The First to Fall?

Monday, May 29, was Memorial Day.  The day, traditionally the start of Summer, is also a day to remember those who gave their lives in service of our country and it’s ideals.

But the events of May 26, the stabbing of three men, two of which would die from their wounds,  who were trying to protect two Muslim women, makes me realize that America has a long history of ordinary people who gave their lives for the ideals of democracy and justice.  Folks like the untold thousands of native Americans who died fighting for their land and way of life, those who gave their lives on the front lines of struggle for fair wages and the right to organize.  Those who gave their lives in the name of civil rights and those gunned down by American troops in places like Kent State and Jackson State.

Ricky John Best, a 23-year veteran of the Army and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, a recent graduate working as a consultant, may be the first of “The Resistance” to fall in the battle against hatred.

It is a matter now of making sure their deaths are not in vain.

Liberte, Equalite, Sante Mentale

For those of you that have forgotten their French, the title is a turn on the French motto.  It would translate as “Liberty, Equality, Sanity”.

Last Sunday, May 7, the French went to the polls in an election that had echoes of America’s.  We had a centrist running against a nationalist, or fascist.  There were fears of left win apathy helping the radical candidate win, but these were unfounded.  The centrist candidate won a convincing majority.

How did this happen?  To begin with, the French election was a direct one.  There was no Electoral College, the candidate who had the most votes won.  Second, it was on a weekend, people did not have to take off of work, etc to vote.

A third, and perhaps main reason, is that voters in France, perhaps like those in the Netherlands, saw what has happened in the United Kingdom and the United States.  The chaos that has come from the “Brexit” and the resistance Trump has spawned may have convinced French voters to “Hold their noses” and cast votes against the greater evil.

Of course, the French also have experience being under fascist rule, and though most of those who lived under it have passed, they may still have stories passed down.  That or they teach that part of history right.

A Different Sort of “White Privilege”?

Last Sunday, I attended a meeting of Harrisburg’s effort to organize and chapter of Stand Up for Racial Justice, or SURJ.  In my opinion, it’s an attempt to create a satellite group for “Black Lives Matter”.

During the meeting, my attitude towards rural voters was challenged yet again.  This seems to keep happening, especially with the person who was running the meeting.

But it did get me to thinking about “White Privilege”, especially if it’s possible that whites can feel they have a privilege over each other.  Accepting that, in America, being White does bestow privilege is a major step in being an effective ally to people of color, etc.

But might those of us that are White and “woke”, need to accept that we may see ourselves as having a privilege over our more rural, and  less educated counterparts.  The subtitle of this very page may reflect some of this.

Now do I think Pennsylvania is being held back by a perhaps over-represented bloc of; White, rural, less-educated, lower-middle to lower class, male votes?  I do.

But might the younger generation be salvageable, efforts of groups like “Redneck Revolt” would say maybe.  But there may be a short window of opportunity, if these young people aren’t made resistant to “dog whistling”, they will likely become part of the ranks of the deplorable.

 

Recant, Repay, Resist?

OK, this was not a good week for the resistance to Trump. An effort to repeal and replace the ACA, with little scrutiny or review, passed the U.S. House; now this bill may be the first real test for the Senate “Firewall Caucus”, this depends on if Speaker McConnell decides to “Nuke” the Senate again or not.

Also another executive order, giving churches a freer hand to engage in politics, seems to be a way to reward the evangelical Christians who backed his campaign.  These folks obviously forgot the passage about not serving God and Mammon, and ignored Trump’s infidelities, etc.  Hopefully the ACLU, People For the American Way, Americans United for Separation of Church, etc are preparing legal challenges.

There was also the odd tidbit that Hillary Clinton, during a speech, announced she is part of “The Resistance”.  Now we aren’t a club; we don’t have dues, we don’t have a secret handshake, we do have meetings as our individual groups.  But I think Mrs. Clinton could do a few things to prove she is committed to our goals.

One thing she could do is recant comments she and/or her husband made about so-called “Superpredators”, this rhetoric, in reality a “Dog Whistle” term for urban minorities, gave a further license for police to become more and more militarized, and make simply being darker-skinned a crime.  The path from this to “Black Lives Matter” is laid out in the excellent book “The New Jim Crow

Next, she could return the money she took or received from Monsanto, Goldman-Sachs, etc.  These large corporations are the same entitles many of “The Resistance” are resisting.   Relying more on the small donor model that candidates like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have relied on might make her a bit more palpable to those who call themselves “The Resistance”.

A final thing might be to embrace some changes to the primary process.  Support for eliminating “superdelegates”, and opening up primaries at least to independents and Greens, would show that she is committed to getting “The Resistance” from social movement to electoral force.

 

What is My Role?

It’s May 1st, and today Harrisburg, PA and several cities across the country will be taking this day back to its roots as a day of action and dissent.  Perhaps because today begins the first week after President Trump’s “100 Days“, rallies in support of immigrants are planned.

I will be at Harrisburg’s, camera at the ready.  I will be taking on what seems to be one of my two main roles as a member of the resistance to Trump and his mainly rural supporters.  The role of chronicle.

This is an important role, as history has shown that photographs play a part in getting people to become sympathetic to an idea or movement; the Civil Rights Movement, with images from Selma. Montgomery, etc, anti-war movements, and the Arab Spring all were helped by images.  They also provide a record that future generations can look back on.

The second role I play is that of conduit.  I am frequently sharing or re-tweeting information I find to the appropriate allies.  I will also confess to engaging in memes, like any other social media user.

It’s kind of odd that rather than create new roles, I am merely doing what I always do.  That is not to say some of this may not be done with a new twist.