Cognitive Dissonance

The pathway to perdition is caked in the blood of those who thought it could never happen to them, never on their native soil. Those who refused to believe their eyes and ears as the boundaries of civility slowly erode. Those who willfully chose to accept alternative facts and alternative charts rather than deal with the hard realities of life and be forced to confront some unpleasant truths.

Ignore the blatant patterns and lessons of the past at your own risk. History rewards early adaptors. Movies are made about those who risk everything to flee over mountains rather than join up with the rising authoritarian. Statues erected of those who resist in plain sight. Those who smuggle refugees across borders, hide entire families in their crawl spaces. They are the heroes of yore and exemplars of man’s perpetual progress.

The same cannot be said for those who bury their head in the sand. No honors will be awarded to those who appease the madmen in his quest for absolute power and silently benefit from the new power structure being erected to serve the ruling elite. Those everyday citizens who temporarily fall victim to the allure of the golden calf; who normalize the inane, illogical, and inhumane policies of the rising authoritarian, until one day the spell is broken. They wake up to find lifelong friends or coworkers have been rounded up or deported simply because their name showed up in an immigrant database, designated a clear and present danger. By that point it’s too late to resist, too late to play the hero. By then they are relegated to the shadows, to play the roles of the nameless extras that looks glance sympathetically, biding their own time as the horrors around them unfold.

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The Pathway to Perdition

The pathway to perdition is paved in ignorance. They say there are only seven original stories in the world. If you read enough, and pay attention to life, you can actually begin to see them unfold in realtime. You grow able to predict what the author of that real life story is going to do next. Which adventure they choose to recreate in their own life.

Donald Trump is far from an original. In fact we’re all familiar with this story he’s writing. For many of us it’s our favorite movie, book or television show. We’ve seen it unfold countless times, albeit in differing variations.

The agents of fear and oppression rise up, usually in the form of a privileged older male pseudo populist whose good fortune depends on preserving the status quo. He relies on tired stereotypes and strong arm tactics to intimidate and garner support.

His speech comprised of thinly veiled dog whistles that call upon the deplorables of society to rise up in support of a new order. A return to glory days!

His policies implicitly condone the dirty work and agenda of those who once sat on the fringe of society. His nationalistic rhetoric encourages them to sow discord; to intimidate others to get on board. to bully, peer pressure, threaten and blackmail similar patriots and relatives who may agree with the message but be resistant to the harsh methods now employed.

Over time the party faithful and religious flocks will join the cause or face excommunication from the party or congregation. The daily propaganda and bombardment of alternative facts creates the cognitive dissonance necessary for most to ignore the obvious and complicitily obey. The few who continue to resist will be branded race or party traitors to be forever blacklisted and cast out.

As the nationalist movement grows the narcissist’s need for control swells, and he consolidates power. He begins to divide traditional alliances through rumor, false promises and chaos. He discredits opponents with lies, misinformation and alternative facts. He discredits intelligence assessments and attacks traditionally impartial institutions as partisan and biased.

The story progresses as the emerging authoritarian begins to act more erratic. The threat of a “deep state,”and traditional checks and balances begin to weigh heavy on he who chases the crown. He grows suspicious of his inner circle. Palace intrigue abounds. Et tu Bruté?

As the opposition party grows more nervous and coalesces the motive of the dictatorial villain grows more transparent in motive. The desire for ultimate power drives increasingly brutal and more brazen tactics of suppression;

“Dissent must be suppressed!”, “Fake news media!”, “Foreign enemies abound!”, “Send them back!”, “A caravan of rapists and criminals approach unchecked!”, “The opposition is filled of unhinged radical, socialist, communist, elitist obstructionists!” screams the propaganda machine.

Midway through the story a cataclysmic event occurs. The stuff of nightmares. A society’s worst fears realized. A genuine an indisputable national emergency. Freedoms must be restrained as a new threat rises. Martial law, emergency powers, troop deployment. At this point resistance is futile. The takeover complete.

That’s the story Trump and his caravan of the corrupt are trying to write. The #FakeNationalEmergency the latest chapter. Surprisingly unlike the traditional midway point this national emergency and subsequent expansion of Executive power was not precipitated by “wag the dog” foreign bloodshed or an act of horrific domestic violence. Putin himself used the 2004 Beslan school siege in which over 1,100 people were held as hostages, and 334 killed to hijack a burgeoning Russian democracy and grow his grip on power. Regardless of means or methods, using the phony crisis at our Southetn border as pretext, Trump seems well on his way to achieving the same result.

There’s another version of this story though. The one written by and about the protagonist. A story of hope, freedom and perseverance: how love saves the day, a last minute miracle, a heroic act that thwarts catastrophy and exposes the naked emperor, unmasks the fraud. A previous unknown who at the most critical of moment reveals herself to be schooled in the ways of the force, a secret slayer, an Amazonian Princess.

In that story truth, justice and the “American” way win out. “We, the people,” can still write that story. Look around, look around; the resistance is real. We are the majority. We simply need that hero to step forward to lead us. To coalesce and legitimize the movement. Make the masses feel safe to take to the streets and disrupt the status quo. Demand to be heard!

Either way; the good news is the story always ends the same way. Love, empathy, sacrifice and acceptance win the day. A new hope blooms in the wake of the fall of the dictator. A renewed unity and tolerance take hold of a once fractured people. The villain is unilaterally denounced and rejected; grows to be nothing more than a cautionary tale in history’s annals.

I’ve read this book a thousand times. Societies advance, grow more civil and tolerant. The question is not if freedom wins. It’s how long and at what cost it will take for her to do so?

Progress knows but one direction. It’s only a matter of time #Forward

Perception and Reality

One may perceive the world differently ut facts, logic, science and statistics do exists. Good leaders understand this. They work to shape public perception to match and align with actual reality. Donald Trump on the other hand is not a good leader. He has made a career shaping perception to match a false reality. First as a talentless self-proclaimed tycoon who bankrupted both real estate conglomerates and casinos at the height of the economy, yet played a master negotiator on “reality” television. Then as a crusading populist whose greatest adversity faced in life was being born with a silver spoon in his mouth to a conspiracy obsessed bigot father who made millions as a slumlord.

Each day the primary focus of this caravan of criminal deplorables and corrupt enablers is to undermine transparency and prevent informed consent. Every tweetstorm, each prevarication, each appearance by Propaganda Hannity, Rudy Giuliani or Kelly Conway meant to further distract from truth of situation. The only way to mask the incompetence, to hide the ill intent, is to conceal it from the masses. To use misdirection, doublespeak, sleight of hand, technology and sound bites to distract and manipulate the way the brain processes information. Their very hold on power dependent on the public’s perception of their power.

Informed consent is the constitutional responsibility of the American citizenry. To push past the sound bites, propaganda and words of those entrusted to represent our interests and find out the truth of the situation. To expose the illusionist and ruin the trick.

Though he didn’t really make the Statue of Liberty disappear David Copperfield once captured the country’s attention when he made the world perceive that he had. Millions clambered for answers and tuned into his special to discover the truth of her whereabouts. Unlike a magician Deranged Donald does not deal in illusion. He has in reality erased Lady Liberty from our nation’s shores and designated her a meaningless relic. Extinguished her torch and muted her words of hope and opportunity. Yet rather than clamor for answers the country continues to chase squirrels.

To quote our Comrade in Chief, “Sad.”

Carpe Diem

Initiation of an impeachment inquiry should not be a political decision. A sitting President has torn the Constitution into shreds. Sent the scraps to our immigrant camps so the inhabitants no longer have excuse to complain about the lack of toilet paper and menstrual pads.

Nancy Pelosi must demonstrate to the world that America remains on the side of morality, law and order. She must seize the daily headlines and shine light on all of the crimes and corruption that trickle down from the caravan of greedy oligarchs, religious fundamentalist and white supremacists that comprise the whole of today’s GOP.

The Democrats need to choke the oxygen that feeds this cabal. Take control of the narrative and sensationalize the crap out of impeachment inquiry. Make it a spectacle each and every day. The purpose is not conviction, heck the majority of the Senate jury, are defendants in the inquiry; architects of the entire coup.

The only way to defeat a bully is to face it head on and let the world see how weak it really is. To strip it of power you must first publicly expose the naked emperor so the world sees its insecurities. Laughs at its own naïveté and moves on to better things #HistoryHasItsEyesOnYou

Impeachment Inquiry Now

It’s time we stop sugar coating the situation. America stands at a tipping out. The very values for which we stand hang in the balance. The vast majority of us; those able to step back from the daily headline, to see past party or refuse to be defined by a political label or ideology, understand the essence of the American experiment. We still share the sense of mission envisioned by our founding fathers when they declared their independence from a singular monarchy and drafted our Declaration of Independence.

America was birthed by flawed men who were wise enough to understand innovation begins with a vision. That progress is perpetual and radical change takes time. That America was founded to be a diverse nation comprised of differing beliefs and often at odds in how best to achieve our goals. Yet that’s the point.

By overwhelming numbers most Americans still believe in that end goal. Like our founders we have an understanding that we are imperfect in execution but remain clear in vision. “We, the people,” stand united in our desire to form a more equitable nation. Steadfast in an understanding that all beings are created equal. Inspired by a vision that one day all citizens, regardless of race, creed, religion, gender, sexual orientation, birthplace or social status will have equal opportunity to pursue their dream.

Since America’s birth we have been led by diverse leaders who held differing beliefs but all shared a central belief system.
That all changed when Donald Trump led his caravan of criminals and corrupt enablers through the gates to the White House. Donald Trump has no beliefs beyond unbridled power and adulation.

It’s no wonder Trump avoids intelligence briefings. That he removed the head of intelligence from the NSC principal’s committee. The greatest and most imminent threat to our national security lies within our shores. Donald Trump is not on the side of America. He has no understanding of the American identity. No concern for morality or values. His own reflection screams back “I’m peach!”

It’s long past time we as a nation take heed #Impeach

America Interrupted

The problems faced by American today will not be prayed away. There are no alternative facts to mask the daily damage being inflicted on our collective psyche. No election that will provide a magic elixir to undo the pain, anger and betrayal that comes when you are stripped of self identity and self worth. The time for cognitive dissonance and denial is past. America is broken. Our constitutional republic, and accompanying checks and balances has derailed.

From coast to coast America is comprised of Republicans, Democrats and Independents. Our Main Streets lined with young, old, Muslim, Christian, Jews, atheists and other, Irish, Italian, Asian, African, European and Native Americans. Our workplaces filled with 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 and refugees have made to this country would dwarf a list of their misdeeds a million times over.

We are strongest when we respect and allow for all views but that doesn’t mean our leaders and media members need to promote them all. To solve school violence, immigration, terrorism, or even the opioid epidemic requires not just a change in Washington, DC., but a wider acceptance throughout this nation. An understanding that we are a nation built on compromise, trust and acceptance. The loudest voice isn’t always the right one. The dreams of our founders was a future in which all citizenry was united under common bonds that provided equal assurance of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to all. One nation, ruled by the people and in service of the people, to be the land of opportunity for all and a beacon of hope and freedom to the world’s underprivileged and oppressed.

Make no mistake, the American identity exists. To embrace the divisiveness that permeates our shores today is to reject that identity, as well as our nation’s past, present and future.

First They Came

First they came for the illegal immigrants but I came here legally so did not speak up.

Then they came for the Muslims but I have a family to protect so did not speak up.

Then they came for the gangs but I’m worried about crime so did not speak up.

Then they came for the gays and transgender but we all know how strange they are and that Jesus hates the gay.

Then they came for the Jews. Because they always come for the Jews.

The GOP has a demographic problem. They may seem like they have a foothold on power today but make no mistake. What you see going on is a battle for their very survival. Their days are numbered unless they act now and McConnell, Pence and the rest of this caravan of criminals and corrupt enablers know it.

This is not opinion. This is statistically factual. Within 30 years the vast majority of the GOP base, white Christian males and their subservient spouses, will make up a minority of our electorate. Surpassed by members of the very groups targeted above. Not coincidentally, groups outside of that very demographic.

This is a threat to the very privilege they’ve enjoyed for 250 years. They fear that change and will do anything to prevent it. Apartheid by gerrymandering and voter suppression will prolong the status quo but can’t secure it. To do that requires more permanent measures or means of elimination.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you