Why I’m Peeved about Hillary Clinton’s Email Problem

drs

Trump has a female problem, but Clinton has an email problem.

The question regarding Clinton is, “Can anyone prove that Clinton’s use of private email in this manner was PRIMARILY; even if only initially; to limit her Public/Private record while in Government?” as many elected officials have/do.

If yes, game over. If no, game on. But please remember two things:

That the Standard here is not really evidence of guilt or impropriety, rather, the APPEARANCE of impropriety.

&

That the Power that you have at the time you commit or are accused of offending of The Official Secrets Act or similar gag seems directly proportionate to one’s punishment if convicted, or allowed to plea, or whatever. Ask my friend John Kiriakou who saved the Nation’s Soul and went to prison. Ask my buddy Robert J. MacLean who won in the U.S. Supreme Court and is still having to fight to be heard.

There are so many more examples.

In my efforts to help Military Veterans find help, and while pushing Proposed Federal Legislation to that end, I discovered the difficulties of gaining a Congressional ear, much less the vitally needed support and representation one would expect from a U.S. Representative. The largest immediate obstacle is clear. It’s the lack or limited use of an Official Federal Government email account

Certainly, this begs a larger question. How does one obtain an elected official’s assistance, or criticize them, if you can’t contact them or examine their record? The sad answer is, by knowing somebody. Not by sending an email, and that’s complete crap.

I don’t wish Hillary Clinton ill, but it’s personal. Others were held to higher standards and were punished for offenses or mistakes.

In my work for the Veteran’s Support Group I AM HERE for Vets I met a Veteran recently who was in really bad shape. He received no help from the VA because he was not Honorably Discharged from Service. I believe it was a Bad Conduct Discharge (also called the Big Chicken Dinner) but it may have been worse. “See ya, thanks for playing, buh-bye.”

He’d had to decide whether to kill a threat that was approaching a vehicle snatch and grab he was involved in; providing Security for. The threat; a young male; ignored all commands to stop his advance towards his position. Safety off, Security breached, Trigger pulled, Rounds discharged, Marine Discharged.

Now he’s floundering and all but lost to us. There’s something wrong with us for allowing this nonsense.

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Considering How Well You Understand Addiction

drstiff

Addicts are often the most precious people in our lives,…

still, some hearts among us never bleed a single drop for an addict or junkie or (insert derogatory label). You can imagine what that’s like, right? That’s how much we were supposed to see and hear about addiction. To be addicted was bad, and represented bad things done by bad people. Some of us have seen and heard that crap for decades. Forever now, in real terms, most Americans have misunderstood addiction. Their contribution to fighting the burdens of addiction has been to ask; if they ever ask; “Why don’t those people who (obviously) need help just go and get it?”

Because an addict would have to be crazy to not know they need help, right? Well, some addicts are crazy as loons, and still more addicts think they’re crazy, or might be, or hope they are. We all have our stories.

Like this man I know. This guy’s life really put him through hell. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time many times, though all (mostly all?) voluntarily…whatever, he’s not big on pity. He flew high for longer than he cares to remember. There’s also a ton of stuff; of time; he has no idea what he was doing or where he was at. Too much is black. Sometimes he tried to induce the blackout, and at least most times, he’d been able to drown everything out.

He’s no angel, but he’s no dummy either. Though he may not have been aware of the cost at the time; all the times; the common sense and whatever else helped get him this far tells him things. The crap he’s ingested over the years was always going to extract a price on his body and his soul. But he wonders when it all started. He wonders aloud when thinks he’s alone (which is troublesome) about when he’d started paying his toll. Be warned, should you meet him, one of the surest ways to piss him off is to simply say to him…”get over it”. Addicts hate that. Often, part of what’s troubling them is something they don’t know with any certainty. They just know, with what feels like certainty…more trouble is out there. Addicts hate that too.

Certainly by anyone’s definition, the man presented above is a poster child for addicts, but there’s an and. And, so is anyone required to ingest a substance to survive, or to not go nuts, or avoid going crazy with pain or worse, right? Regardless of the substance you ingest, if you either die if you don’t take it, or the life you live dies, you’re an addict, right?

An addict is someone perceived by someone, perhaps even most of society, to be better off to themselves and to society if they’re medicated; chemically altered. Certainly in too many cases, the addict is the only person with that perception. Still, it’s a disservice to maintain the story that illicit drug use is the extent, or even bulk of our problem with substance, abuse or addiction.

Boomers, take away your parent’s ‘back pills’ and flush them down the drain. Inside a week you’ll be beating yourself up while you try to charm your mom or dad’s way into a new pain clinic. Like too many other adult children, you may find out your parent has been placed on alert at every Pharmacy for miles due to Pill Doctor shopping. You may hear the indignant tone in your dear mother’s voice when she recounts the horror of a pee test…for drugs…and she’s indignant because she failed the test. But this goes far beyond Old Folks.

Certainly addiction to substance is represented by all generations, though sadly, we’re now finding that some parts of one generation are over-represented in addiction, accidental overdose, and suicide. What I consider a National Tragedy is the high number of US Military Veterans among the walking dead and dying, in need of help.

But we’re all in this together. It makes sense that we’d go all in together, but we don’t or we haven’t yet. We’re stuck in a system I’ve long been bemoaning as broken with respect to Substance Abuse, Mental Health or Addiction. I’ve studied the problem, inside and from a distance. I’ve determined that for innumerable reasons, we represent our own worst enemies in the fight against addiction. We allow or insist that too much of the fight be conducted in the shadows of the world we share in the light of day. Some among us find light more mysterious than darkness.

As for that guy I know. The basket case. I know something about people like him, long before I know anything more substantial about them. He’s still wandering, wondering aloud when he thinks he’s alone. Many of them do.

“How?”

How do you get over the horror of an airplane crash, or get over the news of an airplane crash, and how do you do it every time an airplane crashes?

How do you get over the loss of a child, or the loss of a childhood?

How do yo get over crawling over dead bodies, or flames crawling over bodies?

How do you overcome the fear and pain of looking in the mirror?

How do you… … …so many things? How does anyone?

We start. Maybe we start by treating all those dependent on substance as Addicted Patients deserving of our help with managing their addiction. Maybe we try.

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The CIRCUS Coming to Town

drstiff

 “If the Media’s God grants wishes, then no Top or Tent is big enough to contain the show.”

Voters are angry. The reasons why seem too numerous to count and those reasons are usually flawed because we tell ourselves stories. We convince ourselves of our truth and the blindness of those who disagree. We are easily distracted. Whenever left to our own devices we swipe and tap our fingers on the latest hyperlinked click-bait sweeping or trending that’s fed to us, right? Of course right.

We consumers should be thanking our lucky stars for the gift we’re about to receive if Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump compete for the Office of POTUS. Some have asked for just such three-ringed spectacle for years. Now, after the Nation has moved so swiftly and sharply left, those voices were joined by numerous groups of voters to roughly form a broad Political and Social Coalition, one that the Media is struggling to understand, and one which seems now to be demanding that this show absolutely must be allowed to go on. This is about change. Again, the reasons are too numerous and nuanced in some cases to discern a clear motive, other cases are more transparent…blatant, like greed.

“Skeptics among us wonder how many Billionaires will be made from this money-laundering extravaganza. Fifteen…twenty…maybe more, and Millionaires by the dozens and dozens, all siphoning up money doled out to the Media crème de la crème in Ad Buys. That’s true for Trump and for Hillary, and then there’s us.”

We the people are going to eat this election up and beg for more because it represents the silent-fight that goes on night after night, day by day. It’s a fight that far too many of us want to have out loud. There’s also a false sense (I believe) that some finality can be achieved through the victory of any Party’s Candidate. This is a personal issue election. We love Politics and those who delve into it at such great personal peril, but we also love when real scandal causes a mess–every predictable time. We do, right? Of course right.

Don’t forget, this Circus isn’t just for a few billion peanuts. This one’s for all the marble hallways inside the D.C. Beltway, for a united or divided Government, Nation and so much more. Even if it’s against the wishes of many Americans, ‘it’s time to make a tough choice’ say the people asking/demanding that we choose…now.

Yes, we’re approaching this Political Race at Reality Television pace, which today is only bound by traveling forward in time. Our public discourse gets dissed over the airwaves on a daily basis, and that gets dissed in return for lack of effort. It’s already tragically hilarious and mesmerizing and we haven’t had a major clash yet. We instantly and constantly interact with the Side-shows. Content is everywhere.

The Latest-Greatest Show on the Planet in the palm of your hand. Every day, every-day American Republicans, Democrats and Independents are redefining what it means to be a Republican or Democrat or Independent in this, Their Country, here and now. Everybody else can see and hear you now if you want that. Many out there want that now, more than ever in generations.

Ladies and Gentlemen, certainly for our children of ALL ages, good luck to ALL of us. I think we’re going to need it, right? Of course I could be wrong.

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Staying Above and Below the Left and Right of the Fray

#1kWordsOnPolitics and those parts of the Middle who are currently reluctant to be vocal about Politics or their choice for candidate, and so on.

I get it. Unfortunately some of you don’t.

Not being vocal is also making a choice, and in some cases people feel they have good reason. Generally they don’t, of course. Just some jumbled up half-baked attempt to deal with the effects of pride and prejudice and acceptance. Keeping more doors open in case of a coming storm, and doing so in the face of a coming storm. How long until you close more doors and windows and narrow things down? Anyway, it’s only natural. We’re only human.

But, in Politics, never in such a long time has there been such reach and power in the voice of the middle, and it holds that never in that time has the middle ever had the power to openly debate the virtues of three or more good people, and some bad guys.

The middle ground is swelling overall but the quiet ground is shrinking. How long will you stand on your piece of it in silence? How long will it be your piece anyway, if you don’t help ensure that it’s yours, or at the very least try to?

So. You talk. You discuss. You do your best to confirm your suspicions or beliefs are still true and relevant, no matter how long-held. You insist on truth, and let that and knowledge guide you on whatever path you perceive to be your best. You own it, and not just for a hot second, but for a good minute.

You preach what you practice, and what you’d like other people to emulate in practice and in interaction. You may have a firmly held belief being challenged by someone, perhaps your belief is held as an absolute, so you give voice to your objection, not ideally to the person, but for their failing to characterize your position properly at all times. You set them straight, or try to. You learn whether or not you or they can still learn or not. So far I can learn, but I don’t always win or get my way. When necessary and I’m able, I say my piece. It has sucked at times. It has also surprised me at times. A list of people, certainly a type of person, thinks I’m crazy for not knowing why they’re angry. They can’t accept that I understand perfectly why they are so angry. In fact, I share a clear view with them about where that anger is clearly misdirected, is obscured by their fighting goggles, shooting glasses and gas masks. I’m up to my neck in dispensing water to dehydrated creatures and these cerebral-deficient wild horses don’t even know that they’re thirsty. No idea why. So they don’t drink.

Yes, I know it can be a brutal ass kicking to jump up on your soap box, but you should really weigh the benefit of doing it now. Ask yourself what the chances are that the world you want to live in and share with the rest of us will just appear without opposition or support overnight? Or will it need help evolving, and how much help will it need? How much could you help, and importantly, would that amount of help be enough to make the difference between what you define as success or failure?

I, the same as any of you take pride in being correct. Annoying people try to beat you over the head with their brains and the mirror crowd to them is the ones who hit themselves, or allow themselves to be hit over the head with their own brains. Some quietly collect their correctness, though the norm is to have at least a friendly outlet or two, to hoist upon the precisely correct petards you find along your travels together.

People’s voices are the difference between better lives and continuing the slow death we’re dying now, they truly are, and like I said, I get everyone’s anger. When you find yourself on the short end of the stick, I understand how hard it is to do, but you have to let go of that stick. Sometimes you fight and win, and other times you lose. Sometimes you can get even, maybe even get revenge, get something, and occasionally, a time is going to come along where you are going to have to let go of something that has been bugging you for some reason.

In the simplest terms, if the stick you have the short end of was ever the stick you’re destined to do something with, it is clearly not that stick now, not at this moment. Forget about how you got in this tug of war anyway.

Just, let it go, and don’t waste your interest or indignation. Grab a new stick. Find something else that bugs you that you and others can actually do something about. It’s not like you were only pissed off about one thing, anyway. Not even just one thing from within the world of Politics. Break out your recipe for the next ten months or so. Now, scratch off the task/to do list anything that is related to being a short-ender. Stuff like reproductive rights and associated dog whistles screwing women and being blown in our ears. Confine any bible thumping to homes and houses of worship. Oh, I personally know tons of people who would like to not have guns shoved up their asses so often. Many of them are loaded now. There have been incidents. There have been fatalities.

I’m not suggesting you give in on your short end causes. Just the short ends. Fight another, better day with a new or better stick. Fighting settled or unsettle-able arguments at the wrong moment is senseless. Leave the most divisive stuff alone and increase agreement over a wider spectrum on a less contentious set of issues. Maybe an issue like saving our own necks, a close personal favorite. At any rate, whatever you do, do something. I know it takes more effort than we should shoulder, but we are a Nation. If you have an opinion about how all or part of society is governed, then speak up. Preferably in a way that classically shuns government on all sides. Regardless of how trivial you think your opinion is, express it.

Don’t be one of “those” people. Not this time. Don’t sit mostly quietly by and mostly quiet on Social Media. Then, after the election, latch on to the victory or boisterously rail in defiant disbelief. Either way this goes, we may win but we may lose, and lose more. Sometimes you need a Patriot who can speak what’s on your mind, and sometimes you need someone who can speak to what’s in your best interest. Right now, we need at least our best shot at the latter, if not both in one.

I do believe Bernie Sanders could be that one we need, if not both.

 

drstiff

 

@MiddleDude on twitter, somewhere on facebook

Posted in I hold these truths to be self-evident, Orgies, left and right...., The Time Is Now, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’m Right About Everything. Except That.

Right?

drs’s #1kWordsOnPolitics and the #Weakness of the #Right has to start with reality. A lot less ‘oh no he didn’t’ and a lot more ‘oh, yes he did. Everything that #Trump has been learning inside the Media World has been pushing him towards this Epic Fail, and has been artfully, if not tastefully, employed to create his rapid rise, and help sustain it. People spending time on how he did it is at this point are being part of the distraction. The question is how best to stop Trump from going substantially further? #Bernie could peel off some of Trumps support. He’s a ‘Democratic Socialist’ for heaven’s sake. They’ll buy Bernie as an Independent they can take a chance on.

Trump never seriously considered fighting Bernie for so many of the disconnected souls in the middle. Did he really buy into the belief that only Republicans could be believed in Government or be believed about Government? I doubt that he’s that careless, really. He must really be at risk due to lessening division. People could be thinking that Trump is just a more media savvy Bernie Sanders, and that at least Bernie is more prepared for the actual job, therefore a more savvy choice. I concede its a tough spot to be in for either of these guys, but they each need to reach the other guy’s supporters and steal them away.

That’s where we’re at.

I had this recent chat with an old soul friend who read my last #1kWordsOnPolitics article, in which we Trashed Trump and it was fun. Who doesn’t love venting?

Her: This is on point!

                    Me:feel free to share, vent, or both. : )

I shared because Mario feels exactly the same!!!

WE both do.

I can’t stand TRUMP

                    Somebody has to jump into the middle that the middle can live with.

                    oh, I know kiddo. you know I despise the man, have for years. Yikes!

We all have – he’s nothing but a media whore and always has been.

We

dpm

                    …

We don’t want to be around if he steps foot in there…

                    …

YEAH, YIKES!…and yet..the dumb public will listen to any BS that comes out of his stupid mouth.

Such BS!!

                    That’s where we are today. Like I said in the article.

                    When does the middle get someone to win with or blow it all up with, lol   : )?

I just want to punch him in the mouth and watch his taupe fly off since he dunlopped it over his big egg head. …we dream of this moment…

                    Welcome to the battle for power in America, 2016.

Is he that dumb that when he is faced with real issues and has no real answers, he tends to personally attack with childish remarks?! This looks excellent….the public loves him because he is like watching a Jerry Springer episode. I can’t stand him. Ugh, I honestly am getting upset here at work talking about the fucking’ idiot and the stupid people that love this guy. DON, I’M SERIOUS. Since I’ve been here, I can’t believe how many dumb mofos are truly out there. Even dumb ones with money – which makes it worse. What has this world come to? I seriously do not want to live past 70 or if he takes office. It really is a scary thought….

To her and to you,

                    Yes, it is. And Media had it all figured out until Social Media met the task of balancing the power between the people and the media. They have no idea how to respond, so media is just hanging on for the ride and the show. Media cares, but it’s out of their hands.This is about who will show up for that middle and what that middle will look like, and sound like. I hope it is Bernie, but does he see it? Does he see that road and trust that road? Does he really carve his half + 1 out of the heart of the extra-wide middle of the Reds, Blues and Whites, on his way to his 50% + 0.001 or whatever?

Those are the questions I have. Look, People say last nights State of the Union address was one one of Obama’s shining moments. I feel like the President answered the call of Progressives in this Country, that only he could help find a united way ahead, and he vowed to still try to mend fences. He could get us all in the Middle and give us a voice in demanding to follow the real heart and soul of this election. Don’t we all, really, don’t we all want to keep this progressive thing going? #Obama could do that. He could demand a Special Panel to Evaluate American Rights and let that determine who he publicly supports as the best Presidential Candidate to move things forward in the direction of the middle, and the moderates. I’ll send this soon. If I have already done so, I hope it was received well, or will be.

Either way, I haven’t heard back yet. I haven’t found the answer yet. But it sure is nice being out there looking.

Oh. And I scored today.

I actually converted someone on the #Iran #Nuclear #Deal this morning. That’s far beyond any previous ambition I’d had for my entire day. Hell, I should take a nap now. Or should I stay awake, preaching about sheep until I’m blue in the fingertips? Though things are going well in my direction, as I’d have them going if I wanted to Rally an Independent campaign. Maybe for a campaign pushing #Bernie #Sanders and #Nikki #Haley on an Independent ticket. Bernie keeps the guns, and she loses the lunatics. Wouldn’t that be fun?

Whatever happens the rest of the day, I scored. I convinced someone he was looking into the sun, and I taught him how to avoid the glare, and told him how to do it. I showed him how it worked. And he tried it for himself, and it worked. No unusual scam, just critical thinking paired with indisputable knowledge. Sometimes it happens by accident. Sometimes, even most times, we don’t bother to argue, or to teach. Though in all candor, that’s not often said about me.

If all whom I’ve encountered in life were to read that last bit at the same time; if you listened just then, you would no doubt hear them all laughing.

 

drstiff

@MiddleDude on twitter, something on facebook.

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Questioning the Media, on the 2016 Presidential Contest.

Questions on 2016.

drs

#1kWordsOnPolitics and the #Media that isn’t reading this Presidential Race correctly. Whatever the media is seeing going on, whatever it thinks it is, whether it likes it or not, it can’t figure out. The standard method of assigning red or blue or white or black or white or my GOD vs your god is all screwed up. But they keep doing it. And they keep misreading things and they keep being wrong.

So, what is it?

To me, it’s not the Party Tug of War, Red vs Blue. It isn’t the Establishment breaking apart, not exactly. Each of the Party Machines is still intact, on some level. Though I agree the Party Establishments are breaking apart, it’s not because of success or failure for their cause. The damage is being incurred due to the rapid rise of an “Independent Body”, rising out of the ashes of history and historic battles, but rising to find themselves without an Independent candidate in the race for President. The Indies are trying to figure out how best to serve a shit sandwich to Politics as usual. Do you stuff it to them by beating them with a loser? Do you go for their wallets? Do you let them buy you off and still screw them over in the end?

This is, essentially, the rise of the Moderates, but they haven’t seemed to make up their minds yet on who to rise under. The Establishment still has power after all, nobody realistically considered a pure Indie run this time. Well, not until now. All those bets are off. Interestingly, this rise has caused the upheaval on both sides that encouraged Party Fuel to be wasted on both sides, and why two of the top independents are in the race already, but as Democrat and Republican Candidates.

My gut tells me that Trump underestimated his ability to accomplish his task on the Left, but it was too late now with Bernie and Hillary and O’Malley in, and Warren in the wings, and Biden biding his time. Of course Bernie could never have done anything on the right. So, that’s where Trump built his lane to the Republican Nomination or Independent Candidacy for the 2016 Presidential Elections.

Bernie may not truly want to run for the Moderates, but this time, they can probably make him run Indie. Trump and Bernie are the only two who can claim legit space in the middle. Who doesn’t get that Bernie is an Independent? So there’s Trump, with his loosely connected far right factions of the Party System. At least fringy, if not Indie.

But when do they jump? Do they both jump? Does somebody else jump? Does running for President lose its legs as a show? In short, with the electorate, how bad is it? And how long will it be until we get it down to just three? Red, Blue and now White I suppose.

Whoever that Indie is, they have the best chance to win the election. For Clinton that would be like a guarantee, but remember, there’s no such thing as a guarantee. She’d spent eight years learning that lesson anew. If it’s Trump, it’s good for him. If it’s Bernie, same thing. Though, pretty soon, Bernie will have to start talking to a wider Trump audience, and start talking to Trump directly.

Bernie the Dem and Bernie the Independent should announce/declare Trump the Republican nominee for the Republican side and make the other Republican Candidates say it ain’t so. Brand Trump a Republican. Brand Trump THE Republican. Destroy the Trump Brand with the truth. Sure everybody lies in politics, but it’s usually at least loosely related to the truth. He lies about who he is and he lies about what he’s done and he lies about what he’ll do. All along the way, and he can ‘honestly’ tell you later that it wasn’t a lie when he said it, even though it was a lie, and he knew it. That’s a guy that deserves the far rights’ Scarlet letter award, for excellence in broadcasting. Keep this guy the Red guy, eventually he’s red meat.

So, there are only two guys that have any shot at ‘winning’ from the Indie lane. Trump and Bernie, and then it’s down to whoever they find to jump in and help as Vice-President or Vice-Book Tour pen pal. And, while we’re on the subject, there is only one Nicky Haley, right?

And who’s to say the traditional Two-Party system will finally, someday take hold. Who says what an insider or outsider is in this process now? Another snake has reared its head, and in a multitude of ways, poisons are visible in the markings which surround the snakes body. It’s literally tattooed all over the public. All the many ways one can say, “don’t tread on me.”

And they say it out loud too.

The goal for the Indies is clear, they will have a voice in this Presidential election. They are committed to the task it seems. They are determined to impact the outcome of the election, understanding that they may only once again be playing the role of the spoiler. It appears that for now, the middle is just as eager to win it all as it is to spoil it all. They are just that tired of being overlooked for so long. Maybe they can’t beat the big guys at enough yet, but they are able to shake things up now and then.

In my opinion, this is more than a shake-up. This is a statement. For now, it looks like the Indies are going to make a big statement. I’m trying to figure out just how big, like some of the others. I’m also trying to consider the current wisdom in error. People shouldn’t be waiting for some egregious act to force one of their handymen to abandon the Red or the Blue. This cycle, is there any advantage if you start making your most unwavering case sooner, rather than later? Does the guy really need to be perceived as pushed out into his own lane? Why couldn’t he just jump off of the establishment stage and blast both sides in three-way National Debates at the highest level. Just yell out loud that you’re too opposed to the establishment to continue taking part. Then count your money and direct the shotgun attacks on all sides. Why couldn’t he be pulled off one stage by his supporters and dropped down on a new stage with potentially more supporters. What could be more “Outsider” than that?

Something is telling me that waiting might make sense but I don’t see a big payoff for the put-off. True, there are some tasteless goings on from every perspective, but there’s a wide path down the middle for an Indie to navigate. Most Americans seem to hang out near the middle, though for lots of different reasons, of course. When was the last time the real middle felt included in an election? Instead of the better of both worlds, we’ve ended up with having to choose between the lesser of two evils. Even the lesser of one.

This election got crazy, quickly, and stayed there.

drstiff

@MiddleDude on twitter

Posted in How Do We Fix DC ?, Orgies, left and right.... | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Not the Story I Had Planned

Suddenly and purposefully it seems, the self-serving homage I had constructed to myself (in my head) vanished. I sat and stared at the empty screen and pondered how to fill it with a thousand or more words about my profound disappointment with far too many of my fellow Americans.

For more than a few days I have been perplexed by how little so many Americans appear to know about the exceptionalism of our Democracy that makes them special among the world population. I have been striving to understand how huge numbers of my countrymen in this land of the free and home of the brave cannot free themselves from hate and discrimination, or find the necessary courage to pull themselves out of the abysmal abyss of fear. I have been listening to people make horribly divisive comments without a shred of cohesive rationale to support their words or their views in an effort to encourage or coerce others to join their unjust cause. Somehow, someway, somewhere, something’s rotten and you can smell it, and it’s offensive.

Freedom isn’t free and never has been. The cost of the freedom we enjoy in the United States has been paid by generations of Americans willing to sacrifice their safety and security in support and defense of freedom. Enemies of freedom have drawn upon the blood of fear to sustain their efforts to drain the blood of freedom from society’s veins. These enemies have fallen and failed to overcome the principles of freedom; have failed to counter the knowledge that all men are created equal and that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Brave souls have stepped up to ensure freedom is victorious on the occasion of every enemy attack and I count myself complicit in some and thankful for all of these triumphs. Still, I am saddened that the number of courageous souls can at times be counted on one hand while the tally of cowards can require the removal of one’s shoes. The concept that we function as a nation of individuals in support of the indivisible goals of freedom and equality is alien to far too many natives right now.

We have problems in America. We have disagreements. We have real differences of opinion which serve to guide our collective conscience, but what we do not have—and cannot allow—is a difference in facts. With respect to the theme of this paper, the fact is that both the letter and the spirit of the U.S. Constitution and our laws clearly forbid discrimination of any individual based on their religion. This fact is being obfuscated by a large group of Americans, some of whom have the unfortunate benefit of bully pulpits and huge microphones. The fact is that we have too much fear in the hearts and minds of our population.

I understand fear. I have known fear. I have been influenced by fear. Most importantly, I have overcome fear and strive not to be guided by its dark influence. Society has been rocked back on its heels by the rapid pace of change of social norms. Generational discourse has been generalized to the point that the words progressive and progress share roots, yet precious little meaning. Abortion is considered by many to be anathema to life, even if to save the life of the mother. People kill people or guns kill people or people with guns kill people. A Christian shooter/killer is crazy but a Muslim shooter/killer is a terrorist…unless the Muslim kills a Muslim, then they’re a hero. The chance one has of being a victim of terrorism is infinitely small, yet many are convinced that they’re the next victim and the attack will happen soon. All of this and more is fear. Powerful, palpable, pervasive fear.
Fear is many things, including vulnerable. Fear can be diminished, but it requires effort to reduce it to a usable, controllable amount. Fear can be crushed by an equal or greater force of courage. Fear is divisive, even among a celebrated indivisible population.

I listened in astonishment as a Christian Minister explained how to block the Muslim path to heaven. I listened in disbelief as Presidential candidates willfully injected discourse, intolerance and discrimination into the minds of fearful followers. I listened to World Leaders denounce Donald Trump’s words and actions. I listened in disbelief and dismay as the news anchors reported on the latest political polls. Support for Mr. Trump has increased by many percentage points. I’m not particularly religious, but in support of those Americans who are, and in support of the many freedoms we cherish, I need to say one thing.

God help us. Please.

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