I Have a Dream

If you’re a hockey person, you’ve probably heard or have been following the Newark Mayor Cory Booker vs. the New Jersey Devils drama that’s been going on in the press since the Arbitrators dished out their ruling on Tuesday.

I’ve been following this mess for a few years now.  I’ve even talked about it here on this site.  What I saw come out of the ruling was an answer to all of the questions that were lingering between Newark and the Devils arena.  It was a solution.

There were no winners/losers…unless you go to the press and start acting like a sore loser…which was exactly what Booker did.  As I read through his timeline, I noticed before the arbitration ruling, his Twitter account was very inspirational…and then he started to vent about the Devils’ owner.  He went so low as to call the owner names.

After I read what he said, I couldn’t help but think…WOW.  That was dumb.  Don’t run for mayor again…you would just be embarrassing yourself.  Let me explain why.

When I was 16 years old, I went to meet my first congressman.  I sat in the town hall meeting with about 50 other people from my hometown.  There was one constituent that didn’t like that this congressman voted for a bill that was good for gay rights (this was the early 90s).  The guy started calling the congressman a fag, homosexual, gay…blah blah blah… He did it for nearly half an hour. 

At one point the congressman looked right at me, the youngest person in the room, and you could tell that he thought it was wrong that someone took in to no consideration that there was a kid in the room.  This guy had to be censored.  He tried to not let his anger get the better of him…and then he couldn’t keep it under control anymore.  He turned towards the jerk and the worst obscenities I’ve ever heard come out of a congressman’s mouth came barreling out. 

My eyes widened…he had just cost himself the next election. 

That congressman later apologized to me for what happened after the meeting.  He said he shouldn’t have let that man get to him like that.  He was nice enough to offer me a summer internship at his offices in Washington if I was going to be in DC before college began, just to help me get into politics from the get-go. 

But even I knew…he had cost himself the next election because of his outburst. 

Back then, that congressman had every right to tell that guy to shut the f*ck up.  Today, Mayor Booker has no right to call names.  Why?  Well, if you’ve been following this case between Newark and the Devils, you’ll know that the Devils were not willing to pay rent for so long as a) the building construction issues were not fixed and b) the parking situation was not resolved.

They had a fair argument.  The Housing Authority didn’t like their response, so they took them to Court.  The Court then referred them to seek arbitration.  What the arbitrators came back with was exactly what needed to happen in order for the Devils to pay rent…the parking situation was resolved. 

But after all was said and done, the City of Newark ended up owing the Devils money…and that’s where the tirade comes barreling in from Mayor Booker.  He says they will fight it.

In all honesty, it would be cheaper to just fork over the money than to keep this in litigation.  For so long as it remains in litigation, no rent has to be paid, because it’s still in Court.  That, my dear voters, would make it CORY BOOKER’S FAULT for failing to collect rent now that the issues have been resolved.  Instead, he’d rather cost the city more money by keeping it in litigation, not to mention that they still won’t be able to collect the rent in the meantime.

Also, of note, you need to know that there are two sides of this story.  Booker’s failure to present all of the facts to the citizens of Newark should make you all mad.  Why?  Because he’s telling half truths…which turn into lies. 

The media has been presenting this story with the facts and evidence which all seem to support the Devils, and then Booker twists the truth (i.e. he ends up telling a lie). 

For instance, the Devils were able to finally laugh at Booker this week when an email surfaced in the press that the Mayor was looking for tickets to the Springsteen concert at Prudential Center.  After all that’s happened this week, the Devils arena denied his request. 

The email states that the tickets were for his family…he would pay for the tickets to the sold-out event.

Here’s the text from NJ.com:

In the e-mail, a staffer for the mayor’s “Booker Team” wrote that Booker “would like to attend the Bruce Springsteen concert with a group of his family. I completely understand this is on high demand and probably sold out. Do you know if there is at least 4 tickets? Originally he asked for 10, if they are available which I doubt it, please let me know if you can get us those tickets for him. I will get his credit card as soon as you let me know how many are available.”

The article goes on to get Booker’s response:

Booker also noted that despite putting up the bulk of the money to build the arena, the city has no seats for big events.

“Usually when the government bodies put in a large amount of money, the officials have some tickets for community use,” Booker said, adding that the tickets were not for his family. “This is something that Jeff never allowed for.”

I hope the Mayor knows what a KICKBACK is.  Kickbacks are illegal and have warranted criminal investigations by State Attorney General offices…which means that politician would never see another election or public office ever again.

If Vanderbeek said NO to these kickbacks…seems like he’s a little more ethical than a mayor who thinks that it’s due to them because the city put up funding to help build the arena.  Any politician that thinks that is CORRUPT.

When I interned with the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, DC, one of my captains ended up teaching one of my classes at my university.  The one thing he drilled into my head, because he knew I worked with his officers on the street…you cannot take kickbacks.  Even if someone offers you a free meal just because you are a public/government official, you cannot take the free meal.  You have to pay for it.  It is unethical to take that free meal because you are a public/government official.  It’s considered a bribe…punishable by the internal affairs department.  It could cost you your job.

If there was anything I learned in his class…that was the most important item of all.  Why?  Because that meant that whatever cop I was riding around town with in his sector…he knew that I would re-emphasize this point to every single officer under his command.

With Mayor Booker’s philosophy on what is owed to the City of Newark as far as ‘tickets’ go…and how he thinks it’s perfectly normal…I now question what other kickbacks he’s taking.  In other words, this is worthy of an investigation by the Attorney General’s office.

Funny thing…when you spew all these lies, anger and hate into the universe…it’s bound to come right back at you…especially if the universe thinks you’re wrong.  I think the mayor is wrong in what he’s doing.  To me, the arbitrators provided the right solution for all parties.  It’s not a matter of winning or losing…it’s about resolution.  The arbitrators resolved the conflict so that payments between the two parties could begin. 

Since this is Friday and I like to talk about spirituality, this is where I’m going with all of this…

As voters we need to look at this in a certain way.  Look at our country and what is happening.  We need ethical leaders that are smart enough to know what we need to do in order for this country to steer clear of the greatest depression the world has ever seen.  We need sound leaders that don’t back budgets where they split spending in half and then send 95% of that spending to military and social security while the rest of America has to fend for the 5% (like schools, prisons, police, USDA, EPA, etc.).  We’re not in a world war.  There is no reason why the military and social security should outweigh the needs of America now.  Actually, our military leaders have offered plenty of examples of how we can cut the military budget since we are no longer at war.  In the past, each time we’ve pulled out of war, the military budget has received a 20%+ cut…not increased spending. 

If a politician wants to come up with or back crackpot legislation to dish out to us until 2050 that supports this kind of mandate…they should not be re-elected.  Education for our children will always weigh more than our military.  The needs of America will far outweigh our military…we are not at war with any country.  There is no need to waste 95% of our tax dollars on the military.

America would not be able to survive 38 years of this.  We need smarter politicians that can start the change we need to see in this world.  I’m talking about POSITIVE change…not the change that will starve us until 2050.  I’m talking about a positive change that will do good in America.

Politicians that have proven in their 2-6 years of tenure that they cannot get the job done…give someone else the chance to move their cities, states and country in the right direction and will produce positive change for the people they represent.

In the Indiana State Senate, they taught me that it isn’t about politics at the end of the day.  It’s about the people you represent.  It’s good to have different parties representing different groups in politics.  When it’s time to come to the table and create laws and change for the people…it’s not about the lobbyists…it’s about the people they are representing. It’s about taking into account everyone’s concerns about any given subject and working together to come up with a resolution that will benefit all parties.  You have to give a little in order to gain a lot.

We can fight the corruption by saying no to it right from the start.  You can’t vote someone in that has proven that they are corrupt or tell lies.  You have to vote for the guy that will do change the way it needs to be done.  We need people that are good of heart and soul and will do the right thing.  Just because someone spouts inspirational stuff on Twitter all of the time, it doesn’t mean they embrace those ideologies. 

You can tell if they are or not by the way they act.  If they are not the change within, they are not the change their constituents seek. 

I know that the Mayor follows me on Twitter.  I’ve never followed him because some people can see into the core of others and see the truth that lies behind the shell.  I always thought he was full of crap.  This week, he’s proven my intuitive judgment correct about him.  He’s more sinner than he is saint.  His actions this week have proven that to everyone.  Just look at all of the lies and half truths he’s told.  Look at how he thinks it’s okay to take kickbacks because it comes along with the territory. 

We don’t need an America like this anymore.  We need one that has become more evolved.  If we wallow in this crap that goes along with politics…our country will fail.  We will see the greatest depression this world has ever seen. 

We need innovative thinkers, not politicians.  We need people with good hearts and good missions in mind.  We need negotiators that listen to all sides and come up with the best solution for all.  We need financial wizards that are brave enough to say…NO, you can’t spend our money on this crap anymore.  We need people that will change America and put us in line for a better tomorrow.

We also need stricter enforcement against politicians that lie and take kickbacks.  In other words, you do it once…you’re gone. 

Sound like a fantasy world to challenge our country to create a change that is better for all of us?

Tell that to Martin Luther King, Jr.  He had a dream once…a dream that came true.  Even in times when that dream seemed like nothing but a dream…45 years later, America elected their first black president.   

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

***

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day — this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

                Free at last! Free at last!

                Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

King presented that speech back on August 28, 1963. 

It is one of the most important speeches in our great American history.  Even to this day, when you think of the state America is in as we try to conquer the issues presented to us today, that speech still rings true…even in the Booker vs Devils fight.  King’s words of wisdom…they’re not just words for a dream…they are words for practice.  We must practice what he preached to us that day.

With the state of of our economy…all any of us really wants to say is “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Do the right thing.  We can change the world.

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