Playing Politics and Disrupting Lives: Thoughts After The Government Shutdown

ShutdownVotes_WashingtonPost_10162013

Image courtesy of The Washington Post.

On October 16, 2013, Congress finally reached a deal to re-open the government and extend the debt ceiling.  This deal provides funding for the government through January 15, 2014 and extends the debt ceiling through February 7, 2014.

The political shenanigans lasted for 16 days, leaving hundreds of thousands of government workers furloughed.  According to Standard & Poor’s, the economy took an estimated $24 billion hit as a result of the shutdown.  As reported by Eliana Dockterman for Time.com, small businesses were impacted by “frozen government contracts and stalled business loans. Tourism suffered from closed national parks, and military families had to cope without childcare and other services.”  Under the deal, federal workers will receive back pay.  However, federal contractors may not be able to recoup their lost wages.

The shutdown was an unnecessary political showdown that disrupted the livelihood of many people.  The actions (or inaction) of our political officials proved just how out of touch they are with the people they represent.  They will stop at nothing when they have an agenda to push through.  They will railroad, lambast, blaspheme, lie, you name it…  And in this case, all because they wanted to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

How sad, disgraceful, and upsetting it was to see our representatives acting like spoiled children…  Pointing fingers, passing blame, throwing temper tantrums because they couldn’t (or didn’t) get their way.  I guess the lessons of working through your differences, owning up to your shortcomings, and standing together to achieve common goals and solutions for the greater the good have been forgotten.

Though the shutdown has ended, one can only imagine how long its after effects will persist.  I hope everyone is awake.  I hope everyone can see our elected officials truly for who they are.  And I hope everyone remembers this when it’s time to vote in 2014 and 2016.  If our officials haven’t learned anything and we end up in the same predicament in 2014 and again in subsequent years, then it’s time for us to teach them a lesson.  Take our government, our people, and our nation for granted, and watch us vote you out of office.

Weekly Musings on Life, Love, and Politics – Week 14

 electricity

After a long break, here’s are my latest musings on life, love, and politics.

  1. Sometimes we need to be quiet.  We waste a lot of energy filling the space up with our critiques of others and our feelings of how they do things.  If we exchanged the time we spend focusing on others and what they do and applied it to ourselves, there’s no telling what we could do.
  2. Our desires can overrule our frame of mind, judgment–really our lives.  What we deem as commitment and sacrifice could really be selfishness in disguise.  It’s the “I’m-going-to-do-what-I-want-to-do-no-matter-what” syndrome.  While we’re working to achieve our dreams, we must be careful that we don’t push away and alienate the people who’ve been there for us every step of the way.
  3. One of the reasons I believe Zombies are so popular is because of how close our lives relate or resemble theirs.  So many of us are like the living dead (or the “undead”).  We work ourselves and worry ourselves to death.  We’re scared to live the lives we desire.  Complacency brainwashes us.  We’re like machines on autopilot.  Can we really say we’re alive when we’re living a robotic existence?  Can we really say we’re alive when our zest and joy for life is constantly in retreat?
  4. Placing expectations on leaders that are impossible to sustain is foolish.  Leaders have limited power.  Leaders can only go so far if their teams, governing bodies, and/or constituents are unwilling to work with them.  The battle is a losing game without the support of the people.  How soon we forget, support and accountability go both ways.
  5. The stronghold of anger can be deadly if not channeled into positive energy.  Anger is the worst motivator for change that results from vindictive, vengeful, and envious behavior.  Sure, actions resulting in anger may bring you relief.  But the relief is temporary.  We must not succumb to anger’s dictatorship.  Redirect its path into something truly uplifting and positive.
  6. Some of the President’s harshest critics and opponents can come together when the threat of war is looming.  However, when issues that directly impact the livelihood of the people are at the forefront, there’s a standoff.  They stall.  Start pointing fingers.  They play politics and prevent necessary legislation from moving forward.  How comforting it is to know where our elected officials allegiance lies.
  7. No relationship, whether business or personal, can thrive without trust.

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Many Blessings!

~ BuddahDesmond

***Image courtesy of Charles Koch’s website.

Weekly Musings on Life, Love, and Politics – Week 13

Image courtesy of the IISC Blog.

Greetings!  Hope everyone is well.  Here’s the latest batch of weekly musings on life, love, and politics:

  1. What’s on the surface can fool you… For it may be in stark contrast with what lies beneath.

  2. There’s a rare breed of folk who are unresponsive to “normal” methods of communication.  You have to get down to their level to truly reach them.  Sometimes this involves getting out of character, i.e. being overly aggressive, shouting, cussing, and carrying on…  In all honesty, isn’t it a shame if you have do all of this to reach common ground with others?

  3. Give people and things a chance.  Don’t be so quick to give up on them before they’ve had the opportunity to prove you wrong.  Let the judgment go.  Give in a little, you just might be surprised.

  4. If you can’t find the hero within, the chances are minimal that you’ll find the hero anywhere else.

  5. The heart is resilient.  It can overcome anything.  But not when we put roadblocks in its path to healing.  Release the pain and let your heart lead the way.

  6. A country can’t call itself “land of the free” when all of it’s people aren’t free.  A country’s failed itself and its people when conditions are put on human rights or when they are not granted or available to all.  Granting these rights to some but not all further perpetuates inequality, injustice, and inferiority, and blocks any chances of real progress.  

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Many Blessings, BuddahDesmond

    Happy 1st Anniversary to ‘Prevail’!

      
    Wow, it’s been one year since I published my first book Prevail: Poems on Life, Love, and Politics.  I still recall the happiness and sense of accomplishment I felt holding Prevail in my own hands for the first time.  Prevail represents a dream come true.  I stuck to my guns and made it happen.  Not without a lot of support though.  I couldn’t have done it without those (my spouse, family, friends, and mentors) who’ve encouraged me along the way.  

    It was a rocky journey making the dream happen.  If I’d listened to all the things people told methat I wasn’t good enough, that I didn’t fit the mold, that I didn’t do things the traditional way (as if that’s something wrong)I wouldn’t have this book or anything else published.  I wouldn’t be working on my next book.  I would’ve stopped writing… I would’ve stopped doing a lot of things.  But I didn’t.  I persevered.  Yet I know there’s still much more to do.  More dreams to achieve.  Still more to learn.  More platform building to do.  Many more people to connect and build genuine relationships with.  More outreach.  And I welcome it all.

    As I say in the introduction of Prevail, “We never know what’s coming to us in this life, but we do know that if we get through it—whatever it is—we will be better, stronger, and wiser. No matter what, we know we must prevail.”  

    Thank you for your support!  Until next time… Peace, Love, and Many Blessings, BuddahDesmond

    Prevail is available at iUniverse, Amazon (Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle), Barnes & Noble, Book-A-Million (Paperback | Hardcover), and other retailers.

    Related Posts:
    BuddahDesmond Appearing at the Baltimore Urban Book Festival (BUBF) on 7/14/13
    101 Days Project: Prevail
    Nothing But Love
    The Music of Life
    It’s Not That Serious
    Happily Ever After?
    Desperation
    Gone Too Soon

    Weekly Musings on Life, Love, and Politics – Week 12

    Image courtesty of Mandalas by Veeno

    It’s time for another helping of BuddahDesmond’s musings on life, love, and politics. Check ’em out!

    1. Don’t let the world of “NO” sway you on your way to the world of “YES.” The break you’ve been working towards, the opportunity you’ve been praying for, the chance to SHINE is coming! Hold on!

    2. There is a fire that burns inside of each of us. It’s passionate energy that we can wield in both positive and negative ways. Sometimes we forget about our fire…we forget about the greatness that lies within. And we lose sight of why we’re here, what we’re fighting for, and what we’re ultimately working towards. Don’t lose your fire. Be cognizant of it. Be mindful of it. Learn from it. Will it lovingly and admirably. As Sonia Sanchez says, “Catch the fire and burn with eyes that see our souls: WALKING. SINGING. BUILDING. LAUGHING. LEARNING. LOVING. TEACHING. BEING… Catch the fire…and live.” (Influences: Sonia Sanchez – Catch The Fire)

    3. Sometimes things are only complicated and complex because we make them that way. When this happens, it may be best to fall back, breathe, reassess, and look for ways to avoid fortuitous complications. At all costs—keep it simple!

    4. Only takes a few mini-scandals to divert attention from the real issues plaguing a nation. Depending on the severity, yestime and resources may be needed to rectify the matters related to a mini-scandal.  However, they also seem to give our officials unnecessary reasons to play politics, continue pointing fingers and drag their feet on major issues that they’ve been neglecting. As some will say, “Any excuse…”

    5. There’s nothing wrong with being meticulous. This trait can do wonders for us (and others) in many personal and professional situations. But this trait backfires when it begins to hinder our progress, especially when working with others. We have to know when it’s best to cut our losses and let things fall where they may. We must realize that we cannot afford to let ourselves be ruled or get carried away with the details (all the time). 

    6. When we pamper our passions they will be good to us. Just wait and see!

    Until next time… Peace, Love, and Many Blessings!

    ~ BuddahDesmond

      Weekly Musings on Life, Love, and Politics – Week 11

      “Cracking the Harmony” courtesy of Exper Giovanni Rubaltelli

      Greetings!  It’s been several weeks since my last Weekly Musings update.  My apologies.  I was intending to get one up a little sooner but had to focus my energies on other projects.  But I’m at the point where a few of these musings have been marinating for awhile and they needed to be shared.  Some of them were inspired by a few episodes of Super Soul Sunday on OWN. 

      1. If your eyes are open, if your heart is open and warmlove is never too hard to find.  Even if your heart is cold, just a little love might be all you need to renew your faith.  Love is everywhere.  As Adriana Evans sang, “Love is all around.”

      2. When I think back to hearing the word “harmony,” the context (outside of music) usually involved unity amongst people or accord within the environment.  It was rare that harmony was ever mentioned when referring to the individual.  The focus was/is too often on being in harmony with everything outside of ourselves.  While this is important, harmony withina sense of tranquility, calm, and peaceis just as much if not more so important.  As Panache Desai said, “There is no greater power than to be in harmony within oneself.”  Cherish the harmony within as you would cherish your joy.  Stay in tune with it!

      3. I thought we lived in a free state.  Isn’t this the land where people come to live their lives the best way they see fit?  You know, the place where you can be anything and do anything?  The place where you are free to practice whatever religion you like without persecution?  A place where people of different political persuasions, race, gender, and sexual orientation can come together and live freely?  Each time I turn on the news, read the paper, or go online I feel the notion of this nation being a “free state” is the biggest farce known to man.  So much hate.  So much intolerance.  Forget acceptance.  Forget civility.  Forget unity.  Even tolerance is but a dream.  The ultimate pot stirrer is the abominable bond between religion and politics.  It’s a marriage in need of a long overdue divorce.  Maybe when religion and politics distance themselves the “free state” will return…

      4. Guaranteesare there any?  The one that always rings true is that there aren’t any guarantees in this life.  With every fleeting moment, hopefully we’re living our lives to the fullest extent.  Hopefully we’re honoring our spirits.  Hopefully we’re doing all that we can to make our souls smile, run, and jump with glee.  We owe it to ourselves to live our best lives.  If a moment comes when we find we aren’t being true to the essence of our being, then it’s time to turn the volume up.  This life is the only life we have.  So let’s LIVE IT OUT LOUD!

      5. The only validation a relationship needs is the validation of the two people who are in it.  When you truly love each other, it matters not what others say or think.  It’s what the unit thinks and feels.  While others may not agree with it or condone it, they must respect it. 

      6. Equality is when all members of society can enjoy the same rights and privileges without exceptions, exclusions, or conditions.  As Jill Scott said, “Equality does not equal equal if it’s not divided equally.” 

      Until next time… Peace, love, and many blessings!

      ~ BuddahDesmond

        Does The GOP Really Want Your Vote? – Latest on MUSED

        Image courtesy of MUSED.


        A 100-page “autopsy” report by the Republican National Committee (RNC) confirmed that the GOP has an outreach problem.  Judging from the audience at the 2012 Republican National Convention, it was quite clear the GOP has been unable to connect with the youth and minorities for some time.  Looks like this is soon going to change.  Raffi Williams, son of journalist and Fox News political analyst Juan Williams, has been tapped as the Deputy Press Secretary of the RNC.  He will work to create initiatives to outreach to the youth and African Americans.  To learn more, read “Does the GOP Really Want Your Vote?” on MUSED.
         
        MUSED Magazine Online is a pioneering “digital destination for lifestyle, entertainment & culture for modern black gay men.  MUSED serves as a collective of experiences and issues we care about” (see About MUSED).  Its mission is to raise the level of consciousness for our community and provide reliable, relevant, interactive, and engaging content for its readers.  MUSED is the only weekly online magazine for black gay men.


        Major thanks and props to Drew-Shane Daniels and the MUSED family for featuring the article! 


        Follow MUSED on:  Facebook | Twitter

        Follow BuddahDesmond on:  Facebook | Twitter

        Peace, Love, and Many Blessings!

        ~ BuddahDesmond

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        Dr. Ben Carson’s Gay Marriage Gaffe – Latest on MUSED

        Image courtesy of MUSED.


        Dr. Ben Carson is a highly lauded neurosurgeon, educator, speaker, and best-selling author.  After  making several appearances on Fox News and giving speeches at the National Prayer Breakfast and the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), he’s become somewhat of a political wunderkind lately.  Carson recently caught some heat for comments he made last week on Fox News’ Hannity about gay marriage.  He said, “Marriage is between a man and a woman. No group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality, it doesn’t matter what they are. They don’t get to change the definition. So, it’s not something against gays. It’s against anybody who wants to come along and change the fundamental definitions of pillars of society. It has significant ramifications” (Media Matters).  He later apologized and said his comments were “insensitive” and misunderstood.  He went on to say the “attacks” by “racist” white liberals against him “have been so vicious” (The Hill).  To learn more, read “Where Dr. Ben Carson Linking Gay Marriage To Bestiality Went Wrong” on MUSED.


        MUSED Magazine Online is a pioneering “digital destination for lifestyle, entertainment & culture for modern black gay men.  MUSED serves as a collective of experiences and issues we care about” (see About MUSED).  Its mission is to raise the level of consciousness for our community and provide reliable, relevant, interactive, and engaging content for its readers.  MUSED is the only weekly online magazine for black gay men.


        Major thanks and props to Drew-Shane Daniels and the MUSED family for featuring the article! 


        Follow MUSED on:  Facebook | Twitter

        Follow BuddahDesmond on:  Facebook | Twitter

        Peace, Love, and Many Blessings!

        ~ BuddahDesmond

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        ‘Free Angela,’ A Powerful Documentary

        I think the importance of doing activist work is precisely because it allows you to give back and to consider yourself not as a single individual who may have achieved whatever but to be a part of an ongoing historical movement. ~ Angela Davis, Frontline (1997)

        Seeing the poster for Shola Lynch’s latest film Free Angela And All Political Prisoners is enough to evoke compelling and stirring emotions within anyone.  The image serves as a symbol of pride, justice, and changethe change that comes about from social and political movements.  And the film retells the events surrounding Angela Davis as she fought to clear her name against changes of murder, kidnapping, and conspiracy and the international movement which sought her freedom.

        By the late 1960s, Davis was known as a feminist, political activist and leader, and scholar.  She was a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), a member of the Communist Party USA and an associate of the Black Panther Party.   UCLA would later fire Davis because of her involvement with the Communist Party.  She was reinstated after Judge Jerry Pacht of the Los Angeles Superior Court ruled that UCLA could not bar Communists from employment with its institution.  Not satisfied with this, UCLA began a relentless quest for ways in which to fire Davis.  They succeeded on June 20, 1970 citing what they claimed was “inflammatory language” derived from four unique speeches Davis had given.  

        In August of 1970, Davis’ world would change again.  She was implicated as a suspect in the kidnapping and murder of a judge in a shootout at the Marin County, CA courthouse.  Davis did not believe she’d receive a fair trial so she fled California.  Believed to be a terrorist, J. Edgar Hoover placed Davis on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List.  After a two-month manhunt, she was caught in New York City and brought to trial.  In 1972, Davis was acquitted of all charges by an all-white jury.

        Free Angela comes at a time where we (continue to) find our world facing grave struggles with food/hunger, education, healthcare, employment, economic downturns, inadequate housing, the prison industrial complex, and civil rights.  With Angela Davis’ story, we learn about the significance of challenging authority and the power of the collective.  We must not deny or forget about our power as individuals or as a collective.  In fact, if it had not been for the mobilization of the collective during the Women’s Suffrage, Civil Rights, and Black Power Movements (to name a few) the social and political landscape would be quite different.

        Free Angela is not only a (long overdue) firsthand account of Angela Davis’ htory, but it also serves as a call to action.  While we may have benefited from the battles won by our forefathers and foremothers, many obstacles lie ahead.  Their stories should serve as a sources hope, inspiration and redemption… Nothing in this world is impossible.  With collective power, we can ignite movements to bring about the social and political change necessary to make our world one that truly lives up to its promise.

        Free Angela opens in selects theaters on Friday, April 5, 2013. 

        Entry – Black Bloggers Connect Free Angela Blogging Contest

        Latest MUSED Article – Looking For Black Leadership? The Savior Lies Within

        Image courtesy of MUSED.
        In my latest article for MUSED “Look For Black Leadership? The Savior Lies Within,” I propose the (urgent) need to look within ourselves to find the leadership we so desperately crave.  Some of us have penchant expectations that our leaders are the answers to fix the many ills which plague our community.  While leadership is an important part of the process, we cannot deny the power we have to create the change we wish to see.  For more, check out my article on the MUSED site.  Feel free to share and comment!

        MUSED Magazine Online is a pioneering “digital destination for lifestyle, entertainment & culture for modern black gay men.  MUSED serves as a collective of experiences and issues we care about” (see About MUSED).  Its mission is to raise the level of consciousness for our community and provide reliable, relevant, interactive, and engaging content for its readers.  MUSED is the only weekly online magazine for black gay men.


        Major thanks and props to Drew-Shane Daniels and the MUSED family for featuring the article! 


        Follow MUSED on:  Facebook | Twitter

        Follow BuddahDesmond on:  Facebook | Twitter

        Peace, Love, and Many Blessings!

        ~ BuddahDesmond

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