Professor Leão Preto
Delayed Elections, Birthday Reflections, and Capoeira Completions
Did you vote in this year's election? I am not attempting to shame you if you decided to stay home and not vote. In some past elections, I have opted not to participate. This year, while living abroad, I filled in my ballot and submitted it online.
My work with schools, protests, and community centers acted as my political actions during the electoral seasons, where I avoided the polls. Teaching, organizing, and volunteering helped me to find solace with my contributions to improving underserved communities.
Some of my friends and family members attempted to sell me on the historical truth that my ancestors died for the right to vote. My rebuttal indicated that they died in the fight for freedom. Despite the struggle to get the voting rights act of 65 passed, I viewed voting as a lost cause.
Do you understand the electoral college?
For years, I held beliefs that corporations elections presidents. The electoral process felt rigged. I didn't understand how each state receives electors based on their representatives in congress. US democracy appeared flawed when I learned that the Constitution does not require electors to follow the popular vote.
Time, maturity, and the atrocities of #45’s administration can make you reconsider previous stances. I now believe that voting is a valuable right that we cannot afford to abuse. Did you see Otis' Dream, the incredible short film depiction of one Black man's journey to vote for the first time? Take a look when you get a moment.
I continue to have concerns about the fairness of the voting process and authentic politicians. Still, I will vote in memory of Otis and others with more faith in US democracy.
This year's US presidential election is significant. Biden and Trump's clashed in the hours leading up to this historical and ongoing race. Most elections produce a predicated winner within twenty-four hours, but this one appears to have an infinite life span.
It's disturbing to see the number of votes that #45 has received. Regardless of the outcome, the volume of support he has, speaks to the problems that prevent America from being great. I watched an important debate discussing the complicated affection that some Black men, NOT ME, carry for Trump.
Check out this creative approach to a heavy conversation.
On the 4th, I also celebrated another year around the sun. It was a solid day filled with my favorite activities that included time with my family, exercise, and foods that I often don't eat. I also spent some critical moments in meditation to think about my life's purpose and how to move forward with the unique plans God has in store for me.
Do you celebrate birthdays? If so, do you have any birthday rituals? Is there anything that you must do to celebrate the gift of life each year?
This week I finished a fascinating fictional book about an Aboriginal community in Australia. This fictional group of Aboriginal Australians does not acknowledge birthdays. They only give special recognition to individuals when they develop skills relative to the survival of the village. From their perspective, the celebration of getting older is not valuable.
It’s how we improve ourselves in alignment with our life’s purpose that matters.
When is the last time you thought about your life's purpose? Why are you here? We are alive for reasons larger than going to unfulfilling jobs and coming home to give our families whatever energy we have leftover.
Did you know that the chances you were born to the parents you have are one in four hundred trillion?! Your life has purpose and meaning.
Last weekend, before the election and my birthday, I organized the first Capoeira Mar Verde Batizado in Antigua. It was a small event that included meditation, capoeira, and a fantastic meal made by my wife. Attendees didn’t wear matching t-shirts, guest master teachers stayed at home, the schedule did not include multiple days of classes, and we refrained from holding a long closing ceremony. Yet, it was meaningful.
I led classes on the beach, and two notable teachers, Mestra Suelly and Mestre Calango taught classes via Zoom.
Despite the technical challenges with audio and internet connectivity, the event was successful. Three adult students earned their first belts. My children received belt promotions reflective of their training levels.
The circle, roda, we created to play capoeira in did not have the fanfare you come to expect at a batizado. There were no famous master teachers, mestres, present to lead traditional songs. The new students did not have the necessary experience to play the instruments and sing. All movements did not get done with the proper form. Nonetheless, the roda felt complete when I looked around at my family, students, friends, and guests' faces.
Presidents will change. We will increase in age and wisdom. New ventures will get created. Life is a blessing. What will you do with the time you have today?
Share this post with one person who needs a reminder about the significance of this day.