Change is hard.
Giving birth (I hear) is painful.
Weight training hurts.
Learning math or Mandarin Chinese makes the brain ache.
Political and social change are chaotic, uncertain and scary.
A Black Woman worked tirelessly for years to enfranchise voters of color in Georgia. She succeeded. Even after being the victim herself of voter suppression.
Today, those voters then elected the first Black US Senator from that state or from the South broadly.
As well as a Democratic President.
And, it would appear, a Jewish man to the other Senate seat.
I think our old concept of the Deep South has moved north.
-January 6, 2021
Please pay attention.
The sitting president instructed a group of his followers who had rallied in DC this morning to go to the US Capitol and interrupt the pro forma reading of the electoral votes.
Without any resistance they breeched Capitol security and occupied the House and Senate floors and damaged property, causing legislators and the VP to be sheltered or evacuated.
They remain in control of the American capitol.
That same president has so far refused to tell them to stand down, to vacate.
One person has been shot.
An IED has been discovered on Capitol grounds.
They brought a gallows from which to hang the Vice-President.
Pray for peace and calm.
-January 6, 2021
At 3:41 am, EST, Pence finally certifies and signs the electoral college vote.
Sleep, now, Americans, but remain vigilant.
-January 7, 2021
Trump will award the Medal of freedom today to three golfers today.
I imagine Stacey Abrams wasn’t available.
One of the golfers, Gary Player, is South African. He’s not even a US citizen.
-January 7, 2021
A good friend recently questioned a post where I suggested a double standard in the police responses to the Trumpist right wing terrorist coup Wednesday, January 6th, at the US Capitol.
Paraphrasing, “Why does it have to be about color? Doesn’t that further create division?” I know this to be a well-meaning and honest question. I have puzzled this a few days and wanted to avoid an emotional or ad hominem response. How can I answer kindly and help build connections and not division?
In the immediate, this police coddling in DC is about race because particularly this past year, when activists, Black, Brown and white, took to public spaces to protest police brutality and murder of Black Americans, they were often met with overwhelming force, tear gas, beatings and arrest. These citizens were protesting unequal treatment under the law. They were lawfully insisting on fairness and demanding their rights.
The mob of traitors who attacked the Capitol was attempting a low budget coup and were largely accommodated by Capitol Police. Incidentally, they were also largely white supremacists. They were enemies of America, criminals and terrorists. And the cops essentially gave them a pass.
Why? It is a compelling and critical question. Are our cops sympathetic to racist seditionists? How can it not appear so?
Not noting the difference in police reaction would be blindness, or denial. It stares us right in the face. As a citizen, I am responsible for both responses.
Deeper, these four years and longer, white Americans have been shown a mirror in which our racist history looks back at us: Our genocide of the First People, four hundred years of enslavement of Black Americans, decades of Jim Crow, exploitation of Latino and Chinese workers, the Japanese internment, deep roots of institutional racism, caging brown people from south of our borders and sadly, so much more.
Why does it have to be about race? Because it is.
Racism is the dominant strain in our national identity that runs deepest and longest, and it will not subside until we face it.
And it is not subsiding. We lost John Lewis and Elijah Cummings. Then a corrupt president pardoned the racist congressman Steve King and QAnon sympathizers have been elected to Congress, one from my state. It’s about race because racists are gaining footholds. They have occupied the White House four years. And seventy-plus million Americans support them, and insist white people are the real victims.
America and Americans desperately need a national Truth and Reconciliation.
I say this not to levy blame or cause shame, but to rally us to do the work. There are decades of work to do. Trumpism is taking us backwards and needs to be crushed.
Part of that is education. From a current project, I share a reading list focused on Black American experience that is woefully incomplete but solid as far as it goes.
Power To All The People.
Suggested reading list:
Caste, Isabel Wilkerson, Penguin, 2020
America’s Racial Karma, Larry Ward, Parallax Press, 2020
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander, The New Press, 2020
How To Be An Anti-Racist, Ibram X. Kendi, Random House, 2019
Between The World And Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Penguin Random House, 2015
Mindful Of Race, Ruth King, Sounds True, 2018
The Color Of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, Richard Rothstein, Liveright, 2018
Just Mercy, Bryan Stephenson, One World, 2015
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism, Robin DiAngelo, Beacon, 2018
The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin, Vintage, 1962
Parting The Waters, Pillar Of Fire, At Canaan’s Edge, Taylor Branch, Simon & Schuster, 1989, 1999, 2007
Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston, Lippincott, 1937
The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison, Vintage, 1970
The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Malcolm X and Alex Haley, Grove, 1965
Julian Bond’s Time To Teach: A History of the Southern Civil Rights Movement, Julian, Beacon, 2021
Stamped From The Beginning: The Definitive History Of Racist Ideas In America, Ibram X. Kendi, Bold Type Books, 2017
Coming Of Age In Mississippi: The Classic Autobiography of Growing Up Poor and Black in the Rural South, Ann Moody, Dell, 1992
-January 10, 2021
Good friends insist the antler man or the Auschwitz sweatshirt guy or even Trump are not the true face of the Republican party.
I understand what they mean. And I hope they are right. I know my friends, and this is not who they are. Michael Steels objects vocally to these idiots.
But the GOP and its members who do not forever want to be associated with their very own Kristallnacht or Beer Hall Putsch have a dwindling number of days to step up, stand up, speak out and disavow this fascist strain in their ranks and join others to excise it.
As rarely before, silence equals complicity.
-January 11, 2021
Three of Colorado’s Congressional delegation made news the past week, one as a real live hero, one ignominiously as a full-blown traitor and one as a partisan puppet.
Jason Crow (CO 6th) stepped up during the siege and protected colleagues and drew on his Ranger training. He cared for a colleague and coolly thought about available weapons.
Lauren Boebert (CO 3rd) drew on her QAnon delusions and long gun fetishes and pointed the invaders to the Speaker’s office. She may also have given them tours prior to their terrorist attack.
Ken Buck (CO 4th) pleaded for unity after supporting division four years and asked for healing. Too late.
We’re a small state.
This is too much publicity.
But I am so proud we have Jason.
-January 11, 2021
No expert on Shakespeare here, but McConnell’s calculus feels classical, whether the story of Caius Marcius or Othello or another king or ruler taken down by wily lieutenants. He cares about retaining if not building power, his own as expressed through his leadership of the GOP. Part of that calculus is seeing and accepting that Trump broke the GOP, and it will either go the way of the Klan or it will redefine itself and wash off the stench of Trumpism and white supremacy. Mitch plans to come out unscathed. Elaine Chao did not resign by accident. The Times was fed McConnell’s comments about impeachment yesterday. My guess is Liz Cheney called him before her statement yesterday. What is certain: McConnell is done with Trump. Trump is radioactive and will be a broke and broken clown in a year. Mitch will find a way to purge and exile Trump, so his tiny fingerprints do not manipulate the 2024 general election. What to watch for: Do McConnell and Schumer agree to bring back the Senate before Tuesday? How long will it take Mitch to whip 17 votes to convict? Can he do this under the rose? Does he lose power and face if he’s seen whipping? Does he allow a vote or (and this is my bet) does he let it slide to Schumer’s Senate, so the blame is off him? That way, Trump is knee-capped and cannot run again and the remainder of the GOP presidential field are freed to run in 2024, but Mitch gets to blame Democrats. Whatever else can be said about him, and there is a pile, McConnell is one of the most effective political operators since LBJ. If this were not so dangerous, it might be good sport to watch. But a country and its people hang in this Shakespearean balance.
-January 13, 2021
I posted that this wannabe Nazi, Robert Keith Parker, who was photographed attacking the Capitol a week ago in a deplorable sweatshirt that should never have been silk-screened let alone worn by anyone, was the new face of the GOP. I was angry and I let my emotions spill onto Facebook. Perhaps because I had just heard the actual and titular leader of the GOP say on camera that he loved this guy.
Fog of war.
I am sorry.
Today, I am so encouraged to say that Robert Keith Parker was arrested by our FBI in Newport News, Virginia, and charged with a hate crime, among others, partly because of his sweatshirt.
So, Robert will not be the face of the GOP.
Perhaps Robert will be the face of the Newport News jail on 26th Street.
I imagine they have sweatshirts.
But there are heroic faces among the GOP, ten most notably, who voted today to impeach a criminal president, led by Liz Cheney from Wyoming. This group of ten includes two Congress members from my home state, Washington.
Likely, we agree on little else.
But today I was cheering their courage in the face of the dominant Trump cult in the House.
I may never vote for one of them, but citizens like Cheney can rescue the GOP or create a new conservative party apart from the white supremacy movement Trump begat.
I heartily and gratefully applaud her and the gang of ten.
Maybe this is how healing begins.
-January 13, 2021
There were many calls for healing and unity among Republican Congresspeople today as they spoke against impeachment.
Honestly, I agree, and I welcome this work.
Here is what I think the steps should be:
1. I lied about most every aspect of the Trump presidency, including about Obama’s birth certificate. I don’t know what I was thinking.
2. Most egregiously, I lied when I supported Trump’s lies about voter fraud, election irregularities and the illegitimacy of the recent election.
3. I realize and admit all that was false and that I helped deceive millions of voters.
4. I understand this has ripped the fabric of our democracy.
5. That damage caused unstable people to attack our Capitol and kill people.
6. And, I am sorry. That is my fault.
7. Joe Biden won fair and square. He is the legitimate President.
Then, I say:
1. I accept your apology.
2. But you really hurt us. You have to know this.
3. Promise you’ll never do this again.
4. Let’s find a way to walk this back and find common ground.
5. I said some stuff I apologize for too.
6. I’ve had some bad days myself.
7. What’s really troubling you?
Then, we see what happens next.
-January 13, 2021
Yesterday the House of Representatives voted to impeach Donald Trump a second time, largely along party lines. 222 Democrats were joined, remarkably, by ten Republicans in voting to impeach. I used the term “heroic” referring to these members and a colleague questioned that term. I’ll use it again. Violent insurrectionists invaded the US Capitol a week ago intent on capturing and, if we are to take them at their word, killing members of both parties. I want to name them because these ten heroically voted for justice and the Constitution over their personal safety: Cheney of Wyoming, Newhouse and Beutler of Washington, Valadao of California, Kinzinger of Illinois, Gonzalez of Ohio, Katko of New York, Meijer and Upton of Michigan, Rice of South Carolina. Thank you and stay safe.
197 Republicans towed the Trump line and voted against the bill. As they spoke, it seemed as though nothing had happened last week, and the barrage of false equivalencies was hallucinogenic. No, folks, Robert DeNiro saying he’d like to punch Trump is not an offset to Trump directing a mini clown-coup resulting in six deaths. Any thought I or others may have had of calmly reasoning with hard core Trumpists evaporated watching these toadies repeat four years of lies.
-January 14, 2021
And now, we’re discussing whether or not specific Republican House members may have toured the invaders around the Capitol the day before the attack. Think of that.
House and Senate Republicans still protecting Trump…you have only one path, one route to help heal or address the division in the country and the racist attacks on our institutions:
Come out en masse, tomorrow, and sternly proclaim that claims of any election irregularities were lies, that the November election was completely secure, and that Joe Biden is unquestionably the next President of the United States.
Say that now, without hedging or equivocation.
In the process, call out those who continue to promulgate Trump lies.
That will really help a lot.
People believe you guys.
Please tell them the truth.
Please take up your responsibility to end this division and violence.
-January 15, 2021
In Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises we find this dialog:
“How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked
“Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually and then suddenly.”
I am experiencing the events of the past four years and then the past four weeks in this way. Horror followed us after November 2016 with no apparent improvement or remedy, or if so, it moved glacially.
And then, “Boom!” The Vice-President escapes murder at the hands of a racist, Trump mob by minutes and today we have more troops in DC than in Afghanistan and Iraq combined. Congress members fear for their safety, not from guys in horned hats, but from their armed congressional colleagues, some who believe Democrats eat babies.
How in the world did we get here?
It reminds me of fifty years ago, under quite different circumstances. We’d look at one another and ask, “It’s been an hour and a half. Do you feel anything?” Then, seemingly, the next moment I’d find myself in the closet wondering how I got there and who I was.
Resist tyranny and hate.
-January 15, 2021
Happy Birthday, Dr. King!
As a birthday pleasure, I’m watching Regina King’s directorial debut, One Night In Miami.
This is just pure fun, which feels so good.
A fictionalized story set in real history.
Cassius Clay beats Sonny Liston for the world heavyweight title in February 1964 in Miami.
He hooks up with pals Jim Brown, Sam Cooke and Malcolm X for a fraught, honest, brotherly night out.
After, Clay converts and becomes Muhammed Ali.
These friends dig deep about being Black men in white supremacist America in the 1960’s.
This picture conjures the Ossie Davis quote: “Being Black can be a lot of fun when ain’t nobody lookin’.”
-January 15, 2021
An hour of stillness
By the time the sun rises
I notice and bow
January 17, 2021
Twelve years ago, I was tearfully happy that we were confirming the first Black man as President of the United States.
I only dreamed that would ever happen.
Eight years ago, I was so proud we did it again.
Barack Obama was smart, ethical and committed to the public good.
Tonight, I feel that pride again.
Biden will be what the country needs now.
Taking nothing away from him.
But we made history.
We elected a Black, first generation, South-Asian / Jamaican heritage woman to the second most powerful post in the country.
Kamala Harris’s parents were PhDs and contributed mightily to economics and medical research.
She attended and excelled at Howard and earned her JD from Hastings in 1989 passing the California Bar in 1990.
Following, she held a number of increasingly influential positions in that state.
Harris has worked in the public interest since then.
She is smart, ethical, committed and honest.
I am so proud she is my VP.
I am so relieved to be able to say that.
Congratulations Madame Vice-President.
January 19, 2021
I was awakened at ten thirty,
the teevee still on.
Steve Bannon was pardoned I learned.
Manson was too far gone, apparently.
Out my mountain window
to the west, a moon floated
against a black sky,
half round, a white meniscus, tipped south,
not yet spilling a drop,
sanguine about Steve,
encouraging me to dream.
“Let the shadows move” she says,
slipping behind a Ponderosa at
seven thousand feet.
January 19, 2021
The Americans are back.
I am sad and sorry for my doubt.
I underestimated us.
We were down awhile.
We got waylaid by a fool, a liar, a traitor, and a criminal.
But we woke up and shrugged him off.
Never again to cede him a second thought.
We have a future to attend to.
We can do it.
We are strong.
We are beautiful.
We are good.
The Americans are back.
Power to the People.
January 20, 2021