The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse

0f60a78771cdb52c162da7760e40d525They’re on their way

Not recommended for bedtime reading

Soundtrack “Sympathy For The Devil” by The Rolling Stones.

I’m two beers and a shot past midnight as I make my way down a rainy street on a dying Sunday.  I pass an old rundown house that’s still wearing it’s Christmas lights in late March. What a sad and pathetic sight. But after all, everyday down here feels as morose as the day after Christmas.  I stroll past a group of bums huddled together under a tiny bus-stop shelter. They aren’t sad, they throw their heads back and laugh and hack deep husky coughs. I watch as they pass their generic cigarette around and count their beggars change to buy another bottle.  This is socialism at its best.  

I score a couple of rocks from a big black dude who’s street name is killer.  He has sleepy red eyes and a bulge under his leather coat that corroborates how he’d acquired his nick name. Killer is an evolutionary capitalist, his philosophy is that the big fish eat the little fish. He wears a face that says “Don’t fuck with me”. This corner is his domain and if you know what’s good for you, you won’t question his Province.

I lean against the wall of the damp alley and light my pipe.  I smell and taste that familiar chemical flavor I’d been craving.  I’d promised myself that this would be my last time and that tomorrow I’d straighten up and start writing my great American novel. Man, when I’m high I can feel a million stories exploding through veins.  I’d love to write some of this shit down, but I’ve pawned my computer, my phone————-my soul.  

The devil keeps my redemption locked up in a cage down in that fiery netherworld. Salvation is a hard thing to come by when the key to it is held by my worst enemy—– that enemy being me. You see, the devil isn’t in the drug, it isn’t in the guy who sell’s me the shit, it’s in the bullshit I feed myself.  We all have our devils and demons, but some of us just feed our’s better than others.  I’ve gone from believing I’m the master of the beast to realizing that I’m his slave in a freak-show.

I’ve decided that today will be the day I stand up and face the devil and his cadre of demons. I’m going down into the belly of the beast to do battle.  It won’t be as simple as one battle, it will be a lifelong war.  Satan has the high ground, he can give me extreme earthly pleasures.  He will make me feel like I’m right and the world is wrong.  He’ll support my victim mentality. But there’s a high price to paid for unearned luxury. 

There are only three types of people who dare trespass into the belly of the beast.  They’re either holy men, madmen or those who have come to the stark realization that it’s either fight for redemption or dive into those eternal flames.  I’m in the latter group, I’ve used up all my excuses and burnt all my bridges.  I’d worn out all my friends and family and squandered whatever potential I once possessed. I’m done waiting on someone or something to come and save me.  Salvation is a personal quest.

Some go into the belly of the beast and never resurface.  Some go there and resurface as a Bodhisattva.  And then there are those who lose their mind in search of their soul.  But if you’re gonna go down there, you gotta go all the way and you gotta go it alone.  No one can save you from yourself——–but yourself.

Hell is knowing that you’re a fraud, it’s hating yourself for becoming the worst possible version of what might have been. It’s intentionally pushing everyone away who cares about you because it hurts too much to have others care about something you’ve long ago given up on  My god, I’m fucked up——but here I am again, in the alley, siting on the curb with my feet in the gutter. Damn, it’s so hard to believe I can do better when I feel worthless.  Hating everyone and everything made my addiction bearable, these dark emotions fueled my self destruction.  Self hatred has robbed me of my most potent of tools; love and courage. When I descend into that inferno I will need love to be my sword and courage my armor. I’m tired of being ashamed——-tired of being sick, tired of being what I’ve become. 

I’m on a dark stairway that’s slippery from the blood of broken hearts. Above there’s a chandelier constructed of sun bleached bones.  There’s a chorus of horrifying screams and god forsaken moans from the other lost souls. In the background an organ plays its mournful dirge. I tentatively push open the squeaky gates causing a flock of bats to take flight.  The beating of their wings startles me.

There is a heaviness in the air, it feels as if this place is the center of gravity for all of the worlds unforgiven sins. I make my way down a candle lit corridor.  It opens up into a cavernous cathedral of horrors.  From the ceiling there swings decaying corpses with their red bulging eyes dislodged from their sockets. Drooling zombies rush about with dozens of hypodermic needles stuck  in their arms.  A goole hunches over a withering body as he repeatedly stabs at it and then licks the blood from his knife.  In the shadows ragged figures fornicate with half goat, half human creatures. This is not only the theater of the absurd, it’s a chamber of pure evil. Above me flying beast with bat wings screech and rain spit down on me.  The air is filled with an over powering oder of rotting flesh.  Creatures in chains with putrid breath scream out asking for mercy as they are being led by demons into a lake of fire.  From the lake comes the revolting smell of singed hair and burnt flesh. 

Every fiber of my being is telling me to turn around and bolt back up the stairs to a place of green fields, where I might negotiate for forgiveness and pray for the rarest of commodities——-a second chance.    Sitting upon a throne on a high riser sits Lucifer the prince of darkness. His eyes are red like burning coals, where his feet should be there are hoofs. He amuses himself with an anaconda as it curls and constricts around his arms and neck.  He bites into an apple and offers me a sinister grin. He stretches out his hand and asks in a deep throaty voice “How about a nibble? You look like a lover of forbidden fruit.”  I nervously shake my head no.  He stands up and yells in a death metal scream “What the fuck do you want?”   I try to speak but my mouth is to dry to form a word.  “Speak up you little bastard, a good servant should never makes his master wait.”  

I muster all my courage and manage to speak in a squeaky voice “I’ve come to take my soul back.”  He throws his head back and laughs.  “You’ve got a fucking short memory.  You signed the fucking contract. You traded your soul for all those little goddamn things you said you wanted, desired, needed.”  My fear was beginning to lean towards anger.  “You never gave me shit.  You used me.”  He looked me straight in the eye and laughed.“You struck a deal with the devil, what did you think you’d get, honesty, integrity? You’re gonna get what you fucking deserve, an eternal timeshare in hell.”  He removed his purple robe and spread a pair of huge black wings.  “Do you like my wings? I can give you wings just like these.  All you have to do is to continue to do my bidding.  Just keep being as bad and evil as you have been and someday you’ll have dominion over all this darkness.”  He offers me a mocking thunderous laugh.

“I don’t want your wings. I don’t want your darkness. I want my soul back.  Our contract is void because you never gave me any of the things I bargained for.” He gives a snide little snicker as one of his minions fly to his side and hands him a paper.   “Here is your contract.  Now let’s take a little gander at what you traded your sour for.  Number one. You asked for ecstasy and I gave you crack—check.  Number two. You asked for a loyal family. I gave you a group of gang bangers made up of thief’s, thugs and murders—— check.  Number three. You asked for a profession. I made you a thief to support your drug habit—–check.  Four. You asked for unrestricted sex with many.  I made you a prostitute to support your drug habit——check.  Number five. You asked for freedom.  I gave you the street and homelessness—–check. Number six. You asked for a purpose.  I made you an addict—– check.” “You tricked me.  You twisted my words and made a fool of me.”  “No shit, I’m the devil and that’s what I fucking do.  I break hearts, I steal souls, I tear apart families and friendships.  I’m a destroyer of hope, a revoker of faith.  And now it’s fucking time for you to pay up ass hole.” 

I stammered, “What about love? What about self respect?  Why can’t you give me those things?”  He just shook his head, “I can’t give you what you’ve never asked for.  Those are things only you can give yourself.  You should’ve read the small print kid.”  He points to the backside of the contact where there’s an extremely small line of written words. In a mocking voice satan reads from the contract. “By signing this contract I agree to no longer love myself.  I agree to shed myself of all integrity and self respect.  I will be an instrument of hate and loath everyone, everything——including myself.”  He stretched out his wings in a show of power. “Something you dumb shit mortals never seem to understand is that if you don’t love and respect yourself, then how the fuck can you ever love or respect anyone else.”   

He straightens the gold pentagram around his neck. “I have power over many things, but I have no dominion over love and ones self worth——those things are god given. I deal in the transitory sins such as desire, vanity, money, greed, drugs, pride, alcohol, sex, power and possessions. These are the tools that make it easy for me to enslave mortals such as you. These bargaining chips are extensions of the seven deadly sins, also known as the cardinal sins spoken of in Revelations. It never ceases to amaze me—–what evil mortals will do for such petty prizes.”

He spread his wings and circled around before landing in front of me. He encroaches into my space. “I’ll give you back your soul under one condition. You must deliver to me a man who rivals my evil, possesses my hate and has the power to deceive and divide humanity. I need such a man to lead  my apocalypse.  Do you accept my challenge?”  I allowed myself to show some bravado as I stared straight into his eyes.  “I know of such a man.  He worships all the things you have to offer. He’ll gleefully exchange eternal damnation for your earthly pleasures.  He will mount and lead the charge of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.”  Satan nodded in confirmation.  “So be it! I will provide whatever is needed to make this monumental deal a sucess.” He grimaced showing his yellow fangs and exhaled a ball of fire that singed my eyebrows and hair.

I awoke face down in a dumpster.  In a daze I stumbled out of the alley.  Had I awoken from a nightmare or was this vision a drug induced hallucination? There lingered the smell of burnt hair in the air and the soles of my boots left a trail of bloody footprints.  I knew then and there that I’d struck a deal with the devil and this would be my final chance to redeem my soul. 

I opened my wallet to find it stuffed with hundred dollar bills.  I went to the most expensive tailor in New Your and purchased the finest suit that money can buy.  I then went to a spa to have my hair styled, a shave and a manicure.  I placed both my hands on my briefcase and summoned the credentials I would need to close this deal.  I looked in the mirror and was amazed at my transformation. If you can judge a book by its cover, then I resembled a wind swept hero on the cover of a cheap pulp fiction paperback.  

I sat in the back seat of my chauffeured limousine as it made its way down 5th avenue towards midtown   I opened my briefcase and retrieved a cellphone with the number of my contact preprogramed.  I pressed the dial button and waited for someone to answer. From the other end there came a stern and impatient voice, “Hello.” When I responded l was surprised to hear my voice come out with a thick Russian accent “Hello, I think you know who I am.   I’m your handler from the East. I was hoping that you’d be available for a discrete meeting? And, if you are available, I’d like to introduce you to the greatest deal maker of all time.”  I knew that this comment would set a hook in his ego. From the other end of the phone there came a gasp.  “Bullshit!  Everybody knows that I’m the greatest dealmaker that’s ever lived.  Who the hell is this person you’re speaking of, and what does he have to offer me?” “He has anything and everything that you’d ever desire, at a basement price.  In fact, he’s willing to take matters deeper than the basement.”  He responded “I’m a busy man, so this had better not be a waste of my fucking time. I’ll meet with you and your so called deal maker. I’ll show you both who’s the greatest deal maker of all time.  I’ll let security and my secretary know to allow you and your Monty Hall impersonator into my tower.”  

I felt that little head rush that comes when taking an elevator to the the upper floors.  The elevator stops at the thirteenth floor and in walks an immaculately dressed Lucifer. He tips his hat and offers up a sinister smile “Thirteen is my favorite number.”  I press the button for the top floor. The elevator doors opens and we’re escorted into a large office.  Behind the dark oak desk is a huge floor to ceiling window with a panoramic view of New York city’s skyline.  One might even mistake this grand office as heavens vestibule. 

“Please have a seat”  He gestures for us to take a seat in the leather chairs facing his desk.  “So, my Russian friend here say’s that you want to offer me one hell of a deal?”  The devil nod’s and begins “Yes, I think you and I have much in common and many similar interests and aspirations.  You are also a man of wealth and taste who possesses great intelligence.  You alone are the only one who has the capacity to rule this floundering world.” I sit back and watch as he sets the hook ever deeper into his narcissistic soul.  “I have the power to make all of your dreams come true.”   Feigning disinterest, he leans back in his desk chair and begins to clean beneath his fingernails with a pewter letter opener with the initials “DT” carved into the handle. “And in exchange for this what do want from me?”  “I will get to that, but first let me tell you of all the things I can lay at your feet.” 

“I will make you the most powerful man in the world.  I’ll give you authority over the largest and best equipped army ever assembled.  I’m offering you the power to destroy your enemies with the push of one button.  I will give you the ability to make your followers believe your lies as if they were indisputable truths. I will rain down on you billions and billions of dollars.  As for women, I will make it possible for you to lay down with Playboy centerfolds and Porn Stars.  I will make you more famous than the pope and you will be worshiped like the greatest of pop stars.  You will be famous with your name and face plastered on every magazine, TV news program and newspaper. You will have every material comfort that any man might ever ask for.  I offer you these things because I know that you are a man of discriminating taste and know the virtues of fame and fortune.”

He places his letter opener on the desk and folds his arms.  “You have my attention.  But what is it you want from me?”  “What I require from you is written within this contract.” He motions for me to open the briefcase and provide him with a contract. “I’ve taken the liberty to draw up a cursory contract itemizing the minor concessions you need to provide in exchange for all the gifts, pleasures and powers I will bestow upon you.”   

“Let me read to you the paltry stipulations required on your part. You must turn your back on those who’ve trusted in you.  You will side with the East cover the west and in doing so you’ll solidify your earthly power.  You will use your orator skills to deceive and manipulate the masses with lies and falsehoods.  You must use all your powers to sew divisiveness.  You will exploit the diversity in individuals and cultures to fan the flames of hatred. You will build walls to separate countries and foster mistrust. You must be willing to separate families and cage children. You will turn people against one another by promoting fear and hatred.  Through fear and hatred you will create friction between faiths, nationalities, races, gender, political affiliations and ideologies. You will take credit for the rising stock-market making the rich richer, while the less fortunate die due to the lack of shelter, food and water.   As chaos rages around you, you shall retreat to your castles and send out inflammatory rhetoric fueling your fires of divisiveness and hate.  Many are called but few are chosen, and because of your greatest, you are the chosen one.” The hook has been set, the line now drawn taut and all that was left to do was reel him in.

 He unfolds his arms and clasps his hands together.  “This sounds like a reasonable deal, but what about those who are close to me?   I must be provided with an assurance that I will have the power to pardon them from all earthly laws.”  “Yes of course.  I will also allow you the power to pardon yourself of earthly laws.  You will have dominion over all earthly laws because you will be above the law.  If this meets with your satisfaction all you need to do is sign right here on this doted line.”

He takes a golden pen from his pocket and reaches out for the contract.  Satan shakes his head and takes the pen from him and hands him the pewter letter opener. “I’m sorry my friend, but I’ll require that signature in blood.”  He takes the letter opener and grimaces as he pierces the tip of his finger. He then smiles “Sir, you drive a hard bargain but I’m the only one who’s truly mastered the art of the deal.” He pushes back his orangish hair to reveal a set of stubby horns. “As you can see I’ve acquired my horns. I can’t wait to earn my wings.”  

In order to retrieve my soul I headed back down into the belly of the beast.  “I’ve fulfilled my obligation and I’m here to retrieve my soul.”  The devil gives me a little smirk and responds “I’ve been thinking about you and was hoping that perhaps we might work a new deal.  I remember you once saying something about wanting to write the great American novel.  I could maybe help you out with that.”  I defiantly shake my head no.  He continued “Imagine having your novel being number one on the New York Times best sellers list.  I can arrange that.  In addition, how about having your novel recommended reading by Oprah’s book club?  I can make that happen too.  Maybe we could arrange to have that novel turned into to a screen play and a winner of numerous Oscars.  You’re so talented and gifted, it’s only right that you receive some recognition and compentsation for all your hard-work.”  I could feel my chest begin to swell with the thought of attaining all of these accolades.  “I’ve taken the liberty of drawing up this little arrangement and it awaits your signature.”  I take the contract and pen in my hand and stare at the dotted line.  I take a deep breath and hesitate.  I pick the contract up and tear it into pieces.  “I’ll take my soul back now—–and as for you—–you can go to hell!”

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse 

Although some interpretations differ, in most accounts, the four riders are seen as symbolizing Conquest, War, Famine, and Death, respectively.

The seven deadly sins or cardinal sins.

The seven capital sins, also commonly referred to as the seven deadly sins or cardinal sins, are pride, greed (or covetousness), lust, anger, gluttony, envy and sloth. These are thought to be the sins to which human nature is most susceptible, and they are said to be the origins of other sins.

I’m Neurotic, NO—–I’m A Writer

 

Soundtrack by Keith Jarrett “The Koln Concert”.

At dusk when the city is quiet and the sun fades, and as the city lights gradually begin to come on, I get this empty feeling inside. Being empty is better than being consumed by the nothingness that comes with unfulfilled desire.. I’m better than all the bullshit that comes along with trying to be something or someone I’m not. I’ve grown tired of playing parts that no longer suit me. Those that fail to change or evolve become fossils, emotional and intellectual mummies—-soul sucking zombies. Their conversations are archeological digs into a dead past. That may sound petulant, but it’s the truth.

There’s always been this distant between me and what’s passed off as reality. Where does your reality end and my illusion begin? Is it faith, not gravity that holds this universe together? Is it hope that becomes the step child of mercy? The music is already there, you just need to let go and find it——listen…

I don’t really know anyone anymore. My wife, my children, my friends, everyone seems so unreachable. Is it me or is it them? Do others ever feel this stoic ache? Maybe it’s the cliche that we all grow apart? Is there an expiration date that comes with relationships from the factory?

I remember her giving me a hug, but it felt different. She was no longer giving herself to me, it felt like she was pulling away from me—–it wasn’t a good to see you embrace, it was a cradled farewell.

She let go and we stood there looking at one another as if we were strangers——-it felt awkward. There was a timeless silence weighting the moment down. I believe in love at first sight…….Conversely, I believe that growing apart happens imperceptibly slow——it happens so gradual that it’s almost undetectable.

I’m beside myself as I watch my-self experience life. I sometimes get lost in the bathroom mirror.——-At times I forget which side of the mirror is me and which is an empty reflection. Am I real? What’s this whole thing about? Where’s it all leading? How did it get started? I feel myself falling through time and space on a little blue ball——Are we alone? Am I alone? I take these thoughts apart and reassemble them.

Did I mention that I over think everything? I’m neurotic, NO, I’m a writer——one and the same!

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid Manson, Jim Jones, Hitler, Putin—Trump

mc_escher_-_eye

Drawing by M.C. Esher.

I have come to the conclusion that Trump has all the qualities of a cult leader. In spite of his broken promises and litany of false statements, his fanatical followers remain mesmerized and loyal. In this piece I’m going to examine the psychology of why people hand their minds, their very lives and souls over to charlatans and con men.

Cult leaders such as Trump are master manipulators. They possess a bag of tricks that provide them with the power to control individuals who are vulnerable. The individuals who are lured into a cult have a need to be a part of something bigger than themselves.  They are looking for a way to avoid the angst of an existential crises.  Charley Manson, Jim Jones and the Hitlers of the world are quick to recognize individuals who are willing to give up their independence in exchange for a leader that provides them with simple answers to life’s complex questions.

Trumps campaign promises were built on unrealistically simple solutions. Here’s a sample of some of his quick, easy and absurd solutions—–Build a wall and have Mexico pay for it, seize and deport millions of immigrants, quickly and effortlessly wipe out ISIS and all related terrorist groups, immediately withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan, renegotiate all of the United States trade agreements with his “Art Of The Deal” smarts, repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with his secret program that he claimed would be cheaper and provides better coverage, provide the middle class with a huge tax break while vowing to never reduce funding for the Social Security program, dropping the United States support for the Paris Climate Agreement because climate change is fake science, to discharge all transgender individuals from the military, to bring back coal mining jobs, to drain the swamp in Washington by kicking out all the lobbyist and special interest groups.

The crowds at his rally’s cheered and applauded enthusiastically as he made these baseless promises. They believed that his path to “Making America Great Again” would be simple. He provided no details or substance to his promises, they were emotional slogans designed to appeal to a frustrated and angry constituency. The impulses of anger ultimatley lead to poor decision making.

His support has gradually begun to shrink, but many of his core supporters continue to believe in his campaign slogan to “Make America Great”. But like the cult leader who’s end of the world prediction date fails to materialize, there are followers who still continue to be loyal to him and his failed promises. Such individuals are so emotionally and mentally invested in the cult and its leader, that it becomes impossible to back out and admit that they’ve been duped. Ironically, as the leader is exposed to be a fraud, his core followers become more fervent in their loyatley. Fanaticism is fueled by impulsive emotions rather than logic and common sense.

Lets examine some of the common traits shared by cult leaders and Mr Trump.

  1. They are authoritarian and demand an unquestioning loyalty. Trump expected to receive James Comey’s vow of personal loyalty and manipulate him into dropping the Russian collusion investigation.
  2. Followers are expected to not ask any questions of the cult leader, but to blindly believe what the leader states as truth.
  3. Followers are told that facts, data or information that’s contrary to the cults beliefs are fake or false (fake news?). The cult leader is the only conveyer of truth. His reality is to be accepted as the groups reality.
  4. Followers are taught that there are two worlds, an evil outside world and then there is the cults version of the world/reality as defined by the cult leader.. There is no gray area, it is a black and white choice.
  5. These leaders present an “us against them” scenario. They exploit the differences between races, religions, nationalities and sexual orientation. Individuals that hold different beliefs than the cults are judged as inferior and evil.
  6. The cult leader will use divisiveness, fear and hate speak to scare their followers into trusting no one but them. They will tell their followers that those who are not devout to the cults cause are the enemy who are taking their jobs, their resources, their America.
  7. These leaders deflect personal responsibility by casting blame on others. It’s the media, the deep state, the democrats, the republicans, the alt-left, the alt-right, the Muslims the Mexicans, the Chinese etc…..Cult leaders never accept blame, they cast blame on everyone other than themselves.
  8. Followers are isolated from outside information and influences. Followers are instructed to read and listen to specific outlets that support the cult beliefs e.g. Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, Fox and Friends and other programs that espouse supportive propaganda. Cult followers live in a close minded bubble.
  9. Cult leaders believe that laws and appropriate moral conduct does not apply to them. Due to their position of authority and power they often use and abuse followers. “And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything … Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”
  10. They expect to be catered to and showered with praise. They are narcissistic and egocentric. They lack empathy and the ability to understand the suffering of others.
  11. Cult leaders will claim to be superior to their followers. They believe that they are more intelligent or have augmented skills above and beyond a normal person. Trump stated that he knows more than the generals. He brags that his ingenious “deal making skills” and business savvy qualify him as a superior leader. Some cult leaders even claim to be ordained by god to lead the cult to salvation. Some may say that god speaks directly to them. Trump stated: “Well I think I was born with the drive for success because I have a certain gene”.
  12. Cult leaders can never admit that they are wrong. They will never offer an apology. They will cast blame on others rather than own up to any of their mistakes or short comings.
  13. They will use threats and bullying techniques to keep followers under their control. Fear is a weapon that they often employ. They may threaten physical and/or emotional harm to those not following the leaders rules. Trump has said he would like to punch a demonstrator in the face and has encouraged his followers to physically throw out demonstrators, suggesting that they be taken out on a stretcher. “Maybe he should have been roughed up, because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing,”
  14. They are paranoid. Any person who is perceived to be a threat to their power and control will be fired, banished or in someway separated from the group. Trump continues to have a phenomenal turn over in his administration.
  15. They thrive on praise and attention. Trump fulfills this need by holding his rally’s in venues packed with his core fanatical followers.

 

Cult leaders prey on individuals who are emotionally weak and mentally lazy. These individuals seek out a leader to do their thinking for them. They willingly abdicate their personal power to a leader who will provide them with simple answers to life’s difficult questions. Below are some suggestions on how you identify and confront a cult leader.

  1. Question authority. Just because a leader has an impressive title and is in a position of authority does not mean that their words are true or the intentions honorable. Don’t allow yourself to be misdirected or shamed for asking questions. Keep repeating your question until you are provided a logical answer verses emotional rhetoric
  2.  If you are offered a simple solution to a complex problem it is probably a campaign slogan and not a solution.  Demand facts, data and detailed answers.
  3. Do your research. Seek out information, data and input from multiple sources. If the majority of sources find that the facts are contrary to the leaders statements, then you need to side with the substantiated facts.  Be ruled by your mind not your emotions.
  4. Be willing to live in the gray area. Many of life’s complex issues do not have simple black and white answers. Learn to trust you own judgment. Play out the different outcomes to the proposed solutions in your mind before deciding what is the correct actions to take. Don’t be impulsive, take time to weigh the pro’s and con’s.
  5. Be willing to admit when your assumptions and beliefs are wrong and make the appropriate adjustments.  Don’t be emotionally attached to a truth or a belief.
  6. If a leader is a bully and calls people names, threatens them or abuses them, he is a abusing his power.
  7. Does the leader behave like a dictator or does he subscribe to a democratic method where the majorities input is unlisted and abided by.
  8. If the leader is caught in multiple lies, fabrications and embellishments, his words are no longer to be trusted.
  9. If the leader is a braggart and makes claims that are blatantly false, he is to no longer to be believed.
  10. If a leader is divisive and dehumanizes those that challenge him, he is using hate speak to maintain control and power over followers.
  11. If a leader lacks moral authority he is extremely dangerous. If he uses his power and position to abuse or encourage abuse of others, he is not fit to lead.

Democracy depends on the personal involvement of its citizens. In order for a fascist leader or an authoritarian leader to rule, it requires it’s citizens to no longer remain engaged in the political process. When citizens stop turning out to vote they are relinquishing their personal power. To combat fascism citizens need to hold their leaders accountable for the things they say or do. A healthy democracy includes a free press that fact checks politicians without being ridiculed or called “fake news”.

We are once again at a pivotal point in the struggle to preserve this grand experiment known as democracy. I encourage you to do your research and fact checking to draw your own conclusions regarding President Trump and his ability to lead this great country. I have come to the conclusion that he lacks the moral fiber, mental stability and trustworthiness to be a leader of a democracy.

I do agree with one thing that Mr Trump has touted, and that is we need to  “Make America Great Again”. Lets start by stripping Mr Trump of his power by exposing his embellishment, fabrications and out right lies. Lets question his moral character by calling him out on his veiled racist statements as well as his past abuses of woman. Lets pull the covers on his corrupt administration and his flawed leadership.  Don’t give up hope, stay involved, vote, call and write your representatives.  Demand that your leaders speak the truth, have good character and lead with compassion and empathy.

To Be Alive

BROTHERS.CONFLICT.full.1133738

Soundtrack “Whatever It Is” Zach Brown

 

 

Whatever your age is
It doesn’t matter

You think you’ve grown up
but there’s still an eight year old inside you
still a 14 year old, an eighteen year old
A twenty something, thirty something
and so on and so forth

All these remnants are still
pieces buried within
ones personhood

Even after surviving all these life milestones
of age and time
The specter of these past characters
still rumble about
within you, they inhabit your
subconscious, slipping out
when least expected

Reach back and find
the little pieces of yourself
that live behind
the mirror, beneath the veneer of adulthood

Cry like a baby
stomp your feet
Scream “no” to everyone who
wants you to obey their rules
Play like its the last day of summer

Make love as if it’s the first time you’ve
ever felt the breath or skin of another

Lie, call in sick, sleep in
and then go to the beach

Take the long way home
because the radio is
playing a string of songs that
fit like a perfect soundtrack
to the swirling scenery passing
by your window
And it’s good to be alive
and you know it, as it’s
happening

Keep on driving, miss your turn off
go to the woods and build a bonfire
sing songs, Skinny dip
hike unmarked trails

Call someone you miss
and will always miss
call and let them know
you’re thinking of them

Shove her up against the wall
and watch her look of surprise turn to desire
all that uncontrolled passion
that ache to be touched
melting between thighs and sighs
and muffled screams

Skip dinner and eat
chocolate cake with your hands

foster your imagination
All of life is a fantasy
make it up
as you go along

Never surrender your incurable curiosity
want everything, at once
all the time
be impetuous
uninhibited
authentic
Ah, yes—-to be alive

what an experience

what an adventure

Suicide 101—-Waiting On The Sun To Rise

Many years ago I did my college internship at a Suicide Prevention Hot Line. I went through a basic orientation and a training session prior to beginning my first all night solo shift. I was young, confident and fresh out of the gate—-Talking someone out of suicide ought to be a breeze. I quickly learned (after my first 3:00 am phone call) that I was in over my head. I immediately realized that the voice on the other end of the line belonged to a living breathing person who was suffering. Their pain was beyond my life experience. To this day, I’m not sure if I really helped anyone. I tried my best to be an empathetic and patient listener. I bore witness to unrestrained sobbing and screams of horror cried out into the phone’s receiver. There were stories of godless depression and anxiety beyond ones ability to remain fortified.

I had no rehearsed script, no prescription pad or the luxury of providing a client with a series of on going counseling sessions. I had just that moment to “try and reach” the person on the other end of the line. I did my best to listen attentively and to interject support. When appropriate, I’d provide input or referrals to community services. In spite of my lack of training and limited life experience, there we were, in the middle of the night fumbling with ideas of why it’s worth holding on for one more moment or for one more day.

And sometimes, by holding on for one moment longer than you’d think is possible, the suffering would pass——at least for a while or until the sun would rise once again.

A Child’s Rain

IMG_5652

 

 

Soundtrack “Bird On A Wire” by Joe Bonamassa.

I run my hand along the rough red brick wall. If you could touch truth, this is what it would feel like, if you could wear yesterday, it would fit like this. Brick buildings never age, unlike most things, they never grow old, they are the silent sentinels keeping watch at eternities gate. Time is in the raindrop that erodes away the mightiest of mountains one patient drop at a time—-We never seem to notice the passage of time until one day the mountain is gone.

Brick and mortar merges man’s creative life-force with natures unfaltering power to endure. ——Such walls keep some things out and other things in——-it all depends on what side of the wall you find yourself falling or standing——

I envision all of those perfect rust colored bricks meticulously hand laid, so even, so artfully composed——-the craftsman’s sweat droplets mixed in the slurry and forever embedded within the cured cement—–blood, sweat and tears, like long lost fossils hidden between the layers of time.

Long after another generation’s life-story has been told and then consigned to oblivion, these edifices remain as statues to a forgotten past—— bricks like memories, one stacked upon the other—— one timeless moment entombed within a dying eternity.————-Tell me this?  Why the brevity of life, we’re here then gone, everything and everyone just passing through, my grip on the ephemeral is slipping, the impermanence of it all has me chasing tomorrows horizon on this lonely highway.

Skyscrapers are impressive because of their hight. But there is no romance in their architecture. Their birth pushed out into loveless cement forms and fitted together with the support of I-beams. The spaces we live in define our culture. Our cities are gray, cold and crowded with despair, boxes within boxes, where men while away their lives in cubicles, sucking recirculated air, no songbirds cooing outside the tinted windows, only the ever present monotonous hum of air conditioners—–there’s no place to hide from those harsh florissant lights, the computer screen is our window to the world, the feel of cool damp grass no longer beneath our feet——it’s a landscape of migraines, mind-games and lost virtues. All the symmetrical lines make the few remaining trees and plants seem out of place.

All the old buildings in my hometown are constructed of stubborn bricks. There is grandeur in those old buildings, the church with its pious stained-glass windows, the honorable courthouse and contemplative library. These buildings of stone reminds us of our need for safety, shelter and community.  I feel holy when standing in the ancient brick church with it’s towering steeple—-it pierces the heavens like a hypodermic needle, injecting god’s blue sky with silent prayers.

The first time I saw rain, I asked my mother what it was, this water falling from the sky. And she said it’s rain. I thought a child’s thought, how wondrous, this thing called rain, water falling from the sky cleansing the streets and sweetly scenting the world. Who’d of thought up such a phenomenal thing?

The rain made all the old red bricks appear new again. Everyone was in a hurry to escape the rain, but I stayed outside to enjoy this spectacle of water falling from the sky. I stood there with hands outstretched, head tilted back, mouth open, tasting rain, feeling rain.

I once asked my mother about the tiny specks of light twinkling in the night sky.  She said they are stars and that there are billions and billions of them—- they are like our sun, but millions of light years away.  She said some of these stars have already burned themselves out and we are looking at light from their past. I thought a child’s thought, these things called stars are even more mysterious than rain. I sat on the porch staring up at the Milky Way galaxy—–Rain and stars, how unbelievable yet beautiful.

Maybe this is what Buddha contemplated while meditating under his Bodie Tree. At peace with oneself and the universe, walking the middle path of love between the yen and the yang——intertwined with everything yet separate…….Insignificant and small, yet omnipotent and omniscient———wandering between the birth and death of each moment———Nirvana——-