Why It Matters

If I could somehow share the knowing deep inside of me, that you might see, even for a moment, the true weight of things, not a word would I need to share. But since I cannot, I must ask that you take a minute to consider these things.

While I am not foolish enough to place total faith in any man or woman, I have all the faith in the world in the message within me. The one passed down through the ages, across races, social economic statuses and across the waters. For I have a hope inside of me that transcends every barrier, even life. So while I am not attesting to the effectiveness of one party’s policies versus the next, I can testify that policies of division ring hollow against the policies of inclusiveness and unity. In the past both parties have spent time on the wrong side of this thing we call social evolution, this flattening of the old paradigm of privileges of birth, into a new one of equal opportunities regardless of one’s station when born.

However, reactionary forces, both at home and abroad, would have us believe that salvation lies in reclaiming old ways, but even a cursory review of history exposes the fallacy in such thinking. From tribes, to monarchies, to oligarchies, to republics, to democracies to something we have never seen before, society has and will evolve. And those societies that did not evolve no longer exist. Much like we as a species have survived and moved to the top of the food chain through evolution and adaptation, so too must we as a people. We must trust in the ageless underlying principles regarding the equality of peoples, even above the dictates of any text trapped in time. Any document, be it the Bible, the Constitution or whatever, at best serve as the beginning, not the end of understanding.

And if these thoughts do not move you to action, please consider that in today’s societies, you often have not, because you ask not. Our elected officials are very aware of which communities turn out to vote and those which do not. An active, engaged citizenry often runs contrary to their quest to remain employed and to retain of the benefits therein. Communities that don’t vote, don’t count as much, literally. So, before you curse the name of politicians everywhere, please ask yourself what would you do, if you had a job which paid you, even if you only showed up to work every other November?

Lastly, for those of us who best respond to anger and fear, have you ever considered what pollsters mean by the term “likely voters”? Well, in plain English, it means that when they approximate the likely outcome of an election, pollsters discount the contribution of minorities, poor people and young voters. Pollsters do this because historical data strongly suggests that you won’t bother to go vote. So, if it doesn’t bother you that they count you as 1/2 or 2/3 of a person, then by all means, please stay home and don’t vote. If you avoid going to the ballot box often enough, maybe someday you won’t have to worry about people like me bugging you to exercise your right to vote.

Peace,

Alan Jones

P.S. Please Register to vote and confirm your polling location.

 

The Cost

Sacrifices.

“Everything has a price. 

The universe is resolved in this.”

I’ve come to a certain point in my life where I’ve settled upon several truths. Any who’ve read my book Sacrifices, is aware of the particular truth quoted above. I came to this realization as I reflected upon my own life. I’ve strived in my life to fulfill my responsibilities as a son, brother, father, husband and friend. Being raised in a very pragmatic household I went to school for the purpose of getting a good job (though I should note that the most important thing my parents gave me were the value they placed on education, and their unmatched work ethic). So I, like so many of us did, selected my major based on how much it paid. And I am blessed to say, that in that regard it’s been more rewarding than I could have dared to hope (though one must temper this against what little black boys dare to hope and dream, but that’s another post for another day).

But as the leading quote suggests, every choice we make in life comes at a cost. These costs may literally be denoted in money and time, but quite often cost are measured in lost opportunities, the cost of which we may never know. The the blessings of my chosen profession, consulting, have too, come at a price.

I started traveling for work in the spring of 1996, thus this season marks the twenty-second-year of my consulting life, and most of it (all but two assignments) has been out of town.

Thus, for over twenty years, I’ve spent most of my days away from home. That and all it means are the most obvious cost of a life lived out of a suitcase. Being away from my family, and the repercussions there of, are the single biggest tickets item on my account. Yes, being away from the wife and kids (older kids, with the youngest being in high school when I hit the road), was largely the known cost, but when you’re only home on weekends, you tend to over compensate (and arguably, rightly so), by making yourself super available to your immediate family, at the price of spending less time with other family (siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts & uncles). Over the years, that brings on feelings of loss, which can never be reclaimed. Growing up, I’d just assumed that we’d all just always be together. As fully functioning adults, I don’t know that anyone’s life meets that expectation, with most of us constricting our social and familia network over the  years. But when you’re literally a thousand miles away, I believe there is exponential effect upon this modern reality.

The second price of life on the road, particularly project work, is how it can diminish or at the very least defers one’s Dream. Yes, Dream, that big dream, the one you feel like you were born with. This phenomenon is not exclusive to those who’ve chosen to be road warriors. Many, of us were taught to be practical when pursuing our life’s work. But where many professions allow one to quietly plan out and develop one’s big Dream, consulting life, allows only the most dedicated to entertain such thoughts. So, while consulting life can help one reach their financial goals better than many professions, it can be a jealous mistress, which demands the vast majority of your waking hours and much of what energy you thought you might have after work or through the weekends, assuming you aren’t working weekends, which is so often the case. Conversely, many jobs, don’t pay enough to cover the life you have, much less the life you want chasing that Dream.

Lastly, are the unknown costs. The costs of paths not taken are ethereal in nature, like ghosts not fully formed, and yet always in the corner of our eye, calling out, “What if…”. But to allow one’s gaze to linger too long upon what may have been, is to lose sight on what is, and the blessings therein.

In my book, Sacrifices, the story of four sisters, born of a minister father and civil rights leader, who called into service to safeguard this world we love, must too reconcile their own hopes and dreams versus the calling to serve humanity which has been put upon them. In particular one of the sisters, Sarah, longs to leave Atlanta and the south, for pretty much anywhere else. With her gifts, she could easily leave and put all the hurt and pain behind her. Given all that’s happened, no one could blame her, if she left and never came back. And yet, she cannot abandon her sisters in the struggle.

As with many speculative fiction works, Sacrifices is a platform to discuss such things, in a form which is enjoyable, but can also transform how you see the world, if you allow it to do so.

Please, check out my book, Sacrifices, which is on sell through Monday, for just $0.99 cents, that’s right, $0.99 cents.

Wakandan Dreams

My Black Panther Review (Spoiler ahead…)

Wakandan Dreams…

When lost and calling out from the wilderness one longs for a voice to call back. Black Panther was, at long last, that comforting echo through the treetops, loving saying back, “I hear you.”

To start, you must show yourself approved, for anyone to truly hear a word you say. Therefore, Ryan Coogler, and the entire cast and crew had to each put their heart and soul into this work. From the storytelling and cinematography to the layered and textured performances of each member of the cast, Black Panther was well done. From all appearances everyone involved was fully committed to bring their very best to the work, and it showed.

Ryan Coogler, leveraging story lines from the Black Panther comics, wove an epic moral tale, that will surely stand the test of time. And while some will dismiss this as just a story, it is, as with all great works of fiction, based in undeniable truths. Truths worthy of discussion.

Three Lessons Learned.

First the premise that the choice, between isolationism and neo-colonialism, is a binary one, is false. In truth, this philosophical battle was not truly between Killmonger and T’Challa, but rather Killmonger and T’Chaka, T’Challa’s father. T’Chaka viewed protecting Wakanda and its way of life, as the moral imperative above all else, even to the point of killing his own brother and abandoning his nephew. Modern politicians often use this ploy when attempting to sway the masses in their oh so polished talking points. In fact, one could even say, that should the whole world fall into the depths of hell, T’Chaka, and the other Black Panthers before him, would be hard pressed to intervene. But T’Challa, when faced with the truth, rejected the notion that there were only two options. T’Challa has chosen to follow his own path, instead. T’Challa, has chosen the path of love over doctrine or dogma.

Secondly, even though Killmonger may have been correct in his political analysis, he was no hero. The charges against the “colonizers” ring true to anyone with any knowledge of geopolitical history, and I’m sure that during the five to ten thousand years, in which the most advance civilizations in the world resided in Africa, atrocities were inflicted upon Africans and Non-African. But no African nation which sat atop the societal pyramid then, ever orchestrated anything on the level of the Transatlantic slave trade. To his point, Killmonger was correct, that black and brown folks all around the world did and do suffer disproportionally.

And yet, though Killmonger believed himself to be a revolutionary, in truth he was an anarchist. Consider how he took a torch to the garden of the Heart Shaped Herb (no concern for the future), his lack of respect for the elders (no regard for social norms) and his treatment of women (he killed several women, and was a fraction of a second away from killing Shuri). The matter of anarchists is something to which I’ve given a good bit of thought, as I have one prominently featured in my latest book, Heretics. There I found the same truth.

Anarchist aren’t born, but rather forged in the hell of an unyielding truth abandoned in the depths of a hopeless soul

Killmonger had indeed lost all hope, like so many others in his community. When you’re hopeless, nothing matters.

Thirdly, the real heroes of the film were the women who supported T’Challa. Nakia was his better angel inspiring him to be more. Okoye, pushed him to be a great king. And Shuri served to keep him grounded and humble. Each of these women would clearly give her life for T-Challa, and it was very evident that he would gladly do the same for each of them. In a sense they, are his holy trinity guiding T’Challa towards his destiny to be perhaps the greatest Black Panther all time.

Love Is…

Love speaks up

Love remains silent

Love holds on

Love lets go

Love takes time

Love gives time

Love remembers

Love forgets

Love disturbs

Love comforts

 

Love seeks no return

Love keeps no score

Love is free

Love is priceless

Love is a lucid dream

Love is a blurred reality

Love is a bottomless well

Love is an eternal spring

Love is foolish

Love is all we have.