Farewell; Welcome; Thank You Both


Yes, that is right.

Thank you to both Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

Those of you that have been following this blog or the Facebook discussion page for any length of time might find the latter inclusion confusing.

Thank you Mr. Obama for modeling who we are capable of becoming and what we are capable of accomplishing.    Thank you Mr. Trump for proving who we still are and how far we have yet to go.

Last night, President Barack Obama offered his “farewell address” although it was much more a State of the Union address than a farewell.    While he is leaving the office of the Presidency, it is clear he is not leaving the political arena and will remain active striving for progressive change in our nation.

So, in light of your absolutely incredible amount of progressive reform and accomplishments as President over the last eight years despite a congressional opposition dedicated to obstructing his every action even when doing so would be detrimental to their own constituents of voters, Thank you, good sir.

While I do not agree with everything you have done, I approve and appreciate the majority of it.   You have been one of the most successful Presidents our country has ever elected.

Here is a list of hundreds of President Obama’s accomplishments as President. Every one of them has a citation, so no one can dismiss them out of hand.

As part of his closing, President Obama said,

“I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change – but in yours.”

I would like to take the opportunity to respond:

Thank you, sir, for your service, offered at all times with grace and dignity far above and beyond our highest expectations, and despite the overt racism directed at both you and your family.   You lead by example and modeled the behavior and ideals we should all hold dear in this nation.  
I deeply regret that as citizens we have failed you, as far too many of us strayed from the path you laid out for us and refused to learn from your example.

Having said that, I’d like to shift now to offering my thanks and undying gratitude to President-Elect Donald Trump as he prepares to assume the responsibilities and duties of the office of the President of the United States.

Thank you, Mr. Trump, for opening our eyes and launching what history will recognize hopefully as the Second Civil Rights Movement of the United States, and not the Second American Civil War or World War III.

Until your campaign, many people actually thought we were living in a post-racial, religiously tolerant, gender equal society. with only some odd, old, hold-out fringe elements still causing some friction.

Now thanks to your campaign we know beyond a doubt that there is still far too much to be done and no time to waste.

The use of dog whistle rhetoric throughout the campaign cycle calling out to the White Supremacists, Neo-Nazis, Sovereign Citizens, and just plain willfully ignorant that were hiding among us, showed us that despite our reform efforts racism and bigotry still thrive hidden just below the surface in the hearts and minds of far too many.

As a result of your Anti-Muslim rhetoric and embrace of legalized religious intolerance and discrimination of non-Christians which have stoked a marked increase of violent hate crimes, we now know that no amount of social justice reform or new laws will have any lasting affect upon our society until the laws created are enforced fairly and equally in a manner that doesn’t provide the illusion of a progress that is not enforced in reality.

Your classless and distasteful public mockery of Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist Serge F. Kovaleski‘s physical disability, shows we must prepare for the fact that those with a physical or mental disability will be at greater risk under your administration from discriminatory policies, public abuse, disregard, and disenfranchisement than at any point in my lifetime.

The abundant history of your misogyny as well as the more recent ones from you throughout the last year and a half have proven that gender equality is still far from being achieved or even desired, especially in the eyes of the Republican party leadership and members.  In fact, we now know our next President is not only an advocate of the American rape culture but an active participant thanks to your recorded confession of workplace sexual assault.

Your assertion in that recorded confession that:

“When you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything.”


“I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and wouldn’t lose any voters, ok? It’s, like, incredible.”

have shown that Affluenza is not a buzzword, but a real affliction that we must strive to eradicate if equality of justice is ever to be an attainable goal.

Your call to Russian hackers to directly attack your own political rivals and embrace of their actions once done shows how vulnerable our election process is to outside foreign influence.

The pandering throughout your campaign to the “alt-right” agenda of racism and white nationalism and Neo-Nazi beliefs, your constant propagation of their messages and fabricated fake news stories through social media, speeches and interviews, and your appointment of one of their media leaders, Steve Bannon, to your transition team and White House administration have clearly exposed how dangerously widespread and prevalent subversive racism really still is in our society.

The win you achieved through the Electoral College, despite having lost the election by a greater margin of votes than any President in history, has exposed the inherent flaws and deeply entrenched racism within the system that we had been led to believe was designed to prevent a candidate like you from ascending to the Presidency.  Thank you for exposing these flaws and showing us what needs to be addressed to start adjusting the allocation so that people of color aren’t discredited as 3/5 of a vote in future elections.

I also need to thank you for demonstrating to everyone that civility, decorum, and human decency are qualities reviled by a significant segment of our population.   For teaching our young children that the path to success, fame, fortune, and power is best achieved through lies, deceit, manipulation, belligerence, personal attacks, greed, selfishness, and the emotional fortitude of an elementary school bully.

Thank you for showing us just how fragile the small level of democracy in our Democratic Republic truly is and for galvanizing us to begin fixing these flaws that too many were not even aware were there.

So finally, to close and recap, Thank you President Obama for using your time in office to show us who we can and should be — and thank you, President Elect Trump for holding up the mirror and showing us who we still are and what is really left to be done.

Now it is time to get started.

By exposing all of this to those that believed we had actually made progress on many of these issues over the last half century,  Mr. Trump may have unwittingly and inadvertently done more for the civil rights of America before even being sworn in as president than any single person since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr died.

It is time for us to answer President Obama’s farewell request — that we believe in our ability to change.  And utilize it.

Don’t wait.  Start now.  Today.

Rally.  Protest.  Call and write your governmental representatives.  Get everyone who is eligible registered and eager to VOTE.  Be informed.  Be involved.  Donate to or help campaign for candidates that support your values and represent your concerns on the issues at hand.  Cast a ballot on every issue and for every office at ever opportunity for each city, county, state, and national level.


Changing the Tone

With early voting underway across most of the nation, and the November 8th Election day mere days away, I’d like to take an opportunity to step away from the negativity of the current campaign tactics at every level of our governing process and change the tone just a little bit.The Singer Group is a business consulting firm that “brings innovative and progressive human resources and organizational development solutions to organizations in the public, social and private sectors that want to reach for maximum results and achieve maximum success.”The core of their philosophy revolves around answering one simple question for each of their clients: “What will take this organization to its next level of success?”A few years ago, they published an article entitled “The 5 Practices of Progressive Leaders.


Those five practices are:

1: Model the Way

2: Inspire a Shared Vision

3: Challenge the Process

4: Enable Others to Act

5: Encourage the Heart

I’d like to take the opportunity to apply this leadership philosophy to our modern political discourse as we look to the future beyond this election.

The Millennial generation, members of which are often and unfairly belittled by those of older generations — a practice that is true of every generation in history — represents the near future of global leadership in politics, business, and innovation.

An article by the Civic Youth Organization in 2009 described Millennials in this way:

Young Americans under 30 are much more progressive than any generation since the early 1960s and likely to move the country leftward for decades to come, according to a CIRCLE report. CIRCLE Director Peter Levine, along with Constance Flanagan and Les Gallay of Penn State University, authored a report The Millennial Pendulum: A New Generation of Voters and the Prospects for a Political Realignment. The report was funded by the New American Foundation and was officially announced at an event on February 18, 2009 in Washington DC.


The report finds that the Millennials (born after 1982) are starting their adult lives much more progressive on economic issues than any generation from the early 1960s to today. The historical analysis shows that each generation has held a fairly stable attitude toward economic issues that has remained durable even as major economic and political events have occurred. Each generation has grown somewhat more conservative as its members have moved through life. But the Millennials are starting to the left of previous generations and are therefore likely to move the country leftward for decades to come.


The study compares three key theories: age effects (people are more liberal when they are young), period/historical effects (people, regardless of age, tend to change their opinions at the same time in response to major events such as elections, social movements, etc.), and cohort effects (people born around the same time are permanently influenced by events that arise when they are young, such as wars, social movements, or 9/11).

Writing for the Washington Post in March of this year, Sean McElwee found that “Millennials are significantly more progressive than their parents,” and he notes that “[T]his isn’t simply a youthful flirtation with supposedly radical views. Labels aside, there’s something deeper going on.”

Keeping this all in mind, and knowing that the Millennial generation is the largest generation in the United States since the Baby Boomer generation that still represents the vast majority of our political leadership, and the fact that the eldest of this massive younger group are just now reaching their mid-thirties in age, it becomes obvious that beginning with the 2018 mid-term elections they will begin a steadily growing takeover of our community, state, and national governments, and they’ll be bringing their ideologies along with them.

So, giving consideration to the Singer Group’s five points, what young leaders under the age of 40 in your area do you believe display these traits and why?

I’ll list three here to get us started. all of whom were featured in this article from September of 2015, :

Gabriela Domenzain has spent her career advocating for the Latino community. Starting with working for her mentor, Raul Yzaguirre, the founder of the nation’s largest Latino civil rights organization, the National Council of La Raza, to becoming a founding producer for Jorge Ramos and his launch of Univision National Network’s first Sunday morning political talk show Al Punto, to creating the first comprehensively bilingual presidential campaign strategy for President Obama’s successful reelection campaign in 2012. As a senior advisor and Director of Public Engagement for Governor O’Malley, she is currently one of the highest ranking Latinas in presidential politics today.


Jeff Cruz spends his time fighting for progressive policies to help Latinos and other middle-class Americans. As a Sr. Advisor to Senator Bernie Sanders, he is leading the charge to expand Social Security, increase the minimum wage to $15 by 2020, provide additional job training opportunities for young Americans, and end policies of mass incarceration. He has worked for Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Obama White House, the House Democratic Leadership, on electoral campaigns in more than a dozen states, and as the executive director of the Latinos for a Secure Retirement coalition. Jeff is a former CHCI fellow and has authored a CHSA report on how to solve the diversity crisis affecting Capitol Hill.


As the Digital Media Director for Bernie Sanders’ Presidential Campaign, Hector Sigalia has helped Bernie’s online presence claim the top democratic page on Facebook and has gained recognition from national media outlets as the best social media of any candidate. Before becoming the Sander’s campaign social media guru, Hector worked in Sanders’ Senate office since 2012 where he concurrently served as the Congressional Hispanic Staff Association’s Communications Director in 2013. Hector has been blazing a trail for his family and community since immigrating from Mexico at a young age and working his way through college before earning his Bachelors from George Washington University. He says that having experienced poverty and the immigrant struggle firsthand serves as his motivation for the work he does for Bernie Sanders.

Finally, in May of 2014, the Washington Post released the names of honorees on its “40 under 40” list.

“Across our country, young people are taking up the call to public service, getting elected and writing legislation that helps middle class families, students, and all underrepresented Americans,” said Atima Omara, President of the Young Democrats of America. “When young people take on the challenge of public service, a new and important voice is introduced to our civil discourse, and these nine legislators are the perfect example of what progressive young people can do to improve their  communities.”


“Young elected progressives are leading the fight for middle class Americans in the halls of state capitols across this country,” said Michael Sargeant, Executive Director of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC). “The advances made by these unsung leaders are often overshadowed by Washington DC politics, but these are the young visionaries who are making a real impact on their constituents’ day-to-day lives.”

Included on that list were:

• Alaska state Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins
• Colorado Speaker of the House Mark Ferrandino (also a DLCC Board Member)
• Colorado state Representative Crisanta Duran
• Maine state Senator Emily Cain
• Montana state Senator Kendall Van Dyk
• Nevada state Assemblywoman Lucy Flores
• North Dakota state Representative Kylie Oversen
• Washington state Representative Cyrus Habib
• Wisconsin Senate Democratic Leader Chris Larson


Who is on your list of names to watch?