This is about all of us – not one man

There has been so much talk about Trump this week.

But that isn’t the issue for America – and deep inside we know it.

Trump defended the indefensible – he produced a space where those that believe some humans are better than others are ‘fine’ people and are aligned with the values required to  ‘be a real American’.

But that was one man’s opinion.

The challenge isn’t that he holds this position – but that he was elected to be president holding that position.  And that he still has the backing of much of his party even though many of them are willing to declare that ‘Nazis are bad’.

And now it is time for America to choose who it really is.

Did we mean it when we said liberty and justice for all?  Did we mean it when we said all humans are created equal?

Or did we mean that only white men are created equal – the rest aren’t quite entitled to all those rights.  We aren’t quite as equal….

When we commit to Human Rights as equal rights, then there will be losers.

Because right now America does not act from the foundation of Equal means Equal for all humans.

White Christians have an advantage – and men have an advantage over women.

So as we move from where we are to where we say we want to be, white men will lose at some level.  For they have more rights than others right now.

When you have rights, they can seem invisible because they are just the way things are.  Those who benefit from the rights have no idea what it is like to not have them – and they can only make up stories about what it might be like, because they haven’t experienced it.  And they can’t because they are inherently part of the group that has rights.

In shifting to a place where all humans are equal, white men will lose.

Before President Obama, only white men became president.  But for 8 years, that job was held by a black man.  And then the next choice could have put a women in as president.  That meant that for 12 years no white man would be president.  That ‘job’ that was previously available to only white men now became available to anyone.  So it could be possible that a white man would never become president again.  And that is a loss for white men who didn’t have to compete with 51% of the citizens who were female and another % of the population that are male minorities.  The field of competition just got a lot larger and that means a white man has to be a lot better to out compete all of the others….

And if this is extended to all opportunities, white men could lose out on all of the really good opportunities – the ones humans want.  Is that fair?

There is no way for us as a country to move from white men being created equal and others not so much to where all humans being created equal without white men losing out a bit.

And that means this will only happen if white men decide that this change is right and will not only support it but fight for it.

But what are you watching?  Have  you seen any white male leaders standing up and proposing any action that would change the status quo?  Has any leader even acknowledged that we do not currently live in a country where all humans have the same rights?

In our heart of hearts, we all knew that “Make America Great Again” for many meant “Make America White Again”.  I listened to many who denied it and voted against their declared beliefs.  And the party that supported that slogan and what it really meant it now controls all branches of government.

And the elected officials that set and enforce laws will change how they govern if, and only if, all of us – including white males – stand up and declare that this is not who we are and it is not who we will be and that we will only support [vote for] those that take a stand and commit to being in action to put equality back as a foundation of our country.

The Resistance is about this issue – Human rights with liberty and justice for all.  I believe that this principle is what makes us great.  It is that promise that gave us standing in the world.

It is time for all of us to step up.

Because if we are quiet on this one – we are saying that it is ok for people to believe that some humans are more equal than others and that America never really meant all people are equal.

What will YOU choose?

Because that is where we are as a country….  we can lose it all in what happens next.

Or maybe we will forever lose the dream that we were founded on because we just never really meant it – not if that required us to personally give up anything.

As a country, we never quite finished removing all those exceptions from equality for all.  We couldn’t even pass the Equal Rights Amendment.

Now it is past time to either commit to equality for all or admit we didn’t mean it and make that list of which humans are equal and which are no quite as equal.

If you sit this one out, like so many did last November, then you are on the side of being ok that not all humans are equal.   And you need to own it.

 

Right or Responsibility – that is the question

There are those that believe that health care is a responsibility – and that if you can’t pay for care that is your fault and you don’t deserve it.
There are those that believe that health care is a right – and that the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness along with equality for all ground that belief.
This is the Value-fight that is underway.
But it is disguised.
It is disguised as Republicans against Democrats, liberals against conservatives, young against old, urban against rural, winners vs. losers.
But the REAL disagreement is on the fundamental principle that guides policies and actions –
Right or Responsibility?
If you believe it is a right, then all actions proposed to gut [aka repeal and replace or just repeal and blame] the Patient Protection and Affordability Act are unacceptable. The compromise being asked is to give up the belief that health care is a right.
But if you believe it is a responsibility – then all government programs providing assistance are wrong and need to be eliminated.
Paul Ryan and many other Republican leaders believe that it is a responsibility.  Actually Ryan also believes that government should only help the already well off – and that makes it worse.  But the ‘get government out of health care’ is really part of the move to get all social programs out of our laws.
Those who oppose this notion – some are Republicans – believe that health care at some level is a right.  How to make this work is a matter of discussion.  But to remove all support programs is not aligning with our values based on rights.
Most Americans believe health care is a right.  Most sick people believe health care is a right.
Recent published discussions act like the current law is ‘failing’ and only repeal will save us.  But that is crap.  The current law is constantly undermined because those in the majority want all health care programs gone.
So those who are not worried about Medicaid yet expect Medicare to be there for them are fooling themselves.  Don’t be surprised when you see aspects of weakening Medicare become part of tax reform.  This is the plan – and Social Security is next.
So where do you fall?
Don’t worry about how to get this done – American’s can collaborate on innovative solutions if they are aligned around a purpose.
Right or Responsibility?
Because if it is a right, it is a right.  It isn’t a right for some, or sometimes, or in some situations or some of the time.  It is a right.
Choose wisely
Because the political fight is on.  Like it or not, the current one-party controlled government is trying all they can do to take out the law known as ‘Obamacare’ and Medicare cuts and Social Security are next.
And only lots and lots of people coming forward, demanding this be personal and demanding that elected officials accept that health care is a right and that they need to figure out how to make it work – not remove it have stopped the law from being removed.
And that is only for now.
Because the leaders speak and act like those that did not vote for them do not count.  But more voted against them or not at all by lots then supported them.
This isn’t about winning or losing.
It is about our rights.
And rights that are not fought for are not retained because they are not valued.
Listen to the comments – not along party lines – but from the Right vs. Responsibility lens.
Ask your representatives which it is for them.  Take all stalls or non-answers as Responsibility.  If you believe it is a right, you don’t hesitate.
Where do  you stand?

Which part is the issue – ‘Obama’ or ‘Care’?

Is there a correlation between the % of Americans that remained convinced that Obama wasn’t a real American [also known as Birtherism] and the % of Americans that remain supportive of Trump’s actions no matter what?

If there is, then we are confronted with the real divide in our country.

This would mean that about 30% or 3 in ten Americans are white nationalists or supremacists.  Tough?  Well explain any other position that has people continue to question if the only non-white president is legitimate.

And if that statistic is true, then 70% of the country SHOULD be against that other 30% – if we really uphold the American ideals that we were founded on and believe it is long past when we need to accept that humans are all human – regardless of appearance, beliefs or preferences.

And that would mean that we accept that humans are social creatures who are better together than on our own.  We are not meant to – and can’t  survive without help.

If you read between the lines, perhaps the real backing for repealing ‘Obamacare’ could have nothing to do with the government programs that make access to care possible but has to do with obliterating everything done by the accident where America elected a non-white leader – which could not have been legitimate because, well, he wasn’t white.

But the rest of us – the ones that voted for ‘not-Trump’ – are in the majority.  And we want universal health care or at least a way where those without don’t have to chose between rent / food or health care.  Because nothing about that is pro-life.

If you start from a common value that has health care for all as a right, there are fixes for the issues with the current programs.

And one way out is to repeal ‘Obamacare’ and replace it with an identical bill called ‘Trumpcare’ or ‘Ryancare’ or ‘McConnellcare’ or ‘[insert any white man’s name]care’ and then move on to fix the problems.  And continue to falsely claim that Obama was the root of all evil and Obamacare was failling and had to be removed.

But what 30% really want to do is not erase the reality that the US elected a black man as president.

And I am not ready to allow that point of view to win.

Because if we allow that to win, we say that only white guys can rule.  And somehow that means it is ok to make women and non-whites lesser.  And that isn’t equality for all.  It isn’t justice for all.  It isn’t the values we pretend to hold dear.

So we protest for health care for all – and we refuse to give in or ‘work together’ [when it means let our bigoted ways win].

And we will persist.

And if you want to repeal Obamacare, explain why people shouldn’t have access to health care unless they have a lot of money – because a really for-profit system would have life saving drugs cost millions to maximize profit.  And caring for those who might not pay just isn’t good business.

Because ‘Obamacare’ is the dog whistle name given to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that expanded access to health care.  And nothing about repeal protects patients or makes care affordable.

It just allows some people to feel good that they did something to take away an accomplishment from our 1st black president.

Or allows those who often claim to be pro-life make how much money you have a condition of getting access to life-saving care.

 

It didn’t take a week

There was a call for cooperation and collaboration.  There was a call to find a way to work together.  There was a call to tone down the rhetoric.

So the Democrats reached out and asked the Republicans to work together out in the open to determine how best to resolve the challenges with the health care situation in the US without putting millions of lies at risk.

But the Republicans remained silent and continued their plan to use procedural loopholes to take a health care bill they are writing is secret and slam it through the Senate without any review by Democrats or by the people it will impact and who they are supposed to be governing on behalf of.  [the first bill will be nearly empty – the details are passed in an amendment that no one sees will right before the vote and poof it is finished]

This has forced the Democrats to use procedural loopholes to try to slow down the process so this could not be done before the July 4th recess – hoping that constituents could plead to their representatives [if Republican] to end the games and discuss health care out in the open where hearings are held where real people can share their perspectives and be heard.

And there was going to be a toning down of the language – but attack ads in Georgia used the shootings to falsely claim that the Democrats were cheering when Republicans got shot  false of course but….

And Ted Nugent took the mike to act like he was changing his ways without one word of apology to those who were long the victims of his hate speech.  Aren’t real apologies supposed to acknowledge the harm you have caused to others and indicate you are sorry for that harm?

This is sad.

And it seems that it is being supported by We, the People.

And it has to stop or we all lose.

Because the powerful and our enemies – who are doing business with the powerful – are all making their deals and bargaining away our rights and freedoms while we are distracted with contempt for one another.

It didn’t take a week.

 

I was right – and I wish I wasn’t

Before the election, I told everyone I could that there was a real significant choice involved.  Allowing Trump to become president would also turn the country over to one party control, removing most checks and balances.  It would reward the party that held open a Supreme Court seat as a political ploy and with extreme indifference to their pledge to govern.  It would reward the party that actively sought to limit voter access for those that might not vote Republican – especially minorities and younger voters.

I told people that any action other than to vote for Hillary was an action that strongly supported Trump as president and single-party rule – for only a vote for Hillary would stop Trump.

I told people that the policies / platforms of the Republican Party would hurt many people.

And I was right.

There were more people who chose not to vote than who voted for either party.  Trump won by fewer than 200,000 votes – and in the key states the margin was even less – Michigan was less than 11,000.  Trump came in 3rd – non-voters, then Hillary voters and then Trump voters.

And now one party controls all houses and a conservative was added to the Supreme Court.

Ethics and normal checks and balances are negated.  The practice of lying appears to have no consequence.  De-regulation threatens our water, our air, our safety and our rights.  Some of our institutions are holding up – but most are actively being weakened and or dismantled.

This isn’t politics as usual.  In fact, I am not sure what politics really means any more.

Yes – I was right and predicted correctly.  Despite all of my critics many who still claim both choices – Hillary and Trump – would have been equal.  To that last claim I strongly state ‘get real’.

And I wish I wasn’t.  I wish there was some version of the outcome that did not have such a devastating impact.  I wish it was merely that the candidate I did not support and the party I do not support took office.

But this is a value fight.  And I don’t share the values that are indisplay.

I care about our planet as should everyone.  We don’t have a back-up planet.

I care about fundamental rights.

I care about ethics and decency and respect.

I care about the impact of letting the powerful / greedy / corrupt have such unfettered control even for a few years.

I care about our country and its reputation in the world – and the consequences of becoming the ‘what’s in it for me’ country where the ‘me’ is the president and his inner circle [just like a dictator].

I care about the truth and facts and reality.

I wish I was wrong.

But I am not – and we all need to be prepared to learn that the situation produced by giving our country over to one particular party with no checks and balances being applied [even though they could] was one of our doing – the voters.  We, the People failed to demand better.  We failed to get involved when it counted.

And there is still too much talk about blaming others.  We all need to own our inability to produce consequences for unethical politicians so they learned that it didn’t matter.

Flint water contained lead and people were poisoned.  And no elected official lost their job over it.

The pipeline projects are moving forward even though they have already produced leaks.  The great lakes water system is under threat.

The voting process is under threat of expanding the use of ‘cross check’ which dropped hundreds of thousands of legitimate voters from the roles.

The leadership role we held is lost to the new policy of ‘we will do business with anyone and we are only looking for the best deal’ resulting in us being more hospitable to our past enemies than our allies.   Look for all sanctions on Russia to be removed soon – with no benefit in return.

Health care access is under attack even without repeal/replace.  Social Security is next.  No jobs are coming – the robots are.  We might even lose any chance of being a real power in the move to sustainable energy sources – which will happen whether or not our leaders support it.

The press is equally under attack as is the right to protest.

So what now…..

What actions will you take?

Will it be too little too late?

Or was I right as well that you really don’t care because it hasn’t hurt you personally.  At least not yet.

And that last thing is the part I still hope i am wrong about.. I hope I am wrong.  I fear am not.

Choices – yours; Consequences – theirs

Freedom to choose.

This shows up in two domains – your personal choices to act and your personal choices to produce consequences for the actions of others.

When you make a decision to act, that is your choice [note: inaction is a choice to remain in the same situation so it is still a choice].  The consequences of that choice are not yours to decide.

All the stories you tell yourself about what options you had, what consequences each action could produce and finally why you chose the action you did are all yours.

What happens next is not.

Consequences are produced when others react to your choices.

Some consequences are fundamental because they are produced by reality’s operations.  If I step off of a ledge I will fall.  Gravity will produce the consequence.

Others are a result of the choices others make in reaction to your action.  And those choices are determined by the stories they tell themselves about your action, what it meant to them [how it impacted their situation and their choices], what they assumed about your intentions, what responses are possible and which one they chose to act upon.  All not your choice.

Some people reject this notion.  They will say things like ‘I am sorry that you were upset by what I did or said’. This means that they are declaring dissatisfaction with the consequences you chose for their actions.  As if you made a wrong choice.  But actually they should have said ‘I notice you chose to be upset by what I did or said.  I don’t like your choice’.  Imagine the consequences that could produce if spoken. How would you feel?  And then accept that people who try to dismiss the choices others make to produce consequences for their actions often are still subject to consequences they didn’t want.

Why does this matter?

In choosing to act in response to the actions of someone else, we either produce a consequence for them and for their actions, or we don’t.  And our choices about what consequences to produce influence their next choices.

If drivers actually got a speeding ticket each and every time they were speeding with no exceptions, drivers would stop speeding.  But they don’t.  In fact, there are rarely any consequences for speeding.  And often other drivers produce consequences for not speeding [like driving right up to your bumper…. ].  Over time, the failure to produce a possible consequence for an action may cause people to forget the consequence is possible and may even cause them to become upset when that consequence does occur – viewing it as unfair.  [No one else got a ticket; I never got a ticket here before; it doesn’t matter that I was speeding so why give me a ticket]

When we have a law like speeding that is rarely enforced and becomes common practice to ‘break the law’, we begin to trigger a set of assumptions that negate the consequences of legal restrictions.  If I don’t get picked up for speeding, perhaps I won’t get arrested for purchasing illegal drugs….  or cheating on my taxes…  By having laws we don’t enforce consistently – like gravity applied to the walk off a ledge – we ‘teach’ people that the consequences aren’t real.

So what happens when we allow someone in a position of power and authority to lie?

If all of us choose to ignore that lie – no matter what the excuse – is our failure to produce a consequence allowing them to believe that the consequence does not exist and, therefore, it is ok to lie?

As we watch the drama of our political situation unfold and people claim that the media ‘is all lies’ and we ignore all that is happening because we don’t like politics, we are part of a group that is choosing to remove the consequences of lying and being dishonest.

And that can lead to a culture of dishonesty.

Because the absence of certain consequences impacts how people make choices about how they act.

And if we want a world that is based on an ethic of honesty if requires us to be honest in our choices AND to produce consequences for those that choose to act dishonestly.

Consequentialism is a philosophy based on the fundamentals of consequences and that we each choose our actions and others chose the consequences so our choices should be made in that context.

So if we hold a belief that all politicians are dishonest and, therefore, opt out of politics, we are accepting and perhaps rewarding dishonesty because we are removing the consequences for politicians lying.

And the very excuse ‘all politicians lie’ is inaccurate.  We should say ‘when politicians lie, most people like me are so disengaged, that there are no negative consequences for lying and the benefits from lying are more likely so politicians that tell the truth are at a disadvantage because I will assume politicians are lying no matter what they do and their opponents are likely to beat them if they don’t lie. So I guess people like me are all contributing to the increased dishonesty in politics’.

We each hold a set of responsibilities.  #1 To accept accountability and responsibility for all consequences of our actions.  #2 To accept accountability and responsibility for our choices to not produce consequences for the actions of others when those actions are actions we hold to be ‘unethical’.

What will your choices be?

 

 

 

Dear Republican Senator

You are not my senator – but you swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution and this country.  I ask you to consider taking one brave step to uphold that oath.
I am asking you to change your party affiliation to Independent and caucus with the Democrats.
As a citizen, I accept that our last election included an attack by Russia that provided access to hacked content that was used by this administration to win votes. Can anyone say that the wiki-leaks disclosures fueled by Russia – had no effect? I observe a set of interactions between the Trump campaign and Russia that were cause for alarm on their own but that are fueled by continued actions with respect to Russia that appear to be rewarding them for their actions.

Read more

We should agree – but we don’t. And that is the saddest part of it.

Jimmy Kimmel shared a personal story and stated “No parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child’s life. It just shouldn’t happen. Not here.”

He is right. It shouldn’t happen in a country that claims to be the leader of the free world.

But he followed with “If your baby is going to die and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make.” He added poignantly, “I think that’s something that whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat or something else, we all agree on that, right? … Don’t let partisan squabbles divide us on something every decent person wants.”

And there he was wrong.

We do not all agree on this.

Some people hold a belief that not all humans are entitled to the same freedoms as others.  That the right to food, shelter, water, and health care is something that needs to be earned.  And if you can’t afford to take care of yourself or your family, well you deserve what you get.  Because it is your choices and your actions that led to the problem.

And for people who believe that we all should be totally self-sufficient – with no help from the government – providing health care or health insurance is a frivolous luxury that should not be the concern of the government.

And those with that belief are seeking to end all government programs that offer help to those that need it.  Because they do not believe in government help.  And they just took one giant step forward with the bill that passed the House today.

I claim that those people are wrong. Because America was founded on the core that all humans are created equal.  That they have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Note that the above did not have a caveat – ‘if you can afford it’

In America, health care should be a right.

And for some it isn’t.

Watch the votes on repeal of the ACA.  In that bill, are changes that make access to health care something that requires money and that removes funding to help those with less.

And it cancels the tax that FINALLY had the top 1% pay into the program that provides them with health insurance when they are older [Medicare].  The ACA tax closed a loophole that has the top 1% finally pay into Medicare like the rest of us do.  And the repeal and the proposed tax reform all remote that tax.

The top 400 income earners will get an average tax break in the millions. That likely includes our president and his family.

Republicans are cheering – some offices were overheard to be laughing in the background when constituents called to express their displeasure with the vote that their ‘representative’ placed.

Protestors shouted ‘Shame’ as they left the house completing the dastardly dead and going off to celebrations.

Shame.  That is a great taunt.  For they should feel ‘shame’.   But they don’t.  Because, to them, the people hurt by this bill are not worthy and those that it helped – the tippy top of the income scale deserve all the help they can get from the government.

I declare this action to be Un-American.

For-profit companies do not care if you can pay for their cures or their care.  They focus on the bottom line.

Corporations were cutting back on health insurance benefits before ACA.  With the ACA, that stopped.  With the new proposal, this would return.

And the promise to protect Medicare? Total BS.  Because the repeal of the ‘ACA Tax’ allows the top 1% to no longer pay into Medicare.  And that removes funding from Medicare – making the next round of ‘reform’ changes justifiable.

Until 2016, I thought we were better than this.  As a country, I thought we had ethics and values that understood the rights of the many and powerful stop when they hurt the least of us.

It is past time to stand up and stop this.

But clearly too many of us are just fine with this action.

I have watched too many ok with what is going on because it helps their pocketbook and hasn’t hurt anyone they care about.

This is a difference of values not parties.

I agree with Jimmy Kimmel.  In MY America, all people should have great health care and whether you can pay for it or not should not impact the care you are given.  And in My America, all people agree on that regardless of party or age or gender or religious belief.  We all agree that health care is a right because it is part of being human.

But today, the lesser in us all won.  And they were celebrating.

We are being tested.

If you stay silent,  you are among those that believe that not all humans are equal and that health care is a matter of ability to pay and not a right.

It is time to resist.  It is past time.

 

 

 

What does it mean….

Our Ethics have changed.  These are the standards of conduct we set as a requirement for social interactions.

The election of Trump and the subsequent tolerance of his lies, bullying and profiteering, represents a change in the standards of conduct for leaders.

Too many in the US have decided that they no longer require their leaders to tell the truth, to treat others with respect or to follow laws and regulations intended to keep political figures from personally profiting from political office.

Why?  Because the person elected promised to provide some compensation in exchange for tolerating previously unacceptable behavior.

“What’s in it for me?” is our new test of ethics.

Promise to return the pre-Digital Industrial Revolution jobs and you can do or say what you will.

Promise to take away / lower the taxes on the top 1%, and you can continue to lie.

Ethics don’t matter.  And those that still think they should need to ‘get over it’.

You cannot claim to have ethics (standards of conduct) if there is no consequence for acting in conflict with your ethical stand.

I want to believe that ‘The Resistance’ is trying to change this.  But I just witnessed one if the key leaders – Bernie Sanders – tell women that they should not expect to be able to demand that the elected officials we endorse align with our ethical stand.

I watch the media, including social media, and pundits focus on the actions of the president but let the leaders who have chosen not to pursue ethical violations off the hook.

Can you have ethics if there is no consequence?

This is the lesson of Nazi Germany – the slippery slope of eroding ethics.

When will we learn?

We are what we tolerate.

We have many options to show up and reclaim the principles and freedom that are supposed to be our foundation.  We have a chance to raise the bar for holding political office.

But will we?