Add One More Activist

I’ve participated in American democracy primarily by voting, at least up until now. I voted when I turned 18 and still show up for every election in the many, many years since. Like many of us, the election of Donald Trump has suddenly turned me into an honest-to-God activist. I’m calling my representatives in congress, writing letters to the paper and will be meeting a member of my Congresswoman’s staff this Friday. My Congresswoman will still be in DC. Otherwise I’d be meeting with her in person. I’ve been watching videos of town meetings in other parts of the country, where hundreds or thousands of people have been turning up to protest and let their elected reps know they’re on notice.

Republicans, alas, control both houses of Congress so there have been setbacks. We have a Secretary of Education who knows nothing about public schools or college education. We have a Secretary of State (Jeff Sessions) who was condemned by Coretta Scott King back in the 1980s for his support of racism and segregation. My Senator, Elizabeth Warren, was shut down by Republicans before she could conclude her testimony against Sessions. As a result, #she persisted is now a viral meme on the internet.

The Supreme Court nomination process worries me. These are lifetime appointments and we have a split court. It’s been rightward-tilting up until the death of one of the judges and the Republicans held up Obama’s nominee for an entire year. Right now we have four liberals and four conservatives. Another conservative could set progress back for generations. Trump’s nominee will need 60 votes to pass, which means some Democrats will have to vote for him. At the very least, there’s a great deal of pressure on them to delay or defer that vote. A lot of people are saying that the seat was stolen by the Republicans’ refusal to consider Obama’s candidate for so long. Maybe we’ll just have to wait, at least until 2018 when we might be able to get the Senate back, this time with forward-thinking, progressive Democratic candidates.

It’s been an amazing time. Massive demonstrations and mass actions everywhere. It feels different, like we’re on the verge of a revolution. All the energy that went into the Occupy, Black Lives Matter and other movements feel like they’ve come together into one, huge, uproar.

And maybe the women will lead. The Womens March, Elizabeth Warren and the rest may be at the head of the line this time, leading us to change.

 

Making History

Boston Globe article
A Second American Revolution?

I made history yesterday, along with several  million people all over the world. I participated in the Boston Women’s March for America. We were 175,000 people strong. By the time we got to the Boston Common, the area was so crowded that we couldn’t hear the speakers, only clapping and roars from the crowd closer in. It took us over two hours just to get from where were stood at the center-rear of the Common to the street where the march commenced. I was surrounded by energy, love, diversity and hope.

I came with 16 other people, organized by my good friend Michele. She gathered family and friends, many of whom came in from other New England states to participate in the march. Some of those same folks left that same night. I applaud their energy and enthusiasm. We represented all ages. Michele (as well as many of us) is in her 60s. She was joined by siblings, nieces, friends of nieces and more. We had a family tree on its way to Boston Common!

It was an amazing day. Our numbers were far higher than anyone had expected. The same was true of marches in other parts of the country. We were a sea of pink pussy hats yesterday and we sent a message, whether or not our new “president” deigned to hear it. Everyone else did.

I’m still floating today. Every news source was full of stories and pictures of millions of people demonstrating and marching. There were marches in Antarctica, Europe, Asia and Africa. The DC event was the largest protest march in history. Our election put our own people as well as people in the rest of the world in danger. As an American, I have a responsibility to rectify that. Donald Trump was not elected by a majority, but by an antiquated electoral system that did not serve the interests of the American people in November.

I feel empowered, for the first time in months. And, I don’t intend to stop here. The marches were just the first volley in our second American revolution.

Two Weeks In — Whatever

Original Photo by Gage Skidmore, used under Creative Commons license. Click on the photo for original.Two weeks since election day. Let’s get to it. Again, in the format of a Q and A, as this piece will contain questions I have been asked by others. Ready? Let’s begin. Fucking Nazis, man! That’s not really a…

via Two Weeks In — Whatever

Fuckin’ Nazis, man.

Resist Much

reprinted from the New York Times opinion page by Timothy Egan

This is a very dangerous man, our next president. Dangerous in his certitude about what he doesn’t know. Dangerous in his ignorance of history, his antipathy toward reading, his inability to sort fact from fiction. The last man to play things by the gut while in control of the world’s most powerful military left a mortal mess.

But welcome, for now, President-elect Donald Trump. It feels, in much of the nation, like the death of a loved one — the sudden, unexpected kind. I haven’t felt this way since the nuns told our second-grade class that John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. Still, grief is an emotion that has little power in politics.

A majority — well, not from the popular vote, which Hillary Clinton won — chose radical change over reasoned predictability. They’re going to get plenty of change, much of it chaotic and cruel. Those who think Trump can be contained, or trained by seasoned K Street hacks to act reasonable, are deluding themselves. He’ll do it his way.

The Republicans will control everything, including the Supreme Court. Washington is theirs, with minimal checks and balances. And if the forgotten, the undereducated, the Rust Belt survivors think they are going to see a renaissance of their communities, consider this headline from Yahoo Finance on the day after the election: “Trump win is a ‘grand slam’ for Wall Street Bankers.” He will not betray his class.

 But resistance is not futile. Within the durable strength of the Constitution are many options — peaceful, legal, effective countermoves, not the burn-it-all down schemes of the Trumpsters, had Clinton won. One question is existential: Can the world survive the 45th American president?

When he looks the other way while Russia takes a small country, we can remind him that the United States signed a treaty with war-broken European allies that cannot be dismissed by fiat. When he orders the generals to torture suspects, kill family members of suspected terrorists, they can cite Geneva Conventions — something the generals know much more about than Trump.

Don’t Mourn. Organize!

America lost its mind on November 6. Like many, I spent several days in shock, grief and fear. I still feel this way (my sleep has been badly disturbed and I’m a chronic insomniac to begin with. I was getting better before this), but I’m also joining the groundswell of resistance that’s blooming throughout the country. I have too much to lose and I’ve lost a great deal already. Climate change. Supreme Court, women’s reproductive rights, health care, decent-paying jobs with benefits. They’re all slipping down a hole that just got greased by the Trump campaign.

I’m through with the finger-pointing and the blame game. Democrats should have done this, Republicans are responsible for that. The hell with all of that. This is my country and I want it to act responsibly. I’ll be damned if I’ll let it fall into the hands of a narcissistic sociopath with lots of money. I recall hearing about this in Italy with Silvio Berlusconi, another self-absorbed millionaire. We have too much at stake to let it happen here. This is the most powerful country in the world and we can do as much damage to the rest of the world as we can to ourselves.

So, I’m adding my voice to the resistance. I’m going to the Million Women March. I’m passing on information I hear about upticks in racism, anti-immigrant sentiment, etc. I’m going to be talking to my local elected representatives about what I – we – can do to protect what’s left of our democracy and human rights.

There’s going to be a women’s march the day after the inauguration. Want to come? Read this:

Save the date!

Million Women March being planned for January 21, 2017 in D.C.

woman with Not My President written across forehead
Not My President

On Friday, January 20 in Washington D.C., Donald Trump will be sworn in as the nation’s 45th president. The next day, a demonstration that aims to bring a million women and feminists to the nation’s capital will formally protest his inauguration as commander-in-chief.

Read the entire article.

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Don’t forget the old union slogan: Don’t mourn. Organize!