Surviving Trump. Defeating Trumpism.

“When the levers of power are seized by the small hands of hateful men, you work hard, you stand with those who are most vulnerable, and you don’t give up until it’s morning again. The rest is commentary.” — Liel Leibovitz, Tablet Magazine

Donald Trump will be our next President. Let’s not give him a chance. Because we already know he’s up to no good. If I’ve lost you already, that’s fine because you are of little use to the future of America right now.  Perhaps you’ll save this for future reference.

What we face is not normal. (Here’s a handy list of the radical, abnormal things DT had already done by November 15 if you need convincing. The list grows exponentially  every day.) The most dangerous aspect of the dangerous abnormality is the plunge into no agreed-on version of reality. Perhaps naively, I am grasping at this familiar thought from Daniel Patrick Moynihan, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”

Most living Americans have never lived in extraordinary times. The elderly may remember the gathering storms in Europe before World War II and the internment camps in this country when war was declared. The somewhat less elderly will remember the turmoil of the civil rights era and the Vietnam War, but there were checks and balances in place, effective court systems and a free press with credibility. How long we will have such checks and balances now is seriously in doubt. The decay of these institutions which protect us will not happen overnight, but they will slip away quickly enough if we normalize the transfer of power that is currently underway. I speak not of armed rebellion, but of the full exercise of Free Speech and Due Process.

Rather than sit in despair and let the United States of America turn into an authoritarian oligarchy, I think it’s useful to do two things:

First, REMEMBER that Trump is a Minority President. He’s a Loser — he lost the popular vote by over 2.8 million votes (larger than the winning margins of ten Presidents who served). It’s only the unfortunate distribution of 80,000 votes across three states that place him in the White House. Perhaps he had an illegal assist from the Russians. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives, the People’s House, while still in Republican hands thanks to corrupt gerrymandering, gained more Democrats. Trump does NOT have a mandate from the American people. The Trump transition team and its affiliated media are touting a mandate they do not have. Remembering the facts is important. The mind is a pliable thing, and repetition of lies will make the best of us forget.

Second, RESIST. Let’s not go quietly into darkness. Let’s not give up the progress made in the 20th Century and over the last eight years. Because that is what is at stake; don’t doubt it. We’re talking not only about losing Obamacare and gay marriage (although losing those will be wildly important). At stake are Medicare (enacted 1965), Social Security (enacted 1935), the rights to equal access to housing, to employment, to lunch counters and other public accommodations (enacted 1964), food stamps, WIC, Head Start, school lunches, and the national minimum wage. Respect for women as equal human beings is at stake, and with it, access to contraception, much less to abortion. Our institution of Free Press is at stake. Climate change deserves its own blog post but just a note in passing: I remember the rivers and lakes and the air before the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts — they were not pretty.

“Rising diversity isn’t going away. Income inequality isn’t going away. Support for redistribution isn’t going away.” Those cats are out of the bag and no chanting of “Make America Great Again” is going to put them back. The only issue is how we choose to manage them. Trump’s version of management will be authoritarian with a PR overcoat that could effectively disguise the corruption and profiteering at the core of his plan. He can’t make America white again, but he can appeal to white supremacists as cover for his profiteering. He can tweet bizarre ideas about flag-burning to distract from his plan to transfer public administration of social security and Medicare to Wall Street profiteers. He has and he will keep doing these things. Our job is to resist; to call him out; to expose the truth.

We should analyze what went wrong in the Democrats’ election strategy. More importantly, we should look for examples of what went right, as in Governor-Elect McCrory’s victory in North Carolina. But these are relatively long-term projects. We have an urgent need for leadership and strategies to resist as the Trump Administration takes over our government. This is my attempt to provide a stab at leadership and offer a few tactics and resources.

Michelle Obama admonished us, “When they go low, we go high.” Indeed, but working with Trump or failing to refute his propaganda is not “going high.” There are two fine pieces already written about this, so I won’t elaborate here. See Robin Alperstein, Resistance Is Not Futile; Jamelle Bouie, The Democrats Are Screwing Up the Resistance to Donald Trump. Some brave members of Congress, including our own Arizona Representative, Congressman Ruben Gallego, have stood up to Trump. We must, too.

As James Fallows recently explicated in The Atlantic, society is suffering from both a chronic and an acute version of a public information crisis. The chronic version, which has been building for nearly thirty years, has given rise to “separate fact-universes” into which “segments of society silo themselves.” We need a long-term strategy for dealing with this.  But we will not have the freedom to implement a long-term strategy if we do not deal with the acute version of the public information crisis.

The acute version is personified by our President-Elect and his trumpeters: Steve Bannon, Mike Flynn, and Kellyanne Conway. As Fallows writes, “Most people would hesitate before telling easily disprovable lies like these, much as shoplifters would hesitate if the store owner is looking at them. Most people are fazed if caught in an outright lie.” Trump and his crew are not fazed. As one rather benign example, Fallows reminds us that on a single day during the campaign, “Trump claimed that the National Football League had sent him a letter complaining that the presidential-debate schedule conflicted with NFL games (which the NFL immediately denied), and then he said the Koch brothers had begged him to accept their donations (which they also flat-out denied).” (Of course, the Koch Brothers themselves are not above lying so who knows about that one.) As Fallows points out, our news media, until now, has not been built to deal with something like this. We’ve seen some examples of adjustments, but they are minor. The New York Times, apparently, cannot bring itself to use the word “lie” or “liar” in the same headline with reference to the President-Elect. It should, and it must.

What can we, mere citizens, do? Many suggestions for resistance have been made. I’ll put a list of citations at the end of this article. Here are some thoughts for immediate action:

  • Don’t let a lie go unchallenged. You don’t have to be mean about it, but when someone states an untruth about Trump or one of his minions, correct them. If you’re accused of attacking them or Trump, simply say, “I was just pointing out a fact,” and move on.
  • We have an obligation to be active on social media. “Trump is a social media politician. It is the heart and soul of how he campaigned, how he floats his racist and tyrannical ideas, and how he communicates with his constituents.” Meet the enemy where he and his audience are.
  • Write letters to your local paper, too. Some people still read it.
  • Trump is going to be on a continuous campaign for the next four years. His rallies may not be as large as they were during the campaign, but they will garner the same high-level of media coverage. If there is a rally in your town, turn-out and protest. Put yourself in front of the cameras with a sign that says “#Resistance, #NotNormal,” or something else of your own
  • Object to every crazy cabinet appointment Trump is making. Write and call (both) your Senators. They keep count of the calls and letters and pay more attention to those communications than they do to online petition numbers (but I sign those, too). Send notes to the Democratic Leadership as well. Bookmark this site: http://whoismyrepresentative.com/
  • Demand that Congress investigate Russian interference in our election as much as they investigated Benghazi.
  • Make monthly, recurring donations to the ACLU or one of the other fine resistance organizations named in this article.
  • Get paid subscriptions to credible news sources like the Washington Post, New York Times, The Atlantic, Wall Street Journal, LA Times, and your local and statewide papers. They need your support; buy subscriptions — as many as you can afford.
  • Attend the Day to Defend Democracy, December 19 demonstration in your state capital.
  • Attend the Women’s March on Washington on January 21. If you can’t go to D.C., satellite demonstrations are being organized around the country, including in my hometown of Flagstaff, AZ.
  • Organize or join a supportive group of friends (old or new) who want to be part of the Resistance. The purpose is to organize and support each other. What happens will develop.
  • Encourage and harass Democrats to oppose Trump at every turn. The Trump Administration is #NotNormal; therefore, cooperating with it is a bad thing to do. This is not sour grapes, it’s protecting our country.
  • Support Senator Gillibrand’s call to filibuster the repeal of the law blocking retired military from being Secretaries of Defense until they have been out of the military for seven years. We need to block this move, or try with everything we’ve got to block it, not only because separating the military from civilian government is a bedrock of our democracy, but also because it is one of the first moves of the Trump Administration to yank us away from normal government.
  • Don’t give up on the two-party system. This institution is nearly as old as the Republic and while parties have risen and fallen and morphed, their power works when the people are involved. Trump didn’t win because of Citizen’s United; he won because the people did not vote in sufficient numbers to defeat him in three Midwestern states.
  • Connect with your fellow citizens, and protect them. If you see someone being harassed, call the police but also take the hand of the victim and speak to him or her. Ignore the attacker. In the ten days following the election, there were almost 900 reports of harassment and intimidation from across the nation. Many harassers invoked Trump’s name during assaults, making it clear that the outbreak of hate stemmed in large part from his electoral success. This is an outrage; we must stop it. Thank Delta Airlines for joining this fight.

Look for more action items. Resolve to take an action every day: Make a phone call, click a link, register a voter, talk with a stranger, march in a protest, write a letter.  Our goal is to blockade as much of the Trump agenda as possible, to protect our fellow citizens, and to win elections in 2018 and 2020. In sum, the goal is to preserve our Republic.

Resources and Reading:

Host a community action meeting

Ten Ways to Fight Hate

Five Ways To Be A Silent Trump Protestor

Notes from the Resistance: A Column on Language and Power

The 14 Characteristics of Fascism

What Justice Scalia said about flag-burning (Trump should watch this)

Masha Gessen, Autocracy: Rules of Survival

What We Do Now: How to Preserve the Ideals of Liberal Democracy in the Face of  a Trump PresidencySlate

James Fallows, How to Deal with the Lies of Donald Trump: Guidelines for the Media

Wall-Of-Us — Weekly Acts of Resistance delivered to your email

The Danger of Deconsolidation – Journal of Democracy

Barbara Kingsolver, Trump Changed Everything. Now Everything Counts

Frank Bruni, Paul Ryan’s Dangerous Silence on Donald Trump

Roger Cohen, The Rage of 2016

New Pro-Trump Group Takes Form  — Washington Post

Joshua Foust, Don’t Ignore Twitter and Why Outrage Is So Important

Jennifer Finney Boylan, Really, You’re Blaming Transgender People for Trump?

Robin Alperstein, Resistance Is Not Futile

Patrick Thornton, I’m a Coastal Elite from the Midwest: The Real Bubble Is Rural America

Heather C. McGhee, I’m Prejudiced, he said. Then We Kept Talking.

Welcome to Donald Trump’s Post-Fact AmericaRolling Stone

Charles M. Blow, Agents of Idiocracy

Michael Arnovitz, Faking a Mandate

An Alt-Right Makeover Shrouds the SwastikasNY Times

Donald Trump Lost Most of the American Economy in This Election Washington Post

The Increasingly Diverse United States of America Washington Post

Gersh Kuntzman, We Liberals Need to Win, Not Whine

Andy Borowitz, Earth Endangered by New Strain of Fact-Resistant Humans (sarcasm)

Donald Trump’s Plan to Purge the NationNY Times Editorial Board

Protecting Reproductive Rights Under Donald TrumpNY Times Editorial Board

Jonathan Chait, Collaborating with Donald Trump Is Doomed To Fail

Luigi Zingales, The Right Way to  Resist Trump

Arizona Democrat: ‘We have a duty to treat Trump like the threat he is’ (That’s a summary, the full CSpan video is worth a watch.)

Praise for Reince Priebus is another sign of how we’re lowering the bar for Trump  — Vox

Harold Pollack, There’s No Silver Lining to Trump’s Win: Cheer up Progressives, and let’s get to work.

Paul Krugman, Trump Slump Coming? — Be prepared that good things will happen to bad people, at least for a while.

Tegu Cole, A Time for Refusal

Kurt Eichenwald, The Myths Democrats Swallowed That Cost Them the Election

Dan Rather, Forget Talking About The Trump Administration

Paul Krugman, The Tainted Election

We’re About to See States’ Rights Used Defensively Against Trump — Vox

A Savvy News Consumer’s Guide: How Not To Get Duped

This Is What Should Be Happening in Washington This Morning

FBI Director James Comey, his deputy directors, his IT specialists, and his Justice Department lawyers should be sitting in the Office of Attorney-General Loretta Lynch at the meeting she should have called for 8 a.m. this Saturday morning. Instead, having dumped an incendiary letter on the desks of Republican Congressmen (yes, all men) on Friday afternoon eleven days before Election Day, Comey and the rest of the crew have apparently taken the weekend off. In addition to ordering the 8 a.m. meeting, Lynch should have ordered all FBI agents up and down the East Coast to report to their offices at 8 a.m. this morning to await further orders.

Lynch shouldn’t interfere with the FBI’s investigation, but she shouldn’t allow them to slow-walk it either. When I was a lawyer and there were pressing matters, we didn’t take the weekend off. We called in more staff and got the work done. What’s more pressing than the election of the next United State President? Comey said in his bombshell letter, “I cannot predict how long it will take to complete this additional work.” Well, get to it.

Haul those FBI agents in from around the country, sit their suited butts down at conference tables in the Justice Department with sections of the email trove in front of each one of them and get on with the review. As each email is reviewed, if it does not contain classified information, release it to the American public.

Now, I read from one source that @PeteWilliamsNBC reported last night that the FBI may need to get a court order to read some of the emails. So, get on with it! There are federal judges on call all weekend. Judges issues subpoenas and warrants at all hours of the day and night. We are now 10 days from the election. Get the damn court order.

What needs to be done now: Release the new trove of emails.

What can be done later: Investigate why the FBI is leaking like a sieve.

  • Who are the “U.S. law enforcement officials” who told the Los Angeles Times  that investigators came across the emails while investigating Anthony Weiner?
  • Who is the investigator who leaked that the emails are not “to or from Clinton?
  • Why did Comey send a second letter on Friday afternoon, this one to all FBI employees, surely knowing it would be leaked to the press?

These are important questions. But they can wait until after the election. Now, the important thing is to get the new (or are they merely duplicates of previous?) emails out for review by American voters.

Review of “As Close to Us as Breathing.”

As Close to Us as BreathingAs Close to Us as Breathing by Elizabeth Poliner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It takes some mental agility to keep up with the book’s bouncing between decades and characters. I appreciate that style. I would have liked to know a little more of some of the lesser characters’ points of view. I use that word “lesser” with some hesitation because I’m not sure who the main characters are. Perhaps the main character is the family as a whole.
Worth reading.

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Review of Everyone Brave Is Forgiven

Everyone Brave is ForgivenEveryone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

I’ve never read a Chris Cleave novel before. I’ve been missing something good if the rest are like his latest, Everyone Brave Is Forgiven. The main character, Mary North, says her only talent is conversation, but what an outstanding talent that is.
In 1939, Mary leaves finishing school within hours of Britain’s declaration of war and volunteers with the War Office. Her assignment makes sense — teaching elementary students — and provides a new perspective on the evacuation of London’s children (or not) and on the replacement of men who went to the front. Her first lover is not allowed to join the military because his civil job is considered essential while his best friend becomes an officer posted to the worst spots in the first two years of the war. At home, the Blitz torments Mary while her upper-class parents seem immune in their suburban location.
One couldn’t ask for more drama in a World War II setting. The dialogue is flawless and constantly entertaining.  My favorite line (though not from the dialogue that I’ve been raving about above):

When set against the great corruption of the war, his own small rot seemed, if not excusable, then at least unexceptional.

I highly recommend this book, which I purchased at Barefoot Cowgirl Books in Flagstaff, AZ.

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Admitted

I will admit it. I’m consumed by this election. And the weather has been darn good for golf. So, I’ve done no writing unrelated to the election and I’m not reading much fiction. Right now, I am reading Chris Cleave’s Everyone Brave Is Forgiven, which is a pleasant distraction from current events.

If you care who I’m working for, it’s Hillary Clinton. Too bad she didn’t win in 2008, but I’m definitely up for this time around. If you wonder why, here’s just one good summary:

100 Reasons to Vote for Clinton

Now, back to it.

Review of Jane Smiley’s Private Lives

Private LifePrivate Life by Jane Smiley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The beginning promises a more exciting ending than the book delivers, but that’s life, isn’t it? At least, that’s Smiley’s take on life. In this book, Smiley presents an excellent and, I think, realistic character study of a woman in early 20th Century America. I don’t think the husband is as believable, but his purpose is as a foil to Margaret.

Margaret thinks a lot and talks little. Even when we know she’s engaged in conversation, Smiley often presents it in summary form without actual dialogue. Usually, that makes for a less intriguing book; that’s probably the case here. Yet, the form may be representative of Smiley’s take on the era when women were to be decorative rather than talkative. In that case, the appropriate description would be “literary.”

While, as said above, I think the character study is excellent, I don’t agree that Margaret is representative of women of her era. Indeed, there are plenty of lesser female characters in this novel who prove women can be outspoken and establish lives of their own. Margaret simply failed to do so. Is this innate or due to childhood trauma? That’s left to the reader to conclude.

The fact that it took me a month to read this book should lower my rating, but it could be that I had a busy August. Overall, I found the book pleasant to read and enjoyed the detailed descriptions of the Bay area and costumes of the times.

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Yes, social media DO work for writers – here’s how

I come to writing from a marketing background (17 years in real estate sales). To me, doing social media is a no-brainer. Just do it. Roz says it more fully in this post.

Nail Your Novel

warden abbey 2010 037 (2)Social media are an inextricable part of author life these days – and for some, the value seems dubious. Writers might flog themselves to blog, tweet until they turn blue, but months in, the magic hasn’t happened. Where are the book deals, the viral quantities of fame? Is it worth all the trouble?

I am here to tell you it is. But you may be looking at the wrong things, or have mistaken expectations. Social media have been an absolute transforming force for me, and if the channels were closed tomorrow I’d be howling for their return. So I thought I’d quantify the ways I’ve found it so worthwhile.

Quick background. I’ve been on social media since 2009. My major haunts are Twitter @Roz_Morris  and Facebook. And I blog, obvs. I probably get most of my results from those platforms as they’re where I’m most consistently active, but…

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