Monthly Archives: November 2016

It will not be okay just because you say so

This election was not normal, in so many ways.

The elevation to president-elect of a demagogue who clearly has no idea what America is even supposed to be about is disturbing to those of us who love our First Amendment. And, by the way, before you call me a “libtard” or a “POS liberal” or a “sheeple,” I’ll tell you right here: I love our Second Amendment rights, too. I think our Bill of Rights is extraordinary and important. Donald Trump clearly does not. He’s a fourth grader subject to temper tantrums who now holds the highest office in the world: A fourth grader who skipped civics.

The rabid Trump supporters will have none of it, of course. That’s okay. He’s their guy. Time to call me a liar…forgot that one. They can just move along. I’m not here to try to convince them of anything.

The lukewarm Trump supporters, though, crack me up. They really do. They voted for him for a variety of reasons: They hated Hillary, they wanted to send a big FU to DC, the president has no power anyway. I love that one. Everything was Obama’s fault for the last eight years, but now that your guy is a nutcase, you say the office has no power.

One of those 30-something’s who voted against Hillary (she would not say she voted FOR Trump), very glibly and patronizingly just looked at me sideways and said, “It’ll be fine.”

Really?

And you know this how?

You, who have lived your entire life with abortion as a right, not having any clue how many women died before it was legal, not having any idea at all how much work and time and danger millions of women and activists put in working for that right, you are telling ME it will be “fine”?

You, who saw same sex marriage just happen, as if by magic, not having any clue how it took decades and decades of work in state legislatures, in the courts, and people getting their heads bashed in, you are telling ME it will be “fine”? (Google “Stonewall riots”). You cannot even imagine that a woman could have her child taken away because she was a lesbian. You cannot even imagine that you could get kicked out of your apartment or fired from your job if your boss decided you were too mannish for a woman or two effeminate for a man. You cannot even imagine how putrid the Acushnet River was like before those pesky environmentalists started getting all those regulations passed. There wouldn’t be a tree left on many a mountain in this country if not for the tree huggers.

Do you even know that women have been able to vote for LESS than 100 years? Do you even know that it was an amendment to the constitution, an amendment that happened more than 140 years after the country was formed? And it got passed because women literally put their bodies on the line to march and protest; and they got thrown in jail for it.

The freedoms you enjoy, you young 30-something, did not happen by magic. They happened by hard work, over a long time, by a lot of people.

And all of you Trumpers basically said that none of it mattered to you.

Do I think you’re all racists and bigots and sexist misogynists? No, of course not. That would be ridiculous. What I do know is that racism, bigotry, sexism and misogyny were not deal breakers for you. You were willing to risk all of that for whatever other reasons made you vote for a vile, hateful, thin-skinned bully: My president, thanks to you.

So, will it be okay? I hope so. But if it is, it will not be by magic. It will not be because we are Americans or because of our precious exceptionalism. It will be because people of good conscience will continue to work tirelessly to make it okay. The activists and agitators and elitist liberal talking heads that you despise so much will not be silent.

If it is okay, it will be because of the ACLU, The New York Times, Washington Post,  The First Amendment CoalitionThe Center for Investigative Reporting, the Sierra Club, The Southern Poverty Law Center, GLAAD and all organizations that fight bigotry and refuse to be silent. It will be okay because of all the individuals and organizations that have the smarts to recognize fascism, and have the courage to fight it, and that refuse to stay silent.

This Thanksgiving, as disheartened as I am by all those who threw me and so many others under the bus, I am thankful for my fellow Americans who did not let the vague promise of a little more in your pockets allow you to vote for a bloviating bamboozler who has no idea what this great country is even supposed to be about. And I note that there were about 1.7 million more of us who saw through his chicanery, than those who allowed themselves to be hoodwinked.

And I am hopeful when I look at the map of how young people voted. God bless ’em, the whole “woman thing” did not get in their way at all. They are stunned that someone so qualified got beat out by someone so uniquely unqualified. I’ve never been so happy to see the generation gap in action.

So, if you are of a mind to help it be fine, give to the organizations I’m going to list below or others of their ilk; volunteer at the ones that have offices close to you; write letters to the editor. The most dangerous thing right now is for good people to do nothing or to go silent. Remember, more people voted against Trump than voted for him. He and his cronies have the power, but it is not absolute.

ACLU: American Civil Liberties Union, fighting for individual rights. “The ACLU works tirelessly in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the Constitution’s promise of liberty for everyone in our country.”

New York Times: The country’s defacto Newspaper of Record, and the only one that stood up to the bully. Buy a subscription to show your support. The NYT has won more Pulitzer Prizes than any other newspaper. It’s one of the largest in the country.

Washington Post:  One of the most decorated newspapers in the world, and the one that investigated the Watergate scandal. One of the largest in the country.

Wall Street Journal: One of the largest newspapers in the country, with a business focus.

The First Amendment Coalition: Dedicated to advancing free speech, more open and accountable government, and public participation in civic affairs.

GLAAD: The world’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy organization

Center for Reproductive Rights: Working to advance reproductive freedom as a fundamental right that all governments are legally obligated to protect, respect, and fulfill.

Immigrant Assistance Center: Helping immigrants overcome language, cultural and economic barriers. In Greater New Bedford, Mass.

AAAS, the American Association for the Advancement of Science: If you don’t believe that climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese, as our new president believes.

The Center for Investigative Reporting: Working to engage and empower the public through investigative journalism and groundbreaking storytelling in order to spark action, improve lives and protect our democracy.

Human Rights Campaign: America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve LGBTQ equality.

International Refugee Assistance Project: Organizing law students and lawyers to develop and enforce a set of legal and human rights for refugees and displaced persons.

Lambda: National organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV.

Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund: The nation’s leading Latino legal civil rights organization.

MIRA, Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition: The largest organization in New England promoting the rights and integration of immigrants and refugees.

NAACP Legal Defense Fund: America’s premier legal organization fighting for racial justice.

NARAL: Working to protect and expand reproductive freedom, including abortion rights, birth control, sex education and healthy pregnancies.

Natural Resources Defense Council:  Working to safeguard the earth, its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends.

NPR, National Public Radio: A mission-driven, multimedia news organization and radio program producer focusing on in-depth, quality news. Relies heavily on support from audiences at member stations throughout the country.

Planned Parenthood: Founded on the revolutionary idea that women should have the information and care they need to live strong, healthy lives and fulfill their dreams — no ceilings, no limits.

ProPublica: An independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest.

RespectAbility: On the front lines in the battle to reduce stigmas, failed government policies, and other obstacles that deny people with disabilities the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.

The Sierra Club:  The nation’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization.

The Southern Poverty Law Center: Dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society.

The Trevor Project: The leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.

US Senator from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren. Senate page: https://www.warren.senate.gov
Campaign page: http://www.elizabethwarren.com/

US Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders. Senate page: http://www.sanders.senate.gov
Campaign page: https://berniesanders.com/

Charles M. Blow, NYT columnist, a man who will not be silenced. Read this one from 11/23/16.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, and it is not meant to be. Feel free to add your favorites in the comments section.

The voters have spoken….no, really, they have

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a lefty liberal and proud of it. I am not a Democrat. I never work for individual politicians. They all end up making me mad at them. Now that we’ve cleared that up…

I think it’s a very exciting time to be an American. Yes, I was bummed, mortified actually, that Trump got elected. But what we saw on election day was American democracy in action.

People were unhappy with the direction of the country, so they stopped it. It is very empowering for them. Now the other side is supposed to organize to move things back along the trajectory that they want, using the midterm elections as one vehicle; pressuring their legislators as another. Everyone has some power. They push and they pull. And it’s all done at the ballot box, with the almighty vote.

I have been kind of chuckling all day at the irony of it. Trump has a Republican House and Senate. He has his chance to do a lot. He should get to it right away, and let people see what that “it” is. While that’s happening, all these kids who are protesting in the streets need to get back to school or jobs or whatever and start organizing for the midterm elections. Then, maybe you can stop him.

See how exciting this is? It’s the way democracy is supposed to work: One side pushes too far and gets stopped; the other side pushes, and back and forth and back and forth. Through it all, we manage to move forward, together, as a country.

What’s been lost in this country, though, is the ability to compromise. The word “compromise” has become a bad word. It is not. It is how the system works best. Maybe we can reclaim it? Maybe I’m expecting too much.

In any case, I think it’s great that all those old guys got out and stopped the direction the country was going in. They hated it. They felt that they were being pushed around. Social issues they did not care about were getting shoved down their throats. They said “enough.” They found their power at the ballot box. Would you rather have them find it another way? I find it refreshing and hopeful for our democracy. I feel sad that they felt that way, though. But, that’s another topic. I’ll not argue the merits of the various issues here.

Some of those old guys said they had never voted in their whole lives. They were feeling powerless and left behind. C’mon now, all you lefty liberals, you know the feeling. GAWD do you know the feeling! The old white guys learned that they really do have the power. They learned that their vote is important, the most powerful thing in the world. It makes me downright emotional, and I’m not being sarcastic.

This is also good news for those of you who are afraid of those old white guys. They did not resort to violence, they used their vote, and it worked. Will they stay engaged? Will they just turn smugly away after flexing their muscles and go back to the shadows? Who knows? No one does.

It’s an exciting time to be an American.

I was never afraid of those guys in a real sense. I know too many Trumpers, of all ages. It kept me from calling names, although I was called everything in the book (and a few new ones).

What it did, having these right-wingers around, was make me wonder why they were supporting him in the first place. They all had so many reasons why they disliked him. Those reasons were deal breakers for me, but not for them.

I was heartened to see an article by a millennial who is a Republican. She says she’s prochoice. Good. That’s my biggest deal breaker. I hope she has read the Republican Party platform, which calls for making abortion illegal. I hope you can keep your guy from doing that. I’m delighted that you grew up taking for granted that you could have a safe and legal abortion. You may also assume that right is safe. It is not. You need to keep an eye on your guy. You don’t want to get rid of welfare, you want to fix it? Great, me too. You need to keep your guy from going too far. He’s not going to listen to lefty-liberal ole me. He’ll listen to you, though, maybe.

See how it works?

It’s an exciting time to be an American.

I know you may not believe me when I say this, but I am delighted that you have found a political leaning that fits in with your world view. Do I wish you were a lefty liberal? You betcha! But, that’s just me. What’s important is that you stay true to yourself and your beliefs, that you are not afraid to change as you learn more about the world, and that you are, indeed, making choices based on those beliefs, not just a knee-jerk reaction to something or against something, or (heaven forbid) because of another person. Don’t roll your eyes, I’m old enough to be your mother, I’ve seen this happen again and again.

My philosophical disagreements with Trump will not change, I’m pretty sure. It is my own experiences that make it impossible for me to buy into his various and many isms. I hate that he will be representing me on the world stage. But that is the will of the electorate. So be it.

Can we at least agree that it’s an exciting time to be an American?

Now let’s get out there and organize.