Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Angry men need help

I am an angry man. My mistakes based on my anger have been documented. I am working every day of my life to keep my anger from becoming rage. Through counseling and spiritual guidance, I will succeed.

Knowing this and dealing with this leads me to this observation: Ray Rice needs help. He doesn't need a NFL career. He doesn't need a multiple-million dollar contract. He doesn't need endorsement deals. He needs help. And he needs to be open to that help.

You can criticize the wife if you want for staying, just remember you are being judged for your actions as well. I just pray her level of discernment is in tune with her level of forgiveness. I know that I have benefitted from that grace in my past and I believe that Ray will as well, but only if he gets help.

TMZ is what it is. If you are a public figure and you make a mistake, TMZ will obtain the video. Welcome to the media of the 21st Century. Stop blaming them for doing what they do to everyone. Instead, pray for Ray Rice to get help.

The NFL is a business. Business looks good, everyone looks good. Business looks bad, person(s) responsible suffers bad. Did they drop the ball and then fumble it some more when it hit the ground? YES!

Should we have expected that from a male dominated, machismo, misogynistic sport?
YES! But the economics of the female sports fan in America will straighten that out. Meanwhile, continue to pray for Ray Rice to get help.

Having seen the video myself, I can draw one conclusion: this is not the first time he has done this. If Ray Rice gets the help he needs, hopefully it will be the last. Ray Rice got paid well for being aggressive on the field, and now he is not getting paid because he was aggressive off of it. That is why even more so now, he needs help.

Bottom line: Mr. Rice, from one angry man to another, get help. Then take life one day, one moment, one situation, one decision at a time. I'm praying for you.

Friday, July 18, 2014

7/18/14 Random Thoughts

#1: As someone given the privilege of public service and the respect of being a voice for the African American community during that time, I am deeply troubled with the equation that handing out taxpayers' dollars makes you a "known commodity" (translation: ally) in our community. Just my opinion: you cannot appease me, or thousands of other African Americans in this state, by making sure certain worthy causes are earmarked for federal funding alone. To be a true ally, you have to stand with us on the issues that matter, that created those causes in the first place. For example, there wouldn't be a need for a Jackson Medical Mall if there was not a major disparity in health care coverage. There wouldn't be a need for HeadStart if the educational disparities in our public education system weren't perverse. Take a public stand on the issues the people, to whom you so actively courted, give a damn about. Introduce or, at the very least, vote for legislation that will uplift those constiuents. Maybe then they will be empowered enough not to depend on such earmarks. Maybe then you will earn the distinction of ally.

#2: Maybe they would still be having a memorial service tomorrow for Mrs. Ruth Helen Harrion, but if the members of the Jackson Police Department hadn't failed to perform their sworn duty Tuesday, we probably would be more focused and supportive of their efforts to bring the killers to justice, rather than be saddened, disgusted, and doubtful of any positive result. When you are in public service, as a first responder or an elected official, one has to remember that human lives hang in the balance with every decision or indecision, every action or inaction. Chief Horton is to be commended for being accountable for what transpired, but I pray that this is the last time a Chief of Police for the City of Jackson has to ever have that type of press conference. A pizza delivery driver goes away when no one responds at a door, not a Jackson Police Officer. A telemarketer hangs up on a call, not a 911 dispatcher. To protect and serve, a simple four-word phrase that carries with it an awesome responsibility. When that phrase is not treated with the highest regard, when people think all they are doing is just working a job, tragedies happen. The lesson in this "teachable moment": take the oath you swore to uphold before God seriously and respect the opportunity to serve with the utmost priority, because lives hang in the balance.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

I have to say it...

The public endorsement of former US Congressman Travis Childers over Bill Marcy by Mississippi Democratc Party Chairman/Executive Director Rickey Cole before the June 3rd Democratic Primary was wrong.

I have known all three gentlemen for a number of years, having known Chairman Cole the longest. So what I am writing is not a personal attack on any of them, it is just my opinion of where this Democratic Primary stands. 

Travis Childers served one term in Congress representing Mississippi's 1st congressional district. He was elected in 2008 and defeated in 2010. When Travis campaigned with me and former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, he boldly showed his support of Barack Obama. He also promised to open a congressional office in Holly Springs. Once elected, Travis voted against the Affordable Health Care Act and failed to open that Holly Springs office. Two years later, despite the appeals of the Congressional Black Caucus, the black electorate in the 1st District abstained from voting, contributing to Childers' defeat.

Bill Marcy is a retired law enforcement officer, and an African-American. Bill ran for Congress twice, against US Congressman Bennie Thompson, as a Republican. Bill called me before he made his decision to run, primarily to make sure I wasn't running, and I told him that it is a tough battle for African-American to win without TOTAL Democratic Party support, not to mention that he will have to overcome the fact that you ran against the most powerful Democrat in the state twice, as a member of the opposition party. Bill decided to run anyway, fully aware of how the deck was stacked.

So now, here we are. Rickey subtly endorses Travis, Bill cries racism. Mr. Chairman, did we really need that scenario to play out? 

For those who follow college football and understood the old BCS system, the Mississippi Democratic Party is the old Big East Conference and the Mississippi Republican Party is the SEC. The Big East champion had an automatic bid to be considered for the national championship, but it was clearly expected that the SEC champion would win it. Underdogs don't need to be mired in perceived racism. Underdogs don't need to convey the message that somebody from the African-American demographic can't win a statewide election in Mississippi. Underdogs can't be passive if they want to beat the champion.

Democrats have to do better than this. This state is too poor to be totally dominated by one political party, because neither party single handedly has changed that demographic. So when opportunity knocks, you cannot squander it with small minded, non-visionary thinking. You have a candidate who is African-American, but was a member of a political party that, whether fairly or not, the majority of African-Americans do not trust, file to run. The party accepted his paperwork and filing fee. Then the party recruits a white man who when elected to office, fairly or not, lost the trust of his African-American constituents, to counter the African-American former Republican.

And some wonder why more people are focused on the race between the "Old Man and the Tea Party".

If you didn't want Marcy to run, Mr. Chairman, you should not have taken his money. Is Childers the best Democrat to publicly endorse considering his perception in the black electorate? Probably not, but the challenge of finding a candidate that 90 percent of blacks and 25 of whites in Mississippi trust is daunting. So since Childers will get traction with white voters for voting against Obamacare, and it figures that blacks have no choice but to vote for the Democratic nominee if he is chosen, then that is the best possible Democratic scenario to re-capture that Senate seat.

Question: How did that work in 2010?

I have been the Democratic nominee for the United States Senate in Mississippi twice. I know what that lonely feeling is like to be twisting in the wind or to be treated as the sacrificial lamb for "the greater good". For once, I just wish the Democratic Party in Mississippi would just give a damn about winning. And you can't win playing the game in fear. 

Ok, I'm done venting. It is what it is. I'll get over it. Rickey you shouldn't have publicly endorsed Travis over Bill, because either way, we have put lipstick on the pig. Good luck and if I have offended those involved I apologize. I respect each of you and I wish you well.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Michael Sam

Memo to all NFL players: Michael Sam is gay. Get over it.

Michael Sam is a helluva football player. He was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year. The St. Louis Rams got a steal in being able to pick such a talented player so late in the draft. If the Rams had passed on him, the Chicago Bears management said they would have gotten him because it would have allowed the franchise to have drafted back to back SEC Defensive Players of the Year. That is how good he is.

Whether he will be a defensive end or a linebacker remains to be seen, but I guarantee you he will make an impact on Sunday afternoons for years to come.

All of this has nothing to do with his sexual orientation. His teammates at the University of Missouri knew before the world did. They played with him, interacted with him and looked to him for leadership on and off the field. They didn't care about his personal life, neither should his future colleagues in the National Football League.

A person should be judged on what they bring to the table. Not their skin color, gender, or sexual orientation. The fact that an African-American player was the one who sent a message on Twitter expressing his dissatisfaction with Sam being drafted ( and I suppose his public display of affection as well ) makes it even more disturbing.

At one time in American history, Blacks, women and homosexuals were discouraged to fight for their country, fortunately many did despite this. Now the military has had the foresight to realize the error of their ways. It is time for the rest of society, including professional sports, to do the same.

Many of us know a family member or a friend or a co-worker or a classmate that is a member of the LGBT community. Regardless of your personal convictions, you have developed some kind of relationship with that person to peacefully co-exist. That is what is expected in a tolerant society.

It is my hope that the next discussion about Michael Sam will be about that hit he put on a running back or how explosive he is getting to the quarterback. Of course, when he plays against the Bears, I want to root for my guys to block him. Jay Cutler has had enough sacks as it is.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

April 29, 2014

How quickly our lives can change...in a span of 6 hours people in Mississippi lost homes, businesses and loved ones...we take things and people for granted because familiarity breeds contempt...let this be another reminder that we should cherish the life God has given us.

Let us also be reminded that trouble came in a big way but it ended real fast. Please look at the storms in your life the same way. I have learned that the quicker you set your mind toward recovery and getting up, the quicker you will see the sunshine and move forward.

God is with us. Pray to Him for recovery and strength. Pray for others. Learn the lessons He sets before us. Use the Spirit of God within you to get through the storms.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, 1947-2014

Nearly thirty years ago, a young brother and I were discussing the importance of the American Civil Rights Movement in the cause for African independence on the hill next to the Cafeteria Building at Jackson State. Near the end the brother invited me to come to a rally that weekend on Martin Luther King Dr, in a building named the Malcolm X Center for Self-Determination. There were many speakers that day but the headliner was a tall, handsome, smooth baritone-voiced attorney that invoked the audience to "Free the Land!" before and after he spoke.

The brother that invited me to the rally introduced me to the speaker. We engaged into a good discussion about politics and my future in it. His final advice to me was that I, and several other young men that were in attendance, were too intelligent to waste our intellect and talent on politics. How ironic it is that the same articulate, wise man that gave us that advice turned out to be one of the best political organizers the city of Jackson has ever seen.

Chokwe Lumumba was a mentor to me and a supporter of mine politically. When I had stepped away from politics in 1992, it was Chokwe and Ali Shamsideen that pulled me back in to help organize the People's Convention. It was Chokwe that led us to stand against the KKK and run them off in 1990. Chokwe was one the voices that kept us focused on the bigger picture, reminding us that our obligation as public servants was to literally serve the public and demanded that we do it in a dignified, structured manner.

However, in all honesty, one the biggest regrets I will have in my life is that politics eventually dimmed our relationship. I watched Chokwe from afar as he set forth his agenda while maintaining his commitment to remain one with the people. It was good that we still communicated occasionally and though we were not as close as we once were, I was devastated at 5:30 pm, February 25, 2014 when I heard the stunning and sad news.

Chokwe Lumumba was a good man. He was also a great champion for the people of this city and beyond. His reach will continue long after his passing through all the lives he touched. His legacy will be one to admire and emulate. Most importantly, to all of us, his presence will be missed.

Kwaheri brother Chokwe.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Welcome 2014

2013 was a bittersweet journey that I am glad and relieved is over. My resolution for 2014 is to make it the best year of my life. This is the year of transition. This is the year of preparation. This is the year that I move forward.

In the next 31 days I will be one year away from reaching my 50th birthday. So 2014 will be the year that I get ready for that golden age. I lost a lot in 2013 but I also gained as well. 2014 will be the year to build on those gains and achieve many more.

More importantly, I learned to let go and let God in 2013. Now 2014 is where I apply that lesson. I gained reassurance in 2013. In 2014, I will use that reassurance to truly walk out on faith and continue to fulfill that purpose in my life.

Yes 2013 was a rough one. 2014 will be better. I say that with the confidence only a child of God can have.

Happy New Year everyone.