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.

Suck it Up, Buttercup

Listen, I get it. It sucks to be duped. To get your hopes up believing that someone is the real deal. That they are going to fight the rigged system they got rich off of to level the playing field for the common man. It’s easy to believe in hope when it’s packaged correctly.

Don’t feel bad. Young and old, rich and poor, black or white all of us are susceptible to a good con. It’s truly one of life’s great equalizers that knows no prejudice. As for Trump, well he is the ultimate con man. He identified a weakness and took advantage of it. Spun a yarn and sold America a big heaping turd of a promise to make us great again.

Now is the time to face reality though. It may sting a bit, but suck it up buttercup. We’re at that point of the show where the buffoonish villain has overstayed his welcome. Pull on your big boy pants and get out of the grift now.

Before we lose everything.

Understand Donald Trump is not on your side. He’s never been on your side. He’s not even a real Republican. Without regards to morality or values he simply follows whatever path he believes leads to the most power and money

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

Cognitive Dissonance

The pathway to perdition is caked in the blood of those who thought it could never happen to them, never on their native soil. Those who refused to believe their eyes and ears as the boundaries of civility slowly erode. Those who willfully chose to accept alternative facts and alternative charts rather than deal with the hard realities of life and be forced to confront some unpleasant truths.

Ignore the blatant patterns and lessons of the past at your own risk. History rewards early adaptors. Movies are made about those who risk everything to flee over mountains rather than join up with the rising authoritarian. Statues erected of those who resist in plain sight. Those who smuggle refugees across borders, hide entire families in their crawl spaces. They are the heroes of yore and exemplars of man’s perpetual progress.

The same cannot be said for those who bury their head in the sand. No honors will be awarded to those who appease the madmen in his quest for absolute power and silently benefit from the new power structure being erected to serve the ruling elite. Those everyday citizens who temporarily fall victim to the allure of the golden calf; who normalize the inane, illogical, and inhumane policies of the rising authoritarian, until one day the spell is broken. They wake up to find lifelong friends or coworkers have been rounded up or deported simply because their name showed up in an immigrant database, designated a clear and present danger. By that point it’s too late to resist, too late to play the hero. By then they are relegated to the shadows, to play the roles of the nameless extras that looks glance sympathetically, biding their own time as the horrors around them unfold.

Carpe Diem

Initiation of an impeachment inquiry should not be a political decision. A sitting President has torn the Constitution into shreds. Sent the scraps to our immigrant camps so the inhabitants no longer have excuse to complain about the lack of toilet paper and menstrual pads.

Nancy Pelosi must demonstrate to the world that America remains on the side of morality, law and order. She must seize the daily headlines and shine light on all of the crimes and corruption that trickle down from the caravan of greedy oligarchs, religious fundamentalist and white supremacists that comprise the whole of today’s GOP.

The Democrats need to choke the oxygen that feeds this cabal. Take control of the narrative and sensationalize the crap out of impeachment inquiry. Make it a spectacle each and every day. The purpose is not conviction, heck the majority of the Senate jury, are defendants in the inquiry; architects of the entire coup.

The only way to defeat a bully is to face it head on and let the world see how weak it really is. To strip it of power you must first publicly expose the naked emperor so the world sees its insecurities. Laughs at its own naïveté and moves on to better things #HistoryHasItsEyesOnYou

The Chosen One

Wake up people! He thinks he’s the chosen one because he’s literally told that by his closest advisors everyday.

Pence, Barr, Pompeo, Mulvaney…

These are the names Americans need to start uttering aloud each night alongside that of our Dear Leader’s. It’s easy to get lost in the tweet storms and sound bites but Donald Trump is not the lone con man of America’s nightmares. In fact he’s hardly capable of running a con. Donald Trump is very clear and straightforward with his agenda. He cares about the advancement of one issue and one issue only; Donald Trump.

It’s what makes Trump the perfect mark and tool for those who desire far more than mass adoration and riches. Trump was chosen. Chosen to serve as the perfect golden calf for use by those who seek eternal salvation and a place within the kingdom of God, but lack the influence or means to otherwise get there.

Pence, Barr, Pompeo, Mulvaney…

This unholy trinity of self avowed evangelical so-called Christian dispensationalists. Americans need to educate themselves on what these men actually believe in. Informed consent is a necessity of a functioning democratic republic and in this case will lead one to conclude that the men who sit in current control of America’s foreign and domestic policy do not share the values or beliefs of the majority of Americans. That the Vice President, Attorney General, Secretary of State, and Chief of Staff to the President of America all believe they serve god before country, constitution or man.

Do some research on the topic and you will find that each believe there primary purpose on Earth is to serve God by paving the way for the Rapture. This is not hyperbole. The current leaders of America stated goal is to create the preconditions for a holy war through Jerusalem that will ultimately lead to the Second Coming and Armageddon.

Of course the Rapture don’t come easy. To ensure America’s status as the apple in the lord’s eye requires a strict Biblical interpretation of acceptable behavior. Thus the need to legislate a moral code and standards of behaviors and enforce it with devout judicial appointees.

It’s absurd to think this a reality but it contextualizes so many of the arbitrary decisions made by this administration from their hardline stance against Iran to the stoking of religious and racial divisions internationally and here ashore.

Americans keep comparing this caravan of criminals to Hitler and the Nazi takeover of a free German. Perhaps the more apt comparison is the Taliban and their takeover of a exhausted, fragmented and divided once free Afghani population

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 and our actions today are indicative of the immature growing pains all toddlers experience; mere symptoms of the terrible twos. A collective temper tantrum driven by White Christian males who fear change.

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 serve as the guardian who gets to imprint a moral code on the future course of young nation. 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 move beyond the comforts provided by 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 to do but we must show the maturity and fortitude to do what’s best. To yank the binky away from our Dear Leader and bring some adult supervision back. This tantrum has gone on long enough.

Perception is Not Reality

Perception is not reality, only reality is reality, regardless of personal belief. 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.

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.

Our Comrade in Chief and the caravan of criminals and corrupt enablers that support him have made a career shaping perception to match a false reality. Led by the talentless tycoon turned “reality” show producer/star, who bankrupted both real estate conglomerates and casinos at the height of the economy and who’s greatest accomplishment was being born into privilege and a conspiracy obsessed bigot who made millions peddling fake anti-establishment alt-white news, the primary focus of this White House is to undermine transparency and prevent informed consent.

They know the only way to mask incompetence, to hide ill intent, is to mask it. 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 perception.

Informed consent is the constitutional responsibility of the American citizenry. 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.

Though he didn’t really make the Statute of Liberty disappear David Copperfield once captured the country’s attention when he made the world perceive that he had. Millions clambered for answers wanting to know the truth. Donald Trump on the other hand has in reality rendered Lady Liberty’s words meaningless yet the country continues to chase squirrels. To quote our Comrade in Chief, “Sad.”

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

Is That A Singaporean Squirrel?

It seems such a simple concept. To defeat the narcissist you must starve it of the attention it so desperately seeks. To render it powerless you must seize the narrative; dictate the storyline du jour and control the water cooler talk. You must deprive its id of the glory that powers it, dictate the headlines, tweets and news scrolls so that the storylines no longer focus on the individual but on the crime itself. In other words to slay the cult of personality you must render the personality irrelevant, a mute.

Since the birth of the Birther, for the most part, our media has taken the opposite approach. They have breathed life into Donald Trump’s narrative and given even the most far fetched of his conspiracy theories credibility. Regardless of network, publication or political bias, our mainstream media has allowed the former reality show producer, the man and his minions who made a fortune scripting a fake reality and selling it to the masses as a “reality show,” to dictate the narrative. They have ceded their independence for ratings. Rather than focus on the big story they chase, dissect and report on the squirrels, red herrings and obvious decoys in nauseating detail; always ready to openly debate the legitimacy of each as if there is no obvious line between reality and perception.

Such is the case once again with the upcoming summit with North Korea. Rather than sound the alarm and inform the public of the iceberg that sits directly in front of our current course, our captains shift gears and speed towards the Nobel Peace Prize that floats like a buoy in the distant waters.

Rather than question and debate the wisdom of allowing a man whose very loyalty to this nation is under active FBI investigation to represent us in sensitive international negotiations, we focus on whether the summit is on or off, the drama of will he or won’t he give Kim Un the final rose. Spoiler Alert, he always was going to. The finale was written months in advance. The drama created only to keep you tuned in and talking.

Rather than ask “What is he hiding?” and investigate why the leader of the free world promotes baseless conspiracy theory meant to discredit and delay the independent investigation of his campaign, we focus on the theory themselves. Give credence to the bogus claims with endless reports on the allegations and near silence on the only question that matters “why?” Why would the leader of the free world purposefully fight independent efforts at transparency?

Rather than wonder and begin each scroll with “Whose side is he on?” our editors take it as a foregone conclusion that Trump has America’s best interests in mind. As we enter sudden and unprecedented negotiations with a ruthless dictator who to date has never acted with the free world’s best interest in mind we ignore that this very question is the subject of an open FBI investigation. We ignore the possibility that our primary diplomat may be compromised by a foreign hostile. Treat it as coincidence that Trump continually ignores decades of precedence to routinely humiliate and alienate our allies often to the benefit of former hostiles.

Rather than the big picture we blur efforts at informed consent by taking each new story as an independent development. Fail to tie together threads that would note a pattern of behavior to suggest that the man who’s primary responsibility is to uphold the laws of the constitution and protect the safety and national security of a nation does anything but. That from his first days in office he allowed a foreign agent to lead the National Security Agency and left him there unencumbered an additional 19 days after learning he had lied about his connections to Russia and may in fact be compromised. That throughout his term he has obstructed every effort to investigate Putin’s efforts to influence our election, resisted bipartisan efforts to place sanctions on Russia and embraced foreign policy that have direct economic benefits on the very oligarchs who were so interested in seeing Trump elected. That he hints at pardons for those whose very actions suggest treason, while baselessly vilifying those who ably and faithfully protected our nation for 17 years from enemy attack.

Rather than question what it is we seek we blindly accept that a peace deal with North Korea is good for the world. Fail to note the lessons of history; anything is negotiable, the question is at what price. Is the goal truly a denuclearized peninsula? In return for such a promise we will legitimize Kim Un’s standing on the world stage. The so called beacon of hope and freedom prepared to condone the actions of a man who purposefully starves his people, executes political rivals, and oversees a strict caste system where only the few will reap the benefits of the economic boon promised to flow in from the relaxing of our crippling sanctions.

It makes me wonder if we as a nation have suffered collective amnesia? Do we really not recall that North Korea was denuclearized prior to Trump’s election? That the consensus among the world’s intelligence community was that they were still years away from development of nuclear capabilities. That pressure was needed to get them to halt their nuclear program AND cease proliferation of ballistic missiles that pose a clear and direct threat to our allies in the region; to force him to cease his brutal human rights violations. Suddenly one of the founding residents of the “axis of evil” is okay by us so long as they give up their nukes?

Call me a contrarian but until we stop allowing Trump to dictate the narrative and framework we should not celebrate or applaud Trump’s sudden decision to meet with him. We should not wonder whether it will be a success. We should question why it wouldn’t be. What are we demanding that would advance our interests and not those of nations who heretofore never had our best interests in mind? Why shouldn’t we fear the new world order it portends. One where the actions and values of Putin, Kim Un, and Duerte are celebrated while those of Macron, Trudeau and Merkel mocked.

Nostradamus I’m not but this summit should scare the bejeesus out of us all precisely because its outcome has never been in doubt. Rather than question just how nuclear capable they even are given the prior intelligence reports and more recent acknowledgement that their test site collapsed and is unusable Trump will be celebrated as a man of peace. A master negotiator whose bold attitude hastened some sort of historic deal that will remain undefined and nameless. The results of the art of the deal where nobody even bothers to ask if the artist even knows how to draw