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Kicking the CAN Down the Road…

By Dr. Gloria Latimore-Peace

Presented by Omni-U Virtual University



"Facing the rising sun of our new day begun, Let us march on till victory is won."[1]


"The Serenity Prayer”[2] is among the most popular and frequently quoted prayers; however, far too many of us focus on its first phrase, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change." One of the likely reasons is that there are, indeed, some things that may be characterized as unchangeable. Another reason could be that we find solace in both Galatians 6:7 and the oft-repeated adage"Let go and let God."


Whatever the case, it would behoove us to ponder the remaining two phrases: "[God grant me] the courage to change the things I can, and [God grant me ] the wisdom to know the difference." But, from what source do we get the wisdom to know the difference between the things that can be altered and those that -like damage to some vital organs-are irreversible? Furthermore, how do we know, with complete certainty, what it is we CAN change, especially if we continue to "pass the buck" while expecting the needed changes to be made for us? At least two of our most trusted ancestors, Dr. Margaret T.G. Burroughs and Dr. Barbara A. Sizemore have assured us that's not about to happen.


Admittedly, our ability to "know the difference" can be undermined by our unfamiliarity with a particular problem or situation. We may find ourselves perplexed by events that have never occurred before. That may explain- but it does not justify- our failure to act when a situation reveals itself to be a "clear and present danger."[3] In untenable situations such as those in which we currently find ourselves, i,e.:

"…the Gross National Debt which is estimated to be around $130 Trillion, the unreliability of and interruptions in the supply chain, and the ever-increasing cost of living…"[4], we have no other options other than to "Man up" and handle our business. And, as Ancestor Gwendolyn Brooks has admonished us, "We are each other's business."


Now, the manner in which we manage our community/family business will undoubtedly be based on our assessment of these as well as other problems that we face as individuals and as a community/ family, such as the predicted recession and rising inflation. Our responses will also depend on what we deem to be our ability to resolve or, at least, mitigate them. Those of us who have lived long enough to have learned from our own and our elders' experiences (our best teachers) have much to say to our children. We can take you into a time- not so long ago- when everything was shared: food, clothing, shelter, transportation, labor, etc., etc.; when improvisation, i.e. "making a way out of no way," was the way. That was the Right Way then and it is the Right Way now. For us, "Survival of the fittest"[5] must always mean Survival of the Community, i.e., the Family. Moreover, the myth called "rugged individualism" does not now - nor has it ever applied to our people (or any others for that matter).

There are several scriptures to which we may refer as we consider the "way" we got over, for example: Genesis 1:26-28 wherein "Man," "who is fearfully and wonderfully made [6], is declared to have been made in the image and after the likeness of God and given dominion, [i.e. custodianship] over all the Earth. From these assertions, it is assumed that this is "A Man's World."[7] Therefore, Man has rights and privileges. However, there are no human rights and privileges that are separate and apart from the non-transferable duties and responsibilities to which they are inextricably bound. Ready or not, our unmistakable- our inevitable - mission must be to change the things that threaten our well-being, indeed our very existence, by making every effort to do so.


Genesis 1:28 also mandated that we "be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth". But, those instructions appear to have fallen on deaf ears, for most of our pursuits seem to have been concentrated on subtraction, extraction and division rather than multiplication and addition. It is imperative, therefore, that we make the change from our present unsustainable "life-style" to "a way of life," a culture, that- in the tradition of our Ancient African Ancestors- is built to last for eternity.

The Quality” has wrought a system whereby they have long since been extracting more than their fair share not only from the "Tasked"[8] but also from our Mother Earth, Herself. In the final analysis, there seems to be no getting around the need to change this way of doing business. We are straddling the horns of a dilemma. The growing climate crisis has managed to elude our border wall, disarm our defense system, and breech the security of our homeland planet. This may well signal a series of events that will "Make the Earth Great Again" (MEGA). This, then, is the time for MEGA thinking, for MEGA change(s), and for the making of MEGA "business" plans. Most of us recognize that we must "change the things we CAN" but, we will never know the things that cannot be changed until -or unless-:we muster up the courage to make the effort.

"IF NOT NOW, WHEN? IF NOT US, WHO?"


BlogNotes:

[1] James Weldon Johnson and John Rosamomd Johnson. "Lift Every Voice and Sing"( Lyrics)


[2] Reinhold Niebuhr, “The Serenity Prayer”

[3] Majority opinion written in 1919 by Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes


[4] Dr. Gloria J. Latimore-Peace. " Growing the Economy: AfterWords" An H3O Art of Life Blog


[5] Term coined by Herbert Spencer


[6] Psalm 139:14

[7] James Brown, “This is a Man’s World”

[8] Ta-Nehesi Coates, “The Water Dancer”

Recommended Listening

"How I Got Over" by Mahalia Jackson


Recommended Reading

James Weldon Johnson and John Rosamond Johnson. "Lift Every Voice and Sing"

Herbert Spencer. Synthetic Philosophy.


Charles Darwin. Origin of the Species

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