Treachery

Embattled by treachery unexpected and dark

Washed over by the tempest of loss and fury

Your storm brewed in deep pits of secrecy

20ab55a5576cffe1dce94c2fc4b236b0Handed to me to unravel, mine to tame in the light

With no ballast to uphold me, to keep me lifted up

Silence and distance, cruelty after all this time

Soft words, the lack of reserve between us

The silence shatters me in its violence

The distance breaks me unforgivingly

My skin chills, with no replacement or sanctuary

The betrayal, so absolute I had no cache stored

Seeking anything to hold me together just long enough

To gather strength and lift myself above, to move  

Silence will become my partner again

Duplicity will seep into my bones and I will rise

Time will pass and these will become me

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23 Nov 2019

Divided We Fall

If the words have a familiar ring, they should they are from the famous speech given by Abraham Lincoln in 1858. While the issue at the time was slavery and the entry of Kansas to the United States as a Slave State, the corollaries between today’s vast divides are not I think very different.

The Divided States of America (DSA) no longer united by shared goals, shared values or even a sense of common humanity it seems. No longer united by the shared tragedy of September 11, for even this has divided us in misery by its outcomes. We are a house divided where once though we might have differences in our politics and religions we came together for the common good, we are now so riven by ideology even families are torn apart by their differences.

Our true history is lost as both sides of the argument dance upon the shifting sands of time and rewrite the books as if they have won the war. It has always been the way, the victor of the war writes the history of the battles and the history of the world before time, shouldn’t we ask the question though; isn’t it past time for us to stop rewriting history and start learning from history instead. It is only my opinion of course; nevertheless, my answer to this would always be yes. It is well past time for this nation to take a step back from chest pounding and nationalistic patriotism and start hard introspective look at who and what we truly are, to ourselves and others.

Consider the horrifying state of America, the divisive nature of our political theater and their determination to be the moral standard bearers of the nation and its three hundred million plus people. They cozy up to religion and the countless so-called faith-based leaders, many who are all too often standing on the stage and spewing a rhetoric not of love, peace and kindness but of hate, divisiveness and self-centered enrichment. These ministers of God, no matter which God they call on lift up man rather than spirit and presume to speak for a truth that is not written anywhere but a ledger of numbers showing their increasing wealth while those who need their ministry and charity most send their last dollar in prayerful hope of a miracle.

Study the media of today, their ability to permeate every aspect of our lives, repeating, enhancing and even creating ‘news’ for our consumption. The most insidious ingredient for the mind of the battle for the Divided States of America is the media Talking Head Pundit, though this name assumes expertise of some nature it is rarely the reality. Instead we our inundated with vitriol aimed at whichever side of the house is perceived as the enemy by that media group, rich in standard bearers for the ‘News’ of the day, the truth is buried while the tidbits supporting the spin are blasted into homes through every media source available becoming truth for those who seemingly absorb this spun up ‘News’ through their pores.

I hold all politicians equally responsible for the state of the nation, every last one of them going back to Reagan in 1987 and his veto of Congress’ attempt to codify the FCC Fairness Doctrine, leading to a decade later Clinton signing the 1996 Telecommunications Act. Between these two, this nation went from fifty (50) media corporations with a requirement to cover equally both sides of issues, e.g. give equal time, to what we have today:

This is not to say that all Politician’s are terrible people, though it is hard to find one that I would leave alone in my home for 5 minutes without counting the silver when I returned. At every level, we are met with divisive language from those who would lead a nation. At every level, we are introduced to new reasons to fear that which might be different or new, by those charted to bring us together in peace. Words and language that even four years ago was considered unfit for public use, now is not only accepted but demanded of those who would be President and even those who lead from the pulpits. Hypocrisy runs rampant through the halls of our nation’s capital, followed closely by obstruction, obfuscation, bribery, intimidation and a host of other criminal activities all of which it seems today we must accept as normal, even cheer on as if the offices of our elected officials are nothing more than running reality shows put on for our amusement.

What are we come to?

Can it be we are on the precipice of a new order? One that will see a nation divided by more than any of the obvious lines of demarcation for us to seek correction for through finding common ground and fighting a shrinking minority; those of race, gender, sexual orientation and even the economics of poverty. Could we be looking over the abyss into a choice of moving forward into a future that includes social, technological and human advancement or instead reverting to a past that includes abysmal poverty for many, racial and gender oppression and a nation defined by its religious zealotry, superstition and ignorance? Have we stepped off the edge already and are even now falling from the heights of our once dreamed greatness into second or even third-nation status? Is this the future our children will be left with? Have we stepped aside and allowed a minority of our populace define our future?

Those of us who have fought the false lines of demarcation our entire adult lives, we see clearly this ugly strain of hate marking the nation and we recognize it as something old and ugly raising up to devour us. But we see these markers indelibly inscribing themselves across not just the expected party and population but within our own as well. Suddenly, many of see our own loyalty to justice, to fairness, to breaking the walls that separate us questioned because we don’t agree with radicalism. We are subject to purity tests, we are rejected by those we once had common ground because we might be two old, to white and privileged or to something else, including to centrist not Left enough. We have gone from a nation that values inclusion to one that seeks exclusion even at the lowest level, within our communities.

If we continue on this precarious path soon we will be a nation without empathy or compassion from any side of the aisle. A nation led by sociopaths using the tools of fear and hate as a means of controlling an already downtrodden citizenry. The lessons of history will be lost in the morass of tangled lies, religious and political chicanery and corporate manipulation of our political systems for personal gain. Already we have seen much of this in the past three years. We have watched an entire political party bow under the weight of a lunatic, give way to fear of a minority voting block and the rhetoric of a media storms of constant hate towards groups of people, American Citizens or not who pose a threat to their comfort and hold on power. Make no mistake though, the other side fed this hate on a daily basis by never accepting the outcome of an election, by their constant and unrelenting refusal to accept a loss.

But what is to be done? Abraham Lincoln didn’t come to his famous speech without inspiration; in fact, his inspiration was taken directly from Biblical thought.

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom, divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand?” Matthew 12:25-26, Holy Bible New International

The only question that remains, are we a people that can set aside ideology and parties long enough to pick what is right and save our nation? Or are we going to allow, once again the media to select our candidate to do battle against what will only bring our nation to its knees.

Anything More or Less

I have pondered this question for weeks. Watching the public forums and media for soapboxpilecracks. I have asked questions of friends and foes alike. I have broken my determination not to enter into the ugly on-line battles this year simply to see for myself if there are further erosion in our ability to communicate, compromise and more importantly, treat each other with some modicum of dignity and respect.

While not surprised by what I found, I was nonetheless terribly disappointed.

Even those people who I thought might be somewhat sane, somewhat reasonable could not find it in themselves to think for two minutes of a single thing they could compromise with the other side on. Not one single solitary thing.

Here was one of the questions I randomly posed:

This is a test:

Okay all my friends Right, Left and somewhere in the middle. Name one thing you can meet in the middle on. Just one thing you can extend your hand to the other side on, just one where you can say…”I don’t hate that, I can live with it; or forfend I don’t disagree”. Just one.

Now of those that actually answered, they first identified where they stood on the political spectrum; Right, Left, Middle. Then, without hesitation they proceeded to identify their own pet issue. Not an issue from the other side they would consider the possibility of compromise being reached, not something there could be discussion on. Nope, instead they threw out there the issue they wanted the other side to come to the table on. Stunning really. I should say, one of my Right leaning friends followed the question, actually put on the table something he was willing to discuss, willing to compromise on. One, out of many.

I wasn’t surprised, I was dismayed.058a84ba7d1093b3672befaf9b66ca28

Was the question unclear? I didn’t think so. I read it again, no the question was clear as could be. The problem is, the chasm is wider today than it was even six years ago. We are further apart and our willingness to listen, to reason, to consider alternatives and ultimately to reach compromises that are good for the nation, good for the greatest number of Americans not just our own tribe, our own self-interest is further diminished.

It is disheartening.

We are tearing ourselves and each other apart. We are being torn apart. We are allowing ourselves to be divided further. We have coalesced around special interests and forgotten we are first Americans, first One Nation. For all our problems, for all our terribles and yes, we have many to account for we are one people, one Nation. There is no one of reasonably sound mind who does not recognize the need to make real and fundamental changes. There is not a single person with a reasonable sense of history who does not understand there is much to be accounted for in our current social structure built upon the wrongs of the past. There is not a single person today, with a modicum of emotional intelligence who doesn’t understand we have a history that is fraught with baggage. The real issue for many though, is how to unpack that baggage and create a more perfect union, a more equitable and balanced society for our future.

What do you do? What can you do? Where do you even start? The worst part of this is whatwehearyou cannot take reasonable stands, it is impossible to say no. If you do you are labeled by one side or the other, this is the age of immediate offensive. No matter the issue, no matter the stance someone will take offense and there will be outrage somewhere and it will explode. We seem incapable of listening to anyone make a statement or ask a question without taking offense these days. We seem incapable of demanding others think as we do, speak as we command and ultimately march in line with us.

This is the age of immediate outrage, we no longer seem to have the capacity or an interest in civil and reasoned debate.

The problem with this? We do not all think alike, we do not all see the world in the same way and certainly we do not all experience the world similarly. Perhaps we have empathy, compassion for others but with the way we are speaking to each other, we are killing both. With the way we are defining our tribes today, we are further dividing ourselves and further minimizing our ability to build bridges toward a collective future that benefits us all.

I watch and listen, constantly. I must admit I fear for us as a nation and a people, I fear for our democracy. As each group rises up demanding their own slice from an empty pie dish, I fear for us all. As each small political voice gains their place at the podium and is pandered too for their votes, I fear for us. As the middle becomes an echo chamber and the fringe becomes the common voice I fear for us. I fear because the voice of reason seems to be disappearing from our national debate and the cults seem to be rising up around those would be leaders of our nation who have no ability or room for compromise in their range, who stand against everything this nation has stood for and call it ‘right’.

We are becoming more rigorous in our demand that others follow the dictates of new rules, new standards of behavior, new definitions of ‘right’ thinking. Never questioning who created or agreed to these new rules. Both sides have built walls with no room for the centrist, only for the fundamentalist, for the extremist leaving the majority of Americans without standard bearers, without political homes and without a voice in this new and frightening world of changing norms.

I am sad as I watch this nation torn down and torn apart. I am sad as I watch hate rise up and take its place center stage. I am sad as watch our progress be ripped away and in its place a denial to need. I am sad as I watch us repeat history because we failed to learn history. Mostly, I am sad because in place of coming together, we are tearing each other apart, we are pointing fingers and laying blame.

There is a piece of me that continues to hope, continues to wear my rose colored glasses and think we will come together, fix this mess and find our soul. I only know we have to first remember who we are, as a people and stop being so damned ridged and inflexible. We have to start listening, reaching across to others and bringing them in to our circle even if they don’t look like, sound like, or entirely think like us.

The Truth About Primates

The Democrats are all in, or should I say the party is floating their balloons seeing how many will stay in the air. There are women, men, old and young. There are Black, Soapbox LogoHispanic, White, Gay and Straight. There are some from the House some from the Senate, there are Mayors, Governors and those with zero public service experience. So far, there are twenty-one people who have thrown their hats in the ring, I am betting before the end of June there will be at least three more making it an even bakers dozen. I find it fascinating, there is very nearly a rock concert excitement leading up to the first debates, which are June 26 and 27, 2019.

In the meantime, the House pursues an agenda of who can out crazy the crazy (i.e. the Republican pursuit of all things Obama and Clinton under the sun without a single result except conspiracy theory and innuendo). Knowing they will get nowhere with their demands they make public displays of ‘doing their job’ of policing the criminal enterprise led by the current President and his band of corrupt and easily corruptible merrymakers. I am uncertain which is worse, the constant barrage of lies and terror tactics by the Administration or the inane competitiveness of the House with their investigations to nowhere. We all know these are investigations to nowhere because the President and his band of sycophants are only trying to run the clock out, hoping like hell his base will be enough to carry him into another four years. Depending on who the Democratic nominee is, it just might be given the mood of the nation at the end of eighteen months of bickering, dog fighting and one-upmanship.

Something to consider when as we view the field, most of us do not use our heads when we vote we use our emotions, our hearts. Most of us, when it comes right down to it are not logical thinkers, we are primates, we are Cro-Magnon. Most of us are truly not using our brains when we go to the polls to mark our ballots, indeed we are reacting with our85254449 basic instincts and this is why we have Donald Trump today and why we may have Donald Trump for another term, don’t hate me for saying what is the truth of this nation today. Hate what we have become. Hate that Donald Trump found the secret sauce. Hate the GOP elected officials for lining up behind him and protecting him. But do not hate me for pointing out the obvious; we do not use our heads, we do not use our logic, we do not use our power.

For just a minute, before you go away mad please consider the following:

Statistics Donald Trump Joe Biden Bernie Sanders Average American
Political Affiliation GOP DNC Dem. Socialist 50% Lean DNC
Age 73 76 77 38.1
Race White White White White
Gender Male Male Male Women
Net Worth $2.8B $900,000 $2,000,000 $224,000

In age bracket

Marital Status 3X 2X 2X 2X
  Divorced 2X Widowed 1X Divorced 1X *
Children 5 4 4 1.9**
Military Service No No No 7.3%

* 10.4% of 38 year old people have been married two times and 20.8% of 75 year old people have been married two times. Most recent available statistics.

** Average number of children per family today is 1.9

There is more, much more regarding the issue of how the three main candidates for president in 2020 stack up to the nation at large. But first, do you know what a generation is and which you fall into? It is important information, because social generations or ‘cohorts’ are far different than archaeological generations and depending on how we view this phenomenon our cohorts are either shortening or lengthening. Since we truly begin measuring Social Generations, these are the cohorts and their oldest member:

Cohort Name Birth Years Cycle Oldest Member Youngest Member
Lost Generation 1803-1900 17 Deceased
Greatest Generation 1901-1927 26 Deceased 92
Silent Generation 1925-1942 17 94 77
Baby Boomers 1946-1964 18 73 55
Generation X 1961-1981 20 58 38
Millennial 1980-2000 20 39 19
Generation Z 2001-   18 -1

With this information in mind, we have as our top contenders for the next POTUS two (2) members of the Silent Generation and one member at the high-end of the Baby Boomers. elderly-gangWe look at these men and think yeah, they look like us and without thinking we say YES.  Yes, despite they have nothing in common with us, despite they don’t represent our best interest, despite they should have long ago retired to a park bench; we pull that lever and say YES. Time and again we say yes, because we are primates rather than logical thinking beings.

We have all the evidence we need to say no. We have all the evidence and the power we need to make real change. We have a Constitution that enumerates the Powers of each branch of our government in finite detail, yet most of us would rather watch talking heads on our favorite television shows lie to us about those powers and then repeat those lies as if they were gospel. We fail, time and again to hold our employees accountable and responsible for doing their jobs, instead rewarding them for their failure by sending them back to do more damage, yes every single member of Congress (House and Senate) are our employees, Hell every single member of Government is our employee.TImeClock

We are primates, ruled by emotions, ruled by fear. We have allowed fear to destabilize our nation. We have allowed fear to turn us against friends and family. We have allowed fear to place us in harms way, turn us ugly and turn back the clock decades. We have allowed fear to seep into every single crevice of our lives, where now innocent conversation can become full blown battles for primacy in a matter of seconds. We have failed as a nation and a people to stand up to violence, to dog whistles, to constant barrages of lies. We have failed to demand better and now, with this next election around the corner we are being driven over an edge we may not recover from.

I am not going to apologize for my disdain of offering up three old White Guys as the best we have to offer this nation in the way of potential Presidents, I believe we can do better. I am also not going to apologize for my issues with the ignorance of those whose only offering is ‘FREE’ stuff as if this will solve the problems of this nation, have they looked at the out of control debt? I want real policies, real solutions for today’s problems and it is not ‘Free’ stuff, it is how to lift us all up to succeed. I want the candidates to address the issues of today with thoughtful answers, not Socialism wrapped in ribbons, sorry boys and girls I am an American fully invested in the Free Market and Capitalism, so correct the current problems with our Markets. I want all of us to get a grip on the issues, grow the Hell up and start using the brains we have, demand real answers because the truth is, we are not Primates we only act like it and that is why Donald Trump is President today and will be elected again if we don’t pay attention.

Here We Are

soapboxpileI have been reminded lately that perhaps I am too old to have a legitimate opinion regarding the state of our nation. Well, I am fine with this perspective coming from young people. I once held the same opinion regarding my own parents, grandparents, teachers and anyone over the age of thirty (30). Then, as I approached the age of thirty (30) I realized I was very wrong headed, at that age I was still very naive about the world, about so many things despite my place in it and my life up to that point. So now at the ripe old age of 61.5, I am perfectly fine if some young thing wants to tell me I don’t know shit, it is all good. The funny thing about this assessment of my knowledge and experience is this (Y=Yes, N=No, M=Maybe):

Experience Me Them
Been hungry and homeless Y N
Put myself through school twice Y N
Supported myself for forty-seven years Y N
Raised Children Y N
Fostered abused children Y N
Been gainfully employed Y M
Been unemployed with no fall back Y M
Been broke and couldn’t pay my bills Y M
Made money and lost it Y N
Been discriminated against due to my (Gender, Race, Orientation) Y M
Voted in eleven Presidential elections Y N
Traveled the world Y N
Lived without instant gratification and social media Y N
Lived outside of the country Y M
Survived violence Y M
Volunteered my time to social causes Y M
Read books about the world Y M
Talked to people who are not like me Y N
Remember Vietnam Y N
Remember 9/11 Y M
Had living relatives who were victims of the Holocaust Y N
Was alive when miscegenation was still illegal in the United States Y N

I could actually go on and on with the list above. It is simply a way of showing how our experience matters. How the visceral parts of our brains absorb the world around us, what we see, hear and do becomes a part of who we are and how we interact with the world and those that inhabit it. Without experience, we tend to ignore its very real value and think only terms of self. Without experience we focus on our own narrow views, wants and desires, disregarding the rest of the world and what the rest of humanity might know and need. Thus, by the reasoning of the young those who reach the age of +50, do not have a legitimate right to a say in the political state, the world is moving on without them.

Now we do have some young firebrands today and they have some hefty ideas about where the nation should be going. Setting at their head is an old dog, leading with his brand of Social Democracy and his own ideas of what is going to lead this nation to ‘prosperity’ and a new better living for all. The problem with all these ‘new’ ideas is they are unsupportable in a nation of three hundred and twenty-seven million (327,200,000) with a current National Debt of $22,246,547,690,900 ($22 Trillion) and rising every minute (US Debt Clock). These young ones, with their ideas of what is ‘right’ and what is ‘good’ have zero sense of history and apparently zero understanding of the real economy. I don’t doubt their sincerity, only their ability to process information in a meaningful way that makes sense to and for all of us. Lets just take two of their favorites, Health Care and Climate.

Here is my first problem with the direction of these young and old firebrands:

  • What works in Sweden (Population 10.2 million) will not necessarily work here.
  • What works in Canada (Population 37.3 million) will not necessarily work here, though with their public / private solution it is a better option.

Why? There is an enormous difference in the size of our populations. Nevermind, the difference in the make-up of our citizens. Pick any of the other nations these young ones compare us to, the same will apply. The only countries with larger populations than ours, India and China face similar challenges to ours, how to provide accessible medical care to their massive populations without incurring even more debt. Each time someone says to me Healthcare is a right, I agree with the caveat; how do you intend to pay for this right? I only want to know the answer to this question, I want to know that this has been thoroughly considered.

Now let’s take on the issue of Climate, those of us who have been on this earth for more than a couple of short decades might remember the rivers burning, the beaches as unusable and more than a few truly catastrophic oil spills. Some of us might remember the creation of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) by President Richard Nixon in December 1970 by Executive Order. These young firebrands might not know our

oilslicksurroundsthestatueoflibertyinnewyorkharborfromthesitesexhibitionforotherimagesinthis-nara-553862

New York Oil Slick, 1969

generation passed the Clean Water Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act and amended the Solid Waste Disposal Act. All of this and more was part of a much bigger push to make this nation safer and more environmentally aware. We were not unaware; we did not ignore the warning signs or the science even back then. It is only in recent years we have gone backwards in our acceptance of science in favor of dollars.

So yes, my old and unaware self might not know ‘shit’, but I know history and have a fair bit of experience and knowledge under my belt after all these many years. I know we have a true crisis on our hands with a President unfit to serve and a GOP enabling his every whim and lunacy. We have a Democratic Party who helped put him there once, not just at the polls but inside the black-and-white-trumpparty. I know if Democrats don’t stop with their purity tests, their inability to come together on key policy issues that fit the majority and the middle we will put this lunatic into the White House for another four years and if that happens this nation will be perhaps irretrievably lost. I know the firebrands are fun to watch, even have some interesting ideas but they are not the whole fabric rather they are the sparkly fringe around the edge and we need to calm them down and stop giving them so much of the attention they crave.

What else do I know? I know we currently have twenty (20) candidates running for the Democratic Nomination for President of the United States. Do you know who they are all are? What their platforms are? What differentiates them from each other? What qualifies them or for that matter disqualifies them? I know some people are already picking the horses they want to ride to the White House and tearing down the rest, not me. I want to hear them all in debates. I want to know who they are and listen to them talk about the issues. I want to investigate them. I don’t want to hear about their transgressions of thirty years ago, I do believe as humans we evolve. God knows I wouldn’t want anyone digging up my dirt from my thirties or worse, my twenties.

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY FIVETHIRTYEIGHT / GETTY IMAGES

The candidates – do you know their names

I know there a couple of the candidates I can drop from consideration without pause. They are entirely unqualified for the office and I have zero understanding of why they would throw their names in the ring except for personal ego.

Unlike 2016 I do not want the media picking my candidate and I don’t want super delegates telling me who the candidate is before I have an opportunity to cast my vote. Let me choose the one I believe has the best solutions, the best policies, the best opportunity to beat Donald Trump. I might not know shit but there is one thing I do know, we will not beat this President at the polls with purity tests and idiotic unsupported ‘ideals’ that appeal to a small but loud number of the electorate. If we don’t dv1954038get those who left the tent in 2016 to come home we are lost as a nation and we may never be found again.  So to all of us, we need to get a grip. We need to make certain we don’t toss out the old folks or the new ones. We need to make certain we grab the middle hard, we need to stop playing games with Race, Gender and all the other special cards we sometimes pander to. Let’s play hard and let’s play for keeps. This is our one and only chance to win the heart and soul of the real America, the one that counts, the one that includes every last one of us.

Hush

Quiet, slip inside the morning

Gently slide into the breaking dawn

Reaching for the newness of it

The sun sneaks through cracks

Warming cool skin on exposed limbs

Fans whirl above moving curtains

Shadows dance across the walls

Beckoning come join the day, play

The sun chases the moon

Dreams fade from memory

Just one more minute, one more

That dream wasn’t quite done

It was almost there in a minute

The day is here wake now

Hush, dreams can be chased later

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28-April-2019

Holy Hell and Despots

I read somewhere recently that hungry hearts willingly eat lies, or something to that effect. This simple statement stuck with me and I wondered how many different situations it might apply too.

Certainly in our personal relationships. All of us at one time or another have fooled ourselves or allowed ourselves to be fooled because of our own need for love, safety and security. Maybe we simply allowed our hungry heart to override our intellect diving into the shallow end head first even knowing it was ultimately going to hurt. We eat the lies fed to us, the lies we need to hear for our hearts survival.

Now I come to the real crux of my meandering thoughts on why this simple statement has stuck with me. The real question I have been asking for days, weeks, months even; can entire groups of people become ‘hungry’ and swallow lies? Swallow them whole and without question, without challenge. Is this how cults are born? Is this how the souls of nations are lost? Is this how despots are lifted up as saviors while heroes are cast down and spat on, kicked in the head and sullied for their contributions and sacrifices.

If this is true, what has caused this starvation at the heart of our nation? Truly, I ask this in all sincerity. What is the worm that has eaten away at our national pride? What has turned us from the beacon of hope and the shinning city to the era of Governing by Tweeter proclamation, personal animosity and Reality Show Carnage.

If this is how it happens, this hunger that will eat any lie no matter how outrageous, no matter how contrary to previous norms, ethics and values I fear for us all. I think of the cult following of Jim Jones that resulted in 918 people who willingly murdered their own children, loved ones and selves  while shouting Hallelujah. I compare them to all the many once respectable Republicans of Washington who willingly heap praise on the singularly most ignorant President in our history and his quest to ‘Make America Great Again’.

I consider friends, family and others who I know well and who willingly turn a blind eye to the corruption of this administration. I wonder what would cause them to do this, why would they support this tyrant despite all the evidence of who and what he is. None in my circle are racists, none are bigots, none have ever abused a child or a woman; these people love America just like I love America. Once upon a time they were true Conservatives, now I don’t recognize them or their politics. Now when we talk, the discourse turns ugly. Now when we disagree the rally cry is “I am for Trump” and “you can leave if you don’t like it”. Now when we talk, forbid there is anything at all that challenges this President’s competency, decisions, or his leadership on any scale, immediately the gloves come off and the name calling begins. This, from friends and family.

Civility has left the building. The shining city on the hill has turned the lights off and closed door. France has asked for the Statue back and Canada has  kidnapped the Bald Eagle to protect it from us.

We are not the laughing stock of the world, we are something far worse. We are a source of fear and anxiety. This president has aggressively pursued a systematic destruction of long-held alliances. He has insulted heads of states without consideration to how his personal perverse piss-off of the day affects world-wide relationships. We have, thanks to this president entered an era of isolationism and exited the world stage right leaving it in the hands of those who will run with it, economically and politically leaving us poor and strangled on our own miasma and a willful failure to engage. What does the world think of us?

We lose, if we don’t demand the two arms of government intended to provide checks and balance on the Administrative arm begin exercising their authority rather than cowering in fear, we lose. The GOP has shown they are willing to kowtow to the pressure of the Trump Cult rather than speak out, to stand up. They have shown they are afraid of the Cult of Trump, the ‘base’ of ginned up terrified White folk. Because of this fear we will lose this nation and our position in the world for generations to come.

Civility is gone. Common decency is gone. Alliances are going, maybe forever. Now, SCOTUS will be gone, by two seats and possibly by two more before the end of Trumps first term. While we look for the President to represent what is best in us on the world stage, this president is everything that is and has ever been what is the worst in us, he is the incarnation of our worst angels.

Donald J. Trump is the personification of 246 years of slavery

Donald J. Trump is the personification of 100 years of Jim Crow

Donald J. Trump is the personification of the Immigration Quota Act of 1924 establishing quotas based on national origin and limiting numbers specifically from Asian nations

Donald J. Trump is the personification of the turning away of Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany as a ‘danger’ to the security of the US, 1939 St Louis is the most prominent case

Donald J. Trump is the personification of the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans beginning in 1946

This is just the short list. Donald J. Trump has a desire to ‘Make America Great Again’, what this means to him is an unknown but based on his history all of us can guess, can’t we? Worst than his daily horror show though, is his cult following, all too willing to repeat and even act on his lies.

Hungry hearts eat lies. A nation ate the lies of a con man and in so doing sent us down a slippery slope with an despotic leader at the helm and no one willing to hold him accountable. Donald J. Trump is the accumulation of all our worst inclinations, our worst actions and worst moments in history. He is the very personification of all that has ever been horrifying in our past embodied in a single person and he has a cult following willing to resurrect those times to ‘Make America Great Again’.

28-June-2018

The Wilderness

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

Abraham Lincoln

Soapbox LogoI find myself sitting, sometimes for hours, with nothing in my heart but despair for a nation and a people that seems to have lost all semblances of good, all impression of humanity and all appearance of what was at one time something to polish and throw across our shoulders like a mantle of hallelujah and can’t touch this. We are too frequently a sorry lot these days, pathetic because if you are old enough to know better, old enough to remember real heroes, you know today we fall far short too often we are not anywhere near what we once were. This is not wishful thinking or a desire for a past that was not all that grand for many of us; it is a desire for what was good about our people and our nation a wish for our better angels to rescue us.

Led by fools wrapped in false patriotism and draping themselves in more and more elaborate regalia of power, hanging their sense of victimization on the cross of rotting hypocrisy with the Prosperity Gospel as their guiding principal of pretentious faith, we lap up the Reality Soap Opera our government has become. We hang on the Tweets, flip channels seeking the most salacious version of the latest utterings and engage in on-going debates of what, why and who which grow increasingly heated even breaking families and decades old friendships against the debacle of the current political maelstrom. In the process we play into the hand of those who spent years and worked hard to dumb down a nation, distracting us from the real issues to focus on a clueless, classless buffoon with a big button, three baby mama’s and a lifetime in the tabloids. Trailing behind him tails dragging and equally indefensible are his mind-numbing minions digging in to do his will as we watch in dismay the nation brought low by their treacherous acts.

There is no calamity which a great nation can invite which equals that which follows a supine submission to wrong and injustice and the consequent loss of national self-respect and honor, beneath which are shielded and defended a people’s safety and greatness.

Eldridge Cleaver

I am stunned. Where once stood heroes now the stage is filled with an assembly of

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GOP with 45 celebrate Tax Bill

Fiends and Brutes, all jockeying for the front row wanting to take credit, be the first to claim the honor of destroying what is good and sane about us, replacing it with cruelty, banality and sometimes even evil. Where once stood heroes we are left with these slavish servants of duplicity and ignorance spewing their toxic venom on friend and foe alike.

Yet here we find ourselves today, in this once great nation led by cowards and calling those who are tasked with keeping us safe, who place themselves at risk to do so, those who swear oaths to uphold the laws of this land “Nazi’s”, “Jackbooted Gestapo”, “Stormtroopers”; was there anything else? I am certain I missed something, nevermind that should suffice. Looking out on the nation turned upside down and on its head, smiling as the real new generation Nazis march down our city streets waving swastikas and shouting slogans snatched directly from a history seeped in the blood of our grandparents and the horror of mass graves and genocide. These modern day radical nationalist can do nothing but nod their empty heads as they proclaim there are fine people in those mobs.

This President with every act makes us less than what we once were. I am stunned at the level of corruption we are sunk to. This nation cheers as this president tears up every treaty, destroys every alliance, gleefully pisses on every norms. What once saw a nation torn apart to its roots is now the forth column on the fifth page of the weekly paper as a cartoon.

What will ultimately demand our attention? Finally force us to take stock at what we have done to ourselves with this self-inflicted act of ignorance. What will finally break s836329897140350377_p90_i2_w288the cloak of silence around our better angels, cause them to unfurl their wings and unsheathe their swords to fight for what remains of the good in us and this nation.  Will we truly simply allow this side show to play out, praying the Democrats find their missing backbone and at a minimum perform their duties and stop this administration and their fellows in Congress from the worst of their actions? Or will we instead continue to submit to what is the very worst in what this nation and its people and have been.

I personally pray this is not the only solution we have. At this rate we are in for another six years of this Horror Show, by then it will truly be too late to save us.

If We Were Having Coffee-Dang

imagesIf we were having coffee I might spike my own but politely ask if you would like me to spike yours. I am good like that. It has been one hell of a summer, I mean that on many levels. I am listening to music people have sent to me as we sip our spiked coffee and chat.

First, how have you been during my absence? Talk to me! I am certain there is much to catch up with in your life, I have been terribly remiss failing to read your words, talk to you and keep up. I have watched all of you, truly I have just failed to acknowledge your outpouring of thoughts on life and the world. For this I can only offer, I will try to do better and ask you to talk to me, before I ramble off into my own little world of chaos.

Before we get started, can I top you off? Well then, let me pour some more into both of our cups. I am tempted to switch to a nice tall Bloody Mary, I think we might both need one.

Last Monday was my fifty-ninth birthday. Yes, I am embarking on my sixtieth year on this earth. Most days I don’t feel that old. Truthfully, I can remember when I believed sixty was ancient, one foot in the grave and ready for the retirement home. Sixty years on earth? Good grief, my mother use to tell me if I kept it up I wouldn’t see past thirty. Do you think I lived this long to spite her?

If we were having coffee I would tell you what frightens me is the two candidates for President are not much older than me and I wonder if they should be running for President, I wonder if they aren’t too old for the office. Should we be demanding new standards for this critical office and all our other government officials, standards that include term limits, mandatory retirement ages and top ages at which a candidate can run for office. Am I being ageist? Yes, perhaps I am; nevertheless, when the Constitution was written Life Expectancy was significantly lower, as in thirty-six, living to the age of seventy and beyond was almost inconceivable, though a few did. I would like to call attention to the ages of those we call our Founding Fathers (and Mothers) who conceived of and fought for our liberty.

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Well, I will tell you no matter who wins in November I am not leaving the country. I love America, I may hate the politics and the politicians. I may hate the state of the nation, our horrifying injustice and our failure to thrive across so many measurements. But truly, I love the dream that is America and believe in my heart we have the ability to do better. Our utter failure to even present acceptable candidates from which to choose is only one measurement of our failure, there are so many others; Donald and Hilary are simply the face of the lethargy and fear we feel right now.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am finally working to complete the move into my new home. It has been challenging. Maybe I needed it to be challenging so I didn’t settle on ‘good enough’ but instead worked on the details, looked at the small things that would please me over time and spent my budget wisely, ensuring each expenditure was specific and exactly what I wanted. Every time I unlock the front door, I struggle with what is still needed before I will be happy, yet I sigh with relief knowing it is mine and an empty palate waiting my touch.

To say very little has gone right would be a vast understatement. This entire process has introduced me to a new level of patience, a new level of please just stop dancing on my last nerve, a brand new level of I will not kill a human being today. Yes, this move has taught me a great deal about myself, my desire for privacy, perfection, my own way and ultimately my willingness to bend where needed to achieve my goals.

When I started this hunt for new digs, I wanted a woman cave that encompassed an entire home with every room an extension of who I am. This was the first home I have purchased where there were no children, no husband nobody but me to consider in decorating, I wanted what I wanted; it was an act of pure selfishness an act of self-love. I perused real estate websites endlessly, I watched home improvement and remodeling shows for hours. With each marathon, I had a list of ‘love notes’ of things I wanted, things I loved. Additionally, I knew where I wanted to live; what city in the Metroplex even what zip code.

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If we were having coffee I would tell you all those plans went to hell the minute I walked into the house I bought. It was a 1976 rambler that someone had partly flipped, badly. The Professional Inspector, well let’s say he should have his license examined he missed so many obvious things that are now costing me before I can even start on the fun stuff. Even as I work through problems, contractors are running away, or seeing a woman and giving me bad pricing. Things are going slow or at least not as planned. I thought I would have all my projects done before I moved in; that didn’t happen. Now, I am moving in two stages. This one is hard, but it will get done hell or high water. I had great help yesterday to empty a 10X20 storage unit out, now everything is stacked floor to ceiling in the back of the house as we couldn’t put anything on my newly finished stained concrete floors. I am still in my apartment till next week, I will have to figure out how to move my apartment at that time. Packing throughout the week then moving over the weekend, of course how to get that done without movers will be a different challenge. Budgets are now starting to get challenged!

This week I will be meeting with a new set of contractors, maybe I will finally find some who will paint and stuff. Wish me luck.

I you ready to put your feet up? I surely will be by the end of this coming Sunday. Wish me luck.

CoffeeShare2 

If we were having coffee

 

 

Really America, WTF

Soapbox LogoI simply can’t imagine how we got to this place in time. I know, I have watched it all and often railed against it all; yet still I simply am unable to wrap my head or heart around why we are here, at this place as a nation, as a people. My only real and heartfelt reaction to it all is, REALLY JUST WHAT THE FUCK.

I am struggling to make sense of it all. Trying to understand the definitions and terminology. What we say and believe and just how quickly we erase history so we can pretend something new is the only thing that is true. My heart weeps for Orlando. There are no words to express the tragic and terrible of what has happened, for those gone and for those left behind who must now pick up the pieces of and move forward.

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CNN: Mourners at one of many makeshift memorials in Orlando

The human lives lost, the human lives changed forever these are what our focus should be. It didn’t take long though for our focus to change to labels and politics. It wasn’t but mere minutes before we discovered and begin to shift through the blood and anguish, searching for the agenda to latch onto; depending on our own deep-seated and personal design. Never mind, the humanity and need of those in the center of this terrible tragedy, those ‘who knew best’ saw the opportunity and like leeches they attached and attacked.

There are those who see this as an opportunity to raise the flag on gun control. Well yes, there is a need to have this discussion. Most reasonable, thinking people agree. But did you need to flood social media and my inbox with reminders within 3 hours, before bodies were removed from the streets? Before loved ones were informed of their loss? I am on your side, truly I am but I would prefer if you would show some empathy and compassion. I would also prefer it if you would stop using the same tactics as the opposition, stop using fear. Get your facts straight, start calling things what they are rather than what suits your agenda, stop using hyperbole, please. Don’t misinform, inform.

imagesThen there are those who want to raise the flag of Islamophobia (Donald). This really is a red herring and thinking people know it is. We know there is an element of violent and radical Muslims in the world, just as with any religion there is an extreme element and they commit terrible acts. We see their horror stories and hear their latest atrocities screamed at us, constantly. We need only turn on our television to hear about their latest acts of violence against those of their own faith (their primary victims) or be reminded how they hate us by the talking heads of the Right. We need only listen long enough to hear commentators tell us how they are representative of the entire Islamic faith, all 1.6 billion of them. In our minds, we know this is a lie. We know, yet we are afraid because we listen and we can’t help ourselves.

The reality is each and every single time another tragedy happens we look for a reason, beyond the obvious. Another asshole, another disenfranchised, miserable human being murdered innocent people. Maybe they were Christian (Dylan Roof, Timothy McVeigh) Extremist who wanted to strike a blow for their religion or race or gender or maybe all three or any combination. Maybe they were Radicalized Muslims (Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook) who wanted to show their loyalty to their religious ideology. It doesn’t really matter, does it? Terrorism is exactly what it is, no matter where it comes from. We shouldn’t apply a different standard when it is committed by Christians versus Muslims, it is one and the same thing ultimately; it is a violent act against Americans, against America. It is a tragedy costing life and freedom.

 

What I know is the person who shot up Pulse was sick, a lost soul and we as a nation shouldn’t focus on him, shouldn’t give him status in our dialog. He wasn’t a terrorist rather he was a single human being, he hated himself and sought to murder what he hated most in himself. He attacked those he feared and hated; murdering what he hated. He claimed allegiance to a terrorist group in his final hours, he self-radicalized over the months prior to his terrible and tragic act, yet in truth by all the accounts of those who knew him he wasn’t religious. He was, simply self-hating, racist, closeted and lost. He struck out and destroyed lives in his self-hatred. Remember though, he wasn’t an immigrant, he was an American he was one of us.

What I know, there are forty-nine innocent Americans dead. There are fifty-three innocent Americans wounded. There are one hundred and three families who will have to figure out how to put their lives back together, how to get up out of bed every day, make it through the day and live with the horror of lost lives, lost loved ones, lost futures and what ifs.

I weep for Orlando. One more community that must pick up the pieces. I weep for America, once again we must look at ourselves and it seems we will turn our backs on what is so obvious. Our refusal to fix what is so terribly broken. The great divide and our failure to act, to stem the tide of hate and fear and the violence it invokes.

We must ask ourselves, are we one people or many small communities?

Do we come together, working for common cause and finding compromise or do we continue to dig the trench wider and deeper?

Are we Americans or do we continue to place the hyphen in front to create the definition of who we are, separate and apart from each other; always. Do we stand up together and build one America for all of us, no matter our differences. Do we search for ways to come together or do we finally fail as a nation. Do we allow the hate-mongers, the monsters to win, to finally draw the lines of segregation back into place, build the walls so high we never see over them again or do we stand up, as a single people in solidarity and say no more, never again and stop what is causing us to fail.

I weep for America, I weep us all.

 

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