Tag Archives: democracy

IN GOD? WE TRUST

Frame of Mind series. Composition of human face wire-frame and fractal elements with metaphorical relationship to mind reason thought mental powers and mystic consciousness

I recently hit upon the idea that God (my god, your god, the force, whatever name you give universal truth) brings enlightenment through science…

Consider all of the changes in thinking that have occurred because of scientific discovery, and all the damage done through science denial.

We humans have the capacity to reason. This is a powerful gift which has continued to expand throughout the history of humankind. One brick of knowledge upon another, and then another, ad infinitum.

To my mind, to deny science is to deny “universal truth”/God.

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REMEMBER THE SUPREMES?

The United States used to have a House of Representatives and a Senate.

They operated under different rules.

The House requires a simple majority vote to do anything.

The Senate requires at least 60 votes to pass much of what comes before the 100 members.

(In ‘the ol’ days’ there used to be something called a filibuster, where a Senator would actually speak on the floor of the Senate forever in order to block a vote on a piece of legislation — unless there were 60 votes to shut down the filibuster.)

Today . . . all of that changed.

The Senate changed its long-standing rule —and eliminated the need for a super-majority (60 votes) to consent to a nomination for a member of the Supreme Court.

Since 1954, only two Supreme Court nominees (out of twenty-six) have been approved with less than 60 votes.

Now, we have two houses of Congress where only a simple majority is required to pass major legislation; and in the case of the Senate – lifetime appointments.

What was once known as the greatest deliberative body in the world (The United States Senate) faded into the unremarkable today.

Can you hear the hammer striking the chisel as it chips away at our democratic republic?

 

 

 

NO ONE IS COMING, BUT WE ARE ALIVE AND WE ARE TOGETHER

Chuck Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter, and game designer. This is his blog. He talks a lot about writing. And food. And pop culture. And his kid. He uses lots of naughty language. NSFW. Probably NSFL. Be advised.

I set that as my 7AM reminder this morning.

I set it because, I dunno, maybe up until this point I’ve been hanging onto a loose and fraying thread that clearly, surely, some savior force would come in and reverse what was coming. The vote would prove to be rigged. The “OMG RUSSIA DID IT” investigation would advance to the point of no return. Obama would rip off Comey’s mask and reveal Old Man Giuliani underneath, who would’ve gotten away with it if it wasn’t for you crazy Millennials. Joe Biden would challenge malarky-havin’ Comrade Dumpkov to a ski contest on the K2 and he would win the day against the rich punks for all us underdogs and underachievers. I dunno what the fuck I thought was going to happen. Probably nothing, but maybe something.

Maybe?

Please?

Yeah, no.

No one is coming. Our plane crashed, and we’re alive, and no help is on its way.

That sounds dramatic, I know, especially to people who think this isn’t a big deal — but we’re staring down the barrel of a president whose stated intent is to sand down nearly every foothold we’ve gained in the last several decades. Worse, he’s got the run of the table with a Congress who has already begun their monstrous rending and flaying. Everything’s on the chopping block: women’s rights, health care, the free market, arts, humanities, science, education, national parks, bald eagles, anyone who has ever been marginalized, you, me, all of humanity, the whole fucking planet. Pounds of flesh cut from those who cannot afford to lose them, and given over to the vampire kings above us who want to bleed us all dry. It’s not dramatic to think that, at the very best, we’re going to experience an existential tumult over the next four years. At the worst, I dunno. At the worst we get hill cannibals, probably. Nuclear hill cannibals.

No one is coming.

But we are alive.

And we are together.

That means something. I don’t mean that in a glib, WE ARE THE WORLD way, I don’t mean it to be some kind of shallow sing-a-long. I mean that our president — the one who comes with the biggest winking-butthole-asterisk of all time by being a president who won by losing, who won with the help of shady Kremlin no-good-niks, who won by surfing to the White House on a churning tide of sexual assault and racism and inane non-policies, who still hasn’t filled most positions, who wants to fill his cabinet with the swamp monsters he exposed by draining the swamp — our president is way the fuck outnumbered. This is our asterisk president. This is a president who we didn’t earn, who didn’t win, who has a historically low approval rating and a historically high disapproval rating. He works for us, and we outnumber him by heroic numbers.

That’s a real thing. That’s truth. It’s not arguable that he’s surrounded by a miasma of illegitimacy. He can earn his way out of that — he can clear the fog by doing right for all Americans, not just the richest among us — but let’s be clear, the likelihood of that happening creates betting odds no gambler would take.

No one is coming.

But we are alive.

And we are together, and we can save each other.

You’ll say to me now, what does that mean? What does that mean, we can save each other?

My honest answer is, I don’t yet know. Not really. Because I don’t know what’s coming down the pike. I know the next four years will be contentious, but I don’t know if they’ll be ruinous or simply bizarre. But here’s what I think it means.

I think it means we can be there for each other. And we can be kind. We can help each other up.

It means we can use what power we have to help those who have less power.

It means making each other laugh, because oh Sweet Saint Fuck, we’re gonna need to laugh.

It means staying involved, and keeping up the pressure, and using our voice and our vote not just for our behalf but for the behalf of our neighbors.

It means sharing the things we love: art and books and movies, quotes and images and ideas.

It means knowing who our enemies are, and pointing our metaphorical weapons to those outside the trench, not to those hunkering down in the mud alongside us.

It means kitten pictures and dog videos and other forms of random comfort, and of course what I mean is otters, because fuck yeah, otters, you can’t deny the healing power of otters.

It means turning an ear to listen and offering a shoulder to cry on and letting people just wordlessly shriek at or near you for as long as they need it.

It means working around the system to find new ways to keep each other afloat — it means giving money to the ACLU or Sierra Club or it means demanding our companies do better for us even when our government won’t, it means finding loopholes and trapdoors that help us to help each other, it means empowering others to do the work when it’s work we can’t do ourselves.

It means harnessing the one-two-punch power of Critical Thinking and Empathy, which not coincidentally are also the names of each of Uncle Joe Biden’s malarky-thumpin’ fists.

It means being good stewards of this planet because we all share it, and no matter what the administration wants you to believe, it’s our responsibility not to fuck it up.

It means creating art and telling stories because stories have power, stories help us through, stories provide a narrative for those of us now and those who come later.

It means helping ourselves and practicing self-care because sometimes before you help someone else with their oxygen mask you gotta make sure yours is on nice and tight.

It means whatever it means going forward.

I’ll be here at the blog and online if you wanna swing by and say hi. Hope you’re doing okay. Fuck the inauguration. Go to a protest. Check out a museum. Read a book. I’ll see you on the other side.

p.s. fuck international fascism

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NOT SO LONG AGO . . .

Little Rock Voters Vote to Close Public Schools

Moments In Civil Rights History

On September 27th, 1958, a vote was held, with an overwhelming outcome, to keep the schools of Little Rock, Arkansas closed rather than integrate them. In September 1957, nine Black students known as the Little Rock Nine entered Central High School and were met by angry Protesters. Known as The Lost Year, high schools in the city remained closed for the entire 1958-59 academic term.

It is hard for me to comprehend that this happened less than sixty years ago.

There is an election coming up where one of the candidates wants to “Make America Great Again.”

The, “Again” part is what upsets me. Is this what he means? I remember the fire hoses and the dogs, and the people dragged beaten and bloody through the streets. Those images flashed across our TV screens almost every night when I was young. 

It’s disturbing to see and hear white supremacist groups brazenly supporting a presidential candidate “again” in this country. Many of us thought their time had passed—and we were all the better for it.

Isaac Asimov Knew a Thing or Two

Isaac Asimov on knowledge
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Why have we stopped admiring the brightest among us, in favor of those who are only capable of “bumper-sticker” jargon? I know there are always two or three or twenty sides to every story–but they can’t all be accurate. When, as a nation, have we stopped caring about facts?

This is a dangerous path we are on. I would use the tired term “slippery slope,” if I weren’t so sick of hearing it. We’ve fallen into the trap of trendy terminology and, if we are to advance, we have got to stop.

Every political scandal does not have something to do with a “gate.”  Every problem we need to solve does not have to have a “war” waged against it.

The media has gotten caught up in the Manhattan advertising practice of the clever logo or jingle.  Dumbing down the population makes the population easier to control.

I’m curious about the words or phrases that you, dear reader, are completely and utterly sick of hearing.  Maybe, together, we can create a dictionary of words and phrases from hell.  I look forward to your suggestions.