Quote

Today’s Quote

“It takes no compromise to give people their rights…it takes no money to respect the individual.  It takes no political deal to give people freedom.  It takes no survey to remove repression.”

“All men are created equal.  Now matter how hard they try, they can never erase those words.  That is what America is about.”

“Hope will never be silent.”

~Harvey Milk, May 22, 1930 – November 27, 1978

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Today’s Quote #MLK50th

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., on the 50 year anniversary of his assassination, I am reposting a song by the Black Eyed Peas that I feel we all need right about now, especially with the leadership of the U.S. spewing so much hate, vile, ignorance, and intolerance towards multiple groups of people.

“The thing that we need in the world today is a group of men and women who will stand up for right and to be opposed to wrong, wherever it is.  A group of people who have come to see that some things are wrong, whether they’re never caught up with.  And some things are right, whether nobody sees you doing them or not.”  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., 15 January 1929 – 4 April 1968

Black Eyed Peas – One Tribe

Here are the lyrics should you rather not listen to the song:

Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh!
Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh!
Whoa-oh-oh-oh-ooh!
Oh-whoa-oh!

One Tri…
One Tri…
One Tribe, one time, one planet, one race
It’s all one blood, don’t care about your face
The color of your eye or the tone of your skin
Don’t care where ya are, don’t care where ya been
‘Cause where we gonna go, is where we wanna be
The place where the native language is Unity
And the continent is called Pangaea
And the main ideas are connected like a sphere
No propaganda,
They tried to upper hand us
‘Cause man I’m loving this… peace
Man, man, I’m loving this… peace
Man, man, I’m loving this… peace
I don’t need no leader
That’s gonna force-feed a
Concept that make me think I need ta
Fear my brother and fear my sister
And shoot my neighbor with my big missile
If I had an enemy… (enemy)
If I had an enemy… (enemy)
If I had an enemy, then my enemy is gonna try to come and kill me
‘Cause I’m his enemy
There’s one tribe y’all

One tribe y’all
One tribe y’all
One tribe y’all
We are one people
Let’s cast amnesia
Forget about all that evil
Forget about all that evil
That evil that they feed ya
Let’s cast amnesia
Forget about all that evil
That evil that they feed ya
Remember that we’re one people
We are one people

One… one… one people (One People)
One… one… one people (One People)
One… one… one people (One People)

One tribe, one tribe
One tribe, one time, one planet, one (race)
Race, one love, one people, one (and)
Too many things that’s causing one (to)
To forget about the main cause
Connecting, uniting
But the evil is seen and alive in us
So our weapons are colliding
And our peace is sinking like Poseidon
But, we know that the one (one)
The evil one is threatened by the sum (sum)
So he’ll come and try and separate the sum
But he dumb, he didn’t know we had a way to overcome
Rejuvenated by the beating of the drum
Come together by the cycle of the hum
Freedom when all become one (one)
Forever

One tribe y’all
One tribe y’all
One tribe y’all
We are one people
Let’s cast amnesia
Forget about all that evil (evil)
Forget about all that evil (evil)
That evil that they feed ya
Let’s cast amnesia
Forget about all that evil (evil)
That evil, that they feed ya (feed ya)
Remember that we’re one people
We are one people

One… one… one people (One People)
One… one… one people (One People)
One… one… one people (One People)

One love, one blood, one people
One heart, one beat, we equal
Connected like the internet
United that’s how we do
Let’s break walls, so we see through
Let love and peace lead you
We could overcome the complication ’cause we need to
Help each other, make these changes
Brother, sister, rearrange this
The way I’m thinking that we can change this bad condition
Wait… use you mind and not your greed
Let’s connect and then proceed
This is something I believe
We are one, we’re all just people

One tribe y’all
One tribe y’all
One tribe y’all
We are one people
Let’s cast amnesia
Forget about all that evil
Forget about all that evil
That evil that they feed ya (huh)
Let’s cast amnesia
Let’s cast amnesia
Forget about all that evil
That evil, that they feed ya (huh, huh)
We’re one tribe y’all
We-we-we’re one tribe y’all

One… one… one people (One People)
One… one… one people (One People)
One… one… one people (One People)
One p… one p… one people (One People)
One p… one p… one people (One People)
One p… one p… one people (One People)

Let’s-let’s cast amnesia
Lord help me out
Trying to figure out what it’s all about (what it’s all about)
‘Cause we’re one and the same (one and the same)
Same joy, same pain
And I hope that you’re there when I need ya
Cause maybe we need amnesia
And I don’t wanna sound like a preacher
But we need to… be one

One world, one love, one passion
One tribe, one understanding
‘Cause you and me can become one

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In honor of Martin Luther King day, I am reprinting one of his lesser known, but very powerful speeches.  The speech is better known as a sermon, and it was given two years after his very famous “I Have a Dream” speech.  He gave this sermon at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on July 4, 1965.  This sermon is “The American Dream” and I feel that it addresses many of the problems we are seeing today – poverty, pay inequity, and what is a living wage.  I hope you enjoy.

The American Dream

I planned to use for the textual basis for our thinking together that passage from the prologue of the book of Job where Satan is pictured as asking God, “Does Job serve thee for nought?” And I’d like to ask you to allow me to hold that sermon [“Why Serve God?”] in abeyance and preach it the next time I am in the pulpit in order to share with you some other ideas. This morning I was riding to the airport in Washington, D.C., and on the way to the airport the limousine passed by the Jefferson monument, and Reverend Andrew Young, my executive assistant, said to me, “It’s quite coincidental that we would be passing by the Jefferson Monument on Independence Day.” You can get so busy in life that you forget holidays and other days, and it had slipped my mind altogether that today was the Fourth of July. And I said to him, “It is coincidental and quite significant, and I think when I get to Atlanta and go to my pulpit, I will try to preach a sermon in the spirit of the founding fathers of our nation and in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence.” And so this morning I would like to use as a subject from which to preach: “The American Dream.”

It wouldn’t take us long to discover the substance of that dream. It is found in those majestic words of the Declaration of Independence, words lifted to cosmic proportions: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by God, Creator, with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” This is a dream. It’s a great dream.

The first saying we notice in this dream is an amazing universalism. It doesn’t say “some men,” it says “all men.” It doesn’t say “all white men,” it says “all men,” which includes black men. It does not say “all Gentiles,” it says “all men,” which includes Jews. It doesn’t say “all Protestants,” it says “all men,” which includes Catholics. It doesn’t even say “all theists and believers,” it says “all men,” which includes humanists and agnostics.

Then that dream goes on to say another thing that ultimately distinguishes our nation and our form of government from any totalitarian system in the world. It says that each of us has certain basic rights that are neither derived from or conferred by the state. In order to discover where they came from, it is necessary to move back behind the dim mist of eternity. They are God-given, gifts from His hands. Never before in the history of the world has a sociopolitical document expressed in such profound, eloquent, and unequivocal language the dignity and the worth of human personality. The American dream reminds us, and we should think about it anew on this Independence Day, that every man is an heir of the legacy of dignity and worth.

Now ever since the founding fathers of our nation dreamed this dream in all of its magnificence—to use a big word that the psychiatrists use—America has been something of a schizophrenic personality, tragically divided against herself. On the one hand we have proudly professed the great principles of democracy, but on the other hand we have sadly practiced the very opposite of those principles.

But now more than ever before, America is challenged to realize its dream, for the shape of the world today does not permit our nation the luxury of an anemic democracy. And the price that America must pay for the continued oppression of the Negro and other minority groups is the price of its own destruction. For the hour is late. And the clock of destiny is ticking out. We must act now before it is too late.

And so it is marvelous and great that we do have a dream, that we have a nation with a dream; and to forever challenge us; to forever give us a sense of urgency; to forever stand in the midst of the “isness” of our terrible injustices; to remind us of the “oughtness” of our noble capacity for justice and love and brotherhood.

This morning I would like to deal with some of the challenges that we face today in our nation as a result of the American dream. First, I want to reiterate the fact that we are challenged more than ever before to respect the dignity and the worth of all human personality. We are challenged to really believe that all men are created equal. And don’t misunderstand that. It does not mean that all men are created equal in terms of native endowment, in terms of intellectual capacity—it doesn’t mean that. There are certain bright stars in the human firmament in every field. It doesn’t mean that every musician is equal to a Beethoven or Handel, a Verdi or a Mozart. It doesn’t mean that every physicist is equal to an Einstein. It does not mean that every literary figure in history is equal to Aeschylus and Euripides, Shakespeare and Chaucer. It does not mean that every philosopher is equal to Plato, Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, and Friedrich Hegel. It doesn’t mean that. There are individuals who do excel and rise to the heights of genius in their areas and in their fields. What it does mean is that all men are equal in intrinsic worth.

You see, the founding fathers were really influenced by the Bible. The whole concept of the imago dei, as it is expressed in Latin, the “image of God,” is the idea that all men have something within them that God injected. Not that they have substantial unity with God, but that every man has a capacity to have fellowship with God. And this gives him a uniqueness, it gives him worth, it gives him dignity. And we must never forget this as a nation: there are no gradations in the image of God. Every man from a treble white to a bass black is significant on God’s keyboard, precisely because every man is made in the image of God. One day we will learn that. We will know one day that God made us to live together as brothers and to respect the dignity and worth of every man.

This is why we must fight segregation with all of our nonviolent might. Segregation is not only inconvenient—that isn’t what makes it wrong. Segregation is not only sociologically untenable—that isn’t what makes it wrong. Segregation is not only politically and economically unsound—that is not what makes it wrong. Ultimately, segregation is morally wrong and sinful. To use the words of a great Jewish philosopher that died a few days ago, Martin Buber, “It’s wrong because it substitutes an ‘I-It’ relationship for the ‘I-Thou’ relationship and relegates persons to the status of things.” That’s it.

I remember when Mrs. King and I were in India, we journeyed down one afternoon to the southernmost part of India, the state of Kerala, the city of Trivandrum. That afternoon I was to speak in one of the schools, what we would call high schools in our country, and it was a school attended by and large by students who were the children of former untouchables. Now you know in India, there was the caste system—and India has done a marvelous job in grappling with this problem—but you had your full caste and individuals were in one of the castes. And then you had some sixty or seventy million people who were considered outcasts. They were the untouchables; they could not go places that other people went; they could not do certain things. And this was one of the things that Mahatma Gandhi battled—along with his struggle to end the long night of colonialism—also to end the long night of the caste system and caste untouchability. You remember some of his great fasts were around the question of making equality a reality for the Harijans, as they were called, the “untouchables.” He called them the children of God, and he even adopted an untouchable as his daughter. He demonstrated in his own personal life and in his family that he was going to revolt against a whole idea. And I remember that afternoon when I stood up in that school. The principal introduced me and then as he came to the conclusion of his introduction, he says, “Young people, I would like to present to you a fellow untouchable from the United States of America.” And for the moment I was a bit shocked and peeved that I would be referred to as an untouchable.

Pretty soon my mind dashed back across the mighty Atlantic. And I started thinking about the fact that at that time no matter how much I needed to rest my tired body after a long night of travel, I couldn’t stop in the average motel of the highways and the hotels of the cities of the South. I started thinking about the fact that no matter how long an old Negro woman had been shopping downtown and got a little tired and needed to get a hamburger or a cup of coffee at a lunch counter, she couldn’t get it there. I started thinking about the fact that still in too many instances, Negroes have to go to the back of the bus and have to stand up over empty seats. I started thinking about the fact that my children and the other children that would be born would have to go to segregated schools. I started thinking about the fact: twenty million of my brothers and sisters were still smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in an affluent society. I started thinking about the fact: these twenty million brothers and sisters were still by and large housed in rat-infested, unendurable slums in the big cities of our nation, still attended inadequate schools faced with improper recreational facilities. And I said to myself, “Yes, I am an untouchable, and every Negro in the United States of America is an untouchable.” And this is the evilness of segregation: it stigmatizes the segregated as an untouchable in a caste system. We hold these truths to be self-evident, if we are to be a great nation, that all men are created equal. God’s black children are as significant as his white children. “We hold these truths to be self-evident.” One day we will learn this.

The other day Mrs. King and I spent about ten days down in Jamaica. I’d gone down to deliver the commencement address at the University of the West Indies. I always love to go that great island which I consider the most beautiful island in all the world. The government prevailed upon us to be their guests and spend some time and try to get a little rest while there on the speaking tour. And so for those days we traveled all over Jamaica. And over and over again I was impressed by one thing. Here you have people from many national backgrounds: Chinese, Indians, so-called Negroes, and you can just go down the line, Europeans, European and people from many, many nations. Do you know they all live there and they have a motto in Jamaica, “Out of many people, one people.” And they say, “Here in Jamaica we are not Chinese, we are not Japanese, we are not Indians, we are not Negroes, we are not Englishmen, we are not Canadians. But we are all one big family of Jamaicans.” One day, here in America, I hope that we will see this and we will become one big family of Americans. Not white Americans, not black Americans, not Jewish or Gentile Americans, not Irish or Italian Americans, not Mexican Americans, not Puerto Rican Americans, but just Americans. One big family of Americans.

And I tell you this morning, my friends, the reason we got to solve this problem here in America: Because God somehow called America to do a special job for mankind and the world. Never before in the history of the world have so many racial groups and so many national backgrounds assembled together in one nation. And somehow if we can’t solve the problem in America the world can’t solve the problem, because America is the world in miniature and the world is America writ large. And God set us out with all of the opportunities. He set us between two great oceans; made it possible for us to live with some of the great natural resources of the world. And there he gave us through the minds of our forefathers a great creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

Now that doesn’t only apply on the race issue, it applies on the class question. You know, sometimes a class system can be as vicious and evil as a system based on racial injustice. When we say, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” and when we live it out, we know as I say so often that the “no D.” is as significant as the “Ph.D.” And the man who has been to “No House” is as significant as the man who’s been to Morehouse. We build our little class systems, and you know you got a lot of Negroes with classism in their veins. You know that they don’t want to be bothered with certain other Negroes and they try to separate themselves from them.

I remember when I was in theological school, and we were coming to the end of our years there, a classmate—he came to me to talk with me—said that he wanted to invite his mother up. And she’d struggled in order to help him get through school. He wanted to invite his mother up, but he said, “You know, the problem is I don’t know if she would quite fit in this atmosphere. You know, her verbs aren’t quite right; and she doesn’t know how to dress too well; she lives in a rural area.” And I wanted to say to him so bad that you aren’t fit to finish this school. If you cannot acknowledge your mother, if you cannot acknowledge your brothers and sisters, even if they have not risen to the heights of educational attainment, then you aren’t fit to go out and try to preach to men and women.

Oh, I’ll tell you this morning, and you learn this and you discover the meaning of “God’s image.” You’ll know what the New Testament means when it says that “I revealed it to babes and so often withheld it from the wise.” And I have learned a great deal in my few years, not only from the philosophers that I have studied with in the universities, not only from the theologians and the psychologists and the historians, but so often from that humble human being who didn’t have the opportunity to get an education but who had something basic deep down within. Sometimes Aunt Jane on her knees can get more truth than the philosopher on his tiptoes. And this is what “all men are made in the image of God” tells us. We must believe this and we must live by it.

This is why we must join the war against poverty and believe in the dignity of all work. What makes a job menial? I’m tired of this stuff about menial labor. What makes it menial is that we don’t pay folk anything. Give somebody a job and pay them some money so they can live and educate their children and buy a home and have the basic necessities of life. And no matter what the job is it takes on dignity.

I submit to you when I took off on that plane this morning, I saw men go out there in their overalls. I saw them working on things here and there, and saw some more going out there to put the breakfast on there so that we could eat on our way to Atlanta. And I said to myself that these people who constitute the ground crew are just as significant as the pilot, because this plane couldn’t move if you didn’t have the ground crew. I submit to you that in Hugh Spaulding or Grady Hospital, the woman or the man who goes in there to sweep the floor is just as significant as the doctor, because if he doesn’t get that dust off the floor germs will begin to circulate. And those same germs can do injury and harm to the human being. I submit to you this morning that there is dignity in all work when we learn to pay people decent wages. Whoever cooks in your house, whoever sweeps the floor in your house is just as significant as anybody who lives in that house. And everybody that we call a maid is serving God in a significant way. And I love the maids, I love the people who have been ignored, and I want to see them get the kind of wages that they need. And their job is no longer a menial job, for you come to see its worth and its dignity.

Are we really taking this thing seriously? “All men are created equal.” And that means that every man who lives in a slum today is just as significant as John D., Nelson, or any other Rockefeller. Every man who lives in the slum is just as significant as Henry Ford. All men are created equal, and they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, rights that can’t be separated from you. [clap] Go down and tell them, (No) “You may take my life, but you can’t take my right to life. You may take liberty from me, but you can’t take my right to liberty. You may take from me the desire, you may take from me the propensity to pursue happiness, but you can’t take from me my right to pursue happiness.” “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights and among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Now there’s another thing that we must never forget. If we are going to make the American dream a reality, we are challenged to work in an action program to get rid of the last vestiges of segregation and discrimination. This problem isn’t going to solve itself, however much [word inaudible] people tell us this. However much the Uncle Toms and Nervous Nellies in the Negro communities tell us this, this problem isn’t just going to work itself out. History is the long story of the fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges without strong resistance, and they seldom do it voluntarily. And so if the American dream is to be a reality, we must work to make it a reality and realize the urgency of the moment. And we must say now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to get rid of segregation and discrimination. Now is the time to make Georgia a better state. Now is the time to make the United States a better nation. We must live with that, and we must believe that.

And I would like to say to you this morning what I’ve tried to say all over this nation, what I believe firmly: that in seeking to make the dream a reality we must use and adopt a proper method. I’m more convinced than ever before that nonviolence is the way. I’m more convinced than ever before that violence is impractical as well as immoral. If we are to build right here a better America, we have a method as old as the insights of Jesus of Nazareth and as modern as the techniques of Mohandas K. Gandhi. We need not hate; we need not use violence. We can stand up before our most violent opponent and say: We will match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will and we will still love you. We cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws, because noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good, and so throw us in jail. We will go in those jails and transform them from dungeons of shame to havens of freedom and human dignity. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our communities after midnight hours and drag us out on some wayside road and beat us and leave us half-dead, and as difficult as it is, we will still love you. Somehow go around the country and use your propaganda agents to make it appear that we are not fit culturally, morally, or otherwise for integration, and we will still love you. Threaten our children and bomb our homes, and as difficult as it is, we will still love you.

But be assured that we will ride you down by our capacity to suffer. One day we will win our freedom, but we will not only win freedom for ourselves, we will so appeal to your heart and your conscience that we will win you in the process.” And our victory will be a double victory.

Oh yes, love is the way. Love is the only absolute. More and more I see this. I’ve seen too much hate to want to hate myself; hate is too great a burden to bear. I’ve seen it on the faces of too many sheriffs of the South—I’ve seen hate. In the faces and even the walk of too many Klansmen of the South, I’ve seen hate. Hate distorts the personality. Hate does something to the soul that causes one to lose his objectivity. The man who hates can’t think straight; the man who hates can’t reason right; the man who hates can’t see right; the man who hates can’t walk right. And I know now that Jesus is right, that love is the way. And this is why John said, “God is love,” so that he who hates does not know God, but he who loves at that moment has the key that opens the door to the meaning of ultimate reality. So this morning there is so much that we have to offer to the world.

We have a great dream. It started way back in 1776, and God grant that America will be true to her dream.

About two years ago now, I stood with many of you who stood there in person and all of you who were there in spirit before the Lincoln Monument in Washington. As I came to the end of my speech there, I tried to tell the nation about a dream I had. I must confess to you this morning that since that sweltering August afternoon in 1963, my dream has often turned into a nightmare; I’ve seen it shattered. I saw it shattered one night on Highway 80 in Alabama when Mrs. Viola Liuzzo was shot down. I had a nightmare and saw my dream shattered one night in Marion, Alabama, when Jimmie Lee Jackson was shot down. I saw my dream shattered one night in Selma when Reverend Reeb was clubbed to the ground by a vicious racist and later died. And oh, I continue to see it shattered as I walk through the Harlems of our nation and see sometimes ten and fifteen Negroes trying to live in one or two rooms. I’ve been down to the Delta of Mississippi since then, and I’ve seen my dream shattered as I met hundreds of people who didn’t earn more than six or seven hundred dollars a week. I’ve seen my dream shattered as I’ve walked the streets of Chicago and seen Negroes, young men and women, with a sense of utter hopelessness because they can’t find any jobs. And they see life as a long and desolate corridor with no exit signs. And not only Negroes at this point. I’ve seen my dream shattered because I’ve been through Appalachia, and I’ve seen my white brothers along with Negroes living in poverty. And I’m concerned about white poverty as much as I’m concerned about Negro poverty.

So yes, the dream has been shattered, and I have had my nightmarish experiences, but I tell you this morning once more that I haven’t lost the faith. I still have a dream that one day all of God’s children will have food and clothing and material well-being for their bodies, culture and education for their minds, and freedom for their spirits.

I still have a dream this morning: one day all of God’s black children will be respected like his white children.

I still have a dream this morning that one day the lion and the lamb will lie down together, and every man will sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid.

I still have a dream this morning that one day all men everywhere will recognize that out of one blood God made all men to dwell upon the face of the earth.

I still have a dream this morning that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill will be made low; the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places straight; and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

I still have a dream this morning that truth will reign supreme and all of God’s children will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. And when this day comes the morning stars will sing together and the sons of God will shout for joy.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

We open the doors of the church now. If someone needs to accept Christ, this is a marvelous opportunity, a great moment to make a decision. And as we sing together, we bid you come at this time by Christian experience, baptism, watch care. But come at this moment, become a part of this great Christian fellowship and accept Christ as your personal savior.

Copied from:  http://kingencyclopedia.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/documentsentry/doc_the_american_dream.1.html

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Today’s Quote

“I do believe that man is a rope between animal and superman.  But the superman I’m thinking of isn’t Nietzsche’s.  The real superhuman, man or woman, is the person who’s rid himself of all prejudices, neuroses, and psychoses, who realizes his full potential as a human being, who acts naturally on the basis of gentleness, compassion, and love, who thinks for himself and refuses to follow the herd.  That’s the genuine dyed-in-the-wool superman.”

~Philip José Farmer, 1918 – 2009

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Today’s Quote – several quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I find myself today in a very sad, heartbroken place; the senseless violence from the mass shooting in Las Vegas, how Trump hatefully spoke out on Twitter about the people of Puerto Rico over the weekend, people being angry, nasty, and spiteful about others utilizing their right to peacefully protest in the U.S., and the injustices going on in other countries, where people are trying to be peaceful and live out their lives but are being oppressed, murdered, and enslaved.  I think what saddens me the most is when I see hate and ignorance spreading like wildfire all over social media, and people jumping on ideas and ‘news’ that may or may not be accurate, simply because it fits their idea of what is right and true and they have no desire to seek out the truth about whatever is going on.  It hurts me deeply to see members of my own family posting some of these things, and they refuse to listen or learn the truth (I plan on writing more on this later).  I so desperately wish that the lines of communication would open for all sides so that we can all come together and start moving forward.  So, in light of all of this, I am sharing a handful of quotes from the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who bravely gave his life fighting for justice, love, equality, and peace, and worked hard to make the world a better place.  I know this is a bit lengthy, but there is so much to Dr. King’s legacy that needs to be shared and remembered, especially now.  My heart goes out to everyone who has been affected by recent events.

“It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world; it’s nonviolence or nonexistence.”

“Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they cannot communicate; they cannot communicate because they are separated.”

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

“An individual has not begun to live until he can rise above the narrow horizons of his particular individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. And this is one of the big problems of life, that so many people never quite get to the point of rising above self. And so they end up the tragic victims of self-centeredness. They end up the victims of distorted and disrupted personality.”

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?'”

“Man is man because he is free to operate within the framework of his destiny. He is free to deliberate, to make decisions, and to choose between alternatives. He is distinguished from animals by his freedom to do evil or to do good and to walk the high road of beauty or tread the low road of ugly degeneracy.”

“It is not enough to know that two and two makes four, but we’ve got to know somehow that it’s right to be honest and just with our brothers. It’s not enough to know all about our philosophical and mathematical disciplines, but we’ve got to know the simple disciplines of being honest and loving and just with all humanity. If we don’t learn it, we will destroy ourselves by the misuse of our own powers.”

“We must meet hate with love. We must meet physical force with soul force. There is still a voice crying out through the vista of time, saying: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you.” Then, and only then, can you matriculate into the university of eternal life. That same voice cries out in terms lifted to cosmic proportions: “He who lives by the sword will perish by the sword.” And history is replete with the bleached bones of nations that failed to follow this command. We must follow nonviolence and love.”

“True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right.”

“There is little hope for us until we become toughminded enough to break loose from the shackles of prejudice, half-truths, and downright ignorance. The shape of the world today does not permit us the luxury of softmindedness. A nation or a civilization that continues to produce softminded men purchases its own spiritual death on an installment plan.”

“…violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones. Violence is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding: it seeks to annihilate rather than convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends up defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.”

“We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.””

“There is a sort of poverty of the spirit which stands in glaring contrast to our scientific and technological abundance. The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers.”

“The time has come for an all-out world war against poverty. The rich nations must use their vast resources of wealth to develop the underdeveloped, school the unschooled, and feed the unfed. Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation. No individual or nation can be great if it does not have a concern for “the least of these”.”

“Together we can and should unite our strength for the wise preservation, not of races in general, but of the one race we all constitute – the human race.”

“We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation and for those it calls “enemy,” for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.”

“Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence, when it helps us to see the enemy’s point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.”

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1929 – 1968

Random Thoughts

Ok, I know I’ve become very sporadic in writing.  I’m working on getting better about it, while I juggle motherhood, taking my preemie baby to extra physical therapy appointments to help her catch up, taking a class on jewelry making, working like crazy on my artwork and photography and keeping up on social media (as best as I can), keeping the house clean, organized and running, and trying to lose weight and get back into shape.  Whew.  I’ve also been writing thoughts on the current state of events in the U.S. that is more of a rant than anything.  Originally, I was going to publish some of these thoughts, along with references… – just a few nights ago I hammered out 4 single-spaced pages in a matter of 30 minutes – but, I have restrained myself from doing so.  The reason I have chosen instead to sit on these writings and think before publishing is this:  My original intent of this blog was to reach out to help others, to create awareness for various problems, to provide inspiration through quotes, music, and words, and to share some of the knowledge I have gained over the years pertaining to art, science, and sobriety.  I really want to keep this as non-political as possible, but with the state of things today, that becomes increasingly difficult because what is going on in the White House directly impacts so many things I am passionate about, and as someone who works hard to fight for civil rights for many, it is hard to sit back and say nothing.  However, in my ranting to myself, I realize that the only people I would likely reach by posting those thoughts are those who basically feel the same way, and those on the other side of the fence will only dig in their heels more; and by doing this, it only adds to the divisiveness we are currently experiencing in the states.  My goal is to bring both sides together, to demonstrate that we are all people and no one person is better than the next, and that if we can put these differences aside, we can accomplish great things.  One example is how many people along the Gulf are reaching out to each other regardless of race, sexuality, creed, etc., and helping one another.

So, rather than railing against Trump and the current administration in the White House, I would like to simply mention a few things and provide a couple of solid references that can be referred to if one so pleases.  To start, let’s clear up a few things – I do not support hate groups in any way, shape or form.  By stating I would like to bring both sides together, I am referring to the ‘left/liberal’ and the ‘right/conservative;’ knowing that hate is learned and taught, I do hope that those who are members of these groups or supporters of the ideas pushed by these groups, can one day unlearn this hate and embrace their fellow human.  Sadly, I grew up around hate and intolerance, but I was able to look beyond the rhetoric, as can others.  There are many hate groups all over the world; one highly reputable source on hate groups currently operating in the U.S. is the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).  The SPLC has been widely recognized and highly regarded for over 45 years by law enforcement, academia, and others in the U.S. for unbiased accuracy for reporting hate and hate crimes, teaching awareness and tolerance, and what you can do to help.  I am well aware that this is a free country, however, there should be no tolerance for these groups publicly gathering with the sole purpose of infusing their horrible message into the masses, bringing attention to their cause, and ‘riling up the other side,’ as some have stated; this goes against everything this country represents and what many have died for in wars and on the streets.  Also, I by no means believe that everyone who voted for and/or supports the current administration falls within these groups.  Sure, there are those who most certainly do – all you have to do is turn on the news to see this, but not all of Trump’s supporters agree with these ideas.  And subsequently – not everyone who is left-leaning thinks this, and those on the left do not all fall under the ideology that Antifa supports.  As for Antifa, for those who are not aware, this is a group whose name is short for Anti-fascists, they typically represent those who are anti-government/anarchists, and rather than supporting liberal ideas or promoting working together, they instead fight against right-wing ideals, largely via destruction of property and violence.  This group has roots that trace back to Nazi Germany (as early as the 1930’s).  They also do not associate with the Democratic party, as they rather be anti-government, and the vast majority of those on the left do not agree with their methods.  The big take away here is, no matter which side you are on (left or right), remember that if you don’t like being lumped into these categories – whether it be Antifa or a known hate group – please don’t turn around and do that to the side you oppose, for that only increases judgement and divide.

As for racism, at no point in American history has racism ceased to exist.  I have seen much commentary in social media that ‘racism was gone until Obama…’  This is simply not true.  Again, you can go the the SPLC’s site and read up on this for yourself.  And while some argue that what is currently going on today is not Trump’s fault, it’s the fault of the media, keep this in mind – sure, the media plays a role, they tend to focus more on the negative than the positive, it has always been this way, this is nothing new.  I am not defending the media or condoning their behavior, I am simply pointing out that this is not a new occurrence.  That said, words spoken as well as actions, especially by people in power, are extremely powerful; one only needs to open a world history book to see the evidence.  All throughout history, leaders have been able to either bring people together, or divide; they have been able to mobilize people to work towards the common good, or commit atrocities.  The vast majority of historical events caused by these leaders took place long before there was ‘media’ as we understand it today.  Sure, there were means to get the word out, to push propaganda, to push agendas, and the evening news has been around for a little while, but remember the internet and social media are all still fairly new when you look at the big picture.  Also worth noting here – Black Lives Matter is not a hate group and certainly not a terrorist organization like so many seem to think.  Are there black hate groups?  Yes, again, refer to SPLC active hate groups 2016.  I deeply wish racism would end, but I realize it’s complicated.  Those making simplistic statements regarding slavery, such as ‘no one alive today…slavery,’ ‘the reason for violence amongst particular groups of people is…,’ and so on, trivializes the real problem we as a people need to address.  Professing that if people would stop bringing it up, there wouldn’t be such a problem is incorrect too – not having open dialogue, awareness, and discussion of these issues only allows the problems to fester and continue.

When it comes to the LGBTQ community, everyone has the right to love and be loved, and to live their lives the way they were meant to be.  I honestly scratch my head at why some people are so obsessed with what someone does in the privacy of their bedroom.  As long as the people there are consenting and of sound mind and age, and no one is getting hurt, then what is the problem?  If you don’t like seeing someone holding hands or kissing someone of the same sex in public, then politely look away.  People who are transgender do not choose to be – they are born in the wrong body and are brave enough to take the necessary steps to live a full, meaningful life.  Please keep in mind, that for those in the LGBTQ community, life is not easy; they are constantly met with hate, stares, violence, and so on.  If their lifestyle is against your religious belief, no one is asking you to change your belief, but to only accept that they are human too and deserve the same rights and freedoms you enjoy.  Shutting out an entire group of people is the same thing hate groups do.  I do not wish to discuss my religious beliefs here, but I will mention I was raised in a Christian household, and I took Biblical Study in college.  For someone to state they are a Christian, and then turn around and make disparaging remarks about any group of people completely goes against everything Christianity represents.  After all, according to the Bible, Jesus says to ‘love thy neighbor,’ and to not ‘cast the first stone.’  When people come together under the guise of Christianity and publish articles of hate, such as the recent Nashville Statement, it perpetuates ignorance and fear.  Many of the articles in the above mentioned statement include ideas that are absolutely false.  In fact, two of the groups represented are recognized hate groups (the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Research Council).  One of the original signatories, Tony Perkins, has also made claims regarding those in the LGBTQ community that are nothing but conspiracy theory and falsehoods.  Before thinking ‘well, this is just your opinion,’ read up on it in medical, scientific, and psychological journals.  Last I checked, this is not how we love one another.  My suggestion?  Let it go.  Homosexuality has been around since the beginning of time, and it is frequently found throughout the animal kingdom.  Transgenderism has also been around; try to remember those who are transgender already have turmoil in their lives as they often feel trapped in a body that is not theirs.  Rather than admonishing those in the LGBTQ community, why not take time to just talk to someone who identifies with this community?  Get to know them, and remember no one knows the struggles another is experiencing.  You might be surprised to find how beautiful someone can be.

Immigrants are the backbone of the U.S.  We are a nation of immigrants.  Every single person in this country, with the exception of Native Americans, is either currently an immigrant or a descendant of immigrants.  Throughout U.S. history, immigrants were responsible for the building of much of our infrastructure, tending farms, and often doing menial jobs that others did not want to do.  I want to ask those who love stating ‘we’re taking our country back,’ who exactly are you taking it back from?  White men (this includes, the English, French, and Spanish amongst others) stole the vast majority this country from the Native Americans, and a large portion of it from Mexico.  Many people were brought over from other nations against their will and forced into slavery (Some whites came over as indentured servants; and although not slavery, it was still a form of bondage, nonetheless.)  To this day, many large corporations and some of the wealthy employ illegal immigrants for ridiculously tiny wages and horrible working conditions and get away with abuses with the threat that they will call ICE and turn them in.  To be fair, the government and some of the population has wanted, and tried, to clamp down on immigration in the past.  This is not the first time this country has seen this.  However, that does not make it excusable.  Also, for those who get angry and annoyed that immigrants bring their heritage and ways of life with them – this is also not new.  All immigrants throughout history have done this.  Some of us retain that part of our culture and past, and some don’t, it’s just how it is.  (Consider it this way: do you like pizza?  Does your grandmother make the best fish and chips on this side of the Atlantic?  Have you tried Sushi?  Do you like BBQ?  As in real barbecue with smoked meat and not grilling?  All of these and so many, many more owe to the transplantation of people from one part of the world to here.  And that is one small, yet, tasty, cultural benefit of immigration.)  Please, rather than shunning the person seeking a better life for themselves and their family, find out what you can do to help the transition.  Think about how difficult and scary it would be for you to uproot and leave for another country with next to nothing in your pocket in the hopes for a better life.

I am not so naive as to think I can change minds or even the world by publishing a statement, a quote, or a song.  But the thing is, it all starts somewhere, even if it is just one person at a time.  I also do not profess to be perfect, I’m just as flawed as the next person.  Admittedly, I have gone on Twitter to speak out against this administration, and I have struggled greatly with how I now feel about members of my family who not only voted the president in, but continue to blindly support everything he does.  I find it difficult to discuss things with those whose beliefs are starkly opposite of mine; yet, this is exactly what we need to be doing (and in a civil manner).  These are things I need to work on within myself.  My hope is that this doesn’t fall on deaf ears and that it engages people, and they not only feel encouraged to share this message, but to act on it.  Remember, diversity is what makes the U.S. great!

Here are some reputable resources should you wish to do some of your own reading into U.S. history, science, medicine, or psychology.  Some of these require a paid subscription; if you are a student, check with your school, as some schools and universities already pay for these subscriptions.  Some employers also pay for some of these subscriptions, so depending on your line of work, you may be able to access some of it that way.  Otherwise, check with your local public library or university for assistance.

***This is not an inclusive list – there are many other great journals and resources out there, please check with a university librarian for further assistance on what you want to know more about.  They are experts on assisting with research and reputable sources.  This is simply a list to get you started.

U.S. National Archives

U.S. Library of Congress

Various U.S. Presidential Libraries

American Historical Association (AHA)

The Society for Military History

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM)

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)

The American Medical Association (AMA)

American Psychological Association and Affiliated Journals (APA)

The Journal of Psychology

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Science