A Record of the Times

20170425_183908The other day I ran out of postcard stamps. That meant I’d sent 100 postcards since DJT became president. I’d sent postcards to the man himself (remember the Ides of Trump?), to my members of Congress when their phones were jammed, to Mitch McConnell, to Paul Ryan, and to Republican MOC who deserved thanks for bucking the trend and voting against the health abomination bill passed by the house. The last batch of cards were to Democrats in South Carolina’s 5th District to remind them to vote for Archie Parnell in the upcoming special election.

I’ve been super-busy since DJT crashed into the White House. I’ve gone on 3 marches: The Women’s March, The March for Science, and The People’s Climate March down in DC. With some other ladies in town, we’ve formed an Indivisible Group–and with that comes meetings, and creating agendas, and educating ourselves on all sorts of local issues. We’ve run a member for the local Board of Education (she won), and are running two members for the City Council. That means I’ve attended local Democratic Committee meetings, quickly come up to speed on the issues in our local politics, and now I am walking around with petitions to get a friend on the ballot.

In between all this, I’ve joined Facebook and Twitter, to better keep up with the issues and to communicate with my various new political actions groups and coordinate with other groups in neighboring towns.

Of course there are the daily phone calls (or faxes if the lines are jammed), petitions (probably useless–but I can’t help signing some when they show up in the in-box), Twitter blasts to various officials, Facebook posts to MOCs, and good, old fashioned letters and emails to politicians.

I have no way of knowing what or which of these efforts will make a difference. I do know that I am super-busy. After all, I am a mom with two teens, and I’m mostly doing that by myself (husband travels a lot). I also have a full time job as a nurse, and a side-gig as a writer. So I certainly didn’t want to take all this on. Sometimes I resent how these selfish men in Washington are so incompetent and mean-spirited that I am forced to monitor their messes. It’s mom-work, but on a national level. Instead of coming into the kitchen to discover a mess, I’m watching the news and seeing corruption. Instead of scolding, “Put the milk away when you’re done with it!”, I’m writing about keeping the Paris Accord or Single-Payer Healthcare.

Such are the times, and this is a record of the times.

Appreciation Day!

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I really appreciate our town.

Today was High School Staff Appreciation Day. So the PTA moms and I headed over to the  high school with our covered dishes and laid out an amazing spread. I brought stuffed grape leaves and almond cake. There was black beans and rice, lo mein, barbecue ribs, spanakopita, vegetable curry, fried rice, and tons of pasta dishes. Salads, fruit, sandwiches, bagels, pizza, pupusas…we went crazy.

I don’t have to cook tonight–there was so much food.

And the moms were just as varied as the dishes: Indonesian, Japanese, Cuban, Lebanese, Italian, Puerto Rican, El Salvadoran, Guyanese, Jewish…

I can’t understand people who feel threatened by such richness and variety. Recently I read an article in the Atlantic that many who voted for our Orange Overlord really did so out of a sense of “cultural anxiety”.  They felt they were losing their America to foreigners.

Not only do I feel such people are losing out on one of the nicer things in life (new foods! new friends!), but I also know that there never was a time when the world was that pure and that stagnant. Humans have been moving around the planet ever since we walked upright. We marched north from our birthplace in Africa, spread to Asia, and crossed the land bridge into North America back in pre-historic days. We traveled and traded and mixed it up–sometimes for good reasons, like trade along the Silk Road, and sometimes for not good reasons (colonialism, slavery). But we were always migrating and immigrating.

So when, where, and for how long did white Christian America even really exist? I read that there are pockets in the Midwest where people feel they are the “true” Americans, but I put that in quotes because they only got there by displacing the Native Americans and riding railroads built by Chinese and free black men. Nevertheless, they believe they own America.

The Women’s March folks wanted moms to have “daring discussions” with people who believe differently from us in honor of Mother’s Day. I tried. I got into a discussion with a DJT voter about undocumented immigrants. He said anyone here “illegally” should get deported. I asked him whether something had happened to him that made him feel this way. He didn’t come up with anything. I told him I had a different point of view and explained how I felt compassion for people who have committed no other crime than trying to escape violence or poverty. He said, “They aren’t citizens and they should get out of my country.” I gave up, because there was no discussion. Just a whole lot of anger.

I am not going to worry about understanding people like that anymore. I don’t want to understand people who feel threatened by children brought here by parents who wanted a better life for them, papers or no. I don’t need to understand people who feel threatened by refugees fleeing war. People threatened by a diverse bunch of PTA moms feeding a diverse group of school staff a multicultural buffet are never going to make sense to me, if they can’t even explain why they feel that way. I am not ever going to change their minds, or even understand their minds, no matter how many “difficult discussions” we have.

Anyhow, it’s their loss. They’re hoping for the return of a fantasy world that never really existed, and they are very much on the wrong side of history–because humans travel, and fall in love, and mix it up. That’s what we’ve always done, still do, and always will do.

And I guarantee our multiculti feast was better than an all-white, all-Christian buffet any day.

 

 

 

 

 

Dear DJT: It’s Time to Make Amends

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I was going to write to you about divesting, but it seems like you’ve already had a pretty bad couple of days. With the whole thing about the Women’s March vs your Inauguration…I know it hit you in your sore spot. You always have been sensitive about size. Fingers, polls, whatever…

After the pictures were viewed and the facts were altered, I heard a lot of anger coming from your camp.

You sounded kind of resentful.

Listen, I’ve been there. Resentful, hurting. Wondering why so many are attacking you. It was hard for me to realize my part in creating my own pain. But as they say, the truth will set you free. You probably noticed that on the wall of the CIA headquarters the other day, right?

Wiser heads than mine recommend that when you’re feeling resentful, it’s time to make amends.

You’re probably saying: What the what? Shouldn’t everyone be apologizing to me?

Turns out, we resent people because we harmed them and feel guilty about it now. And that guilt keeps us up at night, feeding our Twitter addictions, making us take calls from foreign leaders without consulting our advisors, which we all know isn’t healthy.

So Donald, it’s time for steps 8 &9.

Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

Let me help you here: Seems to me that you should include the following on your amends list: Women, people of color, civil rights leaders, John Lewis, Meryl Streep, anyone who didn’t vote for you,  Democrats, LGBTQ people, people who care about women or LGBTQ people, Muslims, the media, Mexicans, or people who care about Muslims, the media, or Mexicans, scientists, people who care about science and/or believe in it, the cast of Hamilton, and most artists in any of the arts.

Step 9: Made direct amends wherever possible, except to when to do so would injure them or others. 

With this step, you’re luckier than most. You can just make a speech and everyone will hear it–you don’t have to write each of us a letter, or make a 9th step call. You can just say, “Hey, Americans? World? I’ve said some pretty hurtful things through the years and I realize now how wrong I was. I spoke and tweeted without thinking. I’m sorry. I promise to do better from now on. I promise to THINK before I speak: I will ask myself is it:

  • Thoughtful?
  • Honest?
  • Intelligent?
  • Necessary?
  • Kind?

And if it isn’t, I will keep that comment or tweet to myself.”

Now, that’s just the apology part. The true amends comes when you actually change your behavior. Which we all kinda hoped you’d do when you got into office. I don’t know why we thought that was going to be some kind of magic bullet–but we were trying to, as your supporters say, “Give you a chance.”

Well, here’s your chance: Be a president to everyone.

Everyone.

EVERYONE.

Not just white male billionaires, not just people who love you, not just people who roll over and say yes all the time. That wasn’t the job you signed up for: to be president for 26% of all eligible voters who voted for you. (Yes, look it up, it was really that low-sorry, another size thing.)

It’s time to put all that argumentative, petty stuff away. It’s time to be the bigger man and extend that hand in amends.

 

 

 

Trump: Day 3

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(image from melaniebiehle.com ; generously provided for the women’s march)

Okay, so what next? How about a visit to the petitions page of the whitehouse.gov?

You can sign a petition to get DJT to show us his tax returns (After all, it’s only fair, right? After all the hassle he gave President Obama about his birth certificate?), and you can tell him to divest of his businesses and do the job he signed up for when he ran for office.

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov

You can also write a letter. I did! It’s kind of fun. I wrote a personal note asking him to show us his tax returns. I figure he has to eventually get the message that we really do care about our national security, and his foreign financial entanglements actually do concern us as citizens.

I’m considering making it a frequent thing. Like I could explain, today, that “alternative facts” are in fact, NOT FACTS, but as implied by the Orwellian name, LIES. After all, this isn’t 1984. Perhaps I can suggest that he and Ms. Conway read that classic tale of a lying authoritarian government nightmare, and then try to avoid behaving that way.

Also, if you want to do something organize-y, check out this:

https://www.indivisibleguide.com

It’s a handy-dandy guide to organizing your community. We’re already getting started in my neck of the woods. How about you?