Article Overview:   Have you ever broken a promise?   Have you ever had a promise broken by another?   How did you react?   Were you disappointed?    African Americans are reaching back 140 years to the "40 acres and a mule" promise as a reminder the Beast of Slavery Terror still exists.   How many broken promises from the past do you still relive?   How can you teach a child to not be disappointed by broken promises?  Find out.


Friday, January 30, 2004—Ground Zero Plus 870
Broken Promises Feed
The Beast Of Terror
Cliff McKenzie

         GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Jan. 30, 2004 -- In Chicago and California, the long arm of the Beast of Slavery Terror is reaching out from the grave.   It is a reminder that the past haunts the present and casts dark shadows on the future.
         The issue revolves around an alleged promise of reparation to slaves freed by the 13th Amendment that was ratified on December 18, 1865.  This promise, confused historically because of controversy over its origins (see background data), claims that each freed slave was promised "40 acres and a mule" to compensate for being subjected to slavery. 

"40 acres and a mule" allegedly was promised to each slave freed by the 13th Amendment

       But 21st Century African Americans haven't forgotten the promise.  Spike Lee, the movie producer, named his production company 40 Acres And A Mule.    And reparation advocates seeking to keep the flames of slavery's taint alive in America 140 years later, continue to dig up the Beast of Slavery Terror's body for autopsy.
       In 2002, the city of Chicago, under pressure from reparation groups, (see article, CS Monitor) enacted a law that any company seeking to do business with the city must submit records to see if it had any ties with slavery.    In California, a similar requirement exists targeted to insurance companies.
       Advocates seeking reparation for the past acts of Slavery Terrorism point to the "40 Acres and a mule" promise that they allege was never kept.    Their point:  the Terrorism still exists.  They want to heal the open wound with cash.
        It comes down to broken promises.
        And, it begs the question:  "How many promises does a parent make to a child or to others in his or her life that never see the day of light?"
        How many promises does a child remember that were broken by his or her parents?   How many "40 acres of land and a mule" does a child recall as he or she grows into an adult?

Renowned movie director Spike Lee's production company is named "40 acres and a mule"

       Removing the issue from the ethnic battlefield that pits blacks versus whites on issues such as slavery reparation, what are we doing to repair broken promises in our daily family, business and personal lives?
         When a father or mother promises a child he or she will take them somewhere, or attend a school event, or make a compact of any order in which a "promise" is involved, and then breaks that promise, what degree of Terrorism is created?
         To many in the African American community, the promise--express or implied--from 140 years ago still foments.    They want to know:  "Where's my 40 acres and my mule?"
         The child who rushes about waiting for the promise by the parent to be sealed with action often finds the promise crumbles against the wall of Complacency.    "Sorry, I can't make the game.  Sorry, something's come up and we can't go to the show.   "Sorry, I'm too busy to play with you as I promised.  But, I'll make it up.  Trust me.  Believe me."
         Broken promises.   They are brutal arrows that pierce a child's heart.
         That's why parents should be cautious when making promises.    The word "promise" to a child is a contract.    It is a test of "faith" between the child and parent, and when that "faith" is broken, the child feels abandoned.
         It is the same for adults.   When a close friend promises you he or she will not say anything about something you tell them in confidence, and then reneges and violates the confidence, one feels betrayed.    Anger and resentment boil.  Sometimes friendships crumble over such trespass.
         In business, breaking promises is just as harsh.    One's expectations rise inversely over the promise, and often plans are made without contingency.  When the promise (contract) is broken, the fall is severe.   "I promise you are best qualified for the new job.  You will be promoted."   Then, you go out and celebrate.  But in the 11th hour, a shift is made.   You are skirted.   Another get the job "promised" to you.  You hang your head.  You feel violated.

How many of your promises have been empty?

          How many promises to you have been broken in your life?  How many of your words have been empty?  Can you count them?  Is there enough paper to list them all?
          And, how many promises have you broken to others?    It becomes harder for us to remember all our own broken promises, but easy for those to whom we make them to recall.    The promisee rather than promisor has the expectations of receiving something, and those expectations soar.  When they don't materialize, the fall from the top of the Expectation Mountain is painful.  Often, the promisee falls into the Jaws of the Beast of Terror.   Fear, Intimidation and Complacency, expressed in disappointment, anger, resentment and disillusion, are the by products.
          The African Americans, at least certain factions, haven't forgotten the "40 acres and a mule" promise.
          Neither do most of us forget broken promises.  We can trace them throughout our lives, some of greater importance to us than others, but they cling to us like the Claws of the Beast of Terror.   They rake at us and often remind us "not to trust" anyone, or to "not trust some."  
           So how do we, as Parents, Grandparents, Citizens and Loved Ones of Vigilance deal with resolving the dangers of the "broken promise."
          The quick answer is to not promise anyone anything.   

Expunge the word "promise" from your vocabulary

         Expunge the word "promise" from your vocabulary.
          There are many reasons for this.    First, one cannot be sure of the future.  No matter how good one's intentions might be at the moment, people and life are unpredictable.    We all have defects of character, and we all may be subject to the forces of time and circumstance.
           A father or mother who makes a promise to a child may, at the time, be so committed to the promise they believe nothing could possibly stand between its completion.    But then something comes up.   A crisis at work overrides the time dedicated to the promise.   If you leave early you risk being fired.   You face a dilemma.   Leave work and risk the security of the paycheck that buys the food, pays the rent, clothes the children, or, make good the promise that you will take your child to the park, or show, or make the basketball game?
            No matter what the excuse, you lose.     The promise suggests finality.   The promise is carved in granite, at least, to the promisee.

We should employ the strategy of "I'll try my best"

        There is another strategy.    Instead of promising, say:  "I'll try my best."  Trying is different from promising.    "To try" means one is going to make every possible attempt to achieve an objective, but allows for time and circumstance to exist within the attempt.
            It doesn't create concrete expectations, which, if aren't met, results in Broken Promise Terrorism.   
            There is another danger of the promise.  That is, when it is used as a Band-Aide.   Many people flip promises off their tongue to assuage rather than confirm goals.    After a while, the word "promise" becomes moot.    Those who hear it almost automatically deny it, for it translates:  "don't expect it."
            Politicians are the greatest abusers of promises.    Listening to them shoveling promises out of their mouths is a great exercise, for the degree of their promises are timed and tempered by the audience they seek to appease.    Promises flowing from their lips to senior citizens vary widely from those who state to MTV audiences.    At the end of the campaign trail, the road they traveled is littered with promises, most of which cannot be kept.    They say what they need to say to get the vote.   

One of the most notable broken promises was made by President George H.W. Bush

           One of the most notable was President's George Bush's father's campaign promise:  "Watch my lips.  I will not raise taxes," and then, once elected, raised them.
            The goal of a Sentinel of Vigilance, a Parent of Vigilance, is to not violate the "Trust Bridge" spanning the credibility of the parent to the child, the citizen to the citizen, the family member to the family member.
            When distrust exists between people, it offers refuge for the Beast of Terror.   The "promise gap" can ferment the Beast's ability to induce Fear rather than build Courage, can germinate Intimidation rather than strengthen Conviction, and can result in a thousand forms of Complacency rather than accelerating Right Actions that benefit future generations.
            That's why avoiding to "promise" another is more Vigilant than taking the risk of breaking such a promise.
            This is not to suggest we duck the responsibility to make good on our commitments.    To tell someone:  "I will try my best" is far more powerful than a promise.    It suggests I will take "action."    It means I have programmed myself to prepare for and to move toward the completion of the event.
           A "promise," by its nature, suggests it is a fait complete, that is a "done deal," that it is indeed a "fact" that only needs authentication.
           This is never true.
           The most iron-clad contract between two parties, written by the most powerful attorneys, can be broken.  Events can collide.   Circumstances can arise that fractures the most powerful compact.

To employ a "promise" with a child is to invite the Terrorism of 40 acres and a mule

          To employ a "promise" with a child, or as part one's vocabulary, is to invite the Terrorism of 40 acres and a mule.    Those who believe, rightly or wrongly, that the promise was never sealed, will resurrect the Beast of Promise Terror each and every time.   They will see only broken trust, deceit, disillusionment--fodder the Beast of Terror uses to make his nesting place even more comfortable.
             As Parents and Sentinels of Vigilance, we need to be Vigilant about making promises to others, especially to our children.
            The most honest way we can achieve the making and keeping of a promise is to use the words "I will try my best..."
            It has been said that the "attempt is the victory."   If one honestly and earnestly engages his or her engines to "do their best," and they fail for whatever reason, they have not violated the conditions of a promise.    It also means they have the ability to "try again," and "again," if necessary, until they get it "right."
            By doing this, the child learns that promises are not as important as the attempts.   The child learns that a promise can result in violation of a trust, and that it should only be used in the most extreme conditions, for the most important of issues, and even then, cautiously.
            Vigilance is about realizing the Beast of Terror tries to fracture the confidence one has in himself or herself, and how one is viewed by others.   Of all the things people do to one another, the promise excites the Beast the most, for he knows that odds of the promise being met in the eyes of the promisee are slim to one.  Often, one who makes a promise and thinks he or she keeps it finds the promisee thinks that the promise delivered was not the one bargained for.    In many cases, the promisee believes he or she has been violated because the expectations for keeping it weren't met in reality--at least the promisee's reality.

Reparation seeker in Texas rally

        Those who argue, for example, against the pressure groups seeking reparations for African American slavery point to all the programs the government has continually installed to subsidize and support Black America.   No matter how many millions upon millions of dollars have been funded, the group continues to ask:  "Where is my 40 acres and my mule?
          The same is true of a child.  No matter how many new promises or new compacts are made in an attempt to heal a past broken promise--say the new bike that never appeared on Christmas, or the cancelled trip to Disneyland--the child continues to ask:  "Where is my 40 acres and mule?"
          Adults, regardless of race, creed or color, ask the same question of their broken promises:  "Where is my 40 acres and mule?"
          Don't feed the Beast of Terror with promises that can be broken.  Take the Pledge of Vigilance and "try your best" to subscribe to the Principles of Vigilance.    That way, you won't leave a trail of "40 acres and mules" behind you, and, you won't feather the Beast of Terror's lair.

Jan 29--Angels Throwing Snowballs

Some Highlighted Stories From Last Year

Dec 31 Bush's New Year's Message:  Era Of Vigilance
Dec. 30
Walking The Path Of Terror: The 839th Day

Dec 29 Terrorism's New Year's Ball
Dec 27-28
Indiscriminate Terrorism:  Mother Nature's WMD
Dec. 26
The Beast Attacks Like The Mad Cow Disease
Dec 25
Learn The Secrets Of Vigilance On Christmas Day
Dec 24
Eve Of The Youngest Sentinels Of Vigilance Part V of V
Dec 23
Parable Of The Ant & The Leaf: The Third Secret Of Vigilance
Part IV of V from the Legends Of Christmas Vigilance
Dec 22
 Part III of V:  How Rock Candy Banished Darkness From The Land Of Vigilance
Dec 21
Part II of V:  The First Secret Of Vigilance
Dec. 20
Part I of V--The Legend Of Christmas Vigilance.
Dec. 19
What Do Michael Jackson & Saddam Hussein Have In Common?
Dec. 18
Torturing Saddam In The Zoo Of Vigilance
Dec 17
Interview With Saddam In His Iraqi Rat Hole
Dec 16
New Drug Fights Teenage Beast Of Terror
Dec 15 Capturing Weapons Of Mass Destruction:  Saddam Hussein

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