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.


Respecting Student Free Speech Was Hard for Adults During Today’s School Walkout



The kids are all right. It’s the adults you have to watch.


The walkout planned nationwide to protest gun violence today on the one-month anniversary of the Parkland shooting came to my western Pennsylvania school – and we weren’t ready for it.


In fact, up until today no one had mentioned a thing about it.


I had asked teachers if they wanted to do something and was told it was up to the students to lead.


I had asked the high school student council if they were interested in participating, but there wasn’t much of a response.


Then this morning in the middle school where I teach, there was an impromptu two minute meeting where we were told some kids might walk out and that we should just let them go.


Their right to free speech would be respected and there wouldn’t be any penalty for participating.


However, as a teacher, I was instructed not to bring up the subject, not to allow discussion and only to attend if all of my students decided to go.


That’s a hard position to be in.


It’s like being put in a metaphorical straight jacket.


But I tried.


When my 7th grade kids came in, they were all a buzz about something and I couldn’t really ask why.


The suspense was broken with a sledge hammer during second period when one of my most rambunctious students asked if he could use the restroom at 10 am. That was over an hour away.


I told him he couldn’t reserve an appointment for a bathroom break but he could go now if he wanted.


Then he explained himself. At 10 am he was walking out.


The room exploded.


They had heard about the nationwide walkout at 10 – the time of the Parkland shooting. They knew kids all across the land were leaving class for 17 minutes – 60 seconds for each life lost in the shooting.


But that was pretty much it.


They didn’t know what it was that kids were protesting. They didn’t know why they were protesting. They just knew it was something being done and they wanted to do it.


It was at this point I took off my metaphorical straight jacket.


I couldn’t simply suppress the talk and try to move on with the lesson – on propaganda, wouldn’t you believe!


We talked about the limits of gun laws – how some people wanted background checks for people wishing to purchase guns. We talked about regulating guns for people with severe mental illnesses, criminal backgrounds or suspected terrorists. We talked about how there used to be a ban on assault weapons sales and how that was the gun of choice for school shooters.


We even talked about what students might do once they walked out of the building.


They couldn’t just mill around for all that time.


Since we were in the middle of a unit on poetry, someone suggested reading poems about guns and gun violence.


Students quickly went on-line and found a site stocked with student-written poetry on the issue – many by students who had survived school shootings.


I admit I should have checked the site better – but we had literally minutes before the walkout was scheduled to take place.


Some of the poems contained inappropriate language and swear words. But they were generally well written and honest. And the kids liked them.


I let them print a few that they wanted to read aloud at the demonstration.


They were actually huddled around their desks reading poetry and practicing.


They were really excited about the prospect of standing up and being counted – of letting the world know how they felt.


One student even wrote her own poem.


She said I could publish it anonymously, so here it is:


“Pop! Pop! Pop!


Everyone crying, calling their parents, saying their last goodbyes.


Screams echo throughout the building.

Blood painting the white tiles.

Bodies laying limp on the ground

Screams of pain

Bullets piercing our skin.


Yelling and sobbing increase.

We are escorted out.


‘Is this what you wanted?’”



I barely had time to read it before the time came.


Students stood up and were confused by the lack of an announcement.


But this was not a sanctioned school event. If they took part, they were on their own.


It was my smallest class and several kids were already absent.


They all left and were immediately met by the principal and security. To their credit, the adults didn’t stop them, but they told them not to put their coats on until they were outside and to otherwise quiet down.


I made sure to emphasize that anyone who wanted was welcome to stay in class. But no one did.


After the last child left, I grabbed my coat and followed.


When I got to the front of the building I was surprised by the lack of high school students. There were only a handful. But there were maybe 50 middle school kids.


When the principal saw all my students had decided to participate, he asked me to stay in the lobby. He said it wasn’t necessary for me to attend.


That was hard.


I wanted to be there, but I didn’t want to be insubordinate, either.


My students were expecting me to be there. They were expecting me to help guide them.


So I stood in the doorway and watched.


Students did as I feared; they pretty much milled around.


A few of my students held their poems in hand and read them quietly together but there were no leaders, no organization.


After about 5 minutes, the adults pounced.


The resource officer criticized them since their safety was more at risk outside the building than in class. Administrators chastised the collective group for having no plan, for only wishing to get out of class, for not knowing why they were there and for not doing anything together to recognize the tragedy or the issue. They said that if the students had really wanted to show respect to those killed in Florida they would have a moment of silence.


The kids immediately got quiet, but you can’t have a 17-minute moment of silence. Not in middle school.


I saw some of my kids wanting to read their poems aloud but too afraid to call the group’s attention to themselves.


And then it was over.


The whole thing had taken about 10 minutes.


Administration herded the kids back into the building early and back through the metal detectors.


I can’t help feeling this was a missed opportunity.


I get it, being an administrator is tough. A situation like today is hard to stomach. Kids taking matters into their own hands and holding a demonstration!?


We, adults, don’t like that. We like our children to be seen and not heard.


We want them to do only things that will show us in a better light. We don’t like them taking action to fix problems that we couldn’t be bothered to fix, ourselves.


But what right do we have to curate their demonstration?


If they wanted to mill around for 17 minutes, we should have let them.


Better yet, we could have helped them organize themselves and express what many of them truly were thinking and feeling.


If I had been allowed out of the building, I could have called the assembly to order and had my kids read their poems.


But doing so would have been exceedingly dangerous for me, personally.


I can’t actively defy my boss in that way. It just didn’t seem worth it.


If we had had warning that this might happen and planned better how to handle it, that also might have been an improvement.


Imagine if the school had sanctioned it. We could have held an assembly or sent a letter home.


The teachers could have been encouraged to plan something with their students.


Obviously if the students wanted to go in another direction, they should have been allowed to do so.


But these are middle school kids. They don’t know how to organize. They barely know how to effectively express themselves.


Regardless of how we, adults, feel about the issue, isn’t it our responsibility to help our student self actualize?


Isn’t it our responsibility to help them achieve their goals?


I don’t know. Maybe I’m just a crazy hippie.


Maybe I’m some radical anarchist.


But I’m proud of my students for taking a stand.


It was unorganized and a mess.


Yet they stood up and did something we, the adults, really weren’t that keen on them doing.


Their message was a muddle.


But they had something to say.


They just haven’t figure out how to say it yet.

Black Progress Does Not Come At White Expense

People of different races hold hands as they gather on the Arthur Ravenel Jr. bridge in Charleston


Relax, white people.


Take a breath.


It’s okay.


America survived its first black President.


You didn’t have to freak out and elect a neo-authoritarian-pseudo-populist!


Holy Crap!


Donald Fucking Trump!


Talk about an over-reaction!


But I get it.


You’re scared.


You’re used to the faces of authority being white and male. Yet for eight whole years you had to endure Barack Obama – a far from perfect neoliberal politician, who none-the-less gave the U.S. the most stable two terms in decades.


And then you were asked to vote for a white face (sigh!) that unfortunately was attached to breasts and a vagina! Oh the horror!


Seriously, white people. Sit the fuck down and listen to some sense.


You don’t need white supremacy.


You don’t need male supremacy.


You can function just fine in a world where people of color and women have the same rights as you and yours.


I know. Sounds crazy! But it’s true.


Think about it.


Let’s say unarmed black people were no longer killed by police at a higher rate than white people.


Would that hurt you?


I don’t think so. In fact, it might actually help, because then we could focus on the fact that police in this country kill far too many unarmed people – of any race – than they should. In most countries, they make lots of arrests but kill almost no one. Here, they kill hundreds – thousands!


We need to demilitarize law enforcement. We need new training programs that emphasize de-escalation of violence – not a shoot-first-ask questions-later mentality.


And it’s hard to focus on that when racism and prejudice get in the way. We need to fix racism first. Only then can we address the root issue.


Here’s another example.


Let’s say we had truly integrated public schools.


No run down under-resourced schools that just happen to serve mostly students of color and yet across town we’ve got the Taj Mahal with marble columns and a broad curriculum that just happens to serve the best and whitest.


Instead we’d have schools that serve everyone – a broad mix of cultures, races and ethnicities all properly resourced and offering a broad range of curriculum and extra-curricular activities.


Would that hurt you?


I don’t think so. In fact, it would actually help because every child would get what he or she needs to succeed. Crime would drop, and even prejudiced and racist attitudes would begin to disappear because it’s harder to hold xenophobic views about people who you actually know because you’ve learned everything with them since you were in kindergarten.


There’s one thing you have to understand. Racism isn’t an ideology. It’s a sickness. It’s a virus that blinds people to real truths about the world and makes them more prone to holding views that are just plain wrong.


The same with sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and a plethora of modern day maladies that should have gone the way of small pox and polio.


Inoculating yourself against prejudice will not hurt you. Living in a society where everyone has the same rights doesn’t impinge on those you already have.


Yes, it will mean dismantling white supremacy. But that’s a good thing. You don’t really want the world to prize you just because of the color of your skin.


Do you?


Do you want to get into college just because you’re white?


Do you want to get a job just because of the hue of your epidermis?


Do you want the sum total of your value as a human being to be dependent on the way light reflects off your skin?


I don’t.


I’m white, and I don’t want that for me or my posterity.


I want people to judge me for me – not some preconceived notion of who I am based on culturally received generalities and the amount of melanin in my outermost cells.


Fuck that shit.


I’m me. And if that’s not good enough for anyone they can just go and jump in the river.


I don’t need white supremacy. And I don’t want it.


I refuse to sit back and accept things I don’t deserve while others are denied what they do deserve just so I can get some free stuff.


I refuse to let my society continue to be built on a foundation of prejudice and cruelty.


We’re all human beings. It’s time we treated everyone as such.


That means everyone gets the same human rights.


To paraphrase Oprah – YOU get human rights, and YOU get human rights and EVERYONE gets human rights!


For white people that means losing a certain sense of normativity.


White will no longer be considered normal. Neither will male.


It’s just another way to be – no better or worse than any other.


That doesn’t mean being ashamed of your whiteness. Hell. We can revel in it.


Imagine reconnecting with all the messy ethnicities we’ve plastered over to claim this homogenous white overclass! Imagine being Polish again, and Czech and German and Scandinavian and so many other nationalities that we barely connect with because we don’t want to draw attention to ourselves as anything other than white — That’s me. Just white. Plain white. Nothing to see here. White.


We’ve had to sacrifice a whole lot to get that status. But we don’t have to keep sacrificing. We can be who we are, too.


The Alt-Right Nazis are out there in the streets chanting, “You will not replace us.”


How about we replace ourselves.


Why don’t we redefine who we are as – who we are.


Not homogenous. Not white. But specific human beings belonging to various cultural, ethnic and religious groups and societies.


Human beings all taking part in the symphony of homo sapia, engaged in a robust love of all things people and a recognition that all people are human.


Think for a moment what that truly means.


Take a deep breath.


Let it in. Let it out.


It means letting go of this irrational fear that anti-racism is anti-white.


So, let me say it again – no. Black progress will not come at white expense. Nor will female progress or anyone’s progress.


Because we go through this life together.


We are one race. We are one people – though we are also many – and we will survive or perish together.


Take my hand and let’s build a better world for all of us.


Let us all benefit.


Let us all progress.



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.

Racism is Just One of Two Things Shown in Alton Sterling Killing


Americans are notoriously bad at holding two thoughts in our heads at the same time.

We look at the police shooting of Alton Sterling and can’t decide whether it was racist or if the 37-year-old black man just had it coming.

But we’re missing the point. Sometimes twice.

Baton Rouge Police shot and killed the father of five on July 5th.

The 37-year-old man was killed outside a convenience store in Louisiana because police allegedly got a tip someone was selling CDs and was armed. In the resulting scuffle, Sterling was shot and killed.

If the whole thing weren’t caught on a cell phone video, it probably wouldn’t be more than a sad headline. Just another black dude killed by police.

But the resulting attention has made his name a hashtag and his death a source of outrage – for good reason.

On the video, police tackle Sterling to the ground before gunshots are heard.

One of the officers shouts “gun” before shooting, but store owner Abdullah Mulfahi told the media that Sterling’s hand was not near any weapon and the alleged gun later recovered from his pocket was not visible.

People watch the video (or not) and immediately take sides.

Who is to blame – the police or Sterling?

Was the black man armed? Maybe – though Louisiana is an open carry state so he would be within his rights to do so.

What should he have done when confronted by police? What actions of his might have resulted in police not shooting him dead?

Did he have a record? Is that even relevant since police had no access to that information at the time?

Typically people come to conclusions based on their convictions and not based on the evidence. If you think black people are being victimized by police, then you’re probably on Sterling’s side. If you think black people are naturally violent and police rarely do any wrong, you’re probably on the side of law enforcement.

But what both sides are ignoring is a sense of context.

This was the 15th American killed by police so far in July alone.

Not the 15th black person. The 15th person. Period.

There’s some dispute over exactly how many people have been killed by police so far this year, but the number is surprisingly high. You’d think that would be something the federal government would keep track of, but no. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program tabulates every criminal statistic imaginable – except homicide by law enforcement. Alarmingly, it leaves this to the private sector – almost as if it had something to hide.

Much of this is done by the news media, both in and out of the country. The Washington Post puts the number of Americans killed by police this year at 505 people. The Guardian puts it at 560. An open sourced database called Killed by Police puts the number at 580.

Any way you look at it, no matter which tally you go with, 2016 is turning out to be one of the deadliest years for police shootings since people have been counting.

It’s a problem for everyone. Police should not be killing such high numbers of civilians. In fact, in other countries, they don’t. Police kill more people in the U.S. in days than they do in other countries in years.

For instance, U.S. police killed 59 people in 24 days last year. In England and Wales, 55 people were killed by police in 24 YEARS!

And the numbers aren’t that high solely because the United States has a larger population. The entire nation of Canada has about as many people as the entire state of California, yet Canadian police killed 25 people last year to 72 by California law enforcement.

That may be due in part to a lack of accountability.

Despite such high body counts in this country, not a single police officer has served jail time for it in the last few years. Several officers went to trial in 2016, but none were convicted, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Last year had the highest number of officers being charged for shooting civilians in a decade. That number? 12. And none of them – not one – was convicted of murder or manslaughter.

We have a real problem here. American police kill far too many people.

However, this doesn’t mean that racism isn’t a motive in many of these police shootings. In fact, the numbers back that up.

Though more white people are killed by law enforcement in this country, it is black people who are killed at a disproportionately high rate. They only make up 13.2% of the population, yet they are twice as likely to be killed by police as whites. Nearly a quarter of all police homicides this year resulted in dead black folks.

What’s going on here?

First, we live in a police state. Officers often kill suspects with impunity and face little to no consequences. Not all police, certainly, but far too many.

Second, black folks are killed more regularly by police than whites. In fact, if all things were equal, you’d expect MORE white people to be killed than already are. Whites make up 77.7% of the population, yet they account for only half of the victims of police shootings.

This isn’t because black people are so much more violent than whites. According to the Center on Disease Control’s annual Youth Risk Behavior Survey, they engage in violent behavior at similar rates to whites.

For instance, they carry a weapon (whites 17.9% to African Americans 15.2%) and carry guns (whites 5.5% to African Americans 6.5%) at about the same rates. However, blacks are twice as likely to be arrested for weapons possession.

The same holds for assaults. African Americans report being in physical fights at similar rates (36.5% versus 32.5% for whites) but are three times more likely to be arrested for aggravated assault.

It should come as no surprise then that black people are more likely to be killed by police. This holds with everything else we know. When it comes to the criminal justice system, black people are penalized more often and that includes being shot and killed by law enforcement.

Why? Because they’re black. Because of societal attitudes, fears, phobias and prejudices.

For many of us, when we see Sterling’s last moments enacted on that cell phone video, we’re confronted with that fact. We put ourselves in his position. What could he have done differently? Whether he was guilty of a crime or not, what action on his part would have assured that he got out of this situation alive?

Eric Garner was choked to death by police while repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe!” Tamir Rice was shot by police in two seconds. What exactly could a black person do to avoid being shot if law enforcement already perceives him or her to be a threat?

These are important questions. But they aren’t the only ones.

America has a problem with police violence. In fact, it has two problems. And we can’t solve one without solving the other.

We have to come to terms with this. It is not a case of racism or a police state. It is a case of BOTH.