Happy Halloween!

I hope you all have a highly-festive, semi-spooky, candy-filled, rock-free Halloween today!

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Let’s look at the bigger picture here.

Hey look, some sanity!

I encourage you to watch these three minutes from Dallas sportscaster Dale Hansen talking about what Trump doesn’t understand about the national anthem and the right to protest, courtesy of Media Matters for America.

Dallas sportscaster Dale Hansen talking about what Trump doesn’t understand about the national anthem and the right to protest.

And by the way, just a little reminder: the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag says “…indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

That’s the whole point of Colin Kaepernick’s protest — as a country we’ve lost sight of those values, and we can’t look the other way among wrongdoings against African Americans and minorities in the United States. If Colin or anyone one chooses not “to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” then that’s their right to do so. It’s not being disrespectful to our military – its because of our military and everyone who’s fought and died for every American’s rights of equality, life, liberty and happiness that he and anyone else can choose do so.

As Dale states in this video clip:

“The young black athletes are not disrespecting America or the military by taking a knee during the anthem; they are respecting the best thing about America.”

I think the 49ers original statement last year about Kaepernick’s protest said it the best:

“The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”

And now we have a president trying to take away Americans’ right to peacefully protest against something they/we feel is wrong by saying they should be fired for doing so, through social media of all things. He’s saying that any protest you don’t agree with, is a protest that should be stopped. Those thoughtless remarks not only miss the entire point of the protests, but creates more division in our country than ever.

For the record, I love my country, I love our flag, and I love our military – and I bet most, if not all, of those athletes protesting last weekend do too. It’s a reminder that we need to be doing a better job as a country (for which the flag stands) of being “indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” And Trump needs to be doing a better job of being a president — for everyone. Maybe he can start by actually reading the Constitution.

Let’s maybe look beyond the symbolic gesture being made during the national anthem and more at the larger issue the protest is representing, and do something about it.

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Quote Of The Day – G. K. Chesterton

Howdy. It’s been a while. Sorry.

Today’s much anticipated and long over due Quote Of The Day comes from Gilbert Keith Chesterton, or G.K. Chesterton, a British journalist, novelist, poet, biographer, and essayist active during 1900-1936. He is often referred to as the prince of paradox by “making his points with popular sayings, proverbs, allegories, after first turning them inside out,” as described by Time magazine. Chesterton is probably best known for his popular series of short stories featuring the fictional priest/detective character Father Brown, weird glasses and bad haircuts.

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What’s so funny ’bout peace, love and understanding?

I was reminded over the weekend how much I love living in the Bay Area, and am extremely proud of how San Francisco and its major Ed Lee, residents and our connected community handled the various protests taking place on Saturday.

Everything from shutting down the far right extremist group Patriot Prayer rally at Crissy Field by encouraging hundreds of dog owners to come and carpet the field in advance with lots and lots of dog poo (which they did) to show how welcome they were, to the peaceful counter protests taking part throughout the city, to the “Peace, Love and Understanding” rally downtown that we attended as a family and with friends.

The brown carpet treatment at Crissy Field seemed to encourage the group to hastily change plans and move their event to Alamo Square Park. However, given the timing involved no permits were issued, which led to SFPD gating off and completely shutting down access to the park while local residents hung “Love Trumps Hate” signs on their homes and over 1,000 counter-protesters rallied at the foot of Alamo Square.

Patriot Prayer ultimately decided to flee to Pacifica, about 30 minutes south of San Francisco, to hold a “news conference” in a remote location stating their civil rights and freedom of speech were violated, and all they wanted to do was to “promote love and peace and freedom.” I smell dog shit.

In reality, they were granted a permit for their original planned event at Crissy Field – they chose not to move forward. No rights were violated, and their freedoms of speech and to lawfully assemble in public ware not denied by the local government.

Freedom of speech is one thing; freedom of hate speech is quite another. Spreading hate speech, discriminating and inciting violence is not covered by the First Amendment. Hate speech can not go unchecked. While Patriot Prayer’s leader Joey Gibson has publicly denounced Nazis, the KKK and other racist groups, Patriot Prayer has a proven record of attracting white supremacists and neo-nazis at their events, which often results in violent confrontations, and Mr. Gibson knows this.

Meanwhile, we enjoyed a peaceful afternoon of music, art, activism and love at the Peace, Love and Understanding rally in San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza in front of City Hall, with Michael Franti and Spearhead headlining the entertainment. The event was really well organized, safe and delivered as promised; it was family-friendly and relatively free of political speeches – just people of all types coming together and celebrating our differences. There were no anarchists anywhere to be seen and no bullshit. Or dog shit.

While my wife Laura and I aren’t convinced that public rallies change the minds of those we tend to gather to oppose (peacefully or not), we agree that it’s generally better to act than not – whether to show our children what is right, to make ourselves feel better by doing something about the situation, or simply to convince those coming out of the woodwork on the wrong side of what is right that they need to change or go back under the rocks they crawled out from. It was also a really good excuse to celebrate the diversity, open-mindedness, acceptance and tolerance that makes San Francisco and the Bay Area such an amazing place to live and be a part of.

Only one person was arrested at the protests throughout the day — for public intoxication at Alamo Park. Mayor Ed Lee summed it up best when he said, “San Francisco residents made sure the face of love and compassion dominated over hate speech and incitement of violence.” The Patriot Prayer people ultimately returned to an essentially empty Crissy Field later in the day but it went largely unnoticed.

It gives me hope that collectively we can work together to hopefully help make America civil again.

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Happy 4th of July Everyone!

Hope everyone has a Wonderful and Safe and Sane Independence Day Holiday.

Wonder

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Aloha and Aloha

Vacation. Twelve days of it with our annual family “retreat” to Maui. Some days seemed too long, some too short. Ups and downs, highs and lows. Typical family vacation stuff. Fun fact about me: I loath traveling for long periods of time (i.e. the act of physically getting to one place to the other, like airports and being stuck in a crowded, uncomfortable, back achingly, germ-filled airplane with clueless passengers, shitty food and vomit bags at the ready, for example,) but love being in a place that we all find to be so magical.

A family vacation, especially when traveling with extended family and kids, can really only be so relaxing. But I think overall we did a pretty good job of  practicing aloha and everyone had a great time and got what they wanted out of the trip. I came home yesterday feeling relaxed, refreshed and rejuvenated and looking forward to getting back to some serious writing. And giving more love to this blog again – which you may have forgotten you subscribed to since its been some time since I’ve posted. Poor blog. Besides the vacation I’ve been distracted with other (rather fun and cool) projects, which are winding down now so I can refocus again on words and things. Like the new book about adoption in America, a couple of screenplays and bothering you nice people from time to time. Stay tuned and mahalo for hanging in there. Aloha!

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Quote Of The Day – Dr. Seuss

Today’s quote comes from Theodor Seuss Geisel (March 2, 1904 – September 24, 1991); an American writer and illustrator, better known under his pen name Dr. Seuss for his highly popular and weird children’s books, with over 600 million copies sold and translated into more than 20 languages.

Before earning fame and acclaim for such gems like If I Ran the Zoo, Horton Hears a Who!, The Cat in the Hat, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Green Eggs and Ham, Geisel was an illustrator and cartoonist for Vanity and Life magazines, a political cartoonist and he worked as an illustrator for various advertising campaigns.

Green Eggs and Ham was particularly successful. Originally published in 1960, it was the fourth best-selling English-language children’s book of all time.  People read it here and there, in a house, with a mouse, in a box with a fox, in a car, on a train, on a boat with a goat, in a tree…but not in the dark or in the rain, because that would be silly.

 

 

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