A recent article in The Guardian reminded me of a long-ago discussion with my mother.
The article was about a Japanese trader named Chiune Sugihara, who saved the lives of 6,000 Jews during the second World War.
Over six weeks in the summer of 1940, while serving as a diplomat in Lithuania, Chiune Sugihara defied orders from his bosses in Tokyo, and issued several thousand visas for Jewish refugees to travel to Japan.
The discussion with my mother followed a television show about the Holocaust, and the German citizens who stayed silent while their Jewish neighbors were subjected, first, to official demonization, then required to wear yellow stars, then deprived of their businesses, and finally dragged from their homes and transported to death camps. My mother declared that she would not have been one of those who pretended not to see–that she would have resisted, even at the risk of her own life and the lives of her family. I remember responding that I wished I could be so sure that I would do the right thing.
At the time, of course, it was all hypothetical.
Suddenly, it isn’t.
We need to recognize that we’re at the beginning of what threatens to become a very dark time in America. Under Trump, we already see (brown) children in cages; we already see the deliberate encouragement of white nationalism, and the demonization of immigrants, Muslims, and “others”; we already see reckless and dangerous foreign adventurism; we already see disdain for–and noncompliance with– longstanding democratic norms and the rule of law; and we already see concerted, persistent attacks on the media outlets that report these things.
We don’t face the equivalent of SS troops in the streets (although it is worth noting that a number of Trump supporters have threatened civil war should he lose in November), so the costs of activism are minuscule in comparison to the risks run by people like Sugahari or Schindler.
Several commenters to yesterday’s post made a valid point: the time for sharing dismay is over and the time for action is here.
The question is: what does that action look like?
I am assuming that most Americans appalled by what is happening are already working to get out the vote–volunteering for candidates, bringing lawsuits to counter the GOP’s constant efforts to disenfranchise people who might vote Democratic, calling their Senators and Representatives, writing letters to the editor and posting opinions on blogs and social media. I hope–but do not know–that marches and demonstrations are being planned; if they are, even old folks like me will participate.
Yet none of this seems adequate to the challenge.
I ended yesterday’s post with a question asking readers to characterize the last decade. I will end this one with a far more important question: what should we be doing that we aren’t doing? What additional, specific actions can ordinary people take that will be effective?
Our current situation is the result of the deterioration of democratic practices and civic participation that has been going on “under the radar” for a number of years. But I am convinced that, once the Trump administration made the consequences of that deterioration too visible to ignore, most Americans have been appalled. I continue to believe that–no matter how unAmerican the behavior of our federal government , no matter how contrary to our ideals and self-image– the majority of Americans are good people who do not and will not endorse policies grounded in stupidity, hatred and bigotry.
The question is: What are the concrete steps those good people can take to ensure that “it can’t happen here”?
31 thoughts on “Other Than Voting Blue, What Can Good People Do?”
“the costs of activism are minuscule” … That depends on the activism and what we are each willing to sacrifice. Are we ready to sacrifice “our “lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor”?
Since money is the real god we worship in this country, for a moment let us focus on our fortunes.
Who would be willing to go on strike for a day? A week? A month in order to force the puppeteers who control our government to act for our interests for a change? Who would be willing to stop all shopping, all spending, all stock buying and selling, all traveling? Who would be willing to use that time protesting… in the streets?
How about this Wednesday? Call in sick, as in sick and tired. Then put a sign up in your yard, on your porch, and join a march to the seat of government yelling “Enough is enough!”
“Since money is the real god we worship in this country, for a moment let us focus on our fortunes.”
Theresa nails it with that quote which is the starting point of “…What Can Good People Do?”; at the same time it is the stopping point in this 21st Century. Yes; working people could strike for one day, but common sense tells us that beyond one day we would be chancing loss of jobs and loss of income. It could garner attention but would fade away like too many protests and marches against Trump’s regime have faded away. The Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott lasted from December 5, 1955 to December 20, 1996 to make an economic impression on one business in one southern city.
Our self-proclaimed billionaire president is proof positive that love of money is not only the “root of all evil”; it is the stopping point of “hitting them where it hurts”, in their wallets because of conglomerates owned by such as the Koch brothers, the Princes, DeVoses, Kuschners and the Trumps. We cannot boycott businesses or even products because we don’t know who owns what and the corporate minority rules.
“Our current situation is the result of the deterioration of democratic practices and civic participation that has been going on “under the radar” for a number of years.”
Trump’s “tax reform” aided only the robber barons and their corporations; our “vote” is now owned by Citizens United which is controlled by the Republicans as is the Electoral College; all of which was taken over “under the radar” as we struggled and continue to struggle to survive in this country now geared toward Survival Of The Richest.
‘I continue to believe that–no matter how unAmerican the behavior of our federal government , no matter how contrary to our ideals and self-image– the majority of Americans are good people who do not and will not endorse policies grounded in stupidity, hatred and bigotry.”
Sheila’s comment above was first written during WWII in “The Diary of Anne Frank”; it was true then and is true now but it brings all of us back to the fact that our vote is still the answer but will Americans come out in numbers too big to ignore to remove the scourge now ruling this country? Hong Kong’s weekend protests/riots took months to bring about the vote for democracy as they flew American flags against China rule and China is part and parcel of the American economy. That vote must be done in this year of 2020; if we survive Trump’s deliberate attempts to declare war on Iran by Tweet.
Speaking of money….In Jane Mayer’s book, “Dark Money” she recounts the history of the mega-rich who have, for almost a century, been trying to buy our government, our universities and what goes into textbooks. Yes, it’s about the money, THEIR money and how much they can get of it.
The Koch brothers, Scaife, Mellon, Mercer, et. al., have been funding sophisticated propaganda “foundations” to serve two purposes: (1) Create tax shelters for themselves and (2) Influence what legislation gets passed and what doesn’t. Their entire mission is to undo the New Deal and anything that the government can do to serve its citizens. They don’t want to pay any taxes and they don’t want any taxes to pay for welfare, student loans, Social Security, etc., etc. This is the libertarian B.S. that has clogged the pipes of our democracy since the income tax and IRS were created.
So, how do we common citizens fight organized crime at this level? The crime of abject and total greed is trying to run a country, a country that has put their final solution in the Oval Office. More tax breaks and cuts for the rich. More endless wars to boost the stock of oil companies and munitions makers. More lies to the somnolent voters.
Writing a Republican Senator or Congressman – at least here in Colorado – is a waste of a stamp and envelope. One of greater Denver’s Congressmen, Ken Buck keeps screaming that impeaching this president is based on the flimsiest of evidence….you know, like his own confession of bribery. My FBI acquaintance calls all Democrats “treasonous”.
Letters to the government representatives is dutiful and right. The problem is that the right wing ideologues don’t care and aren’t listening to the majority of the people. The approval polls show that clearly: Trump could indeed shoot somebody on 5th Avenue, and his acolytes would throw a parade in his honor. Where would we put on OUR parade?
You make some good points but miss the main question. “What are you willing to sacrifice to save the Constitution and the Rule of Law?” If only one day of protest were enough we would not be having this discussion. But one day would hopefully be a start.
As for losing one’s job, that IS sacrificing one’s fortune. I did! Back in the Vietnam War I was offered a high paying job at that bomb factory near you but turned it down because I wanted no part of killing people. And at that time I was raising three kids by myself and had no other job prospects. I was just one person telling the government war machine “NO!” But other protests, marches and civil actions pushed the government to end the war. That is what needs to happen now, and if a one day economic protest gets things rolling then I say, “Let’s have it!”
“The question is: What does this action look like?”
“Yet none of this seems adequate to the challenge.”
“The question is: What are the concrete steps those good people can take to ensure that “it can’t happen here?”
The first step is to understand WHY this is happening:
Required reading would be: “The Book of Why: The New Science of Cause and Effect” by Judea Pearl and Dana Mackenzie (Penguin Books, New York, 2019).
This will allow for an understanding of both the TRANSFORMATION in the substructure as well as the TRANSITION in the superstructure which Trump, Pence & Bannon have been attempting to change for the past three years.
Required reading would be “The Apartheid State in Crisis: Political Transformation in South Africa 1975-1990” by Robert M. Price (Oxford University Press, New York, 1991).
JoAnn Green wrote:
“Sheila’s comment above was first written during WWII in “The Diary of Anne Frank”; it was true then and is true now but it brings all of us back to the fact that our vote is still the answer but will Americans come out in numbers too big to ignore to remove the scourge now ruling this country?”
Unfortunately, our blue votes in Indiana will almost certainly not count because of the winner take all state Electoral College system. I know people will say that Obama won here but sadly, I think this is a different situation.
Both of my Senators and my Representative are idealogues, who can’t be persuaded by anything other than being turned out of office. They sometimes acknowledge my communications, but never answer my questions. The best thing that could happen in America today, would be to get Mike Bloomberg and Warren Buffett to buy FOX News and Sinclair Broadcasting and open a whole new world of truth to our neighbors.
Both Adolph Hitler and Donald Trump became Heads of State through the democratic process.
It only took Hitler 30 days to consolidate his Fascist regime.
Trump has been hard at work for the past three years, but he still hasn’t consolidated his Fascist regime because he can’t make the TRANSITION without first making the TRANSFORMATION.
In all fairness, it must be said that Trump’s consolidation is much more difficult as Hitler only had to deal with the Jews who were less than 1% of the population, where here in the U.S. Trump has to deal with, not ony, the Jews at 2%, but African-Americans at 12%, and Latinos at over 20%.
Should we give the fool a break?
Required reading: “Hitler’s Thirty Days to Power” by Harry Ashby Turner, Jr. (Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Reading, Massachusetts, 1996).
Thus, this second-rate sociopath has no other recourse than to risk the future of Planet Earth by STARTING A WAR WITH IRAN, since that’s the only way he can consolidate his regime.
It’s sort of like a parent who would kill all of his or her children in order to stop all the noise around the house.
Teresa GOOD point,
What is a person willing to sacrifice for the good of all, what are the risks? Are we our brother’s keeper? I often thought that the union should actually put their money where their mouths are so to speak. Every single union in the country, if they were to unite under one goal, that autocracy would not be tolerated, or, demonization of our neighbors and brothers.
These huge corporate conglomerations some that have existed from the times of slavery, others, like I mentioned yesterday, actively worked against this country by helping Germany build its war machine. It wasn’t about the greater good for anyone but their personal bigotries and greed.
Every one of my great uncles that survived being murdered by their fellow Americans, served in the 2nd world war, there were 5, they all came back after fighting and killing for the country they called home, only to have their so-called brothers, attempt to terrorize their families. My beautiful wife 40 years, and I, have discussed her family’s history. Her great great-grandfather was a wealthy horse breeder, he was also a fairly extensive landowner not long after the Civil War. He was lynched as being too uppity, his horses were confiscated along with his land. As a result, their family history was on a different trajectory, from one of, what they called at the time, station or status to one of poverty. It’s a traumatic experience that her family never recovered from completely. Her grandfather was also denied admission into a hospital even though he was a fairly well known for a large hotel complex in Knoxville Tennessee. He died of pneumonia sitting at the window trying to breathe.
My great-grandfather’s brother was refused admission and treatment at a hospital in Texas, it was after a mine cave in, the only hospital that would accept a person of color in the area, was a days train ride away, he never made it to that hospital, he bled out on that train.
I am aware that there are many people of goodwill, there were people of goodwill in Germany also, but when it came time to put skin in the game so to speak, it didn’t happen. Material possessions, status, and acceptance have a lot of pull on how a person will conduct their goodwill. There are examples, as Teresa brought out, of those risking their lives, and even the lives of their families, but what if everyone said no? What if everyone refused to allow such obvious injustice and evil behavior by those in power? They would have nothing to rule over, these autocrats, because without the citizenry, they have nothing. But you can see, there are those “citizens” that really crave power also, and promote bigotry, promote misogyny, promote child abuse, (Roy Moore) (Jeffrey Epstein) they embrace evil tendencies. The same as those that lived around concentration camps and smelled the death. They said nothing, they did nothing, my uncles talked about how they forced the local populations to look at the piles of bodies that were exhumed from mass graves and just stacked up like cordwood. They all cried and complained, “this wasn’t because of us” but they really knew it was, because it is what they wanted also.
A start would be, as Teresa pointed out, unions banding together working as one entity. They could really bring the economy to a screeching halt, even though their power has been eroded over the years, they are still the most capable when it comes to all sorts of industry.
Secondly, call out the evangelicals! Learn what Scripture says, and use that knowledge to refute what they claim are the reasonings behind their support of obvious evil.
A 3rd would be unite as a brotherhood, to call out false narratives, to force the media to focus on false narratives constantly, if they don’t, they can be boycotted. The power of the purse is always respected by corporations.
Get the guns off of the streets, the kids here in Chicago are living under the threat of war every day. There is more shooting on the south and west sides of the city, than there is in Baghdad. Almost every one of these kids has PTSD because they’ve seen classmates and family bleed out in the streets. They don’t even have counselors in most of the schools.
The educators need to come together as a block, along with all of the research scientists and activists to constantly hammer the impending death of this planet. Pollution, climate change, clean water, looming specieal extinctions, and the like.
This is where healthcare for all and public college for all would be a start in making some things right, but the history of this country does not always lend itself to doing the right thing, and these huge swaths bigotry in this country need to be eradicated. And, I don’t think there’s enough will to accomplish any of this. One reason is that the good people out there are tired, but tired should never be an excuse. Tired kicks the can down the road for the our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
The jumble and mis-mash of untruths and propaganda was recognized by the apostle John, when he stated “the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he has offered a sacred service to God.” The longer “people of goodwill” remain silent verbally and actively, there will be a point of no return if we are not there already.
Government is what the people allow, so there really is no excuse, there was none in Germany, AND there is NOT one here.
If you refuse to enlighten yourself to what evangelicals believe, and massively point out the error of their ways, they will continue to live in their echo chamber being used by their leaders, both theocratic and civil, as automatons to perpetrate unspeakable acts that we’ve seen, not only in history, but the present.
The erosion of conscience is sometimes very subtle, and if we continue to let things “slide” eventually the conscience is scared, a thick scar over a wound that has been picked at constantly, there is no feeling in it anymore! How can a person “let your conscience be your guide,” if it’s damaged.
The Greek word sy·neiʹde·sis is drawn from the words SYN (with) and EIʹDE·SIS (knowledge). Thus, the Greek term literally means “coknowledge” or “knowledge with oneself.” The apostle Paul deftly explains that even a human who knows nothing about God’s laws has a conscience, that is, a capacity for looking at himself and rendering judgment about his own behavior. However, ONLY a conscience that is trained by God’s Word and that is sensitive to God’s will can correctly judge matters. The Scriptures show that not all consciences operate properly. A person can have a conscience that is weak (1st Corinthians 8:12), one that is seared (1st Timothy 4:2), or one that is defiled (Titus 1:15). Regarding the operation of his conscience, Paul says: “My conscience bears witness with me in holy spirit.” (Romans 9:1) Paul’s goal was to “maintain a clear conscience before God and men.” (Acts 24:16.)
So, if you are unwilling by your own prejudices to confront the enemy on their own turf, if you’re unwilling to give your life for your brother or sister, if you are unwilling to sacrifice your comfort, if you are unwilling to do the things that need to be done, then it’s all just striving after the wind. And after all, who can catch the wind?
Theresa; regarding your comparisons regarding what you did and what I didn’t do is comparing apples and oranges. The Viet Nam war period was in the 1970s and you were in your 20s; a premium hiring age. My Goldsmith years were in the 1990s and I was in my mid-50s; not only beyond premium hiring age but the private sector was against hiring former local political employees. I did my fighting from inside; saying “no” to breaking local and state laws to do vital local government work properly which put me in under threat of firing almost daily. At the same time I was sending job applications and going on interviews during lunch hours. How easy do you think it is now for any employees who are job hunting while working and cannot chance losing or giving up a job in today’s economy? Today employers can quickly and easily find another employee and start them at a lower salary.
“So, how do we common citizens fight organized crime at this level? The crime of abject and total greed is trying to run a country, a country that has put their final solution in the Oval Office. More tax breaks and cuts for the rich. More endless wars to boost the stock of oil companies and munitions makers. More lies to the somnolent voters.”
Vernon states it so well; government and corporations today are organized crime syndicates with tentacles stretching in all directions across this country. His term “their final solution in the Oval Office” is terrifying in its unspoken comparison of Hitler to Trump. Years ago the axiom “You can’t fight City Hall” was proven to be untrue; we could and did fight City Hall via elections. Someone in the past three years warned of this nation becoming One Corporation; it looks to me as if that time is now. It used to be that organizations could wield power against a government official or fight an issue; now there are too many organizations determined to stand alone fighting one issue at a time who are standing in the way to a government of the people, by the people and for the people. The same is true of the oversize group of Democratic presidential wannabes; they need to organize their money and their power because today they are in that “circular firing squad” President Trump warned them of.
There is no precious metal bullet. It will take real work (not just writing and marching) to turn our Titanic situation. The Powerful have seeded the courts. That leaves just the Executive and Congress.
Regarding the Executive, sorry, idealists, the DEM candidate must be the one best able to beat Trump – likely a “boring” moderate who could appeal to the substantial uncommitted/non-aligned/independent middle. Even that will take immense work to get out the vote, especially minorities and young people. It can be done; the 2018 election was a starting demonstration.
As for Congress, it is all about grassroots action to elect candidates committed to governing work on the nation’s problems which ALL agree on – not abortion, not “religious freedom”, not gun rights, not immigration – make these “B items” for the moment – run on the few “hot stuff” – reducing healthcare costs, fixing infrastructure (which creates many needed working class jobs), attacking the opiod crisis, helping with college debt. The “doing” is pretty simple, donate and work for those candidates, House and Senate, whether in your district or state or not.
Her grandfather was a fairly well-known chef at a local hotel complex in Knoxville .
“We don’t face the equivalent of SS troops in the streets (although it is worth noting that a number of Trump supporters have threatened civil war should he lose in November), so the costs of activism are minuscule in Thto the risks run by people like Sugahari or Schindler.”
Agreed that this isn’t Nazi Germany. But I would take exception that the costs of activism are minuscule; if you’re talking about ineffective action you’re correct. But that’s not the case with EFFECTIVE ACTIVISM in the U.S. as it brings swift and, potentially, deadly consequences for those who are a real threat.
For a prime example see http://www.KillingtheMessenger.info which was the response by the author John Grisham, a personal friend of the Bush family, to my report at http://www.TheAlarmReport.info and our essay at http://www.Democracide.info
I’m not the only one, Bill Moyers attempted to effectively speak-out in 1988 and it almost cost him his career.
It seems to me we easily forget that Russia is already entangled in our election system, hence voting blue is of no avail. Marching in Washington comes with permits and schedules. Unions can easily be dissolved by executive order. He may not have shot “someone on 5th Ave” but chose the General in Iran. Now there is war terrify us.
We must stop fighting by the rules! We must call out the rich among us by name, letters,
calls, tweets, social media to hone in on this evil. Wasting money on tv and other media ads only feeds the wealthy owners of these systems. Break the rules or the rules will break us.
First – Marv, remember that Hitler actually won a plurality to become Chancellor.
Second, it might not mean a damn thing, but I am running for the GOP nomination in Indiana’s 5th Congressional District. At last count there were half-a-dozen right-wing “I’m more like Trump than anyone else” candidates also seeking the nomination. I am a different kind of Republican in these times. (btw, I voted in the GOP primary for the municipals.) I am pro-choice – I can’t get pregnant, so I won’t interfere with a woman’s choice of what to do w/a very private matter. Roe v Wade was written by a Justice who was named to the Court by a Republican President (Nixon). I’m old-fashioned. I think if we’re going to fight a war, then let’s fight one – after a formal declaration of war. That makes things a bit more difficult, but then recognition of Constitutional rights is a bit inefficient. Then again, a certain degree of inefficiency is the price we pay for a free society. Besides, I lean toward isolationism – and that’s a GOP-honored virtue going back to Robert Taft. As to the environment, I think Teddy Roosevelt had a good approach. He had a great deal to do with creation of our National Parks. Teddy was a Republican! He also busted trusts (a/k/a monopolies) and – important point – he favored inheritance taxes to prevent accumulations of wealth in the hands of the few. On the subject of taxes, I favor a return to the tax rates as they existed under a Republican President – Eisenhower. As to religion in politics, just look up Barry Goldwater’s views on evangelicals and the GOP. (In case you missed my “btw” parenthetical, by having voted in the last, most recent primary as a Republican, I am a Republican in good standing, by statute. This is not a joke. It is not humor – I’m damned serious. And money? I don’t want anyone’s money. One of the worst things to happen in recent years was Citizens United. I’ll be on the internet and talking to people wherever I can. I want their votes in the primary, not their dollars. It is time we take one of the two major political parties away from forces of bigotry and ignorance. There are people in this State who will not vote for a Democratic candidate. They can vote for me in the primary. I’m fiscally conservative – if we cut the defense budget by 1/2, I think the rest is pretty easy. I’m socially progressive. (See items above.) I’m Mark Small. And I approve of this message. I wrote the damn thing!
How about a general strike where everyone alternately stays home (except for police, fire and utility workers) or takes to the street in order to reverse unwanted legislation and policies? The French are past masters at this and their general strikes almost always obtain the desired result(s). A French political scientist when asked by an American political scientist why this worked in France but would probably not work here answered that the difference is that in France the politicians are afraid of the people and that here the people are afraid of the politicians.
I think he was on to something. After all, why should politicians pay any attention to “the people” when there are no consequences if they don’t since they control the polls with their Super PACs and voter suppression tactics? Perhaps the memory of 1789 guillotines as a reminder of who has the ultimate power in a democracy remain among both French politicians and the people they represent, people who hold the ultimate veto.
So would a general strike work here today? That might depend upon whether we are scared of our politicians, which I for one am not. Yes, those of us who joined such an endeavor might lose our jobs, our not so sacred honor, our community and neighborhood standing etc., but when compared with the loss of our democracy, those are small prices to pay. Just ask the “Good Germans” who sat idly by and watched Hitler grab all power, and who along with the Nazis were destroyed in WW II.
As an Ancient rather than a Senior Citizen, I happen to have participated in that war, though in the South Pacific, where Tojo and his fascist territorial expansionists held forth, and we all know how that ended. So where do we go from here? We have had a Million Women’s March and still have a Me-Too movement afoot, but it seems to me that a general strike involving some 300 million of our some 330 million people might put some fear in our Koch and ALEC-loving politicians, because we are not going to eat cake; they are. Perhaps Trump should seek advice from Macron, or not, since Trump says “I am a stable genius,” a claim for which I find no evidence.
“Break the rules or the rules will break us.”
You don’t have to stop fighting by the rules, but you do have to change your perspective. The game has totally changed with the election of Donald Trump, it was a FUNDAMENTAL, not a TECHNICAL change. It is similar, in many ways, to when the forward pass was introduced into the game of football about 100 years ago. The old defenses were no longer effective. It was a FUNDAMENTAL change so that new formations, strategies, and tactics had to be successfully deployed.
But first, I’ll be blunt:
I am livid, aggravated, riled to near madness of reading posts from people who think electing democrats will be sufficient medicine for the sickness with which we all are infected as well as protection from the criminals who spread the sickness.
It is clear that if “good people” elected 500 Jesus Christ Democrats to Congress and the Presidency, in short time a majority of them would be converted into enemies of the good people by the capital class through bribe, threat, blackmail, maiming, or murder, and we would be right back in slave quarters again.
Citizen strikes are the answer. Not just one, as Theresa suggests, but an unending series of short strikes. The red, white, and blue flu–also known as Flag Flu–strikes an industry and then mysteriously goes away. Then, sometime later, perhaps in a different enterprise entirely, flag flu strikes again… and again later… and again. Only the leaders of the “good people” know when or where the flu will hit. The last to know is the despot, the boss, the CEO, the capitalist, the one who’s bottom line is most affected.
And this capitalist–so scared that Flag Flu will hit his cash flow again–is the one person to whom our Congresspeople will listen.
Flag flu can hit anywhere. Even wives and girlfriends can get it. Laborers, middle-management, educators, legal para-professionals, pro-athletes, students, consumers, and TV junkies can get it.
Flag flu sends a strong message, much stronger than a citizen letter to a Congressperson; stronger than whining on FB; than voting for democrats; than writing editorials; than praying; than blackening eyes and breaking arms. Flag flu attacks the cash flow of capitalists, much like TTP attacks human blood.
Meanwhile: “good people” should prepare for the worse case scenario. Identify our leaders. Recruit and establish medics, couriers, information specialists, code breakers, safe-houses, rally points, transportation, supply warehouses, international allies, tacticians, strategists, analysts, cooks, everything a determined and brave resistance needs to impede the despot’s juggernaut.
The despot’s mere knowledge that we are prepared can be enough to cause his hesitation; sometimes his complete compliance to good people’s demands. And the lesson the despot learns is not quickly forgotten.
As I am told, military leaders don’t fight wars they fight battles. We don’t have to even start a war, it’s been going on for decades. We each need to pick our next battle or continue to fight the ones we are already in.
In this forum we express ideas and over time we learn from each other. That’s not nothing. The challenge we must add is to reach and teach bigger audiences more effectively.
In today’s world that’s social media. Think how much of Putin’s battle plan could have been blunted if every one of his recruitment posts for authoritarians was met immediately and publicly with simple relentless unimpeachable knowledge.
This is not a grand heroic plan but what we do best and from now on what we need to do more.
What we are witnessing is collapse of what has always been unsustainable and therefore temporary. It’s occurring not at our frenzied speed but in nature’s own good time.
We offer knowledge to rebuild on.
Brav.o, Larry! Let’s do it
It’s been awhile since we have communicated.
Good luck! I ran for District Attorney of Dallas County, as a Republican back in the ’80s. There were no Democrats in office. I had 30% of the vote, mostly, coming from southern Dallas County.
I dropped out and convinced a judicial friend of mine, John Vance to run. I took over his campaign and he won the race without any Republican Party backing because he had my 30% in addition to his 30%. Ultimately, if things don’t work out for you that doesn’t mean you can’t affect the election.
Thanks, Marv. Yes, it has been a while. Thanks for the words of encouragement. I’m going for the win.
You know, I know that I’ve mentioned this before,
During the Great Depression, people would ride the freight trains cross country, hobos I believe they were called, some of my uncles used to talk about it, and participated in the practice. My wife’s grandmother who was definitely not a person of means, had a small farm that she ran after the death of her husband, the cook who they wouldn’t accept into the hospital from my above comment.
I met her briefly as a youngster, she was a very strong woman. She would leave at tin plate and tin cup with a fork and a spoon and a knife on a small table outside the back door underneath a lean-to that was used for drying firewood. Inevitably during the week, people would knock on the back door and ask for food. And since there always was work to be done, she would feed them well if they provided a good days work. Some stayed for one day, others stayed longer. There was no, white or black, there was just those that were hungry and those that could provide food. There was always respect, she was always amazed at how things changed once the depression was over.
When there is a common distress, everybody in the boat will bail water, it doesn’t matter the color of their skin, because everyone wants to save that skin. But when there is no common distress, when you can demonize your neighbor to make yourself feel better, when you receive no repercussions for unacceptable behavior, when you can spread lies and innuendo with impunity, the hypocrisy/hypocrites rise to the top just like cream in a vat of fresh milk, you can count on it.
John Neal, put forth a little of his self-righteous indignation, I would venture to say, by all accounts of his comments, doesn’t seem to a put much skin in the game. So, if one has not walk the walk, why do they assume the position to talk the talk? Are there a lot of talkers here? I don’t consider myself special, I stop and help that accidents, I’ve gotten into physical altercations on behalf of people I never saw again, I stop and give people lifts if they seem to be in distress, ( much to my wife’s chagrin) I pay my taxes and I practice what I preach. But then again, doesn’t everyone?
What I’ve noticed, is people will not talk about what makes them uncomfortable! I’m a believer in Scripture, and there’s a lot of people that should be grateful for that. Because when I was very young, I was very vengeful. In my opinion, which is just my opinion, I believe there will be blood. Because there always is blood. Because humans throughout history never change. There is never an epiphany, there is never an event that causes complete enlightenment. Because of mortality, we as a species, never learn from our mistakes, pain doesn’t travel well across generational boundaries, neither does stress and grief. But ideas keep traction, most often it’s hateful ideas, why is that?
This is my favorite Scripture, this is the Scripture that stopped me from being a very physically vengeful individual. It gave me my conscience back. To me it was very thought-provoking, my future wife, at 17 years of age, pointed this out to me. She saved me, although my tendencies are still there, very rarely do I act upon them. Although, every so often, I slip. I apologize to no one for that except my God and my wife. And, be it known that I would die for both. Mankind does not have the answers to everything, because if mankind had the answers, they would have been put forth by now. Men have corrupted everything including religion, and that was by design I’m sure. So you have people that actually criticize what they don’t know, or they criticize and demonize ON the word of another that has an agenda!
Anyway I will post this because I feel it’s the right thing to do!
Here are the words of King David’s son, King Solomon
” 8 All things are wearisome;
No one can even speak of it.
The eye is not satisfied at seeing;
Nor is the ear filled from hearing.
9 What has been is what will be,
And what has been done will be done again;
There is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there anything of which one may say, “Look at this—it is new”?
It already existed from long ago;
It already existed before our time.
11 No one remembers people of former times;
Nor will anyone remember those who come later;
Nor will they be remembered by those who come still later.
12 I, the congregator, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 I set my heart to study and explore with wisdom+ everything that has been done under the heavens the miserable occupation that God has given to the sons of men that keeps them occupied.
14 I saw all the works that were done under the sun,
And look! everything was futile, a chasing after the wind.
15 What is crooked cannot be made straight,
And what is lacking cannot possibly be counted.”
“I came to hate all that I had worked so hard for under the sun, because I must leave it behind for the man coming after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be wise or foolish? Yet he will take control over all the things I spent great effort and wisdom to acquire under the sun. This too is futility. 20 So I began to despair in my heart over all the hard work at which I had toiled under the sun. 21 For a man may work hard, guided by wisdom and knowledge and skill, but he must hand over his portion to a man who did not work for it. This too is futility and a great tragedy.
22 What does a man really gain from all his hard work and ambition that drives him to work hard under the sun? 23 For during all his days, his occupation brings pain and frustration, and even at night his heart does not rest. This too is futility.
24 There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and find enjoyment* in his hard work. This too, I have realized, is from the hand of the true God, 25 for who eats and who drinks better than I do?
26 To the man who pleases him he gives wisdom and knowledge and rejoicing, but to the sinner he gives the occupation of gathering and merely collecting to give to the one who pleases the true God. This too is futility, a chasing after the wind.”
Found in Ecclesiastes 1st and 2nd chapters.
We’re dealing with a fascist coup d’etat. General Smedley successfully prevented its continuation with his testimony before Congress in 1935. It didn’t go away; it just went into hibernation because of the threat of the German version to our interests here and abroad. After the massive resistance to Civil Rights in the late ’60s failed, the movement went underground and had been moving, relentlessly, two steps forward and one step backward until Trump/Pence/Bannon “hijacked” it.
“Which organized groups will be sufficiently strong to oppose us even if the voice of the government is silent and the capital city visibly in our hands? Not manly, but we must remember that even one well-organized demonstration, or a well-timed strike, could pose a serious threat to the coup in the delicate transitional phase. It is therefore essential to identify such groups and, once identified, TO NEUTRALIZE THEM BEFORE THE COUP. Once it is known that a coup has taken place, the leaders of the militant organizations will immediately prepare for action; they themselves will then be more difficult to arrest and their organizations will be halfway underground.” p. 130
“In countries where political conflict is limited to the verbal dimension, this kind of dramatic and rapid response to political change will be unknown; but elsewhere, where political conflicts can be violent and where all organized forces, whether primarily political or not, can be drawn into them, this type of response is more or less automatic.” p. 130
“Coup d’Etat: A Practical Handbook” by Edward Luttwak (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1968).
I’m sure the idea of a general strike wouldn’t be a surprise to the coup’s leaders at this point in time. And I’m equally sure they have already taken steps to make sure that it won’t happen within the multi-cultural society at this stage of the game.
The chances of the masses of Americans (except the working poor/poor) focused on working hard to buy stuff, reading Facebook, following NFL/superheros, etc. joining a general strike are slim and none. If many don’t vote, why would they care enough to strike?? Can you really imagine software engineers doing a general strike away from their free latte workplaces?
And…can you imagine what the Right’s propaganda machine would do with a general strike? Talk of “universal healthcare” was a pittance for them…
Folks, idealism is fine, but wasted energy with no upside could be added to “Occupy Wall Street”, “Million Man March”, etc. We do have recent history here…doomed to repeat??
What is the upside of both of the above happening?
Well, Lester, France has software engineers. So do you have any recommendations for how to get the masses out in the street and/or staying home? Are we just going to sit here and play the Good German? There may be no correcting Nuremberg this time, if indeed Hitlerism was corrected.
That’s what I’ve been saying all along. Somehow it’s not registering too well, maybe because I invoke scripture into the mix. That’s why I said, mankind has done the same thing for many millennia, nothing has changed. So what to do?
Mankind is really incapable of solving his most urgent problems. My Winchester 30-30 sets on a hook over my door, if I use it in anger, which I did at one time, what good would it accomplish? If I am protecting my family, that’s a different story.
Who has enough love, compassion, empathy, and sense of justice for their brother, to sacrifice their life for them? I’m not talking about military, they get paid for that anyway. I’m talking about the god-given conscience and god-given sense of right and wrong!
take a look at man’s inhumanity to man just in this country, because of civil rights. The cowardly and evil-minded went out and murdered those not like them because they wanted to deny those individuals basic civil rights, not only civil but human rights.
How many times has mankind attempted to “Fix It?” If you watch the same movie, say Casablanca?, (I love that movie) anyway, if you watch that movie 100 times, does the ending change? Or, will the ending change in 100 years? 1,000 years? 10,000 years? 1 million years? You see my point?
As I quoted King Solomon in the above comment, “There is nothing new under the Sun” is there a better way? Probably, King Solomon thought so. Having faith in doing the right thing is beneficial, having faith in the snobbish stiff-necked contrarian naysayers on either side or all sides, is foolishness.
Gerald – WADR, I did write a comment earlier for “what to do” instead of marching. The simple fact is that the masses ain’t going to do anything altogether. There are a number of stark, real divides in this country with millions on both side – rural/urban, workers/”elites”, civil/unruly, etc.. So…no way they are all going to march together…pretty simple.
Random thoughts > Lester, you’re right, so how about half of ’em? I’m sure the French count was not unanimous, but I think half of ’em or even a mere 50 million from sea to shining sea would attract the attention of our rulers here. Perhaps we can find a divide in that number to people the streets on Saturdays since for unanimity we need a Pearl Harbor and we aren’t there quite yet – though Trump and his Rasputin (aka Barr) have us on the road to dictatorship.
The idea is to show politicians of any view that we are paying attention to their dictatorial designs and are willing to give of our time and treasure to save our democracy. Idealistic? Sure, but so is our experiment in democracy, or a skyscraper at the conceptual stage in the physical world. We have to start somewhere, and I’m open to the doable at any stage of its development. However, I think there is a time problem, as the Good Germans discovered after it was too late and all power had been given and/or seized by Hitler and his Nazis.
So given that it is and always has been difficult to achieve unanimity in matters political, how do we the people get the message out to our political rulers beyond the ballot box (a system itself now subject to suppression)? Must we always have a catastrophe before we can unify, if even then? I wish I knew.
I will forgo my usual lament on how we might as well crawl into a hole because clearly (1) people are stupid sheep who will follow whatever the expensive advertising tells them, will always vote for the wrong people and always vote to reelect them and (2) everybody who gets elected immediately gets corrupted –
My real concern isn’t what we can do besides protest, bear witness, and vote.
My real concern, and the reason I created a political organization on October 30, 2008, is: Can this energy be sustained?
The damage Trump has done, and will do before he leaves office, will take a long time to fix. I fear that the relief of removing Trump will lead too many to declare victory and retire to their normal lives. I don’t believe that elected officials will automatically become corrupt, but I also believe that sustained pressure will be required to keep them focused. Am I an optimist? Perhaps, but I started in politics over 50 years ago by challenging the UAW in Detroit. We lost the battle, but won the war (we lost the election, but the UAW picked a great replacement candidate in the next election). I believe that people can change things, in steps, not in a revolution. I enter the next decade of my life tomorrow. I like to think that I will live to see something closer to the vision of the future I had in my younger days. That pipe dream of marriage equality is here already, so who knows.
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