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Ryan Bird

I am blessed to know so many caring, beautiful, open-minded people who add so much to my life.  One of these people is former student, partner in crime in the affordable housing game, current tutor at WordPlay Cincy, friend and author, Nick Tilley.

Nick writes as “Ryan Bird,” but, with his permission, I am pulling the mask off the Master in this post.  Below is his poem, “Bittersweet Ascension.”  For many reasons, when my wife, Katie, showed me the following poem this morning (which is on Nick’s Facebook wall) I was floored.  Nick’s (Ryan Brid’s) words struck a chord with me that is still ringing.  Thank you, brother, for the inspiration.

Read on, and take what you need from these lovely words – and there is much to take.

Bittersweet Ascension

“I sit here and weep for the world. I weep not for being scared of the dark, but for seeing the light.

For the first time I see this environment of human interaction as it is, not as we were “trained” to see.

I weep for this world…

I weep for this world that rejects openness, yet praises illusion.

Criticizes the unique, yet accepts the conformist.

Walks over the caring, yet rewards the narcissist.

Ridicules the intelligent, yet worships the superficial.

I weep for this world…

I weep for this world that assumes genuine kindness comes with a price, yet calls hatefulness honest

Punishes the nice guy, yet the crowns the jerk.

Judges difference, yet approves of unified hate.

Makes talent irrelevant, yet prioritizes who you know.

I weep for this world…

I weep for this world that a single mother is shunned, yet negligent parents are the norm.

Marriage has no meaning, yet we play a game of notches.

It is not safe to help, yet safe to be selfish.

You are called “gay” to show emotion, yet emptiness is attractive.

I weep for this world…

I weep for this world because we need a change, a change in the fundamental virtue of human nature.

A change that is not known to the masses because we are each forced not to see.

Forced to be egocentric, value our own problems above all, put country and faith above humanity, above world, blind of the truth.

Love will set us free.

I rejoice for this world…

I rejoice for what this world can be.

Who a person is outweighs what they look like.

What a person does, overshadows where they’re from.

Where there is no race, no sex, no age, no division, no classes, no ego, only people.

I rejoice for this world…

I rejoice for this world where people put others happiness above their own.

Honesty and Integrity trumps power and greed.

Good and just conquer evil and suffering.

Freedom is truly free.

I rejoice for this world…

I rejoice for this world where we have the power.

Love is open and free.

Acceptance and empathy replace judgment.

Human right is the only law.

I can be the change in this world…

If I can be the change, you can be the change, one at a time we are the change in this world.

Unity can be above all, an ascension of human existence that has no parallel in time.

Into the light we go, our tears line the path, Love wipes them away.”

-R.B.-

Luck

The weight room in my high school in Atlanta, GA had a sign hanging up that read, “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

As anyone who is close to me will tell you, I did not spend a lot of time in this weight room, but I very quickly memorized this little snippet.  And I believe it is true.

The cards you get dealt are random, they present various opportunities.  The preparation you have made beforehand allows you to make the best decisions.  In blackjack, one may argure, there is more room for preparation than in, say, poker – certainly more than in craps.

Fate works in much the same way, i.e., “fate is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

I do not necessarily believe that “everything happens for a reason.”  I DO believe that we react in the way we do to our given situations for a reason.  “Opportunity,” in this way, this new maxim, would better read as, “situation.”

Our preparation for any given situation is the sum total of our reactions to every single situation leading up to our current state.  How we react to the given situation will further define our life’s trajectory and our fate.

When life turns on a dime, there is no amount of preparation that can prepare you for the decisions you will be forced to make.  That said, your preparation will have hopefully built a strong character in your soul that will allow you to never give up your convictions, your desire to do what’s right or your passion for what you believe.  When we do those things that go against our life’s preparation we lose a golden opportunity to prepare for our next opportunity, and, in the process, lose a piece of ourselves.

I do not know what today will bring.  I do not know how to give up my convictions.  I do know that I will never apologize for my life’s preparation.

#TeamMoroski2017

Last night was an historic and awesome night. For the first time since Katie, Becky, Eric and I have begun planning for the 2017 council run – everyone on the TeamMoroski2017 camp gathered together in the same room.

We are all well aware that 2017 is a ways off, but you can never get planning too early. Our goal is to have all the money in the bank, the neighborhood task forces assembled & educated and the branding set by mid-2016. 2017 will be about meeting all of those in Cincinnati that we do not know, making new friends and listening to what matters most to all of you. When November 2017 rolls around, we want people to say, “it’s about time I can vote for TeamMoroski!”

You see, when you cast a vote for Mike Moroski, you cast a vote for TeamMoroski. This is not about me. This is about an excellent group of people who will devote plenty of precious time to work on a campaign in which they believe. This is about all of the people in Cincinnati who believe in something better and more equitable.  This is about reaching out to friends who believe in education reform, better not for profit management, more tax incentives for big business to create a larger tax base, fiscal responsibility, pension resolution and bringing them on board for the ride. A vote for TeamMoroski in 2017 will be a vote for something much larger than one person.

We have a couple of mantras in the TeamMoroski2017 camp with which I would like to familiarize the reader. These mantras will help direct our actions and decisions. If the platform mentioned above is the mission statement of the campaign, then these mantras are the vision:

“Vote FOR us, not AGAINST someone else”

“Unity Assists”

Of course, that last one was rather obvious – but it is true. Unity will bring this city together and enable us to make sounder fiscal judgments while, at the same time, enable us to give preferential treatment for the marginalized in our society.

It was made very clear last night that the team currently assembled, and who will define the culture of this campaign, is one that is excited, well-connected and diverse. They are:

Katie Moroski – co-candidate, events committee member for Qualls for Mayor 2013 and volunteer coordinator at WordPlay Cincy (www.wordplaycincy.org)

Eric Langevin – campaign manager and assistant division director at Hoxworth Blood Center (www.hoxworth.org)

Becky Langevin – co-campaign manager and senior researcher at Procter & Gamble (www.pg.com)

Leisa Wilcox – Partner at Once Blind Studios and K. Randall Wilcox Fine Art – co-director of design, messaging & branding for TeamMoroski2017 (www.onceblindstudios.c0m)

Randy Wilcox – Creative Director at Once Blind Studios and fine artist – co-director of design, messaging & branding for TeamMoroski2017 (http://krandallwilcox.com)

Mike Rogers – brother and senior supervisor at 21C Museum Hotel (www.21cmuseumhotels.com/cincinnati)

Michael Heckmann – neighborhood outreach coordinator for TeamMoroski2017 and staff member at Starfire U (http://starefireu.com)

Tom Callinan – Charitable Words Scholars and BroMentor (www.charitablewords.com)

Matt Wagner – attorney at Frost, Brown, Todd (www.frostbrowntodd.com)

Dominique Mix – brand new friend and in-house counsel at Stand Energy Corporation (http://stand-energy.com)

Queen City Cookies – official snack of TeamMoroski2017 (www.queencitycookies.com)

Help us spread the word. As soon as the new mayor and the nine council members are elected this November, the TeamMoroski2017 campaign will officially begin. Contact me through this website for more information on how to get involved early, gather more information on the campaign or to simply drop me a line.

If you are reading this then you are more than likely involved in a current campaign like Katie and I are. That said, feel free to drop us a line letting us know that you would like to be a part of TeamMoroski2017 after this year’s elections. I will promise you this – it will be a fun and victorious adventure.

Until next time – take care of one another and be well.

Choose Your Battles

I try to avoid clichés.

However, that is quite difficult when they summarize so cleanly how one feels. Clichés are brilliant little quips that take a mass of emotions and put them into a simple, easy-to-memorize recitation. I have often thought that if someone truly wanted to study a culture that they should not study that culture’s high art or their great works of literature, but rather, that they should study their clichés. Clichés tell you what someone really feels and what a culture, as a whole, deems important.

In our culture we have clichés such as “it is what it is,” “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” “6 1/2, dozen or the other,” and, for the purposes of this post, “choose your battles.”

Recently, I posted a picture of President Barack Obama onto my Facebook wall with the quotation, “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”

This post prompted heated and respectful discussion among a handful of my Facebook friends.

One of my friends (in real life AND Facebook) began a back and forth that lasted for about a week and totaled over 45 responses between only 6 people. Clearly, the issue of love is a heated debate in 2013.

Now, my friend’s thoughts on the topic of gay marriage or anything to do with religion are of great interest to me for two reasons: 1) He is very intelligent, kind and well-spoken, and 2) I could not disagree with him more on many points if I tried. That said, I learn the most from those with whom I disagree. It is for this reason that I subscribe the Wall Street Journal and NOT the New York Times. Diversity, to me, is the most difficult to embrace when you are dealing with diversity of thought.

I love my friend’s resilient stance on gay marriage – namely, that it is sinful and should not be tolerated.

So – how did we get to this point when we began lauding the cliché? It is what it is, I suppose.

I wish, often times, that I had enough energy to care (even a little bit) who loved whom and whether or not they got married. My mind is taken up with far too many other things to care if someone wants to marry someone else. As crass as that sounds, it’s true. I have to choose my battles.

Furthermore – I unabashedly believe that gay people SHOULD be allowed to marry. Ethically, morally and legally I believe this. I spend a lot of my life trying to live as a Christian example of love for others, and my formation at Catholic grade school, high school, 3 Catholic Universities and employment at 2 Catholic high schools has informed my conscience to believe that gay marriage is NOT something of which to be afraid.

To me, it seems our time would be much better spent worrying about the economy, our city’s failing pensions, retaining our big business neighbors and finding creative, efficient, effective ways to fund our excellent Cincinnati Public Schools.

Not much time left over to worry about gay people marrying one another.

Someone on my Facebook wall asked if my definition of “love” knew no bounds. I said that it did. Love of hurting others is where I draw the line – whether sexually, emotionally, physically, mentally – I do not accept the love of hurt. Outside that, if the love you share with someone else makes you the best version of yourself possible and you go out there in the world and share that love with others – have at it and be well.

Unity Assists, and sometimes, to come together, we gotta choose our battles.