The GOP has evolved from Grand Old Party to Government of
Privilege. Our representatives in Washington DC, who are supposed to be serving
the pressing needs of the country, are serving only those who bought and paid
for them. The ever-increasing wealth gap has made it possible for a handful of
billionaires to own their own country. The corporations they control are the only
true beneficiaries of current government largesse. One wonders if any of them
contemplate the shortsightedness of placing the needs of corporations before
those of the human race and the planet they inhabit? Do these men of industry
not have children or grandchildren? Is there no tomorrow?
America has always had a dark side that was cruel and savage
beyond description. A country that was founded by slaveholders has nothing
great to return to. The barbarous obscenity of one man owning another is a
disease that still runs through every vein and artery of this vast nation. We
still have a long way to go before each one of us is a first class citizen. Our
centuries old history of denigrating, torturing, and murdering “undesirables”
is truly a trail of tears. Guns and brutality are our proud national heritage.
Incredibly, here in the 21st century vigorous efforts are being made
every day to exclude certain Americans from their right to vote. Jim Crow is alive and well today in different
disguises. This is a country where unenlightened white folks do not want to
share their privileges with people who are not exactly like them. Religion,
pigmentation, ethnicity, and gender are still being used as excuses to deprive
others of their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Five
Supreme Court justices rolled back parts of the Voting Rights Act because they
could not see that racism in America is part of our national fabric, only it
assaults the public consciousness in waves so there are periods when we feel
like we are moving forward until a bigot inhabits the Oval Office and we slide
back again. I ask you, should there be a place in our great nation for bigots
to carry Nazi flags as a First Amendment right? Hasn’t the ancient myth of White
Supremacy been with us long enough? If America were really great we would be
thinking about how we could help each other and make this a better place to
live. Love, not hate!
Many of the deplorable souls among us promote their agenda
in the name of Jesus demonstrating that they have no idea who he may have been
and the teachings he promoted. The commandment to love thy neighbor as thyself
seems to be beyond their comprehension or capacity to act. This is a country
that still does not understand that we have a common good, and when everyone is
well fed, happy, and healthy we all profit. Sadly, there are too many among us
and in Congress who do not feel they have enough so they cannot share their
good fortune with others.
A government that contemplates increasing its military
budget at the expense of public welfare is barbarous and needs replacing.
Anyone who thinks building a wall is more important than building a school or a
hospital is living in the Dark Ages. When people lose their medical insurance
or retirement check they will not be voting for those who visited this madness
on them. Is the Republican Party hell-bent on self-destruction? Is this their
going out of business strategy?
Today is a national holiday celebrating the life of Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr. He was not a saint, but he was a man who put his life on
the line every day so that millions of Americans who were downtrodden and
hopeless could raise their heads and demand their inalienable rights. So many
of his words still penetrate the heart because their veracity and power
comforted and inspired a generation of people who needed to hear his message. He
was the right man at the right time. We need a man like that today.
I do remember how much the very pathetic J. Edgar Hoover
hated him so much. Like so many of his ilk they felt rightfully threatened by
King because they realized that the old order of things was ending and a better
America was arriving through some painful birth pangs. 1968 was a half century
ago but I can still feel the residual pain this country experienced as Right
struggled with Might and lives were lost in that great cultural battle.
Now we live in the Age of Bullshit in which a man who
pretends to be president sends daily adolescent, misinformed tweets into the
ether in a desperate attempt to aggrandize himself regardless of the damage he
causes. A year ago he was only painfully amusing. Now he is ugly, tiring, and
deadly. He and his administration have done everything they can to send us
backwards into the abyss. Interestingly, he is not the first resident of the
White House who was not qualified for the job, but he was the first who thought
it would be an easy part-time job requiring little or no preparation. Our
reality is the stuff of Jonathan Swift and Voltaire.
In closing I must share with you my great disappointment
that Donald Trump campaigned for months with the slogan Make America Great
Again and not one journalist ever asked him what he meant by that. The last of
those four words implies that America was once great and is not so now. When
was that? It wasn’t in my lifetime. Was he thinking about Lexington and
Concord? slavery before the Civil War? Wounded Knee? KKK parades down
Pennsylvania Avenue? Emmett Till? before Suffrage? Hiroshima? The House
Un-American Activities Committee? Selma? Kent State? before Hillary? Harvey
Weinstein and Hugh Hefner?
Assuming Frederick Douglass and MLK are looking down at
today’s grotesque puppet show, what are they thinking? Is there anything to be
said, or are they just shaking their heads in disbelief? Sadly, this is an age
of big problems and small people.
January 15, 2017
HONORING DR. KING January 19, 2014
Tomorrow is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and, since we are all
taking the day off from work thanks to him, it might just be appropriate to
stop for a moment to think about how he lived and why he died.
Every society needs people who, despite their own personal
shortcomings and foibles, are willing to make an effort to better the world they
inhabit. While his words were often inspiring, he walked the walk for equal
rights for all Americans, not just those who had tasted the bitter fruit of
slavery and oppression. He made a real effort to represent the needs of all
those who have been disenfranchised from the halls of power and are often the
forgotten ones when it comes to addressing the basic human right to nutritious food,
decent shelter, and good health care.
He also protested his country’s bloodlust and incessant need
for war mongering, and that was his undoing. His efforts were barely tolerated
by the international power brokers when what he fought for was just better wages
for garbage collectors, but, when his ability to mobilize his fellow citizens
for peace was clearly demonstrated, that was too much for those who stood to
profit from our ill-conceived, criminal escapade in Southeast Asia.
two Kennedy brothers, who also threatened the profitability of the
Military-Industrial Complex, he needed to be removed. In all three murders an
innocent patsy was provided to cover up the deadly professionalism of an
American governmental agency that has issued its own license for madness and
mayhem in the name of national security. Their mission, over time, changed from
the gathering of intelligence to the overthrow of governments and the assassination
of heads of state. Their actions are those of a shadow government whose
sinister exploits are only palatable to the American public in the realm of
cinema. Unfortunately, we have
corporate-sponsored mass media that is loathe to report the truth when it
involves heinous deeds that are deemed unmentionable. Their deceit parallels
the information shell game that is perpetrated on an unsuspecting electorate by
a government that, for a very long time, has institutionalized the art of lying.
Let us no forget that Americans continue to be asked to
sacrifice their lives and fortunes to support our national addiction to
military conquest and world domination. Every time we pretend to better our
society we call it a war–the War on Terror, the War on Drugs, the War on
Poverty–or we go to war and give the endeavor an ironic, PR-tested title like
Operation Iraqi Freedom.
From one January to the next we need to honor Dr. King’s
memory by being ever vigilant and objecting to the home-grown lies and
injustices that prevent this country from fulfilling the dream its founders eloquently
penned so long ago and hoped one day would become a reality.
In my 51 years of teaching I have always been amused that my
students gleefully celebrate all kinds of holidays throughout the school year
often without having the slightest idea what they are celebrating. When I
taught summer session I always had to share the Declaration of Independence
with my charges because they had never read this extraordinary document of
audacious courage and valor.
Today is Columbus Day and we are parading and shopping in
celebration of a man who had no idea where he was going and, when he got there,
visited untold cruelty on the people he found there. However, he did open up
the New World to plunder and that is always good from an economic standpoint
that would probably sit well with our friends on Wall Street. The Spanish have
never had it so good. Talk about balance of trade!
What most people do not know is that the year 1492 is also
famous among the Jewish people because that is the year that good Queen
Isabella expelled them from Spain after they had lived there for almost 1500
years. It is entirely possible that Colon’s expedition was completely paid for
by the gold and silver that Isabella forcefully took from the departing
Hebrews. Now, Isabella did not start the problem for the alien Semites. By the
time she came along the Jews had been suffering mightily under Christian rule
for at least a century, but to be expelled without your worldly possessions is
a punishment visited on very few peoples throughout history. We are talking
about at least 200,000 people who were forced to leave or convert. Some of them
left with Colombo, or followed after him, and prospered in the New World so the
end result it wasn’t entirely negative.
Just to put this all in perspective, expelling Jews was a
very popular European policy to which England, France, and Germany also subscribed.
It turns out that the Chosen People have not been very popular in most of the
locales where they settled. You only need to read The Merchant of Venice to get
the idea. As the Old Testament tells us, we wandered for forty years in the
desert after the flight from bondage in Egypt, and we have been wandering ever
since. When the Romans expelled the Jews from Judea in 70AD they started a diaspora
that two millennia later recreated the land of Israel much to the chagrin of
the locals who had hoped they would never return. It is no wonder they are
still fighting each other for the past 63 years.
As you can see, this whole Colombo thing is very complicated
and very dirty so I am, once again, suggesting that we call this day Explorers
Day, a celebration everybody can get behind because none of us have any idea
where we are going or what we will do when we get there, but we are all
adventurers in our individual lives. Incredibly, when I was a kid they used to
say that Columbus discovered America! They used to say stuff like that because
they figured without scholarship or education the unwashed would buy whatever
they were selling. Thankfully those days are gone…or are they?
The Fiction of History
Thirteen years ago today America suffered a mortal wound the
pain of which is still felt by those who were directly touched by the madness
of that day. A dear friend of mine, who lived just six blocks away from WTC, is
still traumatized by the incomprehensibility of the events that overwhelmed her
on that momentous day. Even after thirteen years the truth eludes us. A
reliable history has yet to be written. There is a great deal that we know and
even more that we do not. What we do know is that on that day something
miraculous happened––three steel-framed high-rise buildings (WTC 1, WTC 2, and
WTC 7) came tumbling down. In the history of the planet these are the only such
buildings that were ever felled by fire, the cause proposed in the official,
but terribly incomplete and inaccurate, government report.
I share this with you because I find it interesting that
throughout our history the people of our great nation have been fed a never-ending
stream of government-sponsored fictional accounts that are ingested in lieu of
facts. The list is so long I will not bore you with it here. In my lifetime the
ones that stand out the most are the murders of JFK, RFK, MLK, the Gulf of
Tonkin, and 9/11. Too many of our citizens are ready to accept any explanation
that is easy to digest and makes us feel better so that we can get back to the
pettiness of our daily lives. The search for truth is often difficult and
painful, but for adults it is liberating. When we experience trauma informed
citizens should not rest until they have some reasonable understanding of what
transpired so that we are prepared to deal with malarkey the next time it is
thrust upon us. One of our great philosophers, George Carlin, often reminded us
that governments lie all the time. Though he is gone, his message still
resonates within me.
Do we honor the fallen heroes of that day by continuing to promulgate
fiction? Do we even care?
Ship of State
Written during the vice presidency of Darth Vader:
The Constitution Updated
The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected or selected, as follows:
Regardless of what happens when the electorate goes to their respective polling places, the President and Vice President shall be chosen either by the manufacturers of the voting machines used in said election or by the Supreme Court of the United States if a majority have proper party affiliation.
No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of Austria, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States. No person shall hold this office unless they can read, write, and speak correctly unless they come from among the wealthy of this land. Furthermore, it is expected that the holder of this office shall know at least something about domestic and foreign matters before signing any law written by the Congress.
The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them. However, at the end of the term of office, the Ex-President may receive excessive compensation from those petitioners who paid for his installation in the first place, especially if they be from the oil industry or the ranks of war profiteers.
Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend all those who paid for my campaign. May God help everyone else, especially the poor and disenfranchised who did not vote for me anyway."
The President shall serve as the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces and shall have the right to declare war on any foreign power that has more than its fair share of oil, champagne, or heroin.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. However, if, for any reason, the President declares the nation at war he can spy on, arrest, imprison, or execute anyone he deems an enemy of the state without congressional or judicial oversight or review.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. However, if the Secretary of State of any State so decides that the voting patterns of certain ethnic, racial, religious, or political groups may cause his candidate to lose, he may do whatever is necessary to deny the will of those people by excluding their ballots, either physically or electronically, from the final count, especially if he is also the director of his party’s state-wide reelection campaign.