I Need Some Advice

write what scares you

Well for the past several months I have a confession to make, I have been having trouble reaching people with my writing.  I don’t know if it is because I have within the last year took a different path in my writing that is much less political and more social commentary instead.  I don’t know if it is because I have become much more open as a person in my writing and less inhibited in what I write about.  I don’t know if some find it too idealistic, preachy, or outside the mainstream.  I know many find it too long as that is a long-standing comment people have made.  I also know that I am not reaching as many people as I was in the past as many are not around much these days.

Sometimes I work several hours, days even on a piece and when I publish it, it goes mostly unread or at least uncommented on.  Meanwhile many other’s publish unoriginal partisan red-meat blog post and seeds that take five minutes to publish but get a lot of clicks and comments.  I am not arrogant or naive enough to think an individual writer/blogger can ever compete with mainstream news sources and professional blogs and partisan Internet sites, however it seems at times you are but a whisper in a super-arena of noise. That if you dare step outside the partisan or social mainstream your writing will go mostly ignored.

I tend to irritate hyper-partisans on both sides of the aisle and refuse to stand inside the box many in society stand in.  I am a bit more honest than many writers in that I tell truths most do not want to tell.  I also try to show a side to a story most do not want to see.  I like to at times hold up a mirror to society and let it look at itself for its true self, not the self it wants to believe it is.  This is not about pride, pontificating, and arrogance as I consider myself a very flawed individual, but to just get people to think more than anything else.

As a tip for people trying to make lots of friends say enough to have them like you but not so much they begin to loathe you.  In other words don’t step on toes, tip over sacred cows, rattle any cages, don’t rock the boat, and never be too honest about anything.  I can’t live like that though, I find it fake and inauthentic not to mention boring. Yeah you risk ending up with a smaller circle of friends and may have to stand on an island alone at times but you are living honestly and authentically and in the age of social-media PR specialist that is becoming more rare.

Let’s face it we all mostly project the good attributes within us on blogs and social networks, because we naturally want to be liked.  The less than good and bad attributes of our character though we are not eager to project for the world to see.  As let’s be honest would any of us be as well thought of if we were as wholly honest of our flaws as much as our attributes?  Though this is true in the real world as well as the virtual world.

I consider myself a creative type and a writer but leave for others to decide how much my writing is valued.  In other words I other than thinking I have some creative talent and ability as a writer do not attempt to quantify how creative or how good or how poor a writer I am.  To do otherwise I believe would be a detriment to my creativity and writing as I would not likely try as hard.

I though have come to point where I feel I need to gain insight into how others view my writing.  I think I need that to improve as a writer.  I also think I need to spend more time reading as I have heard to write well one must be well read.

I fear writing is becoming a lost art as people are not reading that much today compared to what they were, so writing is less valued by society than it once was.  People just don’t have the time or wont take the time to read that much today.  The three sentence doubled spaced paragraphs with lots of multimedia is taking over and long-form writing seems to be less and less appreciated.  It seems also the topic choices of popular blogs and sites is becoming dumbed down, and I am far from an elitist snob.  In other words my style of writing seems doomed and I am just starting out as a writer.  I just don’t have the mind to think and talk in sound bites or the wealth and ability to heavily focus on multimedia.

It is little wonder why most of my readers are in their late middle ages or older as most 30 somethings in my age bracket and younger people don’t read much it seems outside of short social-networking post and short articles.  Where as people who are a bit older have grew up appreciating the written word more.  I know this is stereotyping but it indeed I believe a true fact the majority of millennials compared to the majority of boomers and older people read as much.  While I await the revolution where reading and writing come back in fashion the trend does not look promising.

Therefore I worry my situation as a writer will only become more bleak and my readership will stay small and shrink in time.  Some can write for only themselves to ever see but I believe a writer for only himself or herself as an audience is one that will soon grow tone-deaf.  I also see the idea of writing for myself other than journaling a waste of time and selfish.  Without an audience I might as well hang it up and call it a day.  An activist writer who has no or little audience is merely a zealous lunatic rambling to themselves.

I am not the kind of person that can pretend to be someone I am not, believe something I don’t, jump on the societal bandwagon of popular sentiment.  If it is my personality, interest, and beliefs that are what is keeping my audience low then that is something I can not easily change and mostly wouldn’t want to.  I am who I am and believe what I believe, I am open-minded but I got to be me.

For example I have recently left a left-wing activist blog that kept removing my submissions and putting up “does not reflect the views of others on this blog” only on my articles.  I was basically ostracized by such practices and simply being ignored.   I refuse to be long in a place where I am not liked or at least respected.  If my honesty and views offend people, that’s just the way it is.  If I don’t rubber stamp every popular left talking point and ideology then so be it.  If I rattle a few cages and people get bent out of shape then so be it. If I show people truths in my writing they don’t want to see or acknowledge then it will be so.  Silence speaks far louder than words, any who say otherwise have not taken enough time to listen to silence.

I still am trying to keep my blog going and the connected social networks but it honestly seems more and more as a waste of time.  All the social networks favor corporate backed submissions because they get more clicks thus advertising revenues.  Blogs are a dime a dozen and you got to try to shout over a room full of people with megaphones. My heart is in the right place and I am trying to do good but I feel either people are mostly ignoring it or stepping on it.

So fellow Newsviners and WordPressers you see why I have been publishing less and less.  I know I have a number of people who follow me who do care and I appreciate that.  I also know that not many stop by these days.  My audience grows less and less it seems.  I really need to know besides blatant partisan politics which I have grown increasingly sick of what kind of articles do you want to read about?  What do you appreciate about my writing and what do you dislike about it?  If I am going to pour so much time and devotion into my writing in the future as I did in the past I want to feel it is worth it.  I want to feel I am not just a voice in the wilderness. I want to believe my writing means something to people.  It can mean a lot to me but if it doesn’t mean something to others than it just was in vain publishing it.  I am trying to work my way out of this inspiration drought and overcome some things in my life right now but I need a little support.

Alan Curtis Montgomery

 

Dirt Poor Rich Man (Short Story)

Rich Man Poor Man

Credit: Rich Man Poor Man by photoart1 http://photoart1.deviantart.com/gallery/

I thought I would try a writing experiment of sorts.  Someone mentioned to me when I said I was having trouble feeling inspired to write, to focus on something different that usual.  It would allow me to get back into writing and it would at the same time spark creativity and expand my writing repertoire.   I decided to try it with this inspirational fictional short story. It contains some profanity and mature dialog which sensitive readers may find offensive.  It is a long read so I split it in sections in case you don’t want to read it all in one go.

~~~Part 1~~~

In the cold and unforgiving streets stood a young man who knew these streets too well.  These same streets Mike had good memories of shooting hoops with his friends were now the same streets he saw misery and heartache wherever he would look.  Troubled kids turned gangster turned lifers. Hurting kids turned drop-outs turned addicts. Neglected and unloved kids turned rebellious and promiscuous turned offenders and prostitutes.  These were the people in society that society wants to forget about.  The ones people look at with harsh eyes and quickly look away, minds filled with judgement.  The underclass, The undeserving, The lowest rung of society, trash, and a host of other euphemisms many in society choose to label them as.

Mike stood there because he burned every bridge he had for help, was a heroine addict, and had a rap sheet for burglary, aggravated assault, soliciting a prostitute, D.U.I., disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest.  He hadn’t seen his parents in years.  Yeah pretty sad back story there but I not the time for the details.  His story is not unlike many we have all heard before when troubled kids fall between the cracks.  Most will not even look at him, let alone try to talk to him.  Few indeed would actually allow themselves to feel empathy for him.  “He made his own choices,” they say, “he only has himself to blame”.  Then again this societal rejection has only pushed him further away from society and it is very difficult for him to let anyone in.

You know the inside of a man’s heart and soul.  That which takes away the façade of an arrogant and confident man and exposes the confused, unsure, and insecure young man he actually is.  By his years a man but in some ways as if he were still a boy.  That single tear he quickly wipes away as if something was in his eye when asked about his life; to not show the hurt he has tried to distract himself from with drugs, alcohol, sex, money, and whatever else it took to dull the senses to that which hurts too much to feel.  Those man-made and natural highs that soothe away the pain, at least temporarily.  That which allows him to see his life before him and in the past and how he needs help out of his seemingly hopeless situation.  To let others in would mean them knowing his vulnerabilities, his insecurities, his flaws, his mistakes, his vices.  To admit what he has denied. To acknowledge that which he rather not acknowledge.  To allow his potential adversaries to see superman’s Achilles heal is kryptonite.

On the other side of the city Richard sat at his executive desk in his very posh office.  Smoking a Cuban cigar, wearing a $1,000 dollar suit, and $800 shoes, he leaned back phone in hand and had a conversation with his accountant.

“What do you mean they recently removed some deductions in the tax code?  I thought that was not supposed to happen for a while.  There raising the rates next year!!!  Those greedy Washington bastards trying to “spread the wealth around”.  Their giving it to lazy liberals and welfare leeches and parasites feeding off our wealth we created.  Well I suppose we should just surrender our wealth and join the new Socialism.  You know those 99 percenters bastards protesting downtown.  Damn it those folks are truly a disgrace and disgust me.  They are jealous because we work hard for a living and are educated, meanwhile they are moochers and so damn ignorant its shameful.  Oh you don’t really want to talk politics?  Don’t tell me your going soft on me Sam.  Okay I will see you at the golf course this weekend good luck.” Richard said before hanging up the phone.

“Mr. Sampson you have a 10 o’clock meeting about the donation to the children’s crises center you have announced in a public interview the company would make,” said Richards secretary as she placed the donation form on his desk. “That is very sweet of you to do so,” she said.

“Sally at the end of the day it’s all about PR.  We recently were involved in a lawsuit involving child labor in one of our factories in Bangladesh.  Apparently internal E-mails got leaked about our knowledge of the situation and failure to act.  We were absolutely vilified in the liberal press. I can’t have people going around thinking we don’t give a crap about poor and abused kids.  This is all about saving face.  The truth is Sally I would have much preferred to give that money to open up our new factory in Singapore.” Richard said as Sally shook her head and walked away disappointed in her boss.

“Oh Sally I am feeling like one of those awesome sandwiches downtown and like giving my new Bently a spin.  I’m always afraid to go downtown with all the low-lifes that hang around there.  Afraid I will get mugged or my car stolen you know. Mr. Bellini’s sandwiches are worth the risk though.  See you later,” said Richard as he went out the door to the parking lot.

Richard drove down the road past all the luxury apartment suites and into the more downscale apartments until he was in the heart of the inner city where all the low-end apartments were.  It was as if he left one world and went to another.

“Yo man, that is a sweet ride you got.  How much it cost yo?,” yelled a man to Richard as he parked.

“Why you want to steal it?,” Richard said annoyed at the question.

“Fuck you man.  I don’t want to steal your cracker ass car.  You think because I’m black I’m a thug huh dawg?  Well you best get your ass out of here before someone beats down your old white ass,” the young man shouted.

Richard shook his head, went in, ordered a sandwich, and left.  He fearing someone would steal or damage his car.  Richard revved up the engine and sped off trying to show off.  As he was speeding a young man crossed the street and Richard tried to stop but ran right into him.  Richard heart was beating out of his chest as he got out and saw the young man unconscious and bleeding.

“Oh shit I killed the punk,” Richard said as he scrambled for his phone to call the paramedics.

Just then Mike opened his eyes a bit and asked what happened and where he was at.  Richard beyond relieved he was alive explained to him he was hit by a car because he wasn’t watching where he was going.  The truth though obviously was Richard wasn’t watching where he was driving and speeding.  He trying to get himself out of legal trouble though tried to pin the blame on him.  Oh crap what if someone saw me speeding and hit him, thought Richard?  What if I go to jail?  What if my business I worked so hard for is ruined?  Not one thought went through his head if the young man was okay or not.

The paramedics arrived and rushed Mike to the hospital.  Richard decided to shortly after drive to the hospital as well.  Not to check on Mike but to try to bribe the guy or his family not to pursue legal action or a lawsuit.

~~~Part 2~~~

Richard walked in the door and saw Mike hooked up to all kinds of medical equipment.  Mike was sleeping so Richard being on a tight schedule decided to try to shake him awake.

“Hey wakeup guy I need to talk to you,” Richard said

“Dad?” Mike said as he tried to wake up

“No I am not your father.  My name is Richard and I am the one that hit you after you walked right out in front of me not watching where you were going.  I tried to stop but couldn’t in time,” Richard said

“You’re the one that hit me dawg? Damn I feel like I got hit by a bus for reals,” Mike said as he placed his hand on his head that was hurting.

“No just a Bentley,” Richard said with a quick grin.

“A Bentley? Sick dawg that is a’ight,” Mike said trying but failing to give Richard a high-five.

“What?  Sorry I don’t speak street talk.  I have no idea what you just said,” Richard said questioningly.

“I said that its wicked you driving a Bentley man,” Mike said.

“Wicked?” Richard said confused.

“Yeah meaning it’s awesome you have a Bentley yo,” Mike said a little annoyed.

“Oh thanks,” Richard said quickly shaking his head and looking away.

“I bet you some rich executive yo and have your own private jet and shit,” Mike said questioning.

Damn it thought Richard I shouldn’t have mentioned the Bentley and wore such a nice suit today with my Rolex.

“I do alright,” Richard said trying to downplay his wealth.

“I bet you got some hot secretaries too right bro?  Just keepin it real,” Mike said laughing and again trying to high-five Richard.

“Yeah I guess Sally is pretty,” Richard responded.

“That’s my man.  You bangin her dude?” Mike said with a smirk.

“My secretary and I have a professional relationship sir and only a professional relationship,” Richard said offended.

“Professional?  Yeah I am sure it is “professional,” Mike said quoting professional.

“Obviously you have never worked in the business world.  I could be sued or have my career ruined.  I have more important things to worry about than women like meeting with new business clients,” Richard said angrily.

“Oh, so your gay dude?,” Mike said.

“No I am not a homosexual sorry to disappoint you,” Richard said annoyed.

“You sound like a real jerk yo,” Mike said.

“Yeah and you sound like a cocky piece of white trash trying to pretend he is black.  Newsflash you are not black and wearing your hat backwards is so 90’s.  What you a dealer or something or just an addict two-time loser?,” Richard said then shortly after regretting what he said.

“I may not be rich like you dawg.  I may not have a secretary and a pretty boy haircut. I may not drive a cracker car like a Bentley, but you know what dude? I am smart enough to know you came here to pay me off so I won’t sue,” Mike said.

“Is that so?  Sorry to disappoint you young man but I am not giving you a dime.  Why don’t you work for a living and earn it doing something legit?  How about cleaning your life up and going to college?,” Richard said.

“College ha, I ain’t into that cracker ass college and white boy career paths,” Mike said.

“I got news for you bud, your white YO.  Besides you don’t have to be white to go to college and get a job.  My accountant is black and my cleaning lady is Guatemalan.” Richard said.

“You banging the cleaning lady?,” Mike said smirking.

“No, is that all you think about is sex?,” Richard said.

“No not just about sex, sometimes I think about what if my life could have turned out different?,” Mike said.

~~~Part 3~~~

“Turned out different?  What are you 22? 23?  You still have your whole life ahead of you.  Look I am sorry what I said earlier, honestly I look down on people from your side of the tracks.  Truth is though which I really never talk about I came from those same side of the tracks.  My family was dirt poor, my mother used to clean houses, and my father when he wasn’t drunk would take odd jobs. I guess all these years in the legal than corporate fields have hardened me and made me forget where I came from.

I caught my break when my uncle passed away and he left me a large portion of his inheritance being unmarried and having no children of his own.  He died in an industrial accident at his factory.  I used to work for him during the summer and him and I became quite close.  He taught me about every machine there and about all the legal and tax forms he had to fill out.  He could be a tyrant at times to his employees and he was anything but a good influence to me growing up but neither was my old man who I rarely saw.  The things my uncle let me get away with and all the criminal activity he was involved in could have got him thrown in a jail for a long time.  He was though like a father to me albeit a very dysfunctional one.  He had a lot of daemons and vices I guess you could say but he took me under his wing and taught me about business and life.  At times it seemed I was the only one he trusted and only friend he had.  He was an eccentric kind of guy so no one really questioned the situation of his nephew just a kid helping run the company and me hanging around adults rather than kids my own age.  Truth is I never really got to be a kid and hang around many so I guess it’s why I turned out the way I did.,” Richard said after seeing some reflection of his younger self in Mike.

“Wow sounds like you had a kind of different childhood yo,” Mike said.

“You have no idea,” Richard said after reflecting back on his unique and troubled upbringing.

“Well I ain’t seen my dad in years last time I saw him he was drugged out on the couch in his underwear watching football.  Mom was in the kitchen screaming at him what a loser and deadbeat he was.  He finally got up, got dressed, and left never even saying good-bye to me or my mom.  He just came in my room as if to check on me one last time and left and I haven’t seen him since yo,” Mike said.

“How old were you?,” asked Richard.

“Seven,” Mike said.

“Tough break kid,” Richard said while wiping away a tear he tried to hold back.

“I’m 19 and been living on these streets for the last few years.  Yeah my mom did the best she could but I made her job a lot harder.  I didn’t have any siblings yo but I made up for it with my acting out.  I tried my first beer and cigarette at 9, my first joint at 11, and I have been an addict ever since.  I went from pot, to coke, to heroin but I tried them all I think by now.  By the time I was 14 I was always running away from home and hanging out on the streets.  Thing is I was really running from myself so it never helped when I did run to better my situation.  I did a lot of stupid things and in desperate times did some fucked up things to get my next fix. Time I was 15 I was a full-blown addict, I would do almost anything for my next hit.  When I was 16 I am embarrassed to admit I did a favor for some older guy in the bathroom stalls who promised me some drugs. The joker just gave me a 20 and left.  I would steal electronics and shit from people in the neighborhood and stores to try to sell for drug money.  I even beat up a guy or two and took their wallets when I got desperate enough.  Drugs have fucked up my whole life.  I been locked up a couple of times and so now am an ex-con.  Hell I couldn’t even get a job at McDonald’s. I ain’t been to a doctor in years so who knows what shit I have wrong with me. I ain’t been in school since the 9th grade so I don’t know smart shit and all.  I’m just a loser so yeah I understand you hating on me,” Mike said.

“No you’re not a loser just a troubled young man who deserves a shot to try to better his life.  By the way I have not got your name yet,” Richard said feeling sorry for him.

Sally was standing in the doorway during the conversation as she drove to the hospital when she got a text from Mr. Sampson (Richard) explaining what had happened and how he was going to the hospital.  She smiled then wiped away a few tears, as she knew Mr. Sampson had a heart after-all beneath his hard exterior.  Neither one noticed her standing outside the door but she heard everything and now understood a bit more about her boss. She felt especially for Mike as her brother died of an overdose when she was growing up and he had been struggling with addiction for years prior. She could hold back her tears no more and Richard and Mike overheard her.

“Sally what are you doing here?,” asked Richard.

“I came when I heard what had happened and heard you were heading to the hospital,” Sally said while trying to regain her composure.

“Sally this is..,” Richard said wondering his name.

“Mike, everyone calls me Mike.  Well my mom used to call me Michael but everyone else calls me Mike,” said Mike.

“Used to?  What does your mom call you now?,” asked Sally inquisitively.

“Truth is I haven’t heard from my mom in years,” Mike said with the sadness being apparent in his expression.

“You poor thing,” said Sally “You don’t have anyone to turn to do you?”

“Oh I manage okay.  I have had to grow up fast on these streets.  Yeah I miss my mom and dad as far as that goes but it is what it is.  I have no idea where either one are anymore.  Last I heard my mom moved and my father died of a heart attack in prison.  I don’t really know any of my relatives and I don’t have any I really can call a friend,” Mike said embarrassed of his situation.

“I can be your friend,” Sally said while putting her hand on his shoulder as Mike smirked.

“Careful with this one Sally.  At this age he has one thing on his mind and one thing only.  Besides I don’t think he has had his shots yet,” Richard said jokingly as Sally and Mike laughed.

Richard, Mike, and Sally spent the next hour talking and Sally telling Mike about her brother.  Any other situation these people from different sides of the city would have never met, let alone had a conversation together.  Walls that Richard put up looking down on poor people began to come down and walls Mike had put up with society and rich people began to break apart as well.

~~~Part 4~~~

“Well Mike I feel very bad about running into you and want you to know I am paying your medical bills,” Richard explained.

“Thanks dawg,” Mike said thinking that was the end of it.

“I also have been looking for a new manager for the factory here.  I know you know nothing of managing and don’t want a “cracker” job but I think it would be a good opportunity for you.  Besides it pays good and has good benefits,” Richard said.

“I don’t know dawg I am not very responsible and shit,” Mike said.

“Well you’re not going to be until you get off the heroine and off these unforgiving streets.  I know that idea scares you and you don’t think it’s possible but it is.  You need some structure in your life and responsibilities.  You also sorry to embarrass you need a haircut and a shower and some major dental work along with some training of how to speak proper and act right.  I’m not talking down to you Mike just saying the truth of what will be required if are able to get a job like this.  You have to unlearn the laws of the jungle and learn the laws of the boardroom,” said Richard as Mike looked embarrassed ashamed of his physical state and the way he was.

“I don’t think I can.  I don’t think I have what it takes.  I have been so low and so poor for so long I wouldn’t be able to handle to be in high places and having money,” Mike said.

“That’s because your scared sweety,” said Sally picking up on the fear in Mike’s voice, “You never had anyone give you a chance before and Mr. Sampson, Richard, is trying to give you that chance.  You need to get off these streets before you end up dead somewhere or in prison or something.  I know you don’t think you have it in you, hun, but you do I have a strong feeling you do have what it takes.  You been through hell and back and any young man who can survive all you been through can survive the corporate world.  You can do this, all you have to do is let others and us help you.”

Mike said he would try to and after a couple of weeks was released from the hospital.  Richard found a good detox rehab clinic and helped Mike get checked in.  Sally found a therapist for Mike.  Richard and Sally kept in frequent contact with Mike.  When Mike was really having terrible withdrawals from the drugs Richard would visit him to keep him company.  Sally would bring Mike food he requested and gave him articles to read of people overcoming difficult situations in life.  Mike finally got well enough to get off the drugs and streets for good.  Richard gave Mike the funds to rent an apartment while he was getting his life in order.  Richard helped Mike pay for college, got him a loan, and gave him a part-time job in the factory to help pay the rest.  Mike got his bachelors degree in management and finally got enough experience and training in the factory to become the general manager of the factory.  Mike still works there today all thanks to an accident turned into an opportunity and two people who dared to care.

“Hey Richard I can not thank you and Sally enough.  Without you running into me literally I don’t know where I would be today.  I do know it would not likely be somewhere I wanted to be.  I owe you both so much,” Mike said.

“Mike the truth of it is you saved me too. I spent my whole life only caring about myself.  You and your situation taught me to care.  Truth is I never really had a good friend as no one really liked me.  After all I was not a very easy person to get along with, was always negative, and could be a real jerk.  You though put up with me and caused me to become a lot more open-minded about people. It made me rethink a lot of things and for once I felt like a decent person who was trying to help someone rather than just a guy out for himself. I donate to charity and good causes today because I want to not for the PR as before.  I don’t look down on people like I did before.

Yeah I’m rich Mike as you know but I was a dirt poor rich man.  I had all the money any guy could ever want, almost no luxury was out of reach, I could have easily married an actress or a super model if I decided to settle down, I could go anywhere in the world, I could do pretty much whatever in the hell I wanted.

I don’t have a family though Mike, I don’t have friends well other than you and Sally, I don’t have people who love me, I don’t even know how to do my laundry or go grocery shopping for Christ sake because I always had others to do it for me.  I haven’t had to work hard a day in my life since I was a teenager.  Everything has always come so easy to me I never learned how to really work hard at something.  I haven’t seen a movie in years, read a book other than business books, I haven’t taken the time to be active in my community.  Hell I didn’t even say hi before when the kid across the street used to wave to me.  I was a lonely and miserable man Mike, a dirt poor rich man.

Let me tell you Mike your just starting out on your career path and new life, so don’t get carried away with success.  There is plenty of successful people who suck at life where it counts.  They think they have it all but they have nothing.  Take the time to enjoy life while you can and try to help others enjoy it more along the way.  Don’t spend life being miserable or else you will wakeup one day and realize your middle-aged and squandered your life away.  Any man who says if he had to do it all over again he would make the same mistakes again is either a fool or just not thinking it through hard enough.  Truth is its better to learn from the mistakes of others than having to learn the hard way.  Lastly Mike my advice is to worry much more about your investments in life and the people around you then investments in profit.  They will pay off dividends far richer than any amount of wealth you could accumulate,” Richard said as he shook Mike’s hand and waved goodbye to Mike for the last time.

You see Richard was sitting in his office one day and had a major stroke.  By the time Sally got there Richard was dead.  On his desk he earlier that morning had finished the article about Mike’s interview explaining how Richard helped change his life.  The fact Sally knew he read that article about Mike, she knew Richard likely died a happy man.  Unknown to Sally or Mike, Richard had put in his will that Sally and Mike would takeover as co-owners of the company.  He gave half of his wealth to Sally and Mike.  The other half though was written on a signed check with pay to the order of left blank with a letter in with it.

Dear Mike,

If you are reading this I have now kicked the bucket.  You know this death stuff is not all its cut out to be.  I rather be eating one of Mr. Bellini’s sandwiches then dead but life doesn’t always give you choices. [Mike smiled and wiped his eyes].  I have left this check for you to do all the good you can with it.  How you do that good is up to you.  You may also keep it for yourself to better yourself and those around you.  It is up to you how the money is spent.  I want you and Sally to know I loved you, I wish I told you guys when I was alive.  You both meant more to me than you probably ever knew.  Take care of yourself and never forget where you came from or where you want to go in life.

Your friend, Richard

Mike took Richard’s favorite pen and wrote on the check to pay to the order of an organization that helps homeless youth get off the streets and better their life.  Mike then sealed the envelope and gave it to Sally to deliver it in memory of her friend and boss Richard Sampson.

A couple of weeks later Mike was browsing on-line news articles and came across one about the donation containing a photograph of Richard Sampson with Mike and Sally.  Underneath it contained a quote from Richard’s last interview shortly before his death.  In large font it read:

“When I changed the way I thought about people and the world around me, my whole world changed”

Alan Curtis Montgomery

Yesterday’s News Still Matters Today

Syria news

To some what is happening in Syria is yesterday’s news.  Something they paid attention to in the past but as the conflict and chaos has dragged on they seem to have completely forgot about.  They do not see what happened in the past as being relevant today.  What they fail to realize is yesterday’s news still matters today, in fact yesterday’s news is still happening today.  Things far from getting better have gotten much worse as time has traveled on.  The death toll stands at over 310,000 people killed in this conflict, millions wounded, and minimally 12,000,000 displaced and Syrian refuges.  The actual number of displaced and refugees especially when you consider all those in Iraq too is significantly higher than that even.  It is hard to put into proportion the sheer scale of the human tragedy that has occurred in Syria and the surrounding region in the last few years.  It has been described by activist and those on the front line as a genocide, a gulf of human misery, a terrible human tragedy of epic proportion, the worst crises of our time, and simply as The Syrian Civil War.

What tragedy the Syrian people and those in the region have been through most in the West could not even contemplate.  Yet cold hearts will not allow themselves to empathize with others suffering because they are “other”. Their shade of skin may have a bit more pigment than their own, they may speak different words, they may wear different clothing, they may read a different scripture, worship another God or the same God depending on their perspective and beliefs.  Therefore they are labeled the “other”.  However like them they have a heart, mind, and soul.  They smile, they cry, they laugh, they feel, they mourn. They are imperfect just as they are imperfect.  They are humanity just as they are humanity. Why can not more see such a simple concept?

These Americans and Westerners living their comfortable suburban lives, in their posh inner city dwellings, or quiet rural homes can not even imagine how Syrian refugees have to live.  Nor will they try to imagine because they are foreigners and Muslims for the most part.  I guess it is too much to ask some to extend their empathy and concern they have for others to Muslims and those who live outside our shores.  We have problems here to they exclaim!  Yes of course we do, and we should absolutely not neglect and ignore suffering on our own shores either.  However that does not mean we should not concern ourselves about those living outside our shores.  That does not mean our problems are near as severe as their problems are.

I hear some people say “I feel bad but we’re broke and can’t afford to take care of people here”.  If we were truly broke we would be having riots in the streets nationwide and social spending would be decimated.  Obviously we have a deficit that will have to be paid off in the long-term but that is not the same as being broke.  We have far more money we could allocate towards helping the Syrian and Iraqi refugees than we have been giving to aid them.  As far as the people here there is plenty of money and resources to do that as well, what is missing is the political will power and the people demanding they do so.

There is also the ever-present well let the “Muslim” countries help other “Muslim” countries crowd.  Where do they think the Syrian and Iraqi refugees have been living during this crises?  Regional countries are taking on refugee populations far bigger than they have the resources to do so.  Meanwhile here in the US and West we have only taken a very small fraction of refugees into our home countries.  It is really disgraceful how few refugee families we have allowed to live here.  The irrational fear of terrorist slipping through the cracks in the refugee program and anti-immigrant sentiment has made the screening and application process very slow and open to a very small amount of people.  We could easily take in tens of thousands of refugees as temporary or permanent citizens Nationwide.  We took in far more refugees than that during and after WWII in the United States.

Another theme I have heard regarding us doing more to end this crises, is they used to support us getting more involved but now things have gotten so out of hand it’s too late.  This is nothing short of lies.  I have been arguing with these same people from almost the beginning of the crises, they did not support us getting involved then and they do not now.  They didn’t care then and they don’t care now.  They need to just be honest and admit they never did care and they never were willing to support us making any sacrifice to help the Syrian people.

I have heard people tell me they would not change their opinion of us not getting involved even if 1 million Syrians were killed.  I had a gentlemen seriously and boldly tell me we should arm both sides as heavily as possible and let them kill as many Muslims as possible.  Another when a story surfaced of a young man being tortured to death said that it was his fault; he knew going against Assad would put him in that situation, so he felt no sympathy for him.  Another person told me how you get rid of terrorism is to kill not only the terrorist but their families too.  I have had people tell me that UN investigated and proven atrocities didn’t happen, were staged, or exaggerated.  That the major chemical weapon attack was not done by Assad’s forces when international investigations proven beyond a reasonable doubt it was.  I know several who didn’t give a damn what was happening in Syria until a couple of American journalist got their heads cut off; apparently the thousands of Syrians who suffered atrocities didn’t mean anything to them.  I know many people who didn’t want us to get involved when Assad’s regime was involved in atrocities but as soon as ISIS became more prominent on the scene suddenly they care about human rights.  I am sick of all the hypocrisy, lies, double standards, harsh and hateful views regarding this crises.  Many that do want us to get involved want us to get involved to kill terrorist “Islamic” terrorist.  Not because they care about the Syrian and Iraqi people and that primarily Muslims are being killed in the region.  They could care less about the Syrian and Iraqi people and the hundreds of thousands of Muslims killed.

I realize there is many Americans that genuinely do care, want us to do much more, and have been involved in keeping up on the Syrian crises.  However they are a minority of the American population sadly.  Most Americans are perfectly unbothered that blood is running the streets of Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere in the region.  As long as they or their families aren’t in danger, don’t have to sacrifice anything, or their Country is not effected they could care less.  Oh they may worry about the Christians ISIS is targeting, the small percentage of Westerners, those of certain minority groups being targeted, but the vast majority of Muslims who are the primary victims they don’t lose much sleep over.  After all that is just “Muslims killing Muslims”.  They are all just a “violent bunch of backwards fanatics who have been killing each other for centuries”.  Just “dead Muslims” is all.

Is an orphan Muslim child in Syria life worth any less than an orphan Christian child in America?  For those who believe in God do you think God favors one of the children over the other?  Does a Syrian mother and wife love her family any less than an American mother and wife?  Does a Syrian man have the same basic human rights as an American man?  Is murder of a man, woman, or child in Syria any less tragic than murder of a man, woman, or child in America?  When we learn to realize our shared humanity suddenly that which divides us seems minor.

The fact is people are suffering in Syria, we can do a lot more to help alleviate that suffering, and their suffering will eventually become the world’s suffering if we continue to neglect Syria and the region.  A human tragedy on such a large-scale will destabilize the entire globe if it is allowed to continue.  We must do much more to help the refugees.  To end the atrocities occurring. To broker a political settlement and establish a representative interim government.  It will require much more sacrifice than we have so far made.  We will either make a smaller sacrifice now or a much larger one later if we do nothing, but avoiding personal sacrifice is unavoidable.  We will either get involved voluntarily now or by necessity later.

I know this is not what most Americans want to hear.  This crises will not burn itself out rather it will burn the entire region and world if we continue to let things get out of control.  America is foolish if it thinks it can avoid getting burned when flames are igniting all over the world.  It’s time to put out those flames while we can still control the direction of the fire before they spread out beyond our ability to do anything to stop them from engulfing the globe.  If we do nothing those flames will surely one day reach our shores and there will be no putting that fire out.

Alan Curtis Montgomery

Syrian Child Look Out

Syria In Time (Video)

The crises in Syria grows by the day yet the world will not act in any adequate way to end this terrible human tragedy.  We must as a world community act swiftly to end this crises before it becomes too late for Syrians and others in the region effected by it.  We have heard enough promises and talk now is the time to take decisive action to end this tragedy.  Time is not on the Syrian people’s side.

Thank You To The Original Content Creators And Copyright Holders Who Still Maintain All Rights Including: arte THEMA, Live Leak, PBS, WH.GOV, Channel 1 News, Al Jazeera, BBC, Citizen Journalist and Activist On The Front Lines In Syria, And Other Sources Not Specifically Mentioned Here.  I Thank Them For Educating And Informing Us Throughout The Crises And Providing Us A Glimpse Of The Atrocities And Heartache Happening In Syria.

Music:”Dark Fog” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Thank You To Kevin MacLeod And His Wonderful Work That He Shares With The World For Free.

Why I Stopped Writing: The Honest Truth

InspirationI could have just decided to give a generic excuse why I stopped writing such as “been busy” or “not been feeling well”.  After all both of those reasons have truth in them.  Though the truth is I have been feeling depressed and uninspired. 

When it comes to inspiration it is something that needs to be constantly replenished and not always easy to find.  I suppose fact based journalist and those who write hard news and information, inspiration is much less a factor.  However for those who are more editorialist, essayist, poets, and activist inspiration is essential.  Without it, its difficult even to come up with a topic let alone the first paragraph or verse.  I can think it all day and if I don’t feel it I still can’t write it, at least not well.

The truth is angry, cynical, and selfish people have got me feeling down.  I tired of the negativity that is plentiful on social networks and those who bring everyone down with each comment and post they publish.  They are always there to criticize and mock those of us trying to be positive and help people through our writing or other things we publish.  They say we are blind idealist who’s writing and works are nothing more than emotional delusions that soothe those who can not handle the realities of the world.  That our writing and works do nothing to make the world better and in fact are harmful because they blind people to the reality.  It is basically the same argument Marx made when he declared religion the opium of the masses or the masochistic beliefs of Nietzsche‘s philosophy on human suffering which he so elevated as being essential to human well-being.

Those of us who refuse to bite into the bitter pill of pessimism, drink from the well of human misery, give into the cruel and heartless inhumanities of the cold hard cynics are decried dreamers, delusional, and even occasionally dangerous.  Those of us who choose to focus on human potential rather than human frailties are declared utopian.  Those of us who rather seek the good in the world rather than constantly mourn over the bad are often seen as blind to reality.

The reality is I come from a long line of pessimist and cynics, I was raised up in that way of thinking, I am prone to deep depression and anxiety.  I am not by my nature a naturally optimistic and happy person.  My family is quite negative and my life is far from easy.  I am aware more than most the very imperfect and depressing state of the world.  I have witnessed in my activism what humanity is capable of at its worst.  I know there is enough misery and heartache in this world to weigh down the entire world.

I have though realized that people have enough of that in their own lives and hear, read, and see enough of it on the news to need anymore of it.  I have had enough pain and heartache in my own life I don’t want to only focus on the pain and heartache happening in the world.  This is not to say in least I am ignoring or minimizing the human suffering that is happening in the world only to say that for as large as it is, is only part of what is happening in the world.  I keep up on the news and world events and am staying aware of all the conflict and troubles in the world.  I vehemently reject the notion ignorance is bliss.  I also have and will continue to speak up for those whose rights have been violated and the harsh and sad realities of what is happening in the world.  I will not dwell on only the misery happening in the world however, only the failures, only the imperfections.  Rather I have chosen to focus more on the good in the world than the bad the majority of time.  People can read the bad all day on the internet if they wish; I don’t wish to add to that the majority of the time. I choose not to dwell on the fact the glass is only half full, but rather am thankful it is half full and thinking of ways to maybe make it a bit fuller.

Maybe on a subconscious level this positive thinking and looking for inspiration has replaced religion from my youth.  Perhaps it is a coping mechanism for dealing with difficult situations and circumstances in my life.  A natural opioid to soothe negative emotions.  Perhaps I am seeking to help others in my writing because I feel helpless in changing things in my own life.  Then again subconsciously maybe I am trying to do something to help the world because I feel often a burden.  I can likely say it isn’t all altruism that motivates me or what exactly all the things that motivate me are.  I can say whatever it is, I am much happier and feel I am making much more of a difference when I do look for inspiration and remain positive in my outlook and writing.

Lately though as I mentioned above my inspiration and positive feelings have been in short supply.  Just very recently I have been trying to pull myself out of this inspiration and positivity drought.  I have been trying to ignore negative, pessimistic, and cynical people both online and offline.  To try to get out of the mud of wallowing in self-pity, pessimism, and frivolous distractions.  When I get depressed I tune out and tend to stay tuned out until I find a way to get tuned back in to a more inspired emotional state.  My friends worry about me and my readers wonder why I stopped writing.  It’s not that I quit caring its just that I lack inspiration and motivation to continue writing and staying active in social networks and social circles.

I started my activism in human rights really years ago but I considered it more political philosophy and my ethical views on things.  I then realized when I started getting involved in activism for the Syrian people being butchered by a mad dictator that at its heart what I was advocating for is human beings and their rights as humans.  That it far transcended politics and ethical beliefs.  It was rather something much more basic and essential.

Then the world largely tuned out, political leaders turned silent, and the opposition became increasingly more fractured and extreme.  I stopped getting actively involved near as much because I felt so powerless, depressed, and hopeless of the whole situation and my ability to do anything to influence things in a positive direction.  I though have never stopped caring about the people of Syria, especially the children within this cruel war, who have so unjustly suffered.  I never forgot the people I spoke with from afar nor the many stories I heard.  I never forgot the suffering in Syria, the bloodshed, the cruelty.  I never forgot the lamenting of the families of those who lost their loved ones, the tears in children’s eyes, the women telling the horrors they survived, the men suffering in agony wounded and dying by a cruel regime or merciless extremist.

I never forgot, I never will forget, I will always remember.  For its something the whole world should remember, in the hope we can prevent future suffering.  It will like the Holocaust and other mass atrocities will be burned in human memories.  Those haunting memories of how inhumane and atrocious humanity is capable of being and inspiring and hopeful memories of how strong and compassionate good people are in the face of such adversity.  It is a lesson and a warning to the world.  A lesson never to forget.  A lesson that will stay with me.

Rather the crises in Syria and the wider region or right here at home I feel I have something I can add to the discussion and some positive things I can inspire in the world.  Maybe it is more a wish and dream than direct action towards change.  However people will not act towards change until they first are inspired to do that.  Until they know what is happening and are given ideas of how they may be able to help.  Some people make change in the world others inspire it.  Both are needed.  Without those who inspire change, the doers wont act, without the doers change may not become a reality.  I have little power to change things but I can change things a little, and that little may be enough to inspire further change.  This is what inspires me not to give up trying to make a difference.

Well I am trying to get into a more positive state, so I can begin writing again and feeling hopeful once more.  I have very recently had some ideas for topics to write about.  I am also considering working on some other projects.  I’m going to try the best I can not to let negativity and life get in the way.  To all the negative people in my life don’t take it personal if I ignore you or avoid you, I just don’t need the negativity to drain the inspiration and positivity I am seeking.  I want to get back into writing again as I wanted to before.  I have a lot of words ahead of me I hope and I am far from being done speaking out.

Alan Curtis Montgomery

Don’t Judge Just Love (Poetry and Prose)

friends

Don’t judge just love

Why do we judge too much and love too little?

This world is filled with so many broken hearts, minds, and souls

Men, women, children carrying so much pain within

Cruelty, hurt, abuse, suffering, sickness, agony, guilt, depression, regret, pain

Weighing on them like a 1,000 bricks

Cruelly haunting them in their most heartbreaking and bitterest moments

Their hearts carry 1,000 tears

Enough tears in hearts to fill the oceans

Their minds carry 1,000 painful memories

Enough memories in minds to travel the universe

Their souls carry 1,000 mistakes

Enough mistakes in souls to wrong every right

Their bodies carry 1,000 wounds

Enough wounds in bodies to cause pain upon the entire world

Broken people with broken hearts living in a broken world trying to repair those breaks

Is it any wonder why then we suffer?

others suffer?

we cause others to suffer?

 others cause us to suffer?

Suffering people making other people suffer making people make them suffer leading to more suffering

Then we wonder why there is so much suffering in the world

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, does indeed make the whole world blind

For we are too frequently blind, deaf, and dumb to even the simplest of truths and common sense

We are often too ignorant to even realize the other’s basic humanity

We wish not to be treated unjustly or inhumanely but support just that against others

Others that we claim deserve it and we are so high and mighty we think we have such a right

A right to make such a decision to say they are not worthy of basic human compassion

That they are unworthy of love and can and should never be forgiven

Hard hearts, stone cold cynics, cruelty beyond measure

Yet many of those same people consider themselves civilized, dignified, and humane

Hypocrites thinking themselves worthy to judge the hypocrisy of others

Yet they should be turning that judgement against themselves

Their own words and beliefs condemn them

Violent people preaching against the violence of others

Cruel people preaching against the cruelty of others

Lying people preaching against the lies of others

Lewd and crude people preaching against the lewdness and crudeness of others

Ignorant people preaching against the ignorance of others

warmongers preaching for peace

the inhumane preaching for humanity

Oh the hypocrisy!

Self-righteous hypocrites who think they are superior to others

Those who make others feel inferior

Who fail to see the humanity in others

They are not fit to be judges for they have plenty to be judged by

But the world need not judge them their own conciseness when they are made aware will judge them

They will look beyond the image of the mirror and see the darkness in their own heart, mind, and soul

They will no longer be able to hide their secrets but their secrets shall be stripped bare

Shame and guilt will replace pride and self-righteousness

Until they no longer judge and just love

We must acknowledge instead within our own hearts, minds, and souls

The violence, the cruelty, the lies, the lewdness and crudeness, the ignorance

rather than condemn others for that within their hearts, minds, and souls

Our own imperfections, struggles, shames, guilts

We are all worthy of judgement but so too are we worthy of love

Let us love and not judge

by Alan Curtis Montgomery

Seeds of War: Netanyahu Sharpening Plowshares Into Swords

Netanyahu-speech-3-3-jpg

“Unlike Iran, Israel refuses to allow inspections at all, refuses to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty, has hundreds of nuclear weapons, has advanced delivery systems.” Noam Chomsky

There is one thing the United States and Israel share in common when it comes to weapons of mass destruction and war, hypocrisy.  This is not to mention the hypocrisy of conservative Christian and conservative Jewish politicians within America and Israel.  Blind patriotism and radical Zionism are as big of threats to America and Israel as Islamic extremism.  This is not blatant America and Israel bashing, this is just calling the facts as they are.

Let us look at the last decade and America’s and Israel’s warmongering.  Let us look at the militarization of both Nation’s police forces.  Let us look at the rise of the police state in both Nations.  Let us look at the hard-right turn of our political systems.  The constant fear-mongering of the ruling class and love of war.  A never-ending war on terror.  An all too common hatred of Islam, immigrants, and minorities in society.  Preaching peace while dropping bombs in wars of choice, calling for human rights while abusing human rights at home, and enriching the wealthy while starving the poor.  Enacting sanctions that are meant to punish regimes but end up hurting the everyday people of those Nations instead.  These are not actions of peaceful Nations; but the actions of hypocrites, bullies, selfish and violent people.

Make no mistake collapsing a Nations economy leading to poverty, disease, and death is a violent action.  Starving children to punish a regime is as cruel as it is foolish.  Causing people to die years prematurely because of causing a deep recession is nothing short of inhumane.  Making troubled and impoverished young men even more desperate and resentful of the West will surely lead to even more extremism, crime, and terrorism.  Sanctions I have come to really turn against them.  All we need to do is look at Cuba to see who is really hurt by sanctions and how regimes still hold onto power.

Make no mistake I love America, I support the right of Israel to exist and defend themselves, I support the US/Israel alliance, and I am a strong critic of the Iranian regime.  I however am not in favor of continuing sanctions against Iran or further escalating tensions between the two Nations.  All the sanctions have primarily done is hurt everyday Iranian men, women, and children while the regime has if anything only strengthened its position in the Middle East and world stage.

I have little faith in the Iranian regime and see them as nothing less than a hostile force to peace in the world.  A regime that can support butchers like Bashar al-Assad, thugs like Hezbollah, finance terror operations around the world, and grossly violate human rights is clearly an enemy to people across the globe.  We clearly need to continue cutting off such aid and supplies to such regimes, organizations, and individuals, along with pushing strongly for human rights and punishing abuses.  However imposing sanctions that will hurt the Iranian people is something we should not support.  Neither should we support military action against Iran because such would lead to a war that would dwarf the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and against ISIS combined.  I believe military action against Iran could easily trigger a war in the region that could devolve into something we have not seen since WWII.

The hawks in America and Israel are speaking out of both sides of their mouth as Prime Minister Netanyahu did in his speech.  On one hand they say how the sanctions “are working” and more sanctions will work even more.  That the regime is beginning to feel the sting of the sanctions and is being weakened by them.  That America and Israel have the upper hand and Iran will eventually be forced to seeing things our way.  On the other hand they say Iran is more powerful than ever, more dangerous than ever, and looking to wipe Israel off the face of the map.  That Iran is playing games and buying time.  It seems to change from day-to-day depending on which news program they are on or which question they are asked.

Iran can not be weak and strong at the same time.  The regime can not be dying and thriving simultaneously.  The sanctions can not be working and failing at the same time.  The regime can not be moving towards our direction and against us in the same negotiations.  The regime can not be looking to make concessions towards peace and plotting war within the same breath.  You can not be for war and peace in the same moment.  The neo-cons within Israel and the United States need to make up their minds about Iran because this double talk is driving me crazy.

Netanyahu did indeed give a grand speech of a statesman and ally that is sure to have a paragraph in the history books.  He did indeed spark a lot of controversy and publicity.  He even unfortunately helped strengthen the GOP Congress.  What he did not do is lay out a plan for peace or success.  He did the same thing as the Republicans in Congress; reject an agreement before it has even been finalized without offering any workable solutions of his own.  His answer to any agreement with Iran has been and will continue to be NO!  That is unless Iran gives Israel everything they want while they get little to nothing in return.  Again the same games the GOP plays with the Democratic Party and the Obama administration.  My way or the highway, your either with me or against me, all or nothing, do or die!  That is a recipe for war and conflict and is a completely opposite approach of what is needed in negotiations and agreements.

Mr. Netanyahu may be anxious to take a hard-line approach against Iran and start an armed conflict with them but most Americans have no such appetite.  I need not remind him we are currently preoccupied with fighting armed extremist in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and in various places around the Middle East.  Not to mention trying to undermine a ruthless dictator in Syria and negotiate peace in Ukraine while offering aid to help defend them from heavily armed pro-Russian separatist.  Our military is spread thin and the budget is only narrowing.  Americans are way past war fatigue and are approaching war exhaustion.  We are lifting far more than our fair share, meanwhile Netanyahu talks.

The Obama administration has done more to defend the security of Israel than any administration in history all things considered yet the perception by the GOP in America and the Likud Party in Israel seems to be President Obama is somehow anti-Israel.  Just because your sometimes critical of a friend’s actions and words does not mean you’re not friends.  In fact in my experience your best friends are often the ones who tell you like it is and remind you to be your best self.  The fact remains the US and Israel are strong allies and while our interest may overlap often it does not mean our interest are the same.  There are times, like Israel’s brutal response to Gaza rockets where Israel engaged in human rights abuses, the issue of maltreatment of Palestinians, and expansion of Israeli settlements where the US has been critical of and at odds with Israel but at the end of the day we still maintained the friendship and alliance.  There are times where our interest does not overlap and occasionally is in opposition to the other’s interest, this is just the nature of friendships and alliances.

Rather than seeking to impose more sanctions on Iran the US and Israel should be reducing their weapons of mass destruction stockpiles namely their nuclear arsenals.  Then we will have some moral credibility to expect such in others.  Rather than seeking conflict with Iran we should be using our influence to encourage Iran to improve their human rights record and turn away from conflict while we do the same simultaneously.  We should be offering the carrot instead of threatening or beating nations we disagree with the stick.  We should be striving towards peace not war, towards compassion not cruelty, towards agreements not conflicts.

Prime Minister Netanyahu must stop making plowshares into swords if he truly wants peace in Israel. He needs to not see every disagreement between the US and Israel as some kind of personal insult or as a sign the US does not stand with Israel.  He would be wise to stop the fear-mongering and this the world is against Israel and the Jewish people talking points.  He should stop seeing all of Israel’s neighbors as an existential threat to Israel.  He must stand up to the hard-right and hawks in his own party.  He lastly needs to realize an agreement with Iran where talks and monitoring continue is better than Iran quitting talking and shutting out the world or starting an armed conflict with Israel.  It’s his and Israel’s choice at the end of the day, but this is my suggestions.

There was far too much fear in the Prime Minister’s speech and no workable solutions to Iran’s nuclear ambitions that I heard him speak.  It was a 30 seconds to midnight kind of speech.  It was obviously given to undermine the administration’s effort for an agreement with Iran by convincing Congress not to sign off on it before an agreement has even been finalized.  It was quite clear he or his speech writers were pandering to an American audience by touching on themes that would play well here.  It was quite a remarkable speech in its oration but substantively it did not offer much.  Strong on rhetoric and verbal flourishes but short on substance.  What we heard is Israel is not really open to negotiations with Iran and I believe is looking to draw the United States into conflict against Iran.  I believe Benjamin Netanyahu came here to sow the seeds of war within the heart of Congress.  History I believe will look back at this speech as the beginnings of a major conflict with Iran that has the potential to be far more terrible than most can imagine.  Whatever the case I fear only regression from any progress that has thus far been made and a much worse outcome than before the speech.

Alan Curtis Montgomery