debate

Let Me Simplify These For You


POST 1082


It Almost Doesn’t Matter Who It Is

Pundits, journalists, editorial boards and experts with bed wetting tendencies have put their advanced stages of hand wringing on public display since the first moments of the debate debacle on June 27.

Full disclosure: We were at a watch party that night with fellow democracy loving people and I confess that shortly after Biden made his opening statement I blurted, “He just gave the presidency to Trump.” He looked and sounded like a great uncle who spends his day staring into the unfocused distance. He’s just not a good model of a strong and vibrant leader for our fractious nation.

My thinking now is that Biden’s apparent cognitive abilities* don’t matter. Here’s why.

Righties will vote for Trump. Democrats will vote for the Democratic candidate. Undecideds and independents are counting on us to convince them to defeat the Trump monster.

In other words, it’s time for all of us to put away our amateur psychologist notions, our confirmation biases, our certainties and even that light saber you’ve kept for so long and instead focus solely on banishing the monster. It’s time for reality and it’s time for action and the light saber won’t help us.

There is only one overarching imperative: protect and defend our Constitution and our democracy.

That’s about our way of life, our rights, our freedoms and our safety. This is the sine qua non.

The only way for that to happen is for us to elect leaders dedicated to the America intended by our Founders, the one we know we can become, and send the faux patriots packing.

It almost doesn’t matter who the nominee is for the Democrats. It’s entirely about ensuring massive turnout so that Donald Trump never gets his hands on power – ever. That is the battle. That is the call to duty. That means that we must dedicate ourselves to voting even for a smear of brain cells in a Petri dish if that’s the only candidate on the ballot to oppose Trump. At least we’ll have a president capable of intelligence.

So, abandon your certainty that Biden should quit the race or that he should not. Your certainty is worth nothing if Trump wins.

So, Biden, Newsom, Harris, Whitmer, Moore, Princess Leia – it doesn’t much matter. We must get behind the nominee and we must agitate, motivate and activate literally all registered voters to vote against Trump and all other hateful MAGAs. Then we will have leaders who will take action to reverse the abhorrent Supreme Court decisions violating our rights and intended to obliterate our democracy.

It’s time to muscle up the courage to do what must be done. Abandon your notions of a perfect candidate because there isn’t one.

Any candidate standing in opposition to Trump will do. Go campaign with all the depth and breadth and height of your soul. Put on your big boy or big girl pants and march directly to the Democrat campaign office nearest you and volunteer your very best, your passion and your intellect, to beat Trump. Campaign for that smear of brain cells in a Petri dish, if need be. When we make democracy the winner, with gratitude and relief I will send you a red, white and blue “I BANISHED THE MONSTER !!!” sticker.

Perhaps all of that can give you some comfort in the midst of our national quit/don’t quit mania.

The Immunity Death Star Is Real

Regular reader, periodic contributor and boyhood pal Frank Levy wrote a speech for Joe Biden to deliver. Here’s a piece of it.

Beginning today, shielded by the immunity given to me by the Supreme Court, I will use the Insurrection and Patriot Acts to arrest and imprison in Guantanamo:

• every member of Congress who refused to certify the 2020 Presidential Election

• every citizen not already in jail, including Donald Trump, who participated in false elector schemes and/or the attempted overthrow of the United States government

• every oligarch who sought and seeks to buy influence in Congress and the Supreme Court

• every media/internet mogul who allowed and allows their network and platforms to spread lies and misinformation.

I will then order Congress to:

• pass a rule to end the filibuster

• set term limits on Supreme Court Justices

• impeach Justices Alito and Thomas

• make Roe and marriage equality the law of the land

• eliminate the Electoral College

• secure our treaties with NATO, Europe, Ukraine and other allies

• pass whatever other legislation is necessary to secure American democracy, freedom and justice at home and abroad.

I don’t think that the notorious six Heritage Foundation Supreme Court justices intended for all that to be possible, but they actually did make all that possible through their justice defying presidential immunology insanity.

To add one more log onto this raging inferno of an issue, Sheila Markin, author of The Markin Report, offered a cure.

The Supreme Court must be expanded and the current senior jurists – Thomas and Alito – must go to lower courts. The Constitution says they have lifetime appointments but does not say they must be on the Supreme Court for life.

Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution states:

The judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour . . .

Setting aside the implied not-good-behavior disqualifier, it’s a matter of interpretation whether Sheila’s notion of demotion of justices is Constitutional. If it is, too bad for Clarence Thomas. There would be no more obscenely expensive freebie vacations for him, nor a fancy million dollar RV.

To better understand this draconian presidential immunity assault on our nation, watch this video from Rachel Maddow.

Finally

Last Thursday was America’s birthday party – number 248. Perhaps you barbecued, quaffed a beverage of choice, watched a parade and went to the fireworks on a hot July day. Such things are what we do.

We stand on the shoulders of giants whose vision and courage were greater than most of us can imagine. They imbued us with certain responsibilities and the opportunity for greatness.

Read what Steve Schmidt had to say about that in his 4th of July message, Happy Birthday, America.

_____________________________________

* Be sure to check out the Cognition post this Wednesday. You can remember to do that, right? So can Joe Biden.


“Friends do not let friends vote for con artists.”

  • – Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), 2016
  • Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
  • Fire the bastards!

  • Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

    And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

    1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings.
    2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
    3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
    4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
    5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.
    6. Clicking on most pics in these posts will take you to the source information.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Abandoning Fantasies


POST 1080


Still Reeling

.  .  . from the debate debacle. Yet we must continue our march forward.

Trump was Trump, grifting, fabricating idiotic, outrageous lies and doing his fantabulous projections of his lunacy and criminality onto Biden. But that isn’t the oddest thing. What is far more odd is that millions of Americans want this psychopath to be our next president.

And Biden was Biden – the one we rarely get a glimpse of; the actual guy. He’s been great for decades. He continues to be an excellent chief executive of our country. But he has degenerated into a sometimes terrible candidate and an unreliable campaigner.

This election will, like most, be decided by the 10 – 20% in the middle. These folks are independent, most are relative centrists and many are not very well informed voters. They are the ones who have to be convinced to vote for Biden. Many will vote against Trump, many will refuse to vote because they don’t like either candidate and some will vote for a third party candidate. The refusers and the third party voters may convince themselves that they are in their integrity, making a statement. What they actually will be doing is electing Trump.

Angry people are motivated. Trump’s devoted followers are like that. They show up and vote. Democrats aren’t as motivated and many eligible voters don’t vote at all. That passion inequality has delivered minority rule and is exactly why voting refusers and third party voters are tacitly voting for Trump.

And knowingly or not, they are voting to end our 248 year commitment to democracy.

My call for Biden to withdraw from the race has been echoed by many pundits and editorial boards, even as it isn’t as easy as that. There are the fundraising challenges for a replacement candidate, the building of a war cabinet and the wooing of millions in a different direction, all in a very limited amount of time. In other words, Biden may yet stay on the ticket, leaving us a quite challenging task: motivating people to vote for Biden, even in the face of his poor performance at the debate.

Let’s start with this from Adam Kinzinger the night before the debate:

Today, we face an election about a singular, monumental issue: the very essence of our democracy. The question before us is clear—which of the two candidates will stand unyielding in their commitment to preserve, protect, and defend our Constitution and strengthen our Democracy?

For me, the answer is simple: And that is why, today, I am officially Endorsing Joe Biden’s Re-Election for the Presidency of the United States of America. [emphasis original]

There is a reason why I and so many others come back to urging voting and activist support. Kinzinger lays out in plain language the imperative to act for our nation. Unfortunately, we live in a nation of apathy for serious things. We’re full of passion for our sports teams and the backyard barbecue. Some are energized at a rally where their fears and anger are stoked by a charlatan.

For about 40% of us our eyes glaze over when the subject is how we decide to be governed, but here’s the thing: our government is legitimized only through the consent of the governed – you and me. When we sit out the big game, we tacitly forfeit our voice, our hopes and dreams, and even our beliefs, surrendering them to those who will not “preserve, protect, and defend our Constitution and strengthen our Democracy.”

There it is – the reason you are and I will vote and the reason we must encourage others to stand up for our country.

Best Quote

From the Declaration of Independence:

We have appealed to [King George III and English] native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity.

That has been our experience in dealing with our extremist fellow citizens today, both those in elected office and the ordinary citizens steeped in grievance. They have steadfastly lobbied for their usurparations of our Constitution and made connections and correspondence impossible by their fictions, their horrible conspiracy nightmares and their calls to violence against fellow citizens. Worst, “they have been deaf to the voice of justice.” That is what has brought us to this moment.

They want to establish a patriarchy, different only in trivial ways from the extremists in Iran. They want American women to be second class at best, subject to the whim of their fathers and husbands.* You’ve seen the theft of rights and the promises of more usurpations to come from state legislatures, Congress and the Supreme Court. You know their calls to theocracy.

It’s all right before our eyes. So, much as many of us wish there would be a vigorous, energized and energizing new presidential candidate to relegate Trump to the lonely infamy he deserves, we are left with actual reality. We know full well that we cannot – we must not – be influenced by any Kellyanne Conway alternative facts or even our own secret wishes. We must grab our patriotic responsibility and do what we know must be done.

So, even in the face of the debate debacle, are you in?

___________________________________________________

* Here’s anti-women’s liberation, self-appointed full citizenship antagonist, Phyllis Schlafly from years ago:

“The ‘women’s lib[eration]’ movement is not an honest effort to secure better jobs for women who want or need to work outside the home,” she said. It “is a total assault on the role of the American woman as wife and mother, and on the family as the basic unit of society. Women’s libbers are trying to make wives and mothers unhappy with their career, make them feel that they are ‘second-class citizens’ and ‘abject slaves.’ Women’s libbers are promoting free sex instead of the “slavery” of marriage. They are promoting Federal ‘day-care centers’ for babies instead of homes. They are promoting abortions instead of families.”

You can find essentially the same extremist sentiments today coming from Evangelicals, MAGA spouters and the spineless ones who know better but lack the integrity to say so. There is something that wants women to be powerless, second class citizens and which won’t go away.

Be clear: we are the ones standing up to stop the citizenship thieves.


“Friends do not let friends vote for con artists.”

  • – Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), 2016
  • Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
  • Fire the bastards!

  • Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

    And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

    1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings.
    2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
    3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
    4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
    5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.
    6. Clicking on most pics in these posts will take you to the source information.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

It’s Over


POST 1079


The presidential debate was over before the first word was uttered. Joe Biden walked in looking like a doddering old man. When he spoke his voice was strained, his enunciation was blurred and he sounded enfeebled. This country doesn’t honor age. We are about youth and vitality.

\So, Joe Biden just confirmed the worst fears of undecideds and persuadables.

That Trump did his standard lying, making up outrageous stuff on the spot and declaring monstrous idiocy was entirely predictable. So was his projecting his lies, his failings, his crimes and his incompetence onto Biden. Everyone, including undecideds and persuadables, knew he’d be doing all of that because that’s what Trump always does. And Biden let him get away with the majority of it.

Biden barely challenged Trump. He never called him the liar that he is. He never challenged the American people, asking how they like being lied to all the time. The closest he came was an “Oh, yeah? No, you’re the worst.” Like a kid saying, “Nya-nya” to a brat on the playground.

The problem isn’t doubt about whether Joe Biden can be an outstanding executive doing the job of the presidency. It’s about him doing the job of a candidate well. And he isn’t.

In just 90 minutes yesterday Joe Biden gave the presidency to Donald Trump.

An Open Letter to President Biden

Dear President Biden:

Drop out of the race now. Do this for the American people, for democracy and for the safety of the entire world.

Tell the world that you’ve been honored by the opportunity given to you to restore America’s place of leadership in the world, to save hundreds of thousands of American lives from death by Covid, to have led the United States to have the best economic recovery from a worldwide pandemic, to be the arsenal to stop Vladimir Putin from recreating the despotic Soviet Union dominating eastern Europe, and thank you for so much more.

Joe, you’ve been great in so many ways. Now it’s time to leave the Oval Office. Tell everyone that the most presidential thing you can do now is to make room for a new and vigorous Democratic candidate for the presidency.

With love, great respect, gratitude and urgency,

Jack

__________________________________________________________

For Clarity

Heather Cox Richardson has a different take on this. Clearly, she is less affected by Biden’s campaign presentation than I am and seems to be okay with Biden continuing. She does a nice job of outlining the Trump Thursday night horror show, too.

To be clear, my concern is the beauty contest factor, which Biden lost dreadfully and which may well be the deciding factor for many voters in so-called “battle ground” states. That is why I want to see a statesman moment from Biden and a fresh, vigorous Democratic candidate stepping into the spotlight now, while there is still time to repair and rebuild the Democratic offering.

For a very different take, read Thomas Friedman’s piece. Spoiler: He says with great sadness that it’s time for Biden to get out of the race. Very tough love.


“Friends do not let friends vote for con artists.”

  • – Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), 2016
  • Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
  • Fire the bastards!

  • Did someone forward this post to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) It’s going to take ALL OF US to get the job done.

    And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

    Thanks!

    The Fine Print:

    1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings.
    2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
    3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
    4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
    5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town or neighborhood vibrant.
    6. Clicking on most pics in these posts will take you to the source information.

    Click me

    JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Potpourri – v12.0


Reading time – 5:15  .  .  .

BREAKING NEWS!

Hope Hicks, President Trump’s closest aide, has tested positive for coronavirus. Hours after the announcement of her infection we learned that both the president and Mrs. Trump had tested positive for coronavirus, too. So have some senators and White House staffers, with more surely in the Covid queue. That isn’t the breaking news.

The important story for America is that even after learning he had been exposed to the infected Hicks, Trump continued his normal schedule, including a round-table with supporters and a fundraiser reception, both at his Bedminster, NJ club. He did all that without wearing a mask.

There have been subsequent unverified reports that he didn’t know he had been exposed prior to the Bedminster events. Regardless, Trump remains a one man super-spreader event and a totem, a roll model for the third of this nation that is in denial about this disease.

Also note that Trump was in close proximity to V.P. Joe Biden and Chris Wallace at the debate on Tuesday night. And the president was talking loudly, projecting clouds of his spittle, necessarily putting the others at risk.

I am steadfastly resisting the enormous urge to send a “We told you so” tweet to our now hospitalized president and am proud that instead I’m wishing him and the rest of the infected good health. I’m proud, too, of Joe Biden for withdrawing criticizing ads of Trump while he’s down. It’s a visible demonstration of the decency Biden has promised to bring to the White House, even though, as of this writing, Trump has continued his attack ads against Biden. As I’ve said, there is no low that is so low that Trump won’t go there.

For now, I fervently hope the leaders of the Democrats are devising a plan for the election if Biden goes down sick due to Trump projecting his infection at him and he can no longer run for office. And, because it would be unseemly to kick Trump while he’s down, Kamala Harris and her team better be retoolng her V.P. debate focus.

Going after Pence won’t take long. Everyone knows he’s smarmy, disingenuous and plainly dishonest. Indianans were in the process of throwing him out of the governor’s office when the V.P. gig lifeline was thrown to him. He really isn’t worth much attention. That leaves the rest of the 90 minutes for Kamala to go after Trump, now having to do it gently. Bummer for the former prosecutor.

————————

It’s So Taxing

Trump claimed hundreds of millions of dollars in profit while at the same time claiming a $47 million loss on his IRS tax form, so he paid no taxes. Imagine if you tried such a deception.

He has hundreds of millions of dollars of loans – debt – money owed – coming due within the next four years and he has no way to pay it back. Plus, we don’t know to whom he owes that money – could be Vladimir Putin or Mohammad bin Salman, which would raise enormous national security issues.

For anyone else, that much debt from any source would disqualify him/her from even the lowest security clearance, because anyone’s knowledge of the debt is kompromat and the enormity of it is financial leverage. In the absence of seeing Trump’s financial documents we’re left wondering who has Trump’s privates in their vice.

Trump was facing financial disaster in 1990, so he did what any enterprising fellow would do: he attempted to grab all of his father’s wealth for himself. He sent a lawyer and an accountant to the elder Trump’s home to get him to change his will. He did that as his father was falling into dementia. With that kind of self-serving pathology as his guide, what do you imagine Trump would do to the United States over four more years and with all that debt hanging over his head?

This is President Flim-Flam and, sadly, Lincoln was right about being able to fool some of the people all of the time. None of Trump’s malfeasance means a thing to his ardent, information refusing supporters. Many of them are prepared to use violence against fellow Americans in support of him, as they wave their American flags and misuse Thomas Jefferson’s Tree of Liberty quote, imagining themselves to be patriots in their flagrant law breaking. And all the while Trump eggs them on.

Perhaps some of the independents, the folks in the middle, will figure out they’ve been victims of the biggest scam in our history and will act accordingly in this election to stop the madness.

————————

From Peter Strzok’s book COMPROMISED

Page XXIII

Speaking about having lived in 4 countries that each went through revolution by a strongman dictator, Strzok writes, ”  .  .  .  all shared common characteristics, and all taught me lessons about dictators and authoritarians and their hunger to consolidate power and obtain – or at least convey – legitimacy. That quest for legitimacy played out in a host of ways. One was the desire to manipulate, control, or discredit media. A relentless distortion of reality numbs a country’s populace to outrage and weakens its ability to discern truth from fiction.

“Another way dictators sought to secure power and legitimacy was by co-opting the power of the state – its military, law enforcement, and judicial systems – to carry out personal goals and vendettas rather than the nation’s needs.

“Still another was by undermining dissent, questioning the validity of opposition and refusing to honor public will, up to and including threatening or preventing the peaceful transfer of power.”

Page 307

“Authoritarian leaders and tin-pot dictators don’t tolerate dissent or criticism, and when they hear it, they smear their critics in outlandish terms, as traitors, as enemies of the people, as saboteurs and spies. If they can imprison or execute their critics, they frequently do. If they can’t they call for their imprisonment [think: “Lock her up.”] or execution instead, or demand mob retribution against them. Corrupt and compromised, with no moral center and no ethics and only their own self-interests to guide them, such leaders see criticism as a challenge to their legitimacy and, when challenged continuously, rage louder – ruining lives, destroying careers, and worse.”

“One of [the pipe bomber, Cesar] Sayoc’s attorneys would later explain in court that his client’s ‘blind admiration for the president’ [much like MAGA hat wearers] had fed his spiral toward violence. ‘It is impossible, I believe,’ the lawyer said, ‘to separate the political climate and his mental illness.'”

Strzok continued, speaking of “[Trump’s] impact on the vulnerable fringes of American society, on troubled people susceptible to suggestions and inflammatory rhetoric.”

Somebody please tell me what the violence-prone Trump supporters will do when Trump loses and continues his ranting about a rigged election, fake news, lock somebody up and dog whistle calls to violence.

Read traditional conservative David Brooks’ eyes-wide-open comments about the chaos debate last week, the immoralist who created it and the threat it signals for America.

————————

Coronavirus – Again

We’ve known all along what to do to stop dying from COVID-19. And how to stop suffering debilitating illness from it. And the way to prevent long term lung and heart damage. I wrote about that here.

We haven’t done those things.

Leadership has lied about proper protocols, waffled on protections, recommended lethal cures and valueless treatments and refused most positive actions to stop this pandemic. Left to the states, failure was certain. That’s because some states imposed serious measures to protect the people, while neighboring states blindly, spinelessly followed the President’s lead, claiming COVID-19 was like the flu that would “magically go away”, or some other excuse for inaction. And then people traveled from infected areas to non-infected areas, which spread the disease very quickly. Now, over 210,000 Americans are dead. It was all predictable and avoidable.

We chose not to avoid.

We have a temper-tantrum narcissist, responsibility-refusing president. He sits in his highchair, pounding on his tray and screaming his fantasies, while his enablers say, “Whatever the president wants, it’s his. I’ll do whatever he says.” Republican senators and governors knuckle under, as though they’ve lost all higher brain functioning. They are all children, acting as though there are no consequences to anything, focusing only on what they can imagine they’d like to have and thinking only as far as the immediate future for themselves. They abdicate all responsibility and refuse their accountability for the consequences of their actions on others.

Exactly like misbehaving, disobedient children.

Together, these irresponsible leaders instruct large portions of the population to distrust reality, to flaunt their bravado and to continue to spread the disease and death. Then our citizens act exactly as their leaders do, like misbehaving, disobedient children. And all the while people die for lack of responsible leadership.

This disease won’t go away until we all start acting like adults, conscious of our responsibility to ourselves and one another. What do you suppose that will require?

Read How America Lost 200,000 Lives to COVID-19 – even better, watch the video – for more.

—————————————-

Ed. note: We need to spread the word so that we make a critical difference, so,

  1. Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe and pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) Use the simple form above on the right.
  2. Engage in the Comments section below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. Sometimes I change my opinions because I’ve learned more about an issue. So, educate me. That’s what the Comments section is for.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.

JA


Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Vision


Reading time – 3:42; Viewing time – 4:39  .  .  .

The second round of over-populated candidate debates will occur this week. Instead of hearing them snipe at one another, jockey for position or clutch desperately for air time, here’s what I want from the candidates.

Vision is the “THAT way” clarity that guides us in both the best of times and the worst. We have a national vacuum where that direction should be and that leads to proposals that are foolish and often self-defeating and which leave us adrift in the hot air that is today’s sound bite politics. Our leaders, whose task it is to name it and keep us focused, are vision-challenged in our hyper-partisan, post-reality swamp, so we wander about without direction.

We are a fractious and largely confused people, often acting only on impulses borne of the amygdala, the “reptile brain,” which is acutely tuned to fear. That leaves us vulnerable to the demagogue’s exploitation, as we mindlessly react to the most recent fear mongering. That causes us to lose our ability to stay true to our values. It turns out that Darth Vader was right when he said:

Jamelle Bouie makes that clear in his essay The Joy of Hatred, wherein he speaks of, “our history of communal, celebratory racism.” Communal and celebratory, indeed. We’ve seen that in Donald Trump’s chanting crowds, with their nearly all white faces smiling and reveling in the dark side of rejecting “others.” That isn’t the least bit helpful to our American condition or to our possibilities and it is utterly without hope for the future.

Trump speaks and acts as though he is a disciple of Darth Vader and he is leading us backward into authoritarianism. That is the very thing that motivated the Founding Fathers to say to King George III, “No more.” While they didn’t utter those words, their actions and the Declaration of Independence made clear that was their message.

To find our way to that more perfect union and our true potential we need to regain our aspirational nature. We have to abandon our impoverishment of ourselves and stop looking through the rear view mirror. We have to restore our vision ahead. We’ve done that before, as we did under the leadership of President Kennedy, which resulted in our Apollo program successes.

During that period of our history we were in perpetual danger of civilization-ending conflict. Gaining preeminence in space was our way of saying to the world and to ourselves that we are America. Might it be possible to regain that forward looking, can-do spirit? Might we be able to articulate the inspiration of creating that shining city on the hill?

I have two essays for you that speak to that.

Lori Garver, former deputy administrator of NASA, wrote an exceptional vision for a new and critical mission for NASA and it doesn’t include sending anyone to the moon or to Mars. It is rooted in real world need that is incrementally manifesting itself in unmistakable ways.

The other essay is from David Brooks. He speaks to who we really are and who we can be. Do yourself a favor and click his link to a Langston Hughes poem.

Back to the Apollo program.

Gene Kranz was flight director for the Apollo 13 mission. A catastrophic failure of their spacecraft put the lives of the men aboard in peril. Kranz’ engineers and scientists were working to cobble together the life-sustaining measures needed to save our astronauts when Kranz is reputed to have said, “Failure is not an option.” That is still true.

Who has what it takes to inspire this nation? Who will call upon what Lincoln termed our better angels and lead us in the direction of our greatness?

What I want is for our politicians and candidates to stop the silly, often self-destructive stuff and focus on who we can be. I want them to awaken our sleeping capabilities and to light a beacon to shine on that hill and guide us all. Rarely has the need been so great.

As I watch the debates I’ll be looking for the candidate who will do that.


President Trump is obsessed with attacking opponents by using the word “infested.” His vision for America seems to be constant attack, constant degrading of others. That’s exactly the kind of future where there is no hope. That’s the kind of future that rips us apart. Click here to see what CNN’s Victor Blackwell had to say about that. Decide for yourself which vision moves your spirit.


————————————

Ed. Note: I don’t want money or your signature on a petition. I want you to spread the word so that we make a critical difference. So,

YOUR ACTION STEPS:

  1. Pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe (IT’S A FREEBIE!).
  2. Engage in the Comments section below to help us all to be better informed.

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Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
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