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Amanda’s Realization that tribal behavior is not just a conservative trait

Amanda Ruth inspired me to write this. My fiancé is the panacea for the the un-American group identity selfishness that Trump has infected not just the right wing, but the liberal movement in this country has somehow gone astray from its empathic roots.

Liberals now subscribe to a tribalistic mentality. We ask selfish questions like, “What can you do for my little group?” As a political scientist who payed some attention in government 101, this group/identity politics has no chance to advance the selfish agenda of some of these left wing groups are impoperly described as Progressive Movement. Yet there loss of values prevents the Progressive Movement from healing. With identity politics on the rise in the Democratic Party, as well as the use of the word social democracy that candidates have been using to position themselves further to the left of their primary opponent as a facade. Political scientist will notice that they do not define what social democracy really is. It is nothing more than a ploy to win a primary. Yet we should be focusing on winning the midterm elections with a substantial majority, and if Trumpism cannot stop political careerists from using phrases that will scare off the most popular demographics in midterm elections, then they truly deserve to be called unpatriotic. President Obama never had to label himself, thus he never put himself at risk of having a whole demographic (Grandma’s demographic–grandma who equates socialism with the Cold War and communism) punish him at the polls. It’s Democrats started being pragmatic about language, which is an incredibly important aspect of a campaign, then they would realize that they they now face the arduous task of trying to win moderate votes in places where the term social democracy or socialism is just not accepted

I no longer see myself as a member of the liberal-wing because of this clannish bevahior that is damaging our country and the soft power Obama developed.

The current left wing movement in this country in the Trump-era is a selfish group that think they are politically entitled, and they are just as guilty as the fascist wing when it comes to identity politics.

My generation built a movement that elected a black man with the name Barack Hussein Obama. We had the demonstrated to the rest of the world that we embrace diversity and empathy, and that we are not so ignorant as to judge a man by his name or skin color. We showed the world that we truly believe that, “all men are created equal,” not just white men. We proved to the world that these words are not hollow, antiquated beiefs–we truly believe that what makes this country great are the principles that are summed up in the timeless creed:

“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.”

If you are born in the United States or born to an American, and you believe in these words–words inspired by God–then you are an American.

In today’s universities, the use of dialogue, also known as the Socratic method has virtually disappeared. Students are now inculcated with the belief that the rights of groups trump the rights of individuals.

Our founding documents never mentioned the rights of groups. It was always understood that all citizens have a duty to protect the rights of their fellow citizens, particularly minority rights.

The anger on the left cannot destroy what has been the common thread that all liberals have subscribed to since the genesis of this great country, and that common thread is the virtue of empathy. We have a duty to our fellow citizens to protect their rights, not just our on.

It isn’t about what one can do for LGBTQ rights, for feminism, for organized labor, for Black Lives Matter and other liberal leaning organizations. That is the selfish behavior that is antonymic to our God-given rights, and the duty that is inseperable from these rights.

We must fight against the tyranny of neo-fascist Trumpism that endangers the God-given rights of minorities in this country; The Founders wrote the Bill of Rights to protect us against the tyranny of a president who is a tyrant, a traitor, and who tramples on our Bill of Rights.

We will only succeed when we realize that love for our fellow man leads to empathy, which leads to unity. Unity can lead to more political victories and accomplishments than myopic and ineffective tribalistic political strategies.

When we shed our tribalistic and selfish motives; when we live up to the duties of a citizen of a democratic republic, revolutions happen. And it is time for Americans to contemplate this quote by Thomas Jefferson:

“The tree of Liberty must be refreshed from time to time by the blood of patriots and Tyrants.”

Corporate Fascism

Where is the outrage? Is the revolution ever coming? Bill O’Reilly gets fired for sexual harassment, yet Trump who brags about sexually harassing women (and who demonstrated his lack of respect for women with his lewd comments) is elected president?!

Corporations have created a corporate feudal system in which their employees are treated like wage slaves. There are no unions to protect them, and short term profit trumps workers’ dignity.

Capitalism is meant to serve humanity; humanity isn’t meant to serve the “golden calf” of capitalism. Regulation of Wall Street is necessary to ensure that corporate greed does not cause another Great Recession. It is the working class that suffers the most from Wall Street’s bad decisions.

This is why our Founders made the government–a government of the people, by the people, and for the people–the strongest American institution. However, corporate fascists (neoliberals) like Trump and the Koch brothers systematically weaken the federal government. Under the auspices of the Koch brothers and Trump, the corporation has become the strongest American institution. Hence, we live in a corporate fascist state, not a democratic-republic.

Our Founding Fathers repeatedly said that the people have a right to rise up against the government when the government no longer serves the needs of the people, when the government becomes tyrannical. But not enough Americans are outraged.

Weapons of mass distraction–in the form of reality TV, obsession with celebrities–and materialism have distracted us from our duty as citizens of a democratic-republic to have knowledge of the issues, and to rise up against dishonest despots.

With rights come duties; the duty to not only stand up for one’s own rights, but a duty to stand up for the rights of other citizens–no matter their race, creed, or religion.

Our ancestors died to ensure the survival of the American Republic. Will we honor them by rising up against corporate fascism and by reimposing the American Democratic-Republic, or will we be the generation that stood by apathetically and ignorantly while our republic was attacked and dismantled by corporate fascists like Trump and the Koch Brothers?—with their “tax reform bill” that takes away from an already struggling middle class in order to give more to the wealthy; with their attempt to dismantle the federal government by appointing people to the cabinet who promised to rid the federal government of the very same federal departments that they now run; with their support of Citizens United, which essentially allows special interest groups to bribe our elected officials.

I am reminded of James Madison’s prescient statement:

“The latent causes of faction are thus sewn in the nature of man… to persons of other descriptions, whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other, than to cooperate for their common good… the regulation of these various and interfering interests, forms the the principle task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of government”
– James Madison, The Federalist (New York: 1818) Barnes and Noble pp. 53-54

African Americans Teach us to Maintain Hope in the Face of Tragedy

To be an Afro-American, or an American black, is to be in the situation, intolerably exaggerated, of all those who have ever found themselves part of a civilization which in no wise honorably defend–which they were compelled, indeed, endlessly to attack and condemn–and who yet spoke out of the most passionate love, hoping to make the kingdom new, to make it honorably and worthy of life. (James Baldwin, No Name In The Street, (1972)

James Baldwin, wrote these words in 1972. They are profoundly prophetic and apropos to our current political and sociological conditions. An African American led this country’s latest progressive political revolution, was treated abhorrently by racist philistines who questioned his presidential legitimacy because of the color of his skin. The leader of these philistines happens to be the current occupier of the Oval Office.

Yet Obama did not allow racial division and hate to give way to hating; he did not allow hatred and condemnation to affect his capacity to love; he inspired unity among blacks, Hispanics, educated whites, and even among the demographic Democrats find so elusive: working class white people. We were, in the words of James Baldwin, “hoping to name the kingdom new, to make it honorably and worthy of life.”

And I am forever grateful to President Obama for renewing my hope in politics–in proving that good governance is one of the most effective ways bring about positive changes in people’s lives.

Despite the years of enslavement and persecution African Americans have faced over the years, black people have refused to relinquish their hope. MLK spoke of the “the sweltering heat of oppression.”–this phrase Martin Luther King Jr uttered over 50 years ago, resonates to this day with both black folks and white folks. Martin Luther King’s picture and speech hangs in my office next to photographs of John F. Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy. Every time I experience the symptoms of the disease of apathy—a disease so rampant nowadays amongst progressives—I look up at those photos and that speech to remind myself of the progressive principles that these men, whom I consider heroes, gave their lives fighting for. And it inspires me to never surrender to the disease of apathy; to continue to the fight for progressive values.

These men died defending love and peace. MLK Jr is a hero to me—a white Irish Catholic from South Boston. If one fails to maintain hope that we have the ability to unite as one people—a people who dutifully protect the rights of their fellow citizens despite ethnicity, despite skin color—then they are incapable of understanding the most important phrase in the Constitution, which states unequivocally that “all men are created equal.”

Our Founders did not say “all white men are created equal”; therefore, the philistines who voted for Trump because he was overtly racist—or anyone who voted for someone according to racial identity—then they are ignorant of our Founding Creed.

We have the ability to unite as one people and America’s black leaders have spoken and written far more eloquently than any other demographic about maintaining unity and hope in the face of injustice—the face of tragedy. One only needs to read the words of Martin Luther King Jr., President Obama, James Baldwin, Cornell West, etc., to become aware that the race that has given us the most hope—the race that has inspired us to unite as one people—is the race that has faced the most injustice. That being said, anyone unable to overcome identity politics should look to these great African-American intellectuals for the inspiration to overcome their perceived racial injustice. These men had ancestors that were slaves, yet they still call for us to unite as one people and live up to the creed, “all men are created equal…”

I emulate the black community—a community I admire just as much as my own community—and I will not let the tragedy of the 2016 Election disengage from espousing my progressives beliefs.

To this day we are battling to keep America faithful to the liberal beliefs espoused by our Founding Fathers. African Americans in Alabama recently did battle with the Trump faction who actually voted for a pedophile. 95% of African Americans voted according to their liberal beliefs and for the sake of moral decency. It is vexing that 73% of white people voted for a child molester. The high turnout of black people in Alabama and the statewide legislative elections in Virginia does not bode well for Trump and the Republican Party. The Black People of Alabama saved the country from another national embarrassment—the election of Trump being the other—and I commend them for their sense of civic responsibility.

Recent elections held in Virginia mirrored the results of Alabama. Once again, my fellow Black liberals have blessed me with hope after a long period of despair and cynicism.

And the hope bequeathed to me by the African American leaders who, despite the many reasons to relinquish hope, including suffering threats to their lives, continued to propagate the message that inspired a generation of Asians, Hispanics, Blacks, Whites, and other people of color to elect President Obama, who embodies the message of hope, unity, and love, in the face of injustice.

The Hypocracy of the Trump Supporter

Imagine for a moment that Obama had two immigrant wives, multiple failed marriages, multiple failed businesses. Imagine Obama standing in front a sign with the campaign slogan “Make America Great Again”. Imagine that Obama refused to turn over his tax returns; had extensive ties to a foreign government that just so happens to be our greatest enemy: Russia and Putin; imagine if Lspent millions of tax dollars on maintaining three residences for the Secret Service to protect.

Trunpists are the biggest hypocrites–and racists I ever met in my life. Obama, by virtue of his odd name and his skin color was accused of being a terrorist—and according to Trump, the leader of ISIS. Yet Trump has a bromance going with a dictator who interfered with our sacred democratic process by hacking into the DNC. And what was Trump’s response to Russia: keep spying on us. 

Trump’s aides and even his cabinet members met with well-known Russian spies during the course of the election, then lied about it. The same voters who called Obama un-American, a terrorist, and much worse voted for a guy who supports a nefarious dictator who interfered with our election; who is interfering with the election of our Western allies; and has trampled over the sovereignty of Ukraine and Georgia. Trump supporters have put the West in serious danger by voting for a guy who has seriously weakened America and Western Power. 

If Obama had immigrant wives and failed marriages, bankrupted businesses, refused to release his tax documents-. He wouldn’t have made it through the Democratic Primary in ’08. Yet Trump somehow won the primary and electoral college. Folks are hurting, and in the age of the 30 second sound bite, where free media seems to be earned through bizarre rants that scapegoat immigrants and people of color for the financial struggle of segments of the American Electorate, Trump’s message resonated. 

How would Trump supporters reacted to the man they called a terrorist, a communist, and disgusting racial epithets if he appeared on stage with a slogan that said “Make America Great Again”. 
By the way, Trump is the most nefarious hypocrite in this country after calling Obama corrupt for not releasing his “long form” birth certificate–this coming from a guy that has broke with a decades long tradition of releasing his tax documents). 
The fallacious right wing talking point that Obama has weakened America’s power in the world is such bullshit. Despite criticism from the left wing of his own party, he droned ISIS back to the Stone Age, assassinated its leaders with the heroic service of our Navy Seals, gave the order to kill bin Laden, and kicked ISIS’s ass out of Iraq. He gave the appearance that the United States was backing out of the Middle East, so that the Reform Party of Iran could achieve victory in Iraq (sending the madman Ahmedinijad packing), which led to the end of Iran’s nuclear program. But he did not back out of the Middle East: he used a scalpal rather than a sledge hammer. The scalpal–drones and special forces–has decimated ISIS. Anytime ISIS elected a new leader, Obama took him out. Leaderless and confused, they cannot even hold on to territory never mind plan an attack on the Homeland.  The sledge hammer used by Bush and his neo-cons has destroyed the Cradle of Civilization. These pictures were taken from a friend of mine from Baghdad today:

Bushes quagmire expanded Iranian influence, and has created a hatred towards the United States that will last generations.  

President Obama inherited this disaster in the Middle East, and a capitalistic system on the brink of collapse. Yet, he achieved a record of 83 straight months of job growth, expanded our economy while Europe’a shrank, and hit new records with the Stock Market. He increased America’s influence in the world with soft power (the ability to attract people and nations to one’s cause through ideological appeal. And he used hard power in a way to create the least amount of blow back; a stark difference from Trump’s indiscriminate bombings and impetuous decisions to green light missions that led to the death of an 8 year old and a Navy Seal (his sacrifice will never be forgotten).

Obama stood up to the world’s bullies, particularly Putin. Eastern Europe is the most militarized it has been since the Cold War. And now we have Trump who thinks that a sociopathic dictator help bent on weakening the West, is his buddy. 

President Obama already realizes that America is great, and he was willing to defend the West from Russian aggression. 

Trump does not respect American Values. A patriotic president does not call on our enemy to spy on us; he does not allow espionage to go unpunished; he does not reward a dictator that has attacked us and our Western Allies to the White House for a visit (and then egregiously attack the our 1st Ammendment right of freedom of the press by shutting out the American Press, while allowing the Russian press access; a guy with nothing to hide does not fire the non-partisan FBI Director for investigating possible ties to the Russian government; and he does not utter the words “Make America Great Again”–we already are great. 

President Obama realized this, and he also cherished American Values and projected American values and strength around the world; whereas Trump I nothing more than a treasonous self-serving stooge whose Administration has been a complete and utter failure.

President Obama cherishes American values, abhorrs corruption, stood up to the world’s bullies. Trump denegrates American values, is corrupt as the day is long, and befriends the dictator who is currently attacking the West. One has to be a serious hypocrite to call President Obama unpatriotic, a terrorists, or weak, while supporting the guy who tramples freedom of speech and freedom of press and befriends the dictator who is undermining our Western Values.