Monday, February 10, 2020

Do We Really WANT A Democracy?


by muon

Something extraordinary happened this past week in the US. I don't mean the impeachment trial. That's been rare in American history, but not extraordinary, except perhaps how the outcome of this one trial was reached. But let's go back to the night before the vote, when the chamber of the US House of Representatives sounded more like one of Hitler's rallies in the 1930s.

Every Congressperson in that chamber, whether senator or representative, knew that almost everything coming out of Trump mouth that night was an outright lie or exaggeration, even before the Associated Press came out with their official fact-check the next day, yet Republicans not only did their usual standing ovations, but they chanted aloud over and over, yelling "Four more years!" as if they were drunken teenagers at a school football game, cheering on their team.

In 2009, when Joe Wilson yelled "You lie!" at President Obama during the State of the Union, the entire audience gasped and Wilson received a formal rebuke by the House of Representatives. At last Tuesday's speech, the only person punished for yelling out was Fred Guttenberg, a father whose daughter had been murdered by gun violence at Parkland. Right now in America, we punish for grief and reward for lies, deception and cheating.

Which brings us back to the Senate vote the next day. Most senators have been to law school. They understand the law. They understand evidence, and they all knew there was enough of it to prove Trump guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, even without more witnesses and documents. Some GOP senators gave that as their reasoning for not voting for more witnesses. Yet all but one GOP senator voted Not Guilty on the both articles, and that one senator, stupidly, voted Not Guilty on the article of obstruction, the one most easily proved. Every one of them KNEW they were going against the law and against their oath of office. 

So what is happening in this country to make otherwise educated, (one would hope) intelligent, and yes, mostly well-to-do men and women blindly follow a man like Trump, who has no respect for the laws of our democracy or even for anything close to fairness and decency? Those senators had no second thoughts about taking on the mantle of that disrespect and lack of decency themselves.

I'd like to believe that at least some of those Congresspersons, even as they were chanting during the speech and especially as they were voting "Not Guilty" the next day, had little twinges of conscience way back in their brains, telling them "No, this isn't how a democracy is supposed to work." But in the face of all that blind Hitler-like devotion to their leader the last week, they seem to have become monsters before our eyes. 

Yet, I see an envy for that devotion on the Democratic side too. I think it's why the Democrats seem to be having such a difficult time sorting through candidates. It's not that they want someone so perfectly qualified that victory is assured. It's that they want someone who can be put on a pedestal, who inspires in them a willingness to follow the candidate off a cliff if necessary. They don't think anyone can defeat Trump unless their candidate is also like him. They want someone who'll make them "feel" a part of something bigger than themselves, the way Trump Nation seems to -- a charismatic golden idol who will fix everything single-handedly. Then all the voters have to do is sit back, wave flags and cheer.

Democracy doesn't work THAT way either. We seem to be gauging potential presidents by the size of the crowds or noise made at rallies. Rallies don't run a government. That's obvious from the last 3+ years. Yet everyone seems to now crave daily political drama on their newsfeeds more than a return to a sane functioning government of the people.

What I want in a president is someone sensible enough to appoint qualified, knowledgeable people to be in the cabinet and head the departments. People who we can trust to get us our tax refunds and Social Security checks. People who'll make sure our water is safe to drink and our interstate bridges are safe to drive across. People competent enough to quickly take care of Americans who've been through hurricanes, tornados, floods, earthquakes and wildfires. People who'll care for separated refugee families with compassion as they do their best to reunite children with family members. People who'll revitalize our education system. People who'll actively work to reverse the human causes of climate change instead of shutting down every federal research facility studying it. People who can negotiate with foreign leaders without cooking up back-room deals that give a select few Americans more power or wealth. People who'll protect fair elections and keep them open to all US citizens.

I think any of the Democratic front-runners can do the job. We shouldn't stress over charisma, or even stress over differing policies right now. The task of putting back together the tattered shreds of the current government needs to be job one. Keep your eyes on the prize:  Democracy.

We don't need a president who inspires us to chant in ecstasy when he/she enters a room. That's not American. It's not Democracy. It's Fascism. But remember, when you're busy voting for a president who'll preserve our democracy next November, also vote out all the congresspeople who'd turn this country into a dictatorship. Don't sit back, complacently waving flags, while your power – the power of the people -- is being taken away.


Wednesday, January 22, 2020

LET’S PRETEND


by Ruth A. Sheets

As I followed the impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives and the lead-up to and beginning of the Senate trial, one thing is crystal.  The Republicans as well as the Democrats know perfectly well that Donald J. Trump is guilty of the charges brought against him through impeachment, and probably of a lot more too.

I was pretty sure of this a month ago, but my thinking clarified as I listened to the rules set up by Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader of the Senate.  These rules were set to govern the proceedings of the trial.  None of the rules were designed in any way to promote fairness or justice.  They were carefully designed solely to protect Mr. Trump from accountability for his actions:  no witnesses, no documents, few reporters and those with no writing implements or recording devices, one set of cameras, etc.  When one sees this it is hard to imagine these moves are to learn the truth.

I wondered how this pretense could have been allowed to happen.  Then, I thought back over Mr. Trump’s behavior before and after his election to the presidency of the United States.  What did and does his behavior remind me of, that of an 8-year-old bully.  This is obvious to a lot of people and we can’t help but ponder why would any adult want to be governed by a childish bully.  I am coming to think it is because his childish behavior has triggered the natural human tendency to protect children.

Mr. Trump cannot give a coherent speech.  He yells a lot, then has to mumble something that either supports what he has just shouted or contradicts it.  None of it makes sense, but those listening feel compelled to reach out to help him to make sense, the way a parent does to a child who is being incoherent.

This feeling in Republicans, Evangelicals, and some other conservatives has essentially been unchallenged for more than four years.  The media and supporters act as though Mr. Trump’s behavior is “normal” and just shows Mr. Trump is a strong leader.  They have no real evidence of this strength, just the loud bullying, insulting, rude, trouble-making child who needs them to protect their Donnie from the big bad Democrats, Muslims, immigrants, left-wingers and anyone else who might criticize their child.  It sure reminds me of the parents who rush into a school to complain that a teacher who gave their child the grade he deserved, was picking on him.

When the Republicans senators sitting as a jury having taken a solemn oath vote to acquit Mr. Trump without witnesses, documents, or any of the other critical pieces necessary for a fair trial, Mr. Trump will claim victory and those Republicans will walk off knowing they did the wrong thing, but will go right on protecting their Donnie, the defenseless child, the one who started a trade war with China, then claimed victory when part of that war was stopped by himself.  This is the child-man who sets Iran up for war, then claims victory when Iran decides not to go to war directly with the United States.  This is the Donald Trump who sways with the winds of lobbyists and the swamp-dwellers with whom he surrounds himself.

Like so many child bullies, Mr. Trump breaks the rules (law), then claims not only that he did nothing wrong, but that the other person was at fault and he did everything just right (perfectly).  That person should be locked up, even killed for treason.

He is a child who was never told “no.”  Money lets a kid get away with that.  So, this child has lied to everyone all the time, more than 13,000 times in 3 years, losing no support from his protectors who can’t allow their child to be blamed for anything, and “they were only little, insignificant lies” after all,” the say.

Mr. Trump is a lot like the child kings that have periodically ruled.  These children have no idea the level or consequences of the power they wield, but are willingly used by others for their own purposes as long as they get what they want.  Like kids playing war, Mr. Trump slides into the role of leader and if the other kids don’t go along with what he wants, he smashes their toys and makes them leave.  Mr. Trump wants also to be like a Mafia Don who can order people to disappear and is furious when they don’t.  The child-Don keeps pushing the limits of his power and because his protectors are only focused on protecting him at any cost, they don’t realize that they too could be among those whom he will want to disappear.

One can’t help but ask what the protectors are getting from this.  Well, they are getting the good feeling that comes from protecting a child.  Then, they know they can use the child’s power to get what they want.  They got an extra Supreme Court justice.  They got all kinds of environmental regulations rolled back for the companies that support their campaigns.  They got lots of judges for lower courts whom they are sure will rule in their favor for decades.  They got a huge tax break for their wealthy selves and their friends.  They created groups to hate so their appalling behavior will be obscured by targeting those horrible people:  immigrants, Jews, Muslims, women, LGBT, abortionists, etc. and etc.    The child they are protecting may be aware of what they are doing, but he doesn’t care because he doesn’t even understand more than that he will be taken care of, and if he isn’t, he will destroy those who are in his way.

It is so embarrassing to hear “grown” men defending the obviously guilty Mr. Trump, then claiming that the Democrats don’t have a case.  These grown” men posture for the television, particularly Fox “News” that is also using and manipulating these men for their own purposes, and those vary over time.  They claim Mr. Trump’s poor playmates are not guilty, and even more, are falsely accused of the crimes they have actually committed.  

I know this is sexist, but I thought it was mostly women who were caught up in the almost blind desire to protect children, but in Donnie’s case, it is “grown” men who stand up, spreading as many lies and false accusations as they can on his behalf, pretending he is guilt-free.  They should be ashamed, but they have no shame.  If they did, they would have to admit they have been had by a child bully, Donald Trump.

Monday, November 11, 2019

OPEN LETTER TO Senator Patrick J. Toomey

Pat Toomey, career politician  
by Ruth A. Sheets

Dear Senator Toomey,

I know you care nothing for the global warming that is taking over our planet, but I thought I would try to convince you to support the Paris Climate agreement along with the entire rest of the world.  The U.S. is really not looking good when it is the only nation standing outside the agreement, and doing nothing nationally to stop global warming.  Knowing this and that the rest of Republican America is with you, I can’t help but think Republicans care nothing for their children, grandchildren, and into the future.  What would make anyone think otherwise? 

Global warming is the greatest crisis in our lifetime.  It needs your attention.  One way to address this crisis would be passing a law stating the United States will remain in the Paris climate agreement despite what Mr. Trump wants.  (who by the way knows nothing about global warming).

A difficult, but meaningful way to do this would be to cosponsor S.Res.404, a resolution sponsored by Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland. This resolution would ensure  the U.S. officially remains in the Paris Climate Agreement, accelerate U.S. efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and encourage our leadership in making the agreement more than just pieces of paper.

We really don’t have much time to act, yet  instead of moving forward the United States is stepping back from any leadership we could have had in saving our planet.  You and other Republican Senators have allowed Mr. McConnell to decide for you that nothing will be done to protect our air, land, and water or to cut greenhouse emissions.  This, of course, means you are in agreement with him.  Letting the EPA reduce protections for our air, water, and land puts us all at risk, yes, even you wealthy folks.  You ultimately have to breathe the same air and drink the same water.  (Oh wait, you think bottled water won’t be affected don’t you?) 

I get it, Republicans standing against Donald Trump is really hard.  I honestly have no idea what he has over you, and I know he would throw you under the bus if you cross him, but it is time you stand up for yourself and for the people of Pennsylvania, the nation, and the world.  Think about the future generations of your own family if you can’t summon caring for anyone else.

Thank you, 
Ruth Sheets

Friday, August 9, 2019

MOSCOW MITCH

by Ruth A. Sheets

Moscow Mitch is the best handle I’ve heard so far for Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate.  Mr. McConnell is self-seeking, profiteering, and willing to betray the Constitution for power and money. There are those who think Russian leaders fit this description too.

I do not write these words glibly.  Mr. McConnell has been working for years to undermine the government of the United States through his leadership in the Senate.  I suspect this is why he was elected to this position in the first place (Minority Leader first). 

As the Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell pledged to stop any legislation President Obama proposed.  Why?  Is it because he wanted to obstruct justice, or all Democrats?  Was it racism?  It is hard to tell, but it was clearly self-aggrandizing behavior.  It made him the darling of the Tea Party, you remember, those ultra-right Republicans who simply hate our government (as long as it is helping people other than themselves.

How does this self-aggrandizing behavior manifest itself?  It does in many ways.

Mr. McConnell glibly commented that of course, he would hold hearings and a vote for a Supreme Court nominee if needed next year even though it is an election year.  Why is this problematic?  He claimed election year was the reason he would not hold hearings for a President Obama nominee in 2016.  Therefore, he stood against the Constitution when it was a Black, Democratic president, but won’t when it is a White Republican one. For him, the Constitution is conditional.

He pushes through totally inappropriate nominees for judgeships around the nation to implant some kind of ultra conservative judiciary.  To what purpose, not certain, but he seems to think his racist, homophobic, xenophobic, misogynistic, mega Christians will somehow benefit.  And, who cares about the rest of the country!

In addition, as Majority Leader, he refuses to bring bills from the House to discussion in the Senate nor to a vote, then pushes through bills that no one has properly read, on party lines that serve the very wealthy and huge corporations.  He ignores the fact that large numbers of Americans are in favor, for example, of sensible gun control, but he refuses a vote on a measure from the House of Representatives or any other proposal.

He is benefiting financially too.  He uses his influence to get special contracts from foreign entities (Some Russian) for Kentucky, his state.  His wife’s in on it too, and she holds a cabinet position.

To me all this makes Mitch McConnell a traitor to his oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States.

McConnell believes, and acts like, as "The Grim Reaper" he has the right to do whatever he wants, Constitution or no Constitution.  Is that treason?  It is when he refuses to bring up legislation that could make our elections safer from foreign interference as happened in the 2016 election.  It's also what one might expect of leaders in Russia.  Moscow Mitch.  Yep, that’s him! 

Friday, August 2, 2019

THE LINE

by Ruth A. Sheets

I just finished reading the novel Resistance by Jennifer A. Nielsen.  It is  about the holocaust in Poland.  As I read, I could not help but think we now have concentration camps here in America.  We permit our president to malign people of color, to drag children away from parents for indefinite periods, just because.  And, Mr. Trump’s (that president)  followers accept this as well.

It is not that I can't believe it is happening here, I do.  I have watched the fear mongering by Republican candidates and government operatives since 9/11 and beyond.  This has caused many conservatives to jump into fear in ways that can set aside their humanity.  It is that I don’t want  it to be happening here.

Ms. Nielsen’s book describes some of the atrocities perpetrated on Polish Jews and others during WWII.   They were done by people who were racists but would not have tortured and shot children in the streets before the flood of fear overtook them.  We know now that what  happened to them is the fear part of the brain, the amygdala took over and they saw only animals, cockroaches needing to be stepped on before they were destroyed.  These fear-drowned people would then go with their kids to ride the merry-go-round while people down the street were being massacred. 

When and how did the crossover happen for those Germans and Poles?  When will the crossover happen to conservatives here? 

It was not a wide line they had to cross.  It began slowly with shunning Jews, just not talking to or doing business with them anymore.  The next steps were also rather small, but inevitable for a lot of people, turning their backs on cruelties done by others, stealing Jewish property, tossing rocks through windows, gossiping to neighbors about some imagined action one of them did.  Ultimately, they "got off on" the hurting and killing through a steady escalation. 

What about here?  Well, there are already many who would prefer dead migrants in the desert to living ones asking for refuge or asylum.  That is a first line.  A worker will face another trial in Arizona because he helped 2 migrants with some water and a temporary place to sleep.  The first trial ended in a hung jury, so instead of dismissing these ridiculous charges, they are going to go through it again, hoping to find enough conservatives at the line, willing to cross it to make a point.  A man faces jail time for living his CHRISTIAN faith while people who CLAIM to be Christian, refuse to do the things asked of Christians according to scripture.  That moves us just a bit closer to the line of no return, where excuses are made “we were just following the law/orders, he shouldn’t have done that/been here anyway.”  These folks, someone’s neighbors, will still think themselves righteous as the numbers of dead and lives destroyed mount. 

Mr. Trump regularly uses racial insults, and he and his tight group of cronies defend his comments as OK, what those people deserve  because they dared to challenge his appalling behavior.  Now instead of just 4 congresswomen of color, refugees and asylum seekers on the border, and immigrants of color, he is targeting other legislators of color and their entire districts too.  He throws in a few general Democrat insults so he thinks he can claim that this really isn't racism.   This resonates with his cult followers.  They don't want to be called out for the racists they are.  I don’t understand why.  It would seem their actions and inactions would indicate their pride in the positions they have taken and will continue to take.  Why not be called racist or xenophobic?   

Some of the susceptible  conservatives have crossed the line already, sending fake bombs to Democrats, actors and others he had been told to hate.  Shooters enter a variety of venues and open fire.  The survivors are told they should have no  voice in any analysis of what happened.  That might let some truth encroach on the story.  Consider how the Parkland students and Sandy Hook parents were treated by conservatives. 

We must keep as many people as we can from crossing the line into inhumanity.  This will not be easy because the media desperately wants to report every detail of everything these line walkers do and say with the statement that they think people ought to know.

Every detail?  Is that what we need to know?  Perhaps, we need to know that this person will not be permitted to spread more lies and that racism and white supremacy as well as the lies will be called out for what each is without quibbling over whether this was just a little racist or maybe not really white supremacy (even though all involved were white and the actions were against people of color).
Inciting violence against a targeted group is not free speech.  It is hate speech, troubling speech and needs to be called what it is, every time. 

This nation has already used a lot of “legal” means to keep people of color isolated from white people, often forcing people of color to live in neglected buildings with absentee landlords, to receive inferior services, to attend schools with limited resources.  Then, these people are blamed because they are poor, which means, they must be inferior people, you know, not worthy.

Sound familiar.  This is similar to the way Jews were forced into ghettos in many European nations, given access to few of the opportunities of the Christian population.  They too, were blamed for their poverty and lies were regularly told about them. 

Were the survivors of the holocaust correct when they cried “never again?”  If so, they and those of us who don’t want the hatred anywhere need to stand up all the time and shout it from the highest and lowest places, NEVER AGAIN  and NOT HERE!  Instead of blaming the conservatives specifically, we need to find ways as a society to keep them and others away from that line, the line no one should ever cross.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

PRESIDENT BULLY

by Ruth A. Sheets

The American founders could not  have anticipated  the New Bully.  He has at his disposal resources they could not have imagined:  Twitter, teleprompters, instant communication, a gigantic military stationed all over the world, an enormous economy run by massive corporations:  banks, conglomerates with financial holdings larger than most countries of the world. 

They did understand hatred and distrust of immigrants, ignorant followers, bullying, bombast, lying about one’s opponents, insults and name calling. 

They did not anticipate a president who would cozy up to foreign leaders who had proven themselves anti-American while dismissing long-time allies.  They could not anticipate a president who dropped out of world-wide negotiated deals made under a previous administration because that president wasn’t white.     

The founders lived in a world ruled by kings and small-time leaders.  Conquering or defending with national armies is how one scored points and gained or lost territory.  The common people were pawns in this military show.  Companies and individuals traded with whomever they wanted to with an occasional nod from the leader.  

Two-and-a-half centuries on, Royalty has little power, though some influence.  Armies usually march off with some kind of cause, no matter that it is often a cause trumped up and usually has a bad outcome.  Most people today don’t  expect to be used as pawns or appreciate it either. 

In this new world, a bully can easily arise since he (nearly always he) can bluster and blow his stuff to huge audiences on television, radio, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, giant venues, and so many other places.  The new bully can target his message and attacks to just the right people, those who are angry, frustrated, afraid, feel ignored, but who don’t really understand exactly what they are experiencing.  They want to blame someone.  The new bully can give them people to blame and hate.  Who cares if his targets are not the actual source of their troubles.     No problem, create the lie and jam it home.

Another tactic is to shout a lot.  It is no longer necessary to shout with the new sound systems, but it works for the bully.  He can yell at the audience telling them in so many ways there is something wrong with them if they don’t see the world the way he does.  He gets live audiences chanting 3 or 4-word slogans that everyone can get into, even if they don’t make sense.  Of course, legal or not, the bully can keep people he does not like from his rallies, so the chants go on uninterrupted.
The new bully avoids the press when possible, stands in front of a noisy helicopter to make himself seem more powerful while being “interviewed,” even calls the work of excellent journalists “fake news” and blames them for keeping him from doing the “wonderful” things he wants to do for the people.

The new bully lies almost all the time, about almost everything, with no check.  His followers, like a religious cult, are totally OK with it, or they say “I wish he wouldn’t do that, but it’s for a good cause.”  Besides, the other side is doing it too. (usually not true, but, who’s counting?)
The new bully in power surrounds himself only with people who are totally loyal to him.  He will regularly test their loyalty.  He will make them do things for him that are on the edge of legality, sometimes going over the line.  They will lie for him, affirm anything he says and defend anything he does.  They will insult those he needs insulted.  In short, if they had any integrity they are expected to jettison it before coming into service, and they do.  If they are caught showing any, they are fired.  So, after a short time, no one around the new bully has an independent thought. 

As if that were not bad enough, he puts into positions of government authority, people who are completely incompetent, at least for the positions they are to enter.  The confirming body (Senate(, approves everyone even when they know the person should not have been nominated.  This means the bully will not be challenged over any of the undermining actions he takes to destroy the department, agency, or program they work for.

Threats are his best weapon.  He threatens duly elected officials either having incriminating information on them, obtained from whatever nefarious source he can get, or by primarying them.  That effectively removes them from among those who could challenge his actions or position in the future. 

There’s more!  The new bully uses his economic and military power to threaten anyone who gets in the way of his efforts.  It works best to bully poorer nations whose economies depend on trading with his country.  Order that country to do whatever you want, and usually, they will comply out of desperation.  When that is successful, the threats move to larger countries who are not as dependent.  When they don’t immediately comply, he moves ships and troops in with the obvious intent to do some military damage to their country:  their infrastructure, their economy, or create some other havoc. 

Anyone in his own country who dares to oppose him is treated to verbal abuse, sometimes interference by law enforcement and other organizations under the bully’s thumb.  The bully is usually racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and xenophobic.  He uses these stances to court other bullies, while he claims to be none of these.

The new bully calls opposition leaders names, gets his rally crowds to malign them, lies about them and their positions, even disparaging the cities they come from.  The bully will threaten to take away citizenship of true citizens and otherwise arbitrarily change the nation’s Constitution.

OK, you get it, I am talking about Donald Trump, however, he is not the only one.  The leaders of The Philippines, Russia, Brazil, India, Hungary, China, and Poland are also new bullies.  I suspect there are a bunch of others too.  They each were “elected” even if the popular vote was not with them.  They have enough of a following that they can do pretty much anything they want with impunity.  For example, in The Philippines, Mr. Duterte has been responsible for thousands of extra-judicial killings under the guise of controlling drugs.  Mr. Xi of China has imprisoned at least a million of its citizens in concentration “reeducation camps.” (A rose by any other name . .)  

It is clear that Mr. Trump and his cronies love the role he is playing and would like to extend it into the next decade.  In fact, they would like it if Mr. Trump never had to leave office at all, a bully they can control forever.

If there were a kid at a school with the children of any of Mr. Trump’s followers who demanded unconditional loyalty, asked the kids to lie for him, took their money and gave it to the well-off kids on the playground, lied to them all the time, pushed struggling kids out of the way, those parents would be at the school screaming and yelling that the bully be stopped.

Well, why aren’t they yelling now to stop Mr. Trump’s bullying?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Death Penalty, Again?


by Ruth A. Sheets 

On Thursday, July 25, 2019, the Justice Department decided to reinstate the Federal death penalty. They laid out a timeline for killing the first five folks starting in December.  Attorney General Barr’s stated reason, he owes it to the families to carry out the death penalty.

How Is it we never seem to get the message that the death penalty is not a deterrent?  People have known this for a very long time, so why do Mr. Trump's cronies NEED to reinstate the Federal death penalty?  For the families?  Really?  

I suspect it is to give Mr. Trump and his allies a tool they think they will need to use as they consolidate their power, perhaps toward some type of dictatorship.  They will need to be able to kill the dissenters.  That is a scary scenario and very little that I have seen lately deters me from this feeling.  

This move to dictatorship was again made clear to me earlier this week when I heard pieces of Mr. Trump's speech to the group I now think of as today's "Hitler Youth,"  Those young people cheered at Mr. Trump's hate speech about a lot of anti-American topics, but mostly toward the 4 duly-elected congresswomen he has been focusing on.  No president should be speaking such hate about anyone, and Mr. Trump is doing it regularly with impunity.  If this does not scare you as an American, it should.  

Many Germans in the early 1930s didn't get what was going on either.  They loved the enthusiasm, the giant crowds all in sync.  They were OK with putting blame for their troubles on someone (not them, of course).  It made life a little more bearable. 

The over-the-top rhetoric cast a spell on just enough of the population that they could rise up in support of whatever the ruler, Hitler, wanted.  The nationalized media blasted out the words of the Leader.  Eventually, the rest of the population was overtaken by the hatred and fear.  By then, they felt helpless to do anything about it, so went along or tried to remain invisible.  Some resisted, but not enough.   

I can't help but wonder who the specific targets of the revived death penalty will be.  It is almost certain they will be predominantly people of color, disabled persons (with mental illness or addiction), or some other social reject.  Sound familiar?    

The truth is that more and more people in this country are turning against the death penalty while Mr. Trump’s cult is embracing it.  Getting revenge for “the families” is not a reason to keep it.  Neither is political power or pandering to a base that does not even begin to understand the complexities of the issues related to the death penalty, let alone the broader challenges facing the world today.  

It is hoped members of Congress, no matter the party, will support and vote to abolish the death penalty.  We just don't need capital punishment as it is not a deterrent and it is dangerous to have it, especially in the hands of people who will not be honest about why they want it.  Who will be targeted? 

Donald Trump wants to be a dictator.  That’s how he conducted his businesses and he likes that style.  That’s been clear since he rode down his golden escalator in 2015.  He erroneously believes he already knows and understands everything and has surrounded himself with massive corruption that insulates him from the impacts of his actions.  He can control who attends his “rallies.”  His helicopter speeches separate him from the press, and, he thinks, make him look strong and in control.  He lies nearly incessantly these days.  He can spew his vial words and insults to children who are already being brainwashed as to their own superiority.   

He is constructing a wall of power toward his dictatorship.  Let’s see which bricks are in his wall so far  

First, he has surrounded himself with extremely loyal people whom he controls through information he has over them, money that can primary them if they are seeking office again, and a set of shared beliefs that rich white men are the target of all kinds of P.C. actions against them.  

Second, the Senate is controlled by a man, Mitch McConnell, who wants to be the dictator’s right-hand, who disregards the Constitution when it suits him, who has kept important legislation from coming to the floor, just because Mr. Trump doesn’t like it.  The Senate, with its Republican majority,  also approves every inappropriate candidate that comes before them for every department and judgeship in the government, a possible goal, to destroy the norms that keep the government operating effectively.  He is also a shield for his wife (the Secretary of the Department of Transportation), Elaine Chao’s corruption.  Wow, that’s a big brick! 

Third, Mr. Trump right and left, delivers “Executive Orders” which have to be challenged in time-consuming actions in the courts.   Then, sometimes, the best they can do to stop the actions is to put a temporary stay, since the Supreme Court, with its 5-4 conservative majority tends to approve whatever Mr. Trump wants, whether the argument has merit or not.     

Fourth, Mr. Trump openly admires and talks up dictators around the world, telling us how much he loves them and wants to work with them.  Mr. Putin of Russia and Mr. Kim of North Korea come to mind immediately, but the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia is right up there too.  In addition, Mr. Trump is trying to employ the trappings of dictatorhood like military parades, pardoning war criminals he thinks he can use later, and using his “bully pulpit” disparaging anyone in the government or military who does not agree with him.

Fifth, He has lied about his opponents, used hate speech against them, even to the point of encouraging a set-up chant at a rally, “send her bck” directed toward a duly-elected congresswoman, the old “love it or leave it” BS.  That is while he is talking about how bad America is.  Hmmm!  

Sixth, the death penalty reinstatement on the Federal level is one more brick in the wall, Trump’s “real” wall, the one that makes him dictator.  The southern border wall he wants is just one way to keep out anyone who isn’t the right color and might stand against his dictatorship.  He has empowered ICE and the border patrol to do unspeakable things like set up concentration camps, isolate parents from children, conduct raids that tear families apart and deport parents, deny entrance or even due process to asylum-seekers and refugees.  He blames the poor countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador for all America’s problems while conveniently forgetting that Republican president, St. Ronnie Reagan caused a lot of those problems by supporting gangs of thugs in those countries who killed, just because, and completely ignored what the people wanted in favor of what the U.S. supported corporations wanted. 

The question now is, how high are we going to allow Mr. trump’s wall to rise?  Will we continue to dismiss Mr. Trump’s constant lies as “Oh, that’s just Donald Trump?”  How long will we continue to allow sitting members of congress and respected leaders in this country to be maligned for Mr. Trump’s pleasure and move toward power?  Will we continue to allow  a Department of Justice “policy” to determine that no president can be indicted while in office, a POLICY?  Will the death penalty restoration be the first step toward killing off the opposition, calling them/us criminals? 

It seems to me we Americans who still give a damn need to knock that wall down before the mortar dries and hardens, when it will be much harder and more people will be swept up in the brainwashing, and spread of disinformation and ignorance.  

OK American demolition squad, it’s time we go after that wall, the “real” wall.