Risky Business

An effective leader mitigates risk before it occurs. Puts controls and monitors in place to ensure the worst case scenario never occurs. Unforeseen risk is always a possibility but that which can be foreseen must always be prevented. The faulty O-rings which led to the Challenger space shuttle explosion. The Chernobyl nuclear meltdown. The Pan Am Lockerbie flight. The downing of the Twin Towers. These are the exceptions. Preventable catastrophes that nonetheless occurred. In each, however, lessons were learned. Elements of failure dissected; people, process, technology. New controls standardized as a result of prior failure that markedly reduce the potential of a repeat failure.

The failure to protect our children. The absence of common sense reforms intended not to eliminate gun violence, that is an impossibility. The objective of sensible gun control is to reduce mass killings. To regulate access and keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of those most likely to abuse them. To preserve and balance the guarantees of individual freedoms with those inalienable rights of life and liberty bestowed upon the collective citizenry. That no such measures have yet to be implemented is not a mere dereliction of leadership, it is a crime against our children.

It’s been nearly 10 years since Newtown. That the AR-15, very instruments of terror used then remains available and accessible to those who pose an obvious risk to the health and safety of our children, it is beyond comprehension. Where is the justice in this country? The means by which “we, the people” get to hold politicians to account for the blood of the innocents that stains their money lined silk pockets. What must be done to charge those NRA controlled representatives who refuse their civic duty as accessories to murder? How do we demand that those who intentionally obstruct efforts to protect the future of this nation are charged for their negligent indifference?

Trump sensationalized a “national emergency” to redirect military funds to build an ineffective border wall. Surely there is an EO Biden can sign to force the issue. A prosecutorial interpretation that AG Garland may utilize to preserve the rule of law. Democratic leadership must do more than simply react to senseless massacre after massacre. To protect our children. To preserve the dream will demand they lead with both a proactive intent and an uncompromising position

Senseless Sensibilities

There is so much to be angry about. So many daily injustices that assault our senses.

Our eyes bear witness to the daily horrors broadcast on an endless 24 hour loop. The images of pain and sorrow seared into our brains. The embrace of the survivors, the anguish of the mothers. The blood of the victims reflects a translucent red off the tears that well in the pockets of our lids.

Our ears deafened by the incessant dog whistles and barrage of divisive propaganda, sound bites and alternative facts that fill our sound waves. The hate filled rhetoric of those meant to serve and inform the general masses. Leaders who choose to use their bully pulpit to promote tribal divisions. Who orchestrate their words to effectuate their own agenda’s of self interest, and to manipulate the ears of the ill informed listener.

Our nose raw from the acrid smells of scorched earth that burn your lungs with each inhale. Respiratory diseases and sinusitis at record highs as allergens, pollutants, and air borne irritants invade our protective cilia. Wears it down to create an unobstructed tunnel through our nasal passageways in which the stench of greed, corruption, caviar and old-fashioned American whiskey flows through.

Our tastebuds dulled by the chemicals, sweetners, artificial flavors and countless other toxins ingested through our food supply. Numbed by the poisons of insecticides, hormones and infected cattle and poultry fed with the cannibalistic remains of their ancestors. Our tongues forever weakened. Left to savor only the most bitter and sour of spices and flavors.

Our sense of touch forever altered by past experience. The aftermath of a pandemic necessitating an infant’s need to relearn hot from cold. Each handshake, hug, or sensual encounter triggering moments of sudden awkwardness. The unwanted grab, hug, pinch or assault that for far too long not only went ignored, but we’re encouraged and worn as a badge of honor at the 19th hole and gym locker rooms. The generational trauma of past institutionalized race based, gender based or religious based attacks forever ingrained on our present and future begins our. A need for skin to skin contact replaced by the distance of text messages, emojis, snaps and TikTok dances.

While the battle for our worldly senses may be lost there is one sense that remains uncorrupted. Hidden, but accessible to us all. A collective humanity and flow of consciousness free for all to tap into. A shared lifeforce that contains the knowledge and wisdom of history’s trials and tribulations.

The majority of us share a collective thirst to sip from that reservoir. To bathe in its energy and lap up its infinite knowledge and power. We just need a guide to show the way through the shield. A hero among us able to read the signs, interpret the prophecy and answer the call of history. For ultimately progress, by definition, knows but one direction and though often unseen the evolution of that more perfect union will ultimately continue its advance #Forward #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

American Horror Story

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The very thought of it haunts me. There is no justification. No amount of mental gymnastics that make this okay. 40 minutes! 40 minutes before police entered that schoolroom! Even if the risk of further spread was contained babies lay dying in that room. Desperate for help and critical medical aid. Each precious second the potential difference between life or death.

Other children living in the face of terror. Covered in the blood of their peers. Hiding in corners, under blankets, scared to make the slightest of sounds or movements. Too young to even comprehend what death means but certain that they will soon find out.

Who delays in such moments? Where is the morality in this country? Would it be more impactful if we start referring to these massacres as retroactive abortions? Will that get the attention of the pro-lifers? America is a nation whose exceptionalism applies only to self-delusion and hypocrisy. Our morals and values are no longer even average, let alone aspirational #NoRationalArgument

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.