I have never been an activist before. All my life, I’ve been content to vote every two years and shoot off my mouth perhaps once a week. But on November 8th, 2016 this country’s arcane electoral college system enabled a fascist, demagog to claim victory, and thus Donald Trump became President-Elect of my United States of America.
Americans are famous for our quick response to aid the victims of natural disasters. Now, we ourselves are the victims of our own self-inflicted political disaster. My countrymen, we are better than this. We are not a nation of racist, sexist, xenophobes. We are not, and never have been, perfect. But we are a great people of a great nation, and I will not stand for a tyrant’s rule above us.
Recently, TheNew York Times has reported that of the 120 million dollars Congress has appropriated for countering Russian interference in the 2018 election, exactly zero has been spent. Let me rephrase that; of the small pittance of money Congress has given the Trump (R) Administration to protect our democracy, nothing has been done with it! Coincidence? I think not.
Now, since the disastrous (for them) election of 2008, the GOP has recreated itself as the party of winning. No more do the let ideology or scruples stand in their way! They work hard and they organize with only one goal in mind; winning elections. Using Fox News to stir up paranoia and motivate their base, gerrymandering states, vigorous fundraising from mega-doners, and voter suppression laws, a well oiled political machine has been created the likes of which has never been seen before. And it’s been working. Obama wasn’t overstating when he said he got “shellacked” in the 2010 midterms. Republicans won big that year, not only in the US Congress but in state legislators and governor’s offices as well. And, to their credit, they have kept that momentum going all the way to 2016.
They win, they win often, and they win bigly because today’s Republicans believe that winning isn’t everything…it’s the ONLY thing. And if winning means stepping out of Putin’s way as he hamstrings our democracy…well, they figure that’s a small price to pay.
Am I being too harsh in my opinion? I honestly don’t think so. I live in the real world where actions speak louder than words. And for all their patriotic words, the GOP has shown the nation no action to defend against this foreign threat.
Now, did I call a GOP senator’s office and made this opinion clear to his staffer. The response I got was, “Sir, the Republican party would never collude with the Russians!” But that isn’t what I was accusing the GOP of doing. After all, they know there is no need to conduct dangerous back-channel dealings with Putin in order to get his aid. Putin has obviously decided to help Republicans for his own reasons, and a GOP leadership that is focused solely on winning has no intention of getting in his way.
Perhaps, Trump and his campaign did actively conspire with Russian intelligence to subvert our election in 2016 (and I think that highly likely). But no other GOP candidate or campaign need be so bold, and they know that. After all, passive treason works just as well as active treason and leaves fewer fingerprints.
But whether active or passive, treason is still treason and We The People need to hold them accountable for that right now!
This is me. I’ve owned guns off and on since I was in my early 20s and, no, I have never been a member of the NRA. I’ve also never hunted, and feel no great need for home defense, but I do enjoy target shooting quite a lot. When not on the range, my guns and ammo are locked up in a safe I bought for the purpose, and I’ve never told my kids the combination.
This is what responsible gun ownership looks like.
Do I fear the big bad government coming to my door and confiscating my guns in some dystopian future? Heck no. There is no reason why the government would ever fear my guns, and I’ll tell you why: as a matter of history my guns mean NOTHING to them.
True, my collection is modest. I only have a few rifles, shotguns, revolvers and the like. It’s hardly an arsenal worthy of any right-wing militia group. But here’s the thing that those brainwashed by the NRA will never understand…the government isn’t afraid of the militia group’s arsenal either!
Other citizens may be rightfully concerned by such arsenals of AR-15’s and Glocks, but the US Government is not bothered in the slightest.
Yet, despite this fact, every time I have a discussion with an NRA member, I get the same malarkey. They have been hoodwinked into believing that guns = freedom and that as long as citizens are armed the government will not dare trample on our rights. And they truly believe the Second Amendment is the only bulwark against such potential tyranny. Therefore, to them, ANY attempt at restricting gun ownership is a slippery slope to serfdom that cannot be tolerated.
This is the biggest lie the NRA has ever told, it’s the one they shout the loudest, and it is complete and total crap!
Let me elaborate. Even a quick glance at American history will reveal several instances where armed citizens rose up against the US Government. Here are some shining examples:
The Whiskey Rebellion (Pennsylvania farmers vs US Army) 1794
Iroquois Confederacy’s precipitation in the War of 1812
Arron Burr’s (treasonous attempt to size US territory) 1807
Nat Turner’s Rebellion (slave uprising) 1831
Harper’s Ferry Raid (abolitionist radicals led by John Brown) 1859
The American Civil War (and this was huge!) 1861-65
The Plains Indian Wars (Native American resistance) 1850s to late 1880s.
Battle of Matewan (union workers vs. police) 1920
The Weather Underground (left-wing terrorist group) 1969-77
Symbionese Liberation Army (leftist revolutionary movement) 1973-75
The Order (white nationalist terrorists) 1983-84
The Branch Davidian Compound (Waco, Texas) 1993
Occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Center (thankfully, the least violent on this list but there was still one death) 2016
Now, you may wish to notice that every one of these uprisings shares a common feature: FAILURE!
Just look around. Despite all these acts of armed insurrection, the US Government is still alive and well. These rebellions all failed for various reasons, but each one carried into battle the best firearms available at the time. And in many cases, the rebels had weapons equal to the government’s arms–so guns weren’t the problem.
So, assuming a potential tyrant can read a history book (and I know Trump can’t!), why the heck should any such a tyrant fear armed American citizens? The answer is, they don’t.
Plain and simple, the government does not feel the need to confiscate our guns because firearms pose no threat to government power whatsoever. In fact, and perhaps surprisingly, unarmed social movements have proven far more successful at curbing government abuses. Face it, the South’s legions utterly failed to preserve slavery (which I consider good news), but the unarmed suffragette movement could not be stopped and eventually gained women the vote in 1920.
So, yeah, it’s a cold fact that guns don’t keep us free and the government has no fear of them.
Guns do, however, pose a threat to average citizens and many rightfully fear them. According to the Center for Disease Control over, 3,800 Americans die annually from ACCIDENTAL shootings alone. Add to that death from crime, suicide, and the occasional mass murder spree, and you see we lose about 13,000 human beings in America every year.
Does this sound like a problem that we can solve? YES!! Just as we once reduced traffic fatalities by instituting common sense laws of the road, we can reduce gun fatalities with common sense gun control. And just as reducing traffic deaths did not involve confiscating everybody’s cars, there is no need to confiscate everybody’s guns. Background checks, safety training, assault weapons banning, and mandatory trigger locks can prevent thousands of deaths in America while still allowing hunters and target shooters to keep a firearm for home defense if they feel the need.
This is a problem we can solve.
Now, does this sound like a problem we will solve? NOPE, I’m sorry it’s not. Not as long as the NRA keeps bamboozling folks into thinking that the slightest hint of safety regulation will lead to absolute despotism. Like I said before, it’s the biggest lie the NRA has ever told…and it works.
By Clayton Callahan
PS- For those NRA clowns who wish to point out to me that we won our independence from Britain by rallying armed citizens against Kingly tyranny, I have to mention a few things. 1) the Patriots lost most of the battles they fought with the British. 2) We didn’t start winning consistently until Gorge Washington hired a German mercenary to train the Continental Army to fight like professionals. 3) the great victory that ended the war at Yorktown was brought to us courtesy of our own efforts with a generous helping form an overwhelming French force consisting of French troops, French warships, and state of the art French artillery (google it). So, in all likelihood, if we had relied exclusively on armed citizens to overthrow the government back then, we would all be shouting “God save the Queen” right now and the 2nd Amendment would never have been written in the first place!
Facebook has become a battlefield in the age of Trump. One warrior posted this on my feed, and I am passing it on with her permission. Thanks, Lois!
Although I did not compose this on my own, I add my name because THIS is where I stand. Period. I make no apologies to any or all of my FB friends for this. I know some of you choose to be tired of political postings and rants, but I think it is irresponsible and dangerous to ignore what has happened to America.
Beyond the cutesy posts of recipes, flowers, seashells, balloons, and drama, FB is a vehicle to express my outrage of how far the USA has fallen on the humanity scale. To me, it is a useful vehicle for my activism. That fevered ego in the White House and all of his power-hungry cronies and the majority of the Republicans in Congress are a threat to me and to my way of life, and unless you are worth tens of billions of dollars, it is a threat to you, too. So I will resist and I will be part of the resistance (and proud of it). As I have said before if you can join in or hang with it fine. If not then you probably need to unfriend me now. I won’t play nice. The USA and the world’s well-being demand it.
Some people are saying that we should give Donald Trump a chance, that we should “work together” with him because he won the election and he is everyone’s president.
This is my response:
•I will not forget how badly he and so many others treated former President Barack Obama for 8 years.
*I will not work together to cut Medicare or Medicaid.
*I will not work together to cut S.S.
*I will not work together to cut food stamps, heat assistance, housing assistance or any other program that helps the poor, elderly or disabled, in favor of more tax cuts for the rich.
•I will not “work together” to build a wall.
•I will not “work together” to persecute Muslims.
•I will not “work together” to shut out refugees from countries where we destabilized their governments, no matter how bad they might have been so that we could have something more agreeable to our oligarchy.
•I will not “work together” to lower taxes on the 1%.
•I will not “work together” to increase taxes on the middle class and the poor.
•I will not “work together” to help him line the pockets of himself and his cronies.
•I will not “work together” to weaken (or demolish) environmental protection.
•I will not “work together” to sell American lands to companies which then despoil those lands.
•I will not “work together” to remove civil rights from anyone.
•I will not “work together” to waste trillions more on our military when we already have the strongest in the world.
•I will not “work together” to alienate countries that have been our allies for as long as I have been alive.
•I will not “work together” to slash funding for education.
•I will not “work together” to take basic assistance from people who are at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder.
•I will not “work together” to allow torture and “black op” prison sites.
•I will not “work together” to “take their oil.”
•I will not “work together” to get rid of common sense regulations on guns.
•I will not “work together” to eliminate the minimum wage.
•I will not “work together” to suppress scientific research, be it on climate change, fracking, or any other issue where a majority of scientists agree that Trump and his supporters are wrong on the facts.
•I will not “work together” to criminalize abortion or to restrict health care for women.
•I will not “work together” to increase the number of nations that have nuclear weapons.
•I will not “work together” to put even more “big money” into politics.
•I will not “work together” to violate the Geneva Convention.
•I will not “work together” to give the Ku Klux Klan, the Nazi Party, and white supremacists a seat at the table, or to normalize their hatred.
•I will not “work together” to deny health care to people who need it.
•I will not “work together” to increase the profits of the insurance companies.
•I will not “work together” to deny medical coverage to people on the basis of an alleged or actual “pre-existing condition.”
•I will not “work together” to increase voter suppression.
•I will not “work together” to normalize tyranny.
•I will not “work together” with anyone who is, or admires, tyrants and dictators.
•I will not “work together” with Donald Trump or anyone who supports him, because I will not allow one man to feed upon the fears of the populace, blaming minorities for their condition or their inability to thrive.
•I will use my voice and my hands, to reach out to the uninformed, and to anyone else who’ll LISTEN about Donald Trump, his friends and the Big Lie:
That “winning”, “being great again”, “rich” or even “beautiful” is nothing… if no one else is around.
PS: If you agree, please copy and re-post (I understand that results in larger numbers of people seeing a post), and if you can, sign your name below mine. Also, if I have left anything out, feel free to add it to this list.
This is the first step in becoming part of The Resistance.
On January 9th, 2018, Trump held a very public meeting with a bipartisan group of congressional leaders to discuss immigration policy. The news cycle of the previous week had focused on his mental instability (wonder why), and he seemed determined to show the nation how “stable” he was.
His tone remained calm during the meeting, and he kept things civil throughout. Apparently, not wanting to make waves, he even said to Congress, “To me, a clean bill is a bill of DACA. We take care of them, and we also take care of security. That’s very important. And I think the Democrats want security, too,” and said in reference to a bipartisan immigration bill, “I’m signing it. I mean, I will be signing it. I’m not going to say, oh, gee, I want this, or I want that.” Now, that went over fairly well with most of America…but not with his base.
So let’s talk about that base.
Currently, Trump’s approval rating still hovers in the 30s, and it is frequently pointed out that this is the lowest of any sitting president at this point in his first term. Keep in mind, that when Nixon resigned, his approval rating was just 27% so Trump hasn’t far to fall. But Trump’s 30 % is a special group of people even so. These are the folks who watch little but Fox News and read a lot of Breitbart. They are white, undereducated, and very very angry. Eager to “make America great again,” they wish to return to an age when there were good jobs for white people, and they didn’t have to bother thinking about anybody else.
When Trump won the electoral college back in November of ’16, our nation went ape. Protests and riots broke out all over the country and pundits claimed America had never been more divided. Into the fray marched Donald J. Trump who stated, “Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division — have to get together. To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people.” But in the year since he’s done nothing to make that happen. Instead, he has continued to placate his reactionary base and never tried to broaden his support by one whit.
Time and again, he has passed up opportunities to mend fences in favor of ginning up enthusiasm with the mob that loves him. And now we have another example still. Remember how his comments of January 9th would have made America very happy if brought to fruition? After all, an overwhelming majority of us (Over 60% by most polls) want a government that works for the common good regardless of party. Thus, by being flexible and enabling congressmen to work together, he would have finally shown this country that he can govern. To be honest, even a die-hard Trump detractor like me would have to give him credit for that.
But to no one’s surprise in less than a week Trump reversed course. On the 12th of January during a bipartisan meeting meant to outline an immigration plan to the president, Trump not only said “no” to the deal, he added his now famous “shithole” comment. And his base went wild! To them, he was talking like they talk about places they know little to nothing about (just like Trump). Face it, he knew his base would be furious if he ever made it easier for brown people to enter this country. And Trump simply cannot afford to disappoint his base. Politically, they are all that stand between him and impeachment, and personally, he can’t live without the positive attention.
So it looks like there will be no governing from the White House. There will be no statesmanship or compromises no matter what the cost to the nation as a whole. Frankly, I never have considered Trump my president and apparently he doesn’t either. Trump is president of the 30% and more than that; he is held hostage to his base. Where they follow he will lead, for they are the only Americans he cares about, and in turn, they about him.
On January 21st, 2017 millions of women marched across the nation crying, “We will not go away! Welcome to your first day!”
Well, as of the 20th of this month, the big duffus will have been in the Ovall Office for 365 days, and we still haven’t gone away. Today, January 8th, 2018, he attempted to look “presidential” at a football game in Atlanta and was booed by thousands.
I’m proud of those good folks in Atlanta, just as I was proud of those women in every American city last year. Perhaps you too are one of those patriotic souls that took to the streets last year? Well, then I’m proud of you too! Remember that, and keep the flame alive. This is a marathon, not a sprint, folks. We who went out and protested a year ago must continue the fight so the Orange Bafoon will know that we did not go away, not until his LAST day!
By Clayton J. Callahan
Portland Protests Trump: Protesters take to the streets following the inaguration
“F*** TRUMP” read the crudely applied spray paint on the Starbucks window. A statement as encompassing as it was concise.
Thousands of protesters claimed the streets of Portland on Friday, Jan. 20, following the inauguration of President Trump. By 3:30 p.m., Pioneer Courthouse Square was filled with attendees preparing for speeches before the march titled “RISE UP and Resist Fascism.” The protest remained peaceful for several hours before ending with clashes between police and protesters.
People from all over Oregon attended, including former LBCC student and University of Oregon graduate Dustin Stauth of Corvallis.
“I thought it was important for me to be there because I strongly oppose Donald Trump’s ideology and policies and had not yet participated in a protest since his election. I also thought that my ability to travel there from Corvallis and to feel safe in participating was a privilege that not everyone had and thus my responsibility to utilize,” said Stauth, following the march.
Stauth felt there was a collective effort to garner attention for a cause.
“I sought to participate in sending a general message of opposition to what Trump represents, which is what happened from my point of view,” said Stauth.
A common thread amongst the crowd was the feeling that this would be the first of many protests while Donald Trump is in office.
“I’m terrified at our commander in chief being a man of very low intelligence who does not think things through. In a military operation, that can get people killed,” said Clayton J. Callahan SSG, Special Agent, U.S. Army (Ret.) of Portland.
Beyond President Trump’s command of the military, Callahan spoke about what he views as attacks on oppressed people by the president.
“If a Muslim isn’t free to practice his religion, I’m not free to practice mine. Period. That’s how it works, that’s how it’s always worked and marginalizing one population and playing them off against one another is a wonderful recipe for civil war, if you take it to the extreme,” said Callahan.
Between swaths of people thanking him for his service, Callahan explained that his time in the military confirmed his conclusions.
“I served in Iraq, I served under people with last names like Ramirez. I served with people like Waffa and Hassan. We’re all Americans over there… We come over here and I’m supposed to fear and distrust people of Hispanic descent or people of Muslim descent? Give me a break,” said Callahan.
Callahan said something that struck a chord with those gathered around his interview.
“The Trump agenda is not reality. It’s a fantasy, a hate-filled horror story, meant to scare us so that he can just be president and flatter his own damn ego,” said Callahan.
Leaving Pioneer Courthouse Square around 5 p.m., numbers grew as commuters got off of their now-landlocked busses and joined the march.
The first confrontation took place shortly after 5:30. Protesters attempted to take the Morrison Bridge and were met by police. Threats of violence from police as they began to unholster non-lethal weapons were responded to with boos and insults from the crowd.
After five minutes, the crowd moved north on Southwest 2nd Avenue while police in military-style body armor reinforced the police line.
Protesters walked into a kettle, a tactical maneuver where police covertly surround a march, spanning several blocks and were then forced to march in a two block radius in Chinatown.
When the march attempted to leave the police-approved march route, they were met with lines of riot police and grew increasingly agitated each time.
After 30 minutes in the police kettle, contingencies within the march moved sporadically in different directions, confusing police and breaking the kettle.
The protest moved to the waterfront where they were confronted by riot police at 6:40 and instructed to move down Southwest Taylor Street or “face serious bodily harm.”
Following the standoff, protesters moved down Taylor Street. It was at this time when several acts of graffiti took place and police escalated efforts to end the assembly.
Shortly after, protesters broke another kettle and attempted to take the Burnside Bridge before being pepper sprayed.
Shortly before 7 p.m., the march was declared an unlawful assembly and was forced back towards Pioneer Courthouse Square. As protesters neared the square, police deployed flash grenades and mace to disperse the crowd. There were unconfirmed reports of further chemical agents being utilized by police. Flares as well as other projectiles being thrown at police and buildings were reported by the Portland Police via Twitter, unconfirmed by anyone on the ground.
Five people were arrested, including one person wanted in connection with vandalism that happened in Portland during the November protests. The man arrested allegedly possessed a propane torch and a knife at the time of his arrest.
Neither the Portland Police Bureau or organizers of the march could be reached for comment.
I mean it, because if twenty years from now, I pick up a hologram copy of TIME and see some “remember when” cover about how we rose up in 2017, I will know it was all for nothing–just a huge waste of effort.
To recap, in 2016 our country was hijacked by a hostile foreign government and handed over to a criminal gang of plutocrats. And sadly, by our own laws, these corporate raiders have the authority to destroy everything good in this country one piece at a time from now until 2020!
So no, 2017 cannot be the only “year of resistance,” instead it must be Year One of the American awakening! What began in 2017 was the birth of a new national understanding of how much we have to lose if we continue to look the other way. And I’m proud to say, we turned that realization into action. We took to the streets, the town halls, the internet, the newspapers, and the corridors of power. And to our credit, we shook their tree pretty darn good. We halted the wholesale destruction of the Affordable Care Act and slowed their agenda down to a crawl in other regards. But to quote Yogi Berra, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over,” and folks, it’s far from over.
Now, as 2018 dawns, we have to hit the plutocrats even harder. The enemies of our freedom must know that this movement is getting stronger every day. So, as time marches on, so shall we! Demonstrations must continue to be massive in size and loud in message. Congressional town halls must be packed with Resistance members who know the issues and will not back down in the face of evasion or derision. And, by all that’s holy, people,we must get out there and vote!
Already, the big corporate donors are writing checks to their favorite super PACs. Ads will soon splash across the airwaves, and the newly restricted internet in an attempt to further brainwash the American people into voting against their own self-interests. And fellow progressives, must not let those attempts go unanswered.
This year, we need to hit the campaign ground running; educate our fellow citizens, support progressive candidates (especially women and minorities who’ve been underrepresented for far too long), and win back as much of the government as we can. State, local, federal, all of it matters this year, and all of it’s worth the fight.
Face it, folks, our backs are still against the wall. The tyrant is still firmly ensconced in our White House. But to quote another great American, John Paul Jones, “I have not yet begun to fight!” And in 2018, I intend to carry on just as energetically as I did in 2017, and as I will in 2019. But if I am to win, I must not fight alone.
We need a vast and well-organized army of volunteers if we’re going to win. And I swear I will do my part and aid anybody who’s in the struggle with us to the best of my ability. Folks, we must be united and we must be tireless. Because this will be a long struggle, and We The People have got to win it!
YES, I AM! And thank you, my brothers and sisters in uniform, for the freedom to RESIST!
So, I’m as anti-Trump as they come. I march, I blog, I call congressmen who are really tired of hearing from me, I write letters to my editor, and I shell out my hard earned cash to liberal organizations that RESIST. And when I run into a Trump-supporter, I often get the same crazy jazz from them that goes something like this:
“Freedom isn’t free, snowflake! And you’re disrespecting the proud men and women in our armed forces by being so disrespectful to our president!”
Well, here’s the thing they find out about three seconds later, and they never know how to process it…I was one of those proud men in our armed forces!
And not only did I serve my country, I served it in two services. I joined the US Navy in 1987 and got out in 1992. Then, I joined the US Army National Guard in 1998 and was honorably discharged from the US Army Reserves in 2014. I am now a retired staff sergeant after having served my country for most of my adult life. And not only that, I served three of those years in combat zones; Operation Earnest Will in 1988, Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005, and in Operation New Dawn in 2011.
What was my final job in the military, you may ask? I was a Counterintelligence Special Agent, charged with rooting out espionage and sedition directed against the US Army. The job was referred to as MOS 35-L, and required a Top Secret Clearance that is only granted to soldiers whose loyalty to the United States is beyond question.
I am proud of my service and proud to be a veteran. And I am also extremely proud to be a part of the RESISTANCE. You see, I am still passionately loyal to the United States. I have always considered myself a patriot, and that is why I can not abide the thought that some foreign dictator has undermined our free and fair election to impose a man like Donald Trump upon us.
Please tell me, conservatives, in what universe should a man like me tolerate anything but the best in leadership for the country I served for so long? And believe me, Trump is as far from the best leader as Cleveland, Ohio is from the Andromeda galaxy!
Trump is plainly nothing more than a spoiled rich brat, who never grew up. And this rich brat is now playing with America like it’s his own box of toys which he’s handing out to other rich brats so that they can break ’em while he laughs at the wreckage. Net neutrality? Broken! Our public lands? Broken! American educational excellence? Broken! Our National Parks? Broken!
In each case, I mentioned the systems and services We The People pay for and rely on are breaking under this corrupt, sycophantic, regime. We are losing our place as a world leader and racking up over one and a half trillion in debt that our grandchildren will have to find a way to pay off. All so The Donald and his bratty friends can make a quick buck while Putin laughs.
As a patriotic American veteran, I can not stand for that! So I RESIST in every way I can. And just like the days when I served in uniform, I will not quit until that resistance wins our country back.
So keep it up, patriots! Keep marching, keep protesting, and let your voice be heard! And don’t EVER let some brainwashed Trump-supporter tell you that you’re disrespecting our troops. There’s quite a few of us who are as proud of the RESISTANCE as we can be.
Webster’s definition of Democracy: a government by the people; especially: rule of the majority. b: a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.
This definition does NOT apply to the United States of America!
Of course, this isn’t news to anybody who’s been awake for a while. As for me, I confess that I personaly came to this obvious conclusion rather slowly. You see, I was raised to believe that we actually DID live in a democracy, and to paraphrase a famous Republican, I truly thought that “…government of the people, by the people an for the people would not perish from this Earth…”. Yep, I was that nieve.
However, in today’s America, I find it hard to fathom such naivete could be found in anyone. We The People, to put it bluntly, don’t count for squat in America today. The government doesn’t exist to serve us, it exists to serve its owners, and that ain’t you and me. In fact, you can pretty much just take a sharpy marker to your home copy of the constitution and write over the preamble in big black letters the only thing that matters nowadays, “Money talks.”
Am I being overdramatic, you may ask? That is a fair question to which I provide the following evidence for you to judge. In America, as of December 2017:
94% of us support expanded background checks for gun purchases.
83% of us support net neutrality.
80% of us feel that drug prices are too high.
75% of us oppose the GOP tax bill (that just passed as of today).
70% of us believe that climate change is real and people are the cause of it.
60% of us favor expanding Medicare to all Americans.
And 59% of us disapprove of Trump’s job performance!
In a democracy, the will of the people would drive policy and our elected officials would be prioritizing what we care about.
But NONE of this matters one whit, That’s right, no legislation is currently moving through Congress to address ANY of the above concerns. Why? Because We The People don’t matter to our leaders at all!
In fact, the only time our leaders even bother to pretend anymore is during election season when their jobs run the actual risk of termination. But, to be clear, they count on their big money owners…oops, I meant “donors”…to pay for a propaganda blitz to bamboozle enough of us to keep their jobs. They do not, however, count on the goodwill of informed citizens.
And, folks, those owners are already hard at work. These big money interests are even now bankrolling a huge ad campaign to brainwash us into thinking the GOP tax bill will actually be good for We The People as confirmed by statements from Americans for Prosperity reported just today on NPR. And if I were a betting man, I’d say their media blitz just might work because American education has been so underfunded for so long that not enough of us have the context to see through their lies (and that’s not by coincidence either).
So, the fact is we don’t live in a democracy. We live in an oligarchy, where an elite few compete for sway over the peasants. To change this we need nothing sort of a revolution. And I would prefer that such a revolution be political. For I fear JFK’s famous quote, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” may turn prophetic.
For the moment, we still have the right to vote (although it’s getting harder state by state to exercise it). So we need to act NOW, while we still can, to purge Congress of the oligarchs and put in people who give a damn about us. And once they’re in, we need to hold their feet to the fire to amend the US Constitution so that We The People stay in, and the moneyed interests stay out. That’s why I support the proposed “We The People” 28th Amendment, to undo Citizens United and take our country back.
So get out there and register to vote. Help others to register to vote. Find a candidate who represents us and support that person all the way to DC! This is how we beat Roy Moore and this is how we must win back our democracy, and the clock is ticking.
It’s been over a year since the viral video above ended a ten-year friendship between two men who’d once served together in Iraq,
I met Kevin in the 505th Engineers when I was in the US Army. He was a cook, and I was a radio operator. We deployed to Iraq together in the summer of 2005 and our butts stayed in the sandbox until the fall of 2006. During that long, hard year, one of the few things I had to look forward to was my nightly chess game with Kevin. We also shared an interest in nerdy things like science fiction and role laying games.
He was my friend, and he helped get me through. And, I’d like to say I did the same for him.
Sure, I knew Kevin was a conservative Republican. We talked politics a lot. I thought he was interested in understanding the liberal point of view and building a common understanding. We often disagreed but never argued. Then, we got home, and I moved to Oregon while he stayed in North Carolina.
Through the magic of Facebook, we reconnected in 2015. I was glad to hear from him. He’d acquired two grandchildren and, like me, he had long since left the army. But something more fundamental was different about my old friend Kevin. He still wanted to talk politics a lot, but now he was more confrontational. He’d cut and past questionnaires from conservative websites and insist I explain my position on a battery of issues. And as 2015 became 2016, he came out as a hardcore Trump supporter.
Confident that Hillary would win, I brushed off his Trumpian boasts and prepared myself to comfort my friend when his guy lost. However, when the world turned upside down that November, I was the one in need of comfort. I was angry. I felt betrayed. How could the country I’d fought for choose such an obviously incompetent, racist, moron for our president?
I didn’t contact Kevin, he contacted me.
A week or so after Trumps electorial win, Kevin sent me a shaky video of two black men beating up a white guy while they shouted, “Don’t vote for Trump. Kick his ass!” Kevin sent the video without explanation, and I was at first confused. Was he telling me all Hilary supporters were thugs? Was he making some kind of racial statement? I later found out that this was a video of a road rage incident that went viral thanks to Breitbart. But in that moment I didn’t bother to research the clip, I just went off.
I berated my friend for his choice of president and for sending me this crappy video. I warned him of all the chaos and destruction that could be expected when Trump got in the White House. And I told him in no uncertain terms that his candidate was immoral, and to support Trump in any way was to compromise one’s own morality.
Kevin was shocked. In all his years of knowing me, I was the calm one who worked to be reasonable in my arguments. He’d never seen this side of me before and could not comprehend why I couldn’t see Trump as just another Republican who’d won an election. My last words to him, “There’s a protest downtown. I’m going!” He counseled me to be safe. and I replied that he would not be hearing from me again.
I then unfriended him and have not spoken to him since.
I went to the protest that night. It was my first but hasn’t been my last. Since Trump won, I’ve become as active in the Resistance as I can be. I’ve joined several groups and gone to town-halls and rallies of all sorts. You see, I fought for this country in Iraq, and am determined to fight for it still. Sadly, in any war there are casualties–and in this one the first was friendship.
I’m proud to say I was at the Indivisible rally, Rachell Maddow mentioned in last night’s show. I’m not a huge presence, I’m just the guy to the right-hand side of the screen of the Portland rally holding the RESIST sign. However, I feel good knowing that that crowd was one person larger because of me.
We all need to come out. We all need to show up and make our voices heard. Every voice must count, every sign must be held up high if we are going to have an impact on the plutocrats who currently sit in power.