So, What If — In This Transformational Moment — We “Could” Get It Right? What Would “Getting It Right” Look Like?

America’s dirtiest secret is out: we have never lived up to the ideals on which our country was founded. In part, that’s because the European men who founded America couldn’t themselves live up to the ideals. Some compromises should never be made. After all, how can you compromise with evil? What’s the outcome — semi-evil?

We “compromised” with slavery. But slavery never compromised with us. Evil never does.

Another compromise at the start — women were not granted equal rights. I guess the founders were being literal by “All MEN are created equal”.

Getting great ideas to the finish line in one piece is tough. And, democracy, as we’ve learned, has a lot of “sausage-making” to it. That’s compromise for you. And that’s making compromises with ideas that deserve to be compromised with. They’re not evil like, say, slavery.

We’ve now come face to face with our most original sin — the racism that compromises all men being created equal. Equal people cannot own each other.

But it’s not just racism that’s bedeviled us. Greed has had a go at us too. Greed and racism rut like demonic weasels. Here in America it’s produced a value system that’s completely ass backwards. We pay social influencers a ton while paying teachers so little that some have to take second jobs to pay their bills.

We think a high school “education” is so essential that we automatically pay for it. But try to add four more years — where we begin to refine those minds so as to make them genuinely useful? Suddenly it’s “socialism”. I guess it’s just a coincidence that — to pay for that part of our childrens’ educations — we’ve set up a whole for-profit business of lending kids money to pay for those educations. Corporate socialism is okey-dokey, as always. That’s greed talking.

Blue sky here. We don’t need to sledgehammer our system, we need to re-focus it — away from “me” and toward “we”.

That means we need to completely and forever disabuse ourselves of the notion that any one person can fix anything by themselves. To fix anything — or raise a child — it DOES take a village. And that village needs to be well-funded and well-organized. We want everyone to be the best and most individual “they” that they can be. But never, ever at the expense of the “we”. No “me” can ever have more weight before the law than any other “me” or the whole collection of “me’s” that produce “we”.

We need to win every argument with me. If we start from there, it’s almost assured that we’ll get it right because our focus and framing will be correct. Part of my blue sky here takes into consideration the fact that more and more women (and women of color) are pouring into American politics. If there’s any salvation to be had — that’s where it will come from. It would not be a terrible thing if just about every white male got out of politics for an election cycle or two.

We would do the following things: we would value education and educators over just about anyone and anything.

We would value health CARE over health INSURANCE (they are not the same thing).

We would teach our young people not how to memorize (so as to pass tests) but how to think analytically. We’d teach them how to write and express themselves articulately. We would teach them how to communicate — both directly and honestly. We would teach them to be respectful of everyone.

We would teach them how America works and that freedom is not “free” — it comes with huge responsibilities and obligations. Voting, for example.

We would give every single child the same benefits and advantages, the same access to health care and opportunity. We need to be almost maniacal about this — getting every kid the same chances. America has a remarkable brain trust that no other nation has because no other country is the product of every other country on earth creating it, in essence.

America isn’t a perfect melting pot. Parts of the pot never get the same heat as other parts do. And the different elements don’t melt together into a homogenized end product of indeterminate origin. America and Americans are a hybrid. Nothing like us has ever existed before.

That really should be our goal — to recognize 1) that America IS exceptional though 2) not for the reasons we’ve told ourselves but 3) now that we understand what makes us exceptional, we intend to do everything we can to nurture every last drop of our exceptionalism.

If we can pull that off, the sky’s the limit.

“E Pluribus Unum” Is What America Was Always Meant To Be — “From Many, One”

“Out of many, one”. That’s what “E pluribus unum” means. It was approved as America’s motto in 1782 as part of the act that created Americia’s Great Seal. “E pluribus unum” and “Novus ordo securum” (new order of the ages) were afixed to it. Together, “out of many, one” and “new order of the ages” was meant to speak toward our ideals.

The problem is we were oppressing some of the “many” we were counting as the “one”. Slavery still haunts America. Maybe the peaceful protests filling America’s streets every day now represents America’s conscience finally (FINALLY!) waking the hell up. We ended the commercial institution of slavery. We never ended the racism that permitted it to even be a consideration as part of a free, democratic country where “All Men Are Created Equal”.

Perhaps the idea this nation’s founders imagined was too big for them to fully grasp. They Euro-centered it in their heads. They didn’t even mean all men when they wrote “all men”. They meant all white men. Some wanted only all property-owning white men. And they certainly didn’t mean any women.

Yeah — great idea, guys — good thing you made the Constitution upgradeable and capable of evolving. Good thing you didn’t put, at the end, “And there will be no changes made to this document, we intended that the law will be how we wrote it in our world with our knowledge base and our technology”. That would have meant we’d still be stuck living in the 18th century.

Originalism is to sound legal reasoning what snot is to caviar. What horse shit is to Truth.

It epitomizes conservative “thinking”. It wants to freeze a moment in time and force us to live in it — because that’s when conservative white power was fully in charge.

Some little boys never learn how to share.

White conservatives would have us all believe that “American Exceptionalism” is rich white guys and their money. E Pluribus Unum says otherwise.

Right now, America doesn’t look terribly exceptional. I take that back. Before America suddenly got woke — at the tragic expense of George Floyd and far too many black Americans to be even remotely acceptable. The protest marches are filled with everything that makes America exceptional. They are American Exceptionalism on the hoof.

Black Lives Matter is a pure expression of American Exceptionalism.

Those protest marches are E Pluribus Unum.

Hey, America, Don’t Forget: Republicans Are A Minority Party — By A Lot

Americans either can’t bear talking about politics or it’s what we obsess on. Politics are fraught wherever you go — in our time especially — but politics are especially fraught here in America. The divide seems more intractable than ever.

It is.

The way our news media reports it, America is split 50-50 between two equal arguments represented by two parties. Our founders did not intend for there to be political parties. But even at the country’s founding, we were split between diametrically opposite ways of approaching power. One favored federalism, the other favored the states. Either or. The first parties split along those lines and have never really wavered.

To assume Republicans (modern Republicans, not Lincoln’s Republican Party — read Heather Cox Richardson’s excellent To Make Men Free: A History Of The Republican Party and you’ll see how the two parties have, in essence, flipped identities) have an argument for power equal to the (modern) Democrats’ argument is to assume that “slavery” vs “no slavery” is an equal argument with equal merit. Of course those arguments aren’t equal. To give slavery any ground is to compromise what cannot be compromised.

It’s a bullshit discussion from the start. We shouldn’t be having it. There’s no possible middle ground.

And yet, we stand on it. Middle Ground that shouldn’t be. We can feel the intense dynamic pressure it creates every single day.

It’s why institutional racism runs so deep. It’s why we have armed men storming state capitols demanding they get to have hair cuts or mani-pedi’s the coronavirus be damned. It’s why women can’t get health care because men want to control their bodies. It’s why we have a health INSURANCE system instead of a health CARE system. It’s why students leave college and university with a mountain of debt on their backs. It’s why the rich keep getting richer while the rest of us struggle harder to make do with less.

It feels not only wrong but… incorrect. Like we’re being forced to live someone else’s life under someone else’s rules. We look around at our communities — all of us feeling the same helplessness — wondering why things don’t change — why the majority never seems to get what IT wants? How can this be.

The real problem is (ironically) what Spiro Agnew called “The Silent Majority”. There is a Silent Majority, it turns out — Democrats. There probably wasn’t even really a “silent majority” of conservative Americans back when Agnew claimed there was. Agnew was only thinking about white people anyway — a silent majority of WHITE PEOPLE. Now, polling says, the “silent majority” of independent voters (38% of us) vote Democratic.

Among voters who don’t regularly vote? The margin’s even bigger.

We can all feel it — the dynamic tension between a minority that somehow has the power and the majority that didn’t vote that way and wouldn’t have if they had showed up at the polls. The majority of Americans either lean Democratic or are Democratic — and that is the Republican Party’s existential problem.

As Donald Trump himself said out loud to Fox News — the problem with mail-in voting is that it compels more Americans to actually vote and when more Americans vote, “It’s bad for Republicans”. If more Americans voted, fewer Republicans would get elected — and America would already be a very different place. If only every American saw voting not just as some right they have but as their moral duty as citizens.

And yet… Americans are not flush with civic pride. We need to ask WHY?

Americans know less about their government and how it works than anyone who comes to this country seeking citizenship. They actually have to study our system.

Not to “both sides do it” but, in this instance, in their own ways, both sides brought us here. The Republicans have deliberately made Americans ignorant. They’ve made voting hard or not impossible for people of color all across America. They’ve fought vote-by-mail while relying upon it — or using it personally. They’ve favored ignorance over science in our classrooms — and made the teaching mantra “get a job, get a job” instead of “get an education, get an education”.

Democrats got smug. They gained national power during the Clinton years and forgot that real power starts on the local level — with school boards. To their credit, right-wingers and evangelicals ran for office at the local level all across the country. They took over the re-drawing of voter districts — and began gerrymandering. They took over statehouses and began making it harder for the Democratic majority to get what they wanted from government. Government began to break down. Changing it got harder — all because the Democrats took their eye off the ball: all elections are local elections and (in America) you have to motivate voters to be engaged every single day.

It’s frustrating to be a majority lorded over by a minority. That’s authoritarianism. At any point, the majority could take to the streets and bring the minority’s “government” down. Even Thomas Jefferson allowed that a little revolution was a good thing from time to time. Clearly a little revolution is what’s needed here.

Royalists have taken over the greatest experiment in human self government ever.

We need to throw these regressive bastards out. We need to restore America and its exceptionalism. That’s a real thing — American Exceptionalism. It isn’t white guys and their money, it’s diversity. Our diversity is what makes us truly unique in the world. Contrary to what Republicans will tell you, America has never been a celebration of the white man and the white man alone. Having decimated the native populations with our germs, we truly created a new country here without a past.

In essence, our past begins with the country’s founding. And, while the actual “founding” was done exclusively by white men, the country outside those doors where the founding was being done did not look exactly like them. While it was far whiter then, the innovation and energy demanded to not only found a democracy but keep it running — what kept it running even back then as it was being founded — was diversity. Americans who weren’t “white” and male.

The reason Republicans have to cheat to win elections is because the majority of Americans won’t vote for them. The majority of us want to live in a diverse future where as many Americans as possible prosper. We don’t want to live in a past where white men have all the privilege.

Shocking, right?

We Should Give Republicans & Conservatives The America They Want — But Only If We Put A Wall Around It First

As we watch our Democratic Republic slowly sink beneath the waves of corruption, let’s play a thought experiment. What if we could “give” Republicans & conservatives the country they want America to be? What if we could arrange so that if you want to live in Trump’s America, you go live in the south. Want to be a Confederacy again? Go ahead.

We’ll even give the Republicans & Conservatives a “satellite” territory — Wyoming and Idaho. We’ll throw in the remotest parts of Nevada too — so all the multiple-marriage-loving Mormons in the FLDS church can feel at home in this their new country. The Trumpian States Of America.

One caveat though — the whole thing must be walled off. I bet they’d insist, too, because the last thing they’d want is all that nasty diversity outside the wall (that set them off to begin with) infiltrating their lovely White Christian Male Kingdom.

Meanwhile, outside the wall, the Real America will go on. We’ll continue to innovate and research and problem solve using every tool available to us — including the wide knowledge base that comes from so much diversity. Diversity, after all, is what makes America exceptional. Nowhere before in the world’s history had one country become a blending palette for all the world’s cultures. It took a thousand years for the various tribes scattered around France to become French. Same goes for all the tribes scattered around Britain to become British or the German tribes to become German et cetera et cetera.

If European pathogens hadn’t wiped out most of the Native American population before Europeans arrived en masse (they found an empty continent mostly because their germs — having preceded them via the first explorers — had already wiped out literally millions of people), our story might be very different. But diseases did kill the native populations so efficiently that more or less seizing their land became easy.

That newly vacated territory filled with a new-fangled thing called “Americans”.

The Trumpian States Of America will be a very, very, VERY white place. It will celebrate whiteness and being white and staying white forever. It will point to its pure whiteness as proof of its superiority — regardless of the fact that, white as it is, it’s failing horribly in every possible way. Most people of color will flee because who wants to live in a place where you are clearly a second class citizen at best.

Every white person with a double digit IQ will be right behind them.

The white people who stay — who proudly call themselves citizens of this place — won’t be America’s best or brightest. They won’t be our most talented or our best problem solvers. They’ll be sheep — doing what they’re Amertold to do — spouting the shit they’e told to spout. For a while, things will seem normal. The trains won’t run on time because white people don’t need trains. They all have trucks. But the trucks will get to drive wherever the hell they want. Same difference in a Trumpian’s mind.

But then things will start to break down. Mechanical things at first. Good thing lots of good mechanical minds stayed behind in Trump’s America. So the status quo can be maintained — for a while. But Trump’s America won’t play well with others. They’ll pitch obnoxious trade deals that make them a pariah. Because America doesn’t manufacture much anymore, the Trumpian States Of America will have to rely on the rest of America — or foreign countries like China — to get equipment. Being as the Trumpian States of America have little to offer anyone, they’ll be in the typical Trumpian negotiating position — a horrible one.

In time, people outside the wall will simply give up on dealing with the Trumpians. It’s not like they ever pay their bills anyway, right?

Mechanical breakdown is eventually in Trump’s America. I give the electrical grid 5 years max. That’s assuming no one hacks into it and shuts it down before it breaks down. It’s a fact — the Trumpian States Of America will end up living in the dark the exact same way most of North Korea does.

Funny irony? It’ll be Kim Jong-On building North Korean hotel-spas on the shores of Trump’s America rather than the other way around.

Trump’s followers may be dim-witted but they still need their creature comforts. Remember — they’re a jealous lot. They live by their grievances. When the quality of their lives dips below standards even trailer trash demand — they will take to the streets with pitchforks and torches.

Unable to solve its own problems, unable to do anything other than slowly sink into the cess pit they created for themselves, the leadership of Trumplandia will appeal to the rest of us: Help! Give us money! Fix us fast!

Of course, being Trumpanistas, they’ll blame US for THEIR problems.

That’s why we’ll tell them to go screw themselves. Them AND their country. I hope all those Trumpanistas understand. Screw em if they don’t.

By Their Very Nature, RW-ers Are Closed-Minded & Progressives Are Open-Minded

“Both Sides Do It” thinking (and journalism) would want us to believe that that headline is biased and wrong because both sides are equally closed-minded and open-minded. The fact is both sides are different not just because they want to be different but because they actually think differently. There’s even science to back that up (both sides are not equally interested in science by the way — because both sides are not equally “open-minded” about new information).

Conservatives, as their name says, want to conserve. They’ll accept conserving the present but what they really want to conserve is the past. The future — and any change — terrifies them. Progressives, as their name says, want to progress into the future of course since no one wants to progress into the past. Progress demands an open mind because one knows one will face new challenges that old ways simply won’t be able to resolve.

Progressive thinking, by its nature, is inclusive. We see that the answers to our problems could spring from nearly anywhere — and anyone — if only we’d give all these minds the chance to develop. We see America’s diversity as its exceptionalism. We aren’t just the greatest experiment in human self government ever, we’re also the greatest experiment in human diversity where our cultural dynamism is born out of the rich gumbo of ideas and approaches that flow from the variety of cultures who came to this place in order to be part of the first experiment.

Conservative thinking cannot tolerate uncertainty. That’s why it tends to be deeply religious (instead of being more openly-minded and just plain spiritual). Conservatives want a power structure in place. They want the world as it was (when they were in absolute control) to be the world as it always WILL be — with them continuing to be absolutely in control). Never mind the fact that they are an ever-increasing minority. They are the “god of the gaps”.

It’s painfully ironic that our news media — regardless of the topic — always demands equal open-mindedness from both sides. Lacking any perspective, they start from the false premise that both sides are the same and behave the same. They assume that both sides start off equally stuck in their ways — as if “their ways” were exactly the same.

This is why we get a press that demands Elizabeth Warren explain how she’s going to pay for health CARE for all Americans while they shrug off Republicans insisting (without a lick of data) that their tax cuts to themselves will PAY for themselves. This is why we have a main stream news media that gives equal weight to lies and the Truth. This is why we have a news media that insists that Democrats are impeaching Trump for entirely political reasons.

No, you idiots, the Democrats impeached (and will impeach Trump again) because he violated his oath of office the instant he took it. The Rule Of Law either is or it isn’t — and the instant we allow a POTUS to violate his oath brazenly and with impunity, our entire system of self-government is in mortal peril.

The Democrats did not drive us to this Constitutional crisis, the Republicans did. The Republicans are acting political because their interest is political — they want to HOLD ONTO the political power they now have AT ALL COSTS. They’re so determined to hold onto power that they’re willing to cheat every which way they can. They’re willing to suppress every Democratic voter they can. Those are all political acts. The person having their vote suppressed is NOT acting politically, they’re the VICTIM OF A CRIME.

Same token — the Democrats, when they point to the myriad ways Donald Trump has violated his oath of office, broken the law and shredded the Constitution, they’re NOT reacting politically, they’re pointing to criminal acts. When Democrats cry foul — that election 2016 was neither free nor fair because RUSSIA decided its outcome (isn’t that what Mitch McConnell was protected by refusing to let President Obama tell America that our election was under assault?) — they’re not acting politically, they’re being PATRIOTIC.

They’re also speaking for the real victims of the crime, The American People. Our electoral choice was stolen from us — our Will. That’s the majority of Americans. The 3 million plus (who knows how many suppressed votes there were) who wanted what Hillary and the Democrats were selling, not what Trump, Mitch McConnell and the Russian-owned Republicans were selling.

Mitch McConnell epitomized conservative closed-mindedness by not even giving Merrick Garland a hearing. Democrats wouldn’t even think of doing such a thing. Because it’s now how Democrats — the Progressives among them especially — think.

Even a glance at a conservative crowd versus a Progressive crowd tells you all you need to know about each crowd’s open-mindedness versus its closed-mindedness. A thousand words? No — a million words. More even.

Is there really a question?

Dear American News Media: Here’s How You Can Tell It AIN’T About “Politics”…

Let’s cut to the END of the chase, shall we? Both sides DO NOT “do it”. Both sides DO NOT commit TREASON in order to hold onto power and impose a permanent state of minority rule. Both sides don’t do it because one side doesn’t HAVE to. They can sell their ideas to America.

That would be the Democrats. They want to govern. They want to solve America’s problems by empowering as many Americans (of very variety) as possible because, Democrats know, THAT is American Exceptionalism.

The other side — Republicans — want to drag America back to the 50’s — the 1850’s — when everyone who wasn’t white, Christian and male knew their place. That’s the America conservatives want to conserve. Except for white, Christian men however, no one else (who grasps what they’re up to) could possibly want that. Consequently, Republicans have to use “other means” to win elections.

Republicans have to cheat. They have to restrict voting wherever possible because anyone who doesn’t look like them might not vote like them. C’mon — if all those migrants fleeing Central American drug violence (born, as it was, on American city streets) were guaranteed Republican votes? They’d all be limo’d across the border, given an American passport and dropped off at the first job center. Republicans have to suppress the vote. They’d already be an extreme minority party otherwise.

When Republicans knowingly took Russian money, when they knowingly repeated Kremlin talking points, when they SHOWED UP IN MOSCOW on July 4, 2018 — they were acting both politically (to further their political goals) AND criminally.

By contrast, when the FBI began to investigate Trump’s involvement with Russia back before election 2016? That WASN’T political. Same token — when Obama sat the Gang Of Eight down in September 2016 to relate the IC’s profound concern that Russia was using active measures to impact election 2016 on Trump’s behalf, Moscow Mitch McConnell acted FOR POLITICAL REASONS when he told Obama he’d attack Obama’s TELLING AMERICA THE TRUTH as “political”.

How’s that for bitter irony?

When Republicans deny sworn testimony, when they insist Trump has done nothing wrong, when THEY repeat Kremlin talking points as Senator John Kennedy from Louisiana did Sunday on Meet The Press, they’re acting POLITICALLY. Their goal is a political goal.

That, American News Media, is where “The Politics” ends.

Yes, Democrats are political creatures too. Yes, Democrats DO act politically when it benefits them. And, yes, prosecuting the president and the Republican Party WILL reap significant political benefits for the Democrats.

However — if the Democrats were acting out of politics, this effort would have died already. It isn’t political tribalism driving Americans toward impeachment (50% of us want Trump impeached AND removed), it’s righteous indignation at a president and his political party. What We The People — and the Democrats — are responding to is an assault on our whole way of governing ourselves. Our reaction to this political assault on our system isn’t itself “political”. It’s a reaction to wrong-doing, immorality and outright criminal behavior.

The victim saying “Ouch!” or “Hey, stop victimizing me” isn’t being political. They’re being “a victim” — and not by their choice either. That’s how you can tell it ISN’T politics. Are the Democrats reacting to violations of the law that harm not only themselves but America?

Yes.

It’s that simple.

It ain’t politics.

Our Problem Is We Keep Solving The Wrong Problems

You’re hot. You think: open the window — that will solve my problem. But your house is on fire. Opening the window will solve nothing.

That’s OUR problem. Our house is on fire — the Republican Party is trying to burn it down. And, while the Democrats are desperately trying to put the fire out, the Main Stream News Media either chases the arsonist like he was a cartoon action figure — oblivious of his Russian friend and the can of gasoline HE’S carrying — or they worry about whether or not Democrats are just doing this because they hate Donald Trump. In other words, “because of politics”.

“Both Sides Do It” brand journalism IS part of our problem because, by its nature, it always points at the wrong problem. It sees vague corruption instead of the corruption at hand. The corruption at hand is just “how it is” because “both sides do it” even though it flat out isn’t so: both sides do NOT do it.

Both sides don’t because both sides aren’t the same. If you can’t see that simple, empirical fact, then not only can’t you see the problem, you are a big part OF the problem.

When “news broadcasters” get on their “news broadcasts” and report things Trump does or says and then turn to the “news analysts” on set and ask that lazy-assed question “What do YOU make of…?”, what almost always comes back is something that REFUSES to look at the most obvious (though admittedly horrible explanation) — that Donald Trump is a traitor actively betraying every single American in real time.

That answers the question “Why does Trump kowtow to Vladimir Putin?” Find a fact that contradicts it — and good luck with that.

The solution to our problem is Donald Trump gets frog marched out of the White House in irons today. Everyone in Trump’s cabinet gets the same treatment. Ditto every Republican leader in Congress. In fact, until we (in the words of Donald Trump) “figure out what’s going on here”, we should put every Republican member of Congress under “house” arrest until we can accurately assess where their loyalties REALLY lie.

Mind you, all that’s only IF we want to SOLVE our problem.

We won’t do anything of the kind, I bet — and we’ll pay the price.

There ARE voices in the media who DO see the problem and SEE the very hard, very unpleasant but very real solutions demanded. Malcolm Nance just nailed it on a very good AM Joy segment on MSNBC. This does come down to loyalty — to us or to Russia. There’s no middle ground.

And it absolutely is NOT political. It’s moral. It’s human. It’s American. At its core, this whole crisis comes down to a very real question: who are we?

The answer is — A diverse nation struggling to answer and very high ideal. Before we can be that thing however, we need to dispense with the group of people who convinced all the rest of us that THEY were the keeper of that very high ideal. Turns out THEY were full of shit.

Our problem is racism. Our problem is misogyny. Our problem is bigotry. Our problem is religious intolerance — not “of” religious people but BY religious people. Our problem is one segment of America — its shrinking white base — seeing that it’s hold on American Culture and American politics was over and then doing something immoral and illegal to stop from losing their hold.

Our problem isn’t “politics”, it’s one side USING politics for its own ends against not just “the other side” but everyone else. THAT’S our problem.

The Right Wing money (the Kochs, the Mercers etc) made an unholy alliance with Russia (and Saudi Arabia). In the case of the Mercers, they even worked hand in glove with the very people attacking the election — Russian intelligence. No one on that side of the equation ever asked themselves “But, is this good for America?” If they did, by “America”, they meant “me”.

The way most of our news media reports the story we’re all living in frustrates the crap out of anyone with an ounce of perspective. There’s plenty of very good reporting — but good reporting without context can become mediocre reporting or even bad reporting. It’s awesome so many journalists are boring into the Trump-Ukraine story in such detail. But if you don’t see either its connections to the Trump-Russia story or you DO see it but fear reporting it is too complicated, then you’ve made yourself part of the problem.

You’ve under-reported the core fact that we WILL eventually get to BECAUSE it’s the core fact: ALL ROADS LEAD TO PUTIN exactly as Nancy Pelosi said. That’s not hyperbolic. It’s a stone cold fact.

We’re living through an active CYBER WAR directed against us. That’s a fact. It’s also a fact that we’re not telling ourselves that we’re under attack in a cyber war. Or, rather, it’s a fact that our news media isn’t REPORTING that fact to its audience. If you don’t report the right story, the audience never realizes its actual problem and they worry about one thing while the other guts them.

The answer is both simple and complex. Pull back the camera as far as you possibly can. Get to the core WHY. “WHY” is this happening? WHO is it most benefiting? Where’s all the MONEY going? Who gets to keep POWER?

The answer also relies on action — on those suddenly woke to DO something about their wokeness. That includes the news media. They’ve confused “neutrality” and “just the facts” with total disconnection. Incorrect. All facts have weight. They don’t all have the same weight. More importantly, lies are NOT facts and should not be treated like facts. When you treat bullshit like facts, you immediately corrupt the “fact pool”. You leave a giant turd floating in it.

Fishing out the turd will solve one problem. It will not solve THE problem you created because now the pool has to be drained. If you don’t, you’ll be left wondering why everyone who swims gets sick. The answer? Because you never solved THE PROBLEM.

YOU solve something else instead…

Immigration – And The Diversity It Brings – THAT Is “American Exceptionalism”

Rich Christian white guys, pumped up on cheap beer (they don’t drink it for the taste, they drink it to get plastered) think THEY are American Exceptionalism.

What Republicans think “American Exceptionalism” looks like…

Rich, Christian white guys with real money — we’re talking Koch & Mercer level wealth — don’t care about American Exceptionalism. They care about maintaining power and cultural hegemony. They don’t give a damn if enriching themselves far beyond ANYONE’S ability to spend the money even multiple generations onward results in the demise of the greatest experiment in human self government ever.

But American Exceptionalism is a very real thing. While white Christian men — already advantaged because they brought the money with them — may have placed themselves at the center of power in their new-fangled Democratic Republic, they weren’t actually the generators of the new ideas and vitality that would bring more money (and more new ideas and vitality) to the country — all those diverse OTHER PEOPLE were and still are.

Money is important to realizing great ideas. But money doesn’t “make” the ideas. Great minds do. And most every human has the potential for greatness in one way or another if given the chance (and the training, education and encouragement).

Take just a cursory glance at the biggest ideas of the last century — who did the innovating, whose cleverness solved a challenging problem, whose genius made lots of people lots of money — and you’ll see a sea of diverse faces staring back.

If American authoritarians continue to hold power (minority rule, remember) — and they drive every immigrant away — it will only be a matter of time before somewhere else becomes “Exceptional” in the way we used to be.

But then, looking backward — to how it was — is what rich, white, Christian men are all about. They’re “conservatives” remember — hell bent on conserving. The exceptionalism they have in mind exists only IN their mind.

When Gun Lovers Insist They Need Their Guns To Fight Tyrannical Government, What They Mean Is THEY’RE RACISTS

Pro-gun people will insist right to your face that their arsenal of death is all that stands between the collective us and a hostile, tyrannical government taking over all our lives. Their devotion to the second amendment (well, to their bizarre interpretation of it that rearranges syntax and redefines words to make them more convenient) is our last bulwark of freedom.

That ain’t just bullshit, it’s RACIST bullshit.

Do a quick survey of who mouths that nonsense. See what I mean? Not a brown face to be seen. Think it’s a coincidence?

These are the same princes who believe American Exceptionalism is the money rich white men put down in the casino of ideas. They think ownership of an idea is what matters rather than the idea itself. Of course they would — they can’t think of the ideas because their brains have all stagnated. Great ideas are born of diversity — and the many different ways of thinking that diversity organically inspires.

The joke about white supremacy of course is its total wrong-headedness about its core mythology — that white people breeding only with white people will produce white perfection. You might indeed get a “race” of people with alabaster skin — your ideal of perfection. But that blindingly white flesh will come with lots of baggage including genetic issues. Ask the Spanish aristocracy how that works out.

American Exceptionalism (it’s a real thing) flows directly from its diversity. Until travel became easy in the 19th century, most people lived and died within a few miles of where they were born. A family — a community of families — would live on the same patch of land for generations, bonding, becoming a tribe. The tribes that lived around and between the Seine, Rhone, Loire, Garonne and Marne Rivers eventually became French. That same formative process produced the English, the Spanish, the Dutch, the Belgians, the Swiss and every other nation of Europe (and the world up to that point).

Meanwhile, in North America, millions of Native Americans were thriving. When the European tribes eventually arrived, they found a nearly empty continent. That’s because the very first European arrivals brought germs with them that quickly, silently and pretty thoroughly reduced a collective population of millions to a mere tens of thousands. The European tribes were all white and saw their larger tribe as superior.

Had the European tribes had to go up against the native tribes at full size and strength? They’d all still be in Europe — without a bit of the New World’s wealth in their pocket. That fact alone would have changed the fate of humankind.

But white people stepped onto a blank canvas and saw only themselves. But others were here, too. Black people, brown people, Asian people, Middle Eastern people. As there was no native tribe anymore, all the new arrivals filled that tribal vacuum and became a tribe. Regardless of wherever they were from, most came to America to stay. To become something they hadn’t been before because no one had been it: Americans.

It wasn’t just white, European people and their money.

White, Christian people have always lived in irrational fear of every other race. Having invented the myth that America was a white, Christian country by nature, white, Christian people proceeded to make life miserable for everyone who wasn’t white. Over the course of two hundred years, America’s white, Christian people persecuted, enslaved, massacred or disrespected every single other group they encountered — and usually? They used their faith to justify it.

Go back to those faces — of the earnest, deeply concerned citizens insisting that their gun is our freedom. Replace the word “government” with “black person” or “brown person” or “Asian person” or “Muslim” or “Jew” or “Feminist” even. It plugs and plays perfectly.

It’s not a coincidence. Gun lovers fear the government because they love their guns. It’s not the government taking their guns that scares them to death, it’s how defenseless they’ll feel afterwards — when or if one of those other tribes comes looking for payback. Never mind how entitled those other tribes are to every bit of payback they can get, the white people ain’t paying it. Not willingly.

Want fairness? Want Justice? As former proud NRA member Charlton Heston once proudly asserted about gun regulators and his guns, we’ll have to take fairness, Justice and our safety from their “cold, dead fingers”.

Chuck Heston wasn’t staring at the government when he said that. He was staring at “the help”.

Americans Despise Paying Taxes Because They Perceive It As Money For Nothing

Ask just about any American “What do you get for your tax dollars” and I’ll bet you next year’s minuscule tax refund they’ll reply “Nothing. We get NOTHING!” There’s even a chance they’ll spit, too. Several times.

Want to lose an election? Tell an American you’re raising his taxes. Doesn’t matter what the raised taxes are for, the American will assume it’s bullshit. It must be bullshit — because no one can ever seem to tell us what our taxes pay for except in the very abstract: our taxes pay for the military and Congress and the president and “government”. We see most of that (if not all of it) as money out with nothing coming back in return.

Oh — occasionally what comes back in return is a $100 toilet seat or some other expensive boondoggle that did no one any good except the politician who made the deal. You couldn’t buy or invent worse press.

In Europe, by contrast, they pay a huge tax bill. But they get so much in return. The Danes, for instance, pays the highest taxes in the world. Yet they’re also the happiest people in the world. Those taxes are buying them complete health care coverage and educational expenses. The Danish government spends more money on its youngest and oldest citizens per capita than any other country. And every Danish tax-payer knows this.

Belgium’s citizens pay 4% corporate tax rate, 21% VAT and upper limit of 50% on personal income. Belgium still ranked 18th in the world in GDP and consistently ranks high in the quality of life ratings published in the United Nations Human Development Report. It’s not perfect. An influx of immigration has strained the economics — but that’s because Europe’s economies aren’t really geared to absorb immigration the way America’s economy is (and always has been).

On the flip side — in the interest of fairness — there’s Italy and Greece. They approached the same desire for social democracy but without the discipline required. It does require discipline.

If Americans walked into a restaurant and were told, more or less, to fork over X dollars for their meal — sight unseen — they’d balk for sure. Rightfully so, too. It doesn’t help that Americans don’t see the government as theirs or representative of “them” but as some interloper and part-time thief.

What if We The People — in order to perfect our imperfect union – re-imagined our government and how we fund it from the point of view of its citizens. You know: “We The People”.

What if, instead of just paying taxes — or having them taken from us by an unseen and unstoppable hand — we had paying taxes explained to us. What if we gave Americans a solid civic education that made it clear how they, Americans, are an essential part of this Great Experiment in Human Self Government?

What if we made passing a real civics test part of any high schooler’s high school graduation. It should be hard, too. No pass? No graduate. It’s for real. What if, as part of that education — and it doesn’t have to be a dull, trying experience; we could just as easily make it exciting — as exciting and meaningful as actually being an American.

And what if part of the excitement of being an American was the healthcare your tax dollar was buying you — in addition to the military protection, the infrastructure, the college education, the supplemental pension and the assistance if you need it? The data set says that populations that don’t have to worry about losing their homes should they get cancer — they’re happier than, say, US.

The data also says that people who don’t spend half their working lives paying for their educations also are happier than Americans. We could bring Guaranteed Basic Income into the conversation but — another time.

Americans have a bad habit of telling themselves things about themselves that simply aren’t true. We loves us some mythology, we do — especially when it paints us as rugged individualists. Yes, sure — there are lots of Americans who fit that description. Part of America’s lure is that anyone from anywhere can come here and — if they’re willing to work hard enough — accomplish anything. But no one – NO ONE – every does that alone.

We keep bumping into the sharp edges of our own hubris. That is, the white minority of this country continues to paint a phony picture that Americans (white guys in their minds) are exceptional just because they’re who they are. They have bought into a phony mythology that, left to their own devices, each white man is a great commercial success just waiting for his moment to shine. Taxes on such a junior level captain-of-industry are budensome.

Horse shit.

American exceptionalism is its diversity. Its exceptionalism does not extend to rich white guys and their money. It doesn’t extend either to the phony belief that Americans, somehow, are different — that we love “freedom” more. No, we love keeping money in our pocket more. We love indulging our greed and calling it by a nicer name — “prudent”.

Americans need a tax system that 1) taxes them fairly and with the understanding that those tax dollars are meant — ever dollar spent — to benefit them, their family, their community, their state, their country. If there’s waste — let’s get at it with a sledge hammer FFS! The goal is for Americans to see their taxes as their money that their government is spending for their benefit.

An itemized tax bill — as itemized as a tax return — would be nice. Even nicer — if the line items showed not just the outflow of tax dollar to the government but the inflow of benefits (assuming health care & college & the security that you won’t die a pauper). If Americans could see their taxes in terms of a cost-benefit analysis — where they were clearly getting something — they’d think of their taxes very differently.

I doubt they’d ever be happy paying taxes but at least they’d understand their taxes — their relationship to them. It could even quiet their moaning about taxes. I’m not holding my breath though.