get too bad. Most of the time. And for the rest of the world; it may have seemed that there were safeguards in place that would not allow for The United States to fall in disarray like many other countries have in similar situations. However, the last month and a couple of days showed that we have indeed “slipped.” And what was even more tragic and disturbing to watch were the federal employees who were hit first and the hardest standing  in lines for food and services as if they were…dare I say…indignant or homeless. Many of these job holders are the safety net between the citizens of America and the many local, national, and international threats which somehow, in the current administrative intelligence reports, have all gathered in the country south of The United States of America. But I digress; because it seems like every politician in Congress and The White House has. Meanwhile, back in reality, federal workers returned to work today. One hand on the ticket to punch the clock, while their eyes and mind look toward a future of uncertainty. Yep, we have definitely slipped. I’m just hoping that we have not fallen and can’t get back up.