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

Featured

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

Featured

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.

Trigger Warning

Read it and weep. 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 echos of rapid fire semiautomatic blasts. The experiment in individual freedom and self-governance snuffed out by tribal interests and corporate lobbyists.

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

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

Newtown, Connecticut: December 14, 2012 – 26 dead, 2 wounded – #GunControlNow we cried; Too soon they replied

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

Orlando, Florida: June 12, 2016 – 49 dead, 58 wounded – #GunControlNow we cried; Too soon they replied

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

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

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

Santa Fe High School, Texas: May 18, 2018 – 10 dead, 14 injured – #GunControlNow we cried; Too soon they replied

Thousand Oaks, California: November 7, 2018 – 13 dead, 16 injured – #GunControlNow we cried; Too soon they replied

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: October 27, 2018 – 11 dead, 6 injured – #GunControlNow we cried; Too soon they replied

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

El Paso, Texas: August 3, 2019 – 23 dead, 23 injured – #GunControlNow we cried; Too soon they replied

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

Boulder, Colorado: March 22, 2021 – 10 dead, 2 injured – #GunControlNow we cried; Too soon they replied

San Jose, California: May 26, 2021 – 10 dead, 0 njured – #GunControlNow we cried; Too soon they replied

Buffalo, NY: May 14, 2022 – 10 dead, 3 injured – #GunControlNow we cried; Too soon they replied

Uvalde, Texas: May 24, 2022 – 21 dead, 3 injured – #GunControlNow we cried; Too soon they replied

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

When exactly is the right time to have this conversation anyway? We’ve been waiting more than 12 years. Turns out there’s been a victim of gun violence each and every one of those days so apparently the time is never right. The GOP will always portray Democrats as the opportunist liberals politicizing a situation.

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

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

Tales of a Boiling Frog

There’s a story about boiling frogs. According to lore if you place a frog into a pot of boiling water it will jump right out, but if the frog is put in a pot of warm water and then brought to a slow boil it will not perceive of the danger until it’s too late. The poor frog is cooked to death.

The lesson of the story isn’t found in the frog’s death, but in it’s life. It’s that the frog never thought to escape as the water approached its boiling point. Freedom was a simple hop away but the frog chose to remain passive because it couldn’t even perceive of the danger that lay ahead. Welcome to America’s democracy.

The warning signs are all there. The erosion of checks and balances between legislative and executive branch. The partisan judiciary that serves God or dollar before constitution. The integration and influence of church upon state. The war on the free press and mainstreaming of Tucker Carlson and the Fox News Ministry of Propaganda. The reckless wag the dog foreign policy.

The takeover of state legislatures and passage of laws that restrict voting rights. The gerrrymandering of constituents to predetermined results. The enactment of artificial barriers to entry that exclude and limit full representation. Safeguards of the status quo that will enable enable sycophants to overturn the will of the people, even election results in the absence of evidence of fraud or malfeasance.

These, and other successful efforts already erode the power of the individual. When you further implement legislation that grants and bestows individual rights upon amorphous corporate conglomerates. Then you truly tip the scales of influence so that the barons of Wall Street and the lobbyists who enable them enjoy far greater political representation than the individual store clerk, call agent or working class Main Street laborer.

America’s democratic institutions, her standing as the beacon of hope and freedom to the world’s oppressed and underprivileged, is dimming. The vision of our founding fathers compromised by the rise of a global oligarchy. The interests of the few prioritized over the dreams of the many. The majority of us understand this and are able to see through the false equivalents and whataboutism. We recognize that today’s GOP is nothing more than the Guardians Of Putin. A party of extremists who seek only the consolidation of power, wealth, and religious virtuosity within their own privileged tribe. No longer advocates of a representative democracy their entire agenda is to secure the status quo. To do whatever necessary, trade whatever freedom, and betray whatever alliance necessary to secure their privileged place in society long past the point demographics of a representative democracy will otherwise allow.

It’s time for the majority to wake up. We must not allow past experience to lull us into a false sense of security. Trump may be out of office but the same cabal of corruption that lit the stove are still in positions of power and influence. Are continuing to raise the heat on the proverbial pot in anticipation of their next course. Prepping the next January 6th in the hopes of a more satisfactory conclusion. The water is getting mighty warm. It’s time to jump out. Recognize what is at stake. Traditional checks and balances do not apply to unconventional threats.

If the majority of Americans wish to preserve the American political system, we cannot afford to sit back passively and wait for future Election Days to voice the will of the people. The stakes are too high and the future too nebulous. We need to engage in bold and direct action. National strikes, sit-ins, daily demonstrations and other disruptive but non-violent methods. We need to leave our comfort zones and make proactive sacrifice.

We must not wait to remove from positions of influence those who knowingly do not serve America’s interests before all others. The demands for swift accountability to eliminate the threat that corrupt elected officials pose to the very safeguards meant to protect our political system must be heeded. Those dregs of our society who conspired in the orchestration of the January 6th insurrection, or otherwise participated in, aided in, or served as an accessory after the fact to those who sought to interfere with the peaceful transition of Executive power, must be pushed to the shadows and extremes of political debate.

We must insist our leaders collaborate across party lines to restore American democracy. Reestablish accountability and the equal application of the rule of law. Lean into our democratic values, the individual freedoms we often take for granted, and act with the urgency the situation demands. Before the water boils and it becomes too late to otherwise react.

This Is Us

We never learn, we been here before. Why are we always stuck and running from the bullets, the bullets? Just stop your crying it’s a sign of the times. We gotta get away from here. We gotta get away from here. Just stop your crying it’ll be alright.They told me that the end is near. We gotta get away from here” – Harry Styles

The man who my five year old daughter described as having “the most beautiful lips,” perfectly captures Trump’s America.

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,” “shithole countries,” “animals,” “enemies,” 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, to erect a permanent caste system. So long as we are “haves and have nots” and are labeled as 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 accept 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. So long as we separate child from parent at our borders,

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, Monsanto and Boeing and not every Trayvon, Fatima, Ellen, Matthew, and Mohammed,

This is us.

So long as we rely on the sources that broke the Bowling Green Massacre, but dub the ones that broke Watergate as “fake news,”

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. So long as 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’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.

This Is Us

We never learn, we been here before. Why are we always stuck and running from the bullets, the bullets? Just stop your crying it’s a sign of the times. We gotta get away from here. We gotta get away from here. Just stop your crying it’ll be alright. They told me that the end is near. We gotta get away from here” – Harry Styles

A modern day Bob Dylan he’s not, but the man who my five year old daughter described as having “the most beautiful lips,” perfectly captures Trump’s America.

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,” “shithole countries,” “animals,” “enemies,” 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, to erect a permanent caste system. So long as we are “haves and have nots” and are labeled as 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 accept the endorsement of hatemongers, white supremacists and nationalists,

This is us.

So long as we falsely equate the child in the hoodie, hijab, yarmulke or Che tee with the one in the white hood, sweater vest, Confederate flag, or swastika tattoo. So long as we rip child from parent at our borders in the name of law and order,

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, Monsanto and Boeing and not every Trayvon, Fatima, Ellen, Matthew, and Mohammed,

This is us.

So long as we rely on the sources that broke the Bowling Green Massacre, but dub the ones that broke Watergate as “fake news,”

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. So long as 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’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.

https://www.newsandguts.com/link/nation-senator-jeff-merkley-saw-immigrant-detention-center-children/