This afternoon -as I'm working on my new book 'FINDERS-KEEPERS'- my wife called from school to ask some questions concerning the Viet Nam war.

She's a High School Special Education teacher, and required some answers to a test she came across but didn't receive adequate support; thinking it better to ask me, since I've been there and in turn am expected to have first hand knowledge pertaining to that category.

Indeed I was, and I have… going back to 1968-69.

I answered her questions, all 20 of them, pertaining to: Viet Cong, Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, Ho Chi Min, Agent Orange, the U.S. Secretary of Defense -Robert McNamara, President Diem, and quite a few more.

Anyway, afterwards her call made me think.

It's been a long time since 1968, when I served with the U.S. Army's: 334th Attack Helicopter Company (AH-1G-Hui Cobra)as part of the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion in Bien Hoa, South Vietnam.

Since then, I've raised a family, built several businesses, now even work on my second book; everything seems honky-dory, and there has been no long-term emotional fall-out, no adverse effects after leaving the military; I just went on with my life.

Or so I thought…

At age 61+ -in the U.S. since I was about 23, drafted within six months (serving as a German citizen who at the time was denied U.S. citizenship), this qualifies me to voice an opinion; and frankly… I DO have one.

It's funny really, except for my wife no one ever asked and I make it a habit not to vent unless I'm asked and know I contribute something that makes a genuine difference, otherwise its a waste of my time; after all: how many individuals are willing to accept advice not asked for. Let them; I don't understand those who endlessly bang their head against a wall only to end up brain damaged, in effect - hurt themselves!

That leaves one option I apply when it counts -I vote!

A Freethinker; I don't align with a particular doctrine, though have leanings and preferences derived by using logic and common sense, then judge according to individual merit while vehemently applying John Dewy's:

A moral principle…is not a command to act or forbear acting in a given way:

it is a tool for analyzing a special situation, the right or wrong being determined by the situation in its entirety, not by the rule as such.

Sooooo, just reflecting; I've come to conclude that I've been a fool!

A lone fool to be precise, but a fool nonetheless.

I'm not one who follows the crowd, but have observed not only Americans but the majority of humans are worse than lemmings; they are not leaders, they are followers who permit others to think for them.. unless they are incapable of thinking.

I'm sorry, but how many realize we are subjected -often by subliminal means- to influences I call:

'The dumbing of America'

It's everywhere; at work, at play, shopping, at the movies, the media, our educational system and much more.. worse we accept it without questioning.

Well, I have an idea why it continues, its because we have lost all sense of self-worth. The majority of people live an empty existence permitting others to decide; they effectively have surrendered their basic right to exist. We are constantly indoctrinated what to think, what to do, where to go and which line to follow, only then we are told, HIP! We are somebody and we feel important when we are part of a crowd, wear or identify with someone's else' label. Look at your T-shirt, does it have YOUR name on it? Do you think in terms of: 'We won' or 'We lost' instead of 'They lost' -think; there is a huge difference being a fan, a zealous fan, worse a schmuck. Unless you are a team member or owner you are a paying spectator; the one who keeps them in the gravy. Do you drive a car that displays the dealers label on the trunk? Do you provide unnecessary information when you purchase something? How often have you checked your dossier? Have you ever seriously thought about the consequences when you provide a SSN or a driver's license? Are you able to sustain a fulfilling life by contributing something outside of mainstream?

I for one refuse to wear anyone's label or be part of a crowd, instead tell decision makers what I want and not vise versa. On the whole it appears most people are afraid to be alone, they lead empty lives without imagination while clinging, roadies, followers, hangers-on; gullible to the point of being taken to the cleaners by the shrewd ones who know how to bleed them dry.

I wonder why is it that we accept the absurdities of those in charge, support and follow stupid laws or a counter culture offering nothing remotely socially redeeming; why is it that those who have their fifteen minutes of fames proudly announce their drug addiction instead of keeping it where it belongs, while the media heralds it as if it were some great achievement; then again, the media I trust the least.

Though I'm disgusted with the bunch, I no longer get angry reading up on the news (I do check various sources from around the world, daily)  everything consisting of garbage it seems; the media has lost all sense of what is of importance and newsworthy.

Ironically, I've learned to read the mentality of a population from various nations according to their news coverage; the Germans are a pathetic lot, they still follow authority without question but heel clicking- bombarded 24/7 with useless political drivel that makes me puke, the French - snobs, too absorbed being French; mindset to rule Europe and crave -yet unable- to obtain recognition from their peers (leave it to them, even sports and food doesn't cut it..LOLL)  , the English -God forgive, they could use a dose of Doctor Good- too stuffy; still living in the Empire Days of Rule Britannia (at least they've got the 2012 Olympics), the Italians -well, they've always been lost, lovable chaos, perpetually the first to run in the wrong direction according to the motto: Forward comrades, we have to get back; I won't even mention those nations that have sectarian religious doctrine dictate every-day life, simply UNBEARABLE; but the worst... for all its worth?

The Americans!

I'm one and can't help but distance myself  from it all; in fact, I've set myself  free!

During the last presidential election I  refused to vote at the last moment, though I intended to do so just the day before. I no longer am a member of any organization- professional or otherwise, don't belong to a church, and have learned not to expect anything from anyone but exercise self-reliance in the purest sense. I leave the world outside and tend to the immediate around me, nor do I worry about tomorrow. Since then things have never been better. I can only bemuse those whose license plates or bumper stickers providing their 15 minutes of fame, shouting their convictions at others as if they care; saying: Look at me, I'm stupid!  Funny, they are actually proud to announce such to the world. Indeed!

Yes, its time to get back to basics! I don't have a cell phone (I'm not important, and if it is, they'll find me), no SUV, no Cable TV, and I refuse to provide my birth date at the super market cash register when I purchase a bottle of wine. In fact, I'm on a NO CALL telephone list and if I'm told I've been pre-selected for a special offer, I return their mail and tell them they have it all wrong. They don't do the selecting, I do! I select whom and when I'm ready. I also determine what goes, and when someone calls on the phone without identifying  themselves first; well, many have received their first lesson in telephone etiquette right then, a lesson they'll never forget. Believe me, it works.

No, I have had and experienced power but don't need or want any part of it;  yet I refuse for anyone else to exercise their power over me. I'm in control of myself at all times and will never forfeit such. In final analysis: Humans are born with a brain for one purpose only, to rationalize while  applying logic and common sense; unfortunately, it appears this escaped most of them.

I no longer have what it takes to change the world,  but resolve to do my bit from within by avocating compassion for my fellow man.

I'm free! The question is: What took me so long?

9/11 was the turning point.

In memory of Captain Sean Patrick Sims- U.S. Army

who gave his life in Fallujah, Iraq, Nov. 2004




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