The Importance of a President's Words of Solace, Comfort and Resolve
By Larry Buford
President Bush did it after the 911 tragedy. President Obama did it countless times after mass murder incidents – they offered words of solace, comfort, and resolve. President Trump failed to do so after the tragic Charlottesville protest where a white-supremacist deliberately plowed through, in a speeding car, a crowd of counter-protesters killing one and injuring several others. Trump’s words in part were “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides…on many sides.” He failed to call by name the “side” of Neo-Nazi, and Ku Klux Klan far right extremists who showed up with various weapons, including venomous words of bigotry and hate, until two days later after an outcry from the public, the media, and several politicians.

The impetus for this tent meeting of the so-called Alt Right was to protest the proposed removal of the monument of celebrated Confederate General Robert E. Lee. However, it appears any old excuse would do for the group to have a platform for its message of hatred. What the Alt Right didn’t do was create fear. What they did do is escalate efforts to remove the Confederate flag and other monuments of Confederate memorials and war heroes throughout the country as in the case of Lexington, Kentucky Mayor Jim Gray. He said, his city has always been divided citing his “three great uncles” who fought against each other in the Civil War armies at the Battle of Shiloh.

According to a recent Los Angeles Times article, even Robert E. Lee was opposed to war memorials. According to documents at the University of Virginia and the Library of Congress, Lee stated, “I think it wiser…not to keep open the sores of war, but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife and to commit to oblivion the feelings it engendered.” He thought it better to have the monuments placed in a museum. It’s contradictory that Lee’s monument stands in the middle of Emancipation Park there in Charlottesville.

Lee’s words resonate as spoken by a true leader, and it speaks volumes about one who fought so hard against ending slavery.

Perhaps President Trump could take a lesson from the grave and move from a prepared speech on a teleprompter, and speak from the heart on such a sensitive and divisive civil issue.

Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer.

O.J. Simpson: The Biblical Joseph Story in Reverse

By Larry Buford
Since 1994, we have watched a superstar – a man who was on top of the world – fall from grace in rapid fashion.

As I was watching the O.J. Simpson parole hearing, I couldn’t help but think of how life can take unexpected turns. Since 1994, we have watched a superstar – a man who was on top of the world – fall from grace in rapid fashion. We all know the story of his trial in the murders of his wife Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

He was acquitted in that trial. About 10 years later, he wasn’t so lucky when the state of Nevada convicted him in a robbery case for which he was given a harsh 33-year sentence. This was his second parole hearing. I’m sure the cumulative incidents of the last 23 years have given him much to reflect upon.

Now back to my story. In the biblical story of Joseph, his plight was just the opposite. He was betrayed by his brothers; sold into slavery; falsely accused of rape; and ultimately sent to prison where he was a model inmate. As a result, by God’s grace Joseph was promoted to second in command in the land of Egypt. This story is often referred to as an encouragement to those who feel life dealt them a bad hand. In the end, Joseph realized that the “evil” God empowered him to endure was meant for good.

In a way, O.J.’s story could very well have a similar effect. Reports that he was a spotless, model inmate for nine years at the Lovelock Correctional Center, and having time to appreciate for himself the value of education, he used his influence to help other inmates see the same. His attorney read a letter that O.J. wrote to Nevada Assemblyman Ozzie Fumo, using his clout to selflessly request educational funding and supplies for inmates. He said, “I can think of no better use of state funds.” This could be pivotal in drawing attention to prison rehabilitation effectiveness, and a way to help reduce the high recidivism rate – repeat offenders who end up back in prison after release. O.J. also speaks to the plight of many men of color who think they can – in terms of lifestyle – “get away with murder” with no consequence. This is a plight for all the so-called high-flying celebrities to ponder.

Congratulations on today’s parole hearing decision O.J.! Now that you’ve unofficially undertaken a new cause for those who are not as empowered, hopefully you will continue to use your celebrity to be a voice for those who have none. Perhaps this could be your new vocation.

Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and author of “Things Are Getting’ Outta Hand” (Amazon). E-mail: