1. Richard Burr, a United States Senator from North Carolina, said to his constituents in the days leading up to the Presidential election, “Even if Donald Trump is the most vile person on the planet, at least, he won’t take our guns away!” Or, words to that effect.The unstated, but clearly implied, logical extension runs as follows through the minds of his listeners:“At least, he won’t raise our taxes!”“At least, he won’t permit abortion!” “At least, he won’t allow foreigners to plant their religion on American soil!”

    And, the rally rolls.

    “He won’t take away our guns. He won’t raise our taxes. He won’t permit abortion. He won’t allow Muslims and immigrants to call our country ‘home.’” But…

    He will allow Russia to exert influence, if not control, over our country in exchange for lucrative contracts with him and his comrades.

    By keeping the attention of the masses focused on the supposed imminent threat of Muslims and immigrants, Trump and his agents forge alliances with Russia that would have been blatantly unpatriotic and unthinkable at any point in our past. He sells the country out to one enemy while telling his constituents he is avoiding attacks from other enemies by building walls and kicking out Muslims and immigrants.

    Crafty. Slick. Sick. Hitler duped the Germans into thinking the Jews were the enemy, when, in fact, Hitler was the enemy. Enflaming attention directed upon “those people,” keeps attention away from what the sleight of hand artist is doing out of sight, under the table, away from public scrutiny.

    Trump’s lies and his flamboyant accusations keep rational processes from being engaged, prevent inquiry and rule out the likelihood, or even the possibility, of in-depth examinations of himself, his motives and his actions.

    No abortion is music in the ears of a large number of Americans, but… In light of no more taxes and no gun restrictions, Trump is not making provision for fetuses after they are born. He is guaranteeing suffering, neglect and an early death to all children whose mother is unable to provide for their welfare. There is no place in Trump’s America, or the Republican Party Platform, for a living minimum wage, affordable childcare and health care, proper nutrition, quality education and job availability for all people. And everybody can have a gun—which means that children will die from gun violence at horrendous rates. “No abortion” sounds like things will be just fine—until we read the fine print.

    And, that doesn’t begin to take into account the emotional, psychological and physical impact of forcing women to be pregnant against their will. How do we count that cost? Weigh that burden? Measure that toll? These questions are dismissed by those who think abortion is the worst of all possible things. A woman has no value. A woman is nothing more than a means of producing children who will grow into being just like those who demand their Right To Life, but… It is the right to only a certain kind of life that they are demanding. If the children are Muslims, or immigrants, or poor, or liberal, or—the list is long—they are not “our kind of people,” and have no place with “us,” and must be shipped back to where they came from, or walled off out of sight.

    Republicans have a low tolerance for ambiguity, contradiction, complexity and inconsistency, and think of everything in terms of false dichotomies: either/or, right/wrong, good/bad—clear polarities with no continuum between the poles. All of their choices are mutually exclusive, and their preference is the right one on every level, with no possibility of a downside or disqualifying attributes.

    This kind of narrow, rigid, “my way only” thinking is incapable of perceiving the realities it ignores and generates. We cannot see anything until we are able to look at everything. Our “blinders” (That would be our preferences, inferences, assumptions, false conclusions, opinions, biases, prejudices, leanings, penchants, dispositions and predispositions, etc.) keep us from seeing all there is to see about the things we think we see, and create a perspective that forms a perception and sets it firmly in place before we even look.

    We can gauge the degree of our “blindness” by exploring the questions we won’t allow ourselves to ask regarding the things we “know to be so” and are, therefore, beyond question, doubt, or examination. What we see depends entirely upon how we look—upon the lens (That would be all the things listed above as “blinders”) through which we look.

    We cannot hope to see until we see what governs our looking. Our vision is limited by what we can allow ourselves to see. If all we can allow ourselves to see is: “Guns, guns, guns and more guns!” “No more taxes ever for any reason under any circumstances!” “No abortion, period, end of discussion, no questions allowed!” “No Muslims, immigrants or foreigners (except those bearing gifts), now or ever!” We create a future that is toxic to all living things worldwide.

    That future is grounded upon Republicans’ blithely formulated dismissal, “That will never happen,” which becomes in time, “That is not happening.” Global warming and climate change are dismissed as liberal fabrications and conspiracies. When No More Taxes is coupled with the deregulation of environmental protections, industrial emissions, discharges, and toxic by-products are dismissed as fictions and fantasies.

    The Flint water crisis exists because taxes were lowered, and services were cut, and oversight was suspended, that were “unnecessary,” and nothing untoward or harmful would “ever happen.” And, when it did happen, it was denied and ignored because “It wasn’t happening.”

    There are two facts that will not be denied: We have to have air to breathe and water to drink. When we cannot breathe the air or drink the water, we will die—even if Republicans say it won’t happen or deny that it is happening.

    The Great Republican Lie is this, “Come here, Baby, Momma will take care of you!” It is a lie that keeps being believed because that is exactly what too many people want to hear. They want to lay aside their responsibilities as citizens, pay no taxes, and have some external authority take care of them forever. Republican politicians seize upon that character flaw by promoting ridiculous threats and promising absurd protections—and being elected year after year by riding the outlandish assertion, “I would have done better if it hadn’t been for those evil Democrats blocking the way!”

    “Making America Great Again” will always be a slogan awaiting delivery in tangible, measurable ways. In four years, the suffering lower class will still be suffering. The rich will be richer, and the middle class will be muddling along. And things globally will be worse in countless tangible and measurable ways that “aren’t happening” and “never will.”