one | divided

‘we’re one

but we’re not the same

will we hurt each other

then we do it again’ – one – U2

one.

 

one world. one love. one people. one human race.

really?

are we really united as one?

does it feel this way to you?

wars

murders

crimes against each other

political back stabbings and finger pointings

burning the religious teachings our ‘neighbors’ treasure

it really seems difficult to consider us ‘one’ these days.

we live in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. why does it seem difficult to conceive the notion of us being a truly united nation? is this what the idea was? to conjure up an idea of constructing a wall to keep our neighbors out of our country? one nation we stand? oh well if you look like you might not be from here than we are going to need some identification to prove you belong here. that would make sense, if only there was such a thing as being one hundred percent American with no biological ties to other lands.

one?

we are truly losing grasp on what America was built to be. once there was a time when we wanted to be considered a melting pot. a land where people could assimilate their cultures. we once believed that here, on this land, we could practice religion the way we chose, in our own manner and to which ever god we believed in. we deserved that freedom. is that still the case?

a pastor decides he wants to burn the Koran. the holy book of millions of people worldwide. because he wanted to ‘warn’ the radicals. what is truly sad to me is that his fear of other religions overrides the truth of the God he supposedly follows.

one?

this nation continues to fight internally over political endeavors. blaming the ‘other side’ has become the normal way of life. republicans. democrats. tea party loyalists. the ‘one’ thing in common with them is that they blame everyone else. this is not how the system was supposed to work.

we are one?

even if the Koran was not burned does not mean that pastor altered his hatred of the Islamic faith. sadly he has missed the main message Jesus taught regarding others. this is not the idea Jesus had in mind when He said He was the way. He never said that hatred for others was a relevant part of being a Christian. quite the opposite actually. it is sad how little love has come from such a large group of people.

we are truly losing the battle we created for no particular reason. we demanded that the Berlin Wall be torn down but we threaten to build our own. we claim democracy and unity is what the world needs. but we have created barriers within our own borders that make freedoms harder to come by. we send troops overseas to fight wars on foreign soil but we ignore the wars waging everyday here. the wars against the homeless, the addicts, the poor, the flood victims etc. etc. etc. we have lost sight of reality. we have become a people we fought against. we have become the oppressors of freedom instead the ‘beacon of light’ we dreamed of being.

we have become one | divided.

no bliss in ignorance

this quote sums up my thoughts for the day so i will let my hero, the great late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. use my blog to speak to you.

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

Martin Luther King (1929-1968)

Strength to Love, 1963

breathe it in – soak it up – breathe it out

as a kid, i had many dreams of what being an adult would be like.

and then as i got older i found myself wishing i was just a boy again. i just wanted to fall back to who i used to be. full of dreams and ambition and so many aspirations.

that is…until recently. the last couple of years i have really come to embrace the stages life brings me. though i am not a kid anymore, the kid in me does not have to  disappear. the kid that would dream of big things and never accept failure as a final result, the kid who always had a smile and could make anyone laugh, the kid who would dream of traveling the world, that is who i was as a boy. and that is who i want to be as a man.

i think that everyone dreams of adventure and every person has intense desires to accomplish as much as possible. what is unfortunate is that we do not believe in ourselves enough. we sell ourselves short too often and we settle for too little.

the people i admire most are the one’s who do not sit and mope and wish they were more. i admire the people who have no quit. who look at life as a challenge and not an obstacle. this type of person inspires me to not just set goals but work harder to achieve them, even the loftiest of them.

when i was talking about being a boy, this thought crossed my mind: as children, we dream of who and what we will become, and we sincerely believe that is who we will make of ourselves.  then we grow up and doubt and self-loathing and fear and this need for certainty creeps in and we pull back and we stop ourselves.  it does not have to be that way. who we were as kids, with that child-like determination and wide-eyed wonder, is still a part of who we are as adults and those desires we have dreamed up, they never leave us.

we should aspire to be everything we can be. we were created for that much. we were created for adventure, we were created for desire. we were made to live and love and laugh and learn and be all and accomplish all. this is our life and we only get one. we don’t get do-overs. we have one chance to live as much as we possibly can. we have to breathe it in, soak it up, breathe it out, and step out into the world and become who we always believed we could really be.

so that is my inspirational for the day

be good to your life. it’s the only one you get.

It’s What Separates Us From the Animals

If we don’t stand for something, what is it, don’t we fall for anything?

People die and we barely blink. War is tragic and it is senseless, but we say it’s a necessary evil to fight evil. Have we not become the monster we intended to destroy?  Bono asks…how long do we sing this song? How long?
It’s war, people die…that’s what we say…as if it makes it okay. Handing a mother a folded flag instead of allowing her to see her child grow into old age…that is not necessary…even if it is dignified.

Children are dying because we are looking the other direction. On purpose. People curl up and die on sidewalks, but we are concerned about suburbia, economic growth. What about keeping hearts beating? Generosity? Genuine concern? What have we become?

What is our gift?We have a soul, and we have a conscience.That is our gift.

It is what separates us from the rest of the animals.

God granted us that. For a reason.

When does humanitarianism count? Genuine care for each other? When did that become rare? Why do we praise people for actually caring about others? We give them awards and keys to the city. Why? Because it is rare. But it doesn’t have to be.
Are we not supposed to care about each other? It’s not just Christians banding with Christians. Jews with Jews. Muslims with Muslims. Blacks with Blacks. Whites with Whites. Rockers with Rockers. Rappers with Rappers. Hipsters with Hipsters. We are a “melting pot”.

Life is here. Heaven comes to earth. We should not wait until we reach heaven. Heaven on earth. Peace on earth. How dare we live just to survive?

There is a song that says, “this world is not my home, I am just a passerby”…is that what we are doing…just passing by? How many people do we “pass by” without a second glance…because we are on a higher calling?
Life is here. People should live. Here. Especially if we have the chance to keep them alive. Children should not die before they have a chance to live

This is what would separate us from the rest of the animals


the pursuit of the dream.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
the pursuit of the dream.
to me, this is the speech. the speech that gave a racially divided america reason to believe one day, maybe just maybe we could be united despite our differences, racially or otherwise. we have seen much of Dr. King’s dream become realities throughout the years. in 1998 while visiting tunica, mississippi, i was witness to extravagant leaps and bounds in racial unity, just by walking down the street with white people. the locals said then that this never would have happened even ten years previous. wow. to me, growing up as the only black kid in predominately caucasian traverse city, michigan, this was truly unbelievable. ‘a black kid couldn’t even walk down the street with a white kid?’ i was truly amazed at the honesty and openness of the locals about their racially divided struggles of the past. i guess we have come a long ways.
fast forward. 2010. as a black man who grew up in a white family with white and hispanic siblings, my story is most likely different from yours. i did not grow up with thoughts of racial segregation. i was brought into a integrated family unit much different than any others i knew back then. this doesn’t mean i didn’t face racial hostilities as a kid and doesn’t mean i don’t now as an adult. i feel the stares when i am with my white friends in public or today when i walk down the street holding hands with my girlfriend who happens to be white. i know it. i sense it. i’m not oblivious. white people and black people alike have the same reactions. just last night as we were walking past a park bench, an african-american female pretended to be reading a book but instead sat smirking with her eyes glued to us as we strolled past hand in hand. the smirk was a symptom of her intolerance. sometimes you just know what a person is thinking. i guess i just don’t care. my mom told me once (after an elderly man told me that if he could, he would beat the black out of me for delivering his newspaper wrong. i was 11 at the time) that if i let people get the best of me regarding the color of my skin, i will always be miserable. so i learned to shake it off. when people told me they couldn’t believe how articulate i was for a black kid, i just shrugged it off. ‘it must be how you were raised, they’d say, knowing i was raised with white parents. apparently black kids are naturally unintelligent and raw when it comes to social skill development. it is amazing how that idea can sub-consciously seep into a person’s thought process. i developed a sense of humor about it, mainly as a defense mechanism, when kids would daily make jokes about me on the school bus, i would simply laugh with them but inside i always could feel the sting of prejudice thoughts.  as i grew older, i initiated the jokes, might as well beat them to the punch right? i would rather start the joke than be the joke. that was my mindset. make it funny!
but. is it funny?
this little narrative is not intended to be about my life. it is about america. it is about the race wars that wage in the back of our minds on a regular occurrence. it is prevalent in every part of our society. we see it in hollywood, where a-list black actors still fight for recognition as oscar worthy candidates for their craft and their talent, not  being good for a black actor. sports has a way of developing reverse racism lately. a white basketball player can normally be compared to larry bird. (when was steve nash last compared to isiah thomas or magic johnson instead of bob cousy and john stockton?) in our neighborhoods we still see racial and class struggles, though the two don’t equally intermingle quite like society assumes it does, but that is a different topic and not one i am trying to exploit here. what i am trying to expose is the racial hostilities that reside in all of us. admit it. we both know that we have thoughts about each other that do not equal reality. i like wearing baggy long shorts. not because i am black but because they are comfortable. i also like rap music, but do i like that because of my race or because i like the flow and the beat and the emotions that are so raw and real it makes me feel like i went through the same pain? do i like journey’s “don’t stop believing” because of the white culture i reside in or because of the memories it creates in my head? see, too often we equate intellect, athletic ability and social aptitude with racial conditions, but in truth, our racial heritage is only a small factor. maybe we are who we are because that is who we were always supposed to be, regardless of the skin that covers us.
dr. king had a dream. it was not a daydream. it was not unattainable. that has been proven. the pursuit of this dream has been the goal ever since it was laid out in front of the world. one day we will be equal. where we go next is up to us. you. me. this story is never-ending.  it never should be. it is the pursuit of the dream.

like a parade.

let me start by saying… America is Beautiful.

We have better opportunities here than anywhere. I’m very proud to be an American… but. the other day i saw something that truly disgusted me.

at a large public gathering in a nearby lakeshore town, a woman was speaking about her trips to Honduras, working with young girls at what i presume to be an orphanage there. In order to illustrate the good works her and her teams have done over the years, she decided it would add value to her speech to bring a young Honduran girl, probably 16-17 years old, up with her in front of the crowd of hundreds.

like a parade.

the poor girl was brought in front of the crowd to hold a placard with pictures and stand silent while the lady told the crowd how once you go to another country like Honduras, you realize America is the greatest nation in the world (I believe America to be great, i also believe it was unnecessary to make this point while a Honduran citizen was in her presence). She spoke about how they had brought the girl here to teach her responsibility, get her U.S driver’s license, and teach her English. She was so proud of how much they had done for this girl and how they were hoping she would go back to Honduras to run the Home there. awesome. except…

what is the purpose of American-izing the girl?

yes we do have our way of doing things here that works for us. bringing someone out of their culture, teaching them another culture and then transplanting them back to their native culture is completely counter-productive. besides appearing arrogant about her own good deeds, it is so sad that this view is shared by so many Americans. (the Iraq War for example) we try so hard to spread our ideals around the world that we neglect the simplest of factors = our culture is not THEIR culture. we push our hopes, our dreams, our expectations to other regions of the world where the mindset, the desires are much different from our own.  even our religion is different, with our own American spin.

the message here is that despite our successes (and failures), as Americans it is not our duty to American-ize the world. it is not our right to decide what faith, government, ideals others around the world should believe in. What we have here works, it does not mean it should work globally.  yes, peace and prosperity should abound for everyone, but who decides how that should be applied? do we get to bring people out of their state of culture to teach them that we do it better than they do? I love the United States of America, but we are off base if we think that we have the right and obligation to ensure that everyone does as we do. at least… according to me…

CHAOS

is it just me?

or does it seem like the world has gone chaotic? seemingly, life has turned into the next disaster, natural or otherwise. we wait until we see BREAKING NEWS! across the TV screen and then we sit in some sort of muted awe at what we see. we think, “how could this be?” as if somehow our innocence has been shattered for the first time.

since 1998. we have withstood:

Columbine.

Iraq.

Afganistan.

Tsunami’s.

Saddam.

Osama.

Katrina.

Haiti.

SARS.

Bush.

Housing market crash.

Economic meltdown.

Kobe vs. Shaq.

ESPN overload.

Tea Party Activism.

Jersey Shore.

we have experienced a great deal of crisis in a relatively short amount of time. it has become a chaotic world. what do we do with it?? what is our relief? it appears that our way of thinking has become corrupted. by what? media. hollywood. ourselves.

we have been inundated by technology. we have succumbed to the power of “others”– meaning– we have come to expect “others” to take the fall, to be responsible, while accepting less and less responsibilities for our own actions. we blame government. we say it’s all their fault. we form activist groups bordering on hate because we hate that we think the “others” hate us.

when we decide that enough is enough, it is NOT that we say enough of what THEY do is enough. it is what WE do. it is enough of our own action.

we have witnessed a lot. more than we should in a lifetime, let alone a decade. but  blame  does not heal us. it does not repair wounds. once we are able to let go of our own hate, our own selfish pride, our own undignified reactions — then we can try to fix the world.

until then. look inside.

ohhh yea… one more thing

I forgot the most important thing…

this blog is specifically only going to be about sports because that is all i care about.

and music.

and religion.

and politics.

and current events.

and why Lindsey Lohan is embarrassment to our society. and why sitting in the local pub with friends debating pop culture for hours is one of my favorite things to do. so yea… specifically only about everything going on in society.

Cool??? Cool. At least… According to Me…

Just a lil’ introduction…

The world NEEDS another blogger! yes yes yes!!! Obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t want my voice heard!!! People everywhere have been begging and pleading for another useless, trivial opinion about things that don’t matter and since I am sooooo good at talking about things that have no relevance… why not add my name to the list… so… here I am…

Who am i? James. I like sports. and music. and simple things like sitting on my porch and watching cars drive by. (and if you saw the road I live on, you would know that the same seven (7) cars drive by all day… not exactly a bustling metropolis is Byron Center). I am obsessed with social media… facebook and twitter have gotten the best of me … and for some strange reason I love politics (though when people say “i hate politics!” i pretend to agree).

So anyway, this is me. and this is my blog. I may be politically correct at times and other times I may be controversial. Sometimes my use of grammar will be excellent, and other times my ranting and raving will distract me from correct capitalization and punctuation marks.

you can find me on facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/thejamesaarongilmore and twitter @ http://www.twittter.com/TheJayGil77

so until next time… this is my blog. it’s

My.Thoughts.Exactly.