When They Go Low, So Do We: The Final Presidential Debate

Campaign 2016 Debate, Las Vegas, USA - 19 Oct 2016

I came to this final presidential debate not looking for more proof that Trump was despicable. I came looking for more reasons to feel some measure of hope about voting for Hillary. And at the beginning of the debate, I got some of that. But it didn’t last long.

You see, this is where it all falls apart for me. It’s clear to most any liberal person that Trump is a liar, an egomaniac, a fascist-dictator wannabe, a misogynist, a racist, shockingly uninformed, and a serious threat. That’s what was obvious, has been, and continues to be. So for me it’s easy to post repeatedly about the horror-show that continues to be Donald Trump.

What seems more difficult and what I wish we would also see, are those same people posting about how Hillary wouldn’t answer the direct question placed to her about the contents of the Wikileaks emails. She turned the conversation, once again and without missing a breath, to the Russians. Forget for a moment that the new Cold War rhetoric being expressed recently is disturbing in its own right and needs to be watched closely. The truth of the matter is that these are two separate conversations. The question was about the content of the emails, not their origin. If you’re willing to overlook the content and her direct refusal to address it, that’s a problem for me. No one gets a free pass because Trump is despicable. And no one – and that includes Hillary’s most devoted supporters – should be okay with it.  Continue reading “When They Go Low, So Do We: The Final Presidential Debate”

When They Go Low, So Do We: The Final Presidential Debate

How Clinton’s most avid supporters can help get her elected now & prevent a 2020 election shit-show recap

blind_chanceThere’s an amazing film by the brilliant Polish director Krzysztof Kieślowski called BLIND CHANCE. BLIND CHANCE was the film that inspired the lesser-but-still-interesting film, SLIDING DOORS. The difference between the two was that Kieślowski’s cinematic meditation focused on political ideals and personal happiness and how they might change based on different sets of experiences. BLIND CHANCE explored several different possibilities of one man’s life when chance alterations are introduced, the different paths and belief systems that unfold and are adopted, ways of seeing and interpreting the world, that can be contained in the same person based not just on choice, but on chance.

There but for the grace of god, some might say.

For me, a threat to both our country and our world even greater than Donald Trump is that of intolerance and limited perspective in any form. From wherever it derives and however it manifests. Bigotry, rage, fear, shaming, demonizing, condescension, devaluing, blaming. These are greater threats for me because I believe they are the very things that serve to create and legitimize men who think and act like Donald Trump and the people who respond positively to him. I would add to that horrible picture a political system that favors and rewards corporations over people and places financial success and gain over humanitarian causes and concerns. Trump is not an aberration. He is a culmination.

I, like many liberals, want to see Hillary Clinton win this election so that Donald Trump doesn’t become our next president. Unlike some, I do not share many of Clinton’s voting choices or her approach to governing. I cannot see into her heart, but I am able to give her the benefit of the doubt that she does come from a good place and a desire to make life better for most people. It’s not her motivation that concerns me most. It’s that I believe she is mired in a style of politicking – the one she and her husband helped solidify into the Democratic Party – that favors a particular relationship with corporations, conglomerates and banks, the big-moneyed powers in our country. This is matched by an equal and active cynicism of the kind of Progressive approaches that I deeply believe are not only possible, but crucial to changing not just the course, but the mindset of this country. Continue reading “How Clinton’s most avid supporters can help get her elected now & prevent a 2020 election shit-show recap”

How Clinton’s most avid supporters can help get her elected now & prevent a 2020 election shit-show recap

Twisting Political Beliefs Into Rage & Intolerance


I recently had to unfriend someone on Facebook. Someone I’ve been close to for over 20 years. Someone I know to be a terrific, smart, creative, generous and kind person. But since the election started, she has moved to a place that can only be described as outwardly and openly hateful toward anyone who does not agree with her politically. It’s one thing to be critical, to disagree, to be passionate about one’s beliefs. Lord knows I am. Daily. It’s a very different thing to display hatred and intolerance and to create the “other.” Unfortunately, this is also a political strategy used by candidates to “rally support” against a “common enemy.” We certainly see Trump using it every day.

Unfortunately, in my opinion, it’s also a tactic Hillary Clinton has given into on more than one occasion. Whether it’s old comments like “Super-predators” or more recently “Deplorables,” or the flames she stoked (if not outright helped create) of the “Bernie Bros” narrative of violent, misogynistic men. And yes, my friend is someone who latched onto that particular narrative and is still running with it with a violent insistence that those who don’t see Hillary as “progressive” or consider her “hawkish” on foreign policy, are vile, moronic, and deluded, if not outright woman-haters. It’s not fun to be on the receiving end of that level of intolerance and unbridled hostility. I’m all for heated political arguments, discussions, disagreements and opinions, but this is something that overflows into another area altogether. It feels, to me, far too close to the kind of bigoted hate and intolerance displayed by many Trump supporters. It’s not rational, it’s not logical, it is deeply emotional. And incredibly damaging to other human beings in myriad ways. But it also does not define all they are.

This person, I am certain, still also holds all those qualities that I loved about her and kept us friends for so many years. Anyone who reads my posts knows that I am very vocal and passionate about my political views. And I have had many discussions on Facebook and elsewhere with like-minded individuals, fellow liberal friends with whom I have disagreements, and even Republican and Conservative friends who see things very, very differently from myself. But the conversations I’ve had with them, even at their most heated, were civil and respectful.  Continue reading “Twisting Political Beliefs Into Rage & Intolerance”

Twisting Political Beliefs Into Rage & Intolerance

If Hillary loses, her most-avid supporters are already preparing to blame Millennials

While it’s true that Millenials not voting for Hillary will negatively impact her chances, as well as independent voters, it is crucial to recognize that this is a prime example of why many worry about Hillary’s ability to “read the room,” as it were, and make the best choices.


In my opinion, Hillary is in danger of losing to Trump whose supporters are so excited and stoked that 95% of them are polled as “absolutely voting.” Hillary doesn’t come close to those numbers. Why is that? It’s pretty simple, really. Trump recognized the immense level of discontent, disenfranchisement, establishment distrust, and need for change that was out there and strategically tapped into it and chose to unequivocally represent those impassioned people, as misguided and dangerous as that was given the direction he chose to rally them.


Bernie Sanders invigorated and rallied a similar base, only this one made up of liberals fighting for liberal and progressive change – with an equally unstoppable level of excitement and need. Only Bernie used a message of inclusiveness and equality instead of instigating hate and bigotry, as Trump did.


Hillary got Bernie to endorse her. Sure, there were always going to be those who would simply never vote for Hillary. But that was always a small percentage. That rallied and excited base – with their chosen candidate now out of the race and endorsing Hillary and asking his constituents to vote for her – were all but ignored and left behind by Hillary the moment Bernie stepped out of the race.

Continue reading “If Hillary loses, her most-avid supporters are already preparing to blame Millennials”

If Hillary loses, her most-avid supporters are already preparing to blame Millennials

Revisiting Grateful Dead at SPAC ’83. Again.

I just finished listening, again, to one of my favorite Grateful Dead shows from the many I attended. Saratoga Performing Arts Center, June 18, 1983. I’m going through the vast 30 Trips Around The Sun box set which showcases a single concert from each year of Grateful Dead (30). I’ve been adding shows to each year as I move through chronologically, The Dead at SPAC is not in the box set and there are no soundboard recordings in existence that I know of (if there is, point me to it!). But there are some quality audience recordings.


 This was a show that had everything for me. I was with dear, dear friends, the entire scene was so celebratory, magical, perfect. We spent the entire day, the entire night, and a chunk of the next morning (as you will see in the photos below) immersed in Grateful Dead heaven.


 One of the things that made the Grateful Dead so unique was how different one show could be from the next. Not just the setlist, but the energy, the approach. Some nights were tight, elegant, with nary an off note. Just exquisite playing. Other nights, like this one, would be filled with mistakes and struggles, but tap into an uncontrollable storm of savage beauty that the band rode like a tidal wave.


Continue reading “Revisiting Grateful Dead at SPAC ’83. Again.”

Revisiting Grateful Dead at SPAC ’83. Again.

Hillary Clinton Is Not A Monster – And Why That Does Not Diminish The Challenges We Must Confront When She Is President


The questioning of Hillary Clinton and her political and financial ties via the Clinton Foundation and other sources is nothing new. This conversation and its concerns have been happening for some time (see Hillary Helps a Bank—and Then It Funnels Millions to the Clintons and The Problem With Hillary Clinton Isn’t Just Her Corporate Cash. It’s Her Corporate Worldview, both from 2015), It is not a plot to discredit Hillary. Nor is it a strategy to give Trump more votes. Or Jill Stein, or any other candidate. It is about questioning a political worldview that deserves scrutiny, attention and challenge. It is not about painting anyone as evil or a monster. I, personally, don’t believe in such things. What it is about is addressing our decisions as human beings trying to do right by ourselves and others and looking closely at the choices we make and the repercussions and effects of those choices.

I understand that many people are concerned about criticisms of Hillary. I don’t point them out because I want to see people not vote for her. I keep the conversation alive because I believe Hillary will be the next president of the United States and – though we’ll be spared a Trump presidency which is no small achievement – we will nonetheless have a president whose approach to politics is via a corporate worldview that became popular in the Reagan era and, via Bill Clinton, also became part of the Democratic political landscape.

I believe deeply that it is an immensely unstable and detrimental approach that desperately needs to change if we are to avoid the wars and military actions already in the making that I believe Hillary Clinton will likely lead us into. If we are to build a thriving middle class, offer Americans a genuine profit-free health care option, and – maybe most importantly and dire – tackle Climate Change in the precariously short window we have left.

Continue reading “Hillary Clinton Is Not A Monster – And Why That Does Not Diminish The Challenges We Must Confront When She Is President”

Hillary Clinton Is Not A Monster – And Why That Does Not Diminish The Challenges We Must Confront When She Is President

Idealism, Responsibility & Compunction: The Art of Constructing Our Political Narratives


I understand the thought process behind a piece like Clay Shirky’s “There’s No Such Thing As A Protest Vote”. I’d like to offer a different perspective. I chose to focus on Shirky’s piece because I believe it accurately reflects a particular perspective that is out there and the article itself is currently being shared extensively on social media and elsewhere as a school of thought some people are connecting with.

I think Shirky’s viewpoint runs the danger of functioning as a narrative for those who want to feel irreproachable in their voting decision by making any other voting choices or perspectives ineffective, irresponsible, and/or a sign of weakness. Shirky’s insistence that “Presidential voting is an exercise in distinguishing the lesser of two evils. Making that choice is all that’s asked of us, and all that’s on offer” can be seen as one example of a school of thought that indirectly (or even directly) stifles political change. It most certainly can be argued that it stifles progress.

Shirky sees only three options in voting this election (or any other):

A. I prefer Donald Trump be President, rather than Hillary Clinton.

B. I prefer Hillary Clinton be President, rather than Donald Trump.

C. Whatever everybody else decides is OK with me.

Continue reading “Idealism, Responsibility & Compunction: The Art of Constructing Our Political Narratives”

Idealism, Responsibility & Compunction: The Art of Constructing Our Political Narratives