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Nelda’s dilemma 5 – Refugee solution requires leadership to address root causes


Image result for violence in latin americaIn El Salvador, there are 60,000+ gang members and overall murder rate is among highest in the world.  A gang set a bus on fire with people inside it. Latin America is home to just 8% of the world’s population but 33% of homicides. Just four countries in the region, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela account for a quarter of all the murders on earth. Of the 20 countries in the world with the highest murder rates, 17 are Latin American, as are 43 of the top 50 cities.

Image result for violence in latin americaNo Mr. Trump, Democrats did not ask for open borders. And no, the democrats did not ask for inhumane crackdown on people pouring in at our border. Any sensible people will avoid either extreme because effective solutions don’t always lie at either extremes. What democrats or any sensible person is saying or acknowledging is that border issue (like most governing issues) is a complex issue. It does not have one size fits all policy solution. It must include addressing broader issue of extreme violence and violence related economies in Latin America. Mr. pugnacious pusillanimous prevaricating potty-mouth putin-propped pointless placeholder #DonaldTrump, this issue like many issues cannot be solved by hiding into a box and building a wall around. Whether it is environment and climate change or refugee crisis, United States must have a seat at the table and take global #leadership in solving complex issues — exactly what #HillaryClinton would have done exactly what Obama administration had taken on.

Image result for solution to violence in latin americaGuatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are amongst the most dangerous countries in the world. If you live there and don’t even try to get out of there and make your way up North, then you are risking your life and your entire family’s life to be killed in gang violence. It is pure and simple human instinct to try to survive and to try to save one’s children.  Additionally, the violence has impacted and permeated into all the surrounding countries in Latin America — all the way from Mexico to Argentina, including in Colombia, Guyana, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Uruguay, Paraguay and so on.

No, it is not a solution to keep borders open. But democrats are suggesting that complexity of this problem be acknowledged with concrete actions for heart-centered, low and order compliant, compassionate, long term solutions. As Jeh Johnson, former Secretary of Homeland Security in Obama administration said on NPR, we will never  be able to fully address illegal migration unless we address the underlying causes of illegal migration; the powerful, push factors that motivate a mother or a father to send their child on a most dangerous journey to United States in the first place. It is a desperate situation that is pushing people to resort to desperate measures. Only effective way to deal with the border crisis is by thinking long term with bipartisan support and begin to invest in the physical security and economic security of these countries.

Image result for tents to house migrantsUnited States is putting in staggering amounts of money into incarcerating asylum seeking immigrants and already spent stupendous amount in housing and caring for babies and infants. With a fraction of that cost and a heavy dose of compassion, we can begin to address this issue and engage in discussions with Latin American countries. US also has access to phenomenal high tech resources that can be put to use. US can take leadership and get all countries to engage and enhance inter-country cooperation to curb violence and curtail gangs.

If a presidential candidate does not address immigration situation with this kind of long term solution then we need to to be aware that everything else is rhetoric and they won’t work on this in a bipartisan manner which is the only way it can be solved.

It is about time to make sure that each and every single child is united with parents and all children are treated as children, not at criminals.

See links to
Nelda’s journey 1 – http://bit.ly/2ymlWQt
Nelda’s journey 2 – http://bit.ly/2M1Czmi
Nelda’s journey 3 – http://bit.ly/2KarjH1
Nelda’s  journey 4 – http://bit.ly/2ywjfMb

 

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Nelda’s journey 4 – Mama deported, Nelda in foster care


Nelda’s mama is deported
Back to Venezuela
Nelda is with foster family
They’re caring and kind

At school Nelda learns
Days are full and fun
But nights bring terror
“Mama”, she sobs

Nights pour into days
Sleepless and scared
Nelda doesn’t care
I’m ok, she says

Nelda isn’t crying
Her tears have dried up
She’s ward in a system
And she’s quietly slipping

Meanwhile…….

Image result for woman deported by us border patrolNelda’s mama is back
She has spent it all
Just to stay alive
And to make the trek

How to pick up pieces
When piece of your heart
Is across impenetrable border
Mi Vida, my life, in air, she says

And then HHS declares
Nelda is to be united
But tragedy has struck
Just before Nelda flies

Uncle gets hold of mama
Remember Nelda’s uncle? (see part 1 of her journey)
Mama is gang raped and killed
What is to become of Nelda?

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If you have any difficulty imagining how incredibly dangerous the situation is in Latin America and how perilous the journey it is that people undertake so that they may live or what may happen to kids separated from their parents, then this Nelda’s story though fiction is what I have compiled from reading many actual stories and other reports.
Here are links to
Nelda’s journey 1: Live, I may – http://bit.ly/2ymlWQt
Nelda’s journey 2: I want to die – http://bit.ly/2M1Czmi
Nelda’s journey 3: Conversation with Nelda & her mama – http://bit.ly/2KarjH1

 

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Nelda’s Journey 3: Conversation with Nelda and her mama


Q: But Nelda, your mama brought you to abuse our system
A: But my mama was trying to save my life

Related imageQ: Mama, more of you are bringing your kids here, so you can come in.
A: More of us are trying to save our kids when there is more violence or drug economy depleting our jobs and livelihood.

Q: We need zero tolerance to deter you from coming
A: When faced with a choice of running on the path or staying to die, people will always choose to walk on the path wherever it leads. To try to survive is a human instinct and has little to do with policies.

Q: You are coming in illegally.
A: No we are not. We came at the border and turned ourselves in and requested asylum.

Q: Why didn’t you go to port of entry.
A: My mama went 6 times to port of entry and they asked us to come another time. Time was running out on us.

Q: As a mother, I wouldn’t send my kids with coyotes thousands of miles away. Obviously your people don’t care right?
A: As a mother, if your only choice was to send your kid away, you would, any mother would; because a parent will want a child to survive above all else. And these are not my people. People are coming to US border from so many countries in Latin America with similar problems.

Image result for migrant workersQ: But you people come here and take our jobs!
A: I can’t lie to you and say I am not going to work hard so my children have a better life. Anyway I heard that often there is worker shortage here and there are backbreaking jobs that few people want to do.

Q: We can’t keep taking you in. We have to build a wall and keep you out.
A: That is up to you and your conscience. But when experiencing violence and certainty of death, rape, kidnappings, people will walk on the path that is ahead; to where-ever it leads. When your house is on fire, you jump to the net below and you don’t ask will those people rob me, kidnap my child.

Now, can I ask you some questions.

Q: So you want to keep us out but didn’t you come to the US as an immigrant in 1984?
A: Yes, I did — legally.

Image result for legal migrationQ: So why did you leave your country? Did you dream of a better life?
A: Yes, I went to school, got education and then I wanted more opportunities. My family wasn’t rich, I’ve worked hard to be where I am.

Q: And now you’re taking away jobs from others?
A: Yes, but I came here legally, so it’s a fair fight. I came on merit.

Q: So you already had a leg up with good education but you came to the land of opportunity because you wanted a better life? Our biggest fault was to be born in a wrong place.
A: ummm perhaps….

Q: Well….. Those of us coming from violence torn areas of Latin America don’t have a leg up with better education and we are not coming just for a better life. WE WANT A LIFE, before it is snatched away from us, we want to live. You don’t believe that if given a chance, we too may shine on our own merit?
A: We can’t give you a chance on that chance.

Q: I understand. But you are a keeper of world’s righteousness, human rights and all I am asking is please give us a chance to stay alive today and be together.
A: I am sorry mam, we have to enforce the laws.

Image result for refugee moms deported and kids left in USQ: Enforce the laws but please don’t enforce your ad hoc policy of using us as collateral.
A: Sorry mam.

Q: Please can you at least think about it?
A: We are just going to enforce the law.  We’re going to detain 9 year old Nelda and mom is being deported right away.

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Here is link to part 1 of nine year old Nelda’s journey – http://bit.ly/2ymlWQt
Here is link to part 2 of Neld’s journey – http://bit.ly/2M1Czmi

PS: It is understandable that no country can have completely open borders. Every country has first responsibility towards its own population. It is also common sense that increasingly we live in a global world and it is increasingly challenging to have impenetrable borders with walls. We need to enhance border security with effective, low cost but high tech 21st century tools. Appropriate strategy to enhance border security must also include 21st century tools with sensors, embedded technology and more so that in addition to enhancing border security, we’re prepared to manage the exodus in a humane way. Appropriate strategy must also include extremely sophisticated negotiations with use of carrots and sticks with neighboring countries to curb violence and drug cartels with enhanced use of high tech for inter country co-operation. To remove all compassion, resort to outdated and costly means of building walls, snatching kids away, adopting ruthlessness devoid of any humanity and not truly address the root causes of the problems are truly abominable and absolutely ineffective practices. These traumatized children can have lasting impact and society will be left to pick up the pieces from intense trauma created by ineffective practices.

Latin America has huge pockets of crime where gangs rule and they target women, children, security personnel, LGBTQ and other members more susceptible and weak. Police are often susceptible or suspect and people have little trust in law enforcement. Organized crime and related economies drive the surge and abatement in violence and form the root causes and concurrent abatement and surge of refugees at our borders and must be addressed.  People do not put children in the hands of smugglers just for fun or because our policies admit them. The path to US border is extremely perilous. The ONLY REASON people send their children and/ or bring them here is because they are literally trying to save themselves and their children from turning up dead or worse. IT WOULD ALSO BE IN OUR BEST INTEREST TO ADHERE TO HUMAN RIGHTS AND TO LECTURE THESE COUNTRIES (AND USE REWARDS & PENALTIES) TO DO THE SAME. Granted, these are far more long term solutions, but we are not even considering them while we are brutally separating families.

Please please please listen to the voices of the children in this recording
https://www.propublica.org/article/children-separated-from-parents-border-patrol-cbp-trump-immigration-policy

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Nelda’s Journey 2: I want to die


I walked and walked and walked
Mama and I just kept walking
In daze. hungry, thirsty, sweaty
An exodus of people we joined

Image result for refugees at US borderHeard of cartels in Mexico, Colombia
Of Panama, El Salvador and Guatemala
About mayhem, rapes, murders and killings
In Belize, Honduras, Ecuador, Nicaragua

Neither welcoming nor it beckoned
The path just lay, uncompromising
Across mountains in Guatemala
I held on to mama, I was scared

Stopped at shelters, rode a bus
Rode atop freight train, the beast
Ferry ride in Mexico
I held onto mama’s hand just b’coz…

Some died, disappeared, killed
Blackmailed and some girls raped
Mama and I were going to survive
I was going to live, I was determined

Yes for ferry, mama paid!!!!
She left me with aunt Reda
Mama let them abuse only her
Made a deal and I was spared

Image result for refugees separated from kids at US borderI love mama and I held her tight
And then we arrived at US border
Relieved, I was hungry. Mama said,
We’re safe, mi vida, we’ll be alright

Then it wasn’t alright, it happened
I was holding mama’s hand tight
But they pried it and took me away
For my mama, I shouted, I cried

And I just want to die

 

STAY TUNED FOR PART 3 OF NELDA’S JOURNEY in my next blog post. And here is link to part 1 where her journey began – http://bit.ly/2ymlWQt
PS: It is understandable that no country can have completely open borders. Every country has first responsibility towards its own population. It is also common sense that increasingly we live in a global world and it is increasingly challenging to have impenetrable borders with walls. Appropriate strategy to enhance border security must include 21st century tools with sensors, embedded technology and more. Appropriate strategy must also include extremely sophisticated negotiations with use of carrots and sticks with neighboring countries to curb violence and drug cartels with enhanced use of high tech for inter country co-operation. To remove all compassion, resort to outdated and costly means of building walls, snatching kids away, adopting ruthlessness devoid of any humanity and not truly address the root causes of the problems are truly abominable and absolutely ineffective practices. These traumatized children can have lasting impact and society will be left to pick up the pieces from intense trauma created by ineffective practices.

Latin America has huge pockets of crime where gangs rule and they target women, children, security personnel, LGBTQ and other members more susceptible and weak. Police are often susceptible or suspect and people have little trust in law enforcement. Organized crime and related economies drive the surge and abatement in violence and form the root causes and concurrent abatement and surge of refugees at our borders and must be addressed.  People do not put children in the hands of smugglers just for fun or because our policies admit them. The path to US border is extremely perilous. The ONLY REASON people send their children and/ or bring them here is because they are literally trying to save themselves and their children from turning up dead or worse.

Please please please listen to the voices of the children in this recording
https://www.propublica.org/article/children-separated-from-parents-border-patrol-cbp-trump-immigration-policy

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Nelda’s Journey 1: Live, I may


Image result for Mexican refugee mother and daughterI’m Nelda, I’m nine and I want to die
I follow my mother like a shadow
But at night, clocked in invisibility
Uncle, a gang member, comes and I lie

Sometimes it’s mama, I’m spared
Sometimes he locks her up and it’s me
I hear mama begging and crying
But it’s no point, we’re ensnared

I hate papi. He was a security guard
He got paid but his job wasn’t safe
He protected a government judge
One day gang put a gun to his head

Once uncle came with a friend
That night and all nights after!
Gangs control Venezuela
Mama and I. None of us spared

Image result for caravan of refugees from central americaOne day mama said, let’s walk
Her friend told her about a caravan
In silence we walked to join’em
Nothing to discuss, no talk

I’ll write my own poem some day
Two roads emerged and I took one
I wished to die, instead I walked
And just perhaps…. live, I may

STAY TUNED FOR PART 2 OF NELDA’S JOURNEY in my next blog post.
PS: It is understandable that no country can have completely open borders. Every country has first responsibility towards its own population. It is also common sense that increasingly we live in a global world and it is increasingly challenging to have impenetrable borders with walls. Appropriate strategy to enhance border security must include 21st century tools with sensors, embedded technology and more. Appropriate strategy must also include extremely sophisticated negotiations with use of carrots and sticks with neighboring countries to curb violence and drug cartels with enhanced use of high tech for inter country co-operation. To remove all compassion, resort to outdated and costly means of building walls, snatching kids away, adopting ruthlessness devoid of any humanity and not truly address the root causes of the problems are truly abominable and absolutely ineffective practices. These traumatized children can have lasting impact and society will be left to pick up the pieces from intense trauma created by ineffective practices.

Latin America has huge pockets of crime where gangs rule and they target women, children, security personnel, LGBTQ and other members more susceptible and weak. Police are often susceptible or suspect and people have little trust in law enforcement. Organized crime and related economies drive the surge and abatement in violence and form the root causes and concurrent abatement and surge of refugees at our borders and must be addressed.  People do not put children in the hands of smugglers just for fun or because our policies admit them. The path to US border is extremely perilous. The ONLY REASON people send their children and/ or bring them here is because they are literally trying to save themselves and their children from turning up dead or worse.
Please please please listen to the voices of the children in this recording
https://www.propublica.org/article/children-separated-from-parents-border-patrol-cbp-trump-immigration-policy

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Open Letter to My Liberal Comrades – Messages likely to resonate in red states


According to one study Democrats are more likely to be optimistic compared to Republicans https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/rampage/wp/2015/11/18/the-optimism-gap-democrats-vs-republicans/?utm_term=.994b99413a97 . It is not surprising that liberal polls indicate win for Democrats (at national level for Hillary Clinton, at state level for Jon Ossoff) but often result in electoral losses. I want to share below some issues that what we may want to focus on and the messaging likely to resonate with red state trump fans. But first, I will share my insight on Trump’s hold on his base and why it may be stronger than we may imagine it to be.

We have already known that it is one individual in Republican party who who has an unshakable base. Regardless of any scandals, stories and Congressional hearings, Donald Trump’s base of loyalists has been more or less stable. His stable base will continue to determine the outcome of the races in red districts and his hold enables Republican strategists to better predict it and better strategize where to target their resources. The reason for his strong hold on his loyalists is that many of them are not consuming much information from most of the media (which he has successfully labeled as fake media) and Trump’s tweets and speeches at his rallies provide them the information they know.  Trump speaks directly to his base through twitter. The likes and retweets of his tweets gives Republicans a pretty good insight into predicting the outcome of significant races and other issues. If Dems are not monitoring traffic around Mr. Trump’s tweets then they should begin to tightly monitor that.  If even Donald Trump goes down in approval ratings in polls, that still remains somewhat shaky predictor for various reasons. One, on account of a lot of hype against Mr. Trump, there are some people who still stick with him but are reluctant to publicly declare that. Then there are people who disapprove of Trump but they want Republican party to succeed and so reluctantly they stay put in the camp and when Trump tweets his support of other Rep candidates then they like and retweet these.  And then there are some who disapprove of Trump like a mother disapproving of her child and expecting the child to do better. I will reiterate, that for greater accuracy of electoral wins, Dems must strictly monitor the traffic around Trump’s tweets.

Democrats can’t win and may not be able to translate wins into effective government, unless we start talking to red states, to Trump’s base, to Republicans in general. We have heard a great deal that Dems just don’t have an appealing message. Some of this below information I am taking from my earlier blog titled “Open letter to Hillary Clinton Campaign” http://bit.ly/2bX40eU  Please click on that link for more detailed description of the two Americas and the messaging we need to begin to unite the two Americas.

Moving ahead, I will repeat that we need to stop focusing on Donald Trump and we need to stop obsessing that every time his approval rating goes down a point or two then we have achieved a significant victory. His base is largely unshakable and without meaningfully addressing their concerns, we can’t keep looking for lucky breaks in his lower disapproval ratings. That is a non strategy strategy. Trump created his base by appealing to their feelings and views based on feelings don’t change easily. Dems need to start talking with his base about things that matter with direct impact on their lives – job creation to put more money into their pocket, opioid addiction that is tearing down their communities, healthcare with simple and easy to understand messages with heart.

Messages that are unlikely to work.
* Here’s what Trump is doing and we are different
* Don’t support that candidate, he or she is too close to Trump
* Trump’s healthcare plan spells disaster

MESSAGES SUCH AS BELOW MAY RESONATE BETTER

Messages more likely to work should address issues crucial to them and their feelings. Only fact based messages are unlikely to work in red states. Messages must address people’s feelings of being neglected, rejected, stressed and speak to real danger of how lives and livelihood caught in a downward spiral are not sustainable.  Type of messages below should be delivered with real life stories. Oh… and seriously, DEMS NEED TO START FOCUSING IN BUILDING REAL, TACTICAL SOLUTIONS TO THESE ISSUES AND NOT JUST DELIVER RHETORIC FOR ELECTORAL WINS. 

Image result for chronic diseases* Obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease remain major killers in stressful modern world and particularly impact poorer families caught between making basic ends meet and having less access to healthy eating. We want to ensure that regardless of wealth or station in life, all Americans get access to care for management of these chronic diseases. It will help red states, blue states, and all Americans and will help lower healthcare costs for everyone, if we can allow ramp up time for more enrolees.

Image result for opioid epidemic* It is painful to see the impact of opioid addiction in our society; it is tearing apart communities and destroying families. It is intricately tied to the stresses of jobs, veteran’s health and impact on families, breakdown in family life and children growing up without the input of both parents. We want to address these in the healthcare changes we make. Instead of funding tax cuts for the wealthy with the health of the poor, we want to bring all sides to the table to understand imminent importance of addressing the growing opioid pandemic that threatens our society.

* Whites are productive members of our community who helped build this nation. We want to engage with you to achieve sustainable job growth.

Image result for sustainable prosperity for poor and wealthy* We are NOT a welfare party. We are a party of sensible economic policies because we cannot achieve sustainable prosperity by taking care of one group and neglecting the others’ needs. We want the wealthy to do well but we won’t stand for giving them tax cuts that are paid by poor’s health. To the extent that we may have ignored balancing everyone’s needs in the past, we are doubly committed to listening to everyone’s needs and bring everyone to the table.

Image result for dealing with terrorism* We see terrible devastation from bombs, gun and car attacks and we want to address safety using the tools of 21st century. We want to engage technology to monitor these. Instead of a physical wall, we can call this building virtual bridges where we can coordinate among our intelligence agencies and safety teams and coordinate with our allies to share information to enhance all our safety.

These are a few of the suggestions. Additionally, we, #Dems must stop excessive focus on Trump in our messages in red districts, although I concede everything about this administration is fascinating, when it is not infuriating or depressing.

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Legacy of Trump – racism & do I even want to understand?


You are wrong Michael Moore. Trump’s campaign was entirely run on racism. (No voters are not racist just like Ms. Elliot’s kids were not racist – see more on that below in paragraph 4). True that many of these same people who voted for Donald Trump had also voted for Barack Obama with the middle name Hussein.  However, Barack Hussein Obama did not simply run his campaign on the rhetoric of divisiveness; in fact, unification was a strong theme in his campaign.  Whereas Trump sought to divide.  He pitted groups against groups; #BlackLivesMatter against #BlueLivesMatter, Latinos against Whites with supremacist bents and so on. But then he went on to divide people from the group they belonged to, identified with, and took pride in. He sowed seeds of division within communities and families, where bi-racial families who had unity are now fighting based on people’s voting preference and invoking racism. Affluent and middle class blacks were pitted against blacks living in “imagined” ghetto communities.  Immigrants who find cultural similarity and likability with each other were pitted against each other based on legal versus illegal status. Whites were pitted against one another on gender lines. Even I read an articulate essay about a muslim woman who voted for Trump for a number of reasons but her emphasis seemed to be on his labeling of Islamic terrorists as opposed to Obama who had not labeled acts of terror as Islamic acts of terror.  Goldstar families who stand together no matter what, united by heart soaking grief of sacrifice that is linked to their love of the nation, felt divided and compelled to take sides, as Trump engaged in an ongoing war of words with the Khan family. Heck, I even know an undocumented immigrant who goes around badmouthing Hillary and talking up Trump (not quite sure why but I’m sure he wants to disassociate part of his identity that has been made to feel like “rapist and murderer”. (Honest to God this is a true story).

Image result for divisivenessPeople hate politicians, because ALL politicians create divisions. Political campaigns are run based on divisiveness not just in the US but in every democratic country.  Yes, #BarackObama, #RichardNixon #HillaryClinton #GoergeBush everyone did that and pretty much all politicians do that. That is how they differentiate themselves from their opponents and energize their base.  But normally, they are ALSO held accountable and are compelled to study issues and TIE THEIR RHETORIC WITH POLICY CONSIDERATIONS, and have to downplay their rhetoric of divisiveness. Understandably, people abhor this two-facedness of politicians. It was Donald Trump’s cunning to wage a war against “political correctness” because then he could speak without restraint and people just slurped up his rhetoric of racial hatered and bigotry, because they liked his honesty. He engaged in name calling of his opponents and the names stuck. Despite him not revealing his taxes, his ties with Russia, his concerns regarding health records, he called Hillary “crooked” and it stuck because labels stick without much effort; whereas going to Hillary’s website and understanding issues takes study and effort.

Trump’s supporters are NOT inherently racist people, certainly not a vast majority of them. Perhaps many of those who bought the birther lie and have stuck with him since, may be inherently racist. But many other Americans were invited to participate in the race based and other divisions. And everyone of us is racist at some times or another and depending on circumstances, we are likely to buy into it.  People are always looking to make meaning out of their circumstances, life’s twists and turns and calamities. People look for answers and explanation and Trump provided a powerful, emotion laden context. He tapped into the vulnerabilities of people and stuck the deepest chord based on his divisive rhetoric and coupled it with eliminating the need to share policy details, with simple slogans like “what have you got to lose”?. Yes, people are jobless and in pain, yes people are dying of opioid addiction more than ever before, and yes, we have crime in the US. But none of those issues alone could have driven people to vote for Trump in large numbers, because he gave no details to deal with any of the problems facing the country. What drove people was that he played to and invoked the hate towards others and he talked to them over and over, relentlessly. He fought his campaign alone, and like a Messiah his voice invoking the hate kept reverberating in people’s minds until they walked into the voting booth.

As a diversity and inclusion trainer, one of the most fascinating thing I learned very early in my professional life as a trainer was how easy it is to divide people based on groupism, even artificially introduced groupism.  In 1968, in a highly publicized exercise, a third grade teacher Jane Elliott tried to teach her class about race and discrimination through a two day “blue eyes/ brown eyes” exercise. (something that would not be allowed today).  Students with blue eyes were given preferential treatment on the first day; they received positive reinforcement, were made to feel superior, and this process was reversed the next day. The results were profound and when she repeated exercise in subsequent years, during one year, PBS went in and filmed the actual impact, in a well known documentary, “A Class Divided”. In just two days Elliot managed to sow deep seeds of hate based on completely artificially introduced divide. The group that was favored performed better in class, were quick to answer questions and the kids in the other group were hesitant and doubtful of their answers and performed poorly. What was also striking was that many of these kids who were friends for their entire young lives, started hating each other, were mean to the other group and the kids from discriminated group walked through the day with downcast eyes, feeling like s&^%*, feeling as if they had nothing more to lose. Ms. Elliot’s tearing down the divide and bringing the class together was just as impressive.

The lesson is that if seeds of hate and divide can be sown in a span of mere two days then consider how deep the hate is that was sown over a year ago and nurtured through Trump’s divisive campaign? And we don’t have Ms. Elliott to bring the country together. The only lesson is that if race based divisiveness gets to rear its ugly head and seems like a mild threat, it must still be quoshed immediately. It is hard to push this beanie down when massive groups of people are called to buy into it, as we know from history. Bernie could not have contained this monster. What is fueled by hate cannot be contained by logic and no policy discussions or understanding coal miners or ads focusing on jobs could have contained divisiveness fueled by hate and emotion.

So Mr. Moore you are wrong to say that it was not racism and hate that more significantly than any other characteristic or consideration played a role in outcome of #Election2016.  It is also hate and racism that people are rallying against in post election protests. It is not the win of the Republican party, the undoing of progressive agenda that may happen, nor the anger against hard to accept Electoral College imposition in an era where each citizen has access to information and must have equal weightage; instead it is against Donald Trump’s rhetoric of hate and division that brought the country to this stage, his basket of deplorable behaviors that now becomes our baggage for next several years, that is fueling the frustration.

Image result for safety pinAnd it is deep frustration. Part of me feels, now what do I care? I should just sit back and relax and enjoy the lower taxes; it’s not my problem any more. And part of me feels like I should walk about wearing those ridiculous safety pins. But for who am I an ally? For that Latino who is undocumented and went around talking up Trump and badmouthing Hillary; or that Hindu who voted for Trump because she hates Pakistan (strange where people connect the dots when hate enters the picture); or that Muslim who voted for Trump and may be attacked by a white supremacist; or for that white man who mostly enjoys many of society’s privileges (without knowing or intending to take an unfair advantage) and on this night is attacked simply for being gay? Why does it now fall on me? Is my safety pin even strong enough to withstand the power of chainsaw that literally cut our ties with each other and broke the humanity that bound us? Perhaps we felt anger towards one group or another at different times in the past, but we did not voice it; we thought before we spoke, and our political correctness allowed us to have polite discussions to understand one another. How do we understand one another now, and do I even want to understand what hate towards whom compelled you to vote for Trump?

In our dark moments, let us remember that more than 50% of voters did not vote for Trump. Remember that all #TrumpVoters are NOT inherently racist people; that Trump may also not be as racist as he is an opportunist. (In my language there’s a saying “a wise enemy is better than a foolish or evil friend” and he is narcissistic evil opportunist but too late for that wisdom now).. He played the most insidious racist/sexist campaign to his advantage, but his policies may not reflect that; he will likely look for personal gains and we must watch closely. #TrumpVoters with inclusive bent joined by #RegretVotingTrump and #RegretNotVoting groups have awakened and want to fight racism and be there for each other; are trying to don safety pins, take the anti-racism message to the streets, and trying to keep the voice of humanity alive. Please get on twitter, a low cost medium to spread awareness AND only tweet true & fact checked news. Retweet important news from @RealDonaldTrump so we’re never taken unawares; so we create a vast network focused on keeping issues and inclusion in forefront so that history will never be repeated.  I love this beautiful, diverse and welcoming country where (paraphrasing Churchill) we always strove for goodness, sometimes only after and perhaps because we exhausted the alternatives. But even so, after veering away, we know how to find our way back to goodness.

 

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Dems, we should accept #TrumpRule with Resolve, not Resignation


There is a lot of talk on Facebook on acceptance and reconciliation, after Trump’s victory, after Hillary’s gracious speech imploring people to give him a chance and after Trump and Obama’s nice photo op. On the other hand, there are protesters refusing to accept and are marching on the streets of most major cities for days. Hence I decided to share my thoughts.

Reconciliation with Trumpers, yes sure – we need to heal and come together, in time.  But no, do not speak to me of reconciliation and giving this man a chance. Let us not forget that people gave him chance after chance after chance and he kept lowering the bar and that is how he got to the world’s top bully spot. No, I am also not speaking of not accepting #TrumpRule. But it is ok to peacefully protest; to protest against his crass and crude racist and sexist remarks about almost every group of Americans. I am sure African Americans and Latinos and Muslims etc. feel the same way about remarks against the groups they belong to as I feel about his name calling, fat shaming, and sexabusing of women.

The crass and crude talk by Trump has been beyond all reasonableness. If he is a role model then what does he inspire? I am not willing to keep lowering the bar in order to accommodate the crudeness demonstrated by Trump towards 50%+ of population, women — and I hope other members of other groups speak up in their own way at their own appropriate time, as they have been. I feel that I must stand up for women and not allow such crude man who has talked of women in such crude terms to earn my respect. I can’t understand how any woman can. And I can’t understand how any man who respects his women, can.

Trump’s basket of deplorable behaviors is now our baggage for next several years.  If past is any prelude to what may come, belief and trust in him will only lower the bar further, now for the office of the Presidency.  While we endure #TrumpRule, we must never forget his deplorable words and behaviors that brought the country to its present stage. While we endure #TrumpRule, he must never get our respect. I am not wishing him to fail or our country to fail. But remember, a President never governs by himself.  Let us hope reasonable “ELECTED” Republicans will play a role and will show wisdom and enable the country to move ahead, in these difficult times. But meanwhile, do not speak to me of reconciliation with Trump or his coterie of gutless men (who are not elected officials) with idiotic chants of locking up political opponents.

Image result for resolveSo yes, we accept #TrumpRule. But we do not accept it with any kind of belief that this man will be different and be worthy of earning our respect, in the office of Presidency. We also do not accept it with resignation that now he won so we just accept and give up striving to be better. We accept #TrumpRule as a fact of life for the next several years. We accept it with clarity that during this time we need to watch each other’s backs, to look out for safety of those among us who may be more vulnerable, because the groups they belong to were directly threatened by him. We accept him while keeping a spotlight on who he is and what he represents and what stage he brought the country to, so we don’t allow him or anyone like him to repeat history.  We accept with the knowledge that if we rise up to it, if we volunteer, be there for each other, stand #StrongerTogether than we will emerge better and more worthy of our next leader.  

We accept #TrumpRule my friends, with resolve, not resignation; and certainly not gullibility that brought us here today…..

PS: Good discussion on @maddow @MSNBC – her guest shares we have a tendency to think we’d be ok even though everything that’s preceded indicates that it’s not so even though he has already started flaunting traditions – http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show
Russia applauded & congratulated Trump & has come out and confirmed that Russia was in contact w. Trump campaign throughout the entire campaign. Now he is getting intelligence briefings, including intelligence on any American spies in Russia. Whole intelligence operations in all countries center around stealing information.  I pray our spies remain safe. http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show
And a day earlier, Elizabeth Warren @Warrenolizer on Maddow said we will need to stay connected so that we’re ready to mobilize should a time come.

 

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You must think of the company you keep #Election 2016


After all the arguments are done, and when I have asked if none of the things that Trump has said or done bothers them enough to not give their vote to Trump in #Election2016, then I have heard from some people still planning to vote for Donald Trump that they feel all right because nearly 50% of the country feels that way too.  Aside from the fact that it is the lamest argument in a democracy where the responsibility falls individually on each one of us, and historically people have given away their lives and livelihood for the privilege to vote and not be led through a herd mentality, even then, you must also think about which 50% you want to be with.

Image result for election 2016Atlantic Monthly a relatively new anti-slavery magazine, three years after it was found in 1860, endorsed Lincoln, a Republican, for President, and then after 104 years, in 1964, they made another endorsement for LBJ for President (out of horror of the opponent Barry Goldwater and his cavalier attitude towards nuclear weapons and civil rights). For the third time in its history, the magazine endorsed Hillary Clinton and unendorsed Trump.

USA Today has never taken a position on a presidential election in its 34 year history as a newspaper that you often get at your door in most hotel chains. In its first ever endorsement, it urged readers to vote for any candidate not named Donald Trump. Since its start in 1890, Arizona Republic has only endorsed Republican party candidates and never ever endorsed a Democrat over a Republican for president. Saying that “this year is different”, for the first time, it endorsed Hillary Clinton, over Trump.

You have heard it all.  From media outlets to newspaper publications to journalists to business leaders to billionaires, to political leaders (including eminent Republicans) have given their endorsements to Hillary Clinton.  As far as I know, only Ted Cruz, one Silicon Valley business leader, and one apparently little known magazine has endorsed Trump.

Image result for basket of candiesYes Hillary Clinton’s word choice was very poor in calling some of Trump supporters as “basket of deplorables” but really — think about it…………… ALL of Trump’s words and actions have hovered on utterly trashy and deplorable.  Now do you want to stand with him and his basket of deplorable behaviors, simply because nearly 50% will do it?  Just imagine this basket filled with skittles where each candy stands for Trump’s “deplorable” behavior like sexism, lewdness, sexual harassment, racism, mocking physical disability, fat & age shaming women, insulting gold star veteran family, and the basket is now overflowing.

If it was any other Republican candidate, then I would fight vehemently against them but also BUT I would understand why you’d want that person as your first choice.  I would understand that we differ in values.  While I would fight to uphold my values, I would also understand that you are fighting to uphold your values. But you must ask, does Trump reflect your values; your character as a person? He has never stood firm on any issue, so which of your values he reflects? For instance, if you care for immigration reform then do you seriously believe that a man who has flip flopped his entire way through the campaign and advanced the most bogus, impractical, unenforceble solution of an expensive, physical wall, reflects what you stand for? If you believe in law and order then what specific solution he has proposed and stuck with it, besides rhetoric? If you believe in his toughness and his leadership in the world then what strategy proves his skill other than him saying “he’ll take a walk from negotiation” and praising thugs like Putin?

I am going to turn around his rhetoric of “what do you have to lose” and ask you, what do you have to lose in NOT VOTING FOR TRUMP? You are afraid Hillary will appoint liberal judges? Well then what? If you are against LGBT and afraid that they will get a right to marry then I understand your fear. But wouldn’t a small part of you say, well how bad would it be? In any case, the nation is moving towards that and after Barbara and Jenny moved in next door, you’ve realized that they are great neighbors and what they do in their bedroom does not affect you in any way?  

What have you got to lose in not voting for Trump? Even someone Trump had mentioned and might have nominated for Supreme Court judgeship, has now requested Donald Trump to step down. I am trying to say that I understand your fear because I would fear that my values will not be upheld with a conservative leadership. But shouldn’t it be more important to us all that a leader is wise and mature, cares for the country, behaves with some minimum decorum and propriety and has some experience in leading the nation?

If you would not leave your young daughter in a room alone with #DonaldTrump, is he the man you’d want to lead our country? If you are a woman or respect women then do you want a man to lead us who has called us worst imaginable names, fat shamed us, age shamed us, engaged in sexual harassment using his position as a lever, claimed to have sexually overpowered (assault) women (just because he can), and objectified us by referring to us as our genitals with words like c*&^ and p&%$^. Haven’t each of us women experienced at least some of that in real life and want our leader to move us forward, not backward in time? If your brother, sister or friend struggles on a daily basis with physical challenges, do you want a man who mocks handicapped people to lead our nation? We all owe a deep debt of gratitude to our veterans and do you want to send our sons and daughters to war, under the leadership of a man who has ridiculed a gold star family, flip flopped on his being pro and anti war?

In fact, even if you are vehemently against illegal immigration and are ignoring all deportations done by Obama administration, EVEN THEN, I AM SURE YOU ARE NOT A RACIST, because I refuse to believe there are 50% racists in this greatest and most diverse nation in the world. Would you want a man to lead our country who has branded an entire group (with the exception of some), with a broad brush and called them murderers and rapists?  In your heart do you believe that even all illegal immigrants are murderers and rapists? You know it is wrong and you know that someone who stereotypes so many groups of people in most “deplorable” terms, will do that some day to you, to your group, to the group that you love or belong to.

I ask you millennials: you may be somewhat unfazed by what he dubs are his “locker room banter” comments; you are young and you may have heard it all; but think again. It is as if your grand father talks like that and speaks of grabbing your girlfriend. And you must know, Donald Trump doesn’t care for your future. One wonders if he even cares for his own children, discussing his own daughter’s breasts and ass in a public forum. Donald Trump is no Bernie Sanders. Imagine your parent discussing your body in a public forum. Think of how many of you could have gone to college without raking up loans, if he paid nearly a billion dollars of his share of taxes. Girl friends, if his latest, most demeaning comments on women bother you then as woman to woman, I implore you to not give this man your vote. 

Don’t fact check, don’t listen to what you hear from the media that you don’t trust. But at least listen to Donald Trump’s own words and let your conscience guide you in doing the right thing. Pay close attention and listen to him speak in the debate. All of you are bothered, very much concerned, annoyed and have agonized about all he has said and more. I am reaching out and asking you, “what do you have to lose” if you don’t give your vote to Trump? Let the chips fall where they may.  Put a small crack in that number – “nearly 50% of the country voting for him” and it will crumble faster than you can blink an eye. 

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Tale of two Americas influencing #Election2016 & Open Letter to Hillary Campaign


Here’s something to think about… the country is soooo divided that Americans are living two distinctively different realities; it is almost like they are living in two different nations.

America 1

Imagine that you live in the Appalachian mountains off of Virginia or Ohio.  Jobs in mining and manufacturing that were once plentiful are gone and no one has offered you re-training to operate in a different reality that has been emerging.  Opioids & alcohol are easily available to dull your pain (in fact, in parts of Ohio, first time more people are dying from opioid addiction than natural causes).  You see yourself as having no future; the best is behind you. You are enormously proud of your heritage, hard work ethic, and your religious values.

Church used to be your anchor but now church attendance has fallen; you have no anchor. You just want someone new at helm in this country, to shake things up – you don’t care how or who it is as long as the person talks to you in a language you understand and holds someone; an outsider responsible for your plight. Your current reality is so painful that you believe you once lived in a phenomenal nation, and you are losing it to outsiders who steal your jobs. Perhaps you don’t see many immigrants where you live, but you hear statistics of jobs being offshored, terrorists rarely target your geographical areas and you don’t often see women in hijabs but you hear about terror attacks when they happen and it scares the s*&^ out of you. Lowering or raising federal minimum wage has no impact here because there is no economy, no jobs. If someone tells you they will build a wall to keep immigrants out then it resonates with you.  If someone promises to bring back outdated mining jobs back, you are filled with hope.

America 2

Now imagine  you are living in a place like Silicon Valley in California, a place on the cutting edge of innovation.  There is a different social and economic reality.  You work with Muslim engineer, Chinese American scientist, Mexican American patent attorney, Iranian American realtor and your child’s teacher is lesbian.  These people are not aliens but your next door neighbors and share similar interests and values, as you.  Price for 2 BR condo in newly built (and fraught with problems), millennium towers in San Francisco costs around $2M and when economy tanked in 2009 (right after George Bush left office), California was hit harder than Ohio and Indiana.  The number of people filing for bankruptcy protection in the first quarter of 2010 ranked California at number one for bankruptcy protection. Right after Florida and Nevada, California also had one of the highest foreclosure rates with 1 in every 192 houses being foreclosed.

I can personally vouch to the impact of extremely high unemployment, while living in a state where everything is more expensive.  Both my businesses died.  I offered recruitment and soft skills training, but no one was hiring and no one had budget for soft skills training.  In 2009, I made less than $10,000.  I sold my house and while my business continued to remain in a nearly dead mode, in 2010 and 2011, I pounded the pavement for hourly jobs at Starbucks etc. for which I was always considered overqualified.  But California is back in business and so am I; better than ever before.

How did California do it?  I think California did it by leveraging the global trends and with a unique blend of cutthroat captialistic competition and compassionate socialism.  Corporations may not be people but both companies and people in CA exhibit this blend of competition and compassion.  I have some more thoughts on this and if I am not distracted by other things, I may study this more and write another blog.  But for this post, I want to focus on what is required of a political leader to bring the two Americas together. 

Open letter to Clinton Campaign

Henceforth, Ms. Clinton must maintain a laser sharp focus on issues that matter in the swing states.  All focus should be solely on large percentage of undecided voters who swing back and forth between Trump and Hillary.  Stop talking about how racist Trump is or that he is adhering to Alt-Right.   More people learn how racist he is, more votes it is getting him. Trump’s entire candidacy is based on inciting hate and division and taking his message to the masses is only enabling him.  Besides, he has so much air time, everything he does and says is covered.

While American women would largely care for issues like equal pay for equal work, do not focus on sexism in Trump campaign.  In California, I saw ads targeting women, with mention of Trump’s abominable remarks denigrating women.  But California is tuned in already,  In the swing states, there are likely to be more women in committed relationships and more than right to choose and equal pay, they care more for jobs for their husbands.  Still for many, it is a man’s serious and primary responsibility to earn a living.

Do not mention immigration.  Trump has made entire immigration dialog in the country about sound bites (big wall, beautiful wall, Mexico will pay for it, deporting etc.) and more confident and more racist his sound bites, more they are striking a chord.  He effectively created an environment of fear where soundbite solutions are very appealing.  I don’t believe Ms. Clinton can give any effective soundbites on immigration.  That is simply not her style and people are not in the mood to listen to logic on this issue.

Do not mention environmental issues.  While this has been President Obama’s crowning achievement, it does not figure in top 10 priorities when you put it on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.  Americans are generally more present oriented but are certainly focusing squarely on short term and immediate benefits during this election season.  The more Trump talks about how things will change on November 8, less concerned people are about benefits to future generations.  

Also, do not focus in the debate on Trump’s lack of foreign policy experience.  Americans often care little about foreign relations.  President GHW Bush made great strides in foreign relations and he got little credit for it.  Besides Trump scored a victory looking Presidential in Mexico.  More than that, no one cares.

Image result for maslow's hierarchy of needsThink of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs that goes from fulfillment of basic needs and only after they are satisfied, it progresses to focus on social needs.  When people’s basic needs of healthy food, clean water, and safety are not satisfied, focusing on social issues like women’s rights, race relations, immigration, pay equality, and equal rights for LGBTQ, are a luxury they can’t afford.  While Trump may be trigger happy to get access to the nuke button, for America 1, it does not feel like a looming disaster; instead, it enhances their feeling of safety.

Here are the issues that Clinton campaign should singularly focus on.  

Focus on JOBS

Image result for jobsForget all incredible and horrific things said and done by Trump that make him unfit to be the President. Stay singularly focused on jobs and the economy and his lack of concrete plan to create jobs.  In his post convention interview with George Stephanopoulos, Trump was questioned about jobs.  See clip below at 11 minutes, where Trump when asked why he brings in people from overseas to work at Mara Lago resort in Florida, he tried to duck the question by taking talking about other companies offshoring jobs and Stephanopoulos keeps bringing the discussion back to his issuing almost 500 offshore visas since 2010 and Trump deflects it again saying everyone does it because they can’t find American workers.  Hummm, they can’t be re-trained for low level jobs then how is he going to pressure Samsung and Apple to bring skilled jobs outsourced to Indian and Chinese engineers at fraction of the cost, back to America?  Use this clip with Clinton’s concrete plan to continue to create job growth in America.  This is not a sensational piece of news that elite media (largely favored by America 2) will play over and over but you must capitalize on.

http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/video/donald-trump-41028199

Respect & concrete benefits to America’s Veterans

Image result for war veteransAmerica owes to our veterans.  But that sincerity must be expressed with something more tangible than “America loves you and is deeply grateful to you for your service”.  If one vet feels strongly enough to give away his purple heart to Trump then that is one too many vets disillusioned, and whom we must re-engage with.  Our vets must have certain level of job security, access to constant retraining, access to healthcare, including easy access to mental healthcare.  There must be early intervention before PTSD takes an enormous toll on their lives and the lives of their loved ones.  Talk about how Obamacare has enabled easier access to healthcare for so many people.

Access to mental healthcare and PTSD treatment

Image result for PTSDTrauma has become a significant part of modern life.  It is not only our vets who need access to treatment for PTSD, but also foster care children who are often shuttled around from family to family, from one location to another.  Children who witness domestic violence, often suffer from PTSD, while their needs may be completely ignored at home and outside.

Concrete plan to deal with opioids and other drugs

 Image result for opioid addictionAs mentioned above, in parts of Ohio, first time more people are dying from opioid addiction than natural causes.  Obama administration and FDA has been deeply concerned about escalating use of opioids and other drugs but how frequently do we hear from Hillary campaign about the plan that is in process?  For instance, the Obama administration is making it easier for doctors and law enforcement to use anti-addiction drugs.  FDA is putting in place steps so that companies seeking approval of any new opioids, must include abuse-deterrent properties and appropriate labeling. But more importantly, there are concrete steps in place to deal with current trends of opioid abuse, including additional training to prescribers on pain management and safe prescribing, encouragement for abuse deterrent formulations, make naloxone more easily available to treat opioid overdose, and encouraging new class of pain medicines without the same risks as opioids.  Ms. Clinton must relentlessly address opioid abuse and significant strides being made under Obama administration to counter that.  

Finally, I humbly suggest that Hillary campaign and the media stop playing over and over and over Trump soundbites that show his racial, gender and other biases – contrary to people being turned off by such bigotry, in the climate of fear he has created and the foundation of hate he has laid, his bigotry gives people a feeling of safety and hope. Considered dialog detailing the history of events and people as done by Rachel Maddow and others and late night shows (Colbert, Noah, Bee, Oliver and others) that point out ridiculous aspects of Trump messages with humor, are however excellent.

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