|Eliza Byard (@EByard), 11/19/16. This is how the future voted. |
This is what people 18-25 said in casting their votes. We must keep this flame alight and nurture this vision.
There were 25 debates during the presidential primaries and general election and not a single question about the attack on voting rights, even though this was the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. Fourteen states had new voting restrictions in place for the first time in 2016—including crucial swing states like Wisconsin and Virginia ... We’ll likely never know how many people were kept from the polls by restrictions like voter-ID laws, cuts to early voting, and barriers to voter registration. But at the very least this should have been a question that many more people were looking into. For example, 27,000 votes currently separate Trump and Clinton in Wisconsin, where 300,000 registered voters, according to a federal court, lacked strict forms of voter ID. Voter turnout in Wisconsin was at its lowest levels in 20 years and decreased 13 percent in Milwaukee, where 70 percent of the state’s African-American population lives, according to Daniel Nichanian of the University of Chicago. -- Ari Berman, GOP Attack on Voting Rights Was Most Under-Covered Story of 2016, The Nation, 11/9/16
There are no adequate words for what happened on election day 2016. It is an abomination born of a travesty. Unthinkable, unspeakable, insane. We are going to step beyond electoral politics in this post, but before we do, for the historical record: Hillary Clinton, the first woman major party candidate for President of the United States, running on what Sen. Bernie Sanders called the most progressive party platform in history, won the popular vote nationally, but because of the Electoral College, which, ironically, is a gimmick that the Founders concocted to appease the slave states, victory was handed to a man who credible news sources have documented as a self-professed debaser of women whose first wife accused him of rape in sworn testimony, a racist, a billionaire who paid no federal income tax for many years, someone who fact checkers have proved was saying something false 91% of the time during the campaign, someone who according to one Oxford research psychologist scored higher than Hitler on a psychopath test. (All of these statements are hyperlinked to credible sources, and as further documentation I have included citations below.)
Yes, something bad has happened. And something very strange is going on. So now, life is calling for more from you and I than ever before; life, the Earth, our future are all of one voice in calling for us to become new (again), to declare ourselves (again), to choose love and liberation (again), to make yet another stand. In alignment with life, the Earth, our future, we are invincible.
The Patient Has to Want to Get Better
After eight years of healing treatment from a kind and gracious doctor, the patient has decided not to pursue another four years of healing treatment from the next doctor on duty, the patient would rather die then get better. After four more years of these treatments, the patient would have been strong enough for more aggressive medicine, the patient would have begun to remember more about life before the onset of the illness, and remembering more the patient might have wanted to get back to health and have a future, but no, the patient has apparently chosen its disease over healing, the patient has effectively chosen to die. The patient has refused further treatment, and chosen a different physician, a charlatan, a con man. The patient would rather keep on smoking the crack of anti-science, anti-nature, anti-woman, anti-color, anti-life. On the path of recovery, whether from physical or psychological afflictions, the patient has to want to get better; and there is now irrefutable evidence that this patient wants to die. How tragic.
Fight or Flight?
"Fight or Flight. The instinctive physiological response to a threatening situation, which readies one either to resist forcibly or to run away." -- Oxford Dictionary
There is no good choice. Flight? There is nowhere to run from planetary climate collapse, or global great depression or the next world war. There is nowhere to hide. Fight? Well, there have been many deeply disturbing examples of what to expect. Too many.
Remember the incident in which a University of California (Davis) police officer walked up to a line of unarmed college students on their knees, peacefully protesting economic injustice, and shot pepper spray directly into their young faces? You probably saw the viral video (or maybe you didn't). Remember Eric Garner who was killed by police who slammed his head against a sidewalk and applied a choke hold? You probably saw the viral video. He had been stopped by police for selling untaxed cigarettes. A grand jury decided not to indict the police officer who killed Eric Garner. And the U.C. Davis police officer who pepper-sprayed kneeling, unarmed college students protesting economic injustice? In the immediate aftermath, he was suspended with full pay, later he would receive worker's compensation for the suffering that he experienced.
These are just two of many incidents that send a disturbing message. And there are related messages that are just as disturbing, for example, the acquittals of George Zimmerman and the Bundys. In America today, it is is dangerous to stand up and say two plus two equals four, but not so dangerous to abuse peaceful protesters, or murder unarmed African-Americans, or seize government buildings IF in the name of extreme right-wing causes.
What to Do, What to Be
So if you don't want to give up on the life of the patient, because after all your life and the patient's life are inextricably interconnected, what's your plan?
There is a Trumpster Fire plan for the first 100 days, it is horrific, and with the Zombie Cult and their Death Eater Overlords in control of House and the Senate, at least some of it will be executed.
Michael Moore has a plan. It's a good one. Maybe you adopt it, maybe you develop your own.
Whatever your own plan evolves into, as the shock begins to wear off, and the painful reality of what lies ahead of us comes into full measure, here are a few suggestions from my own new plan.
I urge you to keep it simple, both your plan and the message articulating your plan.
I urge you to consider two areas as paramount issues on which you will focus your time and energy: leaning forward on the Climate Crisis and the Sixth Great Extinction, and protecting and expanding the rights of women. The Standing Rock Sioux and Planned Parenthood deserve your support.
And as your first and foremost priority I urge you to tend to your own deep self-care, and sharing your self-care skills, for example yoga and meditation, with others.
Because the road ahead may be long and hard, it is certainly scary.
In the indeterminate time that stretches out before us from this crossroad, I will be quietly focusing on these three areas exclusively, in my writing, speaking and meditation, and for the foreseeable future, I will have nothing more to say about electoral politics or any other realm except as it relates directly to one of these three areas of focus.
If ... When ...
The election of 2016 was a portal, if we had been able to pass through it, this nation could have begun to self-correct its course, to get back on track, to truly gain traction to arrive at its appointment with the future, but we were taken down from behind, and that portal has closed on us
A great opportunity has been lost. Much trouble lies ahead. But another portal will open, perhaps sooner than later, and probably in some unexpected way. We must be ready to step through.
Meanwhile, our overriding imperative is to survive, and to abide. And in the process of surviving and abiding, we must continue to make our lives themselves into bold expressions of love and liberation.
Here are two excerpts from worthy attempts to articulate the unspeakable and make sense of the insane from the day after the election. I have included links to the full text of each.
The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency is nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism. Trump’s shocking victory, his ascension to the Presidency, is a sickening event in the history of the United States and liberal democracy. On January 20, 2017, we will bid farewell to the first African-American President—a man of integrity, dignity, and generous spirit—and witness the inauguration of a con who did little to spurn endorsement by forces of xenophobia and white supremacy. It is impossible to react to this moment with anything less than revulsion and profound anxiety. There are, inevitably, miseries to come: an increasingly reactionary Supreme Court; an emboldened right-wing Congress; a President whose disdain for women and minorities, civil liberties and scientific fact, to say nothing of simple decency, has been repeatedly demonstrated. Trump is vulgarity unbounded, a knowledge-free national leader who will not only set markets tumbling but will strike fear into the hearts of the vulnerable, the weak, and, above all, the many varieties of Other whom he has so deeply insulted. The African-American Other. The Hispanic Other. The female Other. The Jewish and Muslim Other. The most hopeful way to look at this grievous event—and it’s a stretch—is that this election and the years to follow will be a test of the strength, or the fragility, of American institutions. It will be a test of our seriousness and resolve. -- David Remnick, An American Tragedy, New Yorker, 11/9/16
I see no way to stop this at first, but some of us will have to try. And what we must seek to preserve are the core institutions that he may threaten — the courts, first of all, even if he shifts the Supreme Court to an unprecedentedly authoritarian-friendly one. Then the laws governing the rules of war, so that war crimes do not define America as their disavowal once did. Then the free press, which he will do all he can to intimidate and, if possible, bankrupt. Then the institutions he will have to destroy to achieve what he wants — an independent Department of Justice as one critical bulwark, what’s left of the FBI that will not be an instrument of his reign of revenge, our scientific institutions, and what’s left of free thought in our colleges and universities. We will need to march peacefully on the streets to face down the massive intimidation he will at times present to a truly free and open society. We have to hold our heads up high as we defend the values of the old republic, even as it crumbles into authoritarian dust. We must be prepared for nonviolent civil disobedience. We must transcend racial and religious division in a movement of resistance that is as diverse and as open as the new president’s will be uniform and closed. And, impossible though it may be, we will have to resist partisanship. The only way back to a free society, to a country where no one need fear the president’s wrath or impulses, is to unwind the factionalism that has helped destroy this country. We have to forge a new coalition on right and left to resist fascism’s reach and cultic power. In a country which just elected and re-elected a black president — whose grace feels now almost painful to recall — it is surely possible. I will leave you with these words about what has now happened to America. Someone saw it coming a long time ago: The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty. That was George Washington’s Farewell Address. -- Andrew Sullivan, The Republic Repeals Itself, New York Magazine, 11/9/16
-- Blessings, Richard Power
Fear and Loathing in the Year of the Yang Fire Monkey #4: Eve Ensler, Pussy Riot and Bill McKibben Offer Final Words of Power on the 2016 Election
Fear and Loathing in the Year of the Yang Fire Monkey #3: Cauldrons Lit in Rio and Philadelphia
Fear and Loathing in the Year of the Yang Fire Monkey #2: Lessons of 2000 and 2008
Fear and Loathing in the Year of the Yang Fire Monkey #1: Of Trump, Snowden and Sanders
Sources Cited In Lead Paragraph:
Donald Trump Acknowledges Not Paying Federal Income Taxes for YearKevin Drum, Trump on Tape: “Grab 'em by the pussy. You can do anything," Mother Jones, 10/7/16
Jane Meyer, Documenting Trump’s Abuse of Women, New Yorker, 10/24/17
Lydia O'Connor, Here Are 13 Examples Of Donald Trump Being Racist, Huffington Post, 2/27/16
and Donald Trump Acknowledges Not Paying Federal Income Taxes for Years, New York Times, 10/10/16
Sarah Jones, Fact Checkers Prove That 91% of the Things Donald Trump Says Are False, Politicus USA, 3/31/16
Shehab Khan, How much of a psychopath is Donald Trump? Worse than Hitler, apparently, Independent, 8/22/16
Richard Power is the author of eleven books, including most recently, "Cauldron Yoga, Gaian Poetics and the Way of the Ancient Future," along with the other four volumes of his "Primal Reality" series, all of which are available in both softcover and Kindle versions via Amazon.com.
For information, visit his Amazon author's page.