It is disappointing that we have strayed so far from the core principles of our country. One cannot blame one party, one branch of government, or one politician. “The fault lies in our stars.” The Founding Fathers, cognizant that a well-educated and civically engaged citizenry committed to their role as the guardians of the rights … Continue reading
Trump’s Great Motivator: Spite
Our country is being run by a guy who has one goal: destroy President Obama’s Legacy. He hasn’t gotten his way with Republicans on The Hill. They either have the political aptitude to realize that they will not win in 2018 if they repeal Obamacare without a plan to replace, or they are decent human beings who realize that the ramifications of allowing millions to lose their health insurance is unhealthy and immoral.
Trumps myopic spite does not allow him either the political aptitude or the moral decency to rise above jealousy and spite–it vitiates his ability to make sound decisions as this country’s president.
Trump doesn’t view the world through the same eyes that we do. Everything has been handed to him. He never worried about health insurance. And as a diagnosed malignant narcissist, he has the inability to empathize with those who have to struggle financially to maintain health insurance.
Therefore, he had no problem getting rid of key subsidies that will affect the health care of millions.
He is full of childish spite, especially towards his predecessor, and this spite is currently his great motivator. From domestic issues to foreign affairs, he is seeking to dismantle President Obama’s Legacy.
He plans on tearing up the hard won Iran Nuclear Accord. What other logical reason is there for this act than pure spite towards Obama? He has offered no proof that Iran is cheating. He hasn’t even called for UN inspectors to investigate possible weapons-grade uranium enrichment activity.
As the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is one of the single greatest challenges of modern international relations, one would assume that Trump has done his due diligence in deciding to nix the Treaty. But all that matters to him is that the predecessor whom he dislikes passed it into law–that’s enough to undo the hard work of our nation’s diplomats.
To have a person in the White House immature enough to govern the country with spite as his motivating factor is beyond frightening. Trump has negatively affected the health of our democratic-republic. And his presence in the Oval Office has brought the world to brinksmanship. He is a sick man.
Remember Good Will Hunting?–Specifically, do you remember the character Will Hunting? Let me refresh your memory: While at a bar with his loyal Southie friends, he notices a pretentious Harvard student trying to make his friend (Ben Affleck) look stupid in front of a group of attractive girls. Will comes to his friend’s aid. After kicking this arrogant bastard’s ass intellectually, he offers the following bit of wisdom:
The sad thing is in about 50 years you’re going to start doing some thinking on your own, and by then you’ll realize there are only two certainties in life … One don’t do that. Two, you dropped $150 grand on an education you could have received for $1.50 in late charges at the public library
After embarrassing this smug Harvard student, Will adds, “And if you got a problem with that, maybe we can step outside and deal with it that way.” (Damon, Matt; Affleck, Ben; Good Will Hunting: 1997) That scene truly reflects the many talents and virtues of Southie. It says, “Yes, I’m an intellectual, but I’m a fighter too. And my loyalty to my friends is absolute.” It is a loyalty that grows from the empathic/survivalist nature of Southie folks–people whose cultural roots are planted firmly in Ireland, so much so that we often jest that South Boston is the western-most county of Ireland.
Is this character merely a fictional character? Is it possible that the “genius old school Southie kid” has a non-fictional counterpart?
Of course, a lot of outsiders will say no. To these folks, one is stereotyped as an idiot when they either detect a “Southie accent” or hear one say, “I’m from Southie–I and 8th St.”
There are folks who will cite sociological reasons that a non-fictional Will Hunting is a fantasy. They will cite socioeconomic reasons. And they will cite cultural reasons. And they are wrong.
Anyone that knows Southie, knows that our culture is the reason why we not only survived, but thrived.
Oppressed by the English at home, the Irish diaspora began a great migration to Boston. There is but one reason why Boston and many other parts of the country claim Irish ancestry: The Irish Famine. The Irish people literally starved. The English iniquitously deprived the Irish of the crops that the Irish themselves farmed and harvested. The English brought the food home to England, and left the Irish starving to death.
The Irish Famine Memorial – Boston
Thus is the genesis of the prominent Irish diaspora in Massachusetts (Plymouth County still has the highest concentration–outside of Ireland–of those with Irish ancestry); the diaspora that took “blue-blooded” Boston by storm; the diaspora that mastered the blood-sport of Boston politics; the diaspora that within a couple of generations, proudly elected one of their own as President of The United States: President John F Kennedy.
In my office, there is an authentic sign that reads, “No Irish Need Apply.” There is a simple reason I keep that sign on display. It motivates me. Oppression is the great motivator. And the oppression of the Irish, both in Ireland and in America, affected our culture immensely. We had to work harder; we had to study harder; we were inculcated by our parents and grandparents with the belief that hard work and education cut the key to freedom.
With cultural beliefs such as these, one can theorize that Will Hunting from Southie is a non-fictional character. But we do not need to speculate when one can cite the multiplicity of Will Huntings from Southie.
Let’s start with Senator Joseph Moakley: a man from the Old Harbor Housing Projects in Southie (today it is often called Mary Ellen McCormick). Moakley grew up in public housing and fought for his country in World War II, even though he did not have to–he lied about his age when he enlisted.
He went on to graduate from Suffolk Law School (Suffolk Law School named their new library after The Honorable Joseph Moakley). He was a state representative, a state senator, and then a Congressman who labored his whole career for the working man, never forgetting the oppression in the collective Irish memory.
The talent of folks from Southie is all-encompassing. Although we do have numerous political heroes, we have sports heroes too. For instance, Southie is home to the first winner of an Olympic Gold Medal in 1500 years, James Connolly. He won the triple jump.
Stanley Cup Champion, Brian Noonan, is also from Southie’s housing projects. Never forgetting where he first got his start, after winning the cup, he brought it to Southie’s Murphy Rink, where I got to behold the most cherished trophy in sports. His gesture made every Southie hockey player believe in himself and herself.
“Wait,” you’re saying, “Will Hunting is an intellectual genius. The people you listed are talented, but not one of them is a rocket scientist.” True. Let’s amend this careless oversight.
Southie is proud to call Eugene Lally a native son, and he is indeed a rocket scientist. He assisted NASA with their Apollo Programs and pioneered digital photography.
Southie folks are not just characters in movies–they are also Hollywood Actors. Brian Goodman became an actor after spending 20 years in prison. Authenticity is his hallmark. He actually included former “marks” (the drug dealers and underworld folks that he robbed) as characters in movies. Goodman’s filmography is incredible: Catch me If You Can, The Last Castle, The Fast and The Furious, etc. One could go on forever with his filmography.
The Irish are well-known for their talented writers: James Joyce, William Butler Yeats, Jonathan Swift, George Bernard Shaw. My hero Michael Patrick MacDonald belongs in that pantheon of great Irish writers.
MacDonald grew up in the Old Colony Projects in Southie. His book, All Souls – A Family Story From Southie, illustrates the great Southie paradox. Although there are many blessings bequeathed to the Southie’s young people, there are dark elements at play in this neighborhood.
Irish culture forged under the heavy yoke of English oppression had arrived in Southie. Souhie’s Irish diaspora suppresses painful memories and obfuscates the true past to “outsiders” (Freud said that the only race impervious to psychoanalysis is the Irish because of their propensity to keep their problems hidden).
However, the world is now aware of the dark elements at play in Southie. My family knew James “Whitey” Bulger, Senate President Bulger’s brother (one the most powerful gangster–the other the most powerful gangster) ended up becoming the FBI’s most wanted man. And not too long ago he made international news after getting caught in Santa Monica with hundreds of thousands of dollars and an arsenal of guns hidden in the walls of his apartment.
Organized crime is a scourge in ethnic, urban neighborhoods, especially black, Italian, and Irish neighborhoods. Each of these cultures faced violence and oppression from those that who were supposed to keep the peace and promote justice.
Speaking of social justice, Michael Patrick McDonald has done community work for every part of Boston suffering from violence, drug epidemics, or any type of despair. Michael Patrick MacDonald now spends his life trying to improve the lives of the working-poor people of Boston. He helped to start Boston Gun Buy Back Program. He is Writer and Residence at Northeastern. He is someone, as a firm believer in Jesuit Principles, that I emulate.
Southie is also the hometown of Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, lyricist, and screenwriter, David Lindsay-Abaire. He won The Pulitzer Prize for his 2007 drama, Rabbit Hole. He hails from West 5th St.
Obviously, the Irish are prolific writers, and I cannot mention all of Southie’s writers.
The last two “Will Huntings” are special to me for different reasons, but I hold them both in the highest regard.
Speaker of The House John McCormack served in The United States House of Representatives from 1928-1971. He served in World War I. In 1940, he became House Majority Leader. “You’ll never get anything done without Democratic help,” he often yelled across the aisle to his Republican colleagues in the 1950’s during the Eisenhower Administration.
Any student of history or politics must note that during the passage of The New Deal Legislation, he was serving in the party leadership (the second highest-ranking Democrat). He became Speaker for 9 years, and the legislation passed under his Speakership makes for one of the finest legacies of any Speaker.
He was an early advocate of Civil Rights and the Speaker of The House when The Civil Right’s Act of 1964 was made law (I only wish that that the The self-professed liberals I’ve met who are so quick to generalize Southie as racists knew that it was under the auspices of our native son, John McCormack, that Civil Rights Laws were passed). Speaker McCormick also advocated for and signed laws protecting early education, health care, and elderly welfare. McCormack was a legislative giant who helped pass Great Society’s Reforms. After the assassination of President Kennedy, Speaker McCormack became next in line for the presidency.
The next giant that I am to mention comes from the housing project in Southie named after Speaker John McCormack’s mother, Mary Ellen McCormack. His name is Senate President William Bulger. He and most original Old Harbor families like mine would most likely call our neighborhood Old Harbor; although none of us forgot what the McCormack family did for us.
William Bulger is a true Jesuit-trained intellectual. At Boston College High School, by the time we graduate, we are ready to “be men for others.” In other words, we will spend our everyday to help those in need. And Senate President Bulger always heeded the virtues that The Jesuits taught him to strive for.
And after going to BC High, BC, and BC Law, earning the honorable title Triple Eagle, his Jesuit education was bound to influence the rest of his life. He became a public servant: First as Massachusetts State Rep, then State Senator. As state senator he was elected Senate President. He served from 1971-1994, which is the longest tenure ever held by someone in that position.
He was a political mastermind. But the reason folks love him still to this day is because of his renowned constituent service–another example of Southie’s loyalty and empathy at work. Bulger would field calls on his own and get back to people on his own. That is unheard of now in the Massachusetts State House. The proudest day of my life was when William Bulger, who graduated exactly 50 years before me at BC High, and ironically handed me my B.C. High diploma.
One would be hard-pressed to find such ubiquitous talent in a town of this size. Good Will Hunting should not be seen as a story about a genius whose Southie upbringing makes him an anomaly in a town that is bereft of talented people and intellectuals. Indeed, the opposite is true. Southie, a town with a culture influenced by the oppression of our ancestors; it is a town full of talent. But most importantly, Southie’s educated political leaders proved that a neighborhood of empathy and compassion underlies the rough exterior.
Only a truly powerful group of ideological dogmatists, well-funded by our wealthiest citizens, could redefine American democracy, unscrupulously steal the sovereignty of the American people, and obscure the belief in the progressive economic values subscribed to by The Constitution’s Framers.
Friedman/Hayek’s Chicago School of economics is a laissez faire, capitalist ideology parasitic by nature. Our Founding Father’s fought a revolution, created a Federal Constitution, state constitutions, a bi-cameral legislative Congress, The Bill of Rights, the executive branch headed by the president, and a judicial branch headed by the SJC, to protect us from this evolving parasite. Their knowledge of the failures of past experiments in democratic-republican governments compelled them to issue forewarnings that would survive 231 years. Madison said:
The instability, injustice, and confusion, introduced into the public councils, have, in truth, been the mortal diseases under which popular governments perished….”
– James Madison, The Federalist. Barnes and Noble Classics. p52 brilliance of the ideology is that like any bug that causes disease, it adapts.
Success is what matters to its Friedman School adherents, not popularity. They don’t measure their success in polling data. Whether people agree with their belief that social programs should be privatized or abolished, that departments of the federal government that protect the environment should be shuttered, does not matter to them. That a majority agree with progressives on the issues, does not matter to them. The parasitic neoliberal, Friedman economic model embeds itself in our government and unscrupulously redefines the language of our Constitution. Freedom has become a word that connotes Friedman Capitalism. When the government makes use of its economic regulatory powers and when it properly conducts the oversight of Wall Street, it is infringing on freedom.
The Orwellian nature of this parasitic ideology is so blatant, yet people have an historical amnesia when it comes to American History, so it’s easy to change the meaning of the ubiquitous words of our republic, like the word freedom, which actually has nothing to do with corporations and money, but is defined as the right to do what one pleases, except when it infringes on another’s right to freedom.
The retail industry, corporations, and workers now have an economic relationship that closely resembles feudalism. The peasant retail workers do all the work and get paid minimum wage. They are only given less than 40 hours so benefits are not provided. Upper Management probably gets full time hours and benefits. They are the feudal agents who keep the peasants labor production high. The feudal lords are the folks sitting 60 stories above the real world. They are the CEO’s, CFO’s, COO’s who rake in millions of dollars while their workers struggle to stay financially stable.
These corporate feudal lords are more powerful than the people; they sponsor the government that is supposed to be the most powerful institution in the country since it represent the voice of the people and God. Vox populi, vox dei. The voice of the people is the voice of God. Yet our Congresspeople mute the voice of the people. They are puppets of their corporate contributors. Alexander Hamilton writes:
The power of the head of the nation was commonly too weak, either to preserve the public peace, or to protect the people against their oppression of their immediate lords.
Later in The Federalist, he states:
A government ought to contain in itself every power requisite to the full accomplishments of the objects committed to its care, and to the complete execution of the trusts for which it is responsible; free from every other control but a regard to the public good and to the sense of the people.
It is blasphemy when neoliberals talk about “shrinking the federal government so that it can fit down the sink.” We fought wars and spilled blood to to save a government for the people, by the people, and of the people. The Revolutionary War and the Civil War began when the blood of Massachusetts’ men were shot and killed.
Anyone who talks about shrinking the role of the Federal Government, is euphemistically talking about ending our democratic-republic–ending the sovereign power of the people.
How did this e
Since the election of Reagan, the first neoliberal who was able to manipulate the people into voting against their own economic interests, the middle class has slowly disappeared, now we listen for the sound of the death knell of the middle class.
Reagan cut taxes for the wealthy, cut federal funding to social programs, fired 11,000 airline workers who were on strike, fighting for fair wages and benefits. Reagan fired all of them. That was the first big blow to unions. All across the country, organized labor is under attack. The neoliberals want to turn us into their feudal peasants. The students of Friedman seek to take away the power of the mult
Trsump appealed to white people by scapegoating people of color and people who pray differently. The Trump Campaign stayed away from issues whenever possible. Their campaign was emotive, striking racist tones, instilling fear, and promoting hate. Trump’s message was the opposite of Obama’s, but appealing to fear and hate and other base human emotions is something that Hillary did not understand.
The only progressive candidate of late to understand that politics is won by appealing to the voter’s emotion rather than his stance on issues is President Obama. Aware that once a candidate politically categorizes oneself, enemies are created–passionate enemies–and aware that Americans were exasperated with hyper-partisanship, Obama’s rhetoric often cited principles that all Americans share–he espoused a message of unity. President Obama allowed the pundits to argue and define his political philosophy.
Speaking of ideological categorizing, for the sake of simplicity, I will refer to the aforementioned parasitic, purist capitalism that currently threatens our democratic-republic by the name most folks presently refer to it as: neoliberalism.
Neoliberalism’s biggest success in the judicial branch of our government happened under Chief Justice Robert’s conservative Supreme Court’s “Citizens United v FEC” decision. Charles and David Koch own one of the wealthiest privately held corporations on the planet with Koch Industries, and are surpassed only by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet in wealth. The Koch Brothers and their likeminded corporate cohorts ensured that the SJC would side with the neoliberal agenda in the Citizens United decision. So personally invested in the decision’s outcome that the Kochs not last only donated money, but deployed their own Koch Industries attorney, Ted Olson, to argue their neoliberal position.
Those neoliberal positions do not reflect any of the American principles lain out by our Founding Fathers. Show me one document that does not prove neoliberalism antonymic to American values.
Koch and his neo-liberal cohorts believe that the government should not invest in social programs the benefit our most vulnerable citizens; they do not believe that the wealthy should pay a higher percentage of taxes; and they believe that the departments of the federal government that regulate corporate greed should be abolished. The Federal Government keeps corporations in check through federal oversight and through regulatory practices. Neo-liberals want the government to serve corporations, rather than corporations serve government. (Hamburger, Tom. “The Koch Brother’s Impact on America’s Political System.” Opinions. The Washington Post. [15 January 2016] https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-koch-brothers-impact-on-the-american-political-system/2016/01/15/6a3694aa-b579-11e5-9388-466021d971de_story.html Accessed 28 August 2017)
The Citizens United decision has infected our federal election process with the parasitic, neoliberal ideology. Our candidates are no longer responsive to the needs of their consituents–they are responsive to the needs of their corporate sponsors. The spirit of Alexander Hamilton would be vexed to find that our democratic-republic had been highjacked by the greedy and self-interested men and women of our day:
A government ought to contain in itself every power requisite to the full accomplishments of the objects committed to its care, and the complete execution of the trust for which it it responsible; free from every other control but a regard to the public good and to the sense of the people.
– Alexander Hamilton. The Federalist (New York: 2006) p. 165
Neo-liberals seek the destruction of any component of the federal government that doesn’t protect their private property and mthe source of most of their wealth, international trade. Social programs that benefit the poorest citizens are socialist–in the neoliberal myopic political mindst hey receive no benefits from an educated, economically hopeful hoi polloi. Neoliberals rebuke social programs as sources of higher taxes, rather than a public good necessary for societal stability.
Yet if neo-liberals are to refer to those who believe in a progressive taxation system in which the wealthy pay more in taxes, while the poor benefit from the redistribution of wealth, then they must call the Framers of the Constitution socialists as well. Alexander Hamilton writes:
…make it a fixed point of policy in the national administration, to go as far as may be practicable in making the luxury of the rich tributary to the public treasury, in order to diminish the necessity of those impositions, which might create dissatisfaction in the poorer and most numerous classes of society. Happy it is when the interest which the government has in the preservation of it own power, coincides with a proper distribution of the public burthens, and tends to guard the least wealthy part of the community from oppression! (Boldness mine) (Ibid. p. 192)
Perhaps the parasitic neo-liberal ideology has infected our collective knowledge of history. The men who founded this country were some of the most progressive men of their day.
Our Founders believed that the power of the federal government made up of the people should be more powerful than any other institution, including corporations, and that when the federal government failed to do so, the state governments were compelled to protect individual liberty. If the states and federal governments ultimately failed to protect individual liberty, then they believed in the people’s right to rebel.
The Founders believed that the government had a role in taking care of its most vulnerable citizens. And they believed in a progressive tax system in which the wealthy paid their fair share of taxes, so that society could continue to progress. Neo-liberalism is un-American to the core. Progressivism is the ideology this country and its constitution was built on.
Ed Flynn grew up and still lives in South Boston, one of the neighborhoods that make up our District 2. He shares the collective values of our diverse district of Bay Village, Beacon Hill, Chinatown, The South End, and South Boston. And that is I will vote for him on November 7, 2017
come rain, sleet, or snow.
This is one of the most important elections in recent memory. There was a time when coaching youth sports, participation in neighborhood associations, and service to one’s country was a requisite to running for public office.
Only one candidate running has consistently demonstrated his devotion to our nation and our community. Ed Flynn is a combat veteran who served in the Navy for 25 years. He is a member of City Side Neighborhood Association, South Boston Citizens’ Association, and coaches youth sports. Furthermore, he is an active parent at the Josiah Quincy School in Chinatown. Massachusetts is one of the only Constitutions in the world that guarantees public as a right. Ed Flynn’s commitment to the right to public education is unwavering, and he has a personal stake in our education system as the parent of a student in the one of Boston Public Schools.
Only one candidate has experience promulgating our collective values into effective public policy. Ed Flynn worked for five years in the Department of Labor where he fought to improve labor conditions, expand access to health care, and increase the federal minimum wage.
Ed Flynn believes Boston’s diversity to be one of its greatest strengths, and with District 2 being such a diverse district, it is imperative that we elect someone who celebrates Boston’s diversity. I am voting for Ed Flynn because he will represent the core values of this diverse district. I am voting for Ed Flynn because he spent his entire adult life serving his country and his community. I am voting for Ed Flynn on the September 26 Primary Election and the November 7 General Election. He earned my vote because he is man of strong moral fiber who has dedicated his life to serving our country and our district, and he will be the independent, progressive voice we need in City Hall.
There is no room for equivocal statements when neo-nazis are marching through our cities. Sure, they have the right to freedom of speech, and I know that the message of love and unity will always defeat the message of hate and division in the marketplace of ideas. So give these philistines their march with their worn out, hateful ideas. But in response to these marches a large number of people who subscribe to a philosophy of unity and love will be there to counter-protest.
Before recent events, I would expect any president of the United States to unequivocally support the counter-protestors and their sacrifices, including the acknowledgment of the counter-protestor who lost his life for his belief in love and unity.
I would expect any president to expound on his abhorrence of all hate groups, particularly the recently active hate groups of white supremacists, neo-nazis, and Klansmen. I expect The President to extol their message as one of hatred and division, and an extremist view with no place in mainstream politics.
Instead, Trump blames both sides. The President equated white supremacists with folks who believe in a tolerant America with its deep roots in pluralism and diversity. Then he amends his previously callous remark with a delusion: “the alt left [which doesn’t exist] is also to blame.” If prior to this tragedy in Virginia, one didn’t see that the alt right and white supremacists make up Trump’s base, it is now painfully visible.
For example, At a press conference about infrastructure spending, three days after neo-nazis took to the streets of Charlottesville, VA, The President was given ample opportunity to condemn David Duke and disavow the support shown to him by white supremacists, and neo-nazis.
He came back to the podium as if he were going to answer the question, “Do you, Mr. President, disavow support from nazis?” Alas, he approached the podium to say he would sign the manufacturing bill inside (the evasion and criticism of the free press by Trump is alarming–it’s a tactic employed by despots). As he walked away, he was once again asked by a forceful voice that caused all other questions and sounds to fade into background noise: “Do you disavow the support you receive from white supremacists?” President Trump clearly heard the question, and his shaking head, and nervous body language betrayed his attempt to pretend that he wasn’t listening. He walked away.
He walked away from the moral leadership that presidents of the United States have assiduously displayed time immemorial: President Bush’s appearance at ground zero, FDR’s fireside chats, President Obama’s response to the Sandy Hook Shooting and the Boston Marathon Bombing.
We allowed a person to become president who has never once shown the propensity to serve his fellow man or his country or honor its timeless traditions and principles, but has instead shown the proclivity to wrap himself in the American Flag only to serve his own base interests. The only consistency in Trump’s moral life is his consistent racism.
He was sued by the federal government for racial discrimination for steering African Americans away from his properties; he has tried with some success to ban folks from certain Muslim majority countries from entering the United States; he has made asylum to the United States more difficult to obtain (a process that was already nearly impossible to get through) and that many of these folks aided the United States in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Furthermore, Trump’s father was arrested after marching in a parade-turned-riot in which two Italians were killed by KKK members and sympathizers. The flyer passed around that no doubt induced Mr. Trump to march was thoroughly anti-Italian and anti-Papist (anti-Catholic).
And we are aware of the words that have come out of President Trump’s own mouth: of Mexican undocumented workers, he said “they’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists”; at the Republican National Jewish Conference, he stated, “Is there anybody that doesn’t renegotiate deals in this room? This room negotiates them — perhaps more than any other room I’ve ever spoken in.”
His fallacious comment that equated inner-cities to war zones, enraged my neighbors and me–a lifelong resident of the inner-city. First of all, our inner-cities, like Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and New York City are bastions of the American melting pot. I participate in Caribbean Day, Dorchester Day, Saint Anthony’s Feast, and Saint Patrick’s Day, and, even though I’m an Irish kid originally from the Irish Projects (Old Harbor a.k.a. Mary Ellen McCormick), I learned about my brothers’ and sisters’ culture. Yes, I refer to my fellow Bostonians as brothers and sisters, and they refer to me the same way–Boston is a brotherhood/a sisterhood. It is not a war zone. Nor are America’s other great cities.
Certain issues will exist in any densely populated neighborhood, particularly neighborhoods that are home to those struggling socioeconomically. But Trump doesn’t understand these complexities. For Trump, the “inner city war zone” comment was coded racism to his white supremacist base. Trump does not care about demeaning us and patronizing the inner city folks (particularly black folks) who actively struggle on a daily basis to make these cities function–these cities that are not war zones but proud symbols of American diversity and pluralism.
Trump has failed to provide us with any moral guidance. Yes, speech is protected under the 1st Amendment, but before Trump, the moral leadership in this country, especially with the election of a black man as president, caused people to keep their ignorant, racist beliefs hidden. Folks turned to the Obama Campaign with such passion and hope that we spoke of a post-racial age. Not until Trump won the presidency did these “brave” men come out from hiding (my neighbors didn’t unfurl their Trump campaign sign until the day after Election Day). The people look to the president for moral leadership.
The inaction and equivocal moral statements of this president in the wake of Charlottesville, VA will have devastating ramifications for this country’s race relations. The event has proven that there is a vacuum of moral leadership right now, which will lead to racial and societal breakdown. Please, all you brave Americans, do not stop resisting this message of hate with the message of love and unity. Pankaj Mishra in the The New Yorker in “Václav Havel’s Lessons on How to Create a Parallel Polis”:
The “power of the powerless,” he argued, resides in their capacity to organize themselves and resist “the irrational momentum of anonymous, impersonal, and inhuman power.
– Mishra, Pankaj. “Václav Havel’s Lessons on How to Create a Parallel Polis.” 8 February 2017. Accessed 20 August 2017. http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/vaclav-havels-lessons-on-how-to-create-a-parallel-polis
In 414, an entire community of Jews were violently assaulted by Christians to the point of extinction. This ignorance comes from the inability of those Christians to read the history and comprehend the early Christian Church, and the Nicene Creed created by Constantine who no longer tolerated other faiths; nor did he tolerate various thoughts (heresies) within the Christian Church. To this demagogue who created the much of Catholicism's dogma, a "heresy" endangered his unified Roman Empire, and his mind must be expelled.
The early Church was made up of Jews who were followers of Christ. They practiced Jewish Rituals, went to Temple, and adhered to Jewish Scripture. Even later on, after Constantine promulgated the Edict of Milan, Jews and Christians began sharing rituals once again, just as the early Jews who followed Jesus did.
Constantine turned Christianity into the religion of state, and adopted the Cross as his military banner, and thus made Christianity a religion of power–a religion of state. This presaged the schism
between Judaism and Christianity. A schism that led to the deaths of millions of Jews.
Constantine had a "celestial vision" in the night's sky that if he and his army cross the Milvian Bridge and cross the Tiber and into Rome with the Cross of Jesus as their unifying symbol, Constantine would be victorious. The Cross was to be formed by a spear and a traverse bar. It was to become a symbol not only of Christianity, but of state power represented metaphorically by the spear.
It is more likely that the well-educated, politically astute (a man just as politically astute as Karl Rove, David Plouffe, and David Axelrod) Constantine saw that upon crossing the Rubicon and Tiber and entering Rome, that he would need a passionate base to secure his position. Although not in the majority, Christians provided Constantine with the political strength he needed to maintain control of Rome:
They were a minority, but a well organized one. And no claimant had the allegiance of a majority. Fierce Christian devotion to a conqueror whose miraculous conversion proved the truth of their faith would have made Christians powerful political allies. – James Carroll, Constantine's Sword. New York: Mariner Books, 2002, p 182
Realizing that the sudden conversion to Christianity may jeopardize the good will he had amongst his pagan troops and followers, he met with his sole adversary, Licinius, and they issued the Edict of Milan, which granted religious freedom to pagans, Jews, and Christians.
Referred to as "man's free choice", one can already see the sprouting seeds of the Enlightenment, and dare I say, the genesis of a seedling witnessed in the words of the Edict of Milan, which divined that one day men and women would accept and fight for God's Natural Laws and the freedom and rights inherent in those laws. e.g., freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of speech.
Many, Romans, having those purely progressive human characteristics of unity, hope, and love, had that innate desire to relate to other cultures. Our early progressives felt the innate desire to relate to their Jewish kin. Once again Christians found their Jewish roots and began practicing the rituals of their mother religion–the rituals that Our Savior practiced. How could that be sinful? Yet Constantine saw this as a danger to the unification of the empire and issued the Edict of Milan:
The decree signals the success Jews were having in attracting Christians to their culture and calendar. Moreover, the decree was prompted by a widespread Christian wish to maintain a lively connection with the Jewish origin of faith in Jesus. (Ibid. p. 185
But Constantine, now proving himself a demagogue who passes and abolishes laws according to how these laws will benefit him and his quest, not just to unify the Empire, but to unify the Empire under his name, passed a law that restricted Jews from proselytizing (an act that Jews are not well-known for–attraction to the faith is their preferred method of propagation).
Thus Constantine and the Cross permanently separated the religions of Judaism and Christianity. These religions might have been inseparable if not for the ignorance of the historical context of Jesus and for The Emperor Constantine. After all, Christ and his followers did not alter their Jewish Rituals and beliefs.
Constantine became the sole ruler of the empire. The dogmatist in political matters became the dogmatist in religious matters. Constantine was not baptized; yet he set the Church's policy for 1700 years. And that policy was not decided by Catholic Intellectuals, but by a dogmatist who wasn't baptized, and who merely sought to unify his empire.
It is important to emphasize that this need [for Constantine to answer the questions debated in The Church since Jesus' Day], which has so dominated Roman Catholicism that even now the Church cannot break free from it, was first defined not by the Lord, a Jew who identified with dissenters; nor by his apostles, who did not hesitate to differ from one another; nor by his successor bishops who defended interests; nor by evangelists who produced not one version of the Jesus story but four … but by an all-conquering emperor for whom one empire had come to equal one religion. (Ibid. p. 189)
We say the Nicene Creed weekly at Mass. The words of the Emperor Constantine. It has taken a Jesuit Pope, Pope Francis, to finally see the sin in uttering a politically motivated doctrine for the Church set by an Empire, who though not baptized, took it upon himself, and himself only to set the dogma of the Church.
Prior to Pope Francis, The Catholic Church finally made an attempt to amend the doctrinal past that caused the Church as an institution to behave so contrary to the words of Christ. Historically, the Church has often been at odds with the sagacious words and actions of Christ. As the Roman Catholic Church, would the Church perpetuate the Roman Empire or perpetuate the words of Christ?
O'Malley [Reverend and Georgetown University Professor] says a theme of the documents was reconciliation. In keeping, they allowed for Catholics to pray with other Christian denominations, encouraged friendship with other non-Christian faiths, and opened the door for languages besides Latin to be used during Mass. Other new positions concerned education, the media and divine revelation. – Jordan G. Teicher, "Why is Vatican II so Important?" Religion. NPR (10 October 2012) Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/2012/10/10/162573716/why-is-vatican-ii-so-important Accessed on 18 August 2017
Constantine corrupted our faith. Jesus demonstrated that dissent was a universal good. His acts of protest and dissent mark some of the greatest stories in the New Testament. The turning over of the tables in the Temple used for the marketing of goods is a crowd pleaser. Dissent is the application of the greatest gift that God gave us: the gift of human reasoning. Jesus wanted there to be questions meditated on by rigorous minds like Augustine and other intellectuals. Jesus wished his theology of unity, love, hope, and, yes, of dissent, to be questioned and studied by erudites of various backgrounds. And most importantly he felt dissent a freedom that if suppressed by a tyrannical demagogue would lead to the brainwashing (the removal of rationality, the gift of reason, and the love that we feel towards those whom we disagree) and the mass hysteria of whole nations of people, as a way for those to pervert Christianity and promulgate hate, as we saw in the death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau
Now we have a Pope who truly understands that human reasoning is God's greatest gift to man, that truly wants his bishops to think, and even his flock to think. He is the anti-demagogue. The antipode to Emperor Constantine. He wishes the Church to go back to the days when regional bishops had greater responsibility and participated in the development of Catholic teaching. As a Jesuit Catholic Jewish Deist, and as follower of Jesus, not just the Jesus of the Bible, but of the historical Jesus so often over-looked, I think it is about time that The Church has come to realize that it isn't kosher to have an Emperor–not baptized and a complete demagogue–as the power-thirsty, greedy, and very fallible man who has the final say in a religion that worships a man who denied Satan's offer of empire, power, and riches, and instead wondered the dessert for 40 days.
Pope Francis yesterday gave an address to the profoundly divided Synod on the Family in which he confirmed his plans to decentralise the Catholic Church – giving local bishops’ conferences more freedom to work out their own solutions to the problems of divorce and homosexuality … One statement in particular horrified the conservatives. Francis told them that ‘the sense of faith impedes the rigid separation between the Teaching Church and the Learning Church, because the flock possesses its own “sense” to discern the new roads that the Lord reveals to the church… – Damian Thompson, "Pope Francis is now effectively at war with Vatican" The Spectator (18 October 2015) Accessed on 16 August 2017
Pope Francis' radical belief that a layperson can have astute observations about the Catholic Faith and that the likelihood that The Holy Spirit can be revealed in the adept reasoning of a layperson, seem to be radical beliefs only within the institution of the Catholic Church.
Many prophets of Christ have appeared even in recent history, and they were blessed with the Holy Spirit in their rhetorical skills. MLK and Bobby Kennedy come to mind. They too, like the Jesus that they not only worshipped, but tried their outmost to live their lives as he would, suffered execution as Jesus did. But the Holy Spirit within them lives eternally.
Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. – MLK Speech to garbage workers on 3 April 1968
Martin Luther King Jr. was slain by a bullet fired in hatred the next day on 4 April 1968. Like many other prophets he presaged his own untimely death. These words came earlier in the same speech and are just as meaningful:
Now, what does all of this mean in this great period of history? It means that we've got to stay together. We've got to stay together and maintain unity. You know, whenever Pharaoh wanted to prolong the period of slavery in Egypt, he had a favorite, favorite formula for doing it. What was that? He kept the slaves fighting among themselves. (Ibid.)
Now, what does all of this mean in this great period of history? It means that we've got to stay together. We've got to stay together and maintain unity. You know, whenever Pharaoh wanted to prolong the period of slavery in Egypt, he had a favorite, favorite formula for doing it. What was that? He kept the slaves fighting among themselves. (Ibid.)
Jesus died on the Cross and while resurrected blessed us with the gift of the the eternal Holy Spirit, and thus his message of unity, strength, hope, and love is eternal.
The message of Jesus is antonymic to hate or fear. We can not stand idly by as fascists take to the streets with their malfeasant message of hatred and tribalism. We cannot allow any more pogroms under our watch. As long as we have that eternal Holy Spirit within us, or for those who can't relate to that statement, as long as the power of love keeps us moving as a hopeful people towards the removal of a tyranny based on bigotry and hatred, and instead towards unity and love, we will not stop, we will not falter, we will not quit until the light drives out the darkness.