So different, yet so similar – and inescapably interwoven

Still wowed by the awesome potential of these dysfunctional places.

They are so similar, yet so different. So close yet so far. So beautiful outside yet so much ugliness goes on inside. The cause of so much good. And the cause of so much deep hurt. The best of humankind. And the worst of humankind.

One comes from the chest pumping belief in their ‘exceptionalism’ and ‘manifest destiny’… The other comes from the fist pumping belief in their ‘new man’ and ‘proletariat revolution’.

One lives and dies on the mythology of capitalism… The other lives and dies on the mythology of communism.

In one the 5 percent covertly structures the system to self-benefit and perpetuate power… In the other 5 percent overtly structures the system to self-benefit and perpetuate power.

One touts its military might as Goliath in the name of world order… The other welcome others’ military might and flaunts it internationally in the name of world equity.

Both came to be by the genocide of native people and the enslavement of Africans… Perpetrated in one predominantly by Anglos; the other by Spaniards.

One survives in part by the exploitation of Latinos and keeping Blacks down… The other survives mostly by the exploitation of its own citizens.

Maybe someday somehow somewhen they will look past their self-conceited righteousness and ego trips and see that they are meant to be friends; that they are meant to be partners. They are meant to be supportive of each other.

They are interwoven in their inescapable past, the problematic present, and inevitable future. History has joined them at the hip – even if one outsizes the other. Today they are at odds – even as regular folks know best. And the future is bright – even as those in power persist otherwise.

Maybe someday they will move beyond their own dysfunction and identify the intersection of their self-interest… Maybe someday they will realize that more contact among their everyday people is a good thing for both… Maybe someday they will rekindle diplomacy based on mutual respect, mutual forgiveness, and shared experiences…

Maybe someday we’ll see the transformation of a relation that has been broken for way too long and has always meant to be positive, constructive, supportive, joyful, and celebratory… ¡Basta!


2020 vision for 2020

Laser sharp focus. That is what it will take to beat Trump in 2020. A 2020 vision.

Keep the eye of the prize:

  • Electing a Democratic President, House, and Senate to roll back the mean-spirited, economically biased, self-serving policies that Trump has instituted.

The damage is real. And it will take decades to fix the harm and hurt this four year failed Presidency will cause. But we have to start somewhere.

A clear vision – a 2020 vision – is necessary for the 2020 elections.

The talking heads are talking. The policy wonks are analyzing. The strategists are strategizing… And the vast majority of America may not care enough to take the time to go vote… And that is where we who care, have the time, energy, and inclination can make a difference.

  • Forget about convincing people to change their minds… Enthuse people to change their hearts.
  • Forget about blasting the personality of Trump… Emphasize the personal impacts of his policies.
  • Forget about Fox News and the Alt-Right… Talk up our own channels and networks.
  • Pursue not only massive mobilization… But also target smartly – particularly geographically (i.e.: Electoral College.)

And, most importantly: Unite, unite, unite… Here’s a possible 1-2-3 laser sharp focused punch:

[1] Encourage your favorite contender to take the Pledge

The fact that we may have as many as 30 people seeking the Democratic nomination for President should not be viewed as a negative. Rather, let’s commit to use those 30 organizations and political machines to get out the vote for whomever the nominee is.

The group Indivisible has created the novel idea of asking each Democratic contender for the Presidency to pledge to support the nominee. See  What a wonderful, simple idea!

… just think about it: If each candidate takes – and acts – on the pledge we’ll have 30+ networks of volunteers, contributors, and committed folks already on the ground to give a final push and get the vote out in November 2020… The Pledge is simple:

  • Make the primary constructive;
  • Rally behind the winner; and,
  • Do the work to beat Trump

… Beauty in simplicity.

Add to that the many issue-oriented groups that form the tapestry of Democratic ideals, including:

[2] Weave your Network

There are so many issue-oriented groups that know the damage being done by Trump to the issue they are passionate about. What if all these groups signed a similar pledge to support the nominee, wow!

It is the interests of these groups that when connected can weave the fabric of a new America. This issues deal with the essence of our survival as a people. These include:

  • The environment
  • Health care
  • Immigration
  • Peace
  • Social equity
  • A fair economy

And so many more

[3] Promote the idea that the nominee should commit to a coalition government

What if: What if the Democratic Nominee committed to include a majority of the good people that sought the nomination in her/his cabinet/appointees to form a truly coalition government… Can you imagine if before the general election the nominee would commit to appoint:

  •  Secretary of HUD Castro,
  • Office of Consumer Affairs Director Warren,
  • Cities Initiatives Specialist Buttigieg or Booker,
  • Attorney General Harris,
  • Foreign Affairs Guru Biden,

on and on…

All of these mental calestenics of us that are engaged will be for naught unless we actively – and enthusiastically – remain positive and empathetic and relate our personal passion to individuals with whom we relate. Relationships are built on share experiences. And if we expect our friends, family, social networks, affinity groups, and people we bump into intentionally or by happenstance to vote vote vote, we have to be intentional in engaging in the conversation constructively and joyfully.



What to make of this insanity? Going backwards on Cuba

Every turn. Every decision. Everything this President says and does reflects his questionable character, his lack of moral compass, his duplicity, his true self.

They tell me the economy is doing so much better. I hear the stock market is up, unemployment down… So, am I supposed to jump for joy because of those economic gains and gloss over the depth of angst, the feeling of disgust, the lies and lies and lies of this man that is supposedly representing me as President of the United States?

As Trump honkers down and feels more comfortable in his role as the leader of a disconnected alliance of single issue constituents, we in the opposition are left with the feeling that he could very well repeat his victory dance. His single issue constituents include: The folks that simply will vote for anyone but Democrats; the anti-abortionists (sorry; I will not call them pro-life); the anti-immigration zealots; those that will take short term economic gains at all costs (and conveniently forget the deficit); the military might crowd; and of course, the White Power crowd who see the inevitable demographic changes coming but will go to any length to have a few more years of power. Trump has managed to give each of these constituent single-issue groups enough meat on the bones to please them into continuing to support him though many may be disgusted with his personal character.

In my personal  world of Cuba policy interest, he is simply gone extreme to the max. The latest news has Exxon suing the Cuban Oil Corporation for property expropriated in the early days of the Revolution in the early 60’s – nearly 60 years ago. Exxon is seizing the opportunity made possible by the new rules which allows companies to sue others benefitting from the nationalization of property by the Cuban government. At the same time, the Trump administration is going to bat for the opposition to the Venezuelan government, in hopes to secure Citgo’s assets in a post-Maduro government.

On the surface, this makes all the sense in the world: The U.S. is combating the evil of communism by economically strangling the Cuban and Venezuelan government. The Trump administration’s expectation is that the Cuban and Venezuelan people will rise up and demand the end of the inefficient, dictatorial, communist regimes that have ravaged Cuba and Venezuela… Fair enough.

Except. Except that to expect the Cuban people to rise against the Cuban government for the damage done to Exxon and other corporations and uber-wealthy families is not exactly and inviting approach. I don’t think you will find too many people in Cuba that will take to the streets with “Do Exxon Right” signs. Instead these measure are simply instilling a sense in the Cuban people that the motives of the U.S. government are not exactly in the interest of the Cuban people.

Add to that the historical suspicion that the Cuban government propaganda machine has been able to instill in the Cuban people regarding U.S. motives, and you get the resulting “no thank you” attitude the Cuban people are likely to exhibit. The Cuban people may be looking for more entrepreneurship opportunities, a more market driven economy, and the ability to leave – and return – to their Country. But, they are definitively not looking for a corporate invasion and rampant, unregulated capital infusion without accompanying social improvements. The Cuban people are not looking to change masters. They want to do away with masters.

Instead of encouraging Americans to go to Cuba to directly help the Cuban people – not unlike what is happening in Vietnam – the Trump Administration is making it more difficult to infuse Cuba people with personal capital. This will lead to a more struggling economy. And – most critical – the current Trump Administration will leave the Cuban government no option but to turn to Iran for oil, China for infrastructure, and Russia for defense… Can you blame them?!? (Putin could not have devised a more perfect plan to get Cuba back into his orbit.)

All the while the improvised Cuban people will continue turning to the ‘paquete’ (digital hard drives) from Miami for entertainment, they will continue minimal subsistence thanks to the remittance from family in the U.S., and the holy-hellish agreement with the Church will continue providing minimal care for children and elderly… Cuba will continue withering away, with the military getting richer and living the high life in the Iran/Russia sphere; some will artists playing both sides of the Florida Straits appeasing some on both sides; and the vast majority of Cubans will continue ‘resolviendo’ (making do) – and dreaming of exiting someday somehow… Can you blame them?!?

Yet, the calculus of the Trump administration seems to be very simple. Clearly, they don’t give a rats ass about the Cuban people… All they care about is: Will their new Cuba policy get them votes in Florida in 2020? That is their single short term calculus… Nada mas.