The Strength of Adversity

My grandpa used to say you only appreciate what you have once it’s gone. As I observe the policies being pushed by our so called President and this merry bannon of deplorables I realize how true that is. My generation grew complacent. We took our freedom for granted, grew cocky. Unlike prior generations ours was never forced to sacrifice for this nation. We sat on the sidelines as others less fortunate served on our behalf, committed to public service. Our best and brightest eschewed politics for the private sector. Unwilling to fight the special interests and ingrained bureaucracy. We neglected our constitutional responsibility. Our roles as citizens of a Democratic Republic. The need to stay engaged. The necessity of informed consent.

As it turns out freedom is hard to sustain if you’ve never known its opposite. This wasn’t always the case. As recently as the 1960s our youth understood how fragile freedom was. The baby boomers and flower children of the counter revolution. The hippies and beatniks who protested American intervention in Vietnam, marched for equal rights and demanded transparency of a corrupt government. They fought, sacrificed and died defending America’s soul. In the end history smiled on them and recognized them as heroes of progress. The students of Kent State, the marchers in Salem, Muhammad Ali being stripped of his championship, MLK, Woodward and Bernstein, Rosa Parks….

These were the patriots who moved our nation forward and progressed us to the point where a Barack Obama could be elected President, see a Hillary Clinton win the popular vote. It was they who allowed the Gen Xers and Millenials of today to fall into the trap of overconfidence. They shielded my generation in the audacity of hope. Insulated us in a bubble filled with dreams of a brighter future for all. A belief and awareness that though far from perfect, we were a free people. Unaware of what its like to live through and with real adversity.

In reality, they turned us soft and cynical. Who can fault them? America was a dream founded on hope and optimism. A continuing quest to form a more perfect union centered on the concept of individual liberty. A land of exceptionalism to serve as a beacon of hope and freedom to the world’s oppressed. Heck “Operation Enduring Freedom” was the landmark conflict of our generation. No surprise we were nose blind to the stench of the emerging kakistocracy.

A new normal is starting to emerge. An unknown adversity beginning to seep over our old routines like an infestation. The daily attacks on a free and independent press. The restrictions on the right of assembly. The merging of church and state and suddenly slippery slope placed on the right to be free from religious persecution. The dismantling of checks and balance. The refusal to perform even routine vetting of the sycophants and “yes (mostly) men” being placed in control of our collective national security. The wag the dog foreign policy, trade wars, and alienation of our traditional allies and refusal to condemn Russia and other hostile actors. The tweetstorms, bullying, false equivalents and continued normalization of hate. The willful blindness and acrobatic feats in cognitive dissonance as our leaders attempt to normalize the inexplicable.

The good news is Americans are waking! Our youth are waking to the dangers this regime poses on the very freedoms they once took for granted. They feel the adversity in their life. The impacts of growing up in constant fear that each day may be your last. That a terrorist attack, a nuclear bomb, a random gunman or maybe even a police officer is always just around the corner.

That fear is driving them to discover what America is truly about. As their friends and loved ones face deportation and harassment they are forced to confront the truth. To understand that we are the great melting pot. That we have a responsibility to take care of one another. To stay informed and engaged. That diversity IS the American identity. We can’t change that anymore than a tiger can change its stripes. A list of all the great contributions immigrants and refugees have made to this country would dwarf a list of their misdeeds a million times over.

This is not to say we will come to appreciate Donald Trump, but when all is said and done we will be stronger because of him. As a nation. As a people. Adversity does that. It builds character and empathy. It challenges preconceived notions and erases ignorance born by privilege and circumstance. It forces you to grow resilient, battle tested, and breathes self-confidence into your bones with the knowledge that you can defeat it. That you will persevere past it. Live beyond it. Reclaim your freedom. Outgrow it.

By definition progress knows but one direction. It’s only a matter of time #Forward

The State of the Union

Spoiler alert: the state of our union is in disarray. The majority of her citizens shell shocked and befuddled. Our democracy is under seige while politicians across both sides of the aisle engage in a dangerous game of Russian roulette from which democracy will be the unwitting victim.

The state of our union is obscured in the daily fog of lies, disinformation and alternative facts. A coordinated campaign generated by our Comrade in Chief and his caravan of coconspirators and enablers to prevent informed consent and discredit a free and independent press; both necessities of a properly functioning democratic republic.

The state of our union is that we are a country whose values and progressive have been hijacked by a corrupt cabal of thugs, career opportunists and morally reprehensible conmen. It is time all Americans wake up and face the music. America does not have an identity crisis. We are not a nation divided. We are the shell shocked survivors of a near bloodless coup that has set fire to our democratic norms and extinguished the flames of liberty and hope that once lit our majestic shores to serve as a beacon to the world’s oppressed and disenfranchised.

The state of our union is that America’s ills will not be solved through political compromise or ballot box. Here is the reality of the situation. Our administrative state has already been slain. 800,000 federal employees, plus scores of federal contractors who support them, used as pawns. The core missions of agencies like Justice, State, Energy, and Education no longer recognizable and already politicized in unimagined ways. Our intelligence agencies discredited and paralyzed to the point of inefficacy by the very Executive who employs them.

Beyond that traditional checks and balances like an equal legislative branch and independent apolitical judicial branch can no longer be trusted to function as intended. The legislative branch coopted by self interested enablers who fear their position of privilege will vanquish as a functioning democracy creates a new governing majority representative of a shifting democracy. The judicial branch stacked with religious zealots and corrupt sycophants foaming at the mouth to enforce a self serving fundamentalist belief system upon the permanently established caste system their economic policy has created.

That we’ve reached this state is no accident. Rather it results from the coordinated efforts of a merry band of deplorables whose very goal was the “deconstruction of our administrative office.” A minority bloc of faux reality show producers who do not recognize or abide by archaic procedural rules and traditional political courtesies. Self described political disrupters who flaunt their outsider status, unconventional methods and unorthodox language as proof of their populist legitimacy.

The state of our union is the American people are in need of an opposition leader, not a political one; for the union itself teeters on the brink of extension. A clear and present danger to the American dream lurks the halls of the White House. A man who employed an active foreign agent to head our National Security Agency and left him in the role with unfettered access to our nation’s most sensitive secrets for an additional 19 day’s after learning from our own intelligence agency that he may be compromised by Russia, a hostile foreign enemy.

The state of the union is beyond comprehension, yet it must not be ignored. The truth is a sitting President is under active investigation for conspiring with a foreign enemy. Credible allegations exist that he may in fact be compromised and susceptible to Russian interests. Every action he has taken since assuming office only adding further support to the worst case scenario.

If such is the case it suggests a forthcoming conflict the likes of which neither Democrat nor Republican can win alone. Instead it will require the cooperation of all defenders of democracy and American patriots. There is not a single piece of empirical data that exists to support Donald Trump enjoys the support of a majority of this nation’s populance. Election results accepted as is he still lost the popular vote by millions and got trounced in mid terms. Conservatively an average of polls suggest 60% of this country’s population outright oppose of Donald Trump and his hate filled MAGA agenda. Do not be fooled. That is an overwhelming majority.

The state of the union is that the President has intentionally disabled the state of the union. It is fitting that he does not get to speak on it. Rather, it must be up to the majority of the people of this nation to deliver this year’s State of the Union. To deliver a message so loud and clear that it can no longer be ignored or delayed for a distant day. It’s no longer enough to simply voice your displeasure. We must insist on results.

To preserve this union we must make clear that those who continue to appease this snake will be considered complicit in his crimes. We need to limit further damage and potential infiltration of those who don’t have Americans best interest in mind. Insist that the Senate refuse to consider any future nominations, until we receive confirmation that this President was truly hired by and is working for the American people.

Whatever your political affiliations, whatever color your district, if you oppose what this administration represents, know that you are in the majority. Read up on the words of our founders. They foresaw such a threat to the state of our union. We, the people, were envisioned as the final frontier. The ultimate check to prevent the rise of the despot. Take solace in their words and foresight. We’ve been here before #HistoryHasItsEyesOnYou

The Gaslighting of America

The gaslighting of America continues. Peer past the latest tweetstorms and staged drama orchestrated to distract you from reality. At heart Donald Trump is a reality show star. It’s the only thing he’s ever been really good at. Scripting fake storylines and passing it off as reality. 

Manufacturing drama and faux conflict by introducing alternative facts and other stressors designed to produce outlandish sound bites and bombastic over exaggerated reactions to everyday situations. 

Carefully editing select moments of a person’s most vulnerable moments to create archetypical characters. Misrepresenting them in order to make a show entertaining to the masses. Keep them coming back for more. There’s no denying he knows how to spin a good yarn, keep people talking.

Not only that he has the perfect temperament for it. He holds no real convictions or loyalties and is convincingly able to take any position necessary to advance a storyline. Cross whatever line so long as it furthers his own agenda. 

A literal caricature of every villain of every film ever made. A billionaire product of affluent affirmative action who sells himself as a man of the people. A self proclaimed tycoon who was placed directly at the top of the business pyramid; never understanding what it means to actually lead. Unable to grasp what it takes to advance on merit, not name. Able to skip the lessons of middle management the man has no appreciation for the virtues of empathy, humility, accountability and communication.

My fellow Americans, we need to wake up and stop reacting to the newest scandal being scripted by this White House. Tune out the latest episode and ignore the narratives being pushed by this corrupt caravan of criminals and enablers. 

Change the channel and end this shit show. Tune back into the American story instead. The one piloted by our founding fathers nearly 250 years ago. Pitched on hope, equality, opportunity, freedom and in building a better tomorrow. Rooted in resistance to intolerance and hate. Understand that story is now in danger of cancellation. Only a coordinated campaign by “we, the people” will guarantee its renewal