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Commentary :: Organizing : Politics
Sacrifice A Little For the Things You Care About
04 Oct 2011
In this day and age it's so easy for us to think only of ourselves and not be willing to give up some of who we are for things greater than ourselves and the drives of our own base needs. It isn't easy to put aside our ambitions regarding money, power, fame or even family for a small amount of time given in service of our community, nation or even the good of those suffering in other nations for any amount of time. Often we label people giving of themselves in such ways saints, heroes, miracle workers etc. In reality they are usually just people that decided they needed or wanted to give of themselves because they really wanted to invest the time/lend a hand, etc.</
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Life is full of changes and while trends come and go, fads appear then fade out. Markets vary and businesses adapt. Consumers change with tastes, new information, changes in the world we live in, new technology and better products.
For example, hip hop has changed over the many years it's been in existence and will continue to do so as it thrives into the future. Right now hip hop is different from years past on many ways. There are different kinds of rap and different kinds of rappers. In gangsta/thug rap there has always been a need and drive to reflect the reality of the streets and the code of the streets was part of that. That has grown and evolved over many years.
Rappers began to talk about the street life and within that included the rules you had to play by if you were living the street life. Being as drug dealing and other forms of crime as a source of income is a big part of the street life, often rappers talked about the rules governing living that life. One of the most important was never talk to the police. Never associate with the police. Never bring undercover police officers or uniformed officers into your circle as this was how you “gave up the game” and exposed your people to arrest, jail time and being sold out by one of their own.
And of course it's no secret that only a fool, undercover operative or a snitch brought the police into their circle. Gangster/thug hip hop reflected this for years and stayed true to the street life and creed that is no different today than it was then. The cat and mouse game that existed then between law enforcement and those “doing dirt” to get their funds still does.
But today's hip hop is different. Certain rappers claiming to be gangster/thug rappers today that still talk about living the street life do not practice what they preach and are pretty open about it. In fact those certain rappers openly embrace the police and law enforcement and do songs with people that have been exposed as former officers with pictures of them in uniform showing up and their official records being released.
At one time those people never could have risen in hip hop and have been accepted as a gangster rapper once that happened, let alone by other gangster rappers. Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls for example openly decried the police and those that worked with them. But, as the saying goes, it ain't like that no more – that was then, and this is now. Now there are people claiming to be gangsters/thugs becoming intimate with police officers, bringing them on stage with them, introducing them into their circles that they claim are real gangsters and cozying up to them as close as two dudes can get.
That of course is their right and saying to the world that they love the police is their right and if they really feel that way they should do it. Being honest and truthful with your fans is a good thing. So saying, “you know what, I claim to be a gangster, but in reality I love the police and a police officer” is a mark of sincerity for them letting everyone know they respect and love the police and want to pal around with them and hang out with them and bring them into their circle, even though for real gangsters bringing police into your circle means the end of your business and carries real consequences. Honesty has always been important in hip hop. That has stayed the same even if it is certain people admitting they're phony.
As hip hop has changed so has the world we live in. There was a time our political system served us well and for all its flaws it seemed we had time to fix the broken mechanisms. It seemed like a rock that would never let us down, especially when we needed it. Yet, now that isn't as much the case.
People from the center, left and right all feel a certain uneasiness that sits in the pit of our stomachs. Our economy has slid to the point of being stagnant with no prospects for recovery any time soon. Nationally we are around16.7% African American unemployment, 11.1% Latino unemployment and 9.1% in overall. What's worse is some economists are predicting worse weather ahead. Economist Lakshman Achuthan states, “In this case we have a conceptual underpinning of how recessions and recoveries take place in this country. In a market economy, recessions are part and parcel of a market economy, so we're not going to get away from them.
“And looking at the facts, we see that the forward-looking indicators -- not one, not two -- dozens of leading indexes are falling. There's contagion among those indexes. They are falling in a way that we only see when a recession is under way.” (http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1110/03/cnr.04.html)
Let's hope he's wrong about that and have faith that the economy will eventually recover as surely sooner or later it will. Though it often seems we are powerless to do anything about what's in front of us today, that isn't necessarily the case. We can each find ways to try and do something to address those things we care most about. It doesn't mean joining up with a huge movement or organization, though it can. It just means doing what we can in any way possible to bring about real change, sincere change.
We have a political system that has gotten to the point that the elected representatives selected to be our voices have become more the voices of their respective parties and the system they are a part of. Instead of being interested most in solving the complex problems that face us as a nation they angle for the best position on an issue that can help them get reelected. In these perilous times nationally, they work towards appearing on the side of an issue that best makes them seem electable – that's both sides.
It's no longer about serving the public, it's about keeping their party in a strong position and making sure nothing threatens the system that keeps them in power, including the people giving them the large campaign contributions depending on the status quo, and also keeping them in power. But we cannot stay strong as a nation with a system that no longer serves the vast majority of Americans.
For each of us the breakdown in functionality means something different, but one thing is the same. We can each help contribute to changing things for the better, and it just takes a little sacrifice on our part. We need only think about what that will mean for us individually and how we wish to change it. It may mean working to start up new political parties so that we are not held hostage when one of the only two parties we have decides to sit things out, or keep progress from happening by coming to the table to compromise and work together.
It may mean working alone and contributing through taking some of our time to write, blog, tweet, launch a Facebook campaign or any other form of expression. It may mean becoming part of a group for a long period, for a short time or for as long as meets your specific beliefs or needs. Sometimes the best examples for us are the selfless and not the selfish. Sometimes we want to deal with the bad stuff and try to do either a little or a lot to fix it. There's no time like the present to try. When those supposed to work on our behalf let us down, we really have no choice but to put our own foot forward and give it a shot, no matter how long we decide to do that for.
To read about my inspiration for this article go to www.lawsuitagainstuconn.com
See also:
http://www/lawsuitagainstuconn.com

This work is in the public domain
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