Power Addiction

Henry Kissinger said “power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.” It seems that many of our politicians are addicted to power and will go to extremes to hold on to it. Addicts are often irresponsible, abusive, deceptive, manipulative, distant and self-centered. This addiction keeps them from truly caring about what’s best for their constituents. They can become self-centered and lacking in empathy. In Ten Lessons from a Post-Pandemic World, author Fareed Zakaria writes that many with power, wealth and prestige have less compassion, damaged empathy and heightened selfishness. In The Power Paradox, author Dacher Keltner writes that the effects of power are like a “…form of brain damage, leading us to self-serving, impulsive behavior…”

When we vote, we are giving the candidate power. We are trusting them to wield that power, but many are failing to use it for the common good as intended. I currently see some United States Senators knowingly lie on a nearly daily basis regardless of the harmful consequences to simply to hold on to power. They were elected as public servants to legislate in order to protect the citizenry and they are failing us.

They fail to understand what it is like for most Americans who are essential workers living paycheck to paycheck, unable to afford healthcare or to not have alternative housing during a disaster that makes their home uninhabitable. They fail to adequately fund education, healthcare and infrastructure and to legislate for livable wages, all the things that are necessary for their constituents to thrive.

Politicians need mandatory empathy training and daily reminders of why they were elected! Power addiction explains a lot of the despicable, uncaring, out of touch behavior we witness coming out of Washington!

NASA Works!

On February 18, 2021, the Perseverance rover successfully landed on Mars after its seven month journey and immediately sent back pictures to Earth. It is an amazing feat that took years of ingenuity and hard work. The rover will explore, collect and experiment to expand human knowledge. Over 350 people worked together to make this possible. This successful government funded project provides an excellent example of what we can do when we work together.

This week also demonstrated the failure of the privatization of the Texan electrical grid that is intentionally not part of the national grid in order to avoid federal regulations. Extreme cold weather conditions caused the grid to fail leaving most residents without heat or water as pipes froze for days, sadly, resulting in several deaths. The owners of the Texas electric company chose to not implement the winterization upgrades suggested after the 2011 sub freezing temperatures. Texas residents received cheap energy and owners got rich. I think if the residents knew the future risks of this cheap energy they may have chosen to pay a little more over the years. Government regulations would have avoided this disaster and is, obviously, necessary to protect ordinary Americans.

Decades of anti-government rhetoric from the right has undermined confidence in and the effectiveness of our government. Our greatness as a nation depends on our ability to work together and good government is the key. Privatization is motivated by profit and not the common good. We need to elect good people and not those seeking personal power and the dismantling of the administrative state. We are only as good as our government which simply is us together.

JFK inspired the Peace Corps and DJT inspired an antigovernment insurrectionist mob to desecrate the hallowed halls of democracy. We are the greatest country in the world, but for how long? The Perseverance provides hope and the Texas disaster causes doubt!

Second Trump Impeachment Trial

The impeachment managers easily proved their case that one-term twice-impeached former president Trump incited a deadly insurrection that stormed and breached the Capitol building on January 6th, 2021 in a desperate last ditch attempt to stop the certification of the electoral college vote confirming Joe Biden as the next President of the United States.

Now it is up to the senate to find Trump guilty and disqualify him from ever running for public office again in order to save our very fragile democracy. We need 17 Republican senators to join the 50 Democratic senators in conviction. Sadly, due to the grasping and holding of power and / or the refusal to live in reality, conviction is unlikely.

The danger to our democracy of an acquitted Trump is clear. Maybe some of the current state investigations into Trump’s wrongdoing will put a stop to his negative, dangerous and destructive political influence. We need to save our democracy from autocratic populism. Now we wait!

Victims of the Big Lie

Trump has falsely proclaimed since at least 2015 that any election he lost must be rigged in order to protect his fragile ego, while knowingly understanding that repeating any lie over and over again causes people to believe in lies. Even though the Trump appointed Director of Cybersecurity, Chris Krebs, declared the 2020 election the most secure ever and with over 60 lawsuits including one brought before the Supreme Court finding zero evidence of voter fraud, many people refuse to accept the truth because of the constant lies. As a result, ordinary Americans were radicalized by the “BigLie” that Trump won the election by a landslide and that Joe Biden is not the legitimate president, and engaged in violence!

According to, “The Capitol Rioters Aren’t Like Other Extremists” by Robert A. Pape and Keven Ruby (The Atlantic 2/2/2021) the majority of the January 6, 2021 insurrectionists were not white nationalists, white supremacists, neo-Nazi anti-semites, anti-government militia extremists. Astoundingly, more than 80% were “normal” Trump supporters made up of middle class often middle aged-people without ties to the far-right.

According to Pape and Ruby, many of those arrested without far-right ties proclaimed that they “…were following Trump’s orders to keep Congress from certifying Joe Biden as the presidential-election winner.” One arrestee stated “I am incredibly proud to be a patriot today, to stand up tall in defense of liberty and the Constitution, to support Trump and MAGAforever, and to send the message: WE ARE NEVER CONCEDING A STOLEN ELECTION.”

Pape and Ruby found that the average age of arrestees was 40 and that 40% were business owners or held white-collar jobs which included CEOs, shop owners, doctors, lawyers, IT specialists and accountants. Only 9% of this group was found to be unemployed. Surprisingly, most did not come from deep-red strongholds. In contrast, they report that the majority of far-right extremists are under 35 years old with 25% unemployment and almost none working in white collar jobs.

Pape and Ruby conclude that “the Capitol riot revealed a new force in American politics-not merely a mix of right-wing organizations, but a broader mass political movement that has violence at is core…” made up of ordinary Americans seduced by the “Big Lie.”

Successful, respectable, hardworking, law abiding Americans were tricked into behaving unlawfully and to engage in sedition by the “Big Lie.” Trump, Republican enablers and right-wing media need to be held accountable for lying to the American people. Ordinary Americans have committed crimes, been arrested or lost their jobs due to their lie-fueled actions on January 6th, some even unnecessarily lost their lives that day! Words have consequences!

Even Trump supporters who didn’t attend the protest-turned-insurrection and those on the “other side” (whoever that is), have been negatively affected by these lies. Families members and good friends no longer share a common reality or truth resulting in unnecessary division, division based on lies. It is disruptive to peaceful existence and civil discourse. All media needs to be held to standards of truth and accountability! Lies are destroying America and democracy! If your news source pushes you toward violence, change the channel or website!

Reality check: One term, twice impeached President Trump lost the popular vote in both the 2016 and 2020 elections, by 2.8 million votes in 2016 and by more than 7 million votes in 2020. His slim 2016 electoral college win was by only 78,000 votes across three counties in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. During his four year term, he did nothing to win over the moderate voters needed to secure a 2020 victory. He lost fair and square at his own hand!