Thursday, December 18, 2008

Faith in the One Who Deserves It

In today’s society, the government is in place to serve us, the people. In a democracy, the people choose to give these offices to the men and women they believe will work the hardest to fulfill their promises to them. This means that the people must have faith in the candidates—the men and women desiring these offices. However, what have these people done to deserve our faith? Can we really trust that the candidates have our best interests at heart? It is for this reason that some people, including me, feel apathy when it comes to voting. The rest of the reason why I choose not to vote is this: why put my faith in imperfect human beings who make mistakes just like I do when I could put my faith in the creator of life itself? I am not the only one who believes this. As Jehovah’s Witnesses, we are united in belief worldwide. History shows that humans have not been able to govern themselves effectively, so I put my faith where it belongs, with God.

Here's an illustration of my point: In a rather upscale neighborhood, there is a large apartment building. On the outside, it looks beautiful, but the inside tells a different story. The paint is chipped, the plumbing is terrible, and the insulation is terrible. The numerous tenants see the bunch of problems the building has, but they have faith that the landlord will fix these problems. Over the 30 years that the building has been open, there have been 15 landlords, and the building is no better than it was when he first started. Some problems are fixed, but those fixes are quick and, therefore, very temporary. In addition, most of the other problems still exist in the building. Hence, some tenants move out, but the vast majority of them continue to put faith in the same kind of people that make the same promises and cannot follow through with them every time. This situation is much like what world citizens experience with the government they live under. No matter what country, politicians always make the same promises, and when the time comes for them to deliver, something of greater importance gets in the way. This situation is much like how the government is to its people. As much as we want to believe that it will solve all of our problems, we always hear that little voice in the back of our head that says, “Does it really matter who I vote for? We will only be in the same predicament four years from now.” Unfortunately, history does not plead a good case for world leaders.

Ever since the very first government created by humans, leaders have tried to act in the best interests of its citizens. However, these efforts always produce unfavorable results. For example, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal gave new life to society during the Great Depression and helped them work its way out of it. However, there is one group the New Deal affected negatively, and not a lot of people know about this. According to Jim Powell, as cited by Damon W. Root, “states with a higher percentage of black residents…received fewer New Deal dollars than the richer, whiter states.” Powell also explains how “to meet the inflated payrolls required by New Deal minimum wage codes, employers eliminated…the sort of jobs filled by African Americans and other disadvantaged groups.” While this was definitely wrong in his moral eyes, especially to his wife Eleanor, Roosevelt “was not about to risk losing either his New Deal or World War II by alienating Southern supporters or moving too far ahead of public opinion” (“Bad Deal: How FDR made live worse for African Americans”). Even the best of efforts could not completely remedy a troubled society.

The Bible says at Jeremiah 10:23, “I well know, O Jehovah, that to earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” One cannot look at historical events and not see the truth in this statement. Every human government has failed to solve all of mankind’s problems. As a result, people accept the fact that not all of our problems will be solved but that we must try as hard as we can to solve most of them. Most people remember this quote from Jerry Garcia: “Constantly choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil.” I do not want to choose evil every time I vote in an election. Instead, I choose to follow the advice at Proverbs 3:5-7: “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding. In all your ways take notice of him, and he himself will make your paths straight. Do not become wise in your own eyes. Fear Jehovah and turn away from bad” (New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures).

I know that human government will never be able to remedy all of the world’s problems, so I do not put my faith in something that does not deserve it. Does that not make sense? Would a son believe his father’s promises only to be disappointed by him every time? I know that I would not. Therefore, I do not believe in any human government in this world, and will not vote in support of anyone who wishes to become a part of it. I believe in the government that God will set up for the benefit of all mankind. Yes, God’s kingdom will remedy all of the world’s problems, and as long as I live on this earth, I will continue to out my faith in God. He is the one who has truly deserved it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Awakened by Darkness

I remember this time my family moved for the second time in three months. I remember it vividly because I had never been to that part of Goose Creek before. It was late at night when I went on my first unloading trip to the house. I was tired, but I remember it well.

It began with the normal drive down Redbank Rd toward the Naval Base, but when the trip called for a left turn onto what I think is now Henry E. Brown Jr. Pkwy, I woke up from my slumber in my dad's truck and scanned what I could in the night. The road allowed no light to illuminate it; the pavement seemed to be winning against the headlights. The forest seemed to ward off any other travelers. It felt like the night chose this particular road for our travels that night. All I could see were the drainage ditches on the side of the road. The light seemed to jump from the headlights, not touch the road at all, and fall into the ditches. My window was open, and the wind eerily whistled in my ear, but my hair protected my scalp from its bite. I looked at the sky through the windshield. Either blemishes on the glass got in the stars' way or the moon had barred them from inhabiting the sky that night. All I saw was the moon as the truck rumbled on.

At the intersection at the end, another left turn was taken. My first glance eased my worry. In the distance, the traffic light offered some relief in the darkness. It was red when the road angled. I looked around and saw more trees. The road widened out and gave more separation between the forest and me. I was a little glad for the road's help. The forest was no longer hidden behind its friend Darkness. Upon reaching the traffic light, it gave us a green light. To me, it was more like a thumbs-up telling me that I was going to be all right. We passed the light and Darkness overtook us once again. This time, I was not afraid. I had seen hope in the form of an urban nuisance. My enemy was no longer hidden from my awareness. The road went on, and I faintly saw house watch with their transparent eyes the truck pass them. To my relief, they were in limited company with the forest. Furthermore, their increasing presence was a sign of only one thing: civilization.

I would travel down Liberty Hall Rd several times that night, and my body would punish me the next day. Fortunately, my tormentors in darkness were a lot friendlier in the presence of Light. However, I knew I would be traveling down a dark road again with no expectation of returning. After that move, I only really wondered about one thing. Would Darkness awaken me again that next time?

And the beat goes on...


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Kickin' It Old School

I don't understand music these days, especially pop music. I know I'm not the only one that thinks this. It seems like pop music generally has the same vibe no matter who the artist is. It's the same rhythm, the same tempo, the same messages, nothing much is different. There are basically five types of pop singers:

the chill instrumentalist

the misunderstood rebel

the hot vixen/chiseled and/or dreamy-eyed heartthrob

the TV teen star(s)-turned singer(s)

the foreign import (which I don't mind as much as the rest)

It's not that I don't like the music. It's the monotony I don't like. That especially goes for rap music today. I don't want to hear about who you want to beat up or which chick you want to "pop bottles" with all the time. It's like these artists sample from the same people's or each other's music. Every time I hear a new rap song, I always say to myself, "I swear I heard that beat on someone else's single." I guess because of the monotony I've learned to like different genres of music.

Not even I understand how I like so many types of music! Some of the genres a lot of my friends don't know much about like Neo-Soul, underground hip-hop, & electronic. I learned to like jazz because of my grandmother, Neo-Soul because of my dad, underground hip-hop because of Neo-Soul, electronic and trance because of my friend Philip, alternative because of my friend Paul, 80's music because of my mom, and everything else from the radio. There are some songs on the radio that I rarely hear anymore, which is another rule about pop music. The genre of pop comes from the word "popular," so if the majority has moved on, the radio must as well. Unfortunately, in an effort to please everyone, pop music stations end up pleasing no one. Fortunately, that's why there are many other radio stations to listen to, so at least I'm not imprisoned by the monotony!

I miss a lot of songs. I remember when Aaliyah was popular, and she was for good reason, too. She was a good singer, and her songs were good to listen to for all R&B lovers. I miss Boyz II Men's music. They could harmonize well on every song they sang, and they were awesome singing a Capella. It's a shame only adults appreciate their music now. Oh man, Blackstreet was good, too. The music was nice, and the words actually meant something. I am a big fan of New Jack Swing by the way. I used to be in band in middle and high school, so that added to my musical tastes significantly. I learned to appreciate the music itself: the chords, melodies, tempos, everything about it. From this stemmed my loves for jazz, electronic, classical, and alternative. It basically enhanced the love I already had for music.

Music was good back in the day. It actually meant something...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Welcome to the Jungle

Sometimes the police really gets under my skin. I know they are just doing their job, but there are still those hard-nosed pigs that only care about making their quota for the week. This morning, my mother ran into one of those cops today. Before I go into the story, here's the backstory.

When my mom got a new car earlier this summer, her credit rating was less than perfect. She took my aunt to the dealership so the car could be purchased under her name; he credit was acceptable for them. Although the car would be under my aunt's name, my mom would be the one making the payments.

Fast forward to this morning:

I'm getting ready for school at another aunt's house when I look at the clock. The time is 7:25 A.M. My mom is usually here at this time, so I think to myself, "I hope mom gets here soon, or I'll be late." (Class starts at 8 A.M.) The clock ticks, 7:45 A.M. I'm really worried now. Then the phone rings in my grandmother's room. After answering the phone, she calls me in the room. It's my mom on the phone. She tells me that she will call back after she finishes talking to the State Trooper. "Did she say 'State Trooper'?" I think after I hand the phone back to my grandmother. After ten minutes, give or take 5, she calls back. She was stopped my a State Trooper because the plates on the car did not come up as hers. My mom tried to explain why they didn't, but the Trooper's reaction was less than favorable. The pig wrongly accused her of lying and stealing the car, took off the plates, and gave her a ticket, or was it two? Nope, the pig gave my mother THREE tickets!!! He told her that if she was to drive the car without plates, she would be arrested. He also told her that she only had a couple of days to get the right plates. She asked him how she was supposed to do that without a car, and he says, "Figure it out." I'm still fuming, so let me calm down a little...

...trying to chill out...

...still chilling out...not effective...

...making some progress... longer grinding teeth...fine enough to keep going...

I have one thing to say about that little [expletive]: The pig better be glad I was not with her or else I would've had to be arrested for assaulting a police officer! That State Trooper treated my mom like a freakin' criminal! Why would my mother make that up? To top it all off, today is her last day of her live-in case as a Personal Caretaker. She was supposed to go shopping tonight! As if we haven't been thrown enough curveballs already...

If you ask me, I think that cop was just trying to make his quota for this week, so he saw a black woman driving a nice car and automatically thought, "That car looks too nice to be hers. I have three tickets left before I take off for the rest of the week. Maybe if I nab that chick for grand theft auto, I could throw her three tickets in one sitting. The rest of the boys will call me a hero! And the best part: I get the rest of the week off along with another week vacation the boss will give me." Now my mom's gotta go to court with my aunt to face this Cretan and get this thing straightened out. Unfortunately for him, she has Pre-Paid Legal. Get ready, pig. You messed with the wrong family today, and don't expect us to take it easy on you. You reap what you sow, Nimrod!

And the beat goes on...