Truth, Justice, and the American Way

The insurrectionists who invaded the U.S. Capitol believe the big lie told them by Trump, parroted by Republican leaders and right-wing media. Those lies rocked faith in our democracy, fueled dangerous ideas, and ideas are what fuel revolution. Building barriers around the U.S. Capitol won’t fight the big lie and will only make us look and feel like a fascist state.

The only way to fight lies is with plain simple Truth resonating from every hall of justice, every podium, across the airwaves, and in every town square.

Many Republicans are now saying they want unity and reconciliation, but they don’t want Impeachment or the 25th Amendment invoked. What they really mean is they want to placate the angry mobs. They are afraid of their own constituency and, I believe, have been so for several years. Unfortunately, our time for placating, or forgetting, or sweeping under the rug… is over. If America is to get through this and come out stronger on the other side, then we must actually go through it. This means we need to have both Truth and Reconciliation. This starts with Justice which by its very nature requires an examination of the truth.

The House must proceed to Impeach Trump for his incitement to insurrection, regardless of when it can be picked up for trial in the Senate. Impeachment is a formal process, one of many, that shines a light on the truth. It is also a natural and Constitutional consequence to Traitor Trump’s actions. Our founders knew Tyrants like Trump and we need to heed their wisdom and the roadmap they left us in the form of the Constitution. We then need to engage every other formal process plus less formal paths to discover and spread truth. If we do not do that now, whole-heartedly, strategically, and patriotically, we will lose a whole generation of Americans to further and future susceptibility to lies.

We need to remember how to speak truth, stating affirmatively what is, not what isn’t. Trump’s earworms twist our tongues. Everyone had been so busy saying the election wasn’t stolen that they forgot to say “the election was fairly won.” We say there wasn’t “widespread voter fraud,” rather than say “Trump’s own authorities said we had the most secure election in modern history.” We have stopped saying that “Joe Biden won fair and square”, “by a wide margin”, “both by popular vote and the electoral college”, “showing strong support for his policies”, “which are primarily traditional democratic policies”.

If you cannot say and have not said these things out loud, then you are not reconciled with the truth. By the way, if you have said or thought we need to count every “legal vote”, then he got to you. This microaggression crept into our brains and will fuel a decade of voter suppression if we do not wipe it from our unconscious mind.

Also, we have to remember the truths we knew and yet made ourselves forgot. Republicans knew.

The truth can be painful but we are a brave and strong people. Speaking the truth no matter how ugly it is for you and others is characteristically American. I was gladdened the other day to see a clip from a London correspondent who was impressed with how resiliently our democratic habits flexed into play the next day through truthful and transparent media coverage, unlike in more authoritarian regimes.

A democracy cannot survive and thrive if its citizens are grossly misinformed. So go forth and speak the truth as if the truth is that glorious shining beacon on a hill because, indeed, if you shout it loud from the highest hills, the truth will set us free.

RBG. Her Force is with us.

Tonight, I was in the middle of telling my children during dinner how I’m reaching my limit for stomaching news. The emerging stories alleging that detainees were stripped of their reproductive organs for no medical reason and without their consent were too much for me. I could barely listen to news clips or read stories. Too much! While these whistleblower allegations have yet to be investigated, the horrible thing is that they seem plausible in our dystopian world where our Trump-led government caged and separated children from their parents at the border. I hate us.

Then, mid-sentence, a text rolled in from a former colleague, “well sh*t”, he wrote. I wondered if he dialed me by mistake. Then a barrage of texts came all at once from law school friends, old travel companions, a call from my Mom. Sad faces, scrawls of “no!” Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died! For so many she represented what is good and right in a human being. A great mind, a good heart, a strong work ethic, a drive for justice.

Wow, I thought, so many ways this plays out politically. My text response? “Brace for Impact”.

Then our family tuned into virtual services for Rosh Hashanah. The Rabbi’s voice and the Cantor’s song conveyed it all, a world of hurt contained within one calendar year. Slowly, I began to sink into my despair, then to feel communion in my mourning, and suddenly something like hope emerged. It occurred to me that RBG was a sheer force of nature, a giant in a tiny form. She held out for so long that her passing now cannot have been in vain.

She is our Obi-Wan, I thought. Strike her down and she will become more powerful than you can imagine. So I imagine she is with me, giving me the strength to finish strong in the next 46 days before the next election. Her force is with all of us.

Remembering RBG:

Joe Biden’s response to her passing:

President Trump’s response to her passing:

Mitch McConnell’s Bald Hypocrisy:

Here is a reminder of how Mitch McConnell never even gave a hearing to President Obama’s highly qualified, politically moderate, and bi-partisan-favored candidate, Merrick Garland, to fill Justice Scalia’s vacant seat 11 months before the next presidential term. He has already vowed to move forward with a hearing for whoever Trump nominates despite only being a few months out from the next presidential term.

Be well. Be strong. And may her force be with you.

Voting Coronavirus Style


Voted today. Was greeted behind glass, then funneled straight to a padded elevator with disinfectant spray, tissues, and waste can. No lines. Practically no people.

I voted for Elizabeth Warren in the democratic primary for president despite her campaign’s suspension.  She was the quality candidate.

My vote was a message. We deserve a leader who combines all the qualities we need–presidential temperament, vision, values, smarts and stamina–to meet these times.  Also, I deserve a chance to vote for a woman. And, my country deserves female leadership.

My message rings hollow, though, like an echo across the empty voting hall. It is hard to make forward progress, especially in times of crisis which make us run back to home base. There will always be a crisis that sets us back. Coronavirus infecting our bodies. Trumpian virus infecting our hearts and minds.

Voting for male candidates feels safe. But we don’t need safe. We need solutions. We need lasting positive change.


El Paso Massacre and the Leaders We Need and Deserve

In the wake of deadly semi-automatic mass shootings last week in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, we have a choice once again, individually and as a nation, to respond with compassion, strategy and courage, or with fear, denial and cowardice.

As the week progressed, I saw plenty of swirl among pundits and politicians and wondered how we can rise above this, and who can lead us to real solutions. Then, yesterday, that leader emerged.

In a swift and strategic response to these tragic events, Elizabeth Warren has released a sweeping plan to reduce gun deaths by 80% in our nation. Her plan acknowledges this as a public health crisis and reminds us that we have past success we can build upon, such as increasing road safety.

I am curious to see how the next week of news cycle will unfold. Will we start reporting on real plans and have real dialogue? Or will there be more verbal sleight of hand, particularly by conservative pundits who have been going out of their way to manufacture a connection, or oddly explain that there is not a connection, between democrats and the Dayton shooter?  They are doing this out of fear and denial to deflect blame, because of the clear connection between Trump’s rhetoric and policies to the El Paso killer.

This summer I had the pleasure of hearing Warren speak in Chicago. She impressed me with her clarity of vision, commitment to structural/real change, and her contagious energy. I was even moved to tears a few times by dawning appreciation that she is a regular person who was drawn to politics late in her life for all of the right reasons, to fight for us and our futures. I was sitting with someone who knows Warren personally, so I asked her what she thought about her. She said, “I have seen her socially through the years, at small dinner parties and big social gatherings, and I will tell you this, Elizabeth Warren is always the smartest person in the room.” This struck me forcibly because the woman I was talking to is incredibly smart herself.

Since seeing Warren in Chicago, I have been observing Warren’s performance in the debates, rising poll numbers, and commentary on her “monster” ground game in swing states like Nevada. But at this moment, what impresses me most is her positive and strategic leadership in response to the shootings. She is offering a solid path to solving real problems. Isn’t that what we want and deserve from our leaders? And if we want to solve hard problems, don’t we want to be led by the smartest person in the room?

Tidbits and follow-ups:

Inspiration is all around us. Act now state by state!


This weekend men and women “Marched to the Polls” to raise awareness for the fast approaching  mid-term elections, November 6.

Even at a local fundraiser for a nonprofit arts association, I was inspired to see a high school senior who integrated a “Vote” message into her dance routine on stage. (See picture above)

In many states it is not too late to register to vote or to request absentee ballots. Check out this terrific article summarizing voting timetables by state.

This is it! Call your friends and family over the next week to encourage them to make sure they have not been purged from the voting rolls, that they are registered, know their polling place, and vote early if possible.

Do you need more inspiration to make change? Check out this brilliant song by Lynzy Lab lifted up by Jimmy Kimmel after it got traction online. Leaders need to recognize the needs and issues of all Americans. Raise your voice on November 6! – register to vote, check your registration – check out candidates up and down your ballot

I already protested that guy! Voting can stop the merry-go-round

Until the presidential election in 2016, I was not involved in activism. Even now I would not call myself an activist, because my efforts are inadequate and inconsistent as I try to balance with other life obligations.

But there was a moment in college when I was moved toward activism, if only for a moment…

In the 1980s, back when rape was called “date-rape” in college settings, my privileged university was happy to look the other way. Fraternity houses were given a mere slap on the wrist, a letter of condemnation, when it occurred in their houses. And it was occurring with disturbing frequency.

I participated with fellow students, primarily women, in a series of demonstrations  themed, “Take Back the Night.” These were night vigils during which we walked with candles and signs in support of the young women on campus who were victimized. We were only slightly successful at the time, moderately impacting the administration’s stance.

One experience at a frat party helped me relate. My girlfriend’s guy friend and his pals  invited us to look at a loft they constructed in their rooms. We kindly, and perhaps naively,  followed them through the halls to see the loft. From the doorway I said that it looked cool and one of them suggested I sit down to try the couch underneath. I crossed the room to the loft and as soon as I sat down was surprised to find he had closely followed my footsteps and plopped himself directly beside me while his friend closed the door while ushering my girlfriend farther down the hall. He lunged toward me and draped his arms around me. Luckily I had not been drinking and had swifter reflexes than him, so I was able to slide low to escape his circling embrace and get up and out of the room before he got off the couch. It was ridiculous. I had only just met him 15 minutes earlier.

So of course when I heard the allegations by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford I believed her, understanding how quickly these things can happen. And after watching her credible testimony and Brett Kavanaugh’s incredible tirade, it was clear to me how true her allegations were.

It also occurred to me that I already protested this guy. Kavanaugh was a senior in college while I was a freshman, so we were contemporaries though at different schools. Essentially, he was the partying privileged frat boy I was raising awareness about, pleading to the administration for real consequences for these young men’s actions. (I’m tired and don’t have time to protest things that should have been addressed years ago. Get me off this merry-go-round!)

But it doesn’t matter to Republicans. If it did, they would not have elected Trump, a self-admitted molester of women. Nor, if women and decency mattered to them, would they have shoved through Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing without a full investigation and despite his ludicrous behavior. Abuse against women is a mere side effect of being drunk with power, and they need power to advance their agenda, right? My Republican friends think they are adhering to core values, because they feel the end justifies the means. The problem is that there is no end. There is simply a continuing downward slide of morals and debasing departures from laws and norms that protect us and our democracy.

In my many years of voting, I have voted both Republican and Democratic in general elections depending on the character and service record of the candidates. I eagerly tune into the national conventions of both major parties, hopeful to be inspired and see the best of humanity emerge. On the national stage in recent years Republicans (not just Trump) have continued to disappoint and now seriously alarm me. What they tolerate  in pursuit of power is indeed, dare I say it, deplorable. I hope for party reform out of both parties, but right now mostly I hope we have checks on power.

The days of staying open-minded to both parties are over for the time being. We cannot equivocate and pretend there is parity between the parties. For this election, we need to understand that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We simply cannot have all three arms of federal government, and 30+ state houses ruled by Republican majority. It is rotting our country’s moral core to be so out of balance. So for this election, voting Democratic is the patriotic thing to do to reset the dial and recover some checks and balances.

If you are Republican, relax, this does not mean that everything will turn Democratic overnight. Of the 14 heavily gerrymandered states, 12 states are gerrymandered in favor of Republicans, while only 2 of them are gerrymandered in favor of Democrats. Despite talk of a blue wave, it will be extremely difficult for Democrats to win in most places despite a hefty voter turnout. Democrats need to hope for a landslide of voter turnout in order to squeak a win.

But you can make a difference in making a small but important shift toward a balance in the force.

Vote. Encourage and empower at least two other people to vote. Do you have a friend who has moved and needs to request an absentee ballot? They need to act now, possibly by today or tomorrow, in order to request an absentee ballot, depending on locality. Call your friends today and remind them to register, request ballots, and vote!!! Also double-check your registration to make sure you have not been purged from the voter rolls.

Go to Also check out to learn more about all candidates on your local ballots.

My young driver, Supreme Court, and a simple thought about abortion

The Supreme Court’s decisions last month were simply bad: allowing anti-abortion clinics to mislead women, upholding a truly rigged system of gerrymandering, ignoring unconstitutional racist context and motivation of Trump’s travel ban, and twisting the first amendment to harm workers in their ability to organize for collective bargaining. Added to that, we were shocked to learn that Justice Kennedy, a sometime swing voter, is retiring, leaving a vacancy for Trump to fill with a radical conservative.

So many bad decisions in such a short time reminds us of the fragility of our rights. Now more than ever we need to heed the ACLU and “vote like our rights depend in it” because they do! And as we come closer to losing a woman’s right to choose her own health outcomes, it seems like time to talk about it.

Here is a simple thought about abortion. Tell me I’m wrong:

My oldest son recently got his driver’s license! Despite long anticipation of this event (my very first blog considered this moment), he and I were not prepared for the question of whether or not he wanted to be an organ donor. He was hesitant, and who am I to tell him what to do on such a personal question? That is when it struck me…

Our society does not require people to donate parts of their dead body to save a life. It is optional, left to personal preference, religion or belief. Yet many would force a woman to compromise her living body and risk her health and possibly her life for the possibility of giving birth to life. We don’t require each other to donate blood even though that saves lives and has no negative health outcomes for us. We don’t even require people to save someone from dying right in front of us even though we could easily stop it. In Florida two teens were given a pass for filming a drowning man instead of lifting a finger to save him. Yet women endure a multitude of negative health outcomes when bringing a baby to term and giving birth.

While U.S. leadership is doing more to restrict women’s access to abortion, Ireland is in the process of ending its strict abortion ban, despite its Catholic majority. Now our U.S. Supreme Court is on the verge of being packed with staunch conservatives for decades to come. The confirmation of Neil Gorsuch (whose mother was a militant anti-abortionist under the Reagan administration) combined with Justice Kennedy’s impending vacancy while Republicans control the Senate bodes ill for preserving women’s rights.  While some states have laws protecting a woman’s right to choose (like Illinois who recently enacted legislation because of our proactive legislators and our active citizenry), if Roe v. Wade is overturned it will negatively impact women in 17 states.

Let’s be honest, pregnancy is a serious medical condition. Even in the modern world women still lose their lives due to pregnancy. On balance, it is safer for a woman’s life and long-term health to undergo an abortion procedure than to carry a baby to term.  Before you cringe at this statement, consider that our awareness of that is not causing abortion rates to increase, abortion rates are going down in the U.S. Indeed, women who intend to be moms (for the first time or many times over) still carry babies to term, bravely facing the wonderful and awful possibilities that await them.

Why are women held to a higher standard of care toward others than dead people are? Certainly our laws often impose a higher standard on people with a duty of care, like parents of a child. But while women’s organs get shifted and compromised, and some body functions get permanently affected, we don’t require a father to donate spare parts (like a kidney or portion of his lungs, liver, intestines, or pancreas) to save a daughter. We don’t even require police, who are sworn to “protect and defend“, to save anyone in particular unless perhaps when they created the hazardous situation for that person. Heck, we often don’t even discipline officers for injuring or killing people, but we will heckle and deride football players who kneel in support of life.  That’s pretty ironic. In fact, does anyone appreciate the vomit-inducing irony of having a president who has a history of molesting women, including having extramarital unprotected sex with women, and then has the gall to reduce women’s access to reproductive health care including abortions?

If you want to force women by law to bring a fetus to full term, then you must force all people to donate blood, and all parents to donate skin and body parts to their children, and all dead bodies to offer up their organs. While you are at it, you must punish sexually aggressive men (like our president) and give rapists a lifetime sentence (after all, being a mom is a lifetime commitment). You must create, and enforce by law, a culture that fully empowers women in controlling all sexual encounters, without power plays, abuse, and manipulation. If you want the laws of our government to govern so much of our personal lives, for the sake of life, then so be it.

If, instead, you feel that governmental laws should not invade your privacy nor dictate your personal  decisions, then defend a woman’s right to choose. Advocate to support Planned Parenthood.

My son opted out of the donor program at this time. And even though I know this program prevents deaths, collectively across America that could mean the equivalent of 22 jumbo jets crashing every year with no survivors, and even though my best friend died in her twenties while she was in need of an organ transplant, I support his sovereignty over his own body, his personal privacy from governmental inquiry requiring him to defend that intimate decision, and ultimately, I support his right to choose.

Saturday, June 30, Unite to Help Families Unite

MARCH: Please join together with like-minded people on Saturday, June 30, to support the unification of families torn apart at our border by cowardly US policy. Weaklings and bullies hurt vulnerable people, not real threats. Stand up in a show of strength and togetherness for what is right and good. Click here to find a march near you. I will be at a March out of town, but send me pics from your location!

BACKGROUND: Trump falsely blamed others for a crisis he manufactured by deciding to criminally prosecute asylum seekers at the border, which caused the issue with separating children from jailed parents. Public outrage from CEOs and former First Ladies, and people like us, changed his mind. He is now following Obama’s policy to only prosecute the tiny few who are actual criminals or who might harm their own children. But what about reuniting the families already affected? What about what happens when we all turn our backs on this administration for one second, or the administration distracts us with another manufactured crisis? Speak out now and seal the deal.

ADVOCACY: Write to your elected representatives seeking more compassion, and more permanent and humane policies with regard to immigrants, asylum seekers, and families.