I Will Bear True Faith and Allegiance: Patriotism and Protest

The real insult to flag and country is Trump using the power of the presidency and the state in an attempt to silence real patriots exercising their right to speak out against what they see as injustice. Thanks for writing this so well, brother.

Padre Steve's World...Musings of a Progressive Realist in Wonderland

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

Over the past month I have been watching and occasionally commenting on the kneeling during the National Anthem controversy on my social media accounts but not here. But tonight I want to share a few thoughts on the actions of NFL players who have protested continued inequities, injustice, evil, and racism in the United States by choosing to kneel during the National Anthem.

The fact is these players as much as their critics claim otherwise are not protesting the Flag, nor are they insulting the troops. They are doing what all true American patriots have done since the beginning of our American experiment. They are being as patriotic as our founders were when they not only criticized, but took up arms against England. After all as Adlai Stevenson once said “Do not… regard the critics as questionable patriots.  What were Washington and Jefferson and Adams…

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Healthcare? We Do Not Care: Blood from a Turnip

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radical eyes for equity

Over the past two weeks, my mother had a stroke and resides now in a rehabilitation facility, and my father died sitting beside her over this weekend, after deteriorating for months because of a failing heart.

My family has been experiencing the nightmare that is the consequence of living in a nation that worships money above all else: being sick and dying in the U.S. remains a financial disaster.

We in the U.S. have purposefully and willfully monetized illness and death.

While my mother was in the hospital, she needed her IV changed, but the floor nurse on duty was having trouble with the new placement. She called in the head nurse, who asked me about the care my mother was receiving at the hospital.

I eagerly praised the nurses, doctors, and staff—all of whom had been wonderful, and it is no hyperbole, they literally saved my mother’s life.

I…

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Democratic Party to Re-Elect Trump?

Look at the actions of the Democratic Party. This party is on course to allow the Republican majority to continue uninterrupted. How can I write this statement? Because the Democratic Party is unable to let go of its old Clinton/Sanders style arguments or even to frame a logical statement identifying Democratic Party values.
Exactly what does the Democratic Party represent? Since the election of Donald trump, the Democrats are following an old adage and allowing Trump to dig a deeper hole. However, the underlying weakness of operating without a coherent identity is disabling the Democratic Party. The Republican Party stands for low taxes, few regulations and guns. The Democrats stand for what? Where is the messaging and the continuity of message?
State and local governments decayed into Republican majorities. As Pennsylvania State Representative Eddie Day Pashinski frustratingly related to me; Democrats do not have set talking points. He said; “Ask a Republican how the weather is and you will receive a reply enumerating the horrors of Obamacare and the joys of small government.” The Democratic Party lacks that message consistency.
Representative Pashinski’s passion is healthcare. This passion developed from voter encounters across the region and state. Eddie said; “Wherever I go, I see Democratic, Republican and Independent voters very concerned about affording Healthcare coverage. The issue obsesses many, many citizens.” Now, no matter the venue, Representative Pashinski talks about the need for affordable healthcare coverage for all. Then Eddie makes a two sentence statement that incorporates what should be the Democratic Party message and mantra.

“Before we begin, there are two vital components of the solution that must be established and agreed to before any serious and long-lasting improvements can be made. These two components are the outrageous cost of health care and the total disregard for the moral element, meaning the welfare and life of the patient.”

Mr. Pashinski calls for restoration of the moral element in healthcare and other policy proposals and discussions. So too do the vast majority of Americans.
This moral element consideration resonates for the majority of American citizens including rural and metropolitan America. Is it fair; is it just? A key element of every religion and ingrained in most of humanity is the golden rule to treat others as you would have them treat yourself. The US Constitution preamble incorporates moral goals:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Both political parties lost their way, forgetting the founders’ reasons for forming this nation. Donald Trump painfully reminded them, and the world, how vulnerable they had become when he offered voters a populist message pretending that he would address the unfairness rampant in society.
Trump promised cheaper and better HealthCare coverage for more people, higher wages and better jobs, along with vast programs rebuilding long neglected infrastructure. He would make America great again by essentially restoring the moral element to government enshrined in the Constitution and much of this country’s history. It was all untrue but many American voters already in pain from low or no wages, a rapidly changing demographic and crumbling infrastructure thought it was worth the chance.
The Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton stood by the upper middle class and essentially ignored rural and poorer regions. Hillary Clinton ran for the status quo which many Americans thought offered neither morality nor change. Joan Chittister rightly identifies a “pathological individualism” infecting the body politic.

“Even a sense of the purpose of government is under fire and open to question now. At one time, the purpose of American government was seen to be a commitment to the common good, nobody excluded. Then, it became a commitment to party principles, all other principles in doubt. Now it is commitment to “America first,” a blatant call for global narcissism. And that came in the face of 200 years of presidential inaugural addresses that pledged the United States to be the good Samaritan, the new Zion or a light to the nations.”

If the Democratic Party is to succeed and to rescue the nation and the world from chaos, they must offer all Americans a moral element. Promise and deliver what actually elected Trump – a hunger for justice and fairness. Trump may be a buffoon but his promises to working America offered an element of sense that Trump long ago forgot.
Speaking to people throughout the US online and in person, here are a few comments from people:

If a corporation does not exist to improve society, it harms it.
It is wrong to bankrupt people for healthcare.
It is wrong to deny service to poor or rural areas.
It is wrong to saddle massive debt on students gaining skills desperately needed by society.
It is wrong to allow corporations to impoverish their workers.
It is wrong to not improve society and to not pay taxes.

The ‘hooray for me the hell with you’ mindset that kicks the poorest among us and denies workers even enough to eat runs in both parties. The Democratic Party, especially at the state and local level, often embraced this poison. Lower taxes, low wages, lack of investment in people or things all these actions sucked the life out of the nation and they still destroy its vitality.
The American people are crying for a mission. The Democratic Party can restore pride in politics and give Americans confidence in being treated fairly and working to rebuild and expand their future. Americans do not want to cower behind walls.

How Trump Became a Buffoon

Definition of buffoon from Merriam-Webster Dictionary

 

“1: a ludicrous figure: clown

 

2: a gross and usually ill-educated or stupid person acting like a ridiculous buffoon”

 

The ultimate dividing line of our generation was the Vietnam War. We grew up inspired by the greatest generation. John F. Kennedy’s famous statement, “Ask not what your country can do for you…ask what you can do for your country.”, rang loud in our ears. The war forced a decision upon our youth and their families. The choice was to serve, to oppose or to evade wartime service.

 

Many, originally myself included, saw our duty as answering the nation’s call to arms. Others, immediately seeing that war as an act of murky imperialism and stumbling politics, opposed the war. Many were afraid to take a stand. Interestingly, today those who are the loudest proponents of violence and war, conservative leaders like Ted Nugent, Rush Limbaugh and Donald J. Trump, chose fear over service. For at the end of the day, those who went to or supported war and those who opposed the war did so understanding service to nation was important, a citizen’s duty. The timid, frightened people who evaded service or who, with deferments in their pockets, actively supported the Vietnam War saw no duty greater than to personal needs.

 

Privileged from birth, it was during the Vietnam War period, Trump discovered he could avoid difficult times and hard work. His cocoon of wealth lacked checks and balances and enabled Donald Trump to believe himself both smarter and better looking than anyone else. At first making pronouncements based upon excellent education and then as school grew more distant and Trump more coddled, Donald Trump realized that, almost universally, his pronouncements on any subject met with instant approval and praise. Donald J Trump was always right. Ask his friends.

 

Trump acquired an army of sycophants and grew powerful in his world. When you surround yourself with an army of sycophants, you can only grow into a buffoon and bully. Any echo of dissent was a minority to be punished then ignored. The result for poor Donald Trump was a false reality where he is always correct and his tough decisions always right. If failure reared its ugly head, it was not Donald’s decision that was wrong but the information or actions of others.

 

Trump became a celebrity based as much upon his confidence and wealth than any real accomplishment. A master salesman, Trump could sell anything and walk away better off. The problem with Donald is that he did not age well. He joined his fellow aging males that make up a majority of the FOX News audience where the sound bite matters and the accuracy is not treasured. Poor Donald could well have gone to his grave believing that the rest of the world acknowledged he was the smartest man in the world. But the fatal flaw in the Donald tragedy appeared. This pitiful person actually believed his own propaganda. Pronouncements grew and support for him gained as well. Before long this person found himself president of the United States.

 

Donald Trump’s wild pronouncements now meet harsh reality. His ‘healthcare is more complicated than he thought’ comment was the first of what will be many a rude awakening for Donald and America. He deftly, blamed the military for the failed attack in Yemen and his lost armada. His cabinet is designed to destroy federal competency in every area including the military. Charlatans such as Sessions know how to feed Trump’s ego and prejudices while executing their own agenda, for Trump is an easy mark.

 

Sadly, the generals and admirals have yet to tell him just how complicated it is to maintain global military superiority. It has little to do with the number of ships and troops. National strength is a complex and nuanced mixture of education, health, science and economics developed into the correct matrix of soft and hard power.

 

The Trump budget jeopardizes national security. More proof Trump and his gang lack all knowledge of the elements of national power. An unhealthy nation is a weak nation. An uneducated nation is a weak nation. A weak economy means a weak nation. A nation lacking reliable allies is a weak nation. A nation that does not fund science and all types of research is a weak nation. The demise of both the Soviet Union and the Ottoman Empire demonstrate clearly that military size does not matter.

 

The Trump budget is a rehash of the old Soviet Union budget where the vast economy was directed toward the military. The Trump budget weakens America and places her at risk. Donald Trump and his advisors are ignorant, incompetent or both. Serious damage is being done. Buffoons are seldom aware of their gullibility or ignorance.