Life’s Playlist…. My Hometown by Bruce Springsteen

There are major issues in our country with solutions that seem to be going nowhere.

Big issues that affect every American are being pushed aside by elected leaders on both side of the political spectrum.   Instead of addressing the major issues that impact our daily lives, wedge issues are being pushed to appeal to their bases.

Here’s an idea, if the President and our Congress are really SERIOUS about issues like healthcare and tax reform I have a sure-fire solution that I guarantee could get majority passage on both issues.

IF I WERE PRESIDENT……

If I were President I would call a join session of Congress, have it televised and as I stepped to the podium my entire speech would be….

My fellow Americans, I stand before you tonight as your President knowing that major issues that affect us all are not being resolved and “We the People” deserve better.

With this being said, tonight I call on Speaker Ryan, Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leaders Pelosi and Schumer to appoint four members from their aisle, and their respective arms of Congress,  to focus on healthcare, another four from each side of the aisle to focus on tax reform.

In 24 hours they are to report to Camp David.  The assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Budget Director will meet them there.

These elected officials and my representatives will not leave Camp David until they have reached consensus on these issues that affect us all.  They will stay at Camp David for as long as it takes.

Once they leave Camp David, I expect your leaders to ensure passage of these bipartisan solutions.  None of us are going to get everything we want in these deals, but it is time we stopped working separately and worked together for the American people.

It is time we, your elected officials, got to work and solved the problems that affect us all.

Thank you, may God bless the United States of America and good night.

And with that I would walk off the stage, end of speech.

My bet is, within 5 days there would be solutions.

One Nation…..

Usually when I sit down to write my Sunday post, I have an outline in my head about what I am going to write, that is not the case today.

I had planned on writing a light-hearted post about the Eclipse; unfortunately the circumstances of the last eight days does not allow me to do that.

For the last week I have battled myself as to whether or not I even wanted to write this post.  I try to stay non-political, but I know if I am going to be honest with myself and the people who honor me with reading what I write, I have to write this post…… if only I knew what to say.

I think like many of you, I have no idea how to even address the issues that face our nation when it comes to race, but why should we, our nation has battled this issue for the last 200 years and we still can’t get it right, so I am just going to jump in, share my thoughts and let them lie.

I have a feeling what I say won’t be popular with either side, but here goes, as I sit here in front of my keyboard I still don’t know what to say.

Like many of you I have been shocked by the comments and actions we have seen played out on our television screens over the last week.  How have we gotten the issue of race in America so wrong for over two centuries and we still don’t have any end in sight to what tears us apart as a nation?

I am a son of the South, I grew up in rural Georgia, moved to Atlanta after college and then on to south-Florida and back home again just two short years ago.

During my time on this earth I have been fortunate to live and work in some of the most vibrant multi-cultural cities in our nation.  Atlanta;  West Palm Beach, Florida;  Lake Park, Florida;  Orlando, Philadelphia, Richmond, Va and my home Clayton, GA.  In each and every one of these communities I have worked with, laughed with, cried with and loved people of all races.

I deplore racism on every front, but I deplore racism on ALL sides.  In my life I have found just as many white people as black people who disgust me in their actions and beliefs.

I am a white middle-aged man, I do not think I am better or worse than any other person on this planet.  I was taught to respect my fellow-man and honor them for the character they create, their actions and their work-ethic, not their past, their heritage or the political affiliation they identify with.

Some say, as a white man I have privilege, I don’t.  I have worked for everything I have ever gotten in my life and I am proud of the life I have built for myself through hard-work and dedication.

We have all seen racism and bigotry played out through the history of our nation, it’s despicable.  Allow me to relate two stories that happened to me during the 1980’s, both still disgust me today.

When I was in college one of my best friends was a black woman named Lisa.  We shared a Major and became friends through group projects, club affiliations and studies.

Our college was in a small town in south-Georgia.  One Saturday, Lisa and I were working on a project and needed to run into town to pick up some supplies.

As we walked down the Main Street of the town, a small group of KKK members were assembled in front of us.  Obviously Lisa was nervous, but steadfast that we needed to get where we were going.  We walked directly towards the small group of hate when one of the members of the group approached me and said “boy, what are you doing with that?”  THAT!?!?

I was with a young woman of grace, dignity and intelligence who was working towards a college degree, a young woman who would make an impact on the world.

While I wanted to share my feelings with this pig who had spewed his hate on us, I didn’t.  I didn’t because Lisa continued to look forward, stood tall and kept walking.  I learned a lesson that day, when hate is ignored it is silenced.

When we finished our errand, Lisa walked back towards the group, there were no comments thrown our way, only silenced haters by a young woman who showed what character is made of.

The second incident occurred in the late 80’s in Atlanta.  As the annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration was approaching, my friends Greg and David and I decided we would attend the parade to honor Dr. King and the vision of an America free of hate that he dreamed of.

On the day of the parade, the three of us boarded a MARTA train headed into downtown to participate in the festivities.

During the short train ride to the parade route we heard a few comments from others on the train, it was uncomfortable but we knew it would be OK once we got to Peachtree Street.

It wasn’t.

During that afternoon we were ridiculed and shouted at, it was made clear to us that three white guys were not welcome and instead of showing our support for Dr. King’s Dream, we left before the parade could even begin.

Certainly we all have stories we can relate regarding race, these are just two, but they exemplify the problem we have as a country…. BOTH sides have people who stand in their corner who do more damage than good, BOTH sides have a long way to move before we can truly be the UNITED States of America and BOTH sides need to listen and talk more than stepping up on their soapbox in an effort to prove their misguided point.

In my soul I know that these bigots, racists and hate groups are a very small minority, but let us be clear they stand on both sides of the argument.

President Donald Trump hurt the conversation this week with his comments, and as many of you, I was repulsed by what he said; however, if you are repulsed by the President’s comments and not equally repulsed when Missouri State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal publicly stated she hopes the President is assassinated you have a problem.

This week, Democratic House Leader, Nancy Pelosi said the statues of Confederates in the US Capitol have always been offensive and called on Speaker of the House Ryan to have them removed.

My question for Ms. Pelosi is, if they have ALWAYS been offensive why didn’t she call for their removal when she was Speaker of the House?

The hypocrisy of our elected leaders is offensive to the constituents they represent.  At some point we as Americans have to tackle this issue on our own and stop allowing the grand-standers who live off the public dole to set the agenda.  These elected individuals are not who should be changing the hearts and minds of Americans, that is our job, they should be working on creating jobs, the economy, our nation’s safety and stop trying to shirk their responsibilities as elected officials to govern.

There are those who now call for the removal of all Confederate monuments around the country, if and when they are removed what happens next?  Will we remove monuments of our Jewish leaders, Hispanic, Black, Gay, Italian, Christian, when we cover up our history we don’t have a chance to learn from the mistakes of the past and grow towards a more perfect union.

I have been blessed to know and love people of all races, creeds and sexual orientations.  I have known very few people in my life who are not accepting of others, because I choose not to allow that type of bigotry to infiltrate my life.

Thankfully I know our nation is filled with people like me, it’s now time we put the hate groups in the trash where they belong and work as a nation to stitch together this great divide created by a few.

Love always wins, it’s time we the majority, those who truly love our land and it’s people, prove it!

Short Notes – Table of Hypocrisy

I stay out of political debate.  I used to get into it but the conversations never changed anyone’s minds and it did nothing but harm relationships.

I have said I didn’t vote for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, but I DID vote and I stand by my choice.

I support the President, I hope he succeeds because to wish anything else is un-American.

What Kathy Griffin did is DISGUSTING, it is un-American and it is dangerous.

The comments about Mrs. Trump and their young son Barron are also disgusting, un-American and dangerous.

Just like the comments over the last eight years when referencing  former President Obama and his family were disgusting, un-American and dangerous.

I find it interesting that those who are so appalled by President Trump’s actions and comments have grown silent when it comes to Kathy Griffin.

It’s also interesting how some of the ones who are most upset by the latest political commentary embraced the hostility towards leaders of the past.

How many seats are available at this table of hypocrisy?

Why would anyone who could really be a great President for our nation put themselves through this?  I guess we really do get what we deserve when we tear down those who step forward to lead.

Hopefully we the American people will grow weary of this mentality of destruction before it’s too late.

 

Tis the Season…..

On November 5th, 1996 I moved to West Palm Beach, I packed up everything I owned in Atlanta shortly after the 1996 Summer Olympics in search of a new adventure…… I found it!

The past years have been the most remarkable of my life, I have made friends that changed me for the better.  I found a career that challenges and satisfies me in ways I never knew possible and I have grown up.

While I will always be a Georgia boy and God’s Country will always be my home, south Florida has proven to be the next best place I can dream of being, some would even call it …… Paradise.

When I moved to West Palm, one of the first things I learned was the term “season.”

Many of us think of “season” as Summer, Winter, Fall or Spring.  Some of us think of “season” as the days leading up to Christmas and others think of “season” a Football, Baseball or Basketball.

While all of those are perfectly fine examples of “season” what I learned when I moved to south Florida was there are only two seasons…….  Season and NOT Season.

Season for South Floridians was historically defined as the time between Thanksgiving and Easter each year.  During this time wealthy Yankees would invade the southern coastline to escape harsh northern winters.

As time has evolved, these “guests” have come to be affectionately called “snow birds.”  While no longer relegated to Yankee aristocrats, “snow birds” are usually retirees from around the country moving to the warmer weather for an active life during the winter months.

After moving to south Florida, my parents became snow birds and if my ideal plan comes true, one day I will do the same.

Season in south Florida, for those of us who live here, is the time when our days become increasingly busy.  The roads become increasingly congested and the cash registers ring.

One of the lessons new businesses learn here is the ability to save.  A south Florida business will easily do 75% of their sales during season, therefore the necessity to save for the leaner summer months become quickly evident.

While season is now more about retirees than aristocracy, there is still that element.

I got my first lesson involving season the first week I moved here.  I had secured a job with a catering company and the first event we were doing was at the home of a world-renowned attorney, one of the attorney’s who represented OJ Simpson in his murder trial.

My reality of this how the other half-lives hit me in the face when I walked into his home, through the staff entrance, to see wall to wall glass doors overlooking the infinity pool on the point of an exclusive island sandwiched between the Intracoastal and ocean.

That same year, I had my first visit to Donald Trump‘s Mar-a-Lago with gold gilding and floor to ceiling ceramic tile walls.  Sightings of Rod Stewart and Rush Limbaugh and Regis Philbin and Matt Lauer and Celine Dion and and and…. were commonplace and Rolls-Royce sightings became nothing of note.

In addition to the positive effects season has on cash registers, the effects on charities from around the world is also dramatic. Cocktail parties, fashion shows, dinners and galas are held nightly for every possible cause; spotlighting the importance of season.

Season has changed in the years since I moved here, it is no longer relegated to the strict calendar dates of Thanksgiving to Easter.  With the busy social calendar stretching far outside those months, season officially began this year on November 1st with a number of “must attend” social engagements that night.

Now season is upon us, for the regular Joe like me it means an even busier workday and weekend and night work.  For the snow bird it is a time to relax and remain active, for the aristocrat it is a time to give back and for all of us it needs to be a time to RELAX, ENJOY and COEXIST!

Season is here, let’s make it a good one!