Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Battle Cry of the Anguished American Immigrant!…by Robert M. Katzman

(Originally posted on July 21, 2008, then reposted March 10, 2017 in frustration after the 2016 election, where insanity began to rule what was once a last best refuge for people seeking a chance to live, to be happy)

 

To me, being an American is an idea.

A concept.

An agreement of equals.

A willingness to tolerate the differences in others.

A celebration of the beauty of cultural diversity.

 

While maybe originally, ours was a government,

Of the Protestants, By the Protestants and For the Protestants”

We’re bigger than that today.  A numerically insignificant People like my own family, Jews, now represent less than 2% of the total American population, but I believe that our Constitution includes me when I read it.  I don’t live in fear, here.

Soon, there will be more Moslems in America than Jews, but I don’t care.  They came here to escape the same killing chaos that brought my family here, as well as looking for a new start and a fair chance to become successful.  I welcome them.  Besides, when the hating is missing, they may remember that we’re linguistic cousins who speak two versions of the same Semitic language, as do the Assyrians, who are Christian Arabs.

(Read on …)

Late Child…by Robert M. Katzman

 

by Robert M. Katzman / Copyright July 31, 2016

 Forward

 Written under a hot July sun while sitting alone on a bench in Chicago’s Hyde Park landmark, The Point, a rocky stepped-stone park projecting into Lake Michigan. A long favorite place for swimmers, sunbathers and photographers located about two miles east of the world famous (and still standing) University of Chicago (1890-   ), and also about one mile east of the once slightly famous (and now non-existent) Bob’s Newsstand (1965-1985).

I was there waiting to meet an unknown number of much younger people who might possibly recognize a much older me as the guy who sold them lots of candy, and who might assume I still remember them as my customers when they were fourteen and went to Kenwood High School across the street from my first wooden and later brick newsstand, over thirty years ago. Both situations seemed unlikely and as a result encouraged me to finally write down the following poem I’d been carrying around in my head and heart for months.

(Read on …)

Sayonara / Shalom / Goodbye…by Robert M. Katzman

Robert M. Katzman’s Amazing Story:  http://www.differentslants.com/?p=355

© September 12, 2015 (A Jewish New Year Poem)

 

My Father fought the Japanese

 

Born before the Navahos were citizens

Born before women could vote

Before Hirohito, Yamamoto and Tojo

Before Meir, Dayan and Herzl

Before Eisenhower, Patton and FDR

Were names on anyone’s lips

 

Packed into trains of troop ships

Crossing the Pacific Ocean

To avenge Pearl Harbor treachery

To kill people he didn’t know

Bombed sending messages by telegraph

He died with steel shrapnel

Still in his body

Half a century later

 

(Read on …)

Battle Cry of the Anguished American Immigrant!….by Robert M. Katzman

 

To me, being an American is an idea.

A concept. An agreement of equals.

A willingness to tolerate the differences in others, and a celebration of the beauty of cultural diversity.

While maybe originally, ours was a government,

 

Of the Protestants, By the Protestants and For the Protestants”

 

We’re bigger than that today.  A numerically insignificant People like my own family, Jews, now represent less than 2% of the total American population, but I believe that our Constitution includes me when I read it.  I don’t live in fear, here.

Soon, there will be more Moslems in America than Jews, but I don’t care.  They came here to escape the same killing chaos that brought my family here, as well as looking for a new start and a fair chance to become successful.  I welcome them.  Besides, when the hating is missing, they may remember that we’re linguistic cousins who speak two versions of the same Semitic language, as do the Assyrians, who are Christian Arabs.

I’m happy to live in a country where the African-American and Hispanic populations overwhelm my own culture, because diversity doesn’t threaten me.  I like living in a country where being different doesn’t limit you, like being Cypriot, Cambodian, Armenian, Ethiopean, Gypsy, Kazak, Slovakian or Bulgarian.  Or Chechen, Bosnian or Somali.

The prospect of learning Spanish because the ever evolving tide of immigration and history now favor Latin America is not intimidating, because it will soon be the principal “American” language and my grandchildren will speak it fluently and wonder why I’m inept at it, like my immigrant grandparents whom were native speakers of Yiddish and found English to be daunting.

Damn frustrating English, impossible to spell but so rich in variety for songwriters and poets, has only been the lingua franca of North America for about three hundred plus years.

A speck in time.

(Read on …)