Vitamin L Is Newly Discovered Miracle Drug

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Soundtrack “Shower the People” by James Taylor.

I feel myself falling apart, cracking up, dissolving into mist. Age seems to have made me uncomfortable with all I once felt to be inevitable——I’ve come to believe anything is possible if I only open myself to it.

The things that once kept me in orbit around my identity have lost their gravity. My career, relationships, friendships, possessions and money have lost value. This isn’t a mid-life crisis, it’s more about wanting to see what’s behind the movie screen—-what’s real, what’s illusion, who really know’s me, who do I really know——-it’s not a depression—-it’s a compression. It’s life closing in on me———something is slipping away, time is running out——I’m teetering between shadow and substance. I’m calling this deaf-mute universe out. Is love a bluff? Is god a ferry-tale? Is truth attainable——-What becomes of us all?

Unimaginable things seep from beneath my consciousness. I drift through deserted cities. I float above dreamscapes of forgotten worlds. From the corner of my mind there arise the faces of lost lovers from past lives .  There’s a sweet sadness to it all—–not knowing what becomes of us all.

I’ve decided to let go of all meaning and purpose and simply accept that—“What is “is”, and what ain’t, “ain’t”—That’s my hillbilly Zen koan. It’s the letting go of all the things I’ve fought and struggled to hold onto in a desperate desire to give “me” a connection to this odyssey called life——-the harder I’ve tried to grasp friendship and love, the more they’ve slipped away. The things that once made sense have fallen by the wayside, what once mattered no longer matters. I feel myself moving past, through and beyond all physical trappings.

I need a best friend, a girl to love and a faithful dog——I suppose one out of three ain’t bad.. Don’t people realize that we all crave appreciation, compliments and a feeling of being special to someone. We all need to be held, loved and told how valued we are. If those closest to us fail to do these things, then who will? Yet we seldom do.  It’s no wonder friends become estranged and lovers settle for tepid routine over burning passion.

I’m no longer gonna be the complementer, the conversation mover or the open ear to those that have nothing to offer me in return. Maybe that’s mean, vengeful and petty, but my time has grown to precious and my universe to small to make room for emotional hermits.

I once had a best friend who showed no interested in my writing or my music projects. It was a foreign land he choose not to visit. I’d wait for him to say something complementary or maybe offer an insightful comment about a line or two I’d written——- but he never did— How can you claim to be someones closest friend, and yet never book passage into their world.  Our relationship became one dimensional. I’d listen to his stories and encourage him when he was down. I was inquisitive and attentive to his travails.  I’d complement his victories, support his dreams and find ways to ease his worries. One day I stopped returning his phone calls. He left me several  messages asking why I never returned his calls——go figure?

My simple recipe for a lasting friendship is simple, show an interest in their soul-hood, be attentive to their heart-fullness (two simple steps)———Amongst all the meaningless bullshit you may share; compassion is the duct tape that will hold your relationships together. Through all of life’s peril, it’s the simple gestures of empathy and kindness that keep the paths of companionship parallel.

I once had a lover who grew loveless. We tolerated one another, we’d forgotten how to please one another.  If you truly love someone, you know the things that please them and conversely, you know the things that piss them off. My recipe for an enduring love affair is simple—— Do the things that please that person and don’t do the things that piss them off (two simple steps).

Deprived of vitamin L (love) all living things die.  Studies have shown that babies who’ve been neglected fail to thrive. Without love they curl up into a little ball and silently pass away.  Love is as essential to our survival as air and food.  Babies need to be rocked, caressed and softly spoken to. They need to know that when they cry out someone will come to comfort them.  It saddens me to know that there are adults who’ve given up on love.  They’ve given up on affection—-they no longer reach out for someone hold—–they’ve stopped calling out to be comforted.  Inside they’re literally “dying” to be loved.

What are we waiting for? Life is brief and it’s later than we realize——Anything is possible if we only open ourselves to it——Kick down the door, dynamite the debris, let your light shine into someones lonely bubble———Love is the only passport needed to enter another’s world—-“Shower the people you love with love, show them the way that you feel.” James Taylor.

Fool On The Hill

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Soundtrack “Fool On The Hill” by the Beatles.

Me at the presidential inauguration.

“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.” Charles Bukowski.

“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” Abraham Lincoln

 

Still Fighting It

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Soundtrack “Still Fighting It” by Ben Folds.

I remember those backroad travails, we weren’t lost, we were searching for something to call our own, neiave enough to still be blameless——- perfectly young, rolling down gravel roads to nowhere. We meandered through misty, foggy mornings, the taste of her coffee flavored kisses on my lips. That old VW bug was our winged Pegasus, time meant nothing, we weren’t ever gonna grow old, it would always be a kind Sunday morning world. Bored cows stared passively, red-tail hawks circled, steam rose from the river, rusty barbed wire dangled from broken down fence posts, telephone poles stretched out into infinity, the earthy smell of dew on freshly tilled soil, you at my side, we were high—–soon the cruel August sun would force us under the shade of cottonwood trees.

The lights are out, he’s on his paint chipped front porch, glowing cig, cradling an old guitar——no one to sing to cept that merciless moon. She still swims through his veins like a fully charged ell. He’s trying to remember what songs were on that old mixed bag cassette she made for him. All he remembers is the first song “Still Fighting It” by Ben Folds.

He’d of changed everything for her, but she’s a chameleon who’s forever changing. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t find the right match within him—-to suite her. The more he changed the uglier he became. He teetered between love and hate on a quivering tightrope——gravity stubbornly siding with hate—–poor love flounders about like a lame duck emerging from an oil spill.

When a man goes pride-less—-his pulse clanks like a rock against a rusted out heart. Don’t talk to him of love, cause all he ever knew of love perished in her eyes —-everyone he’d ever loved and lost frozen there. He swore that he’d never open up to another person again—-that he’d move into a cave and exist on cheap wine while scratching out pitiful sad poems about her and that stingy body she lived in.

Throwing Blind Bricks At Jealous Gods

December 9th, 2009 @ 10:58:28

Soundtrack “A Different Corner” by George Michael.

I’d take raw emotion over a calm and collective indifference. Indifference is a wall built of blind bricks———nobody see’s their own loneliness from the outside in.  The opposite of love isn’t hate, but rather indifference. It’s that mute emotion of not giving a damn———-Nobody hears the screams of their own loneliness from the inside out. Love is the tiny kindnesses we toss like pennies into a beggars heart shaped cup. Why do we deny one another passage into each others world?

I knew a girl who was childlike; she protected her stained-glass heart. Like all things of beauty, it was fragile and transcendental. She walked on rainbows, she called to the thunder, ——-and she smiled with the eyes of a child, wide open with wonder. She was impetuous, headstrong, soul-strong. She was shy, mystical, complicated, sensual and not yet broken by the restraints of womanhood.

She found the door to my world carelessly unlocked. She strolled through all of my dusty rooms flooding her light on my dark empty spaces. Her eyes fractured the morning sunlight casting tiny prisms on the walls, ceiling and floor. Her breath billowed through my sheer drapes. She smelled of citrus, her skin was salty and savory like the sea. She let me move through her, we moved in unison, we swelled, we crested and then violently crashed in on ourselves.

Outside, their cites burned, their temples crumbled and the laws of the righteous went unheeded. We trespassed into the forbidden garden———and we defied the rule of jealous gods……………as we found eternal love in a mortal’s world.

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb. Isaiah 11:6: A call for revolution

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Soundtrack, “Get Up Stand Up” by Bob Marley

“The answer my friend is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind.” I could’ve sworn that I heard that wobbly melody playing in my head the other day. The original vagabond and singer of protest song is now the Noble Prize winner in literature. And it leaves me wondering, how much change has really taken place since 1962 when that song was first released. Even Dylan doesn’t sing protest songs any longer, instead he mumbles songs from the Great American Song Book. It was never his singing voice, guitar or harmonica playing that made him a legend; he once was angry and had something to say——-“Yes, and how many times can a man turn his head And pretend that he just doesn’t see?”

Where’s the rage and the contempt for the established authority? Where’s the cadre of enraged youth demanding that the old guard move aside so that they can fix the mess they’ve been left by their parents? There’s a pervasive complacency in the world today that frightens me. There’s nihilism where idealism once reinvented itself with each new generation. When did the power of music, investigative journalism and critical thinking fall out of vogue? When did taking to the streets in protest get replaced by insipid tweets, trendy FB posts, and lame blogs——-insert angry emoji here.

It’s not as if the world has evolved into a kinder and gentler place. To the contrary, if you take a good look around you’ll see that we’ve begun to de-evolve. We’ve elected a president who’s a racist, sexist and a xenophobe. For over a decade we’ve remained mired in wars in the middle east. A conflict that was initially predicated on a lie regarding WMD. We have the “one percenters” who’s resources and wealth continue to grow as the middle class evaporates. Earnings and benefits for workers continue to shrink as the rich blatantly pay no taxes. Mr Trump hasn’t paid federal income tax for twenty years. He proudly defended this conduct by stating “Because I’m smart. “Smart” should be replaced with “greedy”. Scientist warn that global warming is destroying our environment, while leaders of industry choose short term profit over the long term effects of climate change. We have a system of government that allows billionaires to buy the outcome of elections. We have a “democracy” where a candidate can be elected president even though the majority of voters voted for the challenger. There’s mass shootings occurring on a daily basis, yet NRA refuses to indorse a ban on AR-15 “assault-type weapon,” or support thorough background checks. Every day children unnecessarily die of starvation and preventable deseases. The cost of medical care and college education has spiraled out of control. Can someone please tell me where the answer is to these travesties. Oh yes, I forgot, “The answer is blowing in the wind”.

The twenty four hour, seven day a week news cycle has diminished our capacity to feel empathy or comprehend compassion. We’ve become passive observers watching the news as a form of entertainment. We’re a society of rubber necker’s gawking at the daily mayhem. It’s reminiscent of the spectacle of blood and guts that the masses once cheered for at the Roman Coliseum. We’ve become anesthetized, desensitized and numb to the suffering of others. As the masses are fed a daily diet of misery, they’ve become consumed by a feeling of hopelessness and helplessness. We’ve become a “fuck it” society. It’s a culture that’s lost faith in the system, in democracy—–in integrity. The greatest threat to our freedom and liberty isn’t the power vested in the elite but rather in the apathy of the masses.

Imagine a mythical island that’s comprised of 100 acres of land. The island has only coconuts, bananas and goats as its form of currency. There are 100 inhabitants living on this island. An individual who calls himself the Lord Of The Land has ownership of 99 of those 100 acres of land. He also has ownership of 99% of the coconuts, bananas and goats. All the inhabitance of this island depend on this man to secure their housing and food. He picks a man to be a candidate for the position of Island chief. He gives this candidate 2 coconuts, 2 bananas and some goat cheese. This island is a “democracy” so in order for this man to become the chief he must have the majority of the 100 islanders vote for him in order to become the island chief. He divides the gifts given to him by Lord Of The Land into smaller pieces. He offers these small gifts to islanders to entice them to vote for him (trickle down economics). He promises the islanders that he will represent their rights and liberties. These promises are in conflict with the Lord Of The Lands goal to maintain ownership of 99% of the land and its resources. The new chief is indebted to the Lord Of The Land because he provided him with the coconuts, bananas and goat cheese. Once he’s elected chief he is obliged to repay the Lord Of The Land by creating laws that protect his dominion over the islands resources. Can you imagine a land such as this? Can you extrapolate how this metaphor relates to our system of governance?

The word revolution hasn’t been uttered since the writing of The Declaration of Independence or the call for equality and change echoed in the 1960’s. The only way we will be able to restore equality, fairness and justice is by organizing and utilizing our power of civil disobedience and non violent resistance. It’s always been the kings and queens, the land barons, captains of industry and the ultra rich who’ve suppressed, manipulated and taken advantage of the masses. From the beginning of time, the redistribution of wealth, resources and power is something that the majority has had to rip from the greedy hands of the powerful minority. It’s through the union of the majority (Unions) that we’ve been able to demand our fair share of the pie. Leaders that preach divisiveness are manipulating the majority into splinter groups to fight amongst themselves.  It’s a diversionary tactic that’s used to keep the majority from unifying and challenging the elites control and hold on power.

Ironically it isn’t the youth of this nation that’s risen up and demanded freedom, liberty and justice for all. No, it’s a seventy five year old Jewish man who’s attempting to mobilize a revolution. His bold message is captured in the following quote “With your support and the support of millions of people throughout this country, we begin a political revolution to transform our country economically, politically, socially and environmentally.” ~ Sen. Bernie Sanders.

It will take a revolution to right this sinking ship. It will take people organizing and standing up for the rights of all citizens. We need a new Declaration of Independence. With that in mind I’ve drafted the following document. This is a working document open to input, additions and omissions. It’s an evolving document.

The goal of the following document isn’t to provide all of the answers to our political issues, but rather to start a dialogue that gets people to utilize their critical thinking skills rather than irrational emotional responses to issues. It’s a document that requires input and inclusion from all its citizens.  Please feel free to provide input and insights into the following document.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness——-regardless of sexual orientation, race, religion, gender, age, heritage, disability or any other individual differences.

Taxes shall be levied fairly and equitably. This entails implementing a flat tax that offers no deductions or write offs for individuals, cooperations or organizations. Those individuals possessing resources and earnings in the top one percent will be taxed at a flat rate of fifty percent of their earnings and resources. Those that are reaping excessive rewards must be held accountable for paying their fair share towards the good of the community.

A living wage will be paid to individuals. Any person working full time shall be able to afford their living expenses. This will negate the need to provide food stamps to individuals working for companies that do not adequately compensate their employee’s. This is a subsidy that tax payers are currently paying to support such profit rich companies as Walmart.

Each citizen of the United States of America will be limited to one vote.
Each citizen of the United States of America will be limited to no more than a $100.00 contribution per candidate. Companies, organizations, lobbyist and special interest groups are not allowed to contribute to a candidates election. This is to prevent undue influence of such entities over politicians with whom they have financially supported.

Gerrymandering will not be manipulated to provide a political party advantage over other such parties. The process is to support a system that determines a winner of political office by a majority vote, not by biased voting jurisdictions.  The Electoral College is to be abolished. 

As a citizen of the United States of America each tax paying citizen is entitled free access to medical care. Tax revenues are to be prioritize for this purpose.  Health Care is not a commodity that only the rich can afford and access. 

As a citizen of the United States of America each tax paying citizen is entitled free access to college or technological school. Tax revenues are to be prioritized for this purpose.  Education is not a commodity that only the rich can afford and access. Motivated students should not be saddled with huge college debt upon their graduation.  

Social Security and Medi Care are guaranteed to all tax paying citizens. These programs shall reflect the cost of living and not be privatized. Taxes are to be prioritized for this purpose. A nation is judged by how it respects and treats it most vulnerable individuals; the young, the old and those populations and individuals who possess limited resources and power.

Politicians will be limited to a maximum of two terms. This is to prevent politicians from using their power to stay in office rather than serve those who voted them into office.

Just like a vehicle, all guns must be registered and licensed. Automatic weapons are outlawed, thorough background checks are mandatory.

All vehicles, factories and related industries must meet strict environmental standards to counter the affects of global warming and pollution. Failure to comply will result in stiff penalties.

All candidates running for public office must disclose their tax returns. This is to prevent conflict of interests.

Freedom of speech and freedom of the press is protected and guaranteed.

Individuals or business that hire undocumented immigrants will suffer a stiff fine. The fine will progressively increase by the number of illegal employee’s and the frequency of infractions. The number of work visas will be increased in accordance with need and demand by employers.  These employees will be compensated at an equitable rate.  

Freaks Of Nature And Poets

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Soundtrack “Everglow” by Coldplay.

This life is a shallow grave I’ve been digging with a dull shovel and a shot glass. Slowly burying myself beneath December snows, camouflaged smiles and broken pledges. Time doesn’t stand still, it’s a freight train carrying away everything and everyone; it leaves me with these stillborn dreams——— tattered memories, fleeting victories and mounting troubles. This life doesn’t easily fill in an inside straight. One day you’re gonna lose someone too———it’s a matter of time and how the cards fall…….

They say that time marches on, but when my mother became ill and bedridden, I saw the parade become a stumble, a fall and then a crawl. And yet she held on by her fingernails, she held on for us. Love wrestles with time. Neither of the two compromise nor offers up apologies or excuses, they sever the strings on the most beautiful bouquet of balloons.

This life is a shallow dug grave. I lie sleepless, entombed In the emptiness that fills this darkest of nights. I’ve been fooled by counterfeit kisses and the charade of wilted romance. I never knew love until I found you.——-I should’ve never let you go or told you that I’d given up on us. This regret keeps me awake at night, it’s a blunt dagger plunged into destinies back.

It’s always cold here. I can feel winter creeping in, chilling me to the bone with its impassive wind. You once gave me a perfume scented photo. On the backside was the lipstick imprint of a scarlet colored kiss. I’d close my eyes and put my lips to it. I couldn’t stand to look at it any longer, so I tore it up. I lit the scraps of paper on fire and watched them burn yellow and red.

For the first time in my life I’d felt understood——-I’d always been a social catastrophe, saying the wrong thing, at the wrong time, to the wrong person.  And things were no different when we first met. In a feeble attempt to impress you I mumbled “I’m a writer”. —-You mockingly asked me to write you a poem—- so I did. As you read my words there flashed a nakedness in your eyes—I could see a quiver in your lip.  Everything before and after that moment has been nullified. Vulnerability is a free fall few loves endure.

Our bodies naturally fit together——-we moved in perfect rhythm———like siamese twins, we shared a common heartbeat. I miss that inseparable closeness, like the finale pieces of a puzzle miraculously finding their intended resting place.

You and I were drawn to one another like two awkward kids on the first day of school. One misfit can always recognize a fellow misfit, like how an addict recognizes a fellow addict. It’s in that hollow look the homeless street beggar carries in his eyes. Only the bullied know that helpless feeling of being singled out for the most grievous of reasons, for being different. You made it okay for me to be a renegade, to be unusual———to be what you once called me——“Your poet“. You understood these things, because you’ve hitchhiked that same lonely road only to be passed over by a world that wants nothing to do with freaks of nature and poets. And such banishment only brought us closer together.

Close your eyes and see me still inside you. I’ve been saving all my receipts because one day I’m gonna return all this shit I never needed. You and I burned it all down, until all that was left was snuffed candles and fine white ash. You left your blue flame smoldering inside me. I dreamt you walked through the fire, and once again I watched it burn yellow and red——-and it warmed me?

Playing The Trump Card

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Soundtrack “An American Tune” by Paul Simon.

Does copper rust? I sure hope not, because the statue of liberty is crying. Democracy has taken a wrong turn, and all of the soldiers who fought and died for such ethereal things as justice, equality and freedom have been betrayed. Our democratic foundation was built on the belief that all men (and woman) are created equal, but the outcome of our recent election has revealed cracks in these tenets that we once held as self evident. We have been mislead into an “us against them” world, creating a myopic America where those with different cultural backgrounds, religious beliefs, sexual orientation and racial heritage are no longer welcomed or tolerated.  In fact, they’ve been singled out and blamed for our financial, social and national woes.

Our president elect has exploited these divisive beliefs in order to single himself out as the only person with the power and knowledge to solve our problems. He’s gained power by preying on our weakest of emotions—–fear! This is a primal emotion that causes us to dehumanize those that are different from us (please see Hitler and the Jews as an historical reference). This is the antithesis of what Hilary Clinton had proclaimed “We are stronger together.” Hate is the stepchild of fear and hate separates us and makes us politically weaker. Striking a single match of hate can ignite a firestorm capable of burning down the noblest of palaces.

I guess I thought we were better than this. Better than the hate spewed by an authoritarian fascist. It seems as though our blessed pledge of allegiance and our beloved “God Bless America” our merely flimsy words we’ve chanted until they’ve lost their meaning. And now, I sadly see the difference between pledges and actions, ideology and reality, democracy and rhetoric, integrity and malevolent tweets. Our covers have been pulled back to reveal something ugly and hate driven—–hypocrisy and bigotry.

Those that our weak and fearful give up their power to authoritarian leaders who will make decisions without their consent. After all, it’s easier to have someone give simplistic black and white answers in a kaleidoscope colored world. Those that want simple answers to complex social issues are willing to suspend their belief in decency, empathy and fairness in exchange for a catchy soundbites like “Make America Great Again”. Such slogans feel good to shout and fit neatly on bumper stickers.  They’re emotionally potent but anemic in details and substance. What has always made America great has been its ability to create opportunity for all of its citizens, not just the ones who fit into a narrow minded definition of “American”. The American melting pot has morphed into a sifter, allowing  only those of a certain pedigree to call themselves “American——enough”.

Donald’s “Trump card” has always been to delegitimize his opponents. Eight years ago he attempted to delegitimize President Obama by claiming that he was not born in America and therefor not eligible to be president. He tried to delegitimized Carly Fiorina by exclaiming “Look at that face. Would anyone vote for a face like that?” He tried to delegitimize Megyn Kelly by insinuating that she was asking tough questions because she was menstruating. He tried to delegitimize a reporter by mocking his disability. He tried to delegitimize Mexican immigrants by lumping them into a single group and claiming  “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapist”.  He followed this up by stating “They’re some bad hombres”. He delegitimized females by objectifying them and claiming that because he’s rich and famous he can kiss whoever he wants and grab any woman by their privates. He tried to delegitimize a judge who was presiding over his case by claiming that because he was of Mexican decent that he would not be impartial in doing his professional duties. He attempted to delegitimized Hillary Clinton by repeatedly addressing her as “Crooked Clinton”.

I’m still trying to comprehend why folks would vote for someone as caustic as Trump. I’ve come to believe that his inflated charisma is due to what I call the “Kardashian Effect”. We live in a culture that’s hypnotized by celebrity worship. Individuals become celebrities simply from their incessant media exposure.  Their sole talent is in extending their fifteen minutes of fame by being a provocateur.  If you’re trending, you’re winning.  If it smells it sells. And, if it spins, repeat it again.  Being civil and polite is so pedestrian, while being inflammatory and irreverent is sexy——and more importantly, it entertains and it sells.

And with fame there comes many benefits.  Fame allows one to manufacture counterfeit truth.  It then offers a megaphone so that this truth can be broadcasted far and wide.  Fame provides celebrities with a teflon conscience and an alzheimer’s memory.  And finally, it comes with a get out of jail free card, “I’m rich and famous, so the rules and laws don’t apply to me……”

Trump once claimed, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” I can only imagine Trumps twitter feed after such an incident “Today I shot and killed an individual on 5th Avenue. I believe he may have been an illegal Mexican immigrant rapist who practices the Muslim faith and was most likely an operative for ISIS.”   His millions of twitter followers would read the tweet, nod their head and respond with “Good job”.  As the saying goes, the only bad press is no press and the only thing worse than being talked about, is not being talked about. The media is the message. It no longer matters what someone says or does, what matters is if they’re accruing media time by creating drama. The individuals who dominate the media landscape and exploit their notoriety, are the people who are mapping the future of our culture.

We’ve become victims of the Stockholm syndrome. We’re willing hostages to a 24/7 media obsession. We’ve been brainwashed into thinking that the media is are our caretaker, our savior, our guardian of truth.  If something is said long enough and loud enough it becomes reality. Perception isn’t reality, perception is propaganda. Truth and reality is no longer the message, entertainment and ratings are the message. We surf the internet or change channels until we find our preferred brand of reality.  Where do you acquire your version of truth? Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, Rush, Bill Maur?

The pundits and the professionals newscasters have become puppets to whatever or who ever gets the highest viewer ratings or the most clicks on social media. Being outrageous and offensive allows those who are skilled manipulators a platform to garner attention and followers. It makes them appear to be “The next big thing” If it bleeds it leads. If it smells it sells. If it spins, repeat it again. News and politics are no longer about facts or checks and balances, its about entertainment.  Trump is a showman, an entertainer, a master manipulator. He knows all the magic tricks, the art of distraction, deception and misdirection. When life becomes complicated, we may choose to suspend reality—-to believe in magical thinking.  It’s naive to believe that someone can snap their fingers and make a white dove appear——and it’s equally foolish to think that someone can  wave a magic wand and make eleven million immigrants disappear or sprinkle magic dust on the ground and suddenly have a 2,000 mile wall appear—-paid for by the Mexican government.  Some tricks are illusions, while others are outright lies…..I suppose “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you can’t fool all the people  all the time”. Abraham Lincoln

As our democracy slips into a downward spiral we must be vigilant. Our leaders will be looking for scapegoats to blame for our countries financial, social and national woes. First they’ll marginalize those that they want to exclude. They’ll say things like “They’re American, but not as American as us”. The second step will be to delegitimize those that they want to sequester. They’ll say things like “They’re not Americans and they’re not like us”. The third step will be to dehumanize those that they want to eliminate. They’ll say things like “They’re not American, they’re not like us——they’re subhuman”. This is a predictable pattern that has been employed throughout history by fascist authoritarian leaders who are seeking to gain and sustain their power.

I’ll leave you with some suggestions to consider as we enter into this new area of designer realities and malleable truths……

  1. Don’t allow yourself to be hypnotized by celebrity. Fame does not equal integrity.
  2. Advocate for your own education. Just because someone or something is on the internet or TV does not make what’s being represented accurate or true.
  3. Be extremely suspicious of someone who is offering simple answers to complex issues. Slogans, soundbites and bumper stickers are tools to encourage magical thinking.
  4. Do not fall into the trap of generalizing, stereotyping or profiling one group of people as being the sole reason that a problem exists.  These prejudices need to be run through your bullshit detector.
  5. Never bargain away your freedom, liberty or justice as an end to justify the means.
  6. Don’t be manipulated by fear. The only remedy for fear is courage. Question authority, demand facts, stay on point, demand verifiable results not anecdotal statements. Repeat your question until you’re satisfied with the answer.
  7. If someone minimizes, delegitimizes or dehumanizes a person or group of people, tell them that this is America, a land where all men and women are created equal. Reiterate that our Declaration of independence guarantees all citizens life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Remind them that thousands of men and women have fought and died to preserve these inalienable rights and that they’re not negotiable and will never be compromised.
  8. Don’t be fooled by a herd mentality. Just because a lot of people are saying something or doing something does not make it right or ethical.
  9. Don’t become emotionally attached to your beliefs. Do your research, pay attention to details and facts. Look at issues with an open mind and test your outcomes by playing the devils advocate.
  10. Get out of your bubble.  Don’t rely on a specific news network, a celebrity or a group of like minded friends to be your only reference point when assessing ideas and information.

It’s impossible to legislate morality, but I pray for the day when we evolve to the point where compassion, empathy and acceptance are valued more than power, greed and intolerance.