A Response to Anger Management – or – What is Self-Worth…WORTH?

So, here I am…back to Blogging.

The SASS is Back.

Today, I attended a class on Anger Management, and our instructors went over the “A B C D”s of anger events. Now, I’m attending this class, not because I necessarily need it, but…well, it’s free for me, and it couldn’t hurt…and it could even help me become a more even-tempered person than I am.

So…. Our instructor presented a few scenarios in which anger might result. Let’s say, for example, I call up my good friend(s), and ask if I can hang out for a while. Well, my friend is busy. He can’t hang out with me. How does this affect me? Maybe I’m put off. I feel rejected. I think my friend has his priorities wrong. Or maybe, I just feel that I am worth LESS to my friend than…whatever it is that certain friend is doing.

And therein lies the seed of feeling “Worthless”…feeling rejected, snubbed, and lonely; this can lead to anger; and this (taken to extremes) could even lead me to going postal on an innocent parking meter somewhere! (Okay, no, not really….)

But more importantly, this scenario points up a few areas of false thinking that are taking place. One is that a friend “Values” someone or some thing more than me. Another is that the friend has (intentionally or not) snubbed me in favor of his current plans. Unfortunately, I’ve actually been on the receiving end, where this latter was actually the case. But then, those were never really friendships in the first place; and the ones who’ve done that to me generally have no desire to have anything to do with me to begin with.

And still an even more damaging false thinking is that my “worth” is somehow tied to anything my friend (or enemies, or acquaintances, or anyone else either, for that matter) says or does when I happen to want a few hours of pleasant company. It’s this very false thinking, in fact, that can lead to depression and suicide, as well as anger and domestic or workplace violence, stupid reckless behavior, drug and alcohol dependence, and innumerable encounters with the long arm of the law. All because our “Worth” is measured by outside forces, such as a friend’s current plans for the day.

Interestingly, our instructors gave us a variation on that scenario: say for example her daughter was sick and needed to be rushed to the Emergency room, just as her friend calls and wants to go shopping at the mall. Now, we can understand, the friend is lonely and needs company; but I think we can all agree that the child is much more important. Not only is the illness a very urgent situation, but (I certainly hope) most or all of us would readily put our kids ahead of our friends and acquaintances! But the point that struck me in this example was that the child’s NEED was greater!

Here is a variable that not many people think about when they try to balance the relationships and situations in their lives! What needs more attention? Will that friend die, if he/she doesn’t get to go to the mall and check out the latest fashion trends? Probably not! Unless they’re suicidal; and then maybe a hospital stay might be a better solution for the friend, also. But the sick and suffering child is in a life threatening circumstance-immediate, and desperate. The needs of that child very obviously outweigh the needs of that lonely friend.

In fact, in this past week, I have personally experienced the calculated weight of a variable need. Somewhere around Saturday night, I slept wrong, and hurt my back. I was in excruciating pain all weekend, and even part of Monday. On Sunday morning, a friend of mine called me, with an emergency. His cat was ailing, and he needed a ride to the Pet Emergency Center here in town. Without a thought, I knew that the need of this friend (and his cat) for emergency care was greater than my need for rest and recuperation. I jumped out of bed (screaming as I did so, incidentally), dressed, and crawled painfully into my car to rescue my friend and his poor ailing cat.

Sadly, the kitty was too sick to save without spending nearly $3,000 or more on treatments (The price of a used car, in fact!) and my friend had to have her put to sleep, instead. I comforted him as well as I could…(without being touchy-feely, of course), and I took my friend home to grieve.

Despite the pain I was feeling, my friend’s needs were clearly greater than my own.

But by Monday, I still wasn’t fully recovered. Now…on Mondays, I usually hang out with a group of friends that play Dungeons & Dragons, a tabletop role-playing game, that gives each and every one of us a nice break from the harsh reality that most of us face in the rest of our daily lives. And one of those friends faces a very harsh reality, indeed: my friend George is currently staying in the local Hospice House, slowly dying of Cancer. The rest of our group gather with George by the fireplace, and there we live out a fantasy of epic adventure slaying dragons and rescuing fair damsels, all while forgetting-just for a while-how sad and lonely the rest of our lives can get. But remember…I was still in pain, and needed to recover, myself. So…I called up each of my friends, and I apologized that I wouldn’t be able to join them; and I made a special point to call George, and apologize to him and wish him well. Then…I laid back down in bed.

You see, in this case, my needs were greater. I’m feeling much better, now.

And this has given me a much better perspective on the way people interact with one another! You see, most people only think about what they, themselves, are feeling about a given situation or event. Yes, they may consider the feelings of others, or try to see their point of view; or, they may try to intercept their path to anger through a number of different techniques; but is it possible they may actually be missing the entire point altogether? What if, instead of an emotional reaction…we were to consider the needs of ourselves and that person we’re interacting with, and ask, “is his/her need greater than mine?” Maybe the friend in the first scenario isn’t rejecting the offer to hang out because he/she “Values” my friendship less…but because someone or something NEEDS his/her attention more! Thus, my “worth” is not a factor in the friend’s decision, and my Self-Worth is not impaired just because the friend saw to the greater needs in his/her day.

So that’s it! “Count the NEEDS!”

By considering how greater need affects the the actions and decisions of those we interact with, we can remove the stimulation that leads to anger when things don’t go our way, and still enjoy our time with people when things do go our way!

It may be a simple as counting up…what really counts!

——

And speaking of needs…I need to address one other topic that came out of that class today.

While considering scenarios that lead to anger, and the false thinking that may trigger the anger itself, I threw out the scenario of freeway driving. I think we all (those of us who drive, anyway) have experienced an event where someone cuts us off in traffic, or crosses lanes without looking or signaling, or makes rude and obscene gestures, or…any number of other annoying and dangerous acts that it is possible for drivers whom we consider less capable than ourselves to perform.

And…one of the “False Thinking” things that I put up into the discussion was, I often feel that other drivers are…: “STUPID!”

Well…okay, while it is true that not everyone is Stupid…I argued that each and every one of us…ISSTUPID…at one point or another in our lives. YES, NO EXCEPTION, PEOPLE! I even include myself in that description; and upon leaving the class for that day, I lived that very example! I did something stupid while driving.

Now…before I get into how a stupid act becomes “I am stupid”, I ought to explain that, when it comes to language, and the ENGLISH language in particular, I consider myself a PURIST. I use words with their purest, and most undistorted meanings possible. When words become so distorted and polluted that they no longer convey the meaning I need to express…I find clearer words to use!

So, follow, if you will, my use of the term “Stupid.” Stupidity, is both a condition, and an action. If I-or others-perform an action that I consider to be “stupid”, then I am acting “Stupidly.” The condition of acting stupidly is synonymous with the act of “being stupid.” Yes, that is one of the definitions for “stupid” given in any good English dictionary. Therefore…if I am BEING Stupid…it follows (By definition of “IS” and “BE”) that for that brief time, I AM…STUPID! Does it not? Of course it does!

So…by virtue of the very nature of those of us in the Human Race, I postulate that each and every one of us, at one time or another…WAS STUPID!!!

I mean…it’s what we do. I am no exception!

Case in point…upon leaving the class for that day, I lived that very example! I did something stupid while driving. I was waiting to make a left turn onto Sprague Avenue, one of the busiest streets East of downtown Spokane, when I saw a possible opening in the Eastbound traffic. I knew that the light a block West of me was going to change, so…when I saw a small hole in the Westbound lanes, I gunned it! Well, I knew immediately I was being stupid. I mean, the car coming up behind me in the nearest lane couldn’t have been more than a few car lengths from where I crossed over into the outside (far) lane! I’m grateful my car has good acceleration and guts, or I might have caused another Spokane Traffic Statistic! But…he didn’t slam into the back of my bumper; though I probably gave him one hell of a scare. I certainly gave myself one hell of a scare.

What I did…was STUPID. It was reckless, thoughtless, dangerous…and unnecessary. Well, as Forrest Gump said in that famous movie… “Stupid is as stupid does.” And our good English dictionary confirms that it also follows, as stupid does, so stupid is. In that act of careless driving…I was…pretty stupid.

This is what it is to be Human, everyone. We all to stupid things. We also do things that are pretty cleaver at times, too. So I feel justified, in my precise, and unflinching English, to say to you all, that each and every one…at one time, or another…has been stupid, smart, jaded, innocent, obnoxious, helpful, WRONG, (and right, naturally)….and a great many other conditions that really just come with the territory-the condition of being HUMAN!

Really…it’s what we do! I’m right in that boat there with you. No offense implied or intended.

SASS has Spoken.

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An Officer-Involved Shooting in Spokane

Today, I watched a man die.

No, he wasn’t a Good man…I didn’t see a Good man die, I saw a bad man die. But I’ve never seen a man die before. Well, now I have.

Earlier today, I was alerted to the presence of officers and the media up the street from my house, and I went up the street to inquire about it. There was nothing really dangerous going on at the time; a report had been made that a woman was found dead in her home…apparently murdered. Officers were investigating, media was recording. A brief press conference was given, and we were told the investigation was still ongoing, and we would be advised as further information became available.

Well, fair enough.

I started towards my house, and two of the three news crews drove away. Then, I heard shouting. “It’s Him! It’s Him!” “Get down on the ground! Get down on the ground!”

I turned to look what was the commotion. At the intersection by me, not more than 30-40 feet away, a blue pickup truck was creeping around the corner. It had bypassed a barricade set up by police a block East, and was approaching police tape laid across the roadway. “Get down on the ground!” the cops continued to yell, many of them with their weapons drawn at the driver. The truch came to a stop. Slowly, the driver emerged. In his hand was a grey object, the color of a gun. It was the shape of a gun, too. And he held it…like a gun. The officers noticed it too…and they fired.

Eight shots rang out in the afternoon air, maybe more. The man collapsed and was still. The man, apparently a suspect in the woman’s murder, died there on the street, less than 20 feet from his home. And as the police ordered me and a few others back away from the scene, I realized…I’d never seem a man die before. Well…now I have.

I gave an interview to the police, of course…as well as interviews for KREM-Television, KXLY TV-4, and KHQ-6 TV. And even the Spokesman-Review; and I’ve seen myself on television already.

Well…how do I feel?

I haven’t decided yet.

SASS…has Spoken.

You can see my interviews with the three local stations on KREM.COM, KXLY.COM, and KHQ.COM.

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Teaching Our Children Well

Recently, a woman posted an article about teaching children to do things that they may not like. Like eating their vegetables, or staying out of traffic. Or going to church. And yes…it’s important to instil in young children the importance of doing things that they may not like. But…I think there are often better ways to do that. Well, here’s part of what SHE said:

“My parents forced me to eat three times a day growing up. No joke. Three times. Every. Single. Day. And it wasn’t always stuff I liked, either. Matter of fact, I complained a lot about what my mom made. “Ewww, gross! Sauteed zucchini? Seriously? Mom, you know we hate this stuff!”

So as I approached adulthood I made an important decision. Since my parents forced me to eat while I was growing up, I decided I was done with meals. Oh, here and there I’ll eat out of obligation. I mean, family traditions like Thanksgiving and Christmas, yeah, I’m there. But daily eating? No way. I’m done.

Set in any other context, excuses people make for not going to church sound completely ridiculous. But set in the context of Christianity, people say these things in all seriousness while others nod sagely in somber agreement.

My son told me a few weeks into school that he didn’t like the teacher. He wasn’t getting excited enough about learning, and he didn’t really feel connected to the other kids in his class, so I told him he never had to go back to school again. Who wants to waste their time going somewhere where they aren’t being fulfilled?

We’ve never forced our daughter to stay off the road when playing. We don’t want to restrict her imagination. We allow her the freedom to make her own choices in life.

Okay, Ruth. Come on. That one was just ridiculous. No loving parent would ever say that. That’s a safety issue- a matter of life and death.

Exactly. And that’s just my point.

Church isn’t a place you go to get pumped up about life. It isn’t entertainment like a movie or concert. It is literally a life and death matter. Eternal life. Just as a loving parent wouldn’t allow their child to wander in the road or to quit school, a loving Christian parent also does not give the option to their children about going to church, learning Bible stories at home, and praying together.

Do your kids always jump for joy when they hear you say, “Time to get up! Let’s get ready for church!” No. They won’t. Do they get excited for school every morning? Hardly. But you still make them go. Why? Because you are the parent and you know what’s best.

Even when they complain, you serve them healthful meals and limit their junk food intake. You set boundaries for their own safety when playing outside. You insist they go to school because you’re looking at the long term picture. And you are right to do those things. How much more so are you responsible for doing all you can to secure their eternal well being?

Yeah. Life or Death. ETERNAL life. Or Death forever and ever.

But still…there are those who will rebel against whatever our parents make us do. I, for one, refuse to dry the dishes. Oh, I have no problem WASHING THEM at all! In fact, I’ll gladly dive into that warm soapy water (We don’t even HAVE a dishwasher!) and wash every dish in the house…but then they can sit in the drainer and ROT for all I’m willing to do. Why? Well, because my mom forced me to dry the dishes.

EVERY. PHREAKING. TIME!

Rebellion is a part of the Human Soul. There is a REASON why God sent the Tempter into the Garden, to try to get even ONE of his subjects to eat off of that Special Tree. That ONE, CENTRAL, PRIME FOCUS of the Garden of Eden, planted where they simply couldn’t MISS the damn thing!

In my opinion, that’s reason enough to try to give kids a REASON to want to stay in school, to want to eat their veggies, to want to watch for traffic…or especially, to WANT to go to church, and learn about the Baby Jesus.

I don’t know about you, But I DID jump for joy when my parents told me it was time to go to church! I used to LOVE to go to Sunday School with my friends, or to sing with the adults to “Rock of Ages” and “Amazing Grace!” Oh, sure…I generally fell asleep during that old boring SERMON…but then, that was directed at the adults, anyways. I already HAD what I came for. Baby Jesus was right there inside me, watching over me while I slept.

But that’s the point! As adults, we do things for our kids, and make them do things they don’t like, knowing they’re better off for it, but what do we do to make our kids UNDERSTAND THIS? I would much rather my child gets a cut or a bruise one in a while, and learns to be more careful, than to protect them from every bump or scrape and have them wonder what happened later in life when they’re dying from some stupid, avoidable mistake! The same can be said for school. Why force a kid who hates it to go? Make it FUN so that they’ll WANT TO GO! That was the beauty of Sunday School out at the old Clayton Community Church. We had so many activities and arts and crafts to do that learning about Jesus was as much fun as playing Kick the Can! I learned to love my Veggies by having a grandmother who was a professional cook–and knew how to flavor them so that I always WANTED to eat them! Carrots, and beans, and broccoli…cabbage, cauliflower, even BEATS! I love the way my grandmother used to cook beats! (And I still have her recipe, by God!)

Rebellion…. Let’s face it, the same drive that makes us rebel against Authority (Including GOD’S Authority) is the very thing that makes it possible for us to exist as Individuals in the first place! It’s why God sent the Tempter to Eve, and why He put the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” in the Garden in the first place! WE ARE MADE TO REBEL. But…as Parents, we can USE that Rebellion to our advantage, and to the benefit of our kids. Let them learn what happens when they make mistakes. They lean a lot faster, believe me! You can tell a kid to stay away from a candle flame…and he might…for a while. But after you scold the kid while putting salve on his newly earned burn mark, you can bet he’ll REMEMBER to stay away from that candle in the future! And if you can make a GAME out of obeying you…like, say, when you want Junior to clean up his room, for example…THEN he’ll learn to LIKE doing what’s best…and DO IT WHEN HE’S GROWN! God how I wish MY mom had done something like that. Thank God the old Community Church got it right…and I got Right…with GOD.

We always remember the stuff in our lives that really sucked. And most of us go quite the other way. But for the things we remember fondly, we hold onto those. There is no cause to rebel against the things we love. And that is why they last longer..

 

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What About Capitalism?

In recent months, there has been alot of talk about the evils of the Corporations.  Many people, myself included, believe that a few key industries, including the Financial, Energy, and Television Media industries, have been taken over by a select group of people for the purpose establishing a form of New World Order, a grand, global Super Government, with themselves at the head of it.  As a consequence, there are many who want to do away with Capitalism altogether.

Unfortunately, it is not so cut-and-dry.   While there are forces at work to bring about Armageddon and the End Times, and while–in all likelihood–these people will actually usher in the reign of the Antichrist, CAPITALISM IN GENERAL is not the enemy.  It’s only a TOOL for the enemy; and a tool that may be necessary for both sides.

We will crush the major corporations, it is true. Actually, we MUST. If we do not…they will destroy us; and the Human Race naturally adapts and reacts to literally ANYTHING that threatens its existence, from disease to dictators to natural disasters.

But…”capitalism” in general…and the Entrepreneurship that ultimately brings about new ideas and innovation can never be destroyed. Let me amend that…it MUST NOT BE DESTROYED! We actually need innovation; we actually need businesses that can produce the goods and services that our society depends on, literally for its survival!

Without “Capitalism” there can be no steel for automobiles, railroads, ships, or large buildings. Indeed without a capitalist infrastructure, we would have NONE of the major conveniences and entertainments that we ALL rely on. Socialism can’t do that, as the Russians so painfully discovered. NOBODY in any significant numbers would be willing to work their hearts out for the “Greater Good” if they can’t start a business and make some kind of profit. Whether it’s money, gold, diamonds, a Jacuzzi, or a Filet Mignon a coupla times a month, people want something they don’t have. They’re willing to work a little harder for that.

Capitalism makes that reward system possible. Without it, people are just plain lazy, and the collapse of the Soviet Union shows s all the consequences of that fact. Ultimately, like everything else we have, GREED is Good..IN PROPER MODERATION. And that’s why, after we take down the major Banking and Energy consortiums that are trying to enslave us, we WILL and MUST establish Capitalist Enterprises that can never again threaten the lives or livelihoods of the People of this Earth.

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What In The World Is Wrong With Islam?

Recently, I commented on a forum that asked, ”

Islam is the religion of peace…..any objection ?! 

Oh, yeah…I had a BIG TIME objection:

If the terrorists in the Middle East ever actually PRACTICED Islam, or at least the form of Islam given to the Prophet Muhammad by Gabriel the Archangel, there would BE PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST!

In fact, if Islam were ACTUALLY PRACTICED, instead of this horrid CULT that usurps its name, there would BE NO TERRORISTS!

Another user replied to this….

OH REALLY? Theres a difference between the government and its people… So get your facts right

And then well, I went off…..

Unfortunately, in BOTH Iran, AND Saudi Arabia, the religion DIRECTLY controls the government; and did so in Afghanistan until we invaded. And in ALL THREE CASES, the FORM of Islam practiced by the controlling powers (Shi’ite, and Wahhabi, respectively) are very, VERY far removed from the form practiced by Muhammad and his followers 1300 years ago.

And the Taliban’s form is even further removed from Shi’ia–including probably the most extreme form of Sharia law ever practiced in modern times.

Look, Muhammad lived in a world dominated by Arab Sikhs: warring desert warlords who treated everything as property, especially their women and anyone and everything captured in battle. They practiced brutal slavery, were viciously racist, paranoid, and xenophobic. Children wee publicly auctioned off, executions could occur on the spot without trials, and if one did’t have money, they were essentially either a beggar, a thief, or a servant. NONE of the “Human Rights” we speak of today had any bearing on the reign of the Sultans of the Arabian Peninsula.

Muhammad revived visions of a world that would NOT be dominated by despots and slavers. A religion in which the poor and desperate could be elevated to the level of even the greatest Sultans. Not unlike the teachings of Jesus, in fact; but tailored to the mindset of people who’s current religion descended from Hinduism.

That’s right! HINDUS!

Islam was, at it’s core, the philosophy of Christ given in a form that made sense to a Hindu–as opposed to Christianity, which was tailored to Judaism.

Now, that being said…Muhammad lived in a world wracked by almost constant war. And this philosophy of Freedom and Equality he was bantering about became a threat to the Sikhs and warlords of his day. Of the many battles Muhammad is known to have fought in, very few were initiated by Muhammad and his followers; and even those that were, Muhammad fought to break the strength or supply lines of enemies that had already attacked him! You see, folks..Muhammad and his followers were PEACEFUL! Or, at least, they WANTED to be peaceful! And the scriptures Muhammad was GIVEN were words of peace, NOT WAR! Unfortunately…the Arab World in the Seventh Century was anything BUT peaceful.

Anyways…getting back to my original point…after the death of the Prophet, Muhammad’s followers broke apart into different factions…many going back to their Arab roots! These people re-introduced practices that God had subtly urged them away from, such as forcing their women out of positions of authority, and resuming their violent wars against one another. They resumed their Antisemitism–essentially, a family feud that goes all the way back to the descendants of Abraham and his brother Lot–more than 2,700 years long at the time!

Today, although there are some Arabs practicing a more peaceful and tolerant form of Islam, most continue their hatred of their ancient enemy Israel; many thousands believe that the only certain way to enter heaven is to die in a Jihad; and Muslim parents to this day hold a strict reign over their children’s lives, even going so far as to make arranged marriages for their young daughters or murdering those who are believed to have dishonored the family. And NONE OF THESE PRACTICES were ever given to Muhammad by the Archangel Gabriel! NONE! NOT “Female Circumcision.” This predated Islam by hundreds of years at least! NOT Slavery! THAT practice was common from before the Great Flood! I mean, there are HUNDREDS of things that Muslims do, that THE QURAN ACTIVELY DISCOURAGES!

We cannot call any of this “True” Islam! The TRUTH of Islam may have been lost almost as soon as it was set to paper, and that’s really a shame, because Islam WAS a religion of Peace! And the Arabs WERE learning to live in harmony, not only with each other, but also with their neighbors weren’t Arab. But…today the middle East is filled with terrorists who want me exterminated, racists who want Israel annihilated, and men who treat women even worse than they treat their farm animals!

God did not teach you this! You have taken these things into your faith, for that, you are guilty of HERESY!

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Political Fanaticism or Religious Extremism – What’s the Difference?

Recently, an article on the Discussion/Blog/Forum site SodaHead posed the question, Which is Worse, Religious Extremism, or Political Fanaticism?

Well, first, let me address these two ideas.  On the one hand, we have people who are so obsessed with something, whether it be a God, or a philosophical point of view, that they’re willing to do ANYTHING–die for it, kill for it…talk about it until you want to kill THEM, whatever–to make everyone they see believe in what THEY believe.  This is Religious Extremism, and we see this in the news nearly every day, throughout the Islamic world. On the other hand, we have people whose sole agenda is power–power at any cost, including the cost in lives.  We see that in South America, in Central Africa, and even in the former Soviet countries since the fall of the USSR.  But even the great Socialist Experiment itself was a form of Political Extremism, taken to the opposite direction, the Forced Equalization of All “Citizens” through mass enslavement.

But what’s the real difference?  In the end, anyone who doesn’t think like the political or religious Extreme Fanatic will ultimately suffer at his hand.

Listen, I am a scholar of history, and in my experience, the single most dangerous situation occurs when religious people become involved–as the “moral Majority”, the “Conservative Press”, Skullbones, the Masons, the Mob, and even the phreaking Orthodox are right now–in POLITICS! The vast majority of Political Fanaticism in this country is itself Religious Extremism! And the situation becomes much, MUCH WORSE when the Religious Extremist is also Political.  Because these are the kinds of people who take Fanaticism above and beyond mere power and bullying. These become men like Adolph Hitler.  Genghis Khan.  Joseph Stalin.  Even the Popes during the Dark Ages…name one, trust me. What we see happening right now in American Politics HAS HAPPENED once before. It all started when the Emperor of Rome adopted a Religion, and became the first Pope, Emperor Constantine. His Religious Government eventually consumed nearly all of Europe, devastated the Native Tribes of central and south America, and the merger of Religious Extremism with Political Fanaticism lead to FOUR HUNDRED YEARS OF THE DARK AGES and to the Inquisition and Witch Hunts that KILLED MILLIONS!!!  And guess what? It even took a Political Fanatic named Napolean to snap them back into simple Religious Extremists. I mean it was just that bad!

So where do we fit in this? Listen to the politicians speak when they’re asked about religious issues. Every damn one of them! You can’t find a politician with any hope of getting elected who doesn’t also have strong religious feelings of one sort or another. And that condition leads inevitably towards another: that Power Corrupts; and that Absolute Power corrupts…ABSOLUTELY! Wherever we see religious sects influencing, or even controlling political institutions, we see unbelievable examples of corruption and inhumanity. It is happening here. It WILL happen here. One cannot say that one of these conditions is worse than the other. Separately, these two can NEVER compare to an institution that combines both. Because as you can see, they are a marriage made, literally, in HELL.

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A Legend In His Own Time

Three days ago, the world lost a great man. Nelson Mandela, a legend in his own time, probably did more to engender Equal Rights for blacks than nearly any other man in history; INCLUDING Abraham Lincoln!

Now, I need to preface that; you see, the last time I made a statement like that, I drew alot of angry criticism. Our Prsident Lincoln did what he did to ensure the FREEDOM of black people in America. Not equality…oh, sure, he gave them the right to vote and all that; but then it took more than another HUNDRED YEARS before America rid itself of our own version of Aparteid! True, without Lincoln, there may never have been a Nelson Mandela…or if Lincoln hadn’t set the stage by freeing the slaves, South Africa might simply have executed Mandela, as an unruly (and unsellable) slave. But, what Lincoln did, was only part of the process.

What Mandella did, he did in a single generation. He, like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., believed in a world in which color was NOT a determiner of quality. Today, if you tell a soccer player in Africa that you don’t like him because he’s black, it is his WHITE teammates who’ll rip your head off, even before the offended player can tell you he forgives you. In Johannesburg, you’ll find poor white people and rich black people, both–side by side with their counterparts. In short, South Africa is a model that the entire world looks up to.

In Europe today, there are black people, white people, Asian people, and others in every sort of industry, and at every level of government. Why is it that, parts of THIS country still struggle with the same? In the American South, bigotry and hatred still drives entire orders of people. Neighborhoods like Harlem in New York, the French Quarter in New Orleans, Chinatown in San Francisco, and even the many Indian Reservations of the Native American peoples show our differences and divide “Us” from “Them”. Yes…we have an African-American president. Finally. But it happened SIXTEEN YEARS after Nelson Mandela became the first black president of a Democratic Nation ON EARTH!

Abram Lincoln did NOT do that. He may have made it possible…but Nelson Mandela made it happen. Even Martin Luther King didn’t do that; instead, King became a Martyr, and the violence between the races continued on, in some areas, even to the present day. And maybe even in South Africa, the work isn’t finished. But I have not heard of a South African KKK, or an Aryan Nations. Not recently anyways. Not since Nelson Mandela united a people. There was a man who changed, not only his own country, but much of the world, as well. Even we, in America owe him a debt.

Don’t tell me this person, or that President, or some king, or whatever did much for Equality. Nelson Mandela did more for equality among the races of humans than anyone I’m aware of, and he did it world wide. Our history in this country shows a people who have fought the idea of equality tooth-and-nail! We owe alot to to this man, and I think we should honor him as much as we honor our own heros and legends, for a legend he was. Farewell, “Tata.” May you walk among the green fields with your brothers and sisters forever and ever. And one day, may we finally take the lessons you taught us to heart.

SASS has Spoken.

Good day.

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