Itís President Oprah Winfrey:A fascinating, albeit fictitiouslookat Oprahísreign intheWhite House
Donít Want Nothing- Donít Expect Nothing: Take a group ofyoung people who do nothing but loiter and waste their lives away, and what do you get? The Grubbers, thatís what.
DonítWant Nothing-Donít Expect Nothing:Meet the Grubbers.Happy-go-luckyyouthwho love loitering andtaking up space.
Look! Itís President Oprah Winfrey!
Impossible Dream orUnconventional Reality?
by Peggy S. Butler
What would happen if one of the worldís most powerful women,becameAmericaís commander-in-chief? Imagine the drama and gamut of emotions ofthose who believe the presidency is limited to individuals of the male persuasion.Now, before you unleash your gender fury, check outthe following scenario.
The year is 2020 andPresident Oprah Winfreyis analyzing the latest unemployment figures, when she is interrupted by a knock at the door. Opening the massiveportal, the former talk show mogul is greeted by the Attorney General who wrylyinforms her; "President
Winfrey your constituents want to know when they can start capitalizing on those promises youmadefour years ago?"
Adjusting her skirt, the president gestures toward a stack of documents on her desk. "Exactly what promises are those," she asked. "Oh come on Madame President. Don't you remember telling your constituentsthat you would put them on Easy Street?" the Attorney General stammered. "Well I reduced taxes, cut unemployment by 50% and increased the minimum
wage to $17.50," thepresident explained. "What else dothey want?"
"Hey you know I've got your back Madame President. But they say if you don't solve all their problems within the next two years, they are going to run you down the road.""They
can't run me," said the president incredulously. "This is my second term in office.And youknow bylaw I'm forbidden to seek a third term.""Yes I know that and you know that" said theAttorney General with a strained frown, "but they say you are not taking care ofbusiness on
Before she could address the Attorney General, the president heard loud voices from outside. Visibly agitated, Winfrey rose from her desk and went to the window to see what all the commotion was about. Staring out the window, the president spotted dozens of protesters carrying signs. One posterwhich read "Winfrey is Funked up with the Tunkromp," caught her eye. Laughing, the president turned to the Attorney General. "You didn't hear a peep out ofvoters when George W. Bush nearly put Americans in the poorhouse. Itwas as though they were invisible," she said irritably."Yet, they torment and rip me to shreds. What's up with
Moving toward hisfriend of15 years the Attorney General murmured, "When it comes to voters one thing is certain." "What's that?" asked the President. "No matter whatyou do for them, they still find something to complain about."
Moving from the window, Oprah Winfrey began the long walk to her desk. Then the Tennessee native smiledas she thoughtabout what the Attorney General said. "I hate to admit it A.G. but you are absolutely right," said the presidentextendingher hand. "IfI werea man they would notsubject me to this anguish; but since I'm a woman, they figure I'm easy pickings."
The president, discouraged by the scene outside said patiently, "Regardless of their
behavior I refuse to let them see me sweat." Impressed by his friend's calm demeanor, the Attorney General replied, "Sounds like a plan to me."
Thirty minutes later,President Winfrey reached into her desk, and pulled out a mug that reminded her of why she waselected by an overwhelming margin, overformer Alaska governor Sarah Palinin 2016. The mugreads: "Who else is capable oftacklingworldly issues (war, terrorism, unemployment, etc.) and remaining calm, confident and in charge excepta WOMAN?"
Okay, allow me to play Devil's Advocate. Suppose by some miracle that 99.8% of Americansdiscovered awoman whom they feel isthe Political Savior oftheU.S.As expected,theywould urge her to seek the presidency under the belief that their lives would improve drasticallyif she were elected.Ofcourse this is only wishful thinking.As soon as she enteredthe White House, those thoughts would quickly turn to such verbal tiradeas "She thinks justlike a woman,"or"She's not strong enough to handle such virile issues as war and terrorism." And at the slightesthint of a crisis, they would denounce herwith the disclaimer: "See I told you, only a man iscapable ofwearing the presidentialmantle."
To reiterate, ifby somemiracle a womanis elected president, her greatest crisis won'tcomefrom terrorists or military warfare. Rather, it will come at thehands of people who for too long have convinced themselves that men have a monopoly on the chief executivethrone. So to
readers viewing this commentary, Good night MadamePresident, orshould I say RockOnLadyP?
DonítWant Nothing - Donít Expect Nothing!
A special message to peoplewho hang outatconvenience stores and makeshift retreats, doing nothing, butholdingupthe wall.This commentary is for entertainment purposes only, and is not meant to degrade,embarrass or ridicule anyone. However, if the characterization fits, funk it like boon tartae.
Picture this: A convenience storeofmid proportions withpeeling paint and narrowconcrete, stands in aresidential district, where the average taxpayerhas an annual income of$35,000 and below.
Inside the 1800- square- footmarket, the shelves are packed with breadand other items. A few feet away isthe reach- in- cooler stockedwith beer, cold cuts and soft drinks.Nothingwrong with this scenario, right?Wrong. Outside a storm is brewing. Please be patient as Iintroduce the Grubbers.
Meet the Grubbers
You can find them on street corners in small towns, major cities and rural areas. Young peoplehustling and hanging out. They are part of a growing group dubbed the ďWe Want Money, But We Donít Wanna Work Generation.ĒThe time is mid-afternoon, and this spectacle is repeated daily in cities fromMiami to Chicago.
Exactly what are these people doing? And why in the name of competencycanít they get their act together? Iflack of education or marketable skillsprevent themfrom seeking employment, then letthemrequestassistance fromagencies that have training programs available, at least make an effort to do something productive.
Two weeks ago I readan article, in which a 23-year-old- mother oftwo was quoted as saying, ďIf people would give us decent jobs we wouldnít be hanginí on the corners." Ohboy here we go again, usingdefensive tactics as an excuse for not doing and not having. Now whoís the real enemy? Is it the individual whom you let defeat you, because you continue to play this cat and mouse game? Is it he who causes you towake up each morning and say to yourself ďWell, I knowother people controlmy destiny, so Iíll put another feather insocietyíscap by blaming others, instead ofhelping myself.
Do you see a pattern developing? Yes indeed, and you see it too. Excuses, thatís all they are.ďThe We Want Money, But We Donít Wanna Work GenerationĒ feel they need a reason to explain why they canít and wonít work. Well, there is an old saying that goes,excuses are like rear ends, everyonehas one, whichcertainly applies in this case.
You who arehangin'out atstores and abandoned buildings at in the morning, what excuse do you have? Doesn'titbotheryouthatyouare described as empty chardboards? Doesnít it bother you that no one, with the exception of your fellow grubbers, wants to be associated with you?
Doesnít it bother you that you spend your days loitering and watching traffic?Hey, if youíre going to count cars, at least get paid for it.Honestly folks, doesnítit bother you to beg for money topurchasea6pack? What am I saying? The question should be, do you even care? How can you watch aslife passes you by, while othersmake a bona fide effort to improve their circumstances?
Such wretched creatures these grubbers. What a shallow existence to do nothing, but wallow in their pathetic state ofgloom and decay. What a waste of humanity. You have robbed yourself by not doing your absolute best. Truly, you havecommitteda graveinjustice by not cherishing the most wonderful person God ever created, yourself.
Pssst. Hey come closer, no, no,closer.Has this editorial made an impact onany ofyoustreet urchins? If I have, all you have to do is stand up, brush offyour crumbs of emptiness and begin the awesometaskofre-creating yourself. Itís not too late. All you have to do is take one step at a time.
With that said, letís see if you can stand up and salute the new you. Hold on now. Oops take it easy. All you have to do is rise up slowly, s-l-o-w-l-y. Now let go ofthe wall. Wait a minute!Now, putdown the beer can. There you go. Now getto steppin. And whyyouíreoutthere, get a job. Damn Iím good. Next!
Meet Youth Violence's Greatest Salesman!
What happens when a writer comes face-to-face with ayoungcriminal, who loves boasting about hisillicitantics? Plenty, as two people from differentbackgrounds, try to reachan understanding, with interesting results.
by Peggy Butler
Slamming his brother's head against the steel door, the boy, eyes flashing and sweating profusely, dared his hapless opponent to get up. Teeth clinched, fist drawn, the first punch caughtthe frightened teen on the left side of his face, creating a bruise. The next punch landed on his stomach, causing him to tumble to the floor. It was then that helost consciousness. Fifteen minutes later, the teen was transported to the hospital. Luckily, he would survive, but would forever be branded a victim of what law enforcement officials call juvenile violence gone wild.
The perpetrator in this case is *Leddy "Mad dog" Crawford, 17.Standing 6'3"and weighing227pounds,he is the persona ofyouthrebelliongone awry. Moreover, since the Florida native has been in and out of juvenile detention centers since he was 13, experts contend, Leddyis one ofjuvenile violence's greatest salesmen.
As a writer who has interviewed dozens ofjuveniles,Leddy's mom asked me to talk to him, in an attempt to get her violent offspring to change his criminal behavior.
Thoroughly convinced he was among violence's greatest salesmen, based on his reputation and braggadocio attitude, Iwanted to see if this knife- wielding, gun-toting- hoodlum was tough enough to go one-on-one with this veteran writer.
Getting inside this young man's head, I told myself, would perpetuate me into another dominion, and make me a legend among the thugs who prowl the streets at night looking for a reason to commit a crime. In other words, I was scared to death, but determined to get my story.
To bolster my credentials,I vowed that under no circumstances would I let Leddyintimidate me, no matter what he did or said. Convinced that I was ready to do battle,Iprepared to meet the infamousLeddy Crawford.
The meeting was set for Friday, my favorite day of the week. And although it was three days away, I was beginning to feel like a lion in the jungle, fearless and ready for battle.As Friday drew near and the hours ticked away, at , I found myself standing on a corner, famous for itscriminal activity.
Staringat a broken bottle, Iheard footsteps. Seconds later I turned and peered into the reddest pair ofeyes, I've ever had the displeasure of looking into. It was Leddy, and the rest of him was just as intimidating. Taking note ofhis demeanor, I knew that one wrong move could tick this boy off. Exhibiting no outward signs ofbeing frightened, I felt a slight queasiness in the pit of my stomach.
Extending my hand to Leddy, he declined to shake it, instead he brushed against me. Realizing he was testing me to see if I was afraid of him, it was then that I realizedthat he was just a boy, albeit a violent one. Looking at his head covered by a blue bandana Isaid inwardly, "This is a child of whom I am no more afraid of than a puppy."
As Leddy stared me down, never once did I flinch, instead I maintained my composure. Realizing I was not afraid of him, Leddy unclenched his fist. Delighted that I had broken the tension, it was time to find out why this hulking was one ofviolence's greatest salesmen. It didn't take long.
Reaching into his pocket, I waited, anticipating what he would pull out. Expecting to see a gun, imagine my surprise when a pack of cigarettes appearedin his left hand. "Leddie," I began, "why do you insist on hurting people? I mean what's your problem? What does crime do for you?"Wearing a frown as wide as the Mississippi River he proceeded to answer."It ain't all about that. It's about survival. Out here on the streets you gotta be tough. That's how you survive."
Feeling I should get the chance to know him better, I then asked about his parents. "Hey lady, I made a deal with my moms and pops."" What's that?" I asked, looking him straight in the eye. "I told them that if they didn't bother me, I wouldn't bother them. If they mess in my business, I'll take em out," he says almost apologetically. "It's like that uh?" I saidnodding my head."Yeah, it's like that" he says laughing.
At that moment I wanted to delve into Leddy's mind, with the intent of learning as much about this walking advertisement for violence as possible. Flinching, Leddy reached under his shirt and began rubbing his chest. With a look on his face signifying pain, I asked him what was wrong. Pulling his shirt over his head, it was then that I noticed the puncture marks, which resembled bullet wounds.
"How many times have you been shot?" At first he didn't answer, then moving his hand over his chest he shouted, "Why you wanna know?" Reiterating that my purpose in talking to him was to find out what made him tick, I replied, "Calm downLeddy, I'm just doing my job."
He calmed down long enough to answer."I've been shot five times." Expecting me to be surprised, he then concluded I was not there to attack him, but to uncover the truth regarding his behavior.
As he began to open up, I learned that he had seen it all and did it all. The first time he did crack he was 11, now he sells it. As for his penchant for violence, he says that was ignited when he saw blood streaming from a transient's face, after beating the man with a baseball bat. "Why would you beat someone with a bat?" I asked, not bothering to hide my revulsion."Becausehe tried to make a punk out of me. AndI ain't down with being no man's bedmattress," he says, lighting a cigarette.
Having lived on the streets for the past ten months; where he robs, sells drugs and terrorizes people, I asked Leddy if he ever thought about returning to school. "Hell no," hesays matter-of-factly. "Besides, what can school teach methat I don't already know?"Pointing to a syringe on the ground he says, "This here is the streets. No what I'm saying? I don't need a diploma to teach me how to survive out here."
Surrounded by sex, drugs and violence; I asked Leddy if he anticipated on having a normal life. "For me this is normal," he says. "Getting high is normal. Robbing is normal. Stabbing is normal. Looking for someone to attack is normal." Noting the quivering in his voice he concluded, "You may not like it, but this is all I know."
With the jaggedscar on his throat, glistening like gold, Leddy told me he's been doing wrong so long, he wouldn't know right if it bit him in the butt. "I get off on hurting people."When asked if he was afraid of dying he just laughed. "Dying doesn't scare me, but living does."Askedto explain his offbeat comment, he responded, "You see if I die I don't know nothing about it. Because I'm dead, I'm outta here. That's why I'm gonna live until I die. And that's why I'm warning everybody out there, that I live to hurt people."
"How about prison, are you afraid of that?" I asked."No, if I go, I go," he says vehemently."Besides, I'm too smart to get caught up in thatracket."Not believing what I was hearing, I reminded him that thousands of people thought they were too smart to get caught, only to end up in jail and/or prison.However Leddy was convinced he was different. Maybe he is, but I don't think so.
With the meeting over, I stood up and extended my hand. This time he took it. And as I watch him walk away, Icouldn't help thinking, somewhere a mother prays for her child to abandon his violent lifestyle and come home. However,for Leddy's mom, it's another night of hoping, praying and waiting.