Resist + Persist: Survival in the Trump Era

Boston street b+w

While walking to work on inauguration day, I took this picture. I was feeling upset and angry. Because it happened. Electors be damned. We are living in post-Obama Trumpian world. They didn’t save us. We have to save ourselves.

I cannot put the word president alongside this man’s name. I just can’t. He doesn’t deserve the title or the respect.

As I got closer to my destination while walking, a bit of sunlight was shining through the buildings with each street that I passed. A ray of light. Things are looking and feeling pretty grim. But there is light. So I keep reminding myself.

Last night I joined the ACLU and hope to volunteer soon. The enormity of all the changes that are taking place is overwhelming. The lies. The Executive Orders. So I have to keep things manageable and think about what I can do as an individual.

The reality of day to day life can get in the way. I was unable to attend the Boston Women’s March, because I had to work. I felt awful, because it was just down the street. But nobody else is going to pay my bills. So I made a choice. Something we should all be free to do in every aspect of our lives.

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Where do we go from here? Each of us has different strengths, interests and priorities. Now is the time to find them and use them. Our diversity is our strength. Resist and persist.

The website for the Women’s March has an action plan — 10 Actions/100 Days. So that’s a good place to start. The first action is sending postcards to our Senators.

Write down your thoughts. Pour your heart out on any issue that you care about, whether it’s ending gender-based violence, reproductive rights and women’s health, LGBTQIA rights, worker’s rights, civil rights, immigrant rights, religious freedom, environmental justice or anything else.

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Being mindful and noticing what’s going on around us is especially important right now. I read an article about what life is like living under an authoritarian regime. The key takeaway was that it was like living anywhere else. Many people went about their everyday lives. They still had jobs and went out, etc.

Changes were very subtle and there was no bright line when things changed. The problem and saving grace is that humans are very adaptable. What is not normal now, may seem normal a year from now. We may start to self-censor and change our behavior in order to survive without even realizing that we are doing it. According to Amy Siskind and many others, we should all take an important step.

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

She keeps lists on Facebook and is documenting the news week by week. Here is Week 10. I plan to keep my owns lists as well, but it has been hard to keep up with everything. When I start my list, I will blog it in order to keep track.

Reading Charles Blow’s opinion pieces in the New York Times is also a way to keep up with what is happening. He pulls no punches and is calling out the lies and discussing the despicable behavior.

Following Sarah Kendzior on Twitter is another way to stay informed and see the bigger picture of what is happening. To be honest, she is also frightening and depressing. She is an expert on authoritarianism and explains how our concerns about Trump are valid. We are in for a fight to save democracy and what we consider to be our values as Americans.

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It’s also time for self-care. With each tweet by our president, he psychologically torments and traumatizes the country. Sending the feds to Chicago?! Is he setting the stage for martial law? He hasn’t even been president for a week! The gaslighting article in Teen Vogue was so on point.

Here are a few things that can help with creating some fun and calm in our lives.

~ Why We Need to Create a Home: “The quest to build a home is connected up with a need to stabilise and organise our complex selves. It’s not enough to know who we are in our own minds. We need something more tangible, material and sensuous to pin down the diverse and intermittent aspects of our identities.”

~ 45 Simple Self-Care Practices for a Healthy Mind, Body, and Soul.

~ A list of the best chocolate chip cookies in your state. Recipes for favorite cookies in  each of the 50 states.

~ Bibi Shasha, Popeye the Foodie and Norbert just might be the cutest dogs on Instagram.

One Last Sweet Taste of the Obama Era

President_Obama_First_Family_cake

Today was the last full day with Barack Obama as our President. I don’t have time to write all that his becoming President has meant to me. But over the years, spanning from my old blog to this one, there have been many posts. It has meant a lot.

I am so grateful to have lived at this time in history to see him and his family living in the White House. They have made me proud. They had done so much good.

Soon after President Obama was first elected in 2008, my aunt brought a cake as one of many desserts for Thanksgiving dinner. The cake had a picture of the Obama family on it. I’m so glad that I took a picture!

I cannot eat a piece of the cake, since it’s long gone. But I can remember the sweetness. For tonight, I will reminisce and remember that feeling of hope.

Yes we can. Yes we did.

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Hamilton Electors: History Has Its Eyes On You

Picture showing cast of Hamilton on Broadway, a show bringing history to life.

Let the record show, that on the evening of November 18, 2016, notorious and hateful Vice President-elect Mike Pence was booed by a crowd. He did not move the crowd. He did not sway it. He was booed by it. Much social media posting of the events did ensue. And said booing made me feel better than I have since our most awful election day. History was made.

As you can see, I have been absent from this space since the night before and unable to write except for many angry tweets, retweets and Facebook posts. I have been devastated, fearful, sad and angry. Probably too many emotions than is healthy to feel all at once. But that’s the state of our nation today.

If I look at it from a distance. It’s quite interesting. Someone with the tendencies and temperament of an angry dictator, with no government experience was elected to the presidency of the United States. It makes me feel that anything is possible. There is no stopping anyone from doing anything. Any random person could just become a brain surgeon tomorrow. No experience needed. No rationale. Literally anything can happen anywhere anytime. I could win the lottery. Or aliens could kidnap me. That’s the world we are living in.

Now I don’t want this post to get too long, because it could turn into a rambling mess. Maybe it already is. But writing is my therapy and I need to get out at least some of my feelings about this fiasco of an election.

The booing of Pence happened at “Hamilton,” the musical sensation playing on Broadway. I don’t even understand why he would want to be there. Based on what he and our President-elect stand for, they despise and disrespect most people in the cast (women, people of color, LGBTQ).

Their past statements, actions, choice of Cabinet members and what I know of history, makes me believe that they plan to do great harm to those of us who are members of these communities. Among many other things, David Duke is happy as a clam with the election results. The Klan endorsed them and plans a victory parade. That is not normal or good to say the least. The Klan is a terrorist organization. Trump has not taken a real stand denouncing them or trying to quell the dramatic increase in hate crimes since his election. He merely said to “stop it” on a 60 Minutes interview.

Remember President Obama had to make a long speech denouncing the pastor of his church and ended up leaving his church? Trump questioned his citizenship and disrespected him for his entire Presidency. So much is wrong about this.

Trump’s team has been discussing a Muslim registry and how Korematsu allows it. The case dealt with the interment of Japanese-Americans in the United States during World War II. After reading the case in law school, I remember being shocked learning that the case still stands and has not been overturned.

The internment of Americans on American soil could still happen. Make not mistake. This is a real threat. It may look slightly different than before, but there needs to be a greater awareness and discussion of the dangers of a Trump administration. People say that Trump exaggerates and doesn’t mean what he says. Over decades, Trump has shown us who he is. People should believe him. Remember the quote by Maya Angelou?

When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.

A New York Times article from 1922 discusses Hitler. Here is an excerpt.

But several reliable, well-informed sources confirmed the idea that Hitler’s anti-Semitism was not so genuine or violent as it sounded, and that he was merely using anti-Semitic propaganda as a bait to catch masses of followers and keep them aroused, enthusiastic, and in line for the time when his organization is perfected and sufficiently powerful to be employed effectively for political purposes.

A sophisticated politician credited Hitler with peculiar political cleverness for laying emphasis and over-emphasis on anti-Semitism, saying: “You can’t expect the masses to understand or appreciate your finer real aims. You must feed the masses with cruder morsels and ideas like anti-Semitism. It would be politically all wrong to tell them the truth about where you really are leading them.”

Now we know that Hitler was just as cruel and violent as he said he was. Probably worse. The article could not have been more wrong. People didn’t want to believe the truth about Hitler. Just like I believe that people don’t want to believe the truth about Trump. Especially people who think they won’t be impacted either way.

I read an article recently about someone who voted for Trump. The woman said that she felt bad for people of color and the LGBTQ community, but she thought that things would be better for her. This was really scary. She sensed danger for other people, but looked the other way because it wasn’t a problem for her. Although there is, because she is a woman, but she doesn’t seem to understand misogyny.

That is how people get taken away and disappeared.When neighbors look the other way. In Germany and here. And in other countries with dictators. I look at what is happening around us and feel that so many people are sheep and have learned nothing from history. They are following along and ignoring what is being said right to our faces. The people that Trump says he admires are dictators. I believe we are in danger of losing our democracy.

I remember when I was sworn in as an attorney. I don’t remember the exact words, but I swore an allegiance both to the Constitution of Massachusetts and the Constitution of the United States. The enormity of those words resonated very strongly with me. I felt proud and quite patriotic in that moment. I believe in this country. In the Constitution.

In law school, we always had pocket guides to the Constitution, but I hadn’t had one in years. When the ACLU was giving away free pocket guides after Khizr Khan’s speech, I got one. I have been thinking about it a lot.

aclu_us_constitution

About what it allows in the face of a monster being elected President. What is the recourse within the law? What does history show us?

Hamilton” could not have come along at a better time. Maybe it will help some to think about history more.

At the end of the show, Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr, read a statement addressing Pence. The New York Times reported that the show’s creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and others involved with the show wrote the statement. Here’s part of the statement.

We, sir — we — are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights,” he said. “We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.

Trump tweeted a response.

The Theater must always be a safe and special place.The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!

Many of us have legitimate fears about his Presidency. He has not apologized about the Klan, Bannon or many other things that he could apologize for. He has not tried to ease our concerns or make us feel safe. When we tell him that we feel unsafe, he tells us to apologize! This man is irrational and ignorant.

His supporters are irrational and ignorant. Among other things, they are protesting Starbucks by buying more of their coffee. That is not how a boycott works. Now his supporters are boycotting “Hamilton.” A play that nobody can get tickets to. That is not how a boycott works.

I learned about booing incident last night right after leaving a production of Miranda’s first hit play. “In the Heights” was performed at Berklee Performance Center. I loved it! There was also an interesting reaction to the election during and after this performance. Here are part of the lyrics to the song “96,000.”

Yo
If I won the lotto tomorrow
Well I know I wouldn’t bother goin’ on no spendin’ spree
I pick a business school and pay the entrance fee!
Then maybe if you’re lucky
You’ll stay friends with me!
I’ll be a businessman, richer than Nina’s daddy!
Donald Trump and I on the links and he’s my caddy!
My money’s makin’ money, I’m goin’ from po’ to mo’ dough!
Keep the bling, I want the brass ring, like Frodo!

There was an audible gasp in the audience with Trump’s name mentioned. Then Trump’s name was mentioned a second time and everyone cheered. Because there was what appeared to be an appropriate ad lib. I couldn’t hear it, but it appeared to be around the lyrics, “Politicians be hatin’  Racism in this nation’s gone from latent to blatant.”

Then there was an extra song at the end of the show and discussion about how rehearsal on the night of the election was so difficult for the cast members. Everyone was grieving. And I still am too.

The only thing giving me hope is that people are out protesting and the possibility of a game changer by the Electoral College. The Electors don’t vote until December 19th. One month from today.

Many may have heard of the Change.org Petition to the Electoral College Electors. At the time of this writing, it is 21,916 signatures shy of the 4,500,000 needed. The goal is to make Hillary Clinton President with their votes. One of the reasons being that she won the popular vote.

The Electors votes are the final determination of who is President and Vice President according to Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution.

There is also a group of Electors, calling themselves the Hamilton Electors who are now coming together to try and save our country.  Seriously, this is all I am hanging on to. One of these scenarios.

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Screenshot: Hamilton

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