Tag Archives: Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s Way Back Foreign Policy Machine

wayback machine

It is dangerous to listen to someone like Donald Trump whose nostalgia date (his way-back machine) is set to the 60’s and 70’s. No problem if you’re just telling stories to your grandchildren but a “huge” problem if you are the President of the United States. Donald’s idea of winning – he said in this foreign policy speech – is our victory in WWII and he also gives America credit for winning the Cold War. Donald is another worshipper of the only “perfect” American President, Ronald Reagan. He likes an America that is pugilistic and muscular.

Trump believes we haven’t won a war since World War Two or the Cold War because we have been weak. He, perhaps, would have liked Ronald Reagan to be made President for Life. Alzheimer’s, sadly, would have put the kibosh on that. However, except for Saint Ronald (who if you studied real history was way less than perfect) no one else has measured up. According to Trump the weakest leader of all has been President Obama (who is never given the honorific) and Hillary Clinton will be just as bad.

But what Donald Trump, stuck in the old days, cannot see is that the very philosophy concerning the ways we participate in the world has evolved.
We have learned not to go to war lightly – well no we haven’t but we, at least, are not turning every skirmish into a world war, or every power hungry man into an existential threat (OK, we’re not perfect at that either but we’re trying). We have learned that nation building in far-flung corners of the globe is expensive and not often appreciated or even successful, which doesn’t mean we will actually refrain. We surely have had plenty of examples of the totally unforeseen consequences of regime change, although from time to time we still can’t seem to resist.  We especially can’t help injecting ourselves into the chaos in the nations of our nearest neighbors, often with horrifying results.

trump foreign policy3

Donald wants to bring this all back along with torture and secrecy and threats (even nukes). So while evidence suggests that tactics that we and others have used in the past will not actually make America great again, that the only thing resorting to these old military chestnuts can do is enhance our reputation as “ugly Americans”, Donald Trump, still stuck in that post-World War II glow, seems unaware of such evidence.

Trump blames Obama and Clinton for “the confusion, chaos, and disarray” in the world but many of us believe that the Bush administration opened the Pandora’s Box that has turned into the seething, painfully transitioning Middle East we see and deal with today. Whether the region tried to shake off their authoritarian leaders, or whether the Iraq war had a domino effect, or whether Americas had our hands in their fall from power, it is clear that the Middle East does not have a tradition of democratic rule and that is not the setting it reboots to. Perhaps we need to flood the area with reasons to join the developed world that make sense in relation to Muslim beliefs.

However, I contend, that we are actually at the point where war and the environment meet, because if we cannot work across nations, and stay somewhat peaceful and stable as the inhabitants of this planet we may be doomed. If we can’t work efficiently as caretakers and help create a sustainable lifestyle for the exploding population, then confusion, chaos and disarray will be the order of the day, every day. Old imperialistic and militaristic strategies may have once made America feel large and in charge, but these outdated attitudes towards our global neighbors, however un-neighborly, are not what we need now.

We could go with America First and decide, as we see our planet become a less hospitable place to live, to build those walls and annihilate our enemies (or be annihilated, because people will fight back). That’s one way to be sustainable, wipe out anyone who won’t accept our leadership. But where is the challenge in that. It is far more interesting to try to design global strategies that will give everyone a livable spot in a world exhibiting rapid climate change. It is far more intelligent to keep striving to colonize other planets than to turn this one into a radioactive nuclear wasteland.

a ruined planet2

Earth probably doesn’t care if we take care of it; it will live on without us. But if we want the Earth to support human life we may need to start cooperating pretty soon now. We can’t just take a boilerplate set of old war policies and rely on them to keep the flaws in human nature from sucking us under. The nations who understand the risks to our planet need to be strong, yes, but also cooperative, creative and nuanced; and we need a global design for where we would like things to go here on Earth – and for that we need peace, not war-mongering. The reason Donald Trump’s foreign policies, and in fact the foreign policy stances of the Republican Party are dangerous is because they will not meet the current and future needs of Americans or anyone else on Earth.

By Nancy Brisson

I Blame Donald Trump


Donald Trump has changed the 2016 primaries in so many ways. He has been like a deus ex machina who popped up in an enormous list of GOP characters with little to differentiate one from the next. He did not fit the mold but he was no more acceptable to me than any other Republican.

I didn’t think I could be shocked after six years of disrupters in Congress making ignorant suggestions to women that would set the culture back 50 years if heeded. I was afraid when the Supreme Court did not uphold the most essential section of the voting rights act, the requirement that certain states get clearance before changing their voting laws, but still I did not foresee how quickly the states would “celebrate” their “freedom” by repressing votes. Watching states break the law in respect to Roe v Wade by imposing bogus rules to close clinic after clinic seemed quite shocking enough, especially when courts backed them up. I had expected the courts to say “whoa Nellie” (because that’s the way these guys talk – remember the one who recommended that women practice birth control by putting an aspirin between their knees and keeping their knees closed around it). The courts did nothing. That’s when I realized how many Conservative judges had been appointed to courts in many of our states.

I could go on but my point is actually that Donald Trump managed to drive my “no they didn’t” reaction up several more notches. His remarks about Mexicans, about the “wall”, about China, deporting undocumented immigrants, Megan Fox, about women in general, about Muslims – well, you were there – you heard it. Then there was his apparent comfort with a physicality that we usually avoid in American politics. We usually use our words. His behavior made the shock waves of the Republican heresies over the past six years pale by comparison.

As we know the other Republican candidates did not seem any happier with Donald’s injection of himself into an already crowded race. He had been a Democrat. Conservatives who had been making a big point about GOP purity tests had to move over and include this famous person who had certainly not been tested for purity. And he was winning, pulling large crowds, taking up all the space on a 24/7 media that usually could be captured only temporarily by a particularly audacious act. Ted Cruz had attempted frequent newsworthy nonsense, but Donald did it practically nonstop.

However, Trump has also served as sort of a buffer between the Democratic primary race and the rest of the Republican slate, getting picked off one by one before our incredulous eyes. We expected to worry about Scott Walker and Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush, but instead every eye and ear was on Donald. For the most part, Hillary and Bernie were left alone to run their own race.

Trump’s presence in the race has also allowed Ted Cruz to take up the second position on the GOP side. He expects an open convention and he expects the coveted Republican nomination to eventually fall to him. I have watched Ted Cruz throughout the Obama administration and he made me very worried right from the first time I set eyes on him. In fact I wrote an article called Ted Cruz: Sinister or Cartoonish about my initial observations. I have predicted to myself that somehow he would “worm” his way into the White House and I have tried to speak out against this whenever possible. He is closer to the White House than he has ever been. He is intelligent, if inflexible, and he is strategic. He believes he is a genius. As geniuses go I can think of several I would prefer over him.

If Donald had not inserted himself into the primary would Cruz have made it this far? I don’t know, of course, no one does. But if I end up with Ted Cruz as my President in 2017, I will blame Donald. Who will I blame if we end up with Donald Trump in the White House? I will blame the Democrats. Hillary, there is a lot resting on your shoulders because if you win the nomination we are counting on you to beat the chosen one of these two guys and Donald has sort of fogged up everyone’s view. Ted Cruz is advancing almost under the radar, a stealth campaign.

By Nancy Brisson

The Primaries Come to the Boonies


This is truly an unusual primary. Usually New York State conducts its primaries quietly in solitary splendor. In general, the Empire State does not play a deciding role in selecting a general election candidate for either party, even though we have a lot of delegates. The New York primary is so late that the early states have already settled the issue.

So it is really quite bizarre to have the candidates I have been writing about traipsing around even the most out-of-the-way places in NY, such as my city (Syracuse), Utica, Rome, Dexter – Dexter!

It started two weeks ago with Hillary. She met her public in a large roofed shed usually used by crafters at the Farmer’s Market on summer weekends. I thought I would have to stand in a long line for hours, and I did stand in a longish line for about half an hour, before I walked through the metal detector and slid my shoulder bag over to the secret service so they could pat it down.

I did see Hillary. She looks nice in orange (SU was in the Final Four) and, when I left, when the concrete floor got too hard to stand on any longer, I still liked her and wanted to vote for her. I took a few pictures. One is of Adam (no last name) who was in line by me for a while. He is in the teacher’s union and had on his AFT tee shirt.



The second person is called Jovan (John to us), an eighty-four year old man who came to America from Macedonia and still has a thick accent. (He worked in Bldg. 7 at GE, my Dad was in Bldg. 5.) His children have done very well, one graduating from an Ivy League school, one a doctor trained at John Hopkins. He wants nothing to do with socialism even if it does have the word Democratic in front of it. Jovan has boundless confidence. He wended his way to the very front of the rally.



My third picture is of Hillary and was taken by the tall man in front of me – the one I had to sway back and forth to see beyond, taken with my camera. We yipped and cheered and raised our arms in the air and even did a slightly disorganized wave. No signs were handed out but I don’t know if the concerns were for security or cost. I bought three Hillary buttons on my way out.



Since then John Kasich came to town, Bernie Sanders has been here, then Ted Cruz, then Donald Trump, then Bill Clinton. I don’t think we have ever, in my lifetime been romanced by so many politicians in any election season. I did not go to any other rallies – I watched them on TV as if they were happening somewhere else. There are only so many concrete floors I will stand on in any two week period. But my spidey sense felt them buzzing around and I wish I could have hovered comfortably overhead, or been the proverbial “fly on the wall”. (I have no idea where all these bugs came from.)

It was interesting to see that Ted Cruz held his Syracuse rally in a northern suburb, Cicero, where a group of locals publish a newspaper called “The Patriot”, full of some well-known right wing conspiracy theories from which I culled the phrase “Luciferian Church of the United Nations”, because Agenda 21 and the UN plan for world domination.

Dexter – Donald Trump went to Dexter – a small rural town west of Watertown, NY on Ontario Lake, a town full of campers, hunters, fishermen, aging hippies, and farmers, and these days, very few factories. Fort Drum is nearby though, so perhaps he attracted a lot of soldiers and their families. That would have to be fact-checked. I’m sure Dexter is still in shock having rarely been singled out by such a famous (infamous) personality. It’s been a helluva* two weeks in the North Country (*also, until recently the name of a local cheese company).

It’s sort of fun feeling like the hot center of America for a while. We can use the excitement. Primary day is Tuesday, April 19th and then the entire circus will move on. Most candidates have left already. I think Donald Trump will be the last one out.

By Nancy Brisson


Will We Duke It Out in the Streets?

Ted Cruz cartoon

When I listen to Ted Cruz lately, sounding like an arbiter of fairness and good grace it is too much for my civility. I watched Ted Cruz in the Senate and all along he has been the ringleader of the disrupters in Congress, stalking back and forth from the Senate to the House, sticking his big nose into Boehner’s business, enforcing “purity” to a Tea Party and Evangelical agenda. He has pandered to angry white middle class Americans for the entirety of Obama’s two terms in office. He has poured hate, criticism, and vituperation on Obama without ceasing. He accuses Obama of doing the things that he, Ted Cruz, is doing and no one seems to call him out on that. He does not represent many Americans but he swears he will represent us all. Clearly he will only represent the Americans he agrees with, those who feel the same way about issues as he does.

You may say that if Ted Cruz is elected that this will be the will of the majority of the American people but you will be wrong. The Republican Party has prepared the way for just such an extreme right winger to win with their gerrymandering, their voter suppression, their Citizen’s United, their packed Supreme Court. Ted Cruz bemoans a Supreme Court packed with liberals; while I bemoan a Supreme Court packed with the current iteration of conservative. We are losing sight of how dangerous Ted Cruz is to America because we are presented with the even more pressing danger of a Donald Trump presidency. Ted Cruz does not, in any way, represent me. I will experience a Ted Cruz presidency as four to eight years of an America that is moving backwards. I will expect to find myself “dangling over the pit of hell” because of some of my liberal opinions along with many other Americans.


As for the divide we saw at the Trump rally at the University of Illinois in Chicago, which was surprisingly nonviolent, Trump did not create this divide. We have watched conservatives widen a split in America that was already there and which was exacerbated by a tough economy and by the losses of the middle class. America is divided. We are split into a white America that fears it is losing its ascendency and a minority America which might be starting to feel ready to rise. I’m not sure why everyone feels that it must be us against them. Aren’t we all Americans? Don’t we all want America to thrive?

Conservative talk has pried away at the split in America, making it wider, driving a wedge of hate and fear into the breach. It is a reflection of the fear and racism felt at the heart of the Republican Party which has been growing increasingly less diverse and whiter. It is a party that is still reflecting the values of the old South, nursing the wounds of the Civil War, the pride of the beaten Confederacy, and the authority of a supposed superiority of the old slave owners. Backward, backward, backward into a swamp of hate and remorse. Mix in righteous religious anger at the audacity of women legalizing forbidden behaviors and undermining male dominance and you have the toxic brew the Republican Party has been encouraging since Obama took office.

When we see all the white people who the Republican Party have turned into “pod” people, mindlessly repeating Republican talking points, the bible according to FOX News, enjoying themselves at a Trump rally where they can exercise their hate and dismay without the pesky interference of other points of view, it either frightens us or delights us depending on where we stand, which side of the divide. But what we really see is that the divide is real, however it was created, no matter how much it was hyped up by Conservatives. Up until Chicago the opposition, the liberals, the young people, the Black Lives Matter movement was carefully kept out of Donald Trump’s rallies. But in Chicago they organized because they had advanced notice. It is an urban area bursting with diversity and not a small Evangelical college. And there it was, staring us in the face, actually rather politely, the chasm yawning all around us between what is apparently two Americas.

If Donald Trump becomes our President and if he encourages conflict, eggs on his supporters as he has in his rallies will America see our differences boil to the surface? Perhaps papering over our animosities, constantly trying to shove them back into the crevasse is just making them stronger. Maybe we are determined to duke out our differences in the streets. I do not really think this will make us feel any better, or bring us any closer, or heal the divide. After people beat each other up there is guilt and regret and depression and wound licking not building alliances that cure and build up our nation.

We are screwed if we pick Donald Trump as our president and we are screwed if we pick Ted Cruz. Both are too mean, too narrow-minded, too authoritarian, too self-absorbed to stitch the two Americas back together into one people dedicated to making Democracy work. Neither of these men will ever be able to encourage an America that truly presents a united front to the world, an America that lives out, as well as flawed humans can, our ideals, as opposed to our fears.

(I found both cartoons in today’s Post Standard.)

By Nancy Brisson

Why We Can’t Elect Donald Trump (or any of the Bully Boys)

Donald Trump 2

Donald J Trump could become the leader of America, but if he is elected and if he does the things he says he will do, America will be a substantially different nation than it has always been. We can kiss our forefathers good-bye, and the high ideals they wished us to strive for as a nation. By the time we build that wall, send all undocumented immigrants back to their countries of origin, build up a huge military presence and bully China, I’m not sure what America will be left with, but I think we will finally understand the word Fascism.

Older Americans shudder at the thought of a Socialist taking over our Democracy but tend to have little or no reaction when someone exhibiting signs of Fascism (Donald Trump) begins to climb in the election polls. Fascism is far more at odds with Democracy than Socialism is but we just don’t have enough understanding of what the term means for it to call forth the intensely negative visceral reaction that it should. I have written warnings about this twice before, but this time I have help from a very famous writer, Umberto Eco.

Writing from Paris, Christopher Dickey begins his article in the Daily Beast with this statement, “Here in Europe, people know a thing or two about fascism.” He is remembering an article he read twenty years ago by the deeply philosophical Italian author Umberto Eco, who died last week.

No, here in Europe, by various names—as Fascism, Nazism, Stalinism—it was the living, vibrant, vicious force that led directly to the most horrific global war in history. More recently, it took root and lingered as an active ideology in Latin America, providing a crude foundation for the repressive revolutions and dirty wars that raged from the ’60s through the ’80s.

Indeed, the fundamentals of fascism are with us today, in the killing fields of ISIS-land, in the madness of North Korea, and also, sadly, in battered democracies from newly militaristic Japan to xenophobic, isolationist parties in Europe. And, yes, in somewhat more subtle forms fascism can be found on the campaign trail in the U.S. of A.

Umberto Eco, in his article (title not given) gives a list of the attributes of a Fascist:

Makes a cult of tradition

Rejects modernism

Takes action for action’s sake  (“thinking is a form of emasculation”)

Distrust of the intellectual world

Disagreement is treason

Racist by definition   (“seeks for consensus by exploiting and exacerbating the natural fear of difference”)

The appeal to a frustrated middle class   (“a class suffering from an economic crisis or feelings of political humiliation, and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups”)

Obsession with a plot

Followers must feel humiliated   (“by the ostentatious wealth and force of their enemies”)

Popular elitism   (“Every citizen belongs to the best people of the world, the members of the party are among the best citizens, every citizen can or ought to become a member of the party.”) (“[T]he leader knows that his force is based upon the weakness of the masses; they are so weak as to need and deserve a ruler”)

Life is permanent warfare  (“pacifism is trafficking with the enemy”)

Official heroism   (“martyrdom”)

Machismo   (“implies both disdain for women and intolerance and condemnation of nonstandard sexual habits, from chastity to homosexuality”)

Selective populism   (“citizens do not act, they are only called on to play the role of the People”)

“Newspeak”   (from 1984, George Orwell)   (“All the Nazi or Fascist schoolbooks made use of an impoverished vocabulary and an elementary syntax, in order to limit the instruments for complex and critical reasoning.”)

Umberto Eco sounds like he is speaking about the Republican Party candidates and members of Congress, and especially of Donald Trump, as we know them right now, but he wrote this 20 years ago.

Here’s the link:


I think that all of the Republican candidates are unelectable and everyone is feeling this even if they will not admit it. I am guessing that people are thinking that Donald Trump is the least dogmatic. He is not toeing the party line. He is his own man. And for some reason people cannot see the dangers in turning over our governance to this man. They want the 50’s back and Donald promises the 50’s. But they will return under his terms. He humiliates anyone who questions his leadership and people back down, even scary people like Ted Cruz. If we give him carte blanche to “make America great again”, it will be his vision of America, not ours and he may have a hard time ever leaving office. He may make himself President-for-life. We cannot control this man. He brooks no disagreement. In the scary GOP line-up of future Presidents perhaps the man who seems most benign is the biggest nightmare of all, but we may not know it until it is too late.

At the end of his article Dickey draws parallels between Europe then and America now.

But where does Eco’s Eternal Fascism fit in American politics? Can it be that many of the figures parading before us in this presidential campaign year appeal to the worst instincts of “the People”? Do they play on atavistic fears and resentments, frustrations and humiliations? Are they marked by their irrationalism and anti-intellectualism, their hatred of things foreign, their desire to be seen as heroes and their gun-toting machismo?

Oh, hell yeah. But I don’t need to point the finger. Umberto Eco is doing it from the grave. As he wrote more than 20 year ago:

“Franklin Roosevelt’s words of November 4, 1938, are worth recalling: ‘If American democracy ceases to move forward as a living force, seeking day and night by peaceful means to better the lot of our citizens, fascism will grow in strength in our land.’

“Freedom and liberation,” Eco wrote, “are an unending task.”

How do we get angry Americans who think any of these guys are the answer to “setting America on the right path” to understand that they will do just the opposite? How do we get Donald Trump to leave the Republican race now that all of the non-scary candidates have been chased away? Getting rid of Donald is not enough. We must elect a Democrat in 2016 or American Democracy will not survive. I have no idea how we convince what I call “the pod people”, brainwashed by right wing media, that they must vote against the positions they have been taught to believe in.

10/27/15 On Megalomania, and the World https://draft.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=453069755357542576#editor/target=post;postID=2896814823017990171;onPublishedMenu=posts;onClosedMenu=posts;postNum=0;src=postname

11/24/15 A Plague on Both Your Houses https://draft.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=453069755357542576#editor/target=post;postID=8679697109120850499;onPublishedMenu=posts;onClosedMenu=posts;postNum=1;src=postname

By Nancy Brisson

“Cowboy Capitalists” and the American Dream


Our forefathers, educated in the classics and the writings of their contemporaries in the fields of economics, philosophy, science, farming, and trade, created a government for our nascent America that surprised the world. It wasn’t that it was unprecedented. It borrowed from ideologies as antique as those of Greece and Rome. But just consider how amazing our Democracy is since it was created in an age of monarchs, of nobles, of serfs.

Do you think those kings and queens, who claimed “divine right” to rule, wanted anyone to spread the credo that “all men are created equal and are endowed with certain inalienable rights” – the very rights we hold dear – life – liberty – the pursuit of happiness.

Our forefathers started a trend. Their modern anachronism went, as we would say these days, “viral”. Western Europe became mad for Democracy. They went to war for it, they demoted their kings and queens for it.

This trend, as we know, did not catch on so much on other key continents. And so we inherited today’s situation where countries with differing ideas about governance have to coexist. We haven’t had to respect theocracies for some time. They existed but they kept the rest of the world away.

As with every culture we have come to value our form of government so highly that we often have been guilty of acting almost like missionaries, wanting to spread our Democracy (and, still, for some, our Christianity) everywhere. Even now I hold the belief that someday people everywhere on our planet will enjoy Democracy in one form or another. Except, not everyone is so gung ho to have their traditions replaced. And we have come to understand that respect for others means letting them chose their own government (but not letting them choose ours). As for religion, I believe that our forefathers, many fleeing religious persecution, were quite adamant in their belief that people should be free to worship as they please and that the only way to insure this was to keep religion separate from government.

Today many argue that our forefathers were only thinking about freedom to pursue different forms of Christianity and they might have hedged their bets if they knew we might have citizens who worship in so many different ways or do not worship at all. This is the cusp of our current dilemma. Do we reinterpret the things our forefathers said? Do we simply revise our documents to fit some people’s ideas of what they think our forefather’s meant?

Are we perhaps in shock that our Democracy does not seem to be trending the way it once did? Historically, change takes time. If we can wait we might find the ideas of liberty and equality gaining popularity once again. They are looking a bit tarnished as our economics has sort of usurped our governance. Capitalism can be a bit aggressive and overbearing. We have just been letting it get out of hand a bit. If we can tamp down those rampaging Capitalists who have been so busy buying up everything in sight (including our government) and cornering all the world’s wealth then our freedom might shine forth once again.

So we need more economic regulation, not less. We need more taxes on the rich, not less. And I’m thinking that if a Progressive wins and starts to rein in Capitalists-gone-wild – our new economic “cowboys” – then we the people will probably have to put up with a bit of punishment before things level out a bit.

Donald Trump, one of those “cowboy” capitalists doesn’t seem to mind putting American ideals aside to win against radical “Islamistic” terrorists. The “all men are created equal” part of Democracy never has sat well with Capitalists. They sort of adapt it to say that we may be created equal but we don’t all turn out equal. Those who turn out on top of the heap, they imply, are there because they are actually better than others (not luckier, not born with silver spoons). The fact is that these folks interpret being better as having more money even if they stole it by manipulating laws. If we let these “Capitalist Cowboys” sidestep our Declaration of Independence and our U.S. Constitution won’t that be the end of the real America Dream? That dream is really not at base a materialistic dream at all, but one of freedom of the mind and of the person (within reason) and of governance “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

We can’t exclude all Muslims without forever debasing what America has stood for around the world and what it is still struggling to stand for. Our previous lapses may have been grandfathered in, but this time we are fully aware of the harm from tarring an entire group with the same brush. We cannot even use religion as an excuse to overturn laws that respect the beliefs of any segment of our population.

If we do these things, and it is entirely possible that we might (fear being very powerful) they can we ever put the best parts of the American Dream back together again? If we want to show the world the way a Democratic society brings out a person’s best self then we must be our best selves. Or we can do what Donald J Trump (did you notice he started using his middle initial) suggests, but will we still be America afterwards?

By Nancy Brisson

Me Donald – Me Hulk – Me Save America

Thank you You Tube

Donald Trump promises to set things right in America (double meaning intended). About half of America wants a President who can turn into the Hulk. They want to be taken care of in that way. “Me Hulk – me mad – me smash all meanies – China, ISIS, Iran – (with American soldiers doing the actual smashing). Me rich, me brilliant business man – me make America rich again – get jobs again. Me white – me make America majority European again – me run foreigners out of country.”

One problem with this (among so many) is all those “me-s”. America is not supposed to wait for one person, even if s/he is our leader, to solve our problems. We live in a Democracy – a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

What I don’t see, if Donald Trump becomes President, is where we the people fit in. Do we just passively wait while Donald Trump rains down largesse on our heads? Do we kick back and enjoy the fruits of his power moves while hoping to fare well in the deals he makes? What is the people’s role in a Donald Trump Presidency? What about the 50% of people who don’t agree with his projected policies? Will he sell the American soldier and the American worker down the river if necessary to insure the overall prosperity of our nation? Will we share that prosperity or will we be the coal shoveled into the furnace, used, spent, discarded? Donald Trump eats people he perceives as inferior for lunch. “Hulk angry – stay away from Hulk.”

That old mojo we used to have is not gone, even though half of the nation seems to have lost so much faith in America that they will turn to a bipolar superhero to recapture an old snapshot of a transcendent America. Life is not a snapshot. A snapshot is the past. However nostalgic we might be to recreate that old snapshot we know we can’t. Life moves on. Life is a movie; it’s a video, on fast forward sometimes.

America is not dying. America is in transition. Either the world will coalesce as a global entity consisting of the world’s nations, but more open because economics will know no boundaries, or the nations, including us, will turn inward and wall themselves off into individual entities, and society will assume a more feudal structure with nations constantly sparring with each other (that sounds sort of like now, doesn’t it).

We will not be wise to elect a “savior”. What we need is a leader who straddles the past and the future and helps America legislate and build its way into having two feet solidly planted in a new future with common goals. There will still be things to fight about, there always are, but if we let World War III happen there may not be a recognizable world left. No one really could possibly think that starting World War III is a great idea. But mankind has gone to war often for some incredibly stupid reasons (and to settle some unavoidable battles, although rarely). If we try to rewrite the old King Arthur rule that “might makes right” and try turning it around so that “the mighty strive to do what is right” perhaps we can stop looking to the Hulk to save us and collectively govern wisely, more like the Federation from Star Trek.

By Nancy Brisson

What is Real and What is Fantasy?

People want to get back the things that we seem to have lost such as: security in the form of jobs that last a lifetime, pensions that don’t disappear (pouf) (thank you, Rachel), social security we don’t have to feel guilty about, medical care that we can afford from cradle to grave, ascendancy on the world stage, no environmental ax hanging over our heads, and no illegal immigrants taking our jobs and using our tax dollars.

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders both promise that they can deliver these things although, I assume, using totally different methodologies. Donald Trump’s alleged ‘plain-speaking’ hints at an agenda that will keep America mostly white and speaking English. If will be an America that employs all citizens who can work and an America that is feared and therefore respected around the world. He believes that building an enormous military force armed to the teeth with the very best weapons willing to fight anytime and anywhere will insure that our nation remains a ‘safe space’ for American citizens.

But Donald Trump is a true patriarch and, as a CEO, he is used to being large and in charge. His governance sounds much more like a dictatorship than an exercise in the checks and balances as set forth by our forefathers in our Constitution. Donald Trump sounds like the candidate you might want if you need to answer the question “who’s your Daddy”. How much freedom do we give up as citizens if we let Donald Trump set things right for us? Will our losses equal our gains? He tells us what we think we want to hear, but can he deliver? Does just having a big mouth and a flamboyant, overly confident personality win the day around the globe? Will our enemies be shaking in their boots or will they resent us returning to our interfering and often mistaken ways.

Bernie Sanders offers us many fine things, rights that working people in other advanced nations have already won, rights that support people who work, especially women (although increasing numbers of men find themselves in need of at least the parental rights); things like universal pre-K, family leave, sick leave, closing the disparity between male and female pay, between rich and poor. Bernie Sanders seems to favor turning illegal immigrants into an innovation advantage through education and programs that ferret out people with special talents or abilities or high levels of intelligence. Bernie Sanders is mostly focused on America’s economy which is certainly where we would like to have power focus right now so that the middle class does not continue to lose ground. What is Mr. Sanders foreign policy? At least Bernie will fight to keep our planet healthy. Will he be overcome by the socialist label which he does not seem to mind, but which most Americans fear (or have been taught to fear)?

Electing Bernie Sanders would be like electing the best union organizer of all time. We have never had a union organizer as a President. It sounds like Bernie Sanders is a very democratic socialist and will not take us to places we do not want to go. However, we have to ask ourselves if the state of our current finances and the extreme opposition to left wing reforms that benefit workers who don’t seem to have jobs, is practical and doable and a road that will lead us to prosperity, or if this too is just what the media is calling “magical thinking” and Bernie’s agenda is really just a fine example of promises that cannot be fulfilled. Boy, I hate to think that that is true. Perhaps instead of giving up on these kinds of middle class rights we need to choose someone who will take baby steps until the economy and our rights reach a peak at the same moment. It is really hard not to want it right now, but we have some other people in America who need a leader who will also fight for their rights. Can Bernie fight on all the fronts we need to fight on right now?

Donald Trump’s focus seems to be on forces outside of America and Bernie Sander’s focus seems to be on forces inside America. I like some of what each has to say, although, of course, I lean more towards Bernie Sanders. I like that Trump says he will make America great again, but, in truth, I do not agree with any of the ways he will go about it. Each of these candidates suggests the possibility of instant answers and that I cannot believe in. It appears to me that our culture and our economy is in a transitional age, which is why Americans cannot decide whether to be cautious or bold, inclusive or isolationist? We will, most likely, wend a careful path through some kind of middle way if we can ever get our nutty relatives on the right to make sense again.

We need training; we need education. If we are going to be a nation with fewer public jobs and fewer corporate jobs, we need to raise a generation of entrepreneurs schooled by people who already know the ropes. One reality show called The Apprentice is not nearly enough to get us an America full of thriving small businesses that succeed and grow into big businesses.

I am a proponent of a classic curriculum, of what used to be called the liberal arts (before liberal became a ‘suspect’ word and before ‘political correctness’ limited free speech and thought). I am, however, open to the argument that perhaps a liberal arts education is a ‘frill’ right now for those who need to go right out into the world to work. This means we need all sorts of educational environments from schools to one-on-ones and we need all kinds of programs from skill training to college degrees to apprenticeships. As far as I know the world will need people who can fix things for many, many years to come and we will need even more of them than the number of geniuses that we will require (although can a culture ever have too many geniuses). I tend to believe that education and small business and public programs are the ways out of our current impasse.

By Nancy Brisson