Friday, March 09, 2012

What's Going On?

We are smack dab in the middle of, what is proving to be, a very interesting political race. I say it's interesting because, hopefully, it will be over in November.

November is when many Americans will turn out to do their patriotic duty: make a decision to run for the presidency of the United States of America.

I'm kidding, of course. Everybody knows that nobody runs for president without first forming an exploratory committee and starting a PAC — which, I'm told, is short for Politics Be Crazy.

I have to admit that I have yet to watch one political debate. And I'm not just talking about this year. In all my live long days, I have never watched a political debate. I don't even know what channels they come on (but I have to admit that I only watch sports channels, the Food Network and whatever channel the Kardashians come on). I hope you don't judge me for that. I get most of my political information via the miracle of Twitter or Facebook.
No, I probably won't watch any of the debates and I haven't decided if I'm even going to vote or not in this election. But if I were to vote, I would probably cast my Electoral College for the great philosopher, Marvin Gaye.

I know many of you are probably saying, "Rodney, Marvin Gaye died in 1984." And you would be right. But if the Great Marvin Gaye were alive today, he would without a doubt get my vote for president.

"But, Rodney," you might say, "you don't even know what he stands for."
I would have to stop you right there and ask you, "Why are you talking to me while you are reading this column?"

Then I would point you to the lyrics of, in my opinion, one of Marvin's greatest songs: "What's Going on?"

"Mother, mother / There's too many of you crying / Brother, brother, brother /  There's far too many of you dying / You know we've got to find a way / To bring some lovin' here today."

There are too many people crying today. There are far too many of our brothers and sisters dying today. Some of them are dying in war. Some of dying on the streets of our cities. Many are dying in hospitals because of a dis-ease that modern medicine can't fix.
And many others are dying, not in the literal sense, but in their own minds and spirits.
But Marvin Gaye has the answer: "... we've got a find a way to bring some lovin' here today."

When I was a young kid, my parents introduced me to all kinds of music, but especially R&B. My parents has scores and scores of albums and 8-track tapes. That's right, 8-track tapes.

For those of you who might be a little too young to remember, "scores and scores" means "a ton" in today's vernacular.

You may also not know what 8-track tapes are. These little cartridges of deliciousness were one of the more popular ways to bring music to your ears for about six months in early 1971. Shortly after that, we were introduced to cassettes, CDs, MP3s and now we have something called iTunes to bring us our music (Editor's note: The 8-track was similar to iTunes in that you could only play them on certain devices).

I remember long trips with my parents meant music, lots of music. We listened to The Spinners, Marvin Gaye, Barry White, The Fifth Dimension and The Bee Gees, which technically weren't R&B, but they were from Britain or somewhere in Iowa.

I loved them all.

But recently I was taken back to my childhood by listening to Marvin Gaye. He understands. He gets it: love conquers all. We need to find a way to bring it here today.

What is love?

Jesus said we are to love God with all our heart, mind and strength. We, of course, can show our love for the Creator by loving others with our bodies or, as Jesus put it, strength. But what about our hearts and minds?

It's all about our thought process.

Deepak Chopra says, "If the whole mind is given to loving God, change occurs."
It happens first in us and then through us to change the world.

Love could conquer all hate. If I can help raise the level of myself first and love mankind the same way, the world of hate might just diminish. And it's a lot cheaper than the trillions we spend in war each year.

Maybe that's what Gandhi meant when he said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." Or as Marvin put it, "war is not the answer ... for only love can conquer hate."
The change we need isn't going to come about when individuals go into a polling booth in November. The change we need can happen in our hearts today, right now, wherever we are.

I know you are probably confused and saying, "Rodney, did you just work in Marvin Gaye, Jesus, Deepak Chopra and Gandhi in to the same column?"

Yes. I. Did.

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