Election Reflection – Split Decision? Or Blue Wave?

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​Last Tuesday, I had planned on spending the day watching twenty-four hour cable news. The idea of doing that filled me with dread. I began to have minor flashbacks of the same day two years before when I ignored most of the day’s goings-on since I knew the outcome. I, and  many of the country (about sixty-three million of us) were wrong. It was devastating, and the more I thought about seven days ago, the more I realized that I did not want to sit at home, waiting for results that would not come until late in the evening.

I decided to vote early and go to my local religious retreat house for a day of reflection centered on Thanksgiving. It was exactly what I needed, and it helped me through the rest of the evening and into the week that followed. Sometimes stepping back is exactly what’s needed in those stressful circumstances that this Election Day was going to be.

One week later, and there are still some outstanding races. As I write this, Arizona’s Senate race has just been declared: Kyrsten Sinema (D) has won the seat previously held by Jeff Flake. She will be the first woman Senator to represent Arizona. That was worth waiting for.

The main question Republicans and pundits (but not that many Democrats) are asking is whether this was really a blue wave rather than a puddle or a correction or a split decision, and I can tell you from my personal research (unscientific) on Facebook and Twitter, while we went to sleep just a week ago on Tuesday night only slightly less queasy than at the same time in 2016, waking up and continuing on during this past week of continuing counting of votes, rescinded concessions, no concessions in the case of Arizona and Georgia, and the huge increase in Congressional diversity, I can safely say that BLUE WAVE it is!

It is a complete repudiation of the Trump Administration and its policies that favor his laziness, bigotry and cronyism and nepotism. We said strongly that Mueller and his investigation must be protected and with Democrats on oversight, he will be.

For starters, some of my (least) favorite people have been defeated, including Scott Walker (WI), Kris Kobach (KS), Dean Heller (NV), John Faso (NY), Dana Rohrbacher (CA), Pete Sessions (TX), and the counting still continues in Georgia (governor) and Florida (governor and senator).

One hundred seventeen women!

The first (2) Muslim women.

The first (2) Native American women.

The first black woman from Massachusetts.

Openly gay governor for Colorado.

First woman Senator from Arizona, who is also bisexual.

Youngest woman elected to Congress from New York.

Lucy McBath won her seat in Georgia. She is one of the Moms Demand gun sense candidates, and part of a wave that added gun sense to the roles of Congress while defeating twenty-one NRA backed and A-rated candidates.

In Houston, ALL 19 black women who ran for judicial seats won!

In state legislatures across the country, 350 seats flipped as well as six state legislatures.

In North Carolina, the Republicans no longer have a supermajority, which lets the Democratically Elected Governor do his job.

Amendment 4 in Florida re-enfranchised millions of voters.

Idaho, Utah, and Nebraska all voted to expand medicaid.

Arkansas and Missouri voted to raise the minimum wage and Missouri passed a pro union ballot measure.

Teacher protests across the country happened in conservative states and helped move things forward; things are changing across the country.

The big question from Crooked Media’s Lovett or Leave It is how do we get Democratic politicians to be as popular as Democratic policies? Across the country progressive policy is popular, but for some reason conservatives continue to vote against their own interests.

In Red State Texas, Beto O’Rourke came within three points of beating incumbent Ted Cruz. If you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know who Beto O’Rourke is, find is farewell email to his supporters; it highlights his character and beliefs.

In Georgia where the current Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, who is running the election for the state as well as running for Governor in the election he’s overseeing is defending his voter suppression in court while his challenger, Stacey Abrams is within one point of winning and they’re still counting.

In Florida, they haven’t finished counting the original election totals, and are still waiting for overseas military ballots to come in. When the original count is finished, Gillum and Nelson will qualify for a machine and a hand recount, respectively.

The biggest takeaway is flipping the House.

The Democrats now have oversight power, and can perform a check on the Executive branch of government despite the Republicans relinquishing their duty for the last two years. There will now be accountability so the White House, the President, and his Cabinet can’t go further into their already documented corruption and circumventing the rule of law.

This was one of the biggest turnouts in a midterm in history, and if we can keep the momentum going through the next Presidential election, we can right some of the wrongs of the past two years. If nothing else, it will be a reminder that the President is not a King; he answers to us, the people, and we will now hold his feet to the fire, and ensure that he does his job, not just for his small base, but for all Americans, no matter their party or their income level.

We can change the gerrymandering laws to make them more fair to everyone (including Republicans); we can reverse some of the unfair ID laws like the ones in North Dakota and Georgia and Indiana. We can pass bills for automatic voter registration so all eligible voters are able to vote in the next election.

As we’ve seen by this very Blue Wave, we can take back our country.

When we vote, we win.

Election Reflection – 21 DAYS TIL MIDTERMS

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VOTE!

Vote Save America – check your registration. People are being purged and voters, especially minorities and Democratic voters are being suppressed. If Republicans had a message and could take the responsibility of governing, they wouldn’t need to cheat by suppressing legal voters from making their choices.

In Georgia, the Republican running against Stacey Abrams is also the Secretary of State of the state of Georgia, and is the one who validates the security and legitimacy of the election, including certifying the election. Currently, there are 53,000 voter registrations that are being held up. 70% of them are African-American voters.

Georgia Lawsuit is Latest…
The Supreme Court just ruled, merely a few weeks ahead of this year’s election that the North Dakota law requiring street addresses (rather than post office boxes) is legal and upheld. This disenfranchises many Native Americans voters, a voting group that primarily goes for the Democratic party. Living on reservations and on rural routes, the post office does not assign street addresses. This is significant.

Native Americans Decry Supreme Court Ruling on Voter ID in ND

Indiana is trying to purge voters in the weeks before this midterm election.

Federal Judge Blocks Indiana…

Again, I ask, what are Republican politicians afraid of?

We are still at risk from Russian election interference. Nothing has been fortified since the 2016 election that has been proved to have been compromised.

I’m worried.

You should be also.

Check your registration, drive your friends to the polls, and VOTE!

Election Reflection – Hope

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The last time I stayed up until 2am watching election returns my mood was much more somber, much more reserved, much more depressed. For the first time since November 8, 2016 I have hope. I have worry – the Republicans are still pushing their taxscam, the President implied my Senator was a prostitute, and the FCC closed the internet last week, but I have hope. I don’t believe any of this needs to be permanent.

While covfefe was the rock that broke the dam and let me see human again, Doug Jones is the light in a very long, very dark tunnel.

McConnell can wait to seat him and pretend he’s not the obstructionist in chief. He can encourage the Dems to clean house while supporting a child molester who was banned from the local mall. He can laugh at his bigotry over his reactions to President Obama and he can relish in his hypocrisy of using social security and medicare while now calling them entitlements and planning to eliminate them from families just like his.

We have the higher ground.

We have always had the higher ground.

This country was founded on a strong central government with limited state powers. How the Republicans corrupted that I don’t know. Probably the same way they corrupted the 2nd Amendment from James Madison’s original intent.

They let their people denigrate the liberal states, while knowing that they couldn’t survive without our invention, inspiration, and tax support. Secede. We’ll be okay. We give more than we get.

I’m determined.

My inner dragon is awakened.

My kids will not live in dystopia or fear.

Rise up. It’s working.

Wise up. Pay attention.

Eyes up. See the whites of their eyes.

Look them in the eye; don’t back down.

Resist.
A pro-choice Democrat who prosecuted and convicted the KKK was elected the Alabama Senator.

I absolutely have hope.

Election Reflection – A Political Eruption

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​I originally wrote this eight months ago for a memoir workshop prompt, which was ironic because we were told, both for the fall before and this spring to avoid politics. I am easily the most liberal person in our writing group and the most conservative is a couple who I actually know from my church. Everyone else falls somewhere between us, and with the 2016 election and the Inauguration still very fresh on our minds any talk of politics was like pulling the band-aid off a cut. For some of us it was like, well, just to avoid a graphic example let’s leave it at pulling off a band-aid.

This prompt was interesting because it was a writing exercise from Bill Roorbach’s book, Writing Life Stories. It is the Chinese Food Menu Exercise – choose one from column A and one from column B and write for ten minutes.

I think if I was starting this project today instead of editing it for you, I would use a rhyming scheme just so I could write about the eruption of corruption in the Trump Administration.

What rhymes with incompetence?

Ignorant?

Intolerable?

Suffice it to say, we’ve come a long way in the past eight months, down a darkening path that frightened me, and continues to frighten me.

Late night comedians and twenty-four hour internet opinionators called this a dumpster fire around February. If February was a dumpster fire, then what in G-d’s name is this?

I’m in a mirror universe where up is down, truth are lies, news is fake, Russia is good and Congress is indifferent.

Originally, this was written with hopelessness. I still feel it, but I’m also opening myself up to hope and to take action. I’m also going to link to Peter MacDonald’s speech at the White House. He is a Navajo Code Talker, and if he can have hope, I can also.

———-

The prompt for this was choose one from column A and one from column B. My two words were politics and eruptions.
Politics is calling out to me, I think since my inner (and outer) (political) junkie has reawakened. A little wiser, a little calmer, a little more cackling at the chaos and fearful of the mongering.

For several years politics is more than policy; it is life. Corporate lay-offs equal will my husband have a job? Health care increases and higher deductibles equal medical care or lunch? Decisions no one should have to make.

But last year…last year was beyond the pale. This can’t be what anyone wanted, but here it is. And last year also brought politics to a boiling point, a volcanic spewing, a series of eruptions. As the silent majority rose in the 80s, a new majority erupted from the ashes right below the glass ceiling, tiny pieces of glass tinkling on the floor, balloons popping and children crying as well as their stunned parents.

The slow boil began, the lava beginning its ascent higher and hotter until it could be contained no longer.

Boom!

Not crybabies.

Not sore losers.

Tired, tired people.

Tired of hypocrisy and broken promises.

Tired of silence and complacency.

I drew political art. i attended my first protest. 

The political eruption like the Hawaiian volcano will continue to echo and build and staggered ground shaking spew. Once it erupts, it can not be re-contained.

Not the silent majority.

There are more of us and we will not be silent.

We are the majority.

Election Reflection – Fake News

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​Fake news is not a new concept. Remember Bat Boy from Weekly World News? Elvis is alive and working at a car wash in Indiana? The difference between that and the current political climate of fake news is that most of it isn’t fake, at least not what the left talks about; it’s more disagreeable news.

I saw it recently on CNN, and have to give host Don Lemon his due. Stopping the claim in the moment from Paris Dennard and cutting his platform off was the right thing to do, and I hope others begin to follow his and colleague Jake Tapper’s leads.

Talking about how much money the President is spending on his weekend jaunts to Florida is valid, especially considering he spent the last eight years bitching about President Obama’s “vacations” and especially since President Trump is close to exceeding Obama’s one-year spending in three weeks.

So, what is fake news?

For the most part, the right uses it as a red herring to try and silence the left and center. Now that we’ve found our voices through protest and other legal avenues, they don’t like it. They don’t like being called out on their hypocrisy.

It is not fake news to call out the President when he says something that needs clarification or that sounds, and is, ridiculous.

They believed Republican politicians on ObamaCare and were so deceived didn’t even realize it was the same thing as the ACA which they love and saves theirs and their children’s lives.

Just last week, they believed a story of a terrorist attack in Sweden, and two weeks before followed the Bowling Green Massacre which didn’t only never happened, what did happen or almost happen in Kentucky was misrepresented.

Oversight Committee Chairman Chaffetz is still investigating Clinton’s emails (newly investigating) while ignoring the Russian interference and General Flynn’s involvement is incompetence. Or malfeasance. He’s complaining about a national park 0office adding a space for a brochure for a monument that the national park wants as part of its system because he thinks they have prior knowledge. Has this guy ever heard of wishful thinking or dream/mood boards or visualization techniques?

They’re going out of their way to ignore Trump’s behavior when they went out of their way to obstruct Obama. Currently, the Dems are just trying to do their jobs, which is something the Republicans have ignored (and should be docked pay for) for eight years.

Racism much?

So, how do we protect ourselves and get the right information?

Use reputable news sources and journalists.

Journalists are not enemies of the people. They are right there in the First Amendment, the one that makes the others possible.

If you’re a conservative, check out Bill Kristol and David Frum. They are strong conservatives and consistent in their opinions. I personally don’t agree with them for the most part, but they are real news. 

I’d recommend Ezra Klein and Vox.

Dan Rather and his site News and Guts,.

Check out my page, We The People. I will continue updating throughout this Administration as I find new reliable sources. If you have any suggestions on how to combat this fake news phenomenon, please comment here so I can vet them and add them to the page

Election Reflection – The Press

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​I spent half an hour on Sunday night writing about a free press. It was a little bit ranty, but it was a first draft. Before book and bed, I went to Facebook to catch up on my friends, and my entire feed was filled with Meryl Streep at the Golden Globes.

As a writer, it pains me to say that sometimes others can say what you are trying to say better than you could possibly, and that happened Sunday night. Meryl Streep was right on track with what I wanted to say, only much more eloquently than I could say it. I will still try my hand, and I will include a video of Meryl and a transcript of what she said.

Before anything else, I would like to note that the President-Elect responded exactly how predicted, on Twitter, in the early hours of the morning, and with name-calling. It is easy to dismiss this simply as a child’s ravings, but unfortunately, this man is not a child; in a few short days he will be the President of the United States.

His response to any kind of criticism is through mocking, name-calling, and falsehood. This needs to stop, and if it doesn’t stop, it needs to be called out at every turn where it affects our rights, most especially our Bill of Rights, and our First Amendment, the one that makes all the other ones possible.

The First acknowledges and legally supports our speech, our gatherings, our independent and free press, and our religion. There is no minimum age or maximum age on it. It is there for everyone, with few, very few, exceptions.

Benjamin Franklin was a member of the press. As was Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Matthew Brady, and in our modern days, Edward R. Murrow and Woodward and Bernstein. Without the Press, there may have never been a Revolution or Constitution at all, beginning with Broadsheets to Weeklies to Dailies to Television News. Without the Press, there would have been no Nixon resignation, no disclosure of Iraq’s lack of weapons or the change from the Soviet Union back to Russia.

The Press must stand alone and independent.

Yes, ther eis a place for pundits and punditry, opinions, and editorials, but in all of that, the truth must be adhered to.

Post-truth simply means untruths.

Facts are not negotiable. You can agree or not, but you can’t change them. We can’t pretend that they don’t exist. 

Since becoming President-Elect, Mr. Trump has tweeted, his primary source of communication, and in tweeting, he has caused three multibillion dollar American companies to lose more than two billion dollars because of impulsive and untrue things he’s said. He’s caused a rift with China, and through his words encouraged them to take one of our technological properties in international waters. They’ve lodged a formal complaint. He’s taken the sides of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and Alex Jones (a crackpot if ever I saw one, but of course that’s only my opinion) over the NSA and the Intelligence community that the rest of us understand to be professionals and nonpartisan. He’s continued his personal attacks on television programs and personalities, last night’s being the last egregious. He called Meryl Streep overrated. Now, I can guarantee, ven not knowing her that this does not bother her. She’s been called worse by better, I’m sure, and certainly overratedness is an opinion, but really? Meryl Streep? Overrated? I’m not sure that’s an accurate assessment of not only her acting ability, but her personal decorum and behavior.

We, as citizens of this country, and the Press need to call it out when their hypocrisy takes over.

On The Walking Dead, the character of Rick was admonishing his barely a teenager son by telling him, “Don’t Talk. Think.” I made it into an art project actually. Perhaps someone should tell the President-Elect, “Don’t Tweet. Think.” It would help the rest of us who just want to survive the next four years intact.

Supporting the Press isn’t just reading and taking sides. It’s also promoting their investigative journalism even when it goes against our own opinions. It is also donating to groups like the one Meryl Streep suggested, the Committee to Protect Journalists as well, I would suggest as the ACLU. It is also subscribing to  news organizations, print newspapers and magazines like The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Atlantic.

The Free Press needs to remain independent in order to be free.

Note: Before inauguration day, I will have a new page with links that will highlight news sources, journalists, and organizations meant to keep the checks and balance on the new Administration and the GOP led Congress. Most are nonpartisan. If there is an opinion/editorial writer or organization, I hope to label it as such.

Transcript of Meryl Streep’s Acceptance Speech (provided by Entertainment Weekly):

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