Couldn’t-a said it better myself

cheetos

I have zero respect for Donald Trump. He’s inherited everything good he’s ever had, and he’s managed to either lose or completely bork up about 90% of it, leaving him to run a con game spanning state and international boundaries to get some of it back.

Until he launched his absolute farce of a campaign, I could choose between laughing and ignoring his sorry ass. His escapades annoyed me, but they didn’t affect me. I could change the channel, turn the page, or scroll past whatever nonsense he was spouting. Not my problem.

Not anymore. His foolery has gone from silly stunts to bullshit that could, quite literally, ruin the entire planet. I don’t plan on being part of the Get-Along Gang like all the sore-winner Trump supporters are cajoling Democrats me to be. If I had the slightest bit of faith that he won’t completely ruin the whole country if given even a millimeter of slack, I might ease up on him, but he’s demonstrated that he has no interest in easing up on me, Blacks, Latinos, the disabled, the poor or anyone else in the country who isn’t a rich white man.

The good news is, the bastard has a week spot–unlike Obama, Trump has zero sense of humor about himself. Say one word against him, especially if it’s ridiculing one of his many soft spots, and he completely loses his shit, and he feels the need to defend himself against the change, almost always by insulting the person or people lobbing the goop at him. If he’s tweeting SNL IS UNFUNNY AND ALEC BALDWIN IS A LOSER, he can’t be making horrible policy decisions, threatening to hit our allies with huge tariffs, or trying to start World War III with Ghina.

Luvvie Ajayi gets it. The New York Times bestselling author of the amazingly brilliant and pants-wettingly hilarious I’m Judging You wrote this post about how to artfully and effectively stick it to Trump at every turn, and it is smarter and funnier than anything I could write about the subject, so here–you read this and laugh at it, and I’m gonna go have a snack or something.

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I bet Trump thinks this song is about him–don’t he? Don’t he?

After Paul Anka backed out of performing at Trump’s inauguration, word got out that the song he was slated to perform “My Way.” Pres. Hairdo’s choice of the most egotistical song released in the history of pop music is incredibly telling. While every other president started out his tenure of service to the country at least pretending to care about the people, Trump’s musical selection is just another indication that his term in the White House is going to be one long “I” statement. Here’s a better song–because Trump is a really sad person, and John Lydon’s anger at the object of this song is pretty fitting.

Take care of yourself, THEN take care of business

audre-lorde

A woman’s fight to survive the day, each and every day, is different than a man’s. The average woman’s struggle also is more difficult than the average man’s, I’d argue (and I don’t want to argue with you, so please don’t), and it has to do with differences large and small, and those differences are the result of both accidental circumstance, and forceful oppression.

There’s a reason why there’s a Woman’s March on Washington (and in individual cities), and not a Man’s March. Yes, James Brown, this is a man’s world, and nothing has reminded us of that fact so starkly as Donald Trump’s (un)presidential campaign, victory and his conduct in the two months since the election. The war on women’s bodies, choices and right to not be attacked by rapists (only to be punished for having the audacity to get attacked)–it’s only intensified, and only going to get worse.

The everyday fight is hard, and the struggle to gain equality and justice for women is adding more weight to our already overburdened shoulders. We want to continue fighting, but some of us (including me) are overwhelmed. The typically female response is to power through the feelings of despair, exhaustion, depression and other negative forces. That can be dangerous–continuing to fight when you’re at your breaking point just increases  the likelihood you’re gonna get broken.

Self-care isn’t just taking a bubble bath (despite the predominant FB definition). It’s doing what you need to do for yourself to avoid going past the breaking point, or even recovering once you’ve gone past it. It’s different for everyone–for me, today, it’s stepping away from my computer for the rest of the day, avoiding arguments on FB, and coming back to it tomorrow. I don’t mind admitting I feel overwhelmed by work, the impending Trump inauguration, struggle against the GOP evils and other things. I’m not being lazy, and I’m not neglecting work or the fight against Trump to slack. As Audre Lorde (the lovely person above) said:

Caring for myself is not self indulgence. It is self preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.

If I don’t take a break from the things that are weighing on me, I could lose my shit. Taking a half day for myself, though, will leave me in better shape to take care of my shit when I get back. See you then.

You are not the boss of me

Since Trump was elected, well-meaning, left-leaning folks like me have been wondering how best to fight the evils of the incoming administration, the flow of which is already rolling in and threatening to drown us. While we’re all trying to figure out how best to battle the baddies, we’re all sharing ideas. Often, these declarations include not just what we can do, but what others can’t do. I have one word for those people:

Don’t.

The last time I checked, none of you Facebook philosophers and Twitter talking heads held a degree in policy. You haven’t yourself come up with any guaranteed Donald-defeating defenses–if you had, the bloviating blowfish wouldn’t be moving into office. You have a suggestion for moves you think might just save the world? Fine–by all means, share them with the other members of the resistance so we can incorporate your brain gems into our gameplan. However, you should think twice (or three times) before you send down from your high horse proclamations that the measures other people are suggesting or taking are bullshit.

In the past week, I’ve seen several posts and heard myriad conversations saying that talking about X is frivolous, or doing Y is pointless. Screw. That. Just like we defeated the Axis of Evil (you know–the original Hitler, not the one we’re facing now) with an insane amount of weapons. We hit those bullies with planes, tanks, ships, jeeps, bullets, torpedos, bombs, nuclear shit, surveillance, spies, codebreakers, and all sorts of other means of attack and defense. Imagine if one general had said, “No, we should just stick with airplane bombs because studies have shown those to be the most effective,” we’d have been frakked. It took a whole bunch of solutions to solve the problem of Hitler and his special brand of awful.

Now, we’re hearing we shouldn’t spend time talking about Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes speech, because it’s not the most important thing. We shouldn’t talk about Trump’s tweets, because they’re ridiculous. Now, we women shouldn’t don pink kitty hats to show solidarity when the Women’s March on Washington (and Chicago, and other cities) rolls around, because it distracts from THE REAL ISSUES.

Here’s the thing, though: all of these things add up to a solid wall of defense against Trump, the GOP and all the shenanigans they’re trying to pull. This war won’t be won on one front. Yes, we need to keep the pressure up politically. We absolutely need to pick up the phone and call our elected officials to let them know we will not accept the fraud these charlatans are perpetrating. That’s not enough. We need to share things like Streep’s speech, because the inspiration will be the catalyst to get one person to act. Anger over the latest bit of nonsense Trump vomited all over Twitter will be the spark that lights another person up. And those ridiculous, adorable hats could be the symbol of unity and defiance that shows another person that she is not alone, motivating her to join the fight, too. We need all of it.

And as for dismissing any acts of dissent as “silly,” remember that Superman defeated the Ku Klux Klan–not on the newsprint pages of an old comic book, but in real life. After World War II, a wave of xenophobia took hold and provided the dying KKK with a fresh breath of life. With the help of a few brilliant minds and this nifty invention called the radio, the hateful organization was sent underground again. Read more about it here.

Take a page from the improv community. Don’t ever say a flat-out NO to something spoken or done by another performer. Say, “Yes, and….” i.e., “Yes! That thing there is good! What about this, too?” Don’t demotivate anyone from doing anything–validate, and inspire them to do more.

Reasons to resist

trumpdumpster

Ten days from now, the country we spent more than two centuries building will be handed over to a man who’s never held political office–who’s never worked a day in his life, really–and there’s a lot of reasons to be scared. Everyone in his cabinet is openly anti-gay. Almost every person on his team is a billionaire, or at least a very comfy multi-millionaire. None of them seems very interested in making this country a better place for anyone but hateful rich people like them. I asked folks in an informal Facebook poll two questions–one I’ll share here, the other tomorrow.

The responses to the first question include a lot of very thoughtful and on-point comments. One of the people who answered is a hilarious, award-winning stand-up comic, but her answer was anything but chuckle-inducing. I mean, it included the word “Machiavellian,” for fuck’s sake. This is serious, people!

What about the new POTUS and administration worries you the most?

Teresa F: His lack of planning, insistence on ignoring intelligence or coherence makes him very unpredictable and therefore a serious hazard to global peace.”
Helen LR: “The post-fact mentality that prizes ideology over reasoned discourse. The lack of graciousness and diplomacy shown by PEOTUS and how politicians appear to be looking the other way. The heightened atmosphere of racism, sexism, and intolerance that is a direct result of his actions. The lack of political experience/willingness to throw away precedent for a profit motive in the new administration that may embolden U.S. enemies. Conflicts of interest.”
Mary C: “One of my biggest fears is suppression of free speech and dissent, and the delegitimization of mainstream media that we’re seeing right now.”
Rebecca K: “Bigotry.”
Robin R: “Lack of transparency, i.e. reduced journalistic information; reduced freedom, i.e. potential for stop-and-frisk-type oppression; also loss of important programs–SS, healthcare, etc.
Tori B: “He tries to counteract his insecurity with uninformed overconfidence. The end result is a guy who doesn’t understand the limits of his knowledge, and won’t admit it. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. That makes him dangerous and easy to manipulate.”
Lori K.: His lack of historical perspective around international diplomacy that leads to hostile responses from other countries.
Shane M: “ I worry that making America great again means putting women back in the kitchen. Women have fought so hard to get where we are and our new elected officials seem very against this. Also, abortion rights concern me.”
Amanda C: “His absolute failure to grasp the subtleties of diplomacy.”
Ed S.: “Healthcare, and dismantling the ACA. I directly benefit from it, and we know many other who do also. I may literally have to leave the country.”
Anne M: “He doesn’t have this country or its citizens at heart. He is just using the position to advance himself and his business.”
Cathy L.: “The assemblage of a group of what I consider Machiavellian, in many cases, and ignorant in others, individuals in a cabinet whose motto is likely, ‘First do harm.'”
Cresta WJ: “I worry about his out of proportion responses to any hint of criticism, and his inability to see the big picture with regards to the best interest of the country.”
Vicky R.: “War, both foreign and domestic.”
Daniel L.: “His constant lying.”
Rachel GD: “First and foremost, I was so repulsed by his Access Hollywood ‘hot mic’ that I can’t take him seriously as a leader for any woman, and I hate when people tell me that I should watch the inauguration and have some respect for the person taking the highest office in the land and BS, BS, BS. No, I don’t have to show someone any respect who has made it clear that he thinks it is appropriate to grab me by my genitals purely on the criteria that he is rich and famous. The second part of this follows: given his complete disrespect of women as human beings, and given that I am a women’s healthcare provider, I worry greatly about what sort of impact his policies and SCOTUS appointees will have on access to contraceptives and abortion access.
Tracy C.: “The US government is being converted into a full-service, fascist kleptocracy in the model of Putin/Russia, and we must resist.”

Funny you should say that, Tracy–the good news is, most of the people who answered also already have firm plans in place to push back against what they rightfully view as a dangerous (and, in come cases, potentially deadly) administration. More on how they plan to fight–and how you can help–tomorrow.

Give

beerpuppy

This post is about doing more to help people in need (one of my 2017 resolutions). I am going to start out by showing you a photo of a puppy trying to drink a beer. You’re welcome.

I did a little in 2016. I regularly bought a paper from Lisa, my StreetWise vendor. I started a fundraiser for Feeding America, to help collect dough for hungry men, women, children and seniors. I gave money to random charities and people. One of my favorite things: I had a $50 VISA gift card that I’d received in a trivia contest, and no idea what to spend it on. As I was standing in line at Target staring at the thing, I overheard a couple of women talk about how the carts full of baby items they were purchasing were for a friend who was at that very moment picking up her first foster baby. I took that as a sign from the universe that the new instant mom was meant to hand it, so I gave it to her friends, so they’d have one more thing to give to the woman who was about to have her life turned upside down in the best possible way.

I’m not bragging. It did feel good to do those little things–but sadly, “little” is the operative word. Every little bit counts, but there’s so much need in this country, especially in a city like Chicago, that everyone could always do a little bit more. This year, I’m going to give more. Not just money–time, too. If you know of any volunteer groups, let me know–and let me know if you’d like to join me.

Create, and devastate

piggy

For a creative person, it’s surprising how little time I spend every week actually making things. I write a little, I do a little laundry, watch TV, eat toast, etc., but in the midst of a busy work week, and the time in between office hours spent recovering from said office hours, I don’t create. If that’s true, am I creative at all?

There’s a theory that creativity is a muscle, and it needs to be flexed and stretched on a regular basis so it doesn’t wither and weaken. With such disuse, my creative muscle is spindly as hell right now. That’s why one of my resolutions for the not-so-new-anymore New Year is to create more. Every day I will put one thing into the world that wasn’t there before. The good news is every creative project I tackle doesn’t have to be the Sistine Chapel ceiling or the Mona Lisa. Baking a pot pie is creating. So is opening MS Paint to draw a happy little pig with my finger and touchscreen. Preferably, though, I’ll create more stuff I can share with more people, like stories and books and poems. I think this blog counts as creative, but I’ll pretend it doesn’t so I’m moved to do more stuff. In conclusion, a haiku.

Weiner dogs howling
In the apartment above

I hate my neighbors