To Nelson Mandela, a National Hero

I am sure the list of those who paid the ultimate price to provide positive leadership to their country thought of the supreme sacrifice they were making.

I am sure President Lincoln thought of the many racist southerners who hated him for his devotion to make all men free and I bet he was aware of the price that he might pay.

Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Emmet Till, and, sadly, every President of our great country lived with that same cloud always present. Why do ignorant, misguided people think they can change the efforts of a leader trying to make this a better world? That bullet may silence one voice but others will rise up and the cause will not die.

Today Nelson Mandela lies in a hospital on life support in South Africa, his country he has loved and fought for all his life. He spent twenty-seven years in a prison cell – much of it in a cell measuring seven-by-eight feet with a bedroll and a bucket – his incarceration reflecting the wall-less captivity of a majority of his countrymen.

He was released in February 1990 and eventually inaugurated as President in May 1994. Violence among white and black factions threatened to overwhelm constitutional negotiations.

In April 1993, before he became President, Mandela’s friend Chris Hani was assassinated in front of his home by a white supremacist. Seldom has the role a leader may play been so tenuous and the decisions he may make so crucial. The wrong word would have set spark to timber. Instead Mandela urged his followers to be a “disciplined force for peace.”

While still in prison, his friends smuggled out a note reading, in part: “any man or institution that tries to rob me of my dignity will lose.” And they did.

God speed faithful warrior; your love of freedom will always be a beacon for men who seek a better tomorrow.


Global Warming

As I sit here at Oxmoor Lodge in the comfort of my apartment, I am watching the devastation of the tornados in Moore, Oklahoma and nearby areas. How horrible – the leveling of a town; the deaths, the frightening experience for everyone, especially the children trapped at school, the parents of those precious family members, and the elderly.

Another natural disaster. What next? More flooding, volcanic eruptions, tornadoes, tsunamis and/ or hurricanes…

Global warning or climate change is a subject that shows no sign of cooling down.

When will we start listening to the warnings that Al Gore tried to impart to us?  Why haven’t the people who are in a position to effect change at least looked into the possibility that he had good information instead of checking him off as an alarmist?

Here are some facts we can’t dismiss from the National Geographic Society.

The rate of warming is increasing. The twentieth century’s last two decades were the hottest in 400 years and possibly the warmest in several millennia. The Arctic is feeling the effects the most. Average temperatures in Alaska, eastern Russia and western Canada have risen at a rate twice the global average.

Arctic air is rapidly disappearing and the region may have its first ice free summer by 2040 or earlier. Glacial and mountain snow are rapidly melting. Northern Montana’s Glacier National Park has only twenty-seven glaciers versus a count of 150 in 1910.

National Geographic News has great information on this subject.

I get very annoyed when the naysayers in Washington refuse to shut up about how we are going to leave so much debt for our children. We better first give some thought to the shape our world is going to be in at that point and what the chances for survival will be in a world that we let be consumed with waste and byproducts while doing nothing to change how and what we consume.

Humans are pouring much more carbon dioxide into the universe than the plants and ocean can absorb. Please read the available information. And take it seriously.  Our earth needs some friends to help her survive.

The many faces of violence

I am not writing this blog to question what violence is justifiable or not, only to remind us of the world we live in.

Violence: when one nation or dictator decides they don’t like the laws, customs, or political decisions of another nation. Their answer is WAR.

Violence: when one or more insane or mentally ill persons believe their eccentricities, beliefs or customs are being questioned. Their answer is to TERRORIZE.

Violence: when a parent becomes so angry, so frustrated they take their vengeance out on their child or children. Their answer is CHILD ABUSE.

Violence: when one child constantly harasses or abuses another child.  Their answer is to BULLY.

Violence, when one human being is employed to “throw the switch” on another. Their answer is that the subject is PAYING THEIR DEBT TO SOCIETY.

The list could go on if we noted the abuse of the elderly, nature’s violence, and the results of overlooked human errors.

We hear from many about how violent our world has become. My answer is our world has been violent since the beginning of time. The methods of violence are different but not less frequent. To speak incorrectly, your tongue could be cut out, to break some laws you suffered “on the rack” until your bones were broken or pulled apart, women were stoned to death if guilty of a domestic crime or just suspected of one. And gladiators were sacrificed to the lions or steel spiked iron balls until torn limb from limb.

Violence has always been at the core existence of the misguided, mentally ill, or mean-spirited. Will that ever change?

What can we do?

We live in hope and strive for a kinder more civilized world.