Friday, March 30, 2012

Vietnam Veterans Day yesterday.

Like many of you Vietnam was part of my life. I was there as a young journalist and when I came home it was to cover protests, not parades, criticisms not commendations, and critiques not a thank you for wearing the uniform of American’s fighting forces.

Yesterday was an acknowledgment of that service to prinicipal and country.

No one likes war, least of all the warrior who know all too well the sadness and pain of battle, but Vietnam warriors could never understand the public attack on their personal obligation to serve whether by choice or draft. Political strife hindered appreciation for the warrior 30 years ago.

Let us hope that it never happens again. Let us hope there is never another war like it. Let us hope there is never another war.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Prejudice is inherently abhorrent to the human spirit because deep down we know that the miracle of life is in its diversity, not in its created separation and fear of difference.

Prejudice and all of its alias’s, particularly poverty, can disguise itself in the illusion that one is better than another. It can hide in the way we say words to describe others, Mexican, Gringo, Jew, Black, and even in the non-ethnic words like immigrant and foreigner or poor or disadvantaged.

Prejudice can also manifest in rules and regulations that diminish the dignity of any society. It can hide in the sacred halls of congress. It can harbor in the actions of hatred and bigotry and sometimes in walls and fences, both real and imaginary.

A comfortable commonality for all people is found in the open front yards of our hearts, not in the walled courts of intolerance however the ego builds them or the intellect sustains them or culture contains them.

We must remember that prejudice grows from many seeds; statements without truth, judgments without justice, belief without compassion, and even conversation without courtesy.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bob Samples

I just heard that a long time friend of mine passed to the other side.

Bravo! What a celebration and what a profound sadness. The dichotomy is wrenching. The sadness is searing. How do we consciously celebrate the passing into the eternal light and at the same time deal with the ending of a familial form and the conscious loss of a physical presence? The finite mind needs to deal with each aspect separately and it takes time.

I think what we have to do in order to find acceptance in loss is to look at the whole or the big spiritual picture.

Passing is going to happen to all of us. The conscious part of us does not know when. The spiritual part of us does, but it’s not important to that aspect of us as to when. It is only important that we accomplish what we came to this time and density to do.

I have written about this in the recent past, but writing about it and experiencing it through the passing of a friend is different, difficult and defining.

My friend was, or better to say, is brilliant. His passing does not cease or diminish his intellect. I believe that his accumulated and learned knowledge stays with him and is bequeathed to the universal us as a gift.  So will your experiences and mine when we pass to the true reality of what we call life. What we accomplish in the physical is a lasting gift and a lesson for all us.

My friend wrote books. He was an artist. He was a scholar and discoursed with the brilliant intellects of the world on metaphor and minds and had a loquacious and personal compassion that hugged and comforted in conversation.

He dabbled eloquently in the complications of the human condition and he embraced living and dying with visionary balance.

If you choose, I’d like you to know more about my friend. His name is Bob Samples and you can read about him at

The eternal light is now brighter because of him. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Law

We often call ourselves a “nation of laws.” What it means officially, is that we collectively agree to follow specific sets of rules in order for our society to function fairly, honorably and routinely in life and through mercantile exchange.

Under this banner we do not say that all laws are perfect, absolute or immutable. What is right and just for one generation, may not be so for the next, or the next, for attitudes, requirements, conditions and values change.

The founding fathers provided a framework wherein changes through the will of the people are to be made peacefully by a representative democracy, applying the art of compromise and compassion. We are the only nation on Earth that has made the legal process an art form and who calls that art, the practice of law.

What we might choose to do now is to simplify the understanding and the administration of law so that timely adjudication does not get bound up in a complex bureaucratic system that often requires more money than sense to get a resolution.

The Artist

I know a very talented artist who has beauty, intellect, loyalty and support in his grasp and cannot come to terms with these gifts that come from another.

Artists are perfectionists and often fail to see the whole presentation of portrait or person. Artists concentrate on the minutia of the potential of improved creation and miss the glory of presence and the wonder of expectation.

An artist will look at love as something to improve, but that is the flaw in the artist's DNA and a profound dilemma for the artist personally. Creative desire cannot improve the objet dart whether it's an inanimate creation or a persona.

Love only appreciates the innate beauty perceived by the heart if the artist can let go of the intellectual desire to improve upon it.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Taliban

You know what?

The Taliban says they have no faith in the trial of U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales in the killing of 17 civilians.

Yeah…so what.

The Taliban, by virtue of their global actions cannot be the paragons of virtue, or truth, or honor, or anything else remotely resembling ethical civilized society.

Here’s what the Taliban have been doing over the last couple of years according to the United Nations.

“The Taliban and other anti-government elements have been blamed for 2,332 of the 3,021 civilians who were killed in Afghanistan last year - a rise of 8% on 2010. In 2011, UNAMA documented 2,332 civilian deaths and 3,649 injuries by the Taliban for a total 5,981 civilian casualties, an increase of 10% in deaths and injuries attributed to anti-government forces compared to 2010. This accounted for 77% of all deaths whereas Nato and government forces totaled 410 civilian killings and 335 injuries.”

So you nameless and shameless Taliban, you are the cult that’s full of the proverbial human residue and delusionary illusions when you postulate to the world that you have the right to  avenge the deaths of one deranged U.S. Soldier. 

YOU are the one’s who are deficient in honor. You are the megalomaniacs and the religious fanatics.

We know it. You know it. The world knows it. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Orwellian Effect

The Washington Post reports:

“The Justice Department is close to approving guidelines that would allow the intelligence community to lengthen the period of time it retains information about U.S. residents, even if they have no known connection to terrorism.

Senior U.S. officials said the changes would allow the National Counterterrorism Center, the intelligence community’s clearinghouse for counterterrorism data, to keep such information for up to five years. Currently, the center must promptly destroy any information about U.S. citizens or residents unless a connection to terrorism is evident.”

It’s wrong. It’s unnecessary. It’s unconstitutional. The eroding of rights based on fear is foolish and foolhardy.

Will we ever learn?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Campaign 2012

A wish and a hope for this and all future election campaigns.

I have thoughts today on the strain
Of this presidential campaign
A rhyming viewpoint,
To scold, not anoint,
How negative gives us a pain.

Advertisements are often diseased
With rampant political sleaze.
Let us say from here on
No mean lexicon
Let's demand commercials that please.

Imagine what that would be like,
Back to times of Stasson and Ike
The ad's must be clean
And nothing that's mean
With statements that only unite.

It starts with political speech
And the rule to follow for each,
Find something that's nice
That's true and precise
With comments that honor, not preach.

Do you think we could make it a law
In this leadership quest seesaw.
All ad's must be true,
That people will view
If you lie, or smear, then withdraw.

And tell us at once where you stand.
Do nothing that seems underhand.
Stay simple, direct
The truth, in effect
Elections would surely be grand.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring 2012

These successive warm days in the Northeast are wonderful.

In The Air
© 2012 Rolland G. Smith

The ache of spring is in the air
No more the chill of winter’s fare.
I see it in the buds of trees
Whose pokes from ‘neath the bark do please.

For me there's sadness in each spring
When birth and growth cannot re-bring
The energy of parted souls
Whose lives we shared with gentle strolls.

But then I know, I truly know
That life forever keeps its glow,
for when complete and form's away
The spirit laughs and plays the play.

We who stay must understand
That short or long life’s ever grand,
And ceases not despite the shift
of back and fourth in cosmic drift.

But back to spring and its rebirth
With life profound from sentient earth.
Both warmth and light do bright the stage
Releasing all from winter’s cage.
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