Part 2 of Top Down Bigotry

The RP: Is Anti-Hinduism the GOP’s New Silver Bullet? « The Recovering Politician.

This is from the former Kentucky State Treasurer. Great blogger and someone I consider to be a genuine and authentic agent for positive change across the political landscape.

Top Down Bigotry and Ignorance – #overit

David Williams assails Steve Beshear over participation in Hindu prayer ceremony | The Courier-Journal | courier-journal.com.

I don’t pretend to know everything about everything…well I kinda do, but I am willing to talk about why I believe what I believe. And I’m not so intellectually arrogant as to think that everything I say or think or believe is the “gospel” truth (forgive the pun). This story was pure disheartening, as I work everyday to try and build acceptance, positive dialogue, and compassion across differences. In one statement, David Williams has reminded me of why my work remains relevant. For those who don’t know reading this, David Williams is the President of the Kentucky State Senate, and currently the republican candidate for Governor of Kentucky.

Without giving the whole God is love argument, or Jesus said to love each other above all else argument (because many Christians already know that and don’t care about that part). Let me just ask a simple question to Mr. Williams and others who may align with his thinking…why? Why do you think its a good idea to publicly say something as off-putting as this? Why do you feel it necessary to offend a company, people, and religion that is bringing jobs and revenue to your state? Why did you feel this was appropriate in any context, as a public government official to say the things you said? Why are you so insecure in your faith that you can’t even allow someone else to be a part of a prayer service from a different faith?

I’m done being PC about calling out ignorance. I have no patience for this type of top down foolishness and pure insensitivity from our so called leaders. You are a small minded, inconsiderate, thoughtless individual who would benefit from thinking before he speaks. Is that fair to say about someone I don’t even know, not at all, but fairness or justice isn’t what motivated this post. It’s ignorance – so allow me to be ignorant too. You won’t make me embarrassed to be a Christian, you’re not big enough for that. But you make me disgusted to be affiliated with the Commonwealth that you represent. Gov. Beshear makes me proud. You will lose the gubernatorial race. Period. Your recent actions only prove how desperate and futile your efforts will ultimately be. I’ll ask my Hindu brothers and sisters to say a prayer of thanksgiving with my Christian brothers and sisters when you fall on election day. #overit.

How I Did It: Going Back to School for a Graduate Degree

How I Did It: Going Back to School for a Graduate Degree.

A great and practical article for those of you considering the graduate degree. I am interested in helping those of you seeking a graduate degree, bachelors or associates to realize your academic success. You have to plan and think it through though – don’t get caught up in the hype and “glamor.” College is a huge time and financial commitment, remember that!

A Fool in Love

For those who know me well, you know I absolutely love old music, particularly old gospel and Motown. In fact I like most music so long as the lyrics tell a story. So ballads, despite the genre, are my favorite. I find amazing lessons in the most unassuming spaces, and the music industry provides some good ones. Tina and Ike Turner wrote a song “A Fool in Love” that debuted in 1960. Great song – classic Ike and Tina. The song basically tells of a woman that is so foolishly in love with a man, despite the fact that she shouldn’t be. The chorus sings:

You take the good, along with the bad,

Sometimes you’re happy, and sometimes you’re sad,

You know you love him, you can’t understand,

Why he treats you like he do when he’s such a good man.

 Of course this was Tina’s personal story unfortunately; she was in love with an abusive and terrible partner, and yet she stayed until she reached her breaking point. What I can appreciate about what Tina is saying/feeling, is this notion of loving something completely (and even foolishly) despite the risks. DISCLAIMER: NO ONE should love ANYTHING in a way that causes you physical, mental, or any other kind of harm.

But think about what you love, or do not love, in your day-to-day lives. How much do you really love your major, your job, your hobby, or the people in your life? Are you foolishly in love – throwing caution to the wind, or just a little in love? Because of fear, past hurt, disappointment, and anxiety, I find myself not fully loving and embracing the people and opportunities in my life. I refuse to trust friends, because they might hurt me. So I exist in a half-fulfilled friendship to protect from hurt that may or may not happen. And the question that I ask is what does that cost me? Sure it spares me from a potentially hurtful or disappointing future, but what does it cost me in lost time now? And what if the fear and hesitance is actually leading me to the future disappointment I so greatly try to avoid? And is the possibility of not being hurt worth not loving and living freely now? This is not just with personal relationships either. I think about people who want to start new businesses or jump into a new job, but find themselves afraid of all the unknowns. So they choose inaction and complacency, over action and risk.

I want to be a fool in love with everything I do. That seems to be the most fulfilling thing I can do now, and something I believe will be worth it in the end. Watch Tina perform below and you’ll get it. See the passion, the fun, and the way it all shaped her into the beautiful and healthy woman she is now.

P.S. Check out the backup dancers and band is killing it, old school style. You have to appreciate that.

STUCK

“I’m STUCK daddy, I’m STUCK!” My little girl, Katharine, is just over 2 years old, and she exercises her very budding vocabulary extensively (wonder where she gets that from?) When we are playing and rolling around on the floor I’ll sometime hold on to her, preventing her from standing up or moving. Her understanding of this feeling is being stuck, thus the sentence that started this post. “I’m STUCK Daddy!” to which I reply, you’re not stuck honey, I’m holding you down.

Therein lies the magic of perspective. Scan your environment right now…go ahead, do it. Do you ever feel stuck; trapped; pinned down? Take a look again; are you really stuck, or is someone (or something) holding you down. You see the problem is the same, but the solution is very very different. If you are stuck, you have some steps you can take to wiggle yourself loose. You may have to exert a lot of energy, but given enough counter force, you’ll be able to get free. It’s also likely that if you are stuck, much like Pumbaa in this picture above, you probably got yourself there, so you can get yourself out.

On the other hand, getting free from being held down requires different skills altogether to get free. In fact, the energy needed to get out may be easier than you think. Communication skills, negotiation skills, identifying good friends/mentors in your life, and much more can help you when you feel held down. For my daughter, and for many of us, struggling against a force that is holding you down only makes it worse. Oftentimes when my daughter takes a minute to listen she hears me say, “just ask nicely and I’ll let you go,” to which she finally responds “pleeeeeeeeeeeeaseeee,” and then she’s free. Ask yourself if your “stuck” situations are actually people or things holding you back. Ask yourself if the answer to getting unstuck is staring you right in the face, or whether or not someone else who loves you or cares about you is trying to tell you how to break free. There is an entirely different post needed to talk about not getting held down in the first place, but we will deal with that later. For now, look at the people and situations in your life and ask these three questions:

  • Does this person/thing/situation make me happy;
  • Is my life quantitatively or qualitatively better because of this person/thing/situation;
  • Am I excited when I think about this person/thing/situation?

Answers to these questions will help you determine if you are stuck or just being held down by something. You don’t have time to live life stuck, whether its in a major, a relationship, or friendship. So get serious about your situation. Get unstuck friends, and let me know if I can help you with that.

Whether We Want it or Not

A friend sent me a text recently that changed my topic for this week. He said (and forgive me if this quote belongs to someone else, which I imagine it does) “that life is a constant state of radiation and absorption; to exist is to radiate; to exist is to be the recipient of radiation. We influence others whether we know it or not.” Now you all know I’m not the esoteric pop psychology type, so for me to repost this I must have found some truth to it. Let’s explore together. There are so many things in our life that we do not have control over; the weather, other people, nature, etc. But there is SO much that we do control, or at minimum influence, whether we know it or not. This quote rings true because I have seen the attitude altering effect of saying hello to a passerby. I have seen me and one of my business partners “level-up” despite us being dog tired, just by willing ourselves to. I have seen me finish my PhD despite never being told I should or could.

I teach student leaders oftentimes about legacy, and how it to is either transmitted to, or received by, those who follow you. In that definition too is the realization that one way or the other your legacy will be left. Isn’t it worth taking time to think about what that will be, and how it will look? How dare we handle with such carelessness things like our legacy, reputation, time, energy, and general self-image. Strolling into class late, blowing off meetings, giving it up for whoever and whenever (somebody say PREACH!), and letting your integrity come into question. These are all things that are precious jewels, that in the wrong hands leave you looking like someone you don’t even recognize. I hope I don’t sound pious or condescending. Those of you who know me, and whom I trust, know that I can get as “buck” and have as much fun as the next person, but I control who sees that. I influence the narrative, because its just that important.

Since we are always in a state of doing or not doing by our actions or inaction, I try to be very intentional with my time. Need another example or catchy saying: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Let me be clear, you are always making choices even when you don’t make one. So when you don’t defend that person in your class from blatant or covert racism or homophobia, you are making a clear statement through your inaction. When you are lazy and disengaged in class, you send a clear message to your classmates and professor. I make sure that each and every day I “show up” my best self so that the energy I radiate, either intentionally or by accident, lifts people up rather than tears them down, and leaves the best possible impression of me. I want to be remembered as someone who made life better, more enjoyable. If I took a Geiger counter and turned it towards you, what would it read?

Steve Jobs…legacy

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Death of any kind reminds us of our own mortality. The death of a brilliant and very wealthy person reminds us that nothing can shield us from death’s grip. I’m encouraged through my faith that there is something beyond this life, and excited that Mr. Jobs has shown me how to leave a legacy that will never be forgotten. He did this by living his life fully, taking risks and filling his 56 years with purpose and meaning. My wife compiled a portrait of all the Mac products we have owned as a tribute to this man’s impact on our lives. I wonder what my portrait will be. What will yours be?

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