No More Hand Picked…


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By Robert Lilly | June 1, 2012

“They loved theirmaster, more than their master loved himself. They would give their life to save their masters house quicker than their master would.”- Malcolm X Have you heard the story about these persons whowere stranded in a cave and were freezing? All they needed to do to survive wasto light a fire. Each one of them had found a single stick of wood. Two fromamong the group decided to cooperate and to rub their sticks together and starta fire. The rest of them debated and thought that that was enough. “Two peoplegot the fire going”, they exclaimed. “What need more do they have of us?” theyenquired. Later, as the temperature began to drop, they reconsidered that theywould let the others go first to the fire and to set their sticks in the flame.They would participate. As the flame burned and raised the heat, safe fromfreezing in the cold, dark cave, comforted, the group remained there untiltheir rescue. {{more}} The moralof this story is that no matter how small your contribution everybody’s stickis needed to keep the fire burning. It is not sufficient that we let two,alone, do for us what we should be doing for ourselves. What the black community needs is a democraticleadership, not a dictatorship. I am convinced we would be served better by atrue peoples organization. We need an organization that raises the bar for usall and doesn’t just serve the interests of a few. The days of the Puppet Master Syndrome must bedone away with. The PuppetMaster Syndrome is a carry over from the slave era. John Perkins in hisbestselling book With Justice For All: A Strategy for Community Development, putsit this way, “The media tends to tryto define black leadership as the highly visible few. This hinders thedevelopment of a broad base of leadership. The black community must not acceptthat narrow definition of leadership.” Hecontinues to explain that, “Communitiesneed a broad base of leadership. Yes, in every city we have a few outstandingleaders, but what we need is to raise up a broad base of leadership inbusiness, in education, in health care, and a host of other areas in everycommunity.” It seemsthat since the uprisings of the 60s that the black community has decided tohold on to its ‘sticks’… and its stones, bricks, bats and clubs, except as itconcerns our clubbing one another over the head. We have turned inward with ouraggression and lost sight of the real fight for self-determination, humanrights and equal justice. By doing this we have opened the door to our ownexploitation. It is no longer simply a matter of the so-called white man who isour oppressors; we now have those who even claim to be our leaders who are pimpingour poor behinds. Forcesunseen in fact control those who should be our voices and thus we are playedfor the fool because of our unresponsiveness to the calls for us to getinvolved. Our silence is the very thing through which these bogus leaders areempowered and emboldened. Those in power know that they don’t truly speak on our behalf but they permit the charade to continue because it too strengthenstheir hand. They can claim cooperation with the black community but in realitythey merely have a hand picked Negroe. What hashappened to us that we would reject our heritage of struggle? We showed theworld how to hold their heads up high in the face of oppression. We were theunderdogs that everyone bet against but we did not care, we kept on struttingtoward our precious freedoms. Today, weare self-absorbed and consumed by consumerism. Give me! Give me! Give me! Thatis all we seem to hear from both the youth and the elders. We crave morepossessions, more things, more of whatever we can purchase at the mall or thelocal Wal-Mart. Objects are far more worthy of being fought to obtain thanlives are worth fighting to preserve and protect. We spend 40 plus hours on thejob and zero at the schools watching over the lives of our children. I contendthat the Puppet Master Syndrome is at the root of our seeming apathy. We haveallowed the ‘one size fits all’ concept to lull us to sleep. Too many of ushave entrusted our affairs to others and fallen asleep at the wheel. Thequestion of the day is what are you willing to do to change this affair? Ipropose, as a solution, that you start first by determining if you agree withme that things are not well in the world. Once that has been done, and then youestablish which issues are the most disturbing to you. After you have gottenclarity on what those areas of concern are it would behoove you to join acause. Get enlisted into some organization of you personal choosing. I haveoften heard many people say, “Well, the NAACP isn’t doing anything” or “TheMinister’s Alliances are all for themselves.” My response to you, if you holdsimilar concerns, is that you don’t have to join these works; you can even makeup your own work to believe in and get others to join you. But whatever you dodon’t just sit back and complain, the fire is going out and it is gettingcolder for all of us. You can link up with other groups, outside of yourimmediate community, as long as they believe in doing something about the issueat hand that has you up in arms then I think that would be the main priority.‘If you change how you look at things, then how you look at things willchange.’ –words from Dwayne Dyer. We have toalter our perception of our potential to impact our world. I insist you stopcomplaining and start investing some of what God has given you to make a difference.The question must be: If not you…then who, If not now…then when? I wish toconclude by saying that democracy is the way we must go. Everybody’scontributions count. It can best be illustrated by the following story: The story goes that sometime, close to a battlefield over200 years ago, a man in civilian clothes rode past a small group of exhaustedbattle-weary soldiers digging an obviously important defensive position. Thesection leader, making no effort to help, was shouting orders, threateningpunishment if the work was not completed within the hour. “Why are you are not helping?” asked the strangeron horseback. “I am in charge. The men do as I tell them,” saidthe section leader, adding, “Help them yourself if you feel strongly aboutit.” To the section leader’s surprise the stranger dismounted andhelped the men until the job was finished. Before leaving the strangercongratulated the men for their work, and approached the puzzled sectionleader. “You should notify top command next time your rankprevents you from supporting your men – and I will provide a more permanentsolution,” said the stranger. Up close, the section leader now recognized GeneralWashington, and also the lesson he’d just been taught. – Our presenthas been determined by what we did in the past, and our future will ride uponwhat we do today. In your hand may only be a stick of wood, but placed alongside what I have and others it can become as strong as a log.