The Changing Skyline of New York

Photo copyright © 2017 by Gerry O’Brien

Autumn in Prospect Park

Photo copyright © 2017 by Gerry O'Brien

Photo copyright © 2017 by Gerry O’Brien

Fall in Central Park

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Photo copyright © 2016 by Gerry O’Brien

Star Trek at 50

50 years ago tonight, the world got an optimistic vision of the future that has delighted millions and millions of people ever since.

For the first time, we saw people we recognized … not just surviving, but thriving in a society 400 years from now.

Here’s my favorite episode from each of the various series that have been broadcast since.

Star Trek: The Original Pilot: The Cage

Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Christopher Pike in "The Cage"

Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Christopher Pike in “The Cage”

Star Trek: TOS: The City on the Edge of Forever

Kirk and Spock in "The City on the Edge of Forever" by the incomparable Harlan Ellison

Kirk and Spock in “The City on the Edge of Forever” by the incomparable Harlan Ellison

Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Inner Light

Picard playing a flute recovered from the ship of a long-dead civilization

Picard playing a flute recovered from the ship of a long-dead civilization in “The Inner Light”

Star Trek: DS9: Far Beyond the Stars

Captain Sisko of the Federation? Or a science fiction writer in 1950s New York?

Captain Sisko of the Federation? Or a science fiction writer in 1950s New York? Watch “Far Beyond the Stars” and decide

Star Trek: Voyager: Distant Origin

Alleged remains of  a human found by a Saurian scientist

Alleged remains of a human found by a Saurian scientist in “”Distant Origin”

Star Trek: Enterprise: In a Mirror, Darkly

A Tholian, not seen in ST since the original series

A Tholian, not seen in ST since the original series,  from “In a Mirror, Darkly”

What are your favorite episodes?

The Party’s Over (for me)

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Forty years ago this summer, I became a Republican voter in New York State.

Since then, I’ve been a Republican candidate for City Council and State Assembly, a State Committee Member (in two very different districts), Secretary of my local County Committee, and a Reagan Delegate to the 1984 Republican National Convention.

Today I leave the G.O.P. to become an Independent (or Blank, in New York election parlance).

It’s not just the imminent nomination of a man so vile he isn’t worthy of shining shoes at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (though it was the final straw). More about him, shortly.

I am troubled by religious extremists in the G.O.P.  Their ideology mirrors that of terrorists we fight around the globe. It includes suppression of women, intolerance, and the blind rejection of known scientific fact.

America’s founders established separation of church and state to avoid the sectarian bloodshed and divisions prevalent in so many nations.

Today’s Republican Party is beset by phony preachers and religious extremists who want to blend church and state.  Their presence at the highest levels of government makes it impossible for Republicans to speak with any integrity or independence in the war on Islamic terror.

If you think joining religion to government and politics is a good idea, take a closer look at Ireland’s last 400 years. Or today’s Middle East. My ancestors came to the New World in 1792 to escape religious divisiveness in Europe. Why would we invite it to America?

For all their talk of freedom and individual liberty, conservative Republicans get downright ornery when real people try to live their own lives. These same conservatives find many people’s personal choices offensive, unusual, or just too different for them, and now they claim religious exemptions to justify their bias.

God is not an excuse to refuse service to anyone in a commercial business, anymore than God is an excuse to blow up buildings and airplanes. Render unto Caesar, as a famous carpenter once said.

Democrats have their own massive problems with identity politics, so joining them is not an option for me.

I’ve always been an independent-minded person. Now my party enrollment (or lack thereof) can be a more accurate illustration of my independence.

About Trump: I understand the anger his supporters feel. Hell, any American voter who isn’t angry today hasn’t been paying attention. The system has failed us. Completely.

The solution is not to hire a con man whose family has been financing that same failed system since the 1950s.

The answer is to elect a President who can inspire us, like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt all did.

Imagine for a moment that Trump were to meet any of those legendary former Presidents. It would not end well for Trump.

Washington would horsewhip him. Lincoln would pin him to the mat and muss that bizarre orange hair until Trump confessed to being a fraud. And Roosevelt? TR would knock Trump out with a single punch, like he did to another loudmouthed bully back in his cowboy days.

Trump is beyond an embarrassment. He is a crude, disgusting man who treats women like meat, mocks the handicapped, and shouts juvenile insults at anyone who crosses him. Trump is ignorant about so many issues, (including what the nuclear triad is). And the story of his business success is pure fantasy.

He’s conned you, folks. 

You want to give this lunatic control of our armed forces and the nuclear launch codes? Have you not seen the Mad Max movies?

A Trump Presidency is a threat to more than just the Republican Party. It puts America and our modern world in grave peril.

I don’t know who I will vote for in November — I may write-in someone — but I could never, would never, ever vote for Donald Trump.

And I won’t be a member of a political party that would nominate or endorse him. America comes before Party.

As the old saying goes, a principle isn’t a principle until it costs you something. I’m a political consultant here in New York, so I have a good idea how leaving the G.O.P. will impact my bottom line. So be it.

To my friends staying in the Republican Party: I hope you somehow manage to stop this madman, and that our nation survives. As for me, after 40 years as a Republican, the Party is over.

#NeverTrump

“The dark side clouds everything.” ~Master Yoda

Photo copyright © 2016 by Gerry O'Brien

Photo copyright © 2016 by Gerry O’Brien

Nancy Reagan, 1921 – 2016

Nancy Reagan Labor Day-SharpenedPhoto copyright © 1980 by Gerry O’Brien

Although I photographed her husband a couple of times, this is the only image of Nancy Reagan I ever took. It was shot on Labor Day, 1980, at Liberty Park in New Jersey.

Star Wars is for everyone

Star Wars Come into Theaters

My final Star Wars poster before the premiere of The Force Awakens.

Backyard Bambi in McLean, Virginia

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Photo copyright © 2015 by Gerry O’Brien

Flatbush Avenue before Dawn

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Photo copyright © 2015 by Gerry O’Brien