The Introverted Activist: Back In the Game

I dropped out of the political scene a bit ago.  I went to Detroit for a week in February for Amphibian Management School. After a whole week of being off social media and news, it was way too hard to pick it back up again. I have tried. I have dipped my toe in the water once or twice. But then I became so depressed that I could barely get out of bed, and it just didn’t seem worth it. That’s the definition of White Privilege, isn’t it? Being able to turn it off for a while? But I’m back.  I can’t afford not to be anymore.

To be quite frank, the Senate’s version of the healthcare reform bill is terrifying. And evil. Gutting Medicaid? 40% of kids with disabilities are on Medicaid. Essential Health Benefits removed? So prenatal care is no longer considered a basic human right. While we’re at it, why not cut more from Planned Parenthood? So more women will be getting pregnant, having to stay pregnant, but not receiving the care they need to ensure a healthy baby? This is ridiculous.

Apply head to desk. Repeat.

And then there’s me. I am a walking pre-existing condition. I have asthma, but I also have a chronic, hereditary liver condition that can (unpredictably) affect pretty much any system in my body. So I get shoved into a high-risk pool because of my genetics, even though I take good care of myself and have only been hospitalized once. I’ll pay more for insurance. Because let’s face it, no insurance company is going to provide benefits at lower costs than they have to just out of the goodness of their hearts. And if I do begin to have more issues, I could be capped a million dollars over my lifetime.  Anybody know how quickly you can hit a million dollars in health costs? Imagine having an expensive disability. Once you hit the cap, it’s all out of pocket. People will have to decide whether to eat or get health care, and that’s not one tiny bit hyperbole.

 

What I did this week:

  • Signed the online petition asking Angela Merkel to lead the other 19 countries in committing to a cleaner planet at G20. I’m not a big believer in petitions here in the US because too often they aren’t designed to lead to action. But this one allows me to put some hope in someone who can DO something.  It took under a minute, and it’s terribly encouraging to see the numbers of signers going up in real time.

 

  • I called my Senators. A bunch of times. I left messages because I can’t get through to real people normally, which is fine. When I’ve gotten hold of my Republican Sentators’ Republican staffers, they sound bored. But the message on the machine is upbeat. This week, my theme has been the health care bill. First, I asked that they say a big, fat NO. Then I asked that they push the vote until AFTER the recess to give more people time to read what’s IN it. Seriously. Spinning it behind closed doors like some twisted Rumpelstiltskin, holding the BIG REVEAL on Thursday, then trying to railroad it through a vote in under a week? Nuh-uh. Want to call your Senators? Find them here.

 

  • Then I called the Senate Finance Office at 202-224-4515. They are tallying calls on people asking for a PUBLIC forum on the health care bill.  At least if they hold public forums and still screw us over, it will be obvious that they were planning to railroad us all along. The harder they make denial for some of our citizens, the better off we will all be. 25% of Americans have no idea what’s in the health bill currently.

 

What did you do this week? Shout it out in the comments, even if it was “I took care of myself and stayed away from politics.” Because we all have permission to rest and recover. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Or maybe not marathon. Cage-match, perhaps?

The Introverted Activist: Things Will Get Better

I’m still tired. Are you still tired? But are you in it to win it? Yeah, me, too. Rah, rah, and all that. Did I mention I am tired?

But things are going to get better. Maybe they already are. 45’s first pick to be National Security Advisor is *poof* and the second pick doesn’t want the job. What happened to Flynn? Depends on who you ask. Fired? Quit? Abducted by aliens? Who cares? He’s gone. And the Labor Secretary? Remember him? Whatshisface Pudzer? The guy who would like to do away with a minimum wage and automate everything? He’s gone, too. And the person who has been nominated to replace him might actually be qualified for the job. Or maybe the bar has been set so low by this administration that a rabid puggle seems qualified.

I made a thing. It’s a Trumpertantrum drinking game, designed to make this administration more entertaining.

did flynn talk to Russia

But then I realized it could also be deadly. I thought I could suggest switching to water after every 2 drinks, but then there’s still hyponatremia to worry about. So I thought about milk shakes. But is there a pancreas in the world that can handle THAT much sugar? Diet soda? Nope again. An overdose of artificial sweetener can be deadly. So then I considered deep breaths instead of drinks, but then everyone would hyperventilate and pass out, maybe hitting a head on the floor and dying. And I can’t be responsible for that, so instead of drinking each time he hits one of these milestones, think a happy thought or pet a puppy. Nobody ever passed out from petting a puppy. Just be careful not to rub all its hair off. It’s going to be a long four years.

Calls and protests work, and not just for this whole train wreck of an administration. In case you have never heard of Bresha Meadows, at the age of 14, young Bresha shot and killed her abusive father. She was sent to an adult prison. An adult prison. Remember Michael Carneal? He murdered 3 students and injured 5 others at his high school in 1997. He was sent to a juvenile facility until he turned 18. But Bresha has been held in an adult prison. Until recently. Letters, protests, and phone calls put enough pressure on prosecutors that she was moved a few weeks ago to a juvenile mental health facility. Her family has to pay the cost of her treatment, so there’s a link where you can donate if you are so inclined. But she can go outside, she is with other kids, and she can get the help she deserves.

What I did this week:

I wrote a lot of letters. A lot of them. To Republicans, to Democrats. I went to a huddle at my friend’s house. We encouraged each other, and we made plans for the next four years. That feels like a long time, but we can do it.

what are people doing besides marching

This is what democracy looks like. And friendship.

I made an action plan for each week. I am going to make 5 calls a week and write 3 letters. I wrote 5 letters this week, so I am ahead of the game. I even wrote one to President Bannon.

The call I made to my Senators this week was focused on 2 things – keeping Bannon out of the situation room and keeping the Affordable Care Act intact until there is a decent replacement (and insisting that the replacement include those with preexisting conditions – an aside here, I knew a woman who didn’t tell anyone she was pregnant at her new job until she qualified for health insurance. She was 8 weeks pregnant when she got the job, and so was 20 weeks along before she went for her first prenatal appointment because she knew otherwise insurance wouldn’t cover it because her pregnancy was a preexisting condition. No prenatal care until it was essentially too late to prevent most issues. Do Republicans really want to go back to those days?)

I made plans to attend the local march on April 15 to protest Trumpertantrum’s refusal to show his tax returns.

I made plans to attend some Nashville events, too, later in spring.

I made a list of my local representatives at the state level. I am going to become quite familiar with them and their work because I have letters and calls to make there, too.

And I took some time away. Because I’m tired.

This week, why not write a letter yourself. Or show up at a local office and share your wants with your Congress person’s staff? Write a letter sharing your story and your expectations for affordable care. You can do it! We can do it! It’s already working, friends. We’re pushing a ball uphill, but we’ve learned this week that it isn’t likely to roll back over and crush us!

Need more ideas? Check here. And visit here for a breakdown of enrollment in Affordable Care Act by congressional district. Share what you find. A study this week revealed that around 30% of Americans don’t know that ACA and ObamaCare are the same thing. Republicans successfully obfuscated the issue by using the term “ObamaCare,” so be kind to anyone you encounter who might have been confused. They aren’t alone. Raise your hand if you have never been sucked in by rhetoric. We’ve all been there, done that.

Face-palm of the week: Good ol’ Betsy “Keep Bears Out Of Public Schools” DeVos is doing a spanking good job in her new post. Wait. There is no spanking in public school. A time-outing good job? Whatever. Anyway, she managed to not only misspell the name of civil rights activist, W.E. B. DuBois, she misspelled the apology, as well. Go, team! Dear Betsy, how do you spell “derp?”

Need a laugh? Download this awesome app. It’s called “Make Trump Tweets Eight Again.” And it does this:

What did you get up to this week? Have a favorite hashtag you have been involved with? Share it in the comments.

The Introverted Activist: We’re Still Fighting #Resist

What can I tell you that you don’t already know? I have not been as plugged in as I usually am because, frankly, I’m tired. Also, this year I implemented “No-tech Tuesdays” at my house because I enjoy giving my children yet another reason to resent me and because it is nice to have one day where I can say “Oh, no. I am not allowed to read anything else that Trumpertantrum has done,” so I missed some of the action.

Is Trump getting impeached

Again, I am going to have to odd because I just…can’t…even.

The low points of the week:

  • Senate confirmations of Betsy “Bought My Post” DeVos and Jeff “Too Racist To Be a Federal Judge, So I Have To Be Attorney General” Sessions.
  • the sexist censure of Elizabeth Warren
  • Kellyanne Conway’s commercial for Ivanka’s clothing line. It’s a low point mostly because I am so frustrated that the Senate is unlikely to do anything about it any time soon, though it was a clear violation of ethics.
  • My Representative, Jimmy Duncan, refuses to hold a town hall despite many requests. He denies the request based on the notion that he has received unkind emails since Trumpertantrum’s reign of terror, and he is sure a town hall will bring out “kooks and extremists.” He hasn’t held a town hall in over 20 years. If he is that paranoid, perhaps it is time for someone to oppose and depose him. Perhaps I am that someone. I don’t know yet.

The high points for the week:

  • 9th Circuit Court of Appeals smacks down the travel ban most gloriously. The fact that his tweets and rants about targeting a group of people based on their religion helped seal the deal is icing on that particularly scrumptious cake.
  • Then there’s this:https://twitter.com/XGroverX/status/829818984094654465
  • After Kellyanne Conwoman’s shameless (and I mean that in the most literal and astounding sense of the word) plug of Ivanka’s clothing line, the Office Of Government Ethics website crashed due to people filing complaints against her for using her public office in such a manner. They received 300K page views in 2016. In the first 40 days of this year, they have had 5,000,000 views. Hmm.
  • Preliminary paperwork has been filed to impeach ol’ 45.

 

What I did this week:

Honestly, not as much as I had planned. I hit a wall, but I am dusting myself off and preparing to dig in again.

I bought more cards to send to Senators. I want to  encourage those in Congress who are standing up to the Trumpertantrum. It is a tough job to do, and I don’t want it to be a thankless one.

I filed a complaint with the Office of Government Ethics over Kellyanne Conwoman. I’m sure I’ll be filing more in the near future.

I joined a “Huddle,” which is a small, local group that comes together to fight all of this garbage. We’re making t-shirts this weekend, and we’re sending cards to Congress and letters of admonition to certain others. More importantly, we’re encouraging one another and reminding ourselves that we are not alone in this fight.

For funsies, I signed a petition to discipline the Conwoman. These petitions don’t usually do much, BUT by signing it, I agreed to receive activism updates. I am all for that. I am new to this bidness, and I want to learn as much as I can.

Self care. I read an incredible book, and I treated myself to an autographed copy of another book that is due out soon and has had quite the buzz. And I slept when I was tired.

We are in this together. We can do it. We can’t give up, even when it feels like the chips are stacked against us and all that other cliche stuff. Want to learn how to be more effective in influencing Congress? Read this piece. There is even a link to a free e-book to help you learn more.

Face-palm of the week: Republicans aren’t telling us what the replacement for the Affordable Care Act will be because if they tell us ahead of time, we probably won’t like it. Uh, okay. Call me convinced, then.

What did you do this week?

 

 

The Introverted Activist: How About Some Good News?

We’re 2 weeks into this regime, and it’s hard to even catch my breath.  Like so many others, I have spent far too many hours fuming, and furiously retweeting government shenanigans.  Seriously. I am going to have to odd, because I just. can’t. even. But there are good things in this world, too.

In my too-big-to-call-small, but too-small-to-call-big city, we have our own community of Syrian refugees. . On Tuesday night, one of our local restaurants, owned and run by a former Syrian refugee, hosted a fundraiser for Bridge Refugee Services. This non-profit gets housing ready for refugees, provides job training, and helps its clients get accustomed to their new life in their new country.

Yassin’s Falafel House has phenomenal food, and we do love falafell, so we piled in the car the second I got home from work. I had never been (husband was always the one who picked up the take out), so I told the fellas to help me find it. But it was much easier than I thought, what with the line that stretched for three city blocks and all. The event was from 6-9. At 10pm, there were still 260 people in line. The last customer was served at 12:30am. Yesterday, Yassin announced that they had raised over $8000 for Bridge! So one smallish-but-not-too-small city in a red state made a difference in the lives of some fellow human beings. How’s that for awesome?

Muslim ban

Mmmm Falafel

Have a few minutes? Scroll through the video posts on Yassin’s Facebook page. Have a few extra dollars? You can donate directly to Bridge by going here. If you’re an Amazon or Kroger shopper, you can earn money for them just by using Amazon Smile or by connecting your Kroger card.

Another tasty tidbit – the ACLU raised $24 million last weekend alone. They were instrumental in getting the Federal judge to call a temporary halt to the immigration ban. So many Americans are infuriated by the heavy hand of this regime, that they’re fighting back. Change will come.

What did I do this week?

how to get rid of Trump

Write a letter. A tiny card. I bought 8 cards for $1 at a dollar store.

My family and I wrote thank-you cards to the first five Republicans who were brave enough to speak out against the Muslim ban. It didn’t take long, it wasn’t expensive, but it made us feel like we were doing our part to encourage those who are just starting to realize they’re going to have to gather their courage and work against the party line if they are going to stop this tyrant.

I called both of my Senators to ask that they not confirm Jeff Sessions and Betsy DeVos on the grounds that Sessions is racist and was once denied a federal judgeship because of it and DeVos knows absolutely nothing about education. I also sent emails, but calls are better.

I went to a protest against Betsy DeVos after receiving a polite email from one of my Senators that stated that DeVos is “an excellent choice.” Even though she was ill-prepared for her hearing and didn’t know the difference between growth and proficiency. That was my second protest in as many weeks.

I took the Padawan to see “Hidden Figures.” It was an excellent movie. It’s important for kids to understand how far we have come but also how far we have yet to go. If you haven’t seen it, DO IT! Octavia Spencer is incredible, as always.

I studied and thought and pondered on how to run for office. There’s a website where you can take free online courses to learn what it takes. Visit it here. Remember, some of these clowns go home in a year. Maybe we want to run against them.

Face-palm of the week: Gosh, so many to choose from. Was it press secretary Sean Spicer tweeting his password… twice? Was it Trumpertantrum thinking Fredrick Douglass is still alive? The Douglass link is satire, but it is delicious. Was it the Black History Month speech that mentioned the three Black people our current president actually knows of? Or that the whole speech was posted on McSweeney’s, one of the best satire sites out there? And didn’t have to change a word. Maybe it was the president using the annual prayer breakfast to send up fleeces for his TV show and for Arnold Schwarzenegger (And holy cow, I spelled Schwarzenegger correctly the first time without looking. I am rocking it today!). It’s hard to pick just one.

What have you been up to this week? Want to get more familiar with the ins and outs of calling your representatives? Check out Emily Ellsworth has a downloadable e-book that is FREE! You can find it here. You can follow her on Twitter here. We can make a difference together. Resist, friends, and remember to take care of yourselves.

Need a laugh to get you through the week? Check out The Bloggess’s post from a year ago.

We Marched, Now What? Introvert Activism #Resist

Fridays are now going to Introvert Activism day. Trust me, friends, if this socially awkward weirdo can work to make a change in this world, ANYONE can.

In case you missed it, I went to the Women’s March on Washington, DC on Saturday. I did it for the reasons I mentioned here, and for a thousand more. The march itself was incredible. So many beautiful women in one place, all with different concerns, but with a common goal – making our voices heard. It was a moving and humbling experience, and I’m not totally ready to write about it. But I can share some pictures.

what did the womens march accomplish

Resist

 

But here’s the thing. As wonderful and powerful and uplifting as the Women’s March was, if that’s all I’ve got in me, the whole event was just a stroll around the Mall. I have to get active politically. I have to get involved. And that’s what Friday’s are for. Call them Activism Friday or Accountability Friday, I don’t care. But I have to move forward and stay involved, so I’m going to share with you what I have done each week to make the world a better place, and I encourage you to tell me in the comments what you have done, as well. Let us inspire and encourage each other.

So what is there to do this week?

First off, be aware. Here’s a link to a Bloomberg infographic you may have already seen. It depicts the countries in the Middle East Trumpertantrum proposes to ban against those where he has business interests.

The Women’s March website has a list of 10 things to do in the next 100 days. That’s 1 thing every 10 days. We can handle that! One of those things is sending postcards to Congress. Who doesn’t love sending mail?!

You can sign this petition demanding that the Toddler-In-Chief release his tax returns.

You can donate to the Standing Rock Reservation where protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline are ongoing.  You can also sign a petition to stop the DAPL from happening.

Choose your issues. There are so many. One detractor said of the Women’s March that no one knew what they were marching for. Don’t confuse a myriad issues with a lack of common purpose. We were there to speak out for the issues we believe in, and the Dumpster Fire in Charge threatens ALL of them.

Concerned about birth control being removed from insurance coverage? Donate to Planned Parenthood. I am grateful to them because when I was a young married college student, birth control pills cost 10% of our income. Without PP’s sliding scale, we could never have been able to pay for reliable birth control.

Are disability rights your thing? Follow Keah Brown, Dominick Evans, Alice Wong, David M. Perry

Need a way around the fake news? Try Dan Rather’s News and Guts. Trumpertantrum brought Dan Rather out of retirement, folks. He’s on Facebook AND Twitter.

Low on funds? Protest doesn’t have to cost money. Call your senator and tell him or her to block Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. Find the number for YOUR senator here. Calls are better than emails. Letters are great, too.

Tweet what you learn. Share links on Facebook. You may share this one if you like, but I’m not posting for clicks. I’m posting for change. Lift links from this post, take photos. I don’t mind. Educate others. We don’t have to do it ALL by ourselves. We can’t, actually. But we can educate others. Check your sources to make sure it isn’t fake news. There’s a plague of it out there now.

And take care of yourself. Take breaks. Trumpertantrum is throwing things at us faster than we can duck. Be kind to yourself and to others. We can make this world a better place. There is hope.

What did I do this week?

  • I joined my local Black Lives Matter group so I can get updates and hear about upcoming events. Instead of buying a t-shirt at the march.
  • I donated the money to Standing Rock legal defense fund.I had never used PayPal for anything other than Ebay, but it was surprisingly easy!
  • I signed the petitions I listed above.
  • I called my Senators. Both of them. One mailbox was full, but I left a nice message on the other to block Jeff Sessions, the man who was denied a federal judgeship for being too racist.
  • I talked with my boys about why Jeff Sessions is the wrong choice for us. Squish is 8, and it is so hard for him to comprehend that people are judged by skin color. Me, too, baby. Me, too.
  •  And I listened. There is a great deal of mistrust for white women because we are late to the game. Right now, it’s my job to just shut up, listen, learn new perspectives I didn’t even know existed.

Face Palm of the week: 42 percent of Trump supporters believe he should be able to have a private email server.

What did you do this week to make the world a better place? Do you have a favorite hashtag you follow? Link me up. I want to know!

 

 

 

Why I March

I am not a political person. I never have been, though I was partner in crime (mostly postal) to my grandfather, who trained me to knock on doors and hand out fliers and to vote Democrat no matter what. He drove me from house to house and waited in the car while I gamely canvassed the neighborhoods, knocking on doors, my shy self hoping beyond hope that no one would answer and I wouldn’t have to speak to a neighbor, or worse, a stranger. A few times, when the driver’s seat was obscured by an obliging holly tree or overgrown shrub, I would stuff the flier in the mailbox, despite Granddaddy’s stern admonitions, and beat a hasty retreat, claiming the family wasn’t home and praying that no one saw me commit a felony.

Years passed, and so did my grandfather. I voted in almost every election, even midterms, in his honor. But sometimes I didn’t vote a straight Democratic ticket because I actually knew something about the issues. Sometimes, I determined, an Independent, or Granddaddy forbid, a Republican, would serve better. But I avoided politics whenever I could – at family gatherings, church. Occasionally, I would indulge in some online stuff, but I was always left without hope. Why, I reasoned, should I commit so much energy and outrage to something I have absolutely no control over. If I can’t control it at all, I avoid it.

Last week, I couldn’t stop crying. I have a chronic liver condition, and it had been triggered. I’m drinking close to a gallon of water a day now, so toxins get flushed by my kidneys when my liver has better things to do, and physically I have stayed healthy. But the psych symptoms are terrible. Anxiety, depression, and mood swings are often the result. So I blamed my liver for my tears and just drank a bit of extra water to compensate for the water lost through my leaking eyes.

When I suddenly burst into uncontrollable tears last Saturday morning, I finally had to admit that there was an actual reason for my tears. Its name is the GOP. I had watched for a couple of days as Congress began its process to dismantle the Affordable Care Act like a toddler with a hammer. And it was a partisan move. They did it gleefully because they could, to erase the legacy of the most decent President in recent memory. It was the glee that got me. Why are they so hell-bent on removing health care from millions of Americans? And what is going to happen to me? Rare, preexisting conditions for both myself and the Padawan. Can I afford to continue a job where I make a difference, or do I have to take something that pays better so we don’t go bankrupt?

I screamed and sobbed, and I told my husband “I have to DO something. I need to know that I am not alone, that there are other people out there who are not just as outraged, but are also willing to DO something about it.” I made an off-hand remark that I needed to “go to the women’s march or something.” And so it began.

why women march on Washington

Credit: Jessica Sabogal

I took steps. I announced my intention on social media for accountability because depression can turn me inside out and leave me immobilized. I checked on transportation. I cried all day at work, and I planned. If I could find a friendly driveway in Virginia, I could sleep in my car. An offer of a driveway appeared. And then a dear, dear friend said, “I want to go, too. Let’s go together.” And suddenly I WASN’T alone. And within 2 hours, a ride appeared. And a hotel. And then the hotel evaporated as the offer of a house was made. And people I have never met have stepped up to make me hats to wear. And suddenly, this trip that I had recklessly committed myself to became a reality, and an affordable one. $10 for the Metro ticket. And I’m going.

  • I march because I protest a President-elect who appoints people with a lot of money but best case, no relevant experience. Worst case, a conflict of interest.
  • I march because I object to a President who feels he is above any law and refuses to release any tax returns.
  • I march because I object to a President who admitted to assaulting women. And then when those women step forward and say “Yes, he did that,” he threatens to sue anyone who comes forward. Because he knows HE has the money to fight it and they don’t.
  • I march because I cannot live with a President who is so ungodly. I am a devout Christian, and I object to a man who calls himself Christian but breaks the 10 Commandments publicly. He believes it is just fine for him to lie. And then he lies about lying, even though there is clear evidence. He is either so lazy or stupid that he doesn’t delete his old tweets, or he doesn’t think it matters.
  • I march because I object to a President who takes so many financial risks that he has filed for bankruptcy four times. I am a fiscal conservative. A President is a steward of our country’s resources. He is already a bad one.
  • I march because I cannot abide a President who insists on spending public money to have Trump Tower as a second home for part of each week. Secret service, outfitting for security, etc? That’s on our dime, folks.
  • I march because I cannot tolerate a President who doesn’t understand the meaning of public service. This is a lark. He’s taking off for the weekend. Presidenting is a 9-5 job, I guess.
  • I march because I am angry that the American people elected a man who is cruel, who insults national heroes, who is racist, who is so full of hate. I do not respect him, and so I march.
  • I march because I have no respect for a President who despises those of other religions. America is a great country because of its diversity, not despite it.
  • I march because I am scared of a President who wants to control the media. Freedom of speech gets ground under his heel.
  • I march because our President-elect is endorsed by 20 white supremacy groups. Scared? I am.
  • I march because I need to have hope that if even I, who hates crowds so much that I get Christmas shopping done early so I don’t have to go to a mall in December, am stepping out of my comfort zone to THE Mall with hundreds of thousands of others, that maybe there are others who will be jolted out, as well. That maybe we CAN work together and bring about real and lasting change.

I will see you in DC. I’ll be the one in the hat.