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Day 372 – Letter to Ladies Liberty and Justice, and to Uncle Charlie: We Will Make Amends.

Day 372 – Letter to Ladies Liberty and Justice, and to Uncle Charlie: We Will Make Amends.

Dear Lady Liberty, Lady Justice, and Uncle Charlie,

Great nations often communicate their core values in words, symbols, and actions.  Our current president uses tiny words in short sentences expressing hateful thought. He holds no firm values. We wait for the day he will be impeached or removed from office.  Until then, I want to assure our “Ladies” and our families’ Uncle Charlie, that we love them. Not all of us have lost our way.  In fact, the vast majority of Americans hold and live the aspirational values of the nation.

Dearest Lady Liberty, our ancestors stood on the deck of their ships anticipating your light: the light of freedom; the promise of a better life; the belief that no one is defined by the circumstances of their birth, only by their God given talent and ambition and work.  You stand, arm uplifted.  You stand through winter nor’easters and sweltering summers. You communicate our core values to the world as a nation of opportunity.

New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

This is who we are. This is what we believe. We apologize to you.  In November of 2018 we hope to remember, to make amends, to end the assault on the American values you represent.

Dearest Lady Justice, we see you standing blindfolded with your sword and scale guarding our most hallowed Hall of Justice.  The scales you hold represent the commitment to the weighing of evidence, measuring thoughtful argument pro and con.  Your sword depicts swift and forceful justice.  You stand blindfolded for eternity in honor of a critical idea – the rule of law. That NO ONE is above the law – not the wealthy, or the politically connected, or sly prevaricators: fair and equal administration of the law “without corruption, greed, prejudice, or favor.”1 We watch with horror the direct assault on our belief in you, in justice.

We apologize to you, Lady Justice and to ourselves.  In November of 2018 we hope to remember, to make amends, to end the assault on the American values you represent.

Dearest Uncle Charlie, we’ve never met.  You died too young in a flaming B52 bomber over the Pacific.  You never came home.  After receiving the letter from the War Department, your mom and dad went to the movies every Saturday to watch the news reels from the war front in the hopes of a glimpse of their lost son.  He was a simple farm boy of the greatest generation. The grandson of immigrants, he believed in Lady Liberty and Lady Justice.  He gave his life for our values, a sacrifice our current president avoided because of “heel spurs.”

We apologize to you, Uncle Charlie, and to the almost half a million American service members who died between 1941 and 1944. We have embarrassed ourselves.  In November of 2018 we hope to remember, to make amends, to end the assault on the American values you represent.

Liberty and Justice have not been perfect.  America supported enslavement, and Native American genocide, yet the aspiration has been toward justice and liberty. We work toward a more perfect union.  We still have a lot to do. We are currently in a moment of darkness. Our values corrupted.

Lady Liberty, Lady Justice, Uncle Charlie, we promise to remember.  We promise to restore. We promise to do better.  We promise to organize, shout from the rooftops, and vote our values in November.



1National Foundation of Patriotism




Day 371 – Thanks For Bringing Us Closer to Doomsday, Mr. President. Great Start to Your Second Year.

Day 371 – Thanks For Bringing Us Closer to Doomsday, Mr. President. Great Start to Your Second Year.

Image from BBC

Mr. President,

I don’t know how much play this is going to get over on Fox News, but this morning, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists pushed the so-called Doomsday Clock forward thirty seconds.

Thirty seconds.

Thirty seconds closer to midnight.

Thirty seconds closer to global catastrophe, to the possible destruction of nearly all that we love.

Now, of course, we’re not literally thirty seconds closer to Armageddon — the clock serves as a metaphor for incredible danger humanity faces at this point in our history, principally from nuclear weapons and climate change.

You know who was president of the last true superpower over the last year?  You.

This means, Mr. President, that you — yes, you — helped push us closer to this symbolic midnight, toward what could be our end.

We are thirty metaphorical seconds closer to ruin than we were before you took office.

So much winning.

Your belligerent Tweets, your childish need to respond to every perceived slight, and your constant undermining of science and journalism have, in part, left us only two tiny minutes from the potential end of civilization.

This is not the direction we want to be going. This is not good.

I’m no expert, but I can’t see how driving humanity closer to probable extinction is, like, smart.  And keep your trigger finger off your phone for a second: I’m not calling you stupid.  I’m confident you could, like, find your way to the SATs if someone, like, spoke slowly and drew a really detailed map for you.  But here’s what you need to understand: the clock striking midnight, in this case, doesn’t mean that you finally got rid of all of those people from “shithole countries.”  It doesn’t mean that you figured out a sneaky way to keep brown people from immigrating to the U.S.  It means all of us are doomed, from the most privileged to the least.  Even the Norwegians.  Even porn stars.  Even you.

You’re not the cause of climate change, but your policies and decisions are erasing any gains we might have made in the last decade toward mitigation or long-term reversal.  You didn’t invent nuclear weapons (no matter how, like, high your IQ is), but your actions are leading the world toward greater proliferation and danger.  You’re not the first to doubt science or question the integrity of journalists, but your daily whining about “fake news” makes it far more difficult for citizens to put their trust in reputable sources of information.

It’s not solely your fault, in other words, that an imminently respected team of scientists, security experts, writers, and scholars believe that we’re closer to catastrophe than any time since 1953.

But you are partially to blame.

Two minutes, Mr. President.  What’s your next move?  More Tweets about how you’re a “really stable genius?”  More laughable attempts to show North Korea that you’re A Big Boy with a Big Button that Actually Works?

I’d much prefer that you took some action that convinced us that you care even a little bit about the future of humanity.

As the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists points out, “This is a dangerous time, but the danger is of our own making.”  And if we can make the danger, we can unmake it.

Even though you garnered fewer votes than Hillary Clinton, the rules of the electoral college decreed you president.  You have three more years to move the clock back, to push us away from destruction rather than toward it.

I’d start now, if I were, like, you.



Day 370 – Yes, Trump Fatigue is a Thing!

Day 370 – Yes, Trump Fatigue is a Thing!

Image from Epic Progress

Mr. President,

I was driving home tonight, tired after a long day of work. Though it was sometimes frustrating and 100% busy, there were a lot of high points for the day. So I was in a good mood.

Then I turned on NPR.

All they talked about was you. Wondering why you were so quiet this week. Speculating on your reaction over budgets. The one-day shutdown. Your negotiations with Chuck Schumer that died on the vine. Blah-blah-blah-blah-blah. I felt my energy ebb, my mood drop. I couldn’t listen to your voice or even just newscasters discussing you.

I turned off the news and I thought, “I have Trump Fatigue.” And then I wondered, “Is ‘Trump Fatigue’ actually a thing?”

So I Googled it and…..yes! “Trump Fatigue” is in fact a thing, and it is very common!

And, in fact, not only are there multiple articles about it, Vox even offers strategies for combatting “Trump Fatigue Syndrome”:

  1. Understand this is a long-term fight that won’t be resolved immediately.
  2. Don’t let Trump set the agenda anymore.
  3. Be mindful about media consumption, especially social media.
  4. Take some time off, and be okay with not always knowing the latest about everything that’s happening.

I think the most important one is Strategy #2: Don’t let Trump (that’s you!) set the agenda. And thankfully, I think you are helping us with that.

There are already several posts about the January 20th March to the Polls. According to Reuters, “An estimated 5 million people participated in the nationwide rallies in 2017, making it one of the biggest protests in American history.”

But know this:

These women who marched last weekend are the same women who marched last year. They have not only switched from simply resisting you, but they are the driving force behind changing the way liberals, progressives, moderates, and even middle-of-the-road Republicans think and work together.

We are so freaking tired of you that instead of reacting to everything you say, we are now ignoring you. We are focused, our eyes on the prize: the 2018 mid-term elections. And as we know from the 2017 off-year and special elections, so far so good.

So keep on keepin’ on Mr. President. You go ahead and keep up your Tweeting antics. We may be tired of YOU, but we are fueled by the fight for humanity.




Day 369 – Letter to the American People: Rattle Some Cages, Donate Time and Money, and Be Kind. Fight the Power.

Day 369 – Letter to the American People: Rattle Some Cages, Donate Time and Money, and Be Kind. Fight the Power.

Image by Banksy

Dear American People,

Look, I know, it’s bad.  We’ve had 1 year, 2 days and as of this writing, 22 minutes of uncertainty, international embarrassment, frustration, righteous anger and abject horror, and it’s taking a toll. It is not easy to wake in the morning to the news of the entity holding the highest office in the land tweeting insults to world leaders in possession of nuclear war heads, tossing paper towels to hurricane victims, taunting protestors, and jeering at legislators who want our parks open and want those that protect us compensated for their sacrifice.  Many times our anxiety is spurred by real time situations: is my best friend going to be deported? Will my pediatrician see my son about his asthma? How is the drilling 75 yards from my home going to affect my property values? Can I cover my bills during a government shutdown? How long will I have to say good bye in the event of a nuclear attack?  If we give voice to any of our concerns, we are often answered with attacks on our patriotism, or we are deemed melodramatic, or we are told “just don’t think about it.” Forgive me if I believe these are less than satisfactory solutions.

What can we do to assuage this feeling of impending doom, especially when the impending modifier seems to increase twofold daily?  Act. Despair paralyzes, and may well be a tool that the current administration is using against us.  If we despair, we cannot move, and we must move to scrub this contagion from our daily lives.

Every day, commit yourself to some sort of action no matter how small. If you are upset about DACA, write a letter to your representative.  Write a letter to Trump.  Write a letter to your church, school, mayor anyone who can help these people stabilize the productive lives they have made for themselves. If you are worried about the dismantling of public schools you could write a letter, or volunteer.  Figure out how your skills and talents can benefit your local school.  Can you knit?  Help a kid to knit one pearl two.  Have a huge vocabulary? Teach an SAT prep class? Are you working in a STEM heavy industry?  Offer to give a tour to a class or two. Like books?  Go help an understaffed school library.  Small pebbles of your time and talent make a huge ripple in the community pond.  Speaking of that, what’s the situation of the parks and wildlife in your area? Maybe it’s time to organize a clean-up?  We are stewards of our greenspace and there are those who want to develop, pollute, and sell it away. Not on our watch.

If you, like me,  are exhausted by the claims of fake news, maybe we should throw our support to our local NPR station, give to our PBS outlet, collect spare change and send it to Pro Publica so they can continue to pursue the real news. The Southern Poverty Law Center could use our coins as well.  Let’s give them funds to keep monitoring white supremacist groups and insisting their crimes are prosecuted. The ACLU is really busy these days as well, so maybe we could forgo the latte and throw them a couple of bucks.  Planned Parenthood is hard at work as well; if you are maddened by the politicizing of pap smears, maybe give them a call to see what they need.

Granted, some of these things can’t be everyday actions; we do, after all, have jobs, families and a finite amount of spare change, but there are other activities we can undertake daily, but these arguably, might be harder. When you hear people around you indulging in microaggressions, whether against you or others, stop them. The coworker that starts a conversation with “I don’t mean to sound racist, but…” needs us to tell him that indeed he is being racist.  When we see a person of color interacting with law enforcement, we should stick around in case a witness is needed, even if we are running late. If we see a person in distress, we must stop to see if we can offer assistance or if can get them in contact with someone who can help. We can engage with someone we think is a victim of harassment or bullying and escort them to a safer place. We can call a friend with whom we’ve been out of touch, we can tell our children we are proud of them, we can make sure that our friends and family know that we have their back. We can do the things that we know will improve our little corners of the world.

I was going to say that these suggestions are difficult, but they aren’t. If we can spend time crabbing on social media, complaining about our out of touch in-laws, and flipping the bird at the television set (or is that just me?) we can put forth the effort to defend the things we hold dear. And once we do, we will fortify ourselves, we can inoculate ourselves against the doom, ennui and paralysis, and not just survive this circus, but evolve as a country.  C’mon, whadda ya say?





Day 368 – This Is What Democracy Looks Like, Mr. President. Marches. Media Pressure. Protests. And A Commitment to Take You To Task For Your Numerous Failings.

Day 368 – This Is What Democracy Looks Like, Mr. President. Marches. Media Pressure. Protests. And A Commitment to Take You To Task For Your Numerous Failings.

Image from WTOP

Mr. President,

It’s been a full year since you assumed our highest office. Which means it’s also been a year since huuuuge numbers (millions) turned out to protest your election in Women’s Marches across the country, and even the world. And people are still fired up. On this special anniversary, hundreds of thousands of people once again hoisted signs and “took to the streets.” And though the weekend protest was “not necessarily an anti-Trump event, a lot of the sentiments expressed by protesters took aim at the President’s words and policies on topics ranging from women’s rights to immigration.”

But you seem to be confused. On Saturday, you inexplicably tweeted a self-congratulatory claim that the protests were celebrating you.

Come on. It’s really not that hard; even Glamour gets it: “Donald Trump Trolls Women’s March With a Predictably Selfish Tweet.”

It’s hard not to become disillusioned when your message isn’t getting through, or worse, is being deliberately distorted. But we’re still here, still exercising our rights and civic responsibility to advocate for equality and justice. In fact, according to an analysis by the Crowd Counting Consortium, there has been a protest somewhere in the United States every day since your inauguration, the vast majority in opposition to your agenda.

Likewise, world leaders are declining invitations to meet with your administration due to your rash and ill-advised policies. Just today, National Public Radio reported that peace meetings were cancelled by Palestinian representatives in the wake of your decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem (claimed by both Israel and Palestine as their capital). In the audio report, NPR’s Tamara Keith described the response from Arab leaders to Vice President Mike Pence’s attempts to “soothe allies” and re-schedule the meetings this way: “Pence through back channels … has asked the Egyptian President and the King of Jordan to ask the Palestinians to talk to him, to begin talks again.” The result? “[C]rickets on the other end.”

And while your administration continues to distort the truth, the American press continues bringing the facts to light. (As noted on Day 351, thank you, Media.) Pence spoke to U.S. troops stationed overseas about the government shutdown, blaming the Democrats. “A minority in the Senate has decided to play politics with military pay, but … your president, your vice president and the American people are not going to put up with it.” The truth is that Republicans have blocked Democratic legislation to ensure military pay is not suspended during the shutdown. When Ms. Keith asked Pence whether he would support such legislation, he essentially avoided the question.

Foreign media outlets have been more insistent with their demands for the truth when other members of your administration have refused to answer questions. Your recently appointed ambassador to the Netherlands, Peter Hoekstra, was “peppered” by Dutch journalists at his first press conference earlier this month regarding false, anti-Muslim claims he made in 2015. His 2015 comments included unsubstantiated claims that Dutch politicians were being burned and that there were “no-go zones” in the Netherlands. Hoekstra “simply refused to answer the question at all,” but the Dutch reporters continued to press the point. “Everybody there had one question: that crazy statement you made, are you going to withdraw it?” “If you’re truly an honest and wise man, could you please take back the remark about burned politicians or name the politician that was burned in the Netherlands?” “This is the Netherlands, you have to answer questions.” Due to the media “drubbing” and tremendous public outcry, Hoekstra eventually acknowledged that the claims were untrue and apologized. “Looking back, I am shocked I said that…It was a wrong statement. It was wrong.”

So it’s a year in and the people of this country, the media here and abroad, and leaders from around the world, all of us will continue to demand answers and accountability from you and your administration. This is the United States. This is what democracy looks like. Don’t get it twisted.





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