who are you?

– If you have a problem with changing the (Canadian) national anthem from “all our sons” to “all of us”, you’re not a traditionalist. You’re misogynist.

– If your reaction to Trans Lives Matter is “sex is binary” or “you’re born a boy or a girl” you’re not defending nature or god’s plan. You’re ignorant of science and ignoring horrible hate crimes against human beings who have already endured too much.

– If you have a problem with changing a team name from “Redskins” or “Indians” you’re not defending tradition. You’re racist.

– If you have a problem with taking down statues of tyrants, you’re not defending history. You’re defending the casual commoditization of human life.

– If you resist changing the names of military bases or streets you’re not a traditionalist. You’re backing a loser.

– If you react to Black Lives Matter with All Lives Matter or Blue Lives Matter you’re not defending something that needs defending. You’re turning your back on a cry for help.

– If your reaction to Defund the Police is to fear for your safety rather than to hope for more safety, believe me, right now is your opportunity to learn. Where could that money be spent proactively as part of the solution?

– I get it. You’re afraid of change. I don’t care. Change happens. You can change with it or remain trapped in a deeply troubled past. Challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone. Abandon your privilege. Stop being afraid. LEARN. People need you. You can help them. Or you can continue hurting them. Who do you want to be?

this is america

The majority want the powerful to answer for their abuse and indifference but can’t get it.

The majority want meaningful gun control but can’t get it.

The majority want a system of law driven by justice, not money, but can’t get it.

The majority want universal health care but can’t get it.

The majority want a health system that does not exploit their suffering for profit but can’t get it.

The majority want the wealthy to pay their fair share of the tax burden but can’t get it.

The majority want everyone willing to work to earn a livable wage but can’t get it.

The majority want leadership accountable to science and justice and even with a mountain of incontrovertible evidence of abuse and disregard they can’t get it.

The majority want a system of government rooted in compassion, but can’t get it.

Why are people of color still struggling for the rights and privileges I have enjoyed my entire life? Why is it permitted that their lives are lived in fear? Why is their peaceful protest against brutality met with more brutality? How dare we act indignant when these confrontations turn violent? This is a white problem, and not enough white people are ready to confront that.

Why are women still fighting for control of their bodies and for justice in the face of horrific abuse? Why are their demands for basic acknowledgment of their humanity still swept under the rug in case after case, court after court?

Why do Americans permit a for-profit health system that lets you die if you cannot pay? Many defend this as their god-given right. They have been told to think this by the people who profit from it.

Why are American police armed to the teeth while American children go hungry and uneducated? Why are mental health and addiction programs defunded while militarized police forces reap ever greater budgets? There is no way that this is a path to a brighter future.

The system does a very good job of serving the wealthy. My life has been comfortable here with my panoramic view of the Manhattan skyline. But I have not felt comfortable. Lies are spun wholesale by the profiteers and the ignorant who parrot them, and even though most of us see through it, we shrug from the comfort of our privilege. Selfish people in power drive the narrative, the ignorant buy it, most of us enable it, and a precious few of us waste unfathomable amounts of time fighting it. Almost half of Americans don’t vote in federal elections, never mind state and local. Some have been systemically blocked from it. The rest have been guided into thinking there’s no point, if they think about it at all. “I’m not political” is somehow an acceptable position rather than a shameful abdication of responsibility. They don’t trust the system, and somehow this justifies not participating in changing it.

I deeply appreciate the opportunities I’ve had here, and the many excellent people I’ve met and befriended along the way. I love you all. Your heart is the reason that the US has accomplished so much good in the world. You are what makes America great, and I truly believe if you continue to demand better, things will improve. You deserve it. And I will continue to add my voice to that cause. But I can’t keep my family here any more. The path forward for this country is dark, though I believe there is light at the end of the tunnel. Still, right now, there is too great a chance that my family might come to harm in a system that profits from a lack of compassion. They will be safer and we will live healthier, happier lives in Canada.

*Footnote: of course I’m not leaving the company. We are accomplishing great things in education – see TrainersPlaybook.com. We are helping good people lead better lives. That work has to continue. Fortunately, a lot of that work can be done remotely — especially in the age of COVID-19 — and I will happily travel for the work that needs to be done in person. We have so much more to do.

guns again

I had a great conversation about gun control with my brother-in-law a while ago. My context was Sandy Hook, where a man slaughtered 20 children between 6-7 years old, his mother, and six teachers, using weapons including an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle that his mother had bought legally. My brother-in-law’s context was Canada, where that just doesn’t happen. He’s also a very responsible gun owner.

At first we seemed to be in opposition. He heard me saying guns are bad, and I heard him saying guns are fine. But *eventually* we learned a lot. Gun control in Canada is not perfect but it’s light years superior to most of the US. And there really is a sickness in America – gun violence holds a sick fascination, and the male psyche is, for some insidious and complex reason, especially vulnerable here.

The solution to the problem in America is not *just* gun control, because that sickness is the most gut-rotted cancerous mess you can imagine, but gun control is *part* of the answer. If someone is bashing his own head with a hammer you don’t start with a lengthy talk about his feelings.

In Canada, Trudeau just announced a ban on assault-style weapons, which includes a list many people rightly say is not comprehensive. Some of these same people say that, because of the culture and the regulations already in play in Canada, the problem doesn’t exist and that this ban, timed as it is two weeks after the slaughter of 22 people in Nova Scotia, is a political stunt that will do nothing more than cost Canadians millions of dollars.

Could be.

Could be that this law changes nothing except to make a few thousand gun owners a little wealthier in exchange for a few thousand semi-automatic weapons gone from Canada.

But really, I’m good with that. Take my money.

No, it’s not a perfect solution to the complex and subtle problem that some people decide at some point that mass murder is some kind of option.

We need to take better care of each other. THAT is the only Real Solution.

But while we’re trying to find the compassion to do that on a national and global scale, I am 100% all in for ideas that make it harder for people to get their hands on weapons that only exist to kill people. You and I may disagree on the details (I am also all in for demanding effective implementation) but if we disagree on that, what’s your plan to get us to the Real Solution? And do we even agree on that?