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.


March for Truth, Our American Integrity

Join the March for Truth tomorrow, Saturday, June 3, to protect our Democracy, 11 am Federal Plaza, Chicago.

Why march?  On the way to the Science March I met a young woman styled upscale on the el train who smirked at the idea of marching. “Is that because you are a Trump supporter, or that you agree with the direction of our nation’s leadership right now?” I asked. “No”, she said, “I just don’t want to get stressed out.”  I responded that doing something about it keeps me from being stressed out. Helps me sleep like a baby knowing I am doing what I can.

She added that things will work out for good in the long run. I said, “sure there is ebb and flow to good times and dark times. But the dark times don’t have to happen on my watch. And I would rather have 400 years of a strong democracy than settle for 200.”

But finally she revealed a more cynical  reason she is not taking action. She believes that everyone is already corrupt. “If he shows his taxes, who is to say it is even accurate?” Assuming even tax agents are bought.  This means accepting all the conspiracy of lies told about Hillary, media, and government institutions by Trump and Neo Republicans.  This is their strategy to neutralize criticism of  themselves.

If we accept the idea of widespread corruption, lies, and conflicts of interest of the Trump Administration, then we might as well live in Russia.

“America is special”, I told this young woman. We live by the rule of law. We care, or we used to care, that our leaders tell the truth. Demand it. Now.

P.S. The young woman seemed swayed finally after I told her that we could stand back and watch a toddler at the edge of a cliff. Maybe she’ll fall, maybe not. But it is for the good in the long run. Eh? Or we could go take the toddler’s hand and redirect her away from the edge. Because we can. I also suggested that the young woman may yet find some simple, special or powerful way to make a difference. I encouraged her to find it. I encourage you. I am still finding my way to the toddler’s side myself.

Time to step up! This Saturday, next Saturday, and so on!

Roll up your sleeves and put on your walking shoes. April is so full of good stuff that you simply must pick one. If you pick two I will kiss you. If you pick three I will mow your lawn. If you pick four, you are my hero! The world needs more heroes!!


Saturday, April 15 Tax Day March in Chicago (11:00 am at Daley Plaza) This is about ethics and transparency in government, so any of the scandals are fair game. “Bankrupt billionaire”, “Russian Puppet”, “Trump U Tax 101 (‘Fool them all of the time’)”

Saturday, April 22 Science March in Chicago (10:00 am east of Michigan and Jackson) Ironically, my kid is in a science symposium this day, so we may need to skip the march. But perhaps we can have a sign on our car with a picture of Einstein’s face, “Glad we welcome immigrants”.

Tuesday, April 25 Illinois Women’s March on Springfield Illinois. (Noon to 3 pm in Springfield)  I am taking time off work to go to this. It is really important to help pending legislation strengthening on equal pay laws, protect a woman’s right to choose, and other common sense bills. My sign will be “Lady Liberty is Watching You.”

Saturday, April 29 People’s Climate March in Chicago (Noon at Federal Plaza). We won’t be able to make this one, but it might be the most critical. As my Dad said in the sixties, “Earth, Love it or Leave it!”

Other political action: It is still worthwhile to write to your U.S. Congressmen and Senators asking for independent investigation of the Trump-Russia Scandal. Did you notice the quiet signing Trump did today related to reducing women’s access to healthcare? And here is a good article to help you remind people of some of Trump’s flip-flops, lies and ignorance.  And in local politics, write to your legislators and state senators to support the women’s bills pending:

Here is the list of legislation and fact sheets that the Illinois Women Moving Forward Coalition is advocating for:

  • HB40 (Feigenholtz) – Safeguarding and ensuring access to legal and safe abortion
  • HB2771 (C. Mitchell)/SB1296 (Hutchinson) Securing paid sick time and paid Family Medical Leave for working families so that women can take care of themselves and their children
  • HB2462 (Moeller)/SB981 (Biss) – Strengthening the Illinois Equal Pay Act to target systemic discrimination
  • HB3215 (Wallace)Learn with Dignity: Requires a school district to make feminine hygiene products available, at no cost to students, in the bathrooms of school buildings
  • HB3904 (Stratton) – require the IDOC to establish gender responsive, trauma-informed, evidence- based and family-centered practices, policies & programs throughout all women’s correctional facilities.

Stepping up! Townhalls are fair game.

Not long ago, after extreme frustration and bewilderment with local skirting of national politics, I pondered hosting my own townhall if our elected officials keep running from their constituents. Well Michael Romain of the Village Free Press did just that (in cooperation with The Wednesday Journal) soon after that. And tomorrow,  he will be facilitating another town hall meeting on April 1st to explore Maywood government and candidates (with support from The West Cook YMCAs).

It is wonderful to see people, journalists, and organizations stepping up to lift up citizenry and help people understand self governance. Many thanks to one and all!

So what can you do? Write to Congress? Write the next political folk song? I have songs on the brain due to Spring Break in Nashville. More on that later.

Russia, Russia, Russia


As I watched President Trump’s Address to a Joint Session of Congress this evening, I was relieved that he had a more measured tone, but troubled that his policies remain focused on the wrong problems or are likely to make real problems worse. However, I could not help thinking over and over about Russia. He did not mention it, thank goodness, and yet ongoing revelations make it the biggest story we aren’t talking about. (READ MORE)

Trump had a more upbeat tone, but it does not make me forget his authoritarian tendencies, his generally  dark vision of America and the world, his negative lies that stir the pot of hatred (like with Sweden), that his Chief Strategist is manifesting going to war in as little as 5 years with China…and it does not erase this dark spectre of Russia hanging over us and casting a dark shadow on American politics.

Here is a guy that was supposed to be so rich that he was incorruptible, no one could buy him (so says my garbage man). Yet he has repeatedly acted like he is beholden to Russia and is surrounding himself with people who have deep Russian ties. Why?

****Rachel Maddow’s Monday night show starts to crack this nut.

For context…consider that some people were concerned with Hillary Clinton’s “appearance of impropriety” for raising money for the Clinton Foundation (a legitimate and well-regarded charity) while working at the State Department. Those same people should have been outraged by Trump’s actual illegal violations (illegal, not merely appearance of impropriety) of using his Trump Foundation money for personal gain. But hold onto your seats for this one. Here is Donald Trump with shady dealing while indebted to Deutsche Bank, a bank who has been money laundering for Russian Oligarchs…

As we approach the April 15 Protest, urging Trump to show his taxes, we really need to focus the theme on revealing the truth about Russia. The transparency we seek is to ensure that Trump’s conflicts of interest do not compromise national security nor his ability to act in the best interests of America.

So tonight, as Trump spoke about making America stronger, as he exploited the presence of the widow of the Navy Seal who might not have died but for Trump’s casual dinner time decision to authorize the raid, and as I pondered the reach and depth of Russian control in our White House and nation, his words rang hollow to me.



A Day Without a Woman? I choose a Day to Celebrate Women.

Are you taking off on March 8, 2017 to honor International Woman’s Day and the call to action from the The Women’s March 100 Days of Action? At first I balked, thinking that subtracting myself from the workforce or economy for the day was insufficient, unhelpful, or counter to my own personal goals for contributing every single day to a better America. But I have since thought better of it.

On March 8, I am taking the day off work. Not to strike or protest, but to pause and reflect, to honor and celebrate, to be in solidarity with women around the world and across time.

I plan to visit and tour Jane Addams’s Hull House in Chicago, IL. (800 S. Halsted).  Jane Addams was the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Her social reform efforts helped immigrants, women, and children. Her messages are entirely relevant today. Her example is instructive and inspirational, especially at this precarious time in U.S. history. The current attack on immigrants is making national news, where counter to promises, non-criminal immigrants are being included in sweeps for deportation. But consider also the regressive effect on child labor laws of old, in the face of some law-makers attempting to depress teen wages in order to skirt minimum wage increases popularly enacted.

Join me in informing and encouraging your friends, teachers of your children, and your employers or clients that you will be off that day and you respect their choice to be off too. I will be taking my children out of school that day.

If you want to come along, drop me a line. I have arranged a group tour at 11:30 am that can scale up to 50 people. It will cost $10 per person (more or less depending on the number who attend and whether or not we see the democracy movie).

What other ways do you suggest we honor women on March 8? Here is a list of women to explore. Perhaps your local museums and libraries offer you a moment to pause, reflect and celebrate.


Action Item: Call your U.S. House Rep. to support women’s reproductive health

ACTION ITEM: If you are Pro-Choice, in support of the reproductive health of women, then here is a simple way to call your U.S. Congressman, with instructions included. These type of phone services are terrific. I once made calls while waiting in an airport.

BACKGROUND: The link above provides a quick summary. In addition, see previous posts for some decent background articles with statistics to show how funding education and abortion services help to reduce abortion rates.