The so-called Impeachment Trial is going on and as a federal criminal appeals attorney who has made countless Constitutional arguments, I find this historical event riveting. During the proceedings, House Managers and Counselors for Donald J. Trump made frequent references to the men who designed our Republic. In some form or fashion the names John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington were reiterated with great deference by one side or the other. In order to evaluate their greatness, let’s take a brief but deep dive into the origins of our nation and the collective character of these seven fellows. Actually, they were a bunch of white supremacist, misogynists, and bigots who initially help shaped our country.


The American myths began with the Pilgrims and the Mayflower. In 1620, those purportedly good people fled religious persecution in England and sailed to America, the new world, to make their home. Shortly after their arrival these supposedly anti-discrimination folks began their campaign of spiritual bullying. They considered the indigenous populations heathens and destroyed or stole their religious objects. Eventually these cultural artifacts were put in museums and many of the native traditional ways and ritual practices were forbidden. Over time, the progressive movement in America meant moving west, which lead to the least discussed genocide on the planet. The purportedly religious minded pioneers killed buffalos and members of the First Nation with equal impunity. The buffalo was almost wiped out and there was the wholesale slaughter of 90% of the American Indian population. Those who survived were inhumanly moved off their sacred lands and onto reservations. Treaties were created between the sovereign nations, which to this day, Washington DC breaks with impunity.


After the War of Independence many states only allowed white male landowners to vote in US elections. Of course, the founding fathers were amongst the largest landowners, holding in their names millions of millions of square miles. A 2016 article by The Atlantic states, “For one thing, there was a lot of land available once the colonists started taking it from Native Americans, and—as the game Monopoly shows us—owning property has historically been a good way to get ahead. Colonists were able to profit from the land.”


Back then women could not vote. A wife was considered her husband’s personal property, similar to his cattle. A synopsis from a history course at George Mason University states “Most Americans treated married women according to the concept of ‘coverture’, a concept inherited from English common law. Under the doctrine of coverture, a woman was legally considered the chattel of her husband, his possession…. Women had no legal identity.” To this day, women are fighting for an equal identity to men in the public square.


Speaking of slaves, many of the Founding Fathers kept slaves. A 2016 PBS blog on this subject begins, “When the founders of the U.S. Constitution in 1787 considered whether America should let the people elect their president through a popular vote, James Madison said that “Negroes” in the South presented a “difficulty … of a serious nature. During that same speech on Thursday, July 19, Madison instead proposed a prototype for the same Electoral College system the country uses today. Each state has a number of electoral votes roughly proportioned to population and the candidate who wins the majority of votes wins the election.” The great compromise to ensure a ‘fair’ Electoral College guaranteed Southern landowners of black slaves could count them as 3/5ths of a person.


This is astonishing. Our founding fathers were seriously flawed men, which bring us full circle to the charismatic and corrupt, Donald J. Trump. He appeals to the grievance-driven, abortion-controlling, white males who long to return to the grand old past. The GOP.

Path We Share

Updated: Nov 28, 2019

In an online ‘chat’ with a dear friend who lamented about a cousin under the spell of Trump, pictures of Vladimir Putin came to mind. You know the ones where he is bare-chested. When my digital talk was over, I did a Google search of the images. Upon closer inspection it was as I suspected. Almost all the photos show Putin proudly wearing a Cross pendant dangling from a chain. The hypocrisy is glaring. His odious deeds on the domestic and international stage demonstrate he is not remotely interested in the teachings of Jesus. One can rightly conclude that for Putin the symbol of Christianity is merely a useful tool. It is effective on Russians and American evangelicals alike.


“Ay, therein lies the rub” of Trump. The cult of his personality is embedded in America’s prosperity gospel crowd. It is entrenched in the belief he will make them rich. These folks comprise much of his base and they view him as the second coming of the Christ. Remarkably, many of his believers share Trump’s favorable view of Putin. More important, they align with his white, strongman tactics and his anti-Muslim crusade. It is why FOX actor and anchor Tucker Carlson can get away with favoring Russia over Ukraine. Only later did he claim to be joking about his choice. Hmmm.


The cult of Trump’s personality is insidious. A November 26th report in the ‘Washington Monthly’ notes, “it appears that agreeing with them equates to agreeing with God—and disagreeing with them, at least when it comes to Donald Trump, means doing the work of the evil one. For these Christian nationalists, it’s not enough to say, “God is on our side.” If you don’t agree with them, you are engaged with a demonic power. There is no authoritarian tool more controlling than the one that wields the power”.


My memoir is about a true encounter with evil. Unlike many Trump supporters, his religious propaganda does not work on me. I am not a fool. He uses the love of God to connive votes at the ballot box. It is a strategy to ensure money flows into Trump and his pal’s wallets too. His ‘spiritual’ advisor Paula White has almost moved into the White House. Never mind the possible criminal exposure she brings with his endorsement. A November 13th ‘Newsweek’ article notes, “Richard W. Painter, who served as the chief ethics lawyer in President George W. Bush's White House, blasted President Donald Trump's personal spiritual adviser Paula White, suggesting the religious leader was committing "fraud" and running a "Ponzi scheme”. . . .This 'prosperity gospel' scam by Paula White tests the boundaries between 'religious freedom' and criminal mail fraud and wire fraud. ‘Send me money and God will make you rich.' Now she uses her White House position to make her sales pitch."


We've witnessed Trump's spiritual inauthenticity most blatantly in his immigration policy. Astonishingly the same Christian nationalists who support him are perfectly fine with locking Christians in cages at our southern border, separating families and kidnapping their Christian kids, and people making money from the deplorable scheme.


God help us. The soul of America and our democracy is at stake!



Garden of Eden

A simple definition of an empathic is someone who can ‘understand and share in the feelings of another’. With the aid of the inner eye, we can even witness what a person is going through from a description or narrative of far away events. People with sympathetic abilities contribute to the advancement of society and are a vessel for social consciousness. Compassionate individuals do not immediately judge others, but first consider what it means to walk in their shoes.


Contrary characteristics to empathy are callousness and narcissism. Senior campaign advisor Lara Trump is the epitome of a non-empathic who supports her father-in-law. On the October 14th Fox News at Night broadcast with host Shannon Bream, Lara defended Trump’s actions in Syria by stating most Americans don’t know who the Kurds are. Not a sound or rational defense for certain genocide and ethic cleansing. In a phone call with Erdogan of Turkey, Trump betrayed the Kurds who were our allies in the fight against ISIS. Like a mob boss in a second-rate B movie, Trump demands loyalty but gives none as suits his needs. Today, the House of Representatives condemned his withdrawal of troops from Northern Syria.


We are all Hervin Khalaf. A Kurdish politician and secretary general of the Future Syria Party, she was a victim of Trump’s war crimes. Turkish-backed rebels dragged her and her driver from their vehicle. Twitter was awash in images of Ms. Khalaf being raped on rocks, her face grey from the dust and pain. The boots and rifles of her assailants and their accomplices are clearly visible in the video. Reports are the driver was executed and the Turkish proxies stoned her to death. Their murder is the clear result of Trump giving Erdogan the go-ahead to invade the Kurds.


Unless you’re like Lara Trump who’s immune from the feelings of strangers, closing off techniques can be employed by an empathic. Prayers, affirmations, and visualizations are methods one can utilize to not give hospitality to other people’s negativity. Shielding oneself off enables us to understand what someone is going through, and to walk in his or her shoes. I imagine myself wrapped up in the petals of a flower, or I’ll say an ancient Kabblalistic prayer, the Ana Be’Koach to surround myself with light and protection. In my memoir, My Random Death, I go into detail about these practices.


We can employ some basic tools to protect ourselves while we still ‘love thy neighbor, and welcome the stranger, as thyself’.


Path We Share

 

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