Forgiveness is a tricky thing

The killer of Botham Jean is embraced by her victim’s brother, who tearfully told her he forgives her. Photo by Slate

Christians believe we are redeemed — forgiven for all our sins — if we believe Jesus died for us.

Some Christians seem to interpret that as license to commit sins, knowing God’ll forgive because, well, Jesus.

I’m not so sure. On the one hand forgiveness is more about me than you. I never sensed any remorse from my grandfather for molesting me throughout my childhood, but I had to forgive him. I had to let it go so I could cease allowing his abuse to define me. But I also kept my distance from him because I knew he wasn’t safe.

I would love to see the doctors who refused to treat my son, knowing he would die, suffer some consequences, but that’s not going to happen. I can’t allow them to live, rent-free, in my head, so I have let go of my anger and outrage. If any of them approached me and said they wanted to work with me toward Medicare for All, I would stand with them as brothers and sisters in the fight.

But, as my mother’s pastor once described it, sin leaves a scar. He pierced a piece of paper with a pencil (the sin), then removed the pencil to show a hole — a scar. The sin is gone, but the damage is still there.

Watching an African-American man hug the woman who murdered his brother in cold blood sent a chill up my spine. I didn’t feel comfortable thinking, “Awwww, that’s so Christian of him.”

And my mind went back to the young man who murdered nine African-American people in an act of racial hatred in Charleston, SC. The survivors of the massacre, family members and others stood in front of microphones and offered forgiveness to the unrepentant racist.

That made me uncomfortable, too.

It seems people of color keep forgiving the people who murder them, but the other side of the coin — the remorse on the part of the killers — is blank. A blog post by Rev. Karyn Carlo that I read yesterday called it “cheap grace.”

Cheap grace is a scenario where someone is called to forgive again and again and again, but the object of forgiveness keeps committing the same sin. The phrase keeps spinning in my head.

We keep allowing black people to forgive white people for killing them, and all too often the white people walk free. Systemic racism continues while black people are still called to forgive. Jail sentences are more common and more lengthy for people of color. Schools are poorer and still segregated. Access to health care is worse. Access to the vote is far less and getting worse.

If Botham Jean had walked into her apartment “by mistake” and shot her, he would be on Death Row. But we assuage our collective guilt by saying “Awwww …” when we see his brother embrace and forgive the woman who murdered him.

I can’t quite force myself to say, “Awwww…” anymore. I want to see issues of racism dealt with. I want to see real justice.

As a white woman, it’s not my place to forgive the killer of Botham Jean or the racist who slaughtered nine people in Charleston. It is my place to listen and follow. It also is my place to work toward racial economic and social justice.

Why do I feel so angry all the time? Why doesn’t everyone?

With my vacation half over (I spent a week on Cape Cod camping with my sisters and leave tomorrow to spend a few days with friends before my granddaughter and her husband and daughter come to visit next week), I feel rested and restless at the same time.

I had an argument with my sister over whether we should shoot for an immediate move to Medicare for all, or whether it should be done gradually.

“I’m done with gradualism, ” I told her.

During the 12 minutes we’d been talking about this, another person died the way Mike did. I’ve heard every argument, and in the time it will take you to recite them to me, another person will have died the way Mike did. When you add them all up, it’s about a half million human beings, just in the 11 years since Mike died.

And now you want me to wait some more. Are we waiting until my other son dies? Maybe one of his kids or grandkids? How long are we supposed to wait?

I didn’t get all this out before she yelled at me to let her finish her argument. In that time, another person died. and since that time, another 100-plus people have died. I turned my head and started reading something on my phone because I didn’t want an ugly scene, but I knew I couldn’t convince her I’m right. She pays through the nose, but she has access to care. She had surgery in the last year for a condition that would have killed her had she been uninsured.

I can’t even begin to say how grateful I am for that.

I tried to tell her all this, but I just started crying instead because even after 11 years, the pain of my son’s death is as fresh and raw as ever, and in the time I took to try and explain that, another American died from lack of access to health care and his or her family is plunged into the same endless grief I experience every day.

Meanwhile, children languish in filthy cages with no sanitary supplies and no beds, separated from their parents in a strange land where they don;t know what people are even saying to them.

Meanwhile, the Earth continues to burn, hurtling us toward extinction in a few short generations.

Meanwhile, we contemplate war on Iran.

Meanwhile, the water in Flint and dozens of other American cities is still poisoned.

Meanwhile, the election districts are still gerrymandered and the elections are controlled by two utterly corrupt parties.

Meanwhile, the wealthiest of us continue to steal and hoard our wealth while half of our families live near or below the poverty level because those with the most money won’t pay a living wage for a week’s work and then they get to call poor people lazy because they don’t have enough money to meet their basic needs.

Meanwhile, we all go about our business, taking care of ourselves but not noticing how much trouble we’re in as a nation, as a species.

Meanwhile, a third of our nation continues to defend the hatred and ignorance spewing from the Oval Office, and we have yet to rise up in sufficient numbers to prod our so-called leaders into action to remove this criminal from office.

All the while, complacent people scream at me to “VOTE BLUE, NO MATTER WHO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

No. No to all of it.

I will not shut up. I will not wait. I will not be patient. And I will not vote for another Wall Street-sponsored candidate.

I’m done with all of it. This is more than a national emergency, it’s a planetary one. It’s about our continued existence as a species, and you’re asking me to wait patiently?

Every day we wait, dozens more people die.

Every day we wait, children in Flint and other cities face irreversible brain damage from lead in their water.

Every day we wait, people languish in jail, losing their jobs and homes and children because they don’t have $500 bail money. So they wait in jail for months to be tried for a crime they may not even have committed.

Every day we wait, we edge closer to extinction.

Wake up. Stop waiting for somebody else to save us. We have to save ourselves, and we can’t do that by being patient.

Is it really ‘kindness?’

Ellen DeGeneres is defending her friendship with the former president, saying it’s always best to be kind. But being kind to him is a show of disrespect toward the people who died as a direct result of his policies, both foreign and domestic.

Kindness is a wonderful thing, and we really do see far too little of it in this toxic culture.

But is it kind to say George W. Bush is a good man? Or is it maybe an undeserved absolution of his crimes?

I do believe most of the really horrible crimes in the Bush administration were perpetrated by his vice president, Dick Cheney. But Bush was the boss. He approved those policies, including an illegal and ill-advised war on Iraq that cost hundreds of thousands of lives; torture; “extraordinary rendition,” or the kidnapping and torture of people who hadn’t been convicted of any crime; the shaping of public policy by corporate people who stood to gain billions; the failure to move on any of the issues that affect people in horrible ways.

Despite all these things, he walked away a free man, able to start painting his dogs, his feet in the bathtub, whatever. He’s carefree, and that seems to be a sign to me that his crimes don’t cause him any trouble at all.

What bothers me is his lack of remorse for all of it.

It’s one thing to be kind to someone you disagree with — as much as I oppose the current occupant of the White House, I do have a number of friends who voted for him — but disagreeing on policies is one thing; being friends with the people who put those policies in place is quite another. Believing the lies is one thing; perpetrating them is quite another.

To treat him kindly is a form of disrespect toward the many, many people who died as a result of his administration’s policies, both foreign and domestic.

I’m working on being kinder, especially on social media. I do not allow disrespect of others on my wall — I will block repeat offenders after a single warning.

But, let’s face it, it’s hard to be nice to someone who thinks poor people are lazy because that’s what they’ve been fed by Fox News and others. It doesn’t take a whole lot of critical thinking skills to see through the lies. On the other hand, when you’re working two jobs and you still can’t make ends meet, you don’t have a whole lot of time and energy left over to do the research on your own.

Kindness is important, and we do need to be a whole lot kinder to each other. But people who commit the kind of crimes perpetrated by the Bush administration don’t deserve our kindness. They need to face consequences for their actions. If we think a woman who steals a coat deserves the same sentence as a cop who shoots a neighbor in cold blood after walking into the wrong apartment, we’re more than a little confused about the meaning of consequences.

We live in a country where justice is for sale. Rich people pay a tiny percentage of their wealth for serious crimes while poor people sit in jail for months for lack of access to cash for bail, losing their jobs, homes and even their children.

I think if we’re going to talk about kindness, we need to talk about kindness toward those people Jesus referred to as “the least of these, my brothers and sisters.”

It would be kind to guarantee access to health care for everyone.

It would be kind to pay people a living wage in exchange for a week’s work.

It would be kind to make sure children in poor school districts got the same quality of education as kids in wealthy districts.

It would be kind to hold cops accountable for the murders of unarmed black men.

It would be kind to take immediate and serious action on climate change so that our grandchildren will inherit a habitable planet.

It would be kind to offer real social, economic and racial justice.

I’m happy to be kind to people who disagree with me; I will not be kind to the people who tell the lies and make disastrous and lethal public policies.

When will we stop pretending this is normal?

If we don’t act now, we sentence the planet to death./NASA image

While we’re all going about our daily business as though everything were normal, a petty dictator is amassing power in Washington and dismantling the Constitution.

While you’re at work, he’s filling lifetime judicial seats with cronies loyal only to him, thanks to an equally hate-filled and corrupt Senate Majority Leader.

While you’re running errands, he’s covering up his illegal activities and disobeying subpoenas from Congress.

All of our social compacts are being broken, our confidence betrayed.

He’s enacting policies he knows will exacerbate climate catastrophe.

He’s locking children in cages at the border and refusing them vaccines and medical help.

He’s starting to round up homeless people and talking about rounding up people with mental illnesses instead of raising the minimum wage, getting help for people with mental illnesses or doing anything about the unfettered access to guns that the NRA wants on the streets so it can make more money.

This administration is holding people in cages, forcing toddlers to attend immigration hearings alone — no parents, no attorneys, just the tiny toddler and the judge.

ICE is training more and more agents while the ones already out there flout the law by detaining people they have no right to round up in the first place. American citizens with Latin-sounding names are being denied passports or having them revoked. American citizens have been held in camps for weeks on end with no idea what’s happening to them. One young man had agreed to be deported just to get out of the detention camp when his case was discovered and he was freed.

People are dying in these camps and now the petty dictator talks about using community police to help round up homeless people to be placed in similar camps.

Still, we go about our business as though everything is normal while he and his cronies drum up support for another war-for-profit. Then they’ll recruit poor people with the promise of free college when you get back — if you get back — from however many times they can deploy you to the combat zone.

It’s called the poverty draft, and if you’re above needing that to look forward to a decent life, you still ought to care.

Meanwhile, women’s rights, civil rights, voting rights, LGBTQ rights, labor rights and more are being eroded at an incredible pace.

Striking auto workers are being denied their health care. All workers are being denied a living wage. In some states, government workers are denied collective bargaining rights.

Regulations that protect us at work, home and play are being overturned and we have no recourse in the courts because they’ve stacked the courts with their own people.

Doesn’t any of this bother you?

I met a man who was an activist in the Philippines during the time of Ferdinand Marcos, and he told me he thinks most Americans are still too comfortable and still in denial of what’s happening.

If ever there was a classic case for impeachment, it is this one, this time, this president. But Democrats in the House and Senate still worry whether it’s politically expedient, when they should worry more about the state of the Constitution, which, by the way spells out impeachment as the job of Congress in cases such as this.

The Amazon is on fire in a politically motivated attack against the indigenous peoples who were there first and against the Earth itself.

We allow our politicians to scoff at environmental activists and others who are working for a better world, and their lack of action could sentence us all to death within a couple of generations.

An election isn’t going to fix any of this, especially when both political parties are in the pocket of the 1 percent. It won’t matter whether you go along with the overly simplistic “vote blue, no matter who,” you’re going to lose. The fascists are firmly entrenched and we need to take to the streets.

Too many of us still go to work, run errands, take vacations and otherwise live as though there were no emergency, but there is, and the entire planet is in peril.

We don’t have any more time to take care of climate change gradually. We are on the precipice of economic and social collapse on a scale not seen since the end of the Bronze Age.

Tomorrow, I’ll join millions in a strike and for climate action; on Saturday I’ll take part in a public event to promote peace. On Sept. 30, I’ll march in Greensboro with the Poor People’s Campaign.

On days when I’m not taking action, I will continue to write to legislators, to call and visit them and let them know that I see them and I know how they’re voting.

I likely will do more civil disobedience.

I do this because I have great-grandchildren and I want them to live.

Skip the online petitions and polls; get out and do something

Mark Kelly wants your contact information so his people can ask you for money every day. If you donate, your contact information likely will be shared and others will ask for your money. Again and again and again …

Every day on social media, it’s the same thing: a one-question instant poll asking whether I think the occupant of the Oval Office is racist, whether Joe Biden is too old, whether pollution is a bad thing …

“Sign the petition!”

“Tell Congress you want sensible gun laws…”

“Tell Congress to protect our Second Amendment rights …”

None of it demands you get off your butt and do anything. Just sign and go on scrolling and looking at other people’s dinners and reading celebrity gossip.

But one thing you do accomplish when you take these “instant polls” or sign on to petitions that likely won’t ever be delivered, and even if they are, nobody’s going to act on them, is that you give your contact information to some marketing firm and your inbox is going to be inundated with requests for money.

That’s all they want. Your money. They’re not going to accomplish any policy change, but they have your information and they’re going to ask you for money every damn day.

Bernie needs $1 to make it to a million donors.

Mayor Pete will fight for you if you answer one question: Are you happy with your health care plan?

Elizabeth Warren needs to know whether you support consumer protections.

Sign the petition and tell Congress to protect Israel. Or Palestinians. Or Russian workers. Or the people of Hong Kong …

“Let’s put Gov. Inslee on the debate stage …”

I see dozens of them every day, and I like to comment: “I’m not giving you my contact information so you can use it to clog up my inbox with demands for money.”

I don’t answer instant polls and I don’t sign online petitions.

Neither should you.

These “polls” aren’t scientific and they’re useless as a result. And I’ve never heard of an online petition changing public policy. The only aim is to raise money, and they won’t stop, especially if you donate.

Now they know they have a live one, and they’ll tell their friends.

Have you ever tossed food to a single seagull at the beach? That gull will call all its friends, and before you know it, there are a dozen or more gulls flocking around you, trying to get at your lunch.

That’s how these marketers work. Suddenly, you have a dozen e-mails a day asking for you to sign petitions and donate money.

So, what should we do instead?

Show up.

Show up at your legislators’ offices with your demands for action.

Show up at events to learn more about the issues, so you know more than you’ll learn from clicking a yes or no button on Facebook.

Learn what you can about the issues you care about, about the pros and cons of policies and how they affect real people.

When ICE is in town, take groceries to families who are afraid to leave their homes.

When City Council wants to sell off a piece of public-owned land to a private developer, show up and demand the land stay in public hands, or if the sale is for the development of “affordable” housing, make sure that housing is truly affordable, not $1500 for a one-bedroom apartment.

Educate yourself and act on what you know, and then help others learn.

If you’re tempted to post a petition, find a fact sheet and post that instead.

Oh, and make sure you’re registered to vote, and then vote. If we all use the ballot, cheating is less likely to work for those who steal elections with voter suppression laws and gerrymandering.

You can check your voter registration status here: https://www.vote.org/am-i-registered-to-vote/. If you thought you were registered and you’re not, you’ve probably been purged and you need to re-register. Do it now so you don’t get screwed out of your vote on Election Day.

The instant polls and fake petitions are a distraction. Please treat them as such.

Guns are the problem

Guns are the problem.

You can deny it all you want, but that’s the truth. Guns kill people. Sure they have to be in the hands of someone, but you can’t have mass shootings without guns.

Take the guns out of the hands of these angry white racist misogynists and the carnage will stop. It really is that simple.

Someone commented to me yesterday that cars kill people too. The difference here is that guns are manufactured expressly for the purpose of killing, I told him. Cars are made for transportation and accidents happen. People drown in bathtubs, too. Big deal.

He tried to tell me guns have purposes other than killing people. What about hunting, he asked.

I told him my father always brought home dead animals from hunting, and if that’s doing it wrong, perhaps I’d better talk to other people in my family who hunt.

Also, hunters who want to eat what they hunt don’t use assault-style weapons because you can’t eat an animal that’s been shot with one.

The problem is guns.

If these angry white men couldn’t get their hands on guns, we wouldn’t have mass shootings.

We need to regulate guns to keep them out of the hands of men who have been convicted of domestic violence, men who threaten people who disagree with them on social media, men who are members of “incel” (involuntarily celibate) groups, men who strut about in public with their assault-style weapons slung from their shoulders, thrilled that others “respect” (really, fear) them and believing it somehow will make their penises bigger.

Because guns are the problem.

It is not mental illness, either. The VAST majority of people with mental illnesses don’t shoot anyone. In fact, they tend to commit fewer violent crimes. Women have mental illnesses, too, and at the same rate as men, if not higher, but we don’t shoot up Walmarts, theaters or anything else. And the rest of the world has pretty much the same level of psychiatric illness as we do, but they don’t have the mass shootings because they don’t have unfettered access to guns.

Every now and then you’ll read about a person with a knife who manages to kill a couple of people and injure a few more before being stopped, and the gun lovers will say, “See? Knives kill people too!”

But had the knife wielder had an assault-style rifle, the death toll would have been a whole lot higher.

The problem is guns in the hands of angry, racist white men who think they should own and control everything and everyone.

The problem is the racist pig squatting in the Oval Office, egging them on so that he can watch with unconcealed glee as people he wants us to see as enemies are slaughtered.

The problem is Republicans who won’t do anything about gun violence because peddling fear is what gets them elected again and again. Well, that and cheating.

The problem is that right-leaning judges have been pushed by the NRA to interpret the Second Amendment as unfettered access to high-powered military-grade weapons.

The Second Amendment actually says, ” A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Do you want to join a well regulated militia? You know, attend meetings and take gun-safety classes? Do military drills? Have supervision?

Probably not. These gun enthusiasts want unfettered access to guns they see as toys.

The problem is that guns are everywhere and angry white men love to use them in place of the giant penises they wish they had.

Time to move the Overton Window back to the center

If he’s the nominee, we’re in trouble.

Have you ever heard of the Overton Window? That’s the movable political “center.”

Back in the 1970s, the Democratic party stood for universal access to health care, a living wage and more. Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society was to be a program that would mostly end poverty in a single generation, but it was overwhelmed by the Vietnam War It was, however, a Democratic ideal, and Robert Kennedy would have continued those policies. The Republican Party platform at the time looked about like the Democratic Party platform does now.

Under Ronald Reagan, the conversation moved way to the right, and it continued to do so, fueled, at least in part by Fox News once it hit the airwaves. Suddenly, “liberal” was a dirty word and government was bad — always bad, no matter what. The Overton Window was parked squarely in front of conservative Republicans, and it has moved steadily to the right ever since.

The conversation kept moving rightward until today, the very things that were in the 1976 Democratic Party platform are considered “far-left,” or “socialist,” even though that’s exactly what the majority of Americans want.

Our two parties now represent 1960s-era Republicans and fascists, and both sit well to the right of center. Wall Street is trying to get the Democrats to put up another 1960s-era Republican against the fascist currently squatting in the Oval Office, and too many of my Democratic friends are rolling over and saying they’ll vote for that.

Sorry, but I’m not so sure I’m willing to do that again, and I know millions of others feel the same way. I’m not saying I won’t vote blue unless Bernie is the nominee, but it had better be someone who will work toward those same traditional Democratic values, because even if I get in line and vote for the moderate, as I did last time, millions of others will not.

A “moderate” (a 1960s-era Republican) will not win in 2020.

The DNC needs to understand that.Republican opinion writers are telling us we have to put up a moderate, but that’s just so David Brooks and his ilk will have somebody they can vote for. Well, I don’t give a damn how David Brooks and other moderate Republicans vote, I want a Democrat — a real Democrat, and I hope the DNC understands that I’m not in the minority.

I want health care and sensible gun laws and real action on climate change. I want private, for-profit prisons banned. I want minimum wage to be a living wage. I want prison camps for migrants and the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed. And the majority of Americans want those same things.

The ball is in your court, DNC. You can play to win or play to lose, but don’t blame me when Uncle Joe goes down in flames.

Stop denying your privilege. It’s truly offensive.

Last night, somebody shocked me by telling me I was talking “nonsense” when I insisted out current health care “system” is broken, and that we have to move to single-payer.

“We need to preserve our system,” she said, and proceeded to try and shame me into supporting Joe Biden or another “moderate” who’s beholden to the profit-mongers currently in charge.

I was appalled that anyone knowing how I lost my son to this mess would say that to me.

I told her she was talking privilege.

She has the privilege of being covered by an insurance plan she can afford, co-pays, deductibles and all.

She has the privilege of not needing immediate help that’s just unavailable because she can’t afford it.

She has the privilege of not having watched someone she loves more than life itself draw his last breath because nobody would help him.

She has the privilege of being able to wait for politicians get off their asses and do something about the 35 million Americans who have no insurance, and the millions more who have insurance with a deductible so high they can’t afford to use it.

She claimed she has no such thing as privilege, that she just wants people to be able to get health care.

But she can’t see that tens of millions of Americans are going without while she calls me stupid for wanting them to get immediate access.

She probably thinks we can wait a few years for the minimum wage to hit $15, too. But if you’re making $7.25 an hour, you can’t wait for that raise. You need that money now. If you think otherwise, your privilege is showing.

If you hold the people at our borders in contempt because they walked a thousand miles with their children to escape drug gangs — gangs that are the direct result of US drug policy — your privilege is showing.

If you think our policy of incarcerating people — non-citizens or citizens — in private, for-profit prisons, not feeding them enough (I know about conditions in private prisons because my brother is in one) and then “contracting” their labor out to the highest bidder, your privilege is showing.

If you think the people in Flint and other cities with lethal contaminants in their water can wait for it to be fixed, your privilege is showing.

If you think it’s OK to keep somebody in jail for months as they await trial for a nonviolent misdemeanor like falling asleep on a park bench, causing them to lose their jobs, housing and even their kids, just because they can’t come up with $250 cash bond, your privilege is showing.

If these things and other atrocities perpetrated by the fascists in Washington are OK, it’s because you have a warm bed, clean water, access to health care, reliable transportation, enough food — in other words, privilege.

If you think poor people are just lazy and only want a handout, your privilege is showing big time.

And if you’re white and male and you don’t see any problem with the way things are, you’re particularly privileged.

When you have such privilege and you deny it, I find that deeply offensive. When you call me stupid because you can’t see your privilege — even when it’s pointed out to you, you are even more despicable to me.

When you have such great privilege and you deny it, you are willfully ignorant, and there are few greater sins in my book.

I know it’s hard to recognize our own privilege, but we must if we are to move toward a just society for everyone, not just for you.

No more gradualism, no more excuses

New York Times photo

A “friend” came onto my Facebook page yesterday to explain to me why we need to fix health care gradually.

The first thing I did was ask whether she thinks a century is gradual enough, since it was Theodore Roosevelt who first proposed a single-payer health care system more than 100 years ago.

But then I thought about it and removed the post — and the friend.

This is a person who knows I lost my son to this broken system. Her post was immensely disrespectful, and before I removed the post, I asked whether it would take the death of a child of hers to make her understand how misguided her post on my timeline was.

And in the 11 1/2 years since my son died, another half million Americans have died the same way. That’s right, 500,000 — 45,000 a year, year in and year out. The Affordable Care Act helped for awhile, but now 70 percent of employer-sponsored plans have a deductible of $1,000 or more — some as high as $6,000 — not to mention co-pays and out-of-network charges. Even plans on the exchange are pricey unless you have a large subsidy. The year before I went on Medicare, my premiums were $1,300 for just me and the deductible was $3,000. My co-pay to see my regular doctor was $40, and a visit to a specialist was $75. When I needed outpatient surgery for a kidney stone, I was responsible for more than $6,000 of the $13,000 bill. And this was before our local hospital was sold to a for-profit corporation.

No one has studied how many insured Americans die because they can’t afford that kind of money. Remember that a recent survey showed the majority of Americans can’t afford an unexpected $800 expense. Since most deductibles now are more than $1,000, where does that put the average family?

I’ll tell you one thing, it puts them in a place where they can’t afford health care. Sure, they’re able to get the colonoscopy or the mammogram, but if it shows any irregularity, now what? Can you afford the tests? How about the treatment?

Nearly half of cancer patients have to wipe out their entire life savings for treatment — and that’s with insurance. One in three will go bankrupt.

Once every 12 minutes another American dies from lack of access to health care. I’m betting their families would rather not have waited for reform.

If you think you need to tell me why we should wait to fix health care, do me a favor and restrain yourself. I’ve heard all your arguments and I don’t need to hear them again. It only re-opens the wound of my son’s unnecessary death again and again and again.

I understand that you don’t know what it’s like to watch your child breathe his last, and I hope you never do. But you need to understand that hearing you say we can wait for health care means you don’t give a damn about any of these deaths, even though you say “I’m sorry for your loss.”

If you come onto my timeline to tell me why we can wait, you are most assuredly not sorry for my loss, or for anyone else’s.

I think enough people have died, and you’ll never convince me it’s OK to let more people die.

I think your excuses are lame, and a lot of them are lies designed to keep the oligarchs in charge of our health care.

I think you’ve probably not lost a child to this mess, and I sincerely hope you never do.

And I still think we need to fix this now. There are no more excuses.

Listen to the young people

I like Joe Biden personally, but that doesn’t mean he can win the presidency. Young people won’t vote for him, and they have to live with the consequences of this election a lot longer than I do.

Joe Biden won’t win.

You can argue with that all you want, scream bumper-sticker slogans at me, hate people who won’t give in to your demands — and Joe Biden still won’t win.

In fact, no “moderate” will get young people out to vote. Here’s why:

Young people are getting out of school with a mountain of debt and no real job opportunities. They know we need real change if they are to have any chance of the life my generation was handed.

But we Boomers are a selfish lot. It has always and only been about us. Give us the power to change America for the better, we said in the 1960s. Our parents’ generation balked at that, so we protested, promising we would fix everything if they just passed the baton to us.

Then 1980 came. We had graduated college, paid off a few thousand dollars in debt, bought homes and started to save for retirement. Suddenly, our attitude became “I got mine, get your own,” and huge numbers of us voted for Ronald Reagan to secure our holdings. God forbid we should help people who were less fortunate — we just accused them of being lazy while we watched Republicans crush unions and steal our nation’s wealth.

Now, we’re at the age our parents were in the 1960s and ’70s, and we’re even more determined to hold onto power. We don’t care that our so-called leaders are denying science to the point that they’re endangering the very planet we call home. We are nearing the point of the collapse of our entire ecosystem, and no matter how “clever” we are, we can’t survive that as a species.

But sure, let’s suck the last few drops of fossil fuel out of the planet and allow it to cross the threshold of our ability to survive. I don’t care how smart humans are, we can’t breathe methane, and we can’t survive a broken food chain.

Young people know all this. They know that if we continue on our current path for just a few more years, we will kill the entire human race, perhaps within their lifetimes.

They know a vote for a moderate is a vote to continue along the current path of everything-for-profit and damn the consequences.

They need health care, and moderates say we really can’t fix that. Gradualism is the key, here, they say. Well, a single-payer system was proposed by Theodore Roosevelt more than a century ago. How’s that for gradualism? Oh, and more Americans die every damn day we don’t fix this — approximately a half million since my son died from this cause 11 years ago. But, yeah, what’s a few hundred thousand human beings?

Young people need a living wage, but moderates say we should raise it up to $15 over the course of five years, even though it would have been $23 now if it had kept pace with inflation. If you’re making $7.25 an hour, you need that money NOW, not in five years, when it will be worth even less.

Yeah, I know. You’re going to invoke the courts. They already have the courts. Mitch McConnell has been quietly stacking the courts for years. And a moderate who appoints moderates won’t fix that, either.

Young people look at all this and demand better. If we don’t give it to them in the form of a candidate who they’re willing to vote for, we will lose again, just as we did in 2016.

We Baby Boomers can continue to hold onto power while the entire planet crashes, or we can step aside and let the next generation take the reins. God knows they can’t screw it up any worse than we did.

Republicans want a moderate; the people want change

Migrants are gathered inside the fence of a makeshift detention center in El Paso, Texas in March. (Photo by Sergio Flores for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

We’ve seen a number of writings by Republicans lately urging Democrats to run another “moderate.”

Here’s why we need to ignore them:

Moderate Republicans want to make the Democratic party their own because they can’t bring themselves vote for a fascist. That’s a good thing, but not for Democrats.

If we put up another moderate, we’ll get the same result: another loss. That’s because most Americans know we need real change and we need it now, not in another four or eight years. Young adults won’t vote for another moderate, and a lot of traditional Democrats won’t, either, so please stop telling me I’m dooming us because I refuse to pledge to “vote blue, no matter who.” That little bumper-sticker slogan was probably coined by a “moderate.”

Eighty-three percent of Americans want Medicare for all. Eighty-three percent. But none of the moderates will pursue that.

Our planet is suffering irreversible damage because of climate change. If we don’t so something drastic in the next decade, we face extinction because we can’t breathe methane, and methane levels are increasing at an alarming rate. A moderate won’t do anything radical because he or she is owned, or at least partly owned by fossil fuel interests.

Minimum wage NEEDS to be $15 or more an hour. A moderate won’t do that because his or her corporate overlords will forbid it.

We have a humanitarian crisis at our border, which is nothing more than a ramping up of existing policies put in place by a moderate. Yes, Obama was a moderate, and he deported more people than anyone before him. Obama created the camps, although they were nothing like what they have become. Still, I doubt a moderate will close them. Remember how Obama promised to close Gitmo? It’s still there.

As a result of this policy, human beings now are being rounded up and placed in conditions that we wouldn’t allow for animals. How long before we start killing some to make room for more?

We have a criminal thug in the Oval Office and the moderates in Congress do nothing to stop him.

The people offering this advice are REPUBLICANS looking out for their own interest, not ours. Where are your critical thinking skills, people? These are not “hard left” positions. These are mainstream positions, and we will not win back the Senate or the White House by embracing them.

We can’t endure another four years of fascist rule. The Republicans in the Senate have pushed through hundreds of right-wing judges, and another loss could corrupt our courts beyond repair.

Our deficit is rising precipitously and we can’t endure that for another four years.

Our air and water are dirtier than they’ve been in many decades.

Worst of all, we have lost our leadership position and any moral authority in the world.

A moderate won’t fix any of this. The attempt to get Democrats to run another moderate is nothing more than the 1 percent looking out for its own interests.

They’re scared because of the popularity of the true Democrats. Look at the party platform from 1976 and you’ll see the traditional values of the Democratic Party. You’ll also see they’re the same values being embraced by what Republicans are calling the “left wing” of the party, and by the majority of the American people.

Don’t fall for the lies of the Republicans and the oligarchy. Insist on a real Democrat to oppose the current administration and you’ll ensure a victory in 2020.

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