The Cost of Freedom and Rights

“We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defence.”

Barack Obama

Although he needs no introduction, Obama was the 44th President of the United States. He and his family occupied the White House from 2009 to 2017 and suffered great stress as they bravely coped with hatred from those who could not accept a black president. He spoke these words at the Democratic National Convention on September 6, 2012, as he accepted his party’s nomination to run for re-election as President.

Barack Obama is not a hero because he was without flaws. There is no leader, past or present, who completed their stewardship without making errors. History will judge the decisions Obama made in the White House; I will not. I will write this post as a celebration of one man’s faith in himself, in his country, and in humanity.

As a Canadian, I have a stake in what goes on south of our border in the United States. I have many friends and literary colleagues living there and I am concerned about the angst they live with as they navigate their lives in a bitterly divided nation. While I understand that Barack Obama is a flashpoint that has contributed to American disunity; this is not what he stood for as a man or as President of the United States.

The opening words of the passage quoted above speak to the very heart of citizenship in any free, democratic society. Every single citizen has responsibilities as well as rights. What are these responsibilities? I think the most important one is to stand up and defend the common good. With so many diverse interests competing against each other, citizens must insist that leaders exercise courage and wisdom to reach the necessary compromises that will serve the common good. Too many of us have lost sight of the goal of the common good, and too many of us remain silent, sullenly refuse to vote, and therefore, fail in our duty to insist that our leaders act on behalf of everyone.

Obama rightly points out that our destinies are bound together. A nation can be strong and successful only with the combined efforts of all the stakeholders. Unfortunately, too many people in our western democracies feel disenfranchised. Government decisions are influenced by and for the benefit of the rich and powerful few at the expense of the many. We can debate all day about how this situation came about and who is really to blame but it really doesn’t matter because the blame game provides no solutions. It is an exercise in futility.

Some are touting frightening predictions about the demise of American civilization. They claim that Americans are so deeply divided that they will tear themselves and this once proud nation asunder. That is one possible outcome but I have stated to my good friend, Jill Dennison in Ohio, that I don’t believe that I’ll live to see that day. I have personally met many wonderful people in America, both in-person and online, and I have faith that they will rally to President Obama’s call.

Oh really? Oh yes! Obama speaks about love, charity, duty and patriotism in that 2012 speech. Despite the ugliness, we see in the mainstream media every day, My friend Jill Dennison goes beyond the political morass and finds stories about ordinary Americans who put themselves out to help others in need. The characteristics Obama highlights are alive and well in American society. We all need to widen our focus to see and acknowledge this truth.

We have it within us to rise to the challenge. To return to the ideals of democratic leaders who founded our nations and to act in the best interests of the common good. We used to put these ideas in the context of building a better nation. Today, the environmental crisis we face forces us to think outside the boxes of our individual countries and to put the good of the planet and all of humanity before our own personal interests.

Are we going to give in to the hopelessness and despair fostered by our current problems or are we going to dig deep and find that courage within us to rally to cause of goodness, truth, love and charity – for the benefit of all?

Failure is unthinkable.

Hey! It’s A Launch!

Circumstances of Childhood was written by John W. Howell with love for the story and the hope it will be an enjoyable read.

I’m honored to assist an author I respect and whose work I thoroughly enjoy, to launch…

… a new genre for him

… a new book for us called:

Circumstances of Childhood.

By John W. Howell

Click for Amazon Kindle

Shipping on October 1st. Priced at $0.99 for the introduction.

This is a different story for John. It is in the Family Life genre and tells the story of brotherly love, riches to rags, redemption and a little paranormal thrown in. Normally John writes thrillers but this time he has stepped into a different place. This book was written with love for the story and the hope it will be an enjoyable read.

The Blurb:

When a former pro football star and broadcaster, now a Wall Street maven is accused of insider trading, will he be able to prove his innocence and expose those who are guilty?

Greg and his boyhood pal dreamed of big success in professional football and then later in business. Greg was the only one to live the dream. Now the founder of an investment fund Greg is faced with a routine audit finding by the SEC. The audit points to irregularities and all the tracks lead to Greg. The justice department hits him with an indictment of 23 counts of fraud, money laundering, and insider trading. His firm goes bust, and Greg is on his own.

His best friend knows he is innocent but has been ordered under penalty of eternal damnation not to help.

If you enjoy stories of inspiration, riches to rags, redemption, brotherly love, and a little of the paranormal, Circumstance of Childhood will keep you riveted.

An Excerpt:

I look down at my drink and wonder what will happen tomorrow. My daughter Constance wants to come and visit. She lives in New York, and before all hell broke loose, we didn’t see each other often. I missed her so much, and it seemed as if I had to beg her even to talk on the phone. Now, it’s like she wants to be here every weekend. It’s only an hour’s flight by the shuttle or three by train, so she can come when she wants. I just can’t figure out why she got so clingy. I have my troubles, but it doesn’t have anything to do with her. No use in asking her husband either. Though a nice enough guy, I always wonder if he has someplace important to go when I visit. He never sits still and stays busy on the phone or at the computer. He makes a good living, but it seems a person could take an hour to sit and talk. I’d looked forward to some kind of relationship when he and Constance got married. It’ll never happen with him.

When I take another pull at my drink, I notice the burn feels less. It happens every time. First sip initiation, I call it. It’s like the first puff of a cigarette, hits hard then, after, nothing. I decide to let Constance pretty much have the agenda tomorrow. She and I have not had a chance to talk about anything deep for a while. It could just be that she blames me for her mother running off with that guy with the house on the Hudson. He has a title, and the old gal couldn’t resist, but I think the daughter always felt I should have done something. Her mother’s sleeping with another guy and what the hell can I do about that?

I’ll just go with the flow. If she wants to go out, we will. If she wants to stay in, we can do that too. I better think about getting some food in the house. Of course, we can always order take out. I need to move on to my drink and let this go. Tomorrow will be what it is. I remember the day she was born. I looked down at her in my arms and promised I would do anything for her. I love her more than life itself, and I hope we can somehow get to the root of whatever’s wrong. She sounded strange on the phone this morning, and I feel helpless to do anything about it. I hope she opens up when she gets here.

For some reason, I feel tired. Perhaps I’ll go ahead and finish my drink. Maybe I’ll just go home and forget the burger. First, though, I’ll just shut my eyes for a minute. My hands feel good when I put my head down.

“Hey, Greg,” Jerry says. I barely hear him. “What’s the matter? You taking a nap? Greg?” I can feel him shake me, but I have no interest in waking up. His voice gets further away, and I think he says, “Oh, my God, Sophie, call 911, quick.” Now the room goes silent.

Author Bio.

John's Bio

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016. The latest Circumstances of Childhood a family life story is available as of October 1st, 2017. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

John’s other books:

My Girl front His Revenge Our Justice

Available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

SPOTLIGHT AUTHOR, Rhani D’Chae #RRBC

Thanks to Jan Sikes for hosting RRBC’s current “SPOTLIGHT” AUTHOR, Rhani D’Chae who is a great writer and an even greater inspiration. Read on to see why…

Writing and Music

I have met some of the most amazing and resilient authors through the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, and Rhani D’Chae tops the list. I’ll use some of her own words to explain, but will also throw in some of my own.

Firstly, Shadow of the Drillwritten by Rhani D’Chae landed at #3 on my TOP TEN Best Books list for 2016. The characters in this story captured me and even though it’s been months since I read the book, I still think about Decker and Charlene. 🙂 That’s the sign of a great story! You can read my review here.

Shadow of the Drill

As a member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, you are required to read and review a minimum of 4 books per year written by other members. For a lover of books, that is not any chore. But, that is how I discovered this story…

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Review – A Personal Journey to the Heart of Teaching – John Fioravanti

I’m humbled by this review by the talented author of books for children, Maretha Botha. Thank you, Maretha!

Maretha Botha Titbits

“A Personal Journey to the Heart of Teaching” is the first book that I’ve read by author, John Fioravanti.  I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the man be behind the story and I’m sure you’ll agree when you read more about him.An image posted by the author.

 

Book Description

This is a story about decency, family politics, family, fear, and triumph.Teaching is the canvas but the portrait is so much richer and more colourful. This book will capture and absorb you. Fear of failure is a powerful motivator and as John Fioravanti battles and defeats his demons you will find yourself cheering for him as if he were contesting a sporting event.
Teaching is not a discipline confined to schools, and the lessons in this book about planning, listening, empathizing and sympathizing have applicability to all professions and walks of life − from a police lieutenant training officers to a sales manager teaching…

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Can Humanity Be Saved?

“The only thing that is going to save mankind is if enough people live their lives for something or someone other than themselves.”

~Leon Uris

Leon Marcus Uris (1924 – 2003) was an American Jewish writer from Baltimore, Maryland. During World War II, Uris served in the U.S. Marines, and that experience gave him the background and expertise to write his best-selling historical novel Battle Cry. He helped write the screenplay for the Hollywood movie that followed the book’s success. Continue reading “Can Humanity Be Saved?”

Imitation Is Suicide!

“Trust yourself. Think for yourself. Act for yourself. Speak for yourself. Be yourself. Imitation is suicide.”

~ Marva Collins

Marva Delores Collins (1936-2015) was an American educator, born in Alabama, but spent most of her teaching career in Chicago. Concerned about the quality of education available to black students from impoverished families, Collins started the Westside Preparatory School in 1975 using her personal funds and ran it with her daughter for the next 30 years. Continue reading “Imitation Is Suicide!”

Oneness With the Universe

“The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells Wakan-Tanka and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.”

~ Black Elk

Nicholas Black Elk (1863-1950) was a Native American Sioux medicine man and warrior who lived in what is now South Dakota. Through an interpreter, Black Elk related his life story, his great vision, and details about his Native culture to John Niehardt. “Black Elk Speaks” was published by Niehardt in 1932 and has become an important source for understanding Native American culture. Continue reading “Oneness With the Universe”

IF YOU LOVE ME… #RRBC

“Love is always bestowed as a gift – freely, willingly and without expectation. We don’t love to be loved; we love to love.”

~ Leo Buscaglia

We have arrived at that gift-giving and receiving time of year – ushered in with spectacular fanfare by the incredible blast of the commercial horn called “Black Friday”. As we take deep breaths, and summon our courage, we set out to seek the elusive mall parking space, run the gauntlet of throngs of shoppers and search futilely for a harried salesperson to assist us. Or, we can go forth into cyberspace and explore strange new markets, seek out new products and exotic bargains; to boldly go where no consumer has gone before. Continue reading “IF YOU LOVE ME… #RRBC”

PROTECT YOURSELF! #RRBC

Don’t Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

~Don Miguel Ruiz

Don Miguel Ruiz is a learned and accomplished author of the New York Times Best-Selling book The Four Agreements, published in 1997. Ruiz advocates that we achieve personal freedom by adopting these four agreements as part of our recipe for living well: 1) Be Impeccable With Your Word, 2) Don’t Take Anything Personally, 3) Don’t Make Assumptions and, 4) Always Do Your Best. Continue reading “PROTECT YOURSELF! #RRBC”

HOW DO YOU WANT TO LIVE? #RRBC

The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.

~ Mark Twain

Mark Twain (1835 – 1910) was the pen name of Samuel Clemens. He was an American writer, publisher, entrepreneur and lecturer. His two most famous novels were Tom Sawyer (1876) and Huckleberry Finn (1885). I love Twain’s quotes because his sharp wit is arresting. I’m sure his commentary on the current presidential campaign in the USA between Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton would be entertaining, to say the least. Continue reading “HOW DO YOU WANT TO LIVE? #RRBC”

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