The Emperor’s New Clothes – The Classic Tale of a King’sVanity Exposed by a Child

As we witness a vain president attempting to pull the wool over our eyes, seeming to want nothing but praise from his subjects, the tale seems strangley apropos today. 

It’s June 2, 2018, my 70th birthday. I’ve written this as if I were speaking with David Hogg, Emma Gonzales and all the kids at Stoneman-Douglas:

I am sure you are aware of the Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen. But did you know that the tale had its roots in oligarchical medieval days and may trace back as far as to Aesop?

As we witness a vain president attempting to pull the wool over our eyes, seeming to want nothing but praise from his subjects, this tale seems strangely apropos today.

The Emperor’s New Clothes

kingA vain emperor, who cares about nothing except being seen as handsome and beautiful, hires weavers who promise they will make him a magical suit of clothes. The weavers are con-men,  and they convince the stupid emperor they are using a fine fabric that is invisible to anyone who is stupid. The weavers only pretend to manufacture the clothes; they mime the actions, but there is no cloth at all being weaved. Thus, no one, not even the emperor nor his ministers can actually see the alleged “clothes”. But when the emperors declares that his new clothes are invisible to anyone that is stupid they all pretend they see the clothes for fear of appearing stupid.  The emperor also does the same of course, and it’s quite comical.

Finally, the weavers report that the suit is finished, they pretend to dress him in the suit, and the emperor marches in a royal before his subjects. The townsfolk go along with the pretense.  Not wanting to appear stupid, they marvel at how beautiful the king’s clothes are.  Suddenly, a child in the crowd, too young to understand the desirability of keeping up the pretense, blurts out that the emperor naked! Only then is the cry is taken up by the adults. The emperor realizes the crowd’s assertion is true, but he continues with the procession in total embarrassment as the crowd mocks him and the weavers escape with their payment.

Andersen’s tale is based on a 1335 story from the Libro de los ejemplos, a medieval Spanish collection of fifty-one cautionary tales with various sources such as Aesop and other classical writers and Persian folktales, by Juan Manuel, Prince of Villena (1282–1348).

This is a tale that had its origins when there were actual kings and subjects – oligarchical times for sure. And so in these neo-oligarchical times there is something to learn from this old tale. Notice that it’s a child that exposes the king. There is a reason for that.

As a child of the hippie generation, I can tell you we had big dreams and saw the hypocrisy in parts ( not all ) of our parent’s generation. That’s what 1968 was all about. Protests against Johnson and the Vietnam War was just part of our quasi-revolutionary mind set.  But after graduating college, and particularly after becoming parents, many of us got sucked up into the same system hooked our parents. There was so much opportunity back then compared to now, it was easy to get sucked into the same system that we were protesting against just a few years earlier. Weird, huh? But true.

This medieval tale informs us that this all has been going on for a very long time. And so children, whilst you are young and before you form the bonds marriages and have kids, you are in life’s special time-zone when you can see the hypocrisy in the systems in our society and are not yet afraid to expose it. And that reminds me that there is at least one big difference between 2018 and 1968.

In 1968, we protested against the hypocrisy of people, but ended up embracing the systems the systems they deployed. Today the young are protesting against the systems and laws as well as the people that hold on to what seems more and more to be a dysfunctional government and culture. I don’t differentiate much between culture and government. To me they are both just aggregates of people with the large power of a mob and a general credo.

Students of Stoneman-Douglas: This summer of 2018 compares to the summer of 1968. It’s super important that you not only continue attacking our broken systems ( which so many of us admire in you all ) but also call BS on the people who profit from and embrace these broken systems. That outcry must include the president, who is the standard-bearer for all these broken systems, including gun laws. We must insist that no man is above the law. We can’t devolve into a society that allows our rulers and their friends to buy their way out of criminal behavior. That’s not what America is all about. I am sure you now that.

Of course, our American vain emperor would love to experience nothing but praise from his subjects. From that protected authoritarian dais, he and his financial allies can continue to work behind the scenes, back-channel and profit from these broken systems at the expense of the general public.

And this is not only about smart gun laws any more. Stupid gun laws are a symptom the larger dysfunction. The refusal of the majority in congress, the GOP, to create laws that our citizens actually want and need will only wane when Trump and the GOP lose big time at the ballot box this November 2018. I want this to be a November to remember for the rest of your lives.

Stay vocal. The powers in control are going to try and fix the election again. This election is even more important to them that the last one. Why? Because if Trump had lost, they had Hillary who more or less embraced that same broken system the way Obama did. But if they lose this time, they could lose it all. Power could return to the people here in the USA. Unions will negotiate better wages and cut down the owner/worker pay ratio.  Real-healthcare, access to education and infrastructure improvement become doable options. What a mess for the industrialists in control of this broken machine, right?

I just purchased RussianTrollSites.com. Let’s crowd source a site that runs a script that finds political troll sites and ads, publishes them, and forwards the list to Facebook, Google and the media. Contact me.

The crowd in the Emperor’s New Clothes only changes its position when a child exposes the obvious truth. That is the teachable part of this old tale. Your parents want to believe in you. This is not new. They will even take this battle cry up with you if you stay loud and determined. And this summer of 2018 we must.

We have a president and a congress that is trying to put themselves above the law, keep their ill-gotten gains, and expand upon the broken system licenses cars but not guns. The system is not broken for them. It’s broken for us! And we all will continue to pay if they stay in power.

Trump, as the system’s figurehead,  will try and sell you that the economy is doing better. I say what?! Are the people doing better? Not really. We have fallen behind all the first world countries is vital stats like life-expectancy and education.  Select economical stats are not the be-all-end-all of a society. The German economy got better under Hitler too – for a while.

I still believe your sheriff’s VOTE THEM OUT is the best battle cry for this summer. It resounds on both sides of the aisle and seems to unconsciously say “vote the swamp out” without partisanship. It’s a message that we all can identify with these days, and that’s really all we need.

Stay vocal this summer!

sent with love,

Joseph Aronesty

@EnglishCodeWord

josepharonesty@gmail.com

button-white750

 

 

 

Midterm Elections: What Progressive Candidates Should Run On

These are my top ten issues for progressives to run on this cycle. 

candidate.jpgThere’s been a lot of talk about what progressive candidates should and should not run on for the midterm elections. This big question seems to be: regardless of the positive issues we may wish to run on “do we also run on impeachment?”. 

I frankly believe that Trump being in office can end up being the Democrats best friend in November, if they play their cards right! And let’s face it, in 2016 they could hardly have played their cards worse. There is gamesmanship to an election – and it has to be done right. 

One of my strongest suggestions is never to run Dem vs. Dem.  No infighting! The Hillary vs. Bernie division was really what sank the Dems in 2016. We can’t have that happening in the midterms this cycle. Instead, I would rather see run offs decided by two candidates joining at the hip, like a double entry in a horse race. First, it saves election costs. And if their is a complaint about salary, (and this is way more important than any politician’s salary) the saved election funds could be shared along with the allotted salary. That way two close competitors can share one position. Granted they get one vote in Congress. But imagine if Hillary had run with Bernie as a ticket rather than against him. It would have been a landslide. In 2020, if Biden runs, maybe he could run with Bernie as a ticket. Biden/Bernie will play well only if young blood does not take over the scene by then – and it might. We will see. But no infighting. Infighting means we don’t have a clear agenda. And that means, we don’t know what we are doing. And that means, people may decide to stay with what they know and have.  And we can’t have that.

These are my top ten issues for progressives to run on this cycle. 

#1 Medicare For All. There is nothing that unifies Americans more than our need for affordable healthcare. It will be easy to expose the hypocrisy of the GOP on this issue. It should be front and center of any progressive campaign.  But work out the math ahead of the campaign promises. Make it look achievable or you will be tagged as impractical dreamers. Show us where the money will come from. And yes, don’t be afraid to say we should tax billionaires the same or higher than workers are taxed. Remind us that this country worked best in the 50’s when the rich were taxed higher than the poor, which created a more level playing field for all Americans. 

#2 Reversing Trump’s GOP Tax Laws. This is tricky because Trump can say his new laws are the reason for the seeming economic boom. Is it really a boom? Maybe that has to be discussed. Because if we have set our expectations lower, a small increase in take home pay can seem like an improvement. But there are other ways to measure success rather than just pocket money. Trump and the GOP will rely on this argument that things are better. Dems will have to show Americans in black and white, how the increase in health-care costs, the lack of access to great education, and the failure to spend on infrastructure are other ways to measure the standard of living of a nation. Show us how everyday citizens are fare better and even live longer in countries like Germany, Sweden and Japan. And the states that tax heavily and invest in their own infrastructures, like Cali, Mass and NY, – they do not like the new limit on deducting state taxes and interest payments. So expose that strongly as well. 

#3 College and K-12 Investments. There is nothing that quashes the dreams of our children more than the ridiculous economic barriers to quality education. It starts at K. Our grade schools and high schools are short on books. How sad is that? I’m sorry but what differentiates a great country from a failed one is actually the education level of its citizens. It is way more important than levels of pocket money.  A society that is rich monetarily but stupid is ripe for takeover. Think Rome. Brains is what separates us from animals. And honestly, “stupid and spoiled” is sort of what Russians and even Islamic terrorists think of Americans. And frankly, they are not far off. No way we are the brightest minds on the planet any longer. We used to be – in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Somewhere around Regan, we began to slip. That’s also when big money took over the soul of our government. Today, teachers are clearly paid far less than other professionals with the same qualifications as teachers. And yet, teaching is the one profession that makes all other professions possible. So drive all of this home. It will resound in New York as well as Texas and West Virginia. 

#4 The EPA. Golly, I hope Scott Pruitt is still the head of the EPA in November. If he is, he won’t hold that post in December. The air we breathe, the water we drink, and our climates are valid ways to measure the success of a nation. So again, it’s not just pocket change. After all, its not what money you have, but what it can buy. And if your money can’t buy clean air and water, because companies are allowed to pollute, then you are poorer than you think. Expose as much of the EPA’s reversals to common sense legislation as you can this cycle. Remember, the GOP will paint Pruitt as a help to the economy. We need to answer back strongly. “We don’t want an economy that is driven by allowing corporations to pollute our greatest common asset, our environment. Lack of respect for mother earth by this administration should be fully exposed. Again, it will resound with Americans of all stripes, and in all 50 states. Americans want to be proud of America again. That’s really what Trump has done to us. So seize on that. Make America Proud Again? Well, not. We don’t want to sound like we ripped off anything from this charlatan. But the idea of restoring American pride is sound. 

#5 Re-establishing Diplomacy. One of the reasons I am certain that the Russians have Trump suborned is the way our diplomatic core has been stripped under Trump’s Secretaries of State. Bring math to this argument. Show what has happened in stark black and white. Frankly, it borders on treason. And this is exactly what Russia wants. They are increasing their position on the world stage – as we are decreasing ours! If it feels coordinated, it probably is. 

#6 Border Security Done Right. Why is this so hard for us? Border security has nothing to do with hatred of others. We can have secure borders and love our neighbors. There should be check-points and it should be hard to illegally penetrate. I’m not sure we need “Trump’s Wall”. But we should agree to have secure borders, and to police those borders. But also, most Americans agree that the DACA kids are citizens. So we can run on Dreamers and border security simultaneously. Please do that this cycle. And if GOP candidates drift into that general area, welcome them. We need more welcoming of the other here in the USA, and that starts with “across the aisle”, when it is justified. There is a place where can agree with GOP voters on border security. Just strip away the hate of others and be kind to our Dreamer’s. I would fund any border upgrades from infrastructure spending. That is what it actually is. 

#7 The VA. Our veterans deserve the best care possible. Trump had a guy who was trying to do a decent job and he was fired. Rub this in his face forever. Veterans exist in all states. And its damn well embarrassing that he is trying to make veterans care a for profit industry and take his cut. 

#8 Infrastructure. There is no doubt that America has fallen far behind other first rate countries in infrastructure. Our roads, bridges and trains are sorely in need of serious investment. Something like what FDR did seems appropriate. But, we are not as collectively rich as we used to be in the 1950’s. Why is that? It’s because we have allowed our money to collect at the greedy top where it stagnates and gets funneled out of the country into off-shore bank accounts. There is no way to fund the projects we need without recapturing those lost funds. It’s not a pretty statement. I think of things like a billionaire’s tax. So here too, math has to be done to sell infrastructure investment. This is not a cycle where we can make promises that we cannot keep. It will be too easy for the GOP can say we can’t afford this now – that our national debt is already ballooning. But infrastructure is an investment that pays back! So focus on that when you get GOP push-back. Do your math. Cite history. People in all states want better infrastructure.

#9 Voter’s rights and an end to Gerrymandering. The GOP realizes full well that they advance the agendas of the super-rich – not the average American. They know they have no way to win an honest election. That is why Trump and the GOP welcomed Russian help in the election of 2016. They can’t possible win a fair fight with their agenda that favors the billionaire class. Assume the GOP will do anything to win. They will try to block the minority vote. They will play with election software. They will use social media campaigns to rile up hatred again. And Gerrymandering, though slowly being outlawed, still exists. All of this must be exposed. In red states, make it clear the GOP does this because they don’t want your vote to count. 

#10. Vetting our candidates better. This is the hardest to promote because so many sitting Congresspeople are not clean – and won’t support anything which makes vetting candidates a more thorough process. But let’s be real here this cycle. We got a criminal president because we allowed him to be a candidate without even showing his taxes. We vet Uber drivers better than we vet our president, so what should we expect? If there is a path to insane profits in government service, we will continue to get criminals seeking to “serve” in Congress and in other high end government positions. They see dollar signs and are drawn in. Jared Kushner could not even get security clearance, but neither could Trump if he had to.

If there is a full vetting of all candidate’s past financial history, we can at least be sure they are not criminals or money launderers before they take office. No one should be ever be allowed again to hold high office with undeclared foreign bank accounts. In with this line of thinking is “getting money out of politics” , “term limits”, and ending “Citizen’s United”, which really is “Billionaires United” and “no man is above the law”, which must be true in a real democracy. This won’t be popular with sitting representatives. But it has to be addressed or even a new administration won’t have the support in Congress to make the sweeping changes to policies and laws that will be needed to keep the United States strong, free and democratic.  

You will notice I have not mentioned gun laws. I want to, of course. It is a huge national stigma that we do nothing to protect our children as they are mowed down month after month. But common sense gun law changes will not come from this GOP.  They are a sold-out party. The right idea is to vote out the sold-out GOP that have us under their thumbs. We can do so on the ten issues I have outlined above.  Banning semi-automatic weapons is probably fine to discuss, but it seems smarter to just not enroll Americans who will vote GOP for one single issue.

Finally, absolutely do not announce any presidential candidates until after November.  Any Democrat who does that should be shunned by the Democratic Party. Politicians and citizens can and should get out there and talk about what is good for the country. Biden should get off his horse immediately if he intends to run, or he runs the risk of seeming old, slow, out of touch. Same with Bernie. Trump will be running every week from here on in.  But no one should announce they are running in 2020. It exposes an “it’s all about me” philosophy, and in 2018 we need a fully coordinated team effort. Leave “it’s all about me” to Trump. He is so good at that anyway. 

If we succeed in this cycle, 2020 will take care of itself. If we don’t, I will be seriously eyeing getting out of here for my kids sake. I actually don’t want to be a citizen in Trump’s America. 

……. Joseph Aronesty

Joseph is an e-commerce pioneer, songwriter and etymologist. He was in a class with Donny Trump in 1967 at Wharton School and worked close to him in AC in the 1980’s. 

Joseph can be reached at josepharonesty@gmail.com

Joseph’s SoundCloud page: https://soundcloud.com/raiseourvoices

Joseph’s intuitive etymology page: https://englishcode.wordpress.com/clc-etymology/

 

 

Will Donald Trump Run Unopposed in 2020?

It’s easy to think these Trump rallies are made-up campaigns ​to get TV time. ​To many​, they even look silly. But to the people in that town and to Trump’s supporters across the nation, it …

I’m not going to give up on raising my voice for democracy. But sometimes it appears Trump’s opponents are doing just that. Trump runs these campaign style rallies. 1trump

​Let’s really ​wonder why.

It’s easy to think these Trump rallies are made-up campaigns ​to get TV time. ​To many​, they even look silly. But to the people in that town and to Trump’s supporters across the nation, it does NOT look silly! To them, it looks like HE CARES and NOBODY ELSE DOES!

This is salesmanship. I went to Penn with Trump, but they did not teach this at Penn.     ( Not that Trump studied. ) This is what he learned as a casino owner – on the AC boardwalk. Con games. I had a jewelry shop on that boardwalk back then. There was salesmanship meme that trickled down from the Nucky Thompson days.They only know what you tell them, etc. I just did not care to go that route in life. But Trump is telling them what they want to hear during these rallies. 

So. If Joe Biden is running in 2020, he’d better start now. I mean this week!​

Whoever is running, they’s better start now! If they don’t, they will appear like Johnny come late-lies in 2020. They will appear low energy. And Trump will use that phrase along with weak, tired and old. ​

They don’t have to announce they are running. Not at all. That would be a mistake. But they can’t sit back and watch him win hearts and minds unopposed. They must get out there and show they care and that they have the energy for this.

I suggest when Trump announces these campaign rallies going forward, there is ALWAYS one other serious competing pop-up venue, (a town hall is best,) running at the same time, close to his rally. In the same media range for sure. 

That way folks can decide if they​ like the carnival barker who is paying attention to them,  or the other guy who is asking them questions on how their lives could be better and how he can help​.​ But now, there is no other voice whispering in their ears.

If we let Trump run unopposed to 3 1/2 years, he may effectively run unopposed in 2020. Hence the gallish subject line. Especially if we bicker a​s​ to whom should top the bill, and who should retire, etc.

These campaign rallies will affect November 2018! We need to start running against Trump during these campaign rallies, each and every one!​

Bernie and Biden can do this( I believe they should run as a ticket – and decide later who is president and who is VP and even 3rd in line​. Think outside the box. Trump is. )​

And if they don’t have the energy or foresight for this now – then they are likely done. 

Someone must take up the charge against his agenda ASAP. Explain to people that the nickles he saves them with tax cuts, cant pay for the education, healthcare, and infrastructure they sorely need. ​And how they are being misled.​

These campaign rallies do work to some degree, which beats no counter effort from the side of reason and love. 

​Finally, and this is sad to write​, but we must also be realistic. We know what we are witnessing is whitelash. This country was not ready for a black president. And we still are not. So not this cycle. I love Cory Booker. But not this cycle. And no women either. Not for a presidential ticket. Everywhere else is more than fine. Just how it is.

WE CAN NOT AFFORD TO LOSE IN 2018 OR 2020. We cannot afford to gamble. Unfortunately, we need to convince those who fear minorities and misogynists that we have their backs. 

If you have connections to your representatives, and we all should these days, ​please get print this idea out, and get it over to the right people. Circulate this idea in social media with a focus on Biden. Bernie. ​Swalwell

btw – I would put nothing behind these guys. They are killers. He has even said so. They will do anything do keep their economic advantages.

PS. They are killers is the root of the Indian word Yosemite. I sort of see the word “smite” hidden in there. ​I believe all languages are connected, if you look close enough.  After Trump is deposed, I will get back to my passion of teaching the ways languages connect. We are all connected. But right now, we are at war – and the enemy is within.