A Time For Thanks Redux ’18

It’s time to Break It Down! 

Originally posted on November 24, 2010, and prior to today, subsequently on November 27, 2013, November 26, 2014November 25, 2015, November 23, 2016, and November 22, 2017.

As in the past, since it is Thanksgiving Week, this post will deviate from the standard fare. I know that travel schedules (in some cases impeded by weather events this year), meal planning, family time, shopping, football, parades, and if there is any time remaining, relaxation, will be the dominant theme this week. However, it is Wednesday, so there shall be a blog and it will definitely be brief.

Those among us who have perfected humility, and ascended to a genuine Nirvana state, have no doubt also elevated giving thanks to an art form. The rest of us must fully invest our appreciation in the notion, “That’s why we have Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, which kicks off what we commonly refer to as the Holiday Season. Almost instinctively, Thanksgiving and Christmas come to mind. Yet, there is so much more than that to the Season.

Over the next 54 days, many of us will enjoy succulent feasting at Thanksgiving, exchange gifts and contribute to the needy during Hanukkah. We will buy, give, exchange, and/or receive gifts at Christmas, eat, drink, and celebrate the 7 Principles of Kwanzaa, and party and toast the dawn of 2019 on New Year’s Day. We will honor the life and works of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on MLK Day. In addition, even in these tough (though improving) economic times, this weekend, millions of Americans will pay (literally) homage to our most celebrated of shoppers’ holiday weekends, Black FridaySmall Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, by rising early, and proceeding to scour the aisles for those perfect gifts…and if not perfect, at least cheap, relatively speaking. There are even some precociously enterprising businesses that will start the shopping clock Thursday. Sigh!

In past years, I have sometimes recounted my reasons for being thankful. This year I find that I have more reasons than ever to sit contemplatively in humble repose, and affirm boldly, that I know, without caveat, not only the goodness, no the greatness of God, but also of his inestimable and inexhaustible beneficence. I thank Him for deliverance, and for imbuing me with the sense and sensibility to discern the distinction between kairos and chronosGreek concepts for God’s time, and man’s time, respectively. In this the Year of our Lord and Savior, 2018, a.k.a. Year 2 A.D. (After Donald), I have been reminded, God really does have a sense of humor. In accordance, I thank him dearly and daily for Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah, and SNLAmen!

Eons ago, when I was a college student, I pledged a fraternity. It is familiarly known as the Oldest, Boldest, and Coldest, but I digress. The point of this reference is that during the erstwhile pledge process, as prospective initiates, we were required to learn a number of poems. There were many, each selected to convey a specific life lesson. Many of them have stayed with me, but none more than Invictus, written by English poet, William Ernest Henley (1849-1903).

The Latin translation for Invictus is Undefeated. You may recall it, but just in case, see it below:

Invictus (Latin for Undefeated) By William Ernest Henley:

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

 

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

 

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds and shall find me unafraid.

 

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.

 

So, as you go about your way tomorrow, and all the tomorrows that follow, recognize that Thanksgiving, at its core, is not simply a day on the calendar. It is a spirit that dwells within each of us, an impulse that prompts us to thank God (for our being undefeated), and for the graciousness to share His blessings with our fellow men and women. Indeed, everyday is “A Time for Giving Thanks Redux ’18!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/. Find a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribe, click on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.”

Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box. Consult the links below for more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanksgiving_(United_States)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kairos

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronos

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Ernest_Henley

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invictus

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanukkah

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kwanzaa

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Year’s_Day

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_King,_Jr.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_King,_Jr._Day

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Friday_(shopping)

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2018/11/21/a-time-for-thanks-redux-18/

 

The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month…Redux!

It’s time to Break It Down!

Nine years ago, I wrote a post in recognition of Veteran’s Day, and the service personnel we as a nation honor on that day. In 2009, and again in 2015 when I reprised this post, Veterans Day fell on Wednesday. In 2018, this past Sunday was that day. Today, once again, as our nation continues to grapple with conflict overseas, I decided to edit/re-post the Veteran’s Day 2009/2015 Edition of “Break It Down!”

It’s worth noting that while our fighting forces officially exited Iraq in December 2011, we still have military personnel fighting ISIL/ISIS there, and in Syria. We also still maintain forces, roughly 13,000 troops in Afghanistan (the other hotspot referenced in the initial post). In addition, for the record, we have a variety of personnel in Iran, Libya, Mali, Somalia, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Yemen…lest you think the world is one big blissful, peaceful place.

I hope you enjoyed your day, and that you took an opportunity to reach out and thank a Veteran. Moreover, for my part, to all of you who are Veterans, “Thank you for your service.”

Many of you may know, or at least faintly recall that I frequently alter the blog format to integrate holiday traditions into the discussion. Often holidays are expanded by days away from work, long weekends, travel, and a host of leisure activities. In those cases, I prefer to scale back in recognition that aside from road map directions, GPS instructions, and the like, very little reading will be taking place.

As most Americans know by now, this year marked the 100-year Anniversary of the Armistice that ended World War I, AKA “The Great War,” and/or, “The War That Ended All Wars.” At first, it was known as Armistice Day. It later became known as Veterans Day. But what do we really know about this day that has been set aside to honor real American heroes and sheroes?

Well, first, Veterans Day is not Memorial Day, and vice-versa. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Day is intended largely to honor Living veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served – not only those who died – have sacrificed and done their duty. Memorial Day honors those veterans who died in the service of their country, particularly those killed in combat, or as a result of wounds sustained in battle.

We also know that Veterans Day is a different kind of federal holiday. With the exception of Sundays, it falls on its actual date. In 1968Congress approved the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. This law, which took effect in 1971, amended the observance of certain federal holidays so that Washington’s BirthdayMemorial DayColumbus Day, and Veterans Day would be observed on Mondays instead of fixed dates.

Congress passed the Act to increase the number of three-day holiday weekend for federal employees. After a loud and persistent outcry from Veterans and Veterans’ groups, who argued the historical significance of November 11th was compromised by the change, Veterans Day observance was returned to November 11th in 1978.

So how did this affinity for November 11th come about? As with many historical facts, it evolved. Veterans Day began as Armistice Day. The significance of Armistice Day is that it was the day of the signing of the Armistice that terminated World War I (WW I). In effect, WW I ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. That was when the Germans signed the document, ending hostilities that had begun in 1914President Woodrow Wilson subsequently proclaimed the first Armistice DayNovember 11, 1919.

WW I was deemed The Great War, and was thought by many, at the time, to be “The War That Ended All Wars.” It was, as the numeric designation suggests, the First World War. Of course, more wars would ensue. There was World War II (WW II), later the Korean Conflict, and then Vietnam.

In 1953, a storeowner in Emporia, KansasAl King, launched an idea to honor all Veterans, not just those who served in WW I. The idea took root, sailed through Congress, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it into law May 26, 1954Congress amended the Act November 8, 1954, changing Armistice to Veterans, and thus it has been ever since.

So now, especially remember “The 11th Hour of This 11th Day of the 11th Month…Redux!” To augment a popular bumper sticker, “If you can read this, thank a teacher”…and a veteran.

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the linkhttp://thesphinxofcharlotte.com. Find a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribeclick on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.” Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

Consult the link below for more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post:

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2018/11/14/the-eleventh-hour-of-the-eleventh-day-of-the-eleventh-month-redux/

House Turns Blue; Senate Stays Red

It’s time to Break It Down!

Last week I penned a short post about the midterms. The idea was, recognizing just about everything that could be said about the Election had already been stated, the post served as an opportunity to encourage folks to go vote.

Today, the 2018 Midterm Elections have come and gone. Oh, to be sure, there are still a few races to be called as I write, but the trends are fairly discernible. As was anticipated, Republicans maintained control of the U.S. Senate. They even added to their majority, which will undoubtedly result in less infighting over confirmations, and an enhanced ability to get bills through that Chamber. Contemporaneously, as most prognosticators projected, Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives. This development will increase the challenge in getting Trump’s agenda through “both” Houses.  In key Governor’s races, the GOP appears poised to take an impressive Big 3 in the form of Georgia, Florida, and Ohio. All things considered, there is not much more to say today than last Wednesday.

The pertinent refrain last week was “Elections have consequences, VOTE!” Today, we are left to sift through those consequences. Along the way, there will analyses about Donald Trump’s tactics of focusing on Birthright Citizenship and the Migrant Caravan rather than the soaring economy and plummeting unemployment rate. As Mr. Trump said last week, “Sometimes it’s not as exciting to talk about the economy.”

The bottom line is, also as Trump said, “It’s effective.” It works for him, and it worked for many of the people for whom he campaigned for and supported. But, while many, myself included, would say there was no overwhelming Blue Wave, Democrats re-taking the House is not small ball. It will at the very least mean Mr. Trump no longer has a blank check across all levels of the federal government. There will be new House Committee Chairs, new Committee majorities, and those Chairs and majorities will be Democrats.

Suffice it to say the type and tenor of House Committee investigations will be somewhat different. The rules of engagement will not be the same. Having said that, I caution folks who are disaffected with Trump not to expect miracles. Dems must figure out their own leadership structure before moving on to things Trump. And oh by the way, now that the Election is over, remember Mueller put his investigation on the back burner so as not to distract from the Election process. That probe will likely ramp up again pretty quickly.

I don’t know whether Mrs. Pelosi will get another shot at the Speakership. A number of Democrats believe she shouldn’t. Yet, she was central to the fundraising that led to numerous successful campaigns, and to Democrats returning to a majority in the lower Chamber. I don’t know whether the movement to impeach Trump will garner any substantial momentum, since the Senate is still controlled by Republicans, and that body would never convict, and oust “their” Party’s President.

There are lots of decisions to be made in the coming days and weeks. The balance of power will shift in January. Not necessarily in an overly dramatic fashion. But it will change. Moreover, if you are a Congress watcher, you will notice. Just keep in mind, Adam Schiff, Maxine Waters, Elijah Cummings, Eliot Engel, and Nancy Pelosi will be among the newly shot-calling leaders of the Loyal Opposition. Mr. Trump has derisively mocked several of those members, in some instances, with fervor and frequency. It will be interesting to see how the interactive dynamic between the Executive Branch and the House evolves under the revised terms of engagement.

While there are many things that remain to be seen, this much we know: “House Turns Blue; Senate Stays Red!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com. Find a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribe, click on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.” Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your inbox.

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2018/11/07/house-turns-blue-senate-stays-red/