The Truth No One Wants to Admit

Is Fascism making a comeback in Italy? Seriously? It worked out so well the first time. History, people, read it from time to time.

I just read an article about an upcoming election in Italy, pitting a priest against a 32-year-old fascist. First of all, when did the younger generations become the haters? The dividers? The anti-dreamers? They’re the ones who are supposed to push us forward in new directions, not backwards where we’ve already visited and failed.

There are no new ideas. That’s part of our problem. Where are the new ideas? The new philosophies? The new vision of this world and how we operate in this new construct where we’re overwhelmed with people who can’t afford to live? We haven’t been here before, but I can tell you going backwards is not the solution. It never is.

And this 30-something is focusing on anti-immigration. “They don’t belong in our land,” kind of thing. Well, here’s the truth no one wants to admit. There is no “my land” or “my country.” We’re one big friggin’ planet. We all share it. Sure some of us scope a place to live here and there, but it’s not ours. It’s never ours.

It’s just like being a homeowner. Even when you pay off the mortgage and you don’t owe the bank another penny, you still have to pay taxes to the government. If you don’t pay your taxes, then the government gets your home and land. So, the truth is none of us own anything but ourselves. That’s it.

So there really aren’t any countries. There are, but there aren’t. They change. Evolve.

History changes everything. It changes countries. Changes politics. Changes minorities and majorities – whether through evolution or revolution. Borders change, shifting all the time. Resources change. People move for resources. Or opportunities. Or whatever it is they are seeking.

Nothing has ever stayed the same. Nothing ever goes back to the way it was. Nothing ever will.

Another truth no one wants to admit. We have no thinkers any more. We only have followers and a few people who claim to be leaders. But those leaders only have old ideas. Nothing new is coming forward. We’re heading south in a hand basket because no one is coming up with solutions. We’re too busy complaining about the other side or about who’s causing the problems.

And if we don’t start focusing on the issues and fixing the issues, we are doomed. Now, I don’t like to be a negative nelly, but the world can’t continue by simply blaming problems on everything they don’t like. Even if the problems are real and the cause is real, just yelling about them does nothing. We’re not doing anything to fix anything.

If both sides don’t start seeing this and sitting down to fix the problems, we’re going down. In the end, ultimately, we will nearly kill the environment because of this. And then the environment will kill us. Because if I’m going to put my money on a winner in this battle, I put my money on the planet and mother nature — not human beings.

Why? Because nature knows to change. To evolve to deal with the situation. Its instinct is to survive. Our instinct is to destroy and self-destruct. We’d rather die saying we were right than find a solution that may help all of mankind.

All because we have bad instincts or no instincts. We have too much pride. Too much ego. And we will be our own destruction. And that is the truth that no one wants to admit.

Humanity First

I had to step away from the computer for a moment. Talking about Trump got my ire up. I needed to refocus.

So Trump is making us inhumane. Yes, I fully believe that.

The truth is that American values are based on a broader set of values. They are based on human values.

If you read the preamble to the Declaration, we put humanity first. Not American. Not Democrat or Republican. Not black or white. But human … or man, as we called it.

Unfortunately, we have lost sight of all humanity in this country.

On an even bigger scale, America helped define the UN in the late 1940s. After the cost and loss of life of WWII, we wanted to avoid a third go around. We wanted to avoid the rise of another Hitler. Or the rise of another Nazi regime. We didn’t want any other human to suffer the way the Jewish suffered before and during WWII.

So, we helped draft the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Have you read that? If not, you should give it a go.

Eleanor Roosevelt wanted it to be a declaration rather than just treaty. She hoped by making it a declaration it would have the same impact on the global society as the US Declaration had on the US.

That’s right. We put our own values. Human values into that document. It was the governing version of the Golden Rule — do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

We took our ideas and ideals for America — freedom, equal rights and the pursuit of happiness — and applied them to the entire world. Even more so than our own declaration, we put humanity first. Not a specific race. Or nationality. Or ethnicity. But humanity.

The entire UN declaration is about people being able to find a better life for themselves. To not suffer at the hands of their own government. To not be mistreated by other more vocal or more powerful groups. To be treated humanely and as an equal.

Why? Because no matter where you’re from or which religion you practice, all anyone truly wants is peace and happiness. To seek the best possible life for ourselves and our families. That’s what we want as American citizens. It’s what the rest of the world wants as well.

It’s not rocket science. It’s not a complicated concept. And for DACA recipients or any other immigrant here in this country, America represents the best place for them. That place where they can be happy and find the best life for themselves.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It’s who America is. It’s who any UN nation is — or at least strives to be.

Yet, we’re breaking our own moral code. Our own belief system. Our own philosophy. All at the hands of Trump.

We are taking people who are as legal as our system allows them to be and threatening them just because they weren’t born here.

How many of us move from state to state or county to county? What if states or counties set up the same rules. If you weren’t born here, you have to move back to where you were born? You don’t belong here any more.

It’s the same thing. How many of us would like that? Didn’t we move to that location to be near (or away from) family or to have a better paying job or better weather? Of course we did. Otherwise we wouldn’t have moved. We were seeking a better life and more opportunity.

It is the exact same thing for immigrants in the US. It is especially true for DACA recipients who are not only trying to be here legally, but they want to stay here. They want to contribute to our society and our economy.

And most of these folks are teenagers and 20 somethings. Just starting out in life. The majority of them are in college. And several of them are in Houston right now. Trying to get their lives back together. Working with people who were born here and some who were not.

Instead of being able to focus on repairing their homes or their neighborhoods, they’re looking out over the water-filled streets wondering if this will even be their home come tomorrow.

Where is the humanity in that?

The Prudish Marquis de Sade Strikes Again

America is bound and gagged by a sadist.

Leave it to Trump to ruin a perfectly good holiday weekend and much needed disaster relief. As if Houston was not struggling enough, he decided in the midst of recovery to make a decision on DACA.

The city hosts one of the largest populations of DACA recipients in the country. Instead of allowing people to put their lives back together over a long work-free weekend, a large chunk of the Houston community is probably wondering if they even have a future here.

Oh, but wait. The decision won’t come until Tuesday. Seriously? I honestly think that Trump is torturing the US right now. He’s a sadist.The prudish Marquis de Sade. He gets off on adding suffering to existing suffering. And the larger the group he can torture, the better. He waits until a vulnerability arises and then he bounds and gags that group and takes to lashing.

It’s creepy. It’s gross. It’s egomaniacal. And it’s all unequivocally Donald Trump.

If you read anything at all about immigration, the DACA program, or anything relevant to the topic, studies and statistics show the positive impact it has on our country. In fact, I wrote a couple of pieces earlier this year – one on DACA recipients going through this in January  and one dismantling the whole “Mexicans are taking our jobs” theory.

The truth is that Latino businesses were creating jobs in the US economy during the Great Recession when no “made in America” companies were creating any. In fact, they were cutting jobs … while they made money hand over fist. But that’ s a different topic which I also covered previously.

My point is that you have to educate yourself, people. Go look this stuff up. Don’t listen to politicians to give you the whole truth. They need a vote. They tell you what you need to hear to get your vote. They appeal to fears. And provide no proof. They just plant seeds. Just enough to keep you worried.

I can’t believe we’ve come to a point where I need to remind people of this, but we have. So I’m reminding you. Educate yourself. It’s your country. Don’t let some doofus in the White House lead you around by a ring in your nose.

Why do I care so much about the DACA decision if it doesn’t impact me? The truth is that it does impact me. How? Because it impacts America. And I am America as much as anyone else.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, the Republican puppet that he is, said recently about the DACA decision that “we need to ensure that we keep America the kind of country that people want to come to.”

Why does he think DACA exists? Because those Latino immigrants hate America and want to bring it down? No. They want to be here to have a better life. More opportunity. Everything this country has to offer. And this is the only legal means they have for the moment.

The way I see it, we’re doing a pretty good job at keeping our status as the place you want to come to. That’s why we have so many immigrants trying to come in. And why they want to stay. And that’s why we are a melting pot. For now anyway.

But the hate we’re creating is disgusting. That’s what Trump and his Republican party are doing to this country. They’re making us disgusting again. Vile. Hateful. Inhumane.

Yeah, I said it. Inhumane. Prudish Marquis de Sade, remember? Why would you make an announcement about a program that impacts so many people in the city that was recently devastated by a natural disaster? Inhuman. Inhumane.

And if the announcement was just because he needed an ego boost to get him through the weekend, then that’s not any better.

DACA is a legal process that helps illegal immigrants (not by choice) take the steps to become fully documented American citizens. Or it could if we would just let it happen. Or let it stand as is. Or improve upon what exists.

But we’re not operating like that right now. In fact, we’re not operating like a democracy right now. In a democracy, majority rules and the other side has to suck it up. You don’t get to stomp and pout until the other side concedes to give you your way.

Right now, the minority is stomping their feet. And they are getting their way. Only 30 to 40 percent of Americans totally support everything Trump does. By no means is that a majority. But since his fragile little ego needs to stroking, he makes all decisions based on those few that support every idiotic move he makes.

That means, right now, minority rules. The majority does not rule here. And that’s not a democracy.

Did I Miss the Memo?

Sometimes I have to ask myself why I care about particular issues when there is so much to be concerned with right now. The issues I find myself latching onto the most at the moment really don’t impact me. And that, oddly enough, is why I care about them.

I worry a great deal about the environment. On a normal day in a normal year under a normal presidency, the environment would be my primary concern. But in my mind, when I try to prioritize my concerns (because there are so many now), I tell myself that the environment impacts all of us. Scientists are fighting for this. The whole world (except the U.S.) is fighting for this. Most of us know we have to fight for this. My hope is that there are enough people fighting for this that if I’m focusing somewhere else for a little while, we’re still covered.

And I’m all about equal rights for everyone. Women, LGBT, African Americans, – everyone. That’s the basis of our country. It’s fundamental. But, again, there are whole movements behind these efforts. Needed movements. Strong movements. My hope is that they stay strong while at the moment I’m focused elsewhere.

Immigration doesn’t impact me much — not directly. It doesn’t impact a lot of us who were born here. That’s where my concern comes in. I worry that there is, in my opinion, a very important part of our society being overlooked. Forgotten.

I’m not sure immigrants have a movement behind them. They have support, especially when there is a blatant move like the travel ban. But when it’s not making the headlines every day, is there much concern around it? I don’t know.

For me, the immigration challenges we’re facing right now are a part of the bigger hate issue. Immigrants of all nationalities, but particularly Mexico and other Latin American countries, are seeing a lot of intolerance right now. And do they have a movement to support them? I don’t know. Maybe. I hope so, but I don’t see it.

And before anyone reprimands me for this, I don’t mean to stereotype immigrants as servers and cooks or minimum-wage earners. My company is filled with developers, engineers, brilliant people from all over the world. We have a diversified, immigrant-heavy team. It’s one of the things I like about my company.

But it’s the minimum-wage immigrants that I worry about. The ones who do the jobs we don’t even notice — until someone isn’t doing that job any more. The ones whose first language is not English and who speak in their native language when talking with family and friends rather than “our language.” The ones who don’t have a lot of voice in our society, especially not now.

I worry about the Hispanic woman who cleans the restrooms at my office. Or the cafeteria cooks who make a mean BLT for me at lunch. Or the Asian ladies who ring up my BLT. These people who serve me with a friggin’ smile that I don’t get at many other places. I worry that no one is standing up for them. That they are forgotten in this mess of a political climate.

I worry that they go home and see the news and wonder if something will happen to them or someone in their families. I hope they don’t. I hope they are able to enjoy their lives despite the environment Trump has created. And I hope that my worry is unsubstantiated.

But that’s why I find myself caring so much about immigration, and especially immigration from south of the border. Mexico is our neighbor. They’re a good neighbor. And what are we doing? Building a wall. Pardoning someone who was basically guilty of hate crimes against Latinos. Rounding up students and calling them gang members. It’s ridiculous.

People just want a better life. That’s all. It’s not a great conspiracy. It’s not a threat. They’re not looking to steal jobs. They just want to be happy. The pursuit of happiness — isn’t that what we’re all about here? Did I miss the memo about that not being our motto any more?

What about working class whites? That’s the question that comes up when you talk about immigration. Well, I come from working class whites. I was a working class white and paid my way through college to become a salaried employee. And at my first few jobs, my salary was barely over minimum wage. If you counted the longer hours I worked, I’m not sure I was even making minimum wage.

So, I know working class whites. It’s what I am and it’s where I came from. And what I know is that few to no working class whites are willing to clean bathrooms in an office building. Or run the register in a cafeteria. Or, even if they are, they’re not willing to drive into the city where these jobs are located. And they aren’t willing to live in a tiny, low-rent apartment to make ends meet on minimum wages.

I can say this because I’m not sure I’m willing to do those things any more — not while I have a choice. I’ve also spoken with white working class folks who aren’t willing to do these things — not for minimum wage.

Now, if I was forced to choose to do those things or be dependent on government subsidies (or some similar means of existence), then yes, I would likely be willing to do this work and live in a low-rent apartment. Ultimately, I know I would have a choice to make. I might not like that choice, but I would make it. And that’s where we are in America. And where the working white class finds itself at the moment.

It appears to me that working class whites aren’t taking responsibility for their own lives. It sounds cold, but it’s true. We have more opportunities than someone coming to this country as an immigrant. It’s much easier for us to get into training and schools to improve our skills. We can easily get driver’s license that allow us to travel for a job.

Times are changing. Jobs are changing. More jobs are located in the cities than in rural America and that’s not going to change. And that has nothing to do with politics or immigration. Companies locate plants where they have accessibility to a qualified workforce within a certain distance of drive time. That’s how plant decisions are made. There are too few workers in rural America. And they often aren’t willing to learn new skills for the more modern types of jobs that are available.

When the world is changing around you, you can’t expect that the government is going to fix all of your problems for you. Are we at a point where the government should look at helping with this situation? Yes, probably so. But that will take time.

In the meantime, you can’t expect that magically things will just resolve themselves. You have to be willing to make some effort. Make some changes. You have to move. Drive a little further. Learn new skills. Work in a different type of work. You have to take responsibility for your life.

You have to pursue your own happiness. Happiness doesn’t just come to you. Immigrants are willing to move to another country, where they have to learn to some degree another language and risk intolerance. That’s a lot of sacrifice for a minimum wage job, but yet they do it.

I’m not picking on working class whites. I’m being realistic. When I first got out of college, I didn’t plan on moving to the city. I thought I would live in my hometown and work nearby. But I couldn’t. There were no jobs. I had to move or not work … and quite honestly, my parents made not working a non-option. So, I know it’s not easy. I know it’s a little scary. I know you may have to make decisions that you don’t want to make. But you either have to make those decisions or live with the consequences. Right now the white working class is living with consequences.

But working class whites can’t blame immigration for their troubles. And they can’t hate another human being for taking a job they most likely don’t want. And they can’t hate someone for wanting the exact same things they want — a better life for themselves and their families. And I hope they don’t hate me, who was once one of them, for telling them that they have to change if they want their situation to change.




The Great Distractor

That should be Trump’s nickname. The Great Distractor. He and his team have it down to an art form. Why do I say that? Let’s take a look.

The news is showing a rolling screen of all the crazy things that have happened over the past 4 weeks. What are they not discussing? Russia. What was gaining influence over his base? Russia. So, what has he done? Incited hate to pull our eyes in the other direction.

Don’t look over here. This doesn’t matter. Look, I’m dropping a big ol’ bomb over here. Or, I’m supporting the Nazis over here. They both happened at the same time. They both distracted. One just got more coverage than the other, and so that’s what he held onto. Has anyone else noticed that the North Korean news just died as soon as the racist stuff started? They, Trump and his team, knew one would work to distract. And it did. So they stuck with it and are riding it out as long as they can.

Is he racist? Yeah, he is. Read the Village Voice articles from the 1970-80s about his law suits with his father’s company. The ones about unethical leasing policies. Labeling people’s applications and declining them based on race and ethnicity. He’s a racist. And he hired the biggest racist with any clout as his strategist … until he conveniently let him go this week. Is it really official? I’m not sure.

Has anyone else noticed that the racist crap going down is going down in Steve Bannon’s home state? The same state where he started the Tea Party? Where he grew up and went to college? Does everyone think that’s a coincidence or am I the only who thinks he’s partially behind instigating the marches in Charlottesville and the ongoing racist turmoil there? That this whole scenario was dreamed up and executed by a reality tv star president and “filmmaker” strategist who thinks himself the modern-day Riefenstahl? Call me crazy. I don’t care. These people are messed up. They’ll do anything. And I rather be paranoid and crazy than to be silent and watch this shit just play out.

They have an agenda. What it is exactly, I’m not sure. But distraction is the only way they are going to carry it out. A civil war, if they can accomplish it, will be the greatest distraction. And it will give them the authority to cite Martial Law. The ultimate power for a crazed, power hungry leader.

They’re convincing people that both sides were violent. Further instigating. Now they’re letting the people play out their plan. One side drove a car into a crowd. One side showed up with guns and other weapons strapped to their bodies. They were there to pick a fight. They weren’t there to protest. Protestors carry signs, not guns. They were instigating. They were bullying. They were manipulating. And we let it happen.

And it’s all to distract. To get everyone to focus on something other than the president and the White House. To distract from the Russia investigation. To distract from his breaking down of our democracy. His destruction of our values. His gradual usurping of power.

I’m not sure if he wants to become a dictator. It feels that way to me. But whatever it is, there is a bigger goal. And all of the crazy is a distraction. The firings. The stupid speeches about beautiful Confederate statues. North Korea. He’s manipulating. He’s distracting. He’s inciting us to destroy ourselves. And we’re falling in line like a bunch of fucking sheep.

Sorry for the foul language in this post, but foul times call for foul language. That’s just the way it is.

We’re letting them manipulate us. Distract us. Turn us into blithering idiots. I think the man is dumb as a box of rocks, but he’s power hungry. And when one is desperate for whatever fix it is they need, they get crafty. And someone like Trump, with no conscious, will get pretty fucking crafty. One way or another – Korea, civil war or at least civil upheaval, or some other crazy – he’s going to give himself power. Ultimate power. In my opinion, that’s his goal. I could be wrong. Maybe he’s just trying to stay in office and this is how he’s attempting to do it. I think it’s bigger than that, though.

And people talk about Ivanka. That woman is as power hungry and manipulative as he is. Please don’t put your faith in that one. She was honed to look angelic while taking people’s money. Read about all the sham condo deals she and dear ol’ daddy worked on together. The ones where she served her boobs on a platter to get people’s money and then the two of them left people without a condo or their money. The apples didn’t fall far from the tree in that family. That’s for damn sure.

This whole week has driven me over the edge. I’m all about balance and meditation and shit, but this shit ain’t right. Sometimes you have to put the mindfulness aside and fucking fight. They’re pushing me too far. I’m ready for a goddamn fight.

No, see, damn it. That’s what I’m talking about it. Trump – the fucking instigator. I’m against Trump. I want to fight Trump. I want him out of office. Out. Out. Out.

Is there hate in this country? Yes. But he’s stirring it up to the point that he’s inciting people like me to fight against people like him and his far right supporters. And it takes a fucking lot to incite me. But my fight, oddly enough, is with him. Not with the Nazis. The Nazis will go back into their holes when their king is gone. I’m not worried about them. I’m worried about him. If he’s able to stick around long enough and incite enough people, then it’s going down. And we’re going down with it. Trump is the problem. And the Facebook bubble. Facebook, fucking fix your algorithm – or have the Russians promised you the next election. Regardless, Trump needs to be removed from office and not allowed within 100 miles of the White House.  Get him out. Now.

Like Alcohol to an Alcoholic (Or Politics under the Influence)

You know I try to stay positive as best I can. It’s not always possible. But I try. There are times, however, when things just aren’t positive. You find yourself in a bad situation. And no matter how much effort you put into it or how much you meditate or pray or whatever you do to find your inner peace, the situation just doesn’t get better. It may be a bad personal relationship, a bad work relationship – whatever it is, it just doesn’t fit.

Trump and America is a bad situation. His values and most of America’s values don’t sync up. Some people saw change and opportunity in him. They were looking for more US jobs, for things to go back to the way they were economically. That’s what I’m telling myself. That’s what I want to believe until I can’t believe it any more.

I don’t think most of them saw it as the change that he’s trying to bring. A few did, but I don’t believe they are in the majority.

And I preach love and forgiveness. I try to live it myself. I’m not perfect, but still I try. But just like in relationships, you come across people who can’t love you or who can’t love at all. Some wiring in their brain got crossed. Trump’s wires are crossed. He can’t love. He can’t relate. He can only manipulate. Agitate. Aggravate and berate. He’s a void that can only be filled with power and fame and even those things don’t sustain him.

I feel defeated saying that. I like to believe everyone can love. Learn from their mistakes. Eventually choose to do the right things. But there are some folks out there who cannot. They just cannot. And I’m a fixer. That’s hard for me to admit. But some things, some people, some situations you cannot fix. Trump cannot be fixed.

America’s in a bad relationship. And like any bad relationship, the only way to resolve that is to walk away. To break up. To remove that person from your life. We’ve all been there. We’ve all had to walk away from someone or some thing.

It’s time to walk away from Trump. He’s destroying us. Our self-esteem as a country is shattered. We are not who we are at our core any more. We’ve lost sight of ourselves. Our ability to love is gone.

He’s been in office 8 months, and things aren’t becoming “great.” Things are getting worse – much, much worse. And perhaps some think it gets darkest before the dawn. How dark are we willing to go? That’s up to us. Not him. Not unless we give him that power. Do we want to be that country again? Do we want to hate people for the color of their skin? Hate people for their religion? Their accent? Is that what we want to make America again?

We’re not a country that follows blindly. We never have been. We don’t need to start that now. We’re not a country that is on the wrong side of humanity – not any more. We learned that lesson. Let’s not forget it.

Trump is a bad influence on us. Like alcohol to an alcoholic. Drugs to an addict. Love to a fixer in a bad relationship. It brings out the worst in us. Emphasizes our weaknesses. Breaks us down. Changes who we are. And we always regret it. Always. Let’s fix this before we regret it.

This Ain’t America, Baby

The rich are still getting richer
The poor still getting poorer
We’re painting the same ol’ picture
Re-living the same ol’ horrors
The change you want ain’t coming
And the change that’s coming ain’t right
Engines of hate are humming
They’re racing toward a fight

Are we gonna wake up
Can’t we see the light
This ain’t America, baby
We need to make it right

Are you looking for a showdown
Or just another job
Let me give you the lowdown
They’re gathering up a mob
Their agenda ain’t in line with yours
But they’ll say it’s all the same
They want to even out some scores
And you’re the one they’ll maim

Are we gonna wake up
Can’t we see the light
This ain’t America, baby
We need to make it right

They’ve pointed us toward destruction
Their waiting for us to collide
They’re covering their own corruption
And then blaming the other side
They’re selling hate as a solution
And we’re buying it by the pounds
We have to end this delusion
Or hear the warning bells sound

Are we gonna wake up
Can’t we see the light
This ain’t America, baby
We need to make it right

March for Love: America as It Should Be (The Truth Is Ignited)

I have this vision, a picture in my mind, that I would love to see come to pass. It’s too tricky for some, which I understand, but it would be such a beautiful view. Such a wonderful feeling. The opposite of what we felt yesterday.

This vision is a march for love. White, black, brown, red and any other color that wants to join in, alongside native born, foreign born, citizen or not, man, woman, or somewhere in between – millions of those mistreated and abused by the current administration. A sea of humanity walking side by side, hand in hand, arm in arm, in peace, in love toward a better future.

I don’t want to focus on the hate. Only signs of love and respect. A vision of why America is actually already great, not something it needs to become.

Hate does not register here. Hate will not win. My imaginary march is about love. One human being helping and caring for the another – despite their differences. Or maybe because of them.

This would be a beautiful display of America at its best. America at is purest. America as it should be.

The Truth Is Ignited

I can say take the high road
I can say march in peace
But I pass their color code
As a native, I walk with ease
But I will march beside you
If you will have me there
You are America too
As a fellow human, I care

We will march for love
Together we’re united
We will rise above
The truth is ignited

I can say don’t worry
In time this will pass
But lines are getting blurry
There are cracks in the glass
But love conquers all
In this I believe
We won’t let America fall
Our dream can be retrieved

We will march for love
Together we’re united
We will rise above
The truth is ignited

A Temporary Darkness

There are days when politics and societal upheavals will impact you. Usually not in a positive way. Today is one of those days. We must fight for fairness and equality for all humans. Everyone should be treated the same and have the same rights and opportunities.

But we must be careful. We cannot devolve into violence. Today’s violence in Charlottesville was a one-sided attack from the white supremacist. But please do not be tempted to stoop to their level. Violence is never the answer. We can’t let the stupidity of today’s attack set us back 60 years. We cannot hate at that level again. We will fight this darkness in our country. And we can win the battle peacefully.

Listen to the Whisper (The Eclipse Poem)

The sun slides behind the moon
But darkness has been here for days
Time is singing a worn out tune
Peace slipping beneath the waves
We’re falling in the shadow
But we still see the light
Let’s calm the water’s flow
Let’s get our vision right

Listen to the whisper
Reminds us of our grace
Find it in the stillness
Love can heal this space

Hate confuses us; it’s easy to get lost
But shadows never win this fight
And victims can’t pay the cost
Stand in peace — ride out the night
We’ll beat this bout of darkness
We’ll break through the other side
A greater love we will harness

Listen to the whisper
Reminds us of our grace
Find it in the stillness
Love can heal this space

Reviving the American Spirit

Nostalgia is a tricky thing. You have to be careful with it. It’s easy to look back at your youth and remember the good times. It’s comforting.

But when you remove the warm, fuzzy filter of it, you  also remember that there were good times mixed with bad.

I’ve found myself on this blog remembering the American melting pot from School House Rock. That’s an American value I still stand behind. But, when I revisit that time in my life, without the nostalgic blinders, I remember being threatened by a couple of old schoolmates for sharing a soft drink with an African American classmate. I didn’t notice it so much then, but now I know women were making pennies on the dollar compared to male coworkers. And the LGBT community was so hidden away that large parts of the population didn’t even  know there was a closet.

So, yes, nostalgia can be a tricky thing. It blinds the mind to all that was negative. It makes you long for an ideal past that probably wasn’t so ideal after all.

And nostalgia in some ways is the antithesis of what this country is all about. Nostalgia always looks backwards. America has always looked forward. Always. We have always strived to be a leader. To make progress. We started this country to create a new kind of government. To have freedom for all — no taxation without representation. We strive to lead the way in intellectual areas. We fought to be the first in space. We strive to find cures for diseases. We strive to find solutions to the ills of our societies.

I have always viewed us as the big brother of the planet. The one the rest of our sibling countries around the world look up to. Yes, we struggle. Yes, we make mistakes. But we always move forward. Find our way. And the rest of the world sees that and wants to be like that. Or wants to come here because of that.

Now, of course, I know not everyone likes America. Not everyone wants to be us, but that is how I see our place in the world. Or at least that’s what we’ve always been in my mind until now.

In my lifetime, we have come such a long way. We have made great progress. Equality for everyone has come much closer to reality than it ever has before. Be it African Americans, the LGBT community, women – whoever. We’re not 100 percent there, but we’re a lot closer than we were 40 years ago.

So, even though I look back from time to time, it isn’t because I want to return to some previous time. We’re not about going back. We’re about progress. Improving. Being better for everyone. We build upon what have done – allowing more and more people to grow and prosper. That is who America is.

Nostalgia. It is tricky. I don’t want to go back. I want to revive those values that created America. Revive progress. Revive leadership and equality. Revive the idea that others are welcome here. That we’re the place to create a better life for yourself and your family. I want us to be that light for the rest of the world. That imperfect but always improving beacon of hope that we have always been.

Inspiration is not backwards focused. I want America to inspire again.


Let Us Begin

America, do not dare to retire
Let us rise to inspire
Do not let us fade into night
Let us be that guiding light
Let the world follow us
Let us keep our rebelliousness
Let us welcome one and all
Let us protect both big and small
Let us fight for equality
Let us overcome our frailties
Let us lead a brand new age
Let us shed our hatred and rage
Let us not allow the divide
Let us be equal side by side
Let us progress once again
Let us start now – let us begin

The Third Party Is a Silent One

Job Growth. Politicians always tout it, but in reality, they have very little to do with it. The ones who make it happen are Corporate America. And if we base our political decisions about who runs this country solely on job growth then we’re letting big business run the country.

I used to work in economic development so I probably had to watch what companies were doing more than the average person. I had to watch who was expanding, who wasn’t, who could be expanding but was holding out. That’s what you do in economic development. You chase jobs to try to bring them to your communities.

After watching the Sunday morning political shows, I just wanted to share what others probably didn’t see because they didn’t work in economic development. During the last four years of Obama’s presidency, American business had some of the highest profits ever. Highest in the history of their business. Highest in the history of our country.

There was article after article about how profits and cash reserves of companies were the highest they had ever been and yet salaries were down and so were jobs. Why is that? Well, one way to make more money, like they did back in the days of old, was to work employees to death, pay them nothing and boost the production and sales. Oh, and they didn’t have to provide insurance back in the day either. Strange how that’s coming back in style, isn’t it?

So companies were making huge profits from right after the housing bubble (2007-2009-ish) until January 2016, just as the presidential election was heating up. Is that a coincidence? Are there any coincidences? In politics, not so much.

During Obama’s last term, companies weren’t hiring, not at a pace to catch up to earlier levels, although our job rates still showed an increase. Companies were making money hand over fist. They wore people out. I know. I’ve been on the receiving end of that. I’m one of those people that a company kept on staff after making cuts but kept adding more and more work onto my plate. I can tell you, that’s not a fun place to be. It sucks.

And all those jobs that disappeared, that put people out of work … they kept those jobs. They just located them somewhere else to boost their profits. And if they cut jobs, they didn’t cut the workload. They just piled it onto one of the suckers who they kept on staff.

You can’t blame politics for that. You can only blame the business decision makers. They value money over providing quality of life for their communities and their employees.

If we want to change politics and the ills of our country, we need to focus on fixing business and their place in our lives. We’re such a consumer economy. We buy and buy and buy.

I’m not any different. I’m not accusing any one of any thing that I’m not guilty of myself. I want the latest gadgets a lot of times or that one thing that’s going to my skin glow like a newborn baby. It never does, but I buy it anyway.

Hope. It gets you every time.

But buying and buying and buying only benefits business. Some things help us, but not everything. Maybe even most things we buy don’t help us. They’re just things. Things that boost profits.

Let’s think about this for a second. We are gradually getting rid of public libraries (and the old bookmobile system that I loved) but the book-selling industry is doing quite well. Something we once got for free, we’re now paying for it. Just saying. Something to think about.

But back to my point. Companies were getting rich and workers (and to some degree our country) suffered. Then as the election heated up, everything dropped. Jobs. Profits. Everything. Come January 2016. Just as the Republican party was hammering it out. Just as Trump was making a climb. Trump, the epitome of American industrialism, right? Convenient, right?

Now, after 6 years of crazy profits and not adding jobs under a Democratic president, suddenly the job market is booming. The stock market is booming. Regulations have been slashed for companies — by a president who has put Corporate American business leaders in every high-ranking position possible.

Does anyone else see a correlation here or is it just me? We have a third party in this country. But it’s a silent one. It doesn’t run for office. It just supports one candidate over another. For all those folks who are looking at politicians for their economic woes, they’re looking in the wrong direction. Well, perhaps, those politicians who can be bought and sold like candy or who may personally benefit financially from lax business regulations have something to do with it.