Women’s March Chicago: Big, Beautiful Historic, Sober, Determined

womensmarchchicago-vote-triumphant (2)

How was the Women’s March today? Depends on who you ask.

“Big!” Says my sixteen year old son. “Lots and lots of people.” Considering he is over six feet tall I suppose he had a good view of the crowd and the pink hats. He also was not at the Women’s March last year and so his biggest march was Earth Day with roughly 45,000 people. Today’s crowd was more like 300,000.

“Beautiful!” said the police commander when my friend asked him how it went. Peaceful and pleasant almost to a fault. Right before the march an organizer said, “Remember to be respectful of each other and public property.” And we were.

“Historic”, said our friend who also was impressed that it marks the anniversary of the birth of a Movement.

“Sober and mature” I thought, compared to last year’s marches which swelled beyond expectations. Last year in D.C. everything felt electric as people rushed with outrage and urgency to defend Americans and the nation’s ideals.  Now both their heads and their hearts are in the game. People know better how to proceed, how to pace themselves, how to win the long game to restore this country.

I saw ‘Dan Biss for Governor” signs. Meanwhile, JB Pritzker wound his way through the crowd near us , accessible to folks for chat and pics. Lisa Madigan gave one of the most inspiring and focused speeches. Basically she said,  “1. You can do anything (you already do, like build businesses, teach, volunteer), 2. You are powerful, 3. We are more powerful together. 4. Get out there to vote and run for office.” Powerful message we can think on, and act on!

My recommended 2018 To Do list:

  1. Register to vote
  2. Ask everyone you know to register to vote–friends, neighbors, sales clerks, the mailman, (I remind telemarketers who call my home)
  3. Stay alert for rallies, marches and other organized activity in your area. See PersistList.org for happenings in Chicago and/or sign up for your favorite causes who will send you alerts.
  4. Stay informed about candidates as we approach elections. Go to ballotready.org for information about candidates up and down the ballot, and triangulate news sources for good information.
  5. Let’s all get in formation and march to the polls for 2018!

New York, New York: A lesson for us all

Visited friends in New York this weekend and was heartened by the sheer number and variety of people walking peacefully elbow to elbow in the city.  We walked by Trump Tower where barricades funneled pedestrians across the street through small gaps. We only saw a couple protesters. One passerby was snapping a pic with a smiling thumbs up, while my husband saluted with a different finger. Mostly people were bustling about their business not paying any heed to the towering headquarters pumping out one alarming cabinet pick after another (read about Trump’s lean toward Russian-friendly Exxon Mobile CEO Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State, and anti- EPA Myron Ebell to lead the EPA)

More hopefully, when we entered the nearby St. Patrick’s Cathedral, there were hundreds of people filing in and out (probably many thousands a day) to be inspired by its massive grace and perhaps to pray. What did I pray for? I prayed that we lift up and spread the tolerance and strength of New Yorkers throughout the country.

My “man-on-the-street” conversations and exchanges with friends in NYC revealed that New Yorkers do not have much love for Trump, having known him longer than the rest of us. Yet somehow they are pulling it out day after day, dealing with the daily grind and their own local politics while enduring daily traffic re-routes due to national security for the president-elect, shouldering the burden of being Trump central. And not to mention commuting past the former Twin Towers every day in the financial district. New Yorkers are resilient.

Meanwhile, I dropped a thank you note to the New York Times building. A grittier location than plush 5th Avenue. Its exoskeleton (did you see the spiderman climb?) reminded me of armor (they say it is eco-friendly from sun) which seemed appropriate considering the NY Times will need to suit up for battle to protect our First Amendment rights to free speech in the face of an authoritarian Trump presidency which has already abused power to chill individuals and the press from exercising their Constitutional right to free speech. And his cabinet pick for Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, may contribute to that problem.

Suggested next steps? Write to your Congressman to block Trumps Cabinet picks. Engage people in political dialogue instead of shunning or shaming. (This Ted Talk on tribalism might help). Triangulate news sources and encourage others to do the same.

 

Your News, My News: Let’s Swap

First off, please read Evan McMullin’s Trump’s Threat to the Constitution. In my “man on the street” conversation today, I mentioned this article to a gentleman who then admitted to me that he voted for McMullin for President.

That same man recommended that I read the Federalist article about the John Doe investigations in Wisconsin. Let’s call it OPTION A. He was disturbed by Democrats searching Republican homes with “early morning raids”. So I read it tonight prepared to be horrified.

Then I read from other news sources and discovered that there was a lot more to the story; bipartisan prosecutors, serious allegations against Scott Walker, Koch Brothers and big money involvement,  self-interested State Supreme Court judges, laws governing John Doe investigations, etc. Poor Wisconsin. How could Hillary think she was a shoe-in?

I found articles that focused mainly on Scott Walker corruption, and also others that focused only on people whose homes were searched in the probe.  Here is the best article I found that touches on both: “Bipartisan Prosecutors Call Scott Walker a Liar for His Attacks on Corruption Probe”. Let’s call it OPTION B.

So what is the truth? If I had read only OPTION A, I might be just as astounded as the gentleman on the train today. I might want to go investigate this myself to stop such atrocities (like the shooter who believed the fake news about the pizzeria)

OPTION B, though it has a slant, reads more fairly to me than OPTION A, and offers up more verifiable facts, rather than mere hyperbole. Meanwhile, Option A sounds especially angry and paranoid. And it is true that conservative news articles that I read tonight omitted facts about the bipartisan nature of the investigations and the level of corruption alleged.

So I choose OPTION B as closer to the truth, to save myself from continuing to search for more news sources until I can be even more certain. Truth is tenuous, and it is tedious. And I am tired.

But at least now I am more educated. And if I see that man tomorrow I can let him know that I respected his request to read the article. Maybe he has since read McMullin’s too?

Trump’s Corruption Needs a Correction

My garbage man says that Trump is a billionaire so he can’t be bought, and thus is not corruptible. Did it occur to him that Trump may not need to be bought in order to be corrupt?

Trump has lived his life in service to Trump, and he is already using his elected position for personal gain.

In just these first few weeks as President-Elect, he has already avoided the press corp which can both keep him accountable and help him communicate in emergencies, ignored security briefings which are necessary to prepare him for office, and ignored is own transition team’s efforts to teach him. Instead he has:

1. asked U.K. leaders to block construction of windmills in view of Trump’s golf course (something Trump previously fought to the highest court in England, and lost),

2. asked Argentinian leader to help Trump’s building project get building permits in Argentina,

3. interrupted transition activity to meet with Indian businessmen on project that would pay royalty money directly to Trump, and

4.  broke with protocol and met privately with Japanese leader and Trump’s daughter Ivanka who had business to discuss.

Also, it is speculated that his politically controversial call with the leader of Taiwan may have been prompted by economic/business interests of his Trump organization.

If Hillary Clinton had done any one of these corrupt things, he would have demanded to “lock her up!”  If your local politicians had done it you would demand they resign.

His refusal to release his taxes was the first sign that he did not intend to behave ethically. Now he is behaving unconstitutionally, with intent to violate the highest laws of the land.

What you can do:

  • Read the excellent letter by U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D) and U.S. Congressman, Elijah Cummings, and their call for a government audit of Trump’s conflicts of interest and investigation of his use of unsecured lines to make transition calls to heads of state.
  • Contact the Government Accountability Office contact@gao.gov to note that you “support an investigation into the appropriateness of Trump’s use of tax payer dollars toward the presidential transition, and an audit of all potential conflicts of interest.”
  • Write to your U.S. Congressmen to demand action to protect our country from despot leaders.

 

Voting: The Fix is in!

Republicans seem to know the old adage… make sure you’ve won the game before it has even started. How do they do this? They write the rules. In elections that means pre-work as follows:

  1. Gerrymandering congressional districts to ensure your party retains power. While this may favor either or both major parties, systemic efforts by Republicans for two decades have resulted in a skew toward Republican victories and wasting votes of Democrats.  See the map in this article about a Wisconsin gerrymandering case, which also offers a glimmer of hope about a breakthrough method for identifying and fighting partisan gerrymandering.  Also see the hopeful steps happening in North Carolina where a special election may be held after court-supervised redistricting can take place. Also see news of more organized Democratic leadership to combat this issue.
  2. Caging, purging and otherwise reducing voter registrations to make it hard for people to vote, particularly  minorities who more frequently vote Democratic, thus favoring Republican victories. See this well-written summary on North Carolina  restrictions on voting (though people are now fighting back in NC)
  3. Undercounting votes, particularly of minorities, by methods such as “Crosscheck” which ensure that votes that were cast are not actually counted. See article by long-time election investigator Greg Palast. His totals on purged votes show how the exit polls were right about Hillary winning in those critical swing states, but then the votes were not counted. This is another tactic used by Republicans.
  4. Using manipulable computer voting machines from Republican controlled and connected companies (like Diebold) which have proven unreliable and skewing toward Republican victories.  See my earlier post with a movie link and more details (see the movie!)

Why are they doing this? See the Stick Figure video about perpetuating power that I linked previously. Classic tactics, particularly if you are moving away from a democratic model toward dictatorship model.

What can we do?

  • Get Democrats registered well in advance, and then get them physically to the polls with organized rides. Reach out to help in other states by calling those Democratic headquarters. Mid-term elections are essentially around the corner.
  • Write letters to Congress, to the Editor, to whomever, about the need for bipartisan districting. How else can we keep politicians of any party from becoming too comfortable or too corrupt? They need to feel the pressure come election day to prove they’ve earned our vote.
  • Connect with Holder’s efforts for fair redistricting.
  • Dispute, every chance you get, Trump’s notion that there is widespread in-person voting fraud (the Chicago equivalent of vote early and often). Every expert agrees this is simply not true and that the few cases are so few as to be inconsequential. He is tweeting this not as a sore loser rant, but rather as a strategy to gain political support for more voter suppression laws.

“I’m with her”, and her, and her, and her…

Move over angry white man; Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!

I just had the pleasure of sitting with a roomful of women, many strangers to me, to bond over politics, passions and patriotism. This organic neighborhood meeting happened because over the course of these past three weeks many of these women naturally shared tears after the election, fears after the cabinet picks started rolling in, and jeers over Trump’s conflicts of interest and other corrupt and odious behaviors.

The big takeaway? YOU ARE NOT ALONE. It was amazing to me how similarly we all felt about the election, about Trump, about the need to do something about it. So now we are organizing.

How about you? Have you met up with like-minded people yet? Reminds me of the organic rise of MoveOn.org and how people (including my previously apolitical sister in a swing state) started to have Move On meetings in their homes after the 2000 presidential election.

Time is ticking for Foster Campbell’s Dec 10 run-off election for the U.S. Senate so DONATE NOW!

See other things you can do now to “Restore Balance to the Force” such as book a rally bus to get yourself to the March for Women in Washington, January 21, 2017.

The Election Changes Everything (Most of All You)

Day 5 since Election Day. The body shaking lessens, but does not stop. There are moments each day when I can put out of my mind what just happened, but not most.

I shed tears at various moments during my son’s Bar Mitzvah yesterday, but only half of them were in reverence and awe of him and the beautiful tradition. The other half of those tears flowed because I could not reconcile the standard prayers (hope, love, peace, helping the sick, stopping oppression, embracing differences) with what our country just did: elect Donald Trump as our future president of the United States.

Every parent knows that parenting means growing your child from both the inside (good food, good morals, good information) and the outside (good role models, safe home/schools/community, and healthy environment). So every parental instinct is offended at a Trump election, which has already uncorked the stopper of hatred in otherwise safe and stable neighborhoods. On Halloween a swastika was displayed in our neighborhood. Post election someone displayed a “white kids only” sign on a bathroom door in a nearby town. And I live in a state that voted for Hillary. Bigotry. It is hard to put that genie back in the bottle, and even harder when its instigator and champion was just voted into office.

Trump has also announced his desire to decrease funding for environmental regulation, which signals more difficulty to come in raising our children, and our children’s children,  in healthy environments.

As to providing good role models for our children…Trump has repeatedly and unabashedly lied, cheated, bullied, sexually harassed, and otherwise dangerously misled the American people (weakening the Obama Presidency with the racially provocative birther lie for years, calling Hillary Clinton a crook without evidence and despite a lack of indictment or lawsuit, while he has an unbelieveable amount of litigation pending against him, declaring that American elections are rigged and mainstream media biased).

Had Trump been a major league baseball player, merely one instance of these many transgressions would have caused him suspension, a fine, or perhaps cost his job. But our country just rewarded him with the presidency. Had he been Hillary Clinton we would have hung her by now in torchlight, after the public dunking to conclude the Republican-Led Witch Hunt, (coming up short, thus leading to request for emails) the state-sponsored political persecution of Hillary Clinton in which the media was complicit and on which Trump capitalized.

Some people say we should just wait and see, he might moderate his approach in office. I am here to tell you he has already changed everything!

The rules of American politics have just changed. And Americans are the losers. People have always tolerated a certain amount of factual sidestepping in politics, but they don’t like a lot of it, and they don’t appreciate bold face lies. Like when Bill Clinton said “there is no sexual relationship” (a lie to protect his own skin prompted by a non-meritorious personal lawsuit against him). Like when George W. Bush concocted and convinced us of the lie that there was evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (a lie which eroded our moral authority in the world, propelled us into a decade long war, lost thousands of American lives, caused a hundred thousand other deaths and injuries in the Muslim world thus spawning stronger enemies in the shape of ISIS/ISIL/IS, removed a check on Iranian threat to the region, and increased our national debt to levels that cripple our economic growth now and in the future).  Americans don’t like this kind of thing once we realize we have been boldly lied to. It is part of why voters did not want to support a mainstream Republican candidate or Bill Clinton’s wife (guilt by association).

In this political contest, Trump, who was by far (very far) the more egregious liar, wins the day. Trump, who was a master manipulator clothed as a whiny school boy, won the day, rather than Hillary Clinton who preserved a modicum of professional and political decency in her response to his unprecedented behavior. But it was too late. He, and the Republican army before him, had already effectively penned her in. Who would believe her when she said he was lying, since she had already been brandished the liar? Because she had been tarnished as untrustworthy, she could not talk herself out of it, could not talk her way back into our good graces. Who would have believed mainstream media when he has labeled them as liars too?

Republicans have perfected the art of the Big Lie (telling the very opposite of the truth loudly and frequently, or accusing their opponent of their own crimes in order to inoculate themselves) and it paid off Big Time. And there is a word for this: Propaganda. And it leads to a democracy who no longer has correct information to help them vote for what they intend.

The change in rules for political contests are tantamount to when the rules of warfare itself changed from organized combat to jungle warfare. Very messy. Very hard to predict harm and control consequences. And because they have proved beneficial to Trump and the Republicans for these many years now…they are not going away. They have double downed on them.

You know this intuitively, that everything changed. It is why your stomach ached on November 9. It is why you  still shake a little bit sometimes. Your mind cannot fully believe it yet, but your spirit and body knows you–and everything you stand for, everything you thought our great country stood for–were just assaulted.

You also know in your heart that it means you have to stand up and do something about it. You are no longer a mere spectator in this democracy while working hard to feed and clothe  your family.  The political issues are no longer abstract, distant, or even complex. Trump made this personal. He attacked you, your wife, your neighbors, your employees, and possibly your honored ancestors, by his hate speeches. And he was elected for it, or despite it. This is personal. And no one talks to us like that and gets aways with it. You understand?

Wishing it away is not sufficient. These people play a long game.

Today my family will sit down to form a plan, just like you might form a household evacuation plan, a natural disaster plan, a college savings plan, or plan who will take care of a sick loved one. Our plan today will start with how to respond to bigotry wherever and whenever we encounter it, whether it be school, work , government officials, or media. We will build our plans from there to include more proactive steps to change political leadership in Congress and the White House, to limit their scope of power and influence.

I invite you to tell me what your plans are. And as the days and months proceed, I will post here any ideas we all have that help us to each take steps. Each of us can only take small steps while we work hard on other things. So think of it as one small step for man, but one giant step for mankind. We can do this together. I will post something every week if not more frequently. Let’s see what we can do.