Stop Dividing Families and Ideals

North Korea has a long-standing law called “three generations of punishment.”  If one person is found guilty of a crime and sent to a prison camp, so too will their entire family, and the subsequent two generations born at the camp must remain there for life. Perhaps President Trump sought to infuse a bit of that energy altering it by dividing parents from children housed at immigration camps. The President has a personal agenda that went a step further by hinting during his campaign suggesting Hispanics are rapists, criminals and responsible for gang warfare with sad commentary that some are good. Perhaps this is where the far-right embraces its unscholarly rhetoric because enforcement and creation of our policies seem somewhat North Korean, East German, and Soviet.

Before we begin slinging the hammer and sickle of change, we may want to reflect on how our perception and approach has significantly changed. Many may recount the days of Jane Fonda controversial visit to North Vietnam which branded her the name of “Hanoi Jane.” Another similar instance is when basketball star Dennis Rodman visited North Korea during the Obama administration. These individuals were hounded and scorned by media, the general public, and naturally politicians. Because high profile individuals attempt to try to mediate truce or other politicized means, there is a level of contempt that they are doing more harm than good. Today we are witnessing a dramatic shift in how sworn enemies or those where a majority of citizens are wary of relations, this President wants to stride in to assert that “these are good people.”  The implication is that tough and ruthless leaders are good and democratically elected individuals are not so good? At least that is the takeaway points I am witnessing. The punishment that Trump is conveying is the media is unfair to him, liberals are dividing this nation, the FBI is not to be trusted, anyone that disagrees with the President is not loyal and deserves public admonishment. Does this sound like a nation built upon free principles?

If you want to understand the platform of the traditional Republican Party, then reflect on a time where Nancy Reagan once touted, “say no to drugs” campaign. Shift forward to modern day platforms where heroin and drugs from Mexico is the biggest threat to American society. Attorney General Jeff Sessions guidances from former President Barack Obama’s administration that allowed states to legalize marijuana with minimal federal interference. Now Trump says he is likely to support ending a federal ban on pot. Perhaps that recent United States/North Korea summit had an ah-ha moment? Marijuana is legal in North Korea. It’s perfectly legal to buy and smoke cannabis in public and private. Cannabis grows wildly in North Korea and has been sold abroad by government agencies as a way to earn foreign currency.   Maybe Trump took a whiff and passed and saw a potential job creation moment? (after all, we didn’t see Dennis Rodman, but he was at the summit somewhere?)

What I do not understand is how our neighbors to the south are considered rapists, gangs, and drug dealers but the North Korean people are suddenly, in the eyes of the President, worthy of a sit-down? Ironic that North and South Korea are in negotiations to tear down its demilitarized zone in exchange for peace and prosperity. However, Trump continues to hammer at legislation to build a wall. North Korea has political prisoner camps that lock up families, and now we witness our administration locking up families but dividing them. I personally find it interesting that President Trump executive order 13767 to deploy all lawful means to secure our Nation’s border but then signs Executive Order 13841 to stop his initial order? Trump’s order legislation is becoming somewhat similar to the Nuremberg Laws of 1935.

Folks, the United States is critically divided because our President is not committed to stability instead it policy or diplomacy. In fact, the Presidential behavior of Trump has become someone similar to his Twitter feeds. It changes like the wind as to stir and generate so much buzz that we forget about the previous issue. The conversation that should bring us together to work out our policial differences sounds like a moment with Pope Francis. This is where positive LGBT experiences of inclusiveness are met with rug pulled moments. It usually begins where traditional Catholics are not so welcoming followed by a slew of sad commentary and misrepresentations of LGBT people become labeled and divided from membership with their families. At least that is where Americans learned how to become prejudice, in my opinion.

Might I suggest that we leave our political preference at the door when discussing how to repair the nation? For a brief moment, can we forget about our identities and the skin color, religion, or other distinguishable features at the door? Let’s have an open session involving how to fix things rather than what our political platform or religious doctrine says. When I build a table or chair, I don’t need my local politician or priest to discuss or influence how to make it better. It is people that get things done, no different than Dennis Rodman or Jane Fonda. They weren’t elected but at least facilitate to some form of reasonable change. Could we attempt the same path?

When is our American Perestroika?

Recently President Trump introduced a replacement for the high court. I wasn’t anxious about who Trump selected. What I was a bit concerned and perhaps disturbed about was how the selection was made. Nearly a year ago today U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died. That left an open seat and plenty of time for a replacement to be introduced. Politicians like Ted Cruz and Mitch McConnell blocked every pathway creating an obstruction from an Obama appointment. Fast forward to today, and the same leadership is claiming obstruction and delay by the Democratic Party. This is nothing more than politics as usual.

I think what bothers me the most about Washington politics is that the levels of obstruction and abuses of power. Most of all the lies or “alternative facts” that don’t ever seem to go away. For example, McConnell and Cruz once said that if Hillary Clinton were elected President that they would hold up any nominee. But if the Democratic party holds up a candidate that Trump will demand a nuclear option to force his choice. At this point in American politics, I don’t see the American people becoming divided. Instead, I view Congress is purposely dividing Americans and damaging the future of politics.

Ever since I can remember I was never supportive of congressional term limits. My reasoning was that term limits could potentially do harm to an efficient government. Today my attitude has changed because Congress has created an iron clad good old boy system that doesn’t have an ability to represent people. Instead, it serves selfish interests. Perhaps we should do away with the Electoral College system and replace it with a popular vote. Today’s politics no longer has a desire to maintain historical precedent and legislative compromise. Politicians are destroying the American fabric of democracy.

I am a citizen that agrees that our borders have some questionable holes. But I am also aware that companies are the ones that exploit those holes by illegally hiring undocumented workers. I am mindful of the fact that bureaucracy can be good for government. But aware that politicians abuse power for their own agenda. I know that there are checks and balances required of the people and government. But mindful of the fact that citizens enjoy popularism rather than democratic and fair law. Congress, in my opinion, is burning the bridges of democracy and the foundations of our society. I worry that at some point all these dominos will eventually fall leaving us somewhat similar to how Communism fell over a decade ago. Perhaps I am asking, “when is our Perestroika?”

Thank you, Mr. Obama

As this week ends, we will say goodbye to President Obama. In all honesty, I thought he was a good president. To me, he was diplomatic, good with his words, an excellent speaker and tried to do more for people rather than doing for business. Perhaps this is where American business didn’t care for him? In all honesty, my assessment of individuals that didn’t like the president sounded a bit more racially motivated than actually trying to understand his policies. In most cases, those that opposed the president just wanted to argue with him for the sake of having an argument. It’s no wonder why nothing really got done?

 

I am unsure what will happen to the Affordable Care Act? Sure, Congress will do everything to repeal it. I’ve overheard a replacement plan. But if the opposition hasn’t introduced an alternative plan in the past six years then I feel there is not a substitution in the works. Our jobs creation seems to be doing quite well. After all the president did have to work after a complete collapse of the financial markets. His administration did find Bin Laden. The list can go on. But what I liked was his diplomacy and respect for others. That is purely presidential, and I don’t think we will experience that in the future administration. I can only hope that the pundits are wrong and the new administration will find diplomacy and honorable words.

 

I must remember that the President is our national cheerleader for the American people. It is not a position about industry, rather “people first.” In fact, the leaders of business should be CEO’s and corporate directors; not politicians. The office of the presidency should not be overly engaged with corporate affairs. Instead, he or she should request the world to do business with the United States and let those leaders run a business as they see fit. As for foreign affairs, this is where our United Nations should be doing more to its ability to negotiate. There is no quick fix to war. Only negotiations and talking will keep from the fighting are how I assess that style of diplomacy.

 

I hope I am wrong, but we may find ourselves wishing Obama would still be our president when the new administration is installed. Again, I hope I am wrong. It took the Obama a while to stop him from using his Blackberry. I certainly hope that the new president will stop using his Twitter. Maybe things will get better. Who knows? But I do want to say to President Obama – Thank you for your service to our nation.

LGBT Concerns to America

U.S. Senator Harry Reid wrote an essay about newly elected President Donald Trump this week. Here is what Reid said.

U.S. Senator Harry Reid wrote an essay about newly elected President Donald Trump this week. Here is what Reid said:

“I have personally been on the ballot in Nevada for 26 elections and I have never seen anything like the reaction to the election completed last Tuesday. The election of Donald Trump has emboldened the forces of hate and bigotry in America.

“White nationalists, Vladimir Putin and ISIS are celebrating Donald Trump’s victory, while innocent, law-abiding Americans are wracked with fear—especially African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Muslim Americans, LGBT Americans and Asian Americans. Watching white nationalists celebrate while innocent Americans cry tears of fear does not feel like America.

“I have heard more stories in the past 48 hours of Americans living in fear of their own government and their fellow Americans than I can remember hearing in five decades in politics. Hispanic Americans who fear their families will be torn apart, African Americans being heckled on the street, Muslim Americans afraid to wear a headscarf, gay and lesbian couples having slurs hurled at them and feeling afraid to walk down the street holding hands. American children waking up in the middle of the night crying, terrified that Trump will take their parents away. Young girls unable to understand why a man who brags about sexually assaulting women has been elected president.

“I have a large family. I have one daughter and twelve granddaughters. The texts, emails and phone calls I have received from them have been filled with fear – fear for themselves, fear for their Hispanic and African American friends, for their Muslim and Jewish friends, for their LBGT friends, for their Asian friends. I’ve felt their tears and I’ve felt their fear.

“We as a nation must find a way to move forward without consigning those who Trump has threatened to the shadows. Their fear is entirely rational, because Donald Trump has talked openly about doing terrible things to them. Every news piece that breathlessly obsesses over inauguration preparations compounds their fear by normalizing a man who has threatened to tear families apart, who has bragged about sexually assaulting women and who has directed crowds of thousands to intimidate reporters and assault African Americans. Their fear is legitimate and we must refuse to let it fall through the cracks between the fluff pieces.

“If this is going to be a time of healing, we must first put the responsibility for healing where it belongs: at the feet of Donald Trump, a sexual predator who lost the popular vote and fueled his campaign with bigotry and hate. Winning the electoral college does not absolve Trump of the grave sins he committed against millions of Americans. Donald Trump may not possess the capacity to assuage those fears, but he owes it to this nation to try.

“If Trump wants to roll back the tide of hate he unleashed, he has a tremendous amount of work to do and he must begin immediately.”

What struck a note with me is how Trump seemed to connect with the LGBT community well before his presidency campaign. Today Trump chose Mike Pense, perhaps one of the most anti-LGBTQ evangelical Christian political crusaders to serve in Congress and as governor of a state. Then there is Ben Carson, who compared homosexuality to pedophilia and incest, is a vice chairman of the transition team and so is Newt Gingrich, who has attacked what he called gay fascism around LGBT rights. Reid is perhaps reminding America a great history lesson on what is to become possibly. After all, Ronald Reagan had many gay friends and came out against an anti-gay state initiative while he was governor of California before becoming President. But once Reagan became president all that changed not with Reagan, but with those in Reagans circle.

It will be tough to roll back many issues such as same-sex marriage and gays serving in the military. The U.S. Supreme Court has decided much of those laws. But Obamacare non-discrimination provision that includes gender identity and sexual orientation could change affecting many transgendered people. Perhaps the division of our nation will foster a carte blanche attitude to remove our politically correct filters a return to certain hate speech such a faggot, dyke, tranny, queer and so on. I must remember that words don’t hurt me but guns, violence and discriminatory legislation will. Members of the LGBT community are acutely aware that bigotry and homophobia are filled with dishonesty, deception, and predatory games. Ideology like Pense, Carson, and Gingrich provides latitude for judicial prejudice, police, and citizens hell bent on discrimination to continue.

I no longer fear being locked away for being a member of the LGBT community. I figured out long ago that free speech in America also protects dishonesty, deception, and predatory practices within homophobia. Americans desire to separate church and state but embrace religion all while excluding a commandment of “Thou shalt not covet.” When the United Kingdom, Germany, France and New Zealand issues a warning to its citizens traveling to the United States about homophobic behavior, then I know our nation is far behind and out of touch with the rest of the industrialized world. While I have a love for my country, I also have a concern that we are no longer global leaders of liberty and freedom. Our political ideals are no longer Democrat or Republican. Today we seem to be an a la carte society filled with particular vigilante behaviors and unfiltered choices.

I have watched eight years of Obama and witnessed the LGBT community thrive and challenge America to connect and catch up to the rest of the world. But America had a divided change of heart. Like any good roller coaster ride eventually, the ride gets old only to be torn down and replaced with a new rollercoaster. This time I will have to keep my hands and feet in the ride once in motion and pray I nor others get hurt along the way.

“President-Elect Trump, you pledge to Make America Great Again. As an American, Democrat and Army veteran I don’t want to be excluded, sidelined, or have to pretend to be somone else in order to participate in that plan. My hope is that you will count me in.”

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