Monday, January 23, 2017

This Is Why We Marched

Admit it Trump voters.

You aren’t disgusted with the Women’s March because you think those many millions of women are pathetic, whiners, cry babies, or unpatriotic.

You are disgusted because deep down you know how wrong he is.

And you are struggling internally with the fact that almost 3 million American women and hundreds of thousands of other women from Antarctica, Mexico, Australia, Kosovo, Kenya, England, Germany, France, Argentina, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Georgia, Czech Republic, Greece, Spain, Scotland, Ireland, Italy, Ghana, Malawi and others I’ve failed to mention are shoving in your face their concern over your alliance with Donald Trump and your support of his promises, words and actions.

It's ok. You don’t have to admit it. And you can keep saying nasty, self-righteous and misogynistic things about us. Like the Indiana State Senator who tweeted "In one day trump got more fat women out walking."

You see, we don’t care.

You can’t hurt our feelings.

Because this isn’t about our “feelings”.

And no matter what argument you present to undercut our cause, to try and humiliate, denigrate, or marginalize us, we still don’t care.

So YOU get over it.

Your arguments are flowing on social media, now that you’ve had a day to arm yourselves in response to the mass flood of photos, interviews, news reports and support we shared with each other globally on Saturday.

It was awesome, by the way.

But I can just hear the disgust dripping from your comments.

And it makes me smile to myself.

Because we are on the right side of history.

You will never fully understand what this march was about because, let’s face it, you don’t really want to, right? And also because it was about many different things. Issues unique to each beautiful, amazing, strong and flawed woman or man who got out from behind their keyboards to stand up for themselves or for someone else.

Yes, there were men marching. There were people of all colors and ages, all races and socio-economic backgrounds, all religions and nationalities; a veritable yummy and multi-colored smorgasbord of diversity.

I know, you are bothered by what you don’t understand. It’s okay. We still aren’t going away.

When you smugly call out American women for having it good and having no right to march because we don’t understand third world hardship you forget that women in third worlds marched along with us.

And your rationale is an odd one. Should we not fight for clean water because those in third world countries don’t have access? Should we not fight for healthcare because, well, after all, they don’t have it in third world countries? What IS the point of that argument? Other than to try and demean the women who united on Saturday? We see through you.

The United States is supposed to be the goal. Our freedoms and our prosperity are what those nations look to as a template for what they can either be down the road or as a place they can hope to live in order to provide for their families, escape violence, hunger, sickness and abject poverty.

We marched so that this nation can remain a haven for them.

We marched so that we can remain the gold standard.

When you haughtily state that maybe all of these women should use their energy to actually help people you are making a vast judgement that many of the women marching don’t already do so.

I marched with women I know who donate time and money to charitable organizations. Women who have opened their homes to people in need. Women who serve on the boards of non-profits. We listened to many speakers; doctors, lawyers and teachers who have done more charitable work in an afternoon than some of you bashing them have done in your lifetime.

And for those who marched that have yet to volunteer?

It’s a start.

They are awake.

They WANT to do something now.

Don’t insult them for taking action; applaud them. Learn from them.

We marched so that maybe, finally, this nation will reach a point where none of us ever has to march again. Heroes before us marched for the right to vote. They were ridiculed and laughed at. And years later, brave men and women marched again so that black men would never be hung from trees while their anguished families hid in terror. Yes, the most violent battles have hopefully been fought. But we are facing an administration that has promised to undo so much progress. The threat is real, tangible; occurring even as I type.

This march is for all of the rest of the battles left to fight. We are standing up and saying "enough, let's fix it, once and for all." THAT is why so many came out. That is why there is such a vast array of messages and voices. Should we not strive for more? Should we not fight for the disabled and sexually abused? Is this country not great enough so that citizens with pre-existing medical conditions can have healthcare? Should we not fight so that a young man, with his life in front of him, isn't tied to a fence and pistol whipped to death? Is there not always more work to do?

For those complaining that the marchers should have spoken up before the election?

We are looking forward, not back. We have no other option.

But these citizens are awake now and this is what matters. They are learning from each other about activism. About who, where and how to contact their legislators and about how to become an engaged citizen.

They are learning that the process of government is complicated and when we have leaders who can't peel apart the layers and work together then we all suffer. We don't want utopia; we are pragmatists at heart. We want unity and common sense and leaders with the moral and ethical fiber to do the right thing.

The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr would be pleased. He would be proud. He would say “keep going”.

Some of you were appalled by Madonna’s language. That’s okay. I didn’t like it either. But I don’t like the way Ted Nugent speaks about President Obama or anyone else he doesn’t agree with… or the fact that he called Hillary Clinton the “C” word. And yet you remained quiet when Ted used vile language. Why?

Let’s defend the First Amendment as much as the NRA defends the Second. There is a reason it is number one on the list.

The word “pussy” is front and center because of Donald Trump. He handed this movement their mantra on a silver platter by relegating women to nothing more than an easy piece he can grab whenever he chooses. The word isn’t going away as a banner because this President tossed it around so carelessly and those of you who are upset at marchers using it gave him a pass when he did so.

This was the largest and most peaceful march in our history.

2.9 million Americans in 21 cities.

With only 4 arrests. The looters you heard about? Those occurred Friday and were unaffiliated with the Women’s March. And yes, they were wrong.

600 cities around the world.

That is worth celebrating.

In the chilling words of Yamamoto, this election has awoken a sleeping giant and filled her with a terrible resolve.

Michael Smerconish interviewed a Trump supporter at the inauguration on Friday who said he supported Trump so that Americans can “get our freedoms back”. When pressed as to what freedoms he has lost, he replied "none".

We marched so that he WON’T lose any.

And so that those of you complaining about us won’t either.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Trump Crickets

I’m trying.

I’m sooooo trying.

I’m trying to avoid the news, ignore articles and definitely not read the Facebook pages of Donald Trump supporters who whine about anti-Trump people whining (nah, no irony there), brush aside Russian hacking reports and otherwise remain silent while this bizarre leader continues tweeting away.

I am seriously addicted to Netflix and Amazon Prime now as a distraction. Just worked my way through all of The Man in the High Castle, started The Crown and am hooked on Transparent. I’m also enjoying wine on a fairly regular basis. And spending time with kick-ass friends.

Old habits die hard, though.

The news is finding me, in spite of my best efforts.

And I Just. Don’t. Get. IT.

“It” being the crickets and silent condoning of everything Donald Trump is doing, saying and the culture he is creating.

Seriously. I scream some variation of “what the fuck??”, “are you fucking shitting me??” and “holy fucking shit!!” multiple times a day. I’m not exaggerating but do apologize in advance to my grandmother for the foul language.

It’s just that, well, those are the words that allow me to fully express my thoughts the best. Samuel L. Jackson was on to something.

Close your eyes and imagine, if you will….

Hillary Clinton had won the election.

Oh, shut up. She didn’t. And really, for many of you, that is ALL that matters, right?

Back to my fictional premise: Hillary is the President elect.

Imagine her letting Chelsea sit in on national security meetings and visits with foreign leaders, giving Chelsea and Marc offices in the West Wing, roles as advisors and appointing Chelsea in charge of handling all “First Lady” duties. Now, picture the Clinton-Mezvinksy’s receiving offices in the West Wing WHILE CONTINUING TO RUN THE CLINTON FOUNDATION.

For those of you who don’t venture outside of Fox for your news, Marc Mezvinsky is Chelsea’s husband. Make sense now? Aha. You learned something today.

Imagine Hillary specifically choosing billionaire friends with no government experience for her Cabinet.

Billionaires. Some of the wealthiest people in this country. With no experience.

And then, and this is the important part, imagine those billionaires refusing to release their financial information to the Federal Government Ethics Office for vetting prior to confirmation hearings.

“Pay for Play” as a GOP hashtag would put @RealDonaldTrump’s name calling to shame. Nauseatingly and bigly.

Yes. Bigly is now a word.

And if Hillary were to publicly turn up her nose at all American intelligence agencies in favor of trusting Vladimir Putin? Holy hell, there would be billboards plastered along I-70 from Topeka to Limon labeling her an unpatriotic, treasonous despot who hates America. With a few confusing words like “dictator” and “marxist” thrown in for good measure. I guess cuz it would sound good? And it's been done before? Sigh.

Who are we kidding.

There would be a new segment added to the Fox News lineup titled “Why Hillary Hates Our Patriotic Intelligence Community”. Actually, they’d just shorten it to “Why Hillary Hates America”. Marketing at its best.

Get real.

And IMAGINE, oh my GAWD, if you can…. imagine if Michelle Obama had decided to remain in Chicago so Malia and Sasha could stay in school there to the tune of over a million a day in Secret Service protection.

The sounds of wailing would have resembled a banshee convention. And don’t give me that “poor Baron needs to be in his own school and not have his life disrupted.” You wouldn’t have given a shit about the Obama girls. You would've freaked. The. Hell. Out.

Imagine if Hillary, as our fictional POTUS-elect, backtracked on campaign promises. Before even taking office. Without even trying to make them happen before backtracking.

Imagine if she continued to refuse to release her tax returns. Seriously. REFUSED TO RELEASE HER FINANCIAL RECORDS. Not speeches. FINANCIAL RECORDS.

Imagine if she had chosen Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State. What would the other side be saying if Hillary had picked Rex-freaking-Russian-Order-of-Friendship-recipient-Tillerson? Sean Hannity would be so sputteringly outraged that he’d be speechless. For one blessed second.

Give me a moment. The thought of Sean Hannity shutting the hell up makes me smile.

Where was I? Oh, the big one. The really big one.

This big one: consider the fallout if she had won the electoral college while losing the popular vote by almost 3 million votes. And then boldly and brashly looked American voters in the face proclaiming a mandate.

What’s that? No, I didn’t say 3,000 or 30,000 or 300,000. Three million.

Armed “patriots” who threatened to storm D.C. would have their cause. Trump stated before the election that if he lost it would be rigged. Seriously. And now, NOW, none of his supporters care about Russia’s impact on the election. You Don’t. Even. Care. What the fuck????

I’ll continue burying myself in Netflix and Amazon but I know the news will reach me, one way or another.

I can only hope that it will include a cessation of the crickets of silence from Trump supporters. Is there anything this man could do that would be objectionable to you?

Take away your medicare and social security?

Sell state secrets to Russia?

Grab your wife’s pussy?

Start a nuclear war?

Anything?

Is anyone out there?

Hello?

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

So begins another new year.

I should be depressed and deflated. I should be gearing up to march on D.C. in protest of the new President. I should be attending planning meetings and brain storming with other passionate grassroots activists to return Kansas to the guiding leadership of common sense and pragmatism and to save our nation from the coming nightmare.

But I’m not.

In fact, I’m actually at peace.

In many ways, 2016 WAS a disaster. The divide in this country is heart breaking. No other election in my lifetime or since the Civil War has caused the rifts between friends and family the way Donald Trump’s campaign has. A friend of 40 years cut me off in a nano-second without seemingly batting an eye and I’m still in a bit of shock at the ease with which it was done.

On a further personal level, I campaigned hard for Hillary, donating hours of time and emotion. The night of her loss was a deep blow.

But I’m still content.

In spite of the one cut-off, other friends with differing viewpoints haven’t gone anywhere. I have no scientific research to support what I’m about to say, but I have a sense that the majority of Americans have retained at least their closer social circle. And in the midst of the fighting and fractured relationships something else was happening for me personally and many other people I volunteered with this past year. Something beautiful and far reaching.

We were meeting each other. We were connecting with folks who were both similar and different but who shared our own optimism for America even if the specifics of what to do varied.

I used to think I didn’t need any new friends, that I already had enough. I was wrong.

I’ve met women who have lost and loved… women who have overcome life threatening diseases and become stronger because of it. I’ve met new friends who travel the world and whose insights encourage me to look at things from a different perspective.

I’ve met Americans along a varied social spectrum… single, divorced, married, with children and without, young and old, black and brown, gay and straight, spiritual and atheist, educated and uneducated, healthy and handicapped, urban and rural.

And I’ve met men and women who are as equally passionate about human rights, healthcare, fair taxes, jobs, protecting the disabled and keeping Americans safe from domestic and foreign threats; activists who have nothing but respect for identities different than their own. Tolerance and love of fellow man is the guiding doctrine that unites them.

I’ve met people this past year who are easy to get along with and others who are difficult. Some who are quiet and deliberate before they speak and others who see blunt unfiltered expression as a badge of honor. I’ve seen passionate arguments in private liberal Facebook groups that could rival any of those between Trump and Hillary supporters. No individual has the sole market on good ideas.

This broad group of people reminds me of a family. It reminds me of America… and my life is better because of it.

I remain deeply concerned with the future of this nation. I fear that our new president’s impulsive naivete and exceedingly questionable mental health, lack of experience and impulsivity could result in state secrets being shared for profit and, ultimately, war with any number of insulted or wronged foreign nations with no support internationally.

In spite of this, connecting with people has given me peace and is allowing me to continue growing, questioning, learning and thinking outside of my own comfort zone.

I hope the growing part never ends. How can it? None of us will ever have all the answers and the most important thing we can do is learn from each other.

2016 may have been explosive but 2017 is adding rungs to a ladder that I believe will ultimately move us forward. This election has done something monumental, even if after the fact. It has woken a nation of new friends.