Let’s get something straight. There’s little love lost between me and the government. I don’t believe, despite being (ostensibly) a constitutional republic embodied in a democratic body politic, that we are in actuality a functioning democracy. Sure, we have elections, but I have a hard time believing most of the people who are able to run for office represent the majority of us. It takes too much money to wage a successful campaign, especially for a statewide or nationwide office.
According to Open Secrets, as of 2020 more than half of the members of the 116th Congress were millionaires and the median net worth of the entire House was a little over $1,000,000.00. Contrast that with the median household net worth of all Americans as of 2020 which, according to Census.gov, is a mere $140,800.00.
Keep in mind, that’s the median. That means half the population has even less wealth and, again according to Census.gov, the bottom 10% of American households have a negative net worth (-$1,450.00)! That 10% represents 33 million people. That’s an awful lot of people residing in the so-called wealthiest nation in the world who have a collective negative net worth.
This being the case, I find it hard to imagine virtually any politician being able to empathize with and understand the issues most Americans are faced with in living their lives. While there may be some local elected officials who aren’t reasonably well-off, I think it safe to say the majority, especially in the more populous states, are in at least the 75th percentile when it comes to income and net worth.
I’m pointing this out to make an argument for my not being an apologist or cheerleader for the ruling class of these United States of America. Add to that my years of experience in the peace & justice movement during the late sixties and early seventies, as well as my two-month trip to Cuba in 1973 as a guest of the Cuban government, and you might get the idea I’m not exactly enamored of the way our country is managed. Also, even though I “settled down” after my years of full-time activism, I’ve still remained a socialist and am supportive of progressive (if not revolutionary) ideas and action. Truth to tell, the only reason I’m not currently advocating for a socialist revolution in this country is because I’m a privileged white man and I don’t think it’s my place to suggest actions that may affect others far more adversely than they will affect me. I believe a revolution in this country would best be led by others than the likes of me.
Nevertheless, if forced to choose between what I would characterize as the regular order of how things are run and the kind of order people who support groups like this Armored Republic wants to equip so they can “honor Jesus” by arming themselves to the teeth to “defend” what they conceive of as “liberty”, I’ll take the former. I have no doubt these jerks are Christian white supremacists and their idea of freedom doesn’t include participation by people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, most women, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, etc.
These are the kind of people who stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2001 and who support and defend Donald Trump. I want nothing to do with them or the kind of society they envision constructing to honor their “savior”.
Apparently, WordPress’s embed tool for Twitter forces publishing of the previous tweet if your publishing a response to it, hence the reappearance of Brian’s initial tweet from the thread. Having lost the account I created in 2006 last year, I am now approaching 900 followers, which is a few thousand less than I had. Some of those followers were from way back and, frankly, there’s no way I could recall who all of them are. Also, back then I was far more active in implementing social media inside the firewall of the large aerospace company I was then working for, as well as collaborating with an international group of practitioners who were interested in facilitating the same thing where they worked. So I’m gratified that, after a mere two hours my response has been liked by 83 people, retweeted four times, and even elicited a one word response, to wit: “I agree.”
The thread goes on for seven more tweets, the last two wrapping up the point he’s making:
In response to this thread I offered the following:
I do want to reiterate the point. In my opinion, too many people hear Margaret Mead’s quote and apply it to the changes they’re hoping to bring about. They’re not wrong, but I suspect their take on it is a little incomplete. I believe this is Brian’s point. A small group of “thoughtful, committed citizens” with bad intent and nefarious motives can also bring about change, and it won’t be anything near what progressives are working toward. Therefore, let’s keep our eyes on the prize and not delude ourselves, ever!
I have now received a link to this video from several different sources and I think it’s a valuable resource for any American concerned about the continued viability of our government. I don’t believe it’s crazy to be prepared for the worst, because it’s been made pretty clear over the past four years that nothing is sacred to the “most powerful man in the world.”
The video I had linked to (below) has apparently been removed and is no longer available. Fortunately, I found a website that contains the very information that was in the video, which can be accessed here.
The reality is, he may be powerful (he does have the weight of the federal government, including the military, on his side . . . theoretically) but the true power of any nation resides in its people. Without the consent of the governed, especially the way we’re organized politically, economically, and socially, keeping things running would be near impossible.
There is one more thing that’s necessary for the people to be able to control their own destiny, and that’s organization. Without being organized, connected, and communicating we won’t be able to assert our authority, our will over the powers-that-be.
With that in mind, I’m sharing the video above. If you haven’t the time to watch (it’s 7:02) below is a list of those ten things you need to know to stop a coup. Watch the video for a little more detail. One more thing, you can learn more at https://tallyrally.org/allourvotes/.
Don’t expect results on election night
Do call it a coup
Regular citizens stop coups
Act quickly—and not alone
Focus on widely shared democratic values, not on individuals
Convince others not to freeze or just go along
Commit to actions that represent rule of law, stability, and non-violence
I posted my thoughts yesterday about what I perceive to be a need to re-examine how we view voting. I’m glad there seem to be quite a few Republicans who are dead set against returning Trump to the White House, and this is one of them, but we need to send an overwhelming message to Trump and his supporters. A message that can’t be denied; one that won’t allow Trump to cast credible doubt on the outcome, and that’s going to require getting turnout above its historical average (since 1948) of 58%.
Think of how pathetic that actually is. I, like all of us, seem to have been lulled into thinking as long as we still had voting we were somehow still a constitutional republic with a reasonably democratic methodology of choosing our leaders and representatives in government. How can we do that when well over four out of ten people don’t bother to vote; considerably less during mid-terms?
So . . . the issue seems to me that we have precious little time remaining to convince a quarter of those who generally don’t vote to do so this time around. That could make a huge difference in having the landslide we need to (hopefully) avoid some of the harsher unpleasantries I’m sure Trump will attempt.
After that, we need to keep the pedal to the medal. We need to push for greater civic engagement and greater educational opportunities to clearly demonstrate the value of voting, which should be recognized as nothing more than engaging with the people who make decisions affecting your life, your health, and your children’s future.
Perhaps it’s increasing PSAs that explain and educate on issues of import to most Americans, e.g. what the real differences are between capitalism and socialism and how the distribution of wealth is affected by each, or how the stock market really works and what sectors of the economy benefit from its ups and downs. We also need to teach civics far more thoroughly and accurately than we do now, starting in elementary school.
I don’t think we can just sit by and only vote once every two years any longer. While I’ve voted in every election I was eligible for, I haven’t always remained engaged politically, other than to pay attention and, sometimes, not even do that for chunks of time. We need to build civic engagement into our culture. Without it, the forces of reaction will chip away at our freedoms and our franchise until there’s precious little left. Look around. It’s just about what’s already happened under our noses. We can’t, as a nation, endure this way. We, the people, must once again take charge of our own destinies. Most of today’s politicians not only don’t, but aren’t capable of understanding our needs, rather than the needs of their donors. That must change!
This is such a great idea. It should be done for Bar and Bat Mitzvahs (though there will be far fewer of those) and confirmations . . . at any rite of passage. Isn’t citizenship and participation at the very heart of a strong, functioning democracy? Isn’t it?
For a few moments, Aleida Ramos, wearing her rose-colored tiara, coral dress with the scalloped bell skirt and cowgirl boots, floated above family and friends, uplifted by tradition, community and family.
It was Aleida’s quinceañera — her 15th birthday celebration — and at this moment, the men and boys had lifted her straight up as her guests applauded, a high point in a day dedicated to her.
But even though she had permission to soak up all the attention, she dedicated a part of the event to a bigger cause. In the entry of the family-owned event hall where her party was being held, Aleida had made room for the Latino youth advocacy group Jolt Initiative so it could register her mostly Hispanic guests to vote.
Want to understand Systems better? Check out Peter Senge, Russell Ackoff, W. Edwards Deming, or just search Google for some info
When I first started this blog, one of my goals was to bring a systems perspective to my posts. Circumstance made that goal a bit difficult at times, and my interests are a bit too eclectic for me to stay in a single lane, but it is a perspective I feel most comfortable with and believe is useful in understanding the world and human society and relationships.
It’s long been clear to me that many people haven’t the faintest idea how systems work and how not understanding the interplay of their aggregate parts makes it virtually impossible to make quality, informed decisions.
In order for democracy to be spread and actually implemented in ways that are meaningful to ordinary people (who are often really afterthoughts to our institutions and those who lead them) I am convinced we need to become not merely critical thinkers, but also “systems thinkers”, i.e. we need to learn how to “see” systems. We, meaning “the people”, need to recognize how all things are parts of systems and that smaller systems are parts of other, more encompassing systems. Whether closely or remotely, we need to recognize how things are related to each other, such that we can appreciate the ways in which they affect and sometimes transform each other.
When this happens without our fully (or even partially) understanding these effects, we call them “unintended consequences.” However, these generally come about not because we failed to appreciate their possibility, but because we didn’t even see how they were related. It is our ignorance — in the non-pejorative sense — that’s causing us harm, because we just don’t see the subtle interplay of forces or the way they interact with each other. I plan on continuing to touch on this subject, as well as the other things that interest me. Stay tuned!
I am well aware the Republicans are threatening to take over the Senate and retain control of the House. I am also well aware that democracy as we think we know it is in danger of going the way of the Dodo bird and the very structure of the universe is threatened.
Unfortunately, I’m kind of stretched real thin and I’ve given about as much as I can for now. Do you want me to take out a second on my home? I receive about a dozen pleas each day, some of them worded so direly as to make me want to vomit.
I can only do so much, even if each one of my $3.00 donations will be tripled. I’d still end up donating a couple hundred dollars each and every week. You know that old saying, “You can’t squeeze dollars out of someone who’s living on a fixed income”, don’t you?
I’ve tried unsubscribing, but each time I sign an online petition about something I really do care about (even if I can’t afford to donate to it) I’m subscribed again because many of them don’t give me the opportunity to opt out. Really. I’m not even a Democrat; you’re too conservative for my tastes, but I am a pragmatist and I will generally vote Democratic. You’re beginning to make me wonder why.
We have AT&T’s U-verse in our home and The Daily Show doesn’t air until 11:00 pm Mon – Thu, so I record it (along with The Colbert Report) and generally watch the next day. Shortly after I posted this, I went to watch last night’s show and, lo and behold, Jon Stewart addressed this very issue in his opening segment. It’s a great piece, so I’m adding it below in case you haven’t had the opportunity to see it. Unfortunately, I can only find it in two parts. Once again, he nails it and this time he’s skewering the Democrats, who richly deserve every word.
I retired nearly 13 years ago, though I've continued to work during most of the time since then. I'm hoping to return to work on the RS-25 rocket engine program (formerly the SSME) which will power our return to the moon. Mostly I'm just cruising, making the most of what time I have remaining.
Although my time is nearly up, I still care deeply about the kind of world I'll be leaving to those who follow me and, to that end, I am devoted to seeing the forces of repression and authoritarianism are at least held at bay, if not crushed out of existence.
I write about things that interest me and, as an eclectic soul, my interests run the gamut from science to spirituality, governance to economics, art and engineering. I'm hopeful one day my children will read what I've left behind.
The views expressed herein are those of the author. Any opinions regarding the value or worth of particular business processes, tools, or procedures, whether at his former place of employment, at a current client's enterprise, or in general, are his responsibility alone.