Saturday, November 29, 2014

My Back Pages: Tis The Season......

My Back Pages: Tis The Season......:  As we enter another Holiday Season, let's try to get along. Recently, the 'Holidays' have become a time of contention... who&...

Tis The Season......

 As we enter another Holiday Season, let's try to get along. Recently, the 'Holidays' have become a time of contention... who's celebration is the real  one. Let me tell you, as the product of a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic family... as a someone who married someone who was raised in another religion from the one that I was raised in.. we all need to chill and accept everyone else.
  I don't care if you are a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, or a Wiccan... I don't care if you believe in Jesus, or Buddha, or just the God Of Abraham... I don't care who, or what you believe in.... I respect your beliefs, or your lack of beliefs! I think that we all have a right to worship whomever we believe in, or to not worship anything or anyone, if that is what you wish. What I would love to see is everyone being accepting of the beliefs of everyone else. Differences it what makes the world go 'round. Difference makes life intriguing. 
  I keep hearing that there is a 'War on Christmas'. Well, I believe that the 'War' is in the minds of those who believe that there is no room for any belief but theirs.. Why can't we just all celebrate what we wish to celebrate? What is wrong with believing in Chanukah? Or just celebrating the Solstice? Or celebrating Kwanza? What is wrong with just loving the season, without having a religious connotation to it? Why can't we just celebrate 'Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards All?"
  I love the season. I never put a religious connotation to it, at least not as an adult. It saddens me to see the legal actions against towns and villages because they have a creche in the public square. Why can't we just live and let live? Why do people have to get up in arms about something, simply because it does not represent their view of the world?
  I feel that the world would be a sad place without the Holiday Season. Even in the days of the old Soviet Union, they found that they could not just ignore the joys of the Holidays. Whether you are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or a non-believer,  you need to just give in and to with the joys of the season. It all started with the Solstice, and now we celebrate whatever you joyous heart desires. There is no need for arguments. Let's just go with 'Peace On Earth, Good Will Towards. All"
  Happy Holidays, Everyone... no matter what you believe!
 Peace and Love to All
 John Zaffino, Kent Lakes New York
 Novewmber 28, 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My Back Pages: Thoughts....

My Back Pages: Thoughts....:  Where to start.... there is so much to talk about, and yet I cannot find a starting place. It seems like we have been here so many times ...


 Where to start.... there is so much to talk about, and yet I cannot find a starting place. It seems like we have been here so many times before.... riots in the streets... peaceful protests gone bad.. Opportunistic sociopaths taking legitimate protests and turning them into reasons to loot and burn businesses and homes, making people who are already living lives of misery more miserable. Spokespersons who, instead of trying to be calm and reasonable, use the protests as a time to justify their dubious claims to being 'Leaders'. It does no good for the people to loot and burn. It does nothing to make anyone's lives better. It does nothing to right any wrong, or to avenge any death. All it does is promote more misery for more people. Dr. King would not be happy with this. He believed in peaceful protests. The violence always came from the other side, not from him. This all just makes me so damned sad. Sad, because I thought that my grandchildren would grow up in a better, more peaceful world. Sad, because I thought that we were on the way to resolving our differences 50 years ago. Sad, because I love this country, and I believe in the good that people have deep in their hearts, and the good that they can do for each other. I believe that we can all get along, if we just try. I believe that there is place, deep inside us all, that is good and loves peace. I believe that we can all learn to live with each other, if we can just learn to accept each other and not dwell on superficial differences.  It breaks my heart to see all the violence and hatred that shows it's ugly face in these riots and deliberate destruction of people's lives. 
  Rodney King said it for all of us, so many years ago, when ther riots broke out over the injustice done to him. He was deeply troubled by the death and destruction in South Central.... "Why can't we all just get along?" he said, his voice shaking and on the verge of tears. 
 If we are to continue as a vibrant, good country; if we are to continue to believe that we have the best form of government in the world, then we must learn to live together in peace! We cannot continue down this road of chaos and violence. We must put aside our differences, and come together in unity, as one people united for the greater good of all. We must reject those who make their living by trying to divide us. We must make a commitment to work together as the citizens of the United States, and not as the members of one group or another. We must learn to get along. We don't need to love everyone, but  we must learn to accept all good and decent people. 
  Only then, when we have started to resolve our own internal differences, can we take baby steps towards peace in the whole world. Now, there is too much hatred and violence, and it must be stopped.
  Now, as we approach Thanksgiving, we must look to the ideals that Mr. Lincoln spoke of and give thanks for being able to speak our minds without repercussions. We must give thanks for the ability to be whom ever we wish to be. 
 I love this beautiful country. I love the stated ideals. I wish to give thanks for being born an American from the United States, who's heritage is of Immigrants and Native Americans. I give thanks for my family and all those in the world who I have come to know and love. My wish is for the healing of this national wound, and for people of all stripes to finally start to realize Dr. King's dream.
 Have a Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Love and Peace, from my family to yours.
 November 25, 2014
 John Zaffino, Kent Lakes New York

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

My Back Pages: Veteran's Day...

My Back Pages: Veteran's Day...:  Veteran's Day, Armistice Day, to me is a time of reflection. Over the years, I have known so many good men and women who quietly served...

Veteran's Day...

 Veteran's Day, Armistice Day, to me is a time of reflection. Over the years, I have known so many good men and women who quietly served their country in time of war, and time of peace. They came from all religions, from a multitude of ethnic groups. They didn't question why their country made the call, they just knew that this was the price of living free and without fear. Some of them did not have the same freedoms  as the majority; but that would change over time. 
 Most were unassuming young men and women, who's lives were interrupted by the madness of those beyond their immediate control. They were still youngsters, barely out of childhood; yet they were asked to take up arms and place their lives on the line so that this nation could remain free.
 Who are the Veterans? They are not politicians... although some politicians are veterans. They are Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Liberal, Conservative.. of every political stripe. The thing that they have in common is that they are free to be anything that they wish. 
 The Veteran is the cashier in the supermarket, or at Walmart. The Veteran may be your doctor, or your mechanic. The Veteran might be the nurse in the ER who worries over you when you come in hurt or ill, or he/she may be the cab driver that takes you to the hospital. The Veteran is a student, a father, a mother, a grandfather or grandmother. Your favorite aunt.. or uncle. The Veteran might be that homeless person that everyone walks around as he or she sleeps in a doorway, desperately trying to escape the terrors of the war that continue to haunt them. The veteran is that quiet soul who lives down the street, and raises his hand to wave as you drive by. The Veteran is me... the Veteran is my friend..... the Veteran is everyman and everywoman... a citizen who is ordinary to people who come in contact with them every day.
  Some veterans are true heroes, though most who are do not want to be known as a hero. They just know that they did a job that had to be done. Most veterans are the rank and file who just did the job that was given to them, without question. 
 Today, the nation comes together to salute them. I believe that the nation should salute them every day. Veteran's Day should not be just another holiday to hold clearance sales on. It should be a day of solemn remembrance.
  If this essay seems rambling, it's because i wrote my thoughts down as they came to me, and I tend to ramble at times. There's one more thing I need to say: There are some today that chose to use the moment to rail against the government, while giving a backhanded recognition to the Veteran. To those I say "Please, save it for another day! This is the time to thank the Veteran and remember their sacrifice. It's not the time for your political agendas/"
  In closing, I wish to thank all those that honored me on this day. It was my honor and my duty to serve. That is the price of freedom.
 Peace and Love to all....
 John Zaffino, November 10, 2014
 Kent Lakes, New York

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

My Back Pages: A Word For Brittany

My Back Pages: A Word For Brittany: Brittany with her husband, and shortly before her death.   Brittany Maynard died the other day. She had terminal brain cancer and was sl...

A Word For Brittany

Brittany with her husband, and shortly before her death.
  Brittany Maynard died the other day. She had terminal brain cancer and was slowly slipping away. She had forgotten the name of her husband, even though she still knew him and had been married just a short time.  She suffered increasingly long seizures and excruciating headaches and neck pain. She chose to end her life with dignity, instead of having the cancer take away her sense of self, and having her loved ones bear the agony of watching her slip slowly away, unaware of who they were. 
 "She died as she intended — peacefully in her bedroom, in the arms of her loved ones," said Sean Crowley, a spokesman for the advocacy group Compassion & Choices. Many people admired her choice. Others, such as myself, think that her decision was a personal one, and that she made it of her own free will. I think that she was a brave young woman who decided to take her final journey by her own hand. It should have ended there, with tributes to her life and a mourning period for her loved ones. But no.. that was not to be. As soon as her death was announced, the negative, hurtful comments started.
 "She was no hero!" wrote one person. "She was a coward! She had no right to take her own life!" said another. "Only God can make the decision to take a life!" 
 Really? Who are we to judge her? Who, in fact, has the right,  who is not going through what she was going through, to say anything about this young woman's decision? "Only God can make a decision to end a life?" Think about this for just a second.... if you believe that God influences all that we do, and that we are God's creations, did not God give her the free will to decide this? Humans take other lives every single day. They justify it through there legal systems. They justify it through the biblical 'eye for an eye', and yet they would condemn this poor young woman for seeking peaceful relief from her suffering. It seems to me that they are being more humane to convicted murderers than they are to someone who is in agony. I am so astonished at the condemnation by the people who claim to be holy and God fearing. I just don't understand their reasoning.
  Those who insist on judging this young woman on religious grounds, I refer you to your own bible.

Matthew 7:1 - 3 King James Version
 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
For what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measures ye mete, it shall be measured against you again.

 Now, I am far from a religious person, but when someone uses the bible and wraps themselves in scripture to cast aspersion on another, then I have to use a quote from the bible to try to make them see that they should not condemn another so easily. 

 This young woman's story broke my heart. I sorrow for her and her family, especially her husband, who knew the joys of being married to such a good woman for only a short time. 
  I know that there are those that will disagree with me, and that's alright. I just want people to understand that this woman thought that she was doing the best for her family and her, and I would like people to show some respect for her memory, and for her family.
  As always, I wish love and peace to all that wish it.

John Zaffino, November 5, 2014
Kent Lakes, New York