Category: Social Justice


The world’s richest 2,153 people controlled more money than the poorest 4.6 billion combined in 2019, while unpaid or underpaid work by women and girls adds three times more to the global economy each year than the technology industry, Oxfam said on Monday.

And here in the U.S., a Congressional Research Service report, indicated the wealthy benefited from Trump’s tax cuts more than others. “Most of the tax cut went to businesses and higher income individuals who are less likely to spend the increases,” reads the report. The richest 5 percent of taxpayers will receive $145 billion in tax cuts in 2020, which is half of the law’s benefits that go to U.S. taxpayers. The richest 20 percent of taxpayers will receive $205 billion in 2020, which is 72 percent of the law’s benefits that go to U.S. taxpayers.

Still believe Trump Administration is working for the average ‘Joe?’

January 16th, 2020 The impeachment trial of D. J. Trump began. Chef Justice John Roberts presides. It’s anticipated that most, if not all, Republicans will vote not to convict Trump. With 67 votes needed to convict and remove Trump from office, the trial’s outcome is mostly pre-baked. And more than likely, Trump’s acquittal will only embolden the president, and American’s become powerless to prevent him from any future violations of office. 

What Lindsey Graham and other GOP senators will do is applaud and reinforce Trump’s audacity. Trump’s actions of impeding Congressional oversight are “consistent with” his “previous efforts to undermine other investigations. These actions include requesting foreign interference in United States elections. As a result of GOP allies, Trump continues to hold himself beyond the reach of government scrutiny that applies to everyone else.

What Lindsey Graham, Devin Nunes, and Mitchell McConnell will reinforce is that the United States, in effect, operates two distinct criminal justice systems: one for wealthy people, and another for the poor and people of color. Trump’s acquittal will reinforce the mantra that if you’re white and rich, you’re likely to walk away from crime. If you’ve black, you die. The disparity is deeper and more systemic than explicit racial discrimination. Wealth gains access to a vigorous adversarial system replete with constitutional protections. For poor and minority defendants, you’re screwed.

Black citizens wrongly convicted or killed will receive no justice. A 2018 Sentencing project reboot confirms this racial disparity. African-American are 5.9 times as likely to be incarcerated than whites. Hispanics are at 3.1 times as likely. One of every three black boys born in that year could expect to go to prison in his lifetime, as could one of every six Latinos—compared to one of every seventeen white boys. Racial and ethnic disparities among women are less substantial than among men but remain prevalent.

No black man would ever be able to successfully argue that aides have “absolute immunity” from congressional testimony to protect autonomy and independence in deliberations. No black man could openly stonewall subpoenas flatly refuse to cooperate with congressional requests for information. No black man could publicly exhibit noncooperation and obstruction. Trump can do all. Why? Because he’s white. And he’s rich.

Shortly after 2 p.m. on Thursday, January 16th, ninety-nine of the hundred members of the United States Senate raised their hands and swore en masse to do “impartial justice.” Spoiler alert, there is no such thing as impartial justice. Trump knows it; Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell realize it; blacks realize it, and so do the poor.

During the Spring of 1996, a female coworker publicly humiliated me. It was a brutal, embarrassing, and hurtful work experience. What came next was only natural: I felt justified in my anger, I was entitled to it.

In the succeeding weeks, I remained steadfast in revenge. I meditated, for hours, on the demise of this coworker. Nothing else mattered. I breathed it, bathed in, swam in it, and accepted it. I stood standing upon the cliffs of hatred and dove into its thirsty chasm and swam lovingly. Inhaling the hatred’s aroma, I cleared my focus of any impending light. I drank the nectar, and damn, it was good. There was no compassion for struggle. Didn’t matter that she was a single mother of three, earning minimum wage, and stigmatized from years of being overweight.

Within weeks, my coworker became sick. In another two, she lay in a coma. Near to death, a manager I befriended years before looked me directly in the eye, and said, “Stop this?” How that manager knew, I don’t know. However, when I relented to peace, the woman returned to life. I vowed never to return to the ocean of hatred again.

Two decades later, I reflect, and ask, “Was I legally responsible for my coworker’s weeks spent near death weeks?” In our world of evidentiary procedure, there’s no empirical evidence that I wielded such control. So, technically, no. Was I morally responsible? One-hundred percent.

Jesus reportedly said, “You have heard it said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” It’s a weird command, but Jesus is asking us to go the extra mile for someone who abuses us and to love and pray for them instead of pursuing hostility. In summary, Jesus is saying we need to be pure and as accommodating as possible for the sake of a better world.

Twenty years past visiting the pool hatred, I never revisited. However, many have willingly replaced me.

In the wake of Trump’s assassination of Soleimani, Iran vowed vengeance. As I eventually came to realize, Trump’s, Iran, and my thirst for revenge (of my coworker) are not far from those who enter a business, compete in sports or participate in life. We’re all somewhat similar. In our way, each of us demands revenge, killing for most slights. As such, ‘vengeance wars’ propagate. And unless a political solutions settles it, the ongoing war will enter a slower, more complex, and costly second phase that includes alliance-building, negotiation, and constant plotting. In the ensuing fight, if two people die, there will be others vowing to avenge the previous two. In the end, both sides seek vengeance for accumulated unavenged deaths and maimings and woundings from earlier conflicts.

Here’s my confession. The same revenge used on my coworker killed the passengers of Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) Flight PS752. I am ashamed of myself. I wonder if Trump, Iran or anyone else is ashamed as well. Wouldn’t have been better to have thrown President Trump and Hassan Rouhani (President of Iran) into a Mixed Martial Arts cage to ‘duke’ it out?

Trump telegraphed his beliefs early. We didn’t listen. In 2016, WHAM 1180 AM radio host Bob Lonsberry asked Trump if he had a favorite Bible verse or story that’s impacted his thinking or character. Trump’s responded with an “eye for an eye.” However, the eye for an eye scripture was never meant to condone repeated cycles of violence.

Note Jesus’ expression, “you heard that it was said.” He was referring to some Jewish religious leaders who taught retaliation. For Trump and other like-minded, they’ve either never read or intentionally neglect that the Mosaic Law also states: “You must not take vengeance nor hold a grudge against the sons of your people.” (Leviticus 19:18) Rather than promoting personal vengeance, the Law encouraged people to trust in God and in the legal system that he had authorized to right any wrongs. (Deuteronomy 32:35)

Mahatma Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.” Twenty years ago, I walked away from hatred. I let go of that seeking to pull me into hatred’s riptide. I take a step forward, and inhaled fresh air reached for a healthier level of self-love. All of us must do the same.

According to CNN, MSNBC and Fox News, U.S. Intelligence officials indicate that Iran may have accidentally shot down Ukraine Flight PS752 while firing missiles during a retaliatory strike.

In total, 176 people were killed, including 82 Iranians and 63 Canadians. Victims also included crew members from Ukraine, four Afghans, three Britons and three Germans.

Trump may be right that, directly, the U.S. was not responsible for crash of flight PS752. However, indirectly, these deaths may have never occurred if the U.S. did not strike down Suleimani.

In the end, it’s always innocent citizens that pay the price for ‘stupid.’

“Hey,” My father yelled.

“What?” I responded.

“You seeing this?” while pointing to Trump on television.

“Hmm,” I nodded.

“You took away my car keys and no longer drive. Right?”

“Yeah.”

“And you don’t allow me to pay the bills anymore. Right”

“Yeah.”

“Then how come we take Trump’s car keys?”

“Ah . . . sigh.”

For the first time since mid-2019, I sat down and watched the news. While US intelligence officials gather in an attempt to decipher the ongoing ‘conflict’ with Iran (we don’t call missile launches and death ‘war’ anymore), we learn Iran may have intentionally targeted locations that didn’t harm US military personnel.

In wake of Iran-U.S. missile strikes, I have listened to several US congressional representatives. Lindsey Graham declared Iran initiated an act of war. Joseph Manchin stated we (the US) is the only ‘Super Power’ in the world. As such, the US has a ‘super’ economic systems, ‘super’ financial systems, ‘super’ military and ‘super super.’ We are just ‘super.’ And should Iran do what we (US) dictate, we’ll all be even more ‘super’ than our previous level of ‘super.

Trump also reassured the nation, albeit via Twitter: ‘All is well.’ Meaning, “Damn, folks. We are good.” Super.

On the other end, Iranian leaders claim they sent a message. Despite this theatrically produced S*** Show, the Iraqi prime minister claims to have been forewarned of the attacks and passed the alert to US troops. However, ‘… mess with us again, you’ll suffer significant pain.

And in the middle is Iraq. Iraqi citizens must be saying, “What the F***?” For Iraqi citizens, it’s like being in a lousy marriage; missiles from everyone. Iranian and US missiles landing in our country. “How the heck do I get out of this marriage?

Good God, Almighty. As Manchin stated, Ain’t everything just ‘super?

In early December (2109), Secretary of Energy Rick Perry incited controversy recently by saying he believes God sent Donald Trump as “the chosen one” — selected “to rule and judge over us on this planet and our government.” Seriously?

Jamelle Bouie’s Op-Ed piece highlights the state of current events. Trump’s actions are reckless but not shocking. He’s not steady, never been. And after three years in office, some claim Trump remains ignorant and incurious. He’ll sacrifice anything to achieve his goal: power and self-preservation.

For Trump, it’s not about us, it’s about Trump. Most know it. But the implications are terrifying. We now understand that how a single action taken by one person could catastrophic consequences. As noted by Senator Rubio during the primary, such a person should never have been given access to the ‘nuclear codes.’

While missiles fire, Puerto Rico residents spent the night outside as aftershocks rocked the island following a magnitude 6.4 earthquake. Post-hurricane aid has been slowed to the island. Trump has said squat. And more than 1 billion animals are now thought to have been killed by the record-breaking wildfires in Australia, according to a prominent scientist whose new estimate is more than double what he predicted mere weeks ago. America has said squat.

Our nation’s leadership is askew. But like Manchin stated . . . Ain’t we ‘super?

Please someone! Get the car keys.

God, the Almighty, has promised to get his revenge,” said the man who will take over for Iran’s Qassim Suleimani. Thus, the increasing cycle of fear and escalating cycle of retaliation is reborn.

Twenty years ago, I visited Northern Ireland. Walking along the haunting image of the wall brought me back to a 60 Minutes report during the early 1970s. In 1974, Morley Safer reported on just how much destruction and devastation Northern Ireland was facing. The conflict was named “The Troubles.”

The Troubles was a violent Ireland sectarian conflict lasting from 1968 to 1998 between Protestant unionists (loyalists), who desired the province to remain part of the United Kingdom, and the Roman Catholic nationalists (republicans), who wanted Northern Ireland to become part of the Republic of Ireland

Safer was able to gather a group of young Catholics and Protestants. One of the most compelling lines I remember today came from a young attendee. The exchange (not verbatim) went something like:

“Why do you want to kill (him/her)?” Shafer asked.

“Because that’s what my father did.”

In 1995, Shafer returned and met the town doctor, Charles Sullivan. Sullivan told Safer that many children suffered a series of psychological side effects as a result of the war — from nightmares to stuttering. The worst of it, he said, was that children were starting to associate all deaths with violence.

Fast forward to Iran.

The killing of Qassem Suleimani, is probably one the most consequential act taken against the regime in Tehran in thirty years—even if we don’t know what those consequences will be. One thing is clear: conflicts between countries could easily spin out of control.

World War I started after heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated. A 1325 war between two Italian states, Bologna and Modena, killed 2,000 people. It started because some Modenese soldiers took the bucket from Bologna’s town well. A 1925 fight that saw 20,000 Greeks meet 10,000 Bulgarians on the battlefield. The catalyst was a dog that had gotten away from a Greek soldier. The soldier chased after the dog and Bulgarian border guards, seeing a Greek soldier running through their territory, shot him. At least 50 people died.

Mathematician Peter Turchin’s research suggests America’s cycle of violence repeats every 50 years. The surge of violence begins in the same way as a forest fire: explosively. Only after a period of escalation, followed by sustained violence, citizens start to “yearn for the return of stability and an end to the fighting.” And what is that ‘explosive?’ Stupidity.

The commonality between the Northern Ireland conflict, World War 1, the 1325 Bologna and Modena war, and the Greek Bulgarian war is ‘stupidity.’ When it comes to predicting the future, history reminds us of crucial warning signals – heightened rhetoric or the inability to understand the other side. War’s participants fail to grasp how the other side was thinking and feeling.

In spirituality, our morality is founded upon principles, not rules. In Buddhism, these beliefs are expressed in Precepts and include loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity. In general, most spiritual principles include kindness, gentleness, mercy, and tolerance. The same is true of most religions. Even the most extreme circumstances do not erase those principles or make it “righteous” or “good” to violate them. Yet, we do.

History shows us how wars start. But history also teaches us how rarely they turn out as planned. History also shows us how difficult conflicts are to stop. Much has changed about war, but certain things remain constant: Stupidity and death.

The only thing that wins is death.

A New Hope

On December 30th, a suicide occurred. I am thinking of one in particular, but technically, speaking, neither event, time, or place matters. In suicide’s wake, most are likely to be stunned, even surprised. 

“Never saw it coming,” said one.

Robin Williams August 2014 suicide was devastating to those who knew him best. His suicide came at the end of a long decline. Williams faced unnerving challenges, both professionally and personally. His career had stalled, he harbored guilt about divorce and reeled from a Parkinson’s diagnosis (later revealed to Lewy body dementia, an aggressive and incurable brain disorder).

Most miss the signs. Why? A colleague whose son attempted suicide posed hard questions. 

How did this happen? What warning signs did we miss? How will I ever let him out of my sight again? How will I keep him safe? What do we do next?

Of course, certain tendencies may help determine when to get support. It is essential to note that my experience as a rescue man so many years ago left me one truth: warning signs are unique to each person. And some show very few signs at all.

So, I’ll admit. I have considered suicide myself. Not only during high school (especially after a distant friend’s suicide), but more recently, suicide was my chosen method of departure when life’s physical pain and burden exceeded value. However, I busted through such thoughts.

Attending a Buddhist seminar years ago, an audience participant posed a penetrating question: “What happens to someone after suicide?” A monk replied, “Rebirth, and then who knows?” It’s a skillful answer, but a political one. The response is common among politicians. Leaves you something, leaves you nothing.

When asked of suicide consequence, most regurgitate Buddhism’s first precept: Do no harm. Yeah, we get it. Suicide’s act creates a host of significant implications. Almost every dominant religion view’s one’s birth as incredibly precious. Therefore, they purport, such opportunities are not to be wasted. However, if life itself were significant, why do our leaders openly harm those they’re entrusted to serve?

Is there hope? Yes, even by merely sipping coffee. 

Hope For The Day indicates suicide completion rates have surged to a 30-year high. Like many such organizations, Hope For The Day performed proactive suicide prevention by providing outreach and mental health education. They believe suicide is a preventable mental health crisis, with the primary obstacle to suicide prevention is silence. In 2018, Hope For The Day assisted over 500,000 individuals.

I support Hope For The Day by sipping coffee. Sip of Hope is the world’s first coffee shop where 100% of the proceeds support proactive suicide prevention and mental health education. 

I believe one challenge we all can undertake this New Year is to provide hope . . . to everyone. Clean what keeps us closed to those we love. And forgive. I do believe our goodness survives death. And in God, we can cultivate that goodness in ourselves as well as nurture and celebrate the kindness of others around us. 

Our country must come to terms with the fact that suicide has to be taken out of ‘shame’s corner.’ You can do it by sipping coffee.

I was having lunch with two friends yesterday.

How does one go on after suffering horrific loss?” a colleague sighed as she referenced gun violence.

The other colleague recalled a story from her days in Chicago.

“”I remember two WGN radio hosts, Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey.  They were forced by management to end their radio show with no notice. O’Malley and Markey said they had known for weeks their show was ending, but administration forced them to tell their audience during that day’s show. It would be their last. The abruptness by which management forced them off the air caught listeners by surprise.

We’re all going to be OK, and we’re all going to put on our big-girl panties and deal with it,” O’Malley told listeners.””

In other words,” my colleague stoically noted, “. . . Put your panties and deal with it. Life demands we move forward. ‘This day’ will always become another tomorrow.

As a Buddhist, I might have stated the world is full of causation, meaning that the whole universe is a web of interrelated causes and effects. To those who suffered a significant loss, such a statement would be ideological. However, such sentiments offer little to those who’ve lost much.

The Washington Post performed an analysis of recent high-profile mass shootings. Their report suggests that interest in combating the problem tapers out after about three weeks. Thus, by pulling up our pants and getting back into the world, it is the survivors who must make meaning out of the misery. Our presidential and legislative leaders only look to ‘run out the clock.’

And how does one run out the clock? Just do what Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio did. After the Dayton, Ohio shooting, Sen. Portman diplomatically referenced the NRA playbook.

“These senseless acts of violence must stop. While we are still learning more about the details of this tragedy in Montgomery County, we are praying for the victims and their families and thank the officers who responded so quickly and bravely. I am talking to local leaders and law enforcement officials this morning. First and foremost, let’s get all the facts and help the community heal.”

Need an interpretation? First, pray for the victims. Second, thank first responders. Third, talk to leaders and law enforcement. Fourth, help the community heal. Fifth, get facts. What Portman won’t tell you is that he’s running out the clock. Portman knows all he needs is three weeks–three easy weeks.

Portman understood playbook, the five steps. And each sound great, and that’s what voters want to hear. However, Portman also knows it will take months, if not years. Thus, all he’s doing is putting lipstick on a pig.

The Washington Post outlines the strategy.

“This is often the unstated goal of gun rights advocates. Allow the passion that immediately follows the attacks to cool, often demanding that politics wait until an appropriate mourning period has passed. Weeks later, most people have moved on to other issues — including members of Congress.

Trump claimed Wednesday that some background checks were still possible. Maybe. But there’s an established pattern of elected officials whose politics align with Trump’s merely wait out the energy and passion that inevitably follows mass shooting incidents.

Usually, by about now (three weeks later), people have moved on.”

Here’s my colleague’s message.

Every year brings forth a new set of survivors. They come from nearly every race, religion, and socioeconomic background. These otherwise ordinary heroes come from Parkland, Florida; Aurora, Colorado; and scores of towns whose names were chiseled into our minds. These tragedies go against everything we’ve been taught: that we live in a just world, and if we make the right decisions, we’ll be safe. Still, any of us could experience such deep, profound tragedy. With the help of those around us, we can turn fear into purpose.

Parkland survivors worked together and called for changes to prevent similar tragedies from recurring. In essence, they put their panties on, confronted lawmakers, rallied others, took to the streets of Washington, DC, put on the March For Our Lives, and made impassioned pleas for reform. They were able to put anger into activism, interrupted the typical narrative, and refused to let the news cycle or the country move on. They did not allow others to forget.

These same stalwart young activists are providing witness that if you want nationwide healthcare, put your panties on.

You want infrastructure building programs? Put your panties on. Do you want a national healthcare program for Alzheimer’s? Put your panties on. Do you want real gun reform? Put your panties on. Do you want decent childcare and early childhood education system? Put your panties on.

The list is endless.

These are the real changes Dr. Martin Luther King, Christ, Buddha, and so many others would have fought for.

I am not a fan of Walmart management. However, I read this morning that the El Paso, Texas Walmart, where 22 people were killed earlier this month, will be remodeled and reopened. According to news reports, the renovated store will include an on-site memorial honoring victims and recognition of the El Paso and Ciudad Juarez “binational” relationship. And that’s what should be done.

So, you, the one reading this blog post, do you want change? If so, put your panties on.

Told To Leave

I was having with a newly diagnosed cancer patient about, what if, anything I learned that could be of value. Our conversation wavered to other topics. When she stated her concerns about healthcare coverage and the attempts by the current administration to dismantle healthcare, an elderly woman sitting near us interrupted.

If you don’t like America leave?

Without batting an eye, perfectly calm, I responded, “Where to?

Well,” she started . . .

Ah,” interrupting. “You raise a valid point.

A quizzical look began to envelop her.

Where to?” querying myself. Placing my hand underneath my chin, “Where to? . . . Yes ma’am. Ah, where to?” looking at her.

Well . . .” she started.

Cutting her off, “Yes indeed. So, my father has German heritage. My grandfather was German born, but immigrated to Canada in his youth. Should I move to Canada or Germany?

Beginning to become flustered, “Well . . .

However,” I pointed. “My mother’s side is Scottish. And although my grandmother is Scottish, she was born in Ontario, Canada. Yet, my mother was born in Chicago. So, should I return to anything, should I move to Scotland, Germany or Canada? Germany might be hard though, for I speak no German. Do you think they’ll accept me regardless?

Well . . .” she started.

But you know,” cutting her off and turning to my friend, “I have other issues. I was born near Chicago. Yet, I lived for a year-and-half in Toronto, Canada. I also lived for a year in London. And I lived for a year in Toyko, Japan.” Quickly pivoting back to the women, “Do I need to also consider Japan and the U.K.?

Ah . . .” she gasped.

Wait. Wait. Wait.” shaking my head. “Damn. I forgot I worked in 33 different countries, including, Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Columbia, Australia, New Zealand, China, Philippines, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, Sweden, Taiwan, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Ecuador, Saudi Arabia, France, Portugal, Spain, India, Ireland and a bunch more. Should I count any of those?”

Ah . . .

So,” I interrupted. “Why don’t you just go back to your table. I will buy you another cup of coffee, and you can debate all that shit and let me know.

Well, I never,” she gasped.

I agree,” responding tersely. “You never should have.

~ In a time of domestic crisis, men of goodwill and generosity should be able to unite regardless of party or politics. ~

John F. Kennedy

The president wants four young U.S. congresswomen of color to go back to the countries from which they came. It doesn’t matter if they were born in the U.S. or whether they’re United States citizens. Just shut up. Sit down. Or go. Get out.

The love-it-or-leave-it sentiment is xenophobia at its worst. Such vulgarity originated as far back as the 1600s. Still yet, in 1798, our country allowed for the deportation of noncitizens who were considered dangerous, from hostile nations or dared to criticize the federal government.

Unfortunately, such xenophobia remains alive and well. Trump wants anyone different to shut up and be thankful they’re allowed to stay, even if constituents elected them. He communicated this message by relentlessly and culminated with a despicable attack on Ilhan Omar. In defending Trump, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway claimed that the “Squad” represented a “dark underbelly in this country” and that “We are tired of some of these women palling around with terrorists.”

As of this post, no evidence clarifies what the ‘dark underbelly‘ is or that any congressional member palled around with terrorists. But my guess? Conway conjured it up on the fly (i.e., at the moment).

Esquire writer Jack Holmes notes that Trump’s essential message is that America is the government of white people, by white people, for white people. Everyone else? Be happy you’re here.

REPORTER: Does it concern you that many people saw that tweet as racist and that white nationalist groups are finding common cause with you on that point?

TRUMP: It doesn’t concern me because many people agree with me.

CBS’ Ed O’Keefe spoke to several Trump supporters on Monday who agree.

  • “I know some people don’t like his tweets and they think he’s crass. I — that’s why I voted for him,” said retired businesswoman Mary Lou Kohlhofer.
  • Nancy Schneider even went so far as to echo the sentiment in President Trump’s tweets, saying, “If you think you have it better in your — where you came from or how they did things there, go back where you came from.”
  • Doug Thomas, said, “It’s unfortunate he had to do it the way he had to do it . . . It’s really the only way he can to get this country back.”

My first response to Mr. Thomas? Get the country back? From what and who took it? What exactly did Trump reclaim? Steel jobs? No. Companies returning to the U.S.? Nada. Foxconn’s building the ‘. . . the 8th wonder of the world?’ Hmm, nope.

Foxconn is just a tall tale – very tall. If actress Clara Peller were alive, even she might say, “Where’s the beef?” In June 2018, Trump joined Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Foxconn chairman Terry Gou in announcing Foxconn’s plan to bring 13,000 new jobs. With the stroke of a shovel, Trump declared manufacturing was back, and that Wisconsin’s Foxconn plant would be the “eighth wonder of the world.” In the year since, Gou resigned to pursue, and lose, the candidacy for President of Taiwan. A Mt. Pleasant, Wisconsin neighborhood got demolished. And there’s neither a plant nor jobs. Just destruction.

Conservative commentator George Will eloquently summarized Trump’s reign with a candid and stark assessment.

“I believe that what this president has done to our culture, to our civic discourse … you cannot unring these bells and you cannot unsay what he has said, and you cannot change that he has now in a very short time made it seem normal for schoolboy taunts and obvious lies to be spun out in a constant stream. I think this will do more lasting damage than Richard Nixon’s surreptitious burglaries did.”

” . . . Presidential norms and the idea of “being presidential” is a meaningless construct. And a lot more “lessons” that will be destructive to the way in which people run for president and act once they get elected.”

Regardless of religion, whether Christian, Buddhist, or Atheism, we must respond to suffering from loving-kindness, wisdom, calm minds, and courage. We should hear the cries of those who suffer and of our most vulnerable. The lineage of one’s non-whiteness, privilege, or citizenship must not be the sole determiner of human’ worth.’ Instead, we must unite with those who hear cries from the wilderness and become a collective force for transformation and love.

In the film Thirteen Days, the character Kenny O’Donnell quoted, “If the sun comes up tomorrow, it is only because of men of goodwill. That is all there is between the devil and us.” From all evidence presented, unless we change our mindset, the devil will be around for quite some time.

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