Columbus Day by Arthur Cola

Tomorrow our nation celebrates Columbus Day. For those of us of Italian heritage this is particularly significant as he was an Italian who sought to find a new route to Asia by sailing west thus proving that the world was round. He instead founded an entirely new land which he claimed for King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain who had financed his expedition. When he landed on a variety of islands including those of the Bahamas, Cuba, and what is the island hosting present day Haiti and Dominican Republic, he met what he called their “Inhabitants.” He described them not by color but by demeanor and bodily capabilities which he noted were not unlike those who came with him. He noted that they did not have arms and were fearful of them and that they were liberal in their acceptance of them once their fears were calmed. he thought they would become Christians and come to love the King of Spain and “all its people.”
As radical leftists seek to rewrite our history and destroy all references to it in monuments erected, let us recall some simple reasons why we honor such people. First of all, we must remember that Columbus was a 15th century person. Judging people of that day through 21st century eyes and reason is hardly fair or appropriate. Showing how people have evolved to better understand people of various cultures and native heritage is most appropriate to be sure. Prejudicing students against valiant explorers, patriots and so forth serve little to help them understand how humanity is constantly evolving to be more accepting, open and tolerant. This unfortunately is not happening as I can point out that my own grandson is being told in class how awful a man Columbus was. This brings me to the second point. Columbus was not a bad man. He was a man of strong faith and conviction. He thought converting native inhabitants and bringing them to love his King was his duty. He traded with the populations he found, true but with the hope of bringing them to accept his people coming to their land. He even was placed into prison back in Spain after later voyages because of his more humane treatment of the inhabitants and lack of political skills to combat others of his people who would abuse and take advantage of a more primitive people. Columbus in his own writings depict native inhabitants as honest and liberal in their sharing with his people. Certainly he made mistakes, show me a leader who has not. And that brings me to my final point. We humans are not perfect then or in our own time, though some would have students believe that a certain point of view is perfect. Columbus was not perfect in the 21st century sense or 15th century reality. But he was courageous, he tried to bring what he deemed a superior civilization to the lands he found with as much honesty as was possible in his time. He wanted to bring wealth to his King and nation of Spain, that is true. But he did so not out of hate for the people he found but out of duty to repay his monarchs who supported his voyages despite ridicule of very powerful people of his day. We honor him for finding a new land not for what resulted from that discovery. We erected statues to his memory not because he was perfect in his administration of those new lands and handling of its native peoples but because he proved to the world of his day that his premise of the earth being round, that a new land existed between Europe and the East existed and that the science of his day was in error. And one more thing; he had a deep faith in God and his Church. Today people of faith are mocked and ridiculed for certain beliefs. which I as a Christian may not hold valid (i.e. disrespecting people because of their faith, sexual orientation, view of the world) but I respect religious convictions and moral values which uphold life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And so I think would Columbus were he allowed to freely express his personal views honestly without Viceroys and governments judging his every motive. This I state as a history teacher of many decades and one who professes that we learn from our mistakes made since the founding of civilization on the banks of the Tigris River and far off lands in what is now Asia.

You may not agree with how Columbus viewed the world he discovered or certainly how he governed it. Certainly I do not approve nor support any view of how the native peoples were eventually treated by the newcomers to the New World. But that is not why I march in a Columbus day parade. I do so out of pride for an ancestral countryman of an ancient people who believed in a loving God and used the science of his day to prove to the known world that his view of the earth was correct and in doing so gave the people of the western world the opportunity to settle in a new world to them. It is our duty now to work within our belief systems to right the wrongs of centuries past and make sure that no people are mistreated because they are different, not as developed as we in prosperous and technologically advanced lands, or not as sophisticated in their understanding of a divine being as we view God to be.

Happy Columbus Day.

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NFL Protests vs National Unity

In our nation filled with hate over who won the Presidential election we once found a place of common ground on which we could forget our differences and unite in our love of the game and the vision of what our nation symbolizes. No greater symbol of our common bond and our nationhood can be found than our Flag and National anthem and an exciting football game between our favorite team and greatest rival. When the flag is presented thousands rise to their feet and then as the anthem is played and/or sung our hands are lifted to cover our hearts. Then at it’s conclusion a roar of approval fills the stadium. The cheers are for our nation and what it symbolizes despite that we are flawed. Then the fun begins as we cheer, jeer and yell for our team. Then win or lose we return to reality and to our respective lives in a divided nation. For a few hours we had escaped that reality and became recharged to face the real world once again.

This scenario began to change when under the former President’s administration a wealthy football player took a knee during the Flag presentation and singing of the anthem. Outrage ensued as he cited that he could not support a nation in which injustice exists towards people of his race by the police. Soon other players began to take such postures and still no response from President Obama. All over the media the first amendment right to such free speech was proclaimed thus justifying what most Americans held as sacred hands off symbols of our values based on those statements in our founding documents. “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, that all men are created equal and that these rights are God given and inalienable.
The protests grew and the common ground where we of different views and vision of “we the people” began to shake and crack. Outrage towards these acts of sitting or kneeling during the anthem grew until the new President (Trump) who promised to speak on behalf of the millions who had no voice or platform from which to present their opinions, spoke out at a political rally. Using words, which many of us would prefer to have been different, while still presenting the core value that it is disrespectful  and outrageous to use our national symbols for political purposes or grandstanding he plainly told his audience and thus the nation what he thought and what millions who have no voice also thought. That is athletes who play on a national team are more than mere players. They represent the possibilities available to all Americans for success. Yet instead of being proud of their nation these players, their managers and owners because of their hate for the President chose to expand the protests during the Flag presentation and anthem segment before their games. Now they try to legitimize their acts saying it’s a racial issue when the president has  made it clear that it’s a matter of respect not race. Yet the nation only hears and sees the images of kneeling or sitting and words which speak of solidarity and a call to lock arms during the anthem.
My question is exactly what are we uniting for? I present that it’s no more than a protest against the President. I call for all Americans to stand strong shoulder to shoulder with hands over their hearts to show honor and respect for our nation; a land where those on that field found opportunity to rise from inner city slums, find careers after service to their nation, use their skills to bring joy and excitement to millions and use taxpayer money in many cases to build those stadiums on that sacred common ground now cracked. Now canyons separating “we the people” from rejoicing together, working together and creating a dialogue on real issues of justice, peace, equality, economic opportunities, health care, and tax reform for the middle class (of which most players, managers and certainly owners can no longer relate to).
The greatest sign of Unity is our American flag and our national anthem. Come to their rescue and return us to honor of them on the sacred common ground of sports. Then just maybe we may continue this journey of American democracy with civility and respect even for those for whom we didn’t vote.

Arthur Colaianni

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Dissent amongst the GOP on Health Care

Below is my view on GOP Senators who don’t support the Senate Health Care Bill.

Dear Sen. Johnson;
I am disappointed to read that you are one of four Republicans who is not supporting the Senate health care bill. Whether or not your concerns are valid, it plays right into the hands of the Democrats and radicals who are out to destroy anything on the Trump agenda which is the American People’s agenda when it comes right down to it.

When one lives in a nation of over 350 million people of whom half are considered low middle class and of those many are what we call the working poor, how does one not see that programs like Medicaid are essential. If it was up to me I would have scrapped the entire Obamacare system and simply left a free insurance system in which the American people who can afford to may choose their provider across state lines. Then those who could not afford a health plan or are infirm or out of work would have their health care needs provided for through an assistance program similar to the VA system perhaps. But it’s too late to address the core issue of the Obamacare program and that is helping those who have not achieved the American Dream get insured, but if those who are retired, infirm or economically deprived can’t afford a health plan or if it’s deductibles are too high then what good is it. They will need to get subsidized and thus a tax would be needed to support the subsidy (Obamacare) so why not just have a Government sponsored program administered through the states which helps struggling people get the health care they may need. Why not have health care systems set aside funds to support the care of those who come for health care who cannot afford to pay the entire cost of the service? Such a fund with government grants would address the issue which is now a politically hot topic.

But it’s too late for such a program, we already have something, though falling apart, which does some of that. And that is the genius of Obamacare. Now that we have, though imperfect and non-sustainable, a program to help the disadvantaged anything the GOP does to alter it will seem to say that they are heartless politicians who would see Grandma thrown off a cliff or the poor die in the gutter of our inner city streets. Obama, honed his political skills in the tough town of Chicago. That’s why the Dems under Pelosi said that we could learn about the original Obamacare bill after it was passed. Get the bill made into law and then America is stuck with it, simply genius. And yet the GOP aren’t allowed even the slightest similar approach before it is decried as being secretive and non-transparent. So the GOP publishes an imperfect bill and instead of looking for the good in it and looking to the reconciliation process to refine it, four Senators put the “stop” on it before it has a chance to reach the floor of the Senate. Once again the Dems win even though they continue to lose Congressional races. Once again President Trump loses as he fights to save his administration from an unprecedented onslaught which even now attacks his family. Hollywood and the east and west coast elites may not be able to buy an election but they do know how to keep themselves in the spotlight positively and destroy the credibility of any plan the GOP offers to the American people.

If there is any hope that the Affordable Health Care Act can be repealed and replaced then it must be through a unified approach among the Republicans. The four Senators, the Freedom Caucus and other such members of Congress who oppose before offering a viable alternative plan destroys that hope to create for the American people a bright future with better health care opportunities, simpler and lower tax rates, a booming economy and a safe and more peaceful nation.

I urge all Republicans to put aside their narrow visions for what is best, their grudges against the nontraditional President, and reach beyond their local base so that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness might be viable goals for all our people.

Wishing you every success, I remain sincerely yours;
Arthur Colaianni (Burlington,WI)
Www.legendarytalesofarthurcola.com
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Author, Screenplays and Speaker:
Arthur Cola

Novels:
Family Friendly:
Papa and the Leprechaun King
The Shamrock Crown
Stolen Christmas
PG13/adult Novels:
The Stone Cutter Genius
The Brooch (New for 2012 on Kindle and at http://www.feedaread.com )

Journey of Three Pure Hearts

Pure and Tatnished Hearts

Torn And United Hearts

Screenplays:
Ring of the Magi
The Brooch
The Shamrock Crown
The Leprechaun King

Children’s Book: Papa and the Gingerbread Man

Ordering sites:
http://www.feedaread.com/arthurcola
http://www.amazon.com/kindle/arthurcola

Blog: http://www.arthurcolalegendarytales.wordpress.com

 

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Reflection on the Paris Accord

The Paris accord was an agreement which placed the USA at a great disadvantage to other nations economically. While restrictions to our fuel and manufacturing enterprises were formed to stifle our position as an economic and political power in the global community;
nations which contributed to the climate issue didn’t set rules for themselves until decades later and yet they add more co2 to our planet than us. The President has not called for an end to saving the planet nor the further reduction of our footprint but he had called for a system which is fair to America while also making sure that we have the cleanest air and water possible. That’s a far cry from what others are accusing him of trying to do. I have written to President Trump urging him to create a committee which would work with the major polluter nations of the world to create a Treaty not just an agreement which would require adherence to certain standards in manufacturing and fuel production based on an equality for all nations based on their impact on the environment. Whether you call it climate change or climate warming; the reality is that the Paris Accord sought to diminish the leadership role of America but more than that it followed a vision and belief which I and many others adhere to which is that while we belong to the global community we are also a sovereign nation which has the responsibility to protect our people and nation while also providing leadership to the world. We have reduced our co2 levels by huge margins compared to other nations. Our President has pledged to continue in our efforts to do so but not while placing our nation at a disadvantage nor by giving up our leadership role to nations which show little respect for our planet or its people.
Therefore I call upon all Americans to stand up for our nation while upholding our pledge to provide the world with the expertise to accomplish what we have in cleaning up our environment and preserving our planet. And let us come to understand that loving one’s nation is not an act of hate.

The road to a cleaner and stable climate will best be paved smoothly by America as a leader working hand in hand with the community of nations assuming vital roles of cooperation which does not diminish one nation so that others may flourish.

God save the earth and God bless America.
Arthur Colaianni
Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

 

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Forgiveness and the Presidential Campaign 2016 by Arthur Cola

authorjpegphotoblackwhite2011The other day I was watching the PBS series titled “Grantchester.” It is about an Anglican Priest and his relationship with a police detective, the girl he loves but who married another man, dealing with his parish and gay curate (assistant priest) and how he battles with drinking and dalliance with a woman of questionable reputation. In this particular episode, the last of the season, he is speaking about forgiveness and imperfection in his sermon. Now I was watching this episode shortly after NBC brought out the eleven year old audio of Donald Trump talking to a Hollywood Access reporter (Billy Bush) in the privacy of Bush’s trailer or so Trump thought. The microphone attached to him was “hot” that is picking up what he was saying and what he said was being recorded. What was being said about women was more than off color, it was something that was disgusting. And yet it was being said and now has come back to haunt him and virtually destroyed his campaign to become President of the United States of America. The October surprise from Wikileaks about Hillary Clinton was buried under the media coverage of this eleven year old recording and subsequent revelation, by several women accusing Trump of inappropriate advances, some of them having occurred over 30 years ago.
For some reason those lines spoken in that TV show struck me. I began to think about who we are as human beings and how we have managed to destroy the will of the people and the trajectory of the Presidential campaign so close to election day.
Let me present to you what I mean by all of this.
1. NBC had this tape of what Trump said for 11 years. One begins to wonder why they didn’t produce it during the Republican Primary. Certainly it would have had the potential to have knocked Trump out of the running. One begins to conjure-up conspiracy theories such as perhaps the media sources needed those ratings which Trump brought to them during the primary campaign. Then once he got nominated and was running neck and neck with Hillary Clinton they could bring out this damaging audio tape and find accusers as well if needed. Certainly the Clinton campaign emails and those of the Democratic Party clearly show how Clinton worked with party establishment and media against Bernie Sanders. It’s not a stretch to conclude that the Clinton campaign with her blessing did the same type of sabotage to the Trump campaign.
2. Does all of this make it proper for Donald Trump to have said what he did about women? Absolutely not! However to say, as President Obama did, that rating women a 2 or 10 on some kind of scale isn’t done and is unacceptable, is also a far-fetched statement. I grew up in Chicago, just like the President. I don’t know what locker rooms he entered but at my high school and college such ratings were common place. Now it’s true that we were much younger than Trump was in these tapes when he said those graphic words but then most of us didn’t continue our lives in the spotlight of Hollywood life style as he did after achieving enormous success in business.
3. Because we are imperfect beings is exactly why we sometimes fail or sin, (as we believers would say). It is that thought which made me think of what my mother said about Bill Clinton’s actions with women while he was married and even serving as President in the Oval Office. She would say that was his private life. She separated his public and private behavior and ideas as did many Americans of the time. Why then aren’t we doing that for Trump, I ask the American people.
4. Sex trumps political issues that’s why, is what I’ve heard. “Come on,” I retort. If America forgave Bill Clinton for his deeds and the media helped to make him the most popular former President since George Washington or Dwight Eisenhower, then why is this smothering coverage of something which happened over a decade ago and even 30 years ago so compelling…so unforgiveable?
It’s not difficult to see that almost no one is covering the Wikileaks Clinton campaign emails except to say that Russia is behind the hacking of them. The Democrats use only that response to address the emails; almost never answering the issues raised in them. They obviously demonstrate that Hillary and her aides plan to have public and private positions on issues such as trade, banks, Wall St., Catholics, Evangelicals, and so forth.
In any other year such emails would have destroyed a person’s campaign. But not this year, and that’s because powerful people are afraid of Trump. They are frightened that he will actually do what he says and shake up Washington. They are worried that he will tell it like it is, in plain language and that cannot be allowed.
“And so my fellow Americans,” as another admired leader, who was flawed, once said; I ask you to look into your hearts and find a bit of mercy. The type of mercy which people like William Shakespeare put into words.
“The quality of mercy is not strained; it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath; it is twice blest. It blesseth him that gives and him that takes. ‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest…it is an attribute to God himself.” (Merchant of Venice: Act IV Scene 1). This sentiment rings true for us this election season. We have already accepted Hillary Clinton’s statement that she made a mistake in using a private server in her home to conduct government business and that she would not do it again. We have forgiven her husband for his indiscretions.
Now, shall we show mercy and forgive, not approve, and accept Trump’s apology to the nation for what he said over decade or more ago and in doing so refocus our attention on ideas, policies and issues which will affect the lives of us all in America for years to come?

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“Torn and United Hearts” To be Presented at Pittsburgh Irish Fest.

Torn and United Hearts Cover-2016

The Doonagore Theft Trilogy is completed with the publication of the third novel in the series by Arthur Cola. Joining “Journey of Three Pure Hearts,” and “Pure and Tarnished Hearts” is “Torn and United Hearts.” Sure you can get them on amazon.com but if you’re near Pittsburgh, the author invites you to visit with him at the Pittsburgh Irish Fest from September 9-11 at the Riverplex. You may also hear his presentation at the Hedge School as he presents the back story of how the trilogy story was developed against the back drop of the “Great Hunger” potato blight in Ireland in the mid-19th century and how the characters come to Pre-Civil War America to strive for the American dream.

In book one of “Journey of Three Pure Hearts” you are introduced to Ireland during the famine years and to two lads: James Shields of Inishbofin and Aengus O’Flaherty of the Aran Islands and a lass named Meaghan O’Grady of Doolin. Their families arrange to have their children board a ship with their teacher, one Father Thomas O’Malley and sail to a new life in America. You will experience how these young people’s live become intertwined and join in on their adventures on the Cushla Machree as they sail from Galway to New York City in 1849.

In book two: “Pure and Tarnished Hearts” you will walk with them as they leave the ship and head into 19th Century New York City and the political turmoil of America of the day as a secret political society tries to burn out the Churches of the new immigrants and fears their presence. You will see them mature and deal with their feelings as they meet young society girls of the grand city and thugs who seek to vanquish them. And yet they persevere unite with fellow immigrants from Ireland and Italy under the guidance of Bishop John Hughes of New York City and America’s greatest actor of the day, Edwin Forrest of Philadelphia as they are discovered to have musical talent. Soon they are performing as the “Celtic Warriors” and stun the city of Brotherly Love as well as Manhattan with their voices which are compared to those of the angels.

In Book Three: “Torn and United Hearts” their adventures continue as they rescue a fugitive slave (Jefferson Oaks), and join Harriet Tubman of the Underground Railroad to seek his freedom while plotting to save the son of the Master of the Virginia Plantation (Alexander Oaks) his best friend. As the harrowing tale unfolds so too does the lads’ love interest which results in vocations being tested as well as class distinctions being challenged. Set against the dark cloud of the coming Civil War and the anti-immigrant fervor spreading through America, this tale is also one of faith, hope and love. It will help you hear the silent chime of the Liberty Bell, it will touch your heart, tickle your funny bone and make you once again see those principles of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” upon which the United States of America was founded.

Come on over to the Riverplex next to the Sandcastle Water Park for the Pittsburgh Irish Fest and enjoy its music, food and tales by the author Arthur Cola at the Market Place Tent and Hedge School. The Fest runs from Friday, September 9th through Sunday, Sept. 11th.

 

 

 

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“BEN-HUR” RIDES AGAIN by Arthur Cola

 

Just saw Roma Downey and Mark Burnett’s version of the epic story of General Lew Wallace’s 19 th century novel of Ben-Hur. When I was a boy I saw the Charlton Heston as Judah Ben-Hur version. The photos are those of the record album of the William Wyler 1959 movie score and souvenir book. I saw it in Cinemascope at the Harris theater in downtown Chicago. It was quite the thrill to see that chariot race. Today I saw it in 3D and on the Ultra screen at the Marcus Majestic cinema here in Wisconsin. I found the new version to be well done. The story line was changed a bit and as far as I’m concerned it added a more in depth human
dimension to the story. Even Jesus is given lines which makes his connection with Ben-Hur all the more touching. Downey and Burnett also made it a tale of the Christ but also of redemption and not revenge. Jack Huston as Jewish Prince Judah Ben-Hur and Toby Kebell as his adopted Roman brother, Messala are convincing in their roles and powerful in their anger at each other and love for each other at the same time. The new chariot race scene will once again have you on the edge of your seat as it did for me over 50 years ago and again in 2016. Morgan Freeman as the African sheik was made for the role with that voice and presence he emanates with ease. Back in 1959 and now today you will find the story compelling but for different reasons. Today we see Rome at first trying to bring peace and then becoming ruthless. You see the Zealots provoking unrest and deaf to Judah Ben-Hur’s call for a peaceful resolution. You will see a very human Jesus who gives his life willingly as he actually speaks to the Judah Ben-Hur character. The twist of having the good thief, Dismas, (who is crucified with Jesus)as a character in the new version ties
the Plot lines together nicely. I encourage people to go see it. The story of love and redemption is just as impressive as the full throttle action sequences.

Ben-Hur Book pages 1959
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