With the Democrats, Pundits, Even Politicians I Admire

Graphic picture of angry woman (by Prawny at https://morguefile.com/p/910383)
Graphic picture of angry woman (by Prawny at https://morguefile.com/p/910383)

I am angry with the Democratic Party for turning the presidential nomination process into a sham with a surplus of candidates dropping out all at once to endorse the party’s pick.

I am disappointed that former President Barack Obama supported this sham and added his voice to the plan.

I am bewildered by liberal pundits and supporters who repel the progressive voters they desperately need by continuing to blame them for the current crisis of our country.

I am dismayed that the only candidate who has a chance to defeat Donald Trump is Joe Biden.

I see Progressives making progress — emerging politicians like Rashida Tlaib, AOC, Ayanna Pressley; old voices with renewed urgency like Harvard’s Cornell West, Rutgers’ Naomi Klein, and Bernie Sanders; and celebrities like Gasland’s Josh Fox, and movie stars Shailene Woodley and Mark Ruffalo. And I am frustrated that the establishment is pushing back against them. …

One More Chance to Make Things Right

In Cronenberg’s classic 1986 film, The Fly, deteriorating inventor Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) is telling a woman he’s chosen for his next experiment, “Don’t be afraid,” when Veronica (Geena Davis) who has entered the building in time to overhear his reassurances, interjects the memorable line: “No. Be afraid. Be very afraid.”

Close-up photograph of a fly from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fly_insect.jpg
Close-up photograph of a fly from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fly_insect.jpg

Veronica knows the danger, because she was witness to Seth’s previous experiment gone terribly wrong when a fly buzzed into his teleportation pod just before he closed the door and pushed the button. …

What if ‘Christian’ meant doing what the Christ of Christianity said to do?

On the last Sunday service of June, Pastor John Koletas of the Grace Baptist Church in Troy, NY, held his third AR-15 giveaway. When protesters arrived at the church, shouting and shoving ensued. However, the tweeted claim that churchgoers were “dragged off the steps of their church and getting beaten by the leftist mob” was false; it was the churchgoers who shoved protesters off the steps. Also false was the reason given for the supposed attack: “Why? Because they’re Christians.”

Picture of AR-15 rifle superimposed over a traditional church to illustrate “Just don’t call it Christian.”
Picture of AR-15 rifle superimposed over a traditional church to illustrate “Just don’t call it Christian.”

To those who believe that the meaning of Christian is defined by the Christ who founded Christianity, that statement — “Because they’re Christians” — is the most offensive part of that dishonest tweet. Not only does it make a mockery of what it means to be victimized; it equates Christianity with going to church to win a semi-automatic rifle. We are reminded of then-candidate Donald Trump’s suggestion in 2016 that the reason his tax returns were audited so frequently was because he was a “strong Christian” — a label that nobody had ever applied to him. …

You Are Not America. We Are.

Your mistake, Mr. President, is to imagine that you are “America” and anyone who criticizes you is anti-American. In your world, only Trump supporters are patriots. The rest of us are just tenants to be dominated and subdued.

But, Mr. President, America is not you. America is its people. Nations are made up of their people, and in democracies, those people are in charge. That means that you, Mr. President, are the employee. And as our employee, you don’t get to say, “You’re fired”; we do.

A crop of the blue field in the flag in which the stars are the faces of people.
A crop of the blue field in the flag in which the stars are the faces of people.

And in your performance review, Mr. President, you don’t get to define what’s great; we do. So know this: we aren’t impressed by leaders who talk when they should be listening. Great countries and great leaders don’t need to continually proclaim how great they are; their greatness is evident in their actions. The same is true of their strength. The truly strong don’t have to continually flex their muscles; their strength is evident in restraint. …

Slogans Should Be Pragmatic

The “Vote Blue No Matter Who” slogan just baffles me. I’m not talking about the merits or drawbacks of voting a straight ticket; that’s another article — or book. It’s the psychology of the slogan that makes my head spin.

What Is the Spirit?

“Vote Blue No Matter Who” is an order. It’s not “Let’s” or “We” or even “I’m”; it is the implied “You” who is told to obey. That’s just bad psychology. Whoever repeats the slogan is implying that “I vote for the good guys but you don’t. Get with the program. Don’t be stupid. Don’t do what you’re doing. …

The Brutality of a Loud Christian Nation

The amusement park scene in the movie The Third Man pictures Harry Lime (Orson Welles) conversing with his old friend at the apex of a Ferris wheel about the adulterated penicillin he sold. “Look down there,” says Lime. “Would you feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever?”

Harry Lime in “The Third Man” movie, talking to his friend as the Ferris wheel cab nears the top of the wheel’s rotation.
Harry Lime in “The Third Man” movie, talking to his friend as the Ferris wheel cab nears the top of the wheel’s rotation.

Implicitly, that sentiment is repeated endlessly in the United States today:

  • Pump up those insulin profits. Who cares if a some diabetics stop moving?
  • Ease up those OSHA regulations. Who cares if a few blue-collar workers stop moving?
  • Cut back on particulate restrictions. …

Coerced Religion Corrupts Government and Faith

Another attempt to mix religion into government took a step toward law in February when the Kentucky House of Representatives passed legislation to require that the motto “In God We Trust” be posted in public schools. Kentucky is the seventh state to push religion into government this way. In 2017 Arkansas enacted its own law to post “In God We Trust” in schools. In 2018 five more state legislatures passed similar laws. …

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Sometimes courage and audacity ARE pragmatic.

Is it unrealistic to campaign for universal health care? Is it impractical to call a halt to fracking? Is it possible to advocate for free college and still win an election? Should candidates be willing to compromise on women’s health rights? Is a $15 wage too much to ask f…

Lessons from the Trump victory.

Monarch butterflies lay their eggs only on milkweed plants, and Monarch larvae feed exclusively on milkweed. But it does not follow that every creature in the milkweed patch is a Monarch (Annenberg Foundation, n.d.).

When McElwee and McDaniel (2017) analyzed the recent ANES (2016) election study, they concluded that the one significant predictor of White Trump voters was racism — revealed in attitudes toward both Black and immigrant people. However, the bold assertion of the article’s title — “Economic Anxiety Didn’t Make People Vote Trump, Racism Did” — is misleading.

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Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) on showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) in Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge (Wyoming, United States). Photo: Tom Koerner/USFWS

Even if all racists voted for Trump, it’s no more accurate to assume everyone voting for Trump was a racist than to assume that all insects in a milkweed patch are Monarchs. …

Did Trump’s “Great” promise more than white and safe?

Yes, Trump won because of racism, xenophobia, and religious intolerance. Polls, of course, don’t ask those questions. If they did, respondents wouldn’t admit their prejudices. But though we have no statistics to prove the point, the rising violence against minorities of color and religion — during Trump’s campaign and since his presidency (Farriver, 2017) — testify to the bigotry he intentionally appealed to. And not only did he appeal to the bigotry all humans tend to harbor; he incited it. He promised to wall out “illegals,” block Muslim refugees, and reverse the policies of the black president who for years he’d insisted was foreign-born. So yes, Trump’s draw to white nationalism almost certainly put him over the top when the votes came in. …


ALJ Randall

Forwarding justice, nonviolence, liberating learning…Writer, editor, composer, nana…We must all act with concern for others and the Earth we share…Last chance

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