Blowin in the Wind

How many years can a mountain exist
Before it’s washed to the sea?
Yes, ’n’ how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, ’n’ how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn’t see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

– Bob Dylan

Mankind’s inability to see the forest through the trees. Its repeated refusal to learn from the patterns of history. To think past current events and unwind the causal connections that expose the autocratic forces seeking to grind the wheels of progress to a halt. It’s uncanny how naive and unprepared the political establishment is in each iteration of the story. Traditional safeguards barely survive an initial attack from the rising forces of tyranny. The enemy rebuffed, but left unfinished, in time regroups. Reinforced by the most fringe voices society has to offer. The 20% of the extreme 20%. The type normally left out of legitimate party politics suddenly gets invited with front row seats. With no regards for archaic rules, judicial precedent, or outdated checks and balances the outlaws soon take over the asylum.

In past instances the Jedis always seem to make an eventual triumphant return. Truth and justice carry the day. The forces of darkness who sought to remake the world in their own image vanquished and alone. The unbridled greed and brazen lies upon which they rose to power now lay exposed at the naked emperor’s feet. Though often at great cost, each iteration of the story concluding in the same manner. In time ignorance yields to experience, xenophobia gives way to cooperation, greed temporarily bends to compassion.

Yet from the moment Donald Trump rode down that escalator something about this time seemed different; more sinister, more coordinated, more permanent. In part it has to do with the transparency in which the entire cult of the GOP operate. The brashness of the lawlessness. The openness in which they seek to rollback voting rights, hasten the destruction of the environment, proliferate weapons of mass violence, divide our citizenry into tribal identities, deconstruct the administrative state. The mission to create a Christofacist land of opportunity that preserves the privileged status of the white Christian male and demands all other inhabitants of the great melting pot observe it.

The tribal superiority mission of the modern day GOP is hardly what makes it unique from past enemies of progress. What is unique is that they have come so far to hijack the system of what was thought to be the very model of Democratic stability, and did so largely through non violent means. Trojan Horses currently parked in the Halls of Justice and outside the walls of the Capital rotunda. Enemy troops pouring out in plain sight and being ushered into positions of power by the very forces sworn to protect this nation from all enemies, foreign or domestic.

That is the part that baffles this time. While in the past the forces of freedom often failed to finish off the tyrant the first time, they always identified them as the tyrant. Once the mask was unveiled the enemy was always treated as such. There would be no pathway by which Annakin could legitimately regain a seat on the Jedi Council. No continued negotiation or offers of compromise with his accomplice Sith Lords.

Americans, if not the world, may soon discover the answer to Mr. Dylan’s query. Unless an unexpected hero steps in to save the day it may be that the only winds left blowin are the the winds of fire, famine, flood and radioactive fallout

The Pathway to Reconciliation?

The pathway to reconciliation is cast in a sense of purpose. Molded and shaped in immovable values and guiding principles. Maintained by pioneers who possess a bias for action and disciplined approach that maintains focus on the desired outcome.

The Democrats can no longer have it both ways. They cannot be both the party of progressives and the party of the political status quo in which progress is an impossibility. The Democratic Party must define their core values and proactively lead from them. The constituents of Manchin and Biden are not one in the same. Following midterms they must pick a side and support and fundraise for only those candidates that align to those values.

To be clear, this is not handing the election to the Republicans. Whichever identity Democrats choose the first act should be to recognize the legitimacy of the other party. In doing so you will force the current day GOP to the extreme right of the political spectrum. Moderates across the political spectrum will align to the party of Manchin and Cheney. Independents and progressives will align to the party of Sanders and AOC. Let each side nominate a presidential candidate.

Hold a joint conference in which both sides agree to recognize and stand by the results of the election. Continually celebrate the worth and value of the opposition while defending your own approach and solutions. Unite to ostracize the party of Trump and all who continue to align with it. Amplify the anti-American agenda and ungodly mission they wish to promote.

The current party establishment of Biden, Pelosi and Schumer must declare their neutrality. Pledge to stand down from future leadership positions and instead present the the win/win proposition being presented to Americans. Utilize their bully pulpits to unabashedly present a path to victory in the battle to restore the soul of our nation’s democracy. Two qualified successors for Americans to chose from. Two alternatives both committed to the mission and principles upon which our nation was founded.

Former Presidents Obama, Bush, Clinton and Carter need lend their voices as well. Further highlight the bipartisan choice once again being presented to the American voter. A realistic solution to the quandary that 70% of our citizenry currently seeks an answer. How do we once again provide both conservative and progressive voters a candidate they can proudly vote for, instead of one they simply vote against.

Enough Is Enough

At what point do you decide enough is enough? It’s a recurring thought that haunts many a waking moment of mine. I think back to my greatparents and other Jewish ancestors of Eastern European descent. Did they foresee what was to come? What was the final straw that led them to conclude their young children would be better off raised by distant relatives in a far away land, then they would if they were to remain at home?

I would never imagine a day would come where I’d feel shame and contempt for my country. Where I would question not my place in it, but my daughters. Do I really believe this to be the country where they are most likely to reach their full potential? Is this the environment in which their inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is most likely to be recognized? Do I trust America to provide them with the skills and external nourishment, societal recognition and community support necessary to thrive in capitalistic land of opportunity and global marketplace?

It wasn’t that I ever believed in “American exceptionalism,” but I did the American spirit. Did trust in our collective generational need for progress. Our nation was birthed as an aspiration, an idealistic dream by men aware of their own fallibility. The arc of our nation’s history has always reflected an upward trajectory. Each generation inching closer to the hopes espoused and mission established not in our Constitution, but in our founding document, the Declaration of Independence.

It was that spirit of progress that propelled my patriotism. That steadfast belief and optimism is reflected in much of my early writing. While the risk to our democratic institutions was evident it still seemed almost an impossibility that progress itself could be unwound. I knew Trump would be an obstacle to progress and posed a national security risk. Understood no future gains in social equality would be made under his watch, but it didn’t fully occur to me that the dividends already paid in the quest to create a more perfect Union could be repossessed so easily.

So when is enough, enough? When does your homeland appear so unrecognizable that you begin to fear it? At what point do you refuse to surrender your values and seek out better alternatives for your children? For that’s how much we as a nation have lost. Where once our shores served as the beacon for the world’s oppressed, now it is our inhabitants who pulling out the binoculars to search foreign shores for that very same offer of security.

It’s difficult to find a happy ending. Perhaps I’m the only one who’s noticed but “Vote blue no matter who” is not an effective strategy when the enemy already has a Trojan Horse parked and emptying soldiers into the halls of our legislature and justice. It makes me wonder, “when is enough, enough?”

Simply turning off the faucet doesn’t make the water safe if the tub is already filled with septic infested water. To do that requires additional action. You can either drain the tank and start all over again or dilute it with so many chemicals and purifiers that it enables you to easily identify and remove all pollutants from the larger body of water.

President Biden and Democratic leadership have to understand that simply removing Trump from office did not eradicate the threat to our Republic. They need to proactively identify and communicate with the American people just who the enemy is in “the battle for the soul of our nation.” For surely they were not so naive as to if think the enemy was limited to but one man. Surely they are not caught unawares by the breadth and depth of the enemies forces. It would be impossible to believe that by now they have not witnessed the Trojan Horses parked in the center of the Capital Rotunda and adorning our Halls of Justice.

So how to explain the reactive environment in which America now finds itself? More importantly, how to turn the tides? For starters President Biden needs to bring back a weekly fireside chat to speak directly i Americans. Take over the major networks, all streaming platforms and social media sites to deliver a direct and clear message to Americans. Speak only to the 60% of the audience that wishes to preserve the dreams of our ancestors. Read direct from our Declaration of Independence. The unassailable vision of a land in which all inhabitants are provided equal opportunity to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Next identify the clear and obvious risk that now faces that uniquely American vision. Name those who wish to snuff out the hopes and aspirations upon which our nation’s identity was borne. Question how policies which seek to control and restrict an individual’s personal choice, advance the status quo and serve the interests of the controlling few are consistent with our founding values.

To shape perception requires a clear plan forward that will again align our country politic with mission. A clear mitigation strategy of how Democrats will work to remove all vestiges of Donald Trump and the GOP stink that poisoned our wells. Whether they choose to drain the poison spread by a treasonous slug through impeachment of all those he was not qualified to nominate or dilute its influence through expansion of the court and other legislative maneuvers matters not. So long as there is a clear and actionable plan presented that will purify our most sacred institutions and necessary checks and balances #ProtestTheGOP

Cycle of Cynicism

There is no quick and easy fix here. This is why effective leaders do not allow catastrophic risk to ever materialize. They don’t wait to expand the court, or remove procedural obstacles. They have a bias for action and an unwavering zeal to defend their core objectives and values.

It pains me to be a cynic. To wonder aloud if Democrats are not complicit in the degradation of our values. Accomplices to the turning back of progress. It is undeniable that the party’s failure to stand in unison in defense of Obama’s nomination of Garland to the Court has a direct correlation to current events. It was obvious then that Democrats chose the path of least resistance. That rather than force a constitutional showdown they gambled on an 2016 election victory. A path they continue to follow time and time again despite the fact it is now overgrown with thorns and poison ivy, and infested with ticks and venomous snakes.

Perhaps that was the plan all along. The objective to allow the red path to grow so thick and hazardous as to leave sensible travelers with one remaining choice. Force future hikers to “Choose blue no matter who!” Is it possible our representatives would so callously play Russian roulette with our democratic values?

I’d hate to think that the case but we all know what happens next. This doesn’t end with the reversal of Roe and removal of abortion rights. This is about the establishment of an American theocracy. If Biden and the Democrats are serious about leading America in a “battle for the soul of our nation,” well, as the wise Rafiki says “It is time.” For I have seen thine enemy and its name is the GOP.

That’s right. Trump isn’t the sole enemy in the battle for the soul of this nation, the entire GOP is. To continually capitulate and surrender ones value to the enemy is nauseating. “We, the people” need proactive leadership. This isn’t a battle. It’s a war. Tim’s to take advantage of our majority while we still can.

Meep, Meep

America is on the “verge of a constitutional crisis.” Let me tell you what that looks like. You recall the old road runner cartoon? Remember when Wile E Coyote would race over a cliff and pause suspended in mid air for a minute? The camera pans in on him as he looks around and slowly becomes aware of where he is.

Well that moment between wide screen and close up as Wile E sits suspended in a jogger or thinker’s pose. That split second before we see him grow despondent in the realization that gravity is about to catch up with him to send him plunging in freefall to the ground. That moment of clarity is what’s known as the verge of going over a cliff.

That’s the problem with being on the verge of something. Often by the time you realize you’re on the verge, it’s too late to change course. The same way Wile E Coyote didn’t grasp his fate until gravity took hold, we as a nation seem to misunderstand our circumstance. We’ve already gone over that cliff. We are in the midst of a constitutional crisis. Still suspended in space, but well past the verge. The conditions for our fall are set. The only thing missing is an opposing force to ushers in that moment of clarity. The gravity that awakens our senses. The “resistance” that forces the fall.

Try as we may to deny it, it’s time that “we, the people” brace for the plunge and spark the resistance. Force the issue and go on the offensive while we still have the majority and freedoms to do so. Start by demanding DOJ arrest the Chief Insurrectionist and charge him with crimes against this nation. We cannot continue to play Russian roulette with our nation’s national security. Permit a clear and present danger unfettered access to the outside world. Allow a man who knowingly attempted to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power and incited an insurrection intended to do just that. A man who built his reputation on the art of the deal and who happens to possesses access to our nation’s most sensitive secrets, a pretty valuable asset on the black market.

Each day Trump remains free serves as an affront to the majority of Americans who believe in the rule of law. Each #TrumpRally or issues “truth” feeds the cynicism that fertilizes the majority’s apathy. So long as there is even a possibility that Trump may again seek the presidential office this country will be unable to unite.

To win a “battle for the soul of our nation” will require bold actions that evade current controls. Democrats must take inspiration from the GOP playbook. It’s no longer prudent to go high each time the opposition goes low. So long as we control the House and Executive the GOP is powerless to hold Biden to account. Even if the House flips the worst that could happen is Biden gets impeached for overstepping his authority, but they still fail to remove him from office. We’ve seen that dance before.

This battle is but a part of bigger war of which the winner will determine whether our nation remains a representative democracy or transforms into an autocratic theocracy. It’s time we recognize our circumstance. Accept our reality. Let gravity take effect, drop us down to the opposition’s level, and bring the fight to them #ProtestTheGOP

Two Americas

The time for cognitive dissonance, for denial, is past. It turns out that Barack Obama was wrong. We are two Americas. It is true we are not separated by red and blue states. The contrast is far greater than that; more divisive and permanent. We are two hands. Two ambidextrous fists that keep slamming into each other. Unable to recognize that we are attached to the same body. One hand tattooed with the word “hate” across its knuckles. The other “love.”

We have denied the obvious for far too long. Handicapped our nation by alternately tying one hand or the other behind our back. Hiding it from view for long stretches of our history. It is time we make a choice. To amputate an appendage and choose our country’s identity once and for all. To advance the dreams of our fathers requires we now pick a dominant side.

This is not a choice that can be prayed away. There are no alternative facts. One hand reflects the audacity of hope and dreams of our ancestors. It appends to those outraged by the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Trayvon Martin, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner and the countless other lives lost. Clenches in silent protest with those who kneel in defiance of the institutionalized racism that caused their senseless deaths. Points in condemnation of the prejudice rendered by Lady Justice that renders their deaths hollow.

It is the fist we used to smash through the bonds of slavery and defeat the grasp of Nazi facism. The hand extended by Franklin, Susan, Martin, Margaret, John, Ruth Bader and Barack as they took on world leaders and espoused the virtues of American exceptionalism. The fist we raise in pride for our immigrant heritage and in our standing as the beacon for hope and liberty to the world’s oppressed.

The other hand is no less powerful or prevalent in our nation’s history. It is the hand that draws false equivalents between those who protest for equality and freedom, and those who espouse hatred, ignorance and exclusion. The one we use to point at, slap and dehumanize people. The hand extended by those who kneel at the heels of Confederate statues and on the necks of our most vulnerable minorities. That hand that guides the whip and rips the refugee children from the arms of their exhausted mother. As if they are “animals,” unworthy of the basic inalienable rights bestowed upon all men.

It is the fist that holds the tiki torches, burns the crosses, and straps the nooses and assault rifles to their bodies to intimidate. The one that targets our sons and daughters in their crosshairs and acts as if they are of no more value than an avatar. The hand extended by Andrew, Robert E, Cheney, Anton and Trump as they alienated world leaders and preached the virtues of “America first.” The fist we raise in acknowledgement of white power and to loot the halls of our nation’s Capital.

These two fists can no longer coexist. Our identity crisis must end. Love or hate? Empathy or apathy? Progress or status quo? What’s it going to be America? It is time to choose a dominant side and embrace it. The future demands it.

Risky Business

An effective leader mitigates risk before it occurs. Puts controls and monitors in place to ensure the worst case scenario never occurs. Unforeseen risk is always a possibility but that which can be foreseen must always be prevented. The faulty O-rings which led to the Challenger space shuttle explosion. The Chernobyl nuclear meltdown. The Pan Am Lockerbie flight. The downing of the Twin Towers. These are the exceptions. Preventable catastrophes that nonetheless occurred. In each, however, lessons were learned. Elements of failure dissected; people, process, technology. New controls standardized as a result of prior failure that markedly reduce the potential of a repeat failure.

The failure to protect our children. The absence of common sense reforms intended not to eliminate gun violence, that is an impossibility. The objective of sensible gun control is to reduce mass killings. To regulate access and keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of those most likely to abuse them. To preserve and balance the guarantees of individual freedoms with those inalienable rights of life and liberty bestowed upon the collective citizenry. That no such measures have yet to be implemented is not a mere dereliction of leadership, it is a crime against our children.

It’s been nearly 10 years since Newtown. That the AR-15, very instruments of terror used then remains available and accessible to those who pose an obvious risk to the health and safety of our children, it is beyond comprehension. Where is the justice in this country? The means by which “we, the people” get to hold politicians to account for the blood of the innocents that stains their money lined silk pockets. What must be done to charge those NRA controlled representatives who refuse their civic duty as accessories to murder? How do we demand that those who intentionally obstruct efforts to protect the future of this nation are charged for their negligent indifference?

Trump sensationalized a “national emergency” to redirect military funds to build an ineffective border wall. Surely there is an EO Biden can sign to force the issue. A prosecutorial interpretation that AG Garland may utilize to preserve the rule of law. Democratic leadership must do more than simply react to senseless massacre after massacre. To protect our children. To preserve the dream will demand they lead with both a proactive intent and an uncompromising position

Senseless Sensibilities

There is so much to be angry about. So many daily injustices that assault our senses.

Our eyes bear witness to the daily horrors broadcast on an endless 24 hour loop. The images of pain and sorrow seared into our brains. The embrace of the survivors, the anguish of the mothers. The blood of the victims reflects a translucent red off the tears that well in the pockets of our lids.

Our ears deafened by the incessant dog whistles and barrage of divisive propaganda, sound bites and alternative facts that fill our sound waves. The hate filled rhetoric of those meant to serve and inform the general masses. Leaders who choose to use their bully pulpit to promote tribal divisions. Who orchestrate their words to effectuate their own agenda’s of self interest, and to manipulate the ears of the ill informed listener.

Our nose raw from the acrid smells of scorched earth that burn your lungs with each inhale. Respiratory diseases and sinusitis at record highs as allergens, pollutants, and air borne irritants invade our protective cilia. Wears it down to create an unobstructed tunnel through our nasal passageways in which the stench of greed, corruption, caviar and old-fashioned American whiskey flows through.

Our tastebuds dulled by the chemicals, sweetners, artificial flavors and countless other toxins ingested through our food supply. Numbed by the poisons of insecticides, hormones and infected cattle and poultry fed with the cannibalistic remains of their ancestors. Our tongues forever weakened. Left to savor only the most bitter and sour of spices and flavors.

Our sense of touch forever altered by past experience. The aftermath of a pandemic necessitating an infant’s need to relearn hot from cold. Each handshake, hug, or sensual encounter triggering moments of sudden awkwardness. The unwanted grab, hug, pinch or assault that for far too long not only went ignored, but we’re encouraged and worn as a badge of honor at the 19th hole and gym locker rooms. The generational trauma of past institutionalized race based, gender based or religious based attacks forever ingrained on our present and future begins our. A need for skin to skin contact replaced by the distance of text messages, emojis, snaps and TikTok dances.

While the battle for our worldly senses may be lost there is one sense that remains uncorrupted. Hidden, but accessible to us all. A collective humanity and flow of consciousness free for all to tap into. A shared lifeforce that contains the knowledge and wisdom of history’s trials and tribulations.

The majority of us share a collective thirst to sip from that reservoir. To bathe in its energy and lap up its infinite knowledge and power. We just need a guide to show the way through the shield. A hero among us able to read the signs, interpret the prophecy and answer the call of history. For ultimately progress, by definition, knows but one direction and though often unseen the evolution of that more perfect union will ultimately continue its advance #Forward #ProtestTheGOP

The Incalculable Cost of Gaslighting

The gaslighting of America continues. Peer past the latest sound bites, dog whistles and drama orchestrated to distract your attention. At heart Donald Trump is a reality show star. It’s the only thing he’s ever been really good at. Scripting fake storylines and passing it off as reality.

Manufacturing drama and faux conflict by introducing alternative facts and other stressors designed to produce outlandish sound bites and bombastic over exaggerated reactions to everyday situations.

Carefully editing select moments of a person’s most vulnerable moments to create archetypical characters. Misrepresenting them in order to make a show entertaining to the masses. Keep them coming back for more. There’s no denying he knows how to spin a good yarn, keep people talking.

Not only that he has the perfect temperament for it. He holds no real convictions or loyalties and is convincingly able to take any position necessary to advance a storyline. Cross whatever line so long as it furthers his own agenda.

A literal caricature of every villain of every film ever made. A billionaire product of affluent affirmative action who sells himself as a man of the people. A self proclaimed tycoon who was placed directly at the top of the business pyramid; never understanding what it means to actually lead. Unable to grasp what it takes to advance on merit, not name. Able to skip the lessons of middle management the man has no appreciation for the virtues of empathy, humility, accountability and communication.

Americans need to wake up. Stop reacting to each new scandal scripted by this cabal of corruption. Harden your emotions against the emotional tactics being used to manipulate your senses. Choose to trust in your eyes and ears instead. Tune out the latest episode and ignore the narratives being pushed by this caravan of criminal and enablers, coconspirators and accessories after the fact. Agents of the rich and putinful.

Change the channel and end this shit show. Tune back into the American story instead. The one piloted by our founding fathers nearly 250 years ago. Pitched on hope, equality, opportunity, freedom and in building a better tomorrow. Directed by those who resist intolerance and hate. Streamed and consumed by Republican and Democrat alike. Understand that story is now in danger of cancellation. Only a coordinated campaign by “we, the people” will guarantee its renewal #ProtestTheGOP