My humble thoughts as one guy with opinions about life, love, religion, society, politics, parenting... yada, yada, yada.

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  • Has Fatherhood Become the New Mercedes-Benz?

    It used to be that a tailor-made suit and a Mercedes-Benz were context clues signaling a man’s ability to “provide” and consequently, those were things made a man "sexy". But could it be that for today’s professional women, fatherhood is the modern-day equivalent of a Benz? ...

  • What Does This Election Tell Us About What A "Real American" Is?

    “What on earth is he talking about?”... to put it simply..what does a Real American look like, sound like, act like, eat, wear and drive? Where do Real Americans live? What religion do they belong to? The questions are endless, but as we put answers to the questions will you fit the mold of a “Real American”?

  • “Rope-a-Dope” or Political “SHAKE and BAKE?

    Here’s the deal… President Obama was eaten alive in the 1st debate... BUT could this have been a good thing? Regardless of whether he was off his game or engaging in the most daring “rope-a-dope” in the history of politics, that awful debate performance sets the Obama campaign up for a little "shake and bake." Here’s why.

  • Look Ma! I'm On Web TV!

    Here's Mr. Mansitioning himself ( talking about Presidential politics and the election on the HuffPost Live... I always appreciate the invite and love the discussion!

Posted by Lawrence "LAW" Watford - - 0 comments

Written for Carol's Daughter's

So I accidentally bought a pair of skinny jeans... I've always HATED the idea of skinny jeans for dudes,  but I wore them today and I'm wondering what that says about me on so many levels...

First of all, let me answer the obvious question. How did I "accidentally" purchase a pair skinny jeans? Well, basically what had happened was, I started a new job that required me to "enhance" my wardrobe - because my office is on 59th and Lexington in NYC, and all... Anyway, I run to Burlington Coat Factory (because I refuse to pay department store prices for name brand crap) and start grabbing slim fit button up dress shirts and jeans.

The problem was that I had my three kids with me.  So with a 5 month old strapped to my chest, a 2 year old strapped in a  double stroller and a 5 year old doing Power Ranger kung-fu moves on the clothing racks,  I didn't have time to try on anything - including the jeans.   Hey, I saw the waste size was 34 and the length was 32 and I was like "that's what's up" and rushed the register...

Long story short, it was time to put on my jeans for work and I'm noticing that it's taking a bit more effort to get them on, and when I finally get them on, I'm wondering why I can see the muscle tone in my calf... Wondering if I'd bought an irregular pair of jeans, I take a look a the tag I ripped off and facepalm!  My face dropped as I turned to my wife "Yo! Babe! I accidentally bought skinny jeans!"  "Oh, they look cute," she said, but no, it wasn't cute at all... Something felt wrong with the world, and I had a dilemma, because I accidentally bought a pair of skinny jeans and there was no way in hell that I was gonna spend another 40 minutes on the long layaway/returns line at Burlington Coat Factory to return them. 

So after putting it off for as long as I could, I wore them to work and I was plagued with self-conscious anxiety.  My mind started playing tricks on me, making me think the jeans were tighter than they actually are... I mean, in my mind I might as well have been wearing the pants Prince wore in the movie Purple Rain.  So why all the anxiety and what's my beef with skinny jeans?  Well, in a word, conformity.  Part of me felt like I was surrendering my identity as a counter-cultural being, and that, in a manner of speaking, is a fate worse than death.

You see, just one year ago , I was a rebel.  I had locs that extended down to my back.  I drove a sedan and worked on a hit NBC television show where I wore cargo pants and construction boots because no one cares what you wear in film/television production.  Now, a year later, I have a short caesar haircut, I drive a minivan and on top of all that I'm wearing skinny jeans because I work in corporate America where everyone cares what you look like.  Now in fairness, I work in the media department, so we're given some liberty in our wardrobe choices, but the feeling is still the same... The feeling that I'm slowly but surely spiraling into mundanity.

You see, it's not that I think skinny jeans is some kind of fashion faux pas, in fact the problem is quite the opposite.  Skinny jeans, for me is the quintessential sign that I've joined the rat race; that population of people who (to varying degrees) find validation in their ability to look like the manaquin in the Banana Republic store front display because those outfits connects us to socially acceptable standards  of success.   It's the reason we all have suddenly become wine connoisseurs and the reason we pay for overpriced Starbucks coffee, when we know damn well Dunkin Donuts coffee tastes better.  It's our attempt at living an American dream that has become so accessible that we no longer have to dream about it.  In fact you no longer have to be hungry for it because it's practically being force fed to you by the media, fashion and entertainment.

So I guess, maybe my issue with skinny jeans isn't really the skinny jeans, but fear.   Fear that I've grown so tired of my big dreams that I've accepted society's small dreams as a substitute.  Fear that I've so failed at reaching my own version of success that I've resorted to wearing skinny jeans like a costume of a successful character...  Fear that I've been successfully seduced by the pop-culture matrix.

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On Friday, December 14th a heavily armed gunman, in body armor entered Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown Connecticut and murders 26 people - 20 of them children.  Take a moment to contemplate that, a moment to contemplate how you feel as a mother or father, as an American - as a human being.  My wife was at home with my two youngest children when she turned on the television and saw the news. She said "I have to turn it off. It's messing with my spirit".  My father (a man who believes in God, but isn't' particularly religious) said "it's enough to test your faith."

These are the natural and reasonable responses to something like this.  It makes no earthly sense, beyond the fact that mass shootings of this kind are becoming par for the course here in America, so the mind rightfully turns to God for answers and a sense of security.  This is a time for those who know God to be God's representatives on earth.  It's a time for people who know God to act as God would direct them in the wake of such tragedy.  To my sadness, too many people who know God (hear them tell it) felt that God's response to those seeking answers and comfort is:

"We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools... Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?" - Mike Huckabee
My response to this was "FACEPALM!!"... Popular conservative rhetoric accuses liberals (and they assume all liberals) of campaigning to remove God from society, so what could've provided a better opportunity for them to raise the issues of school prayer, public Nativity scenes and the Ten Commandments being removed from a federal courthouse than a mass shooting at and elementary school?

I am at least bothered, if not angered by this rhetoric for a number of reasons, but each reason at the boils down to the fact that there are people who love a God that they don't truly know and are misrepresenting his character.  Either that or they know him in a very limited capacity, one that definitely makes them woefully incapable and unqualified to speak on God's behalf.   

I speak fairly regularly about hyper-politicized Christianity wherein "God and Country" are inextricably bound together in an unholy alliance that makes the state/government the barometer by which we measure our standing with God as a nation.  To that end, the "removal" school prayer (i.e. the kicking God out of our schools) has become a consistent marker of a liberal war on religion and mocking of God, so in the view of Mike Huckabee, the murder of 20 grade school kids is what we should logically expect.   But who is this god that Huckabee and others are referring to?   Who is this god that would remove his hand of protection from innocent children (a number of which believe in and pray to him) because politicians disagree about the scope of the separation of church and state?  Well, if you didn't notice I used lower case "g" to refer to that god and a lower case "h"when talking about him because that isn't the god that most of the people who are seeking answers about this tragedy are referring to.

Perhaps they are referring to the old testament God, which I guess would make sense as they tend to  border on being Sadducees than U.S. Congressmen/women.  But if that's the case then they really need to take stock of who they think God is and who they think Jesus Christ is to the world.  As much as there have been attempts to walk back or "explain" that Huckabee wasn't saying that that God allowed this to happen because of school prayer, or public Nativity displays, in reality that is what he is essentially saying.  So from Huckabee's statements, any reasonable person would extract that God would've actually stepped and prevented this massacre if only we had organized prayer in schools and no war on Christmas.  I can't help but imagine what God would've done to glorify His name in such a case. Would he have had the shooter  get into a car accident on his way to the school, or more dramatically, would he have caused the rifle to jam and explode in his face with his blood splattering in the form of a cross?  

I get it... God is one that none of us will ever fully understand, no matter how much we read the Bible or go to church or pray or pontificate.  But as much as He will remain a mystery to us, He also affords us enough knowledge of his character that we can thoughtfully communicate who He is accurately.  For example, God is not some haunting spirit that you can prevent from coming into your home like voodoo priests do with the enchanted powder you see in the movies.  Likewise, you can't bar him from a school by law or decree. For one, there is no law that prevents a person or group of people from gathering and praying inside of a school.  The laws state that the school itself cannot organize and/or compel students to pray under the umbrella of any particular religion.   

Secondly,  the idea that an omnipresent God could be removed from anywhere is nonsensical for literal reasons.  Of course when this is pointed out, those who shared Huckabee's belief about the tragedy say that what they meant was,
"God would say to us, 'Hey, I'll be glad to protect your children, but you've got to invite me back into your world first. I'm not going to go where I'm not wanted. I am a gentlemen"  - Bryan Fisher
And to that I'd say that the idea that an omnipotent, loving God would refuse to intervene in a massacre to protect innocent children until the government passed a law inviting him back into the public squares shows that these people are spending way too much time talking about God and not enough time listening and seeking him and getting to know him.   God is not a vampire that can only enter your home if you invite him in.  God is always going place He's not wanted to find the lost sheep and doing things we don't want Him to do so that He may reconcile his children unto Himself.

But if you learn one thing from this discussion, please know that those who love God need to stop confusing  Him god. The difference between god and God is that the latter cannot be removed from public schools or pubic squares. And also know that God lives through each and everyone of us who is willing to submit and allow themselves to be used for his purpose, so God can never be removed from any place on His green Earth that His people tread.  So if we aren't seeing enough of God in our schools, it isn't because government expelled God. It's because we as Christian parents are doing an exceptionally poor job of raising Godly children that display little of His character at school. 

So what, that schools can't have an organized prayer meeting?  That doesn't stop any student from gathering with his classmates and praying in and on behalf of that school.  It doesn't stop teachers or principals from praying for their students and it doesn't prevent any Christian from worshiping God by way of their character and their actions because...  To put if differently, while prayer is powerful, talk is cheap and God knows the difference, so in the end God in the hearts of students and teachers and faculty is far greater than prayer in schools.


In other words, the proper response to this:
isn't this:

It's this...

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Posted by Lawrence "LAW" Watford - - 0 comments

Written for Carol's Daughter's

Okay, ladies… Here’s one of those times when we’re probably gonna disagree, and although it may offend some of you, I gotta ask…  Yo… What is up with the see through clothing?

This is one of those things I’ve been really trying wrap my head around ever since I witnessed the first woman I’d ever seen wearing sheer leggings with, what I could only suspect was a pair of Victoria Secrets underwear underneath.  And don’t raise your eyebrow at me like I was somehow not supposed to notice it. ALL men (and I’m not excluding gay men here) notice. Even if we don’t want to notice, we notice because we’re hardwired and preprogrammed to notice, which makes the increasing number of sheer blouses on the streets of New York and, assuredly a town near you so mind-numbingly aggravating (while at the same time kinda cool, but not).

It started with the sweat pants with stuff like “Can’t touch this” written on the butt, then moved from there to leggings, which my wife explained were only about comfort and had nothing to do with the way it accented and drew attention to “can’t touch this.”  After that, it was like all Hell broke loose. Cat suits in the office... sheer T-shirt with no bra... The no padding bras that showed a woman's - never mind.  My point is that, as a dude, I’m just noticing how far the envelope is being pushed, and I’m wondering why and genuinely wondering 'what’s the endgame?' Is it that women are dressing for women’s attention or for men’s? Are the leggings truly for comfort, or is there an expectation that we, as men, will beyond a shadow of a doubt objectify you?

“Where’s all this coming from?” you may ask. Well, a little over a month ago I spent a day with my 14-year-old niece (one of 10) and decided to take her school shopping.  Yep, me, the opinionated writer/uncle, and her, the teenage developing girl/niece fighting over what looks appropriate vs. cool for a girl her age and body type.  Needless to say that I looked like one of those bobble head dolls the way I kept shaking my head “no,” but as we walked down 5th Avenue (skipping the high-end stores for H&M), the abundance of women in see-through clothing provided me the perfect opportunity to impart some “guy” words of wisdom to her about how guys think.

1) Assume all guys are creeps… because we are. Am I being hard on us? Of course, but I’m her uncle and the proud father of a newborn daughter, and I know that within every man is a “Creep-factor” that most of us try to keep suppressed.   Unfortunately, the creep factor is triggered by a women’s flesh, so the more of it you show, the stronger the creep factor becomes, and before you know it’s oozing out of us as we beg you to let us buy you the strongest drink possible from the bar… BTW, there is no cure (maybe prayer).

2) If a guy wants to see it, he will find it.  In other words, women don’t have to wear sheer leggings to attract a man (if that's part of her purpose). I can’t tell you how, but believe me, if we’re really that interested in knowing, we can usually tell whether a woman is wearing bloomers, boy shorts or a thong without her having to go the extra mile to show it.

3Believe it or not, guys actually dig being intrigued by a woman. The more of a woman that we see without us having to put in the work, the less intrigued we actually are by her.  Never trade the power of intrigue for the ease of sexual attraction. Intrigue is an automatic indication of a man’s respect for your beauty and your mind. 

4) The more a woman shows of her body to attract a man, the less that man will be attracted to her for anything else she has to offer other than her body.  So it’s important to distinguish between physical attraction and sexual attraction.  Wanting to be physically attractive is obvious, but when the attraction becomes sexual, it tends to become so dominant that it occupies an overwhelming deal of a guys focus toward you. It’s kind of like us seeing Halle Berry on the red carpet vs. seeing her topless in the movie Swordfish. Halle in the dress is physically attractive and intriguing, but Halle topless has us thinking about nothing else except how to see her completely nude. 

Now, can that change after you and a man (who's  been staring at your underwear through yourh shirt) talk and trade ideas? Sure, but the subsequent attraction to your mind hasn’t replaced or even superseded his sexual appetite for you. So in essence, his initial thought when he saw your 34 C pink-laced bra underneath your sheer blouse was “Damn! I’d sure like to ______,” but after hearing how brilliant your mind is, his thought is “Damn! She’s smart too? I’d sure like to ________ even more.”    

Now before you post your comments below or on Facebook, which I hope you will certainly do, let me just say that this article is intended to be humorous (even though I’m dead serious about every single word I wrote above) and this article is only directed toward those women who show insane amounts of cleavage (by that I mean just about any amount of cleavage) under sheer blouses, with cat-suit pants in a desperate plea for attention from men. It is in no way intended for any of the three hundred and thirty three (I’m probably being generous) American women who wear the those kinds of outfits with absolutely no interest in how a man will respond. Okay, now you can let me have it with your responses on me…lol

Thank you for checking out my column “Mansitioning,” on  I hope you’ll leave feedback and follow me on Facebook @ and on twitter ( Please share your thoughts, problems, inspirations, relationship questions, etc. and spread the word.
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I wrote this a while back, but during the holidays conservatives tend to do a whole lot of venting about TSA security at our airports, so I'll repost for the purpose of offering a bit of

I knew it was coming. Perhaps it's because I've been subject to "step aside" searches at the airport on a number of occasions, but still I knew that it was only a matter of time before your standard "club bouncer" pat down was instituted, along with some kind of a TOTAL RECALL like scanner (had been talked about for years without much concern from the public soon after 9/11) - Yet now it seems like everyone has retreated to a pre-9/11 mentality on that issue.

This wouldn't be news worthy except for the fact thatthe ones whining about these security measures are the ones who said "Let us never forget 9/11" every day on the floor of the house for at least a year after the Twin Towers came down. And it was them who came out in droves for a "9/12" rally just a short time ago. Yet this is where we find ourselves... Americans are nuts.

Let's be clear. Half of the Americans protesting theTSA's security measures are legitimately concerned about privacy, another portion are legitimately concerned about overreach by the government, but a loud portion are perpetual protesters seeking to inflict "death by a thousand cuts" on President Obama - politically speaking . I get the concern of the two legitimate groups. Our privacy is an integral part of our liberty as Americans (so long as you're not talking about things like drug use and gender issues). But as far as I'm concerned the Patriot Act eroded the foundations of our liberty for the cause of security. Most folks on the right (true libertarians excluded ) defended the Patriot Act with 'hey, if the government wants to listen to my boring conversations - fine. I have nothing to hide, it it means we're safer' (that 's Sean Hannitybtw ).Well, now we're exposed to the slippery slope of Partiot Act-logic since we're dealing with "fruit of kaboom" terrorist... That is terrorist that have bombs in their briefs.

So the question is how do we deal with a "fruit of kaboom" terrorist?.... I know! I know!... The conservatives say
'do what the Israelis do... They racially profile and we're too politically correct here They look you in the eye and asks lots of questions to judge if you're suspicious, etc. etc....'
Well let's examine their naiveté on this point. First and foremost, conservatives are trying to conflate what the Israeli's do (which is behavioral profiling) with what they've been championing here (which is racial profiling). So by simply using the word "profiling" to describe Israel's airport security measures they're either displaying a keen ignorance or they just "don't do nuance" to an astounding degree. And for the life of me I can't understand why allowing the government to racially profile is such a victory for them. As a person who's been racially profiled, I can tell my conservative friends with the utmost confidence, "dude, it's not cool". And you got the never to talk about the TSA violating your liberty... Please! - but I digress.

Secondly, it only takes a small amount of logic and common sense to understand that if a terrorist makes it through Israeli airport security and on to a plane- well obviously that plane is LEAVING Israel.. In other words the threat is being carried out of Israel, which would also mean that Israel has a much bigger concern with planes leaving for Israel from other countries... you know, countries like the United States...

And again, logic should also remind conservatives that Israel's most ardent enemies (my friend mentioned the PLO - which really makes my point) are neighbors... They are within driving distance of Israel... close enough to fire rockets and hit... Why would Al-Qaeda elect to expend the energy to get a terrorist through security to board a plane leaving the very country they want to attack? Doesn't make much sense when you think about it. In fact, one of the reasons that Israeli airport security is without incident is because terrorist attacks in Israel have historically targeted buses.
So the "Talk to Israel" "they look you in the eye and ask questions" solution has merit, but as much as folks would like Israel to be USA-EAST it ain't the United States and what works for them with a country that small won't work for us with country this large.
Also, the Israeli behavioral profiling solution seems awfully odd coming from a certain conservative wing of the country who suggest that Al-Qaeda can train themselves to resit our torture (I'm sorry - enhanced interrogation) techniques now that they have been publicized... If it's possible to train yourself to withstand water-boarding, then it seems most certainly possible for highly trained and highly funded terror groups to have a few people go through Israeli airport security and write down what the process is and what the questions are and so forth, and train themselves to pass lie detector test and beat the behavior profile for a terror suspect, no?

So again, the question is how do we deal with a fruit of Kaboom bomber in a post 9/11 America where we have proven that we deserve neither liberty nor security because we so willingly gave it up 9 years ago?

As far as TSA goes - I guess the conservative remedy for Airport security is to do away with the 
scanners, the pat downs and while we're at it, the shoe and liquid thing and start asking questions to trained, highly funded terrorist that are trained to resist torture... oh, and racially profile. Other than that, I'm not hearing much in terms of real solutions... But should the President cave on this - which wouldn't surprise me- then I trust that we will hear much on FOX "news" about how "Obama let this happen" or had a "pre-9/11" mentality about airport security, although it seems like the complainers are the ones most guilty of this.
Just so you know, the stuff being used in the explosive devices being brought on to planes is a substance called PETN... Here's a little info on it and may shed light on why these measures are necessary. From the Guardian UK:

PETN is non-metallic so it does not show up in x-ray machines. Because it is so energetic, only small amounts of the explosive are used, and these can easily be hidden on the body or in electrical equipment. PETN-based bombs can be detected by the electrical wiring and detonators that accompany them, but there are ways around this. If the bomb is built into electrical equipment, such as a printer, it can easily be missed amid the device's own wiring and components.

On Christmas day last year, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab hid PETN in his underpants in a failed attack on a Northwest Airlines flight to Detroit. The bomb escaped detection in part because Abdulmutallab used a plastic syringe filled with a chemical detonator that was hard to spot with an x-ray scanner. Last summer, Abdullah Hassan al-Asiri, the brother of the man suspected of building the latest devices, tried to assassinate the Saudi deputy interior minister after evading security detectors by hiding a PETN-based bomb inside his body. Around 100g ofPETN is enough to destroy a car.
SO - if we can't detect the PETN (because the technology doesn't exist), then what's left is to try and detect the devices used to detonate it. If it's in a plastic syringe (as was the case of the X-mas underwear bomber, then the only way you'll find it is a pat down or x-ray screening.

Now just for the record, I'm not saying that I think the current system is "all good, yo" or that they shouldn't modify and make adjustments. A woman having to remove a prosthetic breast is overboard... But if the threats are high and a pat down is deemed necessary, then so be it until a better solution comes about. And folks need to dial it down. For the majority of us, you only get the pat down if you opt out of the scanner. Only 10% of passengers are subject to random pat downs. Here you can read FACTS about the TSA security measures.

But if you are still up in arms after learning the facts, then here are two other alternatives... Since conservatives don't have a problem with the patriot act, they can allow the government to randomly screen their travel, phone, and email history and use that to assess them as potential threats. After all Sean Hannity and others routinely say they don't have a problem with the government listening in on their conversations if it makes them safer - or so was the case when it was a Bush Administration listening.... OOOORRRR

They can have two separate flight statuses... They can schedule TSA Pat down/scanner flights where all the passengers have chosen to go through those security measures OR they can book the 9/10 (poking Beck) flight where folks just use the racial profiling, metal detectors and The "look into their eyes - window of their souls" Q&A security method. I think that'd be fair...

But in jest: If we're talking about the Q&A/behavior profile method, let's consider that Sarah Palinwas asked what she reads to inform her world view about politics and froze up... Call me crazy, but that would look pretty suspicious to me if I was a TSA agent, so I'd bet my little pay check that if she was in Israel, she would've made the "no fly list" there based on their behavioral profiling... lol

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*** and btw, "like" my mansitioning page***

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Here's Mr. Mansitioning himself ( talking about Presidential politics and the election on the HuffPost Live... I always appreciate the invite and love the discussion!

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It seems that, in this year's Presidential Election, the "October surprise" is New Jersey Governor, CHRIS CHRISTIE's praise for PRESIDENT OBAMA's leadership in the face of Hurricane Sandy.  This, of course has many republicans in dismay, especially considering Christie's emphatic rejection of a MITT ROMNEY visit to New Jersey - on "Fox & Friends" of all networks!. Rush Limbaugh, for example has gone as far as to throw out gay innuendo's to describe this picture..
But for those who seem baffled and befuddled by the New Jersey Governor's praise of the President, let me boil it down to this...In a nutshell, Chris Christie doesn't respect Mitt Romney. He's the polar opposite kind of politician. Mitt Romney has no backbone... He walks back and moonwalks virtually every position of importance depending on who he's campaigning in front of... He's a relentless and fearless flip-flopper. 

Mitt Romney has been described as having a car-salesman kind of political style,  "You want tinted windows, I'll give you tinted windows... You want leather seats, I'll give you leather seats - oh! you hate leather seats, I hate those too -too hot in the summer"... Mitt Romney is the political equivalent of those traveling salesman in the 50's who'd  show up your door with a vacuum cleaner, a stack of encyclopedias and some tonic water that promises to grow your hair and heal your joints..  The funny thing about these charges is that you'll rarely find a republican or Romney supporter who will even try to refute them... They'll start saying "Obama toooooo," but won't try to make the case that Mitt Romney has the courage of his convictions... Even Rush Limbaugh has basically stated the Obama is who he said he was and is doing what he said he'd do (of course he didn't say this in support of the President)

Chris Christie, on the other hand is cut from a different cloth than "multiple choice Mitt" as he's often called by people in the state of Massachusetts, where he was governor. Chris Christie is not an "Etch-A-Sketch" politician, as Mitt Romney's top campaign strategist described him. He's a straight shooter and a guy not known as a "bulls#!ter". Dishonest, isn't a term that's usually associated with him.  The term "bully," on the other hand is often associated with him, and if it's one thing we know about bully's, it's that they don't respect people who won't stand up for themselves... 

Ironically, Barack Obama is often criticized by the left for allowing himself to be bullied - a criticism that has emboldened his detractors on the right to engage in obstructionism and do things like scream out "you lie!" in the middle of a State of the Union address.  But if Romney is the scared kid who gives the bully all his lunch money and his wrist watch, Obama is more like the quiet cool kid who outsmarts the bully by offering to share his lunch money with him before the bully tries to take it,  and then convinces the bully to share half the lunch with him, while becoming his personal bodyguard.
The difference between Obama and Romney is, not only style, but it's the "courage of their convictions'... Obama has them and Romney doesn't and the bully can smell the weakness of the one who doesn't like a shark can smell blood in warm salt water...
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Okay... So it’s October and I’m sure you’re either wearing or surrounded by your fair share of pink; pink ribbons, pink bracelets, pink shirts, ties, shoes, and shoelaces… In fact, if you look overhead at planes passing by, you’ve probably noticed some of the airlines have painted them pink as well.   And of course we all know why, right? Well, for those of you who should be ashamed of yourselves for not knowing, the month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it is an extremely worthy cause.
For my part, I’m organizing a breast cancer walk for my son’s elementary school, here in Brooklyn NY. But as I spent last week decorating the hallway of P.S. 20 in pink, I was also overcome with an unshakable heaviness. The events of the week (personal interactions and observations) had left me overwhelmed by a sense that the world is becoming much more hardened and people becoming increasingly more unconcerned with one another. That feeling was compounded when I considered how much of that I was seeing within the Christian community and it got me to thinking that, as we Christians probably need to establish a Church Cancer Awareness Month.
  1. Cancer: 1) A term for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and can invade nearby tissues. Cancer cells can also spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems…” (From the National Cancer Institute)
  2.  Any evil condition or thing that spreads destructively; blight.
In 1st Corinthians 12:12 the Apostle Paul describes early believers as “…the body of Christ,” literally likening each of us to eyes, ears and hands. And just like anybody’s body, the Body of Christ; the Church is susceptible to sickness and disease, but this being Breast Cancer Awareness month, the disease I’d like to focus on is cancer within The Church. The human body can suffer from various types of cancers that affect different parts of the body in different ways, and such is true for the body of Christ. The interesting thing about the kind of cancer that’s been most apparent to me is that it isn’t anything deep or nefarious or incredibly complex. In fact, it’s a rather simple human quality that’s growing among the saved and unsaved alike; “meanness”…
Yep! People are becoming downright mean and inconsiderate in ways that are as contagious as strep throat. It’s something that I know you feel when you look at our political discourse. You feel it when that person cuts you off during your morning commute, or when the guy on the cell phone shares a profanity filled laugh in public as little children stare. But it’s not just out in the world because you also notice it in church. You can feel it in the uncomfortable looks you get from some church folk as you walk around to drop your money in the offering basket. You notice it when someone gossips about what a person “ain’t got no business” doing, wearing, saying, etc. Yes, something is wrong in the world, but when the people who are charged to fix it are just as sick, then we’re all in trouble. “Mean cancer” within the church, unless checked will spread and can poison the body of Christ.
With cancer, it’s always best to find it before it shows you that it’s there, so when you see symptoms of cancer, then it often times means that the problem has grown to a seriousness that requires a more aggressive treatment to address. This is why it’s important to submit your self for screenings. The same is true for the church.  Unfortunately, the problem with the church is that we are too often concerned with defending ourselves against everything and everyone on the outside, while being extremely reluctant to look in the mirror. In other words, we rarely allow ourselves to be screened for cancers.
I’ve been on the HuffPost Live a number of times talking about the intersection of The Church and politics and my sense that we have become like hypochondriacs, paranoid that everything is out to get us. We tend to treat things like prayer in schools, gay marriage, and “war on Christmas” like terminal that will cause sickness in the Body of Christ, but truth is that they are diseases more akin to airborne viruses that we panic out about, while the cancer growing inside us. So we often end up overdosing on the flu-shots, when we really need chemotherapy.
Now the question becomes, how do we remedy this growing cancer? I think it has to begin with a realization and admission by The Church that says, “Yes. We are indeed battling cancer.” Then we have to be willing submit to the aggressive measures to remove the cancer, as well as the rigors of treatment. Depending on the stage of cancer, the next step might require removing parts of the body that are too heavily infected for non-surgical medicine alone to work. Equally, the Church may have to take measures to extricate ourselves from issues or people or places that are only feeding the cancer. Even Jesus says in Mark 9:47 that “…if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out. It’s better to enter the Kingdom of God with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell.”
Even after that Chemotherapy might be required, which is not easy- to put it mildly. Its a combination of drugs that aims toe accomplish a number of things at once, but it’s main job is to isolate and destroy the cancer cells to prevent them from spreading to and infecting other parts of the body. It comes with difficult side effects from hair loss, to severe fatigue and gastric sickness, among other things.
For the church, there will be a number of things that will have to happen on a number of levels to address our cancer. Pastors and church leaders will need to make it a point to be as attentive to the health of the flock as they are about the needs of the unsaved. Individual members of the body will have to do a better job of policing themselves and their emotions. We will have to be courageous enough to discourage gossip and discussion that does not build up members of the body. And last, but certainly not least, we will have to train ourselves to be a lot kinder, as tells us that“… as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10) ” and that “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)
The “Good News” (pun intended) for Christians is that we believe in miracle healings, so be encouraged.
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If i'm advising the Obama campaign I would make it a point of focusing on Mitt Romney's mathematically challenged tax plan. The first thing I'd recommend they do is:

A) release a plan of their own deductions and loopholes they'd be wiling to cut if they have a 2nd term, focusing on deductions for things like corporate jets, yachts, and the $80,000 deduction that Mitt Romney gets for his horse... 

I'd also propose removing the provision that allows a company moving operations overseas to take advantage of the tax deductions for relocating, as well as those provision that allow U.S. companies with overseas operations to defer paying taxes on repatriated income...

Of course, you do this while challenging Mitt Romney to commit to all those deductions and loopholes that he's willing to close. Force him to say what's off the table; things like the mortgage deduction, education credits, child tax credits...

B) Then I'd run against the Paul Ryan plan that Mitt Romney endorsed, specifically stating that they are doing so in the absence of a Mitt Romney plan that describes how his tax cuts will be paid for... Part of this is to say to the voter "What does it say about Mitt Romney's leadership,  that his running mate is the only one on the ticket who has put forth a budget with actual numbers to support it's claims." 

I'd focus on aspects of the Paul Ryan plan that are most controversial; things like the medicare voucher, social security privatization and cuts to education and services for the poor - while cutting taxes on the wealthy....
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Once upon a time, a very wise and brilliant man (and I sure hope you’ll know who this man is) dreamed of a day in America when we will all be judged by the content of our character, and not the color of our skin. I, for one, am and have always been in complete agreement with this dream, so it struck me as odd when I found myself taking a slightly nuanced stance in opposition to it. 

Okay… So I was on Facebook (as I tend to be WAY too often), and I posted a comment about how glaring the difference in diversity was between the democratic and republican conventions. That sparked a discussion between my very conservative republican friends (most of whom are white) and my liberal friends (most of whom were black). One of my very good conservative Facebook friends (white) felt that it was very sad that my liberal friends (black) viewed so much through “the prism of race.”  I rebutted that it must be nice for my conservative friend to have the luxury of not having to view life through that same prism… And it was on after that…lol.

But in the fray of the back-and-forth about “racial vs. racist,” my conservative friends took an approach that most of you might think is odd, given our preconceived ideas about conservatives here in the U.S. In their view, all Americans should ignore race altogether, in consideration of any and all things, and simply judge by the content of our character—a view I’d like to refer to as the “I have a dream 2.0.” Now, “I have a dream 2.0” sounds good on the surface, but something about it feels wrong.

The “2.0” refers to the fact that this goes way beyond what Dr. King advocated, which never included a colorless or colorblind society where we magically perceive the content of each other’s character. For one, (as one of my liberal FB friends expressed) people don’t “walk around with text bubbles above their heads saying "I'm responsible," or "I feed the homeless."  Secondly, (and more important to me) I don’t want anyone to ignore the color of my skin, as if there’s something so inherently negative about it that someone else’s ability to disregard it somehow becomes a noble act.

Why is this a big deal?  Well, for many minority women in general and African-American women, in particular, face a constant struggle to be validated by a system that views their physical and cultural identities as less than or deficient - irrespective of the content of their character.  For example, we have a black First Lady, but even she is often the target of degrading comments about her hair, weight, hips, legs and other physical features.  Now if she can’t catch a break, how hard must it be for the average black woman who faces pressure to conform to “acceptable” (Eurocentric) standards of black beauty at work, school, church or anywhere else?

For me as a writer and you as a reader the importance of image and self-image is an important/recurring theme and so I really got to wondering, “what are the beauty implications of a ‘colorblind’ society?” What do we do in a society where race and culture have and continue to be so dominant in our daily interactions?  Well, the answer (in my humble opinion) to this social problem isn’t to take further steps to hide or reduce one’s own ethnicity or identity.  Quite the contrary, the answer is to embrace it, its history and its “otherness” and to wear it proudly. As Marianne Williamson so eloquently put it, “…Your playing small does not serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.”  Likewise, there’s nothing noble about disregarding ones skin color as a part of who they are.  And this is true, not only for black women but for all women who find themselves looked upon as “other” in their daily lives.

You see the problem isn’t seeing a person’s color.  The problem is seeing a person’s color as a problem and if that’s the case then the problem isn’t yours, but rather it’s the person’s doing the looking.  To see color is racial. To use it as an impediment to another is racist.   Seeing something through the prism of race or culture doesn’t have to be an inherent negative.

So the next time your white co-worker asks to touch your braids or ends a happy moment with a “Can I get a what what?!” don’t assume that she’s being racist or stereotyping you. She might be doing her very best to connect with you based on the bit of pop culture she consumes.  Hell yeah, she looks silly, but it’s at least a genuine attempt to value what’s different about you in an environment that’s teaching you to hid it.   I’d much rather engage that person, than the one who sees color and avoids speaking to or hiring you.

Thank you for checking out my column “Mansitioning.”  I hope you’ll leave feedback and follow me on Facebook @ and on twitter ( Please share your thoughts, problems, inspirations, relationship questions, etc. and spread the word.
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It seems that a fair number of people watching the debate had a propblem with Joe Biden's smiling... So how would I have handled that? 

1) 1st I would acknowledge that before this Vice-Presidential debate, Joe Biden wasn't a factor as far as the media was concerned. All of the attention was on Obama, Romney and Ryan. NOW, after Biden trampled (Sarah Palin's description) Ryan in last night's debate, Biden is a hot media commodity.

2) I would've had Biden here in NYC first thing in the next morning to make the rounds on Good Morning America, The Today Show, The View, The Talk and maybe even Letterman, where they would definitely bring up the smiling and interrupting... His response? 

Biden: "Listen folks, some of the things coming out of their campaign... You have to laugh to keep from crying about because it's sad how that they are so committed to making life easier for the rich at the expense of the middle class.

And as far as
my smiling and jumping in - this is the way middle class people are talking about these issues all across the country. Lunch-bucket democrats, republicans and independents sit down over dinner, or over a beer and we're passionate and spirited whether we're talking about Monday night Football or politics...

But you know what? If you have more of a problem with me smiling than the fact that Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney couldn't promise you that he would NOT touch the tax credit you get for your mortgage, or that they refuse to tell you a single deduction or tax loophole they'll close to pay for their 5 trilion dollar tax plan, or that Paul Ryan voted to cut $300 Million for embassy security and requested 23 Million dollars in stimulus money that he railed against... Well, God bless ya, because that's what I think more Americans were paying attention to in last nights debate"

3) Then I'd make sure that the talking point from the democratic side is "they're crying and whining about Joe smiling? This is Joe Biden... He's lucky he didn't curse up there... This is for the fate of the free world and it's not school yard stick ball... If you can't handle Joe interrupting and smiling, how can you square up against China or Iran? So they need to toughen up"

That's what I would've done...
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