Tag Archives: Trump

Call It War

I see a line of armed militia invade an American street; khaki clad men with pith helmets and pepper spray;  I see Klan members and skins heads–young men, a new generation marching with torches–with torches; a car runs into a crowd. I watch. I watch it again. I watch it over and over and over–new angles, overhead shots, bloody money-shots. I don’t cry.  I don’t feel surprised.  I barely feel sad.  I am outraged. I am weary of outrage. This is how war strips you of your humanity.  Atrocities surround you, good times become tense, tense times become terrorizing: is this it?  will this be the shot that starts a race war?

tcp_virginia-protests__tcp_large We are already at war. The hammer claps of racist cops’ nines punctuate the tension, gun sales are up, lynching’s making a comeback. Over and over we see violence motivated by ideology, a battle determined to take and hold territory on both the earth and in the heart of America.

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Before you say this doesn’t look like any war you know, consider the face of war in our time.  Gone are the days of massive mobilizations–instead, our wars are made of terror, skirmishes to seize and hold territory, battles for political power, and most of all bombs of narrative, payloads of ideology exploding in breaking news blasts and streamed live. The violence goes nuclear as stories rain down on you weekly, daily, hourly.  Your phone is the front line, your television battle-weary from images of black and brown death.

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Charlottesville was an organized attack, powered by 4chan and Info Wars and the dark corners of Twitter. Armed militias lined the streets, the air full of tension.  Cops held back even as things started to get violent right in front of them. They had a permit for this.  This was a legal gathering.  These were people wearing U. S. marine uniforms, armed with pistols and long guns, chanting heil trump yelling at blacks and Jews.  This is not a gathering of bigoted individuals, this is a battle of ideologies. There is nothing new about a battle in a centuries long string of battles that defines the worst of who we are and hides the promise of the best we may become. America has been waging this race war since enslaved Africans first arrived in 1619.

Official silence in the face of this fight does not mean it is not already happening.  We are at war in Afghanistan.  When was the last time you thought about it?  When did it last force you to make a different choice, to sacrifice or suffer to support the war effort?  When was the last time you checked on combatants and citizens who are collateral damage in America’s longest war?

The fact is it is not difficult to hide a war in plain sight, buried beneath a flurry of headlines, and clouds of chaos unleashed in twitter storm after twitter storm.  This “skirmish” is not new or mysterious or worthy of a second of questioning.  The events in Charlottesville are nothing less than acts of war on our streets, being fought by servers from Top Dog and college boys in polo shirts, grinding up your daughters and sons.  There is blood on the streets from a Nice style attack.  A terror attack. There is no question here.

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In war, we don’t debate if there are simply two sides equally wrong or equally valid–no one on the allied side was saying Nazism was merely a difference of opinion.  In war you take an ideological stance; we as a nation-state pick a side and organize our systems and institutions in the service of that ideology, mobilizing all parts of our society under its principles.  Will those principles be hate and division, white supremacy–the sickness that has plagued our country for years–or will we finally heal ourselves and embrace the healthy diverse nation we are striving to become?

Call it a race war, not a war between races but a war against racism, where we all take the side of America, the land of we the people, and take aim squarely at the rot that eats at the foundation of our country.  The casualties of this war are not just minorities–this weekend they were white, and they bled blue. Heather Heyer. Lt. H. Jay Cullen. Trooper Berke M. M. Bates.

The truth is that the racism negatively affects everyone in this country.  The same systems that disadvantage minorities also met out class and gender oppression, as well as a kick-ass sleeping potion of culture that keeps many people fighting against their own interests.  Racism hurts everyone…no not in an anti-white-racism-is-real way, but in the way that three victims are dead and they had white faces.  The fight does not neatly divide along racial lines.  This fight, in the end, is about power. To be clear this is not a war against white people, but against systems of racial oppression and inequality. There is nothing anti-white about wanting our country to deliver the equity promised in our founding.013-large

Don’t be alarmed to call it a war.  America knows how to wage war.  Wars mobilize resources. War requires coordinated and cohesive narratives to win hearts and minds. They engage our government in taking sides for the people it is sworn to represent. A declaration of war makes sure our military and homeland security are vigilant, prioritizing white hate groups as the deadly threat that they are.  This administration already knows how to do this: they rolled out a blueprint in the war it declared on MS-13 just two weeks ago. Copy, paste–wage war on the criminals and thugs that spatter our streets with blood: white nationalists. No challenge has so plagued America as race. No foe is no more worthy of eradication than racism.ZZ0D9BDB29Too late for it to have any real meaning, Trump calls white nationalist thugs and criminals–not the same language used for terrorists like Isis.  Be clear though, these hate groups are terrorist organizations.  They are not motivated by drug money or bad parenting: they are motivated by ideology, an ideology of hate and evil that has had too much of a hand on the wheel of America for years.  A century ago members of the Klan wore hoods in the evening and suits, badges and campaign buttons in the day.  In 2017 they still do.  People who espouse this ideology are not just outliers, they are people with White House badges like Stephen Miller and Steve Banon, founder of ultra-racist Breitbart News.  It is past time for this administration to oust these hatemongers from the government payroll.

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Don’t be fooled by a foot dragging weak response.  Like any addiction, acknowledging you have a problem is only the first step. That 45 could force the words from his mouth is meaningless as his policies and inner circle cheer on white supremacy.   The administration is far from declaring war on racism. But that doesn’t stop you–yes you–from speaking up, speaking out and getting involved wherever you are and however you can.

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I’m done with outrage. I am outraged again.   I’m not done fighting–I’m a soldier in this fight and you are too.  I conscript you.  I need you to destroy this mad brute of White supremacy. You cried for London, you prayed for Nice; now, fight for America.

 

 

 

When Not To Tweet

Social media–we love it, we live on it, we can’t do without it. With tweets clocking in under 140 characters, Twitter is the quickest high out there, with regular users sending dozens of tweets daily.  But like all fun things, you really have to have some limits.  Too much ice cream? Diarrhea.  Too much tweeting? Same result.  So even the most “expert” tweeter in chief should remember when not to tweet. Here are four tips for anybody, really, but especially anybody ruining this country with his tweets:

In the Midst of Tragedy

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When crisis strikes in our too fragile world, Twitter can be an important tool to get out information quickly, check in to find people in harm’s way and to offer prayer and solidarity to bolster hearts and minds in the moments after a catastrophe.  Tweeting in these times requires all the gravitas and sensitivity you can muster–to tweet otherwise can be disastrous for careers and reputations (of nations, even). This is not the moment to drop a flaming tweet to stir people up.  That is irresponsible and uncaring, showing your weakness as a leader.

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Protip: be like Obama–he knew how to send a tweet that calmed and uplifted in dark times.  Bonus protip: that’s what leaders are supposed to do.

Late at night

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Bae acting up and you can’t sleep, all in your feelings? Do not tweet about them.  You are vulnerable.  It’s dark out.  Maybe you’re listening to Lil Uzi Vert walking around the White House in your bathrobe alone with only your wounds and some ice cream.  Do not pour out your pain on Twitter.  Some pain is supposed to be private, some anger is not righteous and only reveals the small minded self-pity that humans tend to in these late nights weeping sessions.

Protip: Put the phone–and the ice cream–away and go the fuck to bed.  Better yet, leave your phone at the office and switch up your playlist until you can be trusted after hours.

When you don’t know what you’re talking about

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Look, if you tweet some ignorant shit, you most definitely will be in good company–a solid portion of tweets are ignorant, tweeted by people who are beyond ignorant. Some make a living at it.  There are even robotweeters programmed to tweet out ignorant shit all day long. But, as your mom used to always say, just because all your friends are destroying the internet with a bunch of fuckery and false facts that doesn’t mean you have to, too. In fact, if you are a professional of any kind—any kind, Don–you recognize your Twitter feed as an extension of your professional reputation.   Tweet stupid, look stupid.

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Protip: If you’re about to tweet, run a quick fact check, just a little google action.  Level up–Breitbart, Info Wars and Fox Commentary are not independent fact checkers.  Please do better.

When your friends and family (and country) are concerned

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We have friends and family so someone will tell us the truth when we get out of line. Unlike vodka bottles under the couch or pill bottles hidden in a purse, your Twitter habit is out there for all to see.  I mean everyone can see you up saying crazy talk late at night (and can totally picture aforementioned bathrobe and ice cream). We noticed that you have to tweet foolishness just to get out of bed in the morning.  Even when you’re away on a great trip you can’t help tweeting bullshit. Everyone knows your tweeting is out of control.  You doubling down and saying tweeting is cool because all your friends like it when you tweet just sounds like the last defense before they load you onto a plane for rehab.  When Kellyanne Conway, whose tie to reality is tenuous at best, tells you to chill, chill.  But when her husband has to get in on it along with all your advisors and a few friends?  Time to put the phone down.  Don’t listen to Don Jr.  He’s enabling.

Protip: Listen to the people that care about.  The love you like crazy and they feel like they’re losing you.  The rest of us hear your cry for help and a good 65% percent support you packing up today and going away till you–and this country–recover.

There you have it: four good times not to tweet, whether you’re a Twitter newbie, or whether you are the leader of the free world President of the United States and should be running the country and fighting your impending impeachment instead of tweeting like a petulant teenager. Now go tweet responsibly, or, maybe, 45, not at all!

 

How Covfefe Hurts

I love to laugh so you may be surprised that the whole covfefe kerfuffle isn’t making me chuckle.  For sure, when President Trump (that still makes me shudder to type) sent out this nonsensical tweet Tuesday night…

la-na-pol-trump-tweet-20170531…the internet had a field day filled with funny memes and every reporter took a crack at making their own covfefe jokes.  The silly tweet dominated the news cycle and it felt great to have a light day where we could all laugh.

Here I come to ruin your fun: Covfefegate is a perfect example of the danger of the Trump administration.   We laugh our way to the gallows while Trump again redefines reality.

1.The obvious: This man is an idiot and he runs the country

We all misspell stuff.  Dear reader, you know that I am the queen of the typo.  But I don’t have staff who would be more than happy to moderate one’s tweeting in order to keep the POTUS from sending out something crazy.  Sidenote, we may assume he was tweeting about press coverage.  How are you going to critique writers if you can’t handle 140 characters? This is not his first or last crazy tweet. This is how your elected President communicates with you, the same way your drunken ex did in college, misspelled nonsensical night tweets.

2. The Underhanded: While we were laughing, the Paris Accord

Trump has a showman’s sense of timing–while we were all laughing the world laughed at us as our country prepared to pull out of the Paris Accord.  China is in and talking about the importance of taking responsibility to address climate change.  Only Syria, Nicaragua and now the US stand alone in refusing to acknowledge and address the single biggest challenge facing humanity.  How could we let this happen in a country with so much freedom? We’re busy laughing at covfefe, lulled into a surreal world where our voices, so loud at the women’s march, must battle a daily war against the nonsense Trump creates that dominates the news cycle.  Yes, you can pay attention to more than one thing at a time, but scroll yesterday’s news feed–which story dominated memes, tweets, and attention? How many posts did you see mobilizing our political protest machine to address other issues? The craziness is just too crazy to pass up.

3. The Insidious–These Fools Really Doubled Down

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While we were meming it up with covfefe , some joked that Spicer would be out to defend the word.  It was a joke until Spicer made a cryptic response at the daily press briefing.

“Do you think people should be concerned that the president posted a somewhat incoherent tweet last night, and then it stayed up for hours?” the reporter asked.

“Uh, no,” Spicer replied.

“Why did it stay up so long after? Is no one watching this?” the reporter wondered.

“No, I think the president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant,” Spicer said

Your man Spicer was dead serious when he responded and refused to come back to it to answer any more questions. Why play it so seriously with something as benign as a typo? The White House has a habit of redefining reality instead of taking responsibility for mistakes.  We can’t forget the flap over inauguration attendance because Trump keeps reminding us.  Rather than admit mistakes that are in plain sight, Trump and his lackeys deny what we all witness.  Funny when it’s covfefe, but what about when it really matters?  To Quote Paulie from Law and Order, “Tell a little lie, tell a big lie.” We have seen them tell little lies. We have learned, if nothing else, that this administration will lie boldly and unrepentantly.

There it is, a wet pile of covfefe that I have rained all over.  Sorry about your covfefe parade. My bad for ruining your fun. I just haven’t had my covfefe this morning.

Ripped from the Movies: Five Films Explain Trumpland

Movies are more than just a tumble of images to fill our time; they are stories crafted from human ideas, fears and longing.  To look into a movie is to look into the human animal. These days the wildest animal around is the marmoset that’s running the country:

How to make sense of these times run by a tiny-handed (look he can barely hold a piece of apple!) comb-over-wearing primate hellbent on dismantling our democratic institutions? Let’s go to the movies! Much has been made of the connection between Trump and George Orwell’s 1984, so much so that the book has been flying off the shelves since the election. But what about other films featuring a world gone mad? These five films shed light on the devious nature of humans and the horror that we create when we let the worst of us be the first (family).

Manchurian Candidate

This 1962 thriller tells the story of a President controlled by a foreign administration–China in this case, or “Gyyna,” as Trump would say.  In the film, the Manchurian candidate is brainwashed after being captured in war.  In the Trump tale, the candidate was pee-washed in a Russian hotel room and paid off by Putin and his cronies.  With the film character, at least there was some hope of breaking through the brainwashing, but in our own sad story, we can only work to wake ourselves up from brainwashing.  Without a closer look at Trump’s taxes, it will be hard to find the financial connections purported to exist.  And if congress–Trump’s loyal lackey so far–get’s its way you’ll never get to see his taxes. Sidenote, the Manchurian candidate was easily controlled for a few reasons, one being he was not the cleverest guy in the room: looking at you, Don.

Children of Men

This is a tale of a world facing the ultimate decline–no more babies.  Before I make a joke about seeing Trump every day and a failing libido, let’s look deeper.  In the world of the movie, an undiagnosed infertility slowly takes hold till the world’s youngest person is 7 years old.  Trump’s plan to gut Planned Parenthood and restructure health care will leave women’s reproductive care underfunded and unmandated.  It’s a bad look to ignore the care of our human-making machines, especially in an age when infertility, just like in Children of Men, is on the rise for unknown reasons.  Also in the film, the government responds to the crisis by beefing up a police state at war with immigrants because of course when the country is crashing, a safe distraction is mass deportation…..insert side-eye here.

Elysium

Speaking of treating whole groups of people horribly while the elite watch the world burn from their castle, Elysium takes the wall of Trump’s dream to astronomical proportions. Like our own real and fragile earth, in this film, the Earth can no longer support our fabulous way of life as is, so the elite make sure everyone has a new home say fuck y’all and build a space station where they hog all the good stuff, including life-saving medical care.  Elysium helps us see why health care has to be a human right if we truly hope to retain our humanity. Members of the Trump administration and their cronies, including associates of Peter Thiel, have no problem creating health interventions that will only be available to the wealthy. Meanwhile, Trump is busy trashing Obamacare with no viable replacement plan in sight. it seems like former representative Alan Grayson’s prediction is coming to pass.

If you don’t want to have to steal a space ship to get an MRI, you better keep an eye on the fast-moving health care bill and the fallout sure to follow.

Idiocracy

The world is full of stupid people, controlled by corporations, dominated by an absurd media environment, where intelligence is attacked, and sensible responses to climate change are demonized.  That’s the movie.  Wait, no, that’s now.  Hmm, maybe this movie, as bizarre as it is, is too close to today to be impossible. Similar to Brave New World–and different from 1984–people in this dystopian future are controlled not with fear but with pleasure, full of food and mindless distractions until they are simply dumb downed fodder to be controlled by the corporatocracy.  So don’t let the promise of America’s glorious past, the GMO’s and the tweets lull you to sheep–stay woke.

Gaslight

Much has been made of Trump’s use of a psychological manipulation technique referred to as gaslighting, named for the 1944 Ingmar Bergman movie Gaslight.  The term refers to someone–in this case our marmoset-in-chief– trying to make you think that you are losing your mind a la I-never-said-that-even-though-you-have-a-tape-of-me-mocking-a-disabled-guy.  I went back and watched Gaslight, and found even more alarming connections: not only does Gregory the Gaslight villain try to make poor Paula (Bergman) think she’s losing it, he plans to scam her before they even fall in love.  It’s not casual manipulation, it’s a planned conspiracy to defraud and destroy a person he would pretend to love–feeling the burn yet Trump voters?  Like our own Cheif Cheeto, Greg the gaslighter is a con man, pretending to take on a role he is ill-suited to so he can swindle poor Paul out of her estate.  In the end, caught dead to rights and confronted by Paula, the con man simply cannot acknowledge the truth.  A con to the very end.  Let’s not wait 4 years to expose the con man in our own story.

So build a watchlist for this weekend–and keep you thinking hat on. We’ve seen this movie before, but this time we’ve got to rewrite the ending.

 

T(rump) Minus 6

We landed in Washington D.C. yesterday, a gaggle of activist students, their queer polis-sci professor and me, afro flying my flag of blackness above my airplane seat.  The airports, the streets are awash with pink pussy hats and red white and blue patriotic chic.  The air contains just a hint of pep rally. The grim reality gives off a scent more like that Aztec ballgame where the losers are decapitated.

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In just six hours, a few miles from here Donald J Trump and his creep squad cabinet will take over the country that I have lived in and loved my whole life.  He has promised to enact policies that will hurt the people I love and care about, including each of the students with us on this trip.  The pink hats are so cute (thanks, Aunt Kathie!) but make no mistake this is a fight.

Scene: Interior, day before the inauguration, hotel lobby. Beneath the altar of CNN on the big screen a bunch of liberals from Boston–identifiable by our Boston swag and the girls’ Olivia Pope outfits, and in that corner three women painted in stars and stripes.  The hotel staff watch the action like tourists on safari.

Hotel manager:  Ha ha, hope there’s not going to be a rumble!

Trumpette: grumbling loud enough for all to hear. I wouldn’t mind seeing that.

Me: Ha, ha…You don’t want to catch these hands.

Trumpette: Let’s be peaceful….(to her cronies.)  I hope they remember to be peaceful on Saturday [for the anticipated Women’s March]

Me: (to students) Saturday you’ll get to see the amazing tradition of nonviolent protest that is such an important part of our country.

End scene.

Would I have rumbled with an older lady in the hotel lobby?  In the rarefied air of the inauguration, the hate and division are real and palpable as my anger hurt and fear over this election and the 4 years to come. yesterday evening I replayed the scene in my mind–how easy it was for me and a stranger to escalate to threats lightly veiled in laughter in just seconds. These past few years have required me to swallow more than a little anger and hurt. I had to admit that it is too easy to slide into the playground taunting.  But in a quiet moment, I remembered that I’m not about that, no matter how much they spoil for a fight. In the land of the walking dead, its is key to remember that you are not them.

So, old lady, you may not catch these hands, but I am coming for you with the full force of resistance and that really packs a punch.  And the fight is just about to start.

This Is Why We Fight

In trying to make sense like so many of you today, I looked into this moment for an opportunity–and I found one. Sexism, racism, homophobia, and xenophobia are no longer the monster under the bed or hidden beneath napkins and polite conversation at dinner.  These insidious beasts that  have stalked our nation are now out in the open.  This past year’s contentious election has shown us all who wants to stand with us, and who doesn’t.  Maybe this isn’t a moment we can’t imagine.  Tonight I saw mass protests of women and men and trans people and whites and blacks and Latino and disabled people and people that love all those people unified together with clear and common purpose. Maybe this is the moment we find our common purpose and rise to meet it.

This moment is not about Donald Trump or 2016 or the Republican Party.  No, this moment is a long time coming, the moment when the immovable object of white supremacy comes face to face  with the unstoppable force of the demographic shifts that will make American a minority-majority country.  This moment isn’t the first  battle but could very well the last stand of white supremacy against the truth of the multicultural coutry we already are.

Is: the present tense. Not was, the word of the past.  Not will be, a magical future that is always the day after tomorrow and never the now.  Is. Present . Right now. If you weren’t an ally before, it doesn’t matter. If you’ve been fighting and you’re tired and you want to give up, that was before.   If you think it will be better in two four or eight years, so what? This is now. Focus on the present.

Why is more important that what or how. What justice looks like and how it arrives requires a multitude of views, a flock of answers, a riot of solutions, more ways up the mountain.  But the why is steadfast, unchanged and still the goal even extending into the future.  To form a more perfect union.  That was why  in the past  and will be why in the future but most importantly is the why now.  In a world that makes you feel like you are drowning this why is your life raft.

We feel new feelings. We have never in our lives felt more threatened, or been more ready to fight.  We have spent these last years mobilizing activating, networking an connecting.  You were the left hand.  You were the right foot.  Parts of the giant of the electorate have shaken themselves from slumber. We were woke separately by issues specific to important aspects of our identity. We are awake together now.  We have been building the will and skill to organize, maybe in preparation for this very moment.

Fight: that is what comes next.  Fight is what ancestors who lived and died in slavery did even with no end in sight.   Fight is what women did who secured the vote and the right to choice. Fight is what we did when police shot our brothers and sisters in the streets. Fight is what they are doing tonight at Standing Rock.We don’t play, guess, plead or wish. We fight.  We fight hard and clean and often and together and separate in big and small ways.  We raise our fists and our signs and our voices and our children to fight.

When you want to know how this could be, when you cry tears to make room in you to keep going, when you ask what we should tell the children I offer you my unconditional love, and a mantra.  This is why we fight.

image credit: Samuel Mitchell, from the Boston Trump protest march 11.9.16

Obligatory ‘You’re Fired’ Themed Headline

It looks like NBC isn’t going to wait until primary season to dump the Trump.  The network announced to day that it would be cutting all ties with the billionaire bombast, including Trumps once-bold-now-old reality show The Apprentice.

The Donald wasted no time before taking to the airwaves and blaming the break on political correctness.  Trump released a statement today on Instagram which said in part “NBC is weak and like everybody else is trying to be politically correct…” showing that he is powerfully incorrect in his understanding of the current state of America.

Trump called Mexican immigrants rapists and murders.  That’s not edgy commentary; he is stating this as fact, going so far as to double down in his statement this afternoon.  The fact that NBC is cutting ties with Trump before the GOP which has some heavy lifting to do with Latino voters if they are to have any kind of shot in 2016.

Political correctness is a term so loaded as to lose any real meaning.  Most often it is swung like a bat at women and people of color who asked to be spoken to with dignity and respect.  The always implied idea is that those who want said respect are overreacting, need to get over it, are whining and bitching and basically ruining everyone else’s fun.

But we all pay–in one way or another–for the media messages we consume.  We pay cable bills and cell providers, click ads and pay with our time or attention.  Sometimes we pay with a vote for the messages we want to hear.  Why would any group of people want to be insulted by choice and on their own dime?  Why should any group allow themselves to be unfairly characterized just to bolster someones dogmatic campaign?  You, Trump can say what you like, and the people have the right to tell you to go screw.

Latinos make up 17% of the American population.  Other oft-dissed groups: women make up 50% of the population, African Americans at 12% , Asians at 7%–that all adds up to a lot of people.  People want to see themselves reflected and represented in a way that is respectful.  That’s not to say people can’t disagree, but slandering 55 million people isn’t respect.

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As America grows into a country lush with diversity, our entertainment, political and social dialogue should reflect.  Media celebrities complaining about political correctness are behind the curve. Plenty of smart edgy controversial people talk about identity, but the days of being able to be outright offensive without people calling you on your shit are over.  This isn’t Mad Men, Trump, and you are no Don Draper.  Connecting rape and murder to an entire race of people isn’t politically incorrect, its just incorrect.