Who’s Right, Who’s Wrong – The Resistance

Yes we are divided into two ideological tribes or camps. Yes this point has been made a million times by everyone including me. However the fact that the message is repetitive does not make it wrong. Each side believes that the policies espoused by their party will keep America stronger, healthier and more influential on the world stage than will the policies of the other party.

Moving From Obstruction to Demolition

But I think we have to look at this from another perspective because one of the two major parties (one set of ideologically-based beliefs) requires Americans to scrap all of the laws they have made since the Constitution was written and to start over. This party wants to obliterate the other party, annihilate it and get rid of any traces that it ever existed. This party says we should throw out everything we have done, especially on human rights, humanitarian concerns, environmental concerns, and regulation of business and the banks, on foreign relations and trade.

They believe the true test of a nation is economic, not humanitarian. They believe that celebrating diversity will change the hue of America beyond recognition and it will just not be America anymore. Behind this is an argument that our democracy/republic was designed for white people who are Christians and that is all.

They blame our changed position in the world (no longer first in production or universally feared and respected by all the world’s nations) as arising from the failed policies of the other party rather than any other forces like greater connectedness through air travel, tourism, the internet and cell phones. They want to hold the world still just like they tried to hold our government still for the past six years. They want things to be like they used to be.

(Smack your forehead here at the naivety of this extreme nostalgia.) Even these folks know in their hearts that nothing stays the same forever.)

This is exactly why the left says that the right wants to take us backwards. The party on the left seems to at least try to address current needs of our society as they arise.

It’s Personal

Despite the chaos of the past two week the Trumpers who were once my friends and family are starting to creep back on to my Facebook page crowing triumphantly because the man who is not my president is doing just exactly what he promised his “peeps” he would do. It is quite distressing that my feelings are so different from the friends I grew up with and from my family. Where I see creeping fascism and racism and warmongering they have visions of influence and world domination dancing in their heads. Who’s right, who’s wrong?

I have been as aware as anyone that our government is far from perfect. I think that there is too much money in politics. I deplore the Citizen’s United decision and the McCutcheon v FEC decision and even the original ruling that made corporations people because that just led to the laws that define money as speech. Why does this statement that money is speech sound like linguistic nonsense to me and like common sense to others? Who’s right, who’s wrong?

Now there is to be an executive action that allows religious not-for-profits to contribute money to campaigns. My brain is ready to explode already, but then we are told that laws are being passed that challenge the right to religious freedom – because they require religious people to do things that threaten either their soul, their bottom line, or both such as bake a cake for a gay wedding or offer insurance to their employees that pays for contraception. (Smack your forehead again.)

There is an obvious clash of values here. Does our country legislate to please those who follow the Bible, or does it legislate to offer treatment to all that is as fair as possible. Since we are not a theocracy I come down on the side of the latter, but I also despair that this conflict is almost impossible to resolve without untangling how to respect the separation of church and state and still respect the desires of citizens to honor their religious beliefs. Perhaps only time will smooth out this one but in the meantime it is tearing America apart. So I see the logic of Christians, although it blows the idea of tolerance out of the water and that can’t be right.

These estranged friends and family members do not even agree that the GOP has skirted and subverted the US Constitution to serve their own purposes, or that there was ever obstruction, or voter suppression, or extreme gerrymandering. If they get even a glimmer of a thought that some of this may be true then it was justified, they say.

So none of these folks will ever buy that resistance is required; they will not see anything amiss with Trump’s cabinet appointments, including the horrific-for-our-schools Betsy DeVos. They do not think that a Supreme Court seat that was Obama’s to fill has been stolen on purpose and handed to DT to fill. In fact they applaud this maneuver although it sort of annihilates our US Constitution.

 

 

Talking to Democrats

This leads me to the “speech” I want to make to Democrats in Congress. I do not care what you believe that sets you at odds with other Dems. This is a time for unity. (No pledges, I don’t like pledges. Look what Norquist did to Republicans who signed his pledge.) This is a time to put our differences aside and decide about what we agree on. I bet we can all agree to resist every executive action or bill that tries to overturn laws that were passed to address the problems of the 20th and 21st centuries, or any action that is unconstitutional.

I bet we can all agree to keep an eye on the whole Trump entourage and try to soften the blows that he seems likely to dish out to America and the world. And if you do not – every one of you – vote no on Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court, I hope that any wealthy backers we have will see that you get the “primaried” treatment that the GOP used so successfully to keep elected reps in line and I hope we the people surround your offices and demonstrate peacefully in your face until you get the message.

Here is link to a list of all of the Democrats in the 115th Congress. We are watching you. This is not a threat, but it is a promise.

https://www.thearmchairobserver.com/115th-congress-democrats/

 

Stick together. Go down fighting or win through resistance. Obstruction is their word: let’s use the word resistance.

A Few Parting Thoughts

So far I see little of the buyer’s remorse I hoped to see by now. Trumpers don’t think DT is personally hurting them in any way; but they seem delighted that his is sticking it to the left. Oh my giddy aunt! (OK, I stole that from A Knight’s Tale, but in my defense I love that line and it is difficult to find many opportunities to use it.) How much longer will it take for disaffection to appear?

(And Facebook – these folks and I still strongly disagree and I am not ready to let them back onto my page yet, so please continue to block them. I guess Facebook thinks all is well and it is time to reconvene. This is one time that we cannot agree to disagree.)

This is a view from the cheap seats.

 

Women’s March, January 21, 2017

Women have some idea of the challenges that men have historically faced, one of the toughest challenges being to go off to fight in wars. Men are expected to be kind and wise and to be incredibly responsible as citizens, workers, husbands and bread-winners. Women have some empathy for these male roles which many men obviously struggle against sometimes.

But not all men seem as understanding of the imperfect lives of women and the challenges they have faced and the challenges they still face. Almost every culture has traditions or laws or customs that circumscribe the lives of women; that hem them in to their own traditional roles as wives, housewives, child-bearers, child-raisers, household managers.

Often religion has been used to keep women close to home and uneducated. Many churches did not allow women to worship with men, and even primitive cultures that predate religion often had separate rituals for men and women. In modern novels there may be women ostensibly living in early cultures running around hunting with spears or fighting in wars, but in real life, I’m thinking, it was quite rare for a women to get a chance to learn or use these skills.

Women have been bought and sold, used as hostages, kidnapped to be sexual objects, been forced to suffer through clitoral mutilations so that they would find no pleasure from the sexual act, had their feet bound for the sexual pleasure of wealthy men, have been killed in honor killings for breaking any number of cultural rules or taboos and have suffered atrocities too numerous to mention.

Obviously life on earth has not always been, nor is it now, easy, regardless of someone’s sexuality. Since we have access to books and histories that allow us to view the lives of humans over hundreds of centuries we might be expected to learn from the histories and stories that we read. You would think that we would try to take some of the burdens off both men and women, and that we would ease each others’ journey through lives so full of the paradoxes like wealth and poverty, good and evil, health and illness, war and peace, joy and grief, pleasure and pain and more.

So why are some men still trying to control the lives of women and take away hard won rights and set back the fight to offer greater freedom to women around the globe to lead lives that are as full of opportunities to succeed or fail as are the lives of men? Just watch a TV offering like Dateline and you will see that men (mostly men) kill women for all kinds of reasons, like jealousy, or because they see murder as the only route to freedom, or there is some primitive impulse still in them that makes trying to murder a woman and get away with it attractive.

Men often have complicated feelings about women and women are often victims of emotions that men cover over for long periods of time with manners and a fog of romance perhaps. We see over and over that we may never actually know someone we have lived with for many years. Of course this can also be true of women, although they may not choose murder as a way out.

It is not difficult to see that the wiring in our brains may still resemble the wiring we had as Neanderthals. With 9 billion people due on the planet real soon we may have to give up our primitive imperatives and we may have to “fake it until we make it” to a more evolved wiring system in human brains.

Women in America came to believe that the ideals expressed by our forefathers, when they said all men are created equal, used the term men to stand for mankind and that this freedom did include women. America has offered women opportunities to fight for rights, many of them having to do with matters which have traditionally concerned women but some which have broadened the freedoms women could exercise in our world.

When I look back and see that women in America did not win the right to vote until 1920 it seems impossible that it could have taken so long to gain such a right. We have only had the right to control our own pregnancies since 1973 when Roe v Wade passed the Supreme Court and there has never been a day that someone has not wanted to chastise women for ever wanting to stop a child from being born, even though men have killed women for becoming pregnant inconveniently.

So I went to the Women’s March, January 21, 2017 (although I went locally and not to Washington) because the battle to take these hard won rights away from women has grown more fierce in the past 8 years, so much so that some stern male purists even want to take away our modern methods of contraception.

It makes perfect sense that I would want to go to a demonstration of our resistance to this attempt on the part of some men to take away rights women have won. It makes perfect sense that I would be happy at a rally where someone has a sign which reads “1958 is calling…we’re not answering” or where there is a sign that says “If you don’t have a uterus, then be quiet.”

I appreciate that so many men and boys attended the demonstrations. I appreciate their support of women and I am glad to see that there are men with healthy egos who are not threatened by women who express their skills, talents, and personalities. The presence of men also told the world that this resistance is a movement of the many American people who feel that the authoritarianism we have always tried to expose and overturn around the world is now a real threat to America that must be resisted.

Charles Blow said it really well in his article in the NYT this morning

“And the marches, which included quite a few men and boys as well, also represented more than that. They were a rebuke of bigotry and a call for equality and inclusion. They demonstrated the awesome power of individual outrage joined to collective action. And it was a message to America that the majority did not support this president or his plans and will not simply tuck tail and cower in the face of the threat. This was an uprising; this was a fighting back. This was a resistance.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/23/opinion/we-are-dissidents-we-are-legion.html?