Mayor Pete – Bill Maher

copyright unshackled 3I refuse to carry QUEST into political tit for tat, but I sure as hell will endorse a candidate who is intelligent, of sound mind, a patriot ( did not claim bone spurs), a veteran, a man of vision, under the age of 70, well-spoken, educated, honest and witty.

When asked by Bill Maher if he had considered the possibility that Trump will claim a rigged election and refuse to leave the White House, what would he do?

Mayor Pete responded smilingly, “Well, it will be kind of awkward when Chasten and I move in.”

 

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winning – what’s the cost?

I can no longer walk a 5 mile circuit in the woods as I did just 2 years ago; however, I do my best to get out every day for a few laps at a county park which hosts little league soccer on its beautifully manicured fields.  The fields are a gorgeous green in mid-January (it is Florida, you know), the tall pines frame a bright blue sky and today is was a pleasant 70 degrees with a balmy breeze.

A sign posted on one of the fields reads as follows:

A MESSAGE FROM THE KIDS

we are kids
it’s just a game
our coaches are volunteers
the referees are human
no one playing today will win a college scholarship
no smoking
no dogs on the field

Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?  Who posted this sign and what was the need?  The kids are gathering for fresh air, exercise and a friendly game of soccer with other same-aged kids.  Has someone standing on the sidelines forgotten that they have come to watch kids kick a ball around a soccer field?  Parents, maybe?  Are over-zealous moms and dads projecting onto their children the same set of priorities with which they structure their lives?

This is America, the land where the boys with the biggest, most expensive toys win.  This is the home of NYC’s Madison Avenue which dictates via personal communicators (they used to be called phones) what successful men and women will wear, drive, and buy for their homes.  This is America, the home of tremendous wealth in gated communities and unimaginable poverty in city ghettoes.  We are the land of the free and brave forever struggling to keep up with the Joneses who always seem to have a better income, a bigger car, a more luxurious house, and kids who outperform our kids at school and at play.  This is where “you ain’t nobody unless you’re the winner.”

Moms and dads standing on the sidelines – grow up.  The kids don’t buy into your bullcrap perspectives.  And kids, kudos to those of you who crafted the sign at the corner of soccer field 5.  Put on those sneakers, get out there and win big remembering that life is like a soccer game.  It’s not how many points you score or which team has the official victory on the scoreboard; rather, it’s all about the integrity with which you have played the game and what you have done to earn your trophies and medals.

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MLK, JR – an impossible dream?

Martin Luther King, Jr. – an impossible and unrealistic dream or a legacy squandered by hatred and division?  Or might you be one who believes great strides have been made in equal justice and opportunity for not only our black and brown brothers and sisters, but also for those of different creeds, lifestyle and nationality – the Puerto Rican, the Muslim, the gay and lesbian?

Yes, laws have been passed and legislation protects, but has the heart of white, privileged America miraculously filled with compassion since the era of MLK, Jr.?  What leads you to believe so?  Equal job opportunities?  Fair housing practices?  Safe city neighborhoods?  Justice in the court systems?  Protected voting rights?  Or maybe state and federal governments represented proportionately by members of all minority groups?  Really?  You truly believe this is so?  Can you unequivocally state that a gay man, a black man, a Muslim woman, a white woman walks as securely through life as a white man?

Well golly gee, I would love to share some of that whacky weed you are smoking followed by a swig of the Kool-Aid you’re drinking.  America, wake up!  We are at a crossroads in our country’s destiny.  We have been rent asunder by today’s world and national political powers who want to see us even further divided because it will be then that their vile plans can be instituted – race against race, black against white, straight against gay, Christian against Muslim, Democrat against Republican.  Dr. King spoke often of the brotherhood of mankind as the only way to keep this ship (the earth) from sinking and the necessity of non-violence in solving our problems.  So, is his dream dead or merely shifting gears?  It’s up to us, isn’t it?

one nation, indivisible, with liberty & justice for all

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“the time is always ripe to do right”

“morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated”

Click to access mlk-gp-speech.pdf

shop ’til you drop

“A world without weapons, without McMansions in sprawling suburbs, without mountains of unnecessary packaging, without giant mechanized monofarms, without energy-hogging big-box stores, without electronic billboards, without endless piles of throw-away junk, without the overconsumption of consumer goods no one really needs is not an impoverished world. I disagree with those environmentalists who say we are going to have to make do with less. In fact, we are going to make do with more: more beauty, more community, more fulfillment, more art, more music, and material objects that are fewer in number but superior in utility and aesthetics. . . .”CHARLES EISENSTEIN

“Black Friday” – the one day of the year when retailers realize a joyous financial profit on their books or a sad red bottom line to present to their stockholders.  We have been bombarded since before Halloween with ads for everything from two brand new vehicles (his and hers) in the driveway to watches that tell you what gender your baby will be to beer that will make you the most interesting man in the world.

Seriously, how many of us can afford one slightly used car let alone ‘his and hers’ brand new, expensive, bells and whistles-loaded marvels of the automotive industry?  Where are these people who can actually afford what Madison Avenue is pitching?  I believe these ads to be nothing more than a conspiracy by the powers of capitalism to make most of us feel inadequate and wanting.

“Oh, Lord, what a failure I am because I cannot buy that new cell phone for $800 nor afford a contractual plan that costs $150 per month.  I must be lower than tub scum and certainly not as worthy as the Joneses next door.”

So, what do we do?  Beginning Thanksgiving night before the turkey has settled and the dishes washed, we shop til we drop.  We pack the car with friends or kids or spouses and head for the nearest WalMart or to the high-end stores at the mall or to the box stores littering our streets at every corner to acquire “stuff” that will probably be stored away or thrown out before black Friday arrives next year – to the attic or to the landfill.  And, to add insult to injury, we have racked up credit card debt that thrills the card-holding companies in downtown Manhattan charging usury rates for the money which we don’t really have obliging us to spend the rest of next year paying back.  Whew!  Wasn’t that fun?

money on wings

How about something different this year?  In this capitalistic economy running amok, first of all shop locally – support your neighbors and community members by choosing thoughtful gifts that will be around long enough to become vintage or at least remembered.  Forget about those silly stocking stuffers packed with stupid, useless trinkets.  Fill the sock with lottery tickets.  In most states, the money goes to worthy causes like education or senior citizens and your gift recipient will remember you for eternity if he/she wins big.

Shop as if the earth’s ecosystem depends on us for survival because it does.  We don’t need more plastic with a 1000 year lifespan in landfills and the oceans.  We don’t need more aerosol products to pollute the atmosphere.  We certainly don’t need another squeaking, squawking, tear-producing doll that little Missy will throw in the closet the day after Christmas.  When we shop let’s think everlasting, meaningful.  Let’s imagine that item we are about to buy gracing someone’s life for years to come.  And let’s get over the idea that a silly gift is more appreciated than our time given in selflessness to others.  Time is an extremely precious commodity as valuable as diamonds or gold.

We have been fed a crock of nonsense.  There is no scarcity.  There is no deficiency.  There is no reason to hoard or enter wars for the earth’s resources.  When we turn our backs on the demands of out-of-control consumerism foisted on us by rampant capitalism, we will see the real beauty of our world in art, in music, in thriving neighborhoods, in nature, in enchantment, in the diversity of cultures, and in necessary goods that enhance our lives.  There is no shortage when we escape the ‘shop til you drop’ mantra.

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