March for Our Lives: Does it Include Us?

In 2013, Sen. Rob Portman a Republican from Ohio had a change of heart concerning same-sex marriage and came out in support of it. Prior to this, in 1996 as a member of the House, Portman cast his vote in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act which defined marriage as between a man and a woman, barring federal recognition of same-sex marriage. What, then, brought about the change of heart for Portman in 2013? Portman changed because he personally had stake in the debate when his son, Will Portman, came out of the closet. In order words, the revelation of his son’s homosexuality was the impetus for his evolution on same-sex marriage.

I reflect on this shift in political priorities evidenced by Portman in light of the “March for Our Lives” across the United States in response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. I salute the courage of these students who marched to instill conscience into our nation’s conscienceless leaders and to prevent America from going to hell. My condolences go out to all the parents who lost their loved ones at Stoneman Douglas High School.

While watching the media coverage on CNN, I saw that a lot white people participated in the “March for Our Lives” protests across the country, which is impressive and commendable given our individualistic societal context. However, while the turn out of white people marching for their lives was both surprising and commendable, the following questions came to mind:

Did the same white people participate in any Black Lives Matter protests?

Would they have participated if the chicken had not come home to roost?

Did the lives they were marching for include Black, Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC), Homeless, Transgender lives or was it only about white lives?

Did “March for Our Lives” include the life of Stephon Clark, an unarmed African-American Prince that was killed by police in his grandmother’s backyard?

Did it include the life of Philando Castile, who was murdered with impunity for existing while black?

Or of Jamar Clark?

Or of Alton Sterling?

Or of Tamir Rice?

Or of Michael Brown?

Or of Sandra Bland?

Or of Freddie Gray?

Or of Eric Garner?

Or of Aiyana Jones?

Or of Walter Scott?

Or of John Crawford III?

Or of Korryn Gaines?

Or of Rekia Boyd?

Or of Laquan McDonald?

Or of Terence Crutcher?

Or of Keith Lamont Scott?

Or of Akai Gurley?

Or of Jonathan Ferrell?

Or of Sean Bell?

Or of Oscar Grant?

Or of Ezell Ford?

Or of Ramarley Graham?

Why do I ask these questions? Because historically speaking, the erasure and exclusion of non-whites from all forms of human dignity is legendary in America.

For instance:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. This grandiose philosophical quote excluded BLACK AND NATIVE PEOPLES.

The Women’s Suffrage movement that secured white women’s right to vote on August 18, 1920 dangerously betrayed BLACK WOMEN.

The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, also known as the G.I. Bill, was a law that provided a range of benefits for returning World War II veterans. Benefits included low-cost mortgages, low-interest loans and other financial support but due to systemic and structural racism, African-Americans veterans did not benefit as much as their white counterparts.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not casting aspersions on white all people and I am not oblivious to the allyship of white men and women in the struggle for the recognition of the humanity of black people in America – people like Rev. James Reeb, Viola Gregg Liuzzo, Elijah Lovejoy and Heather Heyer were all killed while fighting for our collective human dignity. But I am speaking to the demonic system of White Supremacy that not only permeates this country but is the very foundation upon which America was laid.

For so long the system has fed white Americans with the illusion of privilege and most of them have bought into this lie, unbeknownst to them that a system that inflicts untold suffering on BIPOC ultimately won’t spare their lives; it’s just a matter of time. Now that white folks are beginning to see with the same eyes what prompted three Black Queens, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi to shout with a stentorian voice “BLACK LIVES MATTER,” I am hoping against hope that these white parents could perhaps look through the eyes of their own children, in the same way that Sen. Portman looked through his, and include BIPOC in their march for our lives. I am hoping that they would join in our call and cry against police brutality, against the school to prison pipeline, against housing and employment discrimination, and against deportation and family separation.

The truth is, if black lives had mattered, and All Lives Matter had not attempted to silence the black voice, the “March for Our Lives” would have never been necessary. With this in mind, some of the inscriptions on the placards used by the white participants of the March for Our Lives caught my eye and I reacted to them as follows:

Placard Inscription: Enough is Enough

My Response: Yes, enough is enough! The communities of color that have been killed with impunity have been saying enough is enough for a long time and we are glad you are now saying it. But is your enough is enough individualistic as usual or collectivist this time around? Does it mean enough is enough to the killing of black and brown bodies?

Placard Inscription: Protect kids, not guns

My Response: Since everything is coded and nuanced in America, can you please explain to me your definition of kids? Are kids the new euphemism for white kids? White people still don’t get it! Until black and brown kids are protected and have the right to life to its fullness, marching to protect only white kids will always be a futile exercise.

Placard Inscription: Am I Next?

My Response: Black people have been asking the same question from time immemorial. Welcome on to the struggle!

Placard Inscription: Christian members of Congress have you read your Bible?

My Response: There are two kinds of Christianity namely Prophetic Christianity and Constantinian Christianity. The former subscribes to Jesus’s teachings of Love, Peace, and Justice while the latter is rooted in the modus operandi of the empire and if Congress is to be known by its fruit, I doubt if there are any prophetic Christians in Congress. Yes, they’ve been reading their Bible but through the lens of empire, afterall the Bible was invoked to justify Roy Moore’s paedophillia allegations.

Placard Inscription: I want to Teach in Peace, not in Fear

My Response: As a teacher, the peace you crave would only be achieved, completed and sustained when black and brown parents are no longer fearful of sending their kids to schools. Currently, parents of color, including myself, are fearful of sending our children into the dens of white teachers for the fear of our children being arrested, suspended or labelled as thugs. It will be impossible for white teachers to teach in peace, especially, when in many cases the presence of white teachers constitutes fear in children and families of color.

Placard Inscription: Passionate Proud Angry and Hurting. #NEVERAGAIN

My Response: Where was your passion, anger and hurt when Aiyana Jones, a 7yr old African-American princess was shot and killed by the police on May 16, 2010? Or Tamir Rice, a 12 yr African-American prince that was murdered by the police on November 22, 2014?

There are kids and human beings living on the South and West sides in Chicago as well as kids in North Minneapolis and kids living in Milwaukee, Houston, Los Angeles, and in the Bronx – until their safety becomes a concern for all, whites living in the salubrious parts of America should know that they are not immune to the existential realities of black parents.

For centuries, Black people have fought for our collective humanity, relentlessly holding America accountable to the ways in which it continues to grasp after power. Unfortunately, the majority of white folks have remained impervious to the suffering to people of color and American Indians due to the illusion and artificial construct of white privilege. The idea of white privilege has led many to think that the systems which malign black and brown bodies will bypass them, which is wrong; it is just a matter of time before those same systems get to them. Yet, here black and brown folks are again, extending our hands of fellowship in hopes that we can together to wean America off of its addiction to violence and dehumanization of all of our lives.


Sen. Al Franken: Understanding the Oddity and Duality of the Human Condition

I am thankful to God for the gift of silence and listening! I have always appreciated these gifts in that they remain my best strategy in intense political moments. Such was the case for me surrounding the #MeToo Movement as it pertained to the accusations of sexual assault of Sen. Al Franken.

In light of Sen. Al Franken’s announcement about his resignation, I paused and looked inward to engage in a little SOUL searching by asking myself some examined questions:

  • Am I a problem or a solution?
  • What are the social problems that I would like to see solved?
  • Am I part of the problem that I seek to end in any way, shape or form?
  • In what way do I consciously or unconsciously contribute to the problems that I speak profoundly against?
  • Are residues of the same problems I wish to solve in me? If yes, what have I done to seek help?

I had the privilege of working on the Campaign Team that elected Sen. Al Franken into his second term in office. As such, I can tell you without a shadow of doubt that Sen. Franken is a good man, and a wonderful progressive senator who has championed the cause of everyday people of the State of Minnesota and the United States at large.

His legislative accomplishments include the following:

  • Cutting Health Care Costs
  • Reforming Wall Street
  • Protecting Minnesota Women from Violence
  • Meeting the Needs of Minnesota Farmers, Ranchers and Rural Communities
  • And many more

And still, in spite of all he has done, we cannot overlook the allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against him.

Again, Sen. Franken is a good man but notice that I have never referred to him as a perfect man. He is a human being and I understood that the best of any man or woman is a human being, and to be human is to be many things all of which can be true at the same time.

As human beings, we are bundles of both positive and negative attributes; we have the capabilities to express our sainthood while still full of vices and some of us are villains with a thimbleful of virtues.

Although, I am a Democrat and a proud one for that matter but with respect to Sen. Franken’s sexual misconduct allegations, I refuse to take the path of partisan politics on this for a couple of reasons: For one, politics has talked about this issue at the expense of morality which has blinded a great many people both Democrats and Republicans to the understanding of the oddity and duality of the human condition. Also, in our present political climate civility is a lost art.  Instead, I have chosen to let decency and morality take lead the on this issue while politics takes a back seat, and as such, I gladly welcome the resignation of Sen. Franken.

As for those of us who knew Sen. Franken as a good man, where do we go from here? Do we still hold him with high esteem in our consciousness? The answer is ABSOLUTELY YES! However, we must also be in touch with reality and the uncomfortable truth that Sen. Franken is a good man that is also full of flaws and that these two attributes are inseparable. The fact that we’ve experienced the good side of his humanity doesn’t mean that we should crusade against those whose experiences of him are different – because these contradictions are valid and are at the core of our collective humanity.

Leeann Tweeden, Lindsay Menz, Stephanie Kemplin, Tina Dupuy and others that have accused Sen. Franken of groping them, I believe you all because this is all about how you felt and not about the innocence of Franken’s intentions. Your experiences are valid and no amount of apologies can undo the damage done! In time, however, I hope you all would accept his apology and can make room in your hearts for forgiveness understanding that he is not a bad man but a good man who has unfortunately acted terribly. Forgiveness does not validate his actions but instead recognizes that our human frailty can compromise our best judgment at any time. As my Yoruba people will say “A kì í mòó rìn kí orí ó máa jì” meaning no one walks without their head shaking.

Sen. Al Franken will be greatly missed as a senator but we are also blessed to have our Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, a capable replacement for Al Franken.

Aung San Suu Kyi: A Travesty of Democracy, Justice, and Human Rights

Let’s get one thing straight: there’s only one Nelson Mandela (Madiba) – every other one is a counterfeit. Still, many people have placed Aung San Suu Kyi on a pedestal alongside the likes of Nelson Mandela. As a matter of fact, she’s often called Nelson Mandela of Myanmar. Truth be told Nelson Mandela is Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi is Aung San Suu Kyi, you can’t compare death to sleep.

Suu Kyi’s role in fighting for the restoration of democracy in Myanmar launched her into being an iconic figure deified in the West and the rest of world, and as such, she eventually won a Nobel Peace prize award in 1991. She won the Nobel peace prize because she pushed for democracy in a once authoritarian country which is a noble act and highly commendable. As someone who has spent almost three decades of their life under authoritarian regimes, I can personally tell you that the worst democratic government is better than the best of any military regime.

The question is, does democracy equal peace or better yet, is democracy synonymous with peace? Does the mere absence of conflict mean peace? I will leave this for another post!

The question of democracy aside, there are some striking similarities between Nelson Mandela and Suu Kyi:

  • They both fought for the restoration of humanity for the people – Mandela fought to terminate the apartheid regime in South Africa while Suu Kyi civilianized Myanmar government from military dictatorship.
  • Madiba and Aung San Suu Kyi were both imprisoned for 27 years and 15 years respectively.
  • They both won the Nobel Peace Prize, 1991 and 1993 respectively
  • They both went from prison to power – Mandela became the first black South African President while Suu Kyi is the incumbent State Counsellor, a position akin to a Prime Minister.

However, this is where the similarities end. What differentiates Nelson Mandela from Suu Kyi is that the former not only knew what he was fighting against when he resisted the South African apartheid regime, he also knew what he was fighting for – raising the standards of all humanity dignity:

“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” Nelson Mandela

It was Mandela’s commitment to upholding the sanctity of human dignity rooted in his values that prevented him from practicing the same racial discrimination that he once condemned. Suu Kyi, on the other hand, only knew what she was fighting against and had no sense of what she was fighting for. As such, it is safe to conclude that she wasn’t keenly interested in changing the system in Myanmar. Rather, she was interested in using the fight for democracy as a strategy to ensure human rights for her own people and as a means to gain international recognition for political power – true democracy and human rights were alien to her value system.

Her deadly silence on the atrocious, ongoing ethnic cleansing being committed against the minority Muslim Rohingya population has caused about 400,000 Rohingyas to flee to Bangladesh for their safety. She has refused to condemn Myanmar’s military for their brutal crackdown on the ethnic minority, which is a testament to her commitment to power at the expense of human rights. She finally delivered an unpleasant and empty speech after being pressured by the international community and likes of Desmond Tutu and Malala Yousafzai, fellow Nobel laureates.

It is incontestable that Suu Kyi is the 21st century shame, an insult and disgrace to the prestige of the Nobel Peace Prize award.

May the Lord bless the souls of credible women and men who have won the Nobel Peace Prize, people like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Bunche, Desmond Tutu, Mairead Maguire, Wangari Maathai, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Malala Yousafzai e.t.c.

There are also some winners like Henry Kissinger, Frederik Willem de Klerk, President Teddy Roosevelt and President Barack Obama and others whose winning has gravely diminished the credibility and prestige of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Although, Nelson Mandela died in 2013, he remains even more relevant in death because of his values to defend the dignity of the human race without regard to race, color, ethnicity, creed, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age, etc

Suu Kyi may have succeeded in using democracy and human rights as a strategy for attaining her current political power as well as winning the Nobel Peace Prize. But she has lost the moral authority to champion those same rights. Void of a commitment to the complete and total liberation of all people, she has made a mockery of justice.

You (Aung San Suu Kyi) are still alive, but you’ve lost all sense of relevance. You can imagine what would happen when you are no longer alive. You have the Peace Prize but your sainthood has been shattered into pieces, you’ve lost credibility and believability with the global community.

What a disastrous way to end your once glorious beginning!

Losing Humanity, Christianity, and Connection in Pursuit of Pain Mitigation

Black ManI recently went to the dentist for a deep cleaning appointment which wasn’t fun at all. As soon as I was checked in, a dental hygienist came and took me into another section of the building where I was faced with the reality of being at the dentist.

As to be expected, she explained the procedure to me and that I was going to be numbed to avoid pain. Indeed, I became numb soon after she injected the anesthesia which was good – I cannot imagine going through the process of all of that poking, prodding, and cleaning while still being able to feel it. I would have left promptly save for the assurance that I would feel minimal pain.

While in this state of numbness to my own pain, I began to reflect on other people’s numbness to my existential reality as a black man on the senseless basis of skin color. I began to ask myself series of questions such as:

What numbs people to the suffering of their fellow human being?

What numbs the Church to the message of Christ, and keeps the Church awake and alive to the ideological dogma of the empire?

What numbs the United States to the suffering of people of color?

To examine the first point, my experience has made me to realize a couple of things with respect to numbness. For starters, to be numbed to one thing is to be alive to another thing. In a society whose numbness to loving black people and entire communities of color at large is legendary, such must also have at the core of its existence a white supremacist ideology toward people of color. As a result of the socialization of Americans into numbness, we’ve created a culture and a system that believes that some people’s lives are worthless, and as such can be killed with impunity while white lives are so worthy that they deserve to be protected with the full might of America’s social and economic power structures.

To probe into the second point, due to the numbness of the Church to Christ, it has now been baptized into the agenda of the empire. The conversion of the Roman Emperor Constantine to Christianity laid the foundation of the process that cuts the umbilical cord of the Church from Jesus Christ, and ties it directly to the worldly power aka Empire. Prior to this demonic alliance, the Church was getting all its spiritual vitality and nutrients from God and the Church championed the cause of the poor and disenfranchised. Unfortunately, due to the numbness at the heart of the Church, it participated in slavery, colonialism, invented all kinds of doctrines to justify evility and now depends on the empire and its lifeblood (capitalism) for survival, and as such, has often colluded with the system.

Christianity – that was once a formidable force for the salvation of human souls and redemption from social misery, and economic neglect has now become a stumbling block preventing people from entering into the Kingdom of God. This quote offered by Willem Bilderdijk says it well: “Whenever a people is destined to perish in sin, it’s in the church that soul-leprosy begins.”

To unpack the third and final point, I’ve discovered that you can increase the dosage of anesthesia once it starts to wear off. Somewhere in the process of being at the dentist, I regained my sense of pain as I began to feel the uneasiness of the pain, and the hygienist asked me if she could inject me with additional dose.

The same way the dental hygienist increased my numbness, that experience perfectly reflects what has become our current existential reality in America under this mercurial administration. It appears America was numbed and deeply in slumber before the election of then Sen. Barack Hussein Obama in 2008 to United States presidency. Unfortunately his election awakened many white residents to the sting of their existential reality in the face of a browning America, something that heroin alone could not fix.

The candidacy of Donald Trump and his rhetoric to make America Great Again provided another powerful drug that lured voters back into a false sense of security, loading sympathetic voters up on the wonder drug of white nationalism and pride. And it worked. In spite of the gross incompetency of the administration, his base remains fiercely loyal because with every rally he continues to pump out a new doses of anesthesia in order to get voters to ignore their pain, as well as the pain of others.

The thing is we do not have to live this way. While the process of numbing provides temporary relief, it can sometimes be counterproductive for our long-term health and well-being. This is because numbness brings about a temporary loss of humanity. We were created as human beings to be feel both joy and pain and whatever numbs our humanity to either of the two has altered our beings regardless of the benefits such provided. The key word here is temporary. Going to the dentist, I am provided temporary relief for the pain associated with getting my teeth cleaned. After that is done, I no longer need anesthesia. If I continued to spend my life on anesthesia, I definitely would not feel anymore pain, but I would also not be able to enjoy food, I would feel insecure about my speech, and my quality of life would decrease. Such is the case when white Americans insist on being deaf, blind, and numb to the realities of black, indigenous, and other people of color in this country. And when the Church insists on ignoring the plight of the poor and suffering. The well-being of not people of color is compromised, but whites and the Church as well.


Philando Castile: America’s War on Black Bodies

PhilandoLynching is America’s ‘exciting form of sport’”- W.E.B Dubois

Racial terrorism, including the extrajudicial killing of black people, is not aberration in America. As a matter of fact, it is quintessential American and the entire world knows this to be true as the unimaginable sufferings inflicted upon people of African descent has blown the covers off of America’s rhetoric of commitment to freedom, liberty, equality and human rights. A quote from the late Eleanor Roosevelt says it well, “Anyone who has worked in the international field know well that our failure in race relations and our open discrimination against various groups, injures our leadership in the world.”

Adding insult to an already festering wound, justice in America for black people as well as other communities of color, including American Indians, is nonexistent. The recent acquittal of Officer Yanez who murdered Philando Castile is the epitome of America’s RUSE OF LAW!

Although, to be clear, I wasn’t surprised. To be convinced that justice would actually be served speaks volumes about one’s ignorance about the system. America was stolen through the genocide of the American Indians, and whenever you acquire anything through evil, you need a higher level of evil to keep it.  “Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy” is clear evidence that America intends to keep and preserve what it started.

What we have in the United States is a criminal justice system that is in and of itself criminal, shameless, founded in wholesale criminality and beyond redemption. The shooting death of Philando Castile was captured in a Facebook Live video for the world to see America’s inhumanity to black people. And the dash cam, recently released today, also confirms that Yanez’ actions were unjustified. Yet the killer walked away scot-free with the full support of our criminalized criminal justice.

I guess it doesn’t matter to a shameless system whether the killings of black men are captured on cameras or not. In 2016, Jason Harrison, Eric Garner, John Crawford III, Kajieme Powell, Tamir Rice, Jerame Reid, Charly Keunang, Phillip White, Walter Scott and many more were all black men killed by police caught on videos. The filming of their executions did not make a difference to our system.

During the ninety years of Jim Crow, the verdict was death at the hands of persons unknown and now that we know those who are killing us, the outcomes remain the same – they are still getting away with murder. Why? Because the system is ever faithful to itself by ensuring that those hired to keep us in a perpetual state of powerlessness, social misery and economic neglect enjoy unflinching loyalty of the system.

When will the assault on black bodies end?

While the pain inflicted on us has endured for centuries, I know that one day the terror will end. For starters, there’s no beginning without ending. America has a very clear beginning date and as every empire that has existed under the sun, it will have an expiration date as well. For every evil perpetrated, comeuppance will surely come and even Thomas Jefferson, a world class hypocrite acknowledged this truth “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.”

Secondly, I am hopeful because I know that the fight for liberation of black people is from a place of VICTORY; we are not fighting for victory and this is what separates us from the system of oppression that we are up against. These are the differences between the two:

The victory of the system is gotten by inflicting unimaginable violence on Black, Brown and Native bodies, and it is temporary. As Gandhi stated, “Victory attained by violence is tantamount to defeat, for it is momentary.”

On the other hand, fighting from VICTORY is totally divorced from Machiavellian ethics of the empire but rooted in the way of Jesus Christ that guarantees eternal victory – “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).”

Although, it might look like the system is winning in that they are killing us and getting away with it, I guarantee you that this is for a season! The same way Satan thought he had prevailed when Jesus Christ was crucified, this system too thinks it has won when one of their own walked away scot free. But like Christ, those who have been oppressed and killed in this system, will rise again to a new life of peace, joy, and justice.

Saving Our Democracy from Trump’s Demonstration of Craze

Texas is slang for CRAZY! It’s no news that Norwegians have long used the word “Texas” as slang for crazy, and if you are just hearing this for the first time now you know.

Truth be told, Texas is beyond crazy, especially with the recent bill signed into law by the state Gov. George Abbott, which empowers the local police to inquire into the immigration status of people lawfully detained.

Unfortunately, I’m afraid, that with the way things have gone and are going with “This So Called Administration” that it’s only a matter of time before the United States becomes globally adopted as another word for crazy. In fact, with this administration, craziness is high on steroids.

Donald Trump is harmful and dangerous to the ideals of the United States, and has furthered impeded the negative impression of our country around the world. Upon inception into the Office of the Presidency of the United States, the Trump administration issued a bunch of draconian legislations that targeted Syrian refugees, immigrants, green-card holders, Muslims and imposed a traveling ban on seven predominantly Muslim countries. Thus far, he has signed 32 executive orders in his excruciating first 100 days in office – some which were aimed at undoing President Obama’s executive orders.

He has also fired three prominent and dedicated people in his brief tenure – James Comey, former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Sally Yates, former Acting Attorney General and Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.  The common denominator in these three situations is that they were all fired while investigating the Trump’s administration involvement with Russia.

With the election of Donald Trump, one thing we can agree on and can be truthful about is that America is not SPECIAL! His presidency has completely debunked the long-held mythological ideology of American Exceptionalism as the election of AUTHORITARIAN FACIST proves that we are anything but exceptional. Furthermore, what is the basis of our exceptionalism when they are dictators in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin American countries?

As an African, who had spent over two decades under military dictatorship, it is hard to believe that a country that purports and exports democracy all over the globe, could elect a dictator. Since we’ve elected a political neophyte who lacks the appropriate judgment and scope of knowledge to perform as a dictator let alone a democratic leader, what is the way forward?

The only way out is for us to come together as Americans, as we’ve often found solidarity in times of disaster such as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. Trump’s presidency is a DISASTER that has afflicted us all and we must band together irrespective of our political affiliations in order to survive this calamity. I am a Democrat, I write this blog post not a Democrat but as a concerned citizen who wants the best for America and committed to saving America from itself.

Presidents are supposed to protect U.S. citizens; unfortunately, the onus is on us to come together and be strong so as to protect ourselves and America from this president.

We must have the mindset of being in this together and as we lead, politicians from both parties will be forced to align themselves with us and be part of the solution.

Let’s face the truth, if we ever were, we are definitely no longer the bastion of democracy. At best, what we have is a gross simulacrum of democracy. We must RESIST Trump’s dictatorial tendencies by all standards not only to preserve the future of democracy but to ensure the future of our nature.

Trust me, dictatorship is not something you can get used to – RESIST IT!


Bombing of Syria and the Politics of Distraction

Last week, the world gasped in horror at the surmounting carnage in Syria after the use of chemical weapons that killed dozens of civilians. The use of chemical weaponry is not only despicable because it violates international law, but it violates the rights of human decency and dignity. In response to the horrific incident, the President of the United States ordered the bombing of the Syrian government, suggesting that he felt compassion towards those who were suffering.

At least, that was the rhetoric that he preached. In his actions, he stated that he was sending a message that the United States would always act with the full force of its military might in order to prevent and deter the use of chemical weapons. But was this actually the case? The answer is a resounding NO! Trump ordered the strikes on Syria to deflect attention from his dealings with the Russian oligarchs, and to improve his domestic approval ratings. Prior to the military strike, Trump was called all sorts of names in the book by the media, Republicans and Democratic elected officials. But right after Syria was bombed, Trump became the beloved of the establishment and all of a sudden the bombing of Syria launched Trump into being presidential. Trump has also been lavished with encomiums from all quarters including the media, Republicans and even from Congressional Democrats – Sen. Chuck Schumer, U.S. Senate Minority Leader and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader.

Trump’s actions are not without precedent. The politics of distraction that uses military strikes for the purposes of deflection and approval ratings runs deep in America. For instance, President Bill Clinton authorized military attack on Iraq over the alleged Saddam Hussein’s assassination attempt on the life of President Bush senior during his official visit to Kuwait in 1993. President Clinton’s approval ratings were in the 30s at the time but immediately after the U.S. display of military muscular power – his approval ratings soared!

Then again in 1998, President Clinton approved the bombing of the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical company in Sudan which was suspected to be Osama bin Laden chemical weapon plant. Forensic evidence later proved the allegation to be wrong; the pharmaceutical factory was owned by Salah El Din Ahmed Mohammed Idris and Osama bin Laden had no ties to the company. But here’s the distractive force of that military authorization – it was carried out the same day of the president’s testimony in his perjury trial. Could this have been an honest coincidence? Sure! But given the pattern that has been established here and what Clinton faced at the time, his actions are much more insidious.

In the same 1998, President Clinton also ordered another bombing of Iraq – this time the American people were told that it was necessary to degrade Saddam Hussein’s ability to produce weapons of mass destruction. Again, the bombing took place on the eve of United States House of Representatives’ vote on President Clinton’s impeachment.

There’s a duplicitous strategy which we’ve all bought into irrespective of our political persuasions. We’ve been tricked into believing that in order to stop the production of weapons and terror, that the U.S. needs to bomb its enemies. However, the problem here is not about the presence of weapons of MASS DESTRUCTION abroad, but the prevalence of MASS DISTRACTION right here at home!

As a presidential candidate, Trump sold himself to the nation as an outsider and anti-establishment. Truth be told, he might have not been directly involved as a politician but he has never been an outsider. He knows how the game works, and that was why he tweeted back in 2012 about the correlation between military strikes and presidential approval ratings.

Although, I am a proud Democrat, I have not written this piece from the vantage point of my party stance but by virtue of my citizenry as an American. In America, we count the bombing of other nations by Democratic or Republican administrations, but the rest of the world sees one America. For this same reason, I believe that the onus is on us as a people to wean our government off of its addiction of bombing lives for cheap political approval ratings. After all, if dropping bombs on other people is one of the criteria for presidents to approved in our eyes, what kind of people are we?