2021 So Far

In the last days of 2020, I took a walk by the beach. It was cold, but pleasant. And as always, I enjoyed watching the moon rise.

Now it’s nine days into 2021 and this is my first post of the year. It’s impossible for me to write a regular post right now. To a certain extent, I thought I adjusted to the pandemic. Thanksgiving alone was difficult, but Christmas was far worse.

And now as I feared, Trump is pulling all manner of shenanigans and we’re in the midst of a coup. He has always called for violence in this country. Going back to 1989, he called for the deaths of five Black and Latino teens in the Central Park jogger case. They were wrongly accused, but he didn’t care.

Not truly conceding that he lost the election to Joe Biden, Trump riled up his supporters to seek justice for him. Through treason. They violently took over the Capitol resulting in five deaths. Just noticing the number five playing out repeatedly here. He wanted five people killed back then and five died recently. That’s odd….

Anyway, now he’s permanently banned from Twitter and most social media platforms because he continues to incite violence. We only have eleven days before the inauguration of Biden and Harris. So much can happen in that time and has already in just a few days.

One really good thing that happened was that Democrats will take control of the Senate after the wins of Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. That was such wonderful news to hear early Wednesday. Then within hours the Capitol was taken over. It’s too much to process. There wasn’t time to enjoy the win.

Trump hasn’t been impeached again yet. But that may happen on Monday. He has not resigned, even though there are calls for it. Pence refuses to use the 25th Amendment to remove Trump, even though the insurrectionists appear to have planned to lynch Pence for following the constitution and not overturning the electoral college vote.

The country is in limbo waiting to see what happens next. I hate this movie!

That’s all I got right now. 2021. Please get better.

ACLU Freedom Agenda in Quincy

Canvassing with the ACLU in Quincy.

Since the election, I’ve been trying to find ways to resist and fight this current administration. Some of it has been by blogging about it here. Amplifying other voices on Twitter. Contacting my elected representatives. Donating to causes that I believe in.

I have not been to any protests though — even though there have been many. Many people who know me and are aware of my political activism are shocked by this and assume I’m out there. Sometimes it makes me feel guilty.

Like many others, I have a lot on my plate and am aware of how much I can handle at a time. An article called 12 Ways You Can Be an Activist Without Going to a Protest gives some doable options for those of us who because of time and other factors, like being an introvert, choose not to be in huge crowds.

As the article states and I believe, we can resist in different ways. Sometimes smaller and quieter ways. But we can all have a positive impact.

Back in July, I volunteered for the ACLU of Massachusetts by canvassing in Quincy. Another volunteer and I stood outside the library and asked people to sign postcards supporting the ACLU Freedom Agenda.

It was one of the hottest days of the summer and we were melting, so we weren’t out that long, but we received positive and enthusiastic responses. Many people signed the postcards and were thrilled that we were there. One woman even hugged me, thanking me for doing this work!

Of course, there were some who were not fans of the ACLU and were supportive of Trump. It was to be expected. Quincy has a fair number of Republicans. During the campaign, I remember seeing several  Trump signs on lawns and MAGA bumper stickers on cars, usually trucks. They still make me shudder every time I see them.

Organizing with the ACLU in Quincy.

After we finished getting our signed postcards, we met with several other Quincy residents to share information. The postcards will be sent to Massachusetts legislators to let them know the priorities and beliefs of their constituents.

If you’re wondering about the ACLU Freedom Agenda, here’s some information below that ACLU of Massachusetts Volunteer Coordinator Olivia Santoro would like you to know.

Donald Trump said many things during the campaign that raised serious constitutional concerns. Mass deportation, restricting reproductive freedom, persecution of Muslims, weakening the press, etc. We think we have a special responsibility—and opportunity—right here in Massachusetts.

Our federal system permits state constitutions to be more protective of human rights than the federal constitution. So we’ve put together a “Massachusetts Freedom Agenda” that lays out ways that Massachusetts can do this.

Reproductive freedom
The Massachusetts constitution made possible our Moe victory in 1981, protecting state-funded Medicaid coverage for abortion despite laws denying federal funding. We need to ensure that access to contraception in Massachusetts remains consistent and affordable in anticipation of attacks against the Affordable Care Act.

Immigrants’ rights
Several cities and towns have passed Trust Acts (which restrict local cooperation with federal deportation efforts) — Amherst, Boston, Cambridge, Holyoke, Lawrence Northampton, Somerville. We need to defend and expand these protections, and ensure that state and local authorities do not participate in federal immigration enforcement, raids and roundups.

We also need to protect the “dreamers”—the young people who immigrated to this country as minors, and who the bi-partisan federal “DREAM Act” aims to protect—to make sure young people are able to safely and fully participate in American life.

Religious freedom
In a similar way, we need to begin working now to restrict local cooperation with any federal efforts to persecute Muslims or other groups.

Privacy and free speech
Especially in Massachusetts, with its centers for education and our high-tech economy, we need to update laws to keep pace with technology, preserving the First and Fourth Amendments in the digital age.

That means updating search and seizure laws, and set clear limits on collecting and sharing information about First Amendment-protected activities (speech, associations, and religious affiliation). We also need to strengthen the right to dissent and speak out.

If you live on the South Shore and would like to become involved, there will be a meeting to discuss the Freedom Agenda on Saturday, September 16th at 1pm.

The location is Quincy Point Congregational Church, 444 Washington Street in Quincy.

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Another way to become involved is by attending ACLU Lobby Day at the Massachusetts State House on Wednesday, September 27th.

Click here for registration information. If you register in advance, there will be a boxed lunch. A free lunch! Check out the event on Facebook too.

Registration opens at 9:3am. The program starts at 10:30am and continues through the afternoon.

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Can’t attend either of these events, but still want to be involved? You can still support the Freedom Agenda by telling your legislator online. Click here.

Hopefully you can find a way to get involved that works with your schedule and comfort level. All of us are needed at this vital turning point in our country’s history!

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*Update 9/17/2017*

Yesterday, I attended the meeting in Quincy mentioned above. There were around 30 people, all from different parts of the South Shore, including Quincy.

Gavi Wolf, Legislative Director for ACLU of Massachusetts

The key takeaway from the meeting was for us to take action. Gavi Wolf spoke about how just a few people can make a big difference when we speak to our legislators. We voted them in and they want to continue to get our votes.

We formed small groups based on our common state Representatives. I found this discussion quite interesting. He said that because Massachusetts is such a Democrat heavy state, many legislators who would be considered Republicans in other states, run as Democrats here, because they think that is the only way they will get elected.

What I’ve long suspected! Based on the conservative stance and policy of some, they are Democrat in name only.

Because of this disconnect between party and policy, we have many conservative Representatives who are “Democrats” and the focus now is to lobby them and let them know how their constituents feel about certain issues.

Those of us who were at the meeting will be contacting our legislators and hopefully meeting them in person to discuss the Freedom Agenda.

After tweeting about the meeting, I received an email from someone who is interested in getting involved. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions. Stay tuned!

An Angel On Your Shoulder

A white flower in a vase with a hazy white aura surrounding it, giving an angelic halo effect.

Here’s looking at you Monday! I’m hoping that my guardian angel is working lots of overtime. Hopefully your angel is too.

I’m trying to start the week full of energy and positive vibes. Yoga and meditation were a big help this morning. It’s going to be a doozy on the political front here in the United States.

The Supreme Court ends their session today and may hand down a decision on Trump’s travel ban. Also, the Senate is trying to take away our health care.

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

Things happen so fast, that it’s been nearly impossible for me to keep up. Never mind make a coherent list. Even with Bill Cosby! Back in the 80s, could we have ever imagined how things would turn out with him?

Anyway, Amy Siskind is up to Week 32 of  her listing, so you can follow along there. Let’s stay strong America and hope that somehow kindness and morality can win.

And to end this post, I have two quotes, which are kind of ironic, yet rather fitting for the strange times that we are living in.

As much as their names are now synonymous with disgrace, maybe we can still take something from their words.

Once one determines that he or she has a mission in life, that’s it’s not going to be accomplished without a great deal of pain, and that the rewards in the end may not outweigh the pain –if you recognize historically that always happens, then when it comes, you survive it.   ~ Richard M. Nixon

Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.   ~ Bill Cosby

11 Years Blogging: Mend

11 years blogging

It’s my 11th year blogging today! Yay! And I’m keeping up with my annual tradition of choosing a new word for the year.

After writing the post about finishing my quilt, I found it — MEND.

I mended my heart. I mended my quilt. And as my mother pointed out to me when I mentioned my choice of a word, “Our country needs mending.” The United States is not quite in tatters, but it’s not united either. We are a nation divided in need of healing.

Merriam-Webster defines mend in several different ways. Here are a few.

To free from faults or defects
To improve in manners or morals
To set right or correct
To put into good shape or working order again
To patch up or repair
To improve or strengthen (as a relationship) by negotiation or conciliation
To restore to health or cure

The picture above doesn’t have much to do with my word, except for it reminds me of the phrase that “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”

I took a bunch of photos at Eataly and bought this Mieli Thun honey. It was really good! And who knew about nomadic beekeeping? The baguettes are just pretty to pair with the honey. And the sweetness of honey goes well with bread.

For this country to mend, I think we need a whole lot of loving-kindness and learning to be sweet to one another. Even when we’re strangers. Maybe especially so.

Since I first drafted this post, I realized that today is Trump’s 100th day in office. I was hoping that he’d be gone by now, but at least we have survived!

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If you’d like to take a look at my past blogging anniversary words of the year, see below.

Twilight Zone Trump Era: #2

sunlit flowers1

Back at the end of January, I wrote my first post in this series on the Trump era. I had planned to regularly write about things I notice happening around me, as suggested by a series of posts by Amy Siskind.

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

She is up to Week 22. I have not been up to the task. I read a lot of tweets, articles, blog posts and watch videos about all that is going on. I saved links to share them, but it got too overwhelming and I didn’t write that next post. Until today.

With each revelation of Trump’s connections with Russia and the resignations of many of his staff, I hoped that finally this house of cards was collapsing and his administration would end. It seems that nothing is enough. Isn’t this treason? Shouldn’t treason be enough?

This past week, tensions with North Korea seemed to be coming to a head with threats of nuclear war. I was surprised to wake up Saturday and Sunday. It’s Monday, a holiday here in MassachusettsPatriot’s Day.

We are closing in on 100 days into this horrifying administration. Since I have a bit of time and we seemed to have survived this new century’s answer to the Cuban Missile Crisis, I decided that I would make note of a few things.

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The Tax March happened this past weekend. People marched all over the country and world demanding that Trump release his income tax returns. He still refuses. Trump tweeted yesterday, Easter Sunday, that people marching were paid protestors and that the crowds were small. Reports and pictures showed very large crowds and of course people were not paid.

Maxine Waters continues to speak out against Trump and discuss impeachment.

The city of Cambridge, Massachusetts passed a resolution asking Congress to look into impeaching Trump.

Trump wants to eliminate dozens of agencies and programs.

Today, the White House is hosting the annual Easter Egg Roll.

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Stay strong my fellow Americans. We seem to be in this for the long haul.