How Moderates are Killing America

. . .and the world

First, I spent most of my life as a moderate. That said, this country can no longer afford moderates, any more than it can conservatives. The problem with moderates—and again, I was one—is that they vacillate. They are incapable of forceful, decisive action, because they are always too ready to “see the other guy’s side.” We find ourselves in a world dying first from those who hate, covet, and destroy, and second from the strength afforded them by moderates who just want to see every side without making anybody uncomfortable. Moderation is fine if we’re talking about ice cream. I like chocolate, you like strawberry, no problem. Your teams are the Braves and the Rams, mine are the Cardinals and the Chiefs, we’re cool. But when we get to things like discriminating against people, denying their basic human and civil rights because “your” religion says it’s okay, we have a problem. Moderation is unacceptable. If “your” philosophy is based on “your” supremacy because of the color of your skin, moderation is out of the question. When 1%, or 3% of the country skates along on obscene wealth created for them by 97% of the country doing the real work while being denied a living wage in return, Moderation becomes obscene. The problem with ‘moderates’ is that they want to keep everybody happy and avoid conflict, and in the process tacitly approve and accept the worst abuses of the society, including the destruction of the very air we breathe, water we drink, land that supports us, and animal life we drive to extinction, through their unwillingness to address the issues in any meaningful way. They embolden the worst humans among us, their abuses and destructiveness, by simply keeping their mouth closed. “Unity” is a myth, unless the stakeholders—as in all of the people—are served, protected, and respected. “Unity” is the cry of the abusers, far too often and too consistently heralded by moderates, who mistakenly see “peace” and “unity” as the same thing. We now find ourselves in a near apocalyptic state environmentally, socially, and economically, largely because of decades of moderates siding with the destroyers and greedy by preaching “unity,” when what they really mean is “let’s just not have any trouble, ok?” Moderates will not serve or save the environment. Moderates will not stop the rise of white supremacy neo-Nazism. Moderates will not ensure the rights of all Americans in the face of “religious” bigotry and racism. Moderates will achieve none of these things because they do not have the strength. They don’t have the stomach for the fights we absolutely must now win. They are unable to face the reality of the fight that must be made, and so they preach peace, let’s not have any trouble here. And to them, that is unity. Their unity is acquiescence to the likes of Trump, McConnell, the 1%, the KKK and neo-Nazis, the insanity of the evangelical church, the greedy polluters who count their money while the world strangles. Moderates are the Neville Chamberlains of today. They see themselves as deal makers, the crafters of reasonable compromise. Check your history. “Reasonable compromise” has always been a sliding step into retreat. We can’t afford them. I’ll vote for Joe Biden, simply because absolutely anybody would be better than Trump. Biden at least doesn’t want to be King. But Joe’s “moderateness” is in reality more angled toward the right wing. He is not a centrist. He ideologically incapable of taking sufficient steps to save us from any of the nation-destroying forces we’re facing, and in terms of an environmental apocalypse, he is a disaster.

Three Thoughts about Impeachment

This one will be short, but definitely not sweet.
 There are three things that are obvious to anyone with eyes, ears, and a brain.
1. Of course Trump is guilty. He’s as guilty as were Bonnie and Clyde. All of the evidence is clear on that. Donald Trump is the most monstrous criminal who ever stepped foot in the White House.
2. The Republican Senate knows he’s guilty as well as you and i do. They. Do. Not. Care.
Trump is their leader, their Hitler.
3.The GOP is interested in only one thing: completing and solidifying their coup and destroying democracy. The GOP as a body is the greatest traitor our Republic has ever seen.

The Real Reasons Nazism is Rising in America

 

If you think, that the hatred of Obama, the hatred toward progressives, and the rise of Nazism in America today is really about economics or America’s standing in the world, or abortion, or anything other than two words, you are wrong. Dangerously wrong. Let’s just cut past the BS and speak the ugly words that are at the root of America’s peril today. The words are RACIAL HATE,  and BIGOTED HATE.

            Barack Obama was America’s first black President. He didn’t divide America. Racial hate as a result of his election divided and still divides America.

            Same sex marriage was affirmed and transgender citizens were confirmed to have the same rights as ‘straight’ whites.

 

            The tragedy, the murder, that took place in Charlottesville as the result of the city being attacked by KKK and Nazi white supremacists, proves it.

            Donald Trump’s response proves it.

            What is this “Great America” the far right wants reinstated? It’s the nineteen forties and fifties and early sixties. It’s the period between 1945 and the Civil Rights Movement of the nineteen sixties, when Jim Crow rode high and proud and roughshod over the African American community. It’s the America before the courts and the bulk of society stood up and said that black Americans have the same rights as white Americans.

            It’s the era before the LGBTQ community found the courage, and support, to come out of the closet. It’s the America before the bulk of society, and the courts, stood up for the law against the bible and affirmed that those with a different sexuality were human Americans too, and deserved the same rights as straight Americans 

            America’s standing in the world, and its leadership, were high at the end of the Obama era. It took the Trump administration less than six months destroy that, perhaps for a generation at least.

            The economy? Forget about it. Barack Obama’s policies improved America’s economy throughout the latter half of his first term and all of his second. Don’t believe me? Check it out.

            The ACA? Please. It if was really so bad it would have been long gone by now. The Affordable Care Act was, and is, successful to a degree that Republicans can’t come up with a better plan. The problems associated with it, namely rising rates, lies directly at the feet of a Republican controlled Congress determined to undermine it by threatening to not make government payments to insurers as was intended. Well over 20 million additional Americans have health insurance thanks to the ACA.  Yes, some Americans also lost health plans due to premium raises. Why? See the first half of this paragraph.

            Nobody is perfect. Nobody, even Presidents, can please all of the people all of the time. Obama made some decisions that I disagreed with. None of them are justification for the ugliness we are seeing.

            But the frightening rise of the white supremacy movement, thugs carrying automatic rifles and shouting obscenities while waving the KKK banner and the Nazi flag, let me repeat that, THE NAZI FLAG, is due to three things.  

1. Racism, and the hate that goes with it;       2. Bigotry, and the hate that goes with it;

 3. a -God help us- President that agrees with it.

 

NRA ad is Disgusting, Frightening, Reprehensible

The new NRA ad is both disgusting and frightening. Language like this is an invitation to the next civil war. The content of the ad is a virtual manifesto for war.  

The term “violence of lies” attempts to deliver the message that the legitimacy of freedom and equal rights for all Americans, including women, including those who are LGBT and people of color, is a lie. Really? The call for health care for all Americans is a lie. Really? The charge that white supremacy and white nationalism is Hitleresque is a lie. Really? And again, really?  

Just what is the NRA legitimizing and promoting here? An all white America? An America where only whites have rights and power? An America where only extremist evangelical Christians are legitimate? An America where it’s every man for himself and the poor, the less able, the disabled, the mentally ill, the “not ambitious enough,” are pushed to the side and left to die? An America in which women, and those who are the wrong color or wrong religion, know their place and follow orders and take what they are given and act happy about it? An America ruled by the richest and biggest and strongest and meanest, instead of the rule of law for all people?  Are we to be, according to the NRA, a country where “All men are created equal” means all men who are white and Baptist and straight? 

George H.W. Bush once said, “This will not stand.”  He was referring to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. I submit that it is time for those who believe in an inclusive, free America, an America which is truly based on all men and women being created equal, to echo that former Republican President’s words. Let all men and women of freedom and tolerance and love respond to the hatred of the alt-right agenda the NRA promotes with that ad by declaring, “This will not stand.”  

America will NOT be a nation of hate. America will NOT be a nation in which only the “right” people rule with their guns and viciousness and threats against those who are the wrong color, or the wrong gender, or who do not behave or worship the “right” way.  

We have been edging toward a new civil war ever since Barack Obama was elected. Not because of him, as he has consistently shown himself to be a moral, caring, intellectual, thoughtful individual. But because of the tide of racism and bigotry and white supremacy advocates that raised their malevolent, violent tentacles of hate against the election of a black man as President.  

We have been edging toward a new civil war because the majority of our people, and our courts have finally ruled that one’s humanity, and rights, are not determined by one’s sexual orientation. 

We have been edging toward a new civil war because our President and our courts and the majority of our people refuse to condemn an entire religion because of the acts of a few.  

We have been edging toward a new civil war because of the incredible concept that women may have some control over their own bodies. 

We have been edging toward a new civil war because of the fear and hate and resentment of fringe groups, the extreme white supremacist right wing nationalists and evangelical, fundamentalist extremist Christian right. They are supported by big business, because big business knows that as long as those groups’ white supremacy egoism is maintained, they will largely be quiet, do as they are told, accept what big business cares to pay them and the working conditions big business determines for them. Just as long as they are assured that they are dominant because they are white and the right kind of Christian. 

The NRA is big business personified. It feeds off of this ultra conservative sector that stands for everything an enlightened society, a truly free, democratic society, must put behind us. The NRA is virtually endorsing another civil war, because it, and the arms industry, feed off of the blood thirst they encourage, the phobic fear of those who are ‘different’ they encourage.  

We have been edging toward a new civil war for all of the above reasons, and for much longer than eight years. Now, with Donald Trump’s ascension, the forces in favor of such an unthinkable event are more rabid than ever. The NRA ad  is abetting the idea of one. When it comes, (the chances of avoiding it just shrank immensely) there will be blood. It will run as freely on one side as on the other. The right seems to think for some reason that the left doesn’t believe in having guns. They are more wrong than they can imagine. The right seems to think that all of the police, and military, will be on their side. They are woefully ignorant on that count. They apparently believe that because they talk more violently, swagger bigger, and act meaner, they really are those things. They are very mistaken. War brings out the inner ruthlessness in all men. Count on it. 

The only questions left to answer, if the next civil war that the right seems to want, that the NRA seems to condone, arrives, are how many gallons of blood will be spilled (it will be by the barrel full), and what kind of country will emerge from the darkest time in American history, bar none.  

If and when the next civil war comes, I am sure that one side will have the bulk of the world’s support, both moral and material in every way possible. And it will not be the side of this country’s burgeoning and threatening neo-Nazis and evangelical extremists.  This is still America, not 1930’s Germany. I believe that most of the world, including America’s allies abroad who watch this awfulness with horror and alertness, stand ready to help our country to right itself. 

The next civil war has been edging closer to us for a long time. The only question before us in the immediate future is, can we find a path of reason that will lead us away from it. This path must include all Americans, not a privileged few. Yet the NRA ad suggests just the opposite, a blood filled road right through the middle of it. 

That is reprehensible with a capital R. 

Why the Democrats Keep Losing -or- It’s time to be mad as hell and say so in plain language

I submit that the Democratic party’s biggest problem is the same one Strother Martin had, a failure to communicate. Hillary Clinton was one of the most qualified individuals for the Presidency in recent history. She was not guilty of any of the lying claims the Republicans and Donald Trump threw at her. She was also without a doubt the worst Dem candidate in the 20th and 21st centuries when it came to communicating effectively with the average American. Or just about anybody with less than a college degree.
It’s hard to fathom why people like my own family, whom I’v always thought of as smart, would continue to vote Republican, when it is so obvious to me that Democrats represent everything the Trump voters say they want, while at the same time voting for a party that has been depriving them of those same things, and is now doing its damndest to literally cut the floor out from under them.
Hillary refused to fight in the trenches with Trump. She ‘stayed above it all.’ She refused to refute the lies told about her directly and show evidence. You see, the law may say that we are innocent until proven guilty, but the election wasn’t a courtroom, and the average person where I come from believes that if someone accuses you and you don’t refute it, then you must be guilty of it. It’s the John Wayne syndrome. If somebody takes a punch at you, you’d better punch them back, or you’re a coward, or guilty, or both.
The whole election might have gone differently if She had responded to each lie the Republicans tossed out by saying something like, “You lying dog (or son of a bitch), that’s a lie, and everything you’ve said for the last month is a lie, and here’s the proof,” then laid it out, point by point.
But Hillary usually lost most of the average American right, two sentences into a conversation. Because she always gave the impression she was talking down to them. And sometimes I had to listen very closely to make sure that I, with my multiple degrees, understood her.
I moved from being a right leaning middle of the road independent, to a full fledged liberal Democrat, because of what I saw the Republican party doing to Americans beginning with Reagan. What Reagan and the Bushes have done to this country makes Richard Nixon look like a saint. Now Trump, a lying, stealing, ignorant and mentally unstable con man is their hero. So why does the average American Republican continue to vote for the very people who are destroying them?
Because the McConnells and the Ryans and yes, the Trumps, KNOW HOW TO TALK TO THEM IN A PLAIN, NON-UPPITY FASHION. And they use that awareness to sell them lie after lie after lie, beginning with the trickle down economy garbage and extending through the idiotic “The poor and the downtrodden are stealing from you and the Bible says so” blasphemy. And on that last part, trust me, when you’re talking to middle and southern American, you had damn well better address that latter issue when it’s thrown at you, or you’re dead before you leave the house.
The Republican party has built an entire system of campaign rhetoric based on lying blatantly, calling names, making false accusations, and all the while smooth talking huge sections of the country into liking it, by pretending to be one of them. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan are the best examples America has to offer in the 21st century, of classic Shakespearean villains.
If the Democrats, and the left, are going to break the mesmerizing hold these people hold on the “average American,” they are going to have to learn to communicate. To say it like it is in plain no nonsense terms.
Plain talk. In the trenches. There is no such thing as staying above it all. When punched, punch back harder, or you lose credibility. A cow is a cow, not a bovine. When Republicans tell their lies about Social Security being broke, roll up your sleeves and point right at the liar and tell them, on camera, “You’re lying to the American people.” When they bullshit America, shake your head and say, “I don’t believe you’re saying something so stupid. Do you think Americans are stupid enough to buy that line of bull?” TALK PLAIN AND GET ‘ER DONE, PILGRIM!
Oh, and would someone please tell Hillary Clinton that when Trump stalked the stage behind her, glaring at her while she was talking, she should have IMMEDIATELY walked back, right up to him and told him, on mic, “I’m right here if you want to look at me, you SOB. Don’t do it to my back, you sniveling coward.”
Democrats have to learn how to communicate on a grass roots basis. This high falutin’ intellectual superiority crap is destroying them.  And it’s destroying America.

The Awful Truth Behind Franklin’s Warning

I finally figured out what Ben Franklin tried to tell us, and it’s more scary now than at any time I can remember. At the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787,  Franklin was queried as he left Independence Hall on the final day of deliberation. In the notes of Dr. James McHenry, one of Maryland’s delegates to the Convention,  a lady asked Franklin, “Well Doctor what have we got, a republic or a monarchy.”  Franklin replied, “A republic . . . if you can keep it.” I have used that quote numerous times, during the 2016 election and since. But the full import, the dispiriting and frightening truth behind Franklin’s words, didn’t become fully clear to me until today.

 I was napping on the sofa, and struggled to consciousness through the hard to escape fog of a particularly realistic dream. You know, one of those that doesn’t want to let you go. It was a dream about a house of illusions, in which my companion and I pursued an illusory character through a series of rooms, each room a scene that presented a peril or a dilemma before the laughing villainous again revealed herself, taunting us and leading us on to the next scenario.

None of the scenes in that house of illusions was especially horrific. But when we exited through the final door, without ever catching up with our prey, we weren’t sure it was really over. For several moments, we looked around warily for another door, waiting for the minions of this particular scene to descend upon us. Such was the totality of the effect. At the end, you see, we weren’t sure the adventure was over, so firmly convinced we were that nothing was as it seemed.

My subconscious mind must have been quietly connecting synapses while I poured a cup of coffee. By the time I sat down at the computer, thinking to do some writing, the reality of Dr. Franklin’s statement overcame me. When we think of that comment we usually and appropriately connect it to the Constitution itself. But the subtle dangers inherent in our Constitution go all the way back to a phrase in the Declaration of Independence, the fundamental, foundational document at the root of America’s existence. Franklin said, on that final day of deliberations, “We have given you a republic, if you can keep it.” The second paragraph of the Declaration begins with “ We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”

That statement is at the core of the Constitution. It means everybody, both good and bad, honorable and dishonorable, loving and bigoted, truthful and non-truthful. It grants equal voice and rights to those who embrace the Constitution, and the Republic, and the freedoms they represent for all Americans, as well as those who would manipulate the former and disassemble the latter for their own purposes.

Ben Franklin’s warning had nothing to do with threats to America from without. It warned us about the Republic’s vulnerability to attacks from within. He was telling us that our Constitution didn’t include the word ‘forever.’  It still doesn’t. Its existence is always vulnerable, subject to attack, due to its most fundamental principal. All men are created equal. The freedom promised to everyone by one of the most forward thinking documents of governance in the history of the world, is in constant peril, because in order to guarantee the freedom of all, it could not exclude any, including those who would commandeer that freedom for themselves and their followers.

The Bill of Rights reaffirmed that guarantee of freedom for all, free speech for all, the right to assemble and be heard and run for office and seek to control the government, for all. Bigots, have your go. White (or any other color) nationalists, take your shot. Religious extremists of any ilk, go for the gold ring. Control of this country is yours for the taking, if you can manage it.

“We gave you a republic, if you can keep it.” The subtle hidden message within that statement warns us that the scoundrels and thieves, tyrants and haters of others, religious extremists and greed mongers also have the right to take it away from us.  Franklin warned us that they will, on the day that the rest of us, those of us who truly believe  all men, and women, are created equal, give up; the day that those of us who believe ‘love your neighbor’ means everyone, not just the ones who are the same color as me, or have the same sexuality as me, or the same religion as me, are no longer the majority; the day those of us who believe that America is a nation of people, not corporations, lose the will to stand against those who would usurp our Constitution for their own personal agendas. Because the evil among us is always looking and hoping for the opportunity.

“We gave you a republic, if you can keep it.” Benjamin Franklin was warning us that in order to guarantee the rights of all, our forefathers had to take a terrible risk that the very freedoms they guaranteed to everyone might someday be relinquished, to those who were loud enough, and determined enough, and ruthless enough. He was warning us that our Republic would serve and stand for everyone only as long as we remained determined  it would do so.  The enemy is not out there, it is within us. And today it is stronger and more determined than I have seen within my lifetime, to take our country for all the people, away from everyone in favor of their chosen few.

May 14, 2017, 6:45pm. Just as nothing was as it seemed in my little dream, I’ve come to realize there was much more than there seemed to be in Ben Franklin’s statement. The Constitution we so treasure and the world admires, in guaranteeing the rights of all, also guarantees the right of those who would destroy it, to do so. We have to ask ourselves, are we strong enough, determined enough, to keep our Republic for all the people? ###

NO, It’s Not Okay

*Miy response to all of those well-meaning (and not so well-meaning) people telling me not to ‘overreact.’  Just relax, ‘they’ say, and it will be okay.  No. It won’t. Not without a fight.

Benjamin Franklin was asked, “Well Doctor, what have we got, a Republic or a Monarchy?” To which he replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” In that reply is a warning, that we must be ever vigilant and prepared to fight to keep the Republic our Founding Fathers crafted.

Don’t tell me to relax. Don’t tell me I’m overreacting. Don’t tell me it will be okay.

No reason for alarm? The nature of Donald Trump has been exhibited consistently throughout his career, displayed by his own words and actions. The word sociopath has been applied to him not just by myself, but by observers including psychologists, based on his behavior and what comes out of his mouth.

No reason for alarm? He wonders why we do not use nuclear weapons. He does not believe in global warming, the perils of our streams and rivers and animal life, the dangers to the environment, and selected as a running mate a man who is a creationist and believes homosexuality can be ‘cured,’ a man who actually believes in forcing ‘therapy’ upon the LGBT community.

No reason for alarm? Donald nurtured and received the support of the kkk, white supremacists, a criminal foreign national with his own agenda, Julian Assange, who helped Trump’s campaign with very selective, stolen and doctored private emails.

No reason for alarm? Donald Trump asked for and benefited from the assistance of one foreign nation, Russia, whose leader he admires, and is celebrated by one of the most repressive regimes on earth, North Korea. He is celebrated by Syria’s regime and by ISIS.

No reason for alarm? Trump has the support of a vindictive religious extremism and reaches out to it.

No reason for alarm? Germany was also a democracy before the citizenry invited Adolf Hitler to take over. The German government had checks and balances, though they weren’t as strong as those in the United States. The German people relinquished their checks and balances little by little, until Hitler had enough power to cancel the rest of them.

No reason for alarm? Religious extremism and white supremacy now control our Presidency, as of January, 2017.

No reason for alarm? That same religious extremism and white supremacy also controls both houses of our Congress, and has cowed the moderates within the once Republican party. There is no effective voice of reason existing within their party.

No reason for alarm? This religiously extreme white nationalist supremacy group now has it within their reach to also control the Supreme Court.

No reason for alarm?
Checks and balances. The Executive, strike one.
Checks and balances. The Legislative. Strike two.
Checks and balances, The Supreme Court. Strike three and out.

No reason for alarm? If you are really trying to tell those of us who study history, those of us who know that this Republic exists for everyone or it exists for no one, to sit back and relax and it will be all right, you are either one of the people behind the curtain, or delusional, or simply in a state of extreme hope because you are afraid to face the possibility of the Republic collapsing within itself.

No reason for alarm?
“Well Doctor, what have we got, a Republic or a Monarchy?”
“A Republic, if you can keep it.”
In that reply is a warning, that we must be ever vigilant and prepared to fight to keep the Republic our Founding Fathers crafted. I choose to believe there is every reason for alarm. I choose to keep that Republic. I choose to fight.

No reason for alarm? You might want consider choosing to wake up.