I, for one, never believed in the promise on the red hats: Make America Great Again. I do, however, agree with the implied message that America is broken. It used to be great for the middle class before trickle-down economics pooled money at the top of the socioeconomic strata, and failed to shower working-class Americans with promised riches and shared wealth. Add to that the fact that jobs have been shipped overseas for decades to lands without labor laws to unempowered workers with few rights. And the final blow–that will require us to rethink jobs and incomes–is the automation of the workplace. In other words, robots, not immigrants—illegal or otherwise—are taking American jobs. That’s a trend that’s here to stay, because what employer doesn’t want “workers” who never get sick or uppity and will work ungodly hours?

Stephen Hawking says that “we are at the most dangerous moment in the development of humanity” and that the “rise of artificial intelligence is likely to extend job destruction deep into the middle classes, with only the most caring, creative, or supervisory roles remaining.”

So, when Trump promised to make America great again, he spoke to the angst, panic, depression over disappearing and scarce jobs that offer a living wage and benefits. The great orange-tinged white hope did one thing right: he tapped into the national angst over the disappearing American dream. And maybe he does believe in a grand narcissistic delusion that his mere presence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. will turn the tide and bring back the America of yesteryear—good jobs, prosperity, and a thriving Main Street. As a king, he can declare it, and it will be so. Like many who entertain delusions, reality doesn’t come into play unless it serves the deluded. Quite often, reality’s not relevant and pesky realists are deemed fake newsers and dismissed.

Let’s look at some of Trump’s delusions:
• Obama is a Muslim without a birth certificate.
• Global warming is a hoax.
• Jared Kushner will solve the Middle Eastern crisis.
• His inaugural crowd was the biggest in history.
• He’ll build a wall that Mexico will finance.
• Three million illegal voters cast votes in the 2016 election.
• He has great chemistry with Angela Merkel.
• He’s the most productive president in history.
• Obamacare is a disaster.
• He’s going to bring back the coal industry.
• He’s going to create millions and millions of jobs.

We can’t dismiss the realities at play in America just because we have a president who wants to peddle in magical thinking. He can afford to be out of touch with reality. No matter what happens on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Trump will return to his golden tower, beach club, and riches and live out his days like a king. The rest of us can’t afford to peddle in make believe. If we’re not careful, our lives could come crashing down around us with no buffer zone. Most of us have no golden tower or real estate empire to gamble and certainly no Russian oligarchs to bail us out. What’s at stake here? Our humble lives.

What are the American people to do with a delusional president? Ignore his delusions as best we can and strengthen our grip on reality. What do we know?

Here’s the current state of need in America:
• 95 million working-age Americans are no longer in the workforce.
• Over 1/3 of Americans are on government health insurance.
• 26.9 percent of Americans are on Medicaid.
• 45 million Americans rely on food stamps
• 42 million Americans struggle with hunger.
• More than 1/5 of American children face hunger.
• 63% of Americans don’t have enough savings for a $500 emergency.
• One in three American families have no savings at all.

Many Americans work full-time yet can’t cover their expenses. Some have full-time jobs yet require food stamps or Medicaid. Many Americans must hold two or three jobs just to make ends meet.

What do we need to do?
• Move immediately toward universal healthcare.
• Invest in job retraining: manufacturing to high tech.
• Establish a universal basic income in the next ten years.
• Redirect corporate welfare money to healthcare and education.
• Raise the minimum wage to a living wage.

America is broken. In so many ways, it is broken. We don’t need America to be great; we just need it to work for vast numbers of American people. And if by working for most of its citizens, America achieves greatness: bring it on!

In the meantime, we need to fight like hell to make America work again.

In Trump World bad hombres will be contained by big bad walls and Bad Hombre Brigades. The country across the southern border that hatches bad hombres seeking to escape, especially once America is great again, will pay America back for its giant border erection. Then all the bad hombres, especially the 3 million illegals who voted for Hillary, will be escorted out of this great land for good, well, except the hombres who make good burritos will be allowed to stay.

Twitter tirades are so very presidential, keeping business leaders, Congress, federal agencies, and citizens in check if they get testy and defiant. Tweet-storms precede actual threats, giving guilty parties time to shape up or ship out. The world rises and falls on the Great Leader’s 140 characters. Citizens check Twitter to learn about the state of the union. No need to waste time reading long-winded articles. Info-bits have shrunk, expediting information exchange.

With Betsy Devos as Secretary of Education, schoolchildren will be armed with loaded guns to fight daily grizzly encounters. In Betsy’s kingdom, God doesn’t intervene when grizzlies move in on schoolchildren, thus giving children ample opportunity for target practice and trophy heads to boot! Gun-toting children will revel in learning about Betsy’s kingdom—god and guns; bullets and bibles.

In Trump World there are good Muslim countries and bad Muslim countries. Good Muslim countries are usually ones that build Trump properties and golf courses with mountains of cash from oil profits. Most bad Muslim countries have no natural resources, just miles upon miles of pointless sand. People from Trump’s bad Muslim countries haven’t ever attacked on American soil, whereas people from good Muslim countries have. But in Trump World, it’s profits over facts.

In Trump World, he, Rex Tillerson, Russian Friendship Award recipient, and Putin will meet up in Georgia for a little bear wrestling, shirtless horseback riding, vodka drinking, sanction lifting, and Russian oil company gifting. Vlad will say, pay no attention to my skirmishes in the Ukraine. Trump will respond, and don’t worry about our tanks in the Baltics; they’re just decorative. Despite the three-way bromance, Vlad will go all KGB, surmising Donnie’s and Rexie’s weaknesses, plotting world domination, exchanging high-fives over Siberian oil wells, even as he is whisper-shouting take-down commands to his operatives.

Bannon, with his alt-right projectile halitosis, adult acne, and white supremacist eyes, is the guy no one would let into their social cliques in high school, so now he is exacting revenge on “the establishment” aka the popular kids. He’ll feign to worship Trump, and because he’s more cunning and evilicious, he’ll easily install a puppet regime in the first 60 days. But, because both Trump’s and Bannon’s religions are themselves, they will clash bigly in a religious war and someone will be sacrificed. Bannon’s endgame would have been leader of the free world, repurposed as the Prince of Darkness, but he’s astute enough to know that he doesn’t have the face for politics. Not that his boss does either. But he has the hair. Oh, does he have the hair.

In Trump World, Frederick Douglass is still alive and doing great things. In other words, Trump has a special power the rest of us don’t have; he sees dead people. Including abolitionist dead people.

In Trump World, park rangers are fired and national parks become mountains of useable wood and fields filled with trophy heads for boardroom walls. Pruitt sings the praises of the health benefits of mercury and arsenic for all, especially growing children. Pruitt, an S&M master will gag and bind each and every EPAer (they’ll secretly love it) and do a little dominatrix routine. Then he’ll frack, crack, and pipe the hell outta America, and natural gas and fossil fuels will be flowing in a luscious shower of crude.

Rick Perry’s job as Secretary of Energy will be easy. He’ll eliminate the department he couldn’t remember in the first place, and conservatives will rejoice. One less department to sabotage and destroy. Oops, but who will manage the nukes?

Jeff Sessions will show up for his first day of work in a fashionable pointed white hoodie. Everyone in Trump World will admire him for his fashion-forward choice. They’ll emulate him, and soon the leaders and minions alike will be member of the Pointy Cape Brigade. They’ll burn cool patterns in the White House lawn and play hangman on lunch breaks. While wearing their white pointed hoodies, they’ll ban good Muslims from wearing black capes, because, you know, white is good; black is bad.

Americans will stop being paid by George Soros, Crooked Hillary, and Hussein Obama to protest with correctly-spelled signs and rabble-rouse. The rustbelt will be shiny and new with $50/hour factory jobs with no meddling labor unions, and everything will be made in America. And men and women in uniform won’t come home in body bags unless they’re fighting goat-fucking barbarians. Women’s uteri and their contents will belong to everyone. And fetuses will finally get the right to vote.

People will finally see that America is truly great again.

Little boys relish destruction. They like to walk over to a town made of blocks carefully built by a little girl and smash it to smithereens. When the girl looks distraught or cries, the boy feels pure glee; his ability to destroy and dominate gives him an intoxicating sense of power over the fretful girl. As boys grow up, they play video games that annihilate people, cities, and civilizations, enjoying a rush of adrenaline-pumped rapture each time something intact explodes in a stunning fireball.

Destruction is in men’s nature. Well-adjusted men contain their destructive tendencies by channeling them into video games or movies with explosions galore, knowing it’s a cheap thrill, but that it must stay confined to a screen. Disturbed or unhinged men can’t curb their destructive tendencies and act out against girlfriends, wives, communities, or even nation-states. In the extreme, they become terrorists, carrying out mass destruction.

Why we in America keep handing the mantle of leadership to men, I’ll never understand. Women embody the most powerful life force—the ability to create a human life with their bodies. Men harbor deep-seeded insecurity and resentment about being an afterthought in the creation of life. They don’t want us to revel in our own power; it terrifies them. Think about it: with enough frozen sperm, we could eliminate them and human civilization would go on. Without us, civilization would end.

The US elected a man who is intoxicated by chaos and destruction. Even more so is his evil sidekick who admitted that destroying society is what turns him on. In other words, we elected terrorists. How ironic that Agent Orange and Dr. Evil are posing as if they’re fighting terrorism outside our borders when they, the terrorists, have moved into the White House.

As the demolition crew posing as American leadership carries out its societal annihilation, they will leave a wake of carnage of the things we hold most dear–civil liberties, freedom of expression, reproductive rights, healthcare, a living wage, social safety nets, the environment, national parks, and animals, to name a few. If we respond with shock, outrage, and despair, it will intoxicate the sadists as they revel in their power to break us. Their urge to destroy is as powerful as our urge to create. We, the creators, must not feed their power-hungry impulses. We must defend what he hold dear, and with our sights set on the long-tem, continue to create the world we want to live in.

For 124 years, Lady Liberty has stood on the shores of the United States holding a torch as a beacon to those seeking freedom, justice, and equality. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” But on Friday, January 20, 2017, she comes down off her perch, takes off her homely gown and slips into something a little more comfortable, a little skimpier, exchanges her torch for a pole and performs a pole dance at the Inauguration of the 45th President. The theme of the event: soft sensuality. After she seduces her pole, she performs a striptease act in which dozens of nasty women adorned in stars and stripes take it off, take it all off, one star and stripe at a time. The President roams the stage, grabbing as it strikes his fancy. In the background a giant wall is being erected by bad hombres, and when they finish the massive erection, they are shoved to the other side. Performers wearing Make America Great Again hats, rifles slung over their shoulders take the stage, marching in unison with their arms high, saluting Him. A sparkling golden trickle pours over them, drenching them to the bone. Their hats and clothes are yanked off and they huddle together, naked, vulnerable, left out in the cold with only their guns at their sides. They wander looking for her, but the lady with the beacon is nowhere to be found, no longer on her perch, welcoming the wayward, the lost. Instead she’s humping a pole at the pleasure of Him, the one who prefers his country soft, sensual, and ready to be grabbed.

Hillary Clinton’s so-called “basket of deplorables” is emblematic of what’s wrong with American political parties. The fact that Hillary used this term to describe some American voters shows arrogance, ignorance, or short-sightedness. What if several million of those deplorables were considering casting a vote for her? If she was in the business of winning votes, this was certainly not the way to do it. Perhaps given her grueling campaign schedule, words slipped out that she didn’t mean. But, more likely, the effects of an arduous campaign are like a truth serum. A candidate for POTUS writing off a segment of the country that she aimed to govern was indeed telling. Maybe underneath their deplorable-ness, people are simply desperate and their actions are a plea for help from leaders who have become increasingly tone deaf.

History shows us that Americans don’t take to elitism in their presidential candidates, at least not to the appearance of elitism. George W. Bush, although born with a silver spoon, didn’t come across as an East Coast elitist. He was a friendly good ol’ boy who voters could imagine having drinks with. Consider Mitt Romney and his fundraising fiasco. He didn’t even win his home state of Michigan. He’s part of the reason Obama won white working class votes. The working class had a choice: an uptight elitist or a black guy from humble roots who seemed more in touch with working class woes.

The Dems by becoming too insular and evolving into the political party of the liberal/media/celebrity elite have lost touch with everyday Americans who worry about pedestrian things like paying rent, feeding their families, and paying for skyrocketing health care and prescriptions. The elite Dem party is part of the 1%, more worried about avoiding taxation, offshore bank accounts, fancy-schmancy fundraisers, and hanging out with celebrities. How could they possibly understand working class woes when they’re spending $16 million of taxpayer money for a Hawaii vacation and $12,000 on a dress for a state dinner? Even worse, if they do understand working class worries and they frivolously spend taxpayer money anyway. The money could be much better spent on public service projects such as cleaning up the water supply in Flint, Michigan.

You and I may be included in the basket of deplorables—Americans who are hurting from decades of oligarchic rule, outsourcing, globalization, obscene CEO pay, stagnating wages, and disappearing jobs—who have become desperate for a better life. And, although we may like Obama and what he stands for, his administration hasn’t changed the harsh reality of our daily lives—working longer hours for less money; paying more for health insurance but getting less for our money; and unable to save for retirement.

The election of Hillary Clinton that was taken for granted by the media, the pundits, the pollsters, the Dems, and even some in the GOP was disrupted by the so-called basket of deplorables. The deplorables in a terroristic mood voted to blow up the elite party structures of this country. It’s interesting that many liken this election on 11/9 to 9/11. Only this time the attack came from within.

Remember: the most dangerous people in society are those with nothing to lose, which is why it is in our best interest to build a society with a robust middle class—a country that works for everyone. If we care about our society as a whole and not just our piece of the pie, we will elect politicians who prioritize rebuilding the middle class. The truth is: we’re only as strong as our middle. A society that is top and bottom heavy will result in an America that resembles our neighbors to the south—a burgeoning restless bottom embroiled with rage ready to erupt and seize what the top is hoarding.

And ready to blow up the country at every turn.

After the release of a video in which Donald Trump boasts that women let him grope their pussies because he’s a star, America is reeling. It would be headline news even if he were just a reality TV star, but given that he is the Republican nominee for President; it is shaking our country at its core. Some conservative religious men are truly horrified by his behavior. Plenty of dignified men see Trump as a scoundrel who is a disgrace and an embarrassment to their gender. And many men are recoiling as they imagine predators like Trump unleashed on their daughters. Still plenty of American men are thinking, what’s the big deal? That’s how guys talk to each other when we’re drinking, in the locker room, at a ball game, watching football, or picking up chicks. Boys will be boys. Wink. Wink. Nudge. Nudge. We just pray we’re never caught on tape, especially because most of us are married. And groping? Well, that’s for the guys with money, power, and privilege to reach out and touch what is rightfully theirs. Pussies and tits are their privilege, ones they have earned by being the top dogs in this dog-eat-dog world. Think: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Roger Ailes of Fox News, and now Donald Trump by his own admission.

To the boys who will be boys, groping is no big deal. They just wish they could get in on the fun without being accused of lascivious behavior or, worse, sexual assault. But without fame and fortune, they’re more likely to be labeled sexual predators, which simply isn’t fair. Feminists and other empowered types need to chill out and realize groping isn’t sexual assault; it’s just pure unadulterated fun. And, hell, maybe the gropee even enjoys it, especially if it’s celebrity groping. In fact the gropee should feel honored she is hot enough to be singled out for the impromptu cop-a-feel session. She might be tempted to not wash her boobs or crotch for weeks after being fondled by a celebrity groper. A little pinch, squeeze, or knead never hurt anyone—right? And if she were to be honest with herself, she might even get a little turned on during the grope. It may leave her wanting more.

To these men, Donald is bringing back an age-old tradition that shouldn’t just be the privilege of the powerful but should be made available to all American men. He’s reviving the democratization of groping. American men have been oppressed by the nagging, shrill voices of uppity women and pussy-whipped men demanding the right to walk down the street without heckling, to exist in the workplace without sexual advances, to move about in the public sphere without sexual assault. These fellows have been long deprived and thus have a deep hunger to reach out and touch again, to return to a simpler time in which they could express their desires and sexual dominance on the streets and in workplaces across America. Trump is just helping men reclaim what is rightfully theirs. To Make America Grope Again.

Note: I wrote this piece of fiction months before the Paris terrorist attacks in an attempt to understand what drives people to commit such horrific acts. There is no justification for terrorist acts, including being marginalized by a society or discriminated against.

My name is Paris, no, not after Paris the city, but Paris the hotel chain whore. Harsh, I know, but if you were named after a girl who is famous for the sake of being famous, you’d be unforgiving too. I’d love to say my parents conceived me while picnicking on hummus and pita chips on the banks of the Seine at night watching tourist-filled riverboats like illuminated phantoms float past the Roman, Medieval, Renaissance, and Classical eras in under an hour.

But my parents have never been to Paris. My mother’s veil is forbidden there. It’s illegal to dress like a Muslim. French authorities claim veils hinder a society that relies on facial recognition and expression in communication. Watch the eyes, Parisians. Everything you need to know is reflected in the eyes. Other features are pure distraction. The eyes are shifty if someone is deceitful; impenetrable if someone lacks compassion; dead if there’s no conscience; downcast when hurt and dejected; wide with joy and ecstasy; vacant when someone has given up.

If you don’t learn to interpret the eyes, you’ll never catch people like me.

Paris. My namesake was born into a hotelier family that bilks tourists. Does that justify snagging headlines and splashing one’s face and body parts all over digital and print media? You, the gullible, gobble up news stories about people who’ve accomplished nothing other than being the product of an egg and sperm collision, the creation of a wealthy man and a slinky opportunistic woman. Voila! Their offspring skyrockets into fame, splashed on your magazine covers, panty-less. My apologies if Paris wasn’t the one who infamously showcased her crotch in a limo. They all merge into a big blonde blur. Like people say we do: Muslims in America. But I’m no more Muslim than I am American.

I’m not as hostile toward the talentless blondes as people say. They claim I’m bitter about my black hair hidden under a hijab. But my wrath is directed toward you, the un-famous, who follow the panty-less. Have your standards plummeted so that you’ll stalk people even if they’re famous for no reason? A magic show, a juggling act, or a trapeze performance would suffice. Instead, you prefer to view splayed legs in a limo. 10 million times, if clicks don’t lie.

I’ve considered changing my name to Cheyenne, because real people sentenced to obscurity live there. No one’s a star in Cheyenne, unless they’re a rollicking hog-tying, cattle wrestling, skeet-shootin’ rodeo cowboy. And then he’s only famous in whinnying rodeo circles where women squeeze themselves into tight Wranglers and men sport hats wider than cowgirls’ hips. And even though a rodeo star’s roping skills border on animal torture, at least he has honed his talent over decades. The animals get roughed up, but they survive. Most importantly, everyone wears pants, unless we’re talking gay rodeo in chaps with nothing underneath. But gay cowboys garner respect because they’ve swum upstream in a current of ranch machoism that doesn’t tolerate same-sex sideway glances. They’re corralled into a lifetime of marginalization. Let them wear chaps with no pants. At least they’ve earned the right to go pant-less. Like we Muslims in America have, but we’d never consider it. Actually, maybe we should under our burqas. You would ever know.
Wyoming is where we trained. An outpost. A touch of the Middle East in the Wild West. Where the cloudless sky meets the open plains. It’s so wide open; you’d think no one had secrets. The wind whips the living daylights out of you until your thoughts are so jumbled you can’t remember what you believed. That’s okay because we were learning not to believe so we could do what needed to be done.

Paris. I’d like to tell people I was named after the City of Lights, but my parents never had the money to go there, even if Parisians had tolerated Muslim dress. My parents did visit the Kardashian store in LA as a tourist destination. Tourists traveling to buy stuff they don’t need from a store named after people who are famous for no reason. As American as it gets. My mom planned the trip for a year. It was the only thing she had to look forward to. Waiting in line to get into the store, my parents were pummeled with raw pork—meat Muslims are forbidden to eat. “Go home, terrorists!”

But this is their home. And it was supposed to be mine.

I thank my lucky stars I wasn’t named after the Kardashian who’s famous for butt-cleavage selfies and a step-dad who actually accomplished something back when fame required achievement. But in keeping with the times, her stepdad is now famous for transitioning from a muscle-bound Olympian to a 60-something pin-up girl with all the nips, tucks, insertions, and penis tucks any girl who used to be a boy could ever want. She’s (notice the pronoun switch) now famous for being a famous trans.

Paris. I’m an un-famous girl named after a girl who shouldn’t be famous. But I’m going to change that. Don’t tell anyone, but I’ve just been commissioned to the City of Lights. I’ll travel with a parachute and the clothes on my back. I won’t need anything where I’m going. I’ll slip on my forbidden veil and jump in the midday sun at the peak of springtime in Paris. I’ll plunge the length of the Tower that is famous for being famous, then yank my vest at the last possible minute underneath the shrieks and screams.

I’ll achieve symmetry. Paris bombs Paris.

Maybe you could have stopped me if you’d have bothered to look into my eyes.