“True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit, what sleep is to the body: nourishment and refreshment.” – William Penn
Kiss Me Deadly
by Cho Young Wuk
“Silence is the source of great strength.” – Lao Tzu
ALONE WITH SILENCE
by Kendall F. Person
On the clearest night, when the clouds fail to appear, clearing the stage for the performance of the stars. And when the weather is just right, and all the day’s responsibilities are behind us; not on a day reserved for our favorite show, for our mind will be preoccupied. But on a night when we have no excuses, no way out of being alone with ourselves, under the vast expanse of a starlit sky. And once our minds are captured, by what we will later call surreal – but it was not – see where it takes you, all on its own. When the imagination takes control, our minds produce beautiful performances.
Yellowstone, the Sierra Nevadas, the Rocky Mountains, the Florida Everglades or most places in Alaska, or right outside our door, nature has a way of establishing order. It gives us back both inner peace & serenity, although for the animal residents, what we call peace, for them it is a constant struggle. And no matter how at ease our minds become, a constant state of inner peace we simply do not want, although when we have it, we do not want it to go.
We accept quotes of Eric Burdon – Inside each of us there is the seed of both good and evil… – believing we are bonded to hate and anger and evil, inhaling words like these, as if they in fact, are the gospel we seek. We wear our shields to ward off temptation, and drop to our needs in prayer, for strength to be a better person. We talk big, watch films and make plans to find positive, resourceful solutions to defeating hate, before it can spiral to the point of no return. But blame becomes the tool, that makes us feel as if we have done something, and we disperse without any progress made, on stopping the pendulum from swinging.
Silence. Just look into the sky and think real hard. Use your imagination, it is the key to all progress, and picture our world where the emotion of anger and the need for vengeance have been banished and now archaic. But if we cannot imagine it when we are all alone, embraced by the wonders of nature on a night of utter perfection, than we cannot achieve it, and by default accept, that we are good, but evil lives in equal parts within us.
this is… The Neighborhood
A Heart is a House for Love
(final 3 minutes of scene i)
The Five Heartbeats (1991)
“The life of a nation is secure only while
the nation is honest, truthful and virtuous.” – Confucius
The House is a Home
by Kendall F. Person
When The Five Heartbeats (written by Robert Townsend & Keenan Ivory Wayans) hit the big screen, it caught everyone off guard. Even with the famous faces and the plot loosely following the rise and fall of Motown, by shadowing some of its most famous groups, headlined by the tragic, yet remarkable story of The Temptations, we were clueless Perhaps, it was the combined comedic genius of Townsend & Ivory, that gave pre-show audiences the false expectation of laughter. But as it turned out – with the actual stage set at the closing of the first scene – it was a raw, emotional experience, and not until Dreamgirls, would there be such an entertaining and personal perspective about an era of music, that was a part of our homes.
And not since 1966, has a Midterm election, caused such a wave of mass hysteria and violence on home turf, against different sides of the same team. We would have to go back to 1861, to find a higher level of discourse, that broke the house and nearly destroyed the home.
Two weeks ago, I had a somewhat surprising political discussion with my younger brother. Surprising, not because I doubted he held an opinion or was not interested in national politics, but because his perspective was one I had not yet heard in such clear simplicity.
“They are in power now. And yes, if the upcoming elections do not balance it out, than power will evolve toward dominion, but as bad as it will be, it too shall pass, because if they put down the democrats, then mean requires they turn on one another. But who wants to go through all that.”
“Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny,”
King wrote. “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”
It is both counterproductive and useless to believe, that nearly half the country has adopted a philosophy of mean, a disregard for truth, or still weighed down by sincere ignorance or hexed by Fox News. Supporters of Trumpism come in all orders. From the alt-right, neo-nazis and White supremacist, to internationally recognized Black recording artists. From the backcountry of Appalachia to scientist on Ivy League campuses. and from the greedy to the dirt poor.
Donald Trump – star of The Apprentice, tabloid bad boy, and King of lies (birtherism) – was an icon of pop culture, long before he was President, transforming fans into constituents and now fanatics (take pipe bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc, for instance) and the GOP Congressmen, into ruthless hoods (U.S. Rep Duncan D. Hunter is under a 60 count indictment for living large on hundreds of thousands of dollars, stolen from Vets and donors, then blames his wife. Still 8 points ahead in the polls).
Voter suppression has reached new heights, with a host of conservative judges, backing limited voting. Texas, Florida, North Dakota, North Carolina, Nevada and with the Secretary of State – in charged of counting votes – the opponent in Georgia’s Governor’s race, blatant suppression has quickly evolved into disrespectful denying of rights.
Take a percursy look at The New York Times: Trump Corruption: The Definitive List and you will note it goes on and on. But what The Neighborhood finds most troubling is what he is doing to our nation under the cover of darkness (see below):
With an entire American political party captured so easily, his narcissism turns savage, as he takes dominion over wild kingdom, playing God would be the ultimate, as in his own words, Trump has never asked the man upstairs for forgiveness even though he claims to be a believer, and has publicly trampled over a mixed bag of relationships including all three wives.
But animals have no voice and without means to stage a march or raise money or send a representative to Congress, then he alone determines destiny for entire species:
Trump Administration lifts trophy hunting ban on the African elephant — the largest and most intelligent land-dwelling giants on earth – then strips them of their endangerment species protections.
Yet some will double down and others will still not vote, then scream the loudest if we are forced to say “Told you so.”
The individual men, that made up The Five Heartbeats, gained their start and rapid rise to the top, were above par singers, and before Youtube, concerts set the stage, so their fresh choreography and tightness of style in the clothes they wore, carried near equal weight. But they were also in the right place, at the right for Motown seemed nearly destined for greatness. Then Dr. King was assassinated, and once again, the country was at war with color and it became clear, that passage of The Civil Rights Act, was a moral victory, but did not translate into rights.
But it was not the outsiders, nor the worldly influences that brought The Five Heartbeats down, but rather an implosion. As each linked their star to a different vice or hope. it did not take long for the band of brothers to cut bait and run. But the surprising lesson from a surprising motion picture, was in its demonstration of how relationships – be they friendships or marriage or partners in a business or believers in democracy until it is tested – cannot support the weight of the self-indulgent, whose body has welcomed a no compromise, self-indulgent order.
The house that the heartbeats built, divided then fell. Eventually taking Motown, Detroit and extinguishing an era of homespun soul.
From its inception, the idea of the American dream was inclusive of all its people. Although, it took years and blood and perseverance and laws and the willingness to enforced them to get there, the 1965 Voting Rights Act, ultimately declared America home for all of its citizens, by empowering the grandchildren of former slaves, with the ability to choose their own leaders, utilizing the one undeniable attribute of a democracy: VOTING
this is… The Neighborhood
The San Diego Union Tribune: Hunter Indictment sheds light on ‘personal relationships’ for congressman, Sep 8, 2018
The Hill: Trump to consider elephant trophy imports on ‘case-by-case’ basis, Mar 5, 2018
“I never believed in Santa because I knew no white dude would come into my neighborhood after dark.” – Dick Gregory
“Jesus was a white man too… as is Santa, I just want the kids watching to know that…” – Megyn Kelly, Fox News Dec 12, 2013
The Color of Santa Claus
by Kendall F. Person
Saint Nicholas was a legend in his day. Loved and admired for his generosity as he gave away his wealth, traveling the countryside, uplifting the poor and sick. It is believed, that in his kindness, he saved three sisters from being sold into slavery. He hailed from Turkey, an elaborate, fiercely independent nation, that literally connects the Middle East to Europe. They identify by ethnicity or religion, not by color of skin.
The American depiction of Saint Nicholas as a jolly old man, was the imagination of the creator of the modern Santa Claus, whose marketing prowess, ushered in the ‘shopping mall Christmas’ Americans celebrate till this day. St. Nick made his grand appearance into the lives of children via advertisements in 1841, a time when Black Americans were slaves. So there was no reason to imagine him any color but White. But that is a point, I wish did not need making. The real life legend, as well as the animated figure were about delivering peace on earth. But somehow, when it comes to race, we have a knack to turn the beautiful, ugly.
The firing of Megan Kelly by NBC was inevitable, and the black face overblown debacle, was simply the straw.
1969, twas the night before Christmas and my mother was pregnant with twins, who were – for context – born only seven days later on New Year’s Eve. I was only three years old, and while I do not remember most of the details, I do remember wondering “Mom. Where are you going?” She and my stepfather, briefly owned a cleaning company. From what I understand, things were kind of tight that year, so they contracted with an adult movie theatre to clean the dirty place up; make it look clean again. But they decided to wait until it closed, which was in the wee hours of the morning.
I grew up the middle child and the 2nd son, but I was never invisible, the way middle children were often portrayed, like Jan Brady. Nor was I the understudy to my older brother, like Peter Brady, Jan’s brother. I had two younger brothers and one younger sister, so I was the oldest of them and since my Mother worked two jobs more often than one, and my older sister had a different life, and the eldest son, pushed against the rules, I became the helper, a role traditionally assigned or assumed by the oldest one. But I did not mind.
No idea the cause or the reason, but it would not matter anyway (may He be resting in peace) but on December 24, 1969 my stepfather abandoned their contract, and on her work ethic alone, it was not an option my mother would have ever considered, but that is not why she completed the contract. At some odd hour of the morning, in the dead of winter in the Rocky Mountains nine months pregnant, with small children at home, she picked up my Grandmother and they scrubbed the filthy floors, while triple XXX movies played on, and scattered moans emitted from the sparse crowd, so she could earn extra money, because she wanted her kids to believe in Santa Claus. But at three years old, on Christmas Day, when my mother ran in well past dawn, but before noon I assume, with gifts for all, and still happily adoring the credit on the old dude
But I knew that Santa was my Mom, and all the parents were Santa to their kids too, which makes the color of Santa, the color of love.
this is… The Neighborhood
According to the History Channel’s website: The Legend of St. Nicholas
Oz Newsflash: Last Surviving Munchkin Dies at age 98, Jme 2018
– Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz
from Season II in 2014
Stand Inside Belief
by Kendall F. Person
When Dorothy was swept into the land of Oz, she became a folk hero, by defeating the wicked witch of the west, saving all of her new friends from certain death in the process. While Oz was in celebration, Dorothy was blue. She had no desire to be the kingdom’s new ruler, all she wanted, all she ever wanted was to go home. As it turned out, after all that she had been through, Dorothy held the power to go home all along. All she had to do was believe.
There exists a reality that we cannot control. In the game of life, chance plays a spoiler role. But living our lives under the constraints of a possibility, no matter how remote, that something will happen, that will change our lives for the better or worse, is unproductive at best. We believe our prayers will find answers, but do not trust the answer when it appears. We believe if we say it often enough, but never take steps to do it, our talk of turning pro will be true, Afraid to look inside, for the fear of failing outweighs the thrill of trying. We stand on high ground (still underneath the sky) believing society has fallen into decay, yet refusing to include ourselves as a part of the process, in the downfall or solution.
I believe, however, those are the exceptions, and this is the rule; most believe that anything is possible: decreasing violent crime, eliminating famine, establishing peaceful relations among enemies, finding a cure for cancer or h.i.v., but have not stood inside ourselves long enough, to comprehend, that one person, can make a difference.
In 1973, a working mother named Crystal Lee Sutton, immortalized as ‘Norma Rae’ by Academy Award winning actress Sally Field, would be fired by her giant textile mill employer. Crystal Lee had sought to organize the 3000 southern textile workers into a union, to combat low wages, discuss the poor working conditions, and to address the needs of women, who were now entering the workforce in large numbers, of which many were mothers. But her powerful and well-connected employer, was entrenched socially and politically, and would play a ruthless game, to protect the profits of its elite and board members. So they decided to make a spectacle of the firing, to humiliate her was not enough. They needed to crush the hopes of the masses and put an end to all that union talk. But Crystal Lee believed in what she stood for, taking a moment to look inside herself. Then she stared down the police officers summoned to oust her, and fought back using the tools at her disposal. In one of Labor Movements defining moments, Crystal Lee Sutton wrote UNION on a piece of cardboard, jumped atop a table, holding the sign high enough for all to see. Her belief spilled outward, as moments later, the workers would shut down all the machines, forcing her employer, to take a seat at the bargaining table.
She was born the daughter of a storekeeper, and an accomplished violinist. She grew up in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and by all accounts she was an average woman, living a normal life. In 1984, following the death of her husband Ray, Joan Kroc, as the sole heir to the McDonald’s empire, would become of the richest women on earth. She, no doubt, lived an extraordinary life, for the magnitude of her wealth, offered comforts that exist, on a plain very few will ever know or understand. But Joan Kroc also had a strong belief. Not in, if she could make a difference, but in how big of one it could be.
She would devise a plan, as how to best serve the people, and in 1990, her belief in philanthropy, would define her as a human being. She gave $15 million to the Grand Forks region to rebuild after a catastrophic flood. $18.5 million to San Diego Hospice to improve their ability to treat. $87 million to the Salvation Army of San Diego, $225 million to National Public Radio (NPR), and for an encore (of which, she would never accept, as most donations were made anonymously), she would make the largest single donation ever, granting $1.6 billion to establish Salvation Army Centers across the nation. But what The Neighborhood holds dear is her belief, that peace is ours for the taking. The Institute for International Peace Studies at Notre Dame, was established and endowed by Joan Kroc, herself.
Stand inside belief and see how it makes you feel. It is empowering, allowing us to reach for the stars, and win or lose, we have touched the sky in our trials. Stand inside a little longer, and feel the solace of self-belief. There is a comfort that exists only there, since it is the one place, that we are always okay. Belief leads to stronger communication, for we are better able to support our opinions and ideals, and comfortable in listening too. If we believe it, we can attempt to achieve it, by simply following Dorothy’s lead. Clicking our heels together may not make dreams come true, but knowing that a light exist inside of us, and has been there all along, means that fairytales can come true.
this is… The Neighborhood