Dear Political Representatives

Today September 11, 2014 a day to remember our fallen, our injured, our heartbreak seems to be the most poignant day for me to write this blog post. On that beautiful September morning with the sun shining brightly our country was attacked by an enemy.  Their purpose was to hurt our financial and military centers and in doing so they killed, hurt and forever injured people and destroyed buildings.  They will never succeed though, not as long as we remember that September morning.

Most of us were preparing to begin our day when the phones started ringing and the radios and televisions were turned on.  The shock of what was occurring sent daggers of pain through our bodies into our hearts.  Here we sat a country at peace being attacked by an enemy filled with hate for what we stand for and how we live. Many of us worried about our friends and family who might be in the vicinity of that attack.  Then that day, the days and weeks that followed turned into more pain and more resolve to unite and make our country whole again.  That is the feeling that remains with most of us to this day.  No one wants war, no one wants to live more in peace that the American people.  We strife for that every single day. Most of us choose to love instead of to hate.

If, through life experiences, I have learned anything it is to stop expecting others to feel as I do.  I have finally arrived at a place in life where I can love without expecting anything in return.  I would like nothing more than to know the people who hate us and to show them that we are all the same…humans.  However, the reality is that those who hate us will continue to hate us and I am fine with that as long as their hate stays within the boundaries of their own territories.  If they would allow me to love them and trust them and accept their viewpoints, I could do that without hesitation.  As an individual, I can do my part on a daily basis, being one with my fellow-man, but on a grand scale will this really work?  The political climate as of late has me questioning that possibility.  I am consistently getting emails from organizations such as MoveOn, Change.org, etc.  that rejoice at the deal currently being offered to the Iranians. Everyday I read in the newspaper or online how another political representative has decided to vote in favor of this deal.  The reasoning it appears is to avoid a war.  Avoid a war?  Only our President can declare war with the backing of our Senators and Congressmen, so if it isn’t declared by them, than there is no war to worry about.  This deal, from what I have read of it, offers many concessions to those who call themselves “our enemy”.  I can accept that if only the exposed truth is that we are laying flowers of peace at their feet in order that they leave us alone and at peace within our own country.  However, the realist in me doesn’t see that.  The constant reports through Media is that the terrorists groups within the country of Iran never stop hating us, no matter how many concessions, gifts and or investments we make in their country.  Their religious beliefs seem to dictate their actions.  No matter how much our instincts are to help the abused, to rescue the weak and poor, those that choose to hate instead of love will continue to do so.  Nothing convinced me more than the video I saw portraying an interview with a leader of Iran.  That recent video, taped in 2015 was undeniable.  The hate for America and Americans is stronger than ever before, yet we are at peace here.  We are attempting to offer this country a choice to stop hating and to accept.  Do you truly trust people who continue to terrorize others as a people who are willing to abide by that offer?  After September 11, 2001, I have lost trust in that belief.  No matter how hard I try, the reality of their actions and words cause me continued pain.  They have convinced me, a common American citizen, that I can never trust them no matter how much I want to.  I cannot expect them to feel as I do just because I care about them unconditionally.

To convince me this deal is a good one and will bring everlasting peace to all nations, I would need to see that our own political representatives are free from financial gains from this deal.  I would need to see that the trust we are giving to the Iranian militants and religious factions is truly accepted by them as an olive branch. I, for one, have a hard time believing that I will not be hurt again by the actions of those who choose to hate us no matter how much love I have for my fellow human beings.  Why don’t most of you have that same distrust?  What proof do you need other than the daily actions of the terrorists within that country?  As an American, I have too much pride probably in my country, but I won’t excuse that.  I love America and what it stands for.  I still believe with all my heart that we are the best chance of refuge for the tired, the poor, the sick and the persecuted.  I face the reality that we are imperfect and have made many mistakes as we grow from a teenage country into a full-fledged adult country, after all we are pretty young in comparison to the countries around the world and their histories.  Just like I made allowances for my own, and just as I have learned from my mistakes, so do I have faith that my country will as well.  So I guess what I am asking you as my representatives is to take a long hard look at this deal and make sure it is not another mistake we may make because we are trying to make “our enemy our friend”, instead of accepting that our enemy may not want to be our friend nor expecting them to want to be our friend.  And if you find that this deal isn’t truly the one that will be fair to both America and Iran, if you have the slightest doubt at all, please don’t force us into it.  To do that would be no better than when a war was forced upon us because of the actions of those who hate us and the proof of that can be found in the memory of September 11, 2001 when America was at peace and the sun was shining.

And that is the Way I See It, here in Brooklyn.

K

Peace on Earth

Christmas

Christmas time is one of my favorite times of year. My heart rejoices remembering that once a year a Man was born who influenced millions with His acts of kindness, His teachings of love and peace, the sacrifice He made of His life so that people would believe that His Words were true and that He worshiped God in every way. His birthday allows me, among many others to give gifts and to have hope that peace will spread by remembering this Man’s wondrous life.

It is also a time for joy and laughter.  Family and friends who gather together to express their love for one another and to share in the happiness that this season brings.  How can one not be joyful?  One of my favorite activities is to decorate my home and try to make it welcoming and warm.  Of course, I never have enough time or money to make it the way I would truly like it to be, but like so many others, I do the best I can with what I have.

Recently, the news has been filled with acts of violence and hatred, war and strife.  It breaks my heart.  I believe we have come so far along in our attitudes toward each other and our hope for peace and harmony, yet what I read in the paper or on the Internet or TV, frightens me.  It dashes the hope that I had, especially in the year 2014, that people would end their historical biases and replace them with understanding, acceptance and goodwill. Extremists in every walk of life seem to be on the rise and their warped and hateful ideas are influencing people to harm one another. Those of us who believe as I do that the world is not such a bad place need to step up and overtake these extremists by acting with the example that the Man, Jesus Christ left us with.  To truly honor His birth we need to spread peace, hope and charity.  We need to believe in the goodness of all mankind and accept that people are different only on the outside.  Inside we are all human beings who experience the same emotions, the same health issues, and the same inquisitiveness. Only we can change the course of the future.  Only we can have the faith in humanity it takes to make that difference.  One person at a time, one idea at a time, one act of kindness at a time is all it will take to begin the spread of peace.  My remaining hope is that people wake up and realize the power they possess to change the way things are currently.  Help yourselves and help the world by remembering that Christmas is a Merry time.  Chanukah and Kwanza as well are Merry times.  Let’s rejoice in the fact that we are all human beings and celebrate that very miracle.  For it truly is a miracle that creates human beings and it bonds us together as nothing else could or would.

It truly doesn’t matter what color your skin is, or what job you hold, or how poor or rich you are those outside appearances are only superficial.  What truly matters is how open your heart is, how curious your mind is and how willing you are to have peace and harmony rule your life. Christmas is the perfect time to set these ideas in motion.  Spread this joy, this peace, this merriment.  Keep the positive side of this humanity alive and I am certain you will find that you have squelched the extremists because of it.  Believing in the power of humanity is the only “weapon” any of us will ever need to right the wrongs, gain the strength, and become joyous in every thing we say and do.  There is always going to be suffering.  People will get sick, people will be poor, people will have violence around them.  It is all part of the human condition.  There is always hope that a cure will be found, money will be earned, and the violence will end.  There is hope because the birth of a Man on Christmas Day gave us that.  Remembering the possibility of hope because we are all human is most times all we need. So have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Chanukah, a Happy Kwanza and a wonderful, hopeful, peaceful New Year!

And that’s the Way I See It here in Brooklyn

K

Happiness

Everyone wants to be happy.  It’s more than an adjective or adverb, noun or verb.  It’s an actual feeling.  It’s hardest to do when you are a young adult because all of the troubles in the world are on your shoulders. However, if one would learn to push the negative out and allow the positive side in, I am willing to bet that happiness will start to infiltrate the soul and before you know it…you will find yourself …happy!  For me, I can jump-start the process of feeling happy by listening to music….happy, uplifting, danceable music!  Maybe for others it would be a movie or perhaps a book, or maybe just a smile from a fellow human being.  Whatever the start is pay heed to it!  Follow it through.  Allow yourself the luxury of feeling happy.    

I decided to be happy even though another year has gone by and I am no better nor worse than I was a year ago!  As I reflect upon my life these days (which I always seem to do around the date of my birth) it becomes more and more apparent that although I have had trials and tribulations, as most of my fellow human beings, for the most part I have had a good life up to now.  A GOOD LIFE, now that isn’t something everyone can say.  As I think back and see my childhood, my teen years, my young adulthood and now, I have had the support of family and friends always in one form or another.  The people I have met have kept my life in perspective.  My life is enriched first and foremost by my family.  I have a terrific family.  Sure we are all a bit nutty here and there, but no more so than most.  My life is enriched further by my friends.  I have made so many wonderful friends.  Sure they are all a bit out there at times, but those are the times that make me laugh the hardest!  So I have concluded that people really do create love.  

Even though it’s about to be my birthday and people tend to be a bit nicer when it’s one’s birthday, I have to honestly say that most of my birthdays have been memorable and happy.  Yep, I said it …happy!  It’s actually a euphoric feeling when one decides to be happy.  It isn’t the same as when something makes you happy.  It isn’t the same when people wish you happiness, either.  It’s more of an inner peace.  A gift to yourself.  Choosing happiness in the face of adversity, choosing happiness in the face of illness, choosing happiness in the face of poverty, is truly a unique and rewarding feeling.  Truth be known, only you can do this for yourself.  Happiness is the one true choice a person can make for themselves.  All it takes is a decision to be happy.  To look at the sadness that surrounds you and the awful things in the world that you can only pray will change and decide that you will do your part to better it by first caring about those things and then do something about them with a happy outlook.  I decided that I can’t change things as I would like them to be, but I can accept them and I can make a difference with every word I write and every smile I give.  That is how I choose to make a difference and give the gift of happiness by being happy.  I have heard through the years that when the person in the household who keeps everything together is happy than the whole household is happy.  Same applies to the person on the job or anywhere.  If that person is happy everyone is happy.  I have tried it and I know firsthand that it works.  Happiness is infectious!  So infect people with happiness wherever you go!

So Happy Trails! Be Happy Together! Smile!  Act as if your life depended on it, because actually it does!

And that’s the Way I See It, here in Brooklyn!

K