Chameleon

Lindsey Graham isn’t a leader, he’s an actor; playing a role in order to appease the critics and maintain power at all costs.

In 2016, Graham used the election year as an excuse to block the Republican-led Senate’s consideration of Obama appointee Merrick Garland to replace Antonin Scalia on the high court. After the media was swift to hold Graham’s 2016 words (and his 2018 words) against him as he requested, Graham on Saturday morning pointed to other, more recent comments he made to NBC News and The Hill.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020). May her Memory be a Blessing

In her tiny fragile frame lay all of our hopes and dreams.

The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Left me shaken, numb, gasping for air.

I thought she was indomitable.
She had beaten cancer four times.
She was an icon, a hero, a legend.
Her brilliance was staggering,
Her compassion endless.

In her tiny fragile frame lay all of our hopes and dreams.

Yet I, with misplaced confidence in all that is good, 
Ridiculously believed her fierce desire to live
And to make our country a land of equality and justice for all
Somehow had the power to conquer death itself
For at least for a few more months.I was sadly, terribly wrong.
The Notorious RBG is gone.She took her last breaths
At the very last moments
Of the Jewish Year 5780,
A truly dreadful year.

That year, thank God, is over.
And her legacy remains with us
As we enter 5781.Ruth Bader Ginsburg taught men at the highest levels of power – and they were all men in the days she began her crusade – that gender, like race, is a construct. That the differences between men and women had been magnified by culture and centuries of unquestioned belief into ridiculous stereotypes. That gender roles confined women and men into prisons of conformity and put hurdles in the way of our individual pursuits of happiness. That women could be the best lawyers and have the finest legal minds. That men could be the kindest parents and caregivers. That the government had no business forcibly assigning us into designated slots. That we are all human. That those who would forcibly delineate male or female roles for us were as damaging to human freedom as the radical authoritarian states that would choose our professions for us.RBG gave us freedom, the power to be ourselves. It is impossible to imagine the world we now live in without her. A world where women are taken seriously. Where we have a female Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates. Where I – as an openly gay man – am regularly criticized (as I should be!) for my thoughts, my words, and my deeds but virtually never any longer for my sexual orientation. Where my colleague Delegate Danica Roem serves well and ably and with the gender of her birth an afterthought. Where people with different physical and mental abilities are valued for their humanity; not their differences. Where the fact that I posted Hebrew at the top of this page, in knowing reverence to both Justice Ginsburg’s religious faith and my own, would not be seen as a barrier to our success but an honor to our connected affinity – a recognition that people of various religions, along with atheists and agnostics, have a lot more in common than the beliefs which divide us.I realize we are not quite there yet. We still face gender, racial, ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic inequities. Under the current President, this inequality has been magnified. He openly attacks those who have been traditionally disparaged – women, minorities, immigrants, those with disabilities – with a passion and fervor not seen since Ruth Bader Ginsburg began her career in the 1950s, since she was first in her class but unemployable because no one wanted a “lady lawyer.”Our world is shaken.
But we must act with resolve and with confidence.
There is no time to despair.
There is work to be done.

Would the Notorious RBG have tolerated a bunch of us moping at her loss?
Not for a moment:
This Justice who issued a Supreme Court ruling from the bench
The very day after losing the love of her life, Marty Ginsburg,
A man who sincerely believed in gender equality long before it became a commonplace notion.Yes, she was indomitable.
Few of us have the mental or physical fortitude
Of this tiny giant.

I don’t call on us to mirror her brilliance, her strength, her greatness.
With few exceptions (Thurgood Marshall comes to mind), that’s impossible.
We can’t come close to matching that.Nevertheless, some ancient Talmudic wisdom comes to mind.
Our rabbis wrote thousands of years ago:It is not your responsibility
To complete the work
Of perfecting our world.

But you are required.
To do your part.
(That’s worth rereading a few times.)
Let us all resolve
In her name,
In her honor,
In her legacy, and
In her blessed memory

To redouble our efforts
To finish the job she set out to do.

She gave us a fantastic head start.
But now she is gone.

The baton is at our feet.

Pick it up.

Run.

Written by Mark Levine.

Mark H. Levine (born May 7, 1966) is an American politician serving as the Delegate from the 45th District of the Virginia House of Delegates since 2016. He is a member of the Democratic Party.

Morality and Politics (Conversation with myself)

How can honest people support a person who shows absolute ignorance on almost any subject? How can so many people still believe a president whose closest advisers are already in jail or are under investigation? How can people who teach their kids to be honest and respectful look at them and tell them to respect a man, knowing he does not follow any moral guidance?

Does a president need to lead by example? Will a president’s behavior affect people’s behavior? Can we, with clear consciousness, support an amoral politician?

Democracy is based on participation. But if the president lacks morals, values and principles, people become cynical, lose trust in the system, and democracy falls.

Can we trust a president who we know is not honest? A dishonest president corrodes people’s trust in government. And distrust of our government destroys the democratic system based on people’s participation.

A president needs to have the common good in mind when making decisions. For example, when deciding immigration issues, common decency and empathy should be a compass. A person who is capable of taking children away from parents, without feeling compassion, has no moral compass.

Hypocrisy

Why are we teaching our kids good morals if they know that someone who does not have good morals was elected president? Can we teach kids to be honest, respect others, not to lie and not to steal and then turn around and say that it is okay when a politician is doing all these things?

political ethicists have emphasized the ways in which democracies can fall apart in the absence of personal virtue. Conservative thinkers, in particular, have argued that political institutions can only function when all those who participate within them are capable of compromise and of self-government. Rules, to put it simply, don’t work unless people governed by those rules care about them and voluntarily choose to abide by them. If this is true of citizens, it is even more true of the president, whose opportunities to damage the system through unprincipled actions are so much greater.” https://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/2019/02/opinion-must-the-president-be-a-moral-leader.html

INTEGRITY

Integrity is having a strong set of ethical principles, being able to tell the truth no matter the consequences, admitting to a wrong even if you could get away without doing it. Integrity is about doing the right thing; it is being incorruptible, honest, and above all, doing all these things when no one is around to see it.”

I am trying to use logic to outline, to reason, to explain why principles and high morals are important. But maybe it is simpler than that.

Let’s put aside politics. Isn’t it natural to feel repulsion, anger, sadness, shock seeing this man in OUR WHITE HOUSE?

Let’s talk about integrity, principles, moral clarity. How can any decent person ignore all lies, unethical behavior and derogatory speeches? How can people who consider themselves decent and moral defend an adulterer, a crook, a cheater? Trump mocked a disabled person, a reporter. He ordered the separation of children from their parents.

How can honest people support a person who shows absolute ignorance on almost any subject? How can so many people still believe a president whose closest advisers are already in jail or are under investigation? How can people who teach their kids to be honest and respectful look at them and tell them to respect a man, knowing he does not follow any moral guidance?

How do you feel listening to all these lies?

How do you feel seeing a man mocking a disabled person?

How do you feel watching little children separated from their parents?

How do you feel watching democracy crumbling around you?

Does watching this man in the White House, decapitating the EPA, our land and sea, make you sad, angry?

How do you feel watching this man’s smirk when he is hugging our American flag?

Morally blind

So why are we trying to explain the obvious to a blind person?

How do you explain how the sky looks to the blind?

How do you explain colors, fall leaves to the blind?

How do you explain birds singing, trees whispering in the evening breeze to a deaf person?

I don’t know. And it frightens me.