Author Archives: motivationfortheworld

About motivationfortheworld

Gary A. McAbee created Motivation for the World as the platform for his motivational speaking, writing, and blogging. The mission of Motivation for the World is to create a vast network of like-minded, service-oriented individuals who join together and work toward having a positive impact in our neighborhoods, communities, and society. He is the proud author of three self-help books: Wake Up! 42 Ways to Improve Black America Now! , Rise Up! 42 Additional Ways to Improve Black America Now!, and Defining Success: One Word At Time.

Voting: Vote Suppression 101

No Vote

Voting: Vote Suppression 101

 

I consider denying voting privileges one of the great disqualifiers. Disqualifiers are things that are taken away from people to prevent them for being active participants in our society. Denying the right to voter meant to disqualify millions of people. It is a way to silence opposing viewpoints, deny the rights of others, and prevent some people from contributing to our system of government. We know there is one political party who actively seeks to deny people from exercising their right to vote. The question for me is very simple: why?

We have heard the main “reason” stopping, or at least scrutinizing the right to vote for some people. Illegal voting is the claim thrown about by those who want tighter voting restrictions. However, study after study has shown that illegal voting is rare in our country. Yet stopping “widespread” illegal voting is a winning argument for those who want to disqualify others by preventing them from voting. It is a scare tactic. It is fear-mongering. It is wrong, and it must be stopped.

What are the ways that voting is being suppressed in our country? The following list contains several ways votes are being suppressed, voters are being intimidated, and votes are being challenged…

  1. Gerrymandering: also known as drawing and redrawing of political maps that represent voting blocs. As maps are drawn, they focus of the demographics of a given area which tells and predicts voting patterns and trends. Winning districts is equal to having additional representatives in government. If you can draw political maps that favor your party winning more districts, then that party will have more representation. One political party has a habit of gerrymandering and fight against efforts to fix poorly drawn political maps.

 

  1. Limiting early voting: reducing the days in which people can vote in advance of an election. Early voting, especially on weekends, is convenient for those who work abnormal schedules or multiple jobs. People like this may have a hard time getting to the polls on election day. They are also more likely to be poor, minority, and older voters. Early voting gives these voters options. One political party has a habit of limiting early voting, especially in areas where there are poorer, minority, and elderly voters.

 

  1. Closing polling places: reducing the amounts of polling places where people can exercise their right to vote. The amount of polling places should be based on the number of eligible voters in each area. Simply put, areas with more voters need more polling places. It should be based on a mathematical formula, maybe one polling place per 10,00 eligible voters. This would cut down on waiting times on election day too. One political party has a habit of trying to close polling places, especially in densely populated areas where there are poorer, minority, and elderly voters.

 

  1. Stripping voter rolls: or removing names from the voter rolls based on technicalities that the voter may not know exist. Eligible voters are being purging from voting rolls due to issues like incorrect addresses, spelling issues, and even hyphenated names. All these issues can, and should be allowed to be, corrected on voting day. However, in some places voters are also being removed from voting rolls for not voting in previous elections. This is more difficult to fix on election day. One political party has a habit of striping voters off voting rolls while the voters are unaware it is happening to them.

 

  1. Challenging voter Identification: having the correct voting identification can be a challenge. Not everyone possesses a driver’s license, so a non-driver state identification should be usable. Students, especially those from out-of-state, would not possess either identification, so their student identification should be acceptable. Elderly people may not have any of these forms of identification, so a list of acceptable forms of identification should be drafted from them (similar to forms of identification needed to complete I-9 forms for employment). One political party has a habit of challenging all of this and making it difficult for anyone who votes that does not possess a driver’s license.

 

  1. Registering to vote: should be allowed up to and including election day. A country whose economy is based on computers and programming should be able to have a universal system to record and add eligible voters regardless of when they register. We have some states that has strict cut-off dates from registering to vote. Then we have others that somehow find a way to allow same-day registration and voting on election day. There is an astonishing lack of consistency attached to voter registration that affects, local, state, and national elections. One political party has a habit of pushing for limiting the times for new registrations by eligible voters.

 

  1. Restoring voting rights: anyone who has had their voting rights have been taken away should have the ability to have their rights restored. This includes people improperly removed from voting rolls. It also includes former felons, who have paid their debt to society by fulfilling a sentence issued by a judge or court proceeding. Once their sentence is complete, then their voting rights should be restored. Again, people who fall into this category are more likely to be poorer and minorities. Once political party has a habit of blocking restoring voting rights to those purged from voting rolls and to those who served time in prison due to crime.

 

  1. Political advertisements and robocalls: are tactics used to suppress the vote by providing false information or intimidation. Political advertisements are misleading and can make voters think twice about heading to the polls. Some ads have said things like criminal background checks, warrants, and child-support payments will be checked at polling places. None of these things are true. Robocalls, or recorded phone calls, often give misleading information like wrong dates and times to go vote. One political party has a habit of spreading falsities about the voting experience both at the polls and through ad and robocalls.

 

  1. Integrity of voting machines and counting: voting machines should be as secures as ATM machines. For some strange reason, we are not concerned when we stick a card in an ATM and it has a record of our monetary transactions. The same should be true for voting. We have voting machines that change votes. We have voting machines that do not list all the candidates or list them in different orders than sample ballots distributed to voters. We have issues with counting during every election cycle, which forces recounts and additional confusion. Again, it is astonishing that we do not have a standard voting machine or technology used nationwide. Instead, each state, and in most instances, each community has their own way of voting and recording votes. One political party has a habit of blocking upgrades to our voting machines and technology that would secure the integrity of voting.

 

  1. Secretary of State: is the elected official responsible for voting in their state, Of course, the Secretary of State belongs to a political party. Their decisions about each of the previous 9 voting issues raised here can be supported or rejected by the Secretary of State. It is amazing to me that a person n this capacity would be more wiling to find ways to discourage people from voting rather than encourage and find ways more people can vote. Yet disqualifying and discouraging people from voting happens time and time again in states across the country. These efforts are often spearheaded by the Secretaries of State in numerous states. One political party has the habit of having Secretaries of State who look to limit voting rules and regulations, often to the detriment of poorer, minority, elderly, and student voters.

 

I have laid out an extensive case that points to one fact: someone or some group, some politician, or politicians, and some elements of our voting system, are meant to disqualify and prevent some of our citizens from voting. Historically, this narrative fits with the history of voting rights in the United States. First, voting rights were only given to white males who owned land. This disqualified everyone else. Then it was given to other white males. This disqualified everyone else. Then it was given to women. This disqualified everyone else. Then it was given to minorities and all remaining citizens. This qualified everyone to vote.

However, tactics like those presented here were slowly, yet steadily implemented to take away the right to vote for many people. Isn’t it interesting that these tactics are more likely to negatively affect the people who were disqualified from voting the most: poorer, minority, and elderly voters. Add to that younger, student voters who are more likely to vote for one political party over another. The reasoning behind all of this is clear to me. Voting is a way to consolidate and keep political power that favors one group of people over others. Any disruption of this “system” is met with opposition in the form of preventing people from voting to change the “system”.

I put the blame for this directly on the political party who has a habit of making it harder from people to vote: the modern Republican party and those responsible for its leadership. They are fully aware of the demographic shift that is occurring in our country. In 30-50 years, they and their followers will become the minority in this country. This means there will be far less people who will vote for them and their conservative ideology. To defend against this, they use tactics to disqualify people from voting. Simultaneously they are using their elected officials, especially judges, to enact and enforce laws that will ensure their way of life and political “system” will continue to thrive and survive long after they are no longer the majority in our country. This is despicable, and it must be met with vigilance. We can’t allow people to be disqualified from voting.

Voting: Vote Suppression 101

 

 

 

Gary A. McAbee created the Wake Up/Rise Up Black America blog to have a powerful voice and positive impact in African-American neighborhoods, communities, and society. The articles posted are not only for African-Americans, but for all people due to their relevance and cultural significance. Along with his other blog, Motivation for the World, Gary can get people talking about issues that affect us all. He is the proud author of three self-help books: Wake Up! 42 Ways to Improve Black America Now!, the follow-up Rise Up! 42 Additional Ways to Improve Black America Now! , and Defining Success: One Word at a Time.

 

Join Gary A. McAbee on social media!

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/garymcabee

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wakeupandriseup

Twitter: https://twitter.com/McAbeeGary

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/garymotivation/

 

 

 

Advertisements

Sexual Assault: We Wonder Why They Don’t Come Forward

Sexual Assault: We Wonder Why They Don’t Come Forward

Sexual Assault ribbon

There is something to be said about being a man because we are taught in both conscious and subconscious ways to behave in a certain way. We are taught to be tough and physical. We are taught to temper our feelings and emotions. We are taught to possess and conquer. All of these teachings may be important to our survival, but they come with a price tag: responsibility. When we use what we are taught as men irresponsibly, far too often it is women who face the consequences of our behavior. This is true when there are sexual assaults by men upon women.

If men are taught to be tough and physical, then it could be misconstrued that “no” does not mean “no.” If men are taught to temper our feeling and emotions, then it could be misconstrued that “no” does not mean “no.” If men are taught to possess and conquer, then it could be misconstrued that “no” does not mean “no.” Instead, “no” could mean a temporary denial that will be overcome one way or another.  Men live by the law of the jungle. It is the reality of being male.  It is one of the codes of manhood. Unfortunately, these factors work against women who are sexually assaulted when they speak up.

We wonder why they don’t come forward.

Men who take in the lessons of being tough and physical, tempering feelings and emotions, and possessing and conquering, protect each other. That protection may mean tacit approval. That protection may mean turning a blind eye. That protection may mean outright lying. Men who believe “no” is a temporary denial also promote the law of the jungle, reality of being male, and the code of manhood. They protect other men who feel the same way. That protection may mean tacit approval. That protection may mean turning a blind eye. That protection may mean outright lying.

We wonder why they don’t come forward.

 Imagine you are a victim of sexual assault, and you report it to authorities who are men. There is a possibility they believe in the male code of toughness and possession. It is a possibility they will temper their feelings and emotions toward the accuser. It is a possibility they believe in upholding the male code of protecting another man. It is a possibility they will not believe the accuser. If any of these things occur, it has to decrease the likelihood that the victim gets total cooperation from those who should protect and serve.

We wonder why they don’t come forward.

 A victim of sexual assault may experience subtle or outright character assassination at the hands of a man. Usually this will come from the accused, who will say anything to disparage the accuser. In higher profile cases, other men may help to investigate the victim in hopes of proving her wrong. It may be done to protect the accused man. It may be done to uphold the code. A perfect example of this is asking questions like “what was she wearing?” or “did she say no.” Both instances setup the victim for character assassination. In other words, her actions warranted the response she got. It was her fault.

We wonder why they don’t come forward.

 In many sexual assault cases, it is the accused man who is the “victim.” He could not turn down his urge to be tough and physical. He could not find any empathy for his victim because he tempers his feelings and emotions. He could not control his desire to possess and conquer. So he acted like man should when he committed the act of sexual assault. A perfect example of this is the mantra “boys will be boys.” I hate this because it says we know the code, we approve of the code, and we will not do anything to break the code.

We wonder why they don’t come forward.

 The victim of sexual assault has to live with the trauma of their experience for the rest of their life. I am sure it is a difficult process and something unimaginably hard to overcome. They also have to live with the feelings and emotions associated with attacks on their character and honesty as a result of coming forward. On the other hand, a man who commits a sexual assault may be able to detach himself from the event or deny it happened until he believes it. He can “choose” whether or not to live with the scars his actions created. Remember, he is taught to temper his feelings and emotions.

We wonder why they don’t come forward.

 Even when there is enough strength in numbers and solidarity among women who have been sexually assaulted, their accusations still may not be taken seriously. The #MeToo movement is a perfect example. Women, who finally get the courage to tell their stories after hearing from another victim, are vilified for coming forward. They are blamed of piling on the men they accuse, especially if it is many years later. They are questioned about their motives, as if some monetary award is enough to erase their memories of being sexually assaulted. Of course their movement is viewed as hostile and unworthy of attention.

We wonder why they don’t come forward.

Until we end raising boys who are taught to always be tough and physical, women will continue to be victims of sexual assault.

Until we end raising boys who are taught to temper their feelings and emotions, women will continue to be victims of sexual assault.

Until we end raising boys who are taught to possess and conquer, women will continue to be victims of sexual assault.

Until we end the process of men protecting other men, women will continue to be victims of sexual assault.

Until we end the thought-process of “boys being boys,” women will continue to be victims of sexual assault.

Until we end the process of shaming female victims, women will continue to be victims of sexual assault.

Until we end the process of disregarding the courage of those who take a stand, women will continue to be victims of sexual assault.

We wonder why they don’t come forward.

 

 

Gary A. McAbee created the Wake Up/Rise Up Black America blog to have a powerful voice and positive impact in African-American neighborhoods, communities, and society. The articles posted are not only for African-Americans, but for all people due to their relevance and cultural significance. Along with his other blog, Motivation for the World, Gary is able to get people talking about issues that affect us all. He is the proud author of three self-help books: Wake Up! 42 Ways to Improve Black America Now!, the follow-up Rise Up! 42 Additional Ways to Improve Black America Now! , and Defining Success: One Word at a Time.

 

Black Life: Misunderstood

Black Box

Sometimes being a black person in America is unnecessarily hard. We are viewed differently, judged differently, and treated differently. It is something a black person must face, and in many cases, overcome daily. At work, at school, and in other public places, black people are under surveillance. Sometimes it is just to see what we will do in certain situations. Other times it is to exclude us from certain activities. Either way it makes black life misunderstood, especially when the spotlight is so bright we become aware of it.

Some who read this will not understand. If you think we as a people have made it; this is false. Sure, some of us have “made it”, but many of us have not. You might be wondering how this could be. Barack Obama was President. Jay-Z and Beyonce are billionaires. Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player ever. These are all great accomplishments indeed. But what do these accomplishments mean for millions of black people on their daily grind. Their success does not translate to our lives when we are being watched and judged while doing our daily activities. We are misunderstood even more thanks to today’s view of black people.

I believe today’s society uses black people of wealth and prestige as the measuring stick for the rest of us. Naturally there is an element of “if they can do it, so can you”, which is built in to following successful black people. This is not what I am talking about. Instead I am referring to people of different races who use our celebrities as the examples of what black life is like. If you think the Real Housewives of Atlanta are the real housewives of Atlanta, then you have not been to Atlanta (or Detroit, or St. Louis, or Philadelphia). The real housewives of Atlanta work at jobs, take care of home, raise families, and serve as the backbone of our communities. Any other explanation is of black women faulty at best.

This is a stark reversal of a phenomenon that happened to black people in the past (and still happens today). Back then, society used examples of unsuccessful black people or even criminals, as a measuring stick for all of us. All you had to do was see a black person doing the wrong thing, and then that black person’s sins were carried by all of us. Even worse, their behavior convinced many people that we all behave like that. We are all criminals by nature, unintelligent, lazy, and hostile. If you did not live up to these stereotypes, you were the exception, not the rule. Millions of black people chase the American Dream every day and do it the right way, yet the incorrect actions of a few black people defined our lives and culture?

So here we are in 2018 and we are misunderstood.

  • Some people view ultra-successful black people as their idea of who we are or what we could be if we try.

Or…

  • Some people view unsuccessful black people as who we really are and how we really act all the time.

Either way, we are put into a box that is difficult for the many black people to escape. The by-product of this is when tend to live up these ideas. Some of us want to live like our celebrities, so they spend and consume as if they already do. Others can’t live like them, they resort to activities that will lead to money and fame that brings celebrity status. Meanwhile, the hard-working black man, and the hard-working black woman are misunderstood daily. We are the bedrock upon which our culture and experiences are built. We deserve a little understanding.

To all my people who are trying to make ends meet, making ends meet, or struggling to make ends meet, I am with you all the way. Do not let society’s misunderstanding who we are and what we do define you. Instead, hold your head high, find like-minded individuals, and work together to build better lives. It’s the only way we will continue to grow, while facing the challenges of being misunderstood.

Until we meet again, wake up and rise up!

 

Gary A. McAbee created the Wake Up/Rise Up Black America blog to have a powerful voice and positive impact in African-American neighborhoods, communities, and society. The articles posted are not only for African-Americans, but for all people due to their relevance and cultural significance. Along with his other blog, Motivation for the World, Gary is able to get people talking about issues that affect us all. He is the proud author of three self-help books: Wake Up! 42 Ways to Improve Black America Now!, the follow-up Rise Up! 42 Additional Ways to Improve Black America Now! , and Defining Success: One Word at a Time.

 

Join me on social media!

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/garymcabee

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wakeupandriseup

Twitter: https://twitter.com/McAbeeGary

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/garymotivation/

Hiding the Truth from Americans: I Wonder Why “They” Took Civics Out of the Curriculum

For those of you who don’t know, civics is the study of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and the study of government and how it works (Dictionary.com). In our formal education, it is rare that students take a course in civics. Instead, they learn only sparse bits and pieces of information pertaining to how government works. This slice of education is usually buried in US History textbooks and only mentioned as it relates to certain episodes in our history. In other words, our students are not taught how our government works. They are not taught how politics work. They are not taught how laws are created. They are not taught civics.

Why should we learn civics?

Do you know how a bill becomes a law? Do you know who appoints federal judges? Do you know who your local representative in Congress is? If you don’t know the answers to these questions then you probably should learn civics, or at least engage in the political process. A civics course would have helped with the answers to these questions, while providing a basis for understanding the political discourse in our country. I know a lot of people will say this doesn’t interest them. That’s fine, but regardless of your interest level, politics and decisions made by our elected officials affects our everyday life.

If we had a better understanding of civics…

  • more people would vote in local, state and national elections
  • more people would demand action from our elected officials
  • more people would influence policy on a local level
  • more people would run for office

If civics affects our daily lives, then why did they take civics out of the classroom?

question mark

I do not necessarily believe in sweeping conspiracy theories, but I do believe in a slow, steady progress toward taking things away that are deemed unimportant or outdated. Civics is nether unimportant or outdated. So why have civics classes disappeared from our curriculum? I firmly believe civics is no longer taught in our schools because a certain percentage of the population must be kept in the dark about certain things. Another way of saying it is some people need to be uneducated. Uneducated people can be trained, molded, and pushed in a specific direction. They do not have the will or ability to resist.

As it relates the government and civics, many people do not know the basics of government and how it should work. Therefore (if) they vote they do so without having enough knowledge to make an educated decision about the people and policies that shape our cities, states, and nation. They do not even know the importance of their individual vote. They do not know their local politicians. They do not know local laws and statutes. On top of that, they do not have the will or ability to learn.

So here we are in 2018. The good news is a lot more people are waking up and learning more about politics and our elected officials. All of a sudden, people are aware of the President’s duty to appoint Justices to the Supreme Court. Those Justices interpret the legality of laws and can, in effect, overturn them if they are deemed unconstitutional. Don’t forget that these Justices have lifetime appointments, so their decisions could affect policy for 50 years!

Now we must take things a step further. Either we demand that our students are taught civics in schools again, or become interested enough to learn on our own. Without a few civics lessons, we will continue to see a slow, but steady growth of people unaware of the workings of our government and our elected officials. We will have more people unaware of how laws are created and passed. We will have more people unaware of who their representatives are. We will have more people unaware of how government and politics affect their daily lives.

I Wonder Why “They” Took Civics Out of the Curriculum? Is it to hide the truth?

 

Gary A. McAbee created the Wake Up/Rise Up Black America blog to have a powerful voice and positive impact in African-American neighborhoods, communities, and society. The articles posted are not only for African-Americans, but for all people due to their relevance and cultural significance. Along with his other blog, Motivation for the World, Gary is able to get people talking about issues that affect us all. He is the proud author of three self-help books: Wake Up! 42 Ways to Improve Black America Now!, the follow-up Rise Up! 42 Additional Ways to Improve Black America Now! , and Defining Success: One Word at a Time.

Join me on social media!

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/garymcabee

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wakeupandriseup

Twitter: https://twitter.com/McAbeeGary

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/garymotivation/

Calling the Police on Black Folks: Do We Represent Clear and Present Danger?

Calling the Police on Black Folks: Do We Represent Clear and Present Danger?

For a long time in America, black people have represented a clear and present danger to people of other races. When this occurs, some people chose to overreact, rather than learning to live and let us live. In 2018 alone, we have seen people calling the police on black people who:

  • slept in a common area at a college
  • sold water in front of a stoop
  • went canvassing door-to-door to gather information
  • attended a local pool
  • left a Airbnb property
  • barbequed in a public park
  • waited for a colleague in a coffee shop
  • mowed a lawn
  • collected money for a youth sports team

We have to remember that these incidents ARE NOT on the rise. Instead, they are being filmed now. Can you imagine how many black people had the cops called on them, got arrested, or worse, when there were no camera phones around to record these incidents? Let’s face it: some people, whether it is 1818 or 2018, chose not to mind their own business. They choose to get involved when it might not be necessary. They choose to call the police and expect them to take action. If this is you, learn to live and let us live.

Who exactly are these people? They are the people who, for some strange reason, want greater control in certain situations. If they cannot be in control, they have to get someone who can. They also possess a certain level of paranoia that makes them perceive “threats” and dangers that do not exist. They want to feel comfortable, and they will do whatever it takes to ensure their comfort is secured. Most of the time, their method of control and security is to call the police. Learn to live and let us live.

What do these people think will happen when the police arrive? Whether justified or not, the person who makes the call has to know the potential outcome of their actions. The potential “threat” could, at minimum, be questioned by the police and/or arrested. Does the punishment fit the crime? The potential “threat” could be in a life-or-death situation if they, or the cops who approach them, become overzealous or irate. This is a not a concern for someone who seeks comfort in these situations. Learn to live and let us live.

I wonder why some people can’t live and let live. If you witness an obvious crime, then by all means call the police. On the other hand, if you witness something that bothers you, but does not jeopardize your safety, then go on about your business. I guess it is empowering to be able to call the police on someone and watch them get “put in their place” or even arrested. Where is the enjoyment in that? Learn to live and let us live.

I have never thought of calling the police on anyone who is not a clear and present danger. Perhaps this is where we should draw the line: by defining a “clear and present danger”…

  • A clear and present danger is threatening to get or use a weapon.
  • A clear and present danger is menacing, or causing a public disturbance.
  • A clear and present danger is intimidating, harassing, or bullying another person.
  • A clear and present danger is destroying property.
  • A clear and present danger is committing a crime or violating someone else’s rights.
  • A clear and present danger is acting with clear intent to do wrong or harm another person.

Call Police

Here’s a tip: If you don’t see things that present a clear and present danger, then chances are the situation does not warrant calling the police. This does not mean we should not be aware of our surroundings or watch for unlawful activities. On the other hand, it does mean that we need to improve our discernment as it relates to other people. Learn how to tell the difference between a “normal” black person engaged in a regular activity and a black person (or any other race) about to commit a crime (I have several of my own alive while black experiences to share). If you can’t tell the difference, then maybe you should learn how to use better judgment. Learn to live and let us live.

Black people should be able to do things anyone else can do without fear of being thought of as a criminal, especially in public places where people of other races conduct the same activities. We should be able to catch a nap in a common area, if students of other races also do it. We should be allowed to swim at a pool, if residents of other races also do it. We should be allowed to rent an Airbnb, if vacationers of other races do it. Learn to live and let us live.

Let’s move on to activities that could be considered unique to the black experience. We should be able to barbecue in a public park. We should be able to sell water on a hot day. We should be able to collect money for a youth team or organization. If any of these situations violate any local laws or create unsafe environments, then let the affected property owner or local police patrols handle it. We don’t need an “outsider” who feels violated calling the police and overstating the level of the danger or perceived threat. Sooner or later someone will get hurt because of it. We don’t need any more of that!

Learn to live and let us live. Stop calling the police o black folks when it is not necessary.

 

UPDATE: Since the initial release of this blog post, we have seen several more incidents of calling the police on black folks when they…

  • entered a building to get to their apartment
  • had white kids in a car while they were babysitting
  • tried to buy drinks after a peaceful protest rally
  • did not turn down the car radio for a Lyft passenger
  • spoke in their native Somali language while at a drive thru microphone
  • filed a damage report for luggage at an airport
  • talked to an athlete during a game to prevent him from disrespecting an official
  • bumped into a woman in a store with their backpack

 

Gary A. McAbee created the Wake Up/Rise Up Black America blog to have a powerful voice and positive impact in African-American neighborhoods, communities, and society. The articles posted are not only for African-Americans, but for all people due to their relevance and cultural significance. Along with his other blog, Motivation for the World, Gary is able to get people talking about issues that affect us all. He is the proud author of three self-help books: Wake Up! 42 Ways to Improve Black America Now!, the follow-up Rise Up! 42 Additional Ways to Improve Black America Now! , and Defining Success: One Word at a Time.

Join me on social media!

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/garymcabee

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wakeupandriseup

Twitter: https://twitter.com/McAbeeGary

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/garymotivation/

Separating Families: Your Indifference Speaks Volumes… History Repeats Itself

The plight of immigrant children on the US-Mexico border who are taken from their parents is a national tragedy and a disgrace. The greatest nation on earth should be able to deal with this situation in a more humane way. We, as Americans, believe we have higher standards, morals, and decency as a people than the other nations of the world. Therefore, the American system of government and our law-making abilities should be able to provide relief for this situation in this time of need. The Pledge of Allegiance still stands for one nation, under God, with for liberty, and justice for all. Yet, none of the ideals just mentioned are any help to people who are trying to get to our country to see if America is what it claims to be.

Recently, our current political climate has been referred to Germany as Nazi rule overtook the country. While this could be accurate, we have even better examples of events in our history that mirror today’s treatment of immigrants (or in some cases American citizens). In each of these events, it was a lack of empathy by some Americans that led to and allowed the mistreatment of other people. It was a lack of will to speak up against the mistreatment of other people. It was a spirit of indifference that helped cause the mistreatment of other people.

Today, if you are not aware of the plight of people and their children who are trying to enter the United States, I am accusing you of having a spirit of indifference. Today, if you are not moved in any way by the reports and pictures of children separated from their parents, I am accusing you of having a lack of empathy. Today, if you are not speaking up against these acts, I am accusing you of having a lack of compassion. I know you are well within your rights to be unconcerned about this issue. Who am I to tell you to care? If you are aware of the situation, yet unmoved by the unfolding events on our southern border I question your humanity.

The Constitution of United States of America was ratified in 1787. Yet the words of the Constitution did not apply to many people who were in the country. Slavery existed in southern states for 80 years. During that time, many Americans were outraged by the practice, showed compassion and empathy for slaves, and fought for their freedom. Many people did not because they profited from slavery. Others simply accepted the “Peculiar Institution”. Some people tolerated slavery as long as it stayed in the South. Fast forward to today. The people who turned a blind eye to slavery are the same people who turn a blind eye to the US-Mexico refugee crisis today.

Handbill Warning of Fugitive Slave Laws

 

Your indifference speaks volumes… history repeats itself.

The Indian Removal Act of 1830 allowed the United Stated Government to forcibly remove Native Americans who lived in certain areas. Their removal would allow American settlers to have their land. As a result, American Indians who resided in many areas for hundreds of years, were relocated to some of the most desolate and useless land on the American continent. They were powerless, and they called their forced journey the “Trail of Tears” due to the hardships and deaths they experienced along the way. Fast forward to today. The people who turned a blind eye to Indian Removal are the same people who turn a blind eye to the US-Mexico refugee crisis today.

Trail of tears

Your indifference speaks volumes… history repeats itself.

The Japanese Internment occurred during World War II, in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor. American citizens who were of Japanese origin were forcibly put in internment camps against their will. This was to protect our country from Japanese spies who may perform act against our country. We were at war with Japan, so extra precautions were required. However, many citizens loyal to the United States were captured. Of course, they provisions were minimal and barely enough to keep them alive. Once again, many people disagreed with the practice of internment. However, others wanted revenge against Japan, and used Japanese Americans as pawns to get their revenge. Fast forward to today. The people who turned a blind eye to The Japanese Internment are the same people who turn a blind eye to the US-Mexico refugee crisis today.

japanese-internment-1-728

Your indifference speaks volumes… history repeats itself.

After the practice of separating children from their parents on the US-Mexico border is ended, it will be recorded by history. It will end, because eventually the will and spirit of America and its people will win. Eventually our decency as a nation and our application of justice overrules injustice. Eventually our moral compass and character overpowers our tendency to temporarily lose sight of our creed. Eventually the American ideal of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness overcomes the stains on our nation’s history like slavery, the Indian Removal, The Japanese Internment, and the US-Mexico refugee crisis.

Maybe this time, we as a people will use this recorded history to prevent the next situation like this. But then again, maybe we will not. After all, we did not learn after the lessons taught by slavery in America. We did not learn after the lessons taught by Indian removal in America. We did not learn after the lessons taught by the Japanese Internment. I hope we do learn from the lessons taught by the US-Mexico border crisis. On a personal level, your personal history will record your decisions as this crisis, and others to come, affect our nation and world. What is your opinion about the refugee crisis? What is your stance? What did you do about it? What did you learn?

Your indifference speaks volumes… history repeats itself.

 

 

Gary A. McAbee created the Wake Up/Rise Up Black America blog to have a powerful voice and positive impact in African-American neighborhoods, communities, and society. The articles posted are not only for African-Americans, but for all people due to their relevance and cultural significance. Along with his other blog, Motivation for the World, Gary is able to get people talking about issues that affect us all. He is the proud author of three self-help books: Wake Up! 42 Ways to Improve Black America Now!, the follow-up Rise Up! 42 Additional Ways to Improve Black America Now! , and Defining Success: One Word at a Time.
Join me on social media!
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/garymcabee
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wakeupandriseup
Twitter: https://twitter.com/McAbeeGary
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/garymotivation/

Look at Atlantic City: It’s Like Taking Another Look at Donald Trump

Decay 1

Sign at entrance to Trump Taj Mahal Atlantic City, NJ (photo taken December 19, 2017)

 

 

 

 

 

Look at Atlantic City: It’s Like Taking Another Look at Donald Trump 

 

Atlantic City, NJ is a beloved place. It is a small beach town on the Atlantic Ocean, known for years as America’s Favorite Playground. Thanks to my family’s migration there in the 1930s, I had first-hand knowledge of the magic and charm once held by this city. I spent parts of several summers there in the 1970s, and it was quite a treat to take the 100-mile drive south to get away from the hustle and bustle of the New York City metropolitan area. I was not alone. Many people felt the same, and every weekend they doubled Atlantic City’s population. It was a great place to visit.

In the mid-1970s, the idea to recreate Atlantic City started to gain steam. Up to this point, America’s Favorite Playground was primarily dependent on tourism derived from its world-famous beach and boardwalk. The city could attract even more tourists for a different reason: casino gambling. Atlantic City could become the Las Vegas of the east, and casino gambling could supplement, if not someday surpass, family fun on the beach and boardwalk. The plan seemed like a winner, although many residents of the city did not agree.

If you knew Atlantic City, you could easily figure out it did not have the infrastructure to sustain its residents, regular tourists, and casino gamblers. The city itself is only 18 square miles, and navigating the city streets was challenging enough during the regular tourism season. Casino gambling would make the tourism season last 365 days a year. Yet those who knew the city’s urban issues and slow decline saw this as the shot in the arm Atlantic City needed. They were right. They were also wrong. It was widely believed the casinos, and the revenue they brought in would revitalize the city’s economy and “trickle-down” to the neighborhoods and citizens who called Atlantic City home. It would also bring jobs, another boost to the local economy.

In 1978, the first casino opened. Soon others followed, and Atlantic City changed forever. For a while it was Las Vegas east. It was glitz and glam. It was show time. It was the new mecca of the east coast. Atlantic City was hot! However, those who lived there, who saw the continuing decline of the infrastructure of the city saw a different picture. The tourism dollars the casino industry brought never “trickled down” to the residents of Atlantic City. As a result, they reaped minimal benefits of having casinos operate blocks away from their slowly decaying city. In fact, you could almost draw a line between the haves and have nots of Atlantic City (Pacific Avenue).

So what does this have to do with President Trump?

Trump is the epitome of the outsiders who saw Atlantic City as a gold mine. For quite some time he was a major player and the face of Atlantic City and its casino gambling scene. It was an opportunity to get in, and make a lot of money. He took advantage of it. It was also an opportunity to transform a struggling city. He did not take advantage of it.

In fact, he was one of many who sought to push aside those whose lives and property did not fit into his plans to make Atlantic City great again. I know because of my grandmother. She lived in a senior citizen complex in Atlantic City during the rise of the casinos. She talked about friends and other seniors who were afraid their properties would be seized to make room for yet another casino. One such property was (modern-day) Best of Life Park. This was a building that sat adjacent to Donald Trump’s Taj Mahal casino. There were several attempts to buy the property and other attempts to seize it through eminent domain (or taking property from owners and offering compensation).

A compromise was reached and the residents got to keep their property. It was painted white to match the behemoth casino that stood behind it. However, the fight for the property wasn’t over yet. The Taj Mahal, already known for the amount of fixtures and lights it would have, seemed to get a little extra decoration on its east side. Brighter, more frequently flashing, multicolored light bulbs adorned the east side of the property. Of course, this was directly of Best of Life Park. I wonder if it was a way to “force” the residents to give up their property? By the way, Trump also lost another eminent domain flap with resident in a different area of the city who refused to sell her property.

So over the years Trump opened several casinos: Taj Mahal, Trump’s World Fair (former Playboy casino), Trump Castle (which became Trump Marina), and Trump Plaza. One by one, these majestic Trump properties closed. Donald Trump, the self-proclaimed “biggest player in Atlantic City” managed to mismanage five casinos. Now Trump deserves plenty of credit for employing thousands of people while these properties thrived. But he also deserves plenty of blame for un-employing thousands of people when these properties folded. His last stand, the Taj Mahal closed abruptly, leaving many stakeholders and employees left out in the cold.

I know it is all about business. I also know Donald Trump knows more about business than I ever will. Those are facts. However, take into account how Donald Trump summarily dismisses his time in Atlantic City: “Atlantic City fueled a lot of growth for me,” Mr. Trump said in an interview in May, summing up his 25-year history here. “The money I took out of there was incredible.” Analyze those two statements, and you will find two of the biggest criticisms of our current President.

“Atlantic City fueled a lot of growth for me,” Translation: it was all for his benefit.

“The money I took out of there was incredible.” Translation: I made money and got out.

Once again, this is how a lot of business is conducted. People get in to make a profit, then exit when the profits are no longer there. I understand. Yet, in my opinion, the man who should be the leader of the free world should not have anything like this on his resume. He should not be a person who got in, and then got out while the getting was still good. Especially when he left behind so many broken promises, along with a trail of contractors, employees, and businesses who never received the compensation they earned. He never should have left Atlantic City worse than it was before he got there. After all, he was the “biggest player in Atlantic City.”

Recently I laid to rest my mother in the same Atlantic City church where I laid to rest my grandmother. Both of them loved Atlantic City. For me, it is still home away from home. When I drove up and down the streets of the city I was deeply saddened. Many of the areas where Trump casinos stood are barren and desolate, or haunted by what used to be. Trump’s World’s Fair was demolished years ago. The Trump Plaza is an empty shell that blights numerous Atlantic City streets. Trump’s Castle (Marina) is now the Golden Nugget. And the kicker… the lettering on the side of his Taj Mahal was being lowered ON THE SAME DAY (December 19, 2017) I sat in the Best of Life parking lot to take the following photographs.

Decay 2

Removing the “J” from the Trump Taj Mahal

Decay 3

Best of Life Apartments (front) with Trump Taj Mahal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Decay 4

Former entrance to Trump Taj Mahal (with Best of Life Park on left) 

 

Just in case you have not figured it out, this is personal. For the sake of the American people and our great nation, I hope Donald Trump does not do for America what he did for Atlantic City. For me, Atlantic City is like taking another look at Donald Trump. I don’t like the view, but at least “Atlantic City fueled a lot of growth for (him) and “the money (he) took out of there was incredible.”

 

Reference:

Buettner, C. & Bagli, C. (2016). How Donald Trump Bankrupted His Atlantic

City Casinos, but Still Earned Millions. New York Times. Retrieved from

     https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/12/nyregion/donald-trump-atlantic-city.html