Welcome Ron To The 21st Century!

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and all the good people of Florida who voted for him two months ago to the woke world of the 21st century!  DeSantis, who has a 0 rating with the Human Rights Campaign, but an A+ rating with the National Rifle Association (NRA), has a lot to learn about this 21st century and about humanity!

DeSantis throws the word ‘woke’ around as if it were a basketball, but he has weaponized it, he spits it out as if it were the most vile, disgusting thing in the world.  We really need to teach him a bit of humanity … or rather, we need to teach his voters a bit of humanity and then they can teach him humility!

What, you ask, has set me off on this tangent?  Well, mostly everything he’s done over the last two years, but most recently his attention to universities in his state that may be teaching such things as … diversity, equality, and inclusion … GASP!!!  No, he’s not interested in them because he wants to commend them for their efforts to open the eyes of the young people of his state … rather he is most likely considering cutting funding for universities that include such humanitarian lessons in their curriculum.

On December 28th, Chris Spencer, director of DeSantis’ Office of Policy and Budget, sent a memo to the head of the university system requiring colleges and universities to “provide a comprehensive list of all staff, programs and campus activities related to diversity, equity and inclusion and critical race theory.” In addition, they are directed to detail “costs associated with the administration of each program or activity,” including a description of the activities, paid positions and how much of the money is provided by the state.

United Faculty of Florida President Andrew Gothard said yesterday that his union is “deeply concerned” about the memo, which he called a “horrible directive.”

“Attempts such as these by the governor to chill speech and to intimidate those he disagrees with into remaining silent, altering their curriculum, and silencing their students are an affront to democracy and the American way of life. Let those who supported Governor DeSantis in the recent election heed this warning: A man who will silence those whom he disagrees — in the classroom and beyond — will one day find a reason to silence you as well.” [emphasis added]

That last sentence is both profound and chilling.

The memo also states that the purpose of education is to “prepare them for employment.”  Well … that is certainly part of the purpose of education, but by no means the only purpose.  Education has a far higher purpose … to prepare young people for life … all aspects of life.  The goal is to help people choose the path that is right for them, to help them understand how the lessons of history apply to life in the 21st century and beyond, to teach them to adapt and adjust to the ever-changing circumstances in the world.  DeSantis’ narrow views of education will hamstring the next generation of Floridians, will leave them unable to survive outside their own communities, unprepared to meet life’s challenges.

DeSantis would like to shield his entire state from the ugly face of racism by simply pretending it doesn’t exist.  He seems to think that if he simply says, “Don’t say gay,” then the LGBTQ community will simply disappear.  DeSantis and others like him truly have not grown up, never matured beyond their sheltered childhoods protected from the realities of life.  What the people of Florida who elected him two months ago were seeking is beyond my comprehension, but what they got was an ignorant bigot who would like to turn his state into a mythological place where everyone looks alike, acts alike, and thinks alike … one that would never survive in the real world.  If the people open their eyes and realize their mistake, I would strongly advise them to start petitioning their state legislators to impeach Governor DeSantis, for Florida relies heavily on tourism for its survival, and DeSantis is in the process of making Florida the most hated state in the nation.

Meet The New Press Secretary!

I will miss Jen Psaki.  After the 4 years of the previous administration with such reprobates as the bumbling Sean Spicer, the nasty Sarah Huckabee Sanders, silent Stephanie Grisham, and the grand bimbo Kayleigh McEnany, Ms. Psaki has been as a breath of fresh air.  I shall miss her compassion and her intelligence, as well as her uncanny ability to put an antagonist in his place without missing a beat.  Would that we could make her position a lifelong appointment …

But Ms. Psaki said early in her tenure that she would not stay for the entire 4-year term of the Biden presidency, and in fact she expected to stay only a year or so, but a series of crises – the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the continuation of the pandemic, among other issues – convinced her to stay longer.  However, she has other fish to fry, and we owe her a debt of gratitude for bringing intelligence, humour and dignity back into the White House pressroom.

And now, it’s time to move on.  But my sadness over Psaki’s leaving is offset by my joy at her chosen replacement!  Allow me to introduce Ms. Karine Jean-Pierre.  Jean-Pierre has been White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary since 2021 and served as the chief of staff for vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris on the 2020 United States presidential campaign.  Prior to that, she was the senior advisor and national spokeswoman for MoveOn.org and a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. She is also a former lecturer in international and public affairs at Columbia University.

Ms. Jean-Pierre’s educational background makes her a fine fit for the office of press secretary:  She is a graduate of the New York Institute of Technology. She received her MPA from the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University in 2003, where she served in student government and decided to pursue politics.

She brings a combination of education and experience that far exceeds any of the four from the previous administration.  Oh yes, and she adds something else to the Biden administration:  diversity.  You see, Ms. Jean-Pierre is the first Black woman and the first openly gay person to serve in this position.  Now, I’m thrilled about the diversity, happy to see that President Biden is keeping his promise to diversify the executive branch, but I don’t want that to be the sole focus, for Ms. Jean-Pierre is more than that.  It would be unfair to assume that she only got the job because of her skin colour or gender identification.  She is a well-qualified woman who will do an excellent job … and she has a big pair of shoes to fill!

In making the announcement, President Biden said …

“Karine not only brings the experience, talent and integrity needed for this difficult job, but she will continue to lead the way in communicating about the work of the Biden-Harris Administration on behalf of the American people. Jill and I have known and respected Karine a long time and she will be a strong voice speaking for me and this Administration.

Jen Psaki has set the standard for returning decency, respect and decorum to the White House Briefing Room. I want to say thank you to Jen for raising the bar, communicating directly and truthfully to the American people, and keeping her sense of humor while doing so. I thank Jen for her service to the country, and wish her the very best as she moves forward.”

Ms. Jean-Pierre and her partner, CNN correspondent Suzanne Malveaux, are the parents of one daughter.  As she said of her work in the Obama White House …

“What’s been wonderful is that I was not the only; I was one of many. President Obama didn’t hire LGBT staffers, he hired experienced individuals who happen to be LGBT. Serving and working for President Obama where you can be openly gay has been an amazing honor. It felt incredible to be a part of an administration that prioritizes LGBT issues.”

Welcome aboard, Ms. Jean-Pierre … we look forward to seeing you in action!  And Ms. Psaki – you will be missed, and yours will be a long-lived legacy, for you restored so much to the position.  Thank you for all that you did.

Jen Psaki (right) getting ready to hand over the reins to Karina Jean-Pierre

Religious Freedom Or Persecution?

Religious freedom … now there’s a term that has almost unlimited definitions.  My own, and one that I believe is in synch with that of the Founding Fathers back in 1787, is that each person has the freedom to believe in and practice his/her religion without interference from the government.  But today, there are those who define it as having the freedom to declare that their beliefs are the only correct ones and that every person should be forced to follow their religion and believe as they do.  Well, that ain’t how it works, and if you study history, you will see that this line of thinking has led to many of the wars that have been fought throughout past centuries. 

The United States is a secular nation.  This means that government and laws are not based on any religion and do not favour any one religion over others.  Many today seem to want to call this a “Christian nation”, but that is so wrong it makes my teeth hurt.  This is not a Christian nation, for we have a most diverse population that includes Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Jains, atheists, agnostics, and more.  Each person, regardless of religious beliefs, has the exact same rights and responsibilities under the U.S. Constitution.

Religious freedom means the right to practice and believe any or no religion.  It does NOT mean one religion has the right to impose their views on others.  Period.  Every religion on earth has its biases, and in the U.S. those biases have led to discrimination against others such as the LGBT community and women.  Today, there is a bill working its way through Congress called the Do No Harm Act.  Our friend Nan has written an excellent post about this bill, so rather than re-invent the wheel, I will let her tell you about it … thank you, Nan!

Nan’s Notebook: Religious Freedom

This bill, if passed, would not take away anyone’s rights to observe their religion as they wish, but rather it would restore the civil rights of all, would make it illegal to discriminate based on religious beliefs.  It’s really so simple.

The Choice Is Ours

The events of the past few weeks have caused me to step back, try to look at the bigger picture, try to see what’s happening here.  A friend from the UK recently said he did not know what had brought this country to this pass, but that it needs to end.  I think we can all agree that it needs to end, but … what did bring us to this pass?  How did we become such a divided nation filled with racism and hatred, intolerance and threats of resolving our differences through violence?

I do know that the racism we thought had largely ended in the 1960s with civil rights laws and integrated schools, buses, diners, etc., had merely gone into hiding.  There came a point where it became politically incorrect to express racist views, and those who dared do so were shunned.  The feelings of superiority by some whites, though, never actually went away, they just festered under the surface.  So, did we come to this pass by electing a Black man as president, not once but twice?  I’ve often thought that was the start of where we find ourselves today.  But that is a simplistic answer, and the election of President Barack Obama, while it certainly plays a role in our current situation, cannot be the entire answer.

Part of the answer, I think, comes from the uber-capitalism that has enabled some to become multi-billionaires, while others stay awake nights trying to figure out how to pay the rent and put food on the table.  In the U.S., with as many millionaires and billionaires as we have, there is no excuse for any child to go to bed hungry at night … but they do.  Single mothers work 2-3 jobs trying to make ends meet, and it’s a daily struggle, while others live in such luxury that they never have to do anything they don’t wish to do.

But what’s really puzzling is why some of those very people who struggle to manage to pay the bills are some of the most die-hard supporters of a regime that nearly worships wealth.  Trump & Co have made no secret of the fact that they have cut taxes on the wealthy, rolled back environmental and safety regulations in order to increase the profits of those already rolling in dough.  And yet, nearly half of the people in this nation – people who work hard to feed their families – still support Trump & Co.  WHY?

Why?  Because they are convinced by his rhetoric that he is their ‘president’, that the things he does are helping them.  Why are they convinced?  Because they are taken in by his fist shaking and his gutter-snipe verbosity.  They believe him when he says he has done more for Black people than any president except Abraham Lincoln.  They believe him when he promises the tax cuts were to help them, even though there is no proof in that pudding.  He has convinced them that immigrants are harmful to our society, to our economy.  They have not yet come to understand that any benefit they have gained from his policies is but a crumb compared to the benefit to the corporate giants.

People in this country want simple solutions to complex problems.  Income disparity, healthcare, education, immigration … Trump offers off-the-cuff solutions to these issues.  Take immigration, for example.  Simple solution:  impose a travel ban on people from Muslim countries and build a wall on the southern border to keep out the “rapists and murderers”.  But this completely ignores the fact that Muslims are not terrorists and Mexicans are not rapists nor murderers.  It also ignores the fact that immigrants add much of value to our country.  They bring new ideas and add cultural diversity.  To deny immigrants entry, to vilify all immigrants, is to spread racism and prejudice throughout the nation.  Those who would wish for a homogenous white, Christian, male-dominated society seek a nation that I would never choose to live in, one that would soon stagnate for lack of innovation, lack of diversity and interest.

The people of this nation are more divided today than at any other time … I would venture to say that the ideological differences in the Civil War era were not as far apart as we are today.  How did we get here?  Perhaps by being a nation of people with too much freedom, too many ‘rights’.  We have become a nation of greed, of “me first”, as evidenced by the refusal of some to wear a mask when in a public venue, claiming that mask mandates violate their civil rights.  Never mind that they are putting not only themselves, but their families, friends and co-workers at risk by exerting their ‘rights’.

Joe Biden has promised to be the president of the people – all the people, not only democrats, not only white Christians, but every man, woman, and child in the country.  He has promised to try to heal the wounds of divisiveness that have festered for the past decade, and especially the last four years.  I fully believe he will try to do exactly that, but his success depends on us … We the People must be willing to work together, to put aside petty and irrelevant differences.  Are we willing to do that?  I wish I could answer in the affirmative, but it’s rather like a loaf of moldy bread.  If there are just a few little spots of mold, you can cut them off and the bread is still good.  But, there comes a point where there is more mold than bread and you might just as well throw it out and buy a new loaf.

Unlike the moldy bread, we cannot simply throw out all the people of this nation and start over, so we have two choices:  we either learn the art of compromise, learn to embrace rather than eschew our cultural and ethnic diversity, learn to respect our fellow humans, else we will devolve into a nation of violence where it isn’t even safe to be on the streets.  We need to stop the petty bickering, need to accept that things won’t always go our way, need to learn to adapt to adversity.

It’s our choice what direction this country takes in the coming year, my friends.  Government can only do so much … the rest is up to us.  My New Year’s wish for us all is that we can build bridges instead of walls, offer friendship instead of hate, put away the guns and offer the proverbial carrot rather than the stick.  The choice is ours …

Tuesday’s Gone with the Wind – a few thoughts

Our friend Keith, as always, has a clear vision of the chaos in the U.S. today and who is fanning the flames. Thank you, Keith, for summing it up so nicely, as you always do!


With all due respect to “Ruby Tuesday” and “Tuesday Afternoon,” I chose this song title for my random Tuesday thoughts. “Tuesday’s Gone with the Wind” has the right melancholy feel.

Starting with the last part of the title “Gone with the Wind,” it reminds me that the entertainment world has finally figured out the famous movie and book are racist and poor renditions of the events surrounding the Civil War. We actually discussed this misrepresentation by the movie and book in my World Literature class in 1977. But, propaganda about the war has been around since white slaveowners got poor whites to fight for a more righteous cause of states’ rights than the real one to let them keep slaves.

Remember how states’ rights were cited by the president for delegating his responsibility to fight COVID-19. Yet, states’ rights are less important if he must flex his law and order…

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What Makes A Nation Great — Part I

This started out to be a simple post, but by last night I was already at 1,868 words and realized that it would need to be broken into two, or possibly even three parts.  I hope you’ll bear with the ramblings of my mind, as I attempt to define what, in my view, makes a nation ‘great’, and where the U.S. stands in that assessment.

For more than five years now, we have been bombarded with Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan, “make America great again”.  I have argued that the U.S. was never ‘great’.  It was once a decent country, certainly one whose citizens enjoyed more rights and freedoms than those of many other countries, but ‘great’ in my mind is something akin to perfect, and the United States has never been anywhere close to perfect.  Nor, for that matter, have most other countries.  A number of readers have argued that the U.S. aka ‘America’, is truly great, if a little bit rusty around the edges these days.  I think that ‘rust’ has eaten into the inner workings.

All of which begs the question: What does it mean to be ‘great’?  Merriam Webster provides 11 separate definitions for the word, but for our purposes, I think we can narrow the field to just a couple:

  • Notably large in size
  • Predominant
  • Markedly superior in character or quality

Well, I can’t argue with the first one.  With a land mass of 3.797 million square miles and more than 330 million people, it is ‘notably large in size’, in fact the 4th largest country on the planet, and the 3rd most populous.  But that doesn’t make us ‘great’ … only big.

Predominant — having superior strength, influence, or authority?  Granted, the U.S. has had notable influence in the western world until recently, but that word ‘superior’ bothers me.  We had that influence mainly because of our bloated military and our willingness to help our allies, to be a key player in the global community.  But that was a few years ago, and today we have shunned any responsibility to our global partners.  We are no longer trusted by any nation, and deservedly so.

And the third one is simply arrogant and disgusting.  Superior … no.  We have as many flaws as any nation on earth, more than some.  The U.S. may well have a superiority complex, but we are not superior.

So, what makes a nation great?  If you Google that question, you will be rewarded with 3.42 billion results in only 0.53 seconds!  Obviously I am not the first to ponder the question!  I read through a few of the top ten results, many cite a successful capitalistic economy, others the contentedness of the populace, but the one I found most nearly matched my own views was on a website called 20SomethingFinance  , written by one G.E. Miller.  He provides a list of criteria that I am almost completely in agreement with:

  1. a truly democratic vote – every vote is equal, and representation is fair and just. Voting is encouraged (not suppressed), accessible, quick, and easy – the higher the participation, the better.
  2. an election system where political contributions are publicly funded or capped at levels accessible to all incomes and corporate and private dark money influence is kept out.
  3. separation of powers – a system of checks and balances.
  4. an independent and free press.
  5. significant and continued investment in shared infrastructure.
  6. a fair and just legal, court, and prison system.
  7. equal access to data and information (ideally via strong local libraries and a speedy broadband connection).
  8. diversity in backgrounds and opinions.
  9. broad and equal guaranteed human and civil rights, liberties, and freedoms (speech, religion, voting, assembly, press, etc.).
  10. an investment in people through an affordable education and works skill that leads to opportunity for economic/financial success for all.
  11. kindness/care for its citizens and for the citizens of other countries.
  12. a desire to fill the role as a shining light of good for other countries.
  13. broad consumer rights and protections.
  14. harsh punishment for government and corporate corruption and corporate anti-trust.
  15. strict protections for the water that we drink, air that we breathe, and land that we walk on.
  16. an emphasis on data, science, truth, and transparency in the government decision-making process.
  17. strong employee rights that put an emphasis on health, safety, the right to form a union, equal opportunity, equal pay for equal work, and family/life balance.
  18. affordable health care for all as a right, not a privilege reserved for only the wealthy.
  19. economic justice and a muted level of economic inequality.

On paper, the U.S. meets most every one of these criteria, but the reality is something quite different altogether.  In fact, reading through the list for the third time, I can honestly say that the only bullet points we still come close to fulfilling are #4, #7, and #8.  We do still have a free press, though they are constantly intimidated and demeaned by our ‘leaders’ in government.  We do have broad access to information, both through libraries, bookstores, newspapers, and other media avenues.  And we for damn sure have diversity of backgrounds and opinions, though some count more than others.  Every other item on that list has been diminished in the past decade, especially the past three years.

So, let me tell you my vision of a ‘great’ country.  I view a great country rather like I view a great family, for what is a nation but a larger family?  In my vision, the perfect nation recognizes and acknowledges its role as part of the larger global community, understands it has a responsibility to help other struggling nations, and does not see every situation in terms of “what’s in it for me?”  In a truly great family unit, while individualism may be encouraged, the ‘greater good’ is paramount.  The ideal family is part of the greater community and helps neighbors when needed.  They are also part of the nation and pay taxes, use their voices to get things that help people done.  And ultimately, we are all part of the global community, like it or not.  In this, the 21st century, what you or I do affects people all around the globe. 

Stay tuned tomorrow for Part II …

Diversity Strengthens; Xenophobia Weakens

Xenophobia is the fear or dislike of people from other countries. In this nation, it has always been said that we welcome all, but do we really? Or, should I say, do we still? Take a minute to read and think about Jerry’s words here … I think our nation is richer for the diversity that we have, don’t you?

On The Fence Voters

The arrival of coronavirus has many on Americans edge, and rightfully so. While most focus on what they can do to protect themselves and their loved ones from the virus, others are pointing accusing fingers at whomever they believe to be responsible for the virus’s outbreak and spread. On Fox News shows one can listen to various Trump-inspired conservatives accuse the Chinese, North Koreans, and even liberal Americans.

Yes, we need careful screening of international travelers and, at times, even temporary travel bans. But the truth is that no one knows for sure where or how the coronavirus began its invasion. We may never know for certain. At this point, all we can know for certain is that on a planet dramatically contracted by modern travel methods, viruses hitch rides and quickly attack even remote locations. Localized virus outbreaks are a thing of the past.

But that won’t stop modern-day…

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Saturday Surprised — Ingo & Poldi

Hey friends!  It’s finally here … it’s theweekend

The temps are 20° cooler here than they were a week ago, so I am happy.  In fact, it is predicted to drop to almost freezing in the coming week … I hope they bring the part for our furnace before then!  I stumbled, literally, across something this week that melted my heart, and … I think carries somewhat of a message, as well.  There seems to be a lot of people who think they shouldn’t associate with or care about another person because they look or act a little different than they do, but I think these two critters have a lot more smarts about them than many of those people.

Meet Ingo and Poldi …dog-owl-1

Ingo is a beautiful Belgian Shepherd and is rather large, and Poldi is, of course, a tiny owlet.  Professional animal photographer and artist Tanja Brandt from Germany took dozens of incredible pictures of Ingo and Poldi, putting their friendship on display.  Poldi is only one year old and the photographer describes their relationship as “protector-protected”.dog-owl-2

Ingo always wants to keep Poldi close by and always offers his love and protection. Poldi “doesn’t know how to live free”, according to Tanja.

Poldi is a bit more vulnerable than his brothers and sisters. He hatched two days later than his siblings and is quite tiny compared to other owls. In short, he needed more attention and care than others. That is in sharp contrast with Ingo, who has experience protecting others. The Belgian Shepherd comes from a family of police dogs and has definitely had his tough moments in life.dog-owl-3

Ingo might be the more protective of the two, but it’s absolutely clear in the photographs that owlet Poldi likes to take care of his loving four-legged friend as well. You can see that Poldi always snuggles up to Ingo and keeps him very close. Tanja captured some nice, playful and absolutely heartwarming moments of the two together and it’s an incredibly sweet sight to behold.dog-owl-4

Tanja regularly posts updates about Ingo, Poldi and their families on her website and Instagram account. All of the pictures are truly stunning and unique.dog-owl-7

Tanja took a photography workshop for beginners years ago and has always been a huge animal lover. She’s especially keen to canines and birds of prey. In other words, Ingo and Poldi aren’t only perfect for each other, but for Tanja as well.dog-owl-5

She also takes care of other birds such as hawks, falcons, and tons of other owls. Even though Tanja refers to the owlet as “Poldi”, it’s actually short for “Napoleon”.dog-owl-6

Of course, Ingo and Poldi both lead their separate lives, but the best friends regularly hang out together and Tanja is always close by to capture their beautiful moments on camera.


Now, if that didn’t warm your heart, then you don’t have one!  I had hoped to post a video clip of the two, and I found a few, but none that called to me.  I hope that Ingo and Poldi brought a smile to your face this morning.  Now go forth and have a marvelous fall weekend!

Voices Worth Hearing …

ObamaThere are many ways in which President Obama has earned my respect, one of which is the fact that though it must certainly be tempting, he almost never comments publicly about our current politics, the current state of this nation.  However, yesterday he endorsed and tweeted a letter written by 149 African Americans who served in his administration that called out President Trump for recent comments degrading four congresswomen of color, saying …

“I’ve always been proud of what this team accomplished during my administration. But more than what we did, I’m proud of how they’re continuing to fight for an America that’s better.”

The letter was initially published in The Washington Post yesterday.  And Michelle Obama, who, like her husband remains largely silent on the current state of affairs, rang in as well …

“What truly makes our country great is its diversity. I’ve seen that beauty in so many ways over the years. Whether we are born here or seek refuge here, there’s a place for us all. We must remember it’s not my America or your America. It’s our America.”

It is worth noting that both of the Obama’s comments were positive ones, not negative, not promoting hate, but rather encouraging humanity, compassion, inclusion rather than exclusion.  This is the difference, folks … think about it.

This letter is one that deserves to be read by every person in this nation, and I agree with it 100%.  In the interest of space, I did not publish the names and titles of the signatories, but you can find them by clicking on the above link to The Washington Post OpEd.

We are African Americans, we are patriots, and we refuse to sit idly by

We’ve heard this before. Go back where you came from. Go back to Africa. And now, “send her back.” Black and brown people in America don’t hear these chants in a vacuum; for many of us, we’ve felt their full force being shouted in our faces, whispered behind our backs, scrawled across lockers, or hurled at us online. They are part of a pattern in our country designed to denigrate us as well as keep us separate and afraid.

As 149 African Americans who served in the last administration, we witnessed firsthand the relentless attacks on the legitimacy of President Barack Obama and his family from our front-row seats to America’s first black presidency. Witnessing racism surge in our country, both during and after Obama’s service and ours, has been a shattering reality, to say the least. But it has also provided jet-fuel for our activism, especially in moments such as these.

We stand with congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, as well as all those currently under attack by President Trump, along with his supporters and his enablers, who feel deputized to decide who belongs here — and who does not. There is truly nothing more un-American than calling on fellow citizens to leave our country — by citing their immigrant roots, or ancestry, or their unwillingness to sit in quiet obedience while democracy is being undermined.

We are proud descendants of immigrants, refugees and the enslaved Africans who built this country while enduring the horrors of its original sin. We stand on the soil they tilled, and march in the streets they helped to pave. We are red-blooded Americans, we are patriots, and we have plenty to say about the direction this country is headed. We decry voter suppression. We demand equitable access to health care, housing, quality schools and employment. We welcome new Americans with dignity and open arms. And we will never stop fighting for the overhaul of a criminal-justice system with racist foundations.

We come from Minnesota and Michigan. The Bronx and Baton Rouge. Florida and Philadelphia. Cleveland and the Carolinas. Atlanta and Nevada. Oak-town and the Chi. We understand our role in this democracy, and respect the promise of a nation built by, for and of immigrants. We are part of that tradition, and have the strength to both respect our ancestors from faraway lands and the country we all call home.

Our love of country lives in these demands, and our commitment to use our voices and our energy to build a more perfect union. We refuse to sit idly by as racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia are wielded by the president and any elected official complicit in the poisoning of our democracy. We call on local, state and congressional officials, as well as presidential candidates to articulate their policies and strategies for moving us forward as a strong democracy, through a racial-equity lens that prioritizes people over profit. We will continue to support candidates for local, state and federal office who add more diverse representation to the dialogue and those who understand the importance of such diversity when policymaking here in our country and around the world. We ask all Americans to be a good neighbor by demonstrating anti-racist, environmentally friendly, and inclusive behavior toward everyone in your everyday interactions.

The statesman Frederick Douglass warned, “The life of a nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful and virtuous.” This nation has neither grappled with nor healed from the horrors of its origins. It is time to advance that healing process now through our justice, economic, health and political systems.

Expect to hear more from us. We plan to leave this country better than we found it. This is our home.


What the World Needs Now… Respect

Friend and fellow blogger John Fioravanti of Words To Captivate fame, has written an excellent, thought-provoking post about ‘respect’. Such a simple word, yet one that seems so difficult sometimes. In this piece, John searches his own heart and finds, as we all do, that he is not always true to his own ideals. Please take a few moments to read John’s piece which, I think, has much value in these uncertain and difficult times in which we live. Thank you, John, for your deeply introspective piece, for making us all think, and for your generous permission for me to share this with my friends and readers.