Saturday, December 31, 2016

That's Right, I'm Resoluting, My Bitches!

Happy New Years!

There's one house in my neighborhood that had a Trump/Pence sign.  It's also the one house in my neighborhood where the shades are always drawn.  I think this is a pretty apt metaphor for Trumplethinskin and his supporters: folks so afraid of the outside world that they choose to sit in the dark.  But the man they voted for and believe in so passionately is just an empty suit who doesn't hear any words except "Dang! The Donald Is So Sessy!" This is what he hears when you say "I had a bagel for breakfast" or "Build That Wall!" This is all he ever hears. But the forces acting behind him are eager to divest us all of our social security and our healthcare.  They're gearing up to throw dollars at the oligarchy and deprive our children and grandchildren of a habitable environment.  They're ready to put a SCOTUS in place that will not only rob women of autonomy of our bodies, but will also insure that rapacious corporate interests can carry on untrammeled for a generation, so the CEO of Wal-Mart can buy and sell a whole state (a good one! not one of those ones where no one lives) while Wal-Mart's shelves are stocked by 80 year old grampas who can't afford to retire.

Tump voters made a bad choice.  And one of my resolutions this year is to never stop letting them know.  This is not because I am eager to be right (good golly to the holy FSM I hope I'm wrong).  But it's because the American right doesn't get to keep screwing things up and blaming the American left.  You made this bed that we all have to lie in and I'm not studying on being humble and claiming equal culpability for these short sheets.  I was dumb enough to think he'd never win, but you were dumb enough to vote for him, which means I'm dumb but also I'm less dumb.  And as part of less-dumb America (the majority of America, not for nothing) we need to make sure we are all grown up enough to identify dumb when we see it.  I am resolute.

I am actually a resolving kind of lady.  I am allatime resolving.  I resolve just about every Sunday night to Do Better and Be Better.  I don't think this is a terrible thing.  The primary exercise of life should be to Do Better and Be Better. Here are some of the ones I made for 2017:

Be Involved
- I'm marching on 1/21 to let Trump and his supporters know that we're not going to "get over it."  I am stunned, actually stunned, by the number of people who believe like faith that this dubious electoral college victory to the most powerful post in the world is like a football game where nothing counts beyond winner and loser. What is wrong with these people?  Can this be diagnosed? Is it just general dumbassery or has something gotten into the water where they live? To quote Joe Biden: this is a big fucking deal and, no, I'm not going to sit back and say "wait 'til next year."  Trump has made his intentions amply clear and I plan to take him at his word and loudly object.

- I'm not going to stop calling my Senator and Congresswoman.  We should all be doing this at least three times a week.  Make your voice heard.  Bug those staffers.  It matters.

- I've signed up to tutor an immigrant on the Citizenship exam.  I'm actually super stoked about this and I start on Tuesday.  There's no better resistance to the xenophobia that put Trump in place than helping to welcome new Americans to this IMMIGRANT nation. Every time someone is an a-hole to an accented-American their dead great-granny up in heaven weeps on account of how someone was a likewise jerkwad to her back in 1923 and she never thought her own progeny would be so mean (note: as an Atheist-American, I don't actually believe in an afterlife, so treat this as a metaphor but be nice to an immigrant on account of how you don't want to make your ghostly great-granny cry)

Be Kind

Here's the late, great Kurt Vonnegut in meme form:

Yes.  Even to Trumpeters.  I plan to make a solid attempt to be kind to everyone.  If you want to get in front of me in traffic and you have a Trump sticker on I will probably let you (note: only if you've turned on your blinker. I am a blinker-absolutist.  Non-blinker-users get no traffic allowances from me no matter what your politics are).  I think we can call out bullshit where we see it without being assholes about it.  And I plan to.

Stay Mad
Oh boy, I'm mad and I plan on living in it. I know that when they go low, I'm supposed to go high.  And that's part of this whole "be kind" thing.  But that doesn't mean we shouldn't stay mad.  Mad gets things done.  Mad moves nations. You can be loving and angry. Martin Luthor King Jr was mad at racism.  Jane Addams was angry at injustice.  Injustice and cruelty should make us angry and our anger should inspire us to action.  I'm planning to stay mad.  The anger staunches despair.  Don't let anyone tell you to stop being mad.

I'm a bad cook and so I eat bad food.  I don't think I will ever be a good cook.  But I plan to be a less bad cook and cook some meals so I can eat less bad food.  I may even blog my cooking attempts because, you know, it can't be all politics all the time.

It's almost 2017.  Let's all try to Do Better and to Be Better.  And to get rid of Donald Fucking Trump - because he is the worst part of 2016 which is really saying something since 2016 is when we lost Princess Leia (who we JUST got back, dammit) and Prince.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

All I Want for Christmas is to Stay Here in My White, Hot Rage

Other people have written about this better than I will.  I like this piece from Kara Brown. I like this one by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie even more (by the way, have you read Americanah?  It's so good).  But, I'm just gonna take my own amateurish stab at it and tell you why I am not going to reach out to Trump supporters because I could not find a way to be less interested in reaching out to a Trump fan if I had a Trump map and a Trump compass (fun fact: the Trump compass points straight to the flaming pits of hell and then breaks).

One of my beloved cousins, who is so smart and so cool, told me that I couldn't just call 62m Trump voters racist.  And, I get that.  I really do. I get how it could seem unhelpful.

Except ... of course, I can call 62m Trump voters racist.  I'm pretty happy to call a solid 60% of the country racist.

I count myself among that 60%. I am not immune from feeling a shiver of fear when a black male walks in my direction on the street.  And I hate that.  I hate that I have that feeling. And I find myself constantly fighting the racist inclinations that have been bred into me as a white American through 240 years of white supremacy.  I think and hope that I am winning this battle against my own racism.  But I'm not optimistic enough to expect anything less than a lifelong fight.

Until we acknowledge that racism is built into the fiber of this nation and stop thinking that racism only comes in white hoods and burning crosses, we're never going to get better.  The first step to solving a problem and all that...

Remember during the first debate when Hillary was asked if she thought police had an implicit bias and she said "we all have an implicit bias."  Jesus, to think how close we came to having another grown-up in the White House.  It's just devastating.

But we didn't get a grown-up.  We got President Pussygrabber, who racism put into the White House.  And as such, we white folks need to focus on the people who will suffer the most from this devastating presidency.

And that's not white people.

People are scared of Trumplethinskin's presidency.  I'm scared.  But I'm not as scared as the Mexican kid who's afraid that her parents are going to be deported (by the way, it doesn't matter to that kid if her parents are here legally or not: she's picked up on the tone.  She knows what they mean).  Black men are scared that they're going to be harassed by law enforcement with impunity (here's a fun thought experiment: imagine a rich white dude getting stopped and frisked).  Black mothers are afraid that their sons will keep being killed and no one will care.  Women of all colors are afraid of forced pregnancies, of sexual assault becoming even more normalized. LGBTQ Americans are scared of being forced back into the closet.  Muslim Americans are terrified of being put on a registry and then...

And that's where our focus as Progressives and Liberals should be: the people directly and explicitly threatened by President Orange Julius Caesar. The only message I've got for poor rural, whites who voted for Trump is "Hey, you may want to google Paul Ryan Medicare or Paul Ryan Social Security."  That's all the energy I have for them.

And look, I don't wish evil on poor, white Trump voters. I want them to have jobs and healthcare and decent public education.  I want them to be able to retire at a reasonable age instead of spending their golden years stocking shelves at the Super Walmart that drove their hardware store out of business.  As a matter of fact, that's why I vote Democrat!

But if we focus our fight on the minority people who are living through this noxious cloud of visceral hate, if we push our political will towards them, we'll be OK.  We'll be better than OK.  Remember almost 3m more people voted for Hillary.  We won and we need to politic like we did.

Two more things: this is a white people fight.  We have been sitting around too long waiting for the Magical Negro to come around and make us better and then forgive us.  We have been putting the burden of fixing racism and for forgiving white people on black people for too long.  No more.

Second, never forget, my fellow Progressives: plenty of white people who aren't suffering from economic insecurity voted for that walking Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  This guy doesn't have any economic insecurity.  Neither does this lady.  They just know They're Supposed to Get More. And you know what?  Fuck those people.  I'm sick of them.  And I'm ready to be louder and angrier than they are.