Wednesday, June 7, 2017


If you have not yet seen it, James Comey's anticipated statement has been put out already, ahead of his June 8th testimony in front of the Senate. There is a link at the bottom. I read it. It's exactly what we've been told it would be. 

Before you read it, before you listen to it, and before you listen to the talking news heads explain it in whatever spin zone you prefer, try something. 

Try reading it without the names. Try thinking of the entire issue based solely on the positions, the offices, the responsibility.

It's a useful exercise. It's an exercise that can help us all take off our partisian blinders and focus on the Country. 

What did the President do? What did the President ask?

You see, it doesn't matter if the President is a man, a woman, a Republican, a Democrat, or anything else. It just doesn't matter, and it shouldn't matter. Not when the issues are about the Country's most powerful and their behavior within the law.

We live in a country founded on the Rule of Law, an idea and ideal that no one person is above that law. That's the pushback to Monarchy and Oligarchy, when the law was something used only to subjugate the lower classes and didn't apply to the upper class, and especially not the King or Queen. The law is the great equalizer, one power to which all must yield. Yet, without enforcement the law is nothing.

So, as you read or listen and as you decide who is right and wrong, just try it. Because at the end of the day this isn't about Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, James Comey, Jeff Sessions, Michael Flynn, or any other singular person. It's about the institutions, the power, the law, and the responsibility. There was time as Americans that was easy to do. 

Put aside the words of judgment for whatever "side" you disagree with and view the issue as an American. Let your loyalty be first to your fellow Americans, your neighbors, and our well being. Let's focus on the Country, for real.

Read Comey Statement by clicking these words. 

- Adam Sommer

Friday, April 28, 2017

The First 100: Turns Out, Nothing Really Happened...

Certain groups are still in a state of shock, mourning, contempt, even depression and despair over the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election. For me most of the shock was that my prediction, and almost every other prediction for that matter, was so incredibly wrong. Like, toothpaste with orange juice wrong.

For some, the threat of Trump and the policies he represents creates real fear. I can empathize with that, and it's fair to say that as a straight white male Trump represents very little real threat to me. But for all the fear, justified as it is, at some point we all have to take a step back and look at the reality of what is happening and discard the echo-chamber of our own fears and groups.

Social media fuels the echo-chamber. Drastically. We can like and follow a very specific subset of the things we agree with and totally ignore anything that might possibly make us question our own ideas or beliefs. Great as that can be, it's dangerous. Differing views and opinions are important, even if that view or opinion proves to be incorrect, because it could be our own view or opinion that is wrong, not the other way around. It's impossible to know that if you ignore everything that's different from yourself or your core value system, or just dismiss it without examination.

Exposure to something different is a keystone of development, particularly when it comes to the way we think the world works. Just ask anyone who has done a study abroad, or a mission trip to a poor area, or held a job providing service to the underprivileged; seeing the world from another perspective helps us understand how narrow our own viewpoints are.

This Presidency is a great example of that. Depending on who you ask the First 100 days of the Trump administration have been: An unqualified success, a hilarious failure, or the beginning of a dictatorship and the end of Western democracy as we know it.

But the truth is, none of those are correct.

Trump put out his 100 day contract for America after election day. So far he has accomplished, well... nothing. No wall. Still in NATO. Still in NAFTA. Obamacare, well, you know... lots of threats but still not even a VOTE on a repeal bill. Equal marriage rights still exist, and by the way will. Muslim ban blocked, then re-done, then blocked again. Plus, the swamp appears to be doing just fine.

Still, this administration is talking big about these very items, but if we've learned anything about Trump is that his words mean virtually nothing. He's said that much himself, and shown it when he backs down on issues, changes his mind (quickly) on major issues, and sort of brushes off the failure to accomplish his stated goals. Add to that the rising boil of the issues with Gen. Flynn, a cabinet that's half-empty, eroding support in Congress, and an approval rating that isn't doing him any favors and Trump's first 100 days are basically just 100 days of free material for the late night hosts and a gift to the ratings of SNL.

Yet, for all of that, his supporters will still say he's doing a good job, and those who would label themselves in “the resistance” will use that word, dictator, to describe him. It's all perception. It's mostly branding. If we all have an "us" and a "them" it makes our lives make better sense. I get that. 

But it's that mindset that creates these echo-chamber issues. THEY don't agree with me because they are ____________ (rednecks, stupid, christians, muslims, atheists, libtards, snow flakes, etc.). Gross. Both sides have contrived a version of Trump that fits their needs. One version is a hero figure capable of fixing their problems. The other version is a cross between Hitler and Ben Roethlisberger. Both are just silly. Both groups seem stuck in the first week of November.

In reality, he's just a guy, that's a pretty big jerk, in a job he admits is harder than he thought it would be, with no experience. And that's what we are getting. He isn't actively trying to commit evil, and he also hasn't done the things he promised. Both, it turns out, are the result of the same thing. He doesn't know how to do the job, and it shows.

Recently, when asked about firing Sean Spicer, who is doing an absolutely awful job as Press Secretary, believe me, people are saying it, Trump said he doesn't want to fire him because he gets such good ratings. Ratings. That's what it comes down to.

So long as Trump thinks people are entertained and his people are in front of the cameras and getting the television ratings he wants to see, then things must be just fine. That's the game for him. Sure, maybe there will be some actual governing along the way, or staffing of the government for that matter, but really he just wants to keep getting the ratings. He talks about it in almost every interview he does.

That's what's really happening.

He isn't a savior for the “forgotten middle class” and he isn't a Hitler wanna-be. He hasn't ended democracy. Besides, democracy isn't his to end, it's ours, and what a dangerous self-fulfilling prophecy to promote.

In reality, Trump has spent 100 days arguing and tweeting. Most of what he has actually done is by signing executive orders, JUST like Obama. In comparison to his promises, and the fears, truly, he's done nothing.

- Adam Sommer