Bill’s Saturday Musings and Observations: American Protest Unity

Good Saturday to you, everyone!

Life wins are hard to find at times when the things going on around you all seem so negative.

Take the recent decisions by grand juries in St. Louis, Missouri and Staten Island, New York. Their “no bill” decisions – that is, decisions not to file any homicide charges against white police officers who killed two African-American men, despite evidence to the contrary – were just two of many such outcomes in similar cases in the U.S. over the past decades. However, these decisions sparked protests across the country.

The “win” here, to me, is the unity and diversity of the protesters who marched in St. Louis, New York, Los Angeles, Oakland, Berkeley, Sacramento and Cleveland, Ohio (where a 12-year-old with a toy gun was shot to death without warning by a Cleveland cop) to say “Black lives matter!” and “Justice for everyone!” I was proud to watch these folks come together peacefully in the most recent protests and stand up for what is right. They were young and old, of every race and sex, men women and children, all ages. This was a Life Win for everyone, even those who don’t know it yet.

I was even prouder to learn that my niece, Jena, a student at U.C. Berkeley, was among the protesters. (She’s the one in pink hat, lower left corner of the photo below). She and the others she joined are proof that the “millennials” are NOT a generation of young people who just sit around thinking about themselves. Jena adds to the heritage of civil rights protesters in our blended family. My mother participated in sit-ins at one of the major banks in St. Louis in the 1960s to protest their discriminatory policies toward Black customers. My Uncle Jeff was a civil rights attorney in New York. My wife’s Uncle Mike ­– an ex-Marine who lost a leg in World War II – was one of many Caucasians to join the March on Washington with Martin Luther King in 1963.

BSUweb_ahayat10

No Justice, No Peace: Black students rally in solidarity. D. Hayat/Senior Staff By Daily Cal Photo Staff on Friday, December 5, 2014, dailycal.org.

I’m also proud of the few police officers, like Pedro Serrano of the NYPD, who have come forward to testify about working under conditions of institutional racism that have been perpetuated for years, despite the institution of laws, policies and procedures to prevent them. His testimony in the face of ostracism and harassment from his ‘brothers in blue” is a Life Win for his community and a testament to his dedication and bravery.

pedro-serrano

NYPD Officer Pedro Serrano. Photo by TV One

By the way, please don’t think I have a beef with the police. Some of my close friends are, or were police officers. I even lost a childhood friend who died in the line of duty (drug raid). I just don’t like those who abuse their authority or blindly make instantaneous, life-altering decisions based on centuries-old stereotypes and fears.

That’s it for me today. Have a “Win-derful” week!

Peace,

Bill M

Appreciation

Although I am a broke college student, I have 3 younger brothers and sisters I have to buy presents for. Unfortunately, my younger siblings are incredibly whiny and snobby. My little brother buys T-shirts for 30 dollars each. Mind you, they look like plain white t-shirts with a small brand-name on it. If i dared buy him a T-shirt that’s not brand name, he would probably throw it away because its not “nice” enough for his reputation. My sister just got a nice laptop (not for Christmas) and when she got a desk to go along with it, she complained and said it was the wrong color for her room. My other younger sister complained because I told her I will buy her an expensive Starbucks drink, but I couldn’t afford to buy her an pastry. So I bought her a cookie and a drink, and didn’t get anything for myself.

So as I was leaving the library, I spotted this Christmas tree with these angel cutouts on it. I picked up an angel out of curiosity. The angels were made by kids in foster care, and they write their Christmas “wishes” on it. The angel I had was written by a 9 year old girl who wished for “world peace” and two barbies to play with. My youngest sister is near her age (11). She doesn’t wish for a 15 dollar barbie. She got mad at me yesterday because I tried to give her my used Acer laptop instead of a Macbook that my brother gave me. Let me remind you, shes 11. And right now, she has a Macbook, while I have the Acer.

Oddly enough, the angel got me mad. Like, I was so pissed off. My bratty siblings whine about the presents I give them already. Why should I waste time and energy buying them presents they don’t like because its not “expensive” enough for them? I stress out so much because I don’t have enough money to appeal to their taste. All I want is for them to enjoy Christmas, and be happy I even tried to find them gifts I personally picked out for each of them. I don’t ask for nothing in return, just a simple “thank you”. This little girl, only wants 2 barbies and world peace. If i got her two barbies, she will be so happy and excited because her wish was fulfilled.

So you know what? Tomorrow i’m going to Walmart and buying her barbies. I’m down to the last dollars on my bankcard, but i’m not wasting another dime on kids who will just be ungrateful. I already finished their shopping, and if they want to complain about my gifts, so what? I really did try to be a good sister. Heck, i’m even considering donating their gifts I bought to Sleep Train ,since its not “good” enough for them.

Sorry for the rant. I just want everyone to be grateful, and enjoy their gifts. Christmas became something different in modern years. When I was little, I got basically nothing. My mom doesn’t understand Christmas, and she’s actually pretty selfish herself. It was rare for me to even have presents to open on Christmas. These bratty kids want all these expensive designer things nowadays, and they are lucky us older kids are there to even wrap them stuff under the tree.

This year, please donate to the kids in need. I read other angels, and they ask for things that are very simple to get. (barbies, electric cars, toy trains, scooters, bikes etc.)

Happy holidays!

 

Bill’s Saturday Musings and Observations

THE GOLDEN RULE

Good Saturday to you!

Here’s an amazing fact. I’m sure we’ve all heard some form of the Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I was thinking about it and remembered something I learned years ago: that nearly every religion in the world has some form of that basic philosophy. Below are examples of how it’s expressed in a few of the world’s major religions.

Christianity All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them; for this is the law and the prophets. – Matthew 7:1
Confucianism Do not do to others what you would not like yourself. Then there will be no resentment against you, either in the family or in the state. – Analects 12:2
Buddhism Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. – Udana-Varga 5,1
Hinduism This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you. – Mahabharata 5,1517
Islam No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself. – Sunnah
Judaism What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellowman. This is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary. – Talmud, Shabbat 3id
Taoism Regard your neighbor’s gain as your gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss. – Tai Shang Kan Yin P’ien

Here’s what I find so amazing about it all. Nearly all of these religions were founded centuries ago in countries around the world. They had no connection with each other, there was no mass communication, no way to exchange or compare religious philosophies across continents and oceans. Yet, somehow, they all incorporated this basic tenet that I find at the heart of peace and goodwill. It tells me that deep within us all men and women – as innate even as our carnal flight or fight responses for survival – is a desire for peace and coexistence. Don’t we all want others to treat us well?

2013-01-04 22.53.21

Just think. If each of us followed any version of the Golden Rule, there would be fewer conflicts and more peace and harmony in the world, and that would result in a huge life win for all of us. I’ll try everyday. Will you?

Be sure to check out Tina P’s post on from Friday, “A Sweet Old Man,” and CK has an interesting pre-Halloween entry in her 10/23 post on Photoandaphrase called “Against My Better Judgement.” The video is short but creepy scary.

M Angelou_Creation of God

See you next Saturday.

Peace,

Bill M