July 6, 2016: Defining Moment or Future Game of ‘What if’?

 

“If I had an hour to solve a problem;
I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem
and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.”
– Albert Einstein

 

Windows are so common and ordinary, we sometimes forget how large of a role they play in the shaping of our past, present and future life. The most common visual definition is that windows are to see through, offering a glimpse of only the present day. But windows are so much more. They are gateways to the past and pathways to our future. So when we close the windows on a beautiful or rainy day, we are placing ourselves within the confines of a box. As artists, there are times when seclusion is our stage, where our finest work is created and the imagination runs rampant. But there are also times, when we should be anywhere but alone in there.

Windows of opportunity come and go. There is no such thing as when one closes, all is lost. However, for whatever the reason, we may close or simply never open the one window, that led to our defining moment.

 

Peace Week 2016
click to enlarge or download

 

‘What if?’ is a game of sorts, that historians and debaters love to play.The design is simple and rarely do tempers flare, for mission of said game is found in make believe. What if begins when a person poses a historical question, only the asker changes the actual facts, and then each person delivers their spin, on how history would have been altered. The most famous What if? question, posed so often it is now cliche: What if Adolf Hitler had never been born, would the Holocaust still have happened? Around and around it goes, with intricate stories and details based on a timeline of factual knowledge, spun with theories and speculation, for a moment, one may forget it’s only a game. But it soon fizzles, as reality remains unchanged.

4 Cities

 

On July 6, 2016 a man was shot and killed in Minnesota. But unlike so many other similar occurrences before it, somehow, most everyone knew this one was different, Not different in a vacuum, but different because of the greater implications. A collective epiphany or perhaps it was the moon, resembling a giant lightbulb or maybe the winds of a social conscious, that had been buried so deep inside, and only the gale force of Orlando, Baton Rouge, St. Paul and Dallas could dig it up, but with good fortune it was still there. Newt Gingrich, known more for his Senate takeover and hostile rhetoric, than words of unity and understanding. And while most Americans already knew, galvanizing in city squares nationwide, it was the public voice of reason, from a man who built his brand on division, that captured a nation’s thoughts as one.

America's Pivotal Moment

July 6, 2016: What or who will define this moment? The moment when it clicked for America and her children: The problems of race, while very real, are nothing more than psychological smoke and mirrors. Perhaps, the psychology is the last to change. Zachary Hammond an unarmed white teenager, shot dead by police. Our literally non-stop squabbling national government leaders apply archaic wisdom to a nation and time, that it no longer resembles, rather than imagining, how to bring its people together and direct a course for the next 200 years – like the framers did.  Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor in fiery dissent illegal stops corrode all our civil liberties.”  This moment we are in, as the winds are still blowing, carries the power to stir even the most rigid thinkers among us Internal Revolt at NRA over Castile Shooting  Will we, the people, no longer take part in a ludicrous system of choosing our leaders, by who can outwit the other in an ugly contest of mud, that never gets better. Or do we take note of this moment: that mud fights from the top, cannot be contained, leaving we the people sullied and stained, and ripe for the psychology to lure us into believing, we like it that way. We can participate in a system of civility, and still allow a contest to assure we elect the best Public Servant, that will serve we the people – not special interest. Look inside our local government, side step the daily if all they report is scandal. Take pride in progress made, respect how hard they work and embrace the motivation, because we know they are always working,. Absorb the compassion, if we trust it is real, allow for reason, as they will not always agree with us, for they represent the people, not the individual. Anticipate a lapse in judgement or a mistake, for our leaders are still human, but demand they do their best. We know, they are genuine and will not suddenly change, because they never have. Circle of Life: Sacramento’s District 2 Candidate Allen Wayne Warren (Flashback 2012. Councilmember Warren is presently in his 2nd productive term). Imagine a government of the people, led by the first woman in history  of this great nation, with such strength, she stands strong after decades of trying to bring The First Lady, US Senator and Secretary of State down. Imagine if all her attention can be afforded to the job of governing a nation, I imagine, high stakes fumbles, would not happen.

 

warandpeace
click to enlarge

Will our learning institutions take this moment to imagine, a curriculum that creates thinkers, that solves problems when they arise – retiring kick the can – or as a case study in what does not work. preventing the need of defusing future time bombs, that we all heard ticking. Will  The Legacy of Diamond Reynolds’ Video  inspire  us to instill a think big mentality, affording the ability to maintain calm, even if trapped in moment, so much bigger than we had ever imagined? Will our leaders of prayer and heads of our families pass down through generations, that we the people are of one nation with  bloodlines flowing to the world’s people, and it is God’s judgement anyway, if that is the way we pray.

⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕

Life happens and there are moments or even days  when isolation from the world is the only way to find ourselves – any longer and we risk slipping into stagnation or worse, depression. But even if we are reinventing ourselves or recovering from a slump we can never ignore once we know, the fact we are living in a moment. If we hold back our contribution, we may hinder the forward progress of  society as a whole, turning a pivotal moment into a game called What if.

Kendall F. Person



 

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4 comments

  1. Great post. We need to listen to each other and not talk past one another. We need to check the zero sum games of “I win/ you lose” partisan politics and task our leaders with solving the problem. Violence is not the answer. Civil discussion and interaction is. We must not condone leaders who foam at the mouth with bigoted, racist and xenophobia comments as that makes the problems worse not better, as they demonize groups.

    We are all biased. We all have predispositions that we must guard against. As a white man of age 57, I can pretty much go anywhere I want without repercussions and do not fear for life when stopped by a patrolman. The same freedom does not exist for a Black man even when dressed in his Sunday best. Even when polite and moving slowly, the thought that “this may be the last thing I do in my life” goes through his head.

    I encourage everyone to read Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink” which talks about how we can be influenced to act based on our sub-conscious set of experiences. In it he speaks of the example sung about by Bruce Springsteen in “American Skin (41 Shots)” about how a Brown man who did not speak English ran from police as he did not know who they were and was shot 41 times on a stoop.

    In the movie “South Pacific,” written as a veiled critique of the Jim Crow era in an island far away, Oscar Hammerstein song lyrics are profound even today.

    “You have to be carefully taught by the time you are seven or eight,
    to hate the people your parents hate. You have to be carefully taught.”

    Bigotry and bias exist, even when not extreme. My suggestion to parents is you decide what to teach your kids, but remember your actions teach them more than anything. A few off-the-cuff remarks can undue progress when witnessed by impressionable kids.

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