I Have Returned

It has been a while since I have posted anything, because life sometimes takes hold and time becomes elusive. I have been working on my novel again, and often find myself writing it in my head while toiling around the house, or at work. It feels good to watch the story take shape and the characters come to life, while serving as a perfect distraction to the dark state of affairs in this nation.

I try to not dwell too hard on what is happening, even though it is hard at times. I see so much happening and find myself frequently torn between outrage and dismay. But I move forward and try to do the best I can in the given situation. I have lost a few “friends”, and had many restless nights. I see things differently than I use to, with my rose-colored glasses shattered at my feet. Yet, I refuse to allow the darkness to tarnish me. I still smile, and embrace my empathy and compassion as the amazing gifts they are. I refuse to join the factions who cling to arrogant selfishness within a hate-filled agenda.

I see the beauty, and even the optimistic side within the current disaster. I am certain I will delve into that within my next few entries in this blog. I have not lost myself, or at least not the part of me that will always care about people and reach out a helping hand. I have found my voice and no longer sit silently to keep the peace.

I do find myself frequently amused by the Trump supporters who are finally waking up from their stupor, and realizing they were conned. I shake my head at their foolishness because the very things they are upset about are what he promised he would do on the campaign trail. Everyone, including the toddler himself, warned them.

I was horrified when he attempted to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement, hoping he had bluffed on that one promise. It was a stupid and selfish move, that is also futile. Apparently, he didn’t bother to read it, or he would know it isn’t that easy. He will be long gone (hopefully in prison) by the time notice can even be given of the intention to back out of the agreement. But nonetheless, he must be so proud to have joined the ranks of Nicaragua and Syria as we move backwards in terms of progress. Instead of being an advanced nation, Trump in all of his demented anti-wisdom has chosen the path of anti-progress. I can only shake my head at the stupidity of that man. However, all is not lost! Many of our states and cities join the ranks of the advanced nations in the world with a pledge to move onward with our progress toward a clean future. Progress cannot be changed, no matter how hard ignorance tries to impede it.

With everything that has been going on in my life as of late, one thing always makes me smile. When I get too agitated thinking about what is going on, I take a time out and play with my dog. He reminds me to focus on the simple things in life. I have had some deeply introspective conversations with him. He is a great listener, and never repeats any of my secrets or thoughts. And somehow, he knows, that when I am getting too agitated, a head on my lap makes all the problems in the world vanish for a moment.

Posted in Personal Journey

Two Choices: Resistance or Accomplice by Silent Acquiescence

Why can’t I just let it go? I know I am not alone in my resistance to simply accept status quo, and set my sights on getting through the next 4 years. But knowing that I am not alone in my dismay, repulsion, and shock does not help me feel better about what is happening in this nation. I think it is the fact that it has forever altered the way I see some people. People that I once had a lot of respect for, that I saw as genuinely good people, have shown a face to me that I do not recognize. They have taken away the illusion that I clung to for years, and revealed the true darkness of this place I call home.

In many ways, I am still in shock, and angry, that someone like him could have become president of the country I once loved without question. He was blatantly following Hitler’s blueprint, yet his supporters still cheered at his vitriol. It was impossible to miss the signs that he was taking a very dark path, yet he didn’t lose a single supporter. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing sometimes, but the biggest shock was that he still had people supporting him and cheering at his rallies. I try to make myself feel better about his electoral win by facing the reality that it could not have happened with Russian interference. But that doesn’t help assuage the deep disappointment I feel toward many of my fellow citizens, who still cling desperately to their illusion that he alone can make America great again.

Whys can’t I just let it go, and accept the current state of affairs? This isn’t about winning and losing, it is about morality, ethics, and humanity on a deeply intrinsic level. It is about the fact that a man bragged about getting away with sexual assault, and his supporters didn’t care. It is about a man mocking a disabled reporter, and his supporters didn’t care. It is about a man being openly racist, bigoted, xenophobic, and misogynistic, and people not caring. It is about a man who is openly and blatantly dishonest, and his supporters not caring. It is about a man who can be presented with hardcore evidence of something he did or said, but his supporters believe him when he denies it. It is about a man that spoke about wanting to bring back waterboarding and other torture, and was met with cheers and jubilation. It is about a man that stated the families and children of terrorists should be killed, and his supporters loved him even more. It is about the core of humanity and compassion being lost in a society that has embraced the deepest depths of darkness.

I will never understand why one of these things wasn’t the end of it, and that might be what troubles me the most. I would like to believe that this nation is an evolved nation, and we have moved out of the dark ages when it comes to basic humanity; we are capable of embracing equality, and letting people live their lives. Sadly, that is not the case. America is a divided nation that has chosen to be defined by hate and arrogance. This is a moral issue, and America has fallen.

The day of the Inauguration, I felt a sense of foreboding and doom. I was ready to pack up and leave this nation, without even a backward glance. But then something amazing happened, and my hope was renewed. The show of solidarity that occurred the day after Trump’s inauguration was unlike anything I have ever seen. I never thought I would see countries around the globe uniting in solidarity against the American president, and it gave me hope. I had felt so disillusioned and fatalistic after the election, but seeing everyone standing together, willing to fight against the ensuing darkness, made me realize that there is hope after all. The heart of the human race is not dead.

So, it is for that reason if nothing else that I cannot simply let it go and accept the fate of this nation. America will resist, and the good people of this nation will once again prove what we are capable of. I have hope that the resistance will be strong, and we will rise again stronger than ever. Perhaps, Trump truly can make America great again by uniting us in a common cause as we all come together to fight the darkness that is threatening to destroy this nation.

To simply accept status quo, is to become a willing accomplice through silent acquiescence. That happened once in Germany during the Nazi era. I have to believe we have learned enough from history, that the good people in this nation will refuse to let the darkest moment in history repeat itself in America.

Posted in Random Ramblings, Uncategorized

The Rise of Fascism in America

I can’t count the number of times I have seen Trump compared to Hitler, both in his mannerisms and methodology, but it is often met with the statement “That can’t happen here. We’re a democracy”. I usually have to bite my tongue to keep from telling these people to pick up a history book, and research the origins and rise of fascism in the early 20th century. None of the fascist leaders that managed to seize power, did so by running on a fascist dictator ticket. They maneuvered themselves into the role with the skills of a consummate con-artist, and it was only after they had seized power did the signs of a dictator begin to emerge.

After World War I much of the world was in turmoil, especially the European sector. Economic and cultural crises plagues Europe, and left the people desperate for a new way of life. It was within the tumultuous aftermath of the war that a vacuum was created, both economically and socially, giving a new faction the prevalent factors necessary for the rise of a new political party. This new system, fascism, evolved as a protest against democracy, socialism, and communist ideology. Once it fully emerged, it proved that it was truly a force to be reckoned with.

While the economic and cultural turmoil that ravaged Europe after the war set the stage for the rise of fascism, it was actually the leaders who stepped forward to seize power that were the true driving force behind this cultic phenomenon. Fascism prevailed in countries and areas where the old system no longer seemed to work, and the people had become disenfranchised. They were disillusioned and forgotten by their deep seeded democracy, and feelings of nationalism were in overdrive.

benito_mussolini_cropMussolini was the originator of the totalitarian system that became known as fascism. He used propaganda to reach the people, and tactics that were focused on propagating feelings of distrust and disillusionment with the current organization. He knew that in order to maintain the power he desired, he must have the people united and fully behind him, either through fear or passion. The state, rather than the individual, is the focus of fascism. Mussolini, as did all other fascists after him, appealed to the working and middle classes, and that demographic became his greatest supporters.

The most widely known fascist leader followed Mussolini’s lead,hitler and showed the world the true darkness that fascism can bring. Hitler became the fascist dictator for Germany in the 1930s. Even though his goals were much darker than Mussolini’s, he proved he was a truly charismatic leader who could easily seduce an entire populace. His greatest power lay in the fact that he could captivate an entire crowd with his speaking ability, and ignite a nationalistic flame that roared to life from a dying ember. He was so charismatic, that he even managed to get the women to adore him even as he took away their personal freedoms and liberty.

There have been other less notable fascists rising to power since the demise of Hitler’s Nazi regime, but none of them made the same headlines as Hitler and Mussolini, until now. Trump is using every page from the fascist’s handbook, and doing it shamelessly. He is using the same methodologies, the same rhetoric, and appealing to the same demographic. This is most certainly a fascist uprising in America.

donald_trump_official_portraitTrump used American pride and the concept of patriotism to seize power. He doesn’t possess Hitler’s oratory skills, and does not possess either man’s intellect. But he does know how to inspire and impassion the disillusioned, and angry people. He focused on, and over-exaggerated the threat to this nation from other cultures. He has painted Muslims and Mexicans with the same dark imagery that Hitler used to define the Jews and Gyspies. As does every fascist leader before him, he has convinced his followers that America is a nation in distress and he alone has the power to save them. He focuses on the violence in the streets, and works people into a frenzy of fear.

Fascism promises dreams of grandeur and a return to greatness for the nation. The first step for the rise of every fascist leader is to gain the faith of his people, while simultaneously strengthening their distrust of the current government. A fascist dictator adds fuel to the feelings of nationalistic anger that are usually burning, turning the anger into a massive inferno, thereby allowing a dictator to seize the power they crave. This nationalistic fervor, and focus on ultimate power and superiority are the icons of the fascist ideology.hitler2

When you analyze these three men, their methods are all the same, they merely differ in their motives. Mussolini created the blueprint, and all who came after him have followed it. Mussolini wanted power and self-advancement, Hitler wanted to create a superior race of people, Trump has merged the two goals into one ultra-dark picture. He wants the power, fame and self-advancement as did Mussolini, but he also wants to advance the Aryan nation as did Hitler. The other motives for Trump’s rise revolve around his finances and business matters, as well as his extreme narcissistic personality. Regardless of their personal motives, all of these men knew how to tell people what they want to hear, and how to enflame their nationalistic zeal. By strengthening the bitterness which engulfed their nations, and making promises of a better and nationally superior future, they won over the masses.

Fascist dictators share a common trait, they are narcissists to their core, but they are also skilled manipulators. They make people feel alive again, and full of hope and enthusiasm; even though their promises are destined to be revealed as an illusion created by a consummate con artist. They know how to take advantage of circumstances, and promise the people what they want to hear. They manipulate, excite, enrage, and conquer their own people through the power of their own ingenuity and charisma. They bring a darkness, that carries the threat of ultimate destruction and potential downfall. The aftermath of a nation seized by fascism is always a bleak and tragic reality.holocaust-gas-chamber-victims

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Hot Button Topics, Uncategorized

An Undeniable Historical Déjà vu

I was watching the documentary “Third Reich: The Rise and Fall” this past weekend, and couldn’t help but notice the striking similarities between the rise of Hitler and the current state of America. You easily could have replaced “Hitler” with “Trump” and “Germany” with “America”. The stories are nearly identical. In some ways, it didn’t shock me because I have been comparing him to Hitler since he started revealing his true character. What shocked me was just how far the parallels between the two went. We are truly experiencing a historical déjà vu.

I have a passion for history, and even did a paper on the rise of fascism in college. Hitler has always intrigued me because I couldn’t wrap my head around how one man could so easily convince an entire nation to follow his dark ideology. Then I started witnessing it first hand during Trump’s rise to the presidency.

Now I am watching him surround himself by the same type of corrupt and evil men that Hitler chose as leaders of the Nazi party. I was amused at first, because everyone chanted “drain the swamp” during the campaign, and I couldn’t help but wonder how gullible people could be. At that time, I didn’t expect him to have a chance of winning, but I also wasn’t prepared for Putin to deliver the American throne to Trump either. Trump cheated to win, much like Hitler.

The whole thing both appalls and scares me as I watch an American horror story unfold before my eyes. We are truly in the throes of a time of great darkness in this country. The only thing I can hope for, is that the majority of Americans have learned from history and we will stage a revolution before our country finds itself the target of World War 3.

I think the part that troubles me the most is that I now see many people I once respected in a new light. It is hard to go back to the days of innocence where I considered them genuinely good people. They have revealed their racism, bigotry and misogyny. They have revealed their ignorance, hate and hypocrisy. They have revealed the darkness of their soul, and it took me a while to accept that. Some of them are simply disillusioned and angry. Those are his followers that I have sympathy for, because they will feel betrayed when they realize it was all a con. They were played, and became unwitting pawns in a very dark game. Many of them will suffer like never before. The country will turn against them when the darkness envelopes us all, and the world will point the finger of contempt. Trump’s Deplorables will have the same dark stigma as Hitler’s Nazis.

The worst part, is that history showed us what happens when you let a man like Trump have power. In the documentary, a few Germans were interviewed, and they spoke of how the world hated them. How the entire world saw them as evil monsters. The German people were promised a better life, they were going to go back to the days when Germany was great. Sound familiar? They were suffering, and Hitler offered them hope during a time of despair. They believed him, only to learn it was all a lie. He used their pain to rise to power. This was the exact same ploy that Trump used. Hitler provided the blueprint, and Trump gleefully followed it. But we are not as innocent and naïve as Germany, because we have seen this story before. For that reason, history will not be as forgiving with us, as it was with them.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Hot Button Topics

Social Media Induced Narcissism

As the popularity of social media increases exponentially, so does the self-focused society of narcissists it seems to be producing.  People post what they are having for breakfast, lunch and dinner as it they truly believe their audience is eagerly awaiting that information.  Honestly, do you really care if a person you know on Facebook, but may never actually meet in person, just had a Caramel Latte from Starbucks before getting a pedicure?

Posting on social media makes people feel important, like a movie star or royalty. Suddenly, they believe everyone wants to know what they are having for dinner or where they went for lunch again today. I don’t know how many times I have read posts about what people are cooking for dinner. Unless it is a special occasion or your name is Gordon Ramsey, most people probably don’t care what you are cooking right now. These same people usually tend to post what they are doing every minute of the day, and a few even post their sex lives complete with a rundown of their partner’s performance in that area.

When it comes to posting on social media, you have two extremes: people who overshare and people who never share. Most people fall into the middle, where they share things they believe are relevant, funny anecdotes, well-wishes and holiday greetings, occasional rants, etc. However, when it comes to the people who overshare, they truly share every moment of their lives. They seem to live for their status updates and tweets.  In many cases, it is because they are actually insecure, so convincing themselves that everyone is anxious to know what they are doing at every second makes them feel important.

I think the aspect of this epidemic of vanity that is most perplexing, and somewhat amusing, is the romantic and personal dialogue. Now, I am not referring to the people who post I love you, happy birthday, get well soon, etc. to people who are hundreds of miles away. I am talking about the people who post sweet comments to people who are not even on Facebook, knowing they will never see it anyway. Or…and this is the one that really makes me shake my head, the people who post sweet love talk statements of devotion to their significant other or spouse, rather than simply looking across the room and saying it directly. I am not talking about the sweet memes, cute images, special occasion messages, or rare moment of mushiness that people post to their loved one’s wall. We have all done that. I am talking about the love letter type of dialogue, and even the “goodnight sweetheart” that people post to someone in the same house as them.

Seriously, what is the purpose of pouring out your undying love on your status, rather than looking into their eyes and saying it to them directly. I know a few people that are always posting love notes on social media, and their spouse is in the same room with them. Let’s face it, when people do this, they aren’t saying it for the recipient, they are saying it to get attention from the audience. What happened to looking into your lover’s eyes, and saying “I love you” directly? What happened to true intimacy in a relationship?

If a person is posting sweet love letter messages, or using the public aspect of social media (versus in person or private messaging) to tell the one they love how they feel, they are not doing it for the person they love. They are doing it for their own rapidly inflating ego. They want the attention and accolade from the crowd. They want the “likes” and praise. They want people to believe they have the greatest love story on earth, and they want everyone to wish they had the same type of relationship. They want women to look at their husbands and get upset because he never says amazing things like that to her. Sometimes they post it in the hopes that they ex will see it and get upset, which is a whole other can of worms. The real reason they post things like that on Facebook is to get attention and feed their own narcissism and insecurity. Sadly, they lack the happiness of true intimacy and don’t even realize it.

In truth, I would rather have someone who looks into my eyes and pulls me tight, before whispering those sweet words that I can hold in my heart. I don’t need the entire world to wish they had what I had, because I don’t need their approval. I don’t wish people Happy Birthday on Facebook when they don’t even have an account, I call them. I prefer having true intimacy in a relationship, and find it sad that the world is becoming so vain they are losing the ability to form real connections with people.

Posted in Uncategorized

Live the Life You Chose

Life doesn’t dictate our path, it gives us options and then adapts accordingly. Sometimes our choices can alter the trajectory of our life, and cause us to change course. In some instances, life will lay the same option in our path multiple times. That is because some things are “written in the stars” or simply meant to be. Ironically though, even in those cases, life will not force us to take that option. That’s because life is all about choice, and allows us to choose to turn our backs on fate. Perhaps, we are too blind to see what is right in front of us or too scared to take the chance. Whatever the reason may be, eventually fate will adapt and remove that option from our lives.

Sometimes the choice is as simple as where to go on vacation. This may seem like an innocuous decision, but it has the power to alter your destiny. What if you were fated to meet your soulmate in London, but you chose to go to Hawaii instead. You changed your path with a simple choice. Perhaps, the path you changed revolved around your career. Maybe you were born to be an artist, a restaurateur or a writer, but you became a teacher instead because it was easier. Many times, our lives change trajectory because of a romantic choice. We don’t see the connection we have with someone, until it is too late. Or we are too scared of getting hurt so we keep someone at arm’s length. Sometimes life beats us over the head trying to open our eyes, but we are too stubborn to take the blinders off. And true love slips through our fingers, getting lost in the ether. Choices control everything.

This is where all the “what ifs” and regrets tend to plague our minds as we look backwards. It is almost traditional to become retrospective this time of the year. We look back over our lives, and the choices we made, wondering where we would be right now if we had made different (or better) choices. What if we had opened our heart, and stopped being afraid that one New Year’s Eve. Would we have a family by now? What if we had finished college, or taken that journalism apprenticeship. Life is full of choices not taken, and moments that are lost forever.

I have always been a strong believer in fate, and the idea that our lives were laid out before us with predetermined destinies. While I still believe in destiny, and also in fate to a certain extent, I no longer see it as an iron clad black and white concept. I believe that life gives us options, and lays a path out before us. It is then up to us to take that path, or not. This is the one fact that often causes us to spend a lot of time dwelling on regrets, and wishing we could turn back time. We often long for the path we didn’t take, wondering what the true destination would have been.

We can lose ourselves by dwelling too long on the “what ifs” of life, and we can even alter our present course if we are not careful. Sometimes we just have to have faith, and believe that we are right where we are supposed to be. Maybe the path we are on, is the true destiny of our lives after all. Let go of what is gone, and make the most of today. Otherwise you will miss what is right in front of you by always looking backwards.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Corrosive Side-Effect of Modern Technology

Technology has improved modern life in many ways; whether it is with exciting innovation that makes daily tasks easier, connecting people who are worlds apart from each other, life-saving medical devices, or simple devices that are often taken for granted. But as exciting and useful as this technology can be, it can also be equally detrimental to society.

There was a time when couples would speak to each other in the evenings, friends would gather over a cup of coffee and converse, or neighbors would chat with each other. People used to be more social, until the plague of smartphones destroyed interpersonal dynamics. Now people can sit in the same room and never speak. Eyes are glued to a screen, while fingers swipe feverishly through the Facebook news feed or whatever website has become more captivating than your spouse, friends and family. Technology has caused many couples to drift apart, consumed by loneliness in the glare of the smartphone screen.

I remember growing up, I would listen to the adults talk about their day. They would discuss current affairs, family issues, cute anecdotes, and even the weather. They would occasionally watch television together, and talk to each other during commercials. Many families would have a game night, where they would get out the board games and cards for some family fun. No matter what the activity was, the important aspect was that they acknowledged each other’s existence. Now people turn on the TV, but scroll their phones during commercials. They sit in silence, staring at their phones in the evenings. They go out to dinner, and stare at their phones.

This obsession with our smartphones has become an epidemic, and society is in rapid decline. People care more about a tiny screen than each other. It makes for a very lonely existence, always being less important than whatever is on a handheld screen. Many times, I find myself sitting in silence, staring off into space, waiting for that moment when the phone is laid down or hoping the battery dies soon so I can get a few seconds of time. Most of the time, I feel invisible. So, I hide this pain in the same way everyone else does. I reach for my phone.

Don’t get me wrong, I am often just as guilty as the next person for checking my phone frequently. I will pick it up and quickly check my email or Facebook to see what is going on in the lives of the people I love. I check my phone when my other half steps out for a cigarette, or heads to the restroom. I often pick up my phone out of sheer boredom to play a game, or immediately reach for my phone to get the answer to a consuming question. Sometimes though, I wait. I wait for a conversation to start. I wait in silence, and pray for a dead battery. I miss conversation, and the intimacy of truly spending time with someone.

Yes, technology definitely has a dark side. It might bring some amazing innovations and improvements to life, but at what cost? Many people would rather spend time with a small device in their hands, than look into the eyes of someone they love. Technology is changing the world, but the price tag is steep. People are losing each other, and loneliness has become an epidemic by choice.

Posted in Random Ramblings, Uncategorized