the way of the janitor / what is a janitor?

exclusive feature
Brian Hughes Kasoro
{Minneapolis, MN:USA}
The Liberator Magazine 1.1 #1, 2002

(Publisher's Commentary: I wrote this decades ago under the pseudonym Carl Slater, from the book Black Empire. If anything else has changed, I hope Black 17-year-old kids & their parent(s) aren't waiting until they are 18 or 19 or 30 or 60 to understand deeply, detailed & fully, the lifestyles of the Hapi rivers & Bantu lakes peoples. It will probably take an entire journey through every major school of thought in Black- African-Studies unless your mother or family storyteller's memory is from central Africa; still difficult to do today before undergraduate but probably, ultimately necessary in order to see change grow. We can't overstand the shackles of Whiteness, Racism, or Imperialism until we deeply, detailed & fully respect the scientifically original humanity's humane being--the quicker the better. Both logic's & instinct's full maturities require this full understanding of human life. The fewer life choices made before fulfilling that understanding, the more likely your chances of fully living from planet Earth. We can take our time with everything else. Open the closet and lay all the relevant tools out; as soon as possible, not at your earliest convenience. If Kanye's rural permaculture corporate commune brand is the new Ralph Lauren, Nader, or Jill Stein, then we'll know once & for all that the first republic, even with its amendments, will probably die over being reformed. Yet, both death & reform require life, so remaining the same classic, despite everchanging superficial remixes, is the need to keep it one hunnit at all times; always sooner than later. You are the master, the temple, the broom; you live, you're nature. Nobody, but your mama--creator, creati(on/ve) partner(s)--will help you live from planet earth, so if s/he (they) didn't tell you to do so yet then this here is probably one of your only chances. Liberation is not reactionary, it's regenerated outward from "cleansed" soil. Join us.)

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Janitor: a noun. The word is used to describe one who is dedicated to maintenance and cleaning. Perhaps one of the lowest "animals" of the corporate American "food chain," the janitor must be humble. I've never once seen an arrogant janitor, mostly due to the fact that cleaning the trash and filth others produce is far from something to boast about. But what if there were janitors whose occupation did not consist of mopping the floors of Corporate America. Perhaps we could think outside of the boxes that we often create in order to comprehend things, and see the janitors who are instead mopping the mental and spiritual filth from the minds of our brethren.

The root of the word janitor--"Janus"--is Latin based, and is defined as one who is a "gatekeeper" or a "doorkeeper." More precisely, one who is employed to guard an entrance or a doorway leading to something or somewhere. Our word for the first month of the year is directly connected to this Latin root. The word January comes from, and is related to the Latin root as being our "gatekeeper" for each new year. It serves as the doorman of every following month; guiding each of them into the up-and-coming year.

Often when we think of, pray for, and wait in expectation for our "savior" or for someone to lead us, we envision him (her/them) as one who will come in a blaze of fire, crowned and dressed the part of a "true" leader. But just as Jews doubted the arrival of Jesus, and Christians have doubted the arrival of Mohammed, the world will have trouble accepting the arrival of a new janitorial-like leadership. If indeed "the first shall be last and the last shall be first," then who better to lead the people into the "gateway" than a bunch of "janitors?" The hero(es) we are looking for will most likely not come in the "blaze" we expect them to come in, nor will they come boasting their arrival. Leaders do not declare themselves leaders; they are declared by the will of the people. We must keep in mind that our new leadership may come as "janitors;" dirty, underpaid, and by no means crowned or dressed to play the role of one who saves. However, perhaps it is the unavoidable destiny of the people, for them not to recognize the coming of true leaders.

Many of us have been conditioned to accept only the images we have been given as reality, limiting our imaginations and the boundaries of our minds so that we cannot even fathom changes to our societal "norms." We must be careful not to deny that which we wish for. We cry for summer, then complain about the heat. We get cooler weather, then cry for the heat of summer.

What we wish for, are incorruptible, fearless leaders, who love the people more than they love themselves and are willing to sacrifice their lives for us. We cannot be foolish enough to persecute them when God sends them. We will continue to hope and pray for leaders who are employed only by God, who are attempting to live righteously and follow God's laws, and who are committed to being true servants of the people. We want leaders dedicated to cleaning up the community and helping the people find the (gate)way to the most positive--therefore we must not be surprised when our "janitors" arrive.

In these days of uncertainty, one of the only things absolutely certain is change; it is inevitable. A new leadership will have to come, because torches are not meant to be placed on mantles, they are meant to be passed down. Quite often an individual will find that which he needs in the most unlikely of places. The janitor's closet is the "last" place we look to find our future leaders--perhaps we could take some divine advice and make it the "first."

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