A New Year is on the horizon for most of us, and while many will choose to reflect on the things that already transpired, I am one of those who likes to look forward. On a global scale I would love to see nations that have previously exhibited hatred and animosity towards each other reach out in efforts of unification. Hey, if Iran and the United States can work on mending fences, then maybe it is possible for other nations to do the same. I would like to take a lyric from an old popular Marvin Gaye song when saying, “War is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate.” If all we do is focus on past atrocities then how can we ever possibly see a future of peace? In a world where we all have to depend on each other for survival it is amazing how much hatred we often display towards each other. I pray that leaders of nations will be able to see the real benefits of peace. I hope that the legend of Nelson Mandela will show others that no matter how badly you have been mistreated by others, two wrongs will “NEVER” make a right. I hope that instead of nations spying on each other we can all work together with each other and share in technology that will help make the world safer, and not find newer ways to bring about more destruction. In some cases, it takes more strength to back down from a fight than it does to escalate one. Human beings are supposed to be the most intelligent forms of life, and yet there are times when we can be more barbaric than even the most savage of animals. As for me personally, I hope to continue to grow, and at some point lead “by example.” If I should become a big enough “success story” then maybe someone else will find the resolve to “emulate” my story. The true value of life should not be based on where you came from, but rather where you are headed. Suicide bombers, terrorists, and random shooters are people “with cause” who see no other alternative but to inflict devastation. They are so engrossed in ending life that we rarely even get to hear their story. Why not tell your story as opposed to killing innocent people? Maybe there is someone out there who will sympathize and maybe even offer assistance. There are people out there who need help, and it is up to us to “recognize” it and reach out to them. If we can change the path trajectory of at least “one” individual bent on destruction, then it is “more than worth the effort.” I hope that 2014 can somehow be the “Year of Peace.” It is a long shot, but it “can” happen. Thank you all for your support, and for you I wish the very best that this New Year has to offer.
I have had some very interesting conversations with people, and over the holidays I encountered “yet another” interesting topic. As we all know, this is essentially a “man’s” world (and no, I am NOT by any means “sexist”). Most governments are run by men. Most armies are headed by men. Most wars are started by men. As crazy as this may (or may not) sound, what do you think would happen if the world were run by more women? If you think about it, would there be any change? Men have “egos,” and often whenever our egos get ruffled we have a tendency to want to flex our muscle to other countries. Wars have been known to start because we felt “insulted” by the actions of other nations. If a woman ran the country and felt insulted, do you think she would be more or “less” prone to engage in war tactics? For the record, I already know that there are some “really tough” women out there who could probably be “every bit” as ruthless as “any” male leader, but would the world have a more peaceful coexistence if there were more women in power? I don’t like to reference stereotypes, but they say that women are prone to be less violent than men (even though we ALL know there are exceptions out there to this rule). Also, a woman doesn’t always have to rely on muscle to deal with a conflict. If a man leader wants to try diplomacy to address a hostile nation, we sometimes view the male leader as being “weak.” A woman leader might possibly be the “best” candidate to “win with diplomacy.” This might all be a moot point, because unless certain nations “accept” women as equal in standing then there is “very” little chance that she will ever get elected as a leader. Because of previously existing stereotypes many would never trust a woman to be in power, but is that fair? There are “plenty” of men leaders who have managed to “mess up” the world with their own ideologies. Will we ever get the chance to find out what a woman can do? For many years, people also never thought that we would have a person of color as President of the United States, and yet that day is actually here. Can a woman President be far behind? I always believe that each person is different, and that we should never try to judge people based on “group stereotype.” As long as the leader is qualified to handle business and is a great leader then I don’t care what he or she is. If only everyone else felt the same… Slowly but surely, the world is changing… Can our ways of thinking keep up with it? Right now, there is no definite answer to this question, but I sincerely hope that I live long enough to one day “find out.” Thank you, and I hope you have a “truly intriguing” day.
Robin Roberts and Brett Jolly
Okay, here is one of those “interesting” topics that I would like to share today. I had a discussion about drugs and how essentially they make a lot of money for the criminal element. The question is, “What should be done about it?” Drugs get smuggled into the country and criminals get paid hefty sums of money for doing so. Even though the practice is indeed illegal, it hasn’t stopped the inflow at all. I did manage to hear an interesting idea, though, and after thinking about it, it actually started to make “some” sense to me. Years ago we had the same problem with alcohol (prohibition). It was illegal and many people were getting paid making “moonshine” for illegal consumption. As much as authorities tried to curtail it the practice of the business was way too overwhelming. After the sale of alcohol was declared legal then it “took a lot of the sting” out of those mafia and other groups who were cashing in on this trade. Well, now the same can probably be said for drugs. Just from conventional thinking, what would happen if we actually “made it all legal?” Now “think” about this one first before you answer. The facts are that no matter how unlawful the sale of drugs are, drug sales and drug usage are rampant everywhere. If we managed to capture and put all of the drug users and sellers in prisons there would be no room left for other criminals. Also, the cartels make a lot of money off of the illegality of their profession, but what if people were actually “allowed” to purchase it without repercussion? The cartels and mafia would have to find “yet another” illegal trade to make money from, and would probably “fizzle out.” Remember, alcohol is a drug too, and ever since the sale of it was declared legal the sting has been taken out of “purchasing it” and at least the money made from the sale of it mostly goes to “credible and responsible” business owners. I know fully well the consequences of people who are high on drugs. They can be very erratic and often dangerous. However, if an inebriated driver causes an accident, it doesn’t make a different to me what drug he or she is high on. I guess what I am saying is that if we can declare alcohol legal, then why not make all the other drugs legal too? When taken they all can produce the same conditions. A man who commits a crime while drunk goes to jail. Just do the same for someone who commits a crime while stoned. In the end, we might just force the drug lords to actually become “responsible” businessmen, and would that be such a bad thing? I don’t drink, and I don’t take any drugs. However, I know “way” too many people that do. As I came home late last night from my gig I saw the police along the sides of the road making people take sobriety tests and I knew where their final destination for the night was going to be. Whether alcohol or other drugs are declared legal or not, their jobs won’t get any easier, but hopefully it might give them “one less” arrest to make. As I said, “think” about this carefully before you respond. I am by NO MEANS promoting drugs of ANY kind (so don’t send me any hateful letters). However, we all know that this problem is a LOT bigger tham what our jail cells can handle and court systems can handle. This is just some “food for thought.” Thank you and have yourself a great day.
Billy Paul and Brett Jolly in concert
Okay, if you are able to read this, then that must mean that you somehow “survived” the holidays (smile). As great as the spirit can be sometimes, it can have a tendency to overwhelm you with trying to budget things, keep positive and stay happy. I can guarantee there are people who were not satisfied with gifts they got. There were also people who absolutely loved the gifts they got, and of course, there were people who are satisfied just being alive. The material aspect of it is obvious and has been well established for years. Even though I have heard people complain about it, the spirit of Christmas helps to accomplish a couple of things. For one, it helps to feed the economy. Buying a gift will inject money that is much needed. It should also promote a peaceful environment. If you can’t feel the aura of serenity in Christmas then what else could possibly make you feel that way? Finally it brings many smiles to innocent little children. Whether we want to admit it or not, little children often live in their own separate worlds. They don’t understand our world the same way that adults do, and the best time to inject love into a child’s life is while that child is still “in” that young stage. You see, a child is often a product of his or her surroundings. If a child grows up knowing violence, then chances are that child will be a product of that violence. If a child knows poverty, then that child will be greatly influenced by that poverty growing up. However, if a child is shown love, then that child has the greatest chance of showing love back to others. You can say what you want about Christmas. You can talk about the commercialism, you can talk about how Christ was not even born on Christmas Day, and you can be a disbeliever to your own heart, but as far as I am concerned, anything that helps promote peace to the world will “always” have my backing. I realize that many people who would love to celebrate just don’t have money like that. Trust me when I say that I can relate… but in this life there are many things that involve investment of some kind. Rarely does one get something for nothing. What you should get out of the holidays should depend greatly on what you are willing to invest in it. If you expect more than you are willing to give, then you have missed the boat “entirely” on this one. “Life”… and “love”… are what you make it… I hope your holidays are awesome, and I wish you the absolute best that life has to offer.
Teddy Pendergrass and Brett Jolly in concert