The Terrible Twos

The great dynasties age in centuries not years. They span thousands of years and define an era of human history. If America is truly destined to lead the next great era in mankind’s evolution then history will view today’s struggles appropriately. We were founded but 250 years ago. Our actions today are indicative of the immature growing pains all toddlers experience, symptoms of the terrible twos. A collective temper tantrum driven by White Christian males who fear change.

On most days I remain hopeful that when our descendants recount the stories of the birth of the nation the days of Trump’s America will be easy to explain away. Preschoolers experience a seismic shift in their relationship to the world. It’s an age where ones abilities to take in information outpaces one’s ability to properly process it. Rather than logic, behavior is driven by pure id and a need to prove one’s independence and self worth. Learning lessons the hard way is a part of daily life.

Research shows that these are the formative years that will dictate one’s moral fiber. ThIs is not meant to be hyperbolic. We are at a crossroad. We are a nation of informed consent. The constitutional crisis is not coming. It is here. Our nation’s moral fiber is at stakes. We, the people, have a choice to make.

We are the guardian who gets to imprint a moral code during the formative years. Do we choose to be the parent who allows their child to get away with anything? Who withholds accountability and rewards tantrums with excess love, adoration, or rewards? Or do we instill the lessons of accountability and impose limits, reward the virtues of empathy and community?

The path we choose may very well determine the survival of our species. There are those among us who don’t want to change. Who don’t want to grow up or evolve. They fear strangers, throw tantrums, protest and resist change at all cost. They enjoy their lot in life, their standing in the caste. They bask in the shadow of white male privilege, take comfort in their status quo.

Others simply fear getting older or reject evolution. They recognize their outdated beliefs are being trampled. Their traditional values and understanding of one’s place under attack. They see the world around them and at heart must know they are the dinosaurs of the 21st century. Yet, it is with that knowledge they fight hardest against the inevitability of change. As if doing so will somehow prevent their extinction.

The majority of us, however, reject the impulses to fear the unknown. We recognize that change is a sign of progress. We strive to go #forward and dream of a brighter tomorrow. We pray for a world of greater tolerance, and pitch in to fight poverty and conserve our environment. With a yes we can spirit we set off to build bridges and seek to tear down walls.

The majority also take honor in the fact that diversity is a central part of the American identity. We recognize the dreams of our ancestors came at great cost and sacrifice. We acknowledge that our privilege was born from the sins of the modern era. The exploitation of cultures, land and people that came along with empire building, manifest destiny, tribalism, and colonialism.

For us to properly mature as a nation we must get over our separation anxiety and insecurities. The survival of our species will require unprecedented global interdependence and cooperation. The impacts of climate change, nuclear proliferation, antibiotic resistant pandemic and eventual planetary extinction will require it. To meet these challenges we need to toss aside our old grudges and ignorant stereotypes. We need to move to a figurative world without borders. This does not mean we abandon all common sense, but we flip our expectations. We expect a positive outcome and promote the benefits of cooperation. We teach our kids to trust but verify.

It’s time we as a nation moved beyond the comforts of our founding fathers. Time for us to begin the big kid years and write our own legacy. Learn to socialize beyond our immediate family circle and expand our bubble. Promote the commonalities that exist between us instead. Welcome strangers into the kindergarten classroom and nurture the concepts of trust, inclusion and collaboration. Discipline and reject those that promote ignorance, name calling or disrespectful behavior.

Early intervention is the key to success. Let’s stop humoring the whines and screams of how much better it could be. Let’s instead pay attention to the desperate cries for structure and accountability. It’s not always easy but the time has come to yank the binky away from our Dear Leader and bring some adult supervision back. This tantrum has gone on long enough.

The Pathway to Perdition

The pathway to perdition is paved in ignorance. They say there are only seven original stories in the world. If you read enough, and pay attention to life, you can actually begin to see them unfold in realtime. You grow able to predict what the author of that real life story is going to do next. Which story they seek to recreate in their own life.

Donald Trump is far from an original. In fact we’re all familiar with this story he’s writing. For many of us it’s our favorite movie, book or television show. We’ve seen it unfold countless times, albeit in differing variations.

The agents of fear and oppression rise up, usually in the form of a privileged older male pseudo populist whose good fortune depends on preserving the status quo. He uses fear and oppression as his primary tools. His speech comprised of thinly veiled dog whistles that call upon the deplorables of society to rise up. His policies implicitly condone the dirty work and agenda of those who once sat on the fringe of society.

His nationalistic rhetoric encourages them to sow discord; to intimidate others to get on board. to bully, peer pressure, threaten and blackmail similar patriots and relatives who may agree with the message but be resistant to the harsh methods. Over time they too will join the cause or face excommunication from the party. Those branded race or party traitors to be forever blacklisted and cast out.

As he consolidates power the narcissist grows. He begins to divide traditional alliances through rumor, false promises and chaos. He discredits opponents with lies, misinformation and alternative facts.

As the story progresses the emerging authoritarian begins to act more erratic. The threat of a “deep state”, and traditional checks and balances begin to weigh heavy on he who chases the crown.

As the opposition grows and coalesces, the motive of the dictatorial villain grows more transparent. The desire for ultimate power drive increasingly brutal and more brazen tactics. Dissent must be suppressed! Foreign enemies abound! A caravan of rapists and criminals approach unchecked! Now is not the time for #resistance!

Midway through the story a cataclysmic event occurs. The stuff of nightmares. A society’s worst fears realized. Freedoms must be restrained as a new threat rises. At this point resistance is futile. The takeover complete.

That’s the story Trump and his caravan of the corrupt are trying to write. The appointment of Whitaker. The war on the press and needless taunts of our closest allies. It’s clear that we’re already very close to that midway point.

There’s another version of this story though. The one written about the protagonist. A story of hope, freedom and perseverance. How love saves the day. A last minute miracle. A heroic act that thwarts catastrophy and exposes the naked emperor, unmasks the fraud.

In that story truth, justice and the “American” way win out. “We, the people,” can still write that story. Look around, look around. The resistance is real. We are the majority. We simply need that hero to step forward to lead us

Either way; the good news is the story always ends the same way. Love, empathy, sacrifice and acceptance win the day. A new hope emerges in the blooms of renewed unity and tolerance. The villain is denounced and rejected. Grows to be nothing more than a cautionary tale in history’s annals.

I’ve read this book a thousand times. Societies advance, grow more civil and tolerant.

The question is not if freedom wins. It’s how long and at what cost it will take for her to do so. Progress knows but one direction #Forward

Tradition, tradition!

Our Comrade in Chief boasts of his refusal to follow the rules established by the political insiders that preceded him. Brags of his willingness to take action where none before him had the courage to do so. Gloats how only he will dares to speak the hard truths the career politicians refused to say.

It’s not just words either. It’s clear in Il Douche’s actions too. He flaunts his disregard for presidential precedence. Treaties and accords negotiated by the 44 who came before him may as well have been written on toilet paper. He gives traditions passed down by past Presidents of both parties as much respect and attention as he does his daughter Tiffany.

Here’s the thing I’ve never really understood. Traditional norms have no place when faced with an unconventional risk. Yet from the day the orange one rode down that escalator to announce he would be our next President our political establishment has responded to his ascent by traditional means. They have given deference to the office and political norms. Refused to go to far outside the lines of acceptability.

For me, that’s the very definition of appeasement. The ultimate “I don’t want to rock the boat, so instead I’ll sit here and drown in it” type of resistance.

It’s nice to see President Obama beginning to shed some of those prior restraints. They’ve largely been soft jabs but he’s testing the water, going a bit each deeper. We need more of that. We need him to keep talking our truth. Need to hear his voice grow louder as the crowds gather again to be reminded of the alternate path this country was on.

Make no mistake, a resistance needs a leader, a uniter through which allies unite. Regardless of results, next weeks election won’t really change the fact that we don’t really have one. We were shattered into a coalition of Hillarys or Bernies, a larger archipelago of Warrens, Kamalas, Betos and Joes has since formed.

Obama has proven the only one able to hold us all together. Who would still garner more votes than them all. We need him to lead and be the voice for progress. We need him to keep talking our truth. We need to hear his voice grow louder as the crowds gather again to hear his message of hope and recovery. Most of all we need to hear him raise his voice in protest as the an who now sits in his old office tramples all over the most fundamental values, traditions, morals and ideals of this once proud nation #Resist

Impede, Impeach, Indict

It’s so simple even the Democrats shouldn’t be able to eff this up.

Impede, impeach, indict.

Yesterday was a good day. The witches are coming home to roost. Our CEO President who should know a thing or two about the art of the interview and importance of due diligence hired a criminal to run his campaign. His one time fixer pleaded guilty to multiple felonies and implicated our Dear Leader as a knowing conspirator in some. To top it all off the stench of the cesspool grew ever stronger as Duncan Hunter, yet another of our Comrade in Chief’s earliest Congressional supporters, was indicted for financial crimes. Safe to say the noose got a lot tighter around that orange neck.

Today should be a turning point. The day in which the resistance seizes the narrative. It no longer depends on the Mueller investigation. The latest tweet, Sarah Sanders soundbite, Giuliani Chewbacca defense, or Propaganda Hannity piece may finally be ignored. The sitting President has been implicated in a crime. His earliest surrogates are dropping like flies. Look out your windows and you can practically see the Russian witches burning at the stake.

Impede, impeach, indict.

Our elected leaders swore an oath to defend our Constitution and the people of this great nation. They can no longer advance the agenda of a man who was already under active investigation for colluding with a foreign adversary and who now stands accused of campaign finance and election law violations. Until we, the people, receive independent assurance that our so called President was elected by and is working for the American people our leaders need to work to actively impede and prevent him from pushing through anymore of his questionable agenda or policies.

Every patriot in Congress, regardless of party, must insist on extreme vetting of all nominees put forth by this administration, regardless of position. After all how can the American people trust the vetting procedure of a man who hired an active foreign agent to head his National Security Agency, an embezzling financial felon to run his campaign, and a bumbling crook as his personal fixer?

The time is now. It starts with Kavanaugh. You cannot allow an accused criminal the ability to handpick 2 members of his jury. Our independent legislative branch must seize the narrative, connect the dots and grind this nation’s government to a halt, if necessary, to ensure her continued independence.

Impede, Impeach, Indict

Iceberg Ahead!

As a nation we stand on the decks of the Titanic. Aware the ship has hit a giant iceberg. That it is taking in water at a pace that will lead to inevitable disaster. That time is not on our side and survival will require immediate action. Yet as I scan the throngs of people who share in my circumstance, in search of direction, a voice of hope, a leader. To my surprise I find none.

Instead our so called leaders, the very crew who steered us into this mess, reassure the masses that this is all a part of the normal growing pains you may expect with any maiden voyage. That the Titanic is not your typical ship so the lessons of the past do not apply to the present. It was designed by the brightest minds to be indestructible. There is nothing to see here. Look at the economy! It’s a standing room only crowd and the decor is to die for. Drown out the doomsayers and enjoy the band they instruct unironically. The cognitive dissonance is strong.

Our leaders need to learn from the lessons of America’s past. Need to understand the importance of taking proactive action. That this nation was founded and preserved due to the proactive nature of the American spirit. So many of our heroes, Washington, Hamilton, Lincoln, Wilson, Roosevelt, and Truman all grew to be revered for their foresight and courage. Heck even our Comrade in Chief’s hero, Andrew Jackson, understood how essential it is to take steps to mitigate an impending catastrophe, rather than wait to respond until it came to you.

Whether paralyzed by fear or blissfully ignorant of the danger I know not. What I know is that it’s not enough to sit silently as the smoke thickens and billows overhead. To keep dancing obliviously as new flames seemingly erupt in every direction. To simply stare in disbelief as the deck chairs begin to sway, confident that help will arrive shortly.

Until we confirm that the so called President of the United States and leader of the free world, was hired by and is working for the American people we cannot continue to advance his agenda. We cannot give deference to his nominees or judicial appointees. We cannot allow every Executive Order and unilateral decision to withdraw from international treaties to go unchallenged. Each baiting tweet to be left uncensured and as if official position of the United States citizenry.

“We, the people,” cannot sit back and watch as the 1% are ushered into the life boats right under our noses. We must demand action. To put our faith in the belief that the crew in charge won’t really allow the ship to sink ignores recent history. We must insist they act today to protect us all. Regardless of party, race, class or creed we are all passengers on this ship. At this point to do nothing is beyond appeasement; it’s assisted suicide. #Resist

The Many Faces of Donald Trump

Trump knows his audience. He always has. It’s the secret of his success. He understands what motivates his constituents so well that he is able to craft a message that speaks direct to whatever audience is in front of him in that moment. Offer up the deal of your dreams, designed to reward you with whatever it is you most desire, regardless of precedence or existing restraints. Quid pro quos with so many competing factions it takes a full time Consigliere to keep track of it all.

It is important to understand that at heart Trump is a casino man. He preys on the desperate. He knows that for the right price anything is negotiable and for the man who holds no core beliefs or morals there’s never been a price he isn’t willing to pay if it will advance his own self interests.

It’s actually fairly easy for a talented conman to rise to power. The difficult part is remaining there. To do that you need to make those various factions that promised support in exchange for influence that you will deliver. That they can trust you to continue to deliver on their behalf. So long as you do that, serve your purpose and advance all agendas, you can murder a man on Fifth Avenue in plain daylight and your so called base will continue to turn a blind eye. Once the naked emperor slips up though and loses the trust of any one bloc the entire pyramid quickly begins to crumble. Et tu Brute?

As a reality television star Trump is well aware of this. He knows the key to retain that trust is to continue to talk to every faction as individuals. Make them know he still cares about them. Is there to advance “their” agenda.

Pay attention. Each time he appears before the camera he plays a different character, a different instance of a GOP President. Each tweet or speech written by a schizophrenic clone of the same id. Let’s go through but a few of them.

There’s Evangelical Trump ready to shepherd the righteous to the Rapture they foolishly seek. He’s the anti-Muslim best friend of Netanyahu who fights for family values, Jerusalem and God in absolute ways. You’ll often find Preacher Pence staring doe eyed at this Trump.

There’s Military Hawk Trump who is interested to see what will happen with Rocket Man, stands for the National Anthem, and has a keen understanding that Cold Wars and calls for faux patriotism are great for recruitment and military budgets.

There’s Establishment Trump who awkwardly poses alongside McConnell and Ryan and promises to advance whatever legislation will secure the status quo of white Christian male dominance far beyond demographics would otherwise allow. Abolish regulations with the stroke of a pen as Executive Order after Executive Order is placed in front of him to be signed unread. Ambassadorships and plush Cabinet posts are often reserved for these folk.

There’s Comrade Trump who is more of a mute unless it concerns impending military operations. Unable to say anything negative about his PuppetMaster Putin. Alienating traditional allies at every turn and advancing Putin’s agenda in the Ukraine and throughout the European arena. A frequent tweeter, he screams WITCH HUNT and no collusion. He also places known foreign agents in charge of our national security.

There’s Tea Party Trump who you’ll frequently see at rallies. It seems to me like this character is often on coke as he sniffles a lot and tends to go off script more than the other characters. He’s Mr Anti-Establishment, but only to a degree. He often talks tough but backs down if a deal can be made – the no DACA, no treaties, no trade deals initial stance that he secretly negotiates against.

Finally there’s Deplorable Trump. The most dangerous and controversial of all the characters he plays a critical role. Though not as large as some of the other blocs they are disproportionately influential and necessary to hold the other groups together. A twisted mutation of Tea Party Trump, Deplorable Trump is the one who delivers the dog whistles and codes to what heretofore was an unrepresented fringe group. This is the Trump that promotes deep state conspiracy theory and casually dehumanizes entire minorities, religions, and countries. He builds walls not to stem illegal immigration but to protect us from Mexican rapists and drug dealers. He disparages shit hole countries and falsely equates klansmen, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists to protestors who seek peace and justice for all people. He wages war on a free and independent press, judiciary, or any attempt at checks and balances. He blatantly rewards loyalty and encourages corruption. God bless the Kakistocracy.

Whenever the noose tightens around Trump’s neck this is the character we see respond. It’s no coincidence Trump’s Charlottesville remarks happened days after the Manafort raid. This is the very constituency he counts on to keep him in office. The ones who troll our posts and claim to “own” us. Who challenge the liberal elites to just try to impeach their leader, silence their voice. They carry the tiki torches, display their Confederate flags, and no longer even try to cloak their appearance behind the white hoods of their ancestors. They threaten to “crush” anyone who disrespects THEIR President and are armed with military grade artillery.

Deplorable Trump knows this. He depends on them keeping their word. Relies on them to keep the other Republican blocs in line through threats and intimidation. He uses them to dig up compromising information on friends and foe alike to use to his advantage. He invites and encourages them by referring to his opposition as “animals,” “enemy of the people,” and “unAmerican.” Terms meant to dehumanize and promote the cognitive dissonance that will allow a fanatical following to justify future acts of horrific violence.

Even the most domesticated of animals grow dangerously unpredictable when they sense the end is near. Desperate Donald is one character we should all fear. Let’s not sit back and wait for his appearance

The 3-D Painting

When I was a kid 3-D computer generated pictures were quite the fad. The ones you would stare cross eyed at for hours on end. Bits and pieces of the big picture coming in and out of focus. Your frustration builds with the knowledge that something epic awaits if you could only get your eyes to focus the right away. Then when you’re about to give up and your eyes start tearing up from exhaustion; voila! It all comes into focus. It was almost always some type of exhilarating scene. A dinosaur chase that featured a T-Rex reaching out to grab you in the foreground. A school of dolphins seemingly leaping out of the pixelated water and into your living room. The payoff always worth the effort.

As I to process the actions of Donald Trump and this den of corruption I feel like I’m back in high school staring at one of those pictures. I concentrate on all that’s been done these past 18 months and bits of the real picture, the hidden agenda, slowly comes into focus.

Look to the right. A bunch of middle aged smirking white men seem to be looking away from the rest of the picture. They shake hands and pat each other’s backs in a sense of accomplishment. A few appear to have their heads buried in the sand and others have their arms raised upright in a rapturous pose.

Behind them you make out the dreams of the GOP establishment coming into focus. Billboards line a pot holed highway. One marks the end of entitlements and social programs. “Say goodbye to your healthcare, food stamps, social security, and public benefits but hello to your temporary $200 tax cut,” it reads. Through a thick smog you make out the words of the next, “Regulations! We don’t need no stinkin regulations!” it says. “Toll Brother’s Toll booth ahead – $40” reads the last.

Is that Jesus moving into the forefront? A tear falling from his eye as he stands triumphantly in his Jerusalem throne. His foot resting on the throats of Muslims, Hindus, and a host of other non-believers as he takes in his kingdom.

Now close your right eye. Off to the left! Is that a shirtless Russian man riding on a horse? Standing in his shadow a seemingly endless line of workers doing hard labor. Rolling oil barrels directly into the Kremlin. Working with heavy machinery a pile of weapons of mass destruction amassed in the forefront. Ordinary looking people laying steel pipeline and rail. A massive red army on the march westward.

Open both eyes again and all you see is buckets of money falling from the sky like rain. Gold, silver and jewels piling up on the ground. International currencies from around the globe floating into focus. Shekls, rubles, dollars, euros, pounds, yens, even whatever they use in China all accounted for.

The middle part of the picture is the hardest to make out. Your eyes consistently distracted by the cheetoh orange swirls at the center of it all. The details that do emerge so horrible one must look away in horror from time to time. Military choppers fly through the sky. Major US cities lined with national guard as skyscrapers burn. Armed sentries sit in surveillance towers standing watch over the whole of America. Our borders encased in a wall of barb wire and chain linked fence give off the appearance of a giant prison yard.

Other random visions appear so quickly you are barely able to make sense of them. Is that a throng of young protestors with their hands cuffed behind their backs? Many appear bloodied, their placards and signs of dissent scattered and trampled in the streets. Others look defeated. A single marijuana joint hangs from their lips as they are loaded into a paddy wagon. A line of police cars queues up outside the overflowing prison. Large ships packed stern to stern with disheveled and scared looking minorities and immigrants. Men in hoodies. Women in hijabs. The Statue of Liberty a small dot in the distant horizon as the boats move further away from America’s shores.

You look away blinking back tears. Your concentration broken. What the hell does it all mean? All these disjointed images that flood your brain. You realize you have a choice. Start anew and try to make sense of it all. Recross those eyes and keep staring until the entirety of the big picture reveals itself, or walk away. Grow apathetic with the hope that someone else comes along who is able to see it for themselves. An independent arbiter so to speak who may or may not tell you what it is that’s really there.

For me the choice is clear. There is no option but to refocus and keep looking until it all makes sense. The entire picture emerges. I’ve invested too much to choose otherwise and walk away now. No, much like I did in high school I’ll keep searching for that final payoff.

There’s another funny thing about those pictures that motivates me to keep me looking. Sure you initially spend hours staring and talking about them, but once you figure them out and you “see it,” you quickly lose interest in them. Pretty soon after that they get taken off the walls. Relegated to the far reaches of the garage or attic, frame cracked, forgotten.