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.

 

Why Women’s Rights are Human Rights

Happy New Year! I am feeling better than ever after a fantastic holiday visit with twin baby nephews, sisters, and Vegas performers. Now I am looking forward to the March for Women in Washington, January 21, to which my 13-year old son will accompany me. Are you going or someone you know, take this 30 second headcount survey.

Why do I march? Because marching unites us and is good for democracy. Because even though I have a special love for men (Hi Honey and boys!), I genuinely like women. Because I laughed out loud all four times I saw the Ghostbusters reboot (that’s right…I got the eighties jokes, and I enjoy female banter, and I appreciated the irony of gender role reversal). But most of all I march because standing up for one marginalized group means standing up for all of them, all of us.

How we treat women in any given society is a litmus test for how civilized, fair and advanced that society is. But make no mistake, when I march for women I am also marching for minorities, and men, and the rust belt, because all of us take turns being down and out (some of us just spend longer in the down and out position than others). At the end of the day, sexual harassment/discrimination, racism, nationalism, etc. all stem from the same roots: power, abuse of power, and how to divvy resources to maintain power.  It’s about getting away with it simply because you can, and about dividing people to make it easier to control them, and about limiting resources to some in order to enrich yourself.

When people abuse power, they no longer deserve power. No matter if it is in the locker room, the bus, the classroom, the workplace, or our Nation’s top leadership.

Republicans abused their power then they made their pact in 2008 to oppose Obama every step of the way, even when they agreed with him, even when it was best for the country to agree with him; their sole purpose was to “get back in power”, (seeking absolute power) not to use their power for the good of the country by doing the hard work of compromise. And Trump abuses his power almost daily with lying, irresponsible, reckless, and unethically self-enriching tweets.

So I will don my knitted pussy hat (gift from a dear friend) as we stand indivisible and march for all of us.

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.

 

 

Self-Driving Cars, Auto-Pilot Parenting

If your children are like mine, they can’t wait to get a driver’s license. My boys are moth-to-flame when it comes to car racing video games. It seems just like yesterday when I was forced, Clockwork- Orange-style, to watch Hot Wheels World Race with my 5-year-old (now 15) again and again. But the world keeps changing and just as I have started to fantasize about throwing car keys at my teenager to fetch milk, he has merged onto a different thought highway. Now our car conversation vacillates between Tesla store visits (dreaming)  and how self-driving cars are the future!

Imagine my shock that my son prefers that the car drive itself. Of course that would free him up to play car racing video games on his device while in the car. However, being world-minded and a natural futurist (considering he is 15, of course), he has higher ideals related to self-driving cars and sees recent news about accidents as a mere blip, barely a concern. His arguments are persuasive. Cars can communicate with each other, so they can all move forward as a solid block. Stop lights can go away, because cars will naturally take turns. People won’t die because poor drivers make mistakes or because they are having heart attacks. And so on.

Perhaps it is because I find it hard to keep up with the details he downloads on me from his Internet surfing, but I am beginning to wear down. Concerns about computer glitches, hacking, and loss of autonomy, privacy, etc., do not seem as important as the progress he describes. I fear, however, that my inability to maintain a solid argument in response is not that I am tired from work, managing a household, or navigating local and world politics as I try to be a responsible citizen, but rather that I am drifting into a futurist style of auto-pilot parenting. “That’s nice, honey.”

So long as he will still fetch the milk, I’m good.