Risk Rap

Rapping About a World at Risk

Liberty and Justice for All

Today is Gay Pride Day in New York City.  The march commemorates the Stonewall Uprising by Gay men in a Greenwich Village bar over 40 years ago.  Stonewall was a watershed event for everyone.  It was a poignant reminder to all people that a specific population of our citizens were the victims of harassment and repression because of their sexual identity.  Stonewall was a bold proclamation that the LGBT community would no longer suffer in silence and shame.  Refusing to be victimized,  LGBT people would courageously come out of the closet at great personal cost to claim their place at the table of the worlds great democratic republic.  It is the very same spirit and motivation that led to the creation of the United States and its promise of liberty and justice for all.

Sodomy Laws prohibiting homosexuality and its practice has been on the books of state and municipal law since the founding of our republic.   Jefferson wrote the first sodomy law in Virginia in 1778,  proposing castration for those found guilty of the act. Pretty amazing that during the height of the Revolution, Virginia took time to write laws prohibiting homosexuality.  I also find it a bit ironic that as revolutionaries were striking a blow to end the rule of a foreign tyrannical monarchy they would focus their attention to pass a tyrannical law aimed at repressing the rights for a portion of its citizens.

Sodomy laws find their inspiration and justification in a biblical certainty proclaimed by parties that remain painfully at odds with the promises and problems of secular democratic government.  Proponents of  laws prohibiting civil rights to LGBT offer a world view informed by Old Testament precepts and proscriptions authored two thousand years ago.  Their moral compass seems to be ruled more by a dogmatic creed enforced by a vengeful deity.  In their zeal to live a pious life they seem to miss the greater message that all God’s children enjoy full and equal rights in God’s Kingdom and that we demonstrate our love of God by extending that love to others.

Those that oppose equal and full rights of citizenship to all people are the avowed enemies of democracy.  Democratic republics cannot survive if it withholds any right or civil liberty to a group of its citizens based on a legislative distinction of acceptability.  Indeed, today’s proponents of laws like Proposition 8, Defense of Marriage Laws, the prohibition of gays openly serving in the military or the denial of the right for a teenage girl to go to the prom with her girlfriend share a mindset more in common with the Taliban then our Founding Fathers.  We recoil in horror as we witness the divinely inspired handiwork of the Taliban and rise to meet it with a national resolve to assert and protect the sacred liberties offered by secular democratic governments.  Given a choice and a true understanding of what is at stake, I pray that my countrymen will join me in support of equal rights and civil liberties for all citizens.

Frederick Douglas’s famous quote that “power concedes nothing without demand”, is as relevant today as it was when the great abolitionist spoke these words.  Douglas states,  “If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation…want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters…. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”

We salute the Gay Pride Marchers as they step off  this morning  to remind us that liberty and justice for all remain beyond compromise and an absolute necessity for America to remain true this promise for all its citizens.

You Tube Music Video: Bob Marley and the Wailers, Get Up Stand Up

Risk: democracy, civil rights, 

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June 27, 2010 Posted by | culture, democracy, government, legal, LGBT, politics, religion, social justice | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Year of Being Here

Be here this year!

Turn off cell phone

be still

be active

fall in love

tell the truth

struggle for justice

free a prisoner

walk for peace

be a friend

find a friend

mentor a child

take a hike

ride a bike

revel in nature

smell the coffee

grow some flowers

start a garden

honor God

read a book

write a poem

paint a picture

click a photo

say a prayer

maintain silence

hold your peace

sheath a sword

unload a gun

practice peace

dance joyously

sing gleefully

speak softly

love largely

climb the mountain

linger in the valley

dip toe in water

tip toe through tulips

pet a dog

feed a cat

protect a child

care for the aged

listen to someone

open your ears

hear someone

lift your eyes

see someone

go fishing

feed someone

conduct a search

find someone

watch the moon

bless the stars

write a book

start a business

make some money

lose some weight

drive courteously

cook a meal

swim the sea

sail a boat

get some sleep

be kind

be useful

be diligent

be reverent

be genuine

be helpful

be still

be present

Be

God Bless

Have a Present Day!

You Tube Video: Bob Marley: Jammin’

Risk: Not Being Present

January 1, 2009 Posted by | Tao | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

G20 Mulls State of the Globe

The leaders representing the largest world economies will sit down this weekend to plot some strategies to deal with the global economic crisis. The challenges confronting this group is extensive and vast. Inflation, deflation, credit markets, energy prices, political stability, capital markets, exchange rates, balance of trade, and the slowing growth of the world economies are problems that will require more then a weekend meeting to solve. The Economist Magazine has some thoughtful insights into the extent and depth of the problems, some possible solutions and potential roadblocks to implementing them.

One point The Economist raised for consideration is the conflict between the global reach of capital market institutions and the national based sovereign regulatory bodies that are responsible for governance and oversight. This glaring challenge came to light last month in the EU when national banking governors were forced to enact national solutions to Pan Euro Zone banking problems. Regulators are concerned that savvy global banking institutions will engage in a type of regulatory arbitrage to skirt national governance laws. The global banking system has surpassed the constraints of national regulatory laws and it is a principal challenge that the G20 must address. Indeed during the height of the credit crisis national regulators were hard pressed to explain why it was in the best interest of the countries taxpayers to bail out foreign banks and to share credit facilities with other central banks repo desks. The supranational nature of our economic and political institutions is a difficult pill for some to swallow. Country Firsters will certainly use this as an opportunity to beat the isolationist and nationalist drum.

This G20 meeting is likened to the Bretton Woods agreement that adopted fixed currency exchange rate and formed the IMF and IDRB. These initiatives foreshadowed the Marshall Plan and were key to the ascendancy of American economic dominance in the post WW2 era. Though many are playing down the similarities of the two events this meeting comes at a time when the American economic colossus has lost its groove and whose preeminence is now being challenged by the EU, China and a slew of Third World confederates that are demanding more equitable distribution of world resource and a chance at sustainable economic development.

The conference is certain to adopt some classic Keynesian solutions to stimulate growth. Indeed the activist interventionist actions the world central bankers have employed to deal with the crisis, like the TARP will become more widespread. This will certainly raise the debate about protecting the sanctity of free market capitalism against the creeping socialism advocated by the proponents of the Keynesian approach to stimulate growth. Here it is necessary to remember that this is not about an ideological debate concerning the righteousness of conservative or liberal political dogmas. The global economic crisis is real and it is creating political instability and economic hardship across the globe. For many in the Third World this crisis has acutely spiked their struggle for survival as the barest subsistence levels are not being met.

As the G20 makes the big decisions to patch the broken world economy we believe that the real business of the G20 should be a careful examination and implementation of the Millennium Development Goals.

The Millennium Development Goals provide an opportunity for the world leaders to unite behind a program that promises to offer the potential of long term sustainable growth, prosperity, peace and a commitment to our shared humanity and respect for life. This I believe is the the real business that the G20 men and women need to address this weekend.

You Tube Video: Charlie Chaplin, Great Dictator Globe Scene

You Tube Music: Bob Marley and the Wailers: One Love/People Get Ready

Risk: global economy, sustainable development, political stability, peace

November 15, 2008 Posted by | Bush, economics, jazz, Millennium Development Goals, politics | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment