Monday, January 23, 2017

The Monday after

Okay, we've gotten out into the streets in numbers. We did that to lift our spirits, show us we're not alone, and to gird our loins. More than one journalist who's worked in Russia has advised USians that one of the most effective weapons in the autocrat's arsenal is misdirection. Senior accomplices in this administration's dissemination of disinformation and misdirection, Spicer and Conway have been loudly proclaiming "alternative facts" that at least half of the US public already know are lies. In the meantime, the White House has been busy issuing executive orders that need our attention. Today, "surrounded by other white men," as the Huffington Post puts it, "President Donald Trump signed an anti-abortion executive order that has far-reaching consequences for women's reproductive health access world-wide." If you're old enough, you'll probably remember the despicable gag order that the Reagan Administration first initiated; this order forbids anyone at an NGO receiving grants from the federal government from even mentioning abortion to the women it serves. (Needless to say, it's not a matter of federal money actually paying for abortions.) The PotUS also signed an order freezing federal hiring. And one of the very first orders he signed, on Saturday, halted a planned rate cut for government-backed mortgage insurance.  

Of course, other news is of interest, too: Today, a group of constitutional-law professors filed suit against the PotUS on the grounds that he is in violation of a the Foreign Emoluments Clause, a provision in the US Constitution. I'm feeling doubtful that this suit will get very far, since the professors will probably not be granted standing, and if they are, will face a barrage of objections to anything but the narrowest interpretations of the clause brought by the army of attorneys who've long been living handsomely off their employer's highly litigious habits. But I'm glad they did. This PotUS has more conflicts of interest than an ordinary mortal could keep track of--besides being the only president in recent history to refuse to make his tax returns public.

In the meantime, allow me to point you to three excellent pieces to feed our spirits. First, The Guardian has printed a transcript of the speech Angela Davis gave in DC on Saturday. She begins, "At a challenging moment in our history, let us remind ourselves that we the hundreds of thousands, the millions of women, trans people, men and youth who are here at the Women’s March, we represent the powerful forces of change that are determined to prevent the dying cultures of racism, hetero-patriarchy from rising again..." Read the rest here.

Second, let me point you to Mistinguette Smith's "Some Notes on Resistance." She begins:

Three days ago, Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. Within hours, he delivered an ominous, nationalist speech and presided over a military parade down Pennsylvania Avenue; signed a vague Executive Order to reduce the costs of the Obamacare to insurance and drug companies; and removed all references from the White House web page about health care, LGBT equality and civil rights. The next day, in response, almost three million people across the globe — half a million of them descending upon Washington D.C. — demonstrated for women’s freedom, self-determination and human rights. Among the largest protests in US history, long time feminist activists and women new to organizing and street protest unleashed their voices and power in a collective vow to resist.But today is Monday. Many of us are putting away our pink pussyhats, wondering what we can do to prevent settling back into business as usual. 
And finally, Tananarive Due gives us this powerful essay: "Surviving President Tr*mp: Lessons from the 1960s & Octavia E. Butler." She begins:

In the late Octavia E. Butler’s near-future novel Parable of the Sower, a teenage girl,  Lauren Olamina, is the only person in her thinly protected community who sees how fragile their way of life is, how susceptible to destruction—and no one will listen until it’s too late.

In a way, my late mother, civil rights activist Patricia Stephens Due, who braved jail and teargas in the 1960s, was like Lauren Olamina: warning of dire consequences if communities and organizations didn’t work to stop the threats of Jim Crow, segregation and voting restrictions. My mother and father, “Freedom Lawyer” John Due, were willing to die for a better future for their children. My mother forever warned of efforts to “turn back the clock.”

Well, the clock has turned. Now another Really Bad Time has come. It’s the time Butler warned us about, when even the fascistic presidential candidate in her novel Parable of the Talents (the second Parable novel) used the phrase “Make America Great Again.”

No comments: