Backward

I have been hearing the rumbling of how the Supreme Court has ‘let us down’ or ‘failed us.’ I am not let down; I am not disappointed, and I am not surprised. Why would anyone be any of these things by this Court? When you consider the circumstances of how this court came to be, why in the world would anyone think they have been failed by this SCOTUS? They are exactly who we all knew they would be.

Truth be told, if you are an Independent or a Democrat and didn’t vote or vote for a Republican Congressional or Senate candidate during the Obama years, you are part of the problem. You own this outcome; SCOTUS did precisely what they were set up to do, what the GOP has been planning and promising their base since the PRO-LIFE movement became a thing. Mitch McConnell stacked the bench expertly, and Democrats are so fecking weak-willed they didn’t fight back; they haven’t fought dirty, and this is the outcome.

We now live in a nation where 51.1% of the population cannot claim body autonomy. They cannot abort the fetus of their rapist. Cannot access life-saving health care. Cannot choose what is best for their lives or the lives of their born children. All because strangers who have no genuine vested interest have determined their ‘faith’ and ‘religion’ demand compliance to their biblical interpretations. Not science, not medicine, but religious submission. Thou shalt not kill; unless it is with a gun and you are already a living and breathing child of someone who loves you, then by any God you worship, all bets are off.

With the fall of Roe, Justice Thomas has made clear he has his eyes on other precedents. Those of us who follow the Court and the terrifying super conservatives that sit on the bench for life, we know where they want to go. If you aren’t one of those, let me give you a quick view of his words:

“in its rationale, the court’s majority found that a right to abortion was not a form of “liberty” protected by the due process clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution — as the Court had said in Roe.”

Thomas, considered to be the most conservative of the conservative majority, went on to say in his concurring opinion the following:

“For that reason, in future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell,”

If you don’t know the three referenced cases, they are:

Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965), by a vote of 7-2, the Court established the ‘right to privacy’ of married couples to use birth control. This ruling struck down the Connecticut law prohibiting its use. The primary argument in favor is the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause. Justice Arthur Goldberg wrote a concurring opinion where the Ninth Amendment was also used to support the majority opinion.

Griswold laid the foundation for everything else.

Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S. 438 (1972), extended the right to birth control to unmarried couples.

Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003), the Court ruled that the ‘right to privacy,’ even though not explicitly enumerated, was reaffirmed based on precedence. Lawrence ruled that criminal punishment for those who commit sodomy (any form of same-gender sexual activity) is unconstitutional.

Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. 644 (2015), the final case in the target area, granted the right of same-sex couples to marry. The Courts ruled based on both Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the fourteenth Amendment that all adults had the right to marry whoever they wished to marry, opening the door in all 50 states for Same-Sex Marriage without restrictions. As with Roe, the Court cited Griswold in the Majority Opinion.

One other case lands squarely in the realm of the fourteenth and Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967). This landmark decision not only overturned the convictions of Richard and Mildred Loving, but it went further in a unanimous decision striking down Virginia’s anti-miscegenation laws and ending all race-based marriage laws nationally.

Of course, we know why Justice Thomas didn’t touch Loving in his sweeping view of what should be undone. Ginny Thomas, his seditionist White Wife, would suddenly no longer be his wife; his marriage would be illegal. He could no longer claim membership in that special and rarefied place he currently occupies because, despite his many accomplishments, his seditionist White Wife provides him a certain gloss he would not otherwise have.

The reality of this SCOTUS is that they are set to become the very first in history to strip rights away rather than expand them. They are the Dream Team of the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation, the country’s two most powerful conservative ‘think tanks.’ The confirmation of Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, all appointed during the Trump administration, gave the Court a Conservative Super Majority. Each lied during their confirmation hearings. None were the Best or Brightest, but each came with one recommendation; they were prepared to roll back all the Due Process and Equal Protection precedents and more. Consider other rights you and I enjoy today that potentially could be entirely stripped from us in the future:

Voting, we are seeing this already, state by state. The difference is now we will not have a court to turn to that will uphold our rights.

Access to Jobs, Education, Housing: all part of Civil Rights. This Court is prepared to strip hard-fought rights and turn back the clock. Make no mistake; whether you are a Woman, Black, Brown or part of any currently protected community, you are at risk.

Freedom from Religion: already the first of these have been decided by this Court. Kennedy V. Bremerton School District, 21-418 (2022), decided in favor of Kennedy. A coach who had been put on administrative leave for holding Christian prayer circles on the 50-yard line at school football games and ‘forcing’ team members to participate. This SCOTUS decided his Free Exercise and Free Speech of the First Amendment had been violated.

The other ruling that furthers the erosion of the Separation of Church and State, foundational to our Democratic Republic, is Anderson et al. v. Town of Durham, which built on a 2020 ruling in a Montana case. In both cases, public money is now available to fund private religious education from K-12. In Justice Sotomayor’s words from her dissent:

Today, the court leads us to a place where separation of church and state becomes a constitutional violation.”

The list is long, and these Conservative Justices are salivating, calling out for cases that will allow them to achieve the goals of their masters. Listen to them as they speak at various engagements. Read their writings as they encourage new cases to be filed and make their way to their docket. They want these cases; they want to legislate from the bench. They know they can get away with it because they know Congress is powerless to stop them. They know the Democrats are feckless, disorganized and will soon lose what little power they hold. They know the people, that is, you and I, will not vote for what is vital to our long-term good instead, we will bitch and moan about whether gas prices are too high, whether we ‘like’ Joe Biden today, whether we are getting everything we want today, and whether our life is going well today. We, the people, are focused on our immediate gratification, which is why the minority governs us rather than the majority.

I have heard people say they are annoyed by President Biden saying in his speeches, “Vote, Vote, Vote.” Let me reiterate his statement, if you want to change the dynamics and see a change in this nation, hand this President an absolute majority in the Senate and House, and VOTE in November.

Murder, Mayhem and a Reckoning

Do you know how things change? When enough people say enough. When the pain is bad enough, all the small differences finally melt away, and people find common ground and say to each other, “this shall not pass.” Things change when good people no longer turn away.

That is how things change.

We are currently a nation ruled by a vocal, heretic minority. They are mean-spirited, illiberal, unprincipled, power-hungry, and terrified. They are also violent and growing more so by the day.

When we, the majority, stop being weak-willed and selfish, when we the majority, become the genuine ‘Big Tent’ rather than the fractious, tribal-focused standard-bearers of our own self-interests that we are today, things change. When the majority stop infighting, stop name-calling and demanding absolute adherence to bullshit standards, that is when things will finally begin to change.

We, the majority, are always screaming bloody murder about one thing or another, the problem is it is usually directed at our own rather than those who are against us. Still, we can’t even put together a ‘true’ timeline of the crucial milestones, and how to define our messages of hope and victories. Nope, we only care about history if it suits our own beleaguered agenda, and losses that prove our point. We would rather attack our own President and those on our side, just to make a point. We would rather stand with the enemy, or stay at home because we didn’t get all we wanted then whine when we lose it all. 

The messaging is winning the day because those in the middle, the majority, don’t know how to confront the stridency of the Right or the Left and we are weary of both. Just some of the foolish things I have been confronted with since Buffalo:

  • Mass Shootings are due to a mental health crisis in America.
    • Oh, okay then. We are the only country in the world with crazy folk. So the solution to this crisis for the G.O.P. is to strip funding from Mental Health and put guns in the hands of the Mentally Challenged. Well, you know, that makes perfect sense to little ole me.

      Morals in America?

  • Mass Shootings are because parents are too lenient, children aren’t disciplined at home, there is a moral crisis with prayer being denied in school, Christianity is under attack, and schools have a leftist agenda.
    • Ummm, oh, okay. That might explain that whole Baptist thing with the entire conference sweeping decades of sexual abuse under the carpet, right? Or maybe it is the decades of proof that whooping your child with a belt doesn’t really do any good; it only makes the child resent you and grow more aggressive? The whole prayer in school? Yeah, you can still pray till your knees turn into a bloody pulp; you simply cannot force others do so in compliance with your selected faith. Despite your instance otherwise, America was not designed or intended to be a theocracy; it is not a Christian Nation; rather, it is a Democratic Republic with a citizenry that is a majority Christian, though this is rapidly changing.
    • I had to take this one separately because the entire issue of public schools and public school teachers having a Leftist agenda is both ignorant and insulting. Teaching true history, real science, accurate sex education, real social studies, and real political science all at the right time during a young person’s maturation cycle is not Leftist; it is called EDUCATION and Preparation. This education is vital for young people; it prepares them for the world they are entering; they are entitled to it, and your fears and bullshit stand in their way of becoming fully empowered and enabled adults.
  • It is our Constitutional Right to own Guns; we are a free nation because of this Right.
    • I think this might be one of my favorites. This one is close to an all-time high in the ignorance category. I can only shake my head at how truly myopic this sounds; these folks should get out of their Faux Hole more often. There are fourteen (14) countries that rank higher than the United States of American on World Population Review, Freest Countries. Guns make us free? This is by far one of the most asinine things I have read. Guns do not make us free; they force us to live in fear, our streets run with blood, and our schools are places of terror rather than learning.

There were so many more that I would spend the next week documenting them all and likely not even scratch the surface. Everything from the trite comparison between guns and cars to the regular refrain of “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” There is always a piece of me that wants to slap the holy hell out of these fools with their talking points that seem to slip between their lips with such ease; they run from the truth, staring them in the face, dead people calling them from the grave demanding answers for their failures.

We, the majority, are the only ones who can give our dead the answers they deserve. We can do this thing that we have failed to do for so long. President Lyndon B. Johnson and his Congress did it in 1968 by passing and signing the Gun Control Act of 1968, driven primarily by the assassination of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. The act prohibited mail-order sales of rifles and shotguns; it also banned most felons, known drug users and those found to be mentally incompetent from purchasing or owning guns.

“If guns are to be kept out of the hands of the criminal, out of the hands of the insane, and out of the hands of the irresponsible, then we just must have licensing. If the criminal with a gun is to be tracked down quickly, then we must have registration in this country. The voices that blocked these safeguards were not the voices of an aroused nation. They were the voices of a powerful lobby, a gun lobby, that has prevailed for the moment in an election year. But the key to effective crime control remains, in my judgment, effective gun control. And those of us who are really concerned about crime just must—somehow, someday—make our voices felt. We must continue to work for the day when Americans can get the full protection that every American citizen is entitled to and deserves-the kind of protection that most civilized nations have long ago adopted. We have been through a great deal of anguish these last few months and these last few years—too much anguish to forget so quickly.”

Lyndon B. Johnson, Oct 22, 1968 upon signing the Gun Control Act

In 1993, the Brady Handgun Violence and Prevention Act updated the Gun Control Act of 1968. This amendment was a direct result of the attempted assassination of then-President Ronald Reagan. The Brady Act added Background checks and created a list of prohibited individuals:

  1. is under indictment for, or has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
  2. is a fugitive from justice;
  3. is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802));
  4. has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution;
  5. who, being an alien (a bunch of set-asides on this one I am not going to list);
  6. has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

What should we want? Where should we go from here? Honestly, we should stop with talking points to make all the crazy and fringe folks happy. We shouldn’t be taking all the noise into account; instead, we should be talking about reasonable solutions that make sense for the problems facing us today. I am a survivor of gun violence; many of my family members are gun owners and hunters. I argue with them about this issue because we talk over each other instead of listening carefully to each other. They sometimes forget I carry the trauma of gun violence every day of my life. I believe in my heart there is a common ground; if reasonable people talk with each other, there is a solution to what we face today on this issue. Here are my thoughts on the subject of Gun Safety and the incremental steps toward a safer Nation for all of us:

  • Raise the age limit to 25 for all gun purchases.
    • Exception: Honorable discharge from any branch of the military.
  • National Background Check database, with a minimum 24-hour waiting period.
    • Shut down internet purchases with the direct-to-home shipment. Must be shipped to a local handling agent who can validate I.D. and license.
  • Enact Red Flag Guidelines federally. This would trickle down to the state level, with states able to add to them, creating more effective solutions for their state. Federal Guidelines should simply provide minimums.
  • Safe Storage Laws this is critical to prevent the ongoing child accidents we see so often in the news. At a minimum, households with guns should have liability insurance against accidents.

For me, that is ground zero.

Today, in Uvalde, Texas, nineteen (19) babies are being memorialized, and two (2) teachers are being remembered. In Buffalo, NY, they are still burying their dead.

Today, we still don’t have the heart to do something. If not now, when?

Does the Devil Pray

Do you think the Devil prays? What do you think he prays for, more pain, chaos, weeping families, dead children in the halls of schools? Do you think he dances gleefully through the fire of hate and passionless ‘thoughts and fervent prayers’ after every mass shooting, knowing that he is winning the battle of ‘hearts and minds.’

Nineteen babies lay dead in their elementary school, and two of their teachers died with them. This may not be the final count of this latest tragedy. Twenty-one human lives lost forever, and even more victims when you begin adding all the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders who witnessed the violence in what should be a safe and happy place, their school. Then you begin to add all the parents, siblings, grandparents of those nineteen babies, all the aunties, uncles, cousins, and the circle of victims grows. Nineteen babies who will never grow up, never finish High School, go to Prom, attend college, fall in love, get married, or have children of their own. Nineteen babies, children under the age of ten (10), lay broken and bleeding, dead before they had the chance to live.

Uvalde Victims Identified

In the course of killing babies, this sick and twisted killer also took the lives of two teachers, women who dedicated their lives to the young of this small Texas town. Both were gunned down while trying to protect their students. Both with families and children of their own, they leave broken hearts and shattered lives behind them.

How do any of us reconcile the horror of mass shootings with the indifference of the Pro-Life response?

“Inevitably when there’s a murder of this kind, you see politicians try to politicize it; you see Democrats and a lot of folks in the media whose immediate solution is to try to restrict the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. That doesn’t work. It’s not effective. It doesn’t prevent crime.” Ted Cruz, to reporters Tuesday 5/24/2022

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

“I’d much rather have law-abiding citizens armed and trained so that they can respond when something like this happens because it’s not going to be the last time.” Ken Paxton, Texas Attorney General on Newsmax, Tuesday 5/24/2022

Consider what we have done in Texas since Abbott became Governor; we have the loosest Gun Controls in the world. In fact, Abbott has signed twenty-two (22) pieces of legislation that make gun ownership and gun carry laws looser. In Texas, anyone above the age of 21 can carry a handgun nearly anywhere in the state without training or a permit. In Texas, any person above the age of 18 can buy any type of gun, handgun, long-gun, semi-automatic gun. Then there is my favorite, the Sanctuary Act which FORBIDS local agencies from enforcing Federal gun rules; this act goes even further and bans government agencies at all levels from doing business with or signing contracts with any organization that discriminates against the firearm industry.

Babies, we are talking about dead children who are still being identified a day later because of the horrible damage done to their small bodies by one person with a gun. But these PRO-LIFE lunatics would have you believe that guns don’t kill people. These same lunatics, here in Texas and beyond, will be at the NRA Conference in Houston just two days from now. Who will be there? Good question, Raphael (Ted) Cruz (Senator, R, Texas), Greg Abbott (Governor, R, Texas), Donald Trump (2X impeached ex-President, R). There are others they aren’t worth mentioning; what is important is these men have one thing in common: they pretend to care about children, yet consistently prove they have zero compassion or empathy for the lives lost. They vote consistently for death; even their stance on Abortion is a vote for death.

I am broken-hearted by the failure of this nation to stand up for our most vulnerable. We watch, we wring our hands, and then we turn away. We wait for the next tragedy; we fail to hold accountable those with the power to make meaningful changes. We fail to stand up to the ignorance of those who make the most horrific public statements and tell the most baseless lies (e.g., School Shootings are Left Wing False Flag Events because they are losing). We fail to demand truth from the fourth estate (media) rather than the propaganda circus we have today. We lost the race before we even took the first step.

Does the Devil pray? Or does he dance gleefully through the bloodbaths we create with our indifference to the dead? Donald Trump gave an inauguration speech on Jan. 20, 2017, that, at the time, insulted many of us; I now believe it was simple precognition:

“Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted out factories, scattered like tombstones across the across the landscape of our nation, an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge, and the crime, and the gangs, and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”

In his four years in office, he enshrined Trumpism within the GOP. He uplifted the worst in us. He stomped empathy and compassion into the ground and what we are left with is nineteen dead children in Uvalde, Texas. Heartbroken families and a nation that hasn’t recovered from Buffalo, grieving again and asking, ‘Why?”

I have only one answer, why in the hell do you think?

Dear God IX

Dear God, have you seen the devastation? Have you heard your name called out in pain, fear, or the desolation of lost loved ones to terror and violence? Have you heard your name lifted in prayers for solace and aid in the face of great evil? Where in heavens name are you?

How do you continue to allow this horror show to continue in your name and do nothing to stop it? Is this a test of how long and how much people will take before turning away from you and toward something more substantial than future promises of salvation?

Dear God, have you noticed lately how the worst of us are using your name to do terrible acts of violence against the most vulnerable? Is this in your plan, and the rest of us are missing it? Should we be thanking you for the terrible lessons we are watching played out against those who simply wish for a seat at the table, a place within a society that has time and again rejected their humanity.   

Really, God, I am beginning to think you have forgotten the entire premise of Love and are simply letting humans run rampant down here on this little spec in the universe. Has something else caught your attention? Have you lost interest? Or have the unmitigated and unrelenting bombardment of hate-filled lies in your name finally been too much for even you?

Dear God, I know you have many things on your plate. Millions of prayers to answer, millions of things to answer every day. As it says in Matthew 10:

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.[b] 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

So I understand; you are busying counting all those hairs and worrying about all those falling sparrows; you really can’t be bothered with what folks are doing down here to each other in your name. But God, are not all the bodies piling up deserving of a little tiny bit of your attention? You know, just a little bit?

Buffalo Shooting Victims

Dear God, there are ministers at the pulpit today preaching in your name and calling entire groups of people demons for voting contrary to their personal beliefs. This means all those in this nation who voted for a Democratic candidate in 2020 were described as Demons, God Haters, and non-Christian. These ministers, weekly stand in their pulpits and, in your name, demand those who disagree should be sent to Concentration Camps (remember the last time you allowed this to happen God). Do you forget your own words, the words of your Son that only you may name one a demon? Acts 19:

13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” 14 Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. 15 But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” 16 And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all[d] of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

Klan Wedding, 1926

I am struck by those who are driving your narrative. I am discouraged by your seeming indifference to the corruption. Or have you decided to allow rebellion as part of the game? I must say, God, this game is horrible, and the victims are piling up. Do you meet them at the gate and apologize? Are you slapping on their wings and introducing them to the promised eternal life with a shrug of your shoulders and a dinner invitation? Are their ancestors there, or maybe their enemies are there with an act of contrition. Just a thought, God, some of those enemies probably should not be in White Robes; it would be a bit disconcerting to the newly arrived.

Dear God, isn’t it time for some smiting? You know, a lightning strike here or there might be in order right about now. Something very focused and specific would be helpful, I think. Those who spend their time lifting up your name are beginning to wonder where you are as those they love lay bleeding on the streets. It becomes more difficult to believe when the sanctity of church and home is invaded by weapons of violence, in your name, God. The prayer we lift to you for safety, peace, and a place at the table is seemingly ignored.

We are told to accept as our rights are stripped away, and our humanity trampled. We watch as lies are told night after night until they become the truth for countless of our fellow Americans, and we have no recourse, no voice to speak for us. God, I think you have turned your face from those who have been your most loyal servants, who have held up your name and shown your true spirit in the face of tremendous adversity.

Dear God, shouldn’t you be providing something more? Clearly, the thoughts and prayers of the adversary are unwelcome, and hopefully, you are not hearing them as sincere or legitimate. If you can’t separate the insincere thoughts and prayers of the enemy from the wails of the grieving families in churches across this nation, might I suggest a Cochlear Implant? Technology today has made great strides for the unhearing.

This Is Who We Are

The one thing you have to give to the GOP, they are well organized, and their messages no matter how toxic are specific and consistent. They have spent the past fifty years building towards this pivotal point in time. Half the states are controlled by maniac legislatures and governors intent on rolling their states back to the days of Jim Crow and women’s subjection, never mind more than half their constituents disagree with their policies. Those at the top both elected and not, are ramping it up every single day on every single media outlet. Make no mistake, they are winning the war of words with soundbites meant to inflame, intended to sow fear and fury, they are winning.

Before we proceed, let’s take a close look at what we are really talking about. For those who love this nation, who believe the words penned by Thomas Jefferson in the preamble of the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” July 4, 1776

We should be clear, Jefferson and most of the other signers of the Declaration were slaveholders. They weren’t talking about ‘all’ men. They were talking about specific men. They certainly weren’t talking about women either. Unlike others, I am not going to cancel Jefferson and others for their views and their sins, they were men of their time. Were they wrong? They were absolutely wrong and their views on slavery, among many other things were absolutely wrong. Would their views have been different had they lived in a different time? I don’t think we know, however, given the benefit of much of their writing I like to think that yes, their views would have been much different had they had the benefit of time.

For those who love Lincoln and view him through the prism of the Civil War and the Emancipation of Slaves, I think there is a much deeper look that needs to be taken. Keeping this in mind when thinking of the first sentence of the Gettysburg Address:

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” November 19, 1863

In Lincoln’s address he was referring to the Declaration of Independence, he also wasn’t considering ‘all’ men, nor was he thinking about women when he proposed equality. From 1863 to 1974 it required 5 Constitutional Amendments, several legislative changes, and several interventions by SCOTUS before all men and women were considered equal under the law; before we could all vote, have bank accounts, have credit and mortgages, access to education, marry who we choose, body autonomy, and a host of other things White Men have always taken for granted. White Men never feared lynching, never feared the loss of their freedom, the loss of their income, the loss of their homes, the loss of their choices or their families. White Men never questioned their right to the voting booth, not one time in the history of this nation have White Men ever questioned their right to exist in this nation or their inalienable Rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

The rest of us sure in the hell have though.

There is a straight line in the rise of hate crimes, more specifically race-based domestic terrorism to White Nationalism and the most recent administration of Trump and its fallout of Trumpism. What was once the fringe is now the accepted baseline for the Republican Party.

  • Conspiracy Theory 1: Jewish cabals attempting to take over the world starting with the USA.
  • Conspiracy Theory 2: Top Democrats are pedophiles involved in child sex trafficking rings.
  • Conspiracy Theory 3 (and my personal favorite): The election was stolen from Donald Trump in 2020 and he is the true POTUS.

These are only some of the truly ludicrous Conspiracies dangled by the dangerous and outrageous talking heads and elected officials across the US. These lead to the most dangerous, The Replacement Theory and its proponents on Fox News and the floor of Congress and state legislatures. This ugly ‘Theory’ isn’t new, isn’t something that comes to us fresh out of the minds of those who sit in back rooms at Fox, Heritage Foundation, The Blaze, and Breitbart whipping up the next big thing. This is not the something cooked up in a vacuum by terrified old White Men who see their power trickling away. There is a direct line from Theodore Gilmore Bilbo, two-time Governor of Mississippi (1916-1920 & 1928-1932), US Senator (1935-1947), member of the KKK, and author of Take Your Choice: Separation or Mongeralization, an ode to pro-segregation.

This only begins to scratch the surface. This nation has seen a steady rise in domestic terrorism. It stretches across the entire spectrum and is steadily pushing us back to before Civil Rights, before Women’s Rights, before all of these:

  • Smith v. Allwright (1944), upheld the recently enacted Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965
  • Brown v. Board – 1954 and Brown v. Board II – 1956
  • Griswold v. State of Connecticut (1965), based on right to privacy and allowing married couples access to birth control.
  • South Carolina v. Katzenbach (1966), upheld the recently enacted VRA of 1965
  • Harper v. The Virginia Board of Elections (1966), based on 24th Amendment adopted in 1964 prohibiting poll taxes.
  • Loving v. State of Virginia (1967), based on both Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment, SCOTUS overturned anti-miscegenation
  • Eisenstadt v. Baidt (1972), based on the right to privacy and allowing unmarried women access to birth control.
  • Roe v. Wade (1973), based on the precedent established by previous cases, the right to privacy allowed women access to legal and safe abortion.
  • Shelby County v. Holder (2013), the Alabama county argued that the formula in Section 4 of the VRA was outdated and Unconstitutional. By a vote of 5-4, SCOTUS agreed thereby effectively gutting the most powerful tool of the VRA. At the time Chief Justice Roberts expressed that he expected Congress to update the VRA, to date they have failed to do so. Since that time states have imposed increasingly restrictive voting laws.
  • Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), under the same precedent established by Loving v. Virginia, Gay Marriage was validated as fundamental liberty according to the Constitution.

Here we are, the dead continue to fall in our streets, in our churches, supermarkets, our laundry, our beauty and barbershops. They are shot down when jogging or walking their dogs, while celebrating birthdays or just doing nothing but living life. The dead are piling up, their lives are cut short, their names added to the rolls of the murdered, from the children to the great-grandparent; and we seem numb to it all.

FBI Hate Crime Stats 2016-2020

Don’t pretend anymore that this is not who we are, by damn this is exactly who we are. We care more about our access to weapons of destruction and our pocketbooks than we do about the life of our neighbors. We care more about paying $10 less in taxes than we do about whether a young mother can feed her child. We care not one whit about truth, moral integrity, and human life.

This is by damn who we are. We are a nation of moral degenerates. We are a nation seeped in Fear, White Nationalism, Violence, Bigotry and Lies. We are a nation that willingly votes the very worst of us into office time and again simply because they might get an extra $1 in their paycheck. We willing soak up lies so we can feel good about voting for liars one more time.

This is who we are, this is us.

Misfits and Miscreants

This is long and I hope you will take the time to read. 

The cadre of misfits and miscreants who have held power since the inception of this nation is not as large as one might expect. There have been a few over the years, those who believed they were more than their office, the bully, the pulpit pounder, the liar, and the thief. There have been those who have not met the expectations of the trust placed in them. Then there are those men and women of their times who we no longer hold in high regard, given the lens of history.

The problem is not in those we have the luxury of history to reevaluate based on our new understanding; it is in those who remain firmly planted in our here and now. History will always be a harsh mistress of our actions or inaction. We will never escape the judgment of future historians based on a new understanding of social and cultural norms. Some things however remain common, they remain standard across the years. It is these that we rely upon to evaluate historical and current figures of importance.

When we look at the past one hundred (100) years in this nation, what do we see? Is maleficence greater today than a century ago? Is it of a different nature? What has changed? Focusing only on the federal level, what is fascinating is how the level of corruption has expanded and changed in scope and sheer numbers.

William Harding (R 1921-1923), had some fascinating misfits mostly guilty of bribery and kickbacks. His administration saw a couple of members commit suicide rather than face scandal and also saw the first cabinet member to ever be convicted and serve a prison sentence. My favorite though is Thomas L. Blanton of TX, he was censured for inserting obscene material into the congressional record via a letter that was condemned as containing, “unspeakable, vile, foul, filthy, profane, blasphemous and obscene” language. An attempt to expel him from Congress failed by 8 votes, I guess some of them had a sense of humor, here is a part of the offensive letter in question, as it appears in the Congressional Record:

“G_d D_ _n your black heart, you ought to have it torn out of you, you s_n of a b_ _ _ _H. You and the Public Printer has no sense. You s_ _k his a_s and he is a d_ _ _ _ _d fool for letting you do it.”

There really were only small things until we get to Eisenhower (R 1953-1961). What came to pass during his years in office would lay the groundwork for many of the actions and continued beliefs of today. If only we knew then what we know now, Richard Nixon was the Vice President and Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-Wisconsin) introduced us to McCarthyism. Oddly, the rest of the administration was squeaky clean compared to these two. If you consider the havoc McCarthy would visit on all corners of the United States, including military, government, and private citizens before he was done it is amazing he and we survived. It should be noted many of the foundations for what McCarthy and J. Edgar Hoover did were laid during prior administrations, but McCarthy ratcheted it up. What he did then was an early form of Cancel Culture, without the immediacy of Social Media. Also during the Eisenhower Administration the motto on US currency was changed from E Pluribus Unum to In God We Trust, driven by a need to distinguish the USA from the Soviet enemy and communism during the Cold War.

Surprisingly we have to skip two administrations, Kennedy and Johnson, for our next rouges gallery,  Richard Nixon (R 1969-1974), where the real fun begins. This is our first taste of the modern administration in action. There is no way to even pick a favorite from this crew, but I am going to remind you that before the good stuff started the original VP, Spiro Agnew was forced to resign for Tax Fraud related to Bribery charges in Maryland; can I just say last I checked Bribery was illegal, I wasn’t aware people were required to claim their ill gotten gains on their taxes. As to the rest, we have Watergate which resulted in Nixon’s resignation prior to impeachment, 76 indictments, and 55 convictions. I am not going to name names, they are well known. The issue is, just how hard this president tried to hold power and the one lesson we should all take away, it was members of his own party who ultimately forced his resignation.

Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter had administrations that looked more like the early 1900s, though there were a few odd miscreants that didn’t live up to what we would like to see in the leadership of our nation, they weren’t the worst of the worst.  So let’s skip to our next holy hell where did you get this stew, the administration of Ronald Reagan (R 1981-1989), 122 investigations and internal censures plus 16 convictions of Administration officials across multiple scandals. What were ya’ll thinking? Bribery, kickbacks, fraud, perjury, conspiracy to defraud the government, obstruction of justice; the list is long and sad. If there was a crime to be committed, they owned it. That was just the Administration, the Legislative Branch had its own hijinks going on ultimately being the most corrupt to date, with Abscam and the Keating Five being only one part of the whole.

Larry Flynt

The first George Bush ran a tight ship, maybe it was that he was only a one-term president but both his administration and the other branches were fairly well behaved while he was in office, despite the Iran Contra Scandal. So let’s jump down to Bill Clinton (D 1993-2001), oh you without sin cast the first stone. Everyone knows about Bill and his womanizing ways, he was impeached by the House and subsequently acquitted by the Senate for lying about consensual sex. What about the rest of his administration? There were a few bad boys, but nothing on the scale you might expect. The Legislators, they were a fun bunch all the holier than thou, yes indeed many of them got caught with their pants down around their ankles, my favorite? Bob Livingston (R-LA), while busy trying hard to impeach the President for his immoral ways  it appears he was engaged in pornography and other nasty things, Larry Flynt of Hustler fame called him out on his hypocrisy. Mr. Livingston had to admit, that he “strayed from my marriage,” and subsequently resigned.

Come now all you bad boys, to the Presidency of the second George Bush (R 2001-2009). His administration and the legislative branch that operated during his two terms were tarred with so many scandals it is hard to know where to look first. Shocking there were only 16 indictments and 16 convictions considering what these scoundrels got up to. Karl Rove of course is one of my favorites, he had his fingers in every cesspool, being investigated for ‘improper influence over government decision-making’ by the Office of Special Counsel, this was the least of it. My personal favorite though, is Randall L. Tobias, a strong and outspoken proponent of abstinence, he was found to be a regular client of the DC Madam, he was forced to resign his position as US Director of Foreign Assistance in 2007.

Scott DesJarlais

The Administration of Barrack Obama (D 2009-2016), despite tales to the contrary, wasn’t filled with scallywags and ne’er do wells. In truth, most of the fun was down in the legislative branch during his eight years in office with a pretty even split between the D’s and the R’s on who could outdo themselves in bad acts and corruption. When they weren’t flagrantly breaking the law, they were trying hard to be despicable slugs. My two favorites have to be these guys though. First, Chaka Fattah (D-PA) was convicted of 23 counts including fraud, money laundering, and racketeering; what a seat in Congress wasn’t enough you had to get a second job? Then there is, Dr. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), who ran on a Pro-Life platform until it was discovered he forced his wife to have two abortions, then his lover came forward with her own story of him trying to force her to abort her pregnancy. Did I mention she was also his patient? After that, the floodgates opened and he admitted under oath to other affairs. There were certainly more, but these two stood out for me mostly because they flew under the radar.

Finally, we arrive at the most recent Administration, that of Donald J. Trump (R 2017-2021), he led us down the path, didn’t he? The only American President to be twice impeached in the House, twice acquitted by a Senate with a majority of his own party.  The sheer scope of the corruption and scandals of the administration defies imagination. From abuse of power, money laundering, nepotism, spousal abuse, witness tampering, and tax evasion the list is long and littered with bodies. In the meantime, the Legislative branch had its own problems though not rising to the shenanigans of the Administration, they were certainly busy. While neither party was innocent, I hate to point fingers but the R’s had a leg up during the Trump years and except where there was no way out and the FBI stepped in with real criminal charges, it seems Congress does not police itself to the degree we might like. Certainly, the truth is, there is no true Ethics or Integrity in the Peoples House.

At the end of the Trump years, we were met with the first President in our history who refused to gracefully concede loss and turn over the reins of power. As a nation, we are still suffering the outcome of the divisions sown during the 2020 campaign and extending even to today. When we look at Administrations historically it is possible to not see how rot has grown over the years within the government. It is time for real changes, time to look hard at the privileges and ‘rights’ our legislators have claimed for themselves without our agreement. It is time for simple changes that will significantly change the balance of power now and in the future. It is frankly time for all of us to stand up and say enough with our voices, our money, and our votes.

Simple changes we could enact at both a state and federal level that would change the balance of power and begin to root out the corruption:

  1. Term Limits at all levels of government including SCOTUS.
  2. Ranked voting.
  3. Real Ethics and Standards at every level of Government with external review boards of comprised Citizens.
  4. Real legislative changes to Voting Rights including reinstatement of Section 5 pre-clearance.
  5. Legislative limits to campaign spending and rollback of Citizen United.

That is my top five. What are yours?

What It Means

Do you know sometimes you can go most of your adult life focused on the wrong things, working hard toward a future that in the end will not be what you planned or expected. Never mind as you sit and contemplate where you are and what you have done, your dreams have not been fulfilled. You can break yourself, physically and emotionally for that pot of gold at the end of that proverbial rainbow and find nothing but pyrite. You can give everything worthwhile up, sacrifice to the pantheon and what you will have in the end will be rooms filled with the chaff of broken dreams. In a world that values the trappings of success above nearly all forms of decency and compassion, far too many of us have fallen victim to the sales job. Now we are learning, there are no ‘do overs,’ for our failures and regrets.

What do we do when we look at life through the prism of our values, ethics, and standards? Those pesky things that are foundational to who we are and where we come from. Do we first question these as they are not a genetic predisposition but rather cultural and familial. As we enter the wider world, we are challenged more often than not, especially if we come from a more traditional culture or family experience. Do we question ourselves, our beliefs, our parents, our faith, our very foundation as we make our way through the maze of often terrifying new experiences? Many do, while some cling to what we know in an attempt to stave off the changes we see around us. The bombardment of information, especially social norms and expectations that may be significantly different from what we know is enough to make our heads spin and our hearts stutter to a standstill.

When we are young, we are sure to at least try some new things, maybe spread our wings in a few new directions. Most of us are brave, wanting to test ourselves against the world. Many of us believe we are both infallible and indestructible. We have worldviews that do not allow for any opinion but our own and rarely allow for facts that do not align with our ‘truths.’ When we are young there is one truth that is nearly universal, we have an unearned arrogance.  

During the arc of our lives, we usually learn many things and most of us lose our arrogance along the way. We learn we are absolutely fallible, we make mistakes, we stumble, we fall down, and we are taught lesson after lesson about just how much we do not know. This is one thing that continues throughout our lives. Sometimes we need the proverbial kick in the ass, taking us down off our high horse but other times it is simply the cruelty of others who wish to see us fail. Still, you fall down, and you climb back up to your feet, learning the best lesson; you are fallible.

The next thing we learn as we step foot into the world? We are absolutely destructible and mortal. Sometimes we learn this through the loss of a beloved parent, or a friend. Other times it is someone within our immediate circle who is faced with catastrophic illness or injury shaking the foundation of our belief in our own indestructibility. Then there is that time we learn this terrible lesson by a close brush with our fragility, this lesson remains with us for the remainder of our years, we either become risk-averse or alternatively we become what is now known as adrenalin junkies. It is an important lesson to learn, our mortality put in perspective, our place in the world filtered down into more realistic terms, more digestible bites. Over time, there will be more masterclasses to embrace, more blows to our confidence and we will in most cases survive them to tell the stories to the next generation.

So, thinking about all of this, what does it really mean? We magically hit the world firing on all cylinders somewhere between 18 and 25 years old. We leave our parents’ protective nest and rush out to do grand things in a world waiting for us to announce our entrance, only to find there is no fanfare and no one really cares. We begin as dilettantes, so certain of ourselves and our personal greatness, so self-assured. Nothing can stop us; nothing can stand in our way. We pronounce, at every opportunity and with absolute certainty, our opinions as fact. We have no need for wisdom from those who have lived longer and done more. We are full of fight and ready for our march to the corner office, or wherever our ambitions are focused. We are insulted by the very suggestion that we might not be ready, or all the Gods forbid we may not know all we need to know.

We weep and rail at the unfairness of it all. The waiting and the hard work of it all, yet while we are doing that which we thought was so unfair and unnecessary something happens. We grow up, we learn, we mature, and we begin to see the reason and logic of it all. That arc between fresh into the world and “been there and done that” is long and in many cases hard. For too many of us, it is filled with heartbreak, failures, and regrets. Along the way, we learn, and we grow; we also try to pass on the wisdom we gathered and the things we know don’t change from generation to generation. No matter where you come from, no matter who you are, no matter your cultural or familial beginnings, some things are truly foundational, even universal.

  • Treat people the way you want to be treated, kindness and compassion never grow old.
  • Ethics and honesty in business and your personal life will always be the best strategy.
  • Put people before things, before money, before your work.
  • Never forget to tell people you love them; they won’t be there forever, and you may not get another opportunity.
  • If you have the chance to lift up another person, do it.

So simple, yet so many of us have a difficult time getting there. In today’s world of greed, myopic selfishness, curated ignorance, and the ongoing attempt to undermine core values as ‘weak’. We tout our faith, religion, and the Sunday-Go-To-Church faithful are quick to beat the drum of their godliness and goodness. Meanwhile, they are busily tearing out the heart of future generations, their children are becoming monstrous, and communities are disintegrating into viciousness, celebrating ignorance over learning, and meanness over compassion.

So, what do we do? We focus on what we can do to make it better and hope time will make a difference. Some of us, well some of us weep at the time we lost being arrogant shits when we still had the time and energy to truly make a difference in the world.

Dear God VIII

Dear God, have you been watching? The general fuckery down here is something to behold, isn’t it? I know it has been quite some time since we last talked, but I thought we should have a quick chat. I think perhaps my quiet, private prayers may be getting lost in the cacophony sent to you from the podiums of Congress, the pulpits of the prayers for-profit and State Houses across this nation called “Thoughts and Prayers.” I am not certain where to start, there is so much to cover, and I need to push it from my heart to your plate. I know, truly that you have much to take care of so I will try not to take too much time and only pick the big stuff, but God, really it is getting bad, and you might want to consider a lightning bolt or two just to get folks attention.

Dear God, have you seen what your believers are doing? In your name no less. It is shameful and downright terrifying. No matter where we look these days it seems those who claim you as their own are the most self-righteous, the most unforgiving, the most judgmental, the most violent; they are everything that I would think would be anathema to you, to your word. But damned if I can tell by their activities and seemingly ongoing success in this world that this is true. Meantime, while they seemingly thrive, the rest of us suffer under their heel. So, God, where are you while those who claim your favor are acting like early pagans on the day of Moloch sacrifices. What more must happen before you start with some smiting, or at least some assistance for the rest of us?

Dear God, it goes from bad to worse. It seems we cannot control our worst impulses. Everything from petty theft to genocide is on the plate for our consumption through everyday media. What is even more disturbing, at least to my mind and broken heart, where there is a crime against humanity there is a master pardoner for the perpetrator and inevitably your word is part of their patter. I guess I am old enough now where I can remember when all of us, entire nations came together regarding certain behaviors, where we all believed some things were wrong by any standard. Now? Well, now not so much. Now, seventeen (17) school shootings across this nation before the end of March doesn’t even make a blip on the nightly news. These days, seventy-nine (79) mass shootings with a total loss of life of ninety (90) human beings doesn’t even merit a comment. Nevermind the madman who is raining down misery and missiles on an entire nation’s civilian population, killing innocents in his drive to annihilate those who will not bow to his dream of a new Imperial Russia. God, if you happened to miss it, this lunatic claims a close alliance to you and your word through the Russian Orthodox Church. Not to take you to task for your current inattention, but really Lord so many of the recent batch of the truly bad have held up your word as a shield and it is growing tiresome.

Dear God, I think perhaps I don’t fit anywhere any longer. As I grow older, I also question too much the thinking of those who I once allied with nearly as much as I do those who have always been on the other side of the debate. This disease of extremism is destroying us all, making us fearful to speak up and speak our mind on any subject. Reasoned debate is no longer possible, and the ridiculous must be accepted as the new normal no matter how it harms others. Cruelty seems to be an acceptable alternative to civility. Truthfully? There is so much nuanced ugly to the past five years, political correctness combined with the legislative rape of civil rights, including voting and women’s autonomy it is hard to know where to even start. But God, you cannot possibly have intended for us to walk back every single gain we made, did you look down and say, “Nah, this was too much let’s make them suffer.”

Dear God, I know you are busy and gave us that great gift of self-determination. Yet still, I would think just now and then you might want to take some of your children and nudge them, off a cliff might be good. A bit of discipline is not uncalled for in certain circumstances, even with self-determination. You and I know children without discipline become out of control, eventually turning delinquency and without correction into habitual criminality with no chance at redemption. Lord, I am afraid that is what we have today in this nation, and what is truly terrifying, they are concentrated in the halls of Congress, on the Bench of SCOTUS and scattered throughout the land, in legislative bodies simply working their evil, pursuing power with the thirst of a man who has walked across Death Valley without water to quench him.  

Dear God, I know you have a great deal to contend with. I am not without eyes to see. Human beings have generally screwed up the world. Every opportunity, we find a way to cheapen and destroy the gift you gave us, both for ourselves and the future. We are an unseemly and ungrateful lot. We are good at saying the words, “thoughts and prayers,” and other such nonsense. We are not so great at living by the words so many profess to believe in the book they use to batter others with. Day in and day out, your word, is used to abuse those who can least afford to give by those who have found a way to rob them of dignity, humanity, and a future. You must be tired of your creation by now. I am certain the angels must beg for reassignment when you tell them they are coming to earth, if even for a day. I know I would. But like Lot, I beg you to look down, I know there are still good people down here, maybe not saints but people who every single day do good and are worth saving, worthy of your blessing. Could you please just take a minute or two, send a message to all these terrible recalcitrant traitors of the people who deserve your concern and care. I am only asking for a strong message to steer them back to the path of the righteousness, you know maybe some focused bolts of lightning, thunderous messages of fury, specifically placed sinkholes might work.  Anything that will get their attention would likely go a very long way.

History to Now

“There is no sanctuary so holy that money cannot profane it, no fortress so strong that money cannot take it by storm.”
-Marcus Tullius Cicero

Since Reagan left office, he has continued to hold an unassailable approval rating of approximately 68%. Despite scandals, voodoo economics, and a host of other questionable issues, the one thing we can hold him to history’s harsh review and still say, “yes, here he led the way,” was 1987. Are you scratching your head and wondering, what happened in 1987 that we should hail Ronald Reagan for?

In 1987, Reagan delivered an openly provocative speech to Gorbachev, then President of the Soviet Union that ended with “Tear Down this Wall.” Two years later, the wall came down. Shortly thereafter, Reagan and Gorbachev embarked on a series of summits to limit nuclear weapons and fully end the Cold War. While Gorbachev was by far the more significant of the two men, given the hill he had to climb, Reagan rightfully continues to be celebrated for his part in ending the first Cold War.

Shortly thereafter, in 1994 the Ukraine, along with Belarus and Kazakhstan signed the Budapest Memorandum, with the US, UK and Russia guaranteeing their security in return for their denuclearization. At the time the Ukraine was the third-largest nuclear power in the world behind Russia and the United States. I am betting they regret that decision today.

This brings us to today. Day twenty (20) of the Russian invasion of the sovereign nation of Ukraine. Vladimir Putin came to power in 2012 his perspective and style are very different from that of his two predecessors, Gorbachev, and Yeltsin. To be clear, Vladimir Putin is ferocious, autocratic, and entirely outside of international norms. What Putin wants is for Russia to be a world power. He started with his invasion of Georgia in 2008, the West barely lifted an eyebrow. Leading to his annexation of Crimea and Donbas in 2014, originally part of Ukraine, where again the West barely moved from their stance of pacification.

Two things that should be noted by anyone interested in following the line of Russian aggression, in both cases:

  • There was a series of cyberattacks. These were preceded by a sophisticated disinformation campaign and an outright attempt to meddle in domestic politics.

Other Baltic nations have seen these same tactics deployed against them. The United States is certainly familiar with these as well. Georgia was only the practice run at what was to become Putin’s SOP (Standard Operating Procedures).

Now to what is truly terrifying.

Putin is looking to annihilate the Ukrainian people.  The Russian army has no limitations on their targets,  residential areas, hospitals, orphanages, aid convoys. The people in cities are in most cases without food, water, heat; it is a human tragedy of catastrophic proportions. Refugees, mostly women and children, old people are fleeing in the millions to neighboring nations.

In the meantime, here at home what are we doing? We are putting the Ukrainian flag on our Facebook profile while we bitch about the price of gas. We are sending up thoughts and prayers for the people of Ukraine while we complain about our supply chain, our inflation; hell, just about every damn thing. We have a ‘united’ Congress to aid Ukraine, while at the same time, leaders of the GOP hold pressers about how the President should have provided aid more rapidly.

Did something just strike a chord? Did they forget it was their own fearless leader who held up aid? Did they forget so soon the first impeachment of Donald J. Trump, which the entire GOP Senate but one who voted against? But I digress.

We here in America are a selfish bunch. Selfish and stupid in fact. We are led by the nose by our immediate needs and our immediate wants. We have zero understanding of how the real world operates. What we are concerned with is only what affects us, right now. It is this mindset that gives us the dysfunctional government we have today. It is this mindset that provides us with the churn we generally see at mid-term elections. Our inability to understand the real economy. Our failure to look beyond the right here and right now, causes us to elect fools and hustlers to lead what was once the greatest nation and is now something far less.

Every single time some talking head in the Pro Putin GOP talks about the price of gas, the Keystone Pipeline, or inflation they are repeating Russian propaganda and propping up Trump talking points. This is critical to understand. Whether or not your Pro-Trump family and friends will ever grasp these very real facts or not, it is important for these facts to be available and that every average American learn them and start repeating them.

  1. The Keystone Pipeline would have no impact on the price of gas. It was intended to bring dirty tar sands oil down from Canada to be refined and then shipped to China. It would not provide a supply to the US. It did not add long-term economic benefits.
  2. The cause of rising gas prices is twofold, speculation and supply. During the pandemic, worldwide refineries slowed down production due to demand. The cost of gas at the pump is a direct reflection of rising demand and limited supply. Russia is now restricted from the supply chain creating even greater limitations. Additionally, since January when Putin first begin threatening Ukraine’s borders, speculation has been driving oil prices up. Barrel of oil goes up, you and I are paying the price at the pump. While the President could ask the US oil companies to release their reserves to the market, he cannot demand they do so except during War, we are not at this time at war.

The other option the President has at this time is to tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, this could relieve some but not all pressure. It would also cause disruption to already stressed markets which we should want to avoid. This brings me back to the fact; we are selfish and self-serving in this nation. We decry the price of gas for our big trucks and SUV’s. We complain about the cost of food at the grocery store. Some of us though spend our days listening to the ravings of the pro-Putin arm of the GOP and their apologists on Fox and elsewhere while real human beings in Ukraine are starving, while children are dying of dehydration, while bombs are targeted at residential buildings, children’s hospitals and families are simply trying to escape the carnage. While fools with over inflated egos are beating their chests with their pretend versions of patriotism and stolen elections, real patriots are standing in the streets in every city of Ukraine and saying to the madman Putin, “You shall not pass, you will not have my freedom.”

I pity us when I am not simply in a fury. We have forgotten basic human compassion and dignity. We are so mired in our in-fighting, we have forgotten the standards that once held us together, we have forgotten that working toward a better tomorrow for all of us extends beyond our borders. I weep for Ukraine, but I shed tears for the United States of America as well.

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