A Compelling Reason For Change

I keep hitting the delete key.  It’s hard to write today, but something I feel strongly that I need to do.  Perhaps if I can only inspire a new thought process in just one person …

The sadness I feel at the loss of 17 beautiful children that were so young, so full of hope for the future, is a sadness that will stay with me forever.

Look at these senseless acts!  Why were they committed? Was it the child who sat in the back of the room, who was never a part of the “popular crowd,” who felt shunned and left out?  Was it the child that no matter what he or she did, praise never came their way, only criticism?  Was it the child who was left behind by parents that couldn’t get along long enough to realize he or she was in the room?  Was it the child that no matter what pinnacle they reached, it was never good enough?  Was it the child that wanted fame and notoriety so badly that such a brutal act as shooting their own peers was considered a worthy task?

Perhaps some – or all of it, sadly.

I would like to say that banning weapons would end the problem, but it won’t.  The choice of weapons will only change – because we haven’t solved the genesis of the issue.  That of helping each and every child belong – equally – and achieve their goals.  That means not leaving anyone behind.  A daunting task, but one that surely needs to be done.

And to the NRA, let me say this to you: This would be your time to step up – a time to say, “Let us find a way to allow our responsible customers to continue to enjoy the use of firearms in the safest of circumstances, while we provide and support gun education and mental health initiatives.  Let us use this as an opportunity to forge a productive partnership with parents.”

That would be a good start, but they’re too busy buying political power to want to do the right thing here.  So, with that being said, let me say it again …

Until and unless we can remove money from U.S. politics, execute term limits, and end lobbying once and for all, history will repeat itself – for we have failed to execute on a reason for change.

SOTU – How Did It Resonate With You?

I spent the day thinking about the State of the Union speech that was televised last evening.  I thought perhaps some reflection would help to temper my knee-jerk reactions.

Well, not so much.

Perhaps it is because I was raised for part of my younger years in an Italian neighborhood on the west side of Buffalo.  For the most part, the people of that neighborhood were Blue Collar workers.  The big employers were companies like Rich Products, Bethlehem Steel, TRW and municipalities like the City and State.  I watched those Blue Collar workers as they managed to buy homes, raise families and send their children to college on their meager wages – even if it meant going without themselves to reach their objectives.  Even so, at Sunday Italian dinners, everyone got a seat at the table.  No invitations were necessary – another plate and chair would appear from nowhere with the patron at the head of the table saying, “Sit! Sit!”  Everyone was welcome.

That having been said, this was also a tough neighborhood with more than its share of shady characters and questionable events.  Like John Cammilleri, a local labor union coordinator who had a beef with the Buffalo Crime Family over a construction dispute found out, when he looked down the barrel of a .38 revolver as he walked up to the popular Roseland Restaurant in May of 1974.  Clearly, the word “omerta” should have carried more weight with him than it did.

Regardless of whether it was good or bad – you still had to acknowledge that these people were people of their word.  If I saw that once living in that neighborhood, I saw it a thousand times.  And I respected it.

What I don’t see is that in our President.  He is a man without his word.

Rather than being a speech on the current state of our union, it became a speech about what he had hoped to do, what he thought he should be doing for America.  Was that his conscience speaking?  You know, the Great Equalizer?  No.  I don’t think he has one of those.

He spoke of the tax advantages to the “average American making $75,000 a year.”  Somebody should have made a cliff note that the average American earns just $55,000 a year.

He spoke proudly of the VA Accountability Act.  Really?  The VA is currently under a hiring freeze, resulting in 41,500 jobs unfilled.  This is “taking care of our military?”

He is eager to fulfill his promise to improve infrastructure and, in fact, this is the only promise that he actually told us how he plans to implement it.  In this case, it is by funding it through the state level, not the federal level.  So, where does the federal money go? I think we all know.

He spoke of “one people – one America.” Diversity has now been officially banned.

He spoke of “faith and family.” Uh, really?  Stormy who?

He also suggested that we open vocational schools to “prosper.”  What happened to colleges and universities that can educate our children so that perhaps someday we will never, ever again have to talk about cancer?

And on the international side, he would like to only go [do business] with “our friends.” Does the word “isolationism” have any meaning to him whatsoever?

He also had a comment about “we will no longer tell our enemies our plans.”  Well, Donald, I’m afraid that one’s on you and your Tweeting Thumbs.  There’s no end to what you will divulge.

And to CJ, the ICE Agent … I commend you on a job well done, sir.  However, unless you would like to end up like John Cammillieri mentioned above … well, now might be a good time to inquire about the Witness Protection Program.

So, in reflection, I can say that I am one of the more than 77% of Americans who feel that the United States is divided.  United we stand.  Divided we fall.  We cannot fall.

The time for respect is now.  The time for unity is now.

The time for everyone to have a seat at the table is now.

Shalom