What Does YOUR America Look Like & How Far Are You Willing To Go To Make It A Reality?


triad

Under the Trump Administration, America finds itself in the midst of a worst-case scenario conservative/corporate agenda free-for-all.

It’s very clear to most everyone that Trump himself isn’t calling most of the shots, but he’s opened the floodgates and the result is going to be mass suffering not just here in America, but across the globe.

The way to fight this, to change this, is not only to point out what is happening, but to offer real-world, concrete alternatives. It is completely antithetical to this outcome to get behind Democratic candidates and politicians who choose to align themselves with anti-Trump Republicans over pro-Democratic liberals.

The Trump administration is horrific. But there is always a silver lining. In this case, that silver lining is liberals coming together to offer a truly progressive liberal alternative to what is happening. Not aiming for some conservative middle-ground that alienates a huge swath of Americans, but embracing the values and ideals and laws that we want to see this country represent not only in word but in action. Continue reading “What Does YOUR America Look Like & How Far Are You Willing To Go To Make It A Reality?”

What Does YOUR America Look Like & How Far Are You Willing To Go To Make It A Reality?

The Dangers of Reserving Compassion For The Few And Not The Many


istock_000016374731_full

I see a lot of people writing about how we should, post-election results, allow ourselves the time to – and recognize the importance of being able to – embrace feelings of mourning, of anger and disappointment, of frustration and sadness. I couldn’t agree more. From the deepest recesses of my soul. These are real feelings attached to real human beings having a very real experience. It’s not only important to allow ourselves to feel these things, it is essential.

It’s also important to recognize when we don’t extend that same opportunity and compassion to others. When Bernie Sanders lost in the Primaries, the thing I heard the most from my most-avid Hillary-voting friends, was “Your candidate lost. End of story. Get over it. Shut up and stop whining.” This was followed by a barrage – both public and private – of Bernie Sanders supporters (and Independents) being shamed and derided, of being told they were “getting in the way” and, in no uncertain terms, to be silentI even had friends who mockingly shared a video of a young Bernie Sanders supporter crying when Bernie lost. They found it funny, absurd, ridiculous.

It is essential in breaking down the many actions taking place this election cycle, to comprehend the immense emotional and cultural need for a woman president in this country. The mourning happening now is real, as was the deep, deep desire that allowed many to see a monumental and long-overdue opportunity for healing and recognition and empowerment that should have taken place generations ago.

Continue reading “The Dangers of Reserving Compassion For The Few And Not The Many”

The Dangers of Reserving Compassion For The Few And Not The Many

When “Stronger Together” Is Just A Campaign Slogan


unknown

This morning as we all face a President Trump, Democrats across the nation are trying to understand how this happened. And who to blame.

For the past year, I have been pleading daily on social media and elsewhere – anywhere people might listen – for inclusiveness and empathy for the many struggles and experiences that were taking place. But it never happened. In fact, social dialogue moved even more deeply in the opposite direction.

You can’t fight fascism by trying to silence or diminish people. You fight fascism by listening to the people, by hearing them. The Democratic Party has a long history of not being able to read the room, of seeming incapable of feeling the temperature of the country and act accordingly.

This election, the DNC, Hillary, and many of Hillary’s most vocal supporters, chose to spend their time telling people to shut up. By painting pictures of them as deplorable or selfish, irresponsible, or simply getting in the way.

Until Democrats can recognize and comprehend their own vast role in the creation and perpetuation of Trump and Trumpism – and ultimately for this Trump presidency – we stand no chance of breaking our own destructive cycle.  Continue reading “When “Stronger Together” Is Just A Campaign Slogan”

When “Stronger Together” Is Just A Campaign Slogan

What I bring with me into the voting booth tomorrow


hillary-trump-supporters-mix

Thoughts one day before the election:

Months ago, I committed to voting for Hillary because of the unique threat Trump poses. I’ve been vocal about my decision to vote for Hillary and have written about why it is important to stop Trump and have asked others to vote for Hillary as well. I have also asked for tolerance and understanding for the myriad experiences taking place during this election cycle. I have tried to offer perspective on why it is difficult for many to vote for Hillary even under these extreme circumstances and those like myself who will vote for her, but for whom it is a deep and oftentimes painful and confusing struggle. I had hoped that as a liberal reaching out to other liberals, I would be met with some measure of understanding. In some instances that has happened. Unfortunately, in far too many, it has not.

Hillary is not as dangerous as Trump. I believe that with utmost certainty. That is why I chose to vote for her. But I would be lying if I didn’t say that in this final week, I have been on the receiving end of and have witnessed much that has forced me to second-guess that decision to vote for her, that has made that personal struggle even more intense.

Yes, Hillary is not as bad as Trump. However, I have found that far too many Hillary-supporters are as dangerous in my mind as your average Trump-supporter. The level of intolerance and shaming I have seen has left me feeling that the divide between conservatives and liberals isn’t as wide as we might think or believe, that we are all susceptible to being both manipulated and instigated by fear. Even though I am voting for Clinton, I have still been called “selfish” and “irresponsible” for trying to express and share with others why that decision is such a difficult one; to offer perspective for those out there struggling to understand why and how this decision could be fraught, could be immensely challenging, even painful.

This has come from people who believe they speak for and represent the party of inclusiveness, empathy, open-mindedness, equality, freedom of speech and choice, and are fighting for the “common good.” I have witnessed a level of hate and intolerance and bullying that has left me spinning. In addition to the names that I have been called, in addition to the immense intolerance I have been shown by so very many, I have also watched women attacking other women for expressing their difficulties in voting for Hillary, for having a different perspective or a different struggle. I have seen groups of women calling other women “twats” and claiming that those women don’t even have a right to be called “women.” To me, this is incredibly destructive, it is the antithesis of empowerment. It is most certainly not inclusive or compassionate. And it certainly isn’t working toward any “common good.” The phenomenon or “trend” I am witnessing, of fear and anxiety manifesting as intolerance and discrimination and taking the form of browbeating and hostility, feels like a rampant response that has only escalated as election day approaches. Hate and intolerance doesn’t lead Democrats to a different place than it does Republicans. It’s the same road.  Continue reading “What I bring with me into the voting booth tomorrow”

What I bring with me into the voting booth tomorrow

Twisting Political Beliefs Into Rage & Intolerance


screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-11-37-39-am

I recently had to unfriend someone on Facebook. Someone I’ve been close to for over 20 years. Someone I know to be a terrific, smart, creative, generous and kind person. But since the election started, she has moved to a place that can only be described as outwardly and openly hateful toward anyone who does not agree with her politically. It’s one thing to be critical, to disagree, to be passionate about one’s beliefs. Lord knows I am. Daily. It’s a very different thing to display hatred and intolerance and to create the “other.” Unfortunately, this is also a political strategy used by candidates to “rally support” against a “common enemy.” We certainly see Trump using it every day.

Unfortunately, in my opinion, it’s also a tactic Hillary Clinton has given into on more than one occasion. Whether it’s old comments like “Super-predators” or more recently “Deplorables,” or the flames she stoked (if not outright helped create) of the “Bernie Bros” narrative of violent, misogynistic men. And yes, my friend is someone who latched onto that particular narrative and is still running with it with a violent insistence that those who don’t see Hillary as “progressive” or consider her “hawkish” on foreign policy, are vile, moronic, and deluded, if not outright woman-haters. It’s not fun to be on the receiving end of that level of intolerance and unbridled hostility. I’m all for heated political arguments, discussions, disagreements and opinions, but this is something that overflows into another area altogether. It feels, to me, far too close to the kind of bigoted hate and intolerance displayed by many Trump supporters. It’s not rational, it’s not logical, it is deeply emotional. And incredibly damaging to other human beings in myriad ways. But it also does not define all they are.

This person, I am certain, still also holds all those qualities that I loved about her and kept us friends for so many years. Anyone who reads my posts knows that I am very vocal and passionate about my political views. And I have had many discussions on Facebook and elsewhere with like-minded individuals, fellow liberal friends with whom I have disagreements, and even Republican and Conservative friends who see things very, very differently from myself. But the conversations I’ve had with them, even at their most heated, were civil and respectful.  Continue reading “Twisting Political Beliefs Into Rage & Intolerance”

Twisting Political Beliefs Into Rage & Intolerance

Hillary Clinton Is Not A Monster – And Why That Does Not Diminish The Challenges We Must Confront When She Is President


Clinton_Goldman_Blankfein_rtr_img

The questioning of Hillary Clinton and her political and financial ties via the Clinton Foundation and other sources is nothing new. This conversation and its concerns have been happening for some time (see Hillary Helps a Bank—and Then It Funnels Millions to the Clintons and The Problem With Hillary Clinton Isn’t Just Her Corporate Cash. It’s Her Corporate Worldview, both from 2015), It is not a plot to discredit Hillary. Nor is it a strategy to give Trump more votes. Or Jill Stein, or any other candidate. It is about questioning a political worldview that deserves scrutiny, attention and challenge. It is not about painting anyone as evil or a monster. I, personally, don’t believe in such things. What it is about is addressing our decisions as human beings trying to do right by ourselves and others and looking closely at the choices we make and the repercussions and effects of those choices.

I understand that many people are concerned about criticisms of Hillary. I don’t point them out because I want to see people not vote for her. I keep the conversation alive because I believe Hillary will be the next president of the United States and – though we’ll be spared a Trump presidency which is no small achievement – we will nonetheless have a president whose approach to politics is via a corporate worldview that became popular in the Reagan era and, via Bill Clinton, also became part of the Democratic political landscape.

I believe deeply that it is an immensely unstable and detrimental approach that desperately needs to change if we are to avoid the wars and military actions already in the making that I believe Hillary Clinton will likely lead us into. If we are to build a thriving middle class, offer Americans a genuine profit-free health care option, and – maybe most importantly and dire – tackle Climate Change in the precariously short window we have left.

Continue reading “Hillary Clinton Is Not A Monster – And Why That Does Not Diminish The Challenges We Must Confront When She Is President”

Hillary Clinton Is Not A Monster – And Why That Does Not Diminish The Challenges We Must Confront When She Is President

Idealism, Responsibility & Compunction: The Art of Constructing Our Political Narratives


third-party-candidate

I understand the thought process behind a piece like Clay Shirky’s “There’s No Such Thing As A Protest Vote”. I’d like to offer a different perspective. I chose to focus on Shirky’s piece because I believe it accurately reflects a particular perspective that is out there and the article itself is currently being shared extensively on social media and elsewhere as a school of thought some people are connecting with.

I think Shirky’s viewpoint runs the danger of functioning as a narrative for those who want to feel irreproachable in their voting decision by making any other voting choices or perspectives ineffective, irresponsible, and/or a sign of weakness. Shirky’s insistence that “Presidential voting is an exercise in distinguishing the lesser of two evils. Making that choice is all that’s asked of us, and all that’s on offer” can be seen as one example of a school of thought that indirectly (or even directly) stifles political change. It most certainly can be argued that it stifles progress.

Shirky sees only three options in voting this election (or any other):

A. I prefer Donald Trump be President, rather than Hillary Clinton.

B. I prefer Hillary Clinton be President, rather than Donald Trump.

C. Whatever everybody else decides is OK with me.

Continue reading “Idealism, Responsibility & Compunction: The Art of Constructing Our Political Narratives”

Idealism, Responsibility & Compunction: The Art of Constructing Our Political Narratives