There is a lot of evidence to suggest that the American population has more mental illness than other countries around the world. We are known for having a high usage of illicit drugs with more people locked up than anywhere else in the world. American culture has a built-in deceptive current of racism that caused the Association of Black Psychologists to state that if you are Black and not paranoid; there is something wrong with you. Politicians and media networks regularly declare that our greatest enemies are our fellow countrymen, and Trump stated that he trusted the Russian intelligence agencies more than American ones while he was president (receiving a lot of support after saying this). Americans are so distrustful of each other that we have more firearms than people in our country. It is valid to assume that a nation with so much conflict has more people suffering mental distress and illness. America has had a lot of success and much to be proud of; but selfishness and out of control egos make truth illusive. We need a new social contract that strengthens values like belief in a common good, individual work ethic, accountability, and integrity. Research and vote to keep liars and sociopaths out of power in our government, and to preserve our republic.
The Republican Party has abandoned democracy and gone all in on White Nationalism using White Replacement Theory as their tool of choice. The murderer at the Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York was radicalized by White Replacement Theory like many others. White Nationalist propaganda is using the Climate Crisis as a recruiting tool; appealing to selfishness and ego-centrism to bring out the rat in it’s targets. the idea is that whites will eliminate other people for access to land and food in a diminished world. A percentage of whites has always quietly supported terrorism aimed at Blacks and other minorities. Research shows that while racism costs everyone, it does have some beneficiaries. Too many people are okay with being vampires to their fellow citizens. Every decent person must push for Republicans to stop their overtly racist lies about Critical Race Theory, Blacks and other minorities. Every politician should cite sources for their stances and policy choices; and the burden of proof should be higher when pitting Americans against each other. I have never met a person who wanted to replace other Americans; they just want to be Americans. In America we talk a lot about “getting ahead”, but rarely about working together for a better world. Time is a resource that we can no longer waste if we want a future worthy of our potential. Will we end up in a race to the bottom, or a triumph of humanity? The future looks dark for many reasons today, but hope is still alive.
Ukrainians are battling Russian forces sent by a person who has seized control of the government and divided a lot of the money between his friends. America barely missed joining the club of nations run by authoritarians and their oligarchs on January 6th; but we are still awaiting what will happen to the would-be dictator (no charges for an attempted coup or other issues yet). Russians are lied to by state media and live in fear of being thrown in jail for saying the word “war”. Americans are lied to regularly by Republicans and radicalized media that place politics over truth. The battle between democracy and authoritarianism is more obvious after the invasion of Ukraine by Putin, but the result is far from clear. Some Russians dream of a great empire led by their country. They want to feel special and high on the hierarchy of cultures, just like some Americans who dream of an openly racist society that elevates their status. Lazy people with dreams of grandeur are fine with lies and violence to prop up their pathetic egos. Cain slew Able because he felt his brother had something that he lacked and was too weak to work on. Research and act to support truth, freedom, dignity for all, and democracy, Victimizing others will not create stronger people, societies, or futures.
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.
Far-right Republicans (who are rarely rebuked by other Republicans with Trump never held accountable) and Fascists around the world have adopted a strategy of lies and threats to shape their version of self-centered reality. Everything that does not elevate the disturbed people who are filled with self-hate and repression is attacked. If you are different that is attacked with the victim portrayed as less than human. The fascist typically slip up and reveal the truth – there is not a threat from others driving their behavior; it is a profound disturbance inside themselves that they lack the courage to face. Every person who dreams of better days for humanity and the world must first seek the truth while fighting indecency, disrespect for others, and violence. Humankind is facing the increasing threat of climate crisis that will reveal our true nature; we will learn to work and live together as brothers, or die as fools. Act and prepare now to resist the power of hatred, greed, and deception. Ukrainians are seen on the front line of the battle against fascism now, but it is really all of us.
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.
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.
We live in a time of steroidal bad news, but there is reason for hope as we finish 2021 and roll into 2022. Joe Biden is President and Donald Trump is not, and the failure of the Trump coup effort to date is a reason for hope. The truth is stronger than it was in 2020 because Trump is not in office spewing a stream of lies. Scientist say that the climate crisis is bad, but could be worse. Because government and private industry are responding to the challenge the worst version of climate change may be avoided. More will need to be done on climate, but the good news is we have reason for hope, and must push for a more human-friendly planet on all people (as well as other creatures and living things). Governments and institutions are making progress in protecting society against COVID. You can feel the potential for a return to a comfortable new normal after the pandemic has become manageable. Responsible institutions and organizations are pushing the idea of human dignity and against far-right hate, misogyny, and nazism. Major issues will remain with us, but there are reasons to hope for progress and improvement in 2022 if we remain engaged.
Upcoming elections are really about white supremacy. Why is this the situation we are in? Republicans continue to lie and support the Big Lie to gain power and provide fascist sympathizers with an excuse if they cannot face the truth. Evidence: 1) Republicans refuse to hold Trump or his insurrectionists accountable for January 6, or an ongoing attack on the Rule of Law and the US Constitution. 2) Republicans claim that Critical Race Theory is taking over the schools as a racist trope to stage attacks on factual history (George Orwell said “who controls the past controls the future”) in the education system. 3) Republicans undermine the right to vote, ease of voting, and the primacy of the vote (if Republicans don’t win they seek the right to overturn or replace the election results). 4) Republicans consistently support welfare and government support for the rich while blocking any investments in working American citizens. The list of authoritarian and anti-democratic acts and behaviors by Republicans could continue, but the most important thing is for Americans to act and vote to stop the creeping disaster that is the Republican Party today.
The saying that it is darkest before the dawn is hopefully true. We are living in a time of pessimism with good reason. Climate crisis, threats of authoritarianism, COVID and pandemics are a few examples of threats to our way of life. I think we have to stay hopeful and act to minimize the worst extinct of ourselves and others. It is hard to be positive at a time where the evidence says to prepare for the worst. Prepare for increasing threats to liberty and life, but work and hope for the better days ahead.