Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Life as a Journey; Joy, Justice, Job, Jefferson, Jesus, and other Js

A few weeks ago I was invited to be one of the speakers in an Asian Pacific American event held at the nearby George Mason University in Virginia. The topic was “My American Journey”. The organizers probably thought that my life originating from the Philippines and ending up in the United States was exciting and adventurous enough to merit the ears of an audience who personally shared similar experiences. For the young, it would remind them of their parents’ tales and others who landed in America as immigrants, refugees, or even as illegal aliens with dreams and aspirations.
Each of us has an unwritten journal of experiences worth telling as we continue pursuing a journey towards either a defined and finite future or a destination predetermined by an absolute infinite power.

Nobody can deny that we are  always in the pursuit of JOY or happiness, be it material or spiritual.  As the song goes, “we want a life full of joy”.  Our lives are indeed full of memories mostly depicting events of joy. Sometimes there are moments of sorrow but they are considered mere bumps delaying ultimate joy.

“To say that life is fair is like saying, the bull will not come after me because I am a vegetarian”, I heard this from my Aunt once.
Yes, JUSTICE does not come easily in life.  One has to assert and fight for it in order to obtain it. It could be political, social or economic justice.  It could be asking for the rule of law, due process, fighting poverty or getting a job. “Ang sigaw ng bayan ay KATARUNGAN” (The cry of the people is JUSTICE), we used to shout as youth activists in the ‘70s.
I will never  forget what President Magsaysay said, “Those who have less in life, must have more in law”.  To those much is given, much is required. These are sufficient teachings to go by as we seek social justice.

President Barack Obama’s job approval rating is low. His reelection bid for Presidency is in jeopardy. This is because the economy is performing badly. There are too many people unemployed. He is supposed to come up with a concrete plan or a set of proposals to generate more employment or stimulate the economy this coming Labor Day.
In his last State of the Union Address, President Obama said that we will “out-educate, out-innovate, out-build” our competitors. On the surface, the three goals would help generate jobs. I expected him to immediately follow it up with specific proposals to attain those goals.
To out-educate, for example, I expected him to propose programs that would target certain industries, re-train the unemployed for targeted jobs, provide support to new, current and graduating students not only for the on demand jobs but also to supply the job requirements of the targeted industries.
To out-innovate, I expected him to come up with programs that would provide incentives and support to individuals and industries that create new products and technologies.  Programs supporting research and development,  students pursuing graduate degrees in the sciences, engineering, information and systems and other courses on innovation were also expected.
To out-build, I also expected him to pursue programs that would repair, re-build and / or build infrastructures such as roads, bridges, rails and speed trains,  broadband highways, and others.

The American people are getting frustrated to the point of near despair compared to the hopes and dreams generated when Obama was first elected as President. The President’s  latest approval rating is at an  all-time low. The Republicans especially those in Congress are no better. 
The Democrats and Republicans are urged to stop jousting. They are expected to work together and join all efforts to jumpstart the economy again.

America’s brand of democracy is Jeffersonian.  It is a republic where the people’s authority and sovereign powers are delegated to Congress for legislation and the President for execution. The representatives are expected to govern on behalf of, for and by the people. They are there to assist in the people’s pursuit of JOY and JUSTICE.

JESUS and the other Js
In the journey towards joy and justice, our job should not be focused on jousting with others but joining them as a team. We start as JUVENILES but grow up JADED. Some could end up as JOKES, JILTED or even JAILED.  Others would be happy with JUNKS. A few are lucky to have JEWELS even a JACKPOT.
Such is life.  Whether you are a JEEPNEY-riding JOE or a JET-SETTING JANE, you have as much chance to JAM, listen to JAZZ, or watch a J-LO, or a JUSTIN Bieber/Timberlake Concert.
When in JEOPARDY, you can always use your skills in JUDO or JU-JIT-SU. Of course, especially in desperate conditions, you always call on JESUS, JOSEPH, JACOB, JOSHUA,  JACINTA, JULKANAIN, JIAO or to some, the JEWISH Messiah.

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