Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Week of the Inauguration: Resistance and Optimism

On the day after the inauguration (whose size I will not comment uponšŸ˜Š, the country witnessed an enormous outpouring of resistance, not only to Trump and the Republicans, but also to the policies of the past 40 or so years (including those of corporatist Democrats) that have benefited the few at the expense of the many.

My wife was one of half a million or more who were present at the extraordinary Washington DC Women's March; nearly everyone iI know attended similar, albeit smaller, marches elsewhere (Boston, Manchester NH, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago) and I went with my grand-daughter, my daughter-in-law, and my ex-wife to a march of 15,000 in Montpelier, VT, which was so large that hundreds of attendees had to leave their cars parked (illegally) on the shoulders of I-89 after the 2 Montpelier exits were closed because the city couldn't handle any more traffic. [As a result, Bernie Sanders was greatly delayed, but when he finally arrived, he opened his stirring remarks by saying that he'd never seen so many people in Montpelier in his life!]

It was my observation that the Montpelier March and, by all reports, virtually all the marches, were incredibly and authentically intersectional--- conceived, planned, and managed primarily by a small cadre of unaffiliated women; hugely supported by women's organizations, Black Lives Matter activists, refugee and immigrant organizations, LGBTQ activists, civil rights and human rights organizations, religious institutions, pro-choice and many other organizations and activists; and attended joyfully and peacefully by women, men, and transgender individuals, gay and straight, young and old, progressive, liberal, and moderate, in short, people who love our country (warts and all) and believe in the power and existential necessity of democracy.


Inspired by these incredible marches, I vowed to speak out as often and as clearly as I can to resist the fascistic instincts of the Bannon-Trump administration, the far-right agenda of the Paul Ryan-led House of Representatives, and the cynical machinations of the Mitch McConnell-led Senate.

My first act was to incorporate the following into my email signature and as my Facebook "photo"

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist.  
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew. 
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Martin Niemƶller (1892–1984) was a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.
And I posted the following on Facebook:

January 25, 2017
There are many ways to keep America great:
1. Resist in every way possible the un-american actions of Donald Trump (e.g., the anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim Executive orders he and his "advisors" are preparing)
2. Work and vote to elect progressive and other well-intentioned people to public office at all levels
3. Support all efforts to reform our federal electoral system (e.g., gerrymandering, the electoral college, winner-take-all primaries, voter suppression laws, closed party primaries and caucuses, disenfranchisement of ex-felons, and more) so that it reflects the will of the people; i.e. one person, one vote in all congressional and presidential elections
4. Actively work for and support causes that you believe in, whether it be climate change, economic inequality, women's rights (especially the right to control their own bodies), immigration, Black Lives Matter and other efforts to redress the wrongs still being done to African-Americans, LGBTQ rights, Native American rights especially treaty rights and protection of sacred lands, etc. etc.
As a modest start, consider signing one or more of the We The People Petitions to the White House. You will probably find quite a few with which you strongly agree and any that receive 100,000 signatures in 30 days, must be reviewed by the White House, put in front of the appropriate policy experts, and issued an official response.
Once you sign one of these petitions, you will receive a confirmation email, asking you to confirm your signature. Be sure to do this; otherwise your signature will not be counted.

Foreign PolicyGovernment & Regulatory Reform Immediately release Donald Trump's full tax returns, with all information needed to verify emoluments clause compliance.…

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Desperately Seeking Solace During the Days Between the Election and the Inauguration

During the difficult weeks and months between the election and the inauguration, I found that nearly every conversation I had with friends and relatives, not to mention the deluge of postings by Facebook friends were infected by the darkest, most despairing, emotional reactions to the coming Trump presidency. While I was certainly unhappy about the results of the election and deeply concerned about the damage that could be done by a President Trump, frankly, I was more worried about many of my friends and relatives who seemed either clinically depressed and/or emotionally overwrought about the outcome of the election and the prospects of a fascist, racist, xenophobic presidency. 

So, hoping to soothe some of the more irrational feelings that so many people I knew seemed to be experiencing and to inspire them to set aside their debilitating emotions and instead engage in thoughtful, constructive action, I began posting on Facebook some of my more optimistic thoughts and concrete suggestions for possible actions people might take to resist the Trump presidency and the Republican political agenda.

Here's a sample of some of my many posts during this time:

November 17, 2016
I totally agree with Nicholas Kristof's 12-step Program for Responding to President-Elect Trump; on the day after the election, I wrote my family and friends and posted to Facebook, a very similar set of suggestions and reflections.

Are you traumatized by the election of Donald Trump? Here’s the program for you.

November 18, 2016
If you are from a "Blue" state or district and feel that calling or writing your representatives in Congress is pointless, please consider calling your House Representative right away to support Tim Ryan in his probably quixotic challenge to Nancy Pelosi retaining her position as Democratic House leader. Out with the Corporatist Democrats whose misbegotten tactics resulted in: the "Just say NO!" House, the "Make Obama a one-term President" Senate Leader, the most flawed Democratic presidential candidate in a generation [sorry HRC fans, but that's how I see her], and now President Donald Trump.
DO IT NOW: the Democratic House members vote on this. Nov 30.

In a letter Thursday, the Ohio representative tells Democratic lawmakers that last…

December 5, 2017
Charles Blow continues to be a voice for truth in an election season that has seen very little of that from any side.

Resistance to Trump’s actions isn’t rooted in sour grapes; it’s about protecting the country.

January 2, 2017
“I hear probably more about the strangulation of regulations on business and their growth and their development than probably anything else,” the House speaker, Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, said at a recent forum. “I think if we can provide regulatory relief right away, that can breathe a sigh of relief into the economy.”
This grammatically mangled bit of Orwellian "newspeak" from Paul Ryan says it all. Why does he hear so much more about the strangulation of business growth than anything else? Simple, because the only people he's listening to are lobbyists and fat-cat business owners who will indeed breath a sigh of relief as the all-Republican Congress pursues a rabidly pro-business agenda at the expense of everyone else.

January 3, 2017
This is what I’m talking about!

It’s a simple playbook: organize locally and play defense.