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Posts tagged ‘American Dream’

16
Jan

Dr. King’s Dream – Let it Ring Some More!

English: Dr. Martin Luther King giving his &qu...

Image via Wikipedia

If collectively we didn’t have a group to hate, we’d have to invent one (to hate).

I can’t remember who said that, but sadly, I believe it’s true.

When I was born, in 1957, segregation still prevailed. There were “colored” bathrooms, beaches, water fountains and many other indignities.

Through the years, and again today, my mother said that, when I was two, I could read and I knew what the “colored only” sign over the water fountain meant, but not what it stood for.

She told me that I thought the “colored” fountain had pretty colored water, like Kool-Aid.   (Children will see things as they are, without filters or ugly meanings.)

“Did you allow me to drink from that fountain?” I asked my mom, today.  “You couldn’t have reached it. You were only two,” she explained.  “Well,” I asked her, “Could you have held me up to drink from it?”

As she thought about it, I pressed on, “Was it because of the times?”

“No, you were too little and didn’t know how to drink from a fountain,” she told me.

It was a different time; and my parents were not the type to rock the boat.

I don’t remember being told I could not drink that colored water.  I wonder if my two-year old self would have felt let-down, or maybe kind of deprived?

Little did I know that an entire population of Black Americans were deprived of much more than colored water.

We have come a long way since then, but not far enough.  I think that either we haven’t come far enough, or we’re regressing.  Personally, I think we are regressing.

We have a long way to go in regards to Human Rights, Equal Rights, and certainly with the right to marry, and Gender/Transgender Equality.

People who today will deny immigrants a place in our country have forgotten that Dr. King’s dream was for ALL rights.  Human rights, Equal rights, Equal treatment, and basic human decency towards all people.

The leaders here in Florida, in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia and elsewhere, need to abolish their bigotry towards immigrants and towards anyone who happens to be different.  If the inhumane treatment of immigrants (and the torture of our enemies), continues, it will destroy the rich history of “for and by the people democracy” that continues to make this country appealing to people from other countries who simply want to come here for a better life.

We have to have compassion all people or hate will prevail in earnest across the other States in this united land of ours, destroying the fabric that keeps our country good and strong.

The Dalai Lama talks about compassion a lot.  In his book, “Ethics for the New Millennium,” he says that without compassion for the sufferings of others, a person will not be truly happy.  He talks about how we must continue to cultivate our inner goodness.  If we do, our actions become conducive to the creation of continuous compassion for others  Things like patience, tolerance, forgiveness, humility, and so on, are the building blocks of compassion, says the Dali Lama.

The inability to have inner restraint will deny the ability to know compassion, thus happiness, he says.

With the bankruptcy of America, which was put into motion by the wealthy one percent, and by the banks who are not taking responsibility for their actions, we need Dr. King’s words now more than ever:

In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”   ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I think it’s good that a dialogue about living Dr. King’s dream by engaging in service to others, is happening in my community.

If we lead by Dr. King’s example, our children will grow into people who are world’s better than the people of the 20th century.  Better than those who would erect signs to keep fellow human beings off of “white” beaches, out of “white” bathrooms, and unable to use “white” drinking fountains.

If Dr. King were alive, don’t you think he would tell the haters that the only way to heaven is to have compassion for all people, regardless of race, religion, gender?

Wouldn’t Dr. King tell us that God doesn’t care what your religion is, or how pretty your church is?  I think so.  I also think Dr. King would say something like this:  It doesn’t matter who you pray to, what matters to God is, did you do the right thing?    I think what matters is to have compassion for others; to stand for something, and to deny the haters an audience.

I think he’d say something like that.  I know we’d listen.  But, would the haters listen?

We can dream, right?

24
Oct

a primer about social inequality

If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark. ~Richard Wilkinson

There’s a wonderful web channel called TED www.ted.com, that I often visit for the interesting speakers and topics.  A recent speaker was Richard Wilkinson, researcher on the harmful effects of economic inequality on societies.   It creates an imbalance that impacts every aspect of our lives.

View the video:  http://www.ted.com/talks/richard_wilkinson.html

The below quote is taken from his bio and helps to sum up his reasearch:

While poverty has long been recognized as an indicator for such social ills as crime, obesity, teen pregnancy, Wilkinson and Pickett have demonstrated that societal well-being bears no relation to per capita income. They’ve also found that the symptoms of inequality trouble all levels of society. Across the board, mental health, levels of violence and addiction, even life expectancy are affected by the psycho-social stress caused by income gaps and status anxiety.

He says: “While I’d always assumed that an equal society must score better on social cohesion, I never expected to find such clear differences between existing market economies.”

Credit: Richard Wilkinson research on life expectancy from http://www.TED.com

The chart above is research data on life expectancy from England and Wales.  The harmful effects of inequality had bearing not only life expectancy: it’s the whole gamut of life experiences that prove the uber-rich are treated better in every sense.

Richard Wilkinson is not a socialist, neither am I.   He is not talking about socialism or redistribution of wealth on this TED video.  The main point he’s discussing is the social status gaps between the rich and the poor and how it harmful it is on society, especially on the poor.

I found it so interesting, I hope you do, too.

21
Oct

Weekly Photo Challenge: Opportunity (staying on the path)

The subject of this WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is Opportunity.

Maybe I am just over-tired and cranky because the first thing I thought about in relation to opportunity was the lack of opportunity for so many people in this country.

To be lacking something in America, the land of opportunity is a constant these days, isn’t it?

And so, I thought about what opportunity means, and I think it’s really a path that you have to get on and stay on.

It’s a path to … ?   Well, no where, these days.

Greed has destroyed many dreams, bombed the paths of too many people in this country and around the world.

When greedy Americans – big businesses and banks,  destroy paths for the little guy, the nation suffers.  When the rich are too rich, the poor is too poor and homeless; jobless and hungry,  there is terrible imbalance that will eventually right itself.

If necessary, it will take a revolution.

Our America was once “the land of opportunity,” remember?

“America – The home of the free and the brave” is becoming America the homeless nation.

“So, Waldo, where”s the “American Dream, hiding on your map?”   No more dreams, you say?  Only nightmares?  Nightmares, are dreams too you say?

America, our nightmare – the land of  dumb and the dumber.  The land of  Larry, Larry and Larry. Dumb, Dumb and Dummer.  Yeah! Keep ’em dumb.  We don’t need schools.  It’s just a place for babysitting kids!

The future of this country belongs to the children who are not being educated.  The people and children of this America are being dumbed down by the hideous state of education in this country.

What about the future?  Well, George W. Bush wasn’t concerned with that:

“What is going to be your legacy?” asked Suthichai Sae-Yoon, of the Nation Multimedia Group in Thailand.

“Oh, I don’t know,” Bush replied. “‘ll be dead when they finally figure it out.”  Source:  http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2008/08/george-bush-leg.html

It’s not my intent to place blame, but “W” as I like to call him, will be proven to be the worst president our nation has ever known.

However, we don’t have the time to place blame, we have to move and find solutions.

The time has come for the uber-rich and the stinking greedy corporations to pay what they owe to a country that allowed them to prosper.

The time has come for Occupy Wallstreet.  I am grateful to the men and women involved in Occupy Wall Street; I applaud their efforts and sacrifices for the sake of our liberty – so we, the little guy and gal can get on and stay on the path of opportunity

An excellent set of charts, facts and analysis is given by Henry Blodget, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Business Insider, in an October 15th report.   He writes:

FACT:  Unemployment is at the highest level since the Great Depression (with the exception of a brief blip in the early 1980s).

FACT: corporate profits are at an all-time high, both in absolute dollars and as a share of the economy.

FACT: Wages as a percent of the economy are at an all-time low. In other words, corporate profits are at an all-time high, in part, because corporations are paying less of their revenue to employees than they ever have. There are lots of reasons for this, many of which are not the fault of the corporations. (It’s a global economy now, and 2-3 billion new low-cost employees in China, India, et al, have recently entered the global workforce. This is putting pressure on wages the world over.)

FACT:  Income and wealth inequality in the US economy is near an all-time high: The owners of the country’s assets (capital) are winning, everyone else (labor) is losing.  The top earners are capturing a higher share of the national income than they have anytime since the 1920s:

READ Here Are Four Charts That Explain What The Protesters Are Angry About…

There is a definite imbalance of opportunity, there is injustice when children and adults in our  country are homeless, foodless, jobless….

A home, a job, some food isn’t too much to ask, is it?

Can you imagine being homeless?  Can you imagine being hungry?

Thousands of people aren’t imagining it, they’re living it.

We have to support change.

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