Thursday, July 28, 2016

An Open Letter to Veterans, Active Military and Law Enforcement: What Do You Believe?

I first want to thank you for your patriotism, heroism and your brave service to America. You do what few others won't, which is to put your own lives on the line to protect ours. You place yourselves at grave risk every single day abroad, nationally and locally. For that we are forever grateful and in your debt.

It's no great secret that many of you, if not a majority, are Republicans. And as Republicans, I must ask you, how can you support Donald Trump?  How can you support someone who has such utter disdain for the principles on which our nation was founded, and who has no respect for those courageous individuals like you who's job it is to uphold the law and defend our Constitution and homeland?

When Trump incessantly bellows that we must "make America great again," what he's actually saying is that she is not great now. Is that what you believe? Do you believe that America is not the greatest nation on the planet right now?

When Trump says that we are "losing the war against terror," is that what you believe? Do you believe that the Taliban, al Qaeda, ISIS and other vicious enemies are beating you? That you are losers?

When Trump says that America's military is a "disaster," is that what you believe? Do you believe that our armed forces are in a state of chaos?

When Trump says that crime in America is "out of control and rapidly getting worse," is that what you believe? Do you believe there's lawlessness in our cities and local communities?

Because if you believe all of this gloom and doom you're admitting colossal personal failure. You're letting Trump accuse you of not doing your jobs. With each and every one of these statements he's disrespecting you and everything you stand for and risk your lives for.

When Trump mocks decorated veterans like Sen. John McCain because he was "captured" and is therefore not a "real" war hero, is that what you believe? Do you believe that our soldiers who are captured, tortured and imprisoned for years are not heroes?

How do you feel when you hear Trump threaten not to support our NATO allies (who, for example, valiantly and loyally stood with us post-911), acting instead like some two-bit mobster holding out for protection money? Do you believe we should waiver in our support of our allies and hold an economic gun to their heads?

How do you feel when Trump talks of murdering the families of terrorists, and of torturing prisoners despite clear violations of the Geneva Conventions? Do you believe this is the sort of American exceptionalism you're fighting for? That these actions will make America great again?

How do you feel when Trump arrogantly boasts that he gets his military advice and foreign policy experience from watching tv shows and through hosting the Miss Universe pageant? Do you believe these are qualifications for Leader of the Free World?

How do you feel when you hear Trump compliment brutal dictators like Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un and Saddam Hussein? How do you feel when he unconscionably invites Russia to hack into our State Department because he "hopes" they "find" the missing Clinton emails, a request so bizarre and not just ethically irresponsible and reprehensible but, more so, a grave threat to our national security. Treasonous, in fact, as many believe. How about when he back-peddled the next day and said he was joking and being "sarcastic:" do you think it's funny to suggest that one of our biggest enemies commit espionage against our government and its citizens for Trump's personal political gain?

Trump's claims of catastrophe can only be translated to one thing: If America's not great, if America is a disaster, if crime is out of control, if terrorists are winning, then our military, homeland security, FBI, CIA, police and prosecutors are doing a horrible job.  I don't think that's what you believe, do you? Then I ask again, how could you vote for someone who so disrespects the job you do and is calling you a failure? Think about it. It simply doesn't make any sense.

Trump is counting on your support to usher him into the Oval Office. But do you really believe his behavior is worthy of being president of the greatest nation on Earth and commander-in-chief of the world's greatest military?

When you go into that voting booth on November 8th please remember Trump's dark, dystopian, doomsday view of America, and his obvious opinion that your dreadful performance is responsible for it. Also remember that when Trump had a chance to serve side by side with you in Vietnam, he chose instead to hide behind the cashmere coattails of his wealthy daddy, who secured four deferments and an exemption for him through the kind of "personal rewards" afforded the "rich, powerful and well-connected." The kind of elitism which Trump blasted Democrats for on Wednesday.

You are dutifully suiting up and proudly and bravely serving. You're fighting and bleeding on the battlefields of war and on the streets of our cities and small towns. You are heroes and you are selfless. You deserve better than someone who deems America and you, it's protectors, a failure.

We all deserve better than Donald Trump.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Dear Bernie-or-Bust'ers

Dear Bernie-or-Busters...

Judging from the first day of the Democratic convention, it seems that there is still a lot of anger, resentment, frustration and obvious disunity. The boos at the mere mention of Hillary Clinton's name were loud and forceful. And at this point in time, they were quite surprising and unsettling. Whether they are deserved or not is another question.

Look, we get it. You're pissed off. Your guy lost, you think the system was rigged (the DNC email scandal certainly stokes those flames) and you hate Clinton's choice of Tim Kaine for vp. But what we don't get is your continued inability to see the stark differences between Clinton and Donald Trump. The liberal/progressive vs. fascist contrast between them, and more so, how your overall interests are clearly best served by Hillary....while Trump stands for everything you don't.

Not even after last week's substance-bankrupt dystopian shit-show called the Republican convention have you been able to see the bigger picture. Not even after several rousing speeches by Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Michelle Obama and Bernie Sanders at the opening night of the Democratic convention drew you a picture of these differences, and the gravity of the situation. Not after they all implored you to lay down the gloves and join the freedom vs. tyranny fight against Trump.

You're still pissed, and you seem hellbent on being pissed. Almost as if you're enjoying the rebellious, contrarian ride. Do you really want to throw this country's future away by handing the election over to an ignorant, sexist, misogynistic, xenophobic, racist dictator-in-training? Do you really want Trump as the role model for your children? Can you ever see his mug etched on Mt. Rushmore? Seriously, people, are we really having this conversation at this critical juncture?

Your inspirational leader, Sanders, is practically begging you to move past your emotions and your disappointment to help him ensure that Trump is never elected president. If he is able to move on past the acrimony and disappointment of his campaign against Hillary, and put his heart and soul behind her, why can't you? What makes you more knowledgeable about Bernie, more committed to his message, and his view of America than the revolutionary-in-chief himself?

With all due respect, you're beginning to sound like a bunch of petulant children who kick and scream whenever they don't get everything they want. You're the equivalent of the sandlot brat who whines "it's my ball" and quits the game because he doesn't like the way it's being played or because he's not winning. This is not behavior of revolutionaries. A revolution doesn't happen overnight, which is why Sanders is pleading with you to continue the fight with him well beyond the convention and the election. Real revolutionaries fight to the death and put the cause before themselves. You're not doing that. You're making this all about you.

If you fail to show up for Hillary in November, and Trump wins, then your revolution will prove to be nothing more than a faddish exercise in futility by privileged white millennials who shamefully cut off their noses to spite their faces...while destroying everything that Sanders worked to achieve for you. Because President Trump will toss it all in the trash. The gains made on minimum wage, income inequality, free college, Wall Street/big banks, criminal injustice, the death penalty, Citizen's United, climate change, super delegates and more will have been in vain. They'll end up like sad bullet casings on the failed battleground of your ill-fought, prematurely ended revolution.

The Rolling Stones wrote "You Can't Always get What You Want." And they also suggested, "But if you try sometime, you might find, you get what you need." With Hillary, you may not get everything you want, but you'll definitely get most of what you need. With Trump you'll get a big fat sweaty middle-finger shoved in your face.

The comedian Sarah Silverman, who fought long and hard for Bernie this past year, astutely opined Monday night on the convention floor that your behavior is "ridiculous." Which, given everything that's at stake, it most definitely is. How about proving her wrong. I bet she'd love that...

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Speech Bernie Sanders Must Deliver Tonight

Dear Bernie...
We recognize and appreciate that there's a lot of baggage you're carrying around on the heels of your loss to Hillary Clinton. And we can also appreciate that the current DNC email scandal has likely poured salt on a very open wound. Which is why your support of Clinton, in an effort to help unify the Democratic Party, is extremely admirable. 

You will be delivering an incredibly important, historic speech tonight at the Democratic Convention. Judging from the boos you received at an address to delegates in Philly Monday morning, you'll have your work cut out for you. As such, you have one very critical task tonight: to deliver unequivocally a very clear message to your supporters, the essence of which is the following:

"Our voices have been heard, we have achieved so much to change a broken system, and we are so close to the finish line. But our revolution will end up a colossal waste of time, energy, money and opportunity if you do not support Hillary Clinton for president. All the major concessions we fought long and hard for...all the changes to the Democratic Party's platform...will have been for nothing. If Donald Trump is elected, everything we stood for for the past 15 months will be lost. Which is why you must, I repeat you must, put aside emotions and vote for Hillary.

If you truly believe in me and my message, then you must stand with me as I stand with Hillary. Because a Donald Trump presidency not only will result in a 100% undoing of the goals we achieved together in our campaign, it will set America back 200 years. The progress we've made will be gone, and the great progress still to come will never materialize.

A Trump presidency poses a tremendous danger to America, it's guiding principles and life as we know it. At home, civil liberties, workers' rights, criminal justice, income equality and the environment will be threatened beyond anything we've ever experienced. Our safety and security will also be at grave risk because Trump will destroy our critical alliances abroad. His incendiary rhetoric and race-baiting behavior will isolate us from the rest of the world and will further serve as a recruitment tool for terrorists.

We need to stand together, united, and ensure that Donald Trump never gets anywhere near the Oval Office...unless its at the invitation of President Hillary Clinton! It's time to harness our anger and frustration and direct it to Donald Trump. Its time to mend fences and heal for the greater good of our great nation. It's time to join together and not throw away everything we accomplished.

Do not view your vote as merely a vote for Hillary Clinton, but more so as a vote for what you and I fought so hard to achieve these past 15 months. If you quit on us now we lose everything we've gained. There's simply too much at stake on November 8th.

Don't quit! Keep fighting! Please continue our political revolution with me as I stand with Hillary to make sure that Donald Trump will never be president!

Please join me....Hillary! Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!....." (Here's where you need to get the crowd chanting...enthusiastically...passionately...)