I’m so proud of the NFL today!

Y’all, I am just THRILLED at the response from NFL players, team owners, and coaches. I teared up reading this post from Mother Jones about how many players/owners/coaches took a knee, stood with arms linked, or just straight up decided not to take the field for the national anthem. I’d also like to give a shout out to all the performers who took a knee this weekend.

This issue has been going on for over a year now, since Colin Kaepernick decided to take a knee during the anthem. For doing that it seems like his career is completely derailed, which is incredible bullshit. But that isn’t the point I’m trying to make. My point is that in a year, people have not figured out that this isn’t about the anthem or the flag.

People (who don’t appear to have served in any branch of the military) go off about how it’s disrespectful to servicepoeple and veterans if someone kneels during the anthem. These people have somehow woven together the military, the flag, and the anthem.

  1. The flag represents the country. Period. Yes, the military fights for the country, but they’re fighting to protect our freedoms. These freedoms include – wait for it – the right to free speech. An act can be speech. An act like, kneeling.
  2. The national anthem is racist as hell. It’s been chopped by a stanza because the missing stanza talks about slaves and basically the worthlessness of their lives. Pretty sure we should be looking for a new national anthem. Perhaps, America, the Beautiful?
  3. They aren’t letting veterans speak for themselves. As I saw posted on Facebook earlier today, veterans are not a monolith (rather like people of one race aren’t – like black people or Muslims). They don’t all think or feel the same way about issues. So I am sure there are veterans who hate that anyone takes a knee during the game but there are many others who are pleased to see it because it means that their service is validated. People are exercising the rights they fought to protect.
  4. If they want to talk about dishonoring the flag, they should worry more about bikinis that rest on someone’s cooter and not someone who isn’t actually touching the flag when they kneel. (We do all kinds of things that dishonor the flag (per the Flag Code) all the time. Every day. Almost every change we get.)

I don’t know if this focus on the military is just a way to try to shit away from the fact that people (probably almost all white) still don’t get why black people are upset at the way things are going in the US. That we are still a damn racist society and that it’s systemic.

I saw someone who said he’s pissed because people are looking at the police officers and saying/thinking they are ALL racist. While that is demonstrably untrue for the majority, its’ also incredibly fucking stupid. He was trying to point out that there are just a few bad apples. The problem he’s ignoring is that a few bad apples placed in positions of authority sour the entire bunch. THAT is the problem. THAT is what’s being ignored. THAT is what we have to solve. Until people can get on board with that, we’re going to continue to wallow in shit.

And Trump. That guy. He’s proven, conclusively, his leanings toward white supremacists. He says that there are “nice people” on both sides (talking about the alt-right Nazis and the “alt-left”) but that people who kneels are “sons of bitches.” What else do we need to just admit that he’s got some really fucked up ideals and that he shouldn’t be POTUS? Even his friends are turning on him now – people who donated millions to his campaign, opened rallies for him – are saying that he’s wrong.

Well, it’s about damn time.

Destroy the Statues

Y’all know which statues I’m talking about, right? The ones of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and any other Confederate soldiers.

Yes, I’m saying we should not only take them down, but actually destroy them as well.

  1. The monuments aren’t history. History is what happened. It’s not monuments that were erected 50+ years after the Civil War ended. Confederates/white supremacists/Klansmen erected this statues to establish the lasting virtue of their ideals. They put them in places (like in front of courthouses) that would continue to intimidate black citizens, as if life wasn’t already hard enough for them. We have textbooks for what happened. We have photos. We have documents. We don’t need the statues. Also, history books. There are so many of those.
  2. Most people would never have seen a statue of Robert E. Lee. Most people wouldn’t see a statue of any of the traitors anyway (and yes, they were ALL traitors to the United States), probably unless they were in a historical museum that would make them seem important. So great, now we’re highlighting shitty ideals that have no place in the country, mores than we already do.
  3. White people made the mess, they need to fix it. The reality is that white people created this mess. They need to rein their people back in and find a way to get them to understand that white supremacy is bad. Really, I doubt a statue is going to do that anyway. Understanding why white supremacy is bad should be a thing that people just know. If they don’t, it’s going to take a lot of in-depth conversations and probably meeting real live black people. Not looking at a monument that was created as a memorial for racist ideals.
  4. Can we stop torturing black people? Look, by now everyone should have figured out that life for black people in the United States is pretty shitty as it is. Black people get shot, can’t get jobs because of their names, pay more for their mortgages, get terrible deals on cars – and the list goes on. Is this not enough? Why must we take down monuments of hate only to re-erect them somewhere else? Class trip to the Civil Rights Museum and the little black kids come face-to-face with a giant statue of the man who thought they were only 3/5 of a person, that they could be owned? How is that fair because white people haven’t figured out any other way to convince each other that was fucked up.
  5. We aren’t over racism enough. There are still people who don’t get that systemic/institutionalized racism is real. There are still people who say that the US isn’t racist anymore. NeoNazis and Klansman are marching in the streets, faces unobscured, and people are okay with it because “well, that’s their right.” At some point, we have to make a distinction between free speech and hate speech. Were they to try to act on the things they’re saying, they could be sued and would lose, because those ideas VIOLATE THE CONSTITUTION. Under the Constitution, all men are equal and have the same rights. The ideas of the KKK and Nazis are in direct opposition to that. But the point is, we’re still racist AF. If we think this is okay, then obviously the statues are fine.
  6. Saving them gives racists a place to celebrate. If we keep the statues, we’re giving white supremacists exactly what they want – a place for them to revere their heroes. IS that really what we want? Do we really want asshole white supremacist parents taking their kids to the museums and saying, “This was a great man. His ideals are our ideals.”  Putting the statues in places where they are on display, almost in a way of honor, continues the perception that those ideas have value.
  7. We shouldn’t celebrate the false equivalence. Racist/white supremacist/white nationalist ideals do NOT have the same values as those of tolerance and acceptance. Keeping memorials to those ideals suggests otherwise. They give the impression that those ideas were valuable, but that some people disagreed. Just because a lot of people held those values dearly enough to go to war against their own brothers does NOT mean they have VALUE. People have gone on about how those ideas were part of our history so we can’t ignore them. That’s true. Those who don’t know history ARE doomed to repeat it. However, the very fact that there are museums dedicated to the Civil War and Civil Rights Movement necessarily means that there was a fight against something. Otherwise, why would there have been a movement? We don’t need to put the horrible and despicable on a pedestal.
  8. The artists don’t deserve recognition. For people to have spent what had to be hours upon hours to create these monuments, they had to believe in the ideals espoused by the subject. Why should we celebrate them for that? Why do they deserve any kind of recognition for being vile? We don’t celebrate the doctors who helped create the solution for the gas used in the gas chambers at the concentration camps. This is basically like celebrating an artist whose art killed people. Because really, that’s what it did. These went up at times in history that were particularly awful for black people. They emboldened the KKK to act. Why should we do anything other than destroy the monuments?

But hey, if you’re cool with keeping the statues, this is really just more of the same for minorities. White people again making decisions without taking into account how they might affect black people, or again being more concerned with their fellow white folks than anyone else.

I think that if we want to memorialize the statues we should take video of them being torn down and put THOSE in the museums. You can talk about what they represented and why they had to be taken down. That would accomplish the goal if history, but also what’s right.

 

Freedom of Speech and Freedom from Consequences Aren’t the Same Thing

What happened in Charlottesville this past weekend is disgusting. However, people are fighting back. One man’s father told him he’s no longer welcome at family events. Someone else has been fired from their job. As more and more men are identified through the photos that were taken I am sure more will be fired.

These men ran around screaming about their First Amendment rights, like that makes it okay. What they fail to understand is that the First Amendment does not protect them from consequences in the private sector. The First Amendment only applies to protect people from government action taken against them.

It seems hilarious to me that these tiki torch carrying, khaki clad men would think that they would be immune from consequences for their action. 1. They have to realize that they are the minority. Not only do non-whites not support them, neither do most whites. 2. Most states are at-will employment states and you can be fired for just about anything. It should be obvious to them that most companies don’t want their customers to know that they employ NeoNazis. 3. They’ve railed and screamed at people on the other side for their beliefs (like when Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem)  – did they really thing it wouldn’t happen the other way around.

Additionally, speech that incites violence is NOT protected by the First Amendment either. When their stated purpose is to start violence, it’s not going to be protected. Perhaps they should have paid more attention in the government classes or actually read the Constitution they think they’re being patriots for.

Just because someone has the right to say whatever they want doesn’t mean anyone has to like it or support it. It doesn’t mean that they can skate by without anyone responding to their hate-filled rantings.

If you’re going to stand up and denounce every race but your own, you’re bound to run up against some opposition.

But, since it doesn’t seem like they can step outside of themselves for even a few minutes, I don’t think this realization will ever hit them.

In the meantime, we can all sit back and watch as consequences rain down on them.

Image Credit

Dear Dems, please get it together

Dear Democrats,

We’re at a very critical junction in history right now. For as fucked up as we thought things were under George W. Bush, this is a whole lot worse. Trump’s approval ratings hit an incredible low, one that usually takes people at least a year to get to. The question is, what are you going to do about it?

True talk right now, radical honesty: You’re not very good at winning elections. There’s rarely a unified strategy. You wait until the last minute to pull something together. There is a lot of information that should be coming from the top down, and you don’t do it. You should be reaching out to college kids on a constant basis, training them on the party values, getting them into communities to talk to people, and you’re not. That’s a golden missed opportunity right there.

You seem to have forgotten who made the party strong. You’re catering to elites instead of to the working class. I have no idea where the principles of FDR have gone. We need progressive ideals if you want to win the people over and push the party forward. A lot of the time, you’re sort of just left of center. As this past election has shown you, that’s not a safe place to be. It alienated MANY voters. And, the wrong voters – the young voters. They are the future of the party. Unless you want to become what the GOP has turned into, you better make some changes, and fast.

The party does have a broad base and that makes finding consensus hard. At times things will have to be broken down to location. Not supporting a candidate who doesn’t like abortion even though he’s in one of the most conservative states in the nation is stupid. The reality is that we have to find a way to cater to everyone, not just a portion of the voting population. Will more liberal voters dislike it? Absolutely. Does that matter in the long run? No. They aren’t voting in those states. They’re focusing on what’s happening with their race at home. There you can pick the more liberal candidate.

You need to work smarter. You need to find a way to get people involved much earlier in the process. Like right now, for example. You should have boots on the ground all over the US registering people to vote when the pressure of an election isn’t on them. You should be communicating with people, showing them why what the Republicans are doing harms them, AND why what you’re proposing is better.

It’s time to be aggressive. It’s time to show the nation that you mean business. No more sitting back on your heels waiting for the Republicans to do something so you can respond. That’s not going to win you support and it’s not going to win you elections. If you have any hope of becoming the dominant party, you have to make those changes. Now.

Stop letting the party fracture. Reach out. Build consensus. Get more moderate people talking to more progressive people. See where the compromise is. Because none of us wants to lose to the GOP anymore. We’re sick of CheetoSatan, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Jefferson Sessions, Sean Spicer, Steve Bannon, Steve Miller, Ivanka, and Jared.

DO SOMETHING.

Dear Everyone “With Her”, move on

Dear Everyone With Her,

I said yesterday that I Felt the Bern, and it’s true, I did. I love progressive ideals and I think we need them to move this country forward. However, I’m also pragmatic. Since Bill Clinton was POTUS, I’ve recognized how brilliant Hillary is, and what she could do for us as POTUS herself.

So when the election rolled around, I was out canvassing.

The thing about Hillary though is that she’s a terrible candidate. People can’t help but make comparison to Bill, and he’s practically the definition of charisma. Voters like charismatic people. In one-on-one settings Hillary is reportedly fantastic, but that doesn’t get you to the presidency. It gets you elected president of the PTA. Hillary did look great compared to Bill when it came to morality though, that’s for sure. Unfortunately, Russian bots ruined that for her and voters disinclined to do any homework ate it up. That was truly a travesty.

I think Hillary was a better candidate than Bernie because what she was pushing for seemed achievable. We weren’t going to get to Medicare for all anytime soon. People aren’t ready for that kind of change, especially since they never fully seemed to understand the Affordable Care Act. It was too much, too fast.

Also, not everyone is as progressive. Running Bernie would have pushed people into voting for Trump or a third-party just to feel safer about the possible changes. Government has gone so far over most people’s heads it’s frightening. Politicians aren’t taking time to explain what’s happening in layman’s terms. Not only that, bills are stuff with so much pork, it’s hard to know exactly what someone is really voting for. That’s something we need to change for sure.

Obviously something weird happened this past election or the person who won the popular vote would have won the presidency. This isn’t the first time it’s happened, and given our system, it may not be the last. However, we can’t let that control how we do things going forward. We can’t sit back and be pissed at everyone we thought was stupid because they voted for Trump. They did and it’s done. We can’t sit back be pissed about everyone who voted third-party. They did and it’s done.

Now we have to find a way to work with the rest of the Left to come up with something that is progressive, but also achievable. Not working with progressives is not an option unless we want Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and others of their ilk to continue to win elections. Their party has gone straight off the rails. Reasonable conservatives (yes, they exist) are at a loss now. They’re working to understand what happened and looking for where they belong in this new political landscape. Now may be a chance to grab them.

I hope going forward that Everyone With Her and the Bernie Bros can find a way forward, together. It’s going to take everyone to stop the evil that’s infected our democracy.

Comey: 1, Trump: 0

I wasn’t going to, but I ended up watching part of James Comey’s testimony yesterday. Here are my takeaways:

  1. This Russia business is serious shit. They ramped up their campaign against America in 2016, and it’s not over with yet. I was a little concerned when Comey emphasized that it wasn’t about Republicans or Democrats, because that could weaken the argument that Trump’s team was colluding with the Russians. But, the reality is, Putin is interested in destabilizing the US and will align himself with whoever he needs to accomplish that. In Election 2016 that clearly wasn’t going to be Hillary since she was warning everyone what Russia was up to.
  2. I’m less pissed about Comey’s commentary regarding Hillary’s email issues in the last election. I don’t know why he bothered with anything in the days leading up to the election, since that clearly hurt Clinton, but the reality is that Russian bots were already hard at work spinning whatever they could for the MAGA crowd, so I don’t know how much of a difference it really made.
  3. Our elected officials are not looking out for our best interests. The questions about Hillary’s email issues were a complete waste of time given the point of the hearing. They were looking to give FoxNews some soundbites they could use, and they got those. They didn’t get to the heart of the issue at all: Russia’s interference and whether Trump obstructed justice.
  4. John McCain is out of touch with reality. I have serious questions about his ability to do his job. He kept asking about why Clinton was cleared of the Russian investigation. Try as he might, Comey could not get it through to McCain that they were separate investigations. McCain tried to clarify after the hearing what he was getting at, but he still missed the point. The email investigation was OVER. That’s why Comey could comment regarding whether Clinton had done anything criminal. At no point during his tenure at the FBI was the Russia investigation concluded to where Comey would have been free to comment on Trump’s culpability.
  5. Our elected officials aren’t looking out for our best interests. I want to throw this one out there again. The questions about why Comey didn’t stand up to Trump, resign in the face of questions about the administration, and why he didn’t immediately pursue an inquiry against Trump for his pressure to end an investigation completely miss the point. They’re illogical. The best way to stand up to Trump and defend America against Trump was to stay quiet and in his position to start that investigation. Resigning wouldn’t have left him in a position to do any of that.
  6. Comey knew from the beginning what most of us have known about Trump – he cannot be trusted. One of the senators on the panel brought up the excellent point that in the law, writings made contemporaneously with a meeting are given great weight because they’re seen as being more accurate. Comey knew what a snake Trump is and knew that, should he display any form of disloyalty, he’d be out on his ass. Basically, he did exactly what every law student is taught: He covered his ass. CYA is one of the first things you learn in law school, and if not there, definitely in practice.
  7. Trump obstructed justice. Some of the senators appeared to try to suggest that Trump saying he “hoped” that Comey would let the Flynn thing go (since he’d been asked to resign) wasn’t really a directive to Comey. That’s a damn big reach. Trump boots everyone out of the office and one-on-one has a serious conversation with Comey? That’s got to raise some eyebrows. It doesn’t matter that Trump has publicly shared his disapproval of the Russia investigation. He met with Comey, by himself. Comey said he felt like Trump was giving him a directive, under those circumstances. If he wasn’t trying to issue a directive, why say anything at all? Trump was attempting to influence an investigation that affected members of his team. That’s obstruction. It doesn’t matter that he (may) lawfully has the authority to direct who or what should be investigated.
  8. Comey did the right thing by sharing his memos. Comey testified that he shared his memos with a friend who shared them with the news in the hopes that a special prosecutor would be appointed. He knew that shit stank to high heaven in the administration and that the only way anything would truly be investigated is if there was a special prosecutor. The only way to make that happen was to drop a huge bombshell. Well done.

Of course, none of these hearings matter if Republicans won’t get their shit together and do what’s best for the country. Democracy as we know it was attacked and will continue to be attacked unless we do something. If Republicans don’t stand up now, who knows if there will be anything left to fight for.

This presidency is an unmitigated disaster

The US President is no longer the leader of the free world. The US isn’t even viewed as a full democracy anymore.

The US is no longer leading the call for a cleaner and more sustainable world. It’s fallen to mayors and other leading city and county executives to ensure the health and well-being of its citizens and work with global leaders since the federal government can’t do what’s right.

States are passing single-payer health systems because the federal government can’t come together and do what’s best for its citizens.

The Attorney General reportedly offered to resign because Mango Mussolini won’t give him the freedom to do his job (not that I love what Sessions was trying to do, but still). Can’t accept the resignation though because he wouldn’t be able to push someone else though and the guy waiting in the wings actually wants to do his damn job.

It’s now completely and openly known that Putin interfered in our election and gave the victory to Twitler. Yet no one seems to want to do anything about it. Of course, we shouldn’t expect Republicans, like Paul Ryan, to do anything about it since so many of them either knew about or participated in the fraud. (Russians are also hacking internationally and screwing with international relations.)

It feels like the United States is falling apart. Racism is back in the open with more attacks on minorities than before. People feel emboldened by Trump’s lack of humanity and unwillingness to tell people to respect each other. Our elected officials seem to have absolutely no regard for their roles and are acting in only their best interests. The government that was supposed to be FOR the people is gone.

And what can we do about it? We’re resisting as best we can, but that doesn’t seem to be having an effect. Even Democrats can’t seem to get their shit together to do anything to move us forward. Popular officials, like Cory Booker, have been taking money from Crooked Jared Kushner, and aren’t responding to calls for explanations or promises to stop.

The 2018 elections aren’t far away, but it’s going to be a long time until we get there. We must keep being active. Speaking out against the wrongs and in support of each other. It’s time to make new connections with those around us. We must start caring about each other’s stories. We must start validating each other’s lives.

If we cannot do that, the US will surely stop existing as we knew it. We cannot let Trump and his cronies do that to us. To what we’ve built. We need to bring back the hope.

Violence is Counterproductive

This post was prompted by the attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. My heart goes out to all of the victims and their families. It’s such a tragedy.

I think Brian May makes some good points in this video.

The only thing violence does is beget more violence. The attacks on 9/11 were horrible. Since I wasn’t part of the planning, I have no idea whether they achieved their aim. The American response was to stand stronger together. It didn’t change the American way of life (except to allow the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act – a horrible invasion of privacy).

What it did do though, is cause the United States to respond with violence. Ultimately, people not directly involved in 9/11 were affected by later attacks by the US. This led to the radicalization of people who may have been sympathetic to the plight of the American people. But, once they saw their families murdered for no good reason, any compassion or empathy they felt for us disappeared. Belief that the US attacks rescue workers to prevent any lives from being saved would lead anyone to hatred. I’m sure that if the situation were reversed, and American rescue workers were targeted, or if it seemed that way, I would be furious. That goes well beyond any called for behavior, even in a war. (Which we were not involved in.)

Violence won’t get us where we want to go. Hell, half the problem is that we don’t know where we want to go. If we’re seeking domination of the world by Western ideology, there will never be a resolution. Americans simply do not have any other perspective by which to judge how governments in other places are run. Our government was founded on the idea of religious freedom. Of course, that was fairly limited in scope since it was essentially one form of Christianity over another, but most of us have extended that idea to all religious beliefs, of the lack thereof. There are those who don’t seem to agree with it, like Marmalade Mussolini, but I don’t believe he truly represents most Americans. (Or, I just desperately want to believe that.)

Because we can’t get our heads around it, we will always want to change it. That is extremely unlikely to happen. For many, a government that is intertwined with religion is the only thing they know. Indeed, it’s the only thing that makes sense when religion is a core aspect of life. Regardless of whether we understand it, that’s how it is.

What we really need is to react with compassion. We need to at least TRY to understand someone else’s perspective. American exceptionalism makes me insane. We act like we’re the best at everything when evidence points to the contrary. We have people who have insufficient health insurance for their needs. Kids graduate from high school barely able to read. Our elected officials have forgotten what it’s like to be just “one of the people” and are acting in their own best interests all the time, to the detriment of probably 98% of the country. Our college graduates aren’t necessarily the world’s leading scientists and researchers. We have open and obvious racism which continues to oppress millions of Americans. We haven’t figured out how to let people be who they are, and want to tell people who it’s right to love and which bathroom to use.

I think I can see where outsiders think we have over-inflated opinions of ourselves. Who are we to judge someone else and tell them how to live?

At some point, to stop the pointless tragedies, someone has to be willing to be the first to say, “This cannot go on,” and move forward with compassion.

I’d like to think it could be us. But our recent election and current behavior leave me gravely concerned that it is not likely to be us.

Trump is the true enemy of the American people

Donald Trump tweeted yesterday that the “Fake News” is not his enemy, it is the enemy of the American people.

This tweet comes after his disaster of a press conference on Thursday. Trump did what he usually does when asked reasonable and intelligent questions, he talked about himself. His electoral college win (though he was knocked down a peg when a journalist pointed out that he was lying about how great a victory it was). How he’s a good guy. How Russia is “fake news.” (I have yet to figure out what “fake news” is.) How the leaks are real but the news is fake. (A journalist did say, point blank, that that makes no sense. Trump ignored it.) We also got a pretty clear display of casual racism.

And of course, what would a Trump presser be if we didn’t get to hear how horrible the media is? He talked about the tone of hatred that extends from the media to him.

Then, when he’s got a chance to get his tiny fingers back on his phone, he tweets about how the “failing” news media is the enemy of the American people.

I would like to say, for the record, that the media isn’t the enemy of the American people. Freedom of the press and the need for it is as old as our country. When independent journalists do their jobs, the American people get unbiased facts they need to make critical decisions when they enter a ballot booth. Without the press, we wouldn’t have learned the extent of Richard Nixon’s treacherous behavior. In fact, Nixon also declared the press an enemy.

Eliminating freedom of the press is one of the main features of fascism. The goal is to turn it into a tool of the state and use it for propaganda.  We can disagree about many things on how the US is governed, but I think we can all agree that we are not interested in a fascist state. Fascism is the antithesis of American values.

There are those who say that Trump is doing what the people want. His executive orders have come in a flurry. The reality is that those may have little to no meaning in the long run. But it looks great to his core supporters. Outside of his core supporters, there are many across the political spectrum who are willing to give him a chance. They give him tacit support or are opposed, but still willing to take a “wait and see” approach.

I am NOT one of those people.

We don’t have the time and luxury for that. We are already progressing quickly on the path to fascism.

People have outlined the traits of fascist regimes differently, but regardless of how it’s viewed, we’re in trouble.

By Rense
1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – “America First” says it all
2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Wanting to employ torture, denying religious freedom, eliminating federal funding to so-called “sanctuary cities,” travel ban
3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – ISIS, Muslims, Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals
4. Supremacy of the Military – He’s repeatedly said we’re going to have the best military, talks about nuclear holocaust, blowing up the Russian spy ship, emphasis on new military spending
5. Rampant Sexism – “You can grab ’em by the pussy,” women needing to dress “like women,” refusal to take on equal pay issues
6. Controlled Mass Media – Calling all news outlets that don’t blindly support him “fake news,” guiding us to Breitbart and Fox News, only calling on conservative outlets for questions
7. Obsession with National Security – This is Trump’s #1 priority right now
8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – Fortunately we haven’t gone too far down this path, but his preference for Christian refugees all over any others is troubling and telling
9. Corporate Power is Protected – Trump is using his presidency for his own personal gain, deregulation was one of his first executive orders, and he’s looking for breaks so his friends can get loans
10. Labor Power is Suppressed – Trump is unlikely to back any laws that support any kind of minimum wage increase, that is just the beginning of undermining the labor force
11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Trump has attacked Meryl Streep after her unflattering awards speech, he references the “elites” as though he isn’t one
12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Trump has repeated stated that he doesn’t believe we have enough laws regarding drugs, to protect police and has called for law enforcement departments nationwide to re-evaluate, and for legislatures to revise their laws to protect police. Law enforcements agencies have said there is no need for this.
13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Most of Trump’s political appointments have been donors, he wants to revamp regulations on lending institutions so his friends can get loans, and well, RUSSIA and Rex Tillerson
14. Fraudulent Elections – Despite winning the election, Trump has repeatedly called into question the legitimacy of the election – alleging that there was rampant voter fraud with “illegals” voting (against him, naturally). He wants an investigation into voter fraud issues. This lays the groundwork for him to ignore the 2020 results, should he even last that long.

By Umberto Eco
1. The cult of tradition – “Make America Great Again” was the rally cry for Trump. He wants to throw us back into the 1950s and his supporters are delighted to travel back in time when they didn’t feel so oppressed.
2. The rejection of modernism – Rational discourse will not be tolerated under Trump. He seeks “peace through strength”
3. The cult of action for action’s sake – This concisely summarizes Trump’s executive orders, most notably the travel ban. Without consulting relevant agencies, he issued the executive order, which they are now abandoning because of a “bad court”
4. Disagreement is treason – While he hasn’t actually stated this, he’s had staff fired for having written things in the past that were not favorable to him, fired Sally Yates for not simply doing what he told her, and generally refuses to call on medial outlets that are likely to challenge him
5. Fear of difference – Trump surrounds himself with people who look and act like him. He wants to let in Christian refugees primarily and block others from entering, wants to keep Mexicans out of the country, and can barely interact with other racial minorities
6. Appeal to social frustration – This is probably what won Trump the election. He spoke to groups who felt marginalized and rural areas turned out in record numbers to support him.
7. The obsession with a plot – Perhaps more times than he’s done anything else, he’s attacked supporters of Hillary Clinton and the media for sabotaging his election (which is why he lost the popular vote). Even now he still speaks of Hillary though the election has obviously ended. Everything is a liberal conspiracy against him.
8. The enemy is both strong and weak – ISIS is powerful, but HE can defeat them. Russia is powerful, but he is the key to our salvation.
9. Pacifism is trafficking with the enemy – “Peace through strength” (i.e. military force)
10. Contempt for the weak – This is probably best seen through Trump’s continuous struggle to identify himself as being powerful and strong, and identifying the United States as the strongest nation.
11. Everybody is educated to become a hero – It seems we have yet to see this play out, but it is still early in his presidency
12. Machismo and weaponry – I laugh at the idea of Trump as macho, but I am fairly certain that is how he sees himself, as best defined by his sexual prowess. We already know he wants to cultivate the strongest army, building it up beyond where it is even now.
13. Selective populism – Every time he is on air or tweeting, he’s talking to his core supporters – those who truly understand his message. His supporters believe he should focus only on them, not on those who disagree with them. This is counter to the Constitution and American values (at least recently)
14. Newspeak (impoverished vocabulary and elementary syntax) – Trump’s tweets certainly exemplify this point and his speeches are not far off. His speech has been compared to that of an 8th grader’s.

It is clear that we are much farther down this path than we should be. The Resistance is strong, but in order to win against fascism, we must STAY fighting. It will be long. It will be exhausting. But it IS necessary.

1

Been a while…

It’s been so long since I wrote here that I actually forgot my username. I’m not sure what that says about what’s going on in my life. Now I do know that I’m overwhelmed what’s going on in the world. Between trying to have several direct sales businesses (I have a reason for having more than one – I love what they all mean to me) and what’s going on with the United States government, it’s just all too much.

One one level, I’m just overwhelmed by trying to figure out how to make what I see as two different sides of my life work together. I have my personal life, which seems small and insignificant. Then there’s the Lyndsy that’s trying to figure out how to save my country. With so much going on, I’m drowning in trying to figure out what I can do to stop the madness. I don’t know how to balance the two. I also feel weird for having personal successes and joys.

I’m so disgusted by the President. He swept into office completely unprepared. I don’t think anyone can truly be prepared to be President of the United States of America. It’s an incredible responsibility and until that responsibility is sitting squarely on your shoulders, you can’t know what it will mean. I was looking through pictures of inaugurations over the years and the outgoing presidents and first ladies all wear smiles, while the incoming presidents and first ladies look panicked and/or very reserved.

However, Trump came in with a special lack of preparation. He had no idea that he would need to fill out the staff. He wasn’t attending briefings the way you’d expect of someone who would be the Commander in Chief for one of the world’s foremost militaries. He didn’t even seem to know who he was nominating for Cabinet positions.

And oh those nominations. It was like he went looking for everyone who was the antithesis of the department. Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. She who champions charter schools and voucher systems, who has never worked in public education nor sent her kids through the public education system. Rick Perry for Energy – the guy who forgot the department existed when he was running for President. Jeff Sessions for Attorney General – a guy who hates all the current policies and has fought against the legislation that protects minorities and who wants to undermine it. Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State with his questionable ties to oil, Russia, and Putin.

Trump lied to the American people. A lot of us didn’t buy what he was selling. More of us voted for Hillary than for him. But enough people in the right states listened to what he had to say. They bought the message of hope he conveyed. They believed him when he said he was going to return the country to the American people. That he would “drain the swamp.” That Wall Street wouldn’t run the country.

What they got was a man who’s got Goldman Sachs everywhere. He’s appointing millionaires and billionaires to posts. They’re completely out of touch with the majority of America. He almost has no problem admitting he lied to get what he wants.

Trump agenda so far seems to have been to try to push things as far as he possibly can to see what he can get away with. His executive order was challenged almost as soon as he issued it. It was done without consulting the appropriate agencies to make sure it made sense, that it was rational and logical. He’s throwing a fit because a judge (let alone 27) would dare defy him.

He fired Sally Yates, the Acting Attorney General, for doing her job, because he didn’t like what she had to say. That’s completely inappropriate. The last time that happened it was Nixon trying to cover up Watergate. That’s pretty clearly an issue.

He’s tweeting about how Nordstrom is treating his daughter Ivanka so unfairly. As President, that’s completely inappropriate. He shouldn’t be using the position as a bully pulpit to make money for his daughter. He still hasn’t separated himself from his business interests and conflicts abound. The military wanting to rent space in Trump Tower is ludicrous.

And yet, I still sit here, at a total loss for what I can possibly due to help. There are so many problems I don’t even know where to begin. It makes me want to throw my hands up in the air and just give up. But there’s a part of me that just can’t. I went to law school because I love the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The idea that these are in jeopardy is horrifying to me. That we didn’t learn from European history terrifies me. I’m embarrassed at how we look internationally. It’s shameful.

Doing nothing isn’t an option. We all have to do something. My hope is that a lot of small somethings will lead to something huge. Something that can’t be ignored by Trump and his administration. We don’t have a choice if we ever want to have the United States we know and love back.