We, the People broke America. We, the People, need to fix it. 

It’s time to look in the mirror and face the enemy of America’s better future

The United States of America is the strongest, most powerful, important and necessary nation on Earth. Yet, one would think the way Americans treat our country it’s nothing more than a land of dissent, discord, division and descent. 

We deliberately go out of our way to be disagreeable to one another in our politics and government. Social media is literally a cesspool for our grievances real and imagined. We have abused our First Amendment, mangled the Second Amendment and have political consultants, politicians, media pundits and so many others undermining the 15th, 19th, 24th and 26th Amendments that our despotic enemies around the world rub their hands together in glee.

Our Fourth Estate, the nation’s “independent media” has abandoned its post to hold truth to power. It’s become simply another vessel for launching one’s opinion and ideology in the guise of “news.”

All of us, as Americans, have nobody to blame for any of this except for ourselves. We allowed it all to happen. We have fostered this era of intolerance towards one another. 

Nobody made America the way it is today other than Americans.

We, the People broke America.

We, the People need to fix it.

Of course it is always somebody else that is responsible for what ails America. 

It’s always easier to point the finger at somebody else rather than looking in the mirror and accepting the truth that we have met the enemy and they are us.

So, what to do about it? How do Americans who built America and now are destroying America rebuild it again?

That’s my hope with this platform is to share my ideas about how we can actually engage in deliberate efforts to fix America. 

Sometimes it will be my opinion. Sometimes I will share other people’s opinions. Other times I hope it is something based upon evidence of an idea, project or initiative that is actually showing promise of working. 

No matter what I write, though, it is rooted in this simple truth: I love the United States of America and the ideals upon which it was founded and the America it can become. 

The most incredible thing about this country is its ability to make itself better. 

And, the people who have the power to make it better aren’t in the White House, the U.S. Capitol, City Hall, State Capitols — they aren’t in a television, radio, or newspaper building — or online staring at a computer screen and waiting to write or respond to someone else who is starting at a computer screen and waiting to write or respond to someone else.

The people who have the power to make it better are each one of us who are We, the People.

It’s time we work together to fix what we have broken. 

Losing the dignity of our labor

I have been working at a job since I was 13 years old. My first job was running a Mobil gas station in Fairmount, North Dakota. A two-pump station that taught me a lot of things about the value of hard-work, sacrifice, resiliency, and self-reliance. 

Today, 45 years after my first job I continue to learn the value of hard-work, sacrifice, resiliency, and self-reliance.

But, in those 45 years I have learned a lot of other things about work, as well. I learned that without the support of one’s peers and colleagues you will only accomplish so much. That communication, cooperation and collaboration aren’t fancy words but fundamental elements of a successful and productive work environment. I learned that whatever work I performed, at whatever task I was assigned or whatever duties and responsibilities I was given, my labor built something more than whatever it was the company or organization was creating, selling, or marketing.

It was building an economy and along the way it was strengthening a nation.

We are at an interesting inflection point in America and, in particular, the economic system that has made this nation the most powerful force for good on the planet at any time in human civilization. The idea has taken hold in many corners of society that work is an undertow that causes pain, discomfort, and dissatisfaction in our day-to-day lives. 

The stories abound that companies can’t find workers. That workers are quitting their jobs in droves. That droves of employees have embarked upon something called “The Great Resignation.” 

There’s an increasing notion that human “self-care” is more fundamental to living one’s best life than having to shoulder the worry, stress, and discomfort of working for a living. That all of us have been spending far too much time caring about work and not enough time caring about ourselves.

Conversations with friends have put forward any number of reasons and theories behind where we stand at the current point in America’s economic history and the perplexing state of affairs as it relates to the dearth of people willing or available to fill empty jobs. Or what we are told is a massive evacuation from jobs in favor of a new life of reflection, leisure and focusing on “what matters most in my life.”

I don’t think it’s all that complicated. 

We are losing our respect for the concept of the dignity of one’s labor. 

I think we have forgotten that a job isn’t solely about making money to buy things that we want, or we need. It’s learning skills one needs to be successful in life or one might want to do something else that creates opportunity and a sense of harmony and balance along the way. Work, and one’s labor, puts each of us in places to learn from one another and about one another. It gives us the chance to find wonder in what it takes to make things. 

Most of all, labor is what built America. Labor is what made, and makes, America great.

Then. Now. And again. 

My life path has given me the option to provide my labor for others, as well as myself.  But, in the end every job I have ever had has contributed to the America I live in today that has given me, my family and others freedom, liberty and opportunity.

I have had jobs that have been horrible. Jobs that paid me far less than I deserved and sometimes exactly what I deserved. I’ve pumped gas, used a blowtorch to take apart railroad tracks, sold pillows on the phone, cleaned toilets, packed luggage, stocked shelves, lobbied politicians, begged for money, and a lot of things in between. 

Not a single job I have ever had hasn’t made me a better person – a better American – and a better citizen. 

Along the way I have had a remarkable life. I have an amazing family. I live in a decent house. I’ve gone on vacation to places near and far. I have given back to my community. I put a few bucks in the bank for a day when I may not be able to work the same way I have since the first job I had when I was 13-years old.

The worst job I ever had was the best job someone else who wanted the life I have had would have gladly taken. I never forget that. No matter how much I feel overwhelmed by the day-to-day responsibilities of the job I have today – or any other job I have ever had in my life.

The dignity of labor is something we’ve lost respect for. We haven’t paid people who work the jobs that make America work enough. Not by a long shot. By not doing so we not only rob them of a wage that can allow them to elevate them from their economic station in life, but we insult and sully the dignity of their labor. 

But Americans themselves have lost an appreciation for the dignity of their own labor. They view it as something untoward, unnecessary, and unproductive.

In doing so we lose sight in the long game of life. 

Our labor isn’t something we do as human beings.

It’s something we have as human beings. 

What we do with it doesn’t just make a difference to ourselves. It makes a difference to the world.  

My Dad Bod and COVID-19: The voices in my head are telling me to get my Dad Butt in gear!

A few weeks ago, the murmurs began.  They were quiet, at first, but over time they increased in volume and frequency.

“You’re out of shape!”

“You look old and run down!”

“You are on the cusp of moving from chubby to fat!”

“That’s not an adorable Dad Bod that’s just plump!”

The voices were judgmental, sometimes pretty harsh, and rarely were they understanding of the situation.

After all, I am 57, soon to be 58, and except for the two months I spent on a raft on the Mississippi River, I have been stuck at home like the rest of the world.

I tried to be active.  Early in the pandemic my son, Owen, and I, trained for a marathon in Ireland that was, sadly, cancelled due to COVID-19.  I have, off and on, tried a variety of efforts to reduce my increasing body mass. 

I tried to eat less.  I tried to eat at different times.  I tried to not eat carbs.  I tried to fast. We bought a treadmill and I have tried to maintain a pattern of using it.  I have done better than I hope but not nearly as well as I should.

I had put on a fair amount of weight before I took my trip down the river for Hope on the River.  I lost a lot of that weight by the time I arrived in Baton Rouge.

Today, truth be told, all that weight, and probably a bit more, has returned to my middle-age frame.

Those murmurs? 

They weren’t from people being mean or cruel to me.

They came from my own head.

They were my voices and they have gotten louder every single day.

I don’t write or post this to get sympathy from anybody.  I have eaten well.  That’s more that can be said for billions of people on this planet. 

That I worry about my belly, my butt, my waist and my moobs is clearly a 1st world problem.  I know that.  So, don’t anybody interpret this as a cry for help or need for pity or understanding. 

It is, however, the reality of my life right now that at 57 I feel older than I have ever felt, and I absolutely hate that feeling.

Up until the time I was 39 I punished my body terribly.  Not from exercise or sports.  But from smoking, drinking, eating and generally acting as though my physical being would be immune from my bad choices.

From 39 until today I have tried, with mixed but determined success, to be better to my chassis.

I’ve run 7, maybe 8 (I can’t remember) marathons….a bunch of half marathons….smaller races…biked others…skied others…quit smoking….and at a minimum be mindful of my need to care and tend for myself better than I once did.

To be honest, it hasn’t been until COVID-19 locked down the world that it has become so much more challenging for me to grab control of my physical fitness.

I know I should be less hard on myself.  Or at least I tell myself I should be less hard on myself.

Yet, there’s a price one pays for being too lenient on themselves at my age.

If anybody body shames me, it is me.  I don’t really care whether other people thing I am chubby, plump, fat or otherwise.

Nor do I care whether they think I look awesome with my shirt off, my jeans snug on my butt, or a rough-hewn chin.  (Please note: I do not.  If they are snug they are just too tight because they are too small for me.  And it is hard to be rough-hewn when you have more than one chin!)

I want to be physically better because I want to do all the things I want to do as long as I am able to do them.

I hate running.  But I love that I am still able to run. 

I am thrilled with the capacity to move.  To bend over.  To stretch.  To have balance.  To pick things up.  To exert myself and recover.

And, really, at the end of the day, that is really all I hope to be able to do at 58, 68, 78, 88, 98 and 100.

I just want to be able to do.

To live.

As spring creeps up on us, and as the world begins to re-open as COVID-19 slowly begins to recede as an existential threat to humanity, I have to find ways to regain the hold on my physical being.

Maybe there’s another marathon in me.  A long bike ride.  A crazy endurance race of some kind.  A mountain to climb.  Perhaps something else I haven’t yet quite put my finger on.

But, to all those middle-age men – and women – who have heard those same voices in their heads as I have heard over the last several months, I want you to know that you’re not alone. 

I don’t have a magic pill.  A quick weight loss plan.  Or, for that matter, some exercise that you can do that suddenly tightens up your butt, tones your abs, makes your clothes not feel like they’re pinching you where you don’t want them to pinch, or a tighten up a face that looks like you may or may not have encountered some uncomfortably high G-forces.

I do have empathy.  Because I am right there with you. 

And, just like you, I intend to find my way back to a place where I can feel good about how I feel so I can do the things I want to do whenever and wherever it is I want to do them.

And to be able to tell those voices in my head to go to Hell because I like wearing sweatpants all the time, thank you very much!

Hope Across America: The best hour you, your friends and family will spend in front of a screen this year!

Since 2013 today would be the day that Spare Key staff would begin the process of moving our operations from our office to wherever it was we would be holding our annual Groove Gala.

From 2013 to 2015 it would have been at Aria in Minneapolis. 

From 2016 until last year it would have been at The Depot in Minneapolis.

Today, there is no moving truck. 

There are no weeks of silent auction items piling up in our office, bottles upon bottles of wine and liquor, décor and party supplies, and boxes upon boxes of other things ready to be loaded into an elevator to be brought to the ground floor of our office building.

There’s no Anchor Paper truck outside the front doors, or John, the driver, loading our precious cargo onto pallets and lovingly and patiently securing them and loading them into his truck for delivery to The Depot.

There’s none of that today.

Instead, all the silent auction items are sitting in the homes of Abby and Alexia.  The bottles upon bottles of wine and liquor will have to wait until next year and the boxes upon boxes of other things have been delivered to people’s homes, near and far, over the past several days.

No Anchor Paper truck will arrive, no John driving it, and no pallets will be loaded into his truck.

This year there is no Groove Gala because COVID-19 makes it impossible for the 750 to 900 guests we have had in the past to gather safely.

Instead, we have built a virtual event that we call Hope Across America and it will be held on Saturday, February 27th at7:00 p.m. CST. 

There will be a Silent Auction, a Live Auction, an Appeal, a speed raffle and more.  A lot more.  We have worked hard to give our Hope Across America event the same excitement, surprises and enthusiasm we have had at our Groove Gala. 

We’ve condensed the entire program to a little more than 50 minutes.  You can stay in your pajamas, make your own drink, use your own bathroom and talk as much as you want without being given a dirty look by other guests for being too loud.

It’s an interesting thing this transition from a Live Groove Gala to a Virtual Hope Across America Celebration.

It’s not any less work.  In fact, it may be even more work.  It takes an entire Team of staff, vendors, friends, videographers, editors, technicians and others to imagine the program, develop the program, prepare the program and produce the program.

We still need to find Sponsors – beg for Silent Auction items – curate Live Auction items – and do it and get it all done as soon as possible.

And nothing happens as fast as it should.  Timelines are set and missed and set and missed again and then again. 

Staff gets stressed and from time to time gets on one another’s nerves and the closer we get to the event perhaps even on that one last nerve that each of us has. 

Yet, there’s never a moment that goes by when we don’t realize that we’re all in this together.

There are emails to send – Board Members to wrangle – and people to register.

It’s a big transition to go from something we’ve been doing for nearly a decade to suddenly having to do something we’ve never done before.

What will the night hold for this event?  How much will we raise? 

I can’t answer the latter, but I do have a pretty idea of the former.

We’ve done all we can to present an entertaining 50 minutes of celebrating Spare Key to those who have registered already, and those who will want to register, for free, at: https://bit.ly/HopeAcrossAmerica

I am confident that those who attend will be entertained.  There will be laughter.  There will be some shocked surprises.  And, yes, there will be tears.

But there will also be Hope. 

Because that is what this event is all about:  Hope.

Hope for Spare Key to raise the funds we need to bring Hope to families facing a medical crisis.

I’d rather be preparing to gather with hundreds of our friends and supporter’s tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. CST at The Depot in Minneapolis.

But what I want and what Spare Key needs right now are not exactly on the same page.

What Spare Key needs is your financial support.  We spent 2020 fighting the good fight and emerged from a world scarred by a global pandemic ready to keep fighting in 2021. 

We are fighting because we know that the work we started three years ago to create a technology platform to aid families facing a medical crisis avoid adding a financial crisis to their lives is worth every minute of the fight – no matter how hard and difficult and overwhelming it can seem at times.

That we are now able to help families anywhere in the country truly is about bringing Hope Across America.  It’s now our DNA.  Our raison d’etre. The simple purpose for our existence.

I hope you will join us on Saturday, February 27th at 7:00 p.m. CST.  It will be less than an hour of your time.  An hour of your time where you can learn more about Spare Key – who we serve – why we serve – and a lot of everything in between.

Abby, Sarah, Alexia, Kristi and Ashley have worked hard to put this program together and the care and attention to detail will show.  So, too, will the power of the purpose behind the mission of our Help Me Bounce platform.

I promise you that when it’s done it will be the best hour you spent in front of a screen this week and maybe even this month.

Put on your slippers.  Grab your favorite beverage.  Make sure you have your wallet and a credit card and a box of Kleenex. 

Most of all, help us bring Hope Across America to families across America.

9 years later I still find Hope Across America as Spare Key Executive Director

Today is my 9-year anniversary of having the privilege of serving as Spare Key’s Executive Director.

A lot has changed in the past 9 years.

  • we’ve served well over 4,000 families facing a medical crisis since 1997, a significant number of them over the past 9 years.
  • we expanded our capacity to serve families from 1 state in 1997 to 50 states as of October 2020.
  • we help families facing any kind of significant medical crisis – regardless of their illness, their injury, or their income.
  • we changed how we help families by building a revolutionary community based, crowdfunding platform called helpmebounce.org.

Yet, throughout the past 9 years what hasn’t changed has been our commitment to help more families bounce and not break.

From our board of directors to our small, but dedicated staff, Spare Key has remained committed to the idea that we should do all we can when we can to help any family facing a medical crisis avoid adding a financial crisis to their life.

The fact remains that the greatest threat to a family holding on to their home – and avoiding a catastrophic financial collapse – is a medical crisis experienced by any member of a family.

Spare Key knows that first-hand.

We’ve seen families whose mom is in the fight against cancer – a dad struggling to overcome a devastating injury – a child trying to live with a profound birth defect – or the impact of being born too soon. 

Chronic diseases to every organ – mental illness – and yes, even the loss of life of a loved one.

We’ve been there to help as much as we can as often as we can, and we hope to continue to do so as long as we can.

Every imaginable illness – every imaginable disease – we’ve seen them.

But we have also seen the enormous generosity and kindness of strangers who have stepped up – time and time again – to make a difference in the lives of those facing the worst crisis of all.

The end of hope.

When hope is gone. 

All is gone.

But, since 1997 thousands of strangers, year after year, have come to the aid of strangers to help them bounce and not break.

Strangers they will never meet.

Strangers who will never have the opportunity to say, “thank you” for the kindness of a stranger reaching out to make a difference in the dark night of their family’s life.

Spare Key is, after all, about hope.

It represents that glimpse of light in those moments of darkness when a family feels desperate – afraid – alone.

We are that hand that reaches out in the darkness and reminds families that they are not alone on their journey.

In 2020, facing the devastating impact of covid-19 on the economy, Spare Key nearly found itself facing its own moment of darkness.

With nearly every event cancelled – individual donations drying up – corporate and foundation grants disappearing – we were faced with a clear choice.

We could close the doors and hope someone else could serve those whose illness or injury may not fit a particular funding or eligibility category – but whose family needed help.

Or we could fight like Hell to stay afloat.

We chose the latter.

The Spare Key board of directors – the staff – and donors – chose to find hope.

We started by finding hope on a river. 

A raft.  over 10 states.  2 months.  1,700 miles.

Over every mile we travelled together we met strangers who became friends who became hope for Spare Key.

When we were done, we fulfilled our promise to be a charity that would help families anytime, anyway, and anywhere in America.

Nineteen days from my 9-year anniversary at Spare Key we are looking to keep that promise alive in 2021 and beyond.

From across America, we are inviting you and thousands of others to join us for a one-hour virtual celebration of “Hope Across America.”

A celebration fundraiser to raise funds for Spare Key so we can keep doing what we have been doing since 1997:  bringing hope to families facing a medical crisis.

Registration is free and you can register right now by clicking here:  https://bit.ly/2YHogvt

We aren’t asking you for a commitment of hours – just one.

An hour to celebrate.

To laugh.  To cry.  To donate.  To bid.  To celebrate.

To bring hope.

I was asked recently what has touched me most in my 9 years as Spare Key executive director. 

It’s a tough question.  But it’s one that is as easy for me to say today as it was on my first day as executive director.

It is the profound kindness of strangers to help strangers.

It is what makes this country we live in the most remarkable in the world.

It’s what makes you who give to Spare Key so we may give to others the most remarkable people in the world.

It’s what makes me the most remarkably blessed person in the world to have the privilege to lead this organization.

I hope you will join us on Saturday, February 27th at 7:00 p.m. cst as we come together to bring the remarkable gift of Hope Across America.

On this dawning day of America’s Democracy I hope for a greater America (Still today!)

On this dawning day of America’s Democracy, I hope for a better, far greater America.

Not the Republican or Democratic America.

Nor the one where the Left flies its flag on one side, and the Right flies its on the other.

But, an America where we all fly one flag, the American flag.

I hope for an America where we don’t forget those who are still fighting and struggling to have their piece of the dream we’ve all been promised for so long.

The one where poor Americans, the white and black ones, and all the other colors of the poor amongst us, are our priority, not our problem.

Where the dignity of labor for those who dig our ditches, empty our bedpans, make our beds, cook our food is no less valued than those who run our corporations, pass our laws, deliver judgment upon us and manage our portfolios.

There are the voices of Americans that must be heard. 

Those who want the same opportunity as anybody else.  They must be heard.

Those who want to be part of building a better America.  They must be heard.

Those who believe the system has let them down, that the deck is stacked against them, that their future has been ignored.  They must be heard.

White, black, or whatever color they are, they are Americans.  They must be heard.

Those Americans who wish to deprive someone else of the better America, who choose to bear grievances against others because of their skin color or whatever characteristics distinguish them as a human being, they must be heard.

But, not because we should build the America they want. 

Because they represent the America we should not want.

They are not just this group or that group of Americans.  But, they are a group of Americans.

We should work to find common ground where it exists, but we must never give ground to the idea that their smallest view of what it means to be an American is the best view of America.

If we do not hear their voices, we will be deaf to the sounds of the America they want collapsing around our Constitution and our way of life.

On this dawning day of America’s Democracy, I hope for all of us to be better than we have been to one another.

Kinder.  Perhaps just that.  Kinder.

We’ve permitted ourselves to abandon our better angels for the fleeting satisfaction and the dark glee we derive from the terrible things we write and post to and about one another.

We’ve libeled our glorious 1st Amendment time and time again as we sullied, demeaned, defiled, debased, and defamed one another, over and over and over again.

All because we always believe “It’s my right” without often enough thinking, “Is this right?”

Is it right the things we say about one another?  To one another?

Is it right the things we believe about one another? 

Are we to believe that one group of Americans are lesser than the other because of who they voted for or against?

Where exactly does that end?

How can it be that Americans, on the one hand, will run into a burning building to save a stranger and, on the other hand, click a button calling another stranger words that would burn down their humanity?

If we were to meet that stranger who we attacked online in that burning building, would we still save them?

Would we still save them?

On this dawning day of America’s Democracy, I hope for so much more than what we have allowed ourselves to become.

All of us.

The man leaving the White House never controlled our free will. 

Nor will the man moving into the White House.

The truth is, no politician, no press, no social media platform, has ever controlled our free will.

Free will doesn’t make us poor.  Free will doesn’t make us black, white, male, female, or any other color or define us as a human being.

Free will makes us culpable for the choices we make.  Every choice we make.

Each word we speak, each post we write, each act we perform.  Those choices belong to our exercise of free will.

On this dawning day of America’s Democracy, I hope for a better, far greater America.

Not the Republican or Democratic America.

Nor the one where the Left flies its flag on one side, and the Right flies its on the other.

But, an America where we all fly one flag.

The American flag.

As the coup took hold, Donald Trump, his kids and cowards turned and ran away.

“And after this, we’re going to walk down, and I’ll be there with you...”

-President Donald Trump, 1/06/2020

I worked in the United States Senate as Chief of Staff to United States Senator Norm Coleman.  It remains one of the greatest privileges of my life to serve the people of Minnesota through my service to the Senator.

I walked the halls, corridors, and chambers that were the scenes of one of the greatest crimes against Democracy in my lifetime.

I am not much interested in people’s arguments that the effort to overthrow our government should be looked at in the same way as violent protests that took place over the summer of 2020, including those that took place in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

I condemned those riots.  Unequivocally.

And, as though there is any equivalency to protests and marches to call attention to acts of police brutality and protests and marches to pay homage to the lies of a President who was defeated, fairly and overwhelmingly, at the polls.

Let us be clear this was a riot in honor of the President.  Not to protect and preserve Democracy.

We are just now finding out how horrendous this attempted coup of our government was on that day. 

We may find out more in the coming days and weeks just how much influence the President and his enablers had in creating the fire that nearly consumed our Democracy.

This much, though, is true:  The President and those who spoke at the so-called “March to Save Democracy” incited the riot, inspired the coup, and must be held accountable for every lost life that day.

They may not have been at the Capitol doors; it may not have been their hands beating a police officer to death or roaming the corridors of the Capitol looking for a Vice President or Speaker of the House to “arrest” and hang. Still, it was most assuredly their handwork that day.

Here is the truth for those who wish to insist that none of the blood of this day should stick to the President. 

Here is the reality for those whose own words brought death to the Capitol and dishonored their status as an American.

As rioters ran in and attacked the Capitol.

These people ran and hid while Police Officers fought for their lives and Democracy:

  • Donald Trump
  • Donald Trump, Jr.
  • Rudy Giuliani
  • Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton
  • U.S. Congressman Madison Cawthorne
  • U.S. Congressman Mo Brooks
  • Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows
  • Trump Advisor Dan Scavino
  • Ivanka Trump
  • Eric Trump
  • Kimberly Guilfoyle

They spoke at the rally preceding the riots.

They stood inside a warm tent, laughing and dancing and whooping it up while soon-to-be-rioters stood outside.

They spoke lovingly of the assembled masses and called upon them to act and to fight.

Yet, when the marching, the fighting, and the dying were happening, where were they?

Where were they as rioters marched to the Capitol?

Where were they as Police Officers fought for their lives?

Where were they as members of Congress, their staff, and the Vice President of the United States of America were under assault?

They were hiding from the obscenity they created. They jumped on their private jets and flew back home. Or whisked away by the Secret Service to watch the attack against Democracy from the safety and security of the White House.

They are still hiding. 

If this battle for the soul of Democracy was real, why was the President not front and center leading his army of “patriots.”

Where was the brave Rudy Giuliani, who called for “trial by combat?” and Kimberly Guilfoyle, who told rioters to “fight” as she danced with glee at the base of the United States Capitol?

They were hiding while the men and women they convinced that America’s Democracy is being stolen from them were actually trying to steal America’s Democracy from all of us.

And after they had wreaked the havoc in his name, the President of the United States had the audacity to throw them under the bus — blaming them, solely and unequivocally — and calling for their arrest and prosecution.

How quickly did the leader turn on his followers when responsibility for his work was in full view of the world.

I will not argue with anybody who wants to claim they have “evidence” that the election was stolen, rigged, or otherwise. 

It does not exist. 

It has never existed. 

It is why not a single effort in front of America’s judicial system to overturn the election was successful.

It was not because courts did not want to see the “evidence.”

It is because there was not, and there is not any evidence to be seen.

Just because the President says it exists is not evidence.

Opinions are not evidence.

Tweets, social media posts, Mike Lindell, and any other purveyor of lies and falsehoods are not evidence.

I have as much interest as the next American in making sure our democracy and our electoral process is safe and secure.

Those we have entrusted to make it so have told us, over and over and again, that it was.

Republicans have said it. Democrats have said it. I believe them.

I understand that some are unhappy the President lost.  I know that some believe he is the greatest President that has ever lived.  I understand that some believe he was the man standing in front of the great socialist takeover of America.

I also understand that he lost the election.

He is one man. 

He is not America.

If one believes that Donald Trump IS America, there will be no way to have an actual argument or discussion about what we must do to move America forward.

Here is something that nobody can dispute.

The President and the cast of characters I mentioned above had nothing but faux courage and guts on Wednesday, January 6, 2021.

There are no videos or pictures of them screaming at police officers and throwing rocks and crutches at doors and windows.  No video of a them standing alongside the mob killing a police officer by throwing a fire extinguisher at his head. There is no visual evidence that they slammed a police officer’s head in the door.

There are no pictures of Rudy Giuliani engaged in trial by combat, or Kimberly Guilfoyle fighting for Democracy, or Donald Trump, Jr. leading a band of patriots through the chambers with zip ties in his hands, ready to take the Vice President and anybody else he could find into custody.

This is not my opinion.

These are the facts.

There is no disputing them.

Why do you suppose that President Trump and his children, their spouses and others were nowhere to be found leading the coup to overthrow America?

Fact: They weren’t brave enough to lead the riotous mob they directed to attack Democracy.

Fact: They were smart enough to run the other way and blame thousands of others for doing it.

The alternative ending to the insurrection? The overthrow of the United States Government

The line between the insurrection that resulted in the death of 5 people, including a United States Capitol Police Officer, and the wholesale slaughter of members of Congress, staff , capitol employees and Capitol Police is nothing more than that: A line.

An imaginary line.

As apologists for the violence that was incited by the most powerful elected official in the world begin to occupy the airwaves, internet and anywhere else their false narratives can be advanced, it is important to understand that what you are about to read isn’t some far-out fiction.

It is literally the alternative ending to what could have happened on Wednesday, January 6th.

I have taken an article from USA Today that provides a timeline of events that took place that day and made very simple edits — or modifications, if you will — to some aspects of that timeline.

Here is the article:


Below is my modified version with an ending that should shock us to the core and make clear that this was not a political protest gone wrong.

This was an attempt to overthrow the government of the United States of America.

If there had been, and we do not know that there wasn’t, individuals equipped to commit acts of mass murder that broke into the United States Capitol, the outcome of that day would have been nothing less than the decapitation of the United States government.

What if inside this group of rioters was a foreign terrorist equipped with weapons of mass destruction who had infiltrated this gathering and alongside them forced his way inside the United States Capitol?

Dead could have been the entire congressional leadership — scores of members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House — and the Vice President of the United States of America.

Think it’s far-fetched?

Multiple reporters who were inside the capitol have confirmed that there were roaming members of the mob who were calling out for the capture and hanging of the Vice President of the United States of America.

Again, the article you are about to read is a USA Today article in which I have made minor changes to the timeline they developed and printed in the aftermath of 1/6/2021.

Timeline: How a Trump mob stormed the US Capitol, killed scores of members of Congress, kidnapped the Vice President and overthrew the U.S. Government

A Capitol Police Officer dies, a woman was shot and killed, and four others died as a pro-Trump mob battled police, broke into the U.S. Capitol and swept through the halls of Congress.

Updated 12:34 a.m. CST Jan. 8, 2021

As a shocked nation watched on Twitter and TV, a pro-Trump mob battled police, broke into the U.S. Capitol, and murdered a yet unknown number of members of Congress, kidnapped Vice President Mike Pence and permanently halted the counting of Electoral College votes to confirm the presidential victory of Democrat Joe Biden. Among the dead members of Congress are five other people, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer.

Many of the rioters came directly from President Donald Trump’s “Save America Rally” that began hours earlier on the Ellipse, a park near the White House. Trump spoke to them for more than an hour, insisting that the election had been stolen.

“Our country has had enough,” Trump said. “We will not take it anymore, and that’s what this is all about. To use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal.” When he was finished, supporters headed for the Capitol building.

Here is how events unfolded. Times are estimates.

6 a.m.

Crowds of Trump supporters, estimated in the thousands, prepare for a pro-Trump rally near the Ellipse. Many began gathering the night before. Trump tweeted about the rally on Dec. 19: “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, be wild!”

11 a.m.

Trump’s “Save America Rally” begins first with the president’s sons Eric and Donald Trump Jr., then his lawyer, Rudy Guiliani. Trump starts speaking shortly before noon at about 11:50 a.m. and says, “And after this, we’re going to walk down there, and I’ll be there with you, we’re going to walk down … to the Capitol and we are going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women.” Trump speaks for more than an hour. At the conclusion, thousands walk to the Capitol.

1 p.m.

Lawmakers gather for a joint session in the House of Representatives chamber to count Electoral College votes.

1:10 p.m.

Rioters begin grappling with police on the Capitol steps.

1:26 p.m.

Capitol police order evacuation of Library of Congress, Madison Building and Cannon House Office Building on Independence Avenue across from the Capitol.

1:33 p.m.

C-SPAN reports rioters have crossed Statuary Hall, the chamber that separates the House and Senate, heading for the House and Senate.

1:40 p.m.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser orders citywide curfew starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday and ending at 6 a.m. Thursday. CNN reports District police are asking for more law enforcement.

1:46 p.m.

Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., tweets she is being evacuated after reports of a pipe bomb outside. “Supporters of the President are trying to force their way into the Capitol and I can hear what sounds like multiple gunshots.”

2:11 p.m.

Rioters breach police lines on the west side of the Capitol.

Moments later, rioters scale the walls.

2:22 p.m.

Reports say Vice President Mike Pence has been taken hostage and is being held in the Senate chamber.

2:24 p.m.

Trump tweets, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!”

2:38 p.m.

Trump tweets, “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!”

2:39 p.m.

Rioters are photographed breaking Capitol windows.

2:44 p.m.

Shots are reported fired in the House chamber.

2:47 p.m.

Huffington Post reporter tweets image of rioters at dais. “They’re in the chamber.” An unknown number of Democratic and Republican members of Congress, staff and law enforcement personnel are killed in the initial volley of gunfire.

More are being chased through the halls of the Capitol as rioters attack them with weapons brought with them, as well as weapons fashioned from objects found in the Capitol.

2:53 p.m.

Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., tweets he has been safely moved from the House chamber. He says he and others were given an escape hood, a respiratory hood and mask for protection in fires or chemical accidents.

Shortly afterward his location is compromised as rioters find him and others and kill them where they hide.

2:55 p.m.

Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tennessee, texts “shots fired.”  Minutes later he lies dead in a pool of blood.

3:03 p.m.

Rioters are photographed on the Senate floor attacking Senators and staff while law enforcement attempts to protect them.  An unknown number of U.S. Senators have been killed and injured.

3:13 p.m.

Trump tweets: “I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”

3:34 p.m.

CBS reports a woman is in critical condition after being shot in the neck inside the Capitol. Police later report the woman died. She was identified as Ashli Babbitt, 35, an Air Force veteran. Her husband was quoted as saying she was a strong supporter of Trump.

In an account to WUSA9, a purported witness explains what happened, saying they had stormed the building and she was climbing through the window. He says armed police and Secret Service repeatedly warned to get back, but “she didn’t heed the call,” and then they shot her.

3:51 p.m.

The District of Columbia National Guard, about 1,100 troops, is mobilized to support local law enforcement.

4:05 p.m.

A congressional correspondent tweets that congressional leaders have been rounded up and murdered inside the Capitol.

4:17 p.m.

In a tweeted video lasting just over a minute, Trump says, in part: “I know your pain. I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side. But you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. …  So go home. We love you, you’re very special. … I know how you feel. But go home and go home in peace.”

Some of Trump’s tweets addressing the riot were deleted. Twitter bans the president from tweeting for 12 hours. Twitter first froze the tweets and wouldn’t allow comments or retweets, then the ban was imposed.

8 p.m.

Rioters continue to occupy the Capitol as there are no members of Congress or Congressional Leaders able to respond to repeated attempts to be reached.  Vice President Pence is murdered on Live Television.

V-Day in America: A National Day to Vaccinate America against COVID-19

How can America come together and win the war against COVID-19?

In the early stages of the global pandemic, we tried and succeeded when we agreed that staying apart from one another would allow us to come together again when the crisis passed.

Yet, COVID-19 had other ideas, and the failure of local, state, and national political leaders to come together with a uniform plan of attack doomed our collective willing participation.

In the early stages of the pandemic, we were treated with conflicting recommendations about how to protect ourselves from the disease. 

The “Fog of War” of a global pandemic has a way of doing that in the era of instantaneous information.

In America, immediately after the 9/11 attacks, a steady stream of information, sometimes disguised as news, was disseminated that drove our anxiety and fear in real-time. 

We went from sheer terror to relief in a matter of minutes and ultimately to a sense of national exhaustion.

There’s not been much difference in where we stand now with COVID-19 than where we stood nearly a year after the attacks of 9/11.

We generally agreed with directives from our institutions on how to protect ourselves from terrorists and the assumption that they were preparing to attack again in the days, weeks, and months after 9/11.

However, America, and Americans, being accustomed to the freedom and liberty of being Americans, began to chafe at the restrictions and slowly, but certainly, began to rebel against the limitations on our freedom as the cost of being safe.

The reality is no different today. 

Americans, accustomed to the freedom and liberty of being Americans, have begun to chafe, nearly uncontrollably, at the limitations on our freedom as the cost of being safe from COVID-19.

The parallel impact of rejecting those limitations are decidedly different.

The evidence is clear and compelling that these limitations can, and have, reduced the spread of COVID-19.

Likewise, the evidence is clear and compelling that these restrictions have cost us dearly in terms of lost businesses, jobs, and social and cultural comity and cohesion.

It cannot be easy to be a leader in government today, nor can it be easy to be a business owner, as the pressure mounts on each to “Do the right thing.”

Whatever the right thing might be.

But, there is something we can, and should, do as a nation to perhaps find common ground and get us closer to restoring what each of us will ultimately define as normal.

We can look at one another as Americans who have a common goal and a common enemy and work together to defeat the enemy and win the war against COVID-19.

Our national political leaders can help lead this effort by declaring a national holiday dedicated to providing any American seeking to be vaccinated against COVID-19 the ability to have the vaccination.

Not a national day mandating Americans get the vaccine. 

But a day in which Americans who find themselves willing to receive the vaccine the ability to do so.

A day that is recognized by our local, state, and national political institutions.

A day in which Americans who wish to have a vaccination are given the time and space, they need from work to get vaccinated.

A day in which the lead-up is not guided by threats or intimidation by those who believe Americans should get the vaccine or those who think they shouldn’t is informed by data, science, and medical expertise.

I have long believed that America should declare Election Day as a national holiday.  A date on which every American who wishes to vote may do so without being restrained in any way.

Our democracy is that important that we should invite every American access to vote in whatever way they can and are able to vote.

I believe our nation’s public health is no less important than the health of its democracy.

We should identify a day to galvanize around a common goal and purpose to protect it. 

Call it “V Day” or “Defeat COVID-19 Day” or whatever it is that someone more creative than I can come up with to grab our attention and keep it.

Make it important, loud and clear enough that Americans will hear about it and listen.

As with every common goal, not every American will choose to participate. 

Not every American agrees with the celebration of Marin Luther King, Jr. Day, or Christmas, or any number of nationally recognized holidays and dates.

Yet, America isn’t great because all of us agree with one another all the time.

We are great because even when we don’t, we still manage to find a way to move forward, together, as a nation.

Now is one of those times.

And, a national day of vaccination against COVID-19 is an opportunity to allow us to gather again in person, and move forward into the future, together.

Fierce Urgency of Now: A National Media Enlisted To Win The War On COVID-19

There is an historic opportunity for America’s media to regain its prestige at a time when America finds itself losing more of it throughout the world.

Our disgraceful national effort at combatting a global pandemic, combined with the Burlesque show that has become the after-action report of this year’s Presidential Election, has hardly put America, the greatest nation in the world, in the greatest light in the world.

I believe fervently in the need for a robust, accurate and ubiquitous media in America. 

Not the unctuous, sanctimonious, self- congratulatory press we see on television today, or, for that matter on the internet. 

Nor the self-proclaimed “Resistance” media that bypasses truth and relative objectivity for personal opinion, barely concealed contempt for those that disagree with them and a gratuitous grasp of history, not to mention, facts.

It’s impossible to go onto CNN or FOX news on the internet today without seeing personal opinion disguised as news – opinion disguised as analysis – and personal bias, ideology and faux outrage in full view of anyone who wants to read it.

Perhaps the last vestige, the best hope for America’s 4th Estate, lies in the dwindling circulation and reach of our nation’s newspapers.

The pressure to go to print with a story that requires more validation, verification and fact checking than that which is thrown up on the internet may, indeed, offer some hope that newspapers could help lead the way forward in restoring the shine to a necessary piece of America’s Democracy.

The press’s coverage of the end of the Presidential Election has been better than average yet not good enough.

When simply reporting on the facts, court decisions and talking to real experts on elections – not idealogues and demagogues proclaiming themselves to be – the press has done the job America needs them to do.

Yet, too often those who are trying to do the heavy lifting of holding truth to power are overshadowed by those who want to give their version of the truth in the hope that it gives them power.

Still, if I were to give the nation’s media a grade with respect to the coverage they have given to Americans I would give them a solid B-.

So, what can it do, now, in the midst of the most devastating public health disaster in American’s history since the AIDS epidemic tore through the heart and soul of America from sea to shining sea?

They could do the job that our national government, and far too many local and state officials, refuse to do, cannot do or don’t know how to do:  Educate, inform and prepare Americans for the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Americans need real facts.  They need to understand these vaccines better than we understood the COVID-19 virus in its early days.

They need to know how the process of creating a vaccine is done.  What protocols are required to discover them. 

And, what are the side effects, how will they impact certain people, and what risk factors exist with these vaccines.

This is the moment in America’s time, and in the media’s history, where our country, and our world, needs to have the press move past the easy effort of taking potshots at those in government, business and society who have a vested interest in undermining the efficacy a vaccine that has the potential to get all of us back on our feet again.

It’s incumbent upon the media to take Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo, Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity and others of their ilk and take away their platform if they continue to spew distortion, lies and fail to adhere to a social standard they insist those they attack adhere to. 

Let’s be honest:  Americans are responsible for the press and the media we have today.

We don’t like what one media outlet says or reports, and we find somewhere else to feed our preconceived notion of the truth.

Americans by the millions have confused social media sites like Facebook and Twitter as the foundation of our 1st Amendment Rights and feel as though they should be able to post whatever it is they want to post but don’t want anybody else to post whatever it is they want to post.

So, they want those same social media sites to take down what somebody says that they don’t like, but keep up what they wrote that the person they want to deprive of their “rights” doesn’t like.

If it doesn’t happen it is clearly a deliberate act to deprive them of their 1st Amendment Rights and they go off in search of another platform they believe is “fair”, “unbiased” and doesn’t “filter” their opinions or infringe on their “rights.”

The time for the nation’s media to step up and get it right with the emergence of multiple COVID-19 vaccines is now.

There is a closing window of opportunity to do so before those who find an advantage of distorting facts with fiction find purchase in the minds of the American public.

We have already lost far too many Americans and American Dreams to death and despair caused by COVID-19. 

Let’s not add to our collective misery it by failing to prepare Americans for the next battle ahead against COVID-19 with the weapons that have been created to vanquish it.

There is no institution in American life that is better prepared to equip us with the training we need to win the next battle that the nation’s media.

No institution that needs to step up to ensure that we’ve got the information we need to go into battle to win the war against COVID-19 than the nation’s media.

To prove to the world that Democracy was worth saving, America went to war with its greatest treasures of men, women and material.

To prove to America that lives are worth saving we need to go to war with the greatest tool in the arsenal of Democracy:  Truth.