So this young Catholic boy, that would be me, picked up the phone.
On the other end of the line was an angry caller who accused me of being a Zionist and then hung up on me after I asked them if they knew what that word meant.
The anti-Semitism of recent vintage because of the continuing war in the Middle East is beyond a man who believes Gandhi, Jesus, Moses and even John Lennon had it right – All you need is love.
If you need further illumination, I am a second generation Lebanese-Catholic whose maternal grandmother was a Russian immigrant of Jewish decent. Her father, my great-grandfather changed his faith to Catholicism after leaving Russia at the beginning of the 20th century due to a little revolution in which he had little interest.
My paternal grandfather came over here at the point of a spear after a disagreement with some Turks – so the story goes. He was a typical Catholic boy - redeemed through pain and not through joy.
Like our current Pope, he was raised by Jesuits.
I have relatives who are African American, Jewish, Irish, Lebanese, Italian, Muslim and probably a few Druids are lurking in there somewhere.
Exactly with whom am I supposed to be angry? Who do I hate?
I guess I should have my right hand beat up my left hand – that makes about as much sense.
There is little logic to be wrung out of that situation and I for one won’t endeavor to try.
Closer to home a Pulitzer prize winning reporter is facing jail time for trying to keep a confidential source, and trust me this is an issue with which I feel much more comfort.
It is a struggle to get your facts straight. It’s a struggle to get people to talk with you.
If they don’t hate you because you’re a reporter, then they’ll hate you for being a Lebanese/Jewish/Irish/Russian heterosexual with a lesbian sister.
Or maybe they don’t like the color of your hair.
But James Risen, the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the New York Times who exposed the original NSA warrantless wiretapping program, may be headed to prison. The Justice Department is trying to force him to testify against one of his alleged sources, and Risen recently lost his bid to have his reporter's privilege case heard before the Supreme Court.
Maybe he’ll be accused of being a Zionist next.
This is not unusual - well threatening reporters isn’t anyway. The Supreme Court did this to me too and kept me in jail – a move that could’ve been for my lifetime I suppose had my source not come forward.
There is a direct link between what happened to me in 1991 and what James is going through today.
The NSA, a Godless alphabet soup of an agency dedicated to finding out exactly what color underwear we all are sporting at any one time, is behind the push to jail Risen.
Who’d a thunk it?
My Lebanese Grandfather warned me about excessive government – as did my Russian great grandfather who fled the revolution.
Each of those men, who helped shape me, had a healthy respect for individual liberty and the ability for each man to shape his own life.
They fought intolerance. They fought for acceptance and they left their home countries to become Americans. They embraced all that this country had to offer. The bought into the ideal of a Republic where a man determines his worth not by birth but by deed.
Both faced intolerance here. Both faced racism and both men rose above the pettiness they saw here because of the ultimate belief this country was a better place to be because of our Constitution.
To see that Constitution destroyed on a daily basis today, to see the NSA trample over my rights, and the mutant sheep in our country defend those who would destroy us sickens me to the point that I often wonder what is left of our country.
Are we destined to destroy ourselves in a spate of violence similar to that in the Middle East, calling each other names and spitting on each other as if a difference of opinion can be so vital?
Or are we going to re-read the Constitution, embrace its ideals and help – through peaceful efforts – to let that idealism spread across the world?
Now, if that makes me a Zionist – then I plead guilty. Next question.
But at the end of the day, the NSA is much like the caller who phoned and accused me of being a Zionist.
They are wrong, ill-informed and Zealots of the worst order.
And the color of my underwear is my business.