Saturday, January 15, 2011

Self-righteousness of Political Violence

SOURCE:  "An ex-Weather Underground Radical on the Tucson Shootings and Political Violence" by Mark Rudd.  Washington Post. January 16, 2011.
KEYWORD:  Kingdom of Man, self-righteousness,

My willingness to endorse and engage in violence had something to do with an exaggerated sense of my own importance. I wanted to prove myself as a man - a motive exploited by all armies and terrorist groups. I wanted to be a true revolutionary like my guerrilla hero, Ernesto "Che" Guevara. I wanted the chant we used at demonstrations defending the Black Panthers to be more than just words: "The revolution has come/Time to pick up the gun!"

...Violent actors in this country - whether James Earl Ray, Timothy McVeigh or Scott Roeder, who in 2009 killed a Kansas abortion provider - are always armed not just with weapons, but with the conviction that their grievances demand satisfaction and their violence is righteous.

Wendy's Founder's Ingredients for Success

SOURCE:  "What Makes for Success" by Dave Thomas, Founder of Wendy's in Impiris, Vol 25, No 7. July 1996.

Dave Thomas' ingredients for success are divided into four basic groups:
  • Inward - these have to do with getting your own act together successfully.
    • Honesty - "It means stepping out and telling the whole truth.  Honesty means being sincere."
    • Faith - "Live your faith. Don't wear it on your sleeve; roll up both sleeves and do something about it."
    • Discipline - "Routine lies at the heart of discipline.  Routine is what keeps us focused on the main things in life...Discipline means keeping things and people in their proper places."
  • Outward - these are all about treating people right.
    • Caring - "Caring is feeling what another person feels.  Some people call it 'empathy'. Genuinely caring about people usually leads to success."
    • Teamwork - "Teamwork is the starting point for treating people right. Most people think that teamwork is only important when competing against other teams.  But competition is only part of the picture.  In most things we do in life, people have to work with rather than against each other to get something done.  Win-win situations and partnerships are the most important results of teamwork.  The best teams in the world are the ones that help people become better and achieve more than they ever thought they could on their own."
  • Upward - these are skills you need to know if you want to go beyond just doing an okay job and truly excel.
    • Motivation - "Know what motivates you, and prove to yourself that this motivation is honest and worthwhile.  But don't let too many different things motivate you, or you'll be tangled up in a maze of all kinds of conflicts.  Stay focused."
    • Creativity - "Creativity means change, but if you don't use common sense when you change things around, you are likely to end up farther behind than when you started.  Not everyone can be creative.  Accept it as a fact of life that if you aren't creative yourself your challenge is to learn how to work with people who are...What make people creative?  Sometimes, it's having your life shaken up."
    • Leadership - "What knocks off more leaders than anything else is failing to practice what they preach.  Of all the things leaders are supposed to do, nothing is more important than setting a good example."
  • Onward - these are attitudes you need to have in order to put yourself second and other people first.
    • Responsibility - "Mature leadership means realizing that no single person can be responsible for everything.  You can't be successful if you are stumbling around trying to carry the whole world on your shoulders.  Responsible people refuse to take shortcuts, even though they are almost always available.  They make sure that others with duties act responsibly, too.  And they use whatever recognition or honor they may have earned not to further their own ends but on behalf of good causes.  Instead of stealing the limelight, they allow it to shine on a good cause."
    • Courage - "We tend to make courage too dramatic.  Courage is often doing something simple, unpleasant, or boring again and again until we get it down pat."
    • Generosity -"You have to give of yourself, not just of your wallet."

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Blessed to be a Blessing

SOURCE:  "Ted Williams: My Time With the Homeless Man With the Golden Voice" by Mansfield Frazier.  Daily Beast, January 7, 2011.
KEYWORDS:  redemption, blessed, blessing, calling, freedom

I met Ted Williams, the homeless man with the golden voice who became a viral sensation, in a high-class dope den just before his descent into the world of addiction...

I was already deeply embedded in the "street life" at the time, and his presence at the after-hours joint we met at portended bad things to come for him. This was not his environs. The place was a high-class dope den and crack was in its heyday. Few people had seriously attempted to stop abusing it at this point, so even fewer were aware of its ironclad addictive powers—how hard it was for some to quit...

However, for this tale to have a happy ending Williams has to stay straight once he's got two dollars above bus fare jingling in his jeans pockets—no mean feat once someone has been bitten as hard as he. What's the old joke, "I can quit [insert whatever your drug of choice in here] anytime I want. I've done it dozens of times." I certainly don't wish the brother ill, but (for his own good) he bears close watching for awhile. Believe me, nothing on God's green earth is as empty as a junkie's promise...

[One lawyer that I knew] had been clean for close to a decade, living in an upscale community, with a beautiful wife and two adopted kids. "One day I was driving home after leaving court and the car just started driving itself," he now laughs. "It went straight to the dope house." Within six months he was flat broke and on the verge of being disbarred. After two years he again has it back together, but he now knows where he made his mistake. 

"I didn't give anything back when I got my own life together … I didn't go into the jails, into prisons and halfway houses and try to take someone under my wing. I didn't join Narcotics Anonymous, I didn't try to mentor anyone."

...He might not know this yet—but I, along with many others who have been lost souls do know it—his success ultimately depends on his willingness to give something back; to use this second chance to not only get his own life together, but to unselfishly reach back and help others, to try to assist them in climbing out of their lives despondency, degradation, and despair.

This is what we—ex-junkies, whoremongers, lawbreakers and hopeless reprobates—do … this is how we stay straight...