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

Bonfire Hearts: Sparks Of Change Inflaming The World

Bonfire Hearts

After listening to the song Bonfire Hearts by James Blunt I was inspired and ideas came rushing through my mind like a tidal wave.  For years I have known there is certain types of people who are in some way inspirational to others, who are seekers of truth, knowledgeable, creative, compassionate, world conscious, talented in some way such as in writing, art, poetry, acting, speeches, learning, etc….  I would include several of my friends who are among these types of people.  I follow several people like this on social networking and blogs.  Many of those I most admire in the world are among these types of people who are especially talented, creative, compassionate, knowledgeable, etc….  Most in this group are just everyday people however who in someway are trying to make the world a better place.  They have traits that allow them the ability to do that.  They are not better than anyone else just have something unique to offer the world.

I would say it is a group of people I most closely identify myself as being a part of.  I think most who know me would agree.  With myself it was not necessarily something inborn but something that developed over time from childhood to my younger adult years.  I was often curious about the world around me, why things were the way they were, interested in people telling stories.  Frequently I would be lost in thought and daydreaming.  People, nature, and music have always been sources of inspiration to me.  I was not the type that was interested in how things work in the world but why they work that way.

I was very close to my grandparents growing up and loved hearing stories of their lives and how different things used to be.  I could spend literally hours listening and speaking with them.  They I believe had a big effect on shaping me into a better person than I would have been otherwise without their influence.  Though I am no longer religious I can not deny the positive effects I believe my faith in childhood in the Mormon Church in molding me into a more loving and compassionate person than I would be otherwise.  My many years in the boy scouts I believe helped make me into a more responsible, independent, and community conscious person.  My relationship with my parents was strained in many ways, especially regarding my father, they both however in their own way helped instill positive traits within me.  With my father I would say I learned how to manage finances, life skills, and responsibility.  My mother instilled within me a deeper consciousness of the world around me, an emotional depth, and a unique way of looking at things.  Lastly siblings, other family members, teachers, leaders, friends, and others I have known in my life helped make me, me.  These were the people and things I think who most shaped me in my formative years.  Though it is no denying the many difficulties and hardships I have dealt with in life also helped shape me.

Without these people I would not have had those many sparks to light my bonfire heart.  They were the sparks that helped ignite within me the passion for the world around me.  Even the most difficult and heartbreaking situations and events in my life provided sparks.  They all good and bad provided an emotional depth and understanding of others I would not have had otherwise.   Those difficult situations and circumstances made me realize I am far emotionally stronger than I ever thought I was.  They made me realize I can survive difficult, hurtful, and unpleasant things and situations.  They made me realize I am brave not the coward and loser my father told me as a child I was.  They made me realize I am intelligent not an idiot as my father often told me.  They made me realize I am a person worthy of love, compassion, and respect not the worthless piece of garbage bullies growing up made me feel like.  They made me realize I have talents and can offer something to the world not the mentally unstable person harsh people in society have judged me as.  Those sparks were more powerful than all the negative things and people in my life.

Life and fate tried to conqueror me many times but those sparks each time lit my bonfire heart.  When I was sure I could not go on and the fire within seemed all but faded a spark and the fire within me burned once more.  When I was feeling hopeless and like giving up it is those sparks that kept me going, that made me reconsider, and realize life was worth living.  I hope I am now helping provide sparks to ignite other’s bonfire hearts through my writing and speaking with people.  That somewhere is someone struggling who is ready to give up and I help give them a little more courage to continue on.  That I help inspire within them ideas and inspiration.  That I convince them of all the good that is still in this world even in the darkest of places, in the darkest of times, in the darkest of situations.  Even in those places and times a spark or two can ignite within people the will to go on.

All around the world are people with bonfire hearts who are just lacking a spark.  That spark often comes from others or is inspiration, confidence, vision, dreams, someone who believes in them, acceptance, knowledge, insight, etc…  These are people with an abundant amount of compassion, creativity, and talent who often are unaware of the inborn or developed gifts they have. They just need a spark or two and their hearts and minds may burn with new insight and depth.  There is so many people out there who just need a few sparks and they will burn within so brightly in their hearts and minds it will surprise people.  Those who mock them and don’t believe in them will be the ones getting burned when they realize the ones they criticize have a potential and gifts they will never have.  Be careful writing people off; it is often those people when sparks ignite their bonfire heart who burn brightest.

A wildfire of inspiration, creativity, compassion, knowledge, and new ways of thinking is igniting people’s bonfire hearts it seems in the last few years.  I think every generation has had such people, but they are more numerous today percentage of the population than ever before.  We are so fortunate to be alive during this time, of this modern-day renaissance that seems to be occurring.  Yes the world is filled with worry and woe as it always has been but we have the ability to overcome that and thrive in spite of all that.  New times, same old problems and new problems, but we have access to more solutions to fix those problems than ever before.  Many of our problems we have ourselves and in society are caused by ourselves.  That means most likely the solutions lie within us to fix those problems.

Not ever problem has a solution, not all suffering will end, and you don’t have to be very old to know life is not fair, but we have the potential to make the world burn much brighter than it is.  We have the potential to cast off the darkness in the world by letting our bonfire hearts shine brightly.  Shine so brightly the hearts of many are inspired.  Let those of us with bonfire hearts start a wildfire in the hearts and minds of others until the world is better than the one we were born into.  That new generations will not know the hardships, sufferings, mistakes, violence, cruelty, war, loss that have so plagued us for generations.  That they instead can focus their efforts on making the world better than trying to survive a hard and cruel world.  That they will develop bonfire hearts that will outshine all of ours.  That they will see past our prejudices and ignorance and instead see what is within the hearts, minds, and souls of their fellow humanity.

That war on the battlefield resulting in misery and bloodshed will be replaced with the war of ideas, a war on poverty, a war against ignorance, a war against cruelty and violence, a war against prejudice and bigotry, a war to make the world better rather to make more suffering in the world.  That weapons will be replaced with words and agreements.  That rather than worrying about the world going extinct they will be able to respect and renew this earth.  That sickness and disease will be something that is a temporary nuisance, not a lifetime struggle, or death sentence.  That suffering and misery will be less as knowledge and compassion grow.

This is a dream maybe, but why not imagine such a world rather than envisioning a world headed for destruction or contemplate about all the current miseries in the world than we alone can solve.  If we imagine and strive far enough, we at least will make the world better than we found it upon our birth.  If we fail we tried, we lived, we laughed, we cried, we smiled, we died.  We will have allowed those many sparks out there to light our bonfire hearts and kept that fire burning in the generations that will soon step up to lead.  A growing fire with human consciousness that knows no bigotry or class just the worth and value of every human being.  This can be our future rather than the path of misery and destruction the world appears to be heading at times.  Let us make it a reality.  Let us let our bonfire hearts burn for as long and brightly as we can.  Let us replace hatred and cruelty within our hearts with love and compassion.  Let us be our best selves and allow the world to be touched by our bonfire hearts.

With a burning desire for change in the world,

Alan Curtis Montgomery

Stop Giving Haters and Hurtful People A Platform!

I am talking to my fellow left-wing activist, bloggers, and media most of all.  I am sick of seeing articles, video clips, or audio clips of some extreme right-winger, preacher, bigot, or cruel person saying or doing something hateful or hurtful.  Why give these assholes a platform?  There is some left-wing and activist blogs and media I actually quit following because they often give a platform to extreme right-wingers, hateful preachers, bigots, or cruel people to have their hate be spread all over the Internet and in the media.

Sure activist, bloggers, and media are posting it with good intentions to criticize it or mock it.  However it does not change the fact their hateful statement, speech, or act is being disseminated all over the Internet and media.  Don’t they realize these bigots get off on that kind of stuff.  They love it that the left, those who are gay, lesbian, or transgender, Jews, Muslims, immigrants, etc… are outraged over it.  They love it even more that those they are against are the ones unknowingly spreading their message for them.  The left has unwittingly turned right-wing extremist and hateful and hurtful nobodies into Internet and media sensations overnight.  All of a sudden they are getting all the attention they so desperately crave.

They are like a child or teenager acting out in extreme ways or saying extreme things, to get the attention they seek or attempting to get their way.  Any experienced parent will tell you, giving into them when they do this only encourages them to keep doing it.  The child or teenager may even step up their game and do or say something even more outrageous when they see what their doing isn’t working.  Eventually though if the parent doesn’t give into them they will usually give up and realize there is more effective and better ways to get the attention they are seeking or to get what they want.  Even better if the child or teenager is given negative consequences for acting out.  They will learn not only will they not get attention or what they are seeking they will make their situation worse.  It wont take long before most will learn that is not an effective way to do things.  I realize right-wing extremist and hate-mongers are not children but they often act like them.  Therefore treating them like a child is the best method in dealing with them.

These right-wing extremist and hate mongers are like children or teenagers acting out and seeking attention.  When they say or do something outrageous lets just simply ignore them. Don’t even respond to their comments, speech, video, actions etc…  If we do respond it just encourages them to keep doing it.  Making us upset is what their trying to do, why give them the satisfaction? I realize it is very difficult to ignore them when they say or do something so outrageous, but in the end it almost always is the best course of action.  Instead one may want to publish something positive and disproving of whatever the bigoted and hurtful person has said or do something positive as a protest against their negative action.

It is all about being proactive rather than reactive.  This is a major theme I am working on this year; looking for proactive solutions and to be more proactive in my life. This is just my thoughts on the matter and how I plan to respond by either not responding at all or responding in a proactive way.  I urge others to do the same thing.  Lets stop giving these ignorant, hateful, misanthropic, immature bigots the attention they seek.

Alan Curtis Montgomery

Never Go Silent: Free Speech In The Age Of Terror, Political Correctness, And Big Brother

Silent man

Found via Bing Image Search – Source http://www.wsandb.co.uk/

“Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas.”

Joseph Stalin

Shut your mouth…Be quiet…Silence! You can’t talk about things like that.  There is certain things you just don’t discuss.  You’ll offend people.  It may be the truth but there is certain truths people just can’t handle.  It gives a bad name to (insert social group here) we just can’t cover that story or topic.  It will ignite too much controversy, it will cause too much negative publicity, the backlash will be too great.  It gives fuel to the haters, the racist, the bigots, the religious fundamentalist, the gun nuts, the conservatives, the liberals, the feminist, the gays, immigrants, Muslims.  It will upset the base, our campaign donors, our lobbyist, our lawyers, our members, the American people. It will cause our advertisers to leave, we will lose readers and revenue, it will put us on the government’s watch list. We received significant threats and even death threats its just not worth the risk pursuing.  What if there is another terrorist attack or troubled right/left-wing extremist that may be incited by publishing this?  We have our shareholders to keep happy and lawyers are breathing down our neck.  We may be sued, face legal challenges, or cause a media firestorm.  No lets just sit down, shut up, don’t rock the boat, not make too much noise, don’t draw too much negative attention to ourselves, let’s make the safest choice.

There is definitely something to be said for a reasonable degree of self-censorship, prudence, and forethought but when taken too far it can stifle creative genius, not allow necessary debate, cause important topics to not be discussed, cause people who would have benefited from it to continue to be ignored or have issues that are relevant to them to be ignored, occasionally even a lost opportunity to help spark a movement, a debate, a social revolution, a fad, to help change hearts and minds, to bring about change.  It is not an exaggeration to say often among the most significant or widely regarded works rather writing, speeches, art, theatre, motion pictures, etc…  the creator(s) took significant risk.  If the creative minds behind those works considered all those things mentioned in the first paragraph the world would be deprived of so many works and changes that the world just takes for granted they exist today.  Besides it being such a dull and boring world.

Without free speech being so central to American ideals and values, the America most of us love would not exist.  Furthermore the entire world would be a different place had free speech not have been so valued today in free Nations around the world.  It is that wellspring of new ideas, ways of thinking, and revolutionary thought that has continued to allow freedom to flourish in spite of all the forces trying to work against it.  It has allowed the technology, innovations, and creativity we all have come to expect to continue.  Yeah sure sometimes it is offensive, sometimes it crosses many people’s moral and ethical lines, sometimes people take advantage of it and do hurtful things with it, sometimes people test legal lines or even cross over them at times, sometimes it causes bad things to happen.  However the good that comes from free speech far outweigh the not as good or bad that comes from it.  Far more are helped and benefited by free speech than are hurt or disadvantaged by it.

Sure free speech can be painful at times when you are a minority or more looked down upon as it may seem your being attacked by everyone from all directions.  Sure it is used the utmost by hateful, hurtful, or deeply disturbed people to cause many problems for others.  Sure there is a huge gap when it comes to those extremely supportive of civil liberties on the left and right and those strongly communitarian on the left and socially conservative on the right.  However the solution to all that is more free speech not less. Free speech can also be used to speak up for a minority and gain empathy for those looked down upon.  Free speech can be used by loving, compassionate, and rational people to help people. Free speech can also allow discussion and debate on the topic of free speech and all the other political and social issues people fight over.  Free Speech is the thing that allows people to express their heart and mind to the world and express themselves.  It is not just useful in a democracy it is vital; without it democracy and freedom could not long endure.

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”

There is some who feel threatened by free speech however.  They see it as allowing too much freedom, inspire too many things they see as negative, and is offensive to their political, social, or religious viewpoints.  They would scream holy terror if their free speech was unfairly restricted or taken away from them.  They however have no problem restricting speech in others or even seeking to take away the right in some.  This is common in very socially conservative people on the right and those very communitarian and extremely politically correct on the left.  Free speech is something that is always under threat and needs constant defending, that is the case with most rights and freedoms.  There is always those who try to undermine those things, restrict them, or occasionally seek to take them away.

The ultimate example of this kind of fascist attempt to silence free speech came from the terrorist who committed the attack in Paris.  They literally permanently silenced by murdering those they didn’t agree with, were offended by, and felt threatened by the ideas that were being expressed.  It was an act of barbarity and savagery not commonly seen in modern times in America and Western Europe.  We are so used to being free and safe for the most part we rarely consider those who would attempt to fight against our rights and freedoms or harm us in some way.  We seem to forget we live in a dangerous and uncertain world and the cost of freedom is far from free.  Anything else we convince ourselves of is just self-deception and a societal illusion.  These attacks remind us of these truths we rather not typically consider and most of the time that is a good thing.

We must not allow ourselves to become cynical, fearful, and undermining of freedom for promises of safety.  However neither we should allow ourselves to become blind sheep, dangerously oblivious to what is going on in the world around us, and unprepared to respond to violence and all the negative things in our world.  We can enjoy the freedom we all value and still be aware of the risk that may come from that.  We must never forget the struggles our predecessors went through to bring us the rights, liberties, and freedoms we so highly value and all the great sacrifices they had to make to defend those.  For if we forget those things we will not be free for long and free speech will be cast to the wayside.

We should never allow ourselves to go silent as long as we have the ability to express ourselves.  We should not allow terrorist and threats of terror cause us to censor ourselves.  If we do allow fear to silence us then we have given terrorism a victory and will only encourage future acts of terror.  We should instead use our freedom of speech and the freedom of press to fight for those who have no such freedoms and have no such voice.  To speak for the issues that could be benefited by our voice, writing, and creative projects.  To discuss things that are important but that aren’t getting the coverage in the media they deserve.  To get discussion and debate going.  Finally to help defend and advance the rights, freedoms, and liberty of others and ourselves.  Free Speech is the most powerful weapon we have and we should use it the utmost to fight against all those who are hostile to our rights, freedom, and liberty.

We must ignore the cynics, the pessimist, the doomsayers, and continue to believe in the hopes and dreams we have or once had.  We must not become defeatist and fatalistic in our outlook thinking we have no power to shape our and others future for the better.  We should not become hopeless and have feelings of being helpless to change negative situations.

No terror can so terrorize, no tyrant so tyrannize, no force can be so forceful that it can conquer our hearts and minds unless we allow it.  As long as that passion burns within our hearts and that spark of creativity and genius in our minds we will never be defeated.  Even death will not defeat us because those same passions burn within the hearts of others and those same sparks of creativity and genius in the minds of others.  There will be others to continue where we left off and keep our hopes and dreams alive.  Men and women are mortal but ideas do not die.  Oh ideas may change, go out of fashion, be forgotten but they do not die.

The terrorist failed because they tried to kill ideas and those will never die.  The artists and writers killed creative works have been seen all over the world and are found in many places in the world. They live on and will inspire many more creative works yet the terrorist are dead.  Though I do not agree with or like all the artist and writers works and opinions I admire their bravery, creative genius, and defend their right to free speech and a free press.  I see it not only as an attack on them, as an attack on France, but as an attack on freedom and civilization itself.  The terrorist must realize their tyranny and barbarity will never be accepted in free societies and will be fought against continually.  Ideas will live on, freedom in the end will conquer tyranny, and humanity will prevail against barbarity.  There is an entire generation who is or soon will be coming of age and will ensure rights, freedoms, and liberty will continue to prevail and tyranny and barbarity will be constantly defeated whenever it appears.  A generation that will ensure words and ideas will never die.

Alan Curtis Montgomery

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”

Robin Williams

The Value Of Everyone vs Life Is Cheap

Life Is Not Cheap

Children are seen beside their relative Mohammed Ali Khan, 15, a student, at his house in Peshawar, Pakistan – Source: Copyright NBC News http://www.nbcnews.com

The only thing that concerns me more than the amount of hate and cruelty in the world is the devaluing of humanity.  When men’s hearts get so hard they can reduce themselves to such a level they can purposely and savagely murder scores of children, they have indeed fallen to a terrible and sorry state.  These savage and barbaric acts of cruelty absent of any human love and mercy are truly frightening and disheartening that human beings could inflict such atrocities on any of their fellow-man let alone among the most vulnerable and innocent amongst them.  These acts show what terrible creatures humans are capable of being.  Thankfully most of humanity chooses instead to follow the good and better things that are part of our humanity.

While the men who carried out the merciless and cruel attack against Pakistani school children chose hate and cruelty, many more people as pictured above, choose instead compassion and love.  While the men who carried out the attack had no respect or concern for human life, many more as pictured above, have respect for the dignity of human life.  While the men who carried out the attack brought so much pain to the world, many more as pictured above, bring healing to one another.

I believe the thing that allowed the Pakistan school shooting to happen along with the many other terrorist attacks and mass killings that have taken place in the world is philosophies and ideologies that devalue human life.  Any philosophy or ideology that promotes, advocates for, and advances cruelty and death is one at war with humanity.  It is an enemy of humanity.  It is something we should condemn not embrace.  It has no place in a loving, compassionate, and civilized society.  It corrupts the hearts and minds of those who adopt it and brings an incalculable amount of pain, suffering, and misery to the world.  It has nothing to do with religion, peace, truth, justice, or law.  It only has to do with a perversion of religion or philosophy, war, lies, injustice, and lawlessness.  In as much as it is followed in the world and forced upon people it is something we allow to gain a foothold at our own peril.

The men who carried out the attack had a life is cheap mentality.  Those children and adults lives they savagely ended meant nothing to them.  They were there to destroy and terrify for a cause that means nothing.  They would not even allow themselves to feel empathy for frightened and terrified children.  They were as terrifying wolves who came in to devour the lambs.  All traces of human compassion, mercy, and decency cut off and all that was left in their evil hearts was hate, cruelty, and barbarity.  What philosophy and ideology can be so consuming to the heart, mind, and soul it brings men to such a terrible and beastly state?  Whatever it is, it is a philosophy and ideology that needs to be taken out by the root wherever it is being propagated.  It must not be allowed to sprout in the minds of the young, its roots take hold of troubled young men, its evil fruit corrupt the hearts of men.  These philosophies and ideologies are a weed on the human consciousness that must be eradicated.

We can choose to ignore it and pretend it does not exist or is a distant problem.  We can pretend oceans and borders are a force field that protect us from such pain in the world.  We can say it is not our problem.  We can hope we will not have to make any sacrifices, pay any price, bear any burden.  We can image it will go away on its own, that peace and diplomacy alone will combat such, that others will do it all for us.  We can allow our ideology to blind us to the reality before us.  We can rationalize, minimize, change the subject all we want.  It will inevitably though be staring at us in the face and threatening the people and things we most value in the world.  Let it not take another tragedy closer to home before we realize we are all in the world together.  That borders and oceans separate us from each other but they do not separate our shared humanity.

The reality is neither can the sword address the issue on which I speak.  This is not to say there is not times when in order to preserve innocent human life the sword may be required, only that it can not truly change hearts and minds.  Besides the sword should only be used as a last resort and should never be wielded lightly.  To those who have interpreted what I said as a condemnation of Islam are also mistaken.  The men who committed the terrorist attack on the Pakistan school or those who team up with ISIS are no more Islamic than Nazis are Christians.  Such men are the antithesis of what Islam and the other world’s great religions at their heart stand for.  I as a non-believer am not here to defend and advance religion only to say religion is not the problem here.  The problem is at its root; ideologies and philosophies that are contrary to humanity.  Though often those ideologies and philosophies may be wrapped up in things like nationalism and religion to make them more attractive to people.

The only true way to combating such philosophies and ideologies is by appealing to the hearts and minds of people.  By promoting, advocating for, and advancing ideology and philosophies that values the life of everyone and understands the great value of human life.  Such should be promoted in social circles, political ideologies, and within secular and religious institutions.  This to combat and contrast the ideology and philosophies promoted by terrorist organizations and hate groups.  Along with advocating for a better and more loving world.

Understand young people need to be a given an alternative that they can identify with than what such organizations and groups promote.  This is especially critical in places around the world where such organizations and groups have been making gains and advances in recruiting young people into their hateful and violent ideologies and philosophies.  In impoverished places where social and political corruption is widespread and war and conflict is a common occurrence it is even more critical such takes place.

It is well-known terrorist organizations and hate groups prey on vulnerable and troubled young people to join their cause and this is especially the case when speaking of areas of the world as mentioned above.  We must do what we can to protect such young people from these organizations and groups and offer them alternatives.  This also works when speaking of organized crime, criminal cartels and gangs.  As far as those already involved in such organizations and groups we need to provide ways for them to safely escape such organizations and groups.  This may include things like police or military protection.  There also may have to be depending on the circumstances, things like immunity from prosecution or legal deals offered before many will be willing to leave.  Few will attempt to leave if they know they will be killed or severely prosecuted if they do so. Make no mistake doing nothing will ensure these type of organizations and groups will continue to thrive and make gains in the world.  These organizations and groups are doomed in the end if they fail to recruit new members to join or fail to keep the members they have.

Some are drawn to the excitement or perks offered by such organizations and groups.  Again legal and ethical alternatives need to be available to younger people.  Those interested in the fighting and military aspects of such organizations and groups may instead be won over by joining police and security forces or the military.  They must of course be taught the legal and ethical guidelines required of them in the military or police and security forces.  Those interested in financial gain need to have more opportunities for making an honest living and escaping the poverty in which they find themselves.  Those looking for fun and excitement need to be offered things to do that are fun and exciting that don’t involve illegal or unethical activity.  Those looking to just rebel and live life on the edge and outside the law need to be taught the high risk and often high cost that come with such a lifestyle.  That such lives often end far too early, tragically, and are often damaging and destructive to themselves and others.  That prison or death are how their lives are likely to end if they choose to live in such a way.  No these things will not be enough to stop all from joining such organizations and groups but it will convince enough to choose another path instead, they will be more than worth the cost and effort that they will take.

The United States and other Nations all should be involved in coming up with programs and opportunities for younger people around the world to address these issues.  It is a proactive way rather than a reactive way to deal with terrorism, organized crime, criminal gangs and cartels.  It is so much better to save a young person from a life of crime and terrorism than fighting that person on the streets or battlefield at a later date.  Education and alternatives not bullets and bombs.  The value of everyone should be a philosophy and ideology we adopt, not life is cheap.  Saving just one young person from a life of crime and terrorism can untimely save many lives, his own along with all the others that would otherwise be harmed or killed by his actions.  Saving a handful of young people could potentially save hundreds or even thousands.  Saving hundreds or thousands of young people could save millions.  It is something we need to make much more effort in as I see it being the only long-term and lasting solution.  We can not fight our way out of these problems.

As mentioned governments and major organizations need to act, in the meantime non-profits and individuals need to find ways to act irregardless of the inaction or actions of governments and organizations.  Such changes may indeed sprout from the grass-roots.  We need to do more to promote the value of everyone and fight against the life is cheap mentality endorsed by some.  We need to be proactive to addressing these problems rather than reactive.  We need to find non-violent ways to address terrorism and crime or we are looking at a terrible and violent future ahead of us.  Let us as a Nation and world focus far more of our efforts on saving lives, not ending lives.  It begins with saving a single life from a life of misery and death that crime and terrorism brings.

Alan Curtis Montgomery

My 2015 New Year’s Wish For More Love and Less Hurt In The World

HurtI see in the world today too much hurt on too many faces.  I see far too much hate and far too little love in the world.  I see violence beyond measure and peace seems distant and far-reaching.  Young people in the prime of their lives seem to have lost hope.  The joy of childhood has been replaced with fear, hurt, and loss for children in war-torn and poverty-stricken areas around the world.  The dignity of old age has been replaced with hardship and uncertainty.

What we do have, what we have forgotten, is we have each other.  What we need to remember is we have reasons to be hopeful.  What we must never forget is all the goodness, beauty, and love that exist in the world and in the hearts of so many.  In difficult and trying times we have to sometimes look harder for these things, but they are there.  Oftentimes the goodness is covered by imperfections, faults, and mistakes but underneath it likely exist.  Sometimes the beauty is cloaked by the ugliness of hardship and the ugliness within man but it often still exist deep within hearts and minds.  There are times love seems distant or absent but behind the sometimes pain, prejudice, and judgment that powerful, comforting, and healing thing we humans call love can still frequently be found.  We must seek out these things, for these things make the world worth living in.  Dare we imagine a world absent of these things?

A world without love is a world void of humanity.  A world without goodness is a world too harsh and cruel to survive in.  A world without beauty is a world too ugly to stand to long dwell in.  A world without peace is a world soon to end.  A world without hope is suicidal.  A world without joy is one too heartbroken to go on.  A world without rights, liberty, and dignity is a world unfit for humanity.

The world is in our hands in as much we have the ability to affect change on it.  Some of humanities suffering is largely outside their control but much of the suffering humanity endures is caused by humanity.  In other words humanity causes the majority of suffering to humanity.  We as a species sometimes seem so committed to self-destruction and hurting others it is downright shameful and depressing.  At times it seems somewhat of a miracle the human species has survived this long being this fact.  This suggest there is enough knowledge, wisdom, reason, altruism, cooperation, forgiveness, compassion, empathy, and love within the human race to overcome this sobering reality.  That all of the positive and mostly positive attributes of humanity are more powerful than our less than positive and negative attributes.  This should give us hope for the future.

If enough of us attempt to foster more love and less hurt in the world, we will have made a better world.  We will have overcome some of the hate and hurt in the world.  In our quest for more love and less hurt we need to be most assured we are not instead creating more hate and hurt in the world instead.  Loving some white hating others will not help bring more love to the world.  Trying to help some by hurting others will not bring less hurt to the world.  This is a trap we as humanity often fall into, which is a major reason good intentions have often failed.  Love will best succeed when it is universally felt for all of humanity. Creating less hurt in the world be most successful when the goal is to create less hurt for all of humanity.  We must wish for others, the same things we wish for ourselves.

Perhaps this is just youthful idealism and naivety that I have not yet let go of.  Maybe I am just a dreamer.  Then again maybe I and the world are just too imperfect to be able to affect or effect change.  What if we do fail though, what is the harm?  I can think of no more glorious a failure than failing while trying to help one’s fellow humanity and the world on which one lives.  Better to die knowing you failed while trying your hardest than to die while not trying at all.  Doing nothing will ensure nothing changes.

My intuition is though we collectively who are committed to help foster more love and less hurt in the world will succeed.  That the world we leave behind will be better than we found it.  That future generations will not have to endure as much sufferings and miseries as we do today.  That they will live in a world with more love and less hurt than we today have.  I do not share the pessimism, cynicism, fear, doubt, and hopelessness of far too many.  Perhaps one day I will fall into despair and give into all those things mentioned here which I have had to continually fight against both within myself and others.  I hope though if that day comes there will be others there to encourage me and remind me what I have forgotten and the dreams I once had.  That if and when the cynicism of middle and old age take hold of me at a future date there will be others there, likely younger people, who will cause me to believe once more.

Brotherly Love

I am far from alone in this wish for more love and less hurt in the world.  There are people all over the world helping to advance that very thing. Some of who are better and more capable persons than I.  Some had to overcome far more than I.  A number of them have inspired me personally.  They inspire within me the positive attributes within me and dissuade the less than positive and negative faults I have.  They make me want to be a better man and do more positive things with my life.  Some of them are just ordinary people I know and some are more well-known people who I have learned things from.  Some are just people I have crossed paths with in life only briefly.  All of them have influenced me, encouraged me, and helped shape me into a better person.  I would not be writing this article, participating in this positive activism, or be as good of a person without them.

We all need people like this in our world and in our lives, those who encourage us to be our best selves.  I truly would have been lost and completely broken without them.  I have teamed up with some of them to advocate for change and I have found together we were able to accomplish far more together than all of us alone put together would have been able to.  All over social media and in the world in general there is people trying to do positive things in the world and when I run across them I try to encourage them.  To let them know they are being heard and are appreciated.  That what their saying matters and is meaningful.

As a writer and someone who is involved in my own activism I do not have near as much time as I would like to follow the writing and activism of others but I am making more time to do so.  I feel bad for all those trying to do something positive in the world and are not being heard and noticed.  At the same time angry that those doing such negative and hurtful things in the world are too often heard loud and clear and noticed frequently.  This tells me we as a world don’t have our priorities quite right and we are too often paying attention to the wrong people.

I try not to judge those advocating for positive change and see past their faults.  I am far too imperfect a man to spend long judging the faults of others.  Sometimes I get into disagreements with them or am upset with something they said, believe, or did.  Then I remind myself to look past this and see within them that which attracted my attention and admiration to them to begin with.  To get off my high horse and love more and judge less.  To speak less and listen more. To be more empathetic and forgiving.

Many of them in their own way are fighting for more love and less hurt in the world, and I should be encouraging them.  Many of them are people who overcame a lot, who have a lot of hurt in their lives, who oftentimes feel unloved and unappreciated.  Their writing and activism is partly their attempt to reach out to others and we should reach out to them.  I know of few writers and activist involved in human rights and other rights issues who have not overcome many struggles in their lives.  Many are drawn to writing and activism out of their pain.  We need to be careful judging those trying to do right.

This new years my wish is for more love and less hurt in the world.  I believe we are more than capable to bring about this change.  I believe we need to encourage people working towards these goals.  I believe we need more voices advocating for these things.  That the best way to bring about more love and less hurt; is to love more and develop more compassion, empathy, and mercy within ourselves and to show more to others.  It is a simple wish but one needed more today than ever before.

Wishing you a Happy New Year and more love and less hurt in your life and the world around you,

Alan Curtis Montgomery