The Verge of Collapse

America is on the “verge of a constitutional crisis.” Let me tell you what that looks like. You recall the old road runner cartoon? Remember when Wile E Coyote would race over a cliff and pause suspended in mid air for a minute? The camera pans in on him as he looks around and slowly becomes aware of where he is.

Well that moment between wide screen and close up as Wile E sits suspended in a jogger or thinker’s pose. That split second before we see him grow despondent in the realization that gravity is about to catch up with him to send him plunging in freefall to the ground. That moment of clarity is what’s known as the verge of going over a cliff.

That’s the problem with being on the verge of something. Often by the time you realize you’re on the verge, it’s too late to change course. The same way Wile E Coyote didn’t grasp his fate until gravity took hold, we as a nation seem to misunderstand our circumstance.

We’ve already gone over that cliff. We are in the midst of a constitutional crisis. Still suspended in space, but well past the verge. The conditions for our fall are set. The only thing missing is an opposing force to ushers in that moment of clarity. The gravity that awakens our senses. The “resistance” that forces the fall.

Try as we may to deny it, it’s time that “we, the people” brace for the plunge and spark the resistance. Force the issue and go on the offensive while we still have the majority and freedoms to do so. Start by demanding President Biden sign an Executive Order establishing a federal right to choice and accessible safe abortions. Make clear that any state official or law enforcement officer who attempts to interfere with that right will be arrested by Federal Marshalls.

To win a “battle for the soul of our nation” will require bold actions that evade current controls. Democrats must take inspiration from the GOP playbook. It’s no longer prudent to go high each time the opposition goes low. So long as we control the House and Executive the GOP is powerless to hold Biden to account. Even if the House flips the worst that could happen is Biden gets impeached for overstepping his authority, but they still fail to remove him from office. We’ve seen that dance before.

This battle is but a part of bigger war of which the winner will determine whether our nation remains a representative democracy or transforms into an autocratic theocracy. It’s time we recognize our circumstance. Accept our reality. Let gravity take effect, drop us down to the opposition’s level, and bring the fight to them #ProtestTheGOP

Two Americas

The time for cognitive dissonance, for denial, is past. It turns out that Barack Obama was wrong. We are two Americas. It is true we are not separated by red and blue states. The contrast is far greater than that; more divisive and permanent. We are two hands. Two ambidextrous fists that keep slamming into each other. Unable to recognize that we are attached to the same body. One hand tattooed with the word “hate” across its knuckles. The other “love.”

We have denied the obvious for far too long. Handicapped our nation by alternately tying one hand or the other behind our back. Hiding it from view for long stretches of our history. It is time we make a choice. To amputate an appendage and choose our country’s identity once and for all. To advance the dreams of our fathers requires we now pick a dominant side.

This is not a choice that can be prayed away. There are no alternative facts. One hand reflects the audacity of hope and dreams of our ancestors. It appends to those outraged by the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Trayvon Martin, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner and the countless other lives lost. Clenches in silent protest with those who kneel in defiance of the institutionalized racism that caused their senseless deaths. Points in condemnation of the prejudice rendered by Lady Justice that renders their deaths hollow.

It is the fist we used to smash through the bonds of slavery and defeat the grasp of Nazi facism. The hand extended by Franklin, Susan, Martin, Margaret, John, Ruth Bader and Barack as they took on world leaders and espoused the virtues of American exceptionalism. The fist we raise in pride for our immigrant heritage and in our standing as the beacon for hope and liberty to the world’s oppressed.

The other hand is no less powerful or prevalent in our nation’s history. It is the hand that draws false equivalents between those who protest for equality and freedom, and those who espouse hatred, ignorance and exclusion. The one we use to point at, slap and dehumanize people. The hand extended by those who kneel at the heels of Confederate statues and on the necks of our most vulnerable minorities. That hand that guides the whip and rips the refugee children from the arms of their exhausted mother. As if they are “animals,” unworthy of the basic inalienable rights bestowed upon all men.

It is the fist that holds the tiki torches, burns the crosses, and straps the nooses and assault rifles to their bodies to intimidate. The one that targets our sons and daughters in their crosshairs and acts as if they are of no more value than an avatar. The hand extended by Andrew, Robert E, Cheney, Anton and Trump as they alienated world leaders and preached the virtues of “America first.” The fist we raise in acknowledgement of white power and to loot the halls of our nation’s Capital.

These two fists can no longer coexist. Our identity crisis must end. Love or hate? Empathy or apathy? Progress or status quo? What’s it going to be America? It is time to choose a dominant side and embrace it. The future demands it.

The Incalculable Cost of Gaslighting

The gaslighting of America continues. Peer past the latest sound bites, dog whistles and drama orchestrated to distract your attention. 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.

Americans need to wake up. Stop reacting to each new scandal scripted by this cabal of corruption. Harden your emotions against the emotional tactics being used to manipulate your senses. Choose to trust in your eyes and ears instead. Tune out the latest episode and ignore the narratives being pushed by this caravan of criminal and enablers, coconspirators and accessories after the fact. Agents of the rich and putinful.

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. Directed by those who resist intolerance and hate. Streamed and consumed by Republican and Democrat alike. Understand that story is now in danger of cancellation. Only a coordinated campaign by “we, the people” will guarantee its renewal #ProtestTheGOP

Perception Is Not Reality

As a proud first grader my daughter once came bursting into the house and excitedly held out her very first “published book.” Now one may perceive that the book, pictured below, is a perverted tale of deviance, inappropriate from the mind of a child. In reality it says “My Dad’s Parents are Coming.” The most innocent of expressions from a seven year old girl.

That’s the thing. While true that perception is an individual’s sense of reality. Let’s also be clear, reality is reality. A transcendent leader, one interested in building consensus and committed to the common good, understands the dangers of false perception. They work tirelessly, oftentimes over communicating with their “constituents” to shape perception to match reality.

Unfortunately, perception is no less important to a leader of ill intent. One who seeks to act only in his own self interest but is nonetheless dependent on the support of the masses to advance his/her agenda. They too work tirelessly to shape perception, only in their case success depends on perception matching a false reality. One that will justify their action and prevent ultimate accountability. One that manipulates others to act against their own self interests.

Donald Trump and his merry bannon of criminal enablers, coconspirators and accessories after the fact have made a career shaping perception to match a false reality. The GOP revel in their hypocrisy and wear Democratic outrage as a badge of honor. Led by the talentless tycoon turned “reality” show producer/star, who bankrupted both real estate conglomerates and casinos at the height of the economy. A man who’s greatest accomplishment was being born into privilege and possessing an uncanny ability to undermine transparency, escape accountability and prevent informed consent. A cartoonish supervillain destined to play the stooge for far more sinister forces.

GOP leadership knows that the only way to mask their incompetence, to hide their ill intent is to use misdirection, doublespeak, sleight of hand, technology and sound bites to distract and manipulate the way the brain processes information. Their very hold on power dependent on this perception. Their very survival relies upon prolonging the status quo long past the point demographics will otherwise allow. The greatest risk to the fulfillment of their agenda, a truly representative democracy. One that reflects the values and diversity of the American citizenry.

In spite of this, Democratic leadership continues to treat targeted enemy attacks on our democracy, like typical partisan politics. It is not. The reality is it is warfare. The reality is it is a coordinated assault on our traditional norms and our democratic Republic. The reality is the Trojan Horse is parked within the halls of our Congress, have already infiltrated our legislative, judicial and executive branches.

It is a failure of one’s oath of office to respond and react to the narrative of the enemy, rather than proactively defend all that is uniquely American. Traditional checks and balances and political discourse are not effective controls against an anti-democratic enemy. To act like it is business as usual only legitimizes the Republican position and perpetuates the perception the GOP wishes to create.

Informed consent is the constitutional responsibility of the American citizenry. Whether dealing with issues of #GunControl, abortion, immigration or minority rights it is our job to push past the sound bites, propaganda and words of those entrusted to represent our interests and find out the truth of the situation. To expose the illusionist and ruin the trick #ProtestTheGOP #RADParty

Summer of Our Discontent

The summer of our discontent is upon us. Our country is being ripped apart at the seams. Torn asunder by a former President who finds security in the chaos and division he stokes. Who proudly takes the bullhorn and stokes the flame in the wake of a school massacre. Provides No Rational Argument (NRA) as to why weapons of mass destruction are available for individual possession.

To Trump’s credit he’s been quite transparent all along. Review his archived twitter feed from a different perspective and it almost reads as if it is both a self confession to treason and a whistleblower report (the good kind). In many conversations from “Russia, if you’re listening” right up to his present day cries of the “Big Lie!” Trump openly flaunts his treasonous behavior for all to see. It’s what makes his recently “retruthed” threat of Civil War and accusations of deep state treason so dangerous.

When you see the completed puzzle you realize that these are not random pieces, projections or the rants and raves of a lunatic. Trump’s words are more than empty threats, but part of a greater design. They are the culmination of the best laid plans. Years of careful planning and coordinated efforts by those who do not hold America’s best interests at heart.

Enemies both foreign and domestic whose agendas and values do not thrive in a representative republic such as that envisioned by our founding fathers. The consolidation of God before country Raptureheads, Russia enabled military hawks and the racist status quo dependent deplorables all under the GOP big tent. Donald Trump nothing more than a golden calf to shepherd the message; a Trojan horse in which to deliver the troops and a Midas god to deliver the gold to his puppeteers.

Trump made his fortune as a CEO and reality show producer. Effective messaging and storytelling are two areas he actually does well. This attempt to divide America is no accident. Trump knows his best hope to avoid prosecution is to use the resources of the 1%, the blind faith of the Raptureheads and the insecurity driven hate filled strength of the deplorables to silence public dissent and suppress any efforts to hold him to account for his past criminal behavior.

He seeks their approval and in exchange for a return to power, blindly promises to advance their agenda with no questions asked. After all what’s a few dog whistles, conspiracy theory shout outs, executive orders and race baiting tweets in exchange for a loyalty oath from the majority of this nation’s gun owners, billionaires and private militias.

Even a domesticated dog’s behavior grows unpredictable when they sense the end is near. This isn’t a political fight, it’s a moral one. Brace yourself for the storms to come

Sweet and Lower Than Low

We need to stop sugar coating the situation. America has a terrorism problem. A threat to freedom and our very way of life exists within our shores. A clear and present danger that jeopardizes the safety of our children even as they innocently sit in a theater, at a church, a concert or even a school yard. Unawares that a terrorist has him/her in his crosshairs and is about to fire the fatal bullets in rapid fire high capacity succession.

Of course it won’t be delivered by already vetted refugees. Rather it will be brought by the same domestic terrorists who have repeatedly attacked this country over the past 10 years. In spite of the rhetoric and Muslim bans. Regardless of what you may hear about caravans of refugees, or those SOB kneeling football players. There is no question. The greatest and most immediate threat to our national security lies within our shores. Most of us just choose to turn a blind eye

We know their names and the preferred methods they use to spread their carnage. Mass shootings at schools, shopping malls, grocery stores, places of worship and night clubs. They reap havoc and preach the words of fear in response. They carry tiki torches and storm our Capital to intimidate and bully all who try to call out the brazen lies and propaganda they preach.

Their influence extends far beyond the battlefields of their creation. Their disproportional political might enables them to block any attempts at sensible gun control. Filibuster any efforts to protect over 31,000 annual domestic victims of gun violence. They shriek faux outrage at the thought the 2nd Amendment may be in any way regulated, all while curbing the 1st and 4th.

Trump trounced on HRC for not saying the words radical Islamic terrorism. Let’s hear GOP leadership speak out. Condemn the rise of white Christian domestic terrorism #GunControlNow #EnoughIsEnough

Let It Be

Let it be the dawn of new age. One where Republican or Democrat is not labeled an “us” or “them” by the representatives who are bound to serve us all with equal vigor. Where the living are prioritized over profits, political party or the pre-born. Let it be that the voice of the people smother the firestorm of corruption sparked by the influence of the corporate dollar.

Let it be uniters who step forward in our tone of our darkness. The disrupters among us who lead beyond labels. Who will be the first to relight the beacon of hope and freedom that once illuminated our shores. Voices of compassion and courage to deliver welcomed reminders of our shared heritage and strength of our immigrant nature. Who will proactively monitor and mitigate risks to that which is most vital to our sustainability. Let it be that those who react, who wait for the foreseeable bullet to fire before reaching for the gun, give way to those who lead.

Let it be that our rich immigrant history be learned, understood and preserved by all future generations. Serve as a rich reminder of the power of diversity. Let it be remembered that the contributions of refugees, immigrants and the those who longed to reach our land far outweighs any misdeeds. Let it be that our educators and scientists be more valued in our society than entertainers and prosyletizers.

Let it be that fear yield to the audacity of hope. That those who seek to preserve the status quo and obstruct the wheels of progress are enlightened by experience, education and science. Let it be that ignorance and fundamentalist faith give way to the engine of necessity, the need for collaboration and compromise.

Let it be where nature is revered as a heavenly garden. Respected in a manner where birds once again know skies free from smog and thick from man made pollution. Purified so dolphins, whales and marine life rediscover the magnificence of clear waters. Let it be where all living things may run without fear of slaughter, and swim without fear of plastics in their bellies or oils on their scales.

Let it be that my young daughters never doubt that it is their body and their choice. Live in a land where nobody dare debate the equal value of he/him, she/her or they/them. Experience a workplace of merit. Let it be that all are provided equal access to opportunity and let strength of character be more valued than the ability to create profit margin.

Let it be that my grandchildren never fear the horror of a mass shooting. Never so much as practice an active shooting drill or sacrifice their innocence to the cowardice greed of those bound to corporate lobbyists or religious dogma. Let it be that they never doubt their importance in our social structure, in humanity’s march forward.

Let it be that so long as humanity has breath they have hope. A path forward. A way to keep the dream of our ancestors alive and a conductor to keep that more prefect Union going. For progress, by definition knows but one direction. Let it be fast #Forward

Let it be that these whispered words of wisdom seep into the fabric of the universe. Flourish and get absorbed by the collective energy that binds us all. Let it be spread to future generations through our collective knowledge and desires

Sitting Ducks

I feel like a sitting duck lost at sea. Adrift. Bobbing along the water. Frantically paddling towards an endless horizon of gentle waves. Hopeful to find a safety net on which to regroup. A beacon of hope and freedom to escape the schools of predators lurking just below the surface. Targeting my every move. Plotting my demise. Awaiting the apex predator’s order to strike.

Perhaps it’s the circle of life. In the words of Lin Manuel “Empires fall. Oceans rise!” Perhaps it’s just our time. Yet it all feels so avoidable. Like the experiment in individual freedom and self-governance is being cut short prematurely. For the evidence suggests it wasn’t the system itself that was flawed or failed. It was the people who ran it. The political scientists themselves that betrayed the experiment’s controls. That engaged in sabotage and deceit to pollute the fair result.

History will cast the final verdict. Assign blame and cause as they rewind America’s entire 250 year history. How our nation achieved such unprecedented aspirational highs, international influence, steady social progress and advancement of democratic values in such short order. And conversely how we just as quickly rolled them back. Reverted to base human tribal instinct. Diluted the experiment with elements of God Over Politics dogma, Guns Over People faux patriotism and Greed Or Power influencers. Strange coincidence how all may be best summarized as “the GOP.”

It’s time to acknowledge what we have become. We are a nation long past constitutional crisis. An empire well beyond “national emergency.” We are a country adrift at sea without a lifeboat. Our enemies have us surrounded. Biding their time. Waiting to strike. And with no sign of a last minute rescue mission at hand, it appears as if the dream is coming to an end. The audacity of hope replaced with our children’s worst nightmare. The words of our founding fathers distorted by the echoes of rapid fire semiautomatic blasts. The experiment in individual freedom and self-governance snuffed out by a cabal of tribal interests and corporate lobbyists #ProtestTheGOP

Deja Vu, All Over Again

The numbing sensation washes over me like a baptism of American shame. The situation repeated so many times that like a Pavlovian dog, the mere vibration of a news alert triggers an automatic response within me. In the mere milliseconds it takes for me to reach and read my phone, my brain has already simulated a million scenarios;

“Where are my kids? My wife? Do I hear any nearby sirens? Might this be weather related? Any immediate sense of community panic? Do I know of any mass events that my siblings, parents, nieces or nephews may be attending?”

My body stiffens and by the time I nervously scan the headline, shock is no longer possible. My mind practically impervious to the details. The actual news article reads as a horrific mad lib of a preventable catastrophe anyways. “A (public place) shooting resulted in (number) casualties, with at least (number) of the victims being children. (City, State) authorities say the gunmen used a (type of gun) and fired (number greater than 250) of rounds in (number less than 60) seconds. Our thoughts and prayers to all victims of this senseless tragedy.”

My eyes close, often wet with tears. My immediate reaction a sickening relief that the innocent victims are likely strangers to me. The ensuing overwhelming mixture of shame and sadness. The modern day expression of American exceptionalism.

This is our American heritage. What “we, the people” have chosen to accept. The dreams of our ancestors transformed into our children’s worst nightmare. The words of our founding fathers distorted by the echoes of rapid fire semiautomatic blasts. The experiment in individual freedom and self-governance snuffed out by tribal interests and corporate lobbyists.

American UnExceptionalism

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Stop your crying. Hold your faux thoughts and prayers. Raise those flags back to full mast. This is our American heritage. What “we, the people” have chosen to accept. The dreams of our ancestors transformed into our children’s worst nightmare. The words of our founding fathers distorted by the echoes of rapid fire semiautomatic blasts. The experiment in individual freedom and self-governance snuffed out by tribal interests and corporate lobbyists.

This is us.

So long as we continue to dehumanize minorities, outsiders and those who look different. So long as we characterize them as “rapists,” “animals,” “enemies,” and worse. So long as we see targets and avatars in our crosshairs, rather than sons and daughters,

This is us.

So long as a pro-life agenda only includes the unborn the living will be expendable. So long as we debate whether gun lockers have a greater right to privacy than our daughter’s privates. We maintain that the 2nd Amendment is absolute and unequivocal, but act to curtail and reverse the guaranteed freedoms of the 1st, 4th and 5th. So long as it is harder to purchase allergy medicine then it is a bullet,

This is us.

So long as we sling false equivalents that fail to differentiate between those who protest for equality and freedom, with those who represent hatred and ignorance. So long as we see the good in klansmen, neo-Nazis and white supremacists. Promote and legitimize their message of hate and violence. So long as we conflate the history of the Confederacy with that of the United States,

This is us.

So long as we allow those in power to divide our nation into two camps. Secure a status quo long past the point demographics will otherwise allow. Erect a permanent caste system. So long as we are “haves and have nots” and are labeled an “us”or “them,”

This is us.

So long as we allow the bully to play the role of victim. So long as we censor and shame the whistle blower and shield the accused. Enable and fail to hold the criminal to evade account. So long as we value celebrity and fame over character and virtue,

This is us.

So long as we falsely equate the child in the hoodie, hijab, yarmulke or Che tee with the ones wearing the white hood, cloaked in the sweater vest, draped in the Confederate flag, or adorned with the swastika tattoo,

This is us.

So long as we build walls instead of bridges. Invest in war instead of education and research grants. So long as we celebrate “American exceptionalism” but delay student loan reform,

This is us.

So long as we are persuaded by “alternative facts,” slogans, and double speak but tune out science, photographic evidence, and statistics. So long as ratings driven entertainment is consumed as a “fair and balanced” news source,

This is us.

So long as we buy the empty promises about the wonders of trickle down economics and reject efforts to raise the minimum wage. So long as oligarchs prioritize profits over people and individual tax savings over the public good,

This is us.

So long as we profess that Earth and all its things were created by God but deny global warming, pollute our waterways with plastics, rollback environmental protections and drill baby drill,

This is us.

So long as we are more offended by the black athlete who uses his celebrity to kneel in silent protest for equality than we are the white Christian billionaire who use his bully pulpit to disparage an immigrant nation,

This is us.