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.
On January 6th Donald Trump urged people to go to the Capitol as part of his effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election; he failed. I hope that the Russian people rise up to remove a homicidal megalomaniac Putin from destroying thousands of lives in his drive for Russian empire and self-aggrandizement. It is pathetic that people are roped into supporting lies and idiots; but it has happened here in the USA and now Russia. We have been blessed that ego-centric clowns have been revealed and dismissed here in the United States. I hope the good people of Russia can see the way to rejecting idiocy and advancing the cause of human decency and righteousness. I do not support the destruction of human life, but I would rather see a few people removed from power by whatever means, than see the deaths of thousands. The people of Ukraine have shown amazing courage and fortitude while the rest of us watch and hope for the best. We must all do more than hope; every politician should be pushed to pursue righteousness instead of power. Here in America we have evil Republican politicians who must be held accountable after there attempt to overthrow democracy to grow their own power through Trump. As citizens of the world we must move to halt the Climate Crisis while supporting democracy and rejecting the evil of fascism. Putin has used racism and fascism to enhance his own power and influence. We are in days that challenge us to choose between being rats, or human beings striving to be the best version of ourselves.
A lot of people are shifting to streaming services to save money which suggests that cable television prices are too high. The other possibility is that streaming services (both free and paid) are increasing in value and quality. Most people do not watch a lot of TV because doing so can cause you to sit more which is bad for your health. We are creatures of habit who create bubbles that reinforce our preconceptions about the world; TV is a part of that bubble. Part of growing is having the resources and security to take risks. If you can reduce your cable bill and seize control of both your finances and what is being presented to you about the world; do it. People who are active in their lives are happier. Look at your budget and determine if your resource allocation for television is worthy of the cost. The small step of taking control of a piece of your life could become a habit, leading to greater peace, balance, happiness, and success.
Vladimir Putin and the Russian oligarchs appear to be set for an attack on Ukraine despite warnings from a united NATO. Putin does not seem to be concerned about the long-term consequences because he has allies. American right-wing media buy the fascist tribal rationales that Putin and the oligarchs use to obscure their theft and greed. The Russian oligarchs have heavily invested in western businesses and have made a lot more headway than the communists ever did. Money and power are desired by amoral opportunists everywhere. Republicans are attacking the right to vote and the impact of the vote in America; just like Putin and the oligarchs in Russia. Russians are not free and they will be distracted by Putin’s war in Ukraine as he solidifies himself as ruler for life. Are we headed for a similar fate in America? Americans need to be ready to defend freedom and democracy over here, and over there. Support President Biden and the Democrats until Republicans cease their support of Trump’s attacks on truth and democracy.
Questions are being asked about whether one of the two major political parties is dedicated to America’s democratic experiment. Here are some of the reasons that Republicans are considered to be an anti-democratic force right now: 1) Republicans have adopted the big lie sold by Donald Trump that the 2020 election was fixed, or hacked, or stolen; with no evidence. 2) Republicans have not rebuked Donald Trump for his assault on the 2020 election or his encouragement of the January 6th insurrection. 3) Republicans do not want to investigate what took place at the US Capitol on January 6th or the events leading up to the assault. 4) Republicans are implicated in spreading the Big Lie before the assault on the Capitol and have politicized it to make voting more difficult for US citizens. 5) Republicans are gerrymandering voting districts to create imbalance in legislative bodies at the state and federal levels; removing representation from US citizens. 6) Republicans will not identify policies that they are in favor of as a party for the second time after the 2020 elections when they also had no party platform. The idea seems to be selling whatever fear works for the weeks during elections without a direction or theme. There are more reasons that today’s Republican Party represents a threat to democracy. Research and act to protect your rights as a citizen. Authoritarians and oligarchs reward those who sell themselves for status and power, but they have no interest in the common good. Voting against the current Republicans until they rebuild themselves as responsible leaders with new principled candidates committed to government that represents the American people.
The audiobook “The Water Will Come” by Jeff Goodell is an enjoyable non-fiction account of sea level rise and its impact on civilization. “The Water Will Come” explains that we are already feeling the effects in major cities like New York and Miami. Goodell also makes it clear that more is coming and it will likely happen sooner than expected. I highly recommend this book as a well-written fast paced exploration of what is happening, has happened, and will continue. The audiobook makes the threats and societal possibilities of climate change intriguing and highly relevant. If you want to learn more about climate change and its effects “The Water Will Come” by Jeff Goodell is a good entry to understanding the critical issue of our time. Goodell makes clear that we are all responsible for the future through our choices and actions.
America today is a dysfunctional democracy. One party is under the control of Donald Trump, a person who tried to overthrow the will of the American people in 2020. Trump maintains his control of the Republican party through fear, so it is hard to claim the elected persons in that party are leaders. The Republican Party is full of cowardly followers and opportunistic charlatans who will say and do anything to advance their personal careers. The dysfunction of the Republicans has been a long journey fueled and bolstered by racism, misogyny, and fascism. Ridiculous lies and criminal actions by Republicans have become meaningless because their supporters seem not to care. We may be drifting towards a crisis where the usual loudmouths threaten and harass the republic; the real explosion will come when the silent democracy-loving majority responds in the streets. Republicans will use voter suppression, gerrymandering, harassment, lies, and propaganda to win or appear to win elections. We all should do everything that we can to avoid Republican political victory due to apathy or confusion. Research and act to preserve peace and hope in America.
Americans have been divided over everything from the January 6th attack on the US Capitol to Climate Crisis and COVID, but the forces that threaten our society are relentless. The carbon build-up in the atmosphere is causing changes to the climate that are clear to anyone paying attention, and the scientist are saying these changes are accelerating beyond previous estimates. COVID deaths in the United States are over 900,000 but we appear to be moving toward a more normal future of living with the virus. The January 6th committee in Congress and Justice Department are looking into Trump and his Allies in the insurrection as they would any criminal organization. While all of these issues continue in as public concerns we have a Russian threat to Ukraine and potentially US allies in Europe. America as usual faces a range of very real threats, but we do so with a president who puts this country (it’s people and it’s interests) first. Time is not a friend to our country or humanity for these issues except maybe COVID. President Biden and his executive branch have their work cut out for them, they will need all the support and votes we can give them
The Russian leader and his oligarch henchmen currently menacing Ukraine and NATO’s eastern border are counting on a weakened United States and Western Europe. Putin’s primary tools in weakening his foes are cyber warfare, white supremacist fascism, and propaganda spread by right wing mass and social media. The Russians know America is divided and that they have allies who openly champion the cause of the oligarchs under the cover of racism and grievance. We don’t know who the new oligarchs will be in America, or if they are already members of the club. We have a lot of evidence of strange behavior by people in power who seem not to care about democracy or truth. Every American should make themselves aware of clear and present dangers that have factual basis. Conspiracy theories can typically not be proven, but we have evidence piling up of internal and external threats to freedom and democracy. Act and vote to defend your rights and freedoms.
Examples of Republican weakness in the face of an attempted fascist takeover byTrump and his followers continues to grow. Many Republican officeholders appear to have participated in a conspiracy to overthrow a democratic election in 2020; but former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich threatens Democrats with imprisonment if they keep investigating. The saying that power corrupts absolutely is played out daily in front of the American people by Republicans who offer racism and victimization of the other as a rationale to vote for obviously corrupt liars. We can no longer pretend that both sides do it when one party has made an effort to overthrow the will of the people and is planning to block access to the ballot after manipulating voting districts. Tribalism is a powerful force but so is love of the truth and freedom. America is at a crossroads where one road leads to a land of lying politicians whose only goal is power as they increase their control of reality through media propaganda outlets. When you see or hear stories about how terrible Biden and the Democrats are think of Trump and the weak twisted liars running the Republican Party.