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

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The Gaslighting of America

Peer past the latest tweetstorms and staged drama orchestrated to distract you from reality. At heart Donald Trump is a reality show star. It’s the only thing he’s ever been good at. The ability to script fake storylines and pass it off as reality.

To manufacture drama and faux conflict through the introduction of alternative facts and other stressors designed to produce outlandish sound bites and bombastic over exaggerated reactions to everyday situations. To carefully edit select moments of a person’s most vulnerable moments to create archetypical characters. To cavalierly misrepresent a person’s character and intent 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 but Trump 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. To advance on merit, not name. Able to skip the lessons of middle management the man has never learned the virtues of empathy, humility, accountability and communication.

My fellow Americans, we need to wake up and stop reacting to the newest scandal being scripted by this White House. Tune out the latest episode and ignore the narratives being pushed by this merry bannon of deplorables. 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. Rooted in resistance to intolerance and hate. Understand that story is now in danger of cancellation. Only a coordinated campaign by “we, the people” will guarantee its renewal #Resist #TheResistance

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

Conspiracy Theory

Conspiracy theory is a favorite weapon of the rising authoritarian. The most skilled and ultimately successful strongmen are able to wield conspiracy both as an offensive and defensive instrument. They use it both to legitimize those who sit on the extremes of society and then ostracize those who reside in the moderate center, the moral majority. It’s classic gaslighting and, no surprise, but it is a favorite tool of this caravan of criminals and corrupt enablers that now sit at the controls of our nation.

Take Donald Trump as an example. Trump’s political rise was birthed by his embrace of conspiracy. Legitimizing the deplorables of society by giving a mainstream voice to a baseless race baiting accusation that the first Black President of the United States was born outside of the country. More so Trump proclaimed, it’s your worst dreams come true because he has proof that proof exists that Barack Hussein Obama is actually a secret Muslim born in and therefore loyal to the barbaric cause of a shithole African country!

Gurrrl please, Trump’s twitter avatar may as well wear a tin foil hat. His feed and timeline a virtual opus of dog whistles and baseless accusation against the deep state. That he now uses conspiracy to divide and assault our perception of Antifa, the Clinton’s or Epstein’s death, is par for the course.

What is unique about the coordinated response to Epstein’s death is how Trump and the GOP mouthpieces are able to fan both sides of the conspiracy with this one trigger. On the one hand you see Twitler using his favorite medium to sling some serious red meat fodder; his very contribution to the #ClintonBodyCount. On the other side we see clickbait headlines strewn across social media and the echo chamber of right wing talking points making the Sunday rounds bemoaning the “mainstreaming of conspiracy theory.” A carefully orchestrated symphony of disinformation.

Ridiculous. Epstein’s death is not what brought about the birth of mainstream conspiracy theories. Donald Trump is the one and only birther of all such things conspiracy theory.

Like all bullies this administration’s plan is to use false equivalents and misdirection to marginalize, delegitimize and, if necessary, squash dissent and opposition. Doing so allows them to present alternative facts and declare phony national emergencies, only now without the alternatives or independent oversight. Lies then become truth, and conspiracy and perception reality.

Psycho Therapy

Donald Trump is 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. A man-child who does not understand what it means to actually lead. Knows not what it feels like to earn a promotion, to advance on merit, not name.

What Americans see today is the result of a chief executive who was able to skip the lessons of middle management. Who may have learned to deal but was never schooled on the art of empathy, humility, accountability and communication.

The Don truly is a genius only in his own mind. So poor at business that he literally bankrupted both casinos and real estate conglomerates at the height of the economy. In every way the opposite of a man who embodies the original American dream. Forget reelection to the Oval Office, he wouldn’t even merit entry into our country

Sound the Alarm

Prior to the ascension of our Donald Trump I had never used Facebook as a platform, but consider me an alarmist. I believe we all have a responsibility to speak out. The only thing I ever learned in Hebrew school was “never forget,” and I haven’t.

All of America is faced with a simple choice, #Resistance or #Appeasement.

America has a long history of standing up to bullies and Nazis. The vast majority of us teach our children that name calling and excluding other kids on basis of race, gender or religion is not okay. We take pride in the melting pot that is America. Recognize that diversity IS the American identity. We can’t change that anymore than a tiger its stripes. A list of all the great contributions immigrants, minorities and refugees have made to this country would dwarf a list of their misdeeds a million times over. Americans are waking. We know who we are. And we like it that way.

I urge all in #GOP, including the so called “moderates” who serve this administration, to declare yourself an independent, a freedom fighter or whatever heroic name you wish to give yourselves. Find the courage within you. Make clear to the Divider in Chief that you stand for the people and the constitution and he will have trouble if he messes with either.

This is not about politics. Look at 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. He is a man of flawed character. He does not share OUR values and we must stand up together and punch him in the nose.

This shitshow has gone on long enough. It’s time to cut commercial and bring the adults back into the room. We can no longer afford to play Russian roulette with our values, our democracy or the lives of our future generations

What If….

Two simple words that comprise one of the most powerful phrases in the English language. Once the psyche enters a “what if” wormhole it may be lost for hours, occupied in an endless maze of regrets and gratitudes. What if I had been there…What if i hadn’t quit…What if those chads didn’t hang…What if she had said yes…What if I spoke up…

The one thing I learned in Hebrew School was “never forget,” and I haven’t. We know what happens when a citizenry turns a blind eye to the everyday horrors unfolding around them. When a deluge of carefully orchestrated propaganda, false equivalents, sound bites and alternative facts enable a fearful and threatened demographic to perform acrobatic feats of cognitive dissonance to normalize, what in other times would be considered irrational actions. I will not suffer that fate. There is too much to lose. The only way to preserve the dreams of the future is to heed the lessons of the past.

Donald Trump is far from an original. The recent past alone provides a litany of would be authoritarians who proved capable of hijacking democratic institutions to slowly consolidate power. That Trump is the first to so blatantly do so from the Oval Office hardly makes him unique in his technique.

He seeks to divide the citizens of this country along racial, socioeconomic and political lines in order to deflect from his own scandals and advance the agenda and interests of a select few. He uses his bully pulpit to marginalize, belittle, conflate, delegitimize and, if 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.

Though his tactics are tried and true the danger posed is no less real. Donald Trump and his merry bannon of deplorables pose a clear and present danger to the experiment in individual freedoms our founding fathers set in motion generations ago. He makes no secret of his intent; his desire to deconstruct and eliminate outdated democratic institutions. He seeks to rip the very fabric of America’s soul from its identity, to dim the light that serves as a beacon of hope and freedom to the poor, disenfranchised and oppressed who suffer across the globe.

The right to a free and independent press, the right of assembly, the right to be free from religious persecution, the necessity of checks and balances with three equal, though often inept, branches of government. These essential ideals are all under attack. The yuge majority of Americans realize that we are the great melting pot. That diversity IS the American identity and what has always made us great. 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. Yet that is what appears to be at stake.

To those who continue to support our so called President, understand this. All you are doing is identifying yourself as a dinosaur. Painting a scarlet letter on your sleeve that your way of thinking and very belief system will soon be relegated to the history books. Think carefully about your next move.

The pathway to perdition is paved in ignorance. Do not suffer that fate. Do not remain passive. Future generations need not wonder where you stood when our leaders decided to play Russian roulette with our democracy. Do not be left to wonder what if…