*please note all links contained within are to supporting documents of statements made*
It is impossible to turn on the news without hearing some absurd happening within communities of these united states. Trivial things turned vicious, ignorance turned deadly, and tolerance turned intolerant. The number of stories have increased tremendously especially over the last 8 months. It seems as if there is something America has forgotten. A phrase, saying, and steadfast pillar of peace and tolerance; practice what you preach, treat others how you want to be treated, turn the cheek, or even bite the bullet. The amount of specific examples where this phrase or collection of phrases could have been used to promote peace is astounding. Following are a few examples.
In 2011 Florida state highway trooper Donna Watts arrested a Miami police officer who while driving a marked police car led her on a high-speed pursuit for over four minutes with speeds topping 120 mph on the highway. After the arraignment and judicial procedures the arrested officer lost his job. Though he broke the law, other law enforcement officers from 25 different agencies searched police archives (privileged information) to find her address and contact information in order to harass her.
If the other police men and women took a second and said, “practice what you preach,” they would have found no need to try and intimidate an officer who was actually doing what they are all sworn in to do. Maturity would have allowed this phrase to enter their minds before they reacted blindly. It also should have stood as a testament to the fact that they are not above the law. Of course there are many other current situations where this applies to the cops as well, so please, officers start asking yourself if you are practicing what you preach.
LGBT community and supporters
We all know the fight for equality has been difficult but has seen some amazing steps forward with the repeal of DOMA and Prop8, along with the repeal of don’t ask don’t tell. The past few years have been great, there is still, however, a very real struggle underway. In some places the fight is going backward. Let’s think Memories Pizza in Indiana. They refused to make pizza for a gay wedding. It is their constitutional and living right to choose who they serve. If they decide they want nothing to do with it, try some other business, or think of some other cuisine. The backlash created for this family run business is sickening. If we allowed the phrase, “treat people the way you want to be treated,” to run through our minds this wouldn’t have happened.
No we don’t want to be looked down upon, or berated for who we are, so why would we do that to someone else. Just because their beliefs don’t align with what the rest of the world is trending toward doesn’t give us, the same people who only recently have made some serious milestones, the right to tear their business to shreds.
Those screaming RACISM!
It will be a very dark page in the history books when the stories of Ferguson, Garner, and many more hit them. It is a time in America when we can say that unfortunately racism still exists. It is with all of my heart that we can get this to go away, but it won’t if the reactions continue to be less than appealing. There is no need to shoot and kill an innocent officer because of the color of his skin. There is no need to attack and refer to all police as killers. If it weren’t for the police force we would be in a world that stinks way worse than it does right now. So even in these rough times, when it seems there is new evidence being turned out about some other wrong doing every single day, we should be asking ourselves, can we “treat others the way we want to be treated?” Racism exists, yes, but we need to be able to come together and live life devoid of the ignorance that creates the terrible idea called racism. You may never know when you meet someone that’s racist, but as long as you hold true to yourself and let your light shine, you may never know who you converted away from it either.
I don’t know your story, nor will I ever, but the color of ones skin doesn’t equal the caliber of human you may perceive them to be. In a clear, unaltered news story that recently came up a few Florida police officers were fired because of the slanderous way they talked about black people. Sure it can be easy to lump individuals together by a common feature, but you are doing yourself one of the worst injustices you can. Don’t be narrow minded and allow yourself to think, “treat others the way I want to be treated.” Who cares what your thoughts are or what you think of people. Do the most human thing and think for a second and treat everyone the way you would want to be treated. It is, after all, ignorance which breeds intolerance.
The Unyielding Religious
It doesn’t matter what religion you are, most religions preach peace and love. Yes there are certain abominations, but it is also up to God, Allah, or whatever god you pray to, to judge those in abomination. So keep that in mind when you want to judge someone for the way they are. Recently a lawyer in California, who claims to be Christian, posed a ballot that encourages homosexuals be punished by a “bullet to the head.” This is an extreme case, but in every day life you will run into someone who’s views or life you don’t agree with. It is already stated in the bible that you aren’t to judge anyone, but leave that for God. So why can’t you say to yourself a phrase taken from your book, the golden rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Matthew 7:12)
To Those crying No Immigration!
Recently President Obama went out of his way to pass a law that would allow illegal aliens to gain citizenship in the United States. This was a double edged sword. If the people didn’t meet all the criteria chances are they could be deported back to their country. Some of you reading this may be happy about that, but I ask you, where did you descend from? In 2013 only about 2% of Americans were native, which means your family came from somewhere else. We are constantly flooded with reports on how immigrants get a free ride, let me tell you this is false. Understandably there is concern about foreign criminals and such reaching our soil and staying, but the government has many practices in place to limit that from happening. So think about those families who want to come here and are willing to take the jobs you don’t want, along with another, just to make ends meat and support a family away from said criminal and brutal activity. Practice what you preach. If it weren’t for immigrants chances are you wouldn’t be here.
There are many groups that weren’t touched on here but the point of the essay is to increase the internal dialogue of everyone. This is America, home of the free. Of course there will people that don’t agree on one topic, life, religion, or creed. That’s the point. Take that and realize we are merging into a new era, a new generation, and the last thing we need to be guilty of is creating a hostile environment for our young ones, let alone our neighbors and ourselves. We are united with the respect of each living person, glorified in the knowing that we can live harmoniously together.
There will be times when the simple phrase, treat others as you would like to be treated, will go to the way side especially when someone threatens what we all stand for. An enemy of our rights. A true threat to the freedom that we have to be able to argue about such values. But when it comes to person to person, neighbor to neighbor, community to community we must stand united with a respect to each human to have their own thoughts, beliefs, life, and religion. This is America. These are our fundamental truths that we must not let pass.
May God Bless America!
Caleb A. Mertz
This is an excerpt from my book THE UNEXPECTED that I read today and was moved by it. I hope you feel the same way.
A man dressed in a nicely fitted suite walked through the door seconds after Carl. This gentleman, looking rather frank and serious, walked up the main corridor as the speaker stopped, and the rest of the room turned to look at this man. He carried nothing (as nothing was permitted in this room) but he strolled casually, yet with an important stride toward the president. He was proud to be the one to be able to approach the president, so he did not show the fear knowing there were laser sights attacking his back; ready to fire if he were to make a false move.
“Mr. President,” he began cordially. Andrew waved this aside.
“What!?” he asked, worried of the news.
“There has been an attack on Fort Lauderdale, and the Golden Gate Bridge,” the man stated, looking at the president sternly. “Mr. Beggins has requested your presence.”
Andrew stood. The president of the United States for only three hours leaned into the microphone that protruded from the wooden desk in front of him.
“If you will excuse me I must attend to a matter.” He remained calm, keeping his composure and charisma more than any one. “There has been an attack on Fort Lauderdale and the Golden Gate Bridge.”
The attending advisers looked down in disbelief. It was their new version of the September eleven happenings of 2001. Some had been there for this; others had only been in high school at the time. They had never thought an event like this would ever take place in their life again. Andrew himself thought of this time being only fifteen years old and sitting in his middle school class. He had immediately begun praying. He remembered crying as he watched the footage; he remembered his mother’s stories of her friends that were there. He remembered hearing of his father’s death as he ran up the stories to try and save a few hundred people only seconds before the towers collapsed.
Andrew, in his surge of emotion, repressed this and walked sternly from his desk with Mr. Riggel closely by his side. Now as they walked, Andrew remembered sitting in front of the television and quickly writing each of the names they named on a pad of paper until his hand had tired. He still continued to write as the names came, wanting to make it a point to pray for the families that lost loved ones. He had remembered thinking the pain in his hand was nothing to what the families were experiencing.
It was just then, as his hand was too tired to write any more names, when he heard his father’s name. He remembered sitting there watching his mother in tears in their trailer at 511 Spruce street. She couldn’t even keep up with the names that came rapidly from the reporter’s mouth. She prayed. Oh, she prayed. She prayed until her lips were blue for those poor people. She sat praying with the tears flooding down her face at the sight of this happening. She prayed as usual, and she prayed in tongues, all while having a heart for those people. He just got done writing a name that sounded like one of his friends when they said, “Ray Rakford”.
He wrote the first letter before he finished hearing the name. He snapped his head around to look at his mother. She had a Disney glass in her hand filled with some orange juice, but she didn’t care about that. She never looked so strange there on the couch, struck as if by some evil force. It reminded him of the look of a fearful child, as they would be soon possessed by some awful demon. Sick in the face, sunken eyes though wide, rattled hair and, of course, a jaw that hung low. Hung to the extent that it could naturally go and then some. She didn’t care about the praying any more, she just stared at the television. There on the side of the screen only for a few seconds did it say, “Ray Rakford: Firefighter NYFD.” The image was replaced by a name that Andrew still wrote down. He had to pray. He couldn’t stop just because his father’s name appeared. Now. NOW! The pain rippled through his body and tore at his brain.
Andrew’s pace slowed somewhat as he walked with Mr. Riggel.
“Are you all right?” Mr. Riggel asked.
“Fine,” Andrew responded, still intelligent and serious as ever.
NOW! He KNEW! He wrote faster, as his mother stared at the television and a surge of emotion made its way from the pit of his stomach and lingered now in his throat. He could literally see her color changing. He could see her start to faint. Now was the time to pray, he had to be strong. How could he feel like this after not seeing his father for years? Now he could say goodbye and his dad would hear him. This thought pulsed harder against his brain and pushed on the backs of his eyes. His lungs constricted as he fought this urge, he struggled to hear the other names. Now he knew what those other people felt. NOW! He couldn’t let those feelings overtake him. He had to write the names faster. He had to get all of them.
She cried, she wailed, he could hear her struggle for breath as she screamed! He STRAINED to hear the names. He HAD to hear the names. Fred Azar, he wrote. James Smith, he wrote. She cried. Henry Longafeller, he wrote, as his own tears now came. He couldn’t be selfish. There were more people in the world. He continued to get the names as she crawled to him and pulled him into a hug. He couldn’t get any more names. He could still feel the pencil in his hand, and felt the beating of his heart. It thumped hard and long. It seemed slow, yet full of strength and adrenaline.
“R” was all he wrote for his father. He never said a prayer for “R.” He looked at the letter and said, “I love you.” That’s all. Never anything more, this was one thing that he could not deal with. One pain that was too much for Andrew to feel. He remembered that “R” and always kept it with him.
In a small bathroom fit with only a small tub where she had to bend her knees to fit entirely, a commode, and a sink did she sing. Her voice grew raspy over the years since she had modeled, never her true passion but it worked well for her. She was one of the models talked about in the past that didn’t worry about hair in her arm pits. She shaved them now as she sang with a cigarette dangling from her lips. The sound of song vibrated through the rose infused room with her strong vibrato’s.
She thought about the blue dress that she wore once. It was memorable by the color alone. She then remembered it merely as the blue dress. It flowed and shined. It embraced and slimmed. It contracted her diaphragm so she couldn’t sing, even if she had wanted to.
She sang now. She sang a song that had no meaning to anyone listening. The noise that beckoned through started from the thumping of her heart. Her heart that would soon fail her. She was only sixty five, yet she sang. She sang the song of her heart. The heart that would fail her. The heart that would fail her dreams of singing. The heart that caused her pain when her husband went away. The heart that was ripped out when her son declared his hatred of her.
Now she sang. But there were tears that accompanied the vocal strings which played. The steam rising from the tub relaxed her. She didn’t worry much on these things, as much as she loved that she had a husband. She loved that she had a son. She loved the two men in her life very much. They were no longer there. They didn’t know of this heart that would soon fail.
Sang she now did, as the heart couldn’t supply the vibrations. Sang she now did from the soul that kept her entire being. Her soul would never fail her. Her soul would remain happy. Her soul will carry on from this world of misery. Her soul won’t care if she didn’t shave her pits.
The singing stopped now as her voice cracked. The singing stopped now as she stared at the wall. The singing…
Ms. Dura Alivoix was a marvelous woman. Ms. Dura Alivoix was a Singer!
Be on the lookout! Not only is green grass in short supply here in the north, but so is creativity! Strike that… the creative spark is lacking. Over the past several weeks there has been a burden of snow upon us. As we prepare for these monstrous storms (all of which still prove to be serious to me) I have been found to be breaking my back over the new work load. Others have been spreading needless amounts of salt on their sidewalks, or piling snow into my boyfriends parking spot! In all of this there is little time for my mind to relax, but now I stress even more wondering where all of the creativity has gone.
I had a great month in August. I wrote in my blog more than once, and I had found my new best writing buddy, let alone a great new friend. The weather was hot, my tan was superb, and my body was finally bulking into what I had wanted since I was twelve. Now, apparently, I am preparing for hibernation (explains the added pounds, plus the unquenchable hunger), sleeping later, and missing the gym due to a “changing work environment”. So how do I go about enticing the creativity? The creativity to write in my blog, or to finish my long awaited book, or to write a damned query letter that attracts a bit more than flies!
Today was a great day, because I was able to entice a bit of that lazy creativity to seep through some invisible source and slowly drip into my subconscious which then slowly fed my alcohol infused conscious thought.
-Today is the day I thought about the ridiculousness of my mild excuses to myself.
-Today I thought about the amount of things I could be achieving by waking up two hours earlier than the past three years.
-Today I realized that I have just been lazy for a serious amount of time. Now the laziness hasn’t always been so. It started as enthusiasm over a new relationship. This enthusiasm slipped into comfort, which then eased into the laziness of not ensuring everything necessary to keep life in order was being completed on a regular schedule.
I sit here on the eve of the day I will get up at 9am and testify that this will help to establish a balance in my life which will allow my professional obligations to be fulfilled, while satisfying the personal obligations that I have set. If I don’t post something new on here within a week, either I have failed, or I have been over run with restaurant obligations.
Till the final determination…
Caleb A. Mertz
The east coast has been an area for winter storms over the past week. Though I wouldn’t consider any of this a true storm it has made the people just as crazy as several times before. Last night I found out that I would be off today. It worked out well because of the snow, and the mound of dirty clothing that had been growing over the past week and a half was crying for me. I took this all in stride and set my goals for the day. One of my goals was dinner, so I made a trek to the grocery store with list in hand. I haven’t been to the grocery store before a storm in the longest of times. People were crazy. I nearly exploded after the third person bumped into me at produce.
I looked over, ready with a response to this person’s rudeness when I saw a meek little old lady. I brushed this off, and progressed with my shopping. As I’m walking towards the pasta aisle a man with his three kids and a cart come barreling past me.
“X’cuse me,” he says. The kids pass laughing as if this were something fun! (which if I were in their shoes and my dad was acting like a maniac in the store I would be having the time of my life, video camera in hand!) Being the grumpy old man I am I give the evil eye before wondering down the “Italian” aisle.
A line of cart’s, two lady’s arguing, and kids diving through the bottom of the carts was the image I was greeted with. The mom starts yelling at the kids in a hushed whisper kind of way. They pay her no mind and knock over the entire display of Kraft Parmesan cheese.
Now, please forgive me, but I gave up on shopping and headed to the self check out. Scanning my way through my produce and punching in quantity a lady walks up behind me with five loaves of bread and two gallons of whole milk. I saw her standing there just as I began trying to scan the chicken breast I picked up. While in U-Scan it can be difficult to ring up something if the sticker is confunkled. Needless to say, as I swipe the chicken back and forth over the scanner the lady begins to huff. At this point I’m truly freaking out, I go to pivot, chicken frozen in my hands, and ready to yell at this lady for being so damned impatient.
I stopped, took a breath and took the chicken to the attendant, who was texting her bff (more than likely) and asked her to ring it in.
Just to make a long story short, I went home, smoked a cigarette and lit one of the logs in the fireplace. I threw on some Enya and stared out the window at the snow falling. Somewhere in these final moments I found a serenity that resonated through me. All of the negative that I had gained from the store, I put to good use shoveling the older neighbors sidewalks for the morning. Though my back hurts now, it’s nothing compared to what they would feel in the morning.
Good night, and see you soon.
Caleb A. Mertz