Tag Archives: LBJ

Being Unapologetic: How America Transferred this Privilege from the Presidency to the Candidacy

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“Never apologize, mister, it’s a sign of weakness.”  ― John Wayne

So have you heard about this thing… its called being “unapologetic” … it’s a new trend, a new hashtag… In 2015, it was considered the Top Beauty Trend… “ be Unapologetically you” …*rolls eyes*  and it’s definitely bled into 2016, and everyone is basically saying “be unapologetically [enter any word]”. So yeah, it’s definitely a thing. But it’s not really a new trend.

Despite the recent focus on it, being “unapologetically” anything is probably one of the hardest things to do. There are a few things that I do unapologetically, and because too much of anything can always turn into a negative.

One area I consider myself unapologetic is that I wear my heart on my sleeve and my passion on my chest.  At times, people find my openness disingenuous, and there always comes a time when someone thinks I am lying or not being “real” , that I’m just saying it when in fact they learn, oh, no, she’s serious, that’s how I really feel, and I am telling the truth. That’s just who I am.

And that’s what I want to talk about today.

When you’re living unapologetically sometimes people really never believe you. But if you prove that you are unapologetic, and your yes is yes, and your no is no, people are mesmerized. Because most people can’t do it.

We all know that as humans we are imperfect, so of course, we will make a mistakes at some point, and go off our path, and we will be remorseful and apologize. Although I think I am unapologetically open almost 100% of the time that would probably be a lie, realistically, I am probably at 95%, but I am okay with that.

But as I mentioned earlier, too much of one thing, brings about a negative. With this trend of being unapologetic all the time, another camp has also arisen, and in mainstream media, not to mention with the help of social media, the policing of ideals has happened. So you have:

  1. People who apologize for every action that isn’t socially acceptable
  2. People who stand behind their actions no matter what

I mean let’s take a step back and give a shout out to Ted Cruz who unapologetically got up on the GOP Convention stage, and did not endorse Trump. People thought he would cave in. And most people, Republicans, Democrats, Independents, enjoyed every moment of it. And to be honest, I don’t think Trump would’ve had it any other way. Do you think Trump would’ve endorsed anyone else if he hadn’t won the nomination?

No one likes the person always apologizing and caving into external pressure. (Ironic though that Hillary doesn’t cave in and people don’t like that, but I will give you one guess why it’s different for her – read more here) . It’s pretty clear, we don’t want an apologizer for President, but do we want that quality in our candidates? Before they take on the hardest job in America?

In this new state of Politics, we see Trump accept the Republican nomination being one of the most unapologetic persons running for a political office and people are eating it up.

In a Vox.com article called, “How Donald Trump Won” , the writers outline perfectly how the blunders of the Republican establishment have really contributed to the success of Donald Trump. If you look at their first reason in which Trump was able to open the door to his current candidacy it is the emergence of being unafraid to say whatever, no matter the facts.

Donald Trump was unapologetically focused on the authenticity of President Obama’s birth certificate. Despite all of the subsequent evidence and information that was revealed because of the stink Trump made, he never retreated, asked or forgiveness, nothing… he was truly unapologetic. Fast-forward 5 years and very few things have changed. Trump has to go back on very little such as not using anyone’s money for his campaign as he enters into the main election. But that’s understandable, right? Why use your own money, when you could use someone else’s? Makes sense to me. Except he’s been talking about self-funding as a main pillar in his speeches and that he can’t be controlled. But he unapologetically created a reason for the change:

“I mean, do I want to sell a couple of buildings and self-fund? I don’t know that I want to do that necessarily, but I really won’t be asking for money for myself, I’ll be asking money for the party.” (source) 

And his supporters are okay with it according to an Associated Press poll that determined “Trump Supporters Unfazed by Reversal on Self-Funding”.

Hook. Line. and Sinker.

Although, it would be unfair if I left out that it was released, that he did in fact self-fund his primary campaign. (source).  But he still changed his tune, but he didn’t miss a beat. For the most part, he continues to not ask for forgiveness even when he has contradicted himself, and he continues to speak from his mind and heart.

The reality is that we like this idea of being unapologetic. Even though it’s an unattainable goal, we, the American people, are slightly in awe, good or bad, with the notion of saying what you mean, feel, and sticking to it even if it’s changing along the way. I say this because I am learning that I know a lot more people who are Trump supporters than I would’ve ever imagined, and I am truly amazed by the people who are truly glossing over his racist and xenophobic remarks, as if you can separate those comments from who he is.

He’s unapologetic.

If you think about it, The President of the United States, in the past, didn’t publicly apologize. It’s almost Presidential to be unapologetic, it’s not a new trend for that role. However, our generation has seen President Obama and President George W. Bush admit mistakes and missteps sooner than any Presidents ever before, because our technology and media holds them to a different fire or standard, and I think that America has pushed back unconsciously to the point we yearn for candidates and politicians who are unapologetic.

With the exception of LBJ, who had to grapple with the realities of the Vietnam War in such a public way, Presidents have never been apologetic for their actions, they have to make tough decisions during terms of office, and none of us really envy that responsibility. Being seen as weak is not really a good look.

So I guess I wrote this piece to add a little blame across the country, Heavy is the head who wears the crown. But it continues to get heavier and heavier. I recently enjoyed discussing the secrecy that JFK was able to operate under with the Cuban Missile Crisis or the Bay of Pigs. That could never happen in this day and age it feels like.

To further this point, I personally never liked how everyone was mad at President Bush for continuing to read a book to kids when Hurricane Katrina hit just as much as people are STILL debating the true events surrounding the death of Osama Bin Laden. The insinuation that Obama waited until election time to allow it to happen is so interesting to me. I hope he never apologizes or admits to that, because we will have someone much worse than Trump making his way to the nomination.

Being unapologetic for tough decisions is something that Presidents must do when faced with a difficult decision for the nation, but it’s not cool to be unapologetic just for the heck of it. Presidential candidates should be concerned as they run for office about the hearts and minds of the entire country. There will come a day for each President to make a tough decision and be unapologetic, but it’s a privilege that shouldn’t be given too soon or to the wrong person.

Living For A Legacy: From Stuart to MLK/LBJ

“Choices we make about the lives we live, determine the kinds of legacy that we live” – Tavis Smiley

On January 4, 2015, Stuart Scott, the infamous “hip-hop” sportscaster who changed the game for sports casting with his distinct style on ESPN’s SportsCenter, passed away at 49 years old. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2007 that eventually would go into remission, but his cancer would roar back twice ultimately claiming his life despite a powerful fight he showed to the world. So before my current favorite duo, Neil and Stan, there was Rich and Stuart, and there was nothing like it. For those unfamiliar, real sports fans would watch SportsCenter regardless of who was hosting, but you REALLY watched SportsCenter when Stuart and Rich was on, it was entertaining, informative, and just down right funny. Looking at the response to Stuart Scott’s life, made me think how we view legacy in our society and what role it plays. Especially, how we analyze celebrities/famous people whether it is in sports, politics, music, and anyone else in the public eye. Every one leaves a legacy, regardless of their popularity or fame. Yet, it often appears that people in the limelight are placed with a heavier burden in terms of the legacy that they leave, but that is not entirely the case. Should we not all be concerned about the life we lead, and the fruit we produce from our labor?

When I look at Stuart Scott, there is no doubt that he left a positive legacy, but if you looked at him, or as I remember him watching him as a sport caster, he was going to leave a legacy regardless; it’s just that life’s circumstances, his diagnosis, his fight, allowed him to leave a different type of legacy. We are faced with choices every day, and the selections we make will have a direct impact on our lives and determine our legacy. So at times, it may appear we are on track to leave a legacy of a certain stature, but subsequent choices either amplify or tarnish that legacy. I can’t help but think of Michael Jackson, who, to this day, is my favorite artist of all time, but I find it very hard to listen to his music as I once did religiously, not because his music isn’t masterful or his dancing wasn’t perfectly choreographed; for now, something just feels a little funny when I hear his voice. Do I like think MJ’s legacy is tainted, to me, of course not, but in reality, how could it not be.

As I’ve grown older, I have gotten out of the habit of idolizing stars or adoring political heroes. Maybe because I have had the opportunity to meet more people with power, fame or prestige; you realize that they really are just like the rest of us, and how we view their legacy is just as important as I view my brother, my cousin, or my own legacy. We all have to go down this journey of life, and what you put into it, will produce a certain result…well, unless you happen to fall into a history book, movie reel, tv mini-series, or heck, on the history channel.

What on earth do I mean? The recent controversy over the depiction LBJ and Martin Luther King, Jr. interaction in the movie, Selma, highlights how much we really care about the legacy that will remain in history even if it is not exactly accurate. It is not a matter of whether Selma sensationalize certain parts of the movie for entertainment purposes, because there are plenty of movies with a bona fide WRITTEN MANUSCRIPT. i.e. any movie from the bible, they twll whatever story want. It’s the argument about which side of history is correct.

So here’s the jist of the controversy. There are LBJ historians and aides that came out the wood work criticizing the film for falsely portraying President Lyndon B. Johnson as resistant to the idea of voting rights and even suggested the march in Selma was “his” idea.  The Director of Selma called the claim, “jaw dropping and offensive”. Now, I am a lover of history, and find both of the approaches to the legacy of this incident incorrect. Luckily, I did not have to defend this position on my intuition (clearly, I was not there), but Andrew Young, an aide to MLK, Jr., said that both depictions don’t quite have it right. “We could not have had this bill without LBJ, but LBJ could not have passed it without Martin Luther King”, and more poignantly, Young said, “It is unfair for anybody to talk about credit.  Too many people gave their lives. Too many people risked too much”. (source). These comments  by Mr. Young words are powerful words for a man who is as much of a part of the legacy of MLK, Jr. Wouldn’t you imagine that is what MLK, Jr. would’ve said? It’s about all the people who gave for the movement, not battling between two actors. We know that LBJ had some part in passing the Civil Rights Act, but let’s not give him too much credit, because the fight was going on for many years. Nor would MLK, as I would imagine, want to wrongly characterize the man who ultimately assisted in the passage of the Civil Rights Act.  Why can’t we give credit, where credit is due?

A theme I write about often, is that at times, it feels we want to be at odds at each other; Republicans and Democrats, Muslims, and Christians, and so forth. But in a movie that is about overcoming difficult obstacles and to bring about equality, why can’t we get the story straight? Or agree upon simple truths, is being right more important than the truth? What will our children think of the society that we are building  based of disagreement and separation? We need to be trying to leave a legacy of togetherness, finding the commonalities that bridge gaps and make changes in our society. If we can’t even tell the story of MLK, Jr. and LBJ right, what hope do we really have?

One might wonder how  all of these thoughts came together. Although, I know the controversy is probably good for the movie ratings, it’s counter to the legacy of MLK, Jr. and LBJ, and I couldn’t help but pay a little respect to my man Stuart Scott who left a powerful legacy about how we should live. If we look  at what Stuart said in acceptance speech for the Jimmy V award, about beating cancer, “You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live”. We my friends need to apply that to the life that we live, and the legacy that we leave.

RIP Stu.

M/P