One of my favorite songs is Jadakiss’ “Why?”, which speaks to inconsistencies within our society. Why do I love this song so much? Because is asks the age old question of why. Why speaks to so many things that are happening around us. Leadership literature tells readers that if you can answer the question of why, then people will follow you. To be honest, I think that’s why people follow me. I always answer the question of why first, before anything else. Why answers all the other questions. How? When? Where? What? Pick any topic. I would venture to bet that if you can answer anything else, why will be the first thing that you go for. Why is that? See what I just did? This is the same with anything in life.
So let’s talk family.
Recently, it has come to the attention of many that Liberty University finds itself yet again in the midst of controversy. Now this is nothing new to LU. From the time that I can remember, LU has always been in the crosshairs of culture. I think that is a part of its success. Liberty can be a polarizing place, and so people will come to support it, or to denounce it. Either way, they still show up. That’s easy money. Liberty is under the leadership now of Jerry Falwell, Jr., and he has been a polarizing figure in his own right. From his demeanor to his political views, everyone seems to have an opinion on this man. Personally, I like him. I always have. He and his family have always been good to me and mine. I went to school with his eldest son, Trey, and we been friends since we were kids. Falwell’s wife Becky will ask me about my mother when I run into her, and her concern seems genuine, not just some line she feeds the masses. They are cool to me. That’s my personal take on them. So please take my post with a grain of salt today. It may be biased, but so what, aren’t we all when it comes to certain things.
I remember January 20, 2009. I was sitting in the Vines Center at Liberty University, watching the inauguration of Barack Obama as president of the United States. I personally did not vote for Obama in 2008, for my own reasons, but really it was just that as a young, new voter, he hadn’t done anything that has really sold me on him being president. I understand the historical significance of it all, but still, I didn’t. As I sat in the empty building (Jerry Jr. had given students the chance to watch it, but no one showed up), I was sitting in the comfy chairs, proud of what I was watching. It was cool to see someone that looked like me taking an oath such as this. As I was sitting there, someone put their hand on my shoulder, which startled me. It was none other than Jerry Falwell, Jr. He asked to sit down, and so I said yes (what was I really going to say, he runs the school I attend). We caught up for a bit, he asked about my dad and his ministry (I am surprised he even remembered my dad was a pastor, but he did), and he asked me how my classes were going. LOL. Let’s just say at the time, school was not nearly as easy, or important to me, as it is now. As we turned to speak on what was happening, we started to talk about America, and where she was, and what the future entailed. I remember asking him if he voted for Obama, and being the politician he is, he didn’t give me a straight answer. Haha. I can respect it. Even as close as I was to them, he isn’t stupid enough to tell a student who he voted for. In my heart I know what I believe, but I will never speak on it either. *wink*. He wrote me a note that day so I wouldn’t have to go to any classes (I still have that letter to this day), and we parted ways. He told me if I ever needed anything, just call him, and he would help me out (praise God I only had to call once). I tell this story to show the kind of person that Falwell is, and the unfortunate circumstances that we find ourselves in. They type of guy that would sit with a student, and debate politics on a weekday. The kind of guy who used to be nervous to get in front of students to speak, but now will get on CNN. Say what you want, the come up is real. I, for one, am 100% behind it.
Commercial break…I am 100% opposed to Donald Trump being the president of the United States. I thought it was a joke when he came into office, and I keep thinking that I am going to wake up from this nightmare. Policy (if he has any) aside, he has thin skin, and doesn’t know how to take criticism well. He instead is a keyboard thug, and uses 140 characters to spew this crap everywhere. I said in another post how I thought that he fumbled in an opportunity to show that he cares about all people, and I mean that. If his reaction to Charlottesville, and white supremacy, would have been different, I might have given him a shot. It would have shown at least that he has a heart. But he didn’t, so my stance hasn’t changed. That’s that.
Back to my story…I swear I am going somewhere with this.
Recently, it has come to my attention that some of my fellow alumni are giving their diplomas back to the school. Their reasoning is that they don’t agree with the stance that Jerry Falwell, Jr. is taking with regards to the president, and they feel that if they send the diplomas back it will send a message. Um, ok. I feel you. However, a couple of things:
1. If you send the diploma back, they are just going to throw it away. Literally, in the trash. So who will actually notice? Not many people.
2. If you send back the piece of paper, it does not reverse your degree conferral. You are still a Liberty University alumni, whether you like it or not.
3. I wish that someone from this collective of separatists could give me a real reason for sending it back. I was in a Facebook group about it for a day, and all I kept seeing was the same people complaining without providing any real answers. They seemed more excited that someone noticed them than actual solutions. Just my take.
4. All of you that are so righteous in your pursuits, and that chastise those who don’t follow, are you going to also pay back my loans, since we are undoing everything. Nope. You are not. Sallie Mae doesn’t undo anything. Trust me. I have blocked this number numerous times, but they still find me. Kidding. But for real, you didn’t pay for it. I did.
5. I worked too hard to give this up. I stayed awake too many nights, failed too many tests, passed too many classes, went through too much during my undergraduate years to even think about giving this up. Not me.
I honestly think that there are other courses of action that can take place to get your point across. Has anyone actually reached out to the university to see what the actual stance is? Other than assuming what you think you know. It seems everyone is quick to jump on this without fully researching the whole thing. I don’t know. I might be wrong. Which brings me to another point (I am wrapping up, my arms are getting tired). I haven’t heard any alumni from Baylor say they were going to send their diplomas back, but that doesn’t mean they condone rape. I haven’t heard any Penn State alumni either, and I am sure they don’t support molesting kids. My point is, you don’t have to agree with every decision of the school, but that doesn’t make you any less a part of it. Did I love all of my time at Liberty? Absolutely not. Did I agree with all of the policies that are in place at Liberty? Nope. Given all of that, I am proud to be a Liberty University alumni. I truly am. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
So with that, I am keeping my diploma. Yes, it is in a box in my living room. More than that, it has a place in my heart. My momma is proud of it. My daddy is too. I got little youngins looking up to me, and so for them, I will not take it down. I am somebody people want to be, and I am going to give my all to assure that people are proud of me.
In conclusion, until one of these children can answer the question of “Why?”, this is where my degree will stay. With me. Thanks.