Commentary

Colors: Red Color

The dot you make on election day is more than you know. Let me begin by distilling the nuanced arguments, the individual variations, the what about this and what about that to two simple constructs. For some the dot disconnects them; for others the dot connects them. Connect or disconnect, the dot is your signature on the policy outcomes represented by your choice. So, which are you, connected or disconnected?

I have been taking the temperature of 2018 voters gathered at the largely artificial fault lines in today's national quarrel over migrants, Kavanaugh, tax cuts, health care, living wage etc and it appears to me that the divisions are simple. The Trump voter appears to be motivated by a longing for yesterday; hyper-individualism; eroding objective truth; and winning. On the other hand the Progressive voter appears to be motivated by an inclusive, hopeful tomorrow, a sense of decency, civility, community and evidence driven intellect.

Now don't get it twisted, Trump voters are smart even cunning and are involved in innumerable individual acts of kindness, I know because I see it almost daily. What is puzzling is their willingness to support, to contrive, to lie and to be intellectually dishonest about the failings of their leader, the corrosive effects of his words, the ill effects of limiting health care, marginalizing immigrants, demonizing groups, and the economy that booms at the top of the economic ladder and busts at the bottom of said ladder.

Is it that they simply want to feel better about themselves as they drop pennies into the hands of the working poor while collecting massive bounty from government handout in the form of tax cuts, land giveaways, reduced regulations and, well a false sense of white superiority? I really don't know, nor do I judge, but the Trump effect is unarguably a cause of the degeneration of civility and community.

During a recent appearance President Obama asked a simple question of hecklers “Why are you so angry?” After all Republicans (conservatives) didn't just win - they ran the table on Democrats. From hyper-partisan gerrymandering and stealing a supreme court seat to completely controlling all branches of government (SCOTUS included), what else do they want? Why are they so angry?

Well, maybe they are not angry. They are afraid; afraid of the demons in their heads. You see somewhere in the collective unconscious mind of Trump supporters they are afraid of demographic change. Is that not what motivates Trump and his devotees to want immigration for Sweden, Norway and Russia? I believe they are afraid that what goes around comes around – karma. And I believe that fear compels them to trade Washington for Putin and guns; Ochlocracy over polity.

The fear is irrational. After all the nanny and the home health aid, the cook and the landscaper, the orchard worker and the handyman are generally migrants from south of the border. Stay at a Trump property like Mar a Lago and see who shows up when you call for room service.

So which are you, connected or disconnected?

To the disconnected: 

  • On gun control: Your dot connects you to the killers of the nine Baptists worshipers in a church and the eleven Jews in a synagogue.

  • On environmental protections: Your dot connects you to lead in the water of marginalized communities like Flint Michigan , and the PCBs Marines from Camp LeJeune live with today.

  • On health care: Your dot connects you to the asthma, influenza and cancers that flows from the absence of and gleeful rollback of regulations on emission and other standards.

  • On living wages: Your dot connects you to the number of low wage, no benefit jobs the working poor must do to buy a loaf of bread.

To the connected:

  • On history: Your dot connects you to the legacy of Mr. Otis Moss Sr. who walked 18 miles to exercise his right to vote.

  • On objective truth:  Your dot connects you a common decency and a desire for objective facts and intellectual honesty;

  • On health care:  Your dot connects you to health care as a human right, not health care as privilege for those who can afford it;

  • On regulations:  Your dot connects you common sense regulations to preserve natural resources, sensible gun control and the health and welfare of the community;

  • On Campaign Financing and government corruption:  Your dot connects for  you to the collective outcry against government giveaways to billionaire donors.

VOTE VOTE VOTE

There is a lot of exuberant talk about a Soccer1 Field of Dreams in Elmont but residents have been down this road before.  Fact is the last bit of premature exuberance was supported in part by this writer – The Casino.

After reading, listening and reading again I must say there is not much here to report.  A proposal (one of three) has taken on a virtual life - like Manti Te'o girl friend, and reasoned residents are taking a wait and see position.  The merits of a minor league US soccer field as an engine of sustainable economic growth is questionable.  There are many examples of failed US soccer stadiums and wildly successful sport stadiums with negligible to outright negative economic and social impact on the residential communities that surround them.

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"We the people, in order to form a more perfect union."

Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America's improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

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The Ford truck was traveling eastbound on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn when the round United States Marine Corp (USMC) sticker on the rear window of the truck caught my attention.

I was preoccupied with the health concerns of a good friend I had visited, and was driving home when my consciousness was jarred by the words on the red, white and black bumper sticker stuck to the tailgate of the truck, “Pistol Whip a Liberal It's your civic duty.”

The events of last week caused me to reflect on the words printed on the bumper sticker, and more importantly on my reaction to the sticker at the time. I was shocked! In this political climate the bumper sticker is the functional equivalent of shouting "fire" in a crowded theater.  In my opinion the words on the bumper sticker fails to meet the basic standards of protected political speech.  I showed the photo of the sticker to a conservative friend who awkwardly made light of it but noted that it's not his sentiment.

maga bomber

This brings me to this point or question: If I were on the streets of Plantation, FL and saw the MAGA bomber's van, what would I have done? What would you have done? Now-a-days we say “If you see something, say something”. I said nothing when I saw the incitation to violence. No, instead I dismissed the inflammatory bumper sticker as “free speech” and set aside my emotional reaction as an overreaction.

It's now commonplace for TV pundits to say “... but this is not who we are”.  Well maybe this is exactly who many of us are.  In a 72 hour period last week we witnessed or participated in two notable hate crimes and a Trump inspired domestic terrorism incident:

  1. Monday, October 22, 2018 - “The manhunt began Monday afternoon, when a pipe bomb was found inside a package delivered to billionaire activist George Soros, and ended ... with Sayoc’s arrest outside an auto supply store in Plantation, Fla. Sayoc, who lives in nearby Aventura, was arrested near his vehicle: a white van festooned with political declarations echoing Trump rhetoric.”

  2. Wednesday, October 24, 2018 “A gunman ... killed two [black] people at a Kroger supermarket in Jeffersontown, Ky., ... [he] tried to enter a predominantly black church minutes before the attack, the police said on Thursday.”

  3. Saturday, October 27, 2018 - “A man armed with a semiautomatic assault-style rifle stormed the Tree of Life synagogue ... and shot worshipers during Shabbat services, killing 11 and wounding six in the deadliest attack on Jews in the history of the United States.”

“If you see something, say something” On September 9, 2018 at 9:10am I said nothing but was sufficiently horrified to take the photo above. Words matter!  After all, we drop 5K pound bombs on "single individuals" because their words "inspire" others to act.  Words matter!

I know we've come a long way, 
We're changing day to day,
But tell me, where do the children play?

Tonight, I had the privilege of being part of a panel discussion that was hosted by the Sewanhaka Central High School District PTA. It was a great discussion. 

We discussed the horrors of Sandy Hook, bullying and our children. 

As a father of three beautiful children, I cannot fathom the agony of the families who lost their child. The suffering of these families and the senseless killing of the innocents far eclipse any drop of understanding of the depth of the mental illness of the gunmen of Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech and Columbine. I apologize to my God, but I can't muster understanding or forgiveness of what occurred.

I can, however, do whatever I can, as an elected official, a father and a neighbor to prevent these senseless acts of violence. 

While I have no psychological training, I would like to post some random thoughts and observations that are not based on studies nor supported by empirical data. 

We must learn to say no to our children. Our world cannot sustain the mentality of yes at any cost. We don't deserve flat screen Tvs, designer clothes, exotic vacations at any cost. We deserve the opportunity to work. With work, we can choose to spend our money, save or invest. 

We are not what we wear, what we drive or where we live. We are who we are and who we choose to become. The rest are simply clothes, cars and houses. 

We must return to a time where it was ok to discipline. Where teachers and police officers were respected and even feared. Where respect modeled our behavior and disciplined us to behave like human Beings.

Life is tough at times. The struggle to interact and succeed at being human isn't always easy. The internet is no substitute for human interaction. You cannot hug your child on Facebook. 

Go out and play. Shut off the iPhone, the iPod and the computer. Know what it feels to catch a ball, ride a bike or swing on a swing. When you fall from your bike, you will get hurt and bruised. Get up. The pain fades. The exhilaration of getting up again will stay with you forever. 

Learn how to do long division, memorize your times tables and look up words in the dictionary. Learn how to think and not just push buttons.

Don't google the answers to life. Live it instead. 

It's ok to have family values. It's better yet to live your life according to those very same values.

Shut off the TV and read. Every night. When you're finished reading say a short but honest prayer to the God of your choice. 

Most importantly, we must change the ground rules. The world we live in has challenges that we never faced before. It also has opportunities we could never grab.

We all deserve a chance at those opportunities. I don't care what the color of our skin is, whether we have little money or the name of our God. 

Seize the opportunity to be human. Seize the moment.

For real. Not in virtual reality. Recognize that technology is a tool, not a master.

Lastly, reach out to the children who are suffering and who need our help. Connect to them. Save them from the pain and despair of isolation. They need us to connect to them for they can't connect to us.

By doing that, you may have saved many lives, and improved the life you have chosen for yourself. 



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Edward Ambrosino
516.663.6675
516.652.8389 
Sent from my iPad

For some, learning about other cultures is the stuff of textbooks and documentaries. But Elmont residents need only step outside to find more than 100 different countries represented there, from Guyana to Haiti to Peru. "Elmont is the most diverse zip code in the entire country," said resident Marsha Darling, professor and director of the Center for African-American and Ethnic Studies Programs at Adelphi University. "That is part of our strength." The community’s strength was the focal point of Elmont Online’s 1st Annual Roundtable Discussion on Empowerment, Opportunity and Social Justice, held on Feb. 11 at the Elmont Public Library. Darling served as a panelist, alongside WBAI-FM’s TalkBack! radio host Hugh Hamilton, Assemb. Thomas Alfano (R-North Valley Stream) and Elmont Memorial High School graduate Randall Clarke.

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In Shakespeare's 1597 'Romeo and Juliet', “love is a violent, ecstatic, overpowering force that supersedes all other values, loyalties, and emotions.”1

Well before Shakespeare, Plato2 had refined what the ancient Greeks identified as six types of love. Eros ‘love’, was uncomfortable even feared by the Greeks, because they understood that kind of love was dangerous and could get them into the most trouble. Evidently, the Greeks were right.

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