Saturday, December 26, 2009

Oh What a Time!!! 2000 to 2009

Time is our most valuable commodity, 1440 minutes each day is all we get. Unfortunately, once spent it can never be returned concluding that most of us understand we have less time in front of us, than we have behind us. Or another way of putting it is that we are dying slowly, and I mean that literally, from a life standpoint and from the standpoint of life. Therefore, as this year ends I will reflect upon this time in which we have lived. Further, it is also the end of a decade to which I will recall some of the highlights or maybe low-lights. This post is a little longer than my usual articles but I tried to capture the essence of a decade. So let me try to remember the time.

The decade began with a huge scam called Y2K. Remember, the world was supposed to end when all of the computers shut down – it didn’t. This was just the start of what was to come. We witnessed the nation’s capital paralyzed with fear because of a psychopath known as the DC Sniper. At its resolution, I received a huge shock, and dare I say to most people, when it was discovered that this terrorist was a black man – particularly most African Americans. It was believed that crimes such as this were committed by others. This was just an example of insanity being a disease that is a human condition, which will be relived throughout this decade.

The nation was introduced to a Texas Governor, who was known for putting more people to death via the prison system than anywhere else in America. However, he became infamous as the new president for what many believe was stealing the election. He and his partner in crime, you know the guy, who shot his hunting partner in the face, left the scene and the wounded friend apologized for catching the bullet. This ushered in an era of what I call “Gangsta Politics”.

Then about 8:30 AM on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, the world changed as we knew it - the unthinkable happened. The nation was attacked by nineteen guys with razor blades. They high jacked four commercial planes crashing them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington DC with one crashing into a Pennsylvania field killing thousands – a horrible tragedy. The worst attack upon America since WWII. Let me pause to offer my condolences to the families of those lives lost. But something has always puzzled me, they were able to find bones, identify rings and watches of victims but never found any of the black boxes from the planes.

The United States under the direction of the new regime responded to the attacks by launching a War on Terror invading the “Graveyard of Empirers” (Afgahanistan) to depose the Taliban, who had harbored al-Qaeda terrorists. Our government enacted what became known as the USA Patriot Act giving the them the power to do anything they wanted superceding all or most Constitutional rights, and George became King.

He and the shooter used this event to invade two nations under the guise of many misrepresentations, like “weapons of mas-destruction”. These wars, which appear to be endless, caused the deaths of over a hundred thousand people and wounded countless others, and no victory. They then funneled all of the money authorized to a company once headed by the shooter. They hired mercenaries and hung the leader of one of the country’s who had nothing to do with the attack. When in fact the culprit was a villain or an international terrorist known as Osama Bin Laden who is like the invisible man that can’t be found, but he has put out more videos than Tupac.

They have satellites that can tell the time on your watch from space, yet they can’t find this guy. Now in a country where people make a dollar a week, why has no one come forward with information concerning his whereabouts, particularly with millions of dollars on his head? The hunt for him and these wars introduced us to torture, rendition, secret prisons, and GTMO (Guantanamo Bay). Oh, I cannot leave out the “Coalition of the Willing”, which was a group nation’s supporting us so small and insignificant that no one knew they were on this planet. I will forgo the remainder of the “Gansta Years” because we all know the story.

However, the most reprehensible act of King George’s rein, aside from refusing to attend any of the NAACP conventions, was his regimes response to Hurricane Katrina. As it was happening he was enjoying a birthday party and did not take an interest in New Orleans drowning until he returned to Washington. As the televised images of visibly shaken and frustrated political leaders, and of residents who remained stranded on roof tops because of flood waters without food, water, or shelter. He sent his friend “Brownie” down to help.

Deaths from thirst, exhaustion and violence days after the storm had passed, fueled more criticism, as did the dilemma of the evacuees being called “refuges” at facilities such as the Louisiana Superdome (designed to handle 800, yet 30,000 arrived) and the New Orleans Civic Center (not designed as an evacuation center, yet 25,000 arrived). Of the 60,000 people stranded in New Orleans, the Coast Guard rescued more than 33,500 people of which most were black. Some alleged that race and class contributed to delays in the government’s response.

This caused many to agree with rapper Kanye West who veered off script at a benefit concert for the victems to harshly criticized the government's response to the crisis, stating that "George Bush doesn't care about black people." I am sure you will never forget the images of how America abandoned its poor people. They can get aid anywhere in the world in almost a heartbeat yet did attempt sucessfully to do so for its own citizens within its boarders.

As desperate as the situation was a shining knight appeared as God sent his best soldier to the rescue - General Russel L. Honor√©. He gained my respect, praise, and accolades for turning around the situation in the city. In one widely played clip, Honore was seen on the streets of the city, barking orders to subordinates and, in one case, berating a soldier who displayed a weapon, telling him "We're on a rescue mission damn it!" Mayor Ray Nagin, who I fondly call “My Nagin”, was quoted on a radio station saying: "Now, I will tell you this -- and I give the president some credit on this -- he sent one John Wayne dude down here that can get some stuff done, and his name is Lt. Gen. Honor√©. And he came off the doggone chopper, and he started cussing and people started moving. And he's getting some stuff done." - I thank you General.

Now, I’ll fast forward to the election season of 2008. The country was in disarray as we endured a presidential primary election campaign that seems too lasted forever. Actually, it was kinda like the Mod Squad - one Black, one woman, and an OLD guy. This is very significant because the Black guy beat a formidable opponent in the wife of who I thought was the closest we would get to a black president in my lifetime – Brother Bill. Now, during the campaign in support of his wife he digressed a few time letting us know that he was still a white man, but all has been forgivin.

Now, the real opposition, the Republican opponent was a different story. He took a page straight out of the fifties with racism being the foundation of his campaign. One of his themes was to repeatedly ask “Who is Barrack Obama?” Implying and reminding his constituents that he was a Negro, but it was the war hero’s running mate that came off as the real redneck. Caribou Barbie came into the race as the pure example of white womanhood, which lasted about a week. Then it became clear she was about as unqualified as a door knob and about as well informed. However, the joke took every opportunity to remind those of the same hue that they represented the “Real America”.

I have learned that there comes a time when time itself needs a change and after the brutal rein of “King George” - that time was now. There had always been Robber Barons but this crew was “straight gangsta” with one objective “cash and cash only”. The economic situation was a mess nearing times compared to the Great Depression. Unemployment rocketed, home foreclosures skyrocketed as everyone struggled financially, and investment money seems dry up as Wall Street was bailed out with government funds. It was like they thought we were unaware of crooks like Bernard Madoff, Bernard Ebbers, and the likes of ENRON - but Wall Street prospered.

Then the unimaginable happened - Barrack Obama was elected the first African American president in the nation's history. From the hatred and racism that followed from some quarters, it must have been the same feeling the confederates had when colored men were freed after the Civil War. Nonetheless, Obama has broken a huge barrier and has had a profound impact on the entire world. A black man and a man that is the embodiment of what so many African Americans have prayed so disparately for since we were dragged onto the shores of Virginia to build this country. Ironically, the new president won the state were the first slaves landed, which was also the home of the confederate capital that fought to keep us enslaved.

The election of a Black man president of these United States is something no one living or dead ever thought would happen. I cannot think of a single event more significant in world history, or at least since the resurrection of Christ, to compare it too. Ironically, the thought of a scripture comes to mind, which tells us that “the first will be last and the last will be first”. His recent Nobel Peace Prize award just goes to show how much the rest of the world values his presence and feels the impact. However, in spite of this there has been talk of secession and tea parties were formed instigated by the Drugster, the Alcoholic, Caribou Barbie, and of course Fox comparing our president to Hitler as many prayed for his death, and that of his family using Bible verses to rally their faithful (Psalm 109:8).

Then in June the world stopped to mourn the death of “the King of Pop” Michael Jackson. In the pop culture world, no story has been bigger than this one. Michael Jackson was an iconic music legend, and his unexpected death shocked and upset millions of fans around the world. The legacy of Michael Jackson will no doubt live on for all eternity.

Probably the most dangerous of all the issues was health care reform. It brought out the birthers, deathers, and the tea party crowd to represent the most extreme right-wing politics since the citizen’s councils ruled a segregated society. I found it amazing that a cause so moral and just would cause people to come to where the president spoke openly armed bringing Christ into the debate. Like these Bible thumpers misread the part where Jesus healed the sick, which was his mission – provide for the least of thee.

Thankfully, as the decade ended something in terms of health care reform has passed to provide for the needy. Is it a good bill, we’ll see, but it is better then what the insurance company cartel’s have offered. To show how deranged the world has become a woman jumped the barriers in St. Peter's Basilica and knocked down Pope Benedict XVI as he walked down the main aisle to begin Christmas Eve Mass. Oh what a time…

Lastly, I would be remised if I did not briefly cover the obituary. We lost so many great souls who impacted the world and were huge parts of our lives: Richard Pryor, James Brown, Shirley Chisholm, Coretta Scott King, Luther Vandross, Aaliyah, Bernie Mac, Marlon Brando, Rick James, Yolanda Denise King, Mrs. Rosa Parks, John Lee Hooker, Farrah Fawcett, Lionel Hampton, Althea Gibson, Maynard Jackson, Gregory Hines, Reggie White, Ray Charles, John H. Johnson, Barry White, Ted Kennedy, Walter Cronkite, Ed McMahon, Paul Newman, Super Fly, Moses, Superman, and my son to name a few.
A FOND FAREWELL - Rest in Peace…

Happy New Year!!!

JUST A SEASON

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Tis’ the Season

This is the season we rejoice with great celebration for Christmas is the day Christ was born. Rarely do I share much of my personal being, but in this post I want to pour my heart out because this is neither my favorite season nor one that I look forward too. It is not due to a lack of faith or my strong belief in someone greater than I; who I call chose to call God. Rather, it is due to an event that will forever pain my heart. Each year during this holiday season I have to relive a dreadful horror that no parent should have to endure.

Please forgive any tears that may stain the pages as I write. If you have experienced the greatest love of all, and lost it, you feel my pain. Therefore, I will use this writing to express my feelings and to pay homage to my late son, who I miss very much. I know that I am not alone as adversity, like that which I have experienced, happens to someone every day. Therefore, to anyone experiencing adversity whether it is from health, financial issues or the pain of missing a loved one. I offer my deepest sympathy to you, particularly those who have joined this unwelcomed fraternity of losing a child.

The Christmas holiday season and welcoming the New Year will never be the same. It was a dreadful dreary cold day about eight years ago, early in the morning, when I lost my only son due to a tragic automobile accident. It was without question the worst thing imaginable and most certainly my darkest hour. This pain never seems to subside although during this season it is more painful. Adding to the sadness of this situation his death occurred on New Year’s Eve and on the morning of his son’s first birthday as we were preparing a birthday party for my grandson.

From this nightmare I have come to understand that adversity can either destroy or develop you. Unless and until you have suffered enough pain, then and only then, will you reach deep inside and feel the breath that God has breathed into your soul coming eye to eye with your destiny. Now having said that my salvation was to take this lemon (for lack of a better word) and make lemonade. What I have learned from this tragedy is that there is a definition of service that is not written in Webster’s Dictionary that says “I can heal by giving of myself to the benefit of others.”

In spite of this never before known pain that resides permanently within my soul I am very grateful that God saw fit to bless me with a wonderful grandson whose name is Elijah. So as each year passes and Elijah resembles my son more and more. The pain eases and the season becomes more bearable. I pray that my son is rejoicing in the bosom of our Lord knowing that I am here for his son in his stead. I am looking forward to the day when I see him again so we can walk around haven all day reveling in wonders of God’s kingdom.

R.I.P.
“RASHAD ALI WILLS”
1981 - 2001

JUST A SEASON

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I'm “Going Rouge”

I thought about writing this piece a while ago but wondered if it was really worth the words. Then I said, well why not. Words are powerful and capable of creating images that can often create an illusion. That is exactly what I discovered during my cursory review of the book written by someone for the quitter - “Caribou Barbie”. Our freedom of speech affords everyone the right to say whatever they want, within reason - of course. The right-wingers have reacted to this book as if it was the Bible. Liberals find it more in line with creative fiction or a vengeful attempt to place blame on everyone for everything but the author. I would fall in the group who has a perception of reality.

I was in Wal-Mart standing at the counter, you know, where they keep all of the tabloid papers. The book caught my attention and to my surprise there it was at the unbelievable low- low price of $4.00 reduced from twenty-four dollars. No wonder it is a runaway best seller. I must say I personally don’t put much creditability in her mainly because she is (wink) one of those “Real American’s”. As an African America I know that is a buzz word akin to supremacy and oftentimes what comes with, I will use a Native American phrase, “they speaks with fork tongue” willing to say anything regardless of its merit. However, as a talking head what she says is comical and very entertaining.

Aside from all the other nonsense we know about her – SNL, the interviews, and being devoid of facts. I was glad to read where she said she has not ruled out a third party bid for the 2012 election. Despite what is predicted (according to the movie) to happen in 2012, which I suppose means - if she wins. I for one support her in this independent bid, if we can believe it, to challenge President Obama. This would be great – not the part about the world coming to an end.

I guess what I am saying regardless of her positions and all the wining she does in the book, and there is a lot of it, which seemed at times too outrageous for her to believe. I am reminded of this quote: “Pundits seemed to assume that I was thinking only of my future on the national stage (YEAH). And no matter how many times and in how many ways I repeated that Alaska came first (BUT SHE QUIT), the opposition interpreted every position I took through the prism of my supposed "national ambitions" (BUT SHE HAS A TOUR BUS TOURING THE COUNTRY). Hmmm.

Like I said in the beginning, this topic is really not worth the words nor do I feel the book is worth $4.00 and surely not a President Palin ...

JUST A SEASON

Friday, December 4, 2009

MUCH TO DO ABOUT “TIGER”

Does anybody really care about the Tiger Woods situation? If you have followed or read my “Thought Provoking Perspectives” you know I could not resist this mess. Since the dawn of these United States anyone of color, particularly a Black Man, knows the most sacred of all American possessions is a “white woman”. Thousands have been lynched and murdered for merely looking at one, most notably little Emmett Till a 13 year old child who I am sure you remember.

Before I go any further, let me be VERY CLEAR that I am not espousing bigotry with respect to my opinion concerning this issue. Rather, I am speaking from a historical perspective that was, and is, part of America’s disgraceful past. In fact, there are a few backward places in America that still have laws on the books against interracial dating. If you can recall just a few months ago there was a Justice of the Peace in Louisiana who refused to marry an interracial couple. Therefore, race matters in every aspect of society and I say it is possible that it is present in this situation as well.

Try to forget for a moment, if you can, that Tiger is not the suburb athletic superstar hero. Now look at the picture of the couple. You will see a blonde haired beauty in the photo with a black man, which I suggest is the root of the problem for many – he had the nerve to cheat on HER!!! In other words, because of his money and that much of it, which he has made as a result of ruling a sport that he is carrying all by himself, and the money he generates. He was given a pass and society pretended it was ok - but now it is discovered that he has a “stable” of white women. So the media and society is redrawing Tiger’s self made portrait.

Let me ask you to recall the first news account of the situation. We were told at 2 AM Tiger backed out of his driveway, which he has done many times, collapsed and crashed into a tree feet from his home. Then it is reported that his lovely wife rushed out of the house, with a golf club, broke the back window in a frantic attempt to save him. Fess up, be honest, you felt for them - right. However, the retired player in me said, wait a minute. Something is wrong with this picture. In fact, I told my boy that Tiger got busted and the woman was on his A$$. It sounded like this was an escape or an attempt at one.

As the days past it has come out that Tiger’s got a little freak in him and good taste in women. But with a billion dollars it’s not hard to attract beautiful women. The problem is he committed a cardinal sin, and a playa knows better than to, for one thing, leave a trail, i.e., voice and text messages. Two, he should have known to use a throw away phone or not to communicate from a one connected to him. This is clearly discussed in the “Playa’s Handbook”.

Now, Tiger is rich, no wealthy, the first billionaire athlete and one of only a few a African Americans billionaires, has now come face to face with the fact, maybe for the first time, that he is a Black man. The truth of the matter, as I see it, Tiger has never connected with the African American community or shown any evidence of relating to it. Other than his father, I can’t recall seeing more than a few pictures of him ever being with a black person.

However, I will credit him with the evolution of our consciousness to a sport that we’ve long been denied access too. I am almost positive all of the other golfers are calling his wife because she seems to be the only one who knows how to beat him. Or maybe Tiger just wanted to live up to his slogan “Just do it”. I could not resist adding this bit of humor. But seriously, would this uproar have been the same if he were married to a black woman and the affair/discretions had been with black woman?

I’m not hating – I am just saying.

JUST A SEASON