My High School Golf Team with a Machiavellian Twist

As an avid golfer in high school, I spent most of my days practicing and playing competitive golf. I started out freshmen year with a serious approach for the game, but knew I needed the right mentors to take my game to that “next level”.

Niccolò Machiavelli author of The Prince

Fortunately, I was on a team with a great group of players and coaches you embodied Machiavellian principles that allowed my teammates and myself to excel in competition.

 

 

 

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Howdy Neighbor! Let’s Talk Nonviolent Resistance

Look closer- you might find nonviolent resistance in your own backyard

For years, I have worked as a lifeguard at my community clubhouse. This institution is close-knit and many have gotten to know their neighbors very well through this centered facility. The Clubhouse is a recreational center that brings residents together for celebrations, socialization, and exercise. Within this institution, residents, management, and the Board of Directors are also faced with daily problems, regarding people, property, and ways to make improvements in the neighborhood. Recently, a large issue erupted when the community manager, Amy, decided to resign from her position. Chaos hit when the Board of Directors (who plans financial budgets and votes on spending use) drove my manager, Amy, out of her job position. As an employee, I heard many stories about the situation. Amy and other witnessing neighbors have claimed that for many years, members of the Board have verbally bullied her. Despite the Board’s attitude toward her, Amy was admired by the majority of the residents. Granted, there were no significant human rights at stake, but neighbors of the Clubhouse demonstrated that nonviolent resistance could exist on a less intense spectrum.

Just like a board meeting? Not exactly- MLK has a much more influential speech under his belt..

There’s a rumor that members of the Board had a personal vendetta against Amy for not hiring their own children as employees of The Clubhouse, years ago. The bullying became so unbearable that Amy chose to resign from her job. I even personally witnessed one incident. I was preparing for a “Come See Santa!” event with Amy and a member from the Board, Jacqueline. This should’ve been a jolly ol’ time, yeah? Not quite. When Amy wrongly predicted the amount of guests to show up, she was scorned by Jacqueline, who told Amy that she “can’t do anything right.” To conduct revenge on Amy, the Board took advantage of their position at The Clubhouse to exert power over Amy, making her life more difficult. They acted so demeaning toward her, that she eventually left. After all, they never had the institutional right to fire her, nor did they possess the legal right to destruct property or even physically impair her. However, I’d like to think that they have stronger morals than to want to commit any such heinous acts in the first place. Nevertheless, when they drove Amy out, they immediately hired a new community manager.

In the meantime, the neighborhood rallied to get Amy’s job back. After the rumors of “bullying” that circled the neighbors, the residents decided to take their own stance of nonviolent resistance. The neighbors were upset with the change of managers, for they saw the injustice that lied behind this situation. They demonstrated their support for Amy through entries in the newspaper, proclaiming that the Board was only interested in obtaining more power. Through neighborhood board meetings, residents even voiced their opinions to large crowds of neighbors about the situation. They also took the civil approach of a written petition, in favor of rehiring Amy. Fortunately for the residents, they had the resources and proper structure to have their voice recognized. They didn’t have to break any established laws within the institution, in order to call attention to the unjust change that occurred. Contrary to the Civil Rights Movement as Martin Luther King Jr. addresses in “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, the neighborhood residents didn’t have to struggle to voice their opinion. They weren’t refused help, unlike the African Americans who conducted sit-ins when they were denied service at a restaurant.

When we take a closer look at the institutions that we are involved in, we begin to better understand how they function. We witness how members of these institutions face an issue, recognize the dynamics of this issue, and then work to change the situation. Although I witnessed community action through The Clubhouse, I surely didn’t witness the uses of nonviolent resistance that shaped our nation as we know it today. However, I noticed how the Board’s use of nonviolent resistance to propel my manager from her job resulted in the nonviolent resistance of my neighbors. The Board’s resistance to keep Amy as the community manager was unjust, for making her job unnecessarily difficult to execute. As a result of community action, the residents’ voices were heard, and a meeting was initiated to vote on the rehire of Amy. After a few months, Amy was rehired, and all five members on the Board of Directors were removed and replaced.  Within the institution of The Clubhouse, both the residents and the Board demonstrated how nonviolent resistance can be used for the good of a cause… and sometimes, for unjust objectives.

Neighbors have to stick together against “evil”

Violence Is Not the Answer

When I was just a little girl, with an even littler sister, I used to watch television all the time. Whether it was Nickelodeon, a cooking show, or even the news, my sister and I would watch it all. To try and stop us from watching television all the time, my parents gave us set times of when we could watch. Unfortunately, being the troublesome nine year old that I was, I refused to follow the schedule and decided to watch whenever I wanted. My little sister, being the copycat that she was, did whatever I said, even if went against my parents’ wishes. Finally, fed up with our behavior, my parents took away the privilege of watching television. Taken aback with shock, I vowed to get my TV time back. I just had to find a way.

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MLK Still Has a Dream

“The tear gas canisters clanking through the streets, flash-bang grenades, military Humvees and cops in riot gear facing off with angry protesters.” Taken out of context, this sounds like a quote straight from a history textbook, from a chapter on the civil rights movement in the 50s and 60s. It sounds like it should be from the era of Rosa Parks and Malcolm X and of course Martin Luther King Jr. Unfortunately, it’s actually from a CNN News article published just a few months ago.

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who’s the real loser?

Above photo courtesy of http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Eli_Manning_New_York_Giants_Ole_Miss_Rebels.png

Recently, I attended the Michigan Men’s basketball team’s game against Villanova at the Barclays Center. While this was a very close game, I was heartbroken to see Irvin’s game winning shot blocked and to see my phone explode with text messages from all of my friends who attend Villanova (This is what happens when you live 30 minutes away from the school you are playing). But the play after was more appalling – to see the in-bounds pass thrown out of bounds instead of to someone was a shocking lack of communication and it ultimately cost Michigan the game, and championship.

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Hobbes, Please Escort this Man Out of My Sight.

Crowded Airport During Holiday Travel

Crowded Airport During Holiday Travel

The airport is packed. The lines are moving slowly. One. Person. At. A. Time. We’ve all been there. You know, when holiday travel packs the airport tighter than a Los Angeles prison and everyone moves at a sloth’s pace to their respective gates only to have their flights cancelled on them due to weather? Well, I’m sitting here in Terminal 3 at LAX waiting to hop on board my Spirit Airlines flight to Detroit, being asked to be put on the waiting list for the next flight out TOMORROW…for James…the businessman.   Read More

Making Your Bed – A Good Experiment of Living…

Do you make your bed every single morning?  How many times have you been told to make your bed by your parents?

S/W Ver: 96.71.95R

An example of someone’s bad experiment of living

I have never been great at making my bed; I would sporadically make it, but the majority of the time I would just leave it in its unseemly state. Since coming to college I make my bed even less frequently (in my defense, lofted beds are very difficult to manage!) However, both at home and at college I noticed that when my bed wasn’t made, the rest of my room became disorganized and the floor quickly disappeared under a mass of clothes, homework, and trash.

In response to the disaster that was my room, I was more stressed, especially when I was running late, and less productive. Coming home to a messy room and an unmade bed instantly put a damper on my mood. This experiment of living was definitely not working out for me.

On the occasions that I did make my bed, I found myself not wanting to mess up the rest of my room, it just didn’t seem right to have a messy room with a neatly made bed. I felt more relaxed and happy when my bed was made. However, I didn’t change my bed making habits, despite the fact that making my bed obviously positively affected me. What made me determined to change my bad habit was looking at people who did consistently make their beds. Read More

You Should Love History

I’ve never really been a big fan of history. Drawing pictures of Columbus sailing across oceans while in elementary school, giving presentations to explain the birth of religions in middle school, and writing research papers about social issues that I was not encountering during high school, all weren’t enjoyable. Thus, the significance of learning the history never really clicked for me. They seemed like a burden and I remember complaining to my parents and friends about having to learn about things that happened so long ago; I never understood why we spent so much time in school learning about the past. Living away from home for the past few months, relying on myself for my basic needs – food, sleep and personal hygiene – and taking college courses with hundreds of my peers has allowed me to understand how I am who I am because of my personal history. I also see that what I am doing right now is going to impact the rest of my life.

Thanksgiving Weekend 2014

Sitting at this year’s Thanksgiving table with family, I realized I am starting to appreciate history. I was able to understand the importance of certain stories shared by my elders by paying attention to how their experiences were significant to them. I made connections between classes I’m taking and realized the value of learning from our past and how it affects today. It was as if Edmund Burke was sitting at the table with me and saying, “see?”

Thinking about this further, saying that I’ve never been a fan of history is false. Maybe it’s the same for other young people like me. Maybe it’s because I associate “history” with reading textbooks, studying the works of philosophers, or watching documentaries. I now see that learning about the past and appreciating the effect of historical events can be so much more than that. History can include learning how to swing a golf club by your grandfather, driving lessons from an instructor, asking for class enrollment suggestions from an older student, or even as simple as listening to someone tell you about their week. Burke states that we get political knowledge by looking at what people have done before us (The Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke, (Oxford, 1989), p. 57, p. 111). However, his concept extends to other parts of life, not just political aspects.  We can use his concepts to understand just about every part of life from sociological behaviors to health and fitness knowledge.

If we can learn about our past we should not repeat mistakes. We can build upon what happened once, increase our understanding of how or why it is now a part of history, and then deal with similar events differently the second time around. Advances in technology have allowed more people in more parts of the world to become educated, which should lead to more successful and fulfilling lives for those who are taught. Additionally, social media is one of the most useful tools for sharing information. When information is posted by individuals to their own accounts without being filtered by mainstream media, and instantaneously delivered to the palms of the hands of everyone connected to the sender, and then delivered again to others, societal events become accessible to nearly everyone on the planet. Staying on top of current events is an obligation we all have to avoid repeating things we know do not work.

The Social Media Effect

There are many critics willing to discuss the dangers of being constantly logged in to Facebook or Twitter, but they ignore that social media is not just for sharing photos and memories with friends. Social media connections can introduce new topics or events that might’ve been missed, but shouldn’t be. For example, when I recently logged into Facebook I learned that the International Space Station just created its first 3D printer-generated object. I can easily gather information about ISIS when I log in to my Twitter account. Regardless of how information is delivered, we all have a duty to learn how and why something happened. Connecting that information to current events will help achieve societal progress in the future and, more importantly, will teach those who live here after us. For example, Burke examined concepts that the French revolutionaries used and tried to understand the reason behind actions and events. It may be obvious that every individual action has its purpose, but reason is also “collective and cumulative,” and the results eventually become history (p. 79. 88, 102). We have a social contract with prior generations who set the table for the current generation, and we can meet our obligation to flourish by remembering how we got to where we are. Progress can be achieved and we can fulfill our duty to leave society in a better place for our future generations by repeating the cycle. Contributions by current members of society may lead to extreme changes, and some change may be difficult to achieve, but, Burke believed that incremental change is sure to occur and will have a lasting effect.

Burke and Mill have explained how established customs help us know how to live our lives. Taking their ideas another step forward, some things do not transfer from generation to generation, older customs may not have a place in modern society, and yesterday’s values may not be needed or wanted in more current times. Individuals should be able to determine what is valuable to them, and those determinations can be made more easily due to the volume of historical information now available.

History is more than just documents, textbooks, and artifacts left behind. It’s what happens in our lives today, re-examined tomorrow. If injustices occurred last week, it is history that cannot be ignored and should be examined carefully to prevent the same things from occurring again this week. Taking advantage of the opportunity to share more stories, using initiative to learn in new ways and meeting new people who have ideas with a different perspective is what learning history is all about. Use Facebook and Twitter to search for news, find a Ted Talk that expands your way of thinking, sit down and talk with your neighbor, call your grandfather or read a newspaper. No matter the method, I encourage you to find the time to learn about our past, update yourself on the current frequently and with a passion, think about your daily experiences, and become a fan of your own history.

Music, Colors, and Individuality

Growing up, I was different. Not only was I different, but also I was so damn frustrated that nobody understood that I was different. I grew up in Los Angeles, a city ruled by sports media, the general understanding that all kids have to play on sports teams, elementary school sports teams, middle school sports teams, high school sports teams, and just about every other extracurricular league available to mankind. And from a very young age, both of my parents, my sister, and all of my friends instilled in me, that playing on every single sports team is the socially acceptable thing to do. Let me tell you, I played on just about every little league baseball team, mighty-mite football team, and rec-center basketball team around. I hated it. I absolutely hated it.

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