Governor Greg Abbott of Texas has been lying about the school shootings in Uvalde from the beginning. He initially talked about the shooter using a handgun and we later found out he had no handgun. Abbott continued to lie about school resource officers and other events because he wanted to shift the narrative away from an eighteen year old murder buying assault rifles legally after his birthday. Abbott clearly understands his liability in the death of 21 people and he does not want the citizens of Texas to think about the policies he pursues. I am sure that Abbott enjoys the support of some Texans who feel that he is delivering what they want; but I hope that most people actually love life more than they favor bullying and harassment to return to the 1950s. The human brain is not fully formed until after the mid 20s. People who want assault weapons in their lives between the ages of 18 to 25 can join the military, reserves, or national guard. Research and support candidates who are in favor of sensible gun laws that reduce the death toll in America.
America has a problem. We love to destroy one another. We take issues and divide ourselves over them with a lot of lies thrown in to rationalize our positions; meanwhile reality tells us to stop lying. Deaths due to cigarette smoking continued for years while politicians and corporations lied. Pollution and Climate Crisis kill thousands in America and we still avoid the truth about the depth of knowingly caused destruction. QAnon and White Supremacist lie in a systemic way to point the heavily armed mentally ill at minorities or people they don’t like. Republicans claim to be pro-life but don’t support health care for all, or gun control to stop mentally ill 18 year olds with assault rifles. America is big into death and personal destruction. It is said that courtesy is the lubricant of society, but the “Pro Life” party uses personal attack on any who disagree with them. The January 6 coup attempt should have been enough. The children murdered in Uvalde, Texas are an atrocity that happens because we value the ability to kill and destroy more than the lives of children.
A core characteristic of evil is the belief that what one person desires is more important than what others want. Putin and his followers in Russia believe that what they want matters more than what the people of Ukraine want. Ukrainian refugees who abuse persons of color also attempting to escape war are guilty of exhibiting the same characteristic. I am not saying the evil acts are the same. I want to point out and clarify that evil can easily exist in any human being. The way that we can fight evil is to be clear about what it is. Rabbi Hillel described the Old Testament as telling us to ‘treat others as we would wish to be treated’; but modern life is full of examples and prompts that lead us to diminish others to maximize ourselves. Prompts for evil can be subtle or overt; a real estate commercial with testimonials from customers who all happen to NOT be Black or Asian people (are they too different or not transact real estate?), A presidential candidate telling police to handle suspects roughly, a political party denying accountability for criminal behavior while constantly lying and then saying “both sides do it”, state legislatures reducing the rights of women to control their bodies. Jesus told us “you will know the truth and the truth will set you free”. Liars attack decency and reality because they want to set up a world that puts them at the top of a hierarchy with EVERYONE else diminished. Do not buy the fascist idea that your group or tribe will be elevated over others, ultimately liars play everyone else for pawns in their delusional pursuit of power. Real power comes from controlling ourselves, not stealing it from others. Demand the truth and hold liars who damage reality to undermine others and aggrandize themselves accountable. Having a decent world depends on us being warriors against evil in all of it’s forms.
The John Lewis Voting Advancement Bill and the Freedom to Vote Bill are critical to the strengthening of the American republic. The more Americans who vote based on factual information will translate into better leadership and American success. The Republican wall to minimize voting and the Manchin/Sinema resistance to change cabal are problems that may lead to catastrophe. Opposing making it easier to cast a thoughtful vote while eliminating dark money, political gerrymandering, and Election Day lying is corrupt. If you are an American voter you have a long and short term strategy to minimize the threat to our future. In the short-term you can contact your representatives and the two Senators while contributing to Democratic campaigns. In the long-term you can support Democrats until Republicans start telling the truth and acting to support a stronger future for the American republic. People of good will must act with alacrity and energy to stave off violence and insanity in our streets.
We are entering a critical period in the story of America. We cannot undo what has already been done to bring us to this point, but we can act to avoid doom for our republic. Call, email, text, or write to your representatives to vote for the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. Fighting to make voting easier for American citizens is the best way to stop delusional authoritarians from destroying the country. When dark money is taken out of our elections and gerrymandered districts no longer allow politicians to select their voters; we will be stronger. Access to the truth, voter education and high citizen participation are critical for a strong democracy; we are trending in the wrong direction. Today’s Republican Party lies so often because they have propaganda networks that will echo what they say without challenge. Talking points that attack the truth and science are running rampant in our country. Before it is too late we must all remember the famous words of Senator Hiram Johnson; “The first casualty of war is the truth.” Who and what will be next in a struggle that January 6, 2021 only made clear?
We live in a time of liars and criminals attempting to determine reality and the future for America. Many of us thought that the forces of this sort of evil were defeated in World War II, but that is not the case. Accountability for people who have committed crimes and been pardoned by the 45th president, or others involved in the ongoing coup attempts seems too slow. If you are an American who has traditionally been Republican ask yourself are you a patriot, or a party member first. If you are independent ask yourself who is seeking accountability for people who attempted the overthrow the will of the people in the last election. If you are a Democrat keep contacting your representatives to push for justice and a better America through voting rights bills and the Build Back Better Act. If you are a decent person who dreams of a better world do all of the above, and be prepared to act against evil attempting to take over your country.
It has been said that the attack by Republicans and the right wing is really about blinding any analysis of systemic racism and white supremacist structures. Republicans lie and say that Critical Race Theory (CRT) is being taught in K-12 schools not to stop it from happening, but to demonize an analytical approach to understanding structural racism. If you make questioning evil a bad thing, then bad actors can continue the journey to hell unobstructed. Historians and academics are routinely warning us that we are on the road to authoritarianism because of the fascist playbook right wing politicians are using today. The right is increasingly desperate to limit democracy and intelligent discourse on the issues of the day. The goal of current Republicans is power; not improvement, or liberty and justice for all. Control the truth, control history, control the future. Research, act, and vote to preserve the American republic because white supremacy leads to authoritarianism.
Donald Trump, QAnnon, Anti-vaxxers, Birthers, Replacement theorist, KKK, Nazis etc. are some of the names of people who hate the world and threaten those who want to maintain decency. The indecent are on the prowl and supported by the Republican Party with help from Fox News and other far right media. The slow motion continuing coup started by Trump must be confronted for all of the lies and absurdities it is based on. Our problem is that the confrontation must be citizen powered because the haters are so energized and emboldened. The haters are broken and indecent people no doubt, but they will not stop until they meet a sturdy reality that does not play their game. Shame will not be enough; evil-doers and haters will require consequences to go back under rocks or into closets. I am hopeful that good people will emerge to win the future, but we must all show up and act to create a positive world.
People living today need to know what they believe in and why. If you have not taken the time to develop a philosophy or belief system about life and your role in it; take the time to get it done. Average citizens will need to make decisions about the direction and survival of our society in the coming months and years. You will be targeted by a lot of information designed to confuse or overwhelm with the goal of influencing your decision making. Prepare yourself by examining who you want to be, what you believe in, who you are, and what you want the future to look like. Be honest with yourself, seek the truth, and act to be proud of who you are.
The American Republic is under an assault that began with the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Numerous books detail the malevolence of the Trump administration with the assistance of Republicans in congress. Too many people who should recognize the threat to democracy seem to be focused on tribe rather than country or decency. If we go over the cliff of the Trump Republican’s reconstruction of the country by allowing their control of government; the carnage will likely lead existential levels of destruction. Corrupt authoritarian government will focus on lies and cruelty to secure domination inside the country while likely starting a war to maximize confusion. The dominoes will fall in both expected and unexpected ways that will diminish hope and the odds for a return to democracy. Research and act to save our republic and defend the hope for a better future.