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Making Wealth Infinite, Together

We are living, right now, in the Messianic age. This is "a future time of universal peace and brotherhood on the earth, without crime, war and poverty." (Wikipedia)

The United States has a special role to play in bringing this age about -- one nation under God. No matter who we are or where we come from, all of us are in it together.

We also understand, uniquely, that generating wealth is the key to spiritual freedom. In this we have evolved. Where in the past money was considered evil, today we understand that abundance frees you to focus on what really matters in life.

At this time in our world's history we are on the cusp of universal abundance, which can bring universal peace. We can make it happen with technology. We need to free it up for common use, along with the instruction manuals. Meaning, let's unlock the gates to knowledge and make it free for all.
  • Imagine a world where homes could be constructed within days, not weeks.
  • Where nutritious food was freely dispensed from machines on the street.
  • Where healthcare was administered by robot, and the world's worst diseases were cured through the touch of a light.
  • Where the genes that contribute to rape, robbery and murder could be identified and excised from the human body, before a child is even old enough to walk.

All of this is possible, and more. One of the things I like about pastor Joel Osteen, similar to Donald Trump is that he always says to think in abundant terms. My father always talks this way too: "If you can dream it you can do it," he repeats, over and over again.

Our minds are conditioned to be small and passive. The world has become so overwhelming and confusing, so daunting and full of threats to our existence. It's easier to focus on our own survival, and that of our own small circles.

But to be so passive is to lack a certain kind of faith -- an expansiveness -- that becomes very easy once you focus on the infinite power of God. Again we are conditioned to focus on "personal brands," this leader or that, but humans are very fallible.

About ten years ago I made this painting about Abraham and his faith in God. It exemplifies how I feel about the world. We ought to look only up. If we look up all things are possible.

Now is the time for us to look up.

I bring it up because this week's Bible reading is "Lech Lecha," or "Go," a part of the book of Genesis. We meet a man named Abraham, who is fundamentally transformed by an act of total faith: He smashes all the idols in his father's store.

From a financial point of view and a material one, this was a very stupid thing to do. Those idols were money. Totally powerless in and of themselves, but -- just like brands -- they inspired in people a sense of power, and so the income flowed in as people lined up to buy them.

Abraham did the work himself: God did not come down and smash the idols. And after that there was yet another test of faith, and another, and another, and another.

Abraham's entire life's work was to show what it means to choose God blindly, in faith, even if it meant losing everything.

In return for faith -- or, more specifically, for the acts that result from pure faith --God blessed Abraham and his descendants with abundance. He also blessed the rest of the world.
  • Genesis 17:1-8: "I will establish My covenant between Me and you, And I will multiply you exceedingly."
  • Genesis 26:4: "I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed;
  • Genesis 35:11: God also said to him, "Be fruitful and multiply; A nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall come forth from you.

All this brings us back to where we started -- Messianic times, and what it means to live in them. If you look at the different descriptions of this age, regardless of who is writing them, there are three common threads:
  • Peace: The concept of war will no longer be relevant. We will not have a need for weapons, for nobody will rise up against anybody else to do harm.
  • Prosperity: There will be more than enough for everyone. We will not know such a thing as poverty.
  • Truth: We will not live in a world of falsehood, illusion and evil but rather the truth will be evident to all, and this will lead all people to serve the One and Only God.
As the world has matured toward modern times, we have seen the evolution of the human mind. Peace is universally recognized as a mutual goal. Ending extreme poverty is the explicit mission of an entire agency in the United States Government, USAID. Truth, or at least the exchange of knowledge and ideas in search of truth, has become ubiquitously available through the Internet.

All of these are signs that we live in Messianic times. I am not at all concerned with who the Messiah might be. I couldn't give a darn about which religion invented which idea or whose version of the ultimate redemption is more perfect.

What I care about, and what I want to tell you, is that I do not believe a nasty War of the Worlds scenario is inevitable. Far from it! We all, as human beings, have the capacity to bring peace, prosperity and truth to the world together.

We can co-create Messianic times.

We can prevent any further wars, we can eliminate all the poverty, we can create a world together where most of our time is spent on the search for higher level meaning.

I see it in my head and I know it can be real.

But before we we can get there, we need to be like Abraham. Destroy all the false idols that enrich our wallets temporarily. And take upon ourselves the terrifying but freeing yoke of serving God alone.


All opinions my own. Photo by Nadir Burney via Flickr (Creative Commons)

The Entitled Generation Is About To Wake Up

I took this photo of a Veterans Day display last night at a local university. Happy Veterans Day to all. Thank you and respect to those who served and to their families.

I have never served in the military and cannot conceive of the sacrifice.

Looking at the respectful display honoring those who gave their lives for our Nation gave me pause. And I stood there.

Suddenly I overheard a student talking to someone on the phone. She was walking briskly past me. I could hear her loud protestations.
"I don't understand! How did Trump win? I'm so FRUSTRATED!"
She really looked agitated. I think I did not realize, until that moment, how upset many people are about the results of the election.

Perhaps I missed the obvious signs. Here is a photo I took on November 9, the morning after the election, that pretty much sums up the mood on the train in D.C. (It should be noted that Hillary got 98% of the vote here.)

On CNN there was "Lily the protester" who in a span of 58 seconds managed to squeeze it all in, including what sounded like a call to violence. Breathlessly she mushed it all together:
"our lives begin to end the day we become silent" "people had to die for freedom" "we can't just do rallies" "there will be casualties on both sides" "people have to die" "Trump enough with your racism" "even all races, not just my Hispanic culture."
And of course she culminated with
"impeach Donald Trump."

If we step back for a moment and analyze all this emotion, what exactly is going on?

I do not believe it's about any love for Hillary as an individual.

In Panera yesterday the cashier was talking to her colleague. She said, cynically:
"I wonder if Donald Trump is really gonna go after her for those emails the way he said."

The Left claims to speak for minorities but this was an African-American woman who clearly did not have a high income. She was mad as hell, and it was at Trump for not doing something to put her on trial immediately.

Clearly, women are grieving that a woman did not make the Presidency. Typifying this emotion is the Facebook post by a woman named Margot Gerster, which went viral after she ran into Hillary and Bill in the park and Bill snapped a photo of them together:

Looking at the photo, at least, it seems like Hillary is the nicest and most normal grandma in the world and you totally understand what Margot is going through. Here is her post on Facebook, which is grief epitomized (spelling/grammar left intact):
Ive been feeling so heartbroken since yesterday’s election and decided what better way to relax than take my girls hiking. So I decided to take them to one of favorite places in Chappaqua. We were the only ones there and it was so beautiful and relaxing. As we were leaving, I heard a bit of rustling coming towards me and as I stepped into the clearing there she was, Hillary Clinton and Bill with their dogs doing exactly the same thing as I was. I got to hug her and talk to her and tell her that one of my most proudest moments as a mother was taking Phoebe with me to vote for her. She hugged me and thanked me and we exchanged some sweet pleasantries and then I let them continue their walk. Now, I’m not one for signs but I think ill definitely take this one. So proud. #iamstillwithher #lovetrumpshate #keepfighting #lightfollowsdarkness
So some of this is grief.

Grief so bad you can see the young people literally crying. Never in my lifetime have I seen a reaction like this.

On top of the crying there are protests all over the country. Some of them are clearly orchestrated, but not all of them. We cannot discount what's going on.

Nobody paid to stage this confrontational scene which was filmed on the New York subway.

Even toddlers are crying, it seems. In this video we see a (hilarious) meltdown as a child yells, almost incomprehensibly,

"Hillary has to put Trump in jail. Because she's the president!"

Clearly the anger people feel has something to do with their beliefs about Donald Trump's character. They imagine him a vile dictator, bringing us back to the Dark Ages of blame-the-victim rapes, coat-hanger abortions, back-slapping men doing deals in the back of the bar, lesbians and gay men stigmatized and brutalized, and African-Americans as worse than second-class citizens.

But there, again, I'm not so sure that people buy the argument, at least not anymore. As one of her own campaign staffer said, when Trump is on is own, he "normalizes." (You'll see this debate around him a lot - and the use of this specific word.)

Yet enough of us know Trump from many years back. He has never been accused of being all that stuff before. Maybe an asshole, a business cheater, a marketer, a fraud. Maybe he played up the "playboy" side of himself as exemplified by owning the Miss Universe pageant. But he also did a lot of public good, both publicly and privately, and overall I don't think anybody ever had the sense that he was Count Dracula.

The demonization tactic falls apart fast when you talk to those who actually know him.

So what gives?

After we peel off the "racist, sexist, homophobe" layer and after we peel apart the "fascist dictator" layer and after we set aside the "he has no experience" factor we are left with some kind of deep, raw wound that clearly has many, many people exploding.

Nobody paid Miley Cyrus to break out in tears on social media.

So now we get down to it. Here is my hypothesis.

After two generations of totally coddling our youngsters, the shit is finally hitting the fan.

When I was growing up, as a Generation Xer, nobody handed me anything. Yes I had a comfortable middle-class existence. But I left my home at the age of 16 after graduating high school early. My father dropped me off with $20 in my pocket. I worked as a grocery bagger, a pharmacy label typist, and a catering assistant to get by. I worked as a temp. I struggled to get through my undergraduate years, with sporadic help from the family.

It sucked!

As a child my mother took me to every conceivable lesson. But I don't recall ever winning any awards for being there. I went to summer camp, which was covered because she worked on-site as the nurse.

Nobody watched me when I went outside to play nor did they ask me what time I would be home.

If I didn't make my own lunch, I got an apple and an orange and an apple.

This is not to knock my parents at all. Maybe some kids had it worse, and some kids had it better. But we were expected to handle ourselves on our own, from a very young age, and when things went wrong it was just too bad.

Mom and Dad were working so that we could eat. And if that meant the TV kept us company all Sunday, then so be it.

Not so with the 1990s kids and beyond. I know this because I am the mother of two of them.

For my own kids, at least speaking for myself, I was determined that they should never know a moment without enrichment, encouragement, advancement, and recognition.

Is it a social disease that all of us caught?

I don't think I let them cross the street by themselves, ever. In fact I remember driving my younger one to school, every day, so that she would not have to cross a busy street.

It is as if all the anger at being left on my own manifested itself in an absurdly high level of care and concern for the children - I would say overprotectiveness - that has not left them until this day.

It has not left me, and if I would talk about my husband's feelings on the matter he would echo this. In fact I would actually argue that he sees overprotection as completely normal.

Now you may tell me that my own experience is unique, except I have corroborating evidence to show that others have enabled a culture of totally entitled young people.

I remember when the kids were in preschool and they were constantly getting certificates for absolutely nothing.

Same goes for summer camp. "This kid showed up" and for that you got a medal.

Fast forward to many years later and in so many ways I saw the same dynamic operating.

As someone who supervised Millennials I was initially blown away at their complete and total confidence in the work that they did, even when in my view it wasn't good enough.

I vividly remember telling someone who worked for me that I was not satisfied with the product. If I recall correctly I got in trouble the next day. The person stayed late and went crying to my own supervisor to complain about my total "insensitivity."

Another time I went to interview for a position as an adjunct lecturer. The interviewer said, she literally said, "What will you do if someone does very poor work? Will you grade them up anyway?"

I was shocked at the question. "No, of course not!"

"What will you do when the parents call to complain?"

At this my head was virtually exploding. I don't think my parents would have ever called a college professor to say diddly-squat.

"I would tell them to go fly a kite," I answered frankly. "That is totally ridiculous."

"Well, it's been nice meeting you," she said.

And then I got shown the door.

Fast forward, fast forward, fast forward to last night at the local university.

I sat there in the lobby of one of the buildings and just listened to the students, talking.

They seemed to feel like they knew pretty much everything there was to know.

They seemed to be very aware of one another's feelings.

They seemed to be very insulated from concepts like "fact" and instead were deeply engaged in debating largely ideological issues.

In this they are not unlike many popular celebrities who can't say enough loving things about Hillary nor enough hateful things about our new President, Donald Trump. (Like Judd Apatow saying voters "wanted an abusive father.")

All of these people, the students I watched and the Hollywood celebrities, have one thing in common: They live in a bubble. They are shielded from reality in so many vital ways. (Muslims, in contrast, are not shielded from reality, which is why so many support Trump; they don't want the U.S.A. to become the next hotbed of Muslim-on-Muslim violence; they don't want to be indoctrinated by radicals.)

In speaking the truth, the truth that we don't like to hear about radical Islamic terrorism, the truth about Obamacare, the truth about the Iran deal, the truth about the Trans-Pacific-Partnership and NAFTA, the truth about how our people are sinking under the weight of a collapsing economy, in speaking that truth and more, including the truth about government corruption -- Trump won enough support to attain the Presidency.

But also in speaking the truth, Trump drove a stake through the heart of the lies entitled people want to tell themselves. The lie that we can have whatever we want, do whatever we want, borrow as much as we want, be as irresponsible as we want, and on and on and on -- and face absolutely zero consequences.

Trump seems to me a pretty tolerant person. But he is a person who clearly, at this time, felt called to a higher duty: saving our country from itself.

With his authoritarian presence and "law and order" message, Judd Apatow may be partially right -- he does represent a father figure. But unlike Apatow's protege, Lena Dunham, Trump is willing to draw a line in the sand between good and bad behavior.

And Lena Dunham's signature character in the HBO hit show Girls, "Hannah," actually exemplifies the cultural rift we now face -- pretty well.

It's entertaining on TV that Hannah has zero social grace. It's interesting that she has a serious compulsion to nudity. It's frightening yet compelling that she puts herself into bizarre and painful situations where someone could get seriously hurt. As a mother, I wondered at the kind of culture that produces a Hannah, who casually performs sexual acts on her friends and hitchhikes into the city with a complete stranger after ditching her loving and loyal boyfriend in the woods.

As a writer I understand that Hannah has to be Hannah. Her journey is her own and it is only for me to watch and witness.

But as a citizen I am extremely concerned that we have so many young people who feel they can do "whatever" and have no consequence. Just like her.

Trump, as a president, represents the antithesis of that message. Although he seems a compassionate person, there is no doubt that his "brand," or persona, is fully about reality, structure, order, and yes, moral distinctions.

The past 30-40 years of moral relativism, of poststructuralism in the academy, of ideological flimflam passing as scholarship, of the total break between what the pundits say and what real people experience -- all of that is collapsing.

And it is in the break that the children cry.

Because they know the party is over.


All opinions my own. Photo by Chris Pelliccione via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Just When BDS Died Down For Five Minutes

...just when BDS died down for five minutes...a new wave of anti-Semitic accusations (of course) is spewing like vomit across social media, including LinkedIn. Some of the following is pretty rampant, some is not, but all of us should be aware. Seems no matter what ideology you espouse, there is antisemitism growing right alongside it like a weed.

1) THE GLOBALISTS ARE JEWS WHO WANT TO RUN THE WORLD: George Soros actually turned against the Jews in the Holocaust, collecting our property for the Nazis), and actually went into Israel funding anti-State nonprofits to try and overthrow that government, because PM Netanyahu represents defense and security against the Arab terrorist threat. In reality, the people who are accused of masterminding a one-world government are non-Jewish as well as Jewish; Israel has never overtly or covertly had the operation to do anything but stay intact and secure. -- this is coming from the anonymous "FBI agent" on 4Chan who claimed that he was aware of so much corruption that it would "bring down the government," but also anywhere you see mention of "neocons" (and there is TONS OF STUFF ON THIS) you see related material about Israel's outsized influence on American foreign policy and how we're somehow moving the chess pieces in Israel's favor. Of course, all countries try to move the chess pieces in their favor, but somehow if Jews do it it's automatically uniquely suspect.

2) THE WORLD IS RUN BY A JEWISH BANKER FAMILY CALLED THE ROTHSCHILDS: Antisemites claim that "the Rothschilds" are worth 500 trillion, which is fascinating since there is only 250 trillion in the world. This is supposedly 80% of the world's wealth. (Maybe they believe that Jews are also wizards and witches who make money like magic...but then if Jews could manufacture money they probably wouldn't waste their time defrauding government food stamp programs. Just a thought.) Forbes estimates the true wealth of Benjamin de Rothschild at $1.65 billion.

3) EPSTEIN WAS WORKING WITH ISRAELI SECRET INTELLIGENCE TO BLACKMAIL PEOPLE: Epstein is the pedophile sex trafficker who allegedly kept logs on his "clients" for later use as blackmail; Epstein was backed financially by Leslie Wexner of The Limited. It may be true that Israeli secret intelligence services somehow used Epstein to videotape the clients for later blackmail. This is a common tactic in all countries' spy operations and is called using a "honeypot." -- this is coming from KKK types, not people genuinely interested in studying sex trafficking rings, and it's just starting to happen

4) JEWS RUN INTERNATIONAL PEDO RINGS AND THEY KILL WHOEVER INVESTIGATES: International sex trafficking is an enormous business involving both Jews and non-Jews alike. Years ago there were Jewish sex traffickers operating in Israel who "imported" women from Eastern Europe to work in brothels. That practice has long since been illegal. Doesn't mean Jews aren't gangsters, but there is no evidence we own this business. -- this tends to come from KKK types

5) ZIONISTS RUN EVERYTHING: The word "Zionist" is used as a way of masking antisemitism. This is not to say good or bad things about Zionism, but the reality is that many Jews are not Zionist and in fact many are openly anti-Zionist. -- this is coming from both Arabs and KKK types

6) THE MEDIA ARE ZIONISTS WHO RUN EVERYTHING: The media are usually pretty anti-Semitic so I find it hard to believe we are a cabal that controls it. -- from KKK types

7) THE JEWS WHO CLAIM TO BE JEWS ARE NOT REAL JEWS: this is an elaborate historical composition claiming that the real Jews are now gone, and that a group of fake Jews has taken over (mass conversion of the Khazars, satanists, you name it), and this is why we are not the real inheritors of Israel. Obviously this is not true, we know who we are, but there you have it, they repeat it over and over. -- this is coming from both Arabs and KKK types

8) THE TALMUD IS A WORK OF EVIL -- This is related to the negative stereotypes that circulate among KKK types about rabbis, and Jews, and the supposedly dastardly plans they have for everyone else.
I have found that you can engage some of these people, but others are just set on hating. Invariably those people haul out chapter and verse from the Torah in a weird distorted way.

In my view the best thing you can do to negate hate is to be a very proudly Jewish Jew, out there and INFORMED. If you have the money it is well worth it to invest in a Jewish education for yourself and your children, and to stay informed about current affairs and discussions on the media and social media. MOST PEOPLE ARE NOT ANTI-SEMITES. But those who are, can exercise a disproportionate influence by playing into people's fears.

All opinions are my own.

The Energy of Social Media Now (Communication Lessons From Election 2016)

Last night, possibly like you, all I could think about was the election.

I came home and put the television on. "CNN," said my husband, "they have the best voting coverage" to which I said "CNN is biased, no way" and he said "no, for this they're doing it good."

There was Wolf Blitzer and there was John King and lo and behold my husband was right, Wolf kept saying "it's a nail-biter" and King did his thing with the maps, almost like the guy who's calling the horse race, squeezing the Virginia map open and closed and then Florida.

Oh my goodness, Florida.

"Election alert!" said the screen and I ran back into the living room from the kitchen where I was trying to make dinner and not burn it because I was too busy watching for results.

"And Trump is ahead in Florida," said Blitzer.

I almost couldn't believe my eyes. WTF was this! Trump was ahead in Florida, he was ahead in Virginia, TIM KAINE's home state, it looked to me like he was CRUSHING IT.


Then I looked down at the bottom of the screen.

"Only 15% of the votes are in. S--t!"

So the whole family stood there, then sat down, jumping up and pacing, watching all the alerts and projections and updates, completely freaking out, TRYING to count the difference in votes quickly before each screen disappeared.

Suddenly, I'm guessing around 10:00 p.m. -- which was really 11:00 since I haven't adjusted to the time change -- it looked like Florida was stuck at 95%, and they were waiting for Broward County.

The whole time I'd been "watching" along with the TV using Google's election map, and the New York Times' projections (which suddenly seemed strangely fair), and Breitbart.

"You're wasting your time," said my daughter. "It's all on the TV."

"Yeah, I guess," I said and at some point I put the laptop down. But when the numbers got stuck on Broward County I got out my iPhone.

As I had every night, I went to Twitter to find out what was going on, and typed in "Broward."

Sure enough, a discussion of potential voter fraud.

"SCREW THIS" I said and got in to the mix, again as I had been doing every night. "BRENDA SNIPES GET THOSE BALLOTS IN," I typed furiously. "STOP HOLDING UP THE WORKS." "WE KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON."

Yes, I had learned my lesson well, when it came to this election. In order to make anything happen of a rational nature, YOU HAD TO GO ON TWITTER AND ACT TOTALLY INSANE.




The vociferous interchange between Trump supporters continued.

Someone chimed in, "The votes are in and there's no way she can win it now. There's too many locked up already."

Then there was a ding on my Facebook Messenger. Look - it was my friend from Florida - exciting!

"He's winning!"

"I know! OMG! But what the heck is with Broward?"

"It's fine, it's fine, he's got it!"

Up on Facebook my friends were posting furiously, from the Left and from the Right. I enjoy reading my friends' posts if they agree with me, of course. But in this election it was somehow viscerally painful to read any post from anyone who went along with her.

"We have work tomorrow," said my husband. "We have to go to sleep."

"You're not going to stay up and watch anymore?" said my daughter.

"I can't, I have to go in," I said to her.

"You know you're going to be up anyway," said my daughter. "I know you're going to be clutching that iPhone all night."

Admittedly she knows me pretty well. "True."

I went to sleep, but only till midnight. I woke up and of course checked my iPhone. Google had the best, most quickly updated live results of all.

Suddenly I was fully awake. "244! 244! 244! OH MY G-D!"

Another friend I have, who I only know from Facebook, had messaged me. "I am praying nonstop, day and night," she wrote.

Thumbs-up emoticons were exchanged.

"Me too," I said. "OMG please let this be real."

I stayed up after that till 2:13 in the morning, when the electoral vote showed clearly that Trump was the winner.

He won, he won, he won, he won - my brain was over the moon. I absolutely couldn't believe it.

On Facebook my left-wing friends were devastated, and furious. And I made the mistake of getting into it with some of them. "It will be great, you'll see."

Their reaction was less than stellar. "Stop gloating, asshole."

I posted a few nasty gloating photos on my Facebook of course, to which my cousin wrote: "Language, please!" in Hungarian and I decided to take that down.

At the end it seemed she wouldn't concede, and she sent John Podesta out to speak for her. Of course Twitter went on fire with hashtags about #spiritcooking.

The mainstream media said, come on Hillary, concede the race already and I looked at my Twitter feed, shocked that they were saying this because I was so used to the fighting.

About 2:30 a.m., the word came out that she indeed had called the President-elect and conceded. The word came out on Twitter that he was about to give his victory speech.

I wanted to stay up and watch and listen, but that would have meant pulling headphones from my bag, and that would have been loud and I was totally and fully exhausted.

This election has taught me more about persuasion in the past four months than all of my years of professional experience combined.

I remain exhausted now, and I can still feel the pain and the urgency. This election was in my mind a quiet but real civil war, a referendum on something much more than ideology or a policy point of view.

And without getting into a debate of substance, I just want to mark the indelible impression it has left on my brain, on my heart and I think on my actual physical body, as it feels like I have aged a few years in the space of maybe 16 weeks or less.

May G-d help us as a Nation to heal the deep wounds this election obviously brought up. May we learn some important things about the worries of our neighbors. And as professionals may we use the lessons learned to advance the discipline of communication, not to manipulate each other but to better engage with the very real concerns that are on each other's minds.


All opinions my own. Photo by Lew (tomswift) Holzman via Flickr (Creative Commons).

Dear G-d, Please Stop Hillary Clinton

There comes a time in life when we have to stop pursuing the normal course of business and attend to the things that matter even more. We are now at such a moment. All human effort thus far has failed to bring to justice a woman named Hillary Clinton. This individual, who is treasonous, corrupt, sexually predatory, a domestic abuser, a racist, and vile through and through has almost achieved the most powerful position in the entire world: President of the United States.

The human courts have not been able to convict Mrs. Clinton. This is because, first and foremost, she is a brand. Mrs. Clinton looks like everybody's image of a stateswoman. She has the act down pat. She lies so authentically she makes it seem almost real. And she, with her pantsuits and her seemingly feminist rhetoric, has managed to fool so many, despite her obvious crimes. In fact I know many women, and men, who say they don't care how corrupt she is, because all politicians are corrupt anyway.

Dear G-d, some say that there is no justice in this world. I am not You, and I cannot fathom Your ways. I have to trust that You will make things right. But I also have learned, over the years, that it is my job as a human being to pray to You. I cannot ignore the evil that festers and flourishes, seemingly unchecked. More than prayer I must demand of You, implore You, fall to my knees and beg of You that You take this woman away from civilized humanity so that she cannot cause any further harm.

I feel a special burden of responsibility, Dear G-d, because I have been part of the "branding" movement. That is, I have spent the last fifteen years of my life teaching people and organizations to make themselves look good - more than good, premium. I have had a hand in the creation of illusion, of value that is not there, of products that people do not need or even want. I have helped to sow confusion and fear, and then promised that "the brand" would ultimately make life better.

I regret the bad things that I have done in the name of promoting branding. I regret that anyone may have learned from me how to promote an evil agenda, and pretend that it is good.

Dear G-d. I did not know that Hillary Clinton, and her minions, deny Your holy name. I did not know that her daughter wears a cross upside down as a means of mocking You. I did not realize that she was using a Muslim to trade money for favors with leaders of foreign lands. As a Jew, I prayed that she would help to protect the nation of Israel. I did not realize that she would participate in bringing the nation down, through the evil plotting and planning of President Obama and his henchmen.

I was so stupid and naive, G-d. I saw in Hillary Clinton, for so many years, the culmination of what it means to be a successful woman. I did not see that she throws women to the wolves just as the cruelest man does. I did not know that she was accused of being a sexual predator herself. I did not know that she supported cracking baby's skulls open up to and until the time of birth.

I did not know that she was involved with the kind of people who steal babies off the streets of Haiti and sell them for sex or organ trafficking.

Dear G-d. As a Jew I am obliged to make this world a better place. I am horrified at the actions of my own people, when they do wrong. I know that we have, and I expect that you will make justice happen regardless of who is responsible.

I think about the deaths in Benghazi, Libya, of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Information Officer Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. About her total callousness discussing the ending of souls entrusted to her. Her raspy voice, her yelling and her hand gestures. "What difference does it make?" The words ring in my ears.

Dear G-d, I have seen list after list of the crimes Hillary Clinton is accused of. I have seen evidence upon evidence shared in public, things I can never hope to understand with my simple mind.

But I am not stupid, Dear G-d. And I know that this woman, if she becomes the President of the United States, will ensure the death of our great Nation.

Dear G-d, there is no justice in the human courts. I beg You for Divine Justice.


All opinions my own. Photo by Craig Moe via Flickr (Creative Commons).

Just Because You Don't Like It

One of the most painful things about this election season has no doubt been the fighting with friends and even family members about which candidate is better.

I’m not here in this post to advocate for one side or another. Only to point out that this national argument we’re having is dirty. The things we learn, or think we have learned, are more upsetting than we ever thought they could be.

Sometimes they are horrifying.

I don’t remember anything like this ever happening in the past. A recent survey said that 7% of Americans have seen the end of a friendship because of the election but my gut tells me the number is much higher.

Undoubtedly one of the reasons we’re seeing such a level of unvarnished hatred – there’s really no other way to describe it – is that the fighting has exposed some of the most offensive, disgusting, and even horrifying accusations that many of us have ever seen. It’s gotten so bad that even Saturday Night Live tried to lighten it up with a skit that had the candidates “reconciling.”

It is hard. As a writer and political junkie who’s also worked in public affairs, public relations, marketing and branding over the years, it’s like watching an unstoppable car accident unfold on the freeway, in very slow motion.

Perhaps the most painful aspect of the race, for me, is watching both sides try to avoid the unavoidable baggage that comes along with each candidate. Whatever side you’re on, it is most definitely there. It sucks to see it but it sucks worse when otherwise intelligent people are willing to go to the ends of the earth to clap their hands over their ears and go, “LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA, YOU’RE CRAZY.”

The pain of watching this never goes away, although it’s unfortunately darkly familiar. Although early in my career I had the good fortune of being encouraged to seek out truth, regardless of where it took me, that quickly changed when I joined the private sector and then the government. Invariably — and this wasn’t just me, I saw it happen to every other communicator I knew — the client had a desired version of the facts. And if you did not toe the line, meaning you totally drank the Kool-Aid and went along with whatever they said, you were quickly on the outside of the in-group.

It’s funny. You would think that communication specialists, being paid to inflate the value of a commodity, would themselves have a very high comfort level with lying their freaking heads off.

Not true.

Because what every good communicator knows is the same thing that every client does not want to hear. It’s what they go “LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA, DON’T TELL ME” about. It even leads them to engage a consultant on a job, ask for an assessment of their brand, and then REFUSE TO PAY BECAUSE THEY DON’T LIKE THE RESULTS OF THE AUDIT.

Look, don’t shoot the messenger, okay? The data is the data – which anyone can read. You’re paying your communication team to develop it for you, based on solid and repeatable methodology. You’re paying for their experience, dealing with similar cases in the past. You’re paying for the instinct they’ve developed over the course of probably twenty or thirty years in business.

It’s up to you whether you want to make your business, nonprofit, school, hospital, church, mosque or synagogue, educational provider or government agency as successful as it can be given the realities of the marketplace.

If you really want to do that, you have to take those headphones off and listen attentively to those who possess the expertise you’re paying for.


All opinions my own. Photo by Matt Ridings via Flickr (Creative Commons)