This Is Our Fault.

When I was in Jr. High School in Gaithersburg, MD a classmate walked up behind me and held a knife to my throat during a multi-class science lab experiment.

He said he was going to kill me because of something one of his friends told him I had said about him. I had not said it.

Three teachers pretended not to see this happening because they didn’t want to get involved in an altercation with this known troublemaker.

I managed to survive the encounter.

When we were brought before the school principal, this kid was told to dispose of his illegal switchblade knife and was suspended for two days.

My parents were not informed by the school, they did not find out until I told them.

That’s when we got the police involved for aggravated assault charges.

At different points during their investigation this kid tried to kill his mother, himself, and at least one cop. He would spend several years receiving mandatory inpatient psychiatric care.

Meanwhile, his friends decided to jump me one day after school for “ratting on him.”

I did not win that fight.

I also did not lose it.

As a result, the school administration thought my own use of extreme violence in self defense — thanks to martial arts training — against multiple attackers who were close friends with someone who had already tried to kill me warranted the necessity of me receiving psychiatric counseling in order to be allowed to stay in school.

To this day, 4 decades later, I still cannot sit comfortably with my back to a room and ever vigilant threat assessment is automatic.

Thankfully, this — and extreme discomfort wearing a tie with the knot pressing on my throat — is the extent of my PTSD from these attacks which I endured in the 7th grade.

Today, we train preschool kids to look for their emergency exits on playground areas and to not only know, but practice, what to do when bullets start flying on campus.

There is no point in their public lives from that moment on that they are not dealing with the same situational combat awareness stress that makes it difficult for war-time vets to readjust to normal day-to-day life when returning home.

This is our fault.

Because we refuse to reasonably regulate the right to bear arms.

If that boy had a gun instead of a knife, I would have died in a 7th grade science class.

And now we also add the trauma of complete strangers attempting to harm them through anti-public safety protocols — refusing vaccines, social distancing, and masks — during a pandemic health crisis as they cough and sneeze on grocery produce and in small spaces with recycled air. They assault retail and food service workers and flight attendants for trying to enforce the rules. They stand outside elementary schools and scream profanities and threats at educators and kids who are just trying to survive the day.

It’s a miracle any of these kids remain functional.

Some days, I think it’s a miracle I do, and I had it much easier than these kids today.

Truth or Consequences

“You focus too much on Trump and racism, there are other important issues too, discuss those instead.”

“You need to stop fear-mongering about Trump.”

“Your girl lost the election, get over it and move on.”


For the purpose of this essay, in order to get to the issues at hand, I’ll ignore for the moment that the people telling me that my girl lost must have missed all my posts proving that Secretary Clinton was not “my girl,” in any way; that the people telling me to move on are the ones that spent 8 years screaming about birth certificates and emails and supported over 60 failed attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and are often sporting the battle flag of a defunct enemy of the state that was defeated in Civil War over 150 years ago; that the people telling me not to “fear-monger” are the ones supporting the NRA’s incessant “They’re coming for all your guns” nonsense for decades now.
Instead, I’ll address three points:


Is there anything more important right now to discuss than the incoming Presidential administration and its influence on Civil Rights?

Is it fear-mongering to point out verifiable facts?

Should we move on, without discussing these issues further?


To begin to address these questions, we have to start with the fact that the only reason Trump was able to win the electoral college delegates despite a steadily increasing loss in the populace vote, assuming there are not enough faithless electors willing to prevent his ascension to the Oval Office, is a direct result of the fact that the GOP has spent the last 20 years — much more aggressively over the last eight — working at both the national and state level to gerrymander voting districts and dismantle the Voting Rights Act protections.


“As bad as it was after Shelby and in this election, at least we had a Civil Rights Division which took these concerns somewhat seriously,” said Scott Simpson, the director of media and campaigns for the The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “And we don’t know what we’re going to get under Sessions. But we can look at his record, and his record bodes very poorly for the future of voting rights in this country.”
“Shelby” is Shelby County v. Holder, the June 2013 Supreme Court decision that struck down a key provision of 1965 Voting Rights Act used to determine which voting jurisdictions would have to pre-clear any changes to voting procedures or laws with the US Department of Justice or a federal court. Without it, nine states and parts of six others with a history of racial discrimination related to voting were allowed to make changes as they saw fit. “The election, at least for communities of color, started in June 2013,” Simpson says. “The Shelby decision is when this election began for people of color.”


Throughout the campaign Donald Trump screamed about a rigged election, laying the groundwork for his recent tweet about winning despite millions of illegal votes being cast, a claim he cannot prove, but easily proven false.  And the implications of this lie are important, as discussed by the New York Times:


In addition to insulting law-abiding voters everywhere, these lies about fraud threaten the foundations of American democracy. They have provided the justification for state voter-suppression laws around the country, and they could give the Trump administration a pretext to roll back voting rights on a national scale.


In the wake of the announcement of his win, despite losing on election day, the following weeks would see hundreds of hate crimes reported by followers inspired by his fear-mongering, hateful rhetoric against non-white and/or non-Christian citizens.
Of course, the President-Elect, after much prompting, issued a weak statement condemning the violence of his exuberantly passionate supporters, but, to use his own terminology, he only did so because it was visually important to do so, while still using the rhetoric that incited them in the first place.
Then if there was any doubt about his intentions for the future of civil rights, or his intentions to enable further acts of overt racism, he began to announce his selections for the Presidential Cabinet positions, including people like Steve Bannon and Jeff Sessions.
He then continued assembling a list of appointees to his Cabinet.   There appear to be two criteria for such an appointment:


A willingness to differ utterly to the whim of the President-Elect.

A history of at least a few years worth of words and actions demonstrating the intent to undermine, discredit, dismantle, and ultimately privatize the division to which they will be appointed to lead.   A clear and obvious example being Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education.


These appointments include people who have not only joined in, but helped lead the way in normalizing the “alt-right” message of White Nationalism, Racism, Rape-Culture, and Patriarchal Misogyny that send a clear signal on the administrations intents for the future of civil rights for those that any have any combination of the following traits:  people of color, women, and non-Christian.
This is not speculation, each one has a long and well documented history that is easy to investigate on your own.
Now consider the ever-growing coterie of nepotism beneficiaries and sycophants he is assembling, we begin to see the signs of a fascist dictator ascending to power.  One who has modeled his speech methodology from the collective speeches of Adolf Hitler, one who has openly expressed admiration and respect for the dictatorial leadership style of Vladimir Putin.   Consider that in combination with his social media Twitter tantrums, his inability to overlook a slight exemplified by his need to repeatedly attempt to humiliate and insult anyone who expresses criticism of him.  Consider those in combination with the fact that this is a man who has never stood up and faced adversity in any way; he dodged the draft repeatedly; he has turned tail and run from multiple failing businesses to shelter himself instead of fighting for the employees depending upon him to succeed; he bullies and threatens people in order to settle lawsuits in his favor, but settles with all those who stand up to him rather than appear in court to defend himself.   His only concept of conflict resolution is to throw tantrums, insult and threaten.
All together, it paints a clear picture of a man who is a vindictive, petty, spiteful, cowardly despot surrounding himself with similar, but weaker, personalities to do his bidding.  So much so that he has already threatened retaliatory efforts against anyone in the press who publishes anything he considers a lie about him (whether true or not), his press surrogate has said that anyone that has spoken out against him will have to “bow down” to him as President, and he’s expressed the desire to revoke the citizenship rights of anyone that protests his administration or policy efforts — which would eliminate their ability to vote against him in the future.   And before anyone claims that’s “fear-mongering,” make sure you consider that is a logical extension of the gerrymandering that the people he is appointing, and the leaders in the Republican House and Senate, have been working towards for years now.    It is not speculation, it is simple analysis of the actions and words of these same people.
Then we backtrack just a little bit and remember his threat not to honor the rigged election results unless he managed to win.   Once he is in power, he will continue to dismantle voter protections, equal rights, women’s’ rights, while stripping the people of their constitutional rights in favor of increasing rights of corporations, especially those corporations run by his own cadre of cronies.
It isn’t a leap of logic or faith to extrapolate from all of this, the possibility that the Republican Congress, Presidential Cabinet, and Supreme Court appointees he chooses over the next few years, might conspire to use their dismantling of the governmental institutions, constitutional rights, and voters rights,  might well conspire to attempt to undo the two-term limit on a presidential candidacy in order to prevent a swing back to either the Democrats or some other Progressive movement and continue the regime indefinitely.
This is why my blog here, and my Facebook discussion page will continue to raise these issues at every opportunity, even if our major media outlets fear to do so.    Right now, there is no more dangerous threat to the citizens of our nation or the future of our economy and society than the President-Elect.
If we are unwilling to face — or even speak — the truth, we will face the consequences.   And they will be dire.
Spreading truth is not fear-mongering.