Archive for January, 2011|Monthly archive page

Solving the World’s Problems from Seats 11A and 12A

In Uncategorized on January 26, 2011 at 10:26 am

I consider myself blessed to sit beside very engaging and talkative people on planes. Yesterday was no different. (Confession time: I sat in the wrong seat and the gentleman who was assigned to that seat kindly allowed me to stay there. So an unintentional swap, that turned into a conversation of a lifetime for me.) The gentleman who eventually claimed the seat beside me was garbed in camouflage attire. And so the conversation undoubtedly turned to the weather. He admitted that he was from Montana and that he was in Mississippi to film a hunting show, and that he absolutely loved Mississippi for its picturesque landscape and rural character. Score one for the Great State of Mississippi!

So, of course me not knowing much about hunting inquired about high fence hunting. Well, I was listening to a call-in Mississippi radio show and the heated discussions were related to high fence deer hunting and how bad it would be for the average hunter. And so David from Montana by way of Texas explained to me the debate around high fence hunting–apparently generates significant revenue in the state of Texas. A proposed Mississippi Senate Bill (SB 2530) would have allowed “genetically enhanced deer breeding in Mississippi,” failed in the Senate yesterday. Click here to read the failed legislation.

While interested in the story of high fence hunting, etc., David from Montana, a white man talked to this African American woman from Mississippi about just about every controversial topic you could imagine. And the dialogue, the conversation was delightful and refreshing. We disagreed, but through these discussions on various topics from abortion to race relations, we found that we had more in common than not. Through our differences we found that we, white man and black woman, wanted the same thing for our respective states and country–prosperity, not just prosperity of wealth, but comprehensive prosperity if you will, and that is good health and wealth of the mind, body, and soul; we both wanted to see more intraracial, interracial, and more cross party debates and discussions where we actually listen to the other individual(s). Out of these David said that crossing the other aisle, if you will (whether partisan politics, race, or gender), would result in more fruitful realizations that otherwise would have been missed. For that David, I thank you.


Bringing the Old into the New Year

In Uncategorized on January 3, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Christmas has long been my favorite holiday. But as I’ve grown older, I’ve also come to realize that the holidays can be very stressful as well. Yet, the joy of thanksgiving and giving to others gives me a level of happiness that is extremely difficult to describe, and the stress, ahhh, magically disappears. And as Christmas fades into the rearview, the hope of starting over in the new year quickly approaches. And I jump on the resolutions train: I will commit to getting to work on time; I will commit to not procrastinating; I will…, I will…, and each year it’s the same three resolutions. I try. But yet, I still carry the old baggage from the previous year into the new. And not to my surprise, I’m not the only one.

While home for the holidays or my detox from broadband and great cell phone reception, the Memphis City Schools Board voted, in a highly controversial 5-4 vote, to surrender its charter. What does this mean? As reported in the Commercial Appeal November 18 article, surrendering the charter is “in anticipation of a move by Shelby County Schools to become a special school district. With the GOP’s domination of state legislative races in the Nov. 2 elections, city school board members say the county’s bid for a special district now is likely to succeed.” Also, when discussions of a city-county government consolidation became serious, all governmental services were to be merged but the schools. If the vote stands, the voters of Memphians will resolve the issue once and for all at the ballot box.

And on New Year’s Eve, the Commercial Appeal’s Sherri Silence noted that the issue is far from over. The Memphis City School Board is about to get new members, and the question remains, will the newly sworn in board members overturn the vote? As Silence reports, “conflicting opinions abound about whether such a turnaround is even possible under school board rules.”

And so, the 2011 resolutions are carried over from 2010. Memphis has a significant challenge in the coming days, months, and year. It is not a secret that Memphis is my home away from home, but Memphis, like all families is dysfunctional from time to time. No one knows how the future is affected by surrendering the charter, because there are significant political and social ramifications that must be played out. Let’s not forget the issue of redistricting. If this stands, we will see a new dawn in Memphis. What is unknown is what the day after will look like.