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 birth of the Birther

The pathway to perdition is paved by those with their head in the sand. Those experts in cognitive dissonance unable or unwilling to hear the surrounding sounds of distress over the distracting cacophony of the cement mixer.

There is no two ways around this. The stench of caviar and vodka emanating from the halls of the White House should be the only story that matters to every single patriotic American.

Our so called President has had a noose around his neck from the moment he rode down that escalator. The problem is there’s never been a hangman strong enough to pull the rope. Trump knows what Mueller May find on him. There are no secrets to him concerning his past behavior. He is not “legally insane,” he understands his past behaviors and whether they were right or wrong.

The only question Trump has is “what do they know?” Who did Mueller speak to? What items were seized? What evidence may they have found as result that can be linked back to me?

When framed in this construct Trump’s behavior is perfectly logical and consistent with a person trying to protect their own reputation. Maintain their innocence in the face of what may seem like contradictory evidence.

Each shifting story, volatile tweetstorm, deep state conspiracy theory and evolving explanation put forth by this den of corruption is actually a carefully orchestrated introduction of alternative facts and narratives. Each new admission and claim of conspiracy timed to coincide and discredit the latest piece of evidence or cooperating witness Mueller obtains. Every red herring, disingenuous call for DOJ investigation, and smear campaign designed to ultimately legally protect and defend the reputation and legacy of one man, Donald J Trump.

Make no mistake. Trump is well aware of what is at stake. The Trump family name. The Trump fortune. The Trump legacy. The very things he promised his daddy he’d never let be taken away. That he’d do anything to protect.

You need look no further than his past to understand the depths Deranged Donald would sink to remain relevant. You know the stories of the flamboyant alter egos who served as his own PR men. The nonstop Page Six antics and over the top personality. The willingness to pay millions to accountants simply to avoid paying even one penny more in taxes than legally required. The lack of philanthropy. The refusal to pay contractors. The slum lording. That was “The Donald” in the good times. Even then he refused to go away or act in the public’s interest.

Now consider his past behavior when he actually feared he may lose everything. When after filing a 6th bankruptcy the self proclaimed tycoon found himself broke, over leveraged and with nowhere to turn. A desperate loser who learned the hard way that the house doesn’t always win. At least not the one’s with the word “Trump” in their title.

Welcome to the birth of the Birther. A majority of voters had just elected President Barack Hussein Obama to serve as leader of the free world. America was in a spiraling depression. The real estate bubble was bursting. Investment portfolios plummeting in value. Banks and lenders were going belly up.

As luck would have it in efforts to save and stabilize our economy, and with the hopes that one day Donald Trump would be elected President and he would be able to lead the world’s greatest witch hunt against him, President Obama brought along with him a host of fresh financial regulations. In what must of felt like a groin kick to any dreams Dear Donald had of making a comeback the ensuing passage of Dodd Frank and other regulations would have made it impossible for the Donald to take a loan from any domestic financial institutions. The over leveraged real estate speculator directly in the crosshairs of the legislation.

So with nowhere else to turn what was Donald to do? We know the rest. It’s where Mueller’s story will begin. The direct link to the Russian oligarchs who would go on to direct the ascendancy of Trump’s political career.

Since the start of the Mueller investigation our Comrade in Chief has been planning for this day. Scripting his storylines and rallying his deplorable base in the event Mueller came to close. Surrounding himself with generals and pandering to the police for support. Building his walls for crowd control. Denouncing the independent media while standing up his very own Ministry of Propaganda. Playing on the ignorance and base instincts of the masses. All the while growing more dangerous, less predictable. Preacher Pence and the pious nodding along in compliant agreement hopeful the chaos to come a precursor of the End Times. Waiting for the other show to drop. The Friday night massacre of the Mueller investigation. Perhaps a larger wag the dog distraction to justify its dismissal.

The more desperate Donald is, the more dangerous he grows. A cartoonish super villain in the vein of Jason, Voldemort, or Ghostface it’s not enough to simply think you contained the threat. They always have a way of popping back up. A fail safe to continue their vengeful ways. In the case of our so called President, his may just be the knowledge that he always has the support of Puppetmaster Putin and the might of Mother Russia to save him.

Either way the time to act is now. We must demand our leaders take action to protect the Mueller investigation at all costs. To do otherwise is beyond playing Russian roulette with our democracy, it is assisted suicide.

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Scream

“Do you like scary movies? – Uh-Huh –

What’s your favorite scary movie?” – Scream (1996)

I admit it. I’m an alarmist. Full born “the sky is falling” when it comes to Trump and his merry bannon of deplorables. Feel like I’m in one of those horrible horror movies where the protagonists keep making one asinine decision after another. The casualties mount as common sense is cast aside for plot convenience. Friends and family suddenly move into the line of fire as each terrible choice ups the tension and gore.

I’m not one who typically looks back but like most legendary horror villains (Freddy, Jason, Michael Myers and Ghostface) this one didn’t form in a vacuum. He was created over time. A product of an environment created by a prior generation. The sins of the past catching up to the present. To beat it we need to learn those lessons. Understand the beast. Trap it in its own game.

So ask yourself, where did Donald Trump come from? Who created him? How did a social liberal from NY transform into an authoritarian fascist. Amazingly all paths lead back to one man. A lone Dr. Frankenstein so to speak.

Democrats in particular have been reticent to go down this path in recent years. Back in our parent’s day it was our favorite trail. A respite we knew to be lined with beautiful flowers. A safe place we’d return to for comfort. As the years passed we began to go less and less.

In 2008 we cleared the brush from the obscured entrance and once again began that familiar hike. This time the trail seemed more mysterious. Many of the flowers wilted. The path overgrown. The beauty somewhat masked. Behind any given rose a giant thorn seemed to be waiting to deliver an unavoidable prick to anyone who dared to touch it. A sense of danger permeated the air. We still dared pluck a few flowers for old time’s sake but did so believing we may never be back. That rather than tempt fate too long it was time to find a new trail. Choose the road less travelled when we came to the inevitable fork in the road.

Democrats opted for a change of scenery back in 2008 and for eight years we forged a new path. We took some missteps. As all pioneers do. But for the most part it was clear that we had chosen wisely. Moved the party forward. Yet somehow we ended right back to that once again obscured entrance. This time we entered cautiously. Aware we may no longer find it as comforting as we once had. Still we entered hopeful we’d come back to that fork. Make the same choice. Only this time when we arrived there was no choice. The fork was replaced with a giant “one way” sign. We were being forced to confront our demons. To discover what lie at the end of that trail.

Maybe it was a test like the way Yoda made Luke travel to Dagobah. Prove he was capable and ready to fight the dark side. Able to control his base impulses. Defeat it once and for all. It was as if in order to truly embrace the values of a progressive nation, we would first need to reject the Democratic Party of the past.

By now I hope it obvious. The man waiting at the end of that trail. That Dr Frankenstein. His name is William Jefferson Clinton. And the Democratic voters. We failed the test. Proved incapable of true progress.

America never really rejected Hillary. We rejected the Clinton machine. A political apparatus built on quid pro quos and political favors. That all too often prioritized party loyalty over people. That waged phony preemptive wars and did anything but support our troops. That favored corporations and catered to the 1%. That used their fame and access to personally enrich themselves and those around them. For better or worse that’s what Hillary is to many of us. A vestige of a rigged system. This is particularly true for the young progressives who drive enthusiasm and build energy into the base.

Ironically the Republicans were faced with a similar test. Donald Trump was a rejection of the Bush/Romney/McCain GOP. A statement by those on the right that they were tired of politics as usual. Done with the neocons. That the system was broken and needed a disrupter to fix it. Tired of losing they ate it up. They passed the test. Make no mistake Jeb, Cruz, Rubio all would have been slaughtered in a general election, by any Democratic candidate. America had already made that choice. This time the GOP fringe was galvanized and ready to inject energy into a stagnating base.

Those who saw this unfolding rallied for Bernie early on. We’re not talking the Bernie Bros further to the left. We’re talking Obama Dems. Bernie wasn’t the perfect candidate but he was the only one to back. The only one who knew what this election was about. It wasn’t about character, Bill Clinton had already removed that as a job requirement, it was about change.

Pure and simple this election. It was about rejecting a system that allowed for the creation of Donald Trump. The majority of Americans we don’t want that system. Amazingly Trump understood this. He held himself out as Exhibit A. Look at me! I am a monster created by a rigged system. I know it so well that only I can break it.

Of course he’s a con man. Had no intent to do any such thing. That was never the point. This was all about shaping perception. Those early 2008 Obama Dems, we understood that. Jumped off the Bernie train once hope was lost and threw our support behind Hillary this time. Resigned to the status quo but favoring it over narcissistic authoritarian rule. Hoped that the majority would see the emperor wore no clothes. That not all change is good change. We sat dumbfounded as Trump dominated the headlines. Pushed the narratives that reinforced the perceptions of the Clinton machine. Made it a reality in many independent’s minds. Anchored Hillary with the legacy of her husband rather than allow her to ride the coattails of a hugely popular incumbent. Made this an election about change rather than values. The rest as they say is history.

In the words of The Fly, “Be afraid… Be very afraid.”

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