a few points gleaned from a lunchtime ‘washington [#fakenews] update’ address with Congressman Gregg Harper

fake news gregg harper

click picture to contact the congressman

I attended a rather large and significant event (considering Mississippi economics) at the end of last week. I won’t mention specifics, but it was a convention for an association representing an industry that employs a huge percentage of Mississippi workers.

Congress(person)man Gregg Harper, 3rd District, was the keynote speaker. It’s no secret that I’m neither a fan of the current administration nor the mindless masses [traitors] who support them, so I decided…’during this talk, I’ll take notes.’

{coming clean from the beginning — he didn’t know there was anyone present who would identify themselves as ‘a member of the media’…he asked, I held my tongue. I think it only fair that the public (electorate) hear what our elected officials say when they believe no one is around to report it.}

These are my notes, clarified some after the fact, annotated with my own commentary, from that address. I did not take notes about everything, nor do I claim to represent everything he addressed — but everything following was in truth said by the Congressperson. We all take note particularly of statements we strongly agree with or strongly disagree with, and my notes reflect that reality. There’s my full disclosure.

Things the elected official from Mississippi said and discussed — my annotated comments in brackets:

  • The news is frequently wrong, and many stories going around now in the media, even media that should be friendly to the administration, are false.
    [The continual attack on reporting and news undercuts freedom of the press — authoritarian governments do this. Always. #fakenews #administrationlies]
  • He rambled about North Korea for a while, bragging about two warships now being posted in the region, just in case. He made it clear that we are ramping up for war, and the administration doesn’t expect anyone to be able to stop it. Reason #1: the nature of North Korea’s administration. Reason #2: none of North Korea’s allies will be able to curb them except perhaps China, but they can’t be trusted to follow through with what they say.
    [Elected government officials making glib comments about events that could be leading us to war is disturbing. Laughter. “Well, we can at least get some war games out of all of this.” It is as though they forget that the lives of the men and women of the armed forces rest in the balance — US service people and innocent Korean civilians will die if war happens. This is no laughing matter.]
  • “The Chinese can change their mind by breakfast…no government steals more intellectual property…” This is the statement immediately following comments on North Korea, related to our inability to trust China to keep North Korea in check. We don’t trust the Chinese — a point he made several times.
    [Governments don’t trust each other. They spy. They maneuver. They manipulate. But government officials tend to keep overt criticisms, especially unprovoked ones, to a minimum. And accusations of theft should be backed up with some sort of evidence, even if generally believed to be true — throwing around accusations is dangerous. Another hint of both the isolationism and amateurism that we’re seeing from the US government lately.]
  • The conversation then moved on to disparaging the ongoing investigation into the Trump campaign and possible collusion with Russia. It was presented as a massive distraction posed by the left. Government leaks were the next topic, with a basic formulaic-type response I’d heard before — leaks are dangerous, never a good thing, government knows best, leakers should be caught and punished. Another hint that much of what was presented by media as leaks was just fake news. But then a surprise comment, one that I appreciated: he praised the appointment of former FBI director Robert Mueller as Special Counsel to lead the Russia investigation.
    [I laughed at a few jokes over the course of the talk, but this comment on Mueller was the only time I genuinely felt something like happiness. At least there was a willingness to not start trying to undercut the investigation from the beginning — Mueller is respected by everyone, and Harper’s comments showed that fact. But the constant attacks on the other side in a general way, and dismissing the conclusions of multiple intelligence agencies off-the-cuff simply doesn’t make any sense, and reminds me of a great quote from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale: “We lived, as usual, by ignoring. Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.”]
  • Paraphrase: The media has latched on to Jared Kushner’s alleged attempt to create a back channel of communication with Russia. This kind of back channel is usual for campaigns in transition, and there’s nothing unusual or illegal about it. It’s been going on at least since the time of President Reagan.
    [Again, my comment would be that brushing potentially compromising situations under the rug neither inclines others to trust, nor speaks directly of honesty. The congressman was also bending the truth — secret channels of communication with foreign governments are not unusual for presidents, but are in fact highly unusual for teams in transition. There is a huge difference between ‘President of the United States’ and ‘President-elect.’ One is the leader of the free world; the other has neither power nor authority to act on behalf of the American people. Looking into and clarifying the communications associated with this back channel makes perfect sense, both as a responsibility of ethical elected leaders and a responsibility to the American public.]
  • In the midst of attacking the left (Democrats) for investigating Trump and his team, Harper then chuckled, stepped away from the mike a bit, and says he has a comment off the record, a comment that hasn’t become a major story (it was implied that the story wasn’t yet known by the media, but that is not the case) but shows the opposition isn’t as clean as they purport to be. He said that about 20 staffers shared between 5 Democratic House members, including Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, were at issue…they were Pakistani, and the implication was that they were illegals.
    [The hollowness of this brief commentary was pathetic. The wrongdoings of Trump are in no way impacted or mitigated or balanced by wrongdoings of other members of government. Anyone in government doing wrong should be held accountable, regardless of their position or party. The actual story about these staff members concerns their being under criminal investigation for equipment theft and misuse of the House IT network, some sources even allege spying is among the concerns, and some of them possibly leaving the county for Pakistan after the investigation began.]
  • We then returned to the meandering course of the address, moving to healthcare. A healthcare bill has passed the House and is now being considered by the Senate. The bill will be greatly changed after the Senate’s work, but he hopes to have the two bills in conference by late July. He went on to say that he will always refer to the Affordable Care Act as “Obamacare;” it isn’t affordable, so he refuses to call it that. He then claimed that none of the promises of the law have happened, and that now the entire healthcare system in our country is ruined and messed up. Parts of the new bill that he particularly praised included purchasing insurance across state lines and removing regulations on the insurance industry in order to stabilize the markets.
    [The Senate has already confirmed they aren’t “looking at” the House bill. They are writing their own, and will refer to the House bill, but aren’t even using it as a basis or starting point. The Senate will pass their own bill, and having two radically different bills into conference by July is less a hope than a delusion. Refusing to call a law passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president by it’s name…refusing to use the name of a law of the United States…this, I’m afraid, betrays an attitude toward the law not befitting an elected member of government. The notion that nothing of the ACA has worked at all, for anyone, in any way, is a sweeping false generalization (as one example, how many more people now have health insurance that didn’t before the ACA), and laying blame for the ruination of American healthcare (another false hyperbole) at its feet is equally ridiculous. Plenty of experts have already explained why purchasing across state lines is absurd (networks, etc.), and insurance industry regulations are in place because the industry was gutting the American people and making healthcare inaccessible to increasingly more people. Bad ideas a plenty…]
  • I’m not sure if this next comment was planned, related somehow to healthcare, or an unexpected aside. He said that the average American citizen has no idea about politics. Politicians keep up with what’s going on, conversations the average citizen doesn’t know are happening and can’t even understand, and therefore politicians are best equipped to make political decisions. Leave it to the professionals.
    [A calloused comment that was really the only time I considered walking out of the address. His disdain for his electorate was off-putting in the worst way. He basically said — the public doesn’t know what’s best, or good for them, or even what they want…they don’t understand the conversation…they should shut up and let the pros, like me, take care of everything for them. Sounds very authoritarian to me.]
  • I hoped the next conversation would happen, and lucky for me, it did. The Paris Agreement. Harper preached that the Agreement was a bad deal for American, a unilateral executive decision made by President Obama, which has the traits of a treaty and should have come before Congress for approval. Trump was praised for pulling out of the Agreement so America won’t be at a massive economic disadvantage to the rest of the world by the end of the century. AND, he added, it is only estimated to reduce world temperatures by 0.2 degree by the year 2100.
    [Where to even begin on this topic…it’s hard to decide, since the administration denies the reality of climate change and loves to misconstrue data. In brief — the Paris Agreement is voluntary, and any country can change their commitments. It’s also nonbinding — I think that needs to further explication. These two points, facts, voluntary and nonbinding, also demonstrate why it’s not a treaty. I am surprised the congressman didn’t deduce that on his own. Trump also said he wanted to renegotiate – 195 countries signed, and have already said they will not renegotiate. Also, renegotiation is entirely unnecessary, since the Agreement is voluntary and the commitments can be changed. Further, the comment on temperature reduction (and the study that’s from) betrays a lack of understanding of science, and a bending of reports and data to the administration’s viewpoint. There’s a nice article, if you can bear to read it, in the German publication Spiegel, detailing some of the lies, misinformation, and misunderstandings touted by the Trump administration as “reasons” for the US withdrawal from the Agreement. Even more, it makes clear the betrayal felt by the remainder of the world, and the way our government is now viewed. For your edification — Donald Trump’s Triumph of Stupidity.]
  • Harper then proceeded to say that he’s never seen someone attacked like Trump, and he doesn’t think any president has ever been treated as poorly, and he thinks the approach will backfire on liberals.
    [What short memories our politicians have…a quick primer (there are many, many who have been treated more unfairly than Trump, to use the president’s own words). The United States of America have had 4 presidents assassinated – which seems worse treatment than Trump has received: Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, and John F. Kennedy. There have been at least 20 attempts to assassinate sitting presidents, so we aren’t even in the conversation of worst treated American politician, much less worst treated politician ever.]
  • Before question time (of which only a few were allowed, two of which I’ll comment on below), Harper wanted to make 2 comments about Trump.
    1 – he feels Neil Gorshuch was a great choice for the Supreme Court.
    2 – he said the US hasn’t been respected for many years, had lost world respect primarily because of weak leadership. He thinks the missile strike on the Syrian airbase and the MOAB dropped on ISIS targets in Afghanistan will make the world begin to respect the US again because now they know Trump is a man of action and will do what he says.
    [1 – The Gorsuch seat was stolen from Obama. The Republicans refused to hold hearings on his nominee for a court appointment that was, constitutionally, his to make. The callousness and hypocrisy drips from the capital steps. Gorsuch, this “great choice,” has a record of being anti-equality, especially for the LGBTQ community and women’s rights. He has also, several times, already demonstrated his arrogance and the fact that he’s not up to snuff when compared to the other justices on the Supreme Court.]
    [2 – The leaders of the free world have, for many decades and more, referred to the US as THE leader of the world…any other notion is simply a falsehood. Until 2 weeks ago, that is. The Syrian and Afghanistan attacks have been roundly criticized as illegal by world leaders — not exactly the makings of “restoring respect.” This section could be so long…the ignored security briefings, the murdered civilians. Trump has lost the world’s respect. He has placed the US on the back burner. Trying to claim otherwise is, verifiably, fake news.]
  • Question #1 was about the inefficiency of the VA. Harper supports shutting down the VA and privatizing all aspects of VA care. He said he hates to say it, but what we have now is about as good as big government can do. He also stated that the central problem is federal employee unions, driving up prices and complicating the entire system.
    [The irony, an elected government official blaming all of the problems on the government. Hypocrisy at its finest. Backing the government out of caring for the very people they employed in the armed forces to defend the people and land they claim to care so much about (they are public servants, after all) — is your face making the same strange expression as mine? And then attacking the federal employees as the problem, instead of government’s unwillingness to cut pork and favors in order to care for their citizens…classic pointing the finger and refusing to take any responsibility. But, on the up note, now the people of Mississippi know how this elected official feels about caring for the nation’s and state’s veterans.]
  • The 2nd question I noted was about our role in and relationship with the United Nations. Harper was no fan, and made that clear. His main consternation was what he called the anti-Israel bias at the UN. He then said that his personal belief is that a major part of America’s being blessed by God, and therefore so successful as a nation, is because of our support for Israel. He again said he’s no fan of the UN, but wants to see what the US can do, and if it can’t work in our favor then we should leave.
    [I assume he equates recognizing Palestine as a state as being anti-Israel, a typical American evangelical misnomer. The UN has been a major player in everything from world peace to fighting famine, all over the world. Having everyone work together is not a bad thing, even if it means your particular country can’t always be the top dog. Bringing in his religion might cause an issue, especially if he wants to destroy decades of cooperation because of something he simply believes to be true. That’s not how our republic works.]

I am not surprised by anything the Congressman said that afternoon, but I continue to be saddened by the fact that so many of our elected officials are perfectly willing to ignore criminal behavior, deny science, turn a blind eye to hate, abandon promises and allies…all for the hope that their party can stay in power. Where are the days of a government “of the people, by the people, for the people?”

No government is perfect, but the public must take back this American government from the hands of autocrats and fools who are quickly leading us to a point of no return — destruction of our political structures, economy, environment, and international relationships looms on the horizon.

March On Mississippi: The Workers’ Rights Movement Comes to Canton

The article below was commissioned by and published in The Canton News, April 6, 2017, Volume 3, Number 4. 16. Published as ‘The Workers’ Rights Movement comes to Canton.’

Saturday, March 3, 2017 — It’s 12:30pm on a beautiful, temperate day in Canton. Cars, vans, and buses are filling the parking lots at the Canton Sportsplex. People have been arriving for a while now, coming to participate in the March On Mississippi. Some come for the speakers, some are employees at Nissan, and others are simply there to support the Nissan workers.

Background
The March On Mississippi was organized by the Mississippi Alliance for Fairness at Nissan, a group created to address issues at the plant. Workers at the plant claim that Nissan is using intimidation and threats to keep them from voting on whether or not they would like to form a union to represent the workforce at the Canton plant. They say that the lack of a union has led to unequal pay and unsafe working conditions, like those that led to OSHA recently fining Nissan over $20,000 for multiple safety violations.

Nissan has released a statement responding to the safety claims, stating in part: “We dedicate extensive time and resources to safety programs and training at the plant…Nissan’s Canton plant has a safety record that is significantly better than the national average…” And responding to claims of worker intimidation: “The allegations made by the union are totally false…Nissan respects and values the Canton workforce, and our history reflects that we recognize the employees’ rights to decide for themselves whether or not to have third-party representation.”

The March
The March kicked off around 1pm, beginning with a series of speakers at the Sportsplex. Among those sharing words and supporting the effort were US Senator Bernie Sanders, NAACP President Cornell William Brooks, and actor/activist Danny Glover. “The eyes of the country, the eyes of the world are on you at this moment…all of our people deserve decent wages and decent benefits…[this is] a struggle for dignity,” said Senator Sanders, to a loud and enthusiastic crowd.

The marchers began their 2.5 mile trek to Nissan at about 1:45pm, the final goal of which was to deliver an official letter of complaint to Nissan. The crowd was diverse and upbeat, and consisted of Nissan workers, members of the UAW from other plants, students, retired workers, families, and many who had come out to support the employees of Nissan.

As they marched, the people talked, laughed, and chanted. Two of the most common chants were: “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!” and “Show me what democracy looks like. This is what democracy looks like!”

There were no reports of issues, even with the large crowds and a small group of people protesting the march. Everyone was bused back to the Sportsplex from Nissan, and the crowds dispersed peacefully.

bathroom bills: what is the debate really about?

Gender norms in Western society* were historically, and in many cases still are, very difficult to navigate for anyone falling outside of the widely defined term “normal.” If a person wished to express style or persona or activities not aligning with their biological gender at birth, they risked backlash including bullying, threats, physical violence, or the loss of job or associates.

Society has slowly moved to the point where individuals who do not exhibit socially defined “gender normative behavior” are beginning to be given the respect and dignity and civil rights that should be shown to everyone.

But this is not happening everywhere. It’s not happening for everyone. In fact, segments of the US population are pushing against equal civil rights for everyone. We shouldn’t be shocked. Saddened, yes, but not shocked. The same type of people fought (and still fight, often) against civil rights for many groups before – African Americans, Native Americans, women, immigrants – and now the LGBTQ community is the target of their anger and activities.

But why? Why are some people so convinced that liberty is for the few (always including themselves)?

transgender
/ trans’jendər, tranz’jendər/
adjective
denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex

The fight against the civil rights of transgender people in America has slid near the forefront of news and minds, especially fueled by the various ‘bathroom bills’ that have been proposed and debated across the country. Now the Trump administration has rescinded protections which were given to transgender children (kids, dependent children) by the Obama administration. One president sought to make sure all members of American society enjoyed the promise of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” only to have the promise snatched away once again from an entire marginalized group.

I’d like to look at this from a few different angles, a few different quotes imagined by me (though I am sure said by others) to help consider the issue at hand.

“Why am I fighting against others” – What the Opposition Says

The opposition, those specifically fighting against equal access to public restrooms, has a number of points they like to make. The first focuses on transgenderism as a topic, a topic they discount out of hand. You have such nuanced positions as “transgender doesn’t exist,” “those people are mentally ill,” and “those people are perverts.” Just like the homosexual of not too many years ago, today’s transgender community is faced with attacked centered on identity – who they are, at their core, is questioned, scoffed at, derided, and discarded. Whether the opposition tries to use religion, biology, logic, or anecdotal evidence, the end result is the same – like bigots of any era, they deny the full humanity, the identity, of those they want to discriminate against.

The second point of the opposition that I’d like to address, for the purposes of this consideration, deals specifically with the bathroom bills. The argument against access goes something like this – “well, number one, those people are perverts anyway, but we don’t want men dressing up like women and going into women’s bathrooms and sexually assaulting our little girls.” It has been shown in many places, documented with research, that this fear is something that simply does not happen in the real world. This type of distraction is called a red herring – something that misleads or distracts from a relevant or important issue. Opponents of trans rights are using a made up situation as a fear tactic to try and persuade the public to deny the civil rights of an entire group of people.

“School policy is a state’s rights issue” – What the Administration Says

In overturning federal guidelines guaranteeing equal access for all public school students, the Trump administration said “the guidelines were written without due regard for the primary role of the states and local school districts in establishing educational policy.”

Attorney General Sessions said this: “The Department of Justice remains committed to the proper interpretation and enforcement of Title IX and to its protections for all students, including LGBTQ students, from discrimination, bullying, and harassment.”

I am sorry, but that reeks of a lie. It is a lie.

Access to restrooms and disallowing discrimination are not “educational policy,” they are human rights issues. States should not have the freedom to deny basic civil rights to any of their citizens. The actions of yesterday, overturning the Title IX clarification regarding bathroom and locker access, are a tragedy.

Civil rights issues have virtually always had to be solved on the federal level. For the time being, our transgender children, friends, and relatives have lost the protection of the federal government, and will be left to fend for themselves, surrounded by many who are so filled with hate and fear.

“…and now we have lost…” – What Has Been Lost to Our Children

What the Obama administration had put in place was quite simple:

  • public schools had to allow students to use bathrooms and lockers that matched their gender identity,
  • not doing so was a violation of Title IX, which does not allow discrimination based on sex.

In overturning the federal guidelines and Title IX clarifications, transgender students have once again been put into the line of fire. Now schools can decide to assign lockers and bathrooms to the students however they want, even at the risk of falling into absurdity.

When we will figure out, not only as a nation, but as a society, as a planet, that we don’t get to decide how other people live their lives? That we don’t get to define others based on who we are and what we want them to be? That we don’t get to hate and discriminate and cause harm to other human beings for who they are?


xenophobia
/ze-nə-‘fō-bē-ə, zē-/
noun
fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign

*the same may well be said for all societies, but for this point I’ll refer only to what I know by experience


#wejustneedtopee #wearenotthis #transgender #trans #istandwithgavin #LGBTQ #illgowithyou

this week + a poetic thought

Guess I'll publish a little here sometimes…might as well try it out.

A photo posted by Matthew Jackson (@mejwrites) on

General update:
It’s been one hell of a two week period for me.

  • First, there was my diagnosis with mononucleosis. Adults typically don’t get mono (since most people are exposed when they’re young adults), so being older, my symptoms were awful. Fever, horribly swollen lymph nodes and tonsils, and terrible pain. I ended up with a steroid shot for the swelling, plus pain pills and antibiotics for secondary infection. After 8 consecutive days missing work, I was finally able to return for a half day Wednesday, and I’m hoping today to complete my first full day at the office since my diagnosis. The fatigue from the illness can last for weeks or even months, but I’m hopeful that I can manage to push through and at least work – I’ve already devastated my sick days and vacation days for the entire year.
  • Then our 2 year old was diagnosed with strep, which has been a trial. He feels so bad, had a high fever for several days, and it just a poor little miserable fellow. Thankfully, he’s feeling somewhat better now. But my poor fiancé, dealing with 2 sick guys in the house at the same time…and she didn’t kill anyone! What a saint.
  • Because of all the illness, I wasn’t able to see my kids two weeks ago, which makes this coming weekend extra exciting since we’re all finally well enough for my 5 to come for a visit!
  • Just before I fell ill, I managed to do something that I’ve wanted to do for several years now. I put together a chapbook and entered it in competition! I have a longer book of poetry put together (just over 100 pages), but there are still several poems I want to write and include to make that collection complete. So I pulled thematically related poems, interspersed with shorter pieces, and put together a 25 page chapbook. It was quite exciting for me, having a small book that felt cohesive and complete, and that I was proud to enter for reading and judgment. I’ll be sure to post once I hear the results of the contest.
  • And, of course, there’s Trump. I’ve made a few posts already on this topic, and I’m certain more will come, so I won’t rehash that in this post other than to say that I’ve spent a good bit of time online, watching him slowly destroy our rights and our republic. Seeing what’s happening is distressing, and feels like a near constant weight in my life. I’m doing what I can (calling, writing, marching, interacting), and I plan to continually do more in the days and weeks and months to come. The ridiculousness happening in our nation now has bothered me even more than the awful illness I’ve been dealing with – how to help protect others, and the nagging thought of “…but, my children…”
  • Finally, it looks like I’ll be doing a bit of reviewing again! One of the major things I did with this site for over a year was post book reviews. I was just sent a book to review, and have almost finished a book I wanted badly to read, so I should have at least 2 reviews coming soon. I have to remember to nourish myself amidst all the chaos, and reading and writing does just that.

How have your lives been going?

For your reading pleasure:
I’ve known, and still know, quite a number of people with the same mindset that this girl was raised under…and was fearfully close to it myself, not too many years ago. An interesting read – “know your enemy.”

“I grew up in the far-right evangelical conservative (Christofascist) movement…Christofascists have been wanting someone like Pence in the White House and, until now, didn’t have a way to get one in… Pence has a proven track record of legalizing discrimination and acting against women and marginalized people…A single powerful person who is convinced of their own Rightness with no thought of introspection is dangerous. We now have a government full of them…”

Read Now – I Was Trained for the Culture Wars in Home School, Awaiting Someone Like Mike Pence as a Messiah

anger, apathy, and despair – “how do we manage under this onslaught of wrong?”

despairI am currently alternating between states of extreme anger, apathy, and despair. As I scroll through social media posts, read various blogs, and monitor current events, I know that I am not the only person struggling with how to process the ridiculousness spewing forth from the White House since the swearing in of Donald Trump. Those of us who listened to the words he said during his campaign and made no excuses for them, but rather took them as an expression of how he truly felt, knew that bad things would begin happening as soon as he held the reigns to (arguably, for the moment) the most powerful country in the world.

It has been even worse than I anticipated.

I will paste at the end of this post a list of what he’s done thus far (compiled and commented on by someone else, provided here as a reference)…but my main focus for this post is: “how do we manage under this onslaught of wrong?”

Honestly, I don’t know that I have the answer, since I am struggling daily with the very same question. My answers have varied, from trying to stop reading so much about what Trump is saying and doing (that never lasts long, since I’m not much for burying my head in the sand), investigating a move out of the country so my family doesn’t have to directly deal with this bullshit (though personal circumstances make that a difficult proposition, and I don’t think I could leave those who will suffer to fight on their own), to applying for positions with companies and organizations directly involved in the resistance against this man and his goals (I still like this idea), to volunteering with the resistance (still like this, too). I think I will end up staying and fighting, though my personal path for doing so is certainly not clear to me at this time.

I had a talk with a wonderful woman, a dear friend, yesterday, where I expressed my despair and overall frustration, my feelings of uselessness and anger and hopelessness. Her responses buoyed me, restored some of my hope, and led to an evening of thought regarding what I can do.

From my dear friend and supporting angel (emphasis mine): “we will get through it, we will fight every step of the way, and we’ll rebuild…phone your representatives every single day. write letters. donate when you can. march when/if you can. educate. get involved with politics on the micro local level…that’s all we can do. and stay strong. apathy and despair are the enemies…you guys are fierce warriors. for real. we can only do what we can, but if each of us does it…we’ll be a revolution…it’s never too late. if they burn it all down, we’ll build it back even better…i totally get the despair. i’m just working hard to channel it into anger and will to fight. we can do this. we will do this. it won’t be easy, and it will be painful, but most good things are like thatjust remember you guys are loved, and you’re not alone.”

We need support. Even the strongest of us (which I, admittedly, am not) need strength from others. Perhaps this is one of the most important things we can do, to support and encourage one another in these dark and troubling times.

I will continue to write, to be active on social media, and to look for any way I can actively participate in the movement against hatred. I’ve never been involved politically, but I will seek out ways to be involved. I see my biggest personal work to be with the written word, so that will be my main thrust – but if you have any other ideas for me, please share them.

And my request for us all:
Support each other. Comfort each other. Allow your friends and co-resisters to break down, and then help build them back up again. Brainstorm and plan and work together. We need each other more than ever. Be the help to others now that you are certain to need later.

As a stark reminder:
The “give him a chance” grace period is officially over.
“We are 5 days in.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the DOJ’s Violence Against Women programs.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Minority Business Development Agency.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Economic Development Administration.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the International Trade Administration.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Legal Services Corporation.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the DOJ.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Electricity Deliverability and Energy Reliability.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Fossil Energy.
* On January 20th, 2017, DT ordered all regulatory powers of all federal agencies frozen.
* On January 20th, 2017, DT ordered the National Parks Service to stop using social media after RTing factual, side by side photos of the crowds for the 2009 and 2017 inaugurations.
* On January 20th, 2017, roughly 230 protestors were arrested in DC and face unprecedented felony riot charges. Among them were legal observers, journalists, and medics.
* On January 20th, 2017, a member of the International Workers of the World was shot in the stomach at an anti-fascist protest in Seattle. He remains in critical condition.
* On January 21st, 2017, DT brought a group of 40 cheerleaders to a meeting with the CIA to cheer for him during a speech that consisted almost entirely of framing himself as the victim of dishonest press.
* On January 21st, 2017, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer held a press conference largely to attack the press for accurately reporting the size of attendance at the inaugural festivities, saying that the inauguration had the largest audience of any in history, “period.”
* On January 22nd, 2017, White House advisor Kellyann Conway defended Spicer’s lies as “alternative facts” on national television news.
* On January 22nd, 2017, DT appeared to blow a kiss to director James Comey during a meeting with the FBI, and then opened his arms in a gesture of strange, paternal affection, before hugging him with a pat on the back.
* On January 23rd, 2017, DT reinstated the global gag order, which defunds international organizations that even mention abortion as a medical option.
* On January 23rd, 2017, Spicer said that the US will not tolerate China’s expansion onto islands in the South China Sea, essentially threatening war with China.
* On January 23rd, 2017, DT repeated the lie that 3-5 million people voted “illegally” thus costing him the popular vote.
* On January 23rd, 2017, it was announced that the man who shot the anti-fascist protester in Seattle was released without charges, despite turning himself in.
* On January 24th, 2017, Spicer reiterated the lie that 3-5 million people voted “illegally” thus costing DT the popular vote.
* On January 24th, 2017, DT tweeted a picture from his personal Twitter account of a photo he says depicts the crowd at his inauguration and will hang in the White House press room. The photo is of the 2009 inauguration of 44th President Barack Obama, and is curiously dated January 21st, 2017, the day AFTER the inauguration and the day of the Women’s March, the largest inauguration related protest in history.
* On January 24th, 2017, the EPA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to freeze all grants and contracts.
* On January 24th, 2017, the USDA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to stop publishing any papers or research. All communication with the press would also have to be authorized and vetted by the White House.
* On January 24th, 2017, HR7, a bill that would prohibit federal funding not only to abortion service providers, but to any insurance coverage, including Medicaid, that provides abortion coverage, went to the floor of the House for a vote.
* On January 24th, 2017, DT ordered the resumption of construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline, while the North Dakota state congress considers a bill that would legalize hitting and killing protestors with cars if they are on roadways.
* On January 24th, 2017, it was discovered that police officers had used confiscated cell phones to search the emails and messages of the 230 demonstrators now facing felony riot charges for protesting on January 20th, including lawyers and journalists whose email accounts contain privileged information of clients and sources.”
*credit for compilation: Karen Cornett-Dwyer
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