The Situation We Find Ourselves In

Maybe I was mistaken. I’d always taken it for granted… I thought it was a given. The idea, that everyone born in the United States of America truly believes what we were taught in elementary school… that any one of us could BE President of the United States.

It just seems for a MAJORITY of us… a majority of the time we don’t have the grand scheme necessary to pull off such a feat. We’ll just leave that one to the “professionals”.

Besides, I have to pick the kids up from school by 3:30. Anyway…

Maybe my world view is a little skewed. Having grown up here in the Great Plains, I may see things a bit differently. The Breadbasket of America feeds not only OUR Nation, the farmers of the Great State of Kansas FEED THE WORLD… this is HOME.

https://kansasagriwomen.wordpress.com/our-projects/ 

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I went to school in what was once a farmer’s field. I earned the rank of Eagle Scout camping in fields surrounded by COWS. Endless rows of CORN. Wheat by the mile. All bound for destinations unknown.

The awe inspiring complexity of Nature, mastered by our scientific achievements, to silence the cries of hunger worldwide… grown in the field where I got my first station wagon stuck in the MUD, doing donuts early one spring. Luckily, the girl I was with had a pick-up truck. 

… 

KS

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Ad Astra Per Aspera… to the STARS through difficulties. It is who we are. And we must remember why it is we are in the first place. Bleeding Kansas is also known as The Free State. We support a STRONG UNION. The future strength and stability of this Nation depends on it. It’s the reason we’re able to have these disagreements in the first place. 

How much control should the Federal Government have in our elections? How much control should be left up to the States? Should unlimited amounts of MONEY continue to influence our elections? Should EVERY CITIZEN be allowed to participate… all of these questions only exist within the framework of Our Constitution. 

… 

I live about 30 minutes away from a town named Lee’s Summit. It’s about a 45 minute drive to Lecompton, KS. I remember passing the Historical Marker as a young man, every time we’d drive out to the Free State Brewery on Mass street. 

I take PRIDE in our State’s Historic fight for EQUALITY. 

… 

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bleeding_Kansas#/media/File:The_Tragic_Prelude_John_Brown.jpg 

… 

I believe in the spirit of those who still dare to dream the impossible dream. From the Earth to the STARS… not because it is easy, but because it is HARD. 

… 

… 

 

As Neil Armstrong approached the surface of the Moon, he did something that was not expected by Mission Control… but it was prepared for. As the Eagle descended along its predetermined flight path, Commander Armstrong looked out his window and saw where his ship was heading. They were going to land in a boulder field, with rocks the size of houses. 

He made the call and switched to manual control, stopping their descent. He took control of their spacecraft and flew horizontally just a few hundred feet off the ground, looking for a level surface on which they could land. The added time dangerously drained their fuel levels, as documented by the call from Mission Control:

“… 30 seconds.” 

They touched down on the Sea of Tranquility 30 seconds later with no time to spare. Decisive actions SAVED that mission. 

 

… 

 

In the early days of the space program, engineers working on Project Mercury didn’t want astronauts to have the ability to make those decisions. They wanted their space capsules to be controlled entirely by Mission Control, on the ground… back in HOUSTON. 

It was only because of the insistence of the Astronauts themselves that the engineers decided to include pilot controls in their design. All of them were former military test pilots and they didn’t want to be seen as an equivalent to the ‘test chimps’ NASA was already sending into Earth orbit. 

They didn’t want to be test subjects, simply along for the ride… 
They wanted to control their own destinies. 

… 

 

Commander Armstrong earned his seat on that flight a few months prior to launch. Because of his ability to improvise and react to situations as they develop, he proved himself more than capable of leading a successful mission. 

… 

 


Any one of those Apollo Astronauts could have been in that seat for that flight… only ONE of them was fully aware of the dangers posed and where they would have to draw the line in order to SAVE LIVES.

It was the experience gained, through the shared ordeal they all went through, that determined who would be the FIRST man on the Moon. All of them were WORTHY of that honor… destiny determined who it would be.


There was no way Neil Armstrong could fail, especially with the full support of every citizen of the United States. No one on Earth wanted him to fail… and he did so for ALL MANKIND.

That is how we find our Compass. That’s how we find our way back HOME. Let this be our Guiding Light. Our message, our gift… for ALL MANKIND.

Those are the words of a Leader. 

 

This Nation has so much to give. If we are not charitable with the gifts we’ve been given, we risk losing them. 

History shows us, they are not ours. They’ve been given to us, to be defended… with a promise that ONE DAY, we would do the SAME. With Liberty and Justice for ALL…  


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… 

…when 90% of what you see is SKY, it’s hard not to dream of the STARS. 

-JC 

In Memoriam

Every solider, in every branch of the United States Armed Forces who has fought and died, did so defending ONE THING…


The Constitution of the United States of America. 

It was not to defend a POLITICAL PARTY
It was not to defend a PHILOSOPHICAL IDEOLOGY

They died believing in this Cause. 

They fought to preserve this arena of ideas and ingenuity. To secure this space for the ascent of sound ideals. In their final moments, their fight was justified… they bore witness to the full intensity of DARKNESS, yet they continued to STAND.  

The Cause for which they stood was WORTHY of nothing less. 

The Cause for which we stand TODAY, is still worthy of the same. 

… 

Enshrined within a Temple made of stone, protected from the raging elements. Within the HEART of our Capital. Written on a faded piece of parchment… there are WORDS. As powerful now as they were 200 years ago. 

IDEAS. Forged in the crucible of OPEN DEBATE. Their mere creation, an act of WAR. These are our shared ideals, and so it was written… 

We are ALL Created EQUAL. 

There is nothing more threatening to the rule of a tyrannical leader than the FREE and OPEN exchange of IDEAS. There is nothing more disturbing to an oppressor of the TRUTH than the question, ‘WHY?’ 

We stand UNITED in Common Cause… why do we see things in such differing ways? Why are we willing to trade FACT for FICTION… emphatically denying that which HALF of us sees as
reality

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Who stands to PROFIT off of our division… who’s lives are more secure when the vision of THE PEOPLE stands in disarray? 

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The LIES and VENOM in our political discourse disappear when viewed in this context. Why would anyone advocate for taking up ARMS to fight a POLITICAL FIGHT? Why would anyone believe the words of a POLITICIAN in the first place. 

The SAME politicians who tell people to take up ARMS in defense of a Political Ideology, BEG you for your DONATIONS with the very SAME BREATH… 

… and the minuet that position becomes unprofitable, their beliefs will CHANGE. 

… 

What AMPLIFIES the false narrative… 
What EMPOWERS the leader who deals in LIES? 

What motivated Donald J. Trump to install, in the bathroom of his Manhattan Penthouse Apartment, a TOILET plated in gold… 

The answer is one in the SAME. We all know what the problem is.💰 

… 

We give a PLEDGE. We swear an OATH. 
On our HONOR… with Liberty and Justice for ALL

IF we still believe in those WORDS, we must embrace what they SAY. 

The Enemies of Democracy call for violence in-support of their position. The Champions of Democracy already know… we’ve already won, all we have to do is STOP FIGHTING. We were born under the SAME FLAG… we fight for the SAME THING. 

The WAR… is OVER. We’ve seen this SHOW BEFORE, we’ve been educated by their mistakes. We’ve built monuments of marble and granite to remind us of those errors… who carries the COST of WAR. Who’s children will be called upon to bear the burdens of OUR GRUDGES

The only winning move is not to play. 

… 

What lessons would these fallen share with us if they could… what message would they send? 

It is for us… THE LIVING… to remember what comes from our DIVISION, and celebrate UNION and the inherent strength that comes from within. 

-JC 

Long live the CONSTITUTION of the UNITED STATES. 

A Constitutional Convention

Not to undo, but to strengthen. To fully define that which has not been addressed. To CLARIFY. To express what it is this nation stands for in words so clear, no rational mind could stand opposed to their ascent… and once passed, no legal mind could undermine their intent.

We need a Constitutional Convention to propose and debate a set of Amendments, addressing those issues that have been hijacked by Party Politics, to enflame passions and raise MONEY… all while these problems remain UNRESOLVED, to the detriment of THE PEOPLE these legislators were elected to represent.

Every piece of historical precedent shows us what we should be working toward. Everyday, every one of us swears an oath, in our hearts and our minds, to protect and defend it. But we can clearly see… it is NOT as it should BE.

There is nothing to fear, we must believe our eyes. We’ve been given the gift that so many others did not have. The Framers of our Constitution foresaw the need to make changes…


We have the ability to Amend. 

 

BEFORE the chaos that would eventually consume us. BEFORE the divisions are drawn and WALLS go up. The system… Our American Political System… is now BROKEN. Legislators legislate based on MONEY and the pursuit thereof. To FUND their re-election, to support their Political Party, to support their political careers. They cater to the interests of POLITICAL DONORS instead of working to pass legislation that would benefit the VOTERS they were elected to represent. 

HALF of our Elected Officials are BEHOLDEN to DARK MONEY interests, and the OTHER HALF are hesitant to ACT because it would upset their DONORS. 

Who Represents the American People in this DEBATE? 

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Though not written within our Constitution, by our consent, our system has settled into a two party system. Elections have, for the most part, provided a clear majority to establish a functioning government. 

Although they continue to do so, our ‘functioning government’ consistently does the opposite of what the voters demand. More Americans have died due to gun violence THIS YEAR ALONE, than have American Soldiers throughout 20 YEARS of war… in two countries. 

 

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https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackbrewster/2021/04/16/more-than-one-mass-shooting-per-day-has-occurred-in-2021/?sh=d8b007c64932 

 

American lives, lost… inaction in the United States Senate. 

Essential Workers, HAILED as heroes just a few months ago, more than deserving of being paid a LIVABLE WAGE in every state. Now… $15 is just TOO MUCH. It seems our Senators believe we should prioritize the needs of the United States Armed Forces… 

 

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https://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2020-07-28/gop-tucks-8-billion-for-military-weaponry-in-virus-bill 

 

 

… you wouldn’t want to see our soldiers go without PAY?  

 

 

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When you SEE something, SAY something. 

 

 

 

Because once it is SEEN and we do not ACT, we become COMPLICIT in allowing it to continue. What comes from our inaction is the fruit we will bear… our SILENCE will water the seed. 

It doesn’t matter what your political affiliation is. Left or Right, Red or Blue… we all know what the problem IS. MONEY in politics has unfairly tipped the scales against the Will of The People. If MONEY decides who will be allowed to legislate for the rest of us, legislation will continue to favor those with money over those WITHOUT. 

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What is the point of our Constitution? What were the ends that justified its creation? In order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, and to secure the Blessings of Liberty… for ourselves AND those yet to come. 

The experiment was created for THE PEOPLE. We are the experiment. We are the balance upon which the entire experiment is judged. Today we reap the harvest from seeds sown by men who still feared a KING. A vision of what could be, seen through the haze of musket fire… and their own hypocrisy. 

All men are created EQUAL’ they said… ‘except those we deem to be just three-fifths.’ 

So long as we are subjected to the structures that have arisen from the oppressive intent of the Three-Fifths Rule, the Will of the American People will never be fully realized. 

… 

 

The American People need CLARITY… not because it is easy, but because it is necessary. If we do not make the effort… if we do not seize the moment to secure the progress we have made, we remain at risk of losing it. It’s no longer hyperbole, it’s no longer a relic from a long forgotten PAST. 

When you STAND UP and SPEAK OUT in defense of the Rights of others, you defend those Rights for YOURSELF. And when you do, you will NOT stand alone. You stand with the MAJORITY… and we STAND UNITED. 

Every issue we struggle with has nuance and subtlety. We may differ on details and directions, but we agree on so much more than what is amplified in the media… by monied interests, who profit off of our division. Who make more MONEY if regulations are not passed. Who would prefer our legislatures remained deadlocked. And that suits the incumbents just fine… 

 

You can’t FUNDRAISE on a problem that’s already been SOLVED. 

 

… be sure to DONATE all you can to the candidate of choice this fall. 

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Right now, we stand engulfed within the Fog of War. The shots have already been fired… in our classrooms, in our houses of worship, on the streets of every city, in towns across every state… in communities of color AND communities of privilege. 

 

Tens of thousands of American Citizens are dying, needlessly, every year, and HALF of our Congress supports doing NOTHING about it… the other half seems to think they make a strong point.

Who do these people work FOR? 

Who SHOULD they be working for. 

When every citizen is guaranteed access to the ballot, our National Dialogue will gain CLARITY. Ideas born of Bad Faith will fall away when exposed in the light of OPEN DEBATE. 

Do not forget… if we do nothing, the actions taken by those who wish to overturn our elections will become precedent. They will be studied and expanded upon, just as it was twenty years ago the last time this happened. They’re testing every guardrail, looking for weaknesses… and practice makes perfect. 

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I am fortunate to have grown up in the Kansas City Metro area, surrounded by multiple World-Class sporting organizations. For many years, that wasn’t the case. Even today, where one year we are crowned World Champions, and the next year we are not… even when the roster is identical to the year before, on this day we came up short. 

When we are on top, we remember where we once stood… looking UP to where we are now, where the eyes of the world are now trained. Where once stood another, one day another will stand. The only thing holding us back from remaining as great as we are now is our EGO.

Do we believe we are somehow better than all the rest, or do we remember that we are no different than everyone else… that if it were another standing in this place, we would be cheering them on just the same. Do we become complacent or do we strive to become better than ourselves? 

It’s the microcosm vs. the macrocosm. As above, so below. The United States of America is the GOLD STANDARD. We are the envy of the world. When we STAND UNITED there is no force on Earth that can stop us… the only thing that can take that away is our OWN EGO. Do we fall victim to the hype, or do we remain HUMBLE and strive for everyone to have the same… 

In order to solve the fundamental problems facing us today, we must clearly determine the Will of the People. Our Strength and Security depends on it. I believe in the judgement of the American People, whenever they are fully informed. 

Democracy is NOT dying, it’s being STARVED of new ideas. Conversations being had about subjects and grudges held since the BIRTH of this Nation… old ideas die hard. But we aid in their descent when we find COMMON GROUND. No subject should be seen as taboo if we are to find the answers we seek. We must show others where they are right, and help them understand where they are wrong. 

Why does HALF of this Country feel disenfranchised after the 2020 election? 

Why does HALF of this Country feel disenfranchised after the 2016 election? 

Why does HALF of this Country feel disenfranchised after the 2000 election? 

… and on, and on, and on… 

Let us stop the madness… while we still can. 

-JC 

We need to Talk

To be honest, it’s a conversation I know nothing about… how could I? I am a white man. I don’t know what it’s like, nor will I ever. I’ve never feared Law Enforcement Officers… well, only when I knew I was in the wrong. But even then I never feared for my life. I was taught to follow the Law and respect those who enforce it. It’s their job to ‘Protect and Serve’ us… The People.

That’s not the same story for every American. 

… 

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https://slate.com/human-interest/2020/06/white-parents-the-talk-racism-police-brutality.html 

… 

Here in Kansas City, KS… I’m in the MINORITY.


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It’s not quite as stark as if I were living in The Bahamas, but it is quite obvious. And it becomes even more pronounced when I drive to one of the outlying suburbs, where there are no POC at the shopping centers… where there’s not a pawn shop on every other corner… where there are fresh veggies and sidewalks. 

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https://www.npr.org/2017/05/03/526655831/a-forgotten-history-of-how-the-u-s-government-segregated-america 

… 

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https://www.usinsourcing.com/kc-food-deserts-a-sign-of-economic-decline/ 

If you’ve ever lived in a part of town where the National Pizza Chains won’t deliver to your neighborhood… you’ve been the victim of racism. 

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About a month into the quarantine for COVID-19, our refrigerator stopped keeping things cold. It might have been something as simple as cleaning the coils or replacing an internal component, but I’ll never know. No service repair shop would send a technician into Wyandotte County. If I had lived somewhere else though, they were more than happy to help. But here… not so much. 

Instead of a $300 repair bill, we had to buy a brand new refrigerator… all because of a preconceived notion of the community in which I live. 

And where on the map was this ‘line’ drawn, between “Technicians are standing by” and “Sorry you’re outta luck”? I know from experience, the dividing line for a delivery area can end abruptly on ONE SIDE of the street, while the OTHER SIDE is deemed just too far away. 

Back in my day… we were told we should lock our doors when driving down a particular street or driving in a particular neighborhood. But turn a corner, and hook a left at the light… you’re suddenly in a neighborhood filled with fully restored 100 year old mansions. Literally, no less than THREE BLOCKS down the road. 

Who draws these lines? Who decides THIS neighborhood is ‘acceptable’ and THIS neighborhood is NOT… 

And what DATA are they basing those conclusions upon? 

… 

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https://www.axios.com/army-officer-lawsuit-police-afro-latino-virginia-f5aceedf-6efe-4a8f-b4ca-8d8b9c297ea1.html 

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There are no clear lines drawn within our communities. What effects ONE will effect us ALL… because we live SIDE-BY-SIDE. In our schools. In our grocery stores. At work and at home. If the numbers are SKEWED… if the DATA we’re basing our conclusions upon is WRONG… it effects our Laws, our priorities… our very perception of what is “right” and what is “wrong”.

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… 

 

Would it surprise anyone if we found a connecting thread that tied all these deadly encounters together? On the surface… sometimes these officers are white, sometimes they are black. There is no discrimination it seems, when it comes to the origin of the Use of Force… so what is it. 

 

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2017/02/14/a-day-with-killology-police-trainer-dave-grossman/ 

… 

 

Black men are taught from an early age to fear encounters with the police… as I would if I were the father of a black child. Therefore, they are fearful and paranoid when these encounters eventually happen.

It’s a natural, rational, completely understandable… and PREDICTABLE human response to a potentially life-threatening situation.


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Law Enforcement Officers are TRAINED to interpret those actions as a threat. ‘The subject is acting paranoid… they’re hiding something. They’re acting GUILTY.’ 

What FACTS would then flash through an officer’s head in that split-second decision making process… ALL SKEWED, by laws that are tainted with Racial Profiling and a Criminal Justice System that’s based on CASH. 

Did you know police can just take your stuff if they suspect it’s involved in a crime? They can! It’s a shady process called “civil asset forfeiture,” and it would make for a weird episode of Law and Order.

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“The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota said it had ‘deep concerns that police here appear to have used dangling air fresheners as an excuse for making a pretextual stop, something police do all too often to target Black people.’”

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/daunte-wright-was-stopped-expired-plates-driving-while-black-may-n1263878  

… 

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https://www.aclu.org/report/driving-while-black-racial-profiling-our-nations-highways 

… 

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I’ve tried to teach my kids that they are privileged, and that it’s wrong… and it’s on us to do the work to make things right. We cannot simply STAND SILENT. Use your little white boy shield and SPEAK OUT… someone’s LIFE may depend on it! 

I know it’s a lot to put on the shoulders of a 15 year old boy… but right now? Until we take the necessary steps toward ensuring Law Enforcement Officers protect the rights of every citizen in every State, EQUALLY… that’s all we’ve GOT

That needs to change. 

JC 

Through the Looking Glass

I remember what I was taught.

I tried to call him out every time it came across my desk… I think we ALL did.


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This Nation’s teeth were cut on racism like this… and there’s only ONE WAY we can ensure it stops.


STAND UP and SPEAK OUT. 

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https://www.boston.com/news/crime/2021/03/18/new-mom-army-vet-among-8-killed-in-georgia-spa-shootings 

We should be no more upset with people of Asian Descent for the spread of this virus, than we are with people of English Descent for the current spread of the predominant strain of COVID-19 in the United States.

Viruses do not discriminate. 

I find these acts of violence against the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities abhorrent and everyone should SPEAK OUT when they see these acts happen. I wish only for PEACE, as their contributions are a wonderful and vital part of our story. 

But… I cannot be SILENT. Nor should anyone else. We must LISTEN to what we’re being told, as well as what is being SAID. 

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2021/03/19/robert-aaron-long-evangelical-treatment-facility-sex-addiction/ 

There’s a difference between STORY and NARRATIVE… and sometimes the STORY is amplified by the obvious SILENCE of others. 

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… don’t look at ME like that! 

SILENCE on the subject of Conspiracy Theories led to an armed insurrection on January 6th. What harm is done when we are denied FULL DISCLOSURE? What lessons can we learn from this moment that will teach us something about what went wrong in that young man’s life… so that we can ensure it will never happen again with someone else. 

Yes, it’s uncomfortable. And yes it deals with harmful stereotypes, but it must be addressed. Openly. It’s a subject not everyone is familiar with, and it’s something that everyone needs to be aware of… knowledge leads to understanding. 

Our SILENCE allows it to continue. 

… 

My ears perked up the moment I heard the word addiction. Now having gained the knowledge that comes from 12 years of sobriety… after so many lost at the bottom of a bottle… I have an extra bit of empathy for anyone who struggles with addiction. Because I did not know, I struggled… as it is for many people who cannot afford treatment or mental health services. Just like Prostate Cancer or Breast Cancer, addiction is a treatable disease of the MIND.

But I am NO FOOL… 

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This was no “bad day” as described by the Sheriff… this man’s future was decided the moment he gave up on LIFE, and became its enemy.


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Why did that man choose those businesses. What was he expecting to find in those establishments? Was he looking for something he ASSUMED he would find, or was he CERTAIN he would find it. Yes, there is ONE common denominator between all these establishments…

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https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2019/02/26/florida-human-sex-trafficking-ring-full-story/2990465002/ 

… but it is not the ONLY ONE. 

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And once again we find ourselves at a crossroads of Fire & Fuel, where one broken aspect of our society ignites another… spreading beyond all social barriers and effecting everyone.


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https://www.glamour.com/story/jeffrey-epstein-survivors-roundtable 

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https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/10/the-disturbing-saga-of-robert-kraft 

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https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/ex-spa-owner-denies-selling-access-trump-says-dems-target-n985381 

I remember how thoroughly the lessons penetrate our collective psyche around situations like these. Anyone my age has been well educated on what the definition of the word “is” is… and when we learn these lessons WRONG, we have to GO BACK and re-educate ourselves. We have to undo the damage that’s been done… because we have LEARNED.

Our definition of what is RIGHT and what is WRONG has evolved.

Our Laws need to reflect that.

This is how we ensure a proper path Forward.

SHAME on him if he’s using the excuse of addiction in an attempt to avoid responsibility for his actions, but shame on US if we do not LISTEN to what he is saying.

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2021/03/19/robert-aaron-long-evangelical-treatment-facility-sex-addiction/ 

It all starts with how we perceive one another.

We believe in Equal Justice Under Law.

Do we PRACTICE what we PREACH.

I do not raise these issues to give cover for criminal behavior or detract from the apparent racism of these actions. I want to find the answers…

I want to do all I can to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

-JC