When you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice (an encore post)

I wrote the following post four years ago. It remains relevant today. Make a stand, march or picket, contact your leaders, and vote.

If you have followed this blog for any length of time, you will know that I love cleverly worded song lyrics. The above title comes from an unexpected source (if you don’t follow the band) – a song called “Free will” by the rock band “Rush.” I find this lyric, penned by drummer Neil Peart, compelling as it speaks to people who choose to do nothing in the face of obvious problems. Martin Luther King saved some of his criticism for the silent people who did not condemn Jim Crow actions.

People choose not to vote because they do not like the choices. But, “none of the above” is not an option and one candidate tends to be worse or represents worse. If you did not vote because you did not think Brexit or Trump would win, you water down your right to protest. And, I would add there are seven white supremacists running for office, empowered by a US President who won’t condemn racist actions and has made racist statements. So, your vote does matter.

If you witness a daily assault on civil rights, women’s rights, truth, media, science, allies and environment and don’t speak up, then you condone the actions as acceptable.

– It is not OK for leaders to lie multiple times a day.

– It is not OK to have governmental websites delete data that run afoul of unsubstantiated opinions by leaders.

– It is not OK to demean people because they dare criticize a leader’s point of view.

– It is not OK to promote violence toward these same people, as some people act on these suggestions and the assaulters and/ or the targets get hurt or go to jail.

– It is not OK to demonize groups of people or exaggerate causes of problems, as it is hard enough to solve real problems with real data.

– It is not OK to ignore real problems or have faux efforts to address them. Gun deaths, poverty, health care access and costs, infrastructure deterioration, increasing debt, environmental degradation, climate change, etc. are real problems.

Please do not remain silent. Speak up. Call or email your representatives. Attend marches and protests. Share diplomatically your opinion, but listen to theirs. Find a way to get your opinion heard and heeded. Calling someone a name is not the way to be heard.

The other day as I was looking for a new battery for my cordless mower, a store clerk and I chatted about the need to move toward renewable energy. While he supported the eventual move, he said renewable energy is “seven times” the cost of fossil fuel energy. I responded and said that is a ten-year old argument. The costs are now more on par. In fact, there is a city in Texas who chose to be 100% renewable energy powered as its CPA mayor said financially it is a better deal. Did he hear me? I don’t know, but he would not have  if I had not listened to his argument and responded.

Do not follow the words of the song lyric. Choose to decide.

Disturbing survey result – we cannot condone violence

I read yesterday of two alarming results from a University of California survey of 9,000 people. 1 in 5 said violence to promote a political cause would be appropriate and 7% said they would be willing to kill someone toward that goal. Really? Have we sunk that low believing the divisive rhetoric of too many that so many would commit capital offenses for a politician’s gain?

The majority of these folks have felt empowered by the former president to be more public. I guess all the folks who are pleading guilty or being convicted for an insurrection on our Capitol building at the behest of the former president are not evidence enough that this is a poor path forward. Maybe when the former president is charged with sedition for his apparently more active role in the insurrection these folks will be given pause.

And, just because the right has its extremists who are promoting violence and even death, that does not give any extremists on the left a hall pass to do the same. Civil discourse and peaceful protest are more than fine. Violence is not the answer, unless your question is when can I go to jail?

One of America’s key tenets is the peaceful transition of power. We are more divided than before because a former president’s ego is so fragile, he cannot admit he lost and per his niece will “burn it all down to avoid losing an election.” It is only our democracy – we must hold it dear and ignore those sycophants who are aiding and abetting the bogus claims of the former president. I was delighted to see a bipartisan Senate bill pass to better protect the electoral process to prevent a demagogue from trying what the former president did – an insurrection.

Taking the former president at his word is a fool’s errand. Listening to his allies and sycophants who are holding cans of white paint to whitewash history is also such. But, so is taking the word of so-called leaders of any movement that condones and promotes violence. That is inane. It is also criminal. If your group promotes this, find the door before it is too late.

When people do not push back on a tyrant

When people do not push back on a tyrant, they should not be surprised when he does tyrannical things. Five people died Wednesday, but that was the culmination of four years of corrupt and deceitful behavior….and a fragile ego. The most ardent of fans of the tyrant were endangered by the tyrant’s instigation of violence. The legislators who supported the tyrant’s efforts were found quivering in the Capitol Building worried about their lives. If they stood up and said, “but, I am on your side,” they could have been killed or hurt.

It is easy for Republican legislators and leaders to be courageous now, but when it was needed was when honorable diplomats and inspectors general raised concerns at great risk, knowing they would be fired for so doing. Yet, they did it anyway. I watched honorable duty bound people like Dr. Fiona Hill and Ambassador William Taylor testify under oath, only to be grilled by the tyrant’s toadies, who should also have taken an oath to tell the truth.

Former Intelligence director John Bolton condemns Trump now, but he left diplomats hanging with their testimony as he remained silent about the Ukraine extortion issue. Bolden was quoted as being very critical of the Ukraine extortion issue, but screwed these diplomats with his silence. Other former cabinet members are emboldened to criticize the tyrant now, but did they do enough to protect America from his whims and deceitful behavior when at the time needed?

And, for those who still support this tyrant, they need to answer a lot of questions. Trump’s actions led to five deaths, but he endangered the lives of his fans and the legislators who supported him. There is a term for that – it is called sociopathic behavior. It may not be well-known, but narcissism is a subset of sociopathic behavior. It has not been a large leap for the tyrant to do sociopathic things as he did last February when he purposefully endangered his fans at pep rallies being silent on the COVID-19 risk.

Will the tyrant be removed from office before his term ends? I do not know. But, no one deserves to be removed more than this ego-maniacal, corrupt and deceitful person. With too many Republican leaders not speaking up, especially during his staged voter fraud claims, more than his ardent base believe his BS. Note to followers, he lost the election because he got fewer votes. And, in spite of the claims of conspiracy theorists, the tyrant has lost 59 out of 60 court cases and every recount. He cannot lose more than he has already.

Sadly, more Americans will get hurt with the emboldened shadow people. If you doubt this, some of the more extreme groups that support Trump are already speaking online of worse things to come. Make no mistake, the tyrant and his toadies have blood on their hands, I just pray it is not more.