The Alt Right Has a Friend in Common Core




Let’s say you’re a modern-day hipster Nazi.



You’re bummed out.



No one wants to hang out with you because of your bald head and your red suspenders and your commitment to the ideals of a defeated and disgraced totalitarian regime.



What are you to do?






It’s simple.



No more National Socialist German Workers Party! That sounds too pinko!



Now you’re simply a member of the Alt Right!



It’s not racist! You’re just committed to traditional attitudes and values — if those traditional attitudes and values come from 1945 Berlin!



Heck, you don’t even have to call yourself Alt Right.



You can call yourself a White Identitarian.


You aren’t over-concerned with any one side of the political spectrum or other. You just strongly identify with whiteness — and by extension increasing the political power of white people at the expense of all others.



That’s all.



It should be obvious that this isn’t merely rebranding. It’s propaganda.


In today’s fast paced information age – where every fact is merely a Google away – that can be hard to get away with – UNLESS



Unless you already have a readymade tool to protect propaganda from the kind of informed critical thought that can pop it like a bubble. Something to insolate the ignorance and keep out the enlightened analysis.



I am, of course, talking about Common Core.






How does Common Core have anything to do with white nationalism?



Common Core is just a set of academic standards for what should be taught in public schools adopted by 42 of 50 states.



Academic standards aren’t political. Are they?


Actually, they are. Quite political.


Just take a look at how the standards came to be adopted in the first place.


The Obama administration bribed and coerced the states to adopt these standards before many of them were even done being written.



Hold your horses. The Obama administration!? That doesn’t sound exactly like a friend of the Third Reich.


And it wasn’t.



It was a friend to big business.


When first created, these standards weren’t the result of a real educational need, nor were they written by classroom educators and psychologists. They were written by the standardized testing industry as a ploy to get federal, state and local governments to recommit to standardized testing through buying new tests, new text books, new software and new remediation materials.



It was a bipartisan effort supported by the likes of Obama, the Clintons and Bill Gates on the left and Jeb Bush, Betsy DeVos and Bobby Jindal on the right.



After Obama’s success pushing them down our collective throats, many Republicans vocally decried the standards – often while quietly supporting them.


That’s why after all this time very few state legislatures have repealed them despite being controlled predominantly by Republicans.


Okay, so what does this have to do with the Alt Right?



People like Steve Bannon and Donald Trump are engaged in redefining the conservative movement. Instead of circulating ideas with a merely racist and classist undertone, they want to make those subtleties more explicit.


Most aren’t about to hop out of the closet and declare themselves open Nazis or members of the Hitler fan club, but they want to make it clear exactly how wunderbar the Fuhrer’s ideals are with a wink and a smirk.


For instance, Trump’s campaign slogan: Make America Great Again.



When exactly was America great? When white people had unchallenged political and social power and minorities and people of color knew their place. That’s when.



This is obvious to some of us, but we face a real obstacle making it obvious to others.


And that obstacle is Common Core.



A generation of Americans have been brought up with these shoddy academic standards that don’t develop critical thinking but actively suppress it.



For instance, take the absurd ravings of the Core’s chief writer – and current head of the College Board – David Coleman.



Going counter to the thinking of nearly every expert on literacy, he emphasized cold or close reading over reading text in context.



In particular, he said:



“Do you know the two most popular forms of writing in the American high school today?…It is either the exposition of a personal opinion or the presentation of a personal matter. The only problem, forgive me for saying this so bluntly, the only problem with these two forms of writing is as you grow up in this world you realize people don’t really give a shit about what you feel or think… It is a rare working environment that someone says, “Johnson, I need a market analysis by Friday but before that I need a compelling account of your childhood.”



Later, he added:



“The most popular 3rd grade standard in American today…is what is the difference between a fable, a myth, a tale, and a legend? The only problem with that question is that no one knows what the difference is and no one probably cares what the difference is either.”


And finally:



“This close reading approach forces students to rely exclusively on the text instead of privileging background knowledge, and levels the playing field for all students.”



However, Coleman was dead wrong on all counts.



What you think and feel IS important. The requirements of the corporate world ARE NOT the only reasons to teach something. Being able to distinguish between similar but different concepts IS important. And context is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL to understanding!


For instance, today’s spin doctor Nazis soon realized that you can’t go goose stepping down main street blindly espousing how much better it is to be white — better than, say, being black or Jewish.



But you can hang up posters in college campuses that say the same sort of thing in a cutesy, passive aggressive way. For instance: “It’s okay to be white.”


If we look just at the text, as Coleman advises, we see a rather innocuous statement.



There’s nothing racist here. It’s just a simple statement that being white is also acceptable.



However, if we add back the context, we find an indirect racial undertone.


These posters weren’t put up willy nilly. They were hung on college campuses where white nationalists wearing MAGA hats were recruiting. They were pasted over Black Lives Matter posters, accompanying drawings of Donald Trump.




In context, then, this statement doesn’t just mean “It’s okay to be white.” It means “It’s okay to be pro-white supremacist, to be pro-white power.”



And that brings up two other examples.



MAGA – Make America Great Again.


Take it out of context and it’s innocuous. It just means to increase the abstract greatness of the country to what it was at some unspecified time in the past.


However, if we put that statement in the context of the Trump campaign and its xenophobia, homophobia, Islamophobia, transphobia, etc. — then it’s meaning becomes clear. As noted above, it’s an ode to white power and nostalgia for greater white privilege.



And “Black Lives Matter”? Why do many of these same Identitarians take exception to that slogan and the movement behind it?



The Alt Right says BLM is reverse racist. They claim the name BLM means “ONLY black lives matter.”



Context tells us differently.



The BLM group was formed in response to the indiscriminate murder of people of color and those who committed these crimes not behind held accountable. Officer Darren Wilson not indicted for killing Michael Brown. Officer Daniel Pantaleo not indicted for killing Eric Garner. Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback not indicted for killing Tamir Rice. And on and on.



Yet the Alt Right is allowed to mischaracterize a simple call for peace as if it identified a terrorist organization.



Why? Because context has been banished from the building.




I’m not saying that Common Core has caused these problems, but it has allowed them.


I doubt this is what Coleman, who is Jewish, intended.



But whenever you water down critical thinking – even if it’s for purely practical ends – you end up hurting everyone.



The best societies praise intellect and tolerance.



For all their faults, our founders knew this. That’s why they emphasized the importance of public education.



If we had ensured everyone in the country had access to the best possible education, this modern Nazi subculture wouldn’t be able to make as much headway as it has.



This is yet another way that our obsession with unrestrained capitalism, neoliberalism and plutocracy has put us on a road that may end in fascism.


How to Oppose White Supremacists Without Becoming a Monster, Yourself



There is a danger in opposing white supremacists.


In confronting such an odious set of beliefs, you can justify suspending your own strongest held moral convictions as a necessary end to defeating their prejudices.


It’s easy to see how this might happen.


When hearing an ignorant troll like Richard Spencer arrogantly spouting warmed over Nazi propaganda, it is quite natural to wish to issue a rebuttal in the form of your fist.


You can follow the logic all the way from your heart to your knuckles.


Your thought process might go something like this:


This fool is so enamored with violence, let him suffer the consequences of it.


But that is conceding the point.


That is giving the white supremacist his due. It’s entering his world and playing by his rules.


Oh, I’m sure it’s satisfying, but it’s the wrong way to respond.


However, on the other hand one can’t simply smile and nod during Spencer’s tirade and then expect to reciprocate with an academic treatise.


No cogent, logical, professorial come back is going to counter the purely emotional arguments made by white supremacists.


They are stoking fear and hatred. Logic is useless here.


So what are anti-racist anti-facists like ourselves supposed to do when confronted with people like this?


We have to walk a razor’s edge between two poles.


On the one hand, we can’t tolerate intolerance.


I know that’s paradoxical. But it’s true.


As Vienna-born philosopher Karl Popper put it in The Open Society and Its Enemies, unlimited tolerance leads to the destruction of tolerance.


If we tolerate the intolerant, if we give them equal time to offer their point of view and don’t aggressively counter their views, they will inevitably resort to violence and wipe our side out.


This doesn’t mean immediately punching them in the face or violently attacking them. For Popper, we should let rationality run its course, let them have their say and usually their ideas will be rejected and ignored.


However, if this doesn’t happen and these ideas start to take root as they did in Nazi Germany (or perhaps even today in Trump’s America), then Popper says we must stop them by “fists or pistols.”


In short, Popper writes:


“We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.”


Popper believed in the free expression of ideas, but when one of those ideas leads to violence, it is no longer to be tolerated. Then it is outside the law and must be destroyed.




What then do we do with our commitment to nonviolence?


Do we reluctantly agree to push this constraint to the side if push comes to shove?


No. This is the other pole we must navigate between.


On the second to last day of his life, April 3, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave a speech stating his unequivocal commitment to the principal of nonviolence:


“It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world; it’s nonviolence or nonexistence. That is where we are today.”


The next day he was shot to death. These are among the last words he spoke in public.


That King was to be martyred in the cause of justice would not have surprised him.


He had already received several death threats and attempts on his life.


He knew that his continued efforts to fight for human dignity would probably result in the premature ending of his life someday. He knew all that yet he still prescribed nonviolence.


There was simply no other way for him to exist.


Mahatma Gandhi, who influenced Dr. King and our American fight for civil rights with his own nonviolent revolution in India, went even further.


At the start of WWII, he wrote that the British should lay down their arms and let the Nazis invade the United Kingdom without offering any violent resistance. They should even let themselves be slaughtered if it came to it. He made similar remarks to Jews facing the Holocaust.


That’s pretty extreme.


But can you imagine its effect?


No one followed Gandhi’s advice. We fought the Germans in WWII and won. We crushed their pathetic thousand year Reich and threw their prejudiced ideals on the trash heap of history.


And yet here we are today. In Charlottesville. In Portland. In Washington, DC.


The scared and ignorant have rooted through the trash and recycled those same odious ideals.


The war ended, but the battle goes on.


Would that have happened had we met violence with nonviolence?


I don’t know the answer. No one does.


But it respects an important point – we can’t ultimately fight our way to peace. Not without killing everyone else. And then why would the solitary survivor wish to live?


There is an inherent flaw in humanity that continually incites us to kill each other.


We can never have true peace unless we find a way to stamp out that flaw.


Nonviolence is the closest we’ve ever come to finding a solution.


So there you have it, the Scylla and Charybdis of our current dilemma.


We must try to navigate between them.


We must not tolerate the intolerance of the white supremacists. But we must also not allow our opposition of them to change us into that which we hate.


I know it sounds impossible. And I certainly don’t have all the answers about how we do it.


To start with, when white supremacists advocate violence of any kind, we must seek legal action. We must use every tool of the law, the courts, and law enforcement to counter them.


This requires political power. We must organize and keep them politically marginalized and weak.


We must take every opportunity to speak out against white supremacy. We must continue to make their ideal socially and culturally repugnant. At the same time, we must also reach out to them in the spirit of healing and love. We can’t give up on them, because they, too, are our brothers and sisters.


Yet if they resort to violence, we can feel justified in protecting ourselves and those they wish to victimize.


But the keyword here is “protect.”


We should go no further. We should not attack.


I know that is a hard line to walk.


Maybe it’s not even possible. Still, we must try.


It might feel satisfying to punch a Nazi. Heck! I’m sure it would. But we cannot allow ourselves to become like them.


Because the real enemy is not them.


It is their fear and ignorance.


And if we’re honest, we hold the same disease deep inside our own hearts.


We cannot defeat racism and prejudice unless we overcome our own flawed humanity.

Guns and Profit – Why We’ll Do Absolutely Nothing New After This Las Vegas Shooting


Wake up, America.

We are not the land of the brave or the home of the free.

We are the land of the gun and the home of the free market.

Stephen Paddock’s killing spree last night in Las Vegas will not change anything – except the bottom line for numerous gun manufacturers.

Ca-ching, people!

Scores of American companies are going to clean up over this!

That’s what happens every time we get a high profile mass shooting.

Not new gun regulation. Not additional services for the mentally ill. Not stricter guidelines against fake news on social media.

Just tons of money pouring into gun manufacturers pockets as firearm aficionados rush to buy as many additional pieces as they can in the fear that tomorrow the government will come for their guns.

You think this has anything to do with the Second Amendment or the right to bear arms?


It’s about putting business over humanity. It’s about our culture of death overtaking everything else.

Look at the facts.

A 64-year-old retiree used a cache of almost 20 guns to spray bullets on a crowd of concertgoers. He killed at least 58 people and wounded more than 500 others.
To do so, police say he had at least one fully-automatic rifle, an AR-15-style and AK-47-style rifle, more than a dozen additional firearms, and a ton of ammunition.

Any sane society that values human life would do something to stop things like this from happening again.

It is almost impossible to inflict this kind of death toll in such a short time without these types of firearms.

It’s the guns, stupid!

Yeah, I know they didn’t pull their own triggers. That was done by a human being, but by all accounts so far there were no warnings that Paddock was unstable. He was just another privileged white male with a gambling habit and an armory full of guns.

We will never be able to accurately and adequately predict when someone will snap. I’m not saying there isn’t more we can do to keep firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill, but it will never be enough.

No one should have the power to inflict this kind of death on others.

Does that mean all guns should be illegal? Maybe. Maybe not. Does it mean they should be highly regulated. Absolutely! But no matter what you’re preconceptions, it’s a discussion we should be having.

However, we never will because our government is owned by big business, and guns are one of the biggest businesses out there.

Gunmakers made millions of dollars after the mass shootings in Newtown, Connecticut; San Bernardino, California; and Orlando, Florida. Profits also skyrocket under Democratic Presidents. I wonder how many sprawling estates and mega-yachts were bought off the backs of “Obama’s coming for your guns!”

But ever since Donald Trump took office, profits have tapered off. Everyone knows he’s not going to do anything about gun violence. No reason to rush out and buy that new Glock.

The market has noticed. Vista Outdoor’s stock dropped by 40 percent since the election, while Sturm, Ruger & Co.’s stock fell 20 percent and American Outdoor’s stock has fallen by a whooping 46 percent!

But now! Woo-wee! This Las Vegas shooting is just what the industry needed!

And THAT’S why we aren’t ever going to do anything to prevent future massacres.

In America, the bottom line is all that matters.

We are a country of charlatans and prostitutes. Anything for a buck: for-profit healthcare, privatized education, and gun sales over all.

But don’t worry. The right wing media machine will be all over this, distracting you with alternative motivations for the killing spree.

Since Paddock killed fans at a country music concert, they’ll say he must have been targeting conservatives. Or it’s a false flag operation to stop NRA-backed legislation easing regulations on silencers. And various other B.S. conspiracy theories Facebook and other social media platforms allow to jump from profile-to-profile without regard to facts or evidence.

It’ll all just be another distraction.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, people.

It’s just big business getting richer off of your partisanship and credulity.

If only saving lives was where the money is.

If only preventing death was as profitable as causing it.

If only we cared more about each other than making a buck…

But no – instead we are one nation, under God, with guns and ammo for all.

Surprised by Charlottesville? You Haven’t Been Paying Attention



America is a funny place.


On the one hand, we’re one of the first modern Democracies, a product of Enlightenment thinking and unabashed pluralism and cultural diversity.


On the other, we’ve built our entire society on a cast system that is the basis of our economics, politics and cultural mores.


We’re the land of Benjamin Franklin, the Wright brothers, Duke Ellington, Toni Morrison, and Sandra Day O’Connor.


But we’re also the land of Andrew Jackson, Jefferson Davis, Charles Lindberg, Bull Connor, and David Duke.


Tolerance and love are as American as apple pie. But so are racism, sexism, prejudice and anti-Semitism.


“It is not as though the United States is the land of opportunity, or a hypocritical racist state,” says sociologist John Skrentny. “It is one or both, depending on context.”



So this week when people saw Nazis marching openly in Charlottesville, Virginia, the only thing that was really so surprising about it was how surprised so many people seem to be.


“That’s not my America!” they seem to be saying.


To which I reply, “Hell, yes, it is! Where have you been the last 241 years!?”


We base our salary scales on genitalia! You think we’re really so freaking advanced!?


The shade of your epidermis determines the likelihood of police arresting you, charging you, even killing you regardless of your having a weapon, whether you resist arrest or simply lay on the ground with your hands in the air.


Regardless of the evidence, if you’re convicted, the length and severity of the sentence are all partially determined by the amount of melanin in your skin. The cultural derivation of the name on your resume determines the likelihood of employers calling you back for an interview. In many places, your rights are legislated based on whom you love.


Our schools are segregated. Our taxes are levied most heavily on those with the least means to pay. Our prisons house more black people today than did slave plantations in the 1860s.


Yet a bunch of white dudes carrying Tiki torches shouting hate filled puns (“Jew will not replace us”? Seriously?) somehow doesn’t compute?


Come on.


This is America.


Racism and prejudice are not threats smuggled in past border security. They’ve always been here. At least since Europeans came offering trade and peace with one hand and guns and smallpox with the other.


The land of the free was stolen from the Native Americans. Our national wealth was built on the backs of slaves. Our laws and electoral system were built to empower one group at the expense of others.


Yet reformations in this process are rarely met with celebration. Instead of memorializing the end of slavery, we embrace the institution with fond remembrance.


Nor did prejudice and bigotry end when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, after Brown vs. Board, the Voting Rights Act, Freedom Rides, sit-ins or civil rights protests.


America has always been a place hostile to the under privileged, the second sex, religious dissenters, the brown skinned.


At most, we had become less confrontational in recent years, but we never really changed our core values, our social structures, who has power and who does not.


During my lifetime, people started to equate having a black President with the end of racism. Somehow they ignored the everyday reality for most black people.


They ignored the constant prejudice against the poor, the continued bigotry against LGBTs, the Islamophobia, the increase in hate crimes.


If there has been any change during the past eight months, it hasn’t been with the degree to which Americans are prejudiced. It’s the degree with which we’re willing to hide it.


Whereas before racists would claim to be colorblind, that their actions were completely devoid of racial bias, today they sigh and repeat the dusty slogans of Jim Crow Alabama or 1930s Berlin.


And somehow people are actually surprised about this.


It’s because too many of us have swallowed the lies about living in a post-racial society.


You thought we were beyond all that. It was a brave new world, morning in America, and we were finally treating everyone equally – unless you looked at what we were actually doing.


Mainly this is the reaction you get from white people. They rub their eyes and just can’t believe it.


You don’t see this too often from people of color, Muslims, LGBTs and some Jews. Why? Because they never had the luxury to ignore it.


That’s what we white folks have been doing since the beginning.


Whenever these issues come up, we have a knee jerk reaction to minimize it.


Things aren’t that bad. You’re just blowing it out of proportion.


But, no. I’m not.


That’s why you’re so damn shocked, son.


You haven’t been looking reality square in the face.


So when we’ve got undeniable video footage of angry white males (mostly) marching through Southern streets brandishing swastikas and assault rifles, it catches many white folks off guard.


They’re not prepared for it – because they haven’t been doing their homework.


We’ve been living in a bubble. Especially those living in major metropolitan areas.


That kind of thing never happens around here, right?


Of course it does!


Just because you live above the Mason Dixon Line doesn’t mean you’re safe.


You have a black friend, you like authentic Mexican food and you laugh while watching “Modern Family.”


But you haven’t opened your eyes to the reality outside your door.


You send your kids to private school or live in a mostly upper class white district. You have an exclusive gym membership that keeps out the riff-raff. You work in an office where that one token person of color makes you feel sophisticated and open-minded.


You’ve got to wake up.


You’ve got to educate yourself about race and class in America.


Because those people you saw in Charlottesville aren’t an anomaly.


They are an authentic part of this country, and if you don’t like it, you have to do something about it.


You can’t hide behind denial.


You have to take a stand, pick a side, and be counted.


Because one day soon, the torches will be outside your door.


You have to decide now – do you want to brandish or extinguish them?

Dear White Supremacists: There Will Be No Race War



This one goes out to all the white boys.




Not ALL the white boys.


Just the ones who think being “white” and being a “boy” means the world owes them something.


Cause I’m white, too, and I know it doesn’t make me any better than anyone else.


But not you.


You think your lack of pigmentation is a special sign of your supremacy. As if being pale was synonymous for God’s chosen.


Well let me tell you something, white boy. God didn’t choose you. You did.


What you take for superiority is just a misguided attempt at self-esteem.


I’m a snowflake? YOU’RE the snowflake. Same color. Same consistency. In the first warm breeze, you’ll melt.


I’m talking to YOU, white boy. All of you.


All those melanin-starved faces wearing matching eggshell t-shirts and fat-ass khakis.


All those brave, young men holding Tiki torches and an inflated sense of self worth.


All the protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, so fearless they can spray mace on those they disagree with, so bold they can throw punches so long as they know the police won’t hold them accountable, so courageous they can drive a car into unarmed counter-protestors, so brave that they can’t even call themselves what they are: Nazis, the Klan, white supremacists.


You hide behind “Alt Right” as if the rest of us can’t figure out who you really are.


Surprise! We see you!


We see your twisted lips, scrunched eyes and flaring nostrils. Your hood-starved heads and sweat-gelled haircuts. Your hate warped faces spouting reheated leftovers from WWII.


My grandparents fought people like you.


They dressed in army green and hopped the ocean to pound people like you into the ground.


They took your goose-stepping forebears and blasted them into bits. They buried your intellectual precursors under the ashes of their eternal Reich.


And for my grandfathers’ sacrifice, I rarely had to deal with people like you, myself. Not outright.


It’s not that people like you didn’t exist. Your attitudes and beliefs still percolated just beneath the surface of so many frustrated white boys.


The difference was that they were too smart to actually give voice to the darkness in their hearts.


It didn’t stop them from acting on it. They just wouldn’t admit why.


Segregation, red lining, broken windows policing, and a plethora of others. It was all polite, all deniable, all just the colorblind way we do things around here.


But that doesn’t really work anymore, does it?


Times are changing.


The face of America is changing. And it’s increasingly brown.


It’s got curly hair and unexpected features. It’s fed by different foods and nourished by different beliefs and customs. And it’s often called by a name that doesn’t derive from Europe.


People are starting to speak up. They’re starting to call you out.


And you don’t like it.


More than that you’re scared. Terrified.


It’s all going to end. The lie you told yourself about being special.


So you huddle together with others just like you, shivering and crying and blowing snot onto each others shoulders pretending that it’s a rally for white pride. It’s really just the world’s biggest pity party for boys too scared to be men and own up.


You’re brave when you’re in numbers, aren’t you? With numbers or with a gun.


Then you can say whatever you want. You can pretend whatever racial fantasy will protect your fragile little egos.


You’ll whine and boast and imagine you’re winning some kind of war for survival. But we know what you’re really doing.


You’re on your knees. You’re begging for a confrontation.


You’ll do anything to provoke it.


It’s your only hope.


Push them. Prod them. Insult them until they fight.


Bring them down to your level.


Prove your moral superiority by stoking a race war.


Because you can battle human bodies, but you can’t stop ideas.


You can’t triumph over equality, empathy and love.


You can’t stop the tick of time. You can just hope to reset the clock.


Well, I’ve got bad news for you.


There will be no race war.


Not now. Not ever.


Oh, there may be fighting.


You’ll try to make it happen. But it won’t be white vs. black.


It won’t be race vs. race.


It will be your minority of cowards and fools vs. the majority of the rest of us.


Do you really think people like me will fight on your side?


Do you think I’ll stand by you just because the shade of my epidermis matches yours?


Hell No!


I’ll fight with my black brothers and sisters if it comes to it.


I’ll fight on the side of equality, fairness and love.


I’ll do like my grandfathers and smash you into the ground. We all will.


But I’d rather not fight at all.


There need be no violence.


And there won’t be.


Unless you force it.


You see, you can’t make a race war happen.


All you can do is unite the rest of us against you.

Is Love Enough to Fight Today’s White, Male Terrorists?


When I was growing up, I was told that love is all you need.

But now in the face of such hatred toward people of color, I’m not so sure.

Three brave people put their lives on the line to stop a knife-wielding white supremacist on a bus in Portland, Oregon, yesterday. Two of them – Ricky Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche – lost their lives defending two young women being menaced with anti-Muslim slurs. The other – Micah Fletcher – was viciously wounded but survived.

As Meche was bleeding out on the floor of the bus, a witness recorded his last words: “Tell everyone on this bus that I love them.”

It’s heartbreaking.

What are we to do with such knowledge? Three people filled with love and one maniac filled with hate.

Was love enough?

It saved the would-be targets this time. The attacker is behind bars. But two precious lives have been snuffed out.

Why? So one scared little man can vent his xenophobia and intolerance?

The America I grew up in seemed to have learned the lessons of the Civil Rights movement. I was born after the murders of Dr. King, Malcolm X and the Kennedys. I was born after the church bombings, bus boycotts, freedom rides and marches.

I grew up in a time when we could look back on all that and wonder what we would have done had we been faced with the same challenges. And now

Marx said, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.” What better term to define the age of Trump and the Alt-Right than farce?

Capitalism is dying and the one percent are so ignorant they’re only fueling the fires of their own demise. They ship jobs overseas and then wonder why no one has any money to buy their products. Meanwhile the frightened and forgotten white American men who used to sit atop the social ladder are once again looking for someone to blame. And the same convenient scapegoats present themselves.

I find myself asking what so many generations have asked before: will we survive this time?

It is not just racism and prejudice. It is not just economic uncertainty and systemic inequality. It’s climate change and nuclear proliferation. It’s a world on the brink of collapse and civilization-ending war.

And the only thing we have to fight all these enemies at the gates, the only thing we have is love.

Will it be enough?

Do we have enough love to overcome all the fear and hate?

I don’t know.

I love my daughter. That I can say with absolute certainty.

I look at her innocent enthusiastic face as she draws a crayon portrait of Ruby Bridges, the first black girl to desegregate a historic New Orleans public school in 1960. I smile and try to hope.

I love my wife.

I watch her look of triumph as she beats me again at Jeopardy. She can read the answers faster than I can voice the questions.

I love my students.

I smile as they furiously write their final 8th grade projects connecting The Outsiders, “The Diary of Anne Frank”, and To Kill a Mockingbird in one glorious essay. How much more confident they are now completing a project that would have seemed impossible 8 months before!

But do I love the stranger, too?

Will I look across the aisle at the black and brown boys and girls riding with me on the bus and have the courage to love them as much?

When a man who looks just like me stands and threatens them, will I love them enough to stand in his way? Will I suspend the love of all those I know to protect those I don’t?

Do I have enough love?

I hope so. Because in writing this article one thing has become clear to me about myself that I didn’t realize when I began.

I don’t know if love can save the world. I don’t know if it can heal the environment, stop global war, provide an equitable economy and eradicate racism.

But I still believe in spite of everything that it’s the only way to live.

We may not survive today. But we’ll love each other.

And maybe that matters the most.

Donald Trump, If the US is Attacked, We Will Blame YOU

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Donald Trump,

Our nation is on the brink of massive violence.

Many people in the Middle East think the United States wants a war with Islam. Our relations with North Korea are more strained than they’ve been in decades. Russia has infiltrated the deepest levels of our government. Our international standing has been called into question. Our closest allies have been insulted and threatened. Our economy continues to stagnate. Our citizens live in fear. Hate groups are ramping up bomb threats, spray painting their rhetoric in public spaces and celebrating it being echoed back to them on the lips and Twitter accounts of our very own lawmakers. For the first time in decades, our sick, our elderly, our children are left to wonder – not if they will have enough – but if they will have anything at all.

All while our military grows fat and anxious and waiting.

It’s a power keg looking for a match.

And it’s mostly your fault.

Don’t think we’re unaware. We see what you and your cabinet of fools and hate-mongers are doing.

We see how they are “dismantling the administrative state.” We see how they are tearing away protections for your own citizens. We see how they are spreading fear and instability. We see how you are preparing the way for the next unnecessary war.

Most of these fires were not started by you, but your policies have poured gasoline on them.

There is only one thing you need to know: we will hold you accountable.

That’s right. We will hold YOU, personally, responsible.

If a terrorist attacks the United States, we will hold YOU accountable.

If a foreign power attacks us, we will hold YOU responsible.

If desperate and frightened Americans lash out at law enforcement or our military, we will hold YOU accountable.

We will not all rally together behind you. We will not close ranks. We will not hide behind the flag and join together to fight whichever enemy you point out.

We have lost too much innocence to believe such fairy tale propaganda anymore. George W. Bush used up the last drop of our bedtime story gullibility. We don’t roll that way anymore. We are cynical and awake.

You will not take advantage of our patriotism. You will not herd us like cattle to follow blindly after you.

We will not let you get away with stoking violence and then using the results as a justification for what you did to cause the problem in the first place.

Violence will not make you stronger. It will give us an excuse to tear you down and remove you from office.

If our nation is attacked, we will know it is because of your xenophobia. You can’t denigrate the entire religion of Islam, one of the most populous faiths in the world, without bringing down the ire of hundreds of millions of people. You can’t libel the intentions and histories of our nation’s multitudinous black and brown people without pushing us closer to violence. You can’t withhold a helping hand from the sick, poor and needy without expecting some to find other more violent ways to survive.

And if even one of these people responds to your government-sanctioned violence with a violence of their own, we will blame you. Because you are responsible.

You are President of the Untied States.

And an illegitimate President at that.

The only power that gives someone in your office the right to rule is the “consent of the governed,” and that, sir, you do not have.

You did not win the popular vote. The governed have not given you their consent. They consented to someone else. You only rule because of crusty bureaucratic red tape – an electoral college system that was put in place centuries past to prop up slavery.

So you will be held accountable if things go south. Because you deserve it.

You will be held responsible – not those poor devils who voted for you out of desperation. You will be taken to account – you and the other billionaire kleptomaniacs who gave voters only a choice of plutocracy or plutocracy – a choice of corporate controlled Democrats or corporate owned Republicans, a slow or a quick death.

Do not for one second think that war or violence or terrorism is in your best interest. It isn’t.

Right now you face deep unpopularity. You face federal investigations, judicial challenges to your rule by executive order, and mounting calls for impeachment.

But if your arrogant and ignorant administration devolves into violence, you will wish for these peacetime challenges.

There will be no more golf weekends at Mar-a-Lago. No more fun time trips to Trump Tower. No more complaints about TV ratings and crowd size. No more whining about protests and marches.

Because Americans are patient. We can wait out your idiotic Presidency. We can challenge you at the proper time and place and take back our country peacefully.

But if your rule breaks the peace, do not expect us to come to your aide.

I am not advocating violence. Just the opposite. But if violence comes, it will because of you.

For you have already woken a sleeping dragon. Beware her fiery breath.

Consider this a prediction, a warning, not a threat.

You will be held accountable.

Sooner or later.