Monthly Archives: May 2018

Insomniac Citizen

 

I CAN’T SLEEP

My arms ache in solidarity with those mother’s whose babies were snatched from them without mercy.

I CAN’T SLEEP

The evil that sponsored yellow armbands not long ago is resurrecting itself in the form of yellow wristbands.

I CAN’T SLEEP

Rules that keep greedy bastards from cannibalizing our economy have been erased. I dread another economic bubble burst and the damage it will bring.

I CAN’T SLEEP

We have a president who spits in the face of everything good and decent our forefathers fought fiercely to employ.

I CAN’T SLEEP

We are raising an entire generation of children who are afraid to go to school for fear of being shot by one of their own, and our leaders do nothing to change that.

I CAN’T SLEEP

One-third of our government is refusing to act as a check and balance to the blatant destruction of the Constitution it swore to uphold.

I CAN’T SLEEP

The right of my sisters and I to make our own choices about our bodies is more and more abusively restricted by hypocritical men.

I CAN’T SLEEP

I am unable to fathom how a patriotic stand for justice and right can be so vilified by my fellow citizens.

I CAN’T SLEEP

Some of my brothers are engaging in Gestapo practices while wearing an American flag on their arms and I C E on their backs.

I CAN’T SLEEP

All of these torture my instincts and rub raw at my humanity. My conscious moves me to action. I can’t sleep, neither can I sit still.

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Learning Manners

In a compendium of essays entitled “Dismantling the Empire,” Chalmers Johnson makes a sobering statement:  “America must learn what it means to be a third world nation, and the manners that go with it.”

It’s disconcerting to think of the US as a third world nation, exceptionalism and all that being preached in school.  Yet, there’s plenty of evidence that we’re on the brink of sliding into that category.

Social examples:  Maternal death rates in the southern US are alarmingly high for a developed world, especially among women of color. The suffering of tax-paying citizens of Flint, Michigan and the entire island of Puerto Rico are being blatantly ignored.  More and more homeless occupy our streets. Severe civil unrest and tension is prevalent in our news cycles.

Economic examples: Taxes slashed for the 1% while also cutting social services for the middle class and increasing military spending.  Fewer and fewer protections for the ‘average’ worker.  Grifting tax payer money to a leader’s coffers via golf trips and business meetings held at president’s owned venues. An EPA chief traveling first class using federal dollars.

Political examples:  A president deriding the fourth estate. A third of government refusing to act as a check and balance to the executive branch. A daughter and son-in-law of president sent abroad to represent the nation.  The exclusion of a political party to meetings on the fear of being held accountable.

How are we behaving as citizens facing the prospect of becoming one of those nations we’ve always sort of pitied?  Are we demonstrating manners of a third world nation?

Actually, maybe. I suggest that are manners are much too polite and subservient for a nation watching its democracy being burned faster than a doused flag.

We let it slide when Congress refused to work with the past president and shut down the government instead of working towards a compromise.  We let it slide when a SCOTUS seat was left vacant because Congress refused to do its job.  We didn’t take to the streets when the Tax and Jobs bill was being voted upon. We haven’t collectively voiced our support and protection of the Mueller investigation, and we seem to be rolling over at the notion that Congress will not even bring to vote a bill that protects an independent investigation into a foreign government’s meddling of our election process.  We aren’t being noisy enough about the current administrations lack of action in keeping the approaching election free from tampering. We are merely complaining on Twitter about a journalist being forcibly removed from a government (people) sponsored meeting.

While we’ve been a bit vocal about Trump’s America with two Women’s Marches, these have been somewhat vague and ultimately futile judging by the fact that the administration just announced its intent to withhold Title X funding which gives women access to affordable, educational reproductive health care.

If our manners, so far, have been too nice, too rooted in confidence of the words written in our constitution, and focused on winning the mid-terms, what’s the alternative?

-We also should be ‘atting’ congressional leaders, encouraging them to make a strong stand against the dictator president and be consistent in their messaging:  We have a man in office who is an authoritarian, we are a democracy.  We have a man in office who has capitulated to a hostile foreign government who is selling out our democracy. We should be unashamedly noisy about this.

-When the president is called out, we should liberally and publicly thank them. Rep. Pelosi and Sen. Schumer sent a letter calling out the president over a closed door meeting without Democrat representation,. Many, many others have been vocal about the assault on democracy coming out of the White House, thank them whether or not they are your representative.  Right now, they represent the Democracy, not just a constituency.

-We need to hold the press accountable. Journalists need to start using the word ‘dictator’ when stories like NFL owners requiring players to stand for the anthem are written.  The word ‘jingoism’ needs to be introduced into our conversations and its meaning pointed out in the demonstrable ways it’s rearing its head in our nation. News writers should be pushing back against obvious attacks on the profession, and repeatedly point out the benefits of a healthy, critical fourth estate.

Finally, we must march, and do so strictly for our Democracy.  Several times a day the current administration ignores past precedents, breaks common protocols and blatantly ignores the Constitution.  We must let it know that we see these sins against our nation, and they will not go unaccounted.  We must demand with a loud, singular voice, that Congress vote to protect the Special Counsel investigation.  We absolutely must demand that our leaders take preventative actions to ensure a safe, valid election occurs this November. We need to let Donald Trump know that we know he’s an illegitimate president and his lies hold no meaning to us.

I’ve been writing to MoveOn.org, Women’s March, March for our Lives, and recently added Millennial Politics to my list, asking them to come together to organize such a march.  I invite you to join me!  It’d be great if something were to occur around Independence Day, in celebration of, and in effort to keep that which our forefathers revered enough to institute: A government of, for, and by the people.

Mr. Johnson was prescient in his work ‘Blowback’ in that he all but predicted the 9/11 attack on our nation.  Let’s work together to prove him wrong about needing to learn the manners of third world nations, and instead display the manners of a justifiably angry citizenship determined to keep its Democracy in tact and functioning.

Write, tweet, ‘at’. Let’s make a #MarchforDemocracy reality.  I look forward to joining you in the streets.

Frankie


Heroic Democracy

Joseph Campbell enlightens us on the cycle of the hero story in his work “The Hero with a Thousand Faces.”  He explains that most cultural heroes (even Jesus) share common themes and they definitely follow a pattern of rise-fall-rise again but stronger.

I suggest that US Democracy is in a moment of its own heroic cycle.

There are some commonalities between US Democracy and Campbell’s exemplary heroes: Born of a meager background, thirteen colonies with not much else but trendsetting ideas and a strong sense of independence, carved themselves into a nation unlike any other of its time. Then follows a slow rise to prominence in the international limelight where its tenants of equality have been accepted by some, rejected by some.

Ironically, it’s the hometown that usually brings down the hero, so it is with our Democracy.  Our own leaders have aided the crucifixion of Democracy through inaction. Where the legislative branch normally checks and balances the executive, Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have refused to intercept the blatant degradation of ethics by our current president and appear to happily allow a hostile, foreign nation to implant its fear mongering talking points into our national narrative.  Similar to Pontius Pilate, they have washed their hands of the issue, enabling the mob to raise Democracy up for a brutal death.

We now live in a moment of uncertainty where our hero has disappeared and many of us feel lost, hopeless, and betrayed. We huddle together in supportive groups, planning what next steps should be taken, eager to carry on the timeless ideas of Democracy, even while it struggles to overcome.

According to Campbell, heroes typically languish for a time in some dark depths before they are able to rise to greater heights, usually with the aid of some helper or assistant. While two short years of destruction and mayhem without Democracy may seem brief to some, we should deem it enough – we really don’t have the luxury of floundering (See Timothy Snyder’s “On Tyranny”).

We really do have the luxury of hope, however. There are helpers arriving in droves to ensure a resurrection.  There are those running for office, local and nationally, who bring the ideals of Democracy with them. There are those who work tirelessly to knock on doors, make phone calls, write letters, or offer their voice in some manner.  There are special elections won by citizens who espouse Democracy and its inherent equality.  There are donations of five or ten or hundreds of dollars going to women and men unwilling to cede to the Oligarchy, willing to bring Democracy back from the grave.

But it’s not just that Democracy will be revived, but that it will be revived stronger, more resilient, more powerful. You see, in every story, resurrection empowers the hero to  greater strength than it had before. If we can get it right this fall, if the #Bluewave2018 becomes a reality, then Democracy will have returned with a vengeance, ready to stand up to those from the outside who would delight in our complete demise, ready to send them running.

Fellow citizens, I submit that we are poised to see our hero, Democracy, rise from the ashes and shine brighter than before.  It is important to understand, however, that each of us is a needed helper to the cause.  Encourage one another, elucidate the good and right, get out of comfort zones and talk with each other, and we can resurrect our Democracy from the depths of darkness to be stronger, more vibrant, and more effective.

Yours, in peace.

Frankie