Root of Anger

What is the root of many contemporary Republicans’ anger?

Between Donald Trump’s brazen rage and Mitch McConnell’s chronic dyspepsia, Marjory Taylor Green, Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz, Josh Hawley, Steve Bannon, Alex Jones, and Tucker Carlson pride themselves in mean, irrational, rightwing, rants.  As the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. posited regarding Governor George Wallace, their “lips dripping with words of interposition and vilification.”    

Anger is the child of fear, fear the child of ignorance, ergo, anger is the grandchild of ignorance.  Ignorance not in the pejorative, demeaning sense, but by definition, “lack of knowledge, education, or awareness.” (Merriam-Webster)

Given broad and distinct reservations regarding the trustworthiness of our cohort, ignorance around folks who do not appear, speak, behave, or believe as we do, fear of strangers, is rational.  Out of ignorance regarding any- and everyone who does not appear, speak, believe, or behave as they do, many Republicans today seem to assume all strangers necessarily harbor malevolent intentions and must be feared!  Then anger!

Today’s Republicans’ anger is rooted in ignorance of the fact they cannot turn back the clock, they cannot roll back the calendar.  I have written,

“In the Dangerous Case of Donald Trump a woman is succinct, ‘I want my country back!’  American history is a relentless parade.  Which star-spangled float or marching band, which ‘country,’ would our fearful lady have ‘back’?  Thirty, fifty, a hundred years, 1776, 1492?  Did the folks who met Columbus want their country back?”

In penning “We the People,”the Founding Fathers seemed to include all inhabitants of America.  On examination, they appear not to have had all the People in mind.  They did not mean women, people of color, folks who were here before white men.  For heavy lifting and cannon fodder, middle- and lower-class white males had to be included.  But, power and privilege rested in early America’s White Male Gentry.

An hypothesis regarding the authors of the Constitution’s intent is implicit and arguable.  Today’s Republicans’ position is explicit and beyond question!  “The People” are native-born, white, Christians.  Wokes, non-Christian whites, and the growing polyglot of mongrel races must subscribe to their band of Fascism, “Christian Nationalism!”

The Tragic Insanity of Guns in America

April 13: When Ralph Yarl mistakenly knocked at the wrong address, brandishing a gun, homeowner Andrew Lester, shot the 16-year-old in the head and arm.

April 15: When the vehicle Katlyn Gillis rode in mistakenly entered the wrong driveway, brandishing a gun, homeowner Kevin Monahan, shot the 20-year-old dead.

April 18: When Heather Roth mistakenly entered and immediately exited the wrong vehicle, brandishing a gun, the car’s owner Pedro Tello Rodriguez, Jr., grazed Roth in the arm and shot cheerleader Peyton Washington in the leg.

April 18: When the basketball Kinsley White was playing with mistakenly rolled onto the neighbor’s yard, brandishing a gun, neighbor Robert Lewis Singletary, grazed the six-year-old’s cheek, mother Ashley’s elbow, and shot her father Willian White in the back.

Connect the dots: innocent mistake, irrational gun owner, f—— gun!

With more guns than people, America’s gun-related homicide rate is 13 times, its gun-related suicide rate 30 times, the average for 22 other high-income countries.

Want to kill someone?  Forget knives, bludgeons, and garrotes.  Get a gun!

Tool of Choice–Again

Edited and abridged from my first, March 24, 2018, post.

What is the root of America’s burgeoning homicide and suicide rates? 

Some argue the problem stems from an overabundance of firearms in America.  Gun advocates respond, “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.”  With a blind eye to implications for Americans’ values and culture, gun advocates lay the problem off on mental illness and, ironically, a seemingly need to defend themselves amidst a hostile society.

To be sure, the strains and complexities of human life can exacerbate mental illnesses and lead to murder.  Despite America’s failings in appreciating and treating mental illness, I’m convinced the average American is no crazier than citizens of countries with dramatically lower murder rates.  Moreover, while the mental processes leading to homicide are not “normal,” my hunch is, the vast majority of murders in America are not committed by the “mentally ill.” 

Contrary to firearm advocates claim, Americans do not harbor more homicidal intentions than citizens of other countries either.  Since Cain and Able humans have slain each other: the Crusades, Spanish Inquisition, Conquistadors massacuring native Central and South Americans, by force or arms Great Britain colonized half the globe, Stalin annihilated millions of his own people, World War I, World War II, Hitler’s “Final Solution”; Hutus wiped out 70% of Tutsis, suicide attacks and truck bombs rock Europe, ISIS beheads infidels, Mexican drug-cartels murder rivals and bystanders, Bashar al-Assad massacres Syrians, adults, children, babies!

So, if not insanity or homicidal inclinations, what lies at the root of the facts that, “Compared to 22 other high-income nations, the U.S. gun-related homicide rate is 25 times higher.”  That, “Gun violence  .  .  .   was the leading cause of death for children 19 and under in 2020.” (Wikipedia)  That, in the most materially blessed country on Earth, in 2021, guns killed 24,000 by suicide

A Counsel on Foreign Relations, “U.S. Gun Policy: Global Comparisons,” “Gun Ownership and Homicide, Selected Countries” graph is instructive.

CountryCivilian-owned guns per 100 people (2017)Gun homicide per 100,000 people (2019)
United States120.54.12
United Kingdom4.60.04

With 5% of the world’s population, Americans possess over half its firarms.  Does American civilians owning seven times as many guns and committing thirteen times as many homicides as the average for six developed countries, suggest a link between firearm ownership and murder in America?

In America, guns have become the major solution to minor grievances.  A hot-head sees the neighbor’s dog taking a crap on his lawn.  Not owning a firearm, the hot-head charges down the front steps, kicks the mutt in the ribs, and punches the neighbor in the nose.  With his trusty 44 Mag at hand, he steps to the porch and blows the pooch, and maybe neighbor, away.  Some jerk gets cut off on Interstate 5, lacking a firearm he curses, calls the offender a “stupid son-of-a-bitch!’, and gives him the middle-finger salute.  The ol’ 38 Special on his belt, the hothead rolls down a window and wastes the dumb bastard.  Gangs who once “duked it out” now shoot it out.  Drive-by shootings are common as fender-benders.  When was a six-year-old girl accidentally killed by a drive-by stoning?  At the point of “ending it all” pulling a trigger is quicker and less problematic than hanging from the balcony, leaping from the thirteenth floor, or slitting a wrist.

Get a grip Americans!  We murder more because we have more guns than people!  We murder more because firearms are easy to get, simple to use, quick, reliable, and more surely lethal than a knife, baseball bat, poison, garrote, or stone.

For a random murder or massacring a kindergarten class, America’s tool of choice is a gun!


From Buddhist Lama Lekshe King Tamang’s Facebook:

Friend at coffee today: Why do you practice.

Me: Because I’d like to live outside the echo chamber.

Friend: Even your own?

Me: Especially my own.

Seeing Nobody

Thus far the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee investigating alleged “weaponization” of the federal government appears not to have discovered much, clearly no “smoking gun.”

From my biased, Democrat perspective, the antics of Chairman Jim Jordan’s Committee call to mind an event from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-glass: And What Alice Found There (ed. 1882):

“I see nobody on the road,” said Alice.  “I only wish I had such eyes,” the King remarked in a fretful tone.  “To be able to see Nobody!  And at that distance too!  Why, it’s as much as I can do to see real people, by this light.”

King James and his Court might do well to shine their light inward.  Could it be there’s “nobody on the road”?

The Circus

“Send In the clowns
Don’t bother they’re here.”
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

The cabal of Reactionaries who—finally!—elected Kevin McCarthy Speaker of the House of Representatives are roundly viewed as a Circus.  With Kevin putative Ringmaster, in the center ring Marjory Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar, Matt Gatez, Jim Jordan, and Josh Hawley tumble from a clown car.  Bereft of platform, policy, or any notion of “governing,” the second and third rings, feature slapstick recriminations and tit-for-tat reprisals. 

This Circus’s P.T. Barnum is Donald J. Trump.  His acts showcase hatred, bigotry, and lies.  Asked to disavow paramilitary thugs, Proud Boys  and Oath Keepers, candidate Trump famously responded, “stand down and stand by.”  Donald called torch-carrying white man chanting “Jews will not replace us” “very fine people.”  Haiti and Africa are “shithole” countries. Four female, non-Caucasian, members of Congress—three native-born Americans—should go back to their countries.  Trump’s lies are tabulated in tens-of-thousands.

Adopting Donald’s mad, mindless model, a handful of mawkish zealots drag civil discourse and Honest Abe’s Grand Old Party to heretofore unthinkable lows.  Their megaphones blare xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny, and racism.  A poster shows Marjory Taylor Greene holding an assault rifle and non-Caucasian, female Representatives Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rishida Tilaib.  A photoshopped anime video depicts Paul Gosar killing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and lunging with two swords at President Biden

Erstwhile National Committee Chair Michael Steele, Representatives Liz Chaney and Adam Kitzinger, founders of The Lincoln Project, commentator Joe Scarborough, and who-know-how-may more?, former and disillusioned Republicans recognize the hazards and insanity in Donald’s faux-populist rhetoric but feel stymied by his headlock on the Party.

After the final buzzer or last out, professional, collegiate, amateur, or little league, coaches and players share pats-on-the-back, fist bumps, and high fives with erstwhile opponents.  It’s sportsmanship, being a good sport!

If team Trump were to lose, coach Donald would decry “bought-off officials and cheating scorekeepers.”  His team would stick out their tongues and show the middle finger to opponents. 

Sportswriter Grantland Rice wrote:

For when the One Great Scorer comes to mark against our name,
He writes – not that you won or lost – But HOW you played the Game.”

How might He write of team Trump?


It seems important that folks who get their “News” only from Fox, know Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion lawsuit discovers behind-the-camera texts, emails, and testimony revealing that, while acknowledging Donald Trump’s “stolen” 2020 election claim is bogus, Rupert Murdock and Fox Luminaries chose market share and financial profits over candor and shamelessly lied to viewers.

About Character

While Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the United Sates Congress, Representatives Lauren Boebert and Matt Gaetz sometimes stood and sometimes sat, toying with their cell phones.  Reputedly, the Colorado and Florida Republicans’ sit-down expressed opposition to spending additional dollars defending Ukraine from Vladimir Putin.

But, it’s not about money!  It’s about “character  .  .  . moral excellence and firmness”!  “Moral,” in turn, “conforming to a standard of right behavior sanctioned by or operative on one’s conscience or ethical judgement.” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)  (My emphasis.)

Boebert’s and Gaetz’s antics demonstrate a shocking lack of character!  By contrast, two leaders, President Zelenskyy and Representative Jamie Raskin, exemplify the finest in Character, in “moral excellence and firmness.”

When Russia’s takeover of Kyiv seemed imminent, Zelenskyy’s life hung in the balance.  Offered safe passage out of Ukraine, the President famously responded, “I need ammunition, not a ride.”  With that statement, Volodymy Zelenskyy’s words and acts were widely viewed as reminiscent of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s during the “London Blitz.”  The Ukraine President’s continued courage, wisdom, and leadership bolster this analogy.   

Jamie Raskin, on January 5, 2021, buried his beloved son Tommy.  The following day, the Maryland Representative was caught up in Donald Trump’s seditious attempt to overthrow America’s Democracy and, despite losing the election, remain President.  Speaker Nancy Pelosi, on January 12, named Raskin Lead Manager in Trump’s second impeachment trial before the United States Senate.  In July, 2021, the Speaker asked Jamie to serve on the United States House Select Committee On January 6.  Over the subsequent year-and-a-half, Constitutional scholar and lawyer Raskin devoted invaluable expertise and prodigious effort to this assignment.

Representatives Lauren Boebert’s  and Matt Gaetz’s sad, sophomoric, stunt demonstrated an alarming lack of Character and failure to appreciate the awesome responsibility afforded them by their constituents, indeed by all Americans.  We can only hope that their act was an outlier, an aberration not reflecting the Character of the Grand Old Party or the United States Congress.  


Amid its joy and suffering, I understand nothing of the mystery animating “Life.”  This said, a few truths seem self-evident.

  1. Now, this instant, is the only “time” there is.
  2. I seem only to control my thoughts, muscles, and impulses.
  3. Worrying is wasted energy.
  4. Do what needs to be done.
  5. Don’t manufacture problems!