Writing

Piece 55 – Weep for the Nation by. Raimondo Graziano

Weep for the Nation
By. Raimondo Graziano

This Monday that just passed, November the 11th 2019, was Veterans Day, for anyone who may not have been aware. It is a day where we honor all veterans of the United States Armed Forces. It is also a day to thank current service members for the important work they do of defending our nation’s shores. Regardless of how anyone may feel about the reasoning behind this country’s military engagements, disparaging those that serve is the lowest, basest most unpatriotic act a citizen not in uniform, not entrenched both figuratively literally on the front lines of honor and duty can commit – treason being the second. There are certain themes within the American body politic that are common to all Americans that go far above partisan divides. Ideals, ideas and a vision that is uniquely American and one that unites us all – whether we choose to see this for what it is or reject it; these ideals are The American Ideals.

We are at a point in our history where as nation we are harshly divided along partisan lines and I often contemplate if not for the rigid social structures and norm that prevail today, would the country have already plunged into desperate and tragic Civil War. Perhaps we have too much lose, or we are too dependent on one another for our continued struggle for survival in an increasingly unequal, inequitable world. Perhaps our reluctant codependency is what has stopped the rifles from unloading. Absent of armed civil strife, one can say confidently the divides along party are tearing this country apart and are seeping into all aspects of American life – from the media, to the companies of the nation, from the White House to the dinner table of your average American family. Perhaps most dangerously are the divides we are begining to see deepen within the Armed forces. Of those both currently serving and those who are the veterans of the country. There are concerted attacks on American institutions such as the courts, the rule of law, and the legislatures by partisan hacks on the domestic front and rogue actors who wish to seek American descend into chaos. The politicization of the historical apolitical institutions which govern the lands norms and customs is a threat to our democracy and to our tenuous unity. The politicization of the Armed forces however – is downright dangerous and could jeopardize the national security of the country, and threaten the stability of the entire globe.

I read a piece recently from the New York Times about division in the country and specifically it spoke of the Presidents recent speech on the 100th New York City Veterans Day parade. The tension was palpable in the crowd of supporters and detractors alike.

Here is an excerpt from the article for context – “Thirty minutes later, as our group waited to enter the parade on 24th Street, I watched a man who said he was a Desert Storm veteran confront two women holding anti-Trump signs. He called them libtards and ungrateful. The women didn’t back down. A man wearing a Vietnam veteran shirt stepped forward to intervene.

“They’re patriots,” he said. “And I agree with them.”

The Desert Storm veteran looked at the other’s shirt. “Where’s your honor?” he asked.

“Honor’s what brought me here today,” the older man said. Then he held up his own anti-Trump sign.

“Same,” said the other man. Then they just kind of stared at each other for a few seconds before turning away.

As we marched up Fifth Avenue, ciphers and proxies for a republic as divided as we are about our elected leader, I thought a lot about those men and about honor, too. I should’ve said something, I thought, to bring them together. It was Veterans Day, after all.”

Truly heartbreaking when one begins to think deeply of how divisive the political climate is today on all fronts. The days ahead for the nation are going to be tried, we are grappling with who and what we want to be. I recall the President speaking briefly on Armistice Day, the name which Veterans Day was prior. Armistice Day was the day when the warring powers of the First World War, then the Great War, laid down their arms to discuss terms of peace. Perhaps this country needs a revival of Armistice Day. When we as a divided people lay down our and end our war of words against one another, end the acts of violence against those of the opposing the side, and sit down and discuss terms of peace to heal this broken country. For if we do not, one should surely weep for the nation, for the Republic.

Old Howard Union

55 – The Middle East Today

The Middle East Today – a massive quagmire of problem after problem and no real end in sight, why we are here and how we got there.

All Articles Referenced

Iran Adds Advanced Centrifuges, Further Weakening Nuclear Deal https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/04/world/middleeast/iran-nuclear-centrifuges-uranium.html

Russia Dominated Syria’s War. Now It’s Sending Mercenaries to Libya. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/05/world/middleeast/russia-libya-mercenaries.html

Iraqis Rise Against a Reviled Occupier: Iran https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/04/world/middleeast/iraq-protests-iran.html

With Israel in Limbo, Benny Gantz Vows to Seek a ‘Peace Within’ https://nyti.ms/2C7b4oD

In Another Bipartisan Rebuke of Trump, House Votes for Sanctions Against Turkey https://nyti.ms/32YDBIO

Turkey Wants Refugees to Move to a ‘Safe Zone.’ It’s a Tough Sell. https://nyti.ms/336xBxE

Old Howard Union

54 – Impeachment

Impeachment is at the forefront of the American political establishments thinking, with wall-to-wall coverage dominating newsrooms and headlines – where it stands today.

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Show Notes

All articles referenced —

Inside the Impeachment Testimony: Dry Questions and Flares of Drama https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/05/us/politics/inside-the-impeachment-testimony-dry-questions-and-flares-of-drama.html

What Happens When a President and Congress Go to War? https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/05/magazine/congress-president-impeachment.html
Aide Testified White House Lawyer Warned Him to Keep Trump Ukraine Call Secret https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/01/us/vindman-ukraine-call.html
Account of Trump’s Ukraine Call Omitted Key Details, Official Testifies https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/29/us/politics/alexander-vindman-trump-ukraine.html
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Old Howard Union

53 – Immigration, Consumption & Political Correctness

How the immigration crisis is both real and why it matters not only to those concerned about border security but also to those who care about humanity. Why our consumption habits globally, and here at home matter. Then how political correctness is spoiling the real debates we should be having throughout the world on how best to move on ALL issues.

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Show Notes

All articles referenced —

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/obama-dhs-secretary-im-a-democrat-but-decriminalizing-illegal-immigration-is-bad-for-the-country

‘If I’m Sent Back, I Will Die’: Sick Immigrants Tell Their Stories to Congress https://nyti.ms/34FRtsL

Supreme Court Says Trump Can Bar Asylum Seekers While Legal Fight Continues https://nyti.ms/2ZTz2B4

Beyond Ending Trump’s Policies, Democrats Largely Skirt Questions About Their Immigration Plans https://nyti.ms/2NasDvo
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https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevornace/2017/08/03/humanity-officially-consumed-more-earth-produce-year/amp/

http://www.worldwatch.org/node/810

https://www.newsday.com/amp/opinion/commentary/overpopulation-is-an-existential-threat-to-humanity-1.22481029

https://amp.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/aug/23/does-overconsumption-bad-tv-lead-to-populism
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Does Political Correctness Work? https://nyti.ms/1uZZLrz

IDEAS & TRENDS; The Rising Hegemony of the Politically Correct https://nyti.ms/29uUBPH

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/10/large-majorities-dislike-political-correctness/572581/

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/10/no-hate-speech-and-political-correctness-are-not-equivalent.html

 

Writing

Piece 48 – The Immigration Conundrum By. Raimondo Graziano

The Immigration Conundrum

By. Raimondo Graziano

Immigration in the United States is an issue that divides. It divides not only the usual gaggle of reputable peoples, both Democrats and Republicans, but the divisions exist within the parties themselves. You have the hard liners, and those who take a more compassionate approach. You have those advocating for decriminalization of the illegal crossings from the Southern Border into the United States and those who
advocate for limits on legal immigration. The issue is divisive because it tugs at the very ideological leanings of the country and its very diverse populace, it pokes and prods at our identity as we continue to mature as a nation. It begs the question, who do we want to be as a people, as a country which claims to be the greatest in the world – a hefty, weighty title to live up to fully. A title we often have fallen back on in imprudence and in lethargy – simply a title we perhaps haven’t earned, rather than lean on it through great acts of compromise and statesmanship and those qualities which truly make up a great nation.

The questions surrounding how it is we effectively handle immigration in the country in a fair, equitable, and compassionate manner truly presents a moment for the nation to come together – our elected
representatives, and the citizens of the country – to come together to debate, compromise and bring forth a plan for reform. A model that can be used the world over, as the nations of the West reel from increased immigration, refugees, migrants and others seeking a better life the politicians are hamstrung. Unable
to do their jobs, due to the polarized and utterly politicized climate – hemorrhaging the ability for the governing bodies of the world to get anything done of any meaning. From the wars started in large part by us, the West, and to the growing threats posed by the Climate Crisis – immigration, refugees and migrants
will become more and more common place.

Already we can see that this is leading to increased nationalistic, nativist, and dangerous rhetoric and actors the world over. Yet we continue to barrel from one major crisis to the next, without giving much thought to what happens to the people. Surely, we cant let them suffer in their fates, from the wars we started, or from the world we industrialized and exploited. We need action. That being said, and with all due respect, is decriminalizing the border crossings the right answer? Politically, economically, or even
morally? Or guaranteeing healthcare for those who are undocumented? Surely, we needn’t act in extremes to combat these issues. I, more than anyone, understand the need for bold reforms now, though who said that bold, and progressive change, needs to be rash and ill thought out action? There is no doubt that we need to
take aggressive reform now, though we need to have a conversation about the truth, and an open and honest conversation at that.

Political correctness, and fear has swamped
the discussion. We can no loner discuss these important issues because we are afraid to offend someone, or to present unpopular opinions because they may harm an individual. We must have the ability, the right, to speak on these important, crucially important issues, openly and freely. When we can have a discussion, openly, without the war drums of the social media mobs pounding, then we can move forward as a people and not backward towards self-censure due to fear as if we lived in some authoritarian state. We are innovative and have faced issues boldly because we can speak truthfully on these issues, all of them, not in spite of it. The old trope that our diversity makes us stronger, is true,
now more than ever. But that also applies to diversity in thought. Now, more than ever.