Thursday, November 3, 2016

My Back Pages: The Politics of Hate

My Back Pages: The Politics of Hate:    I remember when President Barack Obama was elected. Suddenly, I had my email inbox filled with so many emails calling him an illegitimate...

The Politics of Hate

  I remember when President Barack Obama was elected. Suddenly, I had my email inbox filled with so many emails calling him an illegitimate president. So much hatred was directed at this man, from so many people that I counted as friends. Now... let me just tell you, I did not vote for the President in his first election. I didn't vote for him because I thought, at the time, that he did not have enough experience to be President. First of all, he had only been a Senator for a short time. Secondly,  and I say this with some distress today... I admired John McCain for his honor, and his service to this country.
  When President Obama ran for reelection, he had won us over. His talk of hope, and the example that he set, along with his beautiful wife, won me over. Race was never an issue. Religion, I could care less about. Yet, so many Americans called all of this into play. I had friends inundate my email with hateful anti-Obama emails. They called into question his citizenship (If they had checked.. his mother was an American Citizen, which automatically made him an American Citizen!) They called into question his religion. He is a Christian.. but there can be no religious test to become President. There were people that I had much respect for... that I served with in the Marine Corps... that took the radical and hate-filled road. I have to tell you, they did all of this before the man ever took office!
  I have no room in my heart for hate. I have no room in my life for people who would exclude others because of their ethnicity, their color, their religion, or their beliefs! I am hurt that so many would send me such hatred, and then be angry because I asked them to stop. These were people that I grew up with! These were members of my family! These were people that I served with! 
 I have lived in a world, with my beautiful wife, where we had no discrimination. We accept all, and we love all peace loving people. We came to grips, long ago, with the differences that people have. My beautiful wife is Jewish. I am someone who is still searching for the meaning of it all. I was raised Catholic, but I could not accept that this was the only answer to all of our problems. 
  So many people that I thought were my friends, discarded me like I was so much garbage, simply because I did not agree with their hatred. In the long run, it will be okay, because I am simply being true to myself, and my beliefs. I cannot tolerate hate of any kind. I am trying to become a bette person.
  I ask all of my like minded friends to continue on the path that they have chosen. Love and acceptance is the true path to love and enlightenment. Hate and anger only breeds more hate and anger.
  I salute President and Michelle Obama for setting an example of dignity, and what a beautiful family can be.
  If you don't agree with me.. you can simply post your hatred on your own walls. Hatred is not tolerated here. I will delete anything nasty that you have to say.
  While I'm at it... let me just say this... the Right makes a big deal about the Clintons being investigated for the last thirty years. Right! You just make my point. Secretary Clinton has never been charged with a crime; and, believe me, she would have, if only her enemies could find something. They have not.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

My Back Pages: My Take, 2016

My Back Pages: My Take, 2016: The election is coming up fast, and I have taken a lot of flack because of my adamant stance against the Republican candidate. That's a ...

My Take, 2016

The election is coming up fast, and I have taken a lot of flack because of my adamant stance against the Republican candidate. That's a shame. My opinion is my opinion, and it is the product of hours of research, years of following these candidates, and my own personal feelings.
  Now, I have been admonished by some that I should not state my opinions. Really? This is what elections and this whole idea of Democracy (capital 'D'!) is about! We are a free and open society. What we are not free to do is force our opinions on anyone else. We can write about them, talk about them, but it is not legal or 'free' to force your opinions on others. Now, we can, as I do, write about them. However, I cannot go to a friends house, without his or her permission, and post a sign on their lawn! It's just not the right thing to do, and it is not legal. I have been criticized because I objected to this, but I do not care. I respect others... I do not write or post my opinions on their virtual 'Lawns'.. and I expect the same respect. 
  Now, that being said.. I have to tell you why I do not like the Republican candidate.
 (1) I hate what he said about John McCain! Now, I do not agree with much of John's political stances, but I respect his opinions. John McCain is a genuine hero to me, and millions of others in this country. He was captured and tortured by an enemy that we were fighting, whether you think that particular war was right or not. He was offered the opportunity for an early release. However, the code says that those who were captured first, get release first. This was an attempt by the North Vietnamese to gain points by releasing the son of a high ranking military man. John refused, and they tortured him for it! Trump said : "John McCain is not a hero. He's considered a hero because he was captured, and I prefer those who were not captured, okay?"... this just makes me so angry! This son of a bitch never served on second in defense of his country! in fact, he faked an injury to avoid service. 
  I served, without question, because I was always taught that this was the price that we paid for living in a free country. This man never gave a thing! I think that he, and many like him, are cowards! They talk a good fight, but run for the hills when they are asked to serve. I didn't... i volunteered. So did so many of my fallen comrades.

 (2) His ridiculing of a disabled reporter. The man has Cerebral palsy, but this candidate ridiculed his disability. Further, one of his apologists, Ann Coulter, a hatemonger if there ever was one, said "Oh, he wasn't making fun of him. He was just imitating the everyday retard!"
 I resent this. I have a special needs sister that lives with us. She has the intellect of a 7 year old, and she is 60. How dare he, or his evil surrogate, ridicule her?
 (3) His treatment of women. This man has no regard for any woman. He makes sick statements about his own daughter, and how he would date her if she were not his daughter. Any man who has a daughter should be sickened by this.
 (4) His constantly changing lies. If you cannot see them, then you are blinded by his BS, and I feel sorry for you, and this country.
  (5) The birther controversy. This Son Of A B... continued this absolute nonsense long after it was disproved, and then he tried to blame it on his opponent, which has been disproved.
 (6) His infuriating statements, first "I was in Military School, so I feel that I served the same thing as someone who served in the military!" (Yeah, asshole? Were you ever shot at? Did you have any friends that were killed on the battlefield? You make me so angry, that I lose my pledge, for the moment, to not hate! I've lost friends, you phony, who really served their country!) 
 (7) "I sacrificed for this country. I built things...") You have never sacrificed a damned thing, you POS! I know so many people who have sacrificed so much for this country, for their families, for their communities, and you have never sacrificed a damned thing! 

  Now... This is my opinion. This is my opinion alone. If you do not feel this way, then go with your god, and post on your wall. This is mine! I am not looking to debate anyone. I don't look to change anyones mind... this is purely me. If you disagree... great.. we live in a country where we can disagree and not fear being arrested.. or killed.  
  I worry about this country. I worry about all the hate and xenophobia that permeates this campaign. I worry about the talk of building walls. I worry about these people who wish to force their religious views on every citizen of this country. I worry about those who would knock women's rights back fifty years, and would hold down the working people of this country. The policies of corporate deference would put the American Worker back to where they were at the beginning of the last century, and this is just unacceptable.
  I stand for equality for all, regardless of gender, race, religion, ethnicity, or sexuality. I stand for every American. I stand against anyone, ANYONE, who does not stand with me. 

 If you don't agree with me, that's fine. That's the privilege of living in an open society. You can disagree with me. This is the American way. I can only hope that right wins out over hate.
  I wish all Love, Peace, and Tranquility.
 John Zaffino Kent Lakes, New York
  September 28,2016

Thursday, September 22, 2016

My Back Pages: Who Decides What Makes Up A 'Real American'

My Back Pages: Who Decides What Makes Up A 'Real American':  The other day, my wife called attention to a post by someone she had known since she was a child. The person in question had been a friend ...

Who Decides What Makes Up A 'Real American'

 The other day, my wife called attention to a post by someone she had known since she was a child. The person in question had been a friend of her mother's. The post went something like this: 'You Liberal garbage who make remarks about the Bush family better watch out. Don't do it around real Americans!' 
  First of all, with all due respect to this woman, who are you to judge who a 'Real American' is? Secondly, who are you to call any citizen who has a different political viewpoint than you 'Garbage?' 
  In an effort to become a better human, even at my advanced age, I have been making a concerted effort not to let anger overcome me. Anger hurts the angry person much more than it does the focus of the anger. That person, or thing, is usually either oblivious or immune to your anger. However, this post by this woman really makes my blood boil. This seems to be the attitude of many people, on both sides of the political discussion, and this hurts me to my soul. 
  I think of all those who have given their all for this country because they believed in the principles that it was founded on. I don't recall anyone asking what side of the political spectrum that they sided with. I have lost several friends to war and, for the life of me, I can't recall ever asking what political party that they identified with. I don't remember anyone mentioning that "He was a life long Republican" or "He was a life long Democrat." I don't recall anyone ever calling any one of those who gave their lives 'Liberal Garbage!' I don't recall anyone saying "He was a Right Wing nut job!" Do you know why? Because they were just 'Americans,' plain and simple. They don't ask you what your political party is when you enlist. They don't ask you, when they are training you in boot camp, what you think of politics. If I recall correctly, the only thing that they taught us in boot camp was that we had to respect the chain of command, which started with the President, and all of those between your lowly enlisted behind and the Commander In Chief.
  I would ask this woman, who wraps herself in the Alt-Right part of the flag, Where the hell were you when my Progressive behind volunteered to serve this great country as a United States Marine? Where were you, when I flew to Okinawa and then on to Danang, Vietnam, in your name... in the name of every citizen of the United States? Where were you, my righteous friend, when I flew to Japan with a flight that also had many of my severely wounded brothers? Did you think, at the time, that they asked any one of those men, broken of body but not spirit, what damned political party that they belonged to? Do you think that this was even a consideration in the mind of the man (or woman) who wounded them?
  Finally, where the hell were you when we all came back? Were you there to welcome us home? Did you ever think, at the time, to reach out to some of these men and women who returned from that war, or any war? Or did you turn your head, when you saw one of the many who suffer from PTSD? 
  You, and people like you, make me forget for a moment what I am trying to do, and what I am trying to attain. Your anger and hatred directed at your fellow Citizens.... Yes, I said FELLOW CITIZENS, is despicable and it makes me sick and angry. You, who never sacrificed one second of your time to give anything up for your country, have every right to say whatever hateful thing that you want, and it's PROGRESSIVE GARBAGE like myself, and so many others, along with our brothers in arms who are on the right, who have sacrificed years of our lives, and put ourselves in harms way, in order to protect your right to free speech, no matter how hateful it is.
  So, continue your rants. Continue to spew forth all the hate and intolerance that you have in your black soul; we Progressive Garbage, and those on the right, will continue to strenuously protect your right to continue.
  I apologize to all of my friends on both sides of the political arena for getting angry. I do not wish to do so; but there is just so much even a peace-loving soul like myself can tolerate.

 As always, I wish you all Peace, Love, and Tranquility, and I urge to be kind to everyone that you come in contact with. We can make this world a better place if we really work together in harmony.
September 22, 2016
 John Zaffino Kent Lakes, New York

Sunday, September 18, 2016




What Is deplorable to me? A person running for president bullying everyone that I also in contention for the office. Calling someone low energy. Making fun of another as he eats. Giving negative names to everyone else who is running. Making fun of a female candidate's looks.Calling one candidate 'Little Marco'... calling another 'Lyin' Ted'.
  Making remarks about the looks wife of another candidate. Using every bullying tactic that he can find, while offering no substance to his own reason for running.
  It's deplorable that this man constantly lies, but his supporters excuse each and every lie. Challenging the citizenship of the President, saying that he had dispatched investigators to Hawaii to find out about the Presidents birth, and then saying 'What they are finding is just unbelievable!' Saying that the President's mother was never at the hospital where he was born. Saying that his grandmother said that the President was born in Kenya. He did this for five long years, and used this as a springboard to run for president. Each and every charge that he made was an out and out lie, and yet his supporters do not call him on it. 
  Inciting the throng at the Republican National Convention to chant "LOCK HER UP!" led by the Governor of New Jersey and the former Mayor of New York, both of them former prosecutors and should know better.
 It's deplorable that the aforementioned former mayor and federal prosecutor, Rudolph Giuliani, continues to make unsubstantiated charges against the former Secretary Of State, and it's deplorable that he leaps about on stage spitting and practically foaming at the mouth as he spouts his hate and vitriol.
 It's deplorable that this candidate incites those who attend his campaign speeches to attack anyone who would dare protest against the hate and lies that he consistently puts out there. It's deplorable that this candidate has now twice made remarks about assassinating the Democrat Candidate.
  It's deplorable that he constantly calls Senator Elizabeth Warren 'Pocahontas'... even though she get's back at him.
  it's deplorable that this man has made veiled threats against the news media covering his candidacy. One five foot two reporter had to be escorted to her vehicle by the Secret Service because of threats made by this man's supporters. it's deplorable that he said that he could stand the middle of a New York City street and shoot someone, and he would not lose a single vote.
  It's deplorable that he tells his supporters "Knock the hell out of hime, would ya?" 
  It's deplorable that he made fun of a reporter with cerebral palsy. It's even more deplorable that one of his far right supporters, Anne Coulter,  said that "Anyone could see that he was just acting like a regular RETARD, and not making fun of the reporter's handicap!" When called on her use of the word 'Retard', she just laughed it off.
  It's deplorable that he said that Senator John McCain was no war hero and that the only reason he was called a hero was because he was captured. "I like men who weren't captured, okay?" was his answer.

 I find it deplorable that he targets people of a certain religion for discrimination and his supporters cheer! I find it deplorable that one of his supporters attacked two women in New York City for wearing their hijab, and did it in his name. I find it deplorable that a man firebombed a mosque and said that he was this man's supporter. 
 I find it deplorable that this hateful man talks of putting up a wall along our borders, and calls people of Mexican descent murderers, rapists, and drug dealers. 
  I find it deplorable that he calls for a judge of Mexican descent to recuse himself from a lawsuit against this buffoon because "He's a Mexican!"  He calls the New York State Attorney General a 'Political Hack' because he is looking into wrong doing by this man.
  I find it deplorable that the Attorney General of Florida decided not to look into joining an investigation into alleged fraud by his 'University' after he gave her a substantial donation.
  I find it deplorable that he steadfastly refuses to release his taxes as every candidate has done in the past.
  I find it deplorable that this man constantly lies, every day, and does not seem to pay any price for it.
 I find it deplorable that he talks about "Shooting those people out of the water" for making gestures at our warships. I find it deplorable that he talks about using nuclear weapons in Europe like it would be the normal thing to do. 
 I find it deplorable that this .... coward.... got deferred because of bone spurs in his foot, and now he cannot remember which foot. He joins the ranks of such patriotic chickenhawks as Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, Ted Nugent
 Finally, I find it deplorable that he is constantly excused for his bad acts by people whom I know are intelligent. They tell me "Oh, he's just rough around the edges because he's a businessman, not a politician!' Yes, he's a businessman who has gone bankrupt three times that I can think of. When I brought this up, I was told that he was just using the existing laws, so that's okay. Yes... it's okay, unless you are someone who worked for this man, or did work for him and were stiffed by him.
  Is this really what we've come to in this country? Once the beacon of freedom and justice for all in the world, we have become a laughing stock in the world. We should be a leader in the world when it comes to the way women are treated. We are not. 
 We should be number one in healthcare. We are not. We should be the leader in education. We no longer are. We should be the leader in the way that workers are treated. We were the ones to be admired, but that is no longer the case. 

 Now, I know that many of his supporters will come back at me with why Secretary Clinton is deplorable. Don't bother. I know all of the rhetoric that has been put out there and, frankly, I am tired of it. This has been a tiring campaign that started much too early. Somehow, the Party of Lincoln has been hijacked by a very dangerous charlatan. I am worried about the future of the country that I did not run away from when it needed my service. I am worried about the undercurrent of hate that has seemed to come bubbling to the surface during this campaign. I am worried about the future of my grandchildren, whom I love very dearly. I am concerned about the recent spate of antisemitism that has surface again, along with the anti Muslim hatred that seems to go hand in hand with it. I am worried about the anti immigrant rhetoric that gets more and more hateful every day!
  We need to remember that we are all immigrants to this country. The only natural citizens have been marginalized and had their land stolen from them.
 If my writing seems rambling, that's because I have not had a restful nights sleep in months. This country that I love- This beautiful Democratic Republic- seems to be on the verge of self destructing- turning itself over to someone who has no regard for individual rights, or the constitution. A man who says that he want's to protect the rights of citizens even as he talks about trampling on them. This is a man who's claim to fame is that he is a reality television star and a hit and miss business man who wants to be the first authoritarian president in this country's history. We should all be afraid.
I ask that everyone take a moment to reflect on their own actions since this hateful season began a year and so many months ago. I ask everyone to take a breath and try to be kind to everyone that they come in contact with. Make a good difference in the world.

 John Zaffino Kent Lakes New York
 September18, 2016