Sunday, September 22, 2019

2-4-6-8 Who Do We Appreciate? The Bus Driver....The Bus Driver

How many of us are familiar with the cheer in the title of this post, 2-4-6-8 Who do we appreciate? When I was a child, this often familiar cheer was cheered at the end of a school field trip with the celebrant being the bus driver. All of the children on the bus would fill the bus with chorus after chorus of "2-4-6-8 who do we appreciate, the bus driver, the bus driver." This was to show our appreciation for the driver taking us to and fro safely.

Albert Rutherford in his book THE SYSTEMS THINKER says "Critical thinking is a metacognition otherwise known as thinking about thinking." Mr. Rutherford further states that critical thinkers don't worry about whether the issue is right or wrong and that critical thinking is more of an opinion-based type of thinking. Mr.Rutherford's definition is exactly why I created this blog, THE CRITICAL THINKER. When I post, I am not concerned about whether the issue I am writing about is right or wrong and the post is my opinion written to challenge you to think. You do not have to agree or disagree, I do challenge you however, to think about the issue in each post. 

With all of that said, many of you who follow THE CRITICAL THINKER probably have figured out that I am a champion of the underdog or for those who are perceived as having "menial" jobs. You also know that in my opinion, there is no such thing as a "menial" job. To me, all jobs are critical, hence my posting about custodians, secretaries, sanitation workers, maids, hospital housekeepers, etc. etc. I know you will find this hard to believe, but there are people out there who look their nose down upon people who perform jobs such as those I listed. In my podcast THE MARC MEDLEY SHOW, I released an episode titled TREAT THE SANITATION WORKER THE SAME AS YOU WOULD TREAT THE CEO. In this episode, I unpacked the popular meme that says "I was raised to treat the janitor with the same respect as the CEO."  Which brings me back to the bus driver.  

Over the weekend I took a road trip by bus. I normally love driving, however, the trip was on short notice and I really did not feel like driving with such a short turn-around. I went down on Friday night and returned on Saturday night. It was a four-hour trip one way. I had not been on a Greyhound bus in literally forty years. I've been on buses during that time, but not an infamous Greyhound bus. My mother often tells the story of my being afraid of the greyhound dog painted on the side of the bus as an infant riding in the car. She says when we would be traveling on Route 95 heading south and I caught sight of the greyhound dog on the side of the bus, that I would just cry in fear. Ironically, when people would ask me when I was a child what I wanted to be when I grew up? I would answer "a bus driver."

When I ride a bus, I always sit in the front seat if the seat is available and that did not change for this trip as I was seated directly behind the driver both going and coming. What came to my mind and prompted this post was the fact that every passenger on that bus was traveling for a different reason. I no longer saw the driver as a bus driver but someone who was taking people/individuals to their stories. Some were going to bury loved ones. Some were visiting children or parents. Some were heading to college. Some were relocating. Some were just going to the "city" to hang out. It dawned on me that the driver was delivering an entire busload of people to their individual story. None of us on the bus knew each other's story. For the fifty plus individuals on that bus, that driver's job was extremely important and not menial at all.

We must not assume that because a job does not require a college degree that it is not worthy of respect. For the passengers on that bus, the driver was the CEO. Our lives and ability to arrive at our stories was in his hands. We cannot afford to take anyone or the job that he/she performs for granted as every job is important, regardless of whether it requires a college degree or not.

I had an enjoyable experience on the bus largely in part because of the professional skills and knowledge of the driver(s). As I shared in my podcast, if you are one who takes people for granted based on the job that he/she performs, in the long run, you will live to regret it. All people and the tasks they perform are important. Every job; bar none. Something to critically think about.

You can hear me live each Saturday from 6-9 a.m. ET on gobrave.org, FM radio WP88.7 FM, and on the TuneIn Radio App as I host The Reading Circle with Marc Medley. You can also follow my podcast THE MARC MEDLEY SHOW on all of the major podcast platforms.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Mistaken Mistake Of A Life

Guest post by Ayo Sekai




How horribly mistaken of a mistake can be
Trotting down death lane
Running to meet death as we are born to die
So many places yet to be seen yet explored
Life

This stumbling block of confusion
This horrible mistaken accident
This breath
This unknowing
Undesired
Unasked for life

This wonderful mistaken gift
Undeserved
Yet lived
Miscellaneous living
Unforeseen plans
This life
This life

This unloving
This living death
Undeserved mishaps
Wonderful circumstances
Hateful memories not experienced yet lived

Oh this horribly mistaken life
A life lived only to die
So many places yet to be seen but already explored
Life

September 4, 2001

Ayo Sekai is the Chief Executive Officer at Universal Write Publications, LLC and a current Doctoral (Ph.D.) student at Howard University (Black Politics and International Affairs). Universal Write Publications (UWP) has a publishing purpose to produce social, anthological, and ethnographical scholarship that dignifies the rich histories of the culturally diverse peoples who make up our society. We want to strengthen the voices of the diaspora through pioneering works that blend the creativity through which Griots tell stories with the necessity of peer-reviewed publications. Be it pieces on cultural heritage, education, the environment, visual arts, or innovators, our books are well researched and richly illustrated, appealing to general readers as well as academic researchers. 



Tuesday, September 10, 2019

People Change


Guest Post by Ayo Sekai



People Change
Seasons Change
Moods Change
Romances Change

But when love changes it breaks our hearts
And when times change we drift apart
When winter comes and rainfall
We feel helpless not knowing who to call
We get uprooted from our safety vines
And with nowhere to crawl we get sour wither and die

Things change yes
Seasons change-we know
They’ve always been that way
And we just didn’t know

Sadness comes in abundance
Success falls like rain
We just have to remember
The season for the pain

And when it’s all over
When it’s all said and done
We will sit as the dawn appears and bask once more in the sun

Because regardless of snowy weather
Freezing rain or cold
We will all remember that
The sun will and must come up
And we will all one day grow old
So let’s hold on through the changes
And maintain our soul.

January 30, 2001

Ayo Sekai is the Chief Executive Officer at Universal Write Publications, LLC and a current Doctoral (Ph.D.) student at Howard University (Black Politics and International Affairs). Universal Write Publications (UWP) has a publishing purpose to produce social, anthological, and ethnographical scholarship that dignifies the rich histories of the culturally diverse peoples who make up our society. We want to strengthen the voices of the diaspora through pioneering works that blend the creativity through which Griots tell stories with the necessity of peer-reviewed publications. Be it pieces on cultural heritage, education, the environment, visual arts, or innovators, our books are well researched and richly illustrated, appealing to general readers as well as academic researchers. 



Sunday, September 1, 2019

My Father's Glory


Guest post by Ayo Sekai


When I remember my childhood with my father
the most powerful emotion that engulfs me
is how much I love him

Regardless of my pain and feelings of resentment I might feel over a lost childhood, I never could convince myself that my father never wanted me happy....
I think of the obscenities that he would use to cut through my thoughts and thought it was his way of saying never use them



I remember the emotional turmoil, being depressed and discouraged and smiled,
because I believed it was his way of saying he’s proud.
Even when he called me worthless in many ways and more, I knew in my heart that he was
saying he believed in me, but didn’t know how
In his smiles, I found such pleasure

I saw beyond his eyes
And I felt he wanted to hold me
He even did once or twice.....
But the most precious memory I hold dear
The one that means the most
Is the pride I feel as I relate that my dad and I were close
If you ever saw us, you’d never believe this day
My father and I are distanced, separated, and far away.

The one thing I wanted from my father
The one wish that I have
Is my father to give me the respect I thought I had earned
As his child and as his offspring, I don’t think I ask too much
for my father to say he’s sorry, build bridges and build trust....
My dad has grown older and so have I, the travel back is far and wide
I’m his child and he’s my father
and in my heart, he will always reside.


July 9, 1994

Ayo Sekai is the Chief Executive Officer at Universal Write Publications, LLC and a current Doctoral (Ph.D.) student at Howard University (Black Politics and International Affairs). Universal Write Publications (UWP) has a publishing purpose to produce social, anthological, and ethnographical scholarship that dignifies the rich histories of the culturally diverse peoples who make up our society. We want to strengthen the voices of the diaspora through pioneering works that blend the creativity through which Griots tell stories with the necessity of peer-reviewed publications. Be it pieces on cultural heritage, education, the environment, visual arts, or innovators, our books are well researched and richly illustrated, appealing to general readers as well as academic researchers.  




Friday, July 5, 2019

I Agree with Anne Frank, However, People Can Also Be.......

Like Anne Frank, one of my core beliefs is that people are really good at heart. However, with that said, I also observe more and more that people are really insensitive, inconsiderate and downright rude. At this writing, I am not sure if it has always been that way or if I just started recently noticing it more. It could be a combination of both along with the fact that we are exposed to so much more due to technology and social media.

For example, I cannot understand why an entire neighborhood has to be subjected to loud blaring music coming out of the backyard or car of one individual. Not only is it loud but it is played for hours on end and into the late evening hours. It is played with absolutely no regard for anyone else in the surrounding area. Everyone in the neighborhood regardless of if he/she appreciates the type of music being played or not becomes a prisoner and forced to endure the noise pollution. In some instances, the authorities have to be called in order for the volume to be lowered or the music being shut off altogether at midnight. I'm not sure if this an issue that suburbanites face, but it is common in the cities and urban areas.

Another example of some being totally inconsiderate are those who double park in the middle of the street and take their sweet time to get out of the way. Some are arrogant enough to hold conversations with people as traffic builds and if by chance you blow your horn or say something for them to get out of the way, they now get an attitude or angry. It is absolutely ridiculous.

While I'm speaking about drivers, I also notice that they have become more and more impatient on the road. Now I get it in terms of people sitting at traffic lights and not paying attention due to texting or fiddling with their phones; however, that is not everyone and the sounding of a car horn before the traffic light can even finish changing from red to green is not necessary. Drivers can barely get their foot off of the brake pedal and onto the accelerator before a horn is blowing behind them. All of this horn blowing is not necessary.

Since we just finished celebrating Independence Day, I'd be remiss not to mention the misuse of fireworks by our insensitive friends. Just last night (July 4, 2019) as I was driving home, someone threw lit firecrackers into the middle of the street into moving traffic (you could literally see the flames on the string of firecrackers, folks, some gas tanks are located underneath the car). Can you say stupid? I swerved around the lit devices. Again, for the life of me, I don't understand the fascination with hearing something go "pop" and in 2019 it is too easy to cause confusion between the sound of firecrackers popping and gunfire popping. Our more nefarious folks I'm sure have enough of a scheming sense to premeditate the sound of fireworks going off at the same time they are pulling the trigger on a gun. Needless to say that that example is of an extreme nature, but a possibility nonetheless.

At the end of the day, these are quality of life issues that really need to be addressed. If nothing else, some common sense and consideration for others ought to kick in. The problem is, they don't kick in and others have to suffer for the selfishness of I would say a few, but it is far too many than it ought to be. So let's be more mindful in terms of how our behavior impacts those around us. My examples in this post are just a few and I am sure that you can add to the list.

With all of that said, at the core, I still believe as Anne Frank believed that people really are good at heart.

You can learn more about me by visiting my website at marcamedley.com


Saturday, April 13, 2019

Be Realistic

Guest Post by Art Merrill


Be realistic. That is what we are told. I think we have been thinking about that advice all wrong all this time. It is actually perfect advice. Let us be realistic for a moment. Thomas Stanley wrote a fantastic book many years ago called The Millionaire Next Door. In this book, he describes the results of several decades of studying the truly wealthy in our country. He interviewed only those who were actually net worth millionaires or better. He talked to them about their habits, their businesses. their philosophies, etc.

What he found out was that most of the people in this country who are living lives of true prosperity are not the folks you see on television. 99+% of these people are unknown outside of their local communities. They are not entertainment stars, tech entrepreneurs, politicians. Most of them own small to medium size businesses in rather mundane industries. Some own welding shops, mechanic shops, bakeries, construction companies. Most of them live in middle-class neighborhoods and drive domestic cars and pickup trucks. Most of them have been married to the same person for a long time and have lived in the same house for decades. They wouldn't be caught bragging about their wealth because they earned it gradually and understand that most of those who brag, do so because of fear that they will lose what they have. Really prosperous folks know they can replace anything that is lost because the simple skills and strategies they used to acquire their things are still with them no matter what happens.

The most common paths to prosperity in our country? Owning a small business. Owning rental real estate. Owning stocks and bonds. Think about that for a moment. Which of these is unreachable to you? Is it unrealistic for you to buy a few shares of stock? You probably already bought one house. Who says you cannot buy another for investment purposes? Heck, there are kids starting businesses today, why can't you?

I will tell you what IS unrealistic. It is completely and utterly unrealistic to think that you are uniquely disqualified from these avenues to prosperity. To think that millions of other people from similar backgrounds and with similar skills and abilities have done these things, but you cannot.
Truthfully, in today's digital world, these are only a few of the avenues available. Now, there are a whole new set of possibilities due to the internet and our connectivity. People are making money with silly videos. People are becoming wealthy playing with toys on YouTube. People with internet blogs are raking money in. All of yesterday's paths are still available and a whole new pile of opportunities are now available also.

If you think that, for some mysterious reason, you alone are destined to be left out, you are not thinking realistically. You are assigning yourself a label that does not make any sense at all. Embrace the reality that you can choose any one, or even several of these paths to prosperity. No one is stopping you but you.

Guest Blogger Art Merrill is an entrepreneur and business owner who has spent forty years reading and digesting self-help and personal finance books while owning and running several small but profitable businesses. He is the author of  Why Not You?: The Old Man's Guide to Prosperity  

Sunday, March 17, 2019

THE SYSTEM IS RIGGED

For one of the few if not only times, I agree with Donald J. Trump; The system is and always has been rigged. In fact, Donald Trump can say that with confidence because he has been a part of the rigging since birth. Mr. Trump was referring to our political system when he uttered those words, however, systematically it is much larger than any political system. The system that I am referring to that is and has always been rigged is our economic system. You know, "The Haves," "Barely Haves" and "Have Nots," commonly known as the "Upper Class," "Middle Class," and "Poor."  Historically, the upper class in many cases became upper class off of the backs of others and/ or by cheating the system (rigging). This cheating of the system or profiting off of the backs of others allowed them to become even more economically well off ensuring their future generations would remain in that category. Ultimately, once sustaining wealth was attained all efforts were made to appear legal and upstanding with none being the wiser of the nefarious activities that had produced the wealth. Alas, the rigging had begun.

The rigging also included the "isms" that was mentioned in my last post; racism, sexism, classism, ableism, anti-semitism, ageism and heterosexism. The perpetuating of the "isms" facilitated the further rigging of the system. Certain groups were aided in building wealth while others were systematically and intentionally set up to do just the opposite. In fact, these groups helped to build the wealth of the very people who were keeping their boots on their necks. Yes, Mr. Trump, the system is rigged. It always has been.

Our most recent rigging that came to light is this College Admissions Scandal whereby an FBI probe alleges that a network of celebrities, business executives, and other powerful figures is at the center of a massive bribery scheme to secure admission into some of the country’s most elite colleges.  How's that for the system being rigged? Think about this scam for a minute and what it says about our educational system. For whatever reason these parents did not feel that their children had what it took to gain admission to these schools, so they felt the need to pay for their admission.  The children either knew and went along knowing that they were not qualified or they did not know and were led to believe that they were qualified when they weren't. The "Barely Haves" and the "Have Nots" do not have the opportunity to ensure that their children get accepted into a prestigious university whether they are qualified or not. Heck, many are struggling to get them in there even when they are qualified. THE SYSTEM IS RIGGED. It was rigged for 50 or more people including actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman.

I overheard a young man the other day say, "It isn't illegal if you don't get caught," and I was blown away at hearing someone verbalize what I can imagine far too many people think.  I was moved enough by the statement to produce a podcast episode about it using the statement as the title of the podcast.  I guess that is what all of those Upper Class (The Haves) were thinking when they fixed (Oh they had a "Fixer" too) those SAT scores and other entrance requirements.

In the College Admissions Scam, the system was rigged against students who fell in an "ism" category who were most likely in the middle or poor classes because those who have money and lots of it decided to tilt the scales in favor of their children in order for them to continue making even more money. Yes, the system is rigged. The Admissions Scandal is just one example of how the system continues to be rigged while those who are rigging it continue to play the innocent role and deny the very opportunities that they are cheating to have from those who attempt to gain them honestly. I'm sure that there are countless other rigged schemes out there that are keeping the classes where they are.

Mr. Trump was indeed correct with his assertion of the political system being rigged. It was rigged in his favor. He was letting the world know that the system was indeed rigged because he was a part of the ones rigging it. He made it seem as if it was the media or his political opponents when in actuality it was him who was a part of the very rigging that got him elected. Come on now, how else would Donald J. Trump get elected President of the United States if the system was not rigged for him to win?

As more and more scandals come to light, America is looking sadder and sadder. One would never know that America is being made great again (if it ever was). In fact, it seems to appear that we are Making America Corrupt Again (MACA) (If it ever wasn't).

You can hear me live each Saturday from 6-9 a.m. ET as the host of The Reading Circle on gobrave.org and FM radio WP88.7 FM. I invite you to visit my website at marcamedley.com to learn more about my radio show, podcast, blog, social media sites and musical projects. The Reading Circle can also be accessed via TuneIn Radio. 



Sunday, February 24, 2019

The Brilliance of The Sitcom All In The Family In 1971 And Its Relevance In 2019

 Yesterday I was watching the old 70's situation comedy (sitcom) known to us as ALL IN THE FAMILY. If you were to "Google" All In The Family, the description would read "All in the Family" is touted as the series that brought reality to prime-time TV entertainment. The lead character, Archie Bunker, is a loudmouthed, uneducated bigot who believes in every stereotype he has ever heard. His wife, Edith, is sweet but not the sharpest knife in the drawer. They and their daughter, Gloria, and her husband, Mike, all live in a working-class home. Unfortunately for Archie, he can't avoid the people he disdains: His son-in-law -- whom Archie calls "Meathead" -- is an unemployed student and of Polish descent; the Jeffersons next door are black; Edith's cousin Maude is a feminist; and, later, his partners in a local tavern are Jewish." The show was produced by Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin.

I've watched reruns of the show periodically and regardless of which episode I am watching, it never fails to get a laugh-out-loud (LOL) response from me. In my opinion, the show is funny as hell. Beyond funny, however, is the brilliance of how the reality of America at that time was symbolized through the characters of the show. The time was forty and eight years ago, in 1971. The touting of the series as the one bringing reality to prime-time television, in my opinion, is true. 

As I laugh and watch episodes of All In The Family, I also analyze the scenarios enacted and the views portrayed toward the various groups, in other words, the "isms" (racism, sexism, classism, ableism, anti-semitism, ageism and heterosexism). I say the show was brilliantly put together because Archie Bunker symbolized America during that snapshot in time and I am sad to report that we seem to be reliving that era. In fact, it almost seems that we have "Archie Bunker" leading the country. 

Now for my analysis.....When you look at the show, Archie always thought that he was the smartest or most intelligent person in the room. In his mind, he knew it all and was always right when the fact of the matter is, Archie was the least educated. But that did not matter because of who he was and who he represented. While as Edith is described above as not being the "sharpest knife in the drawer," she was sharper than Archie, however, the problem was she was a woman (sexism) and was always treated by Archie as his servant and verbal punching bag when in many scenes Edith was the smartest in the room. Archie's views on other races, classes, ages, and sexual preferences spoke for themselves and were clearly articulated throughout the scripts. Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin boldly pushed the envelope in days prior to political correctness. 

For those during that time and now who were of the mindset of the Archie Bunker character, I am sure they did then and now cheer Archie on as Archie symbolizes a time when America was considered great by them (that's why we have to "Make America Great Again-MAGA").  Many of us who fall into the category of one or more "ism's"  believe that to some degree we were able to move beyond the Archie Bunkers of the world because after all, we've had an African American President, right?   Based on everything we've seen particularly since 2016, one might argue that the Archie Bunkers of the world had just gone underground or into hiding. Maybe the Archie Bunkers just chose to remain silent for a time and have now been unleashed now that Archie seems to be in the White House (Archie Bunkers of the world unite!). 

To this day, I am sure there are many who hated the show because it placed our reality, our dirty laundry full frontal in prime-time. There are those in denial of that's who we [America] were and perhaps still is as a country and then there are those who didn't see then or now absolutely anything wrong with Archie's views, opinions and actions. Remember, Archie was the smartest person in the room, loudmouthed and uneducated, but the smartest in the room, at least in his mind, nonetheless. 

There is that old cliche or quote attributed to French writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, that says "The more things change, the more they stay the same," and as I watched the two episodes yesterday where Archie was in the hospital and needed a blood transfusion and had to receive the transfusion from his African American doctor because of his [Archie's] rare blood type (AB Negative), that quote came to mind even as I laughed myself onto the floor and off of the couch. 

One of President Trump's favorite words is "sad," and the events that we are witnessing as a result of all of the "ism's" (racism, sexism, classism, ableism, anti-semitism, ageism and heterosexism) that  was satirically depicted in 1971 seems to have come back with a vengeance since the electing of Barack Hussein Obama and subsequent election of Donald J. Trump and that truly is sad. Nearly fifty years later despite all of the changes, things appear to be the same. 

My hat's off to everyone who had anything to do with ALL IN THE FAMILY as it is just as relevant in 2019 as it was in 1971. 

Please visit my website at marcamedley.com