My Presidential Short List

Top 5 Candidates

Here are my favorites to be the next president:

  • Kamala Harris

  • Elizabeth Warren

  • Cory Booker

  • Pete Buttigieg

  • Beto O’Rourke

The state of things

Was asked recently how I’m feeling about things. State of the world stuff. And if I’m being honest, I’m not feeling too good. Why? Because what the fuck is happening out there?

The very idea of democracy, the thing that has driven America since its founding, is under full-on assault. Leading to this point, it of course hasn’t been utilized to its fullest, but it seemed like we, especially over the last few decades, were generally on its team. We were rooting for it to win, and collectively thought when it won the day it would be a universally celebrated good thing. But now, I don’t think that’s true. Not at all.

We have a large anti-democratic force in America. It doesn’t care about you, it doesn’t care about me. It only cares about its own blood thirsty power. It doesn’t want truth, it doesn’t want voting rights, it doesn’t want checks and balances. This is an ugly force. It’s mean and it’s nasty. If it could, it would sell you for a pittance just to see you weep for your sorry state.

Yes, it is the force of Trump. And the dark force that surrounds him. It hates our democratic institutions, a free press, common decency, and the shared norms we all used to think worthy of practicing. None of that matters for this dark, ugly, anti-democratic force currently in power in America. It only wants to manipulate, steal, lie, and use its power for its own ill-gotten gains. And not enough of us citizens care.

We are living in absurd times, marked by the loss of a common understanding of where we all live, and because of that, when we speak to each, we mumble no more than nonsense, ending in a ever spinning cycle of failing to understand, and failing to understand, and failing to understand, and failing to understand…

The brand promise of Trump America is a lie

– My latest on Medium –

Setting out with hundreds of millions of his father’s money along with the help of tabloid journalism and primetime television, it was easy for Trump to be whatever he wanted to be. It would be easy for anyone to be whatever he or she wanted with that much on their side. Smoking makes you a man and Donald Trump is out for the little guy. Both have been believed in the core being of millions of people. Both are not true.

Read on Medium »

On the Country

Based on how it behaves:

  • I see a country okay with inadequate health care. 

  • I see a country with racist policies.

  • I see a country full of polluted communities.

  • I see a country who puts vulnerable people in cages and ruthless people into positions of power. 

  • I see a country giving every advantage to the wealthy at the expense of the poor.

  • I see a country full of white supremacy.

  • I see a country who refuses to educate all its children.

  • I see a country who refuses to offer liberty to everyone.

  • I see a country who cannot have a meaningful conversation with itself about where it plans to go.

  • I see a country who does not believe in the future. 

The Worst Brand

“Donald Trump is a man who ran for office to make his brand great, not to make our country great. He had no desire or intention to lead this nation, only to market himself and to build his wealth and power.”

This from the mouth of Michael Cohen as he testified to the House Oversight and Reform Committee on February 27th.

Of the many negative critiques of our president, this can seem not as important as the racism, the defrauding, or the bullying. Yet it is one of the more damning, especially to the people he claims to be trying to help. The forgotten Americans, if you will. And sadly, they will never be much concerned with it.

With the base of his support, this brand-centric approach to the way Trump operates should provide much caution. It allows him to lie to them. To bait and switch. To get really excited about all the power he’s gaining and to falsely proclaim he’s sharing it with them. He isn’t. He never intended to. He knew at the outset, that the seedy underbelly of branding allows for all sorts of conning, cheating, and stealing. American corporations have perfected the tactics for centuries, whether they’re dealing in oil, pharmaceuticals, or data.

The Trump brand is a weapon in the fog of this information war. But also, it’s something that’s able to be critique and dissected. The American consumer has had decades of practice in discerning the world of products at our fingertips. The thing we’re failing to understand is that branding can translate to much more than what we buy and sell. That transaction feature of branding makes people think they no longer need to apply any critical thought to the brand in front of them, because the transaction is enough. With products, sure, it can be. But not in politics.

The Trump brand was powerful enough to propel a conman to the highest office in the land. That also means it can take him down. If the people under his spell are ever able to snap out of it and look honestly at the man Trump, what they see will surely shock them. But after that, they’d be able to move forward without the intoxicating false promises of greatness.

Ah greatness, the genius of the brand promise. So vague. So easily defined as whatever a person wants it to be. Once intoxicated, the person sees only what he or she wants wants as long as he or she is incapable, or unwilling, to pull back the veil. Sadly, the base under the spell of brand Trump has no intention of ever doing so.

Viking Left

How do we make America better? We look to the Nordics. We craft a social movement by doing these 4 important points:

  • Gaining rough agreement among the Left on a vision for a new society 

  • Using cooperative ownership models to prefigure that vision 

  • Practicing inclusivity

  • Maintaining a commitment to nonviolent struggle 

From the book Viking Economics by George Lakey.

Political Correctness

Maybe we the people of America should not be such jerks. Maybe we should understand that language is power and how that power is used matters. Maybe we should put ourselves in the shoes of other people and try to live our lives that way. Maybe we need to get a grip when it comes to the culture wars and understand we do not have any right to put down anyone for being female, black, Muslim, gay, disabled, or whoever else is typically verbally stomped on by white men who have traditionally held all the power in America. Because what I know for sure, as soon as you criticize white men for anything having to do with their identity they get all bent-out-of-shape real fast. What I’ve seen so many times is that “powerful” white men can’t take any criticism whatsoever.

Now, who wants to talk about identity politics?