The American Story

Donald Trump has a gift. His natural talent is playing a character conceived of by men smarter then he. His ability to play a part; to shape perception to match a false reality, is extraordinary.

Take a look at The Apprentice where he played a successful businessman with little tolerance for incompetence. Compare that with the reality of the time. By the end of 2008 Don the Con had filed his 6th bankruptcy and was best described as a failed businessman. Mocked in tabloid media as a man so poor at business that he literally bankrupted multiple casinos and real estate conglomerates at the height of the economy and subsequently ordered to turnover his majority share of multiple conglomerates. They say the house never loses, unless its name is Trump. Yet there he sat in his makeshift boardroom the epitome of success.

Nothing that comes out of our so called President’s mouth or twitter feed should be trusted. Each tweet, each sound bite is nothing more than a means to an end. Even his more awful positions; the overt dog whistles and Nazi sympathizing sound bites are manufactured. The quid pro quo of the art of the deal.

As a native New Yorker myself let me tell you that Donald Trump could give two fucks about the “beauty” of Confederate statues. Look at his statements from the campaign trail if you don’t believe me. Check out the decor of his country clubs. I have no doubt the man is biased and ignorant in his views but a devout Christian white supremacist he is not.

The fact of the matter is Donald Trump holds no concrete views or beliefs. That he now plays a populist conservative on tv (and has since 2008) is no coincidence and suggests something far more sinister afoot than a simple racist President. It indicates that Trump himself is all part of someone else’s long game. A necessity to advance the next storyline and build suspense to the finale. Keep the water cooler talk going as the producers carefully select and edit the storylines to follow.

It’s past time American lose our obsession with scripted reality and get back to actual reality. That we wake up and stop reacting to the newest scandal being scripted by this White House. Let’s tune back into the American story instead. The one piloted by our founding fathers nearly 250 years ago.

It’s a story inspired by the dreams of our founding fathers and is pitched on hope, equality, opportunity, freedom. A story that provides a blueprint on how to build a better and more just future. A story rooted in resistance to intolerance and hate. As a nation we must understand that story is now in danger of cancellation. Only a coordinated campaign by “we, the people” will guarantee its renewal

Advertisements

Leadership Matters

To truly make America great again, we will need to elect leaders who work for the people they represent. Leaders from across the spectrum that will not always share the lockstep conclusions of their political peers but will share in certain attributes.

Leaders who won’t take positions for convenience or to pander to their base, but because they are passionate about their beliefs and practice what they preach.

Leaders who emphasize collaboration and inclusiveness. The ones who do not fear diversity, but embrace it.

Leaders who welcome opposition. The ones who hold town halls and do not suppress feedback or dissenting opinions, but listen and learn from them.

Leaders who build a shared vision of the future. They do not think perception is reality, but rely on facts, science and logic to shape perception to match reality.

Leaders who own their actions. They do not finger point, blame predecessors or deny accountability for their decisions. They understand that once empowered the buck stops with them. Period.

Leaders who problem solve. The ones who do not act a prisoner of circumstance or play the victim, but innovate and experiment with new paradigms to limit or remove walls and obstacles.

Leaders who prioritize knowing their people, who serve their constituents . They do not view empathy as a weakness. They know it to be a virtue.

Leaders who extend kindness, who takes the high road when the other goes low. The ones who do not bully, but nurture.

Leaders who encourage teamwork. They do not ostracize, belittle, or build walls. They promote commonalities, break barriers and build bridges.

Leaders who lead with hope. They do not rule by negativity and fear. They grow consensus through transparency and communication.

Leaders who create opportunity for all. The ones who do not close doors or instill artificial barriers to entry, but rely on objective measures to reward and promote all those who merit consideration.

Leaders who safeguard open communications, and rights to privacy. They do not silence and threaten whistle blowers and leakers. They protect anonymity by offering hotlines and access to independent arbiters.

In the course of history there have been countless examples of leaders who chose to rule otherwise. Who ruled through fear mongering, authoritarian accountability and slogans. Who preyed on the weakness of the disenfranchised to promote their own agenda. Who gave voice to the extremes.

But riddle me this? Has such a leader ever been on the right side of history? Have they ever progressed our collective interests? Brought us closer to that more perfect union our founders dreamed of?

The answer, I hope, is obvious.

People Over Party

Resist the urge to take the bait. This isn’t a story about Trump or Clinton. It’s a story about pedophilia and sex trafficking. It’s about the private lifestyle of the rich and powerful and their privileged status that sits above the laws of accountability.

Regardless of last name, regardless of party allegiance, whoever took part in the illicit behavior, helped to cover it up, obstruct the investigation of, or failed to protect key witnesses or preserve evidence in should be held to account.

We are all on the same side here. Let’s demand a full and transparent investigation. In fact, let’s reserve a special place in Guantanamo for the guilty. The national emergency exists within our borders and “we, the people”need to coalesce and unify around our common interests and shared values.

Drown out the divisive voices and cast them back to the corners. If the preponderance of evidence shows that Trump and Clinton are two sides of the same coin, so be it. This isn’t a political fight, it’s a moral one.

We Reap What We Sow

It’s easy to toss labels and dismiss our so called President as a hate filled racist. To blame him for the obvious divide that exists in our country. To point to the recent spate of mass murders as evidence of Trump’s poisonous effect on our society. The truth isn’t that simple though. To truly heal as a nation America is going to have to realize that Trump isn’t the cause of America’s ills, he’s the result.

‪The embodiment of the 21st century American dream. A child of the 1% with no discernible talents, skills or virtues beyond that of self promotion. A self aggrandizing narcissist with an unhealthy obsession for celebrity and fame‬.

More than the violence portrayed in video games and entertainment over the past generation what America has truly placed value on is fame and celebrity, at any cost. Time and again greed and avarice has been rewarded with magazine covers and reality tv shows.

Talentless hacks have launched fashion, music, reality tv, and pop culture empires with no qualifications beyond a well timed sex tape, teen pregnancy, failed audition, sound bite or in some cases drunken debauchery. Amoral executives celebrated for the ungodly sums of money they have amassed as their workers struggle pay check to check anxious in the knowledge they are one unforeseen expense away from ruin.

Billionaires who boast about paying a lower tax rate than the chauffeurs who drive them around town. Who unironically cite their ability to artificially manipulate the free market as proof of their economic genius and capitalist ability. Corrupt politicians who lack all empathy and who care more for the unborn than the living. Who sell their influence to the highest lobbyist and unabashedly serves the party over we, the people.

More than the problem Donald Trump is a symptom of what plagues America. Our so called President stands for nothing and cares only for power, fame and money. He is driven by ratings and vengeance, and looks only for the next score to settle, a deal to win. All he knows is how to marginalize, belittle, conflate, de-legitimize and, when necessary, squash dissent and opposition. Doing so allows him to continue presenting alternative facts, only now without the alternatives. Lies then become truth, and perception reality

Where were they radicalized?

America has a domestic terrorism problem. We must confront that fact with the same urgency we rightfully demand of Muslim leaders. Whether we like it or not, the threat is similar. We need to take a hard look at what drives each new perpetrator to commit such heinous acts. What motivates these overwhelming number of young, white, males to have such blatant disregard for human life. We need to ask ourselves, “where were they radicalized?”

Behavior matter. This has nothing to do with politics. Look at Donald Trump’s words. Log into twitter and review his timeline of tweets. It is repulsive. You’d be ashamed of your child if that was the method they used to become class President let alone leader of the free world.

When you dehumanize people, treat them as less than human and threaten to “send them back” as if they are defective merchandise. When you use your platform to characterize people who live within our shores as “animals,” as unworthy of the basic inalienable rights bestowed upon all men, you create a culture of indifference. You birth a generation that is losing the ability to empathize. That sees targets and avatars in their crosshairs rather than sons and daughters. You create an expectation of violence and bloodshed. You spit on the vision of our founding fathers and blasphemy the words of our Declaration of Independence. The essential truths set forth therein.

When you draw false equivalents between those who protest for equality and freedom with those who represent hatred and ignorance. Who use tiki torches and strap assault rifles to their bodies to intimidate and snuff out those who seek progress. When you see the good in klansmen, neo-Nazis and white supremacists you give voice to the fringe of society. You enable their message of hate and violence. Allow those who hate for other reasons, who feel excluded, isolated and left out to rationalize their desires.

When you bow to the statues of confederate soldiers, display the hate filled flag on your pick up truck, and conflate the history of the Confederacy with that of the United States you deny the American dream. When you name call, cyberbully, race bait and shame people based on their looks you encourage our kids to do the same. To separate themselves from those they don’t like and humiliate them for it. When a pro- life agenda only includes the unborn, the living become expendable.

We reap what we sow. This is not a problem that can be prayed away. There are no alternative facts. The time for cognitive dissonance, for denial, is past. Save us the hypocrisy of lowering your flags to half mast. In fact, raise them Stars and Stripes high and proud instead. This is America! This is what we’ve come to accept as normal.

This is what we will remain until we elect leaders who understand, who as a nation we were founded to be. Who lead with the knowledge that the American identity exists. That the vast majority of us want the same things. That we share so many more values in common than we do ideas that tear us apart. That there is no “us” or”them”, “red” or “blue.”

From shore to shore America is comprised of Republicans, Democrats and Independents, young and old, Muslim, Christian, Jews, atheists and other, Irish, Italian, Asian, African, European and Native, scientists and clergy, gun enthusiasts and gun control advocates, men and women. We are the great melting pot. That diversity IS the American identity. We can’t change that anymore than a tiger can change its stripes. A list of all the great contributions immigrants and refugees have made to this country would dwarf a list of their misdeeds a million times over.

To solve school violence, immigration, terrorism, or even the opioid epidemic requires we all respect multiple views and ideas. It requires a change in Washington, DC. An understanding that we are a nation built on compromise, trust and acceptance.

Sending Out An S.O.S.

I’m not sure if it’s willful blindness, cowardice or complicitness but Americans, and more importantly our Democratic and opposition leaders need to wake up to a simple fact.

The American system of checks and balances is dead. The constitutional crisis is here.

Newsflash The GOP control the White House, the Senate and the Supreme Court!

You have zero chance of getting answers from the caravan of corrupt criminals and enablers who are already in control and occupy the three most powerful arms of the US government. Perhaps we’ve been too busy paying attention to the distractor in Chief to realize that an entire caste system has been legislated into existence.

More troubling is the entire judiciary has been transformed to enforce the values of white Christian America long past the point demographics would have otherwise allowed. To interpret “we, the people” to include JP Morgan, Halliburton, Monsanto, Bain, Amway and the Koch Brothers; but not JP Hernandez, Halil el Burtun, Juan Santos, LeBain Johnson, Anyone Gay, or the Koch Sisters.

All this time we spend focused on Donald Trump. Countless hours spent reporting on his every outrageous move, sound bite, and tweet. Wake up and smell the coffee! The man himself is not the story. He’s a means to an end, a pawn, a hairy arm to distract you fools. To give you something to talk about. Why on earth do you think nobody in the GOP will hold him to account?!?!.

To date, the McConnell led Senate has confirmed 146 Article III judges nominated by a man who REMAINS an active target of a counterintelligence investigation. This includes 44 judges to the US Court of Appeals and 99 judges to the District Courts, and 2 to Associate Justices to the US Supreme Court.

The majority of these mostly white men will be the ones to determine the limits of Executive Privilege and the House Democrat investigative reach. Do you trust them to stop this bloodless coup?

Rather than face this truth Democrat leaders march on and inspire us to vote Blue in 2020. They choose to take us down the path of traditional checks and balances, blind to the fact an unconventional threat looms. They bellow that our participation in the political process is the last great hope to restore our democracy! To remove the openly corrupt leader from our nation’s highest office and restore common decency!

Meanwhile, Rome burns. This isn’t a political fight. There is no political opposition only a consolidated faction of self interested criminals who seek to control the future of the greatest nation on Earth. To think our participation in the suspect and possibly rigged electoral system which placed the inept and unpopular buffoon into office in the first place is the key to his removal, ridiculous.

Does anyone think the way to remove a corrupt authoritarian from office is to vote him out in a free and fair election that he controls? In the history of the world has a single free and fair election been lost by an incumbent authoritarian in control of that country’s executive branch, and with absolute and penultimate legislative and judicial support behind them as well?

Seeing that Deranged Donald also knows a criminal indictment awaits him upon his return to civilian life and me thinks the Democrats have a better chance of surviving a round of Russian roulette than they do of taking back the White House.

It’s time to get our heads out of our asses and steer this ship away from the iceberg. If our current captains can’t do it than perhaps we need to look beyond the control tower for some help

The Ability To Lead

No question men are presumed to be qualified leaders. When they interview for a position of power rarely does one question their “ability” to lead. Of course nothing is further from the truth. Some people are not to fit lead, period. Even some who excel in other areas of a team or lower levels of leadership.

In both business and politics unqualified men are thrusted into leadership positions on the basis of their subject matter experience or connections alone.

More often than not the reverse is true for women. Before being afforded a position of authority a female must prove worthy. She must tangibly demonstrate and defend that she has both the personality, commitment and acumen to succeed as a leader. This is evidenced in everything from the questions asked in interviews to the coverage of the candidate.

Although the status quo is unquestionably biased against women the solution is not to start treating the female candidates like their male counterparts. It’s to start treating the male candidates, to start reporting on their attributes as if they were a female.

Don’t get me wrong. On their own the stories of Klobuchar’s treatment of her staff do not disqualify her from a position of power. In fact good leaders are demanding. They expect to be surrounded by competence. They expect their peers to act rationally and in accordance with the facts, science and logic presented of them. They make decisions that advance the collective mission, not individual self interests or monopolistic blocs.

The truth is for years we demanded too little of our leaders. The dangerous game of Russian roulette our democracy now plays is the end result of what plagues our Republic. A profound failure of leadership. A country run aground by leaders who continually put party over people. Elected officials who fail to grasp the most fundamental principle of representative leadership. That first and foremost you serve the interests of the majority of your constituency, regardless of self or party interest.

Klobuchar has a strong and accomplished record that suggests the ability to compromise and stand on principle when necessary. There is no doubt she is fearless and can get things done. The job of President, however, is more than that.

To recover our values and the loss of worldwide credibility caused by this caravan of the corrupt will require the cooperation of a diverse set of true leaders. It will demand true diversity of thought and compromise across political, gender, race and religious spectrums.

As the Mooch says, “the fish rots from the head.” We need a leader who is relentlessly positive and unnervingly empathetic. Now more than ever we need to examine each and every candidate to ensure such is the case

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/02/13/amy-klobuchar-sexism-jennifer-palmieri-225026