It’s finally time for big, structural change

three_richest_people-graphic
image via commondreams.org

Dear Readers, usually I am careful on this blog to avoid sounding strident or provocative to the point where some of you won’t bother to read it. But today I feel that I must speak out about the absolute urgency of our common crisis moment here in America.

The Covid-19 pandemic has devastated the American economy during the past six weeks. Congress has passed several unprecedented economic recovery bills, which they touted as helping everyday Americans and especially small businesses to get through the emergency intact. Yet, it is coming out into the public that a large percentage of the billions of dollars designed to help small businesses and their employees, is instead (once again) lining the pockets of corporations and billionaires who are siphoning off the money from the ones who cannot survive without it. Read the Forbes magazine article  here.

“We’re not going to be able to check all the loans before they go out the door because there’s over 26,000 of these loans, but before we forgive these loans, we’ll check every single one over $2 million,” Mnuchin pledged on Tuesday. “I encourage everybody to look at this and pay back these loans now so we can recycle the money if you made a mistake.”

More than 220 public companies have applied for at least $870 million in small business loans, according to data analytics firm FactSquared.

Under the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, The Paycheck Protection Program was originally allocated $349 billion for emergency small business loans, but that funding was quickly exhausted amid overwhelming demand that has often caused glitches in the system. Despite weeks of controversy around the PPP, another $310 billion was injected into the program thanks to the latest $484 billion coronavirus relief bill passed last week. “–Forbes magazine

Among ALL of the immense lessons Covid-19 has been teaching us, this particular one is definitely in the top 3 for people to pay attention to. We watched as giant corporations consolidated their wealth during the 2008 Great Recession. We saw predatory companies buy up smaller ones, including many banks. During the past 12 years, wealth consolidation by the wealthiest corporations and CEOs has gone from terrible to inconceivable. It is inconceivable that literally a handful of humans’ net worth is more than well over half of the population of the United States combined. Let that sink in for a moment.

Top wealthy people US-Forbes-2019

Top wealthy people 2-US-Forbes-2019
www.forbes.com/forbes-400

Further reading:  https://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/04/27/no-were-not-all-together-how-super-rich-are-cheating-america

Watching the news spectacle coming from Washington DC each day during the pandemic, many of us feel by turns angry, frustrated, sad, devastated, or perhaps even resigned to the ineptness and absurdity we are hearing from the POTUS and his administration. One author from Ireland commented about it this way (from Commondreams.org) :

The gifted Fintan O’Toole offers a fresh, brilliant, devastating perspective on a time when the sense of America as a great country “has all but evaporated.” Now the epicenter of a pandemic, he describes a nation “locked down with a malignant narcissist who, instead of protecting his people from Covid-19, has amplified its lethality. This is not mere ignorance – it is deliberate and homicidal stupidity,” he writes. “It is one thing to be powerless in the face of a natural disaster, quite another to watch vast power being squandered in real time – willfully, malevolently, vindictively, often in the recurring horror show of briefings in which all the neuroses that haunt the American subconscious dance naked on live TV.” 

The question most of us wonder is, Where do we go from here? When will the citizens finally awaken out of the nightmare of what life in America has become for the majority of us? Isn’t it way beyond time to open our eyes and squarely face the obscenity of unbridled greed and power-mongering being flaunted right before our faces? And then say:  NO MORE. EVER AGAIN. The hundreds of millions of people who continue to suffer due to monstrous inequity by the power elite deserve better. The Covid-19 pandemic is showing us our collective neuroses like never before.  May we each have the deep courage and strength to finally, creatively, and loudly point it out, protest, petition our members of congress, and most importantly, to vote for real, structural change to the status quo. The criminals must be permanently stopped, and the time is NOW.

The light of love within us

 

Be_the-Light
image via KatieDaisy

 

“We need to resonate with another collective field within us, one that is much deeper than fear – a field that is still hidden at the moment. It’s the collective field of trust, the matrix of life, which Dieter Duhm refers to as the “sacred matrix.” For, despite all the suffering, all the horrors of the past and all the threats, life is still oriented towards joy, curiosity and survival. There is a core within us that knows this. This core is called trust.”  –Leila Dregger, The Esperanza Project

Today I tidied up my gmail inbox. Mail from many of the organizations that I am subscribed to showed me how suddenly life on Earth has changed. In the space of a couple months (and in America just about 4 hyper-real weeks), we’ve gone from looking at the distant storm clouds with some worry, to standing, sitting or lying directly under the mother of all storms. We are collectively watching (and for those who are ill, directly experiencing) the tempest as it rains down upon us. Apocalyptic and prophetic in proportions, the coronavirus and its fallout is affecting everyone on Earth, and we will be forever changed as a result of this time.

By now, many authors have written about this crisis from a myriad of perspectives. Depending on one’s ideological, moral, religious and political perspectives, this pandemic can be seen as the end of the world, or a great personal tragedy of health, wealth and all things good and pleasant. For others, it is being hailed as the Great Wake-Up Call for humanity; The Moment we’ve been waiting for as humanity pushes the reset button on the way we’ve been living and methodically destroying our planet. Looked at from this prism lens takes the ability to step way back from your own, personal life view, and instead see the big picture of Earth and humanity’s evolution as a species. I’d like to suggest that this largest perspective, although difficult to wrap one’s head around, is the most beneficial view to take as we move forward.

Yet, I humbly acknowledge it is easier said than done. Getting above the fear, anxiety and even hysteria of this current moment of our evolution is a Herculean task. I am personally beset with doubts and fears, as well as moments of despair as I hear the relentless newstream of mortality rates and untold suffering. The bottom line seems to be: there is literally no way out of this, except to walk nobly through every moment of human suffering that we are collectively experiencing with our heads held high; our faith in ourselves and in our divinity as strong as it has ever been.

Dear Readers, I imagine each of you are going through your own version of questioning, worrying, anxiety, fear and pain during this extreme period of coronavirus. I thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts and feelings about it. I’d like to remind you again that for this we were born—it is for the express purpose of raising up the collective consciousness of humanity that we have come to Earth in this age. Many souls are now leaving the planet, and many more are coming to reinforce and bring the new age of Gaia into manifestation. It is not incorrect to embrace this moment as a Great Purge of old energy, an enormous clearing of darkness, power and control programs that have resided within humanity for countless eons of time. The excellent news is that we are finally at the tipping point, the moment when we collectively decide Enough! We are done with grossly unfair living conditions for the vast majority of society across the planet. We will no longer stand for a tiny percentage of humans hoarding nearly all the wealth and power of Earth’s treasures for their own selfish ends. We, The People of Earth/Gaia, are declaring, throughout all lands, that this crisis moment when many are sickened and some are dying, is heralding in The Time of Enlightenment for eons to come. From this horrific place of pain and suffering, we actually have the amazing opportunity to change our entire planet’s operating system in earnest. The lessons inherent in the pandemic are here for all to plainly embrace. People must be cared for by society as a whole. We can no longer look away and pretend things are okay when they are so clearly broken. We are broken at the bottom, and from this place of brokenness we can build a human society that actually works for everyone. We have all the tools and ingenuity we need to do it. Up until now, we have sorely lacked the political will. But the coronavirus, which is nothing more than a packet of RNA wrapped up in a film of fat so small it is invisible to the human eye, is crowning us with a vast opportunity for a new operating system for us all.

Don’t let cynicism and denial prevent you from dreaming into this vision. In these weeks and months, people everywhere are awakening and seeing (perhaps for the first time in their lives) that this dream for an equitable, clean, and healthy world is not only possible, but that we can and must make it become real. Look how quickly everything changed in the world during the past two months!  WE DON’T HAVE TO RETURN TO BUSINESS-AS-USUAL EVER AGAIN. This pandemic is showing us there is a more beautiful world within our reach. A world based on the principles of love, compassion and fairness. Let us not lose the momentum for real, lasting change.  I leave you with a prayer I heard today,

Fear is not real. I rest in the light of Divine Love,

and that is the only Truth I embrace.

May the Light of Love rise up within My Heart,

and the Hearts of All Humanity.

 

The Only One to Show Moral Courage

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The show continues, dear Readers. Those of you who follow politics know that this week brought a fiasco in Iowa with the first caucus to determine the Democratic presidential candidate. And today, as everyone already surmised, the Republican-majority senate acquitted the US president of the impeachment charges against him. The only moment of reckoning was when Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican from Utah, stood and gave a heartfelt speech explaining his reasons for voting with the Democrats, saying “the verdict is ours to render under our Constitution. The people will judge us for how well and faithfully we fulfill our duty. The grave question the Constitution tasked senators to answer is whether the president committed an act so extreme and egregious that it rises to the level of a high crime and misdemeanor. Yes, he did.” Senator Romney continued to explain his rationale for voting to remove the president, the leader of his own political party, thus:

“The president’s purpose was personal and political. Accordingly, the president is guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust.

What he did was not perfect. No, it was a flagrant assault on our electoral rights, our national security and our fundamental values. Corrupting an election to keep oneself in office is perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one’s oath of office that I can imagine.

Were I to ignore the evidence that has been presented and disregard what I believe my oath and the Constitution demands of me for the sake of a partisan end, it would, I fear, expose my character to history’s rebuke and the censure of my own conscience.  (video here) 

I’m aware that there are people in my party and in my state who will strenuously disapprove of my decision, and in some quarters I will be vehemently denounced. I’m sure to hear abuse from the president and his supporters. Does anyone seriously believe that I would consent to these consequences other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it of me? (NYTimes, Feb 5, 2020)

Senator Romney made it clear in his speech that the main reason he voted against his party to remove President Trump stems from his deeply held belief in God and his moral duty to act in a way coherent with that divinity. He is well known as a Christian of the Mormon faith. Unlike many of his senate colleagues, however, Romney’s faith gave him the moral imperative and courage to LIVE his beliefs through his vote. In the Christian Bible, Jesus the Christ is famously quoted as saying, “By their acts will you know them.” To his credit, Senator Romney took those words seriously. He began his speech by stating,

“As a senator-juror, I swore an oath before God to exercise impartial justice. I am profoundly religious. My faith is at the heart of who I am. I take an oath before God as enormously consequential. I knew from the outset that being tasked with judging the president, the leader of my own party, would be the most difficult decision I have ever faced. I was not wrong.

Romney ended his speech with these words,

“My vote will likely be in the minority in the Senate, but irrespective of these things, with my vote, I will tell my children and their children that I did my duty to the best of my ability believing that my country expected it of me.

I will only be one name among many, no more, no less, to future generations of Americans who look at the record of this trial. They will note merely that I was among the senators who determined that what the president did was wrong, grievously wrong. We are all footnotes at best in the annals of history, but in the most powerful nation on Earth, the nation conceived in liberty and justice, that distinction is enough for any citizen.” (find the transcript of his speech here https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/05/us/politics/mitt-romney-impeachment-speech-transcript.html

What strikes me the most about Mitt Romney’s speech, followed by his act of voting Trump guilty of article 1, Abuse of Power, is the fact that he is the lone Republican senator to display true moral courage, as Senator Adam Schiff spoke so eloquently of during his argument for convicting and removing President Trump last week.  Schiff implored every senator in the chamber to put their party aside and find their moral courage, which is more difficult to garner than courage in battle. Yet, when it came down to the impeachment vote, only Romney was able to dig deeply enough into his soul to discover that moral courage and then to act upon it. In his interview with the New York Times before the vote, he admitted he would “pay an enormous price” for choosing to vote the way he did and go against his political party.  Indeed, nearly the moment he uttered the word “guilty” people in Trump’s sphere began to vilify him and shout for his removal from the Republican party.

Yet, as many readers of today’s NYTimes commented, it is Mitt Romney who will be remembered in history as the majority senator who courageously stood up to Trump’s bitter bullying, humiliation and pressure to stand with party over country. In these extreme times of shredded democracy, surreal MAGA concert-like performances by the current presidential administration, and a type of civil war not seen since the American Civil War of the mid-19th century, it can be easy to forget just how many thoughtful, intelligent and compassionate people actually live in America. Yes, there are many who are blind, in denial, ignorant and just plain stupid, BUT there are also millions of us who deeply care about the ideals of democracy, liberty and freedom that the framers of the US Constitution intended. As Senator Schiff hammered home repeatedly during the trial, the implications of today’s acquittal will reverberate for decades to come. A blatant defiance of the system of checks and balance of power between the presidency, the Senate and the House is sure to deeply and negatively impact that balance, along with stacking the judiciary with far right-wing judges for many years to come.

Thomas Jefferson once stated, “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves ; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.” Tonight, at the end of this grueling and arduous impeachment inquiry and trial, I wholeheartedly agree that Americans who paid close attention received a large education in the past few months as to how our system of government and trial works, and how deeply flawed it has become. We learned firsthand about what obstruction of justice is, what abuse of power is, what partisanship is and why exactly it is so harmful to a democratic system. And, we all got to see and hear from those whom We, The People, elected as they “did their jobs.” Now, dear Readers who have the great privilege of being able to vote in the 2020 primary and election this coming November, it is up to you.

Please take the time to read this excellent editorial by the NY Times editorial board concerning the impeachment vote and general malaise within the Democratic party at the moment. Here is the link: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/05/opinion/impeachment-vote-trump-acquitted.html

References:

https://everydaypower.com/thomas-jefferson-quotes/

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/05/us/politics/trump-acquitted-impeachment.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/05/us/politics/mitt-romney-impeachment-speech-transcript.html