Posted in Culture, Playing Nice in the Sandbox

It doesn’t matter who won

control-me

I have processed the election results for quite some time this morning. In the early hours, I found myself afraid – filled with a fear I have not known in a long time.

I didn’t like it.

Then I applied my tools.

I drilled down, utilizing “The Seven Whys.”

I discovered that my fear was based on belief in the shouts of media, divisionists, and politicians – the same people that I know seldom speak the truth and, if they do, it always comes with a spin.

These are the same people (different faces perhaps, same message, same tactics) that worked to convince us, as Obama won the election, that he was coming for our guns, that he was not who he claimed to be and a threat to the country.

Some people still think that rhetoric is true despite no substantiated facts.

Today they have done the same.

They are filling minds with fears of hatred, bigotry, violence. They are casting blame, judgement, and their own vile.

They are driving wedges, creating divisions, drawing lines in the sand.

I breathe.

What is different, really?

What has changed between yesterday and today? Between this new president elect and the previous?

Nothing.

The rich are still in power. The government is still a cumbersome bureaucracy that moves at the pace of a frozen snail. Fear and money still sit in the focal seat.

AND

I still have control over the ONLY thing I have and will always have control over.

Me.

(At least on a really good day.)

But seriously…

If control exists (that’s a different conversation), the only place I can apply it is to me, for me, on me, with me.

I control me.

I choose my thoughts, my behaviors, what I see, who I embrace, how I present myself in the World.

I look around at my friends – on FB and in “real” life.

They represent the full array of the vote.

Some voted for Trump, others for Hillary, some for third partyers and still others for no one.

They are still my people. Nothing has changed.

I choose not to judge based on how people voted.

I choose not to judge.

I choose to take in behavior, listen to words, look at their actions.

Are they respectful, kind, striving for equity?

Are we?

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying I do it well all the time. Remember, I own that I only have control over me and only on a good day!

But what are our choices now?

How do we implement change in the World for the good of all? How do we move forward, together, to continue to expand and change this society and culture into the one that embodies a vision of equity and respect?

We have control over only one thing.

One POWERFUL thing.

Ourselves. Our “I”.

I implore you to stand with me today – and tomorrow and the next day and the next – and choose to be the best you you can be; to live your life in Love

  • In what you say
  • In what you do
  • In what you think
  • In how you choose to interact

I promise to do my best to lead in love; to work together in love; to live in love. I invite you to join me.

Remember, Love is kind. Patient. Respectful. Seeks first to understand. Lifts the weak. Recognizes its own short-comings.

Recognizes its own Power.

And stands there;

Love stands in its own Power.

Regardless of who you voted for, of who won…

Embrace your Power.

Embrace your Love.

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Posted in Culture

What do Colin Kaepernick and the North Dakota Access Pipeline have in common?

ndap sittingMy Facebook feed is full of the “discussions” regarding Colin Kaepernick and his quiet statement made by sitting for the National Anthem.

There’s even more posts in support of the tribes fighting the big oil companies who are trying to build a 4-state pipeline.

The protest related to Kaepernick turns to whether he is being disrespectful; whether he – and those who sit or take a knee in solidarity with him – should be punished.

The pipeline protest discusses the measures taken to “beat back” the protest with dogs, mace, and judicial action. It begs for a cease action from the legal system (that may or may not have any real jurisdiction). It asks for an opinion of politicians. It asks for concern and respect for and of the People.

There is a common theme within, among, and across these two prominent issues. The problem is….

It’s NOT what is in the forefront of most of the arguments.

The theme in both situations is about oppression.

Kaepernick exercises his first amendment rights for free speech and peaceful protest by sitting to call out the oppression African American people have and still experience. He is highlighting the most recent events and tying them to the historical trauma.

He is expressly positioned for such a protest.

He is well paid and in the public eye. This marks his privilege which he is utilizing responsibly to give voice to those whose voices cannot be heard.

He is a black man who understands oppression (he never stopped being a black man) and he is asking this nation to consider whether all people are really free; whether the anthem lyrics are merely nostalgia or reality.

Yet the focus is on the process and whether Kaepernick has the right to protest in the way he has chosen. The primary reaction is to the protest, not to the message.

The primary reaction is from the oppressor.

“How dare he!”

“Punish him and the sympathizers!”

I seem to recall in history when the Germans were also forced to “be respectful” and salute and were punished when they would not.

 

The Native American protest of the North Dakota Access Pipeline was initiated by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, a sovereign nation. They have since been joined by indigenous tribes from around the nation, around the World.

The US government and private citizens decided to traipse across that sovereign nation, on the soil and sacred grounds of another nation; without regard to what and whom they are desecrating. All with the intent to build a pipeline to move crude oil under and through 219 lakes and waterways; pipelines with a history of rupturing and devastating ecosystems and waterways.

In the process, treaties and respect have been broken.

Again.

The Native People could have declared war; their sovereign nation had been invaded!

Instead they began a peaceful protest.

The protest has been identified as THE largest Native American protest in history as daily more and more people – Natives and non-Natives alike – join the ranks.

It is true that it is about water, EVERYONE’S water.

It is also the perfect example of the oppression Native Americans have withstood for centuries. It is validation of how things are said while other things are done; right hand – left hand – under hand.

And the focus is on the process; on the judicial process, on their “right” to stop the pipeline.

Voices have been heard echoing, “the only good Indian is a dead Indian.”

“They’re over-reacting.”

“They just want money.”

It is, again, the oppressor who seeks to vilify the oppressed; seeks to make clear the supremacy of money and privilege.

In both these situations peaceful protest began to provide the public eye with an inside perspective of an issue that should bring great pain to a united nation, to a nation that claims to value diversity.

Oh, wait…

Are we, the United States of America, a united nation?

Do we value diversity?

THESE are the questions such protests should raise…

Not whether sitting for the anthem is patriotic or disrespectful

Not whether those with the most money are allowed to make and break the rules

Do we value all people?

Do Black Lives Matter?

Do Native Lands and Lives Matter?

Do Treaties Matter?

Do People Matter?

The issue being called out is OPPRESSION. It is loud and clear across the activities, atrocities, and activism throughout our nation right now.

The problem is this ISSUE is being ignored. Again.

OPPRESSION is being used to silence the OPPRESSED.

AGAIN.

It’s smoke and mirrors, bait and switch, now you see you it now you don’t.

Take notice, People.

Your future depends on it. Regardless of the color of your skin, what’s going on impacts you.

Do you see the issue?

Do you see the oppression – historic and current?

What’s your stand?

Where’s your cultural competence now?

I look forward to hearing all about it!

With Respect,

Leah
With Respect, LLC
http://with-respect.com
leah@with-respect.com