This is us

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Stop your crying. Hold your faux thoughts and prayers. Raise those flags back to full mast.

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,” “thugs,” and worse,

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 would 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 the leaders of our nation think it acceptable to bully, threaten, tweet racist dog whistles, and challenge one another to school yard brawls. So long as we elect those who deride a Civil Rights icon on social media but silently accepts the endorsement of hatemongers, white supremacists and nationalists,

This is us.

So long as you 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 oppose student loan reform,

This is us.

So long as “we, the people” includes Goldman Sachs, Halliburton, Bain, Monsanto and Bayer and not Trayvon, Fatima, Colin, Mary and Tom,

This is us.

So long as we listen to the sources that broke the Bowling Green Massacre, but dub the one that broke Watergate as “fake news,”

This is us.

So long as we value profits over people, peddle snake oil over science and bail out Wall Street instead of Main Street,

This is us.

So long as we are persuaded by “alternative facts,” slogans, and double speak but tune out science, photographic evidence, and statistics,

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,

This is us.

So long as we profess that Earth and all its things were created by God but deny global warming, pollute our rivers and drill baby drill,

This is us.

So long as we debate whether gun lockers have a greater right to privacy than our daughter’s privates. We lobby that the 2nd Amendment is absolute and unequivocable, but tweet against and act to curtail the 1st and 4th,

This is us.

So long as we offer thoughts and prayers for all of God’s children, but sit nearly silent as antisemitism, Islamaphobia, and hate crimes are committed in her name,

This is us.

So long as we declare “Mission Accomplished” all while knowing it has hardly begun,

This is us.

So long as we ridicule and deride the opposition, chill the whistleblower and eliminate independent watchdogs; so long as we reject diversity of thought and opinion.

This is us.

So long as we value haircuts, manicures and beers over the health and safety of our grandparents, the immunocompromised and the must vulnerable members of our society,

This is us.

So long as we’re 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.

Never Forget

Prior to the ascension of Donald Trump I had never used Social media as a platform, but consider me an alarmist. The only thing I ever learned in Hebrew school was “never forget,” and I haven’t. We all have a responsibility to speak out.

All of America is faced with a simple choice, #Resistance or #Appeasement.

America has a long history of standing up to bullies and Nazis. The vast majority of us teach our children that name calling and excluding other kids on basis of race, gender or religion is not okay. We take pride in the melting pot that is America. Recognize that diversity IS the American identity. We can’t change that anymore than a tiger its stripes. A list of all the great contributions immigrants, minorities and refugees have made to this country would dwarf a list of their misdeeds a million times over. Americans are waking. We know who we are. And we like it that way.

This is not about politics. Look at Trump’s words. Log into twitter and review his timeline of tweets. It is repulsive. You’d be ashamed of your child if that was the method they used to become class president. He is a man of flawed character. He does not share OUR values and we must stand up together and punch him in the nose.

All in #GOP, including the so called “moderates” who serve this administration, need to declare yourself an independent, a freedom fighter or whatever heroic name you wish to give yourselves. Find the courage within you. Make clear to the Divider in Chief that you stand for the people and the constitution and he will have trouble if he continues to mess with either.

This shitshow has gone on long enough. It’s time to cut commercial and bring the adults back into the room.We can no longer afford to play Russian roulette with our values, our democracy or the lives of our future generations

Why?

More than the obvious personal enrichment, conflicts of interests, or obstruction there’s one unanswered question that keeps me up at night. That hints at something more than mere Russian influence or collusion to help elect Trump. That if taken to its darkest logical conclusion suggests actual Russian control. It’s a simple question that Annie Lennox asked best, “Why?”

It is an established fact that Vladimir Putin actively worked to influence the US election in Trump’s favor and that he continues to do so. That millions in Russian resources have been devoted specifically to maximize the probability of a Trump victory. That these efforts began not just against Hillary, but against the entire GOP field. There was only one candidate the Vlad endorsed. That’s important. It’s one thing for Russia to be anti-Hillary. That makes all the sense in the world.
It’s a whole other can of worms that Putin and his henchman were actually pro-Trump.

So the only question that remains unanswered is why? Why did Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent, a dangerous mind with a ruthless reputation, why would he care who defeated his Democratic foe? Why was this man of high intelligence who has never before acted with America’s best interests in mind be suddenly motivated to make America great again? Why would a man who hijacked Russia’s emerging democracy to orchestrate his own rise to absolute power in ways that would make Frank Underwood blush care what happened here on our shores? Why the sudden change of heart towards our collective well being?

The answer appears to be obvious. Donald Trump is best case working in cahoots with and worst case compromised and controlled by Putin and Russia. The implications of either choice is so terrifying it’s almost beyond comprehension.

If true it suggests that Trump knows and will continue to act with the knowledge that he has the might of the world behind him. That he may willingly use whatever means necessary and proactively use all the powers of his office, regardless of optics, to squash any attempts to legally remove him from office. That so long as he formally remains Commander in Chief of the most powerful military in the world, he will be the one to resist any effort to bring him down regardless of tradition or precedent; just as Puppetmaster Putin did in his ascension.

When you continue to play the scenarios out they only get more and more horrifying. It’s not hard to see how a new world order emerges. A global oligarchy controlled by a fascist few. An international caste system of haves and have nots in which the world’s most valuable natural resources are controlled by the world’s most powerful nations. The many working for the few. A permanent military state in which any remaining illusion of individual freedoms would be just that.

When viewed through this prism almost all of Trump’s forreign policy decisions suddenly make sense. The wag the dog drama, escalated rhetoric, and ensuing peace agreements with traditional hostile nations a fait accompli. Russia (Iran) and China (N Korea) in control of their rogue pawns as they formalize their growing international influence through negotiations. Traditional allies pushed aside to make room at the table.

Like the skilled reality show stars they are, our Comrade in Chief and this caravan of criminals and corrupt enablers seem to create new storylines weekly; generate so many sensational new questions each day that it is impossible to focus on story continuity or consistency. So in the words of Julie Andrews, “let’s start at the very beginning. It’s a very good place to be.”

It is undisputed that Vladimir Putin sought to aid in the election of Donald Trump. We can no longer afford to be distracted from seeking the answer to the only question that truly matters,

“Why?”

Kiss My Grits

If our leaders truly cared for our national security they’d figure out a bipartisan way to ensure each and every person in this picture of a domestic terrorist network never legally purchases another firearm in this country.

For let’s be unequivocal on this issue. There are not good people on both sides. The history of the Confederacy is not the history of the United States. The racist heroes of the GOP had the good graces and Southern decency to secede once they came to understand what “America” is truly about. They didn’t pretend to be something they weren’t, patriots of the United States of America, an immigrant nation whose diversity reflects off our shores to serves as the beacon of hope and freedom to the world’s oppressed.

If you don’t like that well as those Confederate heroes of yours would say, “Kiss my grits!”

Is It Soon Enough?

Virginia Tech University, Virgina: April 16, 2007 — 32 dead, 17 wounded – #GunReformNow we cried; Too soon they replied

Fort Hood, Texas: November 5, 2009 — 13 dead, 30 wounded – #GunReformNow we cried; Too soon they replied

Sandy Hook Elementary School, Connecticut: December 14, 2012 — 26 dead, 2 wounded – #GunReformNow we cried; Too soon they replied

San Bernardino, California: December 2, 2015 — 14 dead, 22 wounded – #GunReformNow we cried; Too soon they replied

Pulse Night Club, Orlando: June 12, 2016 — 49 dead, 58 wounded – #GunReformNow we cried; Too soon they replied

Las Vegas, Nevada: October 1, 2017 — 59 dead, 527 wounded – #GunReformNow we cried; Too soon they replied

Sutherland Springs, Texas: Nov. 5, 2017 – 26 dead, 20 wounded – #GunReformNow we cried; Too soon they replied

Parkland, Florida: February 14, 2018 — 17 dead, 19 injured – #GunReformNow we cried; Too soon they replied

Santa Fe High School, Texas: May 18, 2018 – 10 dead, 10 injured – #GunReformNow we cried; Too soon they replied

Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue, Pennsylvania: October 11, 2018 11 dead, 6 injured – #GunReformNow we cried; Too soon they replied

Thousand Oaks, California: November 8, 2018: 13 dead, several injured – #GunReformNow we cried; Too soon they replied

Sebring Sun Trust Bank, Florida: January 23, 2019: 5 dead, several injured – #GunReformNow we cried; Too soon they replied

Aurora, Illinois: February 15, 2019: 6 dead, 6 injured – #GunReformNow we cried; Too soon they replied

Virginia Beach, Virginia: May 31, 2019: 13 dead, 4 injured – #GunReformNow we cried; Too soon they replied

Gilroy Garlic Festival, California: July 28, 2019: 4 dead, 12 injured – #GunReformNow we cried; Too soon they replied

El Paso, Texas: August 3, 2019: 22 dead, 24 injured – #GunReformNow we cried; Too soon they replied

Dayton, Ohio: August 4, 2019: 10 dead, 27 injured – #GunReformNow we cried; Too soon they replied

“Too soon?” Too soon for whom exactly?

The tens of thousands of victims of gun violence who died waiting for the opportune time to speak? Cognitive dissonance aside, more like “too late.”

When exactly is the right time to have that conversation anyway? We’ve been waiting more than 10 years. Turns out there’s been a victim of gun violence each and every one of those days so apparently the time is never right. It’ll always be the opportunist liberals politicizing a situation.

Well let’s make this clear. This isn’t about politics. There are fanatics on all sides. No political party, religion, race or creed has a monopoly on crazy. What we must do is come together and devise common sense ways to keep instruments of terror out of the evil hands of domestic terrorists.

This is about common sense, free will, rationality, and basic human decency. There is never a need for a civilian to own an “assault” rifle. Never a point in legalizing the means to create fully automatic weapons of mass destruction. No justification for one individual to own dozens of firearms. Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. We owe it to each other to act #NeverAgain

Root Cause Analysis

Imagine if America’s response to 9/11 didn’t include an examination of airline safety regulations. How do you expect to solve a problem if you won’t even acknowledge a root cause?

If placed in the wrong hands guns kill people. The same way cars, airplanes, bombs, poisons and narcotics do. The goal is to enact common sense rules and regulations that mitigate the chance these potential instruments of terror will wind up in the wrong hands.

This isn’t rocket science. If you can require psychological examination before a person may proceed with their constitutionally protected right to an abortion surely we can do the same before they purchase an assault rifle. Enough is enough #NeverAgain #GunReformNow

If this is pro-life…

Only in Trump’s America can you;

Favor the death penalty,

Oppose universal health care and a living wage,

Preach preemptive war,

Oppose sensible gun control,

Defend the rights of white supremacists,

Oppose those who fight systemic racism & promote social justice,

Yet still call yourself “pro-life” #HypocrisyAbound

The Sunken Place

I find myself once again plunged into the sunken place. The echo of the gunshots as they ring through the halls of our schools must mimic the sound of a spoon clinking gently against a delicate teacup. Transports my psyche to that powerless place from which we can observe, but not act.

By now I should know better than to fight it. To scream out the answers that will go unheard. That will be met with thoughts and prayers. To demand sensible gun control and comprehensive reform. To highlight the fallacy of the 2nd Amendment, the analogies to traffic laws, the hypocrisy of pro-lifers.

By now I should know to temper my expectations. Realize that it is naive to think the slaughter of our children will awaken our elected leaders from their slumber. Foolish to hope it will remind them that their responsibility is to serve and protect “we, the people,” not the monied interests of corporations and NRA lobbyists. Understand that it will always be “too soon.” That thoughts and prayers is all they will ever offer.

By now you’d think I’d have grow immune to the pain. Indifferent to the sorrow the friends and families of the victims must feel. Hardened to the feelings of empathy that awash me as parents reunite with their kids; devastated for the ones who never will.

By now you would think I’d cease correcting the reporters each time they referred to the disturbed gunman. Each report in which they refused to brand the latest act of domestic terrorism as such. Failed to identify the undeniable trend among the perpetrators. To ask the obvious, “where were they radicalized?”

Perhaps that’s the plan. To normalize these school shootings to such a degree that we accept them as inevitable. Abandon efforts at prevention in favor of those that mitigate damage instead. Redesign our schoolyards to more closely resemble a prison yard. Arm our teachers and security officers to better control threats. Relax our rights of privacy to allow for profiling and stop and frisk of suspicious groups. Enhance communications to allow for quicker response times.

Let me be clear. They may expect that but it will never happen. To settle for that is a disservice to our children and future generations. It is to spit on the graves of our founding fathers. To admit that fear trumps freedom.

Do not give into those impulses. This fight is too important. They may want you to perceive that this fight is in unwinnable, that it requires compromise, but reality tells us otherwise. We’ve seen what happened in Australia when they resolved to solve the core issue. We know the success Japan, Europe and most of the civilized world has had in implementing common sense reform.

The feeling of helplessness you may experience today is real, but so long as you continue to have breath there is hope. So long as you continue to observe, you have a voice. A way to “Get Out” of the sunken place. So long as a even a small part of you exists you have a choice.

Choose to keep reaching for those tissues.

Choose to keep screaming from the abyss and asking the relevant questions.

Choose to keep demanding action of our leaders and common sense gun control.

Choose to protect our future and to act a patriot.

Choose to #MarchForOurLives #SantaFeHighSchool