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!

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

Life’s Playlist…. Keep Your Hands to Yourself by The Georgia Satellites

On this date in in 1991 Paul Reubens (Pee Wee Herman) was arrested for “keeping his hands to himself” in an adult movie theater in Florida.

What better song for today?  IJS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Open Letter to CBS, Big Brother and Fly on the Wall Entertainment

Before I begin, let me say upfront, I realize this letter will never be seen by anyone who has the ability to do anything and I realize even in the remote chance it was, my opinions would not change anything…… but hey, I write and these are my opinions….. so….. here goes.

Dear CBS, Big Brother and Fly on the Wall Entertainment,

I a writing to you as a fan of Big Brother, someone who has watched every season since the show began.  Big Brother has been my summertime guilty pleasure for years.

As a fan of the show, I have watched and loved the people year after year.  Kaysar, Jase, Evil Dick, Dr. Will, Marcellas, Cowboy, Jordan and Jeff, Nicole, even Rachel, they have all captured my imagination summer after summer.

Now we come to Big Brother 19 and I have to say, you have missed the boat, BIG TIME!

I’m bored, I don’t even know the characters names and the repetition of summer after summer, same competitions with different colors has just become ho-hum!

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

Please, please PLEASE, I beg you with every ounce of my being, STOP bringing back past competitors!!!!  Guess what, they had their chance, they lost…. move on!

When I saw Paul, one of the most annoying characters in Big Brother history, come bounding through the door at the beginning of the season, the groan that escaped from my inner disgust still echoes through my living room four weeks later.

If you have former contestants you want to bring back, that’s fine…. do an All-Star Season, I can get behind that, but bringing back past characters who couldn’t get it done the first time is an insult to the other people in the house and the fans who tune in each week.

Here’s an idea for you, if you want to bring back past contestants, have a season of nothing but second place finishers, that is something we the fans would enjoy!

And by the way, if anyone truly believes the decision wasn’t made prior to the seasons start that Paul would receive that gift of almost 1/2 the season with immunity from eviction…. I have some ad space to sell you on a wall Mexico will be paying for on the border!  But I’ll come back to this later!

Let’s talk casting shall we?

When Big Brother began it was promoted as a house filled with strangers competing for an ultimate prize.  Today, the show has been relegated to a cast of characters that we have seen far too many times.

We have the quirky girl.

We have the Asian girl.

We have the girl with big boobs.

We have the hunky silent type guy.

We have the muscle head.

We have the flaming gay guy and btw, there are millions of gay people in America that don’t possess every negative stereotype associated with being gay, find one!

We have the old guy.

We have the black Christian woman.

We have the big guy who is a total train wreck.

And on and on….. here’s an idea….. STOP with the characters and START with bringing in interesting contestants that make for good television.  You used to do it, can you do it again or have you simply put this show on auto-pilot?

In the early days you took video submissions and people applied to be on the show…. today, you scour social media and nightclubs to fill a casting formula you think we want to see.  We don’t!

Earlier I referenced how the competitions have become repetitive.  HELLO!?!?!!?  Can no one in the production department come up with something new?

Putting new graphics and changing a competitions theme doesn’t make it new, it just makes a competition the same one you have been doing for years with a new theme and color scheme.

Last year I liked the Battle Back, it was a nice twist….. that doesn’t mean you needed to do it again this year.  And again, BTW, could those competitions have been designed for anyone but Cody to win?  Hello, he even stood beside the final puzzle and studied the course while the house-guests were finding out who would be his competitor.

The one bright spot of this summer has been the Den of Temptation, but let’s be clear, the producers fingerprints are all over the results.

No way the first temptation wasn’t determined for Paul to win.

You can bet your next paycheck, when Christmas needs to use her POV game card, the contest WILL be one she can compete in with her injury.

Interesting that the person who was Public Enemy number one last week got the power to overrule an eviction and when on the block she knew not to use it.

Please stop scripting what should be a game where everyone has the same chance at winning the prize as the people you deem to be your favorites.

Big Brother, what I am saying here is….. you have grown predictable and that is the last thing you need to be.

For years, we have heard Julie Chen tell us to “expect the unexpected,” maybe she should start telling us to expect the expected, because Big Brother has gotten repetitive and stale.

Fly on the Wall Entertainment, can you shake it up before Season 20 and give the show a reboot?  I certainly hope so.

I’m going to sign off now and hope that by the end of the season I learn the names of the grey haired guy and girl with big boobs, I think it would be nice to know that before the end of the summer, I’m sure they have an interesting story to tell, unfortunately we haven’t seen it.

I’ll keep watching, because I believe in the concept of what Big Brother should be, but if you all can’t come up with anything new, let me know, I’ll be glad to give you some ideas!

Sincerely,

Kendall Rumsey

A Fan

Life is Like Spaghetti

I woke up craving spaghetti.  Probably not the best choice on a day when the temperatures will push 90 degrees, but that’s how cravings go.

After Church I made my way to the grocery to pull together all the ingredients I would need.

As I wandered through the produce aisle getting mushrooms and onions and peppers, I began to ponder,  life is a lot like spaghetti.

If you think about it, we are the noodles.  The part of the dish that pulls everything else together, and as noodles, we attract all the good, the vibrant colors, the bad and the ugly in our lives and allow them to stick to us like the sauce of a good dish.

The vegetables in the dish are the moments and seasons of life that make the taste explode in our mouths, those small moments that make life what it is.

Like the onions and mushrooms, these everyday ingredients fill our life with the perfectly needed chunks that blend together with our “sauce.”  Not always perfectly sliced or diced, but needed to make a quality serving.

I enjoy a combo of garlic, green, yellow and red peppers in my spaghetti.  Like the little pops of life that sometimes catch us off guard with levels of punch.  Like the garlic and peppers, our lives are filled with moments and situations that sneak up on us, but when we accept those moments will come and incorporate them into the other flavors we experience on a daily basis, the pepper moments give us the opportunity to learn and grow.

I don’t make a homemade sauce.  In my mind those sauces in a jar are as good and less time-consuming than pealing tomatoes and adding the perfect blend of spices.  Like life, we can sometimes find easier ways of doing things that enrich us and allow us to use what’s available instead of going through the arduous task of making life happen.

The final ingredient in any good spaghetti is the meat.  I use turkey, not always the popular choice, but for me it works.  In my own life, I have not always followed the way of others, I lead an independent life that others may look at and think it to be out of the norm, but again, it works for me, it’s the life I was given.

After all the ingredients are prepped and put into a large pot they start to cook, just like life.   There are moments when the sauce boils and others when it slows to a simmer, needed moments in life to give us a perfect blend.

Sometimes the smell of garlic may be overpowering or the big chunks of mushrooms may not be very pretty, but as the ingredients all mold together and work with each other to create a perfect sauce, magic happens.

Just like life.  Sometimes life is messy, sometimes it is ugly, but most of the time it is a glorious gift and when you dig in and taste the wonders built on planning, preparation, simmers, boils and all the delicious ingredients pulled together, not much can beat it, even on a day when the temperature is approaching 90.

The good, the bad, the ugly and the vibrant colors all come together for the perfect dish and then you add the noodles, allowing everything to cling together, just like life.

So today, I decided to make a pot of spaghetti, a dish that reminds me of life.