The Fallacy of Permission

Mentors - Bennie Harris

"Man is buffeted by circumstances so long as he believes himself to be the creature of outside conditions, but when he realizes that he is a creative power, and that he may command the hidden soil and seeds of his being out of which circumstances grow, he then becomes the rightful master of himself." ~James Allen; As a Man Thinketh

As mature, fully functional adults, intelligent and capable; are we seeking opportunity or seeking permission?

In the United States and most other countries, I would suppose that we're raised as children with acceptable norms such as asking permission. In the U.S. most of us as children might remember playing the game "Mother-May-I"; this was basically born out of this idea of asking permission of our parents or other's in authority.

But; we were children then; now we're adults! As adults, I've always presumed that we seek opportunity and make decisions!

If one is awake, they've not been able to miss the events surrounding the "Occupy Movement" and the National Economy, most specifically the unemployment rate.

A news-flash, if I may for those identifying with the 99%, if you've ever been abroad; you'll know that in the United States, we're ALL in the 1%! Here, in this country, we live better and have greater access to that which sustains life than 99% of those the world over. That's not to say that we don't have our challenges, but we take for granted that which others are literally dying for. Something as simple as fresh drinking water is a luxury that many in under-developed countries around the world do not have.

This month, January 2012, it's been announced that the national unemployment rate has dropped to 8.3%. Nice! This tells me that 91.7% of our fellow citizens have gainful employment! But still, we complain about not enough jobs, foreclosures, corporations making too much money and such!

Wow!!! Somewhere along the way we've fallen asleep and gotten totally immersed in a national nightmare!

Has it been documented anywhere in history that those that settled this great country came here seeking better jobs and more affordable homes? This being Black History month; when slavery ended, did newly freed men walk away with their families seeking better jobs, full employment or more affordable housing? Do those immigrating to this country, many at risk to their own lives; do so seeking better jobs and more affordable housing?

While working abroad as a contractor in Iraq, I met an Iraqi citizen that was working as an interpreter with one of the US Army MTT Teams, that lost his life a month later. In a very memorable conversation with him; I asked why he was working with the U.S. and risking his life, and what he shared with me is forever etched in my mind; "for the opportunity and freedom that comes with living in America!"

This Iraqi citizen that bled-out, in the dirt near Ashraf, Iraq, wasn't seeking to come to the United States for a job; he sought opportunity and freedom!

Those that settled this country when there was nothing here but the Native American's and untold hardship, didn't leave their established lives and their mother-lands to beg permission, they sought opportunity and freedom.

Those in my family and others that were freed from the bondage and oppression of slavery didn't exhale and head out with their families seeking permission to build new lives, they set out to take advantage of the promise of opportunity afforded them by their newly obtained emancipation.

Those that are risking everything, up to and including their lives, seeking to get to US soil from Cuba, Mexico and Central America, are not coming here begging for jobs! They are seeking the opportunities and freedom that many of us as citizens take for granted.

So again I ask, are we seeking opportunity or seeking permission?

Maybe we should all recognize the fallacy of permission, re-examine our U.S. history and have a real conversation with those that are risking everything to plant their feet on American soil.

Collectively in the United States, together; we really are the world's 1%.


Bennie Harris

February 8, 2012


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