1. Donald Trump says he will make America great again.

    He says he will bring jobs back.

    He says he will build walls to keep us safe.

    And then he says women can never be safe,

    but we dismiss that as “bad boy talk,”

    and wink, and laugh, and look forward to being great again.

    He says he will send out of the country everyone who is not like we are.

    He doesn’t say exactly who we are.

    He assumes we know he’s talking about us when he says we.

    We do.

    He says it’s fine to bully anyone, everyone, who is not like we are,

    and we know who we are.

    He says hating people who are our enemies–

    who don’t think like we do,

    or believe like we do,

    or dress like we do–

    is not only acceptable but is also essential and explicitly required.

    The right kind of wealthy insanity

    can interpose itself upon the masses

    simply by giving voice to their

    resentment, fear, rage, hatred and greed,

    and recasting the reprehensible and appalling

    as good business practice,

    regrettably necessary under the circumstances

    and a small price to pay in order to be great again.


  2. Hatred and fear feed off each other

    And consume the world.

    Traveling the blue highways seeking photographs,

    I drive past a number of rural homes

    With Confederate flags flying

    And Trump for President signs standing

    In their front yards.

    The combination is not surprising,

    But it is chilling.

    Trump can stir hatred and fear

    To milk them for votes,

    But he cannot contain them,

    Or even channel them.

    No reliable, responsible stable and sane person

    Can act in any way to encourage hatred and fear.

    “Just making a suggestion,”

    “Just thinking out loud,”

    “Just saying what people are thinking,”

    “Just kidding”

    Are just providing the spark for the conflagration.

    A leader’s primary responsibility,

    In politics and in business,

    Is to create a climate of safety and respect for all people.

    Demonizing “them,”

    Or just making “them” bear the brunt of our jokes and disdain,

    Puts “them” at risk

    And encourages distrust,

    And incites violence.

    We cannot do it,

    Or allow it to be done,

    Without calling it out

    And demanding that it stop at once.


  3. Bigotry is unacceptable.

    Discrimination/oppression has no place among us.

    Inequality, favoritism, injustice, cruelty, brutality, abuse…

    No, No, No, NO!

    Political INcorrectness has become acceptable

    To a growing percentage of high ranking public officials,

    Encouraging the unranked masses

    To flaunt their contempt of laws protecting the rights of all people

    And declare, “If a law threatens my religious liberty, I don’t have to obey it.”

    This is anarchy,

    And beyond appalling.

    The declaration, “Your religious liberty ends where my constitutional rights begin,”

    Needs to be affirmed and reaffirmed by every elected official

    In every state in the United States.

    Every official taking office takes an oath promising to uphold and obey the laws of the land.

    And too many of them are making laws which void laws

    They hold to be distasteful

    Because the laws in question protect the rights of people

    The legislators do not like.

    The trend will continue and grow stronger

    As long as people who could vote for office seekers of a different mind-set refuse to vote.

    The people elect the people who abuse the people–

    Often by failing to vote at all.

    By not voting, we contribute to the creation

    Of an environment of incivility and inhumanity.

    If you don’t vote, I’m talking to you.


  4. I don’t know what to do about the idiocy of certain state governments.

    I do know that idiocy can take over if the electorate sleeps.

    I do know the electorate has been asleep,

    Or worse–absent without leave–

    For sometime now.

    Complacency set in.

    Or boredom.

    Or resignation.

    Less than 45% of registered voters vote in any given election.

    A majority is one vote more than half of 45%.

    I could win an election with 22% of the vote.

    The Tea Party Republicans rarely carry more than a 35%

    Approval rating anywhere.

    That leads me to believe that nationwide

    Tea Party Republicans weigh in at no more than 35% of those elegible to vote.

    But they would need only 22% of the vote to win.

    And they, by God, show up on election day–

    EVERY election day.

    Now let’s wonder why idiocy has taken over.

    Where is the missing 55% of the electorate?

    We can lay the responsibility for idiocy at their door.

    Let them wade through it on their way to work every day.

    Oh, and let’s thank them with a Big Juicy Wet One Right On The Kisser.

    And tell them “Thanks a lot, Chump, for not showing up.”


  5. Whoever gave birth to the idea that the universe is a friendly place,

    and has our best interest at heart,

    and will assist us toward happiness and prosperity

    if we will just get out of the way with our negative thoughts,

    never sat pond-side.

    Nature is a study in ruthlessness.

    It’s like being at Wal Mart when the doors are opened for the After Thanksgiving Sale.

    Baby ducks are pushed out of the brood for not being quite right somehow.

    Herons gobble fishes and frogs.

    Snapping turtles eat anything slower than they are.

    Pecking orders are established and verified with malice and without mercy.

    Nature’s way is monstrous.

    Bullies win.

    Civilization comes along to give the rest of us a chance.

    The soft values, compassion, kindness, generosity, altruism and the like,

    have to have advocates,

    have to be championed.

    They cannot make it without us.

    The bullies have to be stopped by people like me and you.

    And, one thing that means

    is that we have to vote in every election,

    no matter how small,

    and not vote for the bully in any of them.


  6. Democracy hinges on two things:

    The electorate must vote

    The citizens must obey the laws.

    When members of congress

    And state governors and legislatures

    Refuse to be law-abiding,

    Dismiss, discount, disregard, flaunt or ignore

    Laws guarding the constitutional rights of all citizens,

    They place themselves outside the law,

    And become outlaws.

    Thugs, gangs, hoodlums, goons and villains.

    Each one took an oath of office,

    Promising, among other things,

    To uphold and obey the Constitution of the United States.

    At the very least,

    They deserve to be dispelled from office.

    I would prefer to see them arrested and jailed

    For treason and sedition.

    Until that happens,

    The electorate has to rise to the occasion

    And vote them out of office–

    And vote into office those

    Who will keep the law they swear to uphold.

    When neither those who govern

    Nor the electorate do their jobs

    Democracy becomes a sham and a shame.


  7. If we replaced the founders of the country

    with the current set of politicians in Washington,

    all the English would have had to do would be

    send over a boat load of lobbyists

    with about a tenth, maybe less,

    of the money they spent on the Revolutionary War

    and we would still be a British colony.

    Complaining about the lack of heart and vision doesn’t change anything.

    How do we replace the current spirit of politicians with the spirit of the founders?

    The Dali Lama said, about the Chinese occupation of Tibet,

    “If what is going on has been going on for a while,

    it will likely continue to go on,”

    or words to that effect.

    Momentum carries us with it.

    You can’t stop a tsunami, or a glacier.

    Well, used to be you couldn’t stop a glacier.

    We’ve stopped a few in our time, sad to say, but.

    The point is how do we get people to be who we need them to be?

    When the horse has the bit in its teeth,

    you hang on for the ride and hope for the best.

    Like the Dali Lama said, “You ride it out,”

    or words to that effect.


  8. Show of hands now:

    Does anyone here see the stupidity of saying,

    “We would all have more money if we didn’t pay any taxes”?

    Here’s another one for you, hands up now,

    is there a quicker, cleaner, more efficient way

    of shooting both of our feet completely off with one shot

    than by agreeing that taxes are evil,

    and not only are we going to refuse all additional taxes ever,

    but we are going to repeal all the taxes on the books,

    and never pay any more taxes,

    plus we are going to get rid of all unions

    because what they do is like forcing us all to pay taxes

    in the form of higher prices for goods and services,

    which we wouldn’t have to pay if there were no unions?

    Hold them up high so I can be sure to count them all…

    What we have just voted on is the heart of the Tax, I mean Tea, Party Agenda.

    More Money For All Of Us Via The Route Of Less Money For Some Of Us.

    Stupidity comes into play here in that all of us think the “all of us” in that sentence

    applies to us and the “some of us” applies to someone else.

    The “all of us” is actually those at the top–

    those at the top of the top.

    The “some of us” is everyone else.

    Let me explain this to you in two more very short sentences.

    The first is from Walt Kelly, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

    The second is from me, “They are coming after you, stupid!”

    The “they” in that sentence is

    all of those who make money at the expense of someone else.

    The “you” in that sentence is, well, everyone else.

    At stake here is the coal miner’s right to a quality of life

    that is higher than the mine owner’s idea of the life

    the mineworker ought to be happy with.

    If you are not the owner,

    you are the worker,

    whether you work in a coalmine,

    or teach school,

    or work as a plumber,

    or an auto mechanic.

    Your quality of life is about to be taken out of your hands,

    and will be if you raise your hand—and vote—for no more taxes,

    no taxes at all,

    and no unions ever.


  9. Black Lives Matter exists as a movement

    because black lives don’t matter

    in the culture and society.

    Donald Trump’s ascendancy to this close to the throne

    has exposed the racist, bigoted, hate-filled hearts and spirits

    of much-too-large-of-a-percentage

    of the US population.

    All Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter exist to detract

    attention from the truth

    of the need to emphasize

    that Black Lives Do Indeed Matter,

    so that business might go on as usual

    with racism ruling the day everyday.

    Trump’s unrelenting effort to normalize and legitimize

    racism and white supremacy

    is a blatant, arrogant, attack on the foundation of democracy,

    where all people are seen as equal,

    worthy of respect

    and treated with honor,

    by virtue of their citizenship in the Republic

    that is “of the people, by the people and for the people.”

    We stand together with all of our fellow citizens

    in a “one for all and all for one” kind of way.

    Black lives have to matter—

    and Hispanic lives,

    and Muslim lives—

    as much as any life matters.

    Until that is the case,

    the country fails to be who it says it is.

    And that lack of integrity

    is the ground of all our woes.


  10. Everyone has a right to expect

    police and law enforcement personnel

    to be dedicated to the service

    of peace and justice on all levels,

    all the time.

    We only have to look no further

    than the oaths of office the officers take

    to be justified in our expectation.

    promising to “protect and defend the Constitution

    and laws of the United States”

    and the particular state in which they serve—

    which include protecting and defending

    “liberty and justice for all.”

    We have every right to expect

    the police to police themselves,

    and for law enforcement personnel

    to honor and abide by the laws they have sworn

    to uphold.

    What’s the problem with you

    expecting—and depending upon—me

    to do what I promise you I will do?

    Who enforces the enforcers?

    Why the breakdown?

    We only need to be who we say

    we are going to be.

    Why lie about that?


  11. Don’t let your principles stand between you and what’s important.

    Tea Party members are willing to sacrifice themselves

    and everybody in the country (and world)

    for No More Taxes.

    The Tea Party would let us all die

    if living meant higher taxes—

    so you can forget about affordable health care

    with the Tea Party in charge.

    You can’t let your principles run away with you.

    You have to stand apart from what matters to you

    in order to serve what matters beyond you,

    in addition to you,

    in the moment of your living.

    You have to be able to see the situation as a whole,

    and make an objective determination

    regarding what needs to happen there,

    taking everything into account.

    There are considerations that are more important

    than principles.

    Higher taxes are not the end of life in the universe.

    But, failure to raise taxes

    can certainly be the end of some lives,

    and can mean abject misery for other lives.

    Life can actually be served with higher taxes.

    It’s about the true good of all

    and what it takes to serve that good

    in each situation as it arises.

  12. Where are the real Republicans?

    The members of the Grand Old Party?

    The people who are grounded in the value of integrity,

    and straight from the shoulder talking and living,

    “with liberty and justice for all”?

    Why aren’t the real Republicans

    calling out these late-comers,

    these Republican-pretenders,

    who have usurped the throne?

    Why aren’t the real Republicans saying, “THAT is not the way WE do it!”

    Why is there only deafening silence

    when the crowd boos a gay soldier serving in Iraq?

    When the crowd applauds the idea

    of a poor person without medical insurance being allowed to die?

    Why aren’t the real Republicans

    denouncing the low nature of this brand of humanity?

    The real Republicans should be saying

    to those who so boo and applaud,

    and those who would, given the chance,

    “You should be deeply ashamed—

    as we are of you, and for you and those like you!

    We don’t want you claiming to be Republicans!

    We don’t want to have anything to do with you!

    Look at you!

    Look at your heart, your soul!

    What does love your neighbor—

    and your enemy—

    that is to say, those who are like you and those who are not at all like you—

    mean to you?

    What does do unto others as you would have them do unto you mean to you?

    What does living in this country

    with its constitution declaring ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’

    as a foundational right to ALL PEOPLE mean to you?

    Go home!

    Look in the mirror until you can see yourself as you are,

    and do not claim to be a Republican until you can be worthy of the name!”


  13. When I am lying in my hammock

    alone with the birds in the woods,

    holding everything in awareness,

    I am at peace

    awash in perfection,

    at one with the Tao

    aligned with my life,

    in complete accord

    with the moment of my being.

    And then,

    there is the Republican National Convention.

    Exactly as I imagined

    a convocation of hate and fear,

    willful ignorance,

    prideful stupidity,

    the low point of national politics—

    The far extreme from me, hammock, birds, woods.

    “Reason cannot uproot

    (Or converse with)

    what reason did not plant.”

    There can be no dialogue with Trumps Legions.

    There is no common ground.

    There is no hope of coming to the center

    with people as far off center

    as these people are.

    There is only showing up at the polls in November

    and voting for Hillary Clinton.

    This election has to be a statement to hatemongers world-wide.

    This election matters like no other.

    And, every election may be this important

    for long years to come.

    Square up with what needs to be done over time,

    and do it.

    Vote for the good of the whole

    every time you get a chance to vote

    your entire life long.


  14. If we are going to make up something to believe—

    and we have no choice in the matter,

    if we believe there is nothing worth believing,

    we make that up—

    I suggest believing with all our heart

    that what we do matters,

    that the life we live matters,

    and that we live as though it does

    in everything we do.

    We vote, for instance, like our vote matters.

    We respond to the other people in our life

    as though the way we respond

    makes all the difference in their life.

    We live in each moment

    As though there are no throw-away moments.

    We rise to each occasion

    as though each one is the most important occasion yet,

    and needs our full attention

    and complete participation.

    I write these notes to you

    as though they are the swing point

    from dark to light

    in your life.

    You can tell me they are not

    if you want to,

    but I’m not going to believe you.


  15. Rumi said, “If you are not here with us in good faith,

    you are doing terrible damage.”

    When we live like we want to,

    not caring how our life impacts

    the lives of others,

    we are doing terrible damage.

    When we refuse to grow up,

    become transparent to ourselves,

    see what we are doing,

    and leaving undone–

    by refusing to do,

    failing to do,

    neglecting to do–

    we are doing terrible damage.

    We have to grow ourselves up.

    Take responsibility for ourselves–

    for our own becoming–

    for our own work to be who we

    are capable of being,

    who our life needs us to be.

    No one can do this for us.

    We have to do it for ourselves,

    on our own.

    When we fail to do it,

    we are doing terrible damage.

    The mess that is the country

    and the world

    is the direct result

    our refusal to grow up

    as individuals,

    as a nation,

    as a world.

    We are doing terrible damage.

    We begin righting the wrongs

    that are being done

    and have been done

    by living in good faith

    with ourselves

    and one another.

    The simple steps

    are the most difficult

    and the most essential.


  16. We have to catch ourselves in the act

    of thinking in terms of Good and Evil (or Bad),

    and stop it.

    There is no Good

    that is not Evil from some perspective,

    and no Evil

    that is not Good from some perspective

    (Everything Hitler ever did

    was Good from Hitler’s point of view).

    Thinking Good and Evil (or Bad)

    keeps us from seeing things simply as they are:

    good and evil,

    good and bad,

    a mixture held in solution

    that will not settle out

    into beautiful, mutually exclusive, absolutes

    We expose the fact of the relative nature

    of Good and Evil (Bad)

    with statements like

    “You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.”

    “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.”

    “Collateral damage is the price we have to pay to win the war.”

    Yet, we continue to think, act, and live

    out of the deluded, and self-enhancing, perspective

    that We are Good and They are Evil.

    The alternative is living in good faith

    with ourselves and all others,

    mindfully, compassionately, aware of each situation

    as it arises,

    seeing what is happening and what needs to happen.

    Taking everything into account,

    and responding to the moment

    in ways that are appropriate and fitting to the occasion—

    striving neither to serve the Good

    nor to defeat/destroy the Evil (Bad),

    but to do what is right here and now in this time and place,

    regardless of its implications for us and our desires.

    To live like this

    is to be grounded in the beauty of the statement,

    “Thy will, not mine, be done”—

    with the “Thy” in that sentence

    being what is necessary for the situation as a whole

    in every situation

    as long as there are situations.


  17. Summer Tanager 2016 09 — Zen Glen, Indian Land, South Carolina, September 26, 2016

    We cannot allow ourselves the priviledge

    of NOT voting

    because one of the candidates

    is obviously unfit for the office of President of the United States

    and incapable of anything remotely approaching

    the vision, wisdom, compassion, values and mindful awareness

    required by the office,

    and “no one in their right mind could possibly vote for him,

    so I don’t have to bother with voting for her.”

    Being “in one’s right mind”

    Is not a prerequisite for voting,

    and the voters Trump speaks for

    and gives voice to,

    will stand in long lines,

    pouring rain,

    and driving snow

    to vote for the man

    who says the things

    that ignite their rage

    and encourage their hate.

    The rest of us have to be so dedicated and determined

    in turning out,

    showing up,

    and voting for the woman.


  18. When Jesus said, “Inasmuch as you have done it to the least of my brothers and sisters, you have done it unto me,” and “Inasmuch as you have not done it to the least of my brothers and sisters, you have not done it unto me,”

    He sets aside the idea of religion in any way freeing us from our responsibility to be helpful to those who need our help—no matter who they are or what we think of them.

    Those who can help have to help.

    Those who need help have to be helped.

    No one can be free from the obligation to be helpful.

    No appeal to “religious freedom” can remove us from the requirement of a cup of cold water to those who are thirsty,

    From the burden of coming “not to be served, but to serve” regardless of how inconvenient or distasteful that might be.

    Or from the call to “love one another,” to “love your neighbor as yourself,” to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

    What kind of religion is it that frees us from the fundamental concern for the well-being of other human beings?


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