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Chocolate and Pittsburgh

Today is the day we have been waiting for since November 9, 2016. Remember the horror of that morning when you realized that the Congress, Supreme Court and Presidency were in the hands of ultra right wing lunatics? I was sick to my stomach. I had to take the bus to my job in downtown Pittsburgh and it felt surreal. Election Day had been beautiful. The sky was clear, the weather unseasonably pleasant and perfect for last minute GOTV canvassing. I voted at lunch, yelping with happiness that I got to push the button for the best qualified presidential candidate in this nation’s history who also happened to be a woman. And I was under no illusion that the country, Congress and media were going to make it easy for her but damn, it was so worth it. I knew she would prove everyone wrong.

Overnight, the weather turned and it was cold, dreary and wet in the dark morning. I stood under the bus shelter waiting for the P1 and a long line of black people looked warily at me as if to ask “Did you vote for him too? How can I ever trust you again?”

But my mind was on my own well being. What was it going to be like living in a country where the president thinks it’s ok to grope women, force them to find another job if they object to sexual harassment and take away their reproductive rights? What is it going to be like to regress even more in how seriously you are taken at work? How is that going to enhance my security if I can never find a decent job again or one that pays well enough for me to live an independent life? How does that help ANY family where there has to be two wage earners when one is treated like not quite a whole person worthy of respect?

If they can destroy Hillary’s career, what makes us think they won’t destroy the careers of any woman who gets in some white dude’s way?

We all knew what was going to happen if Republicans took over everything. Some of us were ok with it. They would be the white guys (#notallwhiteguys 🙄). The rest of us were well and truly fucked. And since white guys comprise only 38% of the population, that was going to mean minority rule. When it comes right down to it, they were the ones who practiced identity politics. The rest of us just want to live in a modern world.

Our fears have been justified. The Republicans have saddled us with so much debt to reward their donors with tax cuts that if they stay in office, they will take an ax to the deferred benefits we have worked hard for all our lives. They’ve gone out of their way to exempt young white guys from the affordable care act, making it Ok to gut it so that some 28 year old male in Kansas doesn’t have to contribute one dollar to the healthcare of women and children. They’ve anointed two additional white guys to the Supreme Court, using their slight majority in the Senate to saddle us with big business loving justices who have lifetime appointments. One of those justices occupies a stolen seat.

They have gutted Net Neutrality. They have ignore voting rights laws. They have looked away when their president separated children from their parents. They have given permission for the President to bar Muslims from certain countries from coming here. They are quiet about the plan to strip American born children of their citizenship. They are complicit in stripping regulations, making citizens vulnerable to safety violations and allowing what we surely will discover is graft and bribery in our various governmental departments. They have suppressed science, data collection, agency to do anything about climate change in order to reward their donors in the fossil fuel industry. They have obstructed investigation of the interference of a foreign power into the 2016 election and whether the president conspired with that foreign power to protect his financial interests. They have sanctioned the discrimination of gay people, transgender people and have interfered in how we relieve ourselves.

But the worst was yet to come.

It felt like it couldn’t get any worse. Day after day, we witness new acts of reprehensible bullying by white people on everyone else. People who call the police on barbequers in a park, scream at Spanish speakers, grope women because the president says it’s ok. The president himself lies about refugees and asylum seekers, making a substantial number of self-interested Americans frantic about a band of poor people asking for assistance at our border. We have laws to process them, track them. We can even take steps to track them more aggressively if we want to while they’re in our country.

This is the country that kicked the Taliban’s ass, who destroyed Al Qaeda, who stormed the beaches of Normandy, who built the most terrifying weapon in the history of mankind and then used it against two civilian targets and here we are, a nation where a substantial number of our citizens are peeing themselves over a few thousand poor, tired, hungry men, women and children come knocking at our door for help. We have to send thousands of troops to the border to stop them like they were hordes of the walking dead instead of human beings, no different from the human beings on this side of the border.

The destructive, obscenely unjust and incautious language used to scare the easily terrified among us has reached a dangerous crescendo resulting in “American carnage” in Pittsburgh.

Implied by the horrific act in Squirrel Hill is that Jewish organizations are welcoming criminals and terrorists into our country. And that lead to eleven Jewish worshippers being murdered in their synagogue, along with several police officers who were severely hurt.

It was a perfect storm of resentment of immigrants, white supremacy, anti-semitism and unregulated assault rifle violence in a city that takes pride in its friendly neighborly attitude.

Mayor Peduto, who witnessed the aftermath of the shooting and the chaos overtaking Squirrel Hill and tried to restore some order and security, took a badly timed call from the president who was seriously off message:

The three-minute phone call with the president jarred Peduto, 54, the popular second-term Democratic mayor of the Steel City, just as he was trying to get his head around what was happening. After offering thoughts and prayers — and pledging anything Peduto needed, including a direct line to the White House — Trump veered directly into policy, Peduto recalled. The president, Peduto said, insisted on discussing harsher death penalty legislation as a way to prevent such atrocities. Peduto was stunned into silence.

“I’m literally standing two blocks from 11 bodies right now. Really?” Peduto said, noting that he was numb and believed that talking about the death penalty wasn’t “going to bring them back or deter what had just happened. . . . I ended the conversation pretty quickly after that.”

Oh, if we could all just end the conversation with the president so quickly. But THIS congress will exercise no limit on this president. They will not hold him accountable for the hatred, instability and chaos that he has set in motion. They won’t hold him accountable for our diminished standing in the world, our lack of influence or his inaction when condemning the murder of a journalist, a permanent resident of the United States visiting Turkey.

They won’t hold him accountable for his speech, ineptitude or authoritarian tendencies. They will not hold him accountable for the hatred he has stirred up leaving us frightened of our neighbors.

So, we must hold them accountable.

Two years ago, I woke up afraid of what Trump would do but semi assured that the Congress would do the right thing if necessary. That confidence was entirely misplaced.

It wasn’t Trump we should have watching. It was his sneaky enablers, the true believers. Not the con man in the White House.

So now we all have a chance to set things back on the right track. Or force it back on the right track.

Before the planet gets too hot.

Before we strip immigrants of their human rights.

Before we separate any more children from their parents.

Before we lose the social security and Medicare we have paid for all of our working lives.

Before any black kids selling lemonade on the street are turned in by some stupid white woman with a cell phone.

Before another woman has to risk losing her job in order to exercise her right to determine when she wants to be a parent.

Before we harass a transgender person from using the bathroom.

Before we antagonize any more countries with destructive tariffs or immature, inappropriate school yard taunts and threats.

Before another school full of students is riddled with bullets.

Before another Jewish neighborhood is terrorized.

Before we allow them to highjack every conceivable way for us to vote them out.

Now, today, is the day we have been waiting two years for.

Let’s make a commitment to each other to vote today for ourselves and our neighbors and hold Republicans accountable for trying to pull this country down to the level of a third world country.

Vote them out. Then go have some chocolate. We need some relief from the trauma of the last two years.

And now a word from Preet:

And man in the hoody:

There’s a pornhub category for everyone.

Morning Music:

Come on baby, surf in the sea

I’m gonna take you surfin’ with me.

SURF’S UP!

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21 Responses

  1. Philly suburb here, RD, VOTED straight Dem and it felt so good. Expecting thunderstorms for most of the day, hope it doesn’t affect turnout.

  2. Thank you for all you wrote today.

    The weather in northeastern Illinois on November 8, 2016 was very similar to the weather you described. It was sunny and warm. I wore suffragist colors (green, purple and white) and walked to my nearby polling place to vote for the first female candidate nominated by a major party.

    I told my child that he might have a day off from school on Wednesday depending on how late I would stay up to watch the election returns and how much champagne I was going to have to celebrate.

    I think it was between 1:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m. when I took the champagne out of the fridge and went to bed. I did not sleep well. As I tossed and turned I kept repeating “We are so screwed.”

    I hope that the results of this election show that November 8, 2016 was a pyrrhic victory for the Rethuglicans and their Russian enablers.

    There was an op-ed column by Ron Suskind in yesterday’s NY Times that is very interesting reading for those of us who preferred Hillary over Barack in 2008.

    I think I’ll put the bottle of Proseco in the fridge just in case and hope that the Rethuglicans wake up with a hangover tomorrow.

    • JM, can you give a link to the op ed? Would very much like to read. I will never forgive the party for 2008.

      • Oops, sorry JMS, left off your “S.”

        • Here’s the link and don’t worry about the missing “s.”

          • Thanks, JMS, enjoyed that. Particularly this line: “… the Rooseveltian moment to create fundamental change had passed.” Past performance is the best indicator of future performance, and IMHO, Obama had nothing in his resume to show that he could do the job that needed to be done. I remember Hillary talking about fighting for “main street” not Wall Street and i believed her. She had the balls, he didn’t then and doesn’t now, but now we will never know what would have happened to this country had she won the presidency in 2008.

          • Catscatscats,

            I am unable to forgive the party for what it did in 2008 as well. I vote for Dems, but have a hard time donating to the party.

            In the Suskind op-ed, I enjoyed the same line that you quoted. And I completely agree with all you wrote.

            I also enjoyed the paragraph “In the early Obama years, some administration officials would pass notes under the acronym WWLD (what would Lyndon do?) when they grew frustrated that Obama wouldn’t twist arms, and maybe break a few, to get a return on his stunning political capital.”

            I believe that Obama did not do enough to help the middle class during his presidency and that is a large part of the reason for tRump is president.

  3. I had the pleasure of early voting and I’m excited/nervous for tonight. I am training in Jiu Jitsu and will spend a good part of today at the Dojo with my favorite trainer and fellow JJ students as I/we work to focus physical, mental and spiritual engagement in this ritualized martial art.

    Later I’ll be be watching the returns and trying to yoga breathe as they come in and, when that doesn’t calm me, I’ll sip (or perhaps gulp) a couple of good sized glasses of wine.

    Thank you RD for your essay which so cogently summarizes how we arrived here toda with our shared misery, and then our shared determination.

    Love to all here! 💕

  4. I sensed the doom when FL was called and turned off the tv. There was a silence in the house like somebody died rest of the night and the next day. We should relive it to get us to go to the polls today because weather here is nasty (Fotunately I voted early last Tuesday).

    • The weather is a problem. Storms today and even tornados were forecast about a week ago. I am perhaps the only person who has been suggesting for years that when Daylight Savings Time was extended, it was deliberately fixed to end on the week before national elections, because the Republicans did not want people to have the benefit of longer daylight hours in which to vote. Bad weather in November has always benefitted them, of course.

      • My car hydroplaned as I drove to work, so much water and I was shaken up. But most people have their polling place in their own neighborhood so they don’t have to get on the beltway. Looking out the window rain has stopped and we may even get sunshine after 3. So all good I hope.

        • PM, the other problem with bad weather is if you have long lines you can be outside the building for awhile waiting to get in. It takes grit in some locations to stand out in the wind and pouring rain or freezing cold to do your civic duty.

          • True. The long lines could spill over to be in the open. My regular polling place is the school right behind my house across the creek but our early voting was in a veterans org building and much of the line was inside.

      • It’s a beautiful, sunny day here in God’s Country – not that at matters much because we’ve been voting for the last 2 weeks in Colorado (early voting/vote by mail) and most people have already cast their ballots.

        Snow tonight, though.

  5. Facebook is Fox News on the Internet. The propaganda network for the maladjusted.

  6. RD, your essay was both powerful and accurate. I remember voting here in Los Angeles in 2016, with a long line of people who were certainly almost all for Hillary, and who were in very good spirits. Then I watched the returns, could almost immediately see that something was very wrong (hidden R vote? R hacking of the system as in Ohio, 2004?), and that we were going to lose. By about 10PM here, I was certain of it, so I turned off the TV, did not sleep all night, and have scarcely had a good night’s sleep since. Every time I turn on my computer, I get the AOL news screen, and it is a race to see if I can delete it before I see the looming face of Trump, which is on there every day. If I turn on the news, 80% of what I see is Trump, and then various people responding to, or assessing Trump. Big Brother could not have been on as many telescreens as Trump is.. Above all, it has seemed like a strange and surreal nightmare, a country that I can hardly recognize, even though I tell myself that it has been developing for 60 years. It is like a demented carny show, something out of Bradbury’s “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” or one of the more unsettling “Twilight Zone” episodes, where a person wakes up to some unrecognizable world whose origin is revealed to the audience at the end.

    I wish I could be more optimistic as to how this will further develop. I just read an article in The Atlantic, by a writer who went to the heart of a Trump rally, talked to the attendees, and conveyed just how absolutely deluded or insane they are. Those people are not going away. There are other people running anti-semitic ads against Jewish candidates for Congress, showing them holding stacks of money. Those will not stop, they will get worse. But with all that, there is still this chance to make some kind of dent in the Republicans’ control of government. And not only do we desperately need this, we even more desperately need some kind of sense of achievement, some feeling that all the hard work and community of the last two years, has resulted in tangible gains. I do not want to think about what the mood will be like if the Republicans manage to cheat or suppress their way to unexpected victories. Actually, I have rarely enjoyed watching the results of midterms, as we usually lose, with the exception of ’96 and ’06. I might eschew watching the cable coverage, and just look at a favorable online site, to avoid the worst of the excited “both sides!” results reporting. Hopefully, we will at least win the House, and some governorships, and not lose too much in the Senate. Some gains, something to build upon next time, and something to help give decent and caring people courage and heart going forward.

  7. Loved this tweet:

    So funny because I used to make this for my younger millennial daughter. It’s ridiculously easy to make. I remember the day she pinged me from Rutgers asking for the recipe. Brain the size of a small planet, needed a recipe for avocado toast.

    Avocado toast

    Ingredients
    1 ripe avocado
    1 lemon
    1 clove garlic
    French bread slices
    Salt and pepper to taste

    Procedure:
    Peel and halve avocado. Scoop out flesh with a spoon into a small bowl. Mash with a fork and add the juice of half of the lemon. Add a pinch of salt.

    Put French bread slices on perforated pizza pan. Put in oven at 425°f for approximately 5 minutes. When bread is golden brown on both sides, remove from oven and rub on side with clove of garlic. Spoon on avocado. Eat. Nom nom nom.

    Tada!

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