The Supreme Court Decisions Are the Next Assault in the Continuing War Against Democracy: The Whole Calculus Regarding the Next Election Has Changed

Why were two Supreme Court decisions made public just after the fifth hearing of the Jan. 6 Committee? One decision protected the rights of gun owners to openly carry weapons in public. The other took away a woman’s right to bodily autonomy.

 

Were these decisions made public now to divert the media away from reporting on the Jan. 6 Hearings and the crimes of a former President who tried to make himself a forever President and destroy the constitution? Or to reassure the GOP base that their mission is still proceeding as planned? Or distract from headlines about over 100,000 people being killed by gun violence since DJT ran for President in 2016? Or headlines about racist, hate and lie-fueled assaults on black people and election officials?

 

A blog in the Daily Kos by blogger, political organizer, and author of the book American Taliban, Markos Moulitsas expressed the essence of what I have been feeling and thinking about the Supreme Court decision. It was clearly and unfortunately not just an assault on a woman’s right to abortion and to full healthcare, privacy, and bodily autonomy. And contrary to what 5 Conservative Supreme Court Justices and many media outlets have said, the ruling is not simply about turning the decision about abortion over to the states.

 

It sacrifices women to a political agenda, to a right-wing assault on democracy. This assault is particularly dangerous to women with low incomes and women of color who have less access to contraceptives and good healthcare and can’t afford to go to other states or nations for abortions.

 

The assault advances minority rule in this nation. According to the Pew Research Center, 85% of Americans think abortion should be legal in some or all cases, so this decision clearly goes against the will of most Americans. The Supreme Court itself represents rule by the minority. The court was stacked with 3 justices chosen by a President who took office with the approval of only a minority of voters, chosen by an electoral college that advances minority rule, an electoral system gerrymandered to favor one party and regulations passed by many right-wing controlled states to suppress the participation of Democrats and people of color.

 

Even more, as Justice Thomas wrote in his opinion, the decision sets up the reconsideration, meaning reversal, of other Supreme Court due process rulings and precedents, so other rights, like to contraception, interracial and gay marriage, can all be taken away. So, the rights of any group not white, Christian, straight and male could be threatened.

 

We constantly hear about how the midterms mean the end of Democratic control of Congress. But Moulitsas makes clear two crucial points. First, it might be the general trend that the political party in power often loses control of Congress in midterm election, due to the supporters of those in power not turning out to vote in as great numbers as those dissatisfied by being out of power. But this is only a trend.

 

And I am sick of hearing this past trend repeatedly spoken of as future fact. What will happen is what we the people decide will happen. Repeating this prediction of the future as an established fact of the future only serves to further suppress the majority from voting.

 

The GOP, and many media outlets further aim to suppress the Democratic vote by repeating disinformation about President Biden. Considering the divisiveness he is facing, the viciousness of the opposition, many of whose members  actually supported a violent assault on their own government, the pandemic, the war, Biden has done rather well. His administration has been considerably more humane and competent than many past administrations.

 

Secondly, due to this rule by a minority, the Democrats are not in control. We have a Democratic President and a majority in the House. They have a technical majority in the Senate only if we ignore Democrats Joe Manchin’s and Kyrsten Sinema’s constant protections of GOP rule. The Senate is split 50-50 yet Democrats represent 41.5 million more people than the GOP. And clearly the GOP control the Supreme Court. So, Democrats, or democrats, do not control the government despite a clear majority in voting numbers.

 

So, when we talk about voters who are not in power being motivated by the loss of power and/or the actions of the party in power, we need to wake up to the reality. The assault on women, the proclaimed future assault on our rights, the protection of the profits of gun companies over the health and safety of children and all of us and over the stability of our nation⎼ these are clear examples that Democrats are not in power.

 

Yet, democrats can and will (I hope) work to get out the vote. Will vote in large numbers despite their polling places being limited, despite longer lines and possible harassment. We will vote. And we will do all we can to assure a fair counting of those votes. The fact that so many have taken to the streets to peacefully protest the anti-abortion ruling and many called for the impeachment of any Justices who lied to the Senate in their hearings, I hope will not only pressure legislative action to protect abortion but motivate millions to go to the polls in November.

 

Chris Hayes on MSNBC pointed out how rare it is that rights have been taken away from us and how often the Supreme Court in the past has been central to reactionary efforts to deny rights, working to undo what most of the rest of society had done to create a multiracial democracy. A blatant example is the malignant Dred Scott decision, which denied citizenship to a former slave who was residing in a free state and thus supported the enslavement of black people by whites.

 

On this same program with Hayes was NYU Law Professor Melissa Murray and New York Magazine writer Rebecca Traister who made very clear that this ruling is not a one-time assault and not just about abortion. Rebecca Traister said the message that things will be ok is an anesthetizing message. We must take the badness and injustice and yet continue the work. “We must use hope not as a feel- good measure. But to regard it as a tactical necessity and a moral and civic responsibility.” No matter how frightened we have become or how much we worry that our efforts will not bear fruit, we must act. If not for the immediate moment, then to build on each of all our efforts toward a better future.

 

The positive take away from Moulitsas, Hayes, Murray, Traister, and so many others is this: The importance of what we say and do over the next 5 to 6 months, or 2 plus years, is clearly revealed. These decisions by the Supreme Court can, and must, be used to change the whole election calculus and supply further motivation to reverse the old trend of midterm elections. We can and must expand the number of Democrats in Congress. We can and must change how we talk about and work for the future and the next election. If we didn’t have a good chance of succeeding, a good chance of expanding democracy, protecting our rights, creating a more caring community, the GOP wouldn’t be so obvious or desperate in what they do to stop us.

 

We have a one or two or thousand issue election coming up in November. If we value a woman’s right of autonomy over her own body, we must vote for every candidate who supports that right. If we value our right and our children’s right to safety, and to live without fear of gun violence, we must vote for every candidate who supports legal controls on gun ownership. And in practically every case, this means voting for every Democrat. This is not the end of what we want and need, but the beginning of saving our lives and improving the outlook of our future.

 

*This post was syndicated by The Good Men Project.

 

If People Only Knew or Felt It in Their Heart

Imagine this. It’s 9:10 pm. You’ve been getting calls. Disturbing, threatening ones. Calling you “dirty… disgusting.” Accusing you of crimes against your nation, against the leader, or ex-President or whatever. Or of being a paid agent. They call the authorities to arrest you. They threaten you and everyone you love. You are Black. Latinx. Jewish. Muslim. Indigenous or Asian American. An immigrant of color. LGBTQIA. A Democrat or democrat. A Republican who has spoken out against DJT. A woman. A scientist or Doctor who speaks about global warming, the efficacy of masks, the threat of COVID, the need for public safety measures. A teacher.

 

Then they show up at your home. Bang on your doors. Try to break in. Crowds of people. At first you don’t know what to do. You might be unsure⎼ if you called the police, who would they support? You or those attacking you? At 10:00 pm, you are too scared to hesitate any longer. You call the police. Your call is recorded. The police are on the way. They help you this time.

 

And later, you must leave your home. You are forced to hide. Your business is shut down. You can’t tell anyone where you are. Your previous life is shattered. No job. No seeing friends or family. Every morning you wake up not knowing if you will have a future or what it will be. Or if someone with a gun or club, hate in their heart or disinformation in their mind, will come after you.

 

Imagine another woman who lived in a city with her husband and two daughters. Soon after her nation was taken over by a dictator, she began to fear for her family. Those in power kept spreading lies about different groups of people, blaming the innocent few for the suffering of many. Calling them hateful names. Taking away their businesses. Forbidding them from using public transportation, sports facilities, watching entertainment, etc. and their children from attending the regular public schools. Where they could go and what they could do was heavily restricted.

 

Then she heard rumors of people being arrested, never to be seen again. No trial. Just vicious accusations. Her sister got a call to report to what was labeled a labor camp. She and her husband were suspicious and feared for their lives. So they went into hiding, in a space behind the business they had owned. Friends secretly supplied them with food. They could never go out, never go near a window. Never see the light of day except through a curtain.

 

The latter story is about Edith Frank, the mother of Anne Frank, whose well-known diary documented the Holocaust in Holland during World War II. Edith and her daughters died in a Nazis concentration camp.

 

The first story took place just recently in the USA….

 

*To read the whole article, please go to The Good Men Project.

The Mirror, and the Story We Tell About What We See in It

I didn’t want to write this blog, not at first. Writing would mean facing once again what is painful to face. But due to COVID and other factors, here I am.

 

Last week, I started reading Joanna Macy’s 30th Anniversary update of her book, World As Lover, World As Self that was published earlier this year. I think her book has been living inside me for years, but it is only now that I open it. I deeply appreciate the wisdom and practices shared in this book.

 

The book talks about the stories we tell ourselves about this moment we’re living. It reveals many aspects of our lives we might have ignored until COVID and a would-be dictator made them abundantly clear.

 

She uses the image of a mirror, the mirror wisdom of a Buddha which shows us everything just as it is, nothing added or subtracted. And this mirror teaches us how to, “…not look away. Do not avert your eyes. Do not turn aside.” By looking in this mirror we realize the anxiety and fear we feel is the surface layer of our grief for how much of the world is dying. By naming we heal. By looking away the world itself turns away.

 

By looking in the mirror, we tell and make real the story of how to survive and transform a great turning point in history. We discern the path to creating a life-sustaining society that understands in its marrow “we are all in this together.” By averting our eyes, we surrender; we tell and help create a story of unraveling and collapse.

 

We have been witnessing lately appalling contradictions. For example, nurses and other health care workers have been at the front lines of the fight against the COVID pandemic. They have been overworked, often under-equipped and under-paid, facing great stress and trauma. They also face an information or media environment filled with purposeful, politically motivated lies.

 

Many work in crowded nursing homes, or in hospitals where they see a disproportionate rate of suffering from the pandemic amongst Black, Brown, and Indigenous people. Many are themselves people of color who have faced all their lives a system of racism.

 

So now many health care workers of whatever race do not want to take what could save their lives and protect their patients, because they believe or have been misled to believe they cannot trust it. So, when the state mandated that all health care workers be vaccinated, they declined, even as that led to them losing their jobs, and we losing their support.

 

Joanna Macy makes clear that we as a society have been ignoring or not seeing clearly how other, crowded work environments like meat-packing-plants are dangerous to workers, cruel to animals, and costly to the climate….

 

We have recognized but not faced directly enough the consequences of enormous, and growing, concentrations of wealth, made worse by the pandemic, and leading to the corporate undermining of democracy and the rule of law, undermining of public schooling, and the degradation of our natural world, the extinction of many species, and the warming of the planet

 

**To read the whole article, please go to the Good Men Project.

Thanksgiving: Giving Thanks Not Only for the Food and the Friendship but the Peaceful Transition of Power

We can celebrate. Yes! Ok, maybe there are restrictions and shadows, big ones at that. But we can do it. Smile. Dance. Step #2 towards a revived future and a revived nation has been taken.

 

Step #1 was the election day⎼ or days. In some states, early voting started a month before November 3rd, and then counting went on, in some places, until this Monday. Actually, there are a few states still counting. And it is clear Biden won, or clear to anyone not wearing DT colored or white (nationalist) colored glasses. Biden won by 5.3 million popular votes and 74 electoral votes, 306 to DT’s 232.

 

Step #2 came 16 days after election day when Emily Murphy, head of the General Services Administration, a DT appointee, declared President-elect Joe Biden the “apparent” President-elect. DT managed to freeze, incite chaos and anxiety, try to blatantly undermine or cancel the election, for almost a month. Then, on November 23rd Murphy contacted the White House and sent a personal letter to Biden. Resources as well as information and access, will now be granted to the President-elect. He can officially start the huge effort to take control of the executive branch of the government and begin planning how to safeguard this nation.

 

An adult with the inclination and ability to care about the well-being of others is now President. We can celebrate. November 23rd should have been declared a holiday. It might be the day that saved our nation from the Civil War that our present and soon-to-be past President drove us toward.

 

Step #3 will be January 6th, when the Electoral College will officially meet and certify the winner of the election. Step #4 will be January 20th, Inauguration Day. Step #5 will be when the tough process of executive actions and legislation to end the pandemic, improve health care and the economic position of millions of Americans, and create democracy is clearly underway.

 

DT was the first shadow on the holiday. COVID-19 is the second. This year, Thanksgiving needs to be masked and social distanced and attendance limited.

 

For 42 of the last 43 years, my wife and I had Thanksgiving with the same group of friends despite living in 3 different areas, all in driving distance of each other. Three of us went to college together, were on the same floor of the same freshman dormitory at the University of Michigan. We became close friends. Two of us shared an apartment for the last 2 years of college. We had almost no classes together, but many discussions, protests, social events. And the friendship has continued after we left Michigan. Others have joined us, most notably and joyfully our wives.

 

I looked forward each year to our time together. Looking forward to Thanksgiving gave me life and breath over many years of working long hours. But this year it can’t happen.

 

Instead, we invited 2 friends, a couple, former co-workers of my wife who live near to us, to join us. Actually, the invite was more synergistic than one couple inviting another. Although it took planning, it also took checking the weather report so it would be warm enough to leave windows open. We had to think about what would be safe. We brought out 2 leaves for our kitchen table to make it so we could sit more than 6 feet apart.

 

So, I wish us all, everyone, a wonderful holiday. I wish us all not only wonderful food but wonderful discussions. For those who can’t do it this year due to the necessary health restrictions or for whatever reason⎼ I wish that our new President, with our help, will not only end the coronavirus pandemic but the pandemic of hate and economic injustice. So we, more of us than ever, can share such a holiday in the future.

 

Happy Thanksgiving to us all. And may the transition of power be even less anxious and more peaceful and constitutional than it’s been.

Preserve the Constitutional and Peaceful Transition of Power

Now that DT has lost the election, I⎼ and so many others⎼ would like to just ignore him and starve his malignant narcissism of attention. Ever since 2016, there was always the desire to just turn him off. And this is the best time to do so. Last Saturday and Sunday the headlines were filled with faces other than his, of Joe Biden, Kamala Harris—and Stacey Abrams.

 

We wish we could just turn him off, but we can’t. He won’t let go or concede. He is so desperate; he could put our whole nation at risk. DT and his GOP followers are blatantly working to undermine the heart of the U.S. constitution, by grasping at the power to keep himself in office. At a news conference, DT’s Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo called for “a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.” At the very least, DT aims to seize the headlines, and whine “I am the victim, here. I have been defrauded once again.” He has committed so many frauds, corrupt acts and crimes, so many malignant actions, they must fill his mind so entirely he sees them everywhere.

 

Despite no evidence whatsoever of there being any voter fraud, a fact proclaimed by his own Federal Election Officials, DT continues with his inconsistent and false claims. For the past week, his legal team has been suing several states, at first to stop vote counting, then to dismiss or invalidate the results. He has demanded recounts, for example, in Wisconsin and Georgia. His suits have mostly been thrown out, because they have no evidence to support their claims. He made similar false claims after the 2016 election, when he proclaimed, also without any evidence, that he would have won the popular vote if “millions of people” hadn’t been allowed to vote illegally, a fact his own commission proved false.  Why stop lying now?

 

So, if anyone has interfered in the legal voting, it was DT and the GOP. He called the Governor of Arizona last week, and Rupert Murdoch who owns FOX News, to complain about news that Biden was ahead in the count and that Fox had called the state for Biden. DT supporters tried to interfere or pressure the vote count in several locations, including Arizona, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Watching the scene in Maricopa County, Arizona, I couldn’t help but flash back to the scene in Florida, during the 2000 election, and the GOP supporters flown in to interfere in the counting of ballots.

 

DT started interfering in the election months ago, falsely claiming mail-in ballots were fraudulent, stopping states from sending them out, and stopping the USPS from delivering them. In California, the GOP put up fake drop-in boxes. And let’s not forget efforts to confuse or disenfranchise voters.

 

His appointee, Emily Murphy, head of the General Services Administration, has so far failed to recognize Biden’s win and release the funds and other resources so Biden can officially begin the peaceful transition of power.

 

Peaceful⎼ for Murphy to hold up the transition, she pushes the election into a chaotic situation that encourages anger, distress, fear and outrage, the emotional feeding ground for violence. The nation has been on edge for months, or 4 years, and this additional stress on our political system just further undermines the safety of this nation.

 

Meanwhile, DT is firing government officials, anyone who has ever said “no’ to him that still has a government post⎼ a move that could make the situation in the U. S. even more volatile. For example, he fired Mark Esper, Secretary of Defense, who opposed DT’s desire to send active-duty troops to quell street protests in Portland and other cities. DT fired other officials in the Defense Department and there is evidence he plans to also fire Christopher Wray, the F. B. I. Director, and maybe Gina Haspel, the C. I. A Director.

 

And while Covid-19 cases and deaths continue to mount (yesterday 145,000 new cases, the highest single day total since the pandemic began), DT continues to lie, to fail in protecting, or caring for the health and lives of the people of this nation. He will leave the new administration with the worst health crisis this nation has faced in over a hundred years, one he did little to contain.

 

And when Biden finally succeeds in entering the White House and being inaugurated, who would be surprised if DT tries to pressure the GOP into resurrecting the “party of NO” and interfering in every government function they can interfere in? Especially if the GOP hold on to a Senate majority, they can refuse to confirm cabinet nominees as well as judgeships and hold up the filling of other vacant positions. This could force the Biden administration to be more “centrist” in order to get anyone confirmed and make it extremely difficult for Biden and Democrats to actually do anything positive for us, the American people.

 

DT fears Biden showing voters that a Democratic (or democratic) government can improve the everyday lives of Americans. He wants to continue to divide the Democratic party as he has the nation and make anger and fear stain Biden as it stains him.

 

We would all like to take a breath, and we need to do that. The last few weeks have been exhausting. Let’s give ourselves a needed break, clear our minds, assess information⎼ and act effectively. We can make calls, write postcards and get out the vote for the two Senate positions up for grabs on January 4th in the run-off elections in Georgia. If Democrats win both these seats, the Senate will be evenly divided between parties.

 

Eight GOP Senators and six House members have already broken with DT⎼ let’s energize a movement. Make calls and protest to get more of the GOP to actually honor their oaths and protect the constitutional and peaceful transition of power.

 

And we need to both support and pressure President-elect Biden to issue executive orders as well as push legislation that will foster justice, economic security, and caring for the health and well-being of Americans⎼ good health care for all and a scientifically based response to the coronavirus pandemic and the climate emergency. Then maybe student debt relief, protecting voting rights, releasing immigrant children from DT’s cages and re-uniting them with their parents. Who knows where we can go from there? We can do this, just as we won this election.

 

What A Week: His Foot Is Lifted Off Our Necks⎼ Let’s Keep It Off!

What a week, wasn’t it? I can hardly believe it’s over. It was one that will long be remembered by each of us, in our minds and hearts, and history books. A time and an administration that hopefully will never be repeated and will soon, hopefully, come to an end. I don’t think any week of my life was consumed by so many moments I felt almost sick from anxiety.

 

Last night, I had a dream. Thousands of people in long lines were climbing down a steep mountain. I could see myself having to find footholds and lower my weight very carefully. There were people all around me. Some were disparaging, seemingly ready to trip people up. But most were helpful, giving each other tips about where to place a foot or get a good grip. Our attention was absorbed by the climb.

 

We have hopefully succeeded in climbing down from the height of anxiety and holding off dictatorship. We have hopefully made it to a point where, for a moment, we can breathe. Where one man’s malignant ambition, supported by thousands of followers, no longer presses its foot against our necks. Where we can and will celebrate. And then go back to work.

 

But almost immediately, before a winner of the presidential vote was clear, some were already laying blame, casting doubts, dividing us even further. I understand the followers of the wannabee dictator making false claims. They have been immersed in DT’s universe and will not, for a while, give up on their fantasy of a white nation, or their fears that Democrats are the red (or black or brown)  horde coming to steal their freedom.

 

What is more disturbing are a few Democrats claiming the election was so close because the Democratic Party went too far. They, we, were too extreme.

 

Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (D, VA) was one of the loudest voices. She was angered by the fact that she barely won re-election and Democrats lost seats in the House. CNN labeled her message as speaking a “hard truth to her party.” She blamed two main “extreme” Democratic messages for the losses and cited the stated concerns of people in her district as the source. The first was “defunding the police.” The second was the talk about ‘socialism.’ But was she speaking a “harsh truth” or something else?

 

Alexandria Octavio-Cortez responded to her fellow member of the House in a tweet, “You can’t tell the Black, Brown, and youth organizers riding in to save us every election to be quiet or not have their Reps champion them when they need us… Or wonder why they don’t show up for midterms when they’re scolded for existing.”

 

Spanberger and others do express a truth, but it’s not the one they think they’re making. They’re expressing a truth about the success of the GOP messaging with certain audiences. Spanberger, and the voters in her district that she references, are just repeating back to us GOP propaganda, maybe Russian disinformation. They took ‘Democratic’ out of Bernie’s ‘Democratic-Socialism’ and demonized ‘socialism’ so the message would be obliterated. They turned “Defund the Police” into “destroy our defenders and let the hordes of chaos loose.” Or letting thousands of brown and black people speak to the truth of their lives?

 

But since the word ‘socialism’ is so distorted by the GOP branding, why not speak of a democratic economy? Wouldn’t a government of, by, and for the people care about the health of all its citizens? It would be interesting to hear GOP speak in opposition to a ‘democratic’ economy. And “defunding the police” is what? Re-thinking policing and how we treat each other? It certainly includes stopping the killing of black and brown people.

 

Democrats, or people who want to turn this nation into a true democracy with more equity in the economy as well as the political structure, need to work on including in our thinking and speaking not only those who agree with us but those who might agree with us if they listened. Not the committed White Supremacists, but others. A democracy requires a very diverse group of people to work together. That means everyone speaking their needs and viewpoints, but no one demanding their view or nothing.

 

On Friday, I listened to a Zoom panel discussion on “Where do we go from here?” with Naomi Klein, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor and Astra Taylor. They clearly agreed with and expanded on AOC’s response. Although I have a slightly better view of President-Elect Joe Biden then Klein, Taylor and Taylor, I totally agree with their analysis of how he gives us a clear opportunity to move forward.

 

We are in a very fragile situation, said Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor. We don’t have time to change everything. We need to first increase our cohesion and collaboration. The Democratic response to the GOP cries about socialism, the economy and the lockdown due to the pandemic was weak. Naomi Klein spoke to the intersecting emergencies we face (agreeing with Biden on their centrality) ⎼ COVID, racial injustice, climate, and the economy.

 

And all three panelists made clear the way to move forward is to show people that Democrats, and the government, can deliver, can create laws and institutions that meet their needs. We need to bridge urban and rural. We need things like the Civilian Conservation Corps to both get jobs and help the environment. We need to revitalize the care economy. People need their housing, food and health care to be covered. We do that, and we show the nation what our words mean by letting all of us live their truth.

 

Without this living example, then after two years of Biden we might see an increase not of democracy but of DTism, hatred, and division. We need to use this opportunity of a Biden presidency to pull together as the community of care, of 75 million people or more, so we can show ourselves as well as the rest of this nation what is possible.

 

*This post was syndicated by The Good Men Project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Embracing the Whirlwind, Finding Depths in Ourselves We Didn’t Know Existed

The next 2 or 3 days might be a whirlwind, a hurricane of historic proportions. Who knows what will go on. Hopefully, on Wednesday or Thursday, we as individuals as well as we the people of this nation, will still have a mind and a voice left, after watching and listening to the news storm through our hearts. Hopefully, the physical world will still be intact. COVID might still be raging in our communities but the rage that DT embodies, his emptiness of care for others, his lies and hate will have been exposed and, at least politically, for now, defeated. Our efforts to form a “more perfect union” advanced. But if not, if even more is needed, we will continue the fight. We can discover depths we didn’t know existed in us. We will be the people we want to see in the world, the friends and neighbors, creating the world we need and dream about.

 

So, be alert and safe. I will be, in mind and body, air hugging all those I love and care about. Hoping everyone I know has or will vote. If you see me wandering around with my arms out, don’t be alarmed. It is just hope and love trying to embrace the world, wishing for myself and all of us that we soon have something wonderful to celebrate.

This Is Our Moment: Giving Breath to the Government of, by, and for the People

Our problem is that we don’t believe it, or don’t want to believe it. It’s too incredible. We know it intellectually. We can see it and feel it. Every time DT’s face appears on the tv screen or we hear his voice we have a stress response. We feel our stomachs fall to the floor or we shout out curses involuntarily.

 

Or we hear numbers of new COVID-19 deaths or of states experiencing spikes of illness or disenfranchising voters or of the incredible concentration of wealth in the hands of the .1%. Or we hear the name of a brown or black person murdered by police and we get angry. We demonstrate. We make phone calls. Or we wonder⎼ what can we do?

 

Or we hear about a plot by white militias to kidnap, maybe murder, Gretchen Whitmer, a sitting Democratic Governor, attack police and incite a civil war. And what we don’t hear from the President and his party is outrage. Instead, DT tweets attacks on the threatened Governor. He supports the terrorists. Even though one of the terrorists called him a tyrant, it was DT who augmented and manipulated the extreme division in this country that helped incite their actions. And we wonder⎼ how can this be? It is too incredible. We have moved to a state called shock.

 

Democracy is a government of, by, and for the people, and must be about maintaining a quality of relationship amongst all its members. We must recognize the need for a diversity of viewpoints and the rights of others, and all can, must take part.

 

But politics, like any competition, can become, like Mao Zedong said, war without bloodshed. Right now, one group is trying to divide the nation into two exclusive and conflicting sides. One group is trying to remove the restraints on violence, not only to frighten both sides but to stroke the flames of frustration, fear, and enmity into murdering democracy itself. They are trying to set the constitution in flames. They are not trying to win an election but to eliminate them.

 

They are trying to make us feel that ‘order’, and the ‘rule of law’ are impossible, mere dreams, and the words are meaningless sounds, by calling themselves the law and order party or their leader, the “law and order President”.  They are the enemies of the rule of law. For them, ‘order’ or ‘rule of law’ is twisted to mean rule by one side, one person, only. For them, the only time there will be peace is when all opposition is terminated, all diversity of viewpoint has ceased. …

 

To read the whole post, go to the Good Men Project.

 

 

Amidst Anger, Fear, and Outrage there is Hope

Maybe I’m crazy. Amidst the anger, fear and outrage I feel right now, there is hope.

 

I am white and I support Black Lives Matter. I support speaking out for justice and against the abuses of governmental power. I support not only the righteous anger but the compassion for others expressed by these demonstrations. Rev. Al Sharpton spoke about the collective pain in the African American community. There is too much pain in our nation right now and the only medicine for it is justice.

 

A man, an African American man named George Floyd, was murdered by police. His video-taped cry “I can’t breathe” eerily echoed the same words spoken by Eric Garner in NYC in 2014 before he, too, was killed by police. And in Tacoma Washington, the Medical Examiner just ruled that Manuel Ellis was killed on March 3 by police. He, too, called out “I can’t breathe” before dying.

 

George Floyd was murdered last week, just about two months after another African-American, Breonna Taylor, was shot by police in her own home, and three months after Ahmaud Arbery was shot. It took three months before the murderers of Mr. Arbery were arrested.

 

All across the country protests began against this latest murder, largely peaceful protests, calling for justice. But then reports and videos of violence followed the demonstrations. Curfews were instigated, national guard activated. Chaos seemed to ensue in several cities.

 

This was frightening. Then photos were taken and shared, and peaceful Black protestors called out white instigators of that violence. It seemed these disrupters were mostly either thieves taking advantage of the protests to rip off businesses or white nationalists trying to discredit the demonstrations or instigate further violence. And one white man, a supporter of DT, drove a tractor-trailer into a huge crowd of protestors, evoking the image of a deadly attack by a terrorist driving a truck into a crowd of people in Nice, France, in 2016.

 

I feel outrage not only against the murder but that peaceful demonstrations could be twisted to serve the purposes of white nationalists and others, who represent the very deep social forces in this nation that have perpetrated violence against African-Americans and others in this country for years, since the beginning of this nation.

 

And in the background, DT fuels the flames, incites violence by his MAGA supporters, calls the African-American protestors “thugs.” Threatens to send in the military. But the armed white nationalists, who protest against the orders of Democratic Governors to stay home to keep themselves and others safe⎼ they, of course, are “good people.”

 

He is using the protests to create a new crisis and distract us from the ongoing pandemic of racism and COVID-19, which is still killing thousands. But I think⎼ or hope⎼ he has made a mistake. In the past, DT has worked to instill, in his supporters, hate of African Americans, Latinos and other people of color, Muslims, Jews, Democrats, and others, and instill fear in anyone who opposes him. (He even re-tweeted a video of a supporter saying, “The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.”) What he’s done this time is turn his opponent’s frustration over continuing injustice into a conviction that the only viable choice they or we have is taking action.

 

And while the demonstrations are continuing, people are dying due to the coronavirus. Over 106,000 people have died. This virus has been made more lethal by the malignant mismanagement of the crisis by the DT government. The GOP have exploited the pandemic instead of responsibly facing it. Some have profited financially, not just for themselves but their mega-rich donors. According to Common Dreams, 41 million people have lost jobs while American billionaires grew $500 billion richer. They have readily sacrificed people to suit their own purposes, and African-Americans have disproportionately been the victims.

 

This all must end.

 

The police officer who killed George Floyd was charged this Wednesday with second degree murder. The others who stood by and aided and abetted in that crime have also been arrested. These arrests and the prosecutions that will follow, as well as changes in the operation of the police in Minneapolis, will be a tremendous first step. They are largely the result of people speaking up and taking to the streets. It is one step at a time. Changing the nation as a whole ⎼ that will hopefully follow.

 

In Minneapolis, there is at least a Democratic Mayor who has shown understanding of the history of racism this murder has exposed (although the president of the police union has not). The nation has a very different leader. For any deeper changes, DT must go.

 

So, why hope? Because we need hope to act. Because more than half of the people of this nation are sick of these injustices and are saying so. People are sick of one murder after another⎼ and sick of coronavirus deaths. Of the stupidity, injustice, and malevolence. Of the racism institutionalized into a political, economic and social system that is at the center of the malignancy that is splitting open this nation. Justice for this murder might lead to justice for other murders and abuses of government power. And then the rule of law and the civil rights protected in the constitution will be protected in the streets, the courts, and the Congress.

 

And inside the anger there are tears. When everyone took a knee at a demonstration  yesterday protesting the death of George Floyd, the sadness over his death, over so many lives taken, suddenly hit me, hit everyone. But instead of crying I write this.

 

Only voices united in opposition can reveal and expel that malignancy and create the social and legal situation where a guilty verdict against police is possible. In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke at the Lincoln Memorial about “the real promises of democracy.” He said, “It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment.” He spoke of his hope. His dream. It is illustrative of this moment that DT has stationed troops at the Lincoln Memorial to drive away the hope and the dream. He won’t succeed.

 

So, after the fear, anger, and outrage⎼ and the sadness⎼ the hope shyly follows.

 

*This post has been syndicated by The Good Men Project.

 

*The photo is from Gary Bercow.

Cutting the Jugular Vein of Democracy

Do you feel the news cycle is speeding up or things are getting even worse since the impeachment trial? I thought the world was in trouble ever since DT was elected. But since the Senate abdicated its role in holding the President accountable for his actions, DT’s tweets and actions have spiraled out of control. Or maybe his aim is clearer. He has gone directly toward the jugular vein of democracy and has cut it.

 

Even Bill Barr, his legal fixer, spoke out saying enough is enough. Whether it was real or more likely political theatre, he said that DT’s tweets attacking the justice department, attacking actual judicial proceedings, was making his job impossible and undermine the legal system.

 

The context for Barr’s comments was DT’s direct and obvious intervention in the sentencing of Roger Stone, his “friend” and supporter who knows where so much dirt is buried. DT even attacked the judge and a juror in the case, illustrating what his lawyers, as well as GOP Senators (other than Mitt Romney), proclaimed: DT thinks he can do whatever he wants, thus destroying the concept of a fair trial. As the New York Times, Adam Schiff and others pointed out, if he is the law then there is no rule of law, and the constitutional separation of powers is dead.

 

After Barr warned him to stop his tweets, DT went on to say that he had the power to interfere in the Stone Case, or any case. And Barr’s move to make sure any investigation of the President must go through him, just cements DT’s control over the DOJ and judiciary and destroys the constitutional balance of powers.

 

As Rachel Maddow pointed out, DT is interfering in cases and pardoning criminals in order to make clear: if you violate the law on my behalf, you get a free pass. If you oppose me, as his firing of Ambassador Sondland, and Colonel Vindman and his attacks on Adam Schiff illustrate, you will pay a severe price.

 

And it is not just DT and those close to him who are speeding up their attacks on democracy, but Russia and some corporate media outlets. Last week, as reported by the New York Times, former acting director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire had officials from his agency brief the House Intelligence Committee that Russia was interfering right now in the 2020 election to aid DT’s re-election campaign. This led to DT angrily berating Maguire and replacing him with Richard Grenell, someone with no experience in intelligence but who is a DT loyalist….

 

To read the whole post, please go to The Good Men Project.