A moment of silence please

Give me that fabled simpler time
Where I was yours
And you were mine
That picture painted with a false bottom
That overpaint of an overpaint
That lie we say so often it becomes truth

Give me that yesterday when all was harmony
When all people were united
When the feeling on your neck
Was the arm of a friend
And not the heavy boot of thuggery
That false remembrance which they say is possible
If only we’d be quiet
Be silent
Be closeted
Tell all the lies of the heart
They were forced to
It could be grand

Give me that hopeful tomorrow
Where retirement is real
Where lips pressed to mine
Where our world is not aflame
And the vocal few don’t drown out the cut tongue majority

Give me none of those things
All I want is a harsh truth
All I want is a plan with some spine
All I want is a chance

But I am not so naive
No longer trapped in what you conceive
Instead I cry
For all you know is the lie
And truth
No matter how sharp
Cannot cut you free
From the honeycomb cage
You call freedom

This wasn’t the end. It was the start.

Voters young and old, Independent and Democrat, normally third party voters and even Republicans, came out to oust then President Trump. Democrats and Independents voted blue. For any Democrat we could get our hands on. We gage money and signed petitions. We marched in Black Lives Matter protests and were beaten and run down and even killed for our efforts.

When Biden won, we watched while the President tried desperately to make it not so. Watched him bribe and threaten and, yes, even incite active insurrection. And still he failed. When Biden was sworn in and we had both a Democrat as president and a supposed majority in congress, we all breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe we could wipe away the nightmare and put protections in place to prevent it from happening again.

We need to add more Supreme Court justices. We need to pass The For The People act. We need lasting economic change and we need real reform of our policing structures.

But we aren’t going to get those things. Because the people we elected are delusional. There is no bipartisanship possible with people who are pushing lies. Who have zero intention of legislating. Who can not and will not accept any compromise or concession.

The inability of the Democratic leadership to see that, is infuriating. You did NOT change things just by winning. You have to act and those actions must result in passed legislation. Not you shrugging and saying you tried while insuring that it is not possible to pass any bills.

Yes, we’re talking about the filibuster. Which was never intended for use in the constitution. Which is only in place because of a screwed up wording on a procedural document. Which, when it was abolished in the House resulted in more and meaningful legislation to pass. And such would be the effect in the Senate. But Democrats are too afraid. They are betting that they will lose and be in the minority again. And that mindset will not fly with those of us who came out for you this time.

If you fail to pass meaningful legislation as you failed to impanel the bipartisan 1/6 commission, don’t expect us in the midterms. We will give up. We won’t vote in the opposition. Most will just not vote. Because you will have proven that even when you are in control, you still can’t make it work. You still play like its a game.

Well, unfortunately, Trumps apprentices are coming. This wasn’t a war you won. It was a single battle, after which you declared yourselves the total victors even while there were still combatants on the field.
And when it comes around again, your failures now will empower your opponents and the enemies of what this Nation could have been.

We implore you to wake up. We are signing petitions and writing senators. We are pleading with you. But if you fail to listen, to act…we won’t be there when you need us most. Just as you are not with us now, when we need you.

The bottom line is not blue

Cops want to believe that they are to protect and serve. That is the ideal they espouse. The motto of nearly every city or department. But it is not their function.

The function of police is to determine 2 things. 1. Has a law been broken and if so, by whom.
2. To gather evidence of said infraction to present to the District Attorneys/prosecutor.

That is the base function.
That’s it. Anything beyond that is frosting.

But when we allow them to believe that ‘protecting’ is their function, we get into a quagmire of value judgments. Where personal bias and institutional bias meet and have a toxic baby.

Yes. There was a time when police could execute some judgment upon execution of the law. But we’ve grown too far beyond that. It’s no longer true that street cops actually know the people on their beat. Further, they have no investment in the community that they patrol because they don’t live there. They don’t need to make sure their neighborhood is a good place to live.

And the internal culture reflects this mentality. They see themselves as a community under siege. That ‘civilians’ don’t understand. That cops should be given freedom to persue their goals to protect.
Without true scrutiny, oversight, or interference.

That is the worst kind of false narrative. One which creates a Us vs Them dynamic. Which makes it so that actions outside of the rules become justified. Because they are trying to ‘protect’.

This culture which sees itself as us vs them. Which denounces those who report the crimes of other police. Which considers the body which is there to police them as the “Rat squad”. Which eschews civilian oversight. Which relies on police unions to keep them in power. Its a broken system.

One which functions more like a gang than the military that they play as. Gangs don’t want you to ‘rat’. Gangs want you to rely solely on them for solace and support. Gangs create a us vs them society. And gangs only care about the gang. The thin blue line.

Police use the perpetual threat in negotiations that their members will pull their protection from the cities and citizenry that they serve. That is the definition of a protection racket. Pay up or you don’t know what could happen.

This is a system which requires drastic change. Which requires drastic measures. And it is evident that the change is no longer possible from within.

Police in our country(the USA) are flawed and corrupt on such a fundamental level that internal reforms are no longer an option.

It’s a incendiary statement. But if it is, perhaps it’s time to light the pyre.

Moving forward in the wake of treason

Trump’s actions in office while heinous were in no way done without the complicity of those in Congress. People who, either by cynical manipulation wore the colors of this fascist movement in a bid for power or through genuine passion for an ideology anathema to the ideals of this country, supported and conceded to this presidency all grounds of decency. Who under rule by then Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Decided to stonewall any effort to make the lives of Americans better. To deny safeguards both physical and financial to protect its citizens from a virus that has killed almost 1 in 10 people in these United States. To appoint federal and Supreme Court justices who would lead us into the future instead of miring us in a mythical past.

It is into this atmosphere that our President Elect Joe Biden wants to restore normalcy and cooperation. It is a false hope and the wrong move. You cannot settle with people who hold you in such contempt. Who will use your inability to enforce change to swing the pendulum back to the simmering fascism for the next populist ideologue to take advantage of.

There is no normal to recreate. There is no consensus which can be reached with those who either through cynicism or fanaticism have engaged in support of sedition. Anything less than the denial of these complicit parties will leave the cancer to metastasize. They must be denied their seats. New members must be seated and all activities they have engaged in must be brought to light.

We stand near the maelstrom, just past the lip. We can either forge a new future or try to make peace with those who have no true desire for it and plunge back into the gyre.

Lies told by the comfortable

I’m old enough to have been warmed by the flames
Watched as the heart and soul of a country burned
Watched as the flames reached higher
As the middle class blamed those with less
Blamed those without
While the Rich paid themselves for existing
Removed protections and taxes
Things that made economic mobility possible
Made it possible to work less than forever
Buy a house
Be out of debt
Not be drawn further and further into
No way out
The last flames are burning
Soon there will be nothing left
What choices will we make
The generation of my parents
Are turning on anyone who isn’t them
My generation is either complicit or stand by
Some rage in the streets
But the generations that follow
Need to rise and dismantle this
That means the senate and the house
Local government legislature
We need to make every effort
But I fear that we are falling
And nothing is left but to burn

Democracy and humanity

Democracy has fallen into the trap of all power. It’s become about the wielder of power not about the people.

The idea of democracy is an ideal. It is a hope that giving the people a voice and a choice would motivate them to build a better world not just with other political bodies but with each other. To create connections to each other which would transcend the tribal(us vs them) and become a collective we. Thus we the people. It clings to the idea that the individual can both work towards their own goals while attempting to give others the best chance at good.

But it is here that is the first danger. What is good for me, individually, may be dangerous or disastrous for others.

The second danger is that of the collective. As people grow in numbers, in groups, it is less and less that the logical or those with ideas are leaders and more about charisma and how many people can you sway to your way of thinking.

The first was fought by creating the position of a representative who will take the idea of the collective good and represent that idea to create laws and a nation. With the understanding that failure to represent the will of the individuals who elected them will result in their being replaced. But the hope was that this representative would act in the best interests of the people. Not just give them what they said they wanted. In fact, it’s a bad idea to give people exactly what they want. Our stories are littered with the consequences of doing just that. The destruction of acquiring what we want is recounted over and over. It was the hope that a representative would see what we need to get some of what we want and work towards that.

But we are humans. And representatives almost immediately split into factions and those factions began to shape laws which benefitted those in power. Themselves. While occasionally throwing some bits and pieces to the groups that got them there. Those representatives gave power to these factions to enhance their own power but instead stripped themselves of the autonomy which allowed them the freedom to operate in both their own and their constituents best interests. Instead owing allegiance to the party rather than the people.

So the first danger falls prey to the second and we are thrust back into factions. And worse, we become beholden to them for identity. Because we as humans are swayed by what we are included into rather than a greater idea of self. Most people just want to live lives which are just hard enough to be interesting but not so difficult that there is struggle. So they allow others who want that power, want that struggle to become their rulers.

The only benefit in a democracy is that sometimes people can be motivated enough to act in their best interests and vote to remove those causing them harm. Stripping them of power.

But here is where the faction comes into play. By excluding other voices from the election and allowing only those who they know will act in good faith for their interests. Parties are the very definition of special interest groups yet are always pointing outside themselves at the other.

I don’t have a solution. Because this is extremely complicated and how do we create a system which both minimizes and weaponizes human self interest while allowing for the human need to be a part of a group without giving control to that group while giving enough power to make decisions which will effect other people.

Democracy is fucked up. But it must be ruthlessly preserved even against itself. And it must be brutally examined. Are your ideas for all of the people or only for your self interest? Do you act because you must for the greater good or because it will please your party or your friends? We must be willing to accept that other people and other ideas may be better than our own or our groups and work towards a common good.

This increase(some would say, inevitable increase) in factional power undermines the goals of democracy. And the thought may be to outlaw factions but I would counsel against driving factions underground. It is much easier to fight what you can see.

My hope is that people who seek office will use the parties to gain access to power then use that power against the factions in the interest of the entire group they represent rather than merely for those who elected them.

Maybe I’m just a hopeless romantic.

Divisive enough for you?

It should be clear to everyone that I am political. That I engage people on issues and talk about the news of the day.

So, what is the news of the day?
Well, I voted. In fact, I voted early and received confirmation that my signature matched, which means my vote will be processed.

If nothing else the orange shitgibbon has inspired a new generation to vote, if the early numbers are to be believed. I just hope it takes and that cancer is cut out. Of course if his puppet master McConnell is not ousted it may go as poorly and if Barr and everyone involved in his presidency is not put on charges it will be an indication that we as a country allow this trash to happen.

So, that’s the state of things. Go vote. Clear Republican bastions are swaying. Punch drunk. Keep hitting till they go down. If you can vote and don’t, then you have only yourself to blame for whatever policies impact you and your families.

The tyranny of the commons

The tyranny of the commons

This tendency to emphasize the needs of the many against the needs of the few serves to highlight how little politicians and leaders understand the psychology of the individual.

It is a rare person who sees the broad collective good as both aspiration and moral imperative. Instead we have people who seize upon the aspirational. The glowing benefits of the end of struggles which are personally impactful.
This is the trap of the idealist.

I say trap because many idealists fall away from the struggle for better in the persuit of best. Discarding incremental lasting change in order to create the large mediapathic spectacle of demonstration or sweeping, one stroke changes. The failing is this: such actions and changes are fragile. They have no foundation and unless such change is shored up after the fact, they are poised to fall.

But the idealist fails to see this. Instead of a step on the road, one triumph is declared victory. The bulk of those seeking change look to these idealists as leaders and they fall away from movements because of this.

Without the implicit and expressed moral imperative for changes, our leaders will rest on their laurels. Waiting for new people to take up the fight.

The second concern is this: That in seeking large sweeping change we set ourselves up for the trap. By excluding anything but full and sudden action from our success criteria we set ourselves up to fail. And as those failures drag on, we ablate away the less resolute supporters. Support which is required to push these agendas forward.

So the question becomes, how do we mobilize for changes which require a large percentage of the population to agree with those changes as neccesary?

Politicians would say that voting for them at the national level is vital. And they aren’t wrong but they aren’t right either.

What is neccesary is the creation and motivation of small grassroots efforts. Ones which are united enough to push forward but small enough or embattled enough to resist outside influence. We see that when a grassroots movement gets large enough it becomes vulnerable to takeover. We saw that with the Occupy Wallstreet movement and the Tea party movement. Both started as small grassroots organizations which as they metastasized radically shifted into organizations which were often at odds with their founding principles.

This is not victory. This is the pause before the storm

What can I say in the wake of the news?
I suppose only to be vigilant. This changes nothing. Pence as president would be just as bad as Trump. Worse, perhaps, for the second term. Geared up to for one fight, we may loose another with different tactics. So we must remain vigilant. We must all vote and try to get all of those who are decided but won’t vote TO vote.

This is not a reprieve. This is a call to action. It must be. For the fight has not changed. This is still a war for the soul of our nation. We cannot be complacent in the final month. We must stand ready to vote out an administration which has made it its mission to dismantle our democracy. Before we lack the freedom to do so.

Schisms in the wake of the fall

I was a conservative in my youth. It’s how I was raised. How I was indoctrinated. And it’s really odd. Because when I was young my parents weren’t religious. Their positions weren’t anointed by the false images of a god that never was. So they justified them with science and opinion. And my mom was fiercely feminist. Like hardcore feminist. So she would talk and I respected the strong women in my life forever because of her. They used to be Democrats. They’d declare it that after Jimmy Carter they lost faith. That’s how they described it. Like politics was religion. And that is the key, isn’t it? They viewed their politics as religion and they rolled into the 80’s doing well economically. So they’re religion became money and their presidents became saviors. Each one inviolable. The opposing party, a villain. The face of the adversary. And that’s how they raised us. I was never comfortable with it. I argued and that original politics as science is what sunk in. And science, science changes. It looks at the world. It looks at the evidence and it shifts. By the time I was 18, I’d shifted to Libertarian. The platform not the individuals in it. The people that are in it are fringe. The ideas fringe. Maybe, I read too much Heinlein. But my thinking shifted. And my relationship with my parents became double sided. On one side they were my parents, and on the other they were adversaries. But ones who I still had some things in common with. Those commonalities waned down the years. As my eyes and world grew wider. And science based politics forced my positions and opinions to change. I became far left Libertarian. Until 2016. Until the rubber band broke, and I could no longer affiliate with a party that had anything in common with the Republican party and the monster they endorsed and elected. And I’ve watched as my now so called practicing Christian parents salivate at the thought of doing harm to those who are other than them. Eating up the thinly veiled propoganda of Fox news. And far right radio. Believing everything that Trump says even when it contradicts the things he just said. And I find that I love them. Because they are my parents. And they have never acted against me. Seem to genuinely want the best for me. But, I know that they are my enemies. And that hurts. That loss of safety. Because I can never be sure now that I will be supported. And maybe it’s dumb for an adult to need them still. But I’ve seen them be better people. And I wish they would come back.