What are we for…?

As I continue to reflect on the disturbing differences that became unambiguously plain in the United States with the recent election, I am struck by how much of our discourse about public affairs, no matter our political orientation, is about what we are against. Comparatively little of it is about what we are for. When we are on the liberal side, we tend to be against free access to guns for all comers, reliance on fossil fuels to meet our energy needs, constraints on a woman’s right to choose whether to abort a pregnancy and having the highest incarceration rate in the world. When we are on the conservative side, we tend to be against socialization of healthcare, impositions on the “right to carry”, taxes to pay for anything from which we do not immediately benefit and regulations setting limits to what goes on in the marketplaces for pharmaceuticals, financial securities and energy supplies. Depending on our views, we are against Islam, police brutality, gay marriage, the Confederate flag, sexual abuse, Vladimir Putin, immigration, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and political correctness.

It strikes me that the preeminence of against is rooted in fear, the most primal of all emotions. Whatever we hold to be of high value, we fear anything that seems to pose a threat to it. Add in the deeply human and very ancient predisposition toward tribal identification, and anything that we perceive as coming from some Other opposing tribe will, barring some highly evolved reflective self-awareness, be registered as a threat. In the face of a threat, if we don’t go into flight mode – in which case you won’t hear from us in the public arena – we go into fight mode, beginning with making sure we and our tribal allies are in sync and on message, and then making threatening noises toward the Other tribe(s) to let them know we are not to be trifled with, whatever their plans. Much of what goes on in social media concerning public affairs manifests both of these things – making sure we have clarity with our allies about our shared message, our party line, and alerting  opponents to our readiness to take them on.

To be sure, embedded in many against-positions are for-positions. People who are against a woman’s right to choose whether to have an abortion will affirm that they are for a fetus’s right to life. People who are against fossil-fuel powered electric generation plants will affirm that they are for clean air and a habitable planet. Yet, we nevertheless live in a culture where we are much more aware of what people are against than what they are for and why. Because I don’t run in the right circles, I have not explored what “Right to Life” actually means to people who are adherents of it. Nor have I had a chance to hash out with doubters why #BlackLivesMatter to my way of thinking is a life-affirming statement, pointing a way forward from which we would all benefit, regardless of race.

Fear is truly primal, and life offers lots of opportunities to feel frightened, regardless of who we are or where, when or how we live. All the world’s great spiritual traditions put considerable effort into helping followers deal with fears, beginning with the biggest one, fear of our own mortality. It’s natural. It’s nothing new. Yet, here I want to focus in on the ubiquity of fear in public life. First, to be clear, public life is framed and sustained by mass media. There are no ideas, no shared sentiments, no visions that are not propagated, challenged, critiqued, or suppressed by mass media. To understand the role of fear in public life, we have to look at the basic business model followed by mass media. When views are expressed and exchanged, it happens almost always in the virtual space maintained by the media, only rarely face to face or shoulder to shoulder.

It is no news (no pun intended), that the media organizations that command the most attention are big businesses.  Fundamentally, big businesses exist for one reason above all – to maximize the profits they generate for their owners. That is what they are for. They may stake out an ideological space, as for example Fox news unambiguously does, yet basic market economics still apply. Fox has identified and shaped a particular target market, thereby successfully generating a sweet rate of return for Rupert Murdoch and other investors. Fundamentally, the same applies to CNN, MSNBC and the rest of the big players in the media universe, whether or not we like the style and flavor of their delivery.

For media, the saleable product is “eyeballs” – unguarded and receptive audiences. Profits are generated by selling advertising access to businesses, institutions, interest groups and political campaigns, who want in turn to sell their own goods, services and messages to as many consumers as they can reach. Consumers are generally most available and receptive when their reflective, critical capacities are idling, preoccupied or at rest – chilling on the sofa, going through the daily commute, hanging out while the spaghetti cooks. How best then to grab and hold their attention? Sell fear. Sell fear of being out of fashion. Sell fear of not knowing the latest NFL rankings. Sell Islamic terrorism. Sell Climate Change. Sell Abortion Mills. Sell neo-Nazi rallies. When time-dollar value is calculated in seconds, selling serious thoughtfulness about the complexity of issues can’t compete with fear.

Suppose, though, we were to redirect our public discourse in more positive, life-affirming, joy-enhancing directions. What might we then really be for? Imagine a bunch of us randomly mixed in a room, no knowing how we voted, what we value, what we hate or what makes our hearts sing. Imagine a conversation framed with exactly two ground rules: 1) We will speak and listen respectfully in all of our exchanges; 2) Our testimonies will be exclusively about what we positively believe in and want to see in our lives and in the world. I confess, just putting this out there this way gives me pause. What do I want to see? What makes my heart sing? Inwardly stuttering here, I recognize that there are parts of me that believe it is naive to talk about the sources of my hope and joy, while remaining silent about the pervasive risks and threats among which I must negotiate the forward progress of my life. It is even more naive to put it out there, implying that it would behoove others to follow suit, and if they did what a wonderful world it would be.

For starters, though, to get the conversation going, with respect to matters of public concern here’s what I am for (in no particular order):

  • I would like to live in a society where all members can joyfully manifest all the greatest gifts, inborn and acquired, they are endowed with, in their work, their interpersonal relationships and their play.
  • I would like to live in a society  where all citizens live healthily and, when needed, have access to the best healthcare, from before they are born until they die.
  • I would like to live in a society where relationships with people at home and abroad are mutually affirming, sustaining and peaceful, and where all people are skilled at building such relationships where they are lacking or at-risk.
  • I would like to live in a society where people approach others always with appreciation and respect – including the non-human others we share the planet with and depend on for our own sustenance and well-being.
  • I would like to live in a society where men and boys have  a strong, vital and enthusiastic sense of what it means to be male; where women and girls have a strong, vital and enthusiastic sense of what it means to be female; where people have a strong, vital and enthusiastic experience loving others intimately, no matter if they are male or female; where people of every skin color, cultural heritage and faith tradition have strong, vital and enthusiastic experiences of their respective similarities and differences.
  • I would like to live in a society where we all treat the planet we live on with a sense of careful stewardship, out of an awareness that it is the most loving thing we can do for our children, grandchildren and descendants on down the line through countless generations, as well as for the other creatures we share it with.
  • I would like to live in a society whereof I could say, if asked by a visitor from another galaxy what its greatest excellences are, that it is known for its peace, its love and its joy.

Your turn.

Talk Politics

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.

It’s a general rule we all know, at family gatherings like Thanksgiving or other social affairs where people come together who may not have lots in common, that we should “never talk about religion or politics.” Right now, in the wake of the deep, painful and frightening divisions the election brought to light, that’s likely good advice for those of us who will be breaking bread tomorrow with people whose views and votes go in very different directions than our own. And yet. And yet, maybe a good New Year’s resolution would be to start a new practice. At a wonderful yoga studio I used to frequent, we spoke of New Years Resolutionaries when the post-holiday surge kicked in. My thoughts right now are running along similar lines. Let’s learn the practice of talking politics where and when it’s hard.

Take me as an example. I am taking stands all over the place right now. I am completely on board with #BlackLivesMatter, have started making regular donations to Planned Parenthood, the Islamic Networks Group, the ACLU, the Human Rights Campaign and several other organizations advocating for people who are directly at risk due to the ascendancy of the “alt-Right” white nationalists since the results of the election were announced. I have put my stakes in the ground. I have skin in the game. What I don’t have, however, is opportunities to dialogue with people who believe abortion is murder and should be treated as such, who believe for political and/or religious reasons that Islam is a threat to all the qualities that make this country great, who hold intimate relations of any sort outside of heterosexual marriage to be despicable and immoral, or who are convinced that the presidency of Barack Obama was a political catastrophe. I live and move in a universe in which most everyone looks and talks like me, holds the same views as I hold and is distraught at what has now befallen us. This is not okay.

It is not okay, because, with the exception of a very small number of true psychopaths, most of the people on “the Other Side” have reasons that on some very human level make sense and resonate with them for wanting to see homosexuality disappear, “big government” cut down to size, welfare cheats made to work and propagators of “political correctness” made to shut up. I can’t well point fingers at others for agitating to see some group of human beings marginalized, expelled, silenced or (heaven help us) exterminated, while at the same time wishing something similar be their fate. It’s not a matter of wishy-washy-Kumbaya-can’t-everyone-please-just-get-along foolish moral relativism. It’s a matter of, whether I like it or not, we truly are all in this together, for one; and it’s presumptuous of me and  my kindred spirits to think we have a corner on wisdom and moral authority, for another.

In a life rich with many blessings, one I am especially grateful for is the opportunities it has offered me to connect with and get to know many different sorts of people, people of different backgrounds, cultures, faiths, ages, educations, occupations, etc. etc. etc. Why then should I be afraid to sit down and break bread together with someone who deeply believes it would have been a catastrophe for the nation had Hillary Clinton been elected as our next president? The simple reason, of course, is that I don’t really know how to do this and I expect with some justification that likely conversation partners may not either. As with any other difficult skill I wish to learn, there’s no way to do it other than doing it. And I can’t very well tell you that you should start engaging with people on the Other Side of whatever painful issue divides you, if I’m not willing to begin learning to do it myself.

A lot of hard ball politics is going to be played in the years ahead, hard ball such as this country may well not have seen since the run up to the Civil War. I know where I stand on most of the issues getting press now. As far as that goes, I am indeed fired up and ready to go. However, I’d heck of a lot rather figure out where folks on the Other Side are coming from, in the off chance we might find some common middle ground, than go for a zero-sum game out of which all of us will be losers. It’s unlikely I will find much to work with where the Steve Bannons of the world are concerned, but with the cousins and school and college friends and neighbors I hold in high esteem, we might just be able to work a few things out together. If nothing else, it’s not healthy to run around constantly on high alert, wary of attacks from every corner. Not for me personally, not for those I hold dear, and not for the nation I am a part of.

Talk politics. That’s what I want to learn how to do. Not with people I agree with on most things. With people I don’t on some, or even many, things.

A reminder to me: Here again are all the ways we are unique. Happy Thanksgiving.Human Endowments (3)

Be Not Afraid

In these reflections, I find I frequently feel impelled to begin with my own stories, to show the roots of where I have arrived at. So let me say, I am bringing a couple of my own personal truths to the historical moment we now find ourselves in. Chief among them is the fact I was badly bullied when I was in what we now call middle school. The harm it did has taken me more than half a century to work through, to the extent that I can finally tell it out loud, without feeling ashamed or as if I somehow deserved it. It took sending me away to boarding school at the age of 15 to liberate me from that toxic environment. Had that not happened, I seriously doubt I would be here today.

One of the consequences of the bullying, and the fact that people around me did not know how to support me or protect me, was that suicide became a credible option for me in difficult times. I lived with suicidal ideation from my early teens until well into my adult life. Suicide was a recurring possibility, whenever some adversity came my way. Like many emotionally damaged people, I sought solace in substances until they no longer did the trick. At the age of 39, with all sorts of wonderful adventures already behind me, I finally came very close to cashing in my chips. Dear people in my life, and what I to this day consider an act of divine grace, guided me into a 12 Step meeting. I was blessedly able to hear the messages shared there, and the rest, as they say, is history. I will tell anyone who asks, and many who don’t, that the 12 Steps are one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and it breaks my heart when I meet or hear of people who sorely need what is to be found there and can’t receive it.

So, it is an objectively true statement to say I know from the inside what it feels like to be a Victim. It is also an objectively true statement to say I know what it feels like to be a Survivor. Life has given me repeated chances to move forward by stages with the work of healing, to the point that I now consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world. I am immensely grateful for the countless other gifts and blessings that have come my way – wonderfully exciting and formative educational opportunities, chances to live and study and travel abroad and get to know the world from other points of view, a multi-phase career that has allowed me to connect with lots of different people in different walks of life, active participation in several of the world’s great spiritual traditions,  a relationship I am finally worthy of with a most remarkable woman – and none of it would ultimately have mattered much or become even possible, had I not found my way onto a healing path. On that path this Victim became a Survivor.

Now, when the chips are down, this Survivor does not do fear. Been there, done that. Sure, I fear rejection and worry about my finances and whether or not people will appreciate some professional or creative work I am doing, or whether I am being the sort of partner my beloved has a right to expect me to be, or whether I have enough gas to get to the nearest filling station. I went into and came back out of a very serious heart attack that might have sent me packing for good, feeling annoyed and inconvenienced, but not especially fearful. Indeed, I am no longer afraid of death after visiting the Great Beyond, except that I’d prefer it happen at my convenience, when I don’t have other plans. It is from this vantage point then, that I am contemplating the  historic moment that is now unfolding before us.

As we begin to process the shock of Donald Trump’s election, I notice high tides of fear are flowing. I mean the kind of fear that can be incapacitating, as distinct from the sober, well-grounded, justifiable fear of what the future holds. There is absolutely no doubt that the Trump administration, with the support of a disturbingly misguided Republican congress, will take steps that will have very bad, very direct, life and death consequences for millions of human beings, at home and abroad.

Given my history, I know what a bully looks like and  how a bully behaves. Trump is a bully, no news there. Bullies need two things to really get their jollies, and Trump needs both of them. They need weaker people to pick on and hurt and humiliate, and they need audiences to cheer them on while they do so. “You’re fired!,” after I humiliate the crap out of you; while an audience cheers me on. “Lock  her up!,” … while an audience cheers me on. “I grab her by the pussy!,” while an audience cheers me on. This behavior is not going to stop on Inauguration Day. Be it noted too, that bullies are quick to identify and defer to other bullies – lest we be wondering what the deal is between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. We are well advised to be afraid of what he might do to anyone he perceives as weaker, above and beyond whatever policy initiatives he and the new Congress take.

On a very practical level, then, we have arrived at a point in the history of the nation and the world when some very bad, scary stuff is going to happen. Make no mistake. And yet I say, be not afraid. By which I mean, let not your fear incapacitate you, because we need all your energy, all your good will, all your cleverness and experience, all your acquired savvy for the fight that is now beginning. This is not about being desensitized. Share the pictures of the bloodied gay man beat up by Trump supporters. Share the stories about the Muslim man beaten up and murdered in Wisconsin. Share the stories about women having their hijabs yanked off their heads. Share the pictures of hate messages spray painted on peoples’ doors or left on peoples’ cars. Share the stories of kids unable to sleep, because they are afraid of what Trump is going to do to them. Share your outrage with loved ones and friends and kindred spirits.

And yet, be not afraid. Be cool. Think hard about what is to be done to support, assist and comfort victims of such assaults. Go forward, not back. Speak truth to power. Trumpies think it’s a patriotic American thing to do, to beat up on and humiliate women and gay people and immigrants? Spread the word. It ain’t. Get together. Take action. Interfere with every single step the Trumpies take, from beating people up in the streets to depriving people of access to quality healthcare. (Here’s a wonderful sample of how to respond directly in a critical situation, one transferable to other circumstances.)

It’s on us to see that we come through this and out the other side, stronger and healthier and more caring than we went in. When tired, take a nap. When freaked out, breathe deeply. When broken-hearted, find a shoulder to lean and cry on. When frightened, look for encouragement. When bad news comes in, think about how best to respond creatively and forcefully and then get together with others and do it.

We didn’t ask for this, though we also did not do what we might have done to avoid it – namely get down with the “deplorable” people we preferred to despise. We can now get on with the business of fixing that, as noted in my previous post. No matter, for now it’s Game On.

Fired up.

Ready to go.

We can do this.

For real.

The Fight is On

[Trigger warning: If you feel the election of Donald Trump is a wonderful turn of events for the future of the nation, you might want to take a pass on this. I don’t and I have trouble getting inside the mindset of those who do, with all due respect.]

Throughout the campaign, though I watch little TV and could name few of the pundits who shape/massage/feed whatever passes for public opinion, I couldn’t imagine that a man who systematically gave offense to women, black people, Hispanic people, disabled people and Muslims, and who was cozy with white supremacists and neo-Nazis propagating racial bigotry and unabashed antisemitism, could put together enough votes to get himself elected president of much of anything, let alone the United States of America. I watched the polls, snagged snippets of mainstream messaging from social media, and stewed not so much about whether Hillary Clinton would win, but about what sort of Congress she’d have to deal with. For no clear reason, abruptly this last weekend I found myself suddenly wondering what would I do if Donald Trump were elected, got a serious sinking feeling in my gut, and began speculating about what might happen should that come to pass. Nevertheless, I went to the polls yesterday, reasonably confident Hillary Clinton had done what needed to be done to make it first across the finish line.

As the evening went on last night, the clouds began to gather as Trump kept leading in electoral college votes, though I still thought she’d pull it out in the end. However, when international financial markets started plummeting, I decided it was time to try to get some sleep. Unlike media smartypants, those guys, with their billions on the line, don’t miss much, I generally believe.  I didn’t get much sleep, up two hours early for me, at least, to learn that the worst possible scenario had been fulfilled, with Trump victorious and both houses of Congress secured by the Republicans. Hope for a Supreme Court configured to meet the needs of the nation in its present configuration was out the window.  Like kindred spirits across the land, I had great trouble simply taking it in. Fight or flight? Flight was all could think of. GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!! Or at least give me a great big rock to hide under. I felt personally betrayed by the Nate Silvers of the world, who had led me to formulate such bogus expectations and assumptions as I went to the polls with. I was grateful when a friend posted a link (here) on Facebook, reminding me to breathe. So much for my yoga practice: it actually seemed like a novel idea.

I couldn’t wrap my brain around the idea that I should do something productive with the day, like do the work I get paid for as an independent contractor. For the most part, I stayed away from the media, not really wanting to know what the same smart people who so badly misread the mood of the country might have to say about the new state of affairs we find ourselves in. I communed with my beloved, puttered away on a creative project I have in the works, and generally let the feelings have their way. I’m glad I did. I am clear we all have a great deal of grieving to do. We need to allow space and take time for our depression, our anger, our outrage, our shame at being American, our bewilderment, our feelings of hopelessness and betrayal, to rise and ebb and flow. That being the case, for some people, what I have to say here may be premature. If it is, bail out and come back another day when you feel better. You will feel better, I promise, at least if you care for yourself and let yourself. Personally, I know I am not out of the woods by a long shot.

I should be grateful for that cloud that passed over me last weekend. It gave me a head start on reflecting about what we do if the worst case scenario should be fulfilled. Two things become clear: 1) We have to fight. Washington is not going to fix this. Consider how little the finest President I have seen in 55 years, since I became grown up enough to pay attention, was able to fix, and his successor is proclaiming his intentions to undo as much of that as he can. 2) We need to make it our business to open our hearts and our minds to the half of the electorate who think Trump is their guy and said so, where and when it counted.

These two things are actually related. Take the second one first: I’m not sure what the smart guys are saying, but I have a strong conviction that Hillary Clinton’s greatest liabilities were not that she is a woman or blew it in Benghazi or was too sloppy with her emails. Her greatest liability was that she was perceived as part of The Problem by people for whom the problem is all the insider baseball played by “liberal” mainstream media, Washington big shots, elected and appointed, and their corporate backers – all the insider baseball where “political correctness” is promoted, while jobs are outsourced to China and wage scales are driven down by immigrants flooding in illegally, who don’t even speak English or worship the God We Trust. For such people, it wouldn’t be hard sell to suggest that the only way they were going to get Washington to pay attention is by sending someone to the White House who is not a Washington insider. Trump may have used the language of bigotry and misogyny and nationalism to get and command their attention, but the reasons that messaging worked go deeper than personally wanting to hurt black people, assault women or drive people from the country. 59 million people don’t get up every day thinking about how they can mess over black people and immigrants and women. They do get up every day feeling disrespected, neglected and short changed. Washington is never going to fix that, even with their guys in the White House and controlling Congress; but a warmer embrace from people like me and most of the people I think of as kindred spirits, people who honestly do hold them in varying degrees of disrespect and contempt, might be a start.

We may not subscribe to their analysis and we may think that they will soon be sorely disappointed by The Donald’s inability to meet their expectations for reasons both systemic and personal. However, the people who voted for Trump are my fellow citizens. Their well-being concerns me. Even if I dislike them, I can hardly appeal to them in the name of the general welfare and having a livable future for our children to care about the people they despise, while despising them myself. We truly are in the same boat, cruising through space on the same planet.They may be misguided, ill-informed and bigoted, but few of them are psychopaths, even if they may have voted for one. And I actually believe, their sense of grievance and resentment may eventually offer a point of contact for change-agents tuned in to the deeper drivers. We write them off at our peril.

Which brings me back to my main point. The fight is on. The future is ours, but it is our responsibility to claim it. For reasons only partly related to the campaign, in 2016 overt racism, homophobia and misogyny rose to levels of public awareness unseen in decades. It is not that the levels of abuse increased, rather our tacit tolerance of it reached breaking points.

Police officers randomly killing black males is not news. Having it recorded and broadcast in real time on social media is. As a result, #BlackLivesMatter is now an active factor in our civic life.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign alone has unleashed numerous initiatives to take on misogyny in all its forms, from employment discrimination to sexual assault. Those initiatives are following the lead of the National Organization for Women and a raft of other organizations that have been fighting for equal rights for women, going back to the days of women’s suffrage.

Having made great headway with marriage equality, the LGBTQI community ran up against fierce resistance by local officials unwilling to recognize its hard-won rights, overt bigotry from the now newly elected Vice Presidential candidate, and the hateful law passed in North Carolina regulating who uses what bathrooms. Yet, the community’s rapid, intense, and concerted resistance led leading corporations, trade associations, sports leagues and others to change or cancel plans to do business in the state, so long as the law remains in effect.

So: Once we have caught our breaths, how ever long it takes, the game plan is clear: Whichever issue is closest to home for you – race, gender and orientation, the environment, access to healthcare, employment opportunities and livable wages – join the fight, recruit others, form alliances, and don’t give up or run. If showing people how to breathe, come home to themselves, love themselves and others, feel peace, is what you do, do it with an open and trusting heart. If  you are a person of faith, of whatever denomination or tradition, reach out and care for the strangers among you, and prepare to offer sanctuary when need arises.

Whether Trump and his cronies and supporters like it or not, the nation’s future is not going to be white, straight, male-dominated, native-born or Christian-only. It is not going to be addicted to fossil fuels. It is not going to be permanently in hock for such essentials as healthcare and education. Nor is it going back to the employment patterns people like me came of age and went to college on. But we will be fighting to protect what we have achieved in the last decades with respect to equal standing for all, equal opportunity for all, and sustainable living and environmental action on behalf of the children and the future. We will make it a priority to attract more allies and more supporters. We will make it our business to educate others who don’t know or understand or believe. We will write off no one, no matter where the dialogue begins, no matter how uncomfortable they make us. We won’t assume “any reasonable person”, or “any moral person” sees things the way we do or is a defective human being because they don’t.

Frankly, I find this a hopeful scenario. I wouldn’t have chosen for history to deal us this hand of cards to play, but I believe it is going to give us an opportunity to grow up, get comfortable living in the real world, to discover neighbors we are suspicious or distrustful of, and to get unhooked from the idea that somebody else – Washington, Wall Street, the boss,  the Superintendent of Schools, the hospital CEO, the president of the university, the head coach,  the teacher, the priest, the rabbi, my neighbor, my mother, my father, my lover, my spouse, whoever – is going to make it good for us.

I have long felt that we in the United States, with our mere 300-plus years of (Euro-centric) history under our belts, frequently behave like adolescents compared to people in most other parts of the world, where thousands of years of shared history are not uncommon. We have the energy, imagination, dreaminess and ambition often found among adolescents. We also have the irritability, self-centeredness, comparative ignorance, and general immaturity about how to handle ourselves among ourselves and with others, that go with the same territory.

Thinking we could blow into Baghdad, of all places – Baghdad in Mesopotamia, where the oldest cities in the world were formed 6,000 years ago – take care of business in a few years and take our leave at our convenience, was the height of folly. An informed grown-up would have known better. Destroying Obamacare with no alternative plan for addressing the healthcare needs of the third of the population who can’t afford to pay going rates and of the Baby Boomers slowly moving into those costly last decades of their lives is at best foolish and at worst cruel: unbecoming of that “Great America” written on the bill of goods Trump sold his supporters. Do the numbers and come up with a plan. It’s what sensible people would do.

This is our time. It is time to grow up. The work is now ours to do. No mommies or daddies are going to do it for us. Let us be positively surprised if the next President actually does something we are on board with. But let us not expect, even tacitly, inwardly, that such will be the case. We know we are right, where our issues and aspirations are concerned – right to fight for equality across the board, for a habitable planet for our children and grandchildren, and for rewarding and gratifying opportunities to make a sustainable living. Back in the day, I learned a lot from reading Karl Marx – the real deal, not the caricature promulgated by Cold War propaganda and alt-Right foolishness. His measure of a humane society was this: “From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs.” Sounds good to me. But we’ll only get there by going together.

Fired up.

And ready to go.

The fight is on. For real.