America Undone – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

12.05.2020

America Undone

When I was on my walk yesterday I encountered an old-lady who had fallen on the side walk. She was sitting on the ground halfway between Lake Street and 31st Street on Bryant Avenue, just a few houses away from her home, maybe fifty yards at most, but she was unable to get up on her own.

I noticed her just as soon as I crossed the street. When I got closer, she was looking at me, and though she didn’t say anything I could tell that she needed help. I stopped to ask her if she did.

She told me she had fallen, and I could see that she was scraped up, her knuckles were skinned and there was a little blood. There was a hematoma forming above her right eye at the temple, quite a good sized knot, quarter-sized in diameter and raised up just as much.

I asked her if she wanted me to call 911 for her, but she told me she lived just a few houses away. She could see her dog, a little brown haired malamute looking mutt, who was watching her from the yard.

I could see him too.

Her name is Susan and she told me that she had been sitting on the sidewalk unable to get up for about ten minutes while people passed by her, walked around her, and nobody offered to help. I saw that with my own eyes as I was approaching her. I watched a younger couple cross the street rather than come near her.

She told me that she is eighty years old, and that she had been living on the block for fifty years with her eighty-two year old husband. She was slightly in shock and she was crying as I helped her to her feet and walked her to her house.

I carried her bag and held her hand as we went, and I stayed with her until her husband came to the door.

I have to admit that I could understand and even empathize with anyone who had some trepidation about approaching her. While I was closing the distance between the corner of Lake and Bryant to where she was sitting on the sidewalk, I asked myself some questions, and considered some possibilities:

  1. I had to ask myself if I wanted to come in contact with her because of COVID, I was masked but she was not.
  • I had to wonder if she was just a crazy person, because there are many of them around, and if that was the case, how would I be able to help.
  • I had to wonder if it was some kind of grift going on, if she wasn’t going to try to scam me.
  • I had to wonder if it wasn’t some kind of prelude to a mugging, because, well there has been a lot of that going on (though it didn’t seem likely).

I get it, there are lots of reasons to be wary, but what a sad commentary it is on the world we live in, on my city and my neighborhood that people would pass on old-lady by and not even ask her whether she needs help.

She cried all the way back to her house.

I am ashamed of America, if that kind of indifference is what passes for normal…what the hell.

Set your fears aside and do the right thing, if you see someone in trouble, young or old, if you see that they need help…help them.

Thanksgiving, the Via Negativa

Today is Thanksgiving, a secular holiday; nevertheless, Thanksgiving is sacred to most Americans.

Many of us write reflections on this day, posting memes that express to the world the things we are thankful for, and that is nice, conscientious, appropriate. We have much to be thankful for as Americans, and we should never forget it.

A heartfelt expression of gratitude is always welcome, even the gratitude that is expressed in general for the many things we receive from those we love, by whom we are loved, for the things we are given that make our lives more comfortable, more challenging and more meaningful.

It is never inappropriate to thankful.

To express gratitude is to make one’s self humble; it is to acknowledge our reliance on others for making us into the people we have become.

Thanksgiving is a day for humility; therefore, be gracious. Be thankful…insofar as you are able, in-so-doing you will be following the way of the wise.

In theology there is something known as the apophatic tradition. In this tradition it is understood that God, by whatever name you call the creator the universe (of all that is and all we are), that God dwells in a mode of being that is beyond human understanding.

The apophatic tradition tells us that God is shrouded in mystery, a state of being that mystics describe as the cloud of un-knowing.

According to the apophatic tradition, we are not able speak in the affirmative about what or who God is, because God, the eternal and infinite, God will not be circumscribed by the finite constructs of human thought and language.

We are not able to posit meaningful assertions about the nature of the Divine; what we are left with is the via negative, the way of understanding who God is by stating what God is not.

In keeping with the via negativa, I am in the custom of forgoing the traditional giving-of-thanks, even though I am truly grateful for my friends and compatriots, I am grateful for everyone in my life, grateful for all of those who inspire me, who love me and who are patient with me every single day.

I am grateful for you.

For thanksgiving I follow the via negative, the negative way,and express what I am not thankful for.

I am not thankful for the coronavirus and COVID-19.

I am not thankful that 260,000 Americans have died from this virus, with thousands more dying everyday.

I am not thankful that there are more than 20,000,000 million Americans out of work do to safety measures we have had to take in order to fight this pandemic.

I am not thankful that tens of millions of Americans refuse to participate in those safety measures, that they do not care for the lives and safety of their neighbors, or their families or even themselves enough to wear a mask, and keep distant from one another.

I am not thankful that the track record of the United States is the worst in the world for dealing with this crises, that with four percent of the population we have twenty percent of the deaths.

I am not thankful that Donald Trump lies about these facts and figures as a means of trying to avoid responsibility for his dismal failures.

I am not thankful for the food lines that stretch for miles in some communities this holiday season so that families can have something to put on the table to celebrate the good things in their lives.

I am not thankful that the economic relief which the entire country is in desperate need of receiving is being held up by the political machinations of Mitch McConnell the senate majority leader and his caucus of heartless, short-sighted republicans.

I am not thankful that in the Fake President, Donald Trump, continues to divide us by class, culture, color, and is desperately trying to overturn the results of the election he just lost by 7,000,000 votes, and counting

I am not thankful for their collective failure of Congress to protect the constitution, or for the individual members who have forgotten their oath of office.

I am not thankful for our failures of leadership.

I am not thankful for white supremacy, and domestic terrorism.

I am not thankful for terrorism anywhere. I am not thankful for the religious fundamentalism that drives it. I am thankful neither for the fear that spawns it, nor for the fear it generates

I am not thankful that there is hunger in our bountiful world. I am not thankful for the greed and the sloth and the bad public policy that fosters it.

I am not thankful for willful ignorance, for anti-rational, anti-intellectual, demagoguery. I am not thankful for the cultural relativism that has promoted it, for anti-objectivism, for liars.

I am not thankful for Donald Trump. I am not thankful for my fellow Americans who voted for him, I am not thankful for his allies in congress or people anywhere who continue to support him.

I am not thankful for the media outlets, the reporters, the editorialists who failed and continue to fail to take the threat Donald Trump represent to our Democracy seriously. I am not thankful that they abdicated their responsibilities as the gatekeepers of society, as the so called 4th Estate, allowing his corrupt and criminal regime to cause so much harm to ordinary people.

I am not thankful for his corruption of the rule of law.

I am not thankful for our government’s continuous assault on our population of immigrants and refugees, for the way we have abdicated our responsibility to care for the asylum seeker.

I am not thankful for these things.

I am not thankful that there is so much more to add to this list.

Did I say that I am not thankful for white supremacists? I did, but let me say it again…I am not thankful for them or their apologists, both their soft supporters and their ardent advocates. I am not thankful that they have had a seat at the table in the Trump administration, I am not thankful for the normalization of that kind of hate in our society.

I am not thankful for that.

Vote XV – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

10.31.2020

Vote XV

There are three days to go before the votes begin to be counted.

Have you voted yet?

Do you have a plan?

Do you need someone to help you with your absentee ballot, or get to the polls?

If you need help, ask.

There is a good possibility that November 3rd will only mark the beginning of the struggle to free the country from the grip of this malign actor, this fake president, and the criminal regime occupying in the White House.

Stay vigilant America!

Widespread voter suppression, and GOP legal tricks and tactics aimed at not counting the votes of the American people that have been legally cast, these cannot be allowed to define our democracy and shape the structure of a government that is meant to be of the people, by the people and for the people.

Vote!

Exorcise the orange menace, and be ready to hold your local government accountable, do not let them frustrate the will of the people.

What can be said about the dire predicament we are in, except that if we allow Donald Trump and his minions to remain in power, the COVID-19 pandemic will end up claiming the lives of millions of Americans, the worst case scenario will obtain. Donald Trump has no idea how to manage the situation, and he has decided to do nothing at all, worse than that, he is actively working against the scientists and health care providers who are risking their lives to keep us safe.

Donald Trump has betrayed the public trust. He is a traitor at the head of traitorous administration.

Vote him out now!

Vote XIV – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

10.24.2020

Vote XIV

There are ten day to go before the votes begin to be counted.

Have you voted yet?

Do you have a plan?

Do you need someone to help you with your absentee ballot, or to get to the polls?

If you need help, ask.

This year has shown us in ways most of us never imagined we would experience, it has demonstrated a truth about the nature of society itself that is basic few of us ever questioned it or thought to test it, in clear and distinct terms it 2020 has shown us that we are all in this together.

For good or ill, we are all in this together, and now we have to vote like we are all in this together. The future of our republic and the fate of democracy depend on it.

We must act together to pull through this pandemic or we will all experience the worst of it…together.

Yesterday we posted a record number of new COVID-19 cases, over 80,000. WE also posted a record number the day before, and there is no end in sight.

We need leadership that will take this matter seriously and not lie to us, to rally our economy in response to it, while expanding the social safety net to manage the worst of the fallout.

We need to send Trump and his enablers packing, and put rational, civic minded policy makers in charge.

There are only ten days to go before the votes begin to be counted, fifty million people have already voted. The pandemic is only the most pressing concern we face, we have many other issues to deal with in the weeks and months and years ahead.

We need an American Awakening, we need to reengage the principles of the enlightenment that inspired the founders of our nation, and blow the trumpet for the new dawn of the age of reason.

Vote!

Your country is depending on you.

Vote XIII – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

10.17.2020

Vote XIII

If you have been paying attention you would already know that Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States, is a Russian asset, a willing asset in Vladimir Putin’s campaign to undermine our republic, and our democratic way of life.

This week the Washington Post revealed the Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump’s personal attorney was the target of a Russian Intelligence operation and has been for a least a year. Our intelligence services warned the White House that this was happening, and instead of intervening on behalf of the republic, the Trump administration let it continue, they even encouraged it.

Giuliani has been the target of a disinformation campaign, and has repeatedly passed the Russian disinformation on to Donald Trump, who takes the disinformation and amplifies it.

Be mindful, I am not suggesting that Donald Trump’s criminal acquiescence to the Kremlin has to do with anything other than the fact that he is in debt to Russian oligarch’s (read Vladimir Putin) something to the tune of 450 million dollars, but that is enough. It is happening and it is real.

Donald Trump is a traitor.

Listen!

I am not a prosecutor, and this is not a court of law. I have looked at the evidence that is publicly available and drawn my own conclusion. If we are ever able to bring him up on charges he should be entitled to all of the protections our legal system offers any defendant, but this is the court of public opinion and I am telling it like it is.

I want you to consider this:

Donald Trump’s refusal to manage the COVID-19 pandemic defies reason.

He is the most well informed person on this subject and it was revealed in Bob Woodward’s that Trump knows how deadly the virus is, and that he has been lying to the public about what he knows from the outset.

Some people suggest that his refusal to deal with the pandemic, to put forward a rational plan for managing it has something to do with his narcissism, his inability to admit that he was wrong, or simply a completely backward political calculus.

I am suggesting something that I have not heard anyone else propose, but which I think merits serious consideration. I am suggesting that his failure to manage the pandemic is deliberate, that he is taking orders from Vladimir Putin, and the result has been the death of 220,00 Americans, projected to be 400,000 by February, with no end in site.

This negligence has to be more than a manifestation of ignorance, it is malfeasance and he must be held accountable for it.

Editorial, The Week in Review – Vote X

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

09.26.2020

Vote X

There are thirty-eight days to go until the votes begin to be counted.

There are thirty-eight left on the calendar for us to take decisive action in determining the fate of our republic.

Stay vigilant in these remaining weeks and days.

Vote early, vote in person if you can. Check your ballot and ensure that all of the procedures outlined by your state have been followed, if you are mailing it in.

Vote the orange menace out!

The tyrant is losing and he knows it, he is getting increasingly desperate. He will employ more absurd and violent rhetoric, he engage increasingly dangerous activities, he will encourage his supporters, both in government and on the street to break the law and put our fellow American’s at risk to stir up chaos and generate the fog of war.

Look at what the governor of Florida has just done, with cases of COVID-19 rising across his state he has ordered that all businesses, restaurants and bars fully open. With thirty-eight days before the election the impact of this order will be felt on or about election day, it is a travesty.

Listen!

Forget about his Supreme Court pick, they are going to appoint her and she will be sworn in. Their hypocrisy notwithstanding, they have the political power to do it and they will. We can deal with that and deal with the abuse that the republicans have done to the federal courts after the election, first we must win, and win big.

Your voice is important, more now than ever, keep the conversation focused on Trump’s horrific failures, his inability to protect the American people from this virus, or even to understand the scope of the threat.

The economy in tatters, ten million unemployed, the rich getting richer, the poor being thrown of their homes, off of the insurance roles, American service men and women attacked and killed by the Russians.

Remind your friends and family of that, focus on the concrete examples of his criminality and negligence.

Vote!

 

Vote VIII – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

09.12.2020

Vote VIII

There are fifty-two days until election day, keep it cool and we will get through this together.

What do you say to people who try to tell you that Donald Trump is doing a good job, that they think he has good policies, and they believe we are better off now than we were four years ago?

Ask them to get specific; don’t let them off the hook.

Ask them about the response to the pandemic, ask them about his continuous and persistent misinformation campaign. Ask them how they feel about the fact that the United States of America has 4.25% of the global population but 25% of deaths due to coronavirus.

If Donald Trump would have taken real and decisive action, if he would have trusted the experts in his own administration instead of “playing it down” because he “likes to play it down,” and is still playing it down 1,000 people a day would not be dying from this virus.

Yesterday in Canada no one dies from the coronavirus.

Think about it. Ask that erstwhile Trump supporter to think about it.

Donald Trump, who is the fear-monger-in-chief said he “played it down,” because he didn’t want to create a panic. He withheld information from the American people that could have saved lives because he didn’t want to create a panic.

Who did he think would panic?

Not me, not almost everyone I know. We knew he was full of sh*t all along. We did what the scientists and our doctors were telling us to do: wear a mask, stay home keep distant.

No one panicked, but millions of Americans, tens of millions of Trump supporters ignored that advice, and now the economy is in tatters and the do nothing republicans in the senate and the White House are disinclined to do anything about it.

Ask whoever it is that thinks Donald Trump has good policies and is doing a good job, what is good about that.

Don’t let them off the hook, make them explain themselves, and don’t let them tell you that they are happy with him for appointing conservative judges to the federal bench.

Labor Day – A Reflection

Labor Day

Today is Labor Day, a great national holiday, a day set aside for the American worker and to celebrate the ordinary citizen.

This day is meant to honor laborers, it is a day to honor work. It is meant to be a day of rest, repose and respite, but this year it is a day that we must acknowledge our collective anxiety as there are twenty million Americans unemployed, out of work and uncertain of our future.

I spent most of my life working in the hospitality sector. Now I am self-employed but my clients are mostly restaurants, this year many of my friends and colleagues have had to shutter their businesses, close their doors, cut their hours, reduce their staff change their business model to account for the global pandemic COVID-19.  

There are millions of workers that have the day off this year who would rather be working. We have had too much time off, but the nation is not ready to reopen.

Our chief executive has abdicated the responsibility for managing this crises, preferring to pretend that it will go away on its own.

It will not.

Each of our fifty states has a different plan to handle the pandemic, some governors have followed the president’s example, abdicating their responsibility, putting it off on local governments at the county and municipality level. Some of these governors have taken even more draconian steps and signed orders that limit what local governments can do to protect their people and find a safe way to live, go to school, engage in commerce and move forward.

Today we count the number of dead at 190,000 and climbing.

On Memorial Day we were poised to cross the 100,000 threshold. Ninety thousand more Americans dies over the summer, and it did not have to be this way.

It does not have to be this way, but it will continue to be this way until we have leadership that acknowledges the scope of the emergency, and puts together a plan to manage the crises.

The economy will continue to struggle, the stock market notwithstanding, a million Americans will file new claims for unemployment every week, the unemployment rate will continue to hover around ten percent, Americans will not return to work for as long as the status quo remains the same.

The unemployed American worker needs relief. The House of representatives has passed a bill to provide. The Senate has opted not to address and the president is actively working against it.

We need the Hero’s act to pass to provide this relief, we need to keep those who are still working, working, we need it to help those who are not working return to work. We need it so that American families can keep a roof over their heads, keep the lights on, keep gas in the car, and keep food on the table

We need leadership, or we need a general strike!

Happy Labor Day my brothers and sisters, lets due the right thing!

Strike and Unite!

2020.09.07

Vote VI – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

08.22.2020

 

Vote     VI

 

 

The stage is set on the race is on, there are seventy-three days to go until the general election.

 

It has been two days since the Democratic National Convention concluded, having played out remotely due to the material necessities imposed by the global pandemic, COVID-19.

 

Many media analysts have said that the web based teleconference style of the presentations played well with the viewer, the fact that there was no-big-stage, the absence of crowds, the lack of cheering and the endless prattle of the pundits allowed for a more conversational presentation of the case the Democratic Party is making for their candidates and their platform, for our candidates and our platform, then would have been possible in the standard format.

 

The speeches that were given were somber yet hopeful, personal and hard hitting, they successfully portrayed Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the thoughtful intelligent human beings that they are…if you believe it.

 

Unfortunately, the self-styled “progressive” left, which I refer to as the fundamentalist-wing of the democratic party, they have taken no time at all to disparage the Biden/Harris ticket as not representing their interests, not in touch with the base (whatever that means).

 

They are unhappy that the spotlight has moved away from them, unhappy that the PARTY writ large is putting up the big tent in the hope of turning out a landslide victory against Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell and the rest of the treasonous traitors that make up the Republican Party.

 

All I can say is, STOP IT!

 

Stop talking about turning against Joe Biden the day after he becomes the President Elect, stop complaining about the former republicans, and Never-Trumpers who spoke at the DNC. Stop making the swing voters, whether they are traditional swing voters, or people who are going to shift party for the first, stop making them feel uncomfortable, they have come to the dance, let them in.

 

For the first time in their lives they are talking with us, with you, this is an opportunity for dialogue…take it.

 

Say your piece and listen, find common ground and hold it.

 

It is impossible to know what will happen seventy-three days from now, we may wake to find ourselves rejoicing, we may wake in a state of anxiety, we my wake to a state of despair, whatever it is that we are going to face lets face it together, with purpose and resolve.

 

Let me be clear…Your vote is so important, we need everyone to vote, to vote early, to ensure that your vote is counted, to stir your friends and family, to get them to the poles as well.

 

It is equally as important that everyday between now and then you spread the same message of hope and strength through unity of purpose.

 

Check yourself, and check those around you. Check the self-styled “progressives” if they won’t come along, tell them to keep quiet, the real change-agents are working now.

 

It is time to lead or follow, or get the hell out of the way.

 

 

Vote V – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

08.15.2020

 

Vote     V

 

Danger, danger our democracy and all of its promise is in danger.

 

One of our fellow citizens is dying from the COVID-19 every minute and a half.

 

Over five million people have been infected, by the end of the month 175,000 will have died.

 

The tyrant Donald Trump is utterly incapable of grasping the severity of it, or imagining a solution, instead of leading he spends his weekends on the gold course.

 

The orange menace is actively promoting policies that will make it worse.

 

It didn’t have to be this way, it doesn’t have to stay this way, but it will only get worse if we don’t exercise our vote.

 

Vote!

 

Vote early, request your absentee ballot now. Go to the website of your secretary of state learn what the procedure is, check your registration and vote.

 

Vote that criminal out of office. Do not wait.

 

If your state allows you to get a ballot early and deliver it by hand to a drop box, do it.

 

Donald Trump and his minion, his newly appointed Post Master General are doing everything they can to interfere with the orderly delivery of the mail. The tyrant has stated his intention behind these actions, he wants to depress the vote against him.

 

Do not let him win!

 

If the republicans in the House and Senate are not going to stand up to put an end to this madness, we must vote them out of office too.

 

Vote them all out, let them know that their time is up, vote them out and send them home.

 

The time to act is now.