Tag Archives: Politics

Stronger together: Taking back Congress in 2018

us-congressI’m more than alarmed by a Donald Trump presidency. Having said that, I’m also becoming increasingly alarmed by the reaction of many Progressives. I half expect to see my friends foaming at the mouth and pulling their hair out on January 20, 2017. Something (BTW) that will bring Trump and his supporters a great deal of satisfaction, which is one reason instead of feeding into the hysteria, I refuse to be baited. It is also the reason I’m writing this post.

Vilifying all Trump supporters won’t help Progressives

If we hope to change the hearts and minds of those previously undecided voters (many of whom held their nose when they voted for Trump or worse yet, stayed home on election day), vilifying his supporters won’t make them more open to listening to our [Progressives] very real concerns. Diane Hessan wrote an insightful article in The Boston Globe that was republished on BostInno, What I Learned Studying America’s ‘Undecideds’. Hessan worked on special assignment for the Clinton campaign to better understand the views of undecided voters in swing states. Her conclusion on why / how Clinton lost the election is summed up in one paragraph in her article:

“Last week, I reread all of my notes. There was one moment when I saw more undecided voters shift to Trump than any other, when it all changed, when voters began to speak differently about their choice. It wasn’t FBI Director James Comey, Part One or Part Two; it wasn’t Benghazi or the e-mails or Bill Clinton’s visit with Attorney General Loretta Lynch on the tarmac. No, the conversation shifted the most during the weekend of Sept. 9, after Clinton said, “You can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables.”

It is time for Progressives to get real. Progressives have only enjoyed political prominence recently. Prior to the Obama administration, you have to go back to the Carter Administration (1976-1980) before you can really point to a President that consistently supported progressive policies and ideals. The Liberal wing of the Democratic Party have a long history of making change happen even when we don’t have a champion in the White House or the support of Congress. So it is time to flex our grass roots muscles and build bridges – not burn them.

We are stronger together so let’s start practicing what we preach

We must identify those who voted for Trump not because they liked him but because they felt they had no other choice and the same goes for those who stayed home on election day. Elections are all about numbers and if our goal is to take back the US Senate and the US House of Representatives (a long shot I know) in 2018 then we need to change our tone and do as Hessan wrote:

“Empathy — trying to understand others as deeply as possible — is an important first step… Obama said it eloquently last week, noting that our election is ultimately an intramural scrimmage because we are all on one team. If we believe in liberty and justice for all, we have to acknowledge how terrible it is to feel left out — and then to ask questions, learn and walk in each other’s shoes.”

I don’t think we should roll-over and play dead, but if we really want to take back Congress, there needs to be more decorum. While some may find it cathartic to shout “bigot”, “misogynist” or “homophobe”, or to scandalize everything Trump says or does, it doesn’t really build bridges or practice what we preach about being stronger together. Nor are those accusations a fair characteristic of everyone who voted for Trump; remember Obama won over voters from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin – twice. Lastly, making such accusations will rally those “undecideds” to Trump, possibly delivering him a larger majority in Congress in 2018, and I think we can all agree that must not happen.

Send a message to Speaker Ryan

paul-ryanAre you disheartened by the election results from earlier this month? If so, here is a way for you and your friends (because you should share this if you really are upset) to express your dissatisfaction and help send a message to Paul Ryan.

My friend and neighbor, David, who is far more diligent than me and whom I trust completely, shared that Speaker Ryan’s office is conducting a survey, hoping they can show there is a people’s mandate for repealing the Affordable Care Act – a.k.a. Obamacare.

You and your friends can help send Speaker Ryan quite a different message and it will take you less than 30-seconds of your time.

  1. Call (202) 225-0600
  2. Wait through a loooong silence until it rings
  3. Press “2” to respond to the survey
  4. Listen to a message
  5. Press “1” to register your support for Obamacare
  6. When you are done, copy and paste these instructions into a new status on Facebook to share with your friends.

Rally at State House from 11AM-12PM to speak out against hate

Boston, MassAs a response to a disturbing number of hate crimes that have been reported around the country since the results of the Presidential election, our community is coming together today from 11AM – 12PM to speak out against hate. The event will feature Attorney General Maura Healey, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg, Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim

The purpose of the event is to send a message that irrespective of politics or who you supported in the election this kind of behavior is not acceptable and does not represent who we are as a city, state, or country.  massachusetts-rallyI realize this may be difficult for you to attend, but for more information you can contact Norman Abbott at nabbott@adl.org or (617) 406-6382.

Why Sergio and I are wearing a safety pin

UnityHave you noticed photos of friends on social media wearing safety pins starting to crop up over the past week? With several news outlets reporting a sudden rise in hate crimes some  have started to wear safety pins. Wearing the safety pins sends a message that those individuals are “safe” allies, willing to step forward and accompany anyone feeling targeted or marginalized.

According to multiple news outlets, there has been a rise in hate crimes over the past week. A USA Today article was one of several written. I found their headline unsettling, Post-election spate of hate crimes worse than post-9/11, experts say, but what bothered me the most about the article was how little it surprised me. This quote shared on Facebook by my friend Don Hamel nicely articulates why I’m not surprised and why I’m so disappointed.

Not all Trump voters are racist, but all of them decided that racism (or homophobia, etc) isn’t a dealbreaker. And to me that is racism. It is easier to be racist to a large group of people you can’t see, don’t know, etc, as opposed to your neighbor or family member, but to me it’s racism just the same.

As Van Jones put it, Trump was willing to “throw some of us away to appeal more deeply to others”, and voting for him signifies that you were willing to throw some people away to get your agenda (which honestly may not even happen…what are the chances of Trump really helping the middle class or fixing healthcare).

I know some people commenting here who voted for Trump are loving and wonderful people but it’s just really really hard to get past the fact that racism, sexism, homophobia, etc was not a dealbreaker for people…

Not a single county voted for Trump in Mass.

presidential election resultsSome of you may have seen this graphic making the rounds on Facebook. I don’t know if the assertion is correct, but according to rwbomc on Reddit, Massachusetts was the only state in the U.S. where Trump did not win a single county. With Hillary no longer in the picture, I’m going to hijack Clinton’s hashtag and modify it to #ImWithMass.

Grit and determination: The next four years

Michelle ObamaPrior to Tuesday, November 8th there was a lot of people questioning what Donald Trump and his supporters would do after the election. Strangely, celebrating was never seriously considered and now it is the supporters of Hillary Clinton who are talking about not accepting the results of the election so I want to remind everyone of Michelle Obama’s inspiring quote.

Acknowledging is not Accepting
A lot of very prolific people have shared their thoughts about the election and after reading several articles I’ve come to my own conclusions. First, acknowledging isn’t accepting, but if we want others to respect democracy we have to acknowledge results even when we find them upsetting. One of my biggest issues with many people over the past 8 years was their inability to acknowledge Obama as a legitimate President (I lump Trump in that group).

Love and Hope > Hate and Anger
Another lesson I am reminding myself is that while I am seething with resentment: resentment with roughly half my fellow Americans; resentment with the Electoral System; resentment towards Trump for raising up and empowering hate groups; and… the list goes on and on. I must remember that I do believe in the power of love and hope and it is these emotions I want to have consume and motivate me – not anger and hate. I look to men like the non-violent, civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr. for this inspiration.MLK quote hope smaller

I have a voice and I’ll be damned if I’m going keep quiet
While I may feel more marginalized today and wonder what is going to happen next, I tell myself that this election has served as a wake up call. I had hoped that after November 8th I could stop talking about politics. That will not happen now. On the campaign trail Bernie Sanders’ calls for a revolution (a peaceful revolution BTW) resonated. Calls for social justice from the Black Lives Matters movement inspired. And of course the LGBTQ movement and Pride now takes on added significance.  The people who support these movements are still here and they need your help. So while I am troubled by certain groups who feel emboldened by a Trump victory, I am also looking to the Sanders movement, Black Lives Matters, LGBTQ community and others to come together, because to borrow a phrase I really do believe, “Together, we are stronger“.

Trump’s victory has upset me to my core, and for the moment changed how I view my country even calling into question what I think it means to be an American. I will not let that disappointment mutate into hate or despair, and I hope you will not let that happen either.

Some great articles worth reading:
Here’s Why We Grieve
Dear Queer America: Here is what we must do now that Trump will be President
Trump Victory Alarms Gay and Transgender Groups

Four more states vote to legalize marijuana

legalize potWhile the political commentators rehash the election, I have no stomach for it and am sickened by the thought of a Trump presidency so I thought I would point out what an historic night it was at the ballot box for a less obvious reason.

After Tuesday’s results, the number of states that agreed to legalize marijuana for recreational has doubled from four to eight with California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada voters approving state ballot initiatives. Only in Arizona where voting remains too close to call appears to have bucked a national trend and said, “No”. For residents of Massachusetts this means that as of December 15th it will be legal to possess small amounts of marijuana and for residents to grow pot in their homes. Retail sales will not begin until Jan. 2018.

Americans living in states where marijuana is / will be legal for recreational use now includes:

Alaska
California
Colorado
Maine
Massachusetts
Nevada
Oregon
Washington
Washington D.C.