Tag Archives: America

We The People

Captain Kirk once said: 

Look at these three words written larger than the rest, with a special pride never written before or since. Tall words proudly saying We the People was not written for the chiefs or the kings or the warriors or the rich and powerful, but for all the people! …They must apply to everyone or they mean nothing

Donald Trump cannot comprehend that. He wrongly believed it applies only to whitemen in MAGA hats. As Americans how can weask someone who is sworn to uphold the Constitution to do so when regrettably they do not appear to have the capacity to grasp the meaning of its first three words. 

WE THE PEOPLE

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It’s not injustice until it happens to me

Wow can’t believe some people still don’t get the kneeling during the National Anthem protest. That they still allow themselves to be bamboozled by those who have hi-jacked the real reason for the protest and turned it into a protest against America. Hi-jacked it because it is uncomfortable to address the social and racial inequalities this country still has. Their desire for us to remain quiet on the issue is misplaced as E.A. Bucchianeri states 

“It’s not unpatriotic to denounce an injustice committed on our behalf, perhaps it’s the most patriotic thing we can do.”

For us to do nothing may make their life simpler and more comfortable. Harkening back to a time when “America was Great” and minorities and females knew their place. But trust me we love America as well, maybe more so than they do because after everything America has thrust upon us we are still here fighting to make it a better place.  Doing nothing will most certainly net us nothing. Doing nothing will not force this country to take on the issues that prevent it from being the idea on which it was founded. The idea that all men are created equal and is what is more patriotic than that. As James Baldwin said: Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.

For many that have twisted and contorted the real idea behind the flag protests I can only assume the only time they think about injustice is when it happens to them or to paraphrase N.K. Jemisin they never had to fight for the respect that everyone else is given without question.  It easy to wrap yourself in the red, white and blue and scream to the world you are a patriot. It is however difficult to fight for what is true idea of America. 

So while they will continue to scream USA USA at those individuals brave enough to stand up in public to inequality and call them unpatriotic. Remember they are likely doing this as they stand on line for their hot dog and a beer during the National Anthem. 

The Poor People’s Campaign – A 50 year old idea whose time has come

In December 1967, Rev. Dr. King announced the plan to bring together poor people from across the country for a new march on Washington. This march was to demand better jobs, better homes, better education—better lives than the ones they were living. Rev. Dr. Ralph Abernathy explained that the intention of the Poor People’s Campaign of 1968 was to “dramatize the plight of America’s poor of all races and make very clear that they are sick and tired of waiting for a better life.”

In April 2019 we are still dealing with many of the same issues that Dr. King addressed with his Poor People’s Campaign. If anything the gap between the haves and the have nots has widened not shrunk. Income disparities have become so pronounced that America’s top 10 percent now average more than nine times as much income as the bottom 90 percent. Americans in the top 1 percent tower stunningly higher. They average over 39 times more income than the bottom 90 percent. But that gap pales in comparison to the divide between the nation’s top 0.1 percent and everyone else. Americans at this lofty level are taking in over 188 times the income of the bottom 90 percent.

Between 1979 and 2007, paycheck income for those in the richest 1 percent and 0.1 percent exploded. The wage and salary income for these elite groups dipped after the 2008 financial crisis but have nearly regained their pre-crisis value. Meanwhile, the bottom 90 percent of earners have seen little change in their average income, with just a 22 percent increase from 1979 to 2017

Medical bills were the biggest cause of U.S. bankruptcies. A new study from academic researchers found that 66.5 percent of all bankruptcies were tied to medical issues —either because of high costs for care or time out of work. An estimated 530,000 families turn to bankruptcy each year because of medical issues and bills, the research found.

Fifty years ago President Lyndon Johnson articulated that: 

“If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”

Today our President uses devise speech to tap into fears and subconscious racism embedded in each of us to keep the “every-person” divided rather than united. 

A popular saying for many in the Trump base is that we’re losing our America.  But the truth is it was never, for the vast majority of them anyway, “their” America. The America they claim they are losing was and has always the America of the rich white man.  Access to the best schools and quality health care. The ability to “legally” manipulate the tax system to shelter money from the ever increasing taxes you and I pay. Consistently looking to increase their bottom lines at the expense of the average American. 

Now let’s be clear here and not misunderstand what I am saying.  I’m not saying that every wealthy white man acts this way or that they are inherently evil or solely responsible for many of the ills that the average working American, regardless of color or gender, faces on an everyday basis. What I am saying however is that there is a select few who have always had the money and the power to control the narrative. To keep the masses at each other throats, pointing accusatory fingers at each other and fighting for the scraps thrown their way. 

It is amazing how often the poorest of the poor will vote against their self interest because they have been led to believe it is in their best interest to ensure the well being of the wealthy. Ensure their well being because after all one day they will drink from that same prosperous cup. That is as long as (insert race, gender or religious identity) doesn’t take what is rightfully theirs.  The concept that they are more like that person they have been conditioned to believe is threatening them then they will ever be to the wealthy who promote the narrative is seemingly foreign to them. 

But the truth is Dr. King had it right in 1967 and  if he would have lived to see his campaign through he would have been seen as more of a threat to the “establishment’s” way of life than anything he accomplished during the civil rights movement.  Simply put there is power in numbers, there is power in unity and if the majority of Americans put aside their hatred of each other, embraced their similarities and united in the fight against inequality there is no telling what this country could accomplish. Imagine a country with affordable and quality health care and education for all. Wage equality and a tax system that treated the 99% the same as the 1% and maybe as a byproduct of coming together to fight the inequalities we all face we’ll gain better understanding of each other. Now that’s a dream worth fighting for. 

The State of Government Today…All I Want To Say Is They Don’t Really Care About Us

Sang to the tune of Michael Jackson’s They Don’t Really Care About Us. 

The state of the government today

Republican, Democrat
Everybody gone bad
Build a wall, Shut Down
Everybody dragged down
All I want to say is that
They don’t really care about us

CNN, FOX NEWS
Everybody dog food
Bang bang, democracy shot dead
Government gone mad
All I want to say is that
They don’t really care about us

I vote every election
Pay my taxes on time
Now I am the victim of government stupidity

Corporations and special interest own them
I’m invisible because they ignore me
Tell me what’s become of my country?
If only Roosevelt was livin’
if only Martin Luther was livin’
They wouldn’t let this be, no, no

All I want to say is that
They don’t really care about us
All I want to say is that
They don’t really care about us

America’s Dirty Little Secret – Trump’s shadow base

How was it that Donald Trump, when all the exit polls showed otherwise, was able to capture the Presidency of the United States?

How is it that Donald Trump, when polls show he has one of the lowest approval ratings of all time, able to keep GOP politicians from revolting against him?

Why is it that Donald Trump has made such little effort to expand “his base” and seemingly is unconcerned about it?

I’m here to tell you it’s because of America’s dirty little secret.  You see when we watch one of the many “campaign rallies” Trump held before the election and amazingly continues to hold after, at tax payer cost, we see what many liberals characterize as his base. Low income, poorly educated white males and females. Liberals see a stereotypical person they likely refer to as Billy Bob with a smirk and his wife sporting Make America Great Again hats, spewing hatred and fear against people of color.  It’s why Trump constantly uses the wall and cherrypicks acts of violence and other criminal activities by immigrants in his speeches. Why he throws out lines like shithole countries. Liberals summarize Billy Bob is so poorly educated that he easily fooled by Trump because Trump appeals to their greatest fear. That they are losing a grip on “their” country.

But what Trump and the GOP know is there are a number of well educated, highly compensated, extremely polished individuals who deep down harbor the very same fears. They are Trump’s shadow base. They have friends who are people of color. They’re children play with your children.  They are registered Democrats and they never ever say they like Donald Trump. In fact their social media is likely littered with posts you’ve liked denouncing Trump.  But when they get behind that voting curtain and they are all alone they’re pulling the lever for Trump.

Why? Because way more than “Billy Bob” this was their country. White men of power had a long uninterrupted run of success in this country. They were the majority, ran all the big corporations and controlled the country’s politics. But then census data projected the US will become ‘minority white’ in 2045. More and more people of color began showing up in the executive lunch room and on the country club golf courses. Then the unthinkable happened Barack Obama won the Presidency.  Not only did he win he and his family were looked at with the highest level of respect around the globe. It wasn’t so much about Obama’s politics, tough it would be naive to completely dismiss that, it was looking at a well educated, articulate man of color stand in front of the world as America’s leader. Sure there had been plenty well educated, articulate men and women of color in the spotlight before Obama but none had ever been President. Obama represented a glimpse into the future of this country and for some that was a frightening future

Now don’t get me wrong I don’t think the vast majority of white people are arming themselves and storing canned goods in preparation for the coming brown people apocalypse. In fact I’m more hopeful than ever that this country is headed in the right direction, if ever so slowly, with respect to race relations. But there are still a few dinosaurs out there who hide in plain sight fearful of the future. They’re America’s dirty little secret. They’re Trump’s shadow base and it would be best not to underestimate them again in 2020.

Diversity it’s what makes America great

The 2018 FIFA World Cup has ended with France as the winner.  During the Cup there were bars all over America packed with Americans proudly rooting on their country of national origin. Throughout Americans proudly celebrate their heritage. For example Italians proudly represent  Italy through their food among other things. Mexicans do the same with Mexico and of course the Irish show their pride on St. Patrick day. As with the St. Patrick day parade all major cities have numerous parades and celebrations throughout the year. In NYC alone there is the West Indian day carnival, Greek Independence Day parade, National Tartan Day Parade which celebrates the day of Scotland’s day of independence, Chinese New Year festival and many others.  This diversity is really what has made America great. As Martin Luther King Jr. stated.
“  individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
Diversity isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength it Is the signature of America, people of all cultures rising above their own concerns to create, innovate and overcome obstacles to move this country forward. America is at its best when it seeks out diverse points of view, and looks for new insights.
Yet today there is a growing sediment among a segment of America who want to rebuke this diversity. Their weakness is the desire to surround themselves with people who look and think like them. Afraid to learn about other races and cultures rather content to remain isolated and stoke their own prejudices based on a fear of the unknown.  As Captain Kirk said
 The prejudices people feel about each other disappear when they get to know each other.”  
This fear of diversity and is counter to the ideal of what America was meant to be. Right at the beginning of America’s Declaration of Independence these words are written“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”  The key word is All not some. Not only those from (insert country) or sexual orientation or cultural background and while this country has at many times struggled to live up to those words it has embraced them enough to make it the country it is today. We must continue to move forward with the concept of diversity not step back and isolate ourselves. For Isolation only leads to a society that stifles creativity and innovation and eventually withers away and dies.
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The power of the people

The problem with American politics today
is that the government is suppose to derive its power from the will of the people but the people have essentially given up their authority. Having divided itself into two parties they no longer hold politicians accountable but blindly follow the sound bites of a few who look to obtain power as long as that individual claims are to represent their party. While simultaneously taking only a casual interest in truly educating itself on the issues of the day instead the majority of them allow their opinions to be molded by cable news personalities who profit by espousing the viewpoints of the politician on the side of their preferred viewers.

Inform yourself on the issues
Educate yourself on the options
Hold your representatives accountable
Take control of the government it is after all your government