Thursday, November 27, 2008

“Be Good to Yourself”

Is what a wise friend who resides in Annapolis, Maryland told me. “Be good to yourself.” Think about that. What is your initial thought? Mine was: ‘Have I been truly good to myself in this life that I have lived thus far? Have I?’ Have you? I am not sure if I have been when I think about it in totality.

We spend a lot time trying to be good people and making attempts to be good to others – but being good to ourselves including taking care of our hearts typically falls to the bottom of the list. Just today I heard a colleague say, “I need to take some time off. I am so tired, but…” Her lists of reasons were profoundly numerous. They were meaningless to me when I think about my sanity. However, her justification for working entirely too much were legitimate to her. In her mind, there is no way she can take a few days to debrief. Is she being good to herself? Possibly. It is relative. Right?

In today’s climate (increasing unemployment rate, overbearing depression, salary decreases, and unhealthy stress) it is easy to neglect and/or harm yourself. Actually, it is too easy! But, these are the times we have to buckle down. Even as I typed that (buckle down) I imagined someone thinking: ‘What in the h*ll are you talking about, Brian. How in the world can I buckle down when I don’t have straps and latches to buckle to anything?’ So, I take that back. Should I have typed, ‘Keep the faith?’ Conversely, the question can be asked: ‘Extend faith for what?’

That question is real. Just like the command I received: “Be Good to Yourself.” It was so real to me that I concluded that I by no means have been a good steward of being good to myself. Nonetheless, extending some level of faith is somewhat easier for most because one does not have to do much to have faith (just speak it into existence?). Yes, I hear ya, ‘faith without works is dead.’ Really? SO, you mean to tell me that I have to work for my faith to be accurately conceived and manifested? I also have to be good to myself? Wow! What more does one have to do to get there? There being a good place.

Having faith is a no brainer to me…even without working for it. We can just believe –but to be good to oneself has proven to be extremely difficult. How do I know? Check out the number of people incarcerated for foolishness. Drive around an urban area, and notice the mental illness. Travel through a well-to-do neighborhood, and notice the unhappiness. Just conduct a little research on the state of health among Americans.

My conclusion is we are not being good to ourselves. We are killing ourselves spiritually, politically, emotionally, financially, and mentally. This is unacceptable to me! I want more for my life. You?

Please spend the remainder of this Thanksgiving week pampering yourself in whatever healthy way possible. Give something back. Take a moment to consider someone else. There are too many folk doing bad this year. Too many for me to sit down at a dinner table without giving thanks to something/someone. As a matter of fact, I am giving thanks to that wise person NOW by adhering to her gentle and poignant demand.

Written by Brian E. Payne. Inspired by 4 words:


Monday, November 24, 2008

Myron Rolle is My News

A Jocks’ News:

Terrell Owens is happy. Dallas won this past Sunday. He was definitely a contributor to the victory. He had 7 catches totaling 213 yards and 1 touchdown. So, he is pleased; no complaining from this talented crybaby…well, for now. Nothing amazes me anymore when speaking of TO. He reminds me of a playground wannabe bully who whines when his way does not go his way.

Last Sunday Dovonan McNabb was brave enough to disclose that he had no idea that there can be a tie in the NFL. He received heavy criticism from Philly fans and people who have never played the game – but was immediately defended by teammates and others who have played in the league. I am not a Forty Million Dollar Slave buff. However, I forgave the brotha for his ignorance. My forgiveness was worthless: Andy Reid foolishly decided to bench him this Sunday against B-more. The result: The Eagles got spanked!

Adam Jones…well, since he cannot run from what he is (a screw-up…just like Vick) let me call him, Pacman. The name is quite fitting considering he will undoubtedly prove to the most powerful man in sports, Roger Goodell that he will chomp-up every opportunity given to him. And, when he does find a way to jack his existence up again, the NFL Slave Masters will issue a lifetime ban. A black Pete Rose?

Extraordinary Intellectual Distinction News:

Myron Rolle decided a long time ago that he would be more than a Florida State University free safety. He selected to use his brain power over his ability to be a fool to gain stardom. On Saturday, Rolle entered into an elite class. He became a Rhodes Scholar. Oh! You have not heard this story. But, I am positive if you are an American football fanatic you have read the Jones, McNabb, and Owens news. Right?

Myron, for me, is the news maker and winner this week. He has defied all the critics: “Football players are nothing but dumb jocks.” Not this brotha. To become a Rhodes Scholar is a huge academic accomplishment. He becomes bosom buddies with Bill Bradley, Corey Booker, President Bill Clinton, and many unknowns.

Myron Rolle should be the news today when you navigate to To And, to any internet sports page on the world wide web. Will you find the story? Perhaps. Unfortunately, not too many young African American boys will hear of Mr. Rolle. No, they will proudly wear the jersey of a player who their father idolizes because of common athleticism, not intellect.

Brian’s News:

It does not take much to be an athlete. All you have to do is just play the game. To be a Rhodes Scholar requires: “truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship”. Believe it or not, there are countless athletes who exemplify the characteristics mentioned. We just don’t hear or read about them enough for two reasons: They are not thoroughly covered in the news and for many of us sports’ onlookers these guys are not ‘exciting enough’.

Written by Brian E. Payne. Inspired by intelligence over jock-ness.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Does it Really Matter?

This is the question Tony Harris, CNN News Anchor, sarcastically posed while covering yesterday's Big Three on Capitol Hill story. I can't believe that he had the gall to ask if it matters that GM, Ford, and Chrysler get bailed out or not. Yes, it definitely matters, Tony!

If they don't (at this moment it looks like they will not be saved by our government) thousands more men and women will lose their jobs.

Does this Really Matter?

I guess the well-to-do cannot foresee the affects down the road: Working people will become newly unemployed and then they will have to depend on depleting social services to keep them afloat. Yes, I have heard the very valid argument, 'taxpayers need to stop bailing out corporations and businesses.’ But, what about the innocent workforce who are typically among/in the, you guessed it, working poor and/or lower middle class?

Does it Really Matter?

All day I have been watching video clips of these 'time to show my constituents that I care' congressmen blast three well-paid white men for flying in the comforts of a private plane to Washington, DC. In my mind this waste of a complaint does not matter considering the federal government decided YEARS AGO that our means of economic growth and riches in this country would be attained via capitalism. When ya wealthy and gained it honestly, why not ride in luxury? Would you fly First Class if you could pay for it? Most Americans would: We are the Land of Prestige.

While I don't agree with fat cats getting huge salaries/bonuses while their dependable workers struggle (similar to mega church preachers and their congregates), isn't it the American way to make as much money as you can? Since this IS the case in this corrupt country those hypocrites for leaders in DC should back-up-off the CEO's for doing what America set-forth YEARS AGO; and FOCUS on what the impact of a non-bailout will do to the people in Detroit!

How about an overpaid expert take a few days to conduct an analysis of what would happen if 10,000 more people lose their jobs in an automaker town? How about a well-known expert conduct research on what would occur if 5,000 additional people apply for food stamps in one small car making city? Just maybe if this is done, our ‘morally astute’ leaders will get it: An understanding of the strain a non-bailout will cause.

Bail them out!

Written by Brian E. Payne. Inspired by my commitment to buy another American made car.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What about America’s poor?

It is not unusual for the poor to be forgotten. They are easy to forget. We rarely see them, purposely. We definitely don’t have long drawn out conversations about America’s throwaways. Why would we? We would be forced then to address their issues. Issues that those of us are either unwilling to revisit because we were once among the poor class (too snooty to even think about where we use to be) or we understand that if there is an effective governmental emphasis placed on the destitute there may be a REAL discussion about Socialism: Redistributing wealth and income. Are you willing to give up some of your riches so that the homeless can eat?

Last week I was reminded of my childhood and college poverty all in the same day. Fortunately, the career path that I have taken keeps me connected to the disenfranchised. Nonetheless, I must honestly admit that I have wanted to pretty much mind-block my former poverty timeframes and evade the life of the poor. Why would I want to intermittently think about having to share pieces of cheap soap with my former roommate, Johnny High? Why would I want to face poor people with varying complex issues? My answer to both questions has been the same for the past 10 years: To keep me unpretentious.

Throughout a two year long presidential campaign only two men mentioned poor people, Bob Barr and Dennis Kucinich. Primarily, all I heard from those with enough campaign finances to highjack our emotions were statements pertaining to “the middle class” and “those on Main Street”.

Tavis Smiley, the man black America threw to the wolves just because he challenged The Golden Boy (Obama), touched my conscious Sunday morning while he was a guest on Meet the Press. He said, “All this talk about Main Street America…What about the Americans on the side streets? Those streets we avoid. The streets that prompts us to take another route in our Infiniti’s just because we cannot stand to see the bowls of America.”

I thank Tavis because he was the only member of the press who stood-up for the men and women who just lost their DHL jobs in Ohio. He was the man who once again challenged us to see past our small comfortable worlds. I wonder if the plethora of talk show host will cast him away for bringing forth the truth. For addressing America’s dirty little secret: Poverty among the working poor has been forgotten!

As we go back to normalcy since the charade (the election) is over, I want to challenge each of us (including myself) not to forget where we came from, that’s if you grew-up poor or within ten miles of an urban/rural center that was considered financially downtrodden. I want us not to forget that the attempts to eradicate poverty have been an ongoing battle in the United States of America with NO success. Not sure what the problem is – but for some reason we just can’t eliminate what the poorest of the poor have to endure on the daily: malnourishment, unemployment, paid day loan scams, substandard childcare, Rent-A-Center interest rates, and pawn shop hocking.

Keeping the poor poor may be intentional. What say you?

Written by a man who grew-up on a side street and who is not too proud to admit that if he misses a pay day he is headed to the POOR HOUSE. Inspired by Mr. Tavis Smiley. Black America owes him an apology!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Poor Sarah

I was one of those people who came to Sarah Palin’s defense. I did in part because she was unfairly getting blasted from the Left and the Right. Either she was not smart enough to be Vice President of the United States (like intelligence is a prerequisite for the American people e.g. Walker Bush) or she was not prepared and/or qualified (like qualification is a prerequisite for the American people e.g. Arnold Schwarzenegger). Another part of me wanted to support Palin simply because she is female. This identification with my feminine side earned me the title, Bleeding Heart Woman Sympathizer.

Over the years several male friends of mine have complained that I give women too much credit when I need to be critically examining their ‘manipulative’ motives and words. This affection I have for women is one of those lingering Baby Boy attachments that I have to my mother: She can NOT do any wrong and she is NOT to blame for any issue she faced while raising two boys and two girls alone. And, while slaving in an air polluted furniture factory for 30 years.

Time (one week) is all that was needed for Republican white men to identify and give credence as to why a black man whipped the behind of a good ole boy who arrogantly believed he surged in the final days: “The Mac is Back”. That was John McCain’s pronouncement as Sarah Palin stood next to him like a good solider should have even while losing. But, now after the thick dust has settled McCain and his sore losing dodgers of responsibility are pointing the finger at a woman who was unknown for so long. Have they forgotten that she was the one who resuscitated McCain’s failing campaign? Did they forget that a few of Hilary’s supporters jumped the democrat ship to support the McCain/Palin ticket? She is what they wanted: Pro Bush, Pro Life, Pro Drilling, Pro War, and Pro NRA. What else could they ask for?

How quickly one forgets when there is a desperate need to find fault. Nonetheless, this is not unusual coming from Jim Crow-favoring white men. They have never owned-up for their missteps and/or misdeeds i.e. the rape of The Continent. Despite the reports, I find it difficult to believe that a senator who can see Russia from her home did not know Africa (a body of land full of COUNTRIES) is not a continent. Let’s not forget that countless non-internationally exposed Americans have no clue that a person from Kenya would prefer to be labeled as Kenyan, and not African. Similar to an Antiguan preferring to be classified as an Antiguan; and not some random person from the West Indies: West Indian.

Perhaps, I am taking-up for Sarah because she is sexy? No, that’s not it! I am just a man pinning the azz tag on the azzholes: Fuddy-Duddy White Men. These are the men who cannot accept that they got their butts stomped by a frail brotha who walks with a pimp’s swagger.

Written by Brian E. Payne. Inspired by those women who are ‘siding’ with America’s original dodgers.

Friday, November 07, 2008

What have we done?

What we (those who voted for Barack) have done is RE-ENERGIZED and RE-IGNITED the hatred that has always been in the souls of the hater. Our votes were cast for several reasons. Change for some. Putting an intelligent person in the White House was another reason for some. Ultimately, we did it for a better tomorrow. But, I fear that these haters will not come around to the peace that acceptance brings. No way whatsoever! The hate runs deep, and the swamp smelling hostile odium is a pleasant fragrance for them. Believe that!

If they can hate someone just because he/she is black tells me a lot about these people. To position your thinking to this disgusting level is nothing less than evil. Remember, we did NOTHING to be objects of their repulsion!! America, a black president, an accepting Generation X and/or Baby Boomer white person will not change the hatred in the bigoted pits of the red states.

Believe me, I understand that most African Americans are aware of this. Putting a black man in that house on Pennsylvania Avenue did not remarkably change our beliefs about the United States. Did it? We can ride this tidal wave of sweet emotion but for so long. Southern reality and US history should be our constant, not passing feelings!

Believe me, I am TRYING my BEST to be POSITIVE about this ancient topic (God knows that I am) - but we have YEARS of hate plagued experience as our example. As our teacher. Should I all of sudden believe that America has really changed because a few states turned blue, the popular vote was somewhat barely won, and because a park filled with people from all walks of life were chanting, “Yes, we did” that all are on one ship in unity? That the evil will defeat itself?

The Ejected Angel’s domineering antics have not ceased for YEARS in spite of our so called God ordained blessings i.e. Jesus, Martin, Gandhi, Medgar, Moses, etc. If God is involved: HE WILL HAVE TO WORK THIS MESS OUT. Keep praying for that one! Are we (people from all backgrounds) incapable of moving past stubborn bias, mind-sets, beliefs, and behaviors to rectify the MESS that we have created? When I say ‘we’ I am pointing most of my index finger at the white man considering he in modern times have held the power that could have prevented so much devastation.

I must admit that I believe BARACK OBAMA IS ANOTHER START. Get that, ‘another start’? Mankind has been in this predicament before. The cemented history dates back to biblical figures. Jesus was hated, despised because what he stood for: CHANGE. Remember?

We can't go through 40 plus more years of this crap! I just stress people look to the past for the future. Not dwell in defeat of it! The past is critical in this case. So critical. I am praying the past does not repeat itself – but should I have this faith considering so many prayers have been unanswered since the Roman’s sponsored the death of God’s Son?

I am also praying that I can FORCE my thoughts to the positive at all times despite the present day realities.

Written by Brian E. Payne. Inspired by what is bound to happen: History Repeating Itself.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Day after November 4, 2008

I spent November 5, 2008 peacefully recovering. No, I was not hung-over or mad like a lot of these white people I passed at the grocery store here in RED Georgia. Today, was a day of personal and historical reflection which I am certain was for most people. I even had two brothers tell me that they are going to make a change as a result of the World Changing.

God works in mysterious ways’

Taking it all in is a huge task. Of course you have heard the following time and time again:

‘I never thought I would live to see this day’

Well, folk it is here so let’s bask in it. Praise in it. Love in it! But, what we should not do is gloat in it. Gloating, in my mind, is a way to bring forth the insecurities that were there prior to winning, or beating your opponent. These are the defects and short-comings one typically evade or ignore before it is REALLY time to address them with confidence. These are the characteristics of humans that illuminate their negatives. And, to showboat after the victory only displays the ugliness that may still sit deep down in the victor’s subconscious.

On this day and all the ones you will be blessed to have we (Barack Backers) need to do what the African Americans have been remarkably able to do for years: Display Humility and Cordialness in the Eye of the Storm. In the Belly of the Beast. When I think about how black people have had to endure so much humiliation and disrespect, I can only think of how TRIUMPANT we have been in the face of all this un-Godly behavior.

But, we ain’t going there…today. Keep it upbeat!

The focus should remain on jubilation. We need to be happy that we were a part of answering James Farmer’s call. We need to be elated that the firemen who were told by Bull Conner to, “Turn on the damn water hose” did not follow that nefarious command. The focus should remain on rejoicing. Graciously cheerful is what we should be when we see that fragile McCain/Palin supporter.

Let’s win with honor. Let’s be what they would have not been if the tables were turned:

Written by Brian E. Payne. Inspired by that white man who could not even look at me today.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Sacrifice for a Better Day

Today, I am not interested in taking too much of your time. I am sure you are monitoring CNN! (Side note: This past weekend I entered 3 different African American homes, and guess what? The flat screens were tuned to CNN). All I want to do is share one story/event accompanied by three touching videos. My shared story is not connected to me at all – but it is one that I want to associate myself with for the rest of my life.

While thinking about how I was going to do this (become one with the story) I decided to impart the story of inspiration by giving it a permanent place on my blog. The story is one that we rarely hear or read about anymore. Like the countless accounts we have heard about of our mothers and fathers having to walk to and from school on bitterly cold mornings or like the one we have seen in the Eyes on the Prizes documentaries where our grandparents had to endure racial hatred just to bring forth an American promise: Voting Rights Act.

It is with this Act that A’riel Chisholm acted. After waiting on his voter absentee ballot to arrive for 3 weeks he finally resided himself to the fact that the Pennsylvania Board of Elections either mistakenly forgot to mail it or they purposely did not send it to da brotha (me and my conspiracy theories). So, at about 5PM yesterday (November 3, 2008) he decided that he was going to jump into his high gas price costing SUV, and travel up to Philly. You read that right! Philadelphia!!! A 13 hour drive from Atlanta to vote. Is that dedication? Is that commitment? Is that what he was supposed to do? Yes, it was!

Those of you who read my email commentary know that I often send emails entitled, A Proud Moment. This is a moment when I witness or experience an event where a black person makes me proud. So many have occurred over my 38 years; and I am sure that there will be more to help me look in the mirror and see Black progress. That mirror of mine is full of PROUD MOMENTS that are not connected to material wealth. Thankfully.

Today, is a Proud Moment regardless of the outcome! It is even more special to me knowing that a friend of mine did what he was supposed to do:

Sacrifice for a Better Day

Written by Brian E. Payne. Inspired by A’riel. He did what so many are doing today:

Honoring the Past with Commitment