Monday, February 20, 2017

President Trump's Unfolding Agenda

We are now one month into the presidency of Donald Trump. He told us on Inauguration Day the time for talk was over and now it was time for action. He has kept that promise. He has signed a minimum of twenty-five executive orders to date. There is at least one more that is being talked about being signed today or tomorrow. It is supposed to replace the one a lower court put a stay on and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that lower court’s ruling.

One month has passed and the President’s agenda is coming into focus. So far, I can see four main parts:

1.       Reward the Rich (gutting already weak regulations designed to prevent another financial collapse like we had in 2008, Steve Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs employee and former George Soros employee, as Secretary of Treasury, and former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State – so much for draining the swamp, eh?)
2.       Punish the Poor (repealing Obamacare, reducing block grants to states for Medicaid, and beginning calls of “From Welfare to Work” and appointing Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education)
3.       Exploit the Environment (gutting EPA regulations, appointing a man to head the EPA who is opposed to its existence, and pushing through the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines over vehement resistance)
4.       Bully the “Bad Guys”

Over the next four weeks I will tackle each of these in reverse order.

One thing before we start. I predicted four weeks ago, part of the new administration’s plan to was to overwhelm the average person by doing so much the work-a-day individual with a job, family, and other obligations couldn’t possibly keep up with it all. This is a tried and proven effective tactic used by many governments, including Clinton, Bush, and Obama. It’s not just for dictators anymore. The administration has proven me correct to this point, but I won’t be patting myself on the back anytime soon. I would have much preferred to be wrong on this point.

Bully the Bad Guys

Candidate Trump made this one crystal clear on the campaign trail. Whether he was advocating torture of prisoners of war, promoting a policy of war crimes such as, “going after the families of terrorists,” or asking military consultants, “why do we have nuclear weapons if we aren’t going to use them?”, he put us and the world on notice:

                It would be “Open Season” on bad guys in a Trump administration.

It was funny right up until the moment Hillary Clinton conceded the election to him. Now, we are getting a more precise definition of what he means by “bad guys.”

Mr. Trump’s definition of bad guys includes all the undesirables a reasonable person might expect. Terrorists, drug cartels, criminal gang syndicates, and violent criminals who are also illegal aliens. A good list, so far. It also appears bad guys include refugees from war torn regions, and any media outlet that doesn’t simply regurgitate his preferred propaganda for the day.

President Trump seems intent on pursuing a scorched earth policy with any dissenters. If you call him on clear fabrications and lies, you suddenly become the liar. He doesn’t have to offer any coherent arguments or facts proving you are the liar. He doesn’t have to present any facts proving he’s telling the truth. He simply calls you dishonest over and over again and lets his supporters do the rest.

Whether beating people at his political rallies who disagree with his proposed policies, cancelling subscriptions, or boycotting specific retailers or news organizations, the President and his supporters intend to silence through intimidation and bullying, both around the world and here at home.

This bullying can be seen in how Mr. Trump cancels meetings with heads of state who have signaled they will not be giving him what he wants, such as the President of Mexico. It can be seen in his hanging up on the Prime Minister of Australia. It can be seen in the aggressive, confrontational style of his policy advisor Stephen Miller. It can be seen in the way he constantly pulls unsuspecting individuals off balance when he shakes their hands. (Rabbit trail: for a good laugh, check out the video of his hand shake with Prime Minister Abe of Japan. The Prime Minister's response speaks volumes about how other world leaders experience President Trump.)

One person who is conspicuously not on the list of Bad Guys is a brutal dictator who murders journalists, assassinates or jails political opponents and heads of state, and is hell bent on expansion of his own empire.


You might want to think carefully, however, before questioning the President on this matter. You might find yourself on that Bad Guy list. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Secret Poet

No words would come this morning. It is a rare occurrence. So, here is part of a short story I am working on. I'd love to get some feedback from you.


Fidgeting, Terri sat at her desk trying to write. The sun was already up over the desert behind the little adobe house. Her desk faced out the back window. She could see the desert becoming less still. She wanted to get out there and walk through it. But, she still hadn’t written her poem for the day. No walking until the poem was on paper. That was the rule.
                Terri had lived a life of very few rules. Almost none, in fact. This was a rule she had decided was important, so she kept it as best she could. She had spent her life exploring the world. Finding what she liked. That’s how she felt about hiking in the desert. Like she was just finding what she liked.
                As she walked through the desert she could feel herself soaking up the life. Pulling it from the sun, the sage brush, the undersized mesquite trees, and the undersized deer. Even when she didn’t see them, she could feel the rattlesnakes, coyotes, and the desert hairs. She’d gorge herself on the life that flowed through them.
                In the evenings, sitting on the back porch with a cup of coffee, her guitar, and a notebook, she’d savor the desert life she’d pulled into herself on the morning hike. She imagined pulling it up to re-chew, like a cow with its cud. She’d roll the life around inside of her, sending it to her limbs and bringing it back again into her body before sending it even further. This time to her hands and feet. Pulling it back in again to stir around inside her like a cake batter, she’d send it to her fingers and toes. Finally, she’d send all that desert life to her head where it would roll around like waves in the Pacific Ocean.
                Then the ideas would come. She’d jot them down, so she could use them for the morning poem. Only after the notes were safely ensconced in her notebook would she begin to strum her steel string guitar. Singing old songs with her husky voice.
                The singing and playing were like the poems – for her. She didn’t need anyone else to hear her play and sing. She knew she was good, not great. She took pride in being able to learn a song she liked or, even better, write a song she liked.
                She felt the same about her poems. She was working to become the best poet she could be, not for others to admire, but because she enjoyed it. She also felt a responsibility to whatever it was that gave her the abilities she had and enjoyed so much. God, the universe, genes, it didn’t much matter to Terri. Her main concern was to demonstrate her gratitude by being a good steward.
                She could feel the little desert dwelling warming under the strengthening sun. Dispelling the desert night chill. She looked at her notes from the night before. Still, nothing moved inside her. Nothing bubbled forth needing to escape.
                Often the poems would spill forth, fully formed, like they’d been wombed up inside her. The words, images, and metaphors would seem to have been nourished and nurtured by the life she had soaked up the day before. Like an egg soaks up life from a sperm cell and, feeds off the mother’s increased appetite until a completely new and different life is molded within. Finally, this new life bursts into the world. And all in just twenty-four hours.
                But today, no words, no images, no metaphors reveal themselves. Terri learned long ago not to worry over these times. That lesson was learned when she was trapping for a living in Alaska when she was a much younger woman.

Terri drove into King Salomon, Alaska the first week of August. After storing her bags in her tiny cabin, she went straight to the guide service office. She and her guide left the next morning. They didn’t seem surprised at all when she showed up alone. The guide treated her like a one hundred pound, eighteen year old girl showing up to hunt caribou was nothing out of the ordinary. She liked that.
                On day three she killed her first caribou. They packed it back to the guide office. The office sent it over to the butcher. Terri asked the woman at the office to tell the butcher she wanted the hide. She and the guide went right back to the bush. It took five days this time, but she got her second caribou. They repeated the process one more time.
                Terri asked if there was a family or a tribe she could give the meat of the second to. After delivering the meat, she asked if they had someone who could make her a coat of the two caribou skins. The old woman they introduced her to made Terri a coat and a pair of gloves. They were the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen.
                The following day she showed up back at the guide office and told them she was ready to go to work. Ove the next three seasons they trained her as a hunting and fishing guide. She worked hard and learned fast. The entire time she was learning to be a guide she was also learning how to trap for pelts. After five years of working as a guide she felt she’d learned enough and saved enough to spend the winter trapping by herself.
                She made five grand her first year.
               

At twenty-six she felt like she’d found her calling. She spent her summers guiding fishermen, August and September guiding hunts, and winters trapping for furs. Terri didn’t think there was any way she could be any happier.
                The young woman lived this way for over a decade. The season become a liturgical rhythm in her life. The Alaskan bush, her cathedral. Fish, hunt, trap, recover and make repairs. It was a sacred circle she could count on. The challenges were many, but understandable and solvable. She could see the progress of her skills, her career, and her place in the small community.  She never thought of her life as lonely. Solitary and satisfying was how she would describe it. Besides, every guide assignment she was meeting new people.
                Then the letter came from her cousin, Fernando. Her parents were both getting older and needed help. It was becoming difficult to get out to the homestead often enough to make sure they were OK. Would she be willing to come home and help?
                Of course she would. Terri didn’t even consider it a sacrifice. It was just the way life worked. They had given her life, raised her, and helped her become the woman she was. Now it was time for her to return the favor.
                It was difficult saying goodbye to her friends and way of life in Alaska. It was the first time she’d cried in five years. She’d been out on a hunt. The dirt gave way under her while she was walking a short ridgeline. She fell and rolled a hundred feet or more before being stopped by a boulder in the middle of the hill. She cut her leg badly. She had to stop to make camp, disinfect the wound, and stitch herself up before they could continue. The client had been a proper Texas gentleman and offered to go back to the office, but she refused. They lost half a day, but she made sure the client filled their tag.
                Terri sold all her traps and her snow machine. She made arrangements with the one real estate office within fifty miles to rent her place out for her. She gave her truck to a family she knew could use it and headed to Anchorage to buy a plane ticket to Phoenix. Then a bus ride to Santa Fe. Fernando picked her up.

                The heat was far worse than she remembered. She’d spent nearly the same amount of time living in the arctic cold of Alaska as she’d lived in the desert. Living in the shadow of the last ice age for half her life had disoriented her from the heat. 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Uncle Jim

My uncle Jim died last week. He was in Panama. He got the travel gene from my grandparents. He seemed a perpetual motion machine his entire life. He fell from his scooter and cut his arm. He didn’t have it looked at, apparently trusting his body to do what it always did – recover. After a few days there was obviously something wrong and a neighbor or the family he was renting from (details are a bit fuzzy) took him to the local clinic. The clinic sent him immediately to the hospital in Chiriquí, but it was already too late. He died of the infection.

One thing everyone agrees on about Uncle Jim – he lived. To learn of his life ending from a simple cut that went septic is strange. I still have not found what feel like the correct words to describe my feelings. They will come in time. I hope.

When he was a kid, he was caught raising a chicken in his bedroom when, one early morning, the chicken revealed itself to be a rooster.

As a teen, he was found to be selling golf balls for twenty-five cents apiece to golfers who had lost theirs on the course. Eventually, someone figured out he was in fact “ransoming” their own balls back to them.

He was shipped out to Viet Nam in 1967. I was born in May of 1968. The winter before I was born our grandmother asked our mother to name me after him. He hadn’t written home in many months. She was certain he wasn’t coming back at all. My mother refused. I think her superstition overcame her great desire to please her parents. She had a deep fear of naming her baby after a newly dead relative. Also, she had a deep, irrational fear that, if she named me James, her baby brother really would be dead. She just couldn’t do it.

So I was christened Dean Ronald and Uncle Jimmy came home a few months later.

We had intermittent contact through the years. When I was ten or so, he brought his speed boat to the family camping trip in Virginia. When I tried to ski behind it, he accelerated like I was one of the teenagers and not the fifty pound wisp I was. The powerful engine pulled me up out of the water and the tips of my skis under. I did a flip and landed on my back, knocking the wind out of me. My family being who we were, I wasn’t allowed out of the water. I skied behind his speed boat, but I don’t remember it.

Was I concussed?  Maybe, I doubt it. If I was, it was not my first or last concussion, so it mattered little in the grand scheme of things.

At another family camping trip at the same campground, I was probably fifteen. I demonstrated I had no concept of discretion or decorum. As he and some of the older cousins sat around the fire, I asked him if I could buy some pot from him. He was visibly shocked. After a few seconds of calculation, he recovered and demonstrated why he was everyone’s favorite uncle. He said, “I won’t sell you any, but I’ll give you some.”

He gave me a little baggie of roaches and dried leaves. One of my cousins and I smoked it all that night. I remember being really high and then going to sleep.

Over the past week I’ve been privileged to learn a few more stories from other cousins. He went home to the Lehigh Valley a few years ago and settled down in the same house he grew up in. I am a little envious of my cousins who got to spend more time with him. Their kids got to know him, as well. Lots of laughter. Plenty more craziness I hadn’t known about.
We only saw each other a couple of times in our lives after that. We were both busy running around this vast country of ours.

Uncle Jim was always thinking outside the box of normal. Even spending winters in Panama because it was warm and inexpensive.

He lived his life as a creative force.


I hope he enjoyed it.

The rest of us did. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Daymare

It was a great weekend. I built another garden box in the backyard. We are going to be overflowing with fresh vegetables for the next seven or eight months. I was able to sit out by the fire pit three nights in a row. I wrote five new poems.

Rick Bass’ book “In a Little While” arrived in the mail on Sunday afternoon. In anticipation of the new book’s arrival, I reread “The Sky, The Stars, The Wilderness.” I am always captivated by the poetry of his prose and how he is able to make the surrounding environment a participating character in the story. He may or may not be a genius, but he is brilliant and highly skilled at what he does.

I heartily recommend all his writing, but it is his fiction that is strikingly beautiful to the point it sticks with you. Like peanut butter sticks to the inside of your mouth and you can taste it long after you’ve eaten, so his words stick to the inside of your mind and heart. Often, this stickiness manifests itself in outward fashion. You may find yourself searching out solitary places in nature, or wandering outside at night just to look up and ponder the infinite beauty.

Start with “The Watch” and “The Hermit's Story.” Before you finish these two, you’ll be hooked and you’ll find yourself building your own Rick Bass library. Enjoy.

Now, onto what is going on in my eclectically jabbering brain…

I have this recurring daymare. It can’t be called a nightmare because I am fully awake when it happens. I don’t like “waking nightmare” because it is inaccurate and doesn’t convey my participation. And we do participate in our day dreams, whether or not we realize it.

I guess you could say I go into one of my creative trances and that would most definitely be true. But, daymare is the most accurate and conveys the sense of it succinctly.

As I was saying, I have this recurring daymare where the earth is a sentient being. In this scenario humans are not the pinnacle of creation, but resemble more the bacterial communities we now know are living within our own bodies. The earth is going about the living of its life. Creating, growing, and changing with age. Maturing into a personality that respects and nurtures life as best it can. It also has an evolutionary need to propagate its own species.  It seems the earth has only recently become aware of our existence in its biological systems. We have multiplied out of control to the point of becoming a sickness within the earth. Her immune system is now beginning to engage us. She is developing antibodies to defend herself and her vital organs. She sees us as an invading pathogen, like the Bubonic Plague, and is responding appropriately.

We must mutate and become beneficial bacteria if we are to survive as a species. I am not certain we can transform fast enough. I’m not even certain most of us care to. We see ourselves more like the parasite, the liver fluke. The liver fluke is a flat worm type parasite that lives in snail slime. When ants ingest the snail slime the liver fluke burrows into the ant’s brain. It then takes over the controls.

The liver fluke’s entire goal is to have the ant be its Uber driver. The ant’s sole purpose for existence is to take the liver fluke to its preferred host – one with a liver. Thus its name. This worm allows the ant to behave normally while there is no preferred host in the vicinity. But, when a preferred host is near, the liver fluke takes over the controls and directs the ant to station itself in the perfect place to be eaten by the preferred host.

In my weird daymare, I am always concerned that we are acting like the liver fluke, but the earth is far more evolved than our species. We believe the earth is here for us to subdue, exploit, and, once we have used it up, dispose of as we leap to a new host, but the earth is far more evolved than we are or can conceive of and it knows how to deal with parasites. I fear the earth is about to take a heavy dose of antibiotics genetically engineered to target Homo sapiens sapiens.

Will we mutate in time?

This is where my daymare always ends.


See you Thursday. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Race Against Running Out

Anyone who has read my writing for any amount of time knows I have a fascination with futurists and those at the foremost edges of our technological development. Whether it is growing new organs, creating prosthetic limbs, genetic engineering to prevent and cure disease, a transition to sustainable energy, transhumanism (humans merging with technology; as in incorporating technology into their own bodies), or a hundred other astonishing breakthroughs of science, I am easily taken in and my imagination runs away from me.

I’ve written extensively on the subject.

I’ve recently discovered there is another group of scientists, engineers, and researchers who are working to help humanity with an entirely different future. This movement’s most common name is Peak Oil.

Before you go running off, understand, I’m not talking about the folks who make the straight to Netflix documentaries telling you to stop paying your bills and find a “bugout” shelter in the wilderness because the oil is running out next month and the world will be plunged into a Mad Maxian dystopia by 2030.

I’m talking about real scientists, engineers, and researchers. Serious, sober folks.

These folks research how much oil we are using daily, how much is being discovered each year, how much is being extracted and at what cost from existing wells. Which techniques, regulations, taxes, and natural obstacles are being imposed worldwide. These folks also study which of these are being removed and for which reasons. Such as political, corporate, populace, and personal profit. There are more factors to account for than I can list or know of.

Most of these folks believe we have already passed the point of peak oil production across the globe. According to this theory, we will be producing less and dirtier oil each year until eventually it is simply too expensive to produce. Then a long regression back to a preindustrial life for humanity.

How long will this take?

Right now, authors like John Michael Greer (The LongDescent) say two to three hundred years. According to this theory, oil becomes more and more scarce, making other sources of energy less affordable. Which other sources of energy specifically? All of them. To greater or lesser extents, solar, wind, coal, geothermal, nuclear, and hydro-electric energy all require oil to create and maintain.

As we deplete the planet’s oil reserves, all these other technologies become more expensive as well.

Peak Oil theorists maintain, Futurism and the Oil Robber Barons (my term, not theirs) are in a race. The futurists are coming up with solutions as fast as they possibly can. The oil companies are pumping petroleum out of the earth as fast as their machines can bear.

And the futurists are losing.

The main reason the futurists are losing this race against running out is because of us. We are burning, using, and discarding every petroleum derived product they come up with faster than they can come up with them. We resist every regulation on how much energy an individual or population is allowed to use.

We refuse to be made uncomfortable in any way.

Price of gasoline too high? We make our politicians pay a price for it. Let the price get beyond a certain pain point and our politicians begin losing elections.

Our favorite exotic fruit is not in season? We chew on the grocery store manager’s ear so she knows to have it in stock next week. If she doesn’t, the luxury grocery store down the street will.

See or hear a Public Service Announcement advocating turning our furnace down and putting on a sweatshirt? Or, turning up the setting on our air conditioning and wearing less? Who is the government or anyone else to tell me what to do in my own home?

On and on it goes, right?

We all do it.

And that’s the problem.

None of us wants to be the first to unilaterally go without.

The peak oil theorists aren’t all that concerned about it though. They say we will all begin to get priced out of our energy in the next decade anyway. The choice to self-regulate will be taken away from us by the natural market forces of supply and demand. (You don’t really believe the government is going to allow its bomber and fighter planes, warships, tanks, rockets, etcetera to not have enough fuel so you can be comfortable, do you?)

Will the futurists win the race against us and the oil companies?

Will we plunge ourselves into a new dark age?

Will the futurists figure it out and deliver on the promise of a glorious future where humans tap into the unlimited resources of the universe and we spread out into the stars in magical journeys even Gene Roddenberry, Isaac Asimov, and George Lucas couldn’t come up with while being aided by the most powerful psychedelic substances known to man?

I have no idea.


I do know it is always prudent to pay attention and try to be prepared for as many possible outcomes as we can. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Saucer-Shaped Moon

A saucer-shaped moon waits below
A tenuously connected
Mars and Venus
Asking to be
Filled with the heavenly nectar
As the three float horizon-ward
Disappearing while the night is
Still beginning

Friday, January 27, 2017

YOU Are the Republic

We are finally at the end of President Trump’s first week in office. It has been a hectic week to say the least. In his inaugural address, the new president said the time for talk is over and it is now “time for action.” He has been true to his word. It is difficult, not just for the average citizen, but even for the news media to keep up.

Mr. Trump’s first executive order marked the official U.S. withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement. I wrote about that briefly here.

Among the highlights of the other EO’s are reinstating the “Mexico City” abortion rule, implementing much of what he’s promised to do on border security and immigration, providing “relief” from Obamacare regulations, issuing a freeze on all regulations created by agencies of the federal government, implementing a federal hiring freeze, restarting construction of the XL pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline, expediting environmental reviews of infrastructure projects, creating a new rule requiring any pipelines built in the U.S. to be built with U.S. made steel and other metal products, and ordering a streamlining of the federal manufacturing regulations for U.S. manufacturers.

This adds up to Mr. Trump wanting to get moving quickly on infrastructure projects to get American workers back to work rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure. It won’t solve all of our earning problems, but every little bit helps.

I don’t have time to go through each one of these executive orders, nor do I have any delusions you would sit and read all of it, so I will focus on a couple and give you an overall assessment of where we are and where we are headed.

Pipelines


President Obama wanted these pipelines to be built. He did not cancel them, he delayed them so he didn’t have to deal with the political fallout. Hillary Clinton’s position was “whatever I have to tell you to get elected.” Bernie Sanders stood alone in the presidential candidate field in opposition to these pipelines. They both became a working reality the moment the polls closed on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. If you were against these pipelines, understand, no matter who won in November, you lost this battle the moment Bernie Sanders was mathematically eliminated in the Democratic Primaries. Blame the DNC and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

I’ll say this and move on. ALL pipelines leak. The Native American tribes believe their water supply will be at least tainted if we build the Dakota Access Pipeline. They deserve to be negotiated with as a sovereign nation or, at least, a state in the union. This has not happened. As usual with the U.S., the First Peoples are treated as less than second class citizens. This is how the U.S. government treats all those with less power than itself – and this behavior does not change whether Democrats, Republicans, or Whigs, or Federalists are heading up the government.

Border Security and Immigration


Easily the most impactful thing President Trump has done in his first week is the combination of two executive orders: one to build the wall along the southern border and another on far reaching immigration policies. Among bullet points in the second order are

  • ·         Hiring 5,000 additional border patrol agents
  • ·         10,000 new immigration officers
  • ·         Creation of new detention facilities
  • ·         Ending the “Catch and Release” policy and replacing it with “Catch, detain, and deport.”
  • ·         Denying federal funds to sanctuary cities and “jurisdictions” (a new word we haven’t seen much of, at first blush, it appears to be a stab at denying entire states federal funds unless they cooperate with the President’s agenda)
  • ·         The action also orders the Department of Homeland Security to create and maintain a list of “sanctuary jurisdictions.”
  • ·         The office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement to create an Office of Victims of Crimes Committed by Removable Aliens. (An ominous name, no?) This office will be compiling lists of crimes committed by immigrants. One can only assume these lists will be studied to help officials decide specific countries from which to block, reduce, or only allow super select immigrants. It also says in the order these lists are for the purpose of “better informing the public regarding safety threats associated with sanctuary jurisdictions.” (A thinly veiled threat. This list will very soon be turned into a propaganda tool to disrupt tourism and commercial investment in these “sanctuary jurisdictions.” Why would you visit or expand your business in a place that is so unsafe? The goal is obviously to force compliance by using internal “economic sanctions” against these places.  


I have to point out at this point, had the administrations of the past ten presidents or so simply enforced the immigration laws on the books, we would not be in the position of having to decipher whether this authoritarian president believes his actions are for the good of the nation or if he has more nefarious motives. In short, we did this to ourselves.

Hope


In President Obama’s first ten days he signed nine executive orders. President Trump has signed twelve. This number may actually be thirteen, but it is difficult to get clear information at this point. He was scheduled to sign an EO ordering an investigation into his fictitious voter fraud claims yesterday afternoon, but the signing was postponed.

Bottom line, President Trump is not that far ahead of where President Obama was at this point in his presidency.

Also, one of the first EO’s President Obama signed was the order to close Guantanamo Bay Prison in Cuba. Eight years later it is still open. The President is not a king. Just because he orders something to happen does not mean it is feasible or doable. The wall may indeed get built. If it does, it will have little effect on illegal immigration. The more stringent steps in the accompanying order will have far more effect. Building the wall will create a few decent paying jobs for a few American workers for a few years. If we decide we don’t like it, we can always take it down once the Trump Presidency is over. Creating a few more temporary jobs?

We’ve had megalomaniac authoritarian presidents before. In the sixties and early seventies we had one who was a Democrat (Johnson) and one who was a Republican (Nixon) consecutively.

And we are still here as a sovereign and a free nation.

The Republic is bigger than one man. It is definitely bigger than this one man, no matter how many times he tries to conflate himself with the nation.


Keep in mind: YOU are the Republic.