The Last Best Hope of Earth……

Men and women throughout our history have told us that the United States is the greatest nation on Earth.  No country has, or will ever, stand for the freedoms and liberties that we as Americans take for granted every day.

We have also been told through history, that as great as our country is, the only way we will ever be defeated is from within, if we the American people take those freedoms and liberties for granted and tear apart our nation from the inside out.

Have we reached a point where our own internal prejudices have torn our nation apart?

For many years our prejudices have simmered just beneath the surface, prejudices from ALL sides of the political spectrum have now come to a boiling point and my fear is that we will not turn down the heat in time to save the greatest nation ever known to man.

Yesterday we saw the latest black eye on our nation played out on national television when white supremacist marched on a city to spread their hate.

The latest example of hate speech is part of a long line of recent events that should make us all evaluate our own beliefs and our feelings towards those who join us in the melting-pot that makes up the dream of America.

A long line of cities across our country have been affected by these moments of hate, Ferguson, South Central LA, Selma, Littleton and numerous others who dot the landscape of our map.  At what point do we as American’s realize that we don’t have to agree with everything our neighbor supports, but if we let our differences tear us apart we are no better than the terrorists who destroy our cities?

The blame for our present state lands squarely on all sides of the political spectrum.

When we describe ourselves as hyphenated Americans instead of Americans a bias is put forth that doesn’t move us forward but continues to separate us.

When we tear down the history of segments of our residents we then marginalize their history as “less than” instead of a time that we learned we could be better.

This morning, as I watched the talking heads on Meet the Press, one of the panelists tried to bring forward the point that there is blame on all sides of the conflicts. Unfortunately he was shouted down by his fellow panelists who only wanted it to be known that their beliefs were harmed and wouldn’t acknowledge their own sins against our nation.

This is the problem, we no longer talk, we shout.

We are at a point in our nation’s history where we can’t see the grey in a situation, it is either my way or no way and we would rather tear down the other side than discuss and learn from one another in a way that could enhance the lives of all Americans and not just those who hold our same beliefs.

When American citizens gather in the nation’s capital to boycott a newly elected President on his first day in office, you are the problem.

When a city burns because a segment of the population disagrees with a jury verdict, you are the problem.

When people attending a rally to remember their cultural past show up in military armament, carrying weapons and brass-knuckles, you are the problem.

When entertainers spew hate speech and write lyrics tearing down others, you are the problem.

When your newscast focuses on the hate filled rhetoric of a few, and make them the lead story, you are the problem.

And when you don’t speak out in opposition to all of the above EQUALLY, you are the problem!

Unfortunately, the “you” in all of this has become “we,”…. WE are the problem.

We are all the problem.  We have allowed those on the fringe of important issues in our society to overtake the conversation, we are the problem.

America was founded on the ideals that ALL are created equal, that ALL are entitled to  life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  But we were also founded with a RESPONSIBILITY to be part of the process, work hard and contribute.

Will it take our nation hitting rock bottom before we raise up these ideals and actually work towards the more perfect union?

I worry that in today’s society with the climate of hate that is so prevalent we could not come together when we need to and support the ideals of America.

Unfortunately in our pursuit of being proven right, we no longer honor the rights of others to share their beliefs as well.

America is in a time in our history that will either destroy us or raise us up and whichever way we go is up to us.

We can either choose the path of Al Sharpton, David Duke, Rush Limbaugh, Rachel Maddow, Kanye West and Rosie O’Donnell or we can be better.  We as a people can begin the conversation, we can honor the good in our neighbors and we can begin to live together as one America and turn our backs on the hyphenations that separate us.

It’s time that the melting pot of America unites and welcomes all; black, white, straight, gay, Christian, non-Christian, southern, northern and everyone in between.

It is time that America honor the ideals that we were founded on, before it is too late.

I believe in the American people and I know that the trouble-makers who terrorize us are few, but if we allow them to continue to garner the spotlight and inhabit our thought process, we will fail, we will fail to uphold the cornerstones that America was founded on.

                                  “My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again                                          be seen as the last best hope of earth.”

Abraham Lincoln

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!