I wanted to stay out of political discourse, but these are dangerous times…


I’ve been traveling a bit lately, and I see how defeated everyone is by Trump’s endless and egregious immorality. The second he comes up — and he comes up often — folks say, “I can’t even talk about him any more. It makes me sick to my stomach.” And his echo chamber of loud bullies parrots the inflammatory lies of Fox News and struts across the stage thumping their chests while buying into false equivalencies and flat out fabrications.

We are reaching the point where it is impossible to have reasoned discussion because of the binary nature of contemporary thinking where everything in life is put up to a vote. There are only winners and losers; people only want to argue particular points of view. Few people even know how to, much less want to, step back and consider preconceptions and underlying principles that have lead us to this point. It’s battle lines time, and you have to choose sides.

The plain fact is that, distasteful though it may be, there are grounds for political discussion within Trump’s horrible reign. But there should be no grounds for moral discussion. When you have a monster leading your country who imprisons children and with whom you would not leave your 16 year old daughter alone, you do not have a political problem, you have a morality problem.

We have now truly reached the point where this is a battle for the soul of the country. I would rather counsel peace, reason, and consideration of multiple perspectives. But, sadly, this is not that time. We are at war and we each have to do what we can.

Oh, for the days of Gore VIdal and WIlliam F. Buckley contesting conflicting but intelligent views of what it means to be an American, or Everett Dirksen and Daniel Patrick Moynihan contending about viable policies for the American people. But most people don’t even know who they are. Instead, discourse has devolved to a referendum on Trump’s blaring and non-stop lying and the growing infection of the American psyche with the moral sickness that he has unleashed.

It is time to stop him and his unless the considered among his followers can separate his immorality from legitimate conservative principles and disavow this man and his policies that fly in the face of everything good and honorable in the human character.

Where are the good Republicans, the humane Republicans? Why do they line up behind him when they know he represents a sickness, not a solution? Have they no courage?

Sadly, we cannot know what is wrong with them nor can we change them. They have to come to this conclusion themselves, and if they don’t, we must each do what we can to throw them out so that reason and humanity can reassert themselves as baselines in our character and political discourse.

22 thoughts on I wanted to stay out of political discourse, but these are dangerous times…

  1. There is a new children’s book out by Kobi Yamada, What Do You Do With A Chance? Basically, you take good chances and extraordinary chances because they are gifts. Like the chance to vote. You don’t just vote Republican, Democratic, or Purple Party. You research the candidates, listen to what they say, see if they mirror the values you hold dear to your heart, check to see what they have done in the past that might be a reflection of what they do in the future. You separate the good candidates from those you consider evil and morally bankrupt, and you then vote your conscience, doing the best with your “chance” that you can.

  2. Oh, Kent, thank you for speaking up. It helps me feel less alone. I’ve been written off as a hysterical woman when my passion about what’s happening today overcomes the “wisdom” of remaining silent.

    I want to add two thoughts to yours: First, Gore Vidal and William Buckley have been followed by the likes of George Will, Steve Schmidt and a precious few other principled and important Republicans; that’s encouraging.

    Second, James Comey offered a heartening metaphor that I believe also respects First People insights—he said our present political climate is a forest fire, from which we will be able to welcome new growth otherwise impossible.

    Third, I had the opportunity to respond to the wild rantings of a friend about “those people at the border who are sneaking into our country and thus deserve to be separated from their children…those people who would be shot if they tried to cross a European border…they’re lucky we don’t shoot them.” Somehow (probably because we were in a very public place), I managed to remain calm and quietly offer the reality of the situation—that these are refugees, seeking asylum in accordance with our own laws by presenting themselves openly at our border and asking for asylum. My friend eventually said, “I didn’t know that.” Further discussion calmed her down…and educated her. I went away feeling like maybe there really is something I can do, in my small way. Helplessness is so debilitating.
    Thank you again for speaking up. We needed to hear from you.

  3. Each of us, by such lights as we have, must speak up and stand up. We are seeing some kind of virulent infection in our national character coming to the surface. One in plain sight, it can be treated and, one hopes, cured.

  4. Thank you. Thank you for not being afraid to speak out. I feel like I am going to burst. I feel hopeless and disgusted. I did what Shawn did and spoke out about my first hand knowledge of refugees and the asylum they seek. I recounted what my husband went through. I asked that this individual and her followers to please consider this. I was met with anger. I was told my husband was the exception. I was told that at least he came over legally, I was told those people were unfit parents anyways…the comments went on and on. I am more disappointed and saddened by the closed-mindedness of people I considered friends. It is mind-boggling that Republicans can stand behind this morally bankrupt man and his policies. I find now that I cowardly shut up. I will not change their opinion with my point of view.
    What can I do? I contribute money to the candidates I support and I of course, will do my part in the voting process. I still feel that this is not enough. We are in crisis.

  5. Thank you, Ken. It was so good to hear your thoughts. I want civil discourse to come back to our country. I believe these are dangerous time, but other times have been dangerous and we have been able to rally and steer a straight course for what is right and just. Hopefully enough people will vote in the coming elections to turn this ship around.

  6. The Sermon on the Mount (and it’s like in the many ethical systems at the core of ‘civil’ behavior) and winner take all mentality with no shame for repercussions and consequences, for me, most recently traces to the mentality of the toadies of power. The Gingrich, the Chaney, the Koch, Nixon tricksters…hypocrites all working in full daylight vs the hidden machine of old and lies of wealth driven operatives. Perhaps the crisis peaks in the wanton slime that is Trump personified as the Playground Bully, or the abject example he sets for those who interpret the American Dream as envy and striving to be in his situation, denying Truth.
    And this, for shame is who we are revealed. Time for cleansing, all. Time for taking advantage of the national dialogue exposing choices to reveal our better natures for our common survival.

  7. I can only say that nothing can change until it’s brought into the light. This is clearly in the light, blaringly so. I, too, feel tired, discouraged, etc., etc, yet we have to fight for future generations. I truly hoped that at this point in my life, I could coast a bit more. Yet I guess I didn’t come here to do that. To me, these aren’t so much political issues anymore, they are simply human issues that need compassion, acceptance, and let’s not forget love. Boots on the ground people! Thank you, Kent, yet again, for your eloquent and thoughtful writing.

  8. I live in this country, and he is the elected president. But certainly not by my choosing. Nothing this man does represents me. I have heard people say they didn’t vote for his character. That they could care less about what he has done, or what he does in his private life as long as he gets the job done. And I ask what is the price they are willing to pay to have their way? To keep allowing him to have his way? A leader without integrity, without compassion, without truth as the foundation from which he leads, who is more comfortable with blatant lies than the truth, who has no respect for others, is someone who leaves only destruction and sorrow in their wake. If you don’t lead with a full heart, there can be no justice. This man has shown that he has no heart for the people of this country, for the country itself, or for this earth. He has instead greed, lust, selfishness, and love of himself only.
    We must make a stand. Like the saying goes: “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”
    And we’re falling fast!

  9. Thank you for your words. I tried to post a link to this page from Facebook, but you are apparently on their Blackout List. The first time I tried to post it, a statement popped up for a moment saying that this content could not be posted to Facebook (not the exact words), and then in a blink of an eye, the statement disappeared. I tried again, and this time the statement didn’t show up at all. You must be a pretty dangerous guy….

  10. I’d like think I’m dangerous. I’d like to be dangerous to the monster and his minions. I don’t want to do this mud wrestling, but, as I said, these are times for all hands on deck.

  11. Trump and his coven of thieves have flim-flammed the lower 40% into believing that the upper 1% has their best interests at heart by appealing to their racial and religious prejudices. The 40% have legitimate economic concerns which “The Establishment” has not addressed, and their opinions about law-n-order and smaller government deserve thoughtful consideration, but Trump by legitimizing their basest instincts is coarsening America and diminishing every good thing he touches. If you can’t bring yourself to vote Democrat, at least don’t vote Republican; there are many other alternatives.

  12. I’ve seen a lot of presidents and administrations. Though I did not recognize it at the time, the conflicts that took place during those times were wars of conflicting moral visions. This is a war of morality against, at best, amorality. The sky may not be falling, but the ground is shaking violently.

  13. Congratulations Kent. Thank you for standing up to your president. As a Brit living in Britain I originally thought the Donald a big joke and wondered how come he had hoodwinked the US people until we had an affirmative Brexit vote here and realised that many politicians do it but less successfully in an egotistical power surge…the combination of his disinformation and defective moral compass have enraged many in this country as well as unfortunately releasing a Pandora’s box of others with similar views flooding the internet. I weep for those south American children caged by Trumps policies, sincerely hoping that they do not suffer the fate Dan did at boarding school, and are reunited with their families. Having finished ‘Neither Wolf nor Dog’ with the Robert Plant intro this afternoon I rushed to see what else you had written, it won’t be your only work I read believe me.

  14. The underbelly of the American experiment is that our great notion of self-reliance, when stripped of its moral underpinnings, is a celebration of selfishness. Donald Trump has mined a vein of cruelty and selfishness in our character that I thought was buried too deeply to be excavated. Sady, I, and so many others, were wrong. Add to that the American penchant for anti-intellectualism and you have a disturbingly large pool of ill-educated, angry, selfish voters who want only to have their pre-existing opinions hardened into certainty. Trump and his ilk have done that. If mocking handicapped people, celebrating grabbing women by the pussy, calling people demeaning names, and lying without remorse cannot turn people against this monster, I thought that stealing toddlers from their parents could. But that, too, appears not to touch these his followers. Now we have to fear that our elections will forever be manipulated and tainted. It is not a good stretch for the country that claims to be the world’s last best hope. Instead, we are proving to be the world’s biggest dope. Only our endless resiliency and capacity to remake ourselves might be able to save us.

  15. I grew up in northeastern South Dakota, born in 1953. Some of the things I saw and heard about First Nations people I’m ashamed I absorbed back then. Eight years ago I traveled back and saw that some stuff was changed. It took me a good long while to figure out that it was a Seventh Generation thing. The spirit had been kept alive long enough that it was once again growing. I felt honored that I was in a place, spiritually and physically to glimpse this.
    My point, maybe we need to learn this from the First Nations, to nurture the truth,to refuse to let it diminish, to keep working for the day when the earth begins to spin again.
    I don’t know, I just want to keep trying to do a little better.

  16. Kent, I think the good news news is the darkness is out in the open and has stepped into a very bright light where we can see it clearly. As we know real growth happens during the hard times. We will cast him off/them off and evolve, co-create a better place for us all. More people are getting it. Thanks for your insights and wisdom. Looking forward to reading your new book. I know you’ve been working at it for awhile.

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