Point of View Columns

A Time For Faith. A Time For Hope.

The cyclonic nature of the Trump presidency seems to create turmoil and angst whenever and wherever it touches down. There is frustration and near-hopelessness that is spreading across America because there is a sense that the administration of Donald J. Trump is a national nightmare from which we cannot awake, no matter  how hard we try.

If there was ever a time for Faith and Hope, now is that time. And so, the rest of this column will be a Trump-free zone (at least for this week) and I am going to share two excerpts on Faith and Hope from my soon to be published book entitled “Today and Tomorrow”.


It is said that faith is having belief in something without having a complete and full and rational basis for doing so, without having a full and complete set of reasons. But faith may just be more than that. After all, if you are to go forward in life, you have to, you must, believe in yourself. First and foremost you must care about yourself. Not selfishly. Not without caring about others. You cannot really believe in others, uplift them with your spirit, if you do not believe in yourself.

It is difficult, if not impossible to understand, how one can have faith in their partner, their children, their God, their friendships, their love, unless they have faith in themselves. Faith in oneself is the beginning of a validation process that can culminate in faith, or belief, in any of these other matters.

If you have faith in yourself, then you can believe in others and rely upon their faith and belief in you. If you don’t believe in yourself, if you think of yourself as somehow being unworthy, then there is simply no way that you can think of your belief in your God as being meaningful, there is no way that you can think that your faith in the love of your friends or spouse or child can be real…..it can’t be real if you are not worthy in your own eyes.

Face it; there will always be someone who will be only too glad to tell you of your failings, speak to you of your shortcomings – what you cannot be. There will always be someone who will tell you what you cannot achieve. So there is no point contributing to the negative messages that all of us receive from time to time.

There are times, however, when the only positive voice that you hear may be your own. It is then that you have to sustain yourself and your aspirations and your energy and your direction so that you can accomplish what you set out to do, so that you can get to where you want to go, so that you can be who you are supposed to be.

But it all begins with your faith in you. It begins with you believing because you want to believe, even when other people tell you that you have no reason to do so. Believe in yourself even when so-called common sense tells you that you should not. Believe in yourself, because once you do, you empower yourself in a way that nothing else, and no one else has the power to do.

You have to believe that you are worthy of good things happening to you. You have to believe that you deserve a positive outcome to your every day. You have to believe that you are entitled to expect, and receive the best. Again, if you don’t believe in yourself, who else can be expected to believe in you? Who else can be expected to share your vision, your dreams, whatever they might be?

And, once you begin to truly believe in yourself, once you can visualize outrageous good fortune and bewildering success. You can begin to amaze yourself. And, as you amaze yourself, you will begin to expect good fortune, you will await success with the same sense of expectation that you wait for the bus or the subway. You KNOW that it is going to come.  And, isn’t that what faith is all about?



Hope is the wellspring from which flows the strength and energy to keep believing in today and tomorrow. And believing in tomorrow is so very important because hope for the future is the foundation upon which we build our today.

Hope is interesting, because it doesn’t have to have a rational basis to be of value and to be a source of strength. All that hope requires in order to exist is for someone to believe. To be able to share that hope is even more wonderful, of course, but in the end, if only one person holds that hope near and carries it forward like a flickering torch in the rainy nighttime of non-belief, then that can be enough.

Hoping for happiness, a better day, sunshine for the wedding or picnic-hope is a wonderful aspect of our existence. That is why the absence of hope is the subject of such profound sorrow and a condition to be avoided at all costs. The word “hopeless” is indeed a very sad word.

Of course, hope without action is like prayer without belief. Hope must be accompanied by some effort to make that hope a reality. Otherwise it is just idle musings, daydreams by the babbling brook of existence. Hope has to be nurtured and reinforced by action; it has to be supported by the energy that is unique to each of us. It makes the pleasure of seeing that hope turn into reality all the more wonderful, all the more delicious.

No fruit tastes better than the one picked from the tree which you planted and cared for yourself. That is a truth that is eternal and should always be believed.



Point of View Columns

Statues and Flags and Sanity

When the Trump legacy is written, it may be that the only good thing that was done by Donald Tinyhands was to help make it clear that the notion of America being in a post-racial status has always been a myth. It is useful to recall that when Barack Obama was first elected in 2008, accompanied by post-racial anthems, the skinheads, Klansmen, Aryans and assorted white supremacist mouth breathing Neanderthals were already deeply imbedded in America – everywhere.

Clear evidence of the virulent racism in this country, accompanied by the more insidious passive aggressive dehumanization of black Americans, are the scores of statues, busts and plaques throughout the country that honor the leaders of the Confederate States of America. These celebrations of traitors should not be seen as some kind of limp effort at reconciliation.

The CSA was founded on the principles of slavery as just, white supremacy and black inferiority. Any and every Confederate honoree – Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, Nathan Bedford Forrest, etc. – believed absolutely in these principles, principles that were way ahead of more esoteric notions of states’ rights and constitutional interpretations.

This is not a subjective perspective; it is a matter of fact that the first article of the constitution of the Confederate States of America upheld the eternal preservation of slavery. It is a matter of fact that the leadership of the Confederacy was wedded to an unshakeable belief in white superiority and black inferiority. And it is a matter of fact that Confederate generals like Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Nathan Bedford Forrest were absolutely complicit in the unconscionable wholesale slaughter of black Union troops who had the misfortune of surrendering to CSA soldiers.

All of this has been known since the end of the Civil War. Yet white Americans have stood by silently while these villains and war criminals were honored, all in the name of intimidating and bullying black America. The fact that there is even a conversation about depopulating this nation’s public spaces of such obscenities is itself obscene and it is a telling commentary as to the status of black Americans. It is more than fair to ask – do black lives really matter?

Consider that it is simply against the law to honor Adolf Hitler in Germany. Wearing a swastika or giving the Nazi salute on the streets of Berlin can land you in jail. The same is generally true in France. And consider that these proscriptions on honoring Nazis came about not because of pressure from the Jewish people. Indeed,  the banning of Nazi celebrations came from German and French men and women of good will who understood that the horror of the Nazis not only should never be repeated, it should also not be honored, celebrated or even exist in the public space.

It 152 years have passed since the end of the Civil War. It is astounding that there is even a conversation about celebrating Southern “heritage”, when that “heritage” encompasses the enslavement and degradation of human beings. It is shameful that there are public officials that refer to some beautiful past that should be celebrated when that past includes the wholesale slaughter, rape and exploitation of black Americans for the better part of two centuries.

It is well past time for conversation or debate. The Confederate statues, flags, busts and plaques are wrong – they have always been wrong – and any American who supports their existence is wrong. The descendants of slaves have endured this ongoing insult for too long and white Americans who accept the humanity of black Americans will understand this. And white Americans who do not accept the humanity of black Americans will not and should be adjudged as racist as the most vile skinhead goose stepping down the street.

When it comes to the Confederacy and its moldering and vile relics, there is simply no middle ground.

Point of View Columns

Colin Kaepernick and the Shame of Black America

Unless you have been hibernating during the Winter of Trump or hiding in a cave in the event of a Trump-induced nuclear holocaust, then you are probably aware that Colin Kaepernick is on his way to being the first player banned from the National Football League for his political views. The only thing worse than the racist right wing hegemony exhibited by the NFL owners is the indolent lap dog acceptance of this travesty by far too many black Americans.

The facts are that since he assumed his status as a free agent after the 2016-2017 season, not one of the 32 NFL teams has even offered him a tryout, even though most football experts would agree that he is a better quarterback than all 32 of the current backup quarterbacks in the league, and more than a few would argue that he is as good as, if not better, than more than a few of the starting quarterbacks in the league.

The facts are that numerous voices in the NFL Mothership have voiced “concerns” over Mr. Kaepernick’s support for the Black Lives Matter movement by kneeling during the playing of the national anthem before games. Further, his expressions of concern, outrage and frustration at the macabre American conveyor belt that transports the corpses of black victims of police brutality across the national landscape have been considered inappropriate for the sport.

The facts are that the NFL has welcomed players who have killed people, raped women, beaten women, ingested all manner of recreational and performance enhancing drugs and paid them enormous sums of money. The facts are that some NFL players have expressed their support for Donald Trump despite his history of racism, misogyny, sexual assault and xenophobia without consequence.

The fact is that Colin Kaepernick is being denied re-entry into the NFL because of his political beliefs and his public support of the Black Lives Matter movement. And it is also a fact that even though 75% of the players in the NFL are black, very few players have raised a voice of concern, much less protest – Richard Sherman and Martellus Bennett are a few come to mind, but whatever happened to Odell Beckham, Jr. or Russell Wilson or Cam Newton or any number of NFL superstars who are virtually immune from sanction because of their star power?

And what happened to DeMaurice Smith and Eric Winston, the Executive Director and President of the NFL Players Association respectively? Have they been muted by the enormous sums of money that are earned by their membership or have they been neutered by the fear of the awesome power wielded by NFL owners?

And while we are at it, where is the grassroots support for Colin Kaepernick? The black fan base in the NFL is huge and has the capacity to be vocal, but except for a recent protest by Spike Lee, the sound of black silence has rolled across this country like a fuzzy cotton cloud.

The reason why the Kaepernick Affair is so important is that the NFL is such an important part of American culture. The fact is that the NFL has suckled at the breast of the American taxpayer (many of whom are black) to the tune of billions of dollars in order to build their football temple stadiums and the NFL has received many more billions of dollars of revenue from American consumers (many of whom are black).

It is sad to see so little resistance from Black America when the NFL owners are acting in such obvious concert to silence black protest. It is sad to see such silence from the NAACP and the Congressional Black Caucus and the National Urban League and Black Lives matter. For that matter, what has happened to the voices of Jay-Z, Oprah Winfrey, Kevin Hart, LeBron James and all the other black men and women who manage to dominate the American media for their own profit? In this age of virulent Trumpism racism and degradation must be confronted all the time.

The NFL season begins in a little less than a month. One can only hope that Colin Kaepernick finds a roster position and one can only hope that all Black Americans – indeed all Americans – find the voice to resist this blatant injustice.