Editor’s Note: Last summer, 13 year old Ethan Kadish was struck by lightning at Goldman Union Camp Institute in Zionsville, IN — the camp at which my wife and I met, as well as where my parents met. Here’s the story of the horrible event. Ethan’s camp buddies, Nathan and Asher Moskowitz are celebrating their Bar Mitzvah this weekend by making a tribute to their friend and raising money for his health care. Here are their stories:
Sometimes in life we don’t stop and think about what we are thankful for. With the sacrifice of well being our ancestors were forced to take a moment, appreciate their blessings and give thanks.
In my Torah portion, the Israelites made a special offering called the sacrifice of well being. They slaughtered the animal, and then splashed the blood of the animal all over the walls of the altar. The kidney and the liver were then turned into smoke in front of the altar. Not the most pleasant – laws about sacrifice and blood. But for me, all this blood and smoke, is teaching us about how we give thanks.
For our ancestors, the forced sacrifice of well being made them appreciate the blessings they had. It was a way to stop and think about what was really happening and what they needed to be thankful for. Today, fortunately, we don’t make sacrifices. Instead, we have our prayers – and they are here to remind us of what is good in our lives. But also, what we can do more of. Just like the sacrifices, they help us think of what needs to be done in our world, like who might need our help.
For me, this entire bar mitzvah has made that happen. When I first thought of what my bar mitzvah meant to me, there were a few ideas that immediately popped into my head. Being a Jew, the importance of our Jewish tradition and that being up here tonight is part of our history. But there was one idea that had me thinking for a long time; that we have to work at making the world a better place and helping others. That’s the value that we have always learned as most important in being Jewish. And after what we experienced last summer, I knew we could live this Jewish principle for our b’nai mitzvah.
My Torah portion talks about the sin offering, a sacrifice that had to be made when someone did something wrong. It says that if one person in the community commits a sin, the entire community is responsible and has to make a sacrifice. The sacrifice made was a bull and if they didn’t have a bull, the community used a goat. Our ancestors brought the bull before G-d and then slaughtered it in the Tent of Meeting. Then they burned the animal’s blood in the fire.
When I first read this, I found how they dealt with sins in ancient times really weird and gruesome. Besides, how does sacrificing a bull and sprinkling bull blood fix our mistakes?
I imagine that the Israelites were concerned about giving up something as valuable as a bull, so maybe that would stop them from committing a sin. That fear would make them behave better. Though in my mind, linking this to G-d, doesn’t make a lot of sense. I don’t think G-d cared about someone’s sacrificed animal that was killed to make up for a mistake made. I believe that all G-d wants us to do, is that which is good and that we should work on fixing our world.
Yet what would happen if we could fix our mistakes and take back the wrong we did in such a simple and practical way? When I was at a temple retreat, one of the counselors asked “have you ever squeezed toothpaste out of a tube and tried to put it back in?” Well the thing is, it’s impossible. Once we do something bad – once we hurt someone, once we call someone a name, we can’t take it back. Now some people might think you can always just say, “I’m sorry.” But for me that doesn’t cut it.
Words aren’t enough. Even though as Hannah Montana taught, “Nobody’s Perfect,” and “Everyone makes mistakes,” our actions need to show that we care enough to work at the wrong we did, that we can redeem ourselves and do something kind to help and to make things right.
This got me thinking. There are moments when mistakes are made and we wish we could go back in time and fix them. But that’s really true with everything we experience, everything we might want different. Think about all the things we would change! I wish we were able to do this because then I’d get my friend Ethan out of the way so that lightning wouldn’t strike him.
Of course, that’s not possible. But I wish it were. I guess the lesson is that when things happen, even bad things, we can’t change them. But we can work to make things better. And that actually is connected to my Torah portion.
Like I said before, the whole community is responsible for the sin that one person committed. Yet, why is the entire community connected to what went wrong when only one person had sinned. I think that is the most important lesson here, that community means everyone is responsible. When things are good, everyone can experience the good. When things aren’t good, everyone can try to make things better.
Today we are part of Ethan Kadish’s community. To help Ethan, Nathan and I are doing a 5k fun run walk so that we can raise money for Ethan’s medical care.
Becoming a bar mitzvah means I have the chance to be more of a leader – for my temple community leading us in prayer and also celebrating a tradition that has been passed along to me. The most meaningful part of this is connecting with my temple, my family and my friends and bringing everyone together. And that tomorrow we will be a community that works together to help our friend Ethan.
Our friendship with Ethan is ever lasting. We played Ultimate Frisbee together and we even had our own handshake after one of us scored. I hope and pray that one day we will be able to do our handshake again. The day he was struck by lightning, all of us at camp broke into tears. That night a new tradition began as we sang the prayer of healing, the Misheberach, together as a community. We continued doing this every day for the rest of the session, dedicating it to Ethan. It gave us time to think about how we wanted to help him. On the day we left camp, on the car ride home, I said, “we have to do something for Ethan.”
We’re blessed to be able to share Ethan’s story and ask everyone to make a difference in his life. It makes us feel good to know that our b’nai mitzvah is helping. And on some level, not only helping Ethan, but also reminding us how much helping there is to do in our community and in our world.
This afternoon, The Daily Beast ran an edited version of the following piece on its home page. Here’s the unedited version, with plenty of Kentucky political color.
I used to be Jack Conway.
Well, to be more precise, Kentucky’s incumbent Attorney General and I used to occupy the same crowded political space: two young, big-city, over-educated, well-connected, center-left, aspiring pols, each trying to elbow out the other for the chance to grasp the political brass ring that was the opportunity to be anointed the next great hope for Bluegrass State Democrats.
Our journeys finally came into direct conflict when, in 2007, all of our political mentors withdrew their names from the gubernatorial hat, compelling Jack and I to engage in a hyper-awkward, Elaine Benes-ian dance to explore teaming up as a ticket…which ended, of course, when both of us insisted on leading. I ultimately plunged into the seven-person governor-wannabe scrum from which I never emerged, while Conway found open daylight running and easily winning the state’s top law enforcement position.
In the intervening years, as I have found a permanent seat on the sidelines as a recovering politician, I’ve watched Jack’s career with consistently wistful cognizance that “but for the grace of God go I.” During his 2010 bid for the U.S. Senate — a race that had our paths been reversed, I undoubtedly would have run…and lost — I saw Jack pilloried in much the same way I had been skewered for my own policy-wonkish, retail-politics-averse approach to campaigning. And when his ultimate undoing came at his own hands — the ill-advised decision to run the now infamous “Aqua Buddha” ad that challenged Rand Paul’s faith, I could see myself succumbing to the same pressures, within the oxygen- and rationality-deprived political bubble, to employ a desperate, risky strategy in order to stop an “dangerous” opponent with a diametrically-opposite ideological worldview.
When Conway later admitted his mistake — arguing that the ad was “the only time in my political career I’ve gone against my gut,” I recalled my greatest gut-check regret. In the 2007 race for Governor, I was questioned by a newspaper’s editorial board about how I voted in the 2004 statewide referendum over what I felt was a pernicious constitutional amendment that would not only ban gay marriage, but anything that looked like it, such as civil unions. Privately, I’d supported marriage equality — strongly — ever since Andrew Sullivan introduced much of the country to the possibility in his historic 1989 essay in The New Republic. But while I had openly supported anti-discrimination laws, and was especially proud to have been the first gubernatorial candidate ever to pursue, secure and embrace the endorsement of gay rights organizations, marriage equality was a third rail that I was still too timid to touch — the amendment, after all, had passed statewide overwhelmingly just three years earlier, with 74% support.
So I did what I had done my entire political career on the issue: I lied to the editorial board. And I didn’t come out of the political closet until I had formally renounced politics a few years later.
Today, my former political doppelgänger faced a similar challenge on this very same issue. When federal District Judge John Hayburn’s recently ruled that the Commonwealth must recognize lawful same-sex marriages from other states, Conway was confronted with the decision on whether to appeal the decision — on behalf of the voters who had so overwhelmingly voted for the ban a decade ago.
For some of Conway’s Attorney General colleagues in blue states who encountered similar circumstances, this may have not been a difficult decision. But here, in an inner notch of the Bible Belt, marriage equality is still quite an unpopular position. A few brave Democrats had stepped out months earlier — including, most prominently, Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson, and State Auditor Adam Edelen – but general election voters, who Conway will likely appeal to in a 2015 gubernatorial run, still oppose the practice by a 55 to 35 percent margin in a recent independent poll. (And today, a GOP candidate who had donated. $20,000 to support the constitutional anti-gay effort in 2004 just announced his entry into the 2015 governor’s race as the standard bearer for social conservatives.)
Worse yet for Conway, his client, the popular Democratic Governor Steve Beshear — who won statewide liberal plaudits for vetoing an Arizona-like anti-gay, “religious freedom” bill in 2013, and national progressive celebration for successfully implementing Obamacare in the state — wanted to pursue the appeal.
So Conway chose the route he had abandoned in his U.S. Senate race: He went with his gut. In announcing his decision to refuse to pursue an appeal, the Attorney General stated that ”in the end, this issue is really larger than any single person and it’s about placing people above politics…I can only say that I am doing what I think is right…I had to make a decision that I could be proud of – for me now, and my daughters’ judgment in the future.”
Conway’s decision will not have a significant practical effect: Governor Beshear announced a few minutes after Conway’s press conference that he would hire outside counsel to pursue the appeal. But for a populace desperately seeking politicians who are authentic, who lead from their heart, even at great political risk, Conway’s choice may instill a small ray of hope that even in this most cynical of times, conviction can sometimes trump politics.
And for this recovering politician, who has forsaken the arena for many of the same reasons that so many Americans hate politics — as well as for the chance, finally, to live a life when I can always be true to my most passionate beliefs — it’s great comfort to see my former political frenemy take the kind of brave, selfless action that I would have loved to put on my political resume.
As I wrote today in this The Daily Beast cover piece, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway took a very courageous stance today by refusing to appeal federal District Judge John Heyburn’s decision that requires Kentucky to recognize same-sex marriages from other states. Here’s an excerpt:
For a populace desperately seeking politicians who are authentic—who lead from their heart, even at great political risk—Conway’s choice may instill a small ray of hope that even in this most cynical of times, conviction can sometimes trump politics.
And for this recovering politician, who has forsaken the arena for many of the same reasons that so many Americans hate politics—as well as for the chance, finally, to live a life when I can always be true to my most passionate beliefs—it’s great comfort to see my former political frenemy take the kind of brave, selfless action that I would have loved to put on my leadership resume.
Click here to read the full piece.
Do you, like me, agree with Conway’s decision?
If so, please join me in saying thanks. Sign the petition below to let Attorney General Jack Conway know that you are with him as he stands for equality and fairness:
Thank You, Attorney General Conway for Supporting Marriage Equality
Read the petition
Share this with your friends:
|437||Jennifer Burchett||Ashland, Ky||Mar 10, 2014|
|436||Jennifer Smith||Paducah, KY||Mar 09, 2014|
|435||Lucy Yang||Lexington, Kentucky||Mar 09, 2014|
|434||Gwendolyn Haver-Davis||Clay City, Kentucky||Mar 09, 2014|
|433||Gayle Smith||Louisville, Kentucky||Mar 09, 2014|
|432||Gary Nutt||Cub Run, KY||Mar 09, 2014|
|431||Ashley Bland||Mount Dora, FL||Mar 09, 2014|
|430||larry johnson||russellville, ky||Mar 08, 2014|
|429||Rebecca Wilson||40517||Mar 08, 2014|
|428||Randall Eades||Danville, Kentucky||Mar 08, 2014|
|427||tana wright||louisville, Kentucky||Mar 08, 2014|
|426||Debbie Tucker||Tampa, Florida||Mar 08, 2014|
|425||Richard Naas||Hopkinsville, Kentucky||Mar 08, 2014|
|424||Michaela Stanley||Lexington, KY||Mar 08, 2014|
|423||April Bowman||Pikeville, KY||Mar 08, 2014|
|422||Anita Whelan||Mar 08, 2014|
|421||Victoria Harbin||Whitehouse, Kentucky||Mar 08, 2014|
|420||patricia case||louisville, Kentucky||Mar 08, 2014|
|419||Sheila Collins||Canada, Kentucky||Mar 08, 2014|
|418||Brandy Smith||Elizabethtown, Kentucky||Mar 08, 2014|
|417||Richard LeMaster||Ashland, Kentucky||Mar 08, 2014|
|416||Beth Thorpe||Louisville , Kentucky||Mar 08, 2014|
|415||chrystabelle lambert||somerset, Kentucky||Mar 08, 2014|
|414||Nicole Lally||Lexington, Kentucky||Mar 07, 2014|
|413||leigh pridemore||louisville, KY||Mar 07, 2014|
|412||Tina Morris||Ky||Mar 07, 2014|
|411||Gina Phillips||Ky||Mar 07, 2014|
|410||Anna Lee Adams||Louisville, Ky||Mar 07, 2014|
|409||Sherry Zilinsky||Covington, KY||Mar 07, 2014|
|408||Linda Leeser||Louisville, KY||Mar 07, 2014|
|407||Korey Houska||Minneapolis, Minnesota||Mar 07, 2014|
|406||Sandra Rippetoe||Mar 06, 2014|
|405||Alyssa McAlister||Phoenix, AZ||Mar 06, 2014|
|404||Frank Schwartz||Louisville, KY||Mar 06, 2014|
|403||Elizabeth Tremayne||Prospect, Kentucky||Mar 06, 2014|
|402||L.A. Watson||frankfort, ky||Mar 06, 2014|
|401||Tara Gilland||Lexington, KY||Mar 06, 2014|
|400||Susan Nash||Louisville, KY||Mar 06, 2014|
|399||Isaac Carter||Mar 06, 2014|
|398||Brandy Reeves||Lexington, KY||Mar 06, 2014|
|397||Joanne Brown||Lexington, KY||Mar 06, 2014|
|396||Emily Duncan||Lexington, Kentucky||Mar 06, 2014|
|395||Suzanna Stammer||Lexington, Kentucky||Mar 06, 2014|
|394||Diana Ratliff||Midway, Kentucky||Mar 06, 2014|
|393||Angela Henson||Lexington, KY||Mar 06, 2014|
|392||Gayle Stockdale||Lexinton, KY||Mar 06, 2014|
|391||Cheri Mullins||Covington, KY||Mar 06, 2014|
|390||Jewell Livers||Tubac, Az||Mar 06, 2014|
|389||Walt Barlow||Lexington, Kentucky||Mar 06, 2014|
|388||J.D. Craddock||Munfordville, Ky||Mar 06, 2014|
Our family is comprised of my wife, Rebecca, our son, Johnny, our daughter, Maggie, and our two dogs, Macy and Winston.
But on Monday we had–not what I would call an actual addition to the family–but a temporary intruder that has introduced himself (or herself) into our extended family. After several hours of agonizing pain in my lower back a CAT scan confirmed I had given birth to a small calcium deposit more commonly known as a kidney stone.
The process of birthing a kidney stone is cruelly painful. It feels like a tiny army has invaded your body and is attacking your lower back with miniature jackhammers.
I have been told repeatedly that a kidney stone is the most painful condition a man can experience—”like childbirth.” OK then. I’ll treat that way. I’m going to give my calcium deposit (or kidney stone) a proper name while it is residing swimmingly in my bladder waiting to burst out into the universe.
Buster has a nice ring to it. And I think I’m calling it a he.
For real childbirth the gestation period lasts about 38 weeks –or 266 days, on average. But for a male to create and discharge a fully grown calcium deposit is much a much shorter gestation period—about 3 or 4 days. Tops.
A dog’s gestation period is 61 days. A cow’s 279 days. The only thing on the shorter end of the spectrum even close to a man’s incubation period for a calcium deposit is a fly. Flies have gestation periods of about 4 days. But it’s not really gestation because they lay eggs. But they get it all done in 4 days and the only thing close to what I’m doing now with my kidney stone. I looked it up on the internet.
So, back to Buster. Our newest family member, sort of. I’ll be giving birth to him shortly. I’m in Day Three of my gestation period. The doctor expects Buster to be birthed (or “passed”) tomorrow, provided I drink lots of water and take Flomax. The male/kidney stone equivalent of Lamaze.
How did I find out I was “with stone?”
It all started late Monday afternoon. Day One was just awful. I didn’t think I had done anything deserving punishment….but the nurse–trained to read the body language of patients– knew immediately something was wrong with me when she walked into my hospital room and I was screaming at the top of my lungs “Oh God. Ohhhhh God!!! Oh God! OH GOD!!! Please help! OH GOD!” She asked me to point to the pain and I pointed to my lower right back.
My wife was shushing me and I waved my finger angrily at her and said, “No! No! Don’t shush me! Screaming it the only thing that helps distract me from the pain!”
Admittedly, it was not my finest moment as a husband. Or hospital patient. And I later apologized to both Rebecca and the hospital staff.
As wimpy as I felt for making all that noise, I was grateful the nurse knew exactly what to do. She administered a pain medication that sedated me and then took me in for a CAT scan. A CAT scan sounds like it could be fun. Something with a small furry house pet like our dogs, Macy and Winston. But it’s not. At all. It’s really boring. They put you on an oscillating bed and slide you back and forth through this giant contraption that takes pictures of your insides. That’s it. There are no cats anywhere. I guess the main take away about my reflections on the CAT scan is that the pain medication was working well.
About 30 minutes later a doctor came into my room and told me that I was about to be a proud father of a small calcium deposit. (Those weren’t his exact words, but you get the idea.)
I asked how big was my creation. The doctor said 2mm. “Smaller than average” and it should drop into the bladder soon “because it’s so small.”
I felt slightly self-conscious and think the doctor was embarrassed for me not being able to create a bigger kidney stone.
Feeling relief from the pain medication I felt more like myself and asked the nurse if she’d seen any other men with kidney stones this week. She said she had several kidney stone patients recently. After a pause, I asked, “How big was my kidney stone compared to the others?” I blushed while awaiting my answer and explained, “It’s a guy thing.” The nurse said, my stone was “big enough to cause a lot of pain” but wouldn’t offer a comparative opinion. I took it that my kidney stone fell on the small side. Maybe the smallest. The “runt” of all the stones seen recently in this hospital.
I was discharged with medicine, directions to drink lots of water and given a paper sifter to capture Buster when he was ready to meet the world. I returned Tuesday with no stone. The doctor wasn’t surprised and said it sometimes takes “several days to pass.” That’s all well and fine but I could tell he felt like I wasn’t trying hard enough and should really try to put my heart into it more. I was a little depressed—disappointed in myself, I guess, for not delivering.
Then again I am 50 years old. Birthing a calcium deposit at my age isn’t as easy as it sounds.
I am proud but hope this doesn’t affect my diet. Because in a way I am eating for two now.
As the nurse checked me out for the last time, she said to me routinely “I hope you feel better.” I said, I “didn’t feel that.” And added, “I don’t think your heart was in it.” She laughed and tried again and I said, “Better…but ….no…not really.” The third time was a charm and I left with us both laughing….kind of cool way to end an awful experience.
And soon–maybe tonight—Buster will pass. Pass into this universe –ever so briefly—and then get flushed into oblivion. OK. I know. Buster is just a calcium deposit. But he is my calcium deposit. And as painful and miserable as a kidney stone is to experience, it is possible—if you try really hard like I am doing now—to find something positive in even the most miserable experiences. A silver lining, if you will—that is un-phased by the jagged edges of my little runt of a kidney stone that is about to be introduced, albeit briefly, to this amazing but sometimes very painful world.
Why I am nervous today.
Over the weekend I was venting to my wife about something annoying that had happened at work.
When I was finished I said, “But it’s all good.” And, as usual whenever I use that phrase, my wife didn’t respond.
And it occurred to me that I have never once heard Rebecca say, “It’s all good.” In fact, I have never heard any woman say, “It’s all good.” Only guys. And we say it a lot.
And that got me a little worried. And it’s why I am nervous today.
What do women know that we guys don’t know about why it’s really not “all good?” And why haven’t they said anything to us about it? Just like Rebecca did with me over the weekend, whenever a guy says “It’s all good” in the presence of a woman, she just remains silent.
I am going to find some woman today who looks like she knows the answer and ask her. And if your a guy, I suggest you do the same.
Something is up and we guys need to figure out what it is.
I would ask Rebecca but I am embarrassed that I don’t know why things really aren’t “all good” and don’t want her to know I don’t know. It’s a guy thing.
And, yes, I would also like to know without Rebecca knowing I know so next time when I am venting about work–or whatever–I can say “But it’s all good” and then add “except…” –adding whatever it is that I find out today from some smart woman why isn’t all good.
That will make me feel a little smarter around Rebecca. And reassure her that I am not just another clueless man who makes uninformed remarks.
Today’s article is courtesy of the queen of romantic planning, Sarah Pease, The Proposal Planner (TM). Whether she’s taking over the flight deck of the Intrepid for an epic proposal, or organizing the perfect picnic in Central Park, Sarah knows what’s what when it comes to making romance happen.
For some, Valentine’s Day is the most romantic day of the year filled with love, red roses and candlelit dinners. For others, it’s a commercialized, manufactured holiday rife with cheesy teddy bears, silk boxer shorts and exorbitantly priced prix fixe menus. Regardless of your opinion, it’s a great excuse for organizing a fun date with your loved one (even if it’s just your most-loved friend!). Here are five of my favorite ideas for Valentine’s Day:
1) For the Wallet-Conscious: Create your own wine tasting. With a little research done online or with your local wine shop, select 2 reds and 2 whites and pair them with cheeses or chocolates. Using a scarf from your closet, conduct an official blind tasting by candlelight. Not only will you expand your knowledge of wines, but you’ll also enjoy the flirty part of blindfolding each other! Budget not an issue? Hire a sommelier to do a private tasting!
2) Starry Night: Research the hours at your local planetarium or night-sky observatory and arrange to have a private tour. Whether you’re strapped into an IMAX seat watching the latest space-themed movie, or gazing at real stars in other galaxies, you’ll be in a romantic mood under all those stars.
3) Love is all Around: Plan an entire evening around love. Meet your sweetheart at the Museum of Sex near the Flatiron Building – who says a museum can’t be fun? Once you’ve explored all the newest exhibits, head to your favorite cocktail bar to sip on the cocktails she loves. From there, treat her to her guilty-pleasure food – is it cheesy biscuits from Red Lobster? Coconut Invasion cake from Asia de Cuba? Tonight is the night to indulge. End the evening by sharing three reasons why you love each other.
4) Futuristic Love: Want to know what the universe has in store for you? Do a psychic reading together! Make an appointment or stop in to see what the crystal ball or tarot cards say. If you really want to tempt fate, try a few different fortune tellers to see if their predictions overlap.
5) Ice Skating and Hot Chocolate: Strap on your skates and join the crowds for a lively spin around the ice rink. If you’re in New York, you can blend in with the tourists in Central Park, Rockefeller Center or Bryant Park, or discover some of the smaller rinks around the city. Reward all of your activity with a cab ride to City Bakery and test out the “drinkable chocolate” of the day. Got a sweet tooth? Plan to come back every other day for the rest of their Hot Chocolate Festival which runs the entire month of February. That way you can try a new flavor every night.
Many thanks to Sarah for sharing her fantastic ideas. For more info on Sarah, check out her website.
And now that you’ve got the best date ever planned, read here for what to wear.
-Content provided by Rath & Co. Men’s Style Consulting. Read more: http://rathandco.com/tastehunter/page/3/#ixzz2rY7GQOqa
My grandfather Brown’s favorite poem was “If” by Rudyard Kipling.
He memorized it and quoted from it often, especially when encouraging someone to seek wisdom and perspective in the midst of a difficult situation.
When I turned 13 my father gave me a framed copy of the poem for my birthday present. Like most boys on their 13th birthday, a framed copy of the poem “If” wasn’t what I was hoping for…. But I’m glad now I got it –and
I still have it. I hung it in my bedroom through high school and college and as an adult hung the poem in my office.
When my son was about 13, I gave it to him and it is now hanging in his bedroom. It’s a pretty good poem. With some excellent life advice:
IF you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master; If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!
Why I love YouTube.
Not because it can capture funny home video clips, or humorous gags or sports highlight or memorable musical clips or an embarrassing public moment or a truly newsworthy current event.
Although I enjoy all of those things, too.
Rather, it is because from time to time, a rare gem of a video clip gets formatted to YouTube and shared with the world.
Like, for example, this 1963 interview with Peter O’Toole and Orson Wells discussing Hamlet that reveals the day-to-day personalities of both these extraordinary gentleman.
It’s not just educational; not just entertaining. It’s mesmerizing and magical in its own mundane way.
And that is why I love YouTube.
Yes, folks, once again it’s time for a male politician to introduce us to an outlandish character, in the course of either sending indiscreet texts or making tone-deaf remarks about women. And for the record, I am NOT taking Mike Huckabee’s remarks out of context – I know he was saying that he believes Democrats are the ones ‘making women believe they are helpless without Uncle Sugar providing them a prescription for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government.’ You know, because the Democrats’ real war on women is forcing us to make our own decisions and denying us mandatory transvaginal ultrasounds . . . ? (Not to mention an apparently confused idea of exactly what birth control pills do . . . )
At any rate, it was yet another example of why men of either party should stay away from sex – from talking about it, from texting about it, and certainly from making up middle-school-worthy aliases. Fortunately, I was raised by a feminist mother (which had some disadvantages – I was never allowed to have a Barbie because my mom disapproved of the unrealistic body image expectations generated by a doll whose real life measurements would be 39-21-33, who would be 6′ and weigh 100 lbs. . . . . . but I digress). Anyway, as an unpopular late-blooming geeky high school sophomore (whose real life measurements at the time were approximately 24-24-24), I came in for a fair amount of name-calling and teasing. One day I complained to my mother about the football captain in my physics class who constantly leered at me, “Hey, Mayer – your place or mine?” and made his buddies erupt in raucous laughter. (Remember, this was way before anyone had heard of ‘sexual harassment’ – it was only a couple of years after girls were finally allowed to wear pants at my school!) Mom suggested I try joking back (reminding me of the scene in A Tree Grows In Brooklyn where Francie is ostracized by the other girls at her first job until she laughs at something . . . like I said, I was a geek!) So the next day, when he re-used the same joke for the 47th time (and confirmed that he was a jock and no scholar-athlete), I retorted, “How about my place tonight and yours tomorrow, if you’re man enough?” His friends laughed, he turned beet red, and that was the end of the teasing. And I learned a valuable lesson!
In other words, Mike Huckabee just wrote my next song for me . . .
When I think of Dr. King, I think of his courage, vision, strength, humanity, and most importantly, his perseverance. Dr. King’s perseverance transformed him into a legendary leader but it was his challenge to each one of us that sets him apart—a challenge in this day, in this hour, to “take up the cause of freedom”.
This element of Dr. King’s life is something that hopefully each of us has incorporated into our daily lives. Perseverance breeds success; and it is his perseverance that enabled Dr. King to achieve his dream.
Dr. King knew that his dream—this movement towards civil rights—would begin a new chapter for America—a chapter we are still writing today; a chapter steeped in the hopes of “little black boys and black girls [joining hands] with little white boys and white girls” for true opportunity and equality.
We celebrate this day different from any other American holiday because we use it not only to recall the legacy of the civil rights era and the man who lived and died for the true freedom of all Americans, but also to assess how we are doing in making The Dream real. Like Dr. King, we are not just writing a chapter in the life of the African-American community, we are the authors of the book of life in America.
I know that if Dr. King were here today he would encourage us to persevere in the face of tragedies like the Trayvon Martin shooting, or efforts to roll back hard fought gains in voting and civil rights. He would remind us that “freedom is not free” and the price we must pay keeps the dream alive; that success does not come without sacrifice if you want the dream to live for future generations
And that’s the easy part because the dream lives in each one of us. Happy Birthday Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
(Cross-posted, with permission of the author, from The Grio)