Tag Archives: Donald Trump

Create a world where Trump is not necessary

Russell Brand: wise sage?

As it turns out, yes.

Listen to him–rather than get caught up in what you may think you know of the English comedian/actor with an unfettered biography of overcoming drug and sexual addiction–to glimpse him in this role, and perhaps to learn something while you’re at it.

Listening to him isn’t that hard. Brand’s intelligence, humor and honesty are anything but boring.

The hard part comes when we consider what he says, just as he did shortly after America’s coronation of its first Theocracy, i.e. the less-than-majority Presidential victory of Donald Trump and continued GOP control over Congress.

“The fact that Donald Trump is president of the United States is, sort of, not what’s important,” Brand said. “What’s important is the conditions that have occurred that Donald Trump becomes (the president).”

Brand correctly correlated widespread disenchantment both in his native England with Brexit and now in America with the election of Trump.

For five minutes of rapid-fire commentary, Brand lays out his case that the growing, educated, progressive majority has failed to understand those with whom they don’t align.

Or perhaps it’s as simple as my son often tells me, “I can’t stand how superior you elites act.”

Don’t get my wrong, my son loves me and we have wonderful, open talks about politics and social issues. He is a non-religious progressive on most social issues who is fiscally conservative and stridently pro-small government. He once voted for President Obama but now feels alienated. “Hope and change” to him, was the first political let down of his adult life.

Brand uses similar language, but from the perspective of a progressive insider. We have no idea how we’ve alienated those who have now kicked us from the halls of power in two of the world’s most powerful economies, he asserts.

Facts back him up. The “superior” hubris of the Democratic leadership continues to haunt this country. After voters looked to them for leadership in 2006, they spent two years doing nothing but trying to destroy the GOP. After progressives stormed behind an unknown named Bernie Sanders ten years later, the Clinton campaign never stepped foot into key Rust Belt states Sanders won, even after both Trump and Michael Moore said she would lose right there.

Our arrogance is destroying this country as much as the fact-deprived, right-wing proliferation of political spin regarding taxation, climate change and the economy. We can look down our nose at people who still deny global warming and believe the nonsense coming from Fox News, but they now control the government.

Thankfully, Brand as wise sage doesn’t just wax philosophical about these trends. He offers a clear path to a solution, one that is very, very hard to follow. I know this because for the last two years I tried to do it way more often than I tried to elevate my political agenda.

“Lets try and reach out and understand why someone feels like this and be loving and not be presumptuous,” he says.

And more to the point: “We have to create a world where a Donald Trump is not necessary… we have to change the way we treat each other.”

I believe this is as close to my personal “mission” as anything I do. But now, after the rise of a Theocracy that had no interest in conversation or listening for the entire eight years of the Obama presidency, after the election of a President who routinely uses abusive language, incites hate, condones and participates in the abuse of women, and who has a near pathological bent toward lies—after this election–I will listen while I actively resist this agenda of an American Theocracy.

This is anything but easy. Listening is decidedly not easy. Loving is nearly impossible. Resisting can be dangerous and disruptive. But this is my calling. I hope it will be yours too, so we can “create a world where Donald Trump is not necessary.”

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In defense of tolerance, resist but don’t hate

Now they expect us to be “tolerant.” We cannot be tolerant so that intolerance can be allowed. Too many people’s lives and hard-earned freedoms are at stake in the months ahead.

This is what’s a stake: a woman’s right to choose, the right to basic public health, increased institutional racism, the legalized right for same-sex marriage. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget the right to avoid cataclysmic destruction of our planet.

Our challenge will not be to maintain the resistance. The extreme views of those in power will provide us daily motivation. They are tone-deaf to the movement of tolerance.

Our challenge is not to hate those who would oppress us. Our challenge is not to hate the “God” they espouse, especially those of us of faith who know a very different God.

The commandments tell us first to love God and love others. They say do not take God’s name in vain. Yet, the religious right will continue to act with such impunity of people they view as outside of the will of God that they scream Goddamnit at the top of their lungs with every act they undertake.

We take God’s name in vain when her so-called people vow to destroy Her creation — both the planet and the people who inhabit who they believe God damns.

Christopher Hitchens wrote in his book, God is Not Great, “Religion poisons everything.”

A segment of Christianity that veers far right, even away from moderate evangelicalism that is often wrongly viewed as bedfellows with this political ideology–even far right of George W. Bush’s fabled compassionate conservativism–controls our federal government.

This is no time for tolerance.

But it is also no time for hate, lest we become the thing we resist.

Walking through Greenwich Village the other day, I sought out the now landmark Stonewall Inn, home of a police attack that gave birth to the civil rights movement for gays and lesbians.

The Stonewall Inn is more than a gay bar. It’s the symbol of everything we have to lose in the coming months as the Theocracy of America takes complete control of the federal government.

The statue outside stands for a cultural victory that normalized what should be and should remain “normal,” the right to love who we want without fear.

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Most statues hark to a past era after victory is assured. A few weeks ago we wanted to believe that. Now, we know better.

Vice President-Elect Mike Pence–who is widely believed to be the person making presidential decisions under the Reality TV presidency of Donald Trump–is among the most far-right Christian trumpeters this country has ever elected to the state house, much less the White House. Pence has vowed a culture war built on a Christian theology touted by a minority–a fading one at that.

The same Congressional leaders who broke the rule of law and refused to approve a qualified candidate for the Supreme Court, will now try to stuff that court with religiously motivated justices who will defend their so-called view of “God’s law.” It flips a middle finger at the constitution and laws of the United States.

We will tolerate nothing of people who in the name of God promote intolerance that rivals that of theocratic governments in the Middle East. The world has lived through enough Crusades for one planet. We will defy them to try to again.

We refuse to let our LGBTQ brothers and sisters be threatened again. We refuse to allow their homes, their safeties, their marriages, their civil rights abused by a theocratic police state again.

We will resist, not fight. Who are we? We are now Muslim, Liberal Christian, Gay, Transgender, Female, Black, Latino, and on and on. If they make a target, we will all become that thing. If they try to register one group, we will all register. We will all refuse to tolerate this attack on our freedoms.

Somehow, someway, we will win the world back with love, not hate. This is something more powerful. It is the unified voice for the freedom of all, even those who would dare drag us into a religious-fueled state of intolerance. We will resist and we will love, and somehow, someway try to even love those who view us with such disdain.

This is the way of freedom.

‘Take sides:’ Trump shifts from inane to alarming

At the height of the Republican presidential primary a stranger and his friend stopped me on the street for no apparent reason.

“If you have to choose, would you vote for Cruz or Trump?” he asked me.

Without missing a beat, I replied, “Trump. This is all a reality TV show game for him. But Cruz, he really believes that hateful shit.”

Satisfied, they walked on. No other words were said. Random, interesting and reflective of the time a few months ago.

Now, I know I was wrong. Both presented a clear and present danger to American ideals of civil rights, tolerance and human dignity.

What started out as a great American con job–Trump saw the money Sarah Palin seized by turning a presidential election into reality TV and wanted more of that for himself–has now become one of the most alarming shifts in American politics since Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s witch hunt for communists.

On the day author, professor and advocate for peace Elie Wiesel died, I went to see the musical, Cabaret. Collectively the two events brought to mind the never-ending cycle of history’s repetition. We’ve seen this all before. It was horrific then, and it’s no longer a joke now.

Weisel himself expressed a similar truth when discussing one of his big disappointments in life. “Nothing changed,” he said. “Human nature remained what it was. Society remained what it was. Too much indifference in the world to The Other, his pain, and anguish, and hope.”

Cabaret’s stunning performance reminds us that fools in power often vilify The Other to fuel their rise. Does American 2016 replace Germany 1930? Do Muslim Americans replace Jewish Germans? Do the recession-weary poor from middle America replace the recession-weary poor from middle Germany? Does “Make America Great Again” replace “Heil Hitler?” After all, both Trump and the leader of the Third Reich share a popular appeal to the “blond hair, blue eyed,” pure nationalists to feed their egos.

Do I go too far? That remains to be seen. But enough trends, enough anger, enough xenophobia has been displayed to move Trump from an inane carnival barker to the second most likely person to lead the most powerful country in the world. If anything, such comparisons may be too late, not too early.

Like all megalomaniacs, Trump has begun to believe his own Wag The Dog spin. He’s cast a campaign of hate, fueled fear and racial division and spoken of attacking any number of “others” to propel him into an office he is entirely and utterly unqualified to hold.

The Grand Old Party has even begun to cave on its sense of decency and order. Those that have taken a stand against him have been shoved to the side. Those in power–Paul Ryan, are you going to lead this party?–have waffled. Winning is more important than the tenets of society this country is built on. Liberty? Justice? The bill of rights? All will be trampled under a Trump presidency that advocates more of the worst of American injustices like the World War II internment camps and the Native American reservations.

Listen again to the voice of the dearly departed: “Whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation, take sides. Neutrality helps the aggressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented,” Wiesel said.

Be silent no more.

It can’t go on. Not a day more. This reality check must cancel The Trump reality show, and it should never be purchased for re-runs. The common bonds of a decent people must come together across party lines to heal our deep wounds of division, or the final scenes of Cabaret won’t be a play, but a passion play of the Civilization of America and its last setting sun.