Five Lights

The Fresno Grizzlies, a minor league baseball team, apologized to U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) after the team aired a Memorial Day video honoring Veterans that depicted the New York Democrat as an enemy of freedom.

The Memorial Day video featured a speech from former President Ronald Reagan. In effect, it was right-wing propaganda completely at odds with the concept of “moral courage” alluded by Reagan. At about the 3:00 minute mark, Reagan references the “enemies of freedom.” Directly following that statement, was a pictorial montage of a single ANTIFA protester, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Ocasio-Cortez, former Cuban President Fidel Castro and anti-fascism protesters.

How is this possible? Well, I offer a personal story.

There are many who would love Ms. H. Others, not so much. Ms. H. is the type of person one either loved to hate or would love to love. Having known and worked for her for years, we had a cadence that mirrored some of the finest Swiss watches. Our movement glided with technical sophistication and conceptual finesse. In the business world, we were a rare ‘one-of-a-kind’ movement – never out of sync – never missing a beat.

Some coworkers suggested we should marry. In reality, our lives are quite different. The BMW convertible she drives was manufactured in Munich, Germany. Her iPhone assembled by Foxconn, in China. The Dell laptop she fires up every morning came from Chengdu City, China. The Cisco wireless routers installed in her home office were produced in China, Romania or Germany. The Tumi laptop bag Ms. H. shuttles from plane-to-plane is comprised of leather materials imported from Italy, but manufactured in China. Her favorite perfume, Chanel No 5, is made overseas as well.

During a recent conversation, I planned on informing her of my diagnosis, but never got it out. Instead we chatted on life, what we’ve accomplished since being downsized from Mega-Healthcare Inc. several years prior and what the future holds. Eventually, the conversation steered toward healthcare politics.

“Our patient President is so strong,” she muttered.

“How so?”

“He is just so strong and patient. And in the wake of fake news media and critics, he just waits them out, let’s the liberals pout. God, he’s just so strong. He’s just what America needs.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned against ceding ground to populist forces. Instead, she indicated a need to show:

“… why we are for democracy, why we try to bring about solutions, why we always have to put ourselves into the other person’s shoes, why we stand-up against intolerance, why we show no tolerance towards violations of human rights.

And Trump contrasted against Merkel? You know, the “highly educated … know’s words” guy who espoused (Tweeted) upon several topics during his Memorial weekend while visiting Japan. New York Times reporter Anni Karni summarized:

“It was just after 6 a.m. on the final day of a state visit to Japan designed to flatter and entertain him, and President Trump was in his comfort space: Twitter.” Trump’s was, again, preoccupied by politics.

“Super Predator was the term associated with the 1994 Crime Bill that Sleepy Joe Biden was so heavily involved in passing,” he wrote of Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic presidential front-runner. “That was a dark period in American History, but has Sleepy Joe apologized? No!” The day before, his mind had been on Democratic “obstructionists,” possible “treason” by Russia investigators, and the perfidy of the “fake news media.”

“I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me, & also smiled when he called Swampman Joe Biden a low IQ individual, & worse,” Mr. Trump wrote early on the first full day of his visit, referring to Kim Jong-un of North Korea, before a round of golf with Mr. Abe. “Perhaps that’s sending me a signal?”

Why does Trump do this? Lesley Stahl had the best answer.

“You know, this is getting tired. Why are you doing it over and over? It’s boring and it’s time to end that. You know, you’ve won … why do you keep hammering at this?” Stahl recalled.

And he (Trump) said: ‘You know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all and demean you all so that when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you.’”

Some claim Trump uses NLP made popular by Anthony Robbins. Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is a behavioral technology, which simply means instilling a set of guiding principles, attitudes, and techniques about real-life behavior. It allows you to change, adopt or eliminate behaviors, as you desire, and gives you the ability to choose your mental, emotional, and physical states of being. Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, J.K. Rowling, Heston Blumenthal, Tiger Woods, Bill Gates, Lily Allen, Gerri Halliwell, Oprah Winfrey, Tony Robbins, Sophie Dahl, and Jimmy Carr are some of the people who use or have used NLP for their own development.

Countering that, a friend believes Americans are simply succumbing to the boiling frog theory. The boiling frog fable describes how a frog can be slowly boiled to death. Its premise is that if a frog is put suddenly into boiling water, it will jump out, but if the frog is put in tepid water brought slowly to boil, it will not perceive the danger, thereby cooking to death. The fable is a metaphor for the either inability or unwillingness to react to threats that gradually arise.

However, contemporary biologists have long known the fable to be false: a frog, gradually heated, will jump out. Americans? Not so much.

Final Thought

Chain of Command” is a two-part episode of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation that aired during the sixth season. In this episode, Jean-Luc Picard is removed from command for a covert mission. The second episode is noted for Patrick Stewart’s intense depiction of brutal torture and interrogation.

During one scene, the torturer asks Picard how many lights are behind him, wanting him to respond with “five.” Upon saying there were four, Picard received another painful shock.

Once negotiations for Picard’s release had been made, Picard exclaimed “There! Are! Four! Lights!

It’s a personal moment of victory for Picard. Yet, later, Picard confesses to Counselor Troi that not only was he going to say whatever torturer wanted, but that he could actually see five lights. When given the choice, it’s easy to see how pride would be so small a price to pay, and how one could be convinced a lie was the truth.

Trump’s logic is convincing everyone that his lies are, in fact, truth. And the key to reelection rests in the American who accepts ‘five lights.’



Categories: Life Lessons

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