ritaxis: (hat)
Just the last couple of days I'm making phone calls and signing feckless petitions in advance of discovering more effective things to do. I'm also being a broken record in the public spaces where I am--twitter and facebook (I hate facebook but it's a public space).

Phone calls I've made: Two to Paul Ryan's office--once to leave a message about the ACA, once to take part in his stupid poll (there's a long recording you have to listen to about how terrible the ACA is and how the brave Congress is determined to gut it, and now what do you think?); one to the House Oversight Committee about the election. Feckless petitions: one to the electors not to confirm Trump, one to UCSC to be a sanctuary for immigrants.

More calls: to Lindsay Graham to investigate Trump: to my reps to be strong (they've all registered some opposition so far & only need to know we support them). And? I forget, I need to make a big list in addition to searching the internet every day.

Personhead Nick Mamatas([livejournal.com profile] nihilistic_kid) suggested getting #Scatocracy to trend. It's silly but it's cool, so I'm taking him up on it, more than he seems to be doing. Also being a broken record about the crimes of Trump and the whole damned GOP. That's what they did about the non-crimes of Democrats for the last generation, and they got it to stick. Of course they had the collusion of the media, which I do not. But there's no noise without noise. Remember how Jonathan Edwards, a progressive Southerner, was ruined over having a friends-with-benefits affair while his wife was in the hospital? Never mind that he kept visiting her and taking care of her, being loyal in the ways that matter. Meanwhile! Trump gets away with serial rape and people just stop talking about it. Also: theft! fraud! Stiffing employees and contractors! Death threats! Treason!

"When they go low, we go high," isn't even wrong, it's irrelevant. Hammering them on real crimes is not going low, it's insisting on truth. It's also a wedge towards talking about the real crimes of capitalism. Trump steals from his employees and it gets glossed over? That's because that's what bosses do. And so on.

I know, everything I'm doing is spontaneous, unfocused, feckless. But it's what I can think of to do at the moment. I remember Nelson Peery saying "If all you can think of to do is to make mistakes, make mistakes," and I don't think these are mistakes.

I have to do other things. But later in the day I'll make a big list of the numbers and share them. Meanwhile, other people are sharing them.
ritaxis: (hat)
I'm not crazy. I applied for a part-time, temporary field research job that begins in January. I should be able to handle it: I won't be undergoing heavy medical treatments anymore. It sounds interesting. It's interviewing people for a tobacco use study sponsored by the FDA. I'm qualified. We'll see what happens.

As for the biggest & most terrible thing that's on everybody's minds and tongues: I don't have much to add right now. You could do worse than to read Nick Mamatas's analysis. Probably I could argue with him about certain historical details, but on the whole, he has it.

Somewhere along the line we allowed people to say that civil rights, labor justice, human respect, and demands for equality were elitist values. And all too often a lot of us acted like they were. Obviously a lot of other things went down, but on our side, we did that, and it meant that the broad coalition that is necessary to defeat fascism simply wasn't there. Also, something happened to coalition building. That's hard work, yes, but I don't think it's laziness that keeps people from doing it: I think it's other things, one of which is people approaching politics as self-expression.

But coalition building doesn't, as some people seem to think, require embracing the most center-right position available. It requires picking the one or two or three most righteous things you can get these groups to temporarily agree on, and driving hard on those things, building from small victories to large ones. If you can't get that coalition to agree on some things, you build another coalition that works on those. And then come election time you build a coalition that gets the election won.

But the election is not the goal anyways. If we'd gotten Hillary, we'd have been much better off, but we'd still be facing off with a hawkish, center-right government, just like we'd had for the last eight years. Most likely, a lot of people would have been complacent about it, but now, a lot of people are in danger of their lives, and that's worse.

Sarah Kendzior
, a very wise Missourian journalist and anthropologist (whose earlier writings tended to cover Central Asian dictatorships, which she finds much more relevant these days than she'd like), is suggesting that, rather than undertake vast protests at this time, people should be getting together quietly and planning focused political action, including a longer timeline. Not least of the reasons she's suggesting this is safety. But though safety is a real issue with the most hateful and violent of our country feeling both vindicated and still aggrieved, and also being armed to the teeth and beyond, it's also true that protest can be the easiest and least effective political tool we have. I say "can be," because often protest is effective and it's often not easy. Donald Trump has already made statements about protestors that suggest he'll be ready to "crack down". Sometimes it's the only thing available--and that might become the case here too, if the Republicans continue to move in the directions they've been moving in, consolidating power and abrogating the Constitution so that legal recourses are less and less available. But for now we have the full toolbox to the degree that we are organized to use it, and it makes sense to use all of the tools, each in their most appropriate ways.

I am thinking about my own personal role. I'm not yet well, and I don't have financial resources to throw at the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center. But I know a little about organizing. Not a lot. I hate to be the one saying "let's you and him fight," so I have to figure out some way I can actually contribute to this. And I don't kid myself that some tweets or this journal are that way.

So. Right now, the UK has Theresa May: Russia has Putin: Turkey has Erdogan: (imagine much longer list): the US has Trump. It's a worldwide thing. It's terrifying. But despair is not what we need: anger, maybe, if it fuels determination.

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