Deconstructed Melting Pot

America has long been known as the great “melting pot.” A mix of diverse people and cultures blending together to live side by side and given equal protection under the law. A country that despite its imperfections welcomed immigrants of diverse nationalities, races, ethnicities and religions into our mixing bowl. Whether warranted or not a country perceived by citizens throughout the world as a land of hope and opportunity. The American identity that of a multicultural experiment in self governance. A representative democracy for the people, by the people.

Donald Trump seeks to deconstruct this identity. Wishes to remove the individual components of the melting pot and divide them into separate parts. Like demagogues of the past he seeks the preservation of his own unique identity above all else. He preys on tribal insecurities and brandishes fear as his greatest weapon. Warns the like minded that individual identities will be lost if the pot is stirred too well. That those who have enjoyed their privileged place in society, the white Christian male, will cease to matter once blended into the others.

The vast majority of Americans have the good sense to understand how flawed this way of thinking is. Are sophisticated enough to recognize that America is at her best when our ingredients are mixed together. To preserve our identity, to pass this experimental recipe on to future generations, requires that we quickly join forces to demand a new chef. One who seeks to unite rather than divide. One who accentuates our complimentary flavors and combines them in a such a way to make clear to the world that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

The Rise of the Domestic Terrorist

It’s always easier to sleep at night when you can scapegoat minorities and blame your ails on “outsiders.” The time, however, has come for all Americans to wake up. America doesn’t have a Muslim, Black, ANTIFA, Jewish or immigrant problem. It has an America problem. The greatest threat to America’s national security comes from domestic citizens who cloak their hate behind a badge or drape themselves in a white hood, confederate flag or MAGA hat.

We need to do some internal soul searching of our own. An extreme vetting of our backyard. Identify the weeds before they take over the lawn. Trump trounced on HRC for not saying the words radical Islamic terrorism. Let’s hear him call a spade a spade. Let’s hear speak about the rise of these white so called Christian domestic terrorists. Better yet, let’s see our cowardly Comrade in Chief tweet about them.

Presumption of Guilt

Our justice system is premised on the belief that you are innocent until proven guilty. While that does not preclude arrest it should prevent the use of deadly force in all but life threatening situations. Rayshard Brooks was killed for evading arrest while drunk and Black. It is a clear illustration of what is wrong with our policing in this country and why drastic changes must be made.

That a police officer feels the need to shoot a fleeing suspect in the back three times without imminent fear for his/her life is nothing short of murder. The only thing these officers feared was the embarrassment of having their taser swiped and a long foot chase. If Brooks had evaded arrest in the moment he would have left behind his car and the police had all of his information. He was also suspected to be inebriated. How difficult do you think it would have been to find him? Instead the officer valued the collar more than the life of the suspect they knew to be unarmed.

This is why the world is erupting in protest. This is what demands to defund the police to use the money more effectively means. This is why we sadly need to remind each other that black lives matter.

The Divider in Chief

Trump made his fortune as a CEO and reality show producer. Messaging and storytelling are two areas he knows well.To his credit, Trump has been scripting this shit show since 2009. When coming off his 6th bankruptcy he found himself a cash strapped real estate tycoon trying to rebuild an empire at the height of the Great Recession. As fortune would have it our first Black President had just been elected and the entire #GOP was on the cusp of self destruction. Enter the one time Democrat from NY ready to strike a “deal.” The fiscal conservative with no convictions or beliefs beyond money and power. Let the dog whistles begin. Cue the birther movement.

This attempt to divide America is no accident. Trump knows an indictment awaits his return to civilian life and his best hope is to hide behind the shield of executive immunity. To use the resources of the 1% and the insecurity driven hate filled strength of the deplorables to silence public dissent and suppress any efforts to otherwise remove him from office. After all what’s a few conspiracy theory shout outs, and race baiting tweets in exchange for a loyalty oath from the majority of this nation’s gun owners and private militias.

These are the very people who now answer Trump’s dog whistles and overt calls for Civil War. Evangelical con men and opportunists dressed as patriots while dripping in snake oil. Conspiracy theorists and racists who under past administrations were typically ignored by mainstream media. You know the type; KKK members, absusers, people who proudly fly the Confederate flag and hang rubber testicles off their tow hitch. Victims of society looking for someone to blame. Some reason other their own inadequacy to explain their sorry lot in life.

These are the deplorables now emboldened to action by both the words and silence of our Divider in Chief. They draw the swastikas, burn the mosques, drive their vehicles into the protestors, patrol our borders and cheer as migrant children are locked in cages and martial law is enacted to keep the peace. They are the ones who silence opposition through force and chill the fight of moderates with fear tactics, threats and intimidation.

Trump and his caravan of criminal enablers know exactly what they are doing. They know their audience and are playing to their base. For Trump it is all about power and money; a means to ensure his freedom and demand the adoration he desperately craves. For the Raptureheads, Russia enabled military hawks and other domestic terrorists the prize is something far greater and scarier.

This isn’t a political fight, it’s a moral one. Brace yourself for the storms to come

An Unconventional Threat

By all historical and logical standards Donald Trump’s chances of reelection should be close to zero. Past presidents who enjoyed far more initial support were doomed for far less egregious sins. Yet that’s the thing about the Trump presidency; history and precedent do not apply. Time and again opponents and rivals of Trump have used traditional checks and balances and common sense to contain and mitigate an unconventional threat.

There’s a consistent misunderstanding of who Trump is, both as a leader and a person. An almost willful ignorance of what motivates him and sense of denial that convinces others that his agenda is consistent with past presidents. As a result the common analysis is that he’s a loose canon, crazy, illogical and just plain out of his mind. Critics marvel at his incompetence and use quotes such as the one above as proof he knows not what he is doing.

Here’s the truth of the situation. Donald Trump and his caravan of corrupt enablers know exactly what they are doing. They find security in the chaos and uncertainty they sow. They use it to their advantage to consolidate power. They are not blind or ignorant of the risks they create when they withdraw from alliances or dismantle safeguards. Trump himself is no religious zealot. Quite the contrary. He understands cause and effect in the real world; is not blind to science and statistics.

It’s what makes the responses to the risk of this pandemic and systemic racism both so bone chillingly scary and predictable. To Trump the inherent threat of an international conflict, environmental disaster, civil unrest or natural pandemic is not one he seeks to mitigate but to exploit for political and personal advantage. In action and word he actively courts disaster and endangers our nation’s citizenry. Views the ensuing discord as an opportunity to silence dissent and secure his grip on power.

A New Paradigm

This isn’t about politics, it’s about the sustainability of the human race. There are fanatics on all sides. No political party, religion, race, nationality or creed has a monopoly on crazy. To progress requires we push those voices to the perimeters for the time being. Ignore divisive rhetoric peddled by those who seek to advance personal agenda or religious prophecy.

The challenges of the future will not be solved with nationalism, faith and walls but will require coalitions, common sense & compromise. For humanity to survive the impacts of climate change, overpopulation, antibiotic resistant pandemic and drought will require we as a species to collaborate and cooperate.

To innovate for the future we need to look past our differences, cast aside tribal instinct and lean on compassion and empathy. Those who cling to the naive notion that it will never be your child; karma will take note of your hypocrisy. Your children will bear the scars. It may be unpleasant but Mother Nature does not discriminate.

To protect everything dear requires a paradigm change. To prepare for what is to come we must flip our perspective and begin to wonder “what if that was my child” as you take note of the fleeing refugees, cast judgment on the protestors, observe the destructive force of fire, flood, wind and ice, and the tangled bodies of those left in her wake.

To preserve the dream, America needs to lead the world into an age of rationality. One where science, reason & logic triumphs over faith, bigotry & fear.

Black Lives Matter

Black Lives matter. If a simple statement of fact elicits negative reaction within you then it is time for some soul searching and self reflection.

Black lives matter. Such statement does not exist in a vacuum. It casts no judgment on other lives. Claims no superiority over other lives. It serves as a necessary reminder.

Black lives matter. It is literal and true. Black lives deserve empathy and respect. They have value and worth. They contribute to our daily existence and must not be dismissed or treated as expendable.

Black lives matter. That is not a threat to other races or colors. Their is no either/or choice here. If it raises your dander then you are the problem. If you are compelled to respond with “all lives matter” or some similar response then you are the insecure and little one. You are the whiny snowflake.

Black lives matter. Shout it from the rooftops. Chalk it on your driveways. Scream it from the streets.

Black lives matter. Black lives are flesh and blood. Black lives are courageous and brave. Black lives are patriots. Black lives are progress. Black lives are compassion. Black loves irreplaceable. Black lives are humanity.

Antifa and Proud

As protests over systemic racial injustice erupt throughout the nation our so called President tweeted that “The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.”

So in the midst of an ongoing pandemic in which the majority of participants are masked it seems to warrant asking who Deranged Donald seeks to identify as a terrorist? Whose free speech and constitutional rights does he wish to suppress by executive order? Who exactly is “Antifa?”

A quick scan of his Twitter timeline and it’s clear Trump believes socialists, radical democrats, chuck and Nancy, Mitt Romney, Hispanics, blacks, immigrants, LBGTQ+, people from California, Mexicans, Never Trumpers, reporters from CNN, MSNBC, and certain members of FoxNews, members of the intelligence community, members of the deep state, Kaepernick, Bezos, Soros, journalists from the New York Times and the Washington Post, Mueller, Comey, people from Puerto Rico, women, Romney, Obama, Hillary, and Joe Biden are all “enemies of the people” and anti-Trump.

More than that, almost everyone within those groups believes Trump a fascist, or at least that he possesses fascist tendencies which they oppose. Is it crazy to think Trump believes them all to be Antifa? Do you see the slippery slope here?

It’s one thing for a talented manipulator to get into power. It’s a whole other thing to stay there. The tighter the noose around Trump’s neck the more desperate he grows and dangerous he becomes. Trump’s broad effort to designate an amorphous antifa a terrorist organization poses a clear and present danger to the foundation of our democracy.

Without a credible counter narrative to contend with this caravan of corrupt criminals will be free to project their own shortcomings onto the most vulnerable members of our society. They will use sound bites, click bait and propaganda to deflect from whatever scandal plagues them and otherwise fear monger, scapegoat and blame shift at whatever the cost. They will continue to present alternative facts, only now without the alternatives. Lies then become truth, and perception reality.

The American Puzzle

Tune out the flash bangs and peer through the fog of tear gas and you’ll see a new America on the horizon. Change will not occur overnight. Systemic transformation takes time and patience. Progress is incremental and requires commitment and resolve. It requires proactive risk mitigation, resiliency and experimentation. The more care and meticulous planning you put into it, the quicker it occurs.

It’s like the world’s largest puzzle. The picture of a more perfect union painted on the box for all to see. The end state a foregone conclusion so long as we extend the effort. The first step is to build a framework that supports the larger picture. To align the like pieces in a shape and order that will govern and guide the upcoming transformation. A border of individual pieces comprised of all shapes, colors and sizes. In spite of the other differences each of these pieces also has one smooth side that marks its importance. That allows it too stand out from the thousand of other pieces in its midst. Enables the builders to quickly identify and link these pieces with its like neighbors.

The border now complete. Now comes the hard part. Like pieces assembled in support of the whole but the picture on that box still far from complete. Thousands of remaining pieces remain in the box. Most of which remain buried or are turned upside with no visible way to identify where they may fit in.

To make order from this chaos requires a detailed examination of each individual piece. A systematic methodology of review and assortment and a clean work space to ensure no pieces are lost along the way. A means to sort through and group like colors and shapes until the pattern of progress reveals itself. Slowly the pieces come together to reveal the future picture. As you move along frustration sets in. You feel like quitting but pull the box cover back out to remind yourself that the end result is worth it.

You get back to work. Mistakes are discovered, pieces are rearranged and even the strangest, most out of place shapes begin to fit in place. Eventually your sorted piles dwindle. The red, white and blue pieces are all that remain. They may all look the same but day after day through trial and error you plug away. As each section fills in your determination to see it through to the end grows. A beautiful picture begins to emerge before your eyes. A perfect union of shapes and colors, interconnected and dependent on each other to form the greater whole. It’s only a matter of time.

Cult of Facism

A cult of fascism now controls our Executive. One that takes no chances and scoffs at traditions and checks and balances. A President’s role is to represent all Americans, his constituency comprised of all citizens. To do otherwise is an abdication of his constitutional responsibilities.

When Trump boasts of record approval ratings within the Republican party people must peel back the curtain to dissect what that means. Charles Manson, Jim Jones, David Koresh and many others enjoyed near universal approval among their followers too. Such does not make them mainstream leaders or representative of a majority. In fact it’s easy to have a high approval rating when your denominator keeps shrinking. When only likeminded members are permitted membership.

Today’s Republican Party no longer consists of patriotic or principled Americans. They abandoned that sinking ship along with the dismissals of Boehner, Kelly, Tillerson, Mattis and Will. Those that remain have no central ideology such as fiscal conservatism. No foreign policy doctrine exists that guides their acts abroad.

On the other hand we have Democratic leaders that continue to point to traditional means as the path to victory. They refuse to act with the proactive urgency necessary to afford transparency but instead point is to the ballot box. They stare blindly ahead and refuse to sacrifice or “go low” even as their opposition chops off their legs.

Tradition and precedent have no place in our current environment. A bloodless coup has occurred in which the enemy has taken control of our most sacred institutions. This is not about political ideology or race. This caravan of corruption does not represent a political methodology or follow a philosophical party platform. They are a cult who advocate for nothing more than God, guns, and money. Anything that stands in the way of those goals is fair game in the “art of the deal.”