Treasonous Squirrels

As always, Clay Jones of Claytoonz manages to find humour amidst the rubble. I especially like his summation of the recently-passed Inflation Reduction Act. Thanks, Clay, for all the good work you do!

claytoonz

While I don’t believe the raid on Mar-a-Lago was an intentional distraction, it can serve as one. Maybe that shitty thing will distract voters from all the other shitty things Republicans do.

Maybe the revelation that Donald Trump is a traitor to this nation and only cares about himself…OK, a reminder that Donald Trump is a traitor and doesn’t care about anyone except himself will distract voters from the fact that not one Republican voted for it.

The Inflation Reduction Act won’t just decrease today’s inflation, but it will provide benefits over the next decade and beyond. In addition to reducing inflation, it will decrease healthcare costs and fight climate change. It will reduce the growth of the deficit and includes a 15 percent minimum cash tax on corporations. Called the “Amazon Tax,” it is expected to raise $222 billion over 10 years and $35 billion in 2023. Republicans hate this.

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Who Are “We The People”?

The preamble to the United States Constitution reads …

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

But … just who are “We the People”?  Today, many of us consider that term to be all-inclusive … regardless of skin colour, sexual orientation, religion, gender, wealth, etc., but it wasn’t that way in the beginning, and today many in the Republican Party would like to narrow the definition of We the People to mean only white Christians, preferably wealthy ones.  Columnist Charles M. Blow, writing in the New York Times, has a more in-depth take on it …


The Republican Party Is the Anti-Democracy Party

Charles M. Blow

Opinion Columnist, 03 August 2022

The word “democracy” never appears in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution.

However, democracy is central to the modern concept of America.

The founders seemed to prefer calling the burgeoning country a Republic rather than a democracy. Many were opposed to direct democracy and the possibility that demagogues could corrupt it or mob rule could overtake it. They instead designed a representative government in which “the people” would elect representatives who would make the laws and conduct the governance.

The problem, or course, was that their definition of “the people” was largely limited to wealthy white men, enslavers among them.

Over the years, America has expanded the definition of “the people” to include more Americans, but conservatives have resisted the expansion at every turn. And now, they are trying to drag the country backward, to pare down the ranks of those who can vote and to deny or invalidate elections in which voting populations, not yet pared down enough, deliver results with which they disagree.

We keep hearing people say that candidates, like some of the ones competing in Tuesday’s primaries, threaten our democracy. We heard during the Jan. 6 hearings about threats to our democracy. We have heard for years that Donald Trump is a threat to our democracy.

But it seems to me that we have to take a step back and realize that the current Republican Party has abandoned the idea of a full democracy.

Republicans want to revert the country to the way the founders conceived of it, when white men had outsize influence, when patriarchy prevailed, when white supremacy masqueraded as conventional wisdom.

Liberals often seem to me overly vexed by why Republicans don’t recognize the threat that Trump’s election denialism poses. The reason is clear to me: They have turned their backs on democracy.

For anti-democracy Republicans, Trump is an incredibly useful tool. His motivations are selfish and small, but the Republicans balking at full democracy have plans that are grand. They see themselves falling into a minority, so they want to devise a plan for minority rule.

And they are attacking the electoral process at every level to realize their goals.

By calling themselves traditionalist and constitutionalist, and by canonizing the flawed founders, they disguise their regression as preservation.

Conservatives now routinely make the point that America isn’t a democracy, but a Republic. The Heritage Foundation even published a report in 2020 entitled “America Is a Republic, Not a Democracy.” The report argued, “The contemporary efforts to weaken our republican customs and institutions in the name of greater equality thus run against the efforts by America’s Founders to defend our country from the potential excesses of democratic majorities,” and that the American system of government is “threatened by an egalitarianism that undermines the social, familial, religious, and economic distinctions and inequalities that undergird our political liberty.”

In their telling, the will of the majority itself seems to be a problem. I interpret this broadly: that a fuller democracy is, in the view of many conservatives, a disaster waiting to happen.

So we are seeing an epic clash playing out in America in which the parameters are not being fully, loudly delineated: The Democrats want a democracy; the Republicans don’t. The Republican Party is anti-democracy, post-democracy. While Democrats are screaming about a collapsing country, Republicans are already surveying the landscape of the America that will emerge from the wreckage.

George Thomas, a professor at Claremont McKenna College, argued in The Atlantic in 2020 that although the word “democracy” may not be in the Constitution, the spirit of it is. As he put it: “High-minded claims that we are not a democracy surreptitiously fuse republic with minority rule rather than popular government. Enabling sustained minority rule at the national level is not a feature of our constitutional design, but a perversion of it.”

Perversion, distortion and deceit now appear to be the spine of the Republican Party. It is no longer a party of ideas, but rather a party of atavism. It is a party frantically running down an ascending escalator.

The problem is that there is a real risk that the party will succeed in bringing the country down with it.

As Sue Halpern has written in The New Yorker, “The paradox of American democracy is that its survival is a choice; it persists solely at the discretion of an electorate that can, if it so wills, dismantle it.” Republicans are pushing the portion of the electorate they control to dismantle it.

Pro-Birther Priorities

The claim of being “pro-life” becomes a complete hypocrisy in the case of the 10-year-old child who was raped, became pregnant, and could not have an abortion in her own state. The life of the young girl, a child, was not at all important to the “Pro-Lifers”. Is this case a chilling premonition of things to come? I hope not, but I’m afraid so. Clay Jones sums it up far better than I ever could …

claytoonz

Republicans’ first talking point after learning a ten-year-old girl had to cross state lines to get an abortion after being impregnated by a rapist was to say it wasn’t true.

A child was raped and impregnated. She couldn’t get an abortion in her home state of Ohio because the GOP in that state banned abortions after six weeks with no exceptions for rape or incest. She was pregnant for six weeks and three days. So, she went to Indiana for the procedure. Republicans said this story was “too good to be true” for Democrats.

In saying the story was too good to be true, in that Democrats could use it politically against the GOP’s stupid backward knuckle-dragging cave-dwelling anti-women policies, Republicans were admitting that forcing a ten-year-old to give birth to her rapist’s baby is fucking horrible and an outrage. That’s the policy they support but they don’t want you…

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The Week’s Best Cartoons

I’m only a day or two late re-blogging TokyoSand’s excellent collection of political cartoons from last week!  Predictably, the topics were women’s rights, human rights, mass shootings, and Boris Johnson’s resignation.  Be sure to follow the link at the end to see the rest of the ‘toons over at TokyoSand’s Political Charge!  Thank you, TS!

See all the ‘toons at Political Charge!!!

“Right” To Dine???

You may have heard that a crowd of peaceful protesters gathered outside a restaurant where Justice Kavanaugh was dining one evening recently.  Now, I don’t approve of threats of violence under any circumstances, but from what I can gather, there were none … this was a peaceful protest.  Actions have consequences, and when you make a decision that is life-altering (not in any good way) for more than half the population, I think you have to expect that people will make their displeasure known in whatever way they can.  In fact, one section of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution reads …

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

In his July 9th newsletter, Robert Hubbell summed it up well, I think …


These two things are not alike.

A troubling aspect of the Dobbs decision is that many people view it as an abstraction rather than a significant change in the status of women under the Constitution. A small example of that occurred in a protest at Morton’s Steakhouse in Washington, D.C. Justice Kavanaugh was eating dinner at Morton’s yesterday. Word quickly spread, protesters gathered outside the restaurant, and someone called Morton’s to express their displeasure at Kavanaugh’s presence in the restaurant. Kavanaugh later left the restaurant through the back entrance to avoid the protesters.

Morton’s (read: a male manager at Morton’s who didn’t have the sense to consult a woman) issued an offensive statement that read, in part:

“Politics . . . should not trample the freedom of the right to congregate and eat dinner. Disturbing the dinner of all of our customers was an act of selfishness and void of decency.”

Wow! Strong words! Let’s take a look at Morton’s statement and consider the competing injuries of being subjected to free speech and being stalked by bounty hunters seeking a reward for reporting a woman who just had a miscarriage. Spoiler alert: Those two things are not alike.

First, Morton’s asserts there is a “right to eat dinner.” Well, let’s apply the Dobbs analytical framework to that right. The “right to eat dinner” does not appear in the text of the Constitution, nor is there an implied “right to eat dinner” that is a “deeply rooted tradition in our nation’s history.” As explained in Merriam-Webster’s usage note on “dinner” …

“The use of dinner to refer to the main meal of the day, eaten as the last meal of the day, is a relatively recent phenomenon.”

So, sorry, Morton’s, there is no express or implied constitutional “right to eat dinner” under Dobbs.

Second, Morton’s (like Kavanaugh) might be shocked to learn that the Constitution expressly protects “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Justice Kavanaugh might not like hearing the grievances of the people injured by his decision in Dobbs, but he has no constitutional right to prevent the protesters from expressing those opinions peacefully.

Finally, Kavanaugh knew when he joined the majority in Dobbs that women suffering miscarriages would be reported by bounty hunters to law enforcement in the hope of earning a $10,000 reward. Between 10% to 15% of pregnancies spontaneously miscarry. In Texas, women who suffer miscarriages and seek medical treatment presumptively expose their doctors to criminal prosecution and a $100,000 fine. Thus, the 10% – 15% of women who suffer miscarriages in Texas will likely be denied medical treatment because their doctors fear they will be charged with a felony. Compare that injury to being forced to eat a $75 steak while drinking a $200 bottle of wine as protesters gather peacefully on the street.

Kavanaugh lied his way onto the Court and has engaged in the bad-faith reversal of settled precedents in multiple cases. He should not be surprised that Americans are unhappy with his use of the Court as a raw political weapon. Let’s hope that the peaceful protests cause him to reflect on the fact that his actions have made the lives of American women immensely worse. Perhaps a bit of humility about the real-world consequences of his decisions will temper his thinking in future matters.

As for Morton’s, telling women that protesting their demotion to second-class citizenship is “selfish and void of decency” demonstrates that it is out of touch with what just happened in America. Someone who is not angry at women should take over the PR function at Morton’s.

The Week’s Best Cartoons 7/2

This week, as has been the case for many weeks/months of late, there was plenty for the political cartoonists to choose from.  Recent Supreme Court rulings and Tuesday’s televised hearing of Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony to the January 6th committee are, naturally, the main topics and the cartoonists have done a great job showing us the drama and angst that defines our nation today.  You won’t find much in the way of mirth, but there is a certain dark humour woven into it all.  Please be sure to click on the link at the bottom of this post to see the rest of the cartoons!  Thank you, TokyoSand, for finding some of the best ‘toons from this past dark week.


Click here to see ALL the ‘toons!!!

A Few Thoughts From My Rambling Mind

I never thought I would see the day that I considered this nation to be anti-humanitarian, a nation that cares more for wealth than for people, but today I believe we have reached that stage in the development … or rather un-development … of the country.  We can no longer hold our heads up proudly and say, “I am a U.S. citizen”, or as some would say, “I am an American.”  Nothing to take pride in there, thanks largely to fanaticism – gun fanatics, religious fanatics, and wealth fanatics for whom billions of dollars is still not enough.

Literally the only thing that matters to Republican members of Congress today is re-election.  When I read that Republicans running for re-election in states or districts where the majority voted for Democrats in 2020 refuse to comment on the outcome of the Dobbs v Jackson decision, then I think it’s obvious they have little interest in anything but their own political future.  How can we vote intelligently if the candidates will not tell us their beliefs, hide what they stand for except when they are amongst those who they know for certain share their beliefs?

Today’s Republican Party is in shambles with its members desperately trying to cling to power.  They vilify their own, but not for genuine reasons – simply because some of their own are straying from the party line, straying from the blind loyalty to the former guy.  They do not care one whit what you or I want our government to do … they care only that they are on the ‘right’ side of Donald Trump.  I would except a few from this, but the number is very few.  Obviously, Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney deserve the highest kudos for proving their willingness to put law & order, to put the people of this nation above their own political careers.  Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Mitt Romney and a few others occasionally step up to the plate and consider their oaths of office, but they do so far too infrequently.

Now, some reading this will go for the moral equivalency view that the Democrats do the same.  Sometimes that is true, but today … in 2022 … the Republicans are the face of autocracy, the face of – in my book – evil.  Their ‘ideology’ is based on hate, violence, and bigotry in all its forms.  The Democrats I see in Congress are also working toward their re-election, but I don’t see them shirking their duty to We the People in the same way … they are showing up for work, trying to pass legislation that would protect our rights and our very lives … while the Republicans are mostly out on the campaign trail ranting about how the Democrats just want to take away your guns and kill babies.

It’s too damn bad that Republicans don’t work as hard at doing their job as they do at campaigning for re-election … if they did, we might actually have a functional legislative branch.

Certain elements of the U.S. Supreme Court have made it perfectly clear over the past month or so that they would gladly force religion upon us all (their own bigoted religion, that is), that they have zero respect for women, and that they only care about a child up to the point it leaves the mother’s body.  Until very recently, I had tremendous respect for the U.S. Supreme Court … it seemed to truly operate as a non-partisan branch of the government.  Nobody would ever agree with all their decisions, but overall they ruled fairly, in keeping with the U.S. Constitution and to the benefit of the nation and its people.

Today, they said that it’s okay for teachers, coaches, etc., to force religion on school children.  Last week they told women to sit down, shut up, and go make more babies to help further destroy the environment and the economy.  Also last week they indicted that the 19 school children brutally murdered in Uvalde, Texas, were merely collateral damage and no, they will not allow any state to pass gun legislation.  Gun freaks are, after all, more important to our Court than the lives of children.

And to add insult to injury, and I’m sure we will find out more about this soon, Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife, Virginia, has been found to have played an even larger role than was first thought in attempting to overthrow the government of this nation.  Where I come from, we call that treason and Justice Thomas should have immediately been removed from the bench if he refused to leave voluntarily.  But no … he is already plotting to remove rights from LGBTQ people, more rights from women, and who knows what else?  Justice Thomas, like four of his cohorts in the Court, is a clear and present danger to the democratic foundations of this republic.

I no longer have an ounce of respect for the U.S. Supreme Court.  Justices Thomas, Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, Alito, and what’s-her-name have destroyed an institution that has withstood the test of time for more than two centuries.

Respecting and believing in your country is important.  We work hard to support our government and when our elected officials fail to even try to do the job for which we elected them, the job for which we pay them, we lose faith in our nation.  When those elected officials mock and denigrate the very people they are supposed to represent, then I don’t know about you guys, but I have completely lost faith in this nation, not only the government, but the people as well.  It is a bleak feeling, one that makes one wonder … why bother anymore?  The Independence Day/July 4th holiday is just around the corner … I, for one, will NOT be celebrating, for there is little left to celebrate.

Today Is A Dark Day

So, there were no surprises in the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health, but nonetheless it was a gut punch for at least half the people in this nation.  We knew this was to be the outcome, for we read Justice Alito’s leaked opinion on May 2nd and our jaws dropped then, just as they did this morning.

What hypocrisy that yesterday the Court ruled it illegal for states to do ANYTHING to restrict the rights of gun owners, and today the same Court ruled that it is perfectly legal to do EVERYTHING possible to restrict the rights of women.  It should be noted that the majority of gun owners are, in fact, males.  Well, my friends, we women know where we stand.

But it isn’t going to stop here, and Justice Clarence Thomas, husband of insurrectionist Virginia Thomas, has already made that perfectly clear …

“We should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell. We have a duty to correct the error established in those precedents. After overruling these demonstrably erroneous decisions, the question would remain whether other constitutional provisions guarantee the myriad rights that our substantive due process cases have generated.”

The cases he refers directly to are:

  • Griswold v Connecticut – a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects the liberty of married couples to buy and use contraceptives without government restriction.
  • Lawrence v. Texas – a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that sanctions of criminal punishment for those who commit sodomy are unconstitutional.
  • Obergefell v Hodges – a landmark civil rights case in which the Supreme ruled that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

I have lost all respect for the United States Supreme Court, for they have taken this nation into darkness, have shirked their duty to the U.S. Constitution, to the nation, and to We the People.  Today, the Court is but another arm of the right-wing of the Republican Party, doing not what is in the best interest of the people, but what is demanded by the religious fanatics who would control every aspect of our lives.

The majority of people in this country want gun laws that will protect us and our families from such incidents as Uvalde and Buffalo.  The majority of people in this nation believe women should have the right to make their own health decisions.  But the will of the majority matters not on this dark day, for the spate of recent decisions have all gone against what the majority of people in this nation want.  This can only lead me to believe that in some sense, we are already living under an autocratic government if the will of the majority can be completely disregarded while the will of the few wins the day.  Today, it was women’s rights, but tomorrow …

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me

Poem by Martin Niemöller

Uh-Oh … The Snark Meter Is High Tonight

It does seem that my snark-o-meter is registering on high these days!  Is yours?


Kevin McCarthy … what a guy

By noon yesterday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had tweeted twelve times.  Here is just one of his many tweets …

The rest of his tweets were all about putting down President Biden and House Speaker Pelosi, blaming them for everything from the price of fuel to the border “crisis” as he calls it.  Now, We the People pay Mr. McCarthy some $193,400 per year of our hard-earned tax dollars to work, to legislate, and not to waste half his day tweeting and the other half obstructing to ensure that no real laws come out of our Congress.

And coming back to that tweet … he’s patting himself on the back for introducing a bill that is intended to stop tech companies, such as Google, Facebook and others from marking GOP solicitation emails as “spam” … which, of course, is precisely what ANY solicitation email from a politician is, regardless of party.  In this, a time when we have a gun crisis that has already caused more than 21,000 deaths by guns, some 800 of them children.  In this time when innocent people are living under a dark cloud of violent threats for doing their jobs or expressing their opinions.  In this time when in many places it is hotter in early June than is normal in mid-August due to the effects of climate change as a result of our disregard for the environment.  In this time when our voting rights are being stripped away, women’s rights are becoming a thing of the past, and LGBTQ rights are being shoved out the window.  In this time when our schools are being told they cannot teach the legitimate, factual history of this nation, but must instead teach the fantasy white-washed version of the nation’s past!  In this, the time when wildfires in the west are sure to cause record-breaking damage, when water sources are endangered … and the ONLY thing Mr. McCarthy can be bothered to work on is … whether your email server marks a GOP donation request as ‘spam’ or not???  C’mon, people … fire this asshat in November and vote in somebody who actually understands the issues, understands what matters, is dedicated to his oath and willing to work to actually earn the money we pay him/her!!!

Oh … and just in case you’re wondering if McCarthy is going to step up to the plate on the gun legislation that will be on the docket in the House of Representatives … no.  He and his buddy Steve Scalise (himself a victim of gun crime) have made clear that they will vote against even this milquetoast legislation and will expect and demand that the other House Republicans do the same.  What a guy, eh?


And speaking of intelligence, or a lack thereof …

Herschel Walker, Senate candidate from Georgia, certainly is not on the path to winning any academic awards.  I’ve said before that there should be criteria, qualifications for a person running for public office, and after Walker’s latest, I think those requirements should include an IQ test with a passing score of at least 100, which is approximately the average in the United States.  Mr. Walker’s candidacy is filled with lies, as I pointed out in a previous post, but his latest faux pas takes the cake.

Apparently, Mr. Walker and Stacey Abrams, who is running for governor of Georgia hoping to unseat Brian Kemp, don’t … er … shall we say don’t get along famously, aren’t best buddies.  So, Ms. Abrams had been speaking about some of the problems in the state of Georgia that she hopes to address in the future, such as  mental health treatment, maternal mortality, incarceration rates and wages.  This is what candidates do … or at least ones who are serious about representing the people rather than their own interests … they talk about issues and how they think they can best solve problems.  But … apparently Walker doesn’t understand this and he took umbrage, telling Ms. Abrams to … wait for it …

“If you don’t believe in the country, leave and go somewhere else. If it’s the worst state, why are you here? Why don’t you leave ― go to another? There’s, what, 51 more other states that you can go to?”

This is a man who is running for a seat in the United States Senate and he doesn’t know how many states comprise the United States.  For the record, just in case any Republicans are reading this, there are 50 states.  This would be funny if it weren’t for the fact that this man could well be one of the 100 members of the highest legislative body in the nation, in charge of making decisions that will affect all our lives!


Why Does It Have To Be This Way?

We in this nation, around the globe in fact, are so divided that families have crumbled, friendships dissolved like a candy in hot water, marriages and even parent-child relationships gone in a blink of any eye.  Is this really who we are, or are we being led toward one side or another by those whose self-interest far outweighs their concern for us.

While yes, I know there are ideological differences between people based on their ‘order of values’, but beyond those relatively minor details, it seems that it should all be so simple.  For example … I cannot imagine a single human on this planet who wouldn’t grieve for the 19 children murdered in Texas last month, who wouldn’t do anything in their power to stop such a thing from ever occurring again.  And yet … we are so divided on who can own what types of guns and how many.  Seems pretty simple if you had a child, grandchild, niece or nephew at Robb Elementary School.  What is there to argue about?  And why?  And how many more must die before we lay down our own arms and join hands to preserve the lives of our future?

Or consider the issue of women’s rights as personified by the abortion rights issue.  Now, granted about half of the people in this nation are males and therefore might not have as complete an understanding, but here’s the thing, people.  If Roe v Wade remains the law of the land and we women retain our rights to determine what happens with our own body, when or if we ever have a baby, and more, that does not force anybody who doesn’t believe in abortion to have one!  It would be rather like banning lemon cookies because half the nation doesn’t like the taste of them, when nobody is forcing anybody to eat a damn lemon cookie!  Why must we be so divided on this issue … why can we not agree to just live and let live.  If you don’t choose to have an abortion, then fine … don’t have one.  Have a baby and I hope you are in a position to take the best possible care of that baby.  But remember that not everyone is.

What about the LGBTQ community?  I have many friends who are LGBTQ and they are, without exception, great people.  What’s the big deal?  Again, why can’t we live and let live?  Who I choose to love, to spend the rest of my life with, is frankly nobody else’s business, just as who you choose to love is not my business.  Why is that a divisive issue in this country and so many others?  Are we really so small-minded, so closed-minded that we cannot accept that not everybody looks, acts, and thinks just as we do?

I think two things have propelled us into the divisions that are destroying not only this nation, but much of the world today:  religion and political greed.

On the topic of religion, I understand that some religions do not believe in such things as inter-racial marriage, same-sex marriage, abortion, and more.  And so, here in the U.S. of late, we seek to condemn those things, in some cases to make them against the law.  WHY?  Other religions don’t believe in eating pork or drinking alcohol, yet I haven’t heard of any motions to make pig meat or alcohol illegal, have you?  If you identify with a certain sect or religion, then fine, but … why can’t you accept that not everybody shares your beliefs?  What about that term “freedom of religion” which is one of the founding principles of this nation, one of the reasons the nation came to exist.  Why must we always be trying to mold people into clones of ourselves?  Because church leaders tell us to do so, they tell us that there is only one right way and everybody else is wrong!  Not so, my friends.  The world is made more interesting for the variety of thoughts, cultures, beliefs … and no one religion can or should ever dominate the others.  Go to your church, worship as you wish, but don’t come and try to push your ideas on the rest of us.

And as far as political greed, well … do I even need to say more?  It’s real simple … politicians come in two brands – those who want to change the world for the better and those who want to change their own world for the better.  The politicians who are so heavily invested in their own fortunes that they have forgotten the rest of us are dividing us with intent … the intent to solidify a base of people whose minds they can control.  They tell their base what they should want, what they deserve, and how to get it, and like lambs led to the slaughter, the people largely buy into it.  They tell them that ‘the other side’ is evil, and they believe it.  So, if a person’s son or friend happens to be on that ‘other side’, say a different religion, different beliefs on topics like education, guns, voting, or a host of other issues, they will push those people out of their lives … sometimes forever.

What divides us is not a question that has a simple answer, for there are many things that divide us, and religious leaders and politicians play on those issues every single day to widen the gap of division.  So, the question becomes, how do we fix this problem, for if we fail to do so, we will be hastening our own demise.  We all share this planet and its resources, but we are destroying each other as well as the planet.  How do we learn to talk to each other again instead of fighting, name-calling, and using physical violence to make our points?  Or can we?  Are humanity, compassion, and caring lost causes?

Let’s try to start by remembering the world ‘tolerance’, but accepting that we are all different in so many ways, and reminding ourselves that it’s okay to be different.  It’s okay for me to have an abortion and for you not to.  It’s okay for you to eat pork and me to shun it.  It’s okay for you to own a gun, as long as you are a responsible person, pass the background checks, and keep your gun out of the hands of children, and it’s equally okay for me to declare my home a ‘gun-free zone’.  We don’t have to agree on everything, but we’re going to have to find some areas in which we can at least open non-hostile discussion!  And on that note, I will hush … for now.