Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Return of the Yam: A Vignette

After the senior staff draws straws as to who will meet the Resident when he gets back from his trip, the one with the shortest [ahem] is Steve Bannon. He awaits his leader’s return in the Oval Office.

The Yam enters, glares at Bannon, and stalks over to the desk. He plops down into the chair, which gives out a loud and alarming wheeze.

Bannon: Welcome back, sir.

The Yam: What are you doing here?

Bannon: I'm here to welcome you back, brief you on what has happened in your absence, and hear about your trip.

The Yam: [waving his hand as if to brush it all away] Whatever. Where’s Spicey?

Bannon: In his room, sir. He hasn’t come out for days. When we knock on the door, he just yells at us to go away.

The Yam: [smiles for the first time] So he’s upset that he didn’t get to meet the Pope?

Bannon: He seems to be, yes. Reince said he heard him crying the other night.

The Yam: [rubs his tiny hands together] Excellent. I could have taken him, you know, but I knew how much he wanted it. A sign of weakness. I hope he learned his lesson. The Pope was a loser, anyway. As a present, he gave me some kind of paper to read, said he’d written it himself. What kind of a gift is that? Everyone knows I don’t read anything longer than a page. Spicey didn’t miss anything.

Bannon: Yes, sir.  So how was your trip?

The Yam: [he loses his smile] Those damn Europians. Did you see how they treated me?

Bannon: In what regard, sir?

The Yam: When I walked in the room, they acted like they’d just stepped in dogshit! Very, very rude. Losers. They would have lost World War Two if we hadn’t helped them out.

Bannon: Well, sir, Germany DID lose World War—

The Yam: And that French guy! Did you see the way he shook my hand? Like he was trying to dominate me or something.

Bannon: [silent]

The Yam: By the way, get me some BenGay. My hand hurts.

Bannon: Yes sir, I’ll get it for you as soon as we finish here.

The Yam: And Merkel. Boy, isn’t she a piece of work? Her and her pantsuits. Her and Hillary would have gotten along just fine, I bet. But I won. Have you seen the electoral college map? Here’s a copy.

Bannon: Yes, I’ve seen it, sir. Many times.

The Yam: Whatever. Merkel kept staring at me with this weird look on her face. I saw her whispering to the French guy and then they laughed. They’re mean.

Bannon: Yes sir, they are.

The Yam: Mean, mean people. They didn’t let me sit with them at lunch. They all sat around and said there were no seats open. But there was! I saw an empty chair. Merkel said it was saved for my missing dignity. What does that even mean?

Bannon: [silent]

The Yam: And that French guy. Did I mention that handshake?

Bannon: Yes sir, you did.

The Yam: I saw him and the Canuck standing over there and talking French talk. They kept looking at me, too. Then they’d laugh.

Bannon: I’m sure it was some sort of French joke, sir, nothing about you.

The Yam: And they thought they looked so good, all trim in their suits, thinking they were hot shit. I think Merkel was flirting with them, but they wouldn’t go for that. She’s barely a 4.

Bannon: Sir, I—

The Yam: They don’t look nearly as good as Jared, anyway. He’s much better-looking. Bigger hands, too.

Bannon: Sir—

The Yam: I showed ‘em all who was boss, though. Did you see me shove that Negro guy out of the way? Ha! That was great.

 Bannon: Sir, that was the Prime Minister of Montenegro.

The Yam: Whatever. I pushed him out of the way like the loser he is. They’re all losers.

Bannon: Sir, I need to tell you about—

The Yam: By the way, Ivanka and Jared had a really nice time. I don’t know about Melania, she wouldn’t talk to me much. She must be on her period. But Ivanka and Jared had fun! I bought Jared some treat in Italy that he really liked. What was it, Jell-O? Gelatin? I forget, but you should have seen his little face light up. He’s a good boy.

Bannon: Sir, I really need to tell you—

The Yam: In fact, Jared wanted me to ask you about the news from while we were gone. Did anything happen? He wants me to email him.

Bannon: [silence]

The Yam: Well?

Bannon: Sir, I’m going to go get that BenGay for you now. You just sit and...get some rest, okay?

The Yam: Cool. I’m exhausted. Who knew foreign trips were so complicated?


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Health Care For All!

Love is but a song to sing
Fear's the way we die
You can make the mountains ring
Or make the angels cry
Though the bird is on the wing
And you may not know why

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now

~~ “Get Together” by The Youngbloods

I’ve been laying low lately. We spent a fun week in Vegas, I’ve been reading a lot, and with the shit show going on in the Yamistration, I just haven’t felt like writing much. Some days it’s all I can do to not Hulk-smash everything in sight. Sometimes it is best to just hunker down, and as REO Speedwagon says, I’ve been riding the storm out. As much as I can, anyway.

Today was a lesson in how engagement can energize, inspire, and strengthen our resolve.

I headed to downtown Mishawaka with Shane and Matt to join a protest outside of the office of our so-called representative, Jackie Walorski. I say ‘so-called’ because she doesn’t really spend a whole lot of time with her constituents, especially the ones who didn’t vote for her, so I guess she only wants to represent part of us. Hmph.

Anyway, this was a protest organized by Indivisible Indiana District 2 and the Northern Indiana Community Coalition for Health Care. The latter organized the recent town hall meeting concerning the Affordable Care Act and the so-called American Health Care Act, and although Jackie was invited numerous times, she didn’t show up and didn’t even bother to respond yes or no if she would be attending. I don’t think she understands the meaning of the word ‘representative.’ But we had the town hall without her.

Today’s protest was termed a “Die-In.” The goal was to get at least 80 people to show up, with 80 representing the number of people in Indiana District 2 who would die each year without the guarantees of coverage by the ACA. We all held signs shaped like tombstones with various slogans about who would suffer if the ACA is repealed and the AHCA takes its place. The last time I looked at the sign-up sheet, we had around 60 people, but the turnout surpassed the goal. We had over 100 people there! Not bad for 4:30 on an overcast weekday afternoon. (The rain even held off until we were done!)

We were all fired up and happy to be there. Everyone was friendly and peaceful. The overwhelming majority of people driving by honked and gave us the thumbs up. (Yes, those were thumbs, not another digit.) A couple of people drove by and gave us some grief, but they were definitely in the minority.

The most memorable of those was when a guy in a blue car pulled up directly in front of where I was standing with Shane and Matt, and stopped because of a red light. The guy turned to us and started saying “Trump for America! Trump for America!” I don’t know what came over me, but I started yelling back, “Health care for all! Health care for all!” Me and the guy kept at this for a few moments, and then a lady behind me took up my chant. Shane and Matt joined in, and soon our entire group of over one hundred people was chanting “Health care for all!” at this guy. He tried keeping up his chant for a bit but we kept chanting louder and louder...and then here was the best moment. He finally turned away, put his hands on his steering wheel, shut his mouth, and faced straight ahead. But he couldn’t go anywhere...because the light was still red.

[falling over laughing]

So he had to sit there with all of us chanting “Health care for all!” at him, probably thinking, “When is this fucking light going to turn green?” When it finally did, you can probably guess what he did. Yep, he flipped us the bird as he drove off. We all cracked up.

Somebody got owned! Man, what a douchebag.

Our organizer gave a rousing speech, we sang a song, and then we all filed into Jackie’s office to drop off our postcards that stated why we are against the AHCA or support the ACA. We weren’t there long, but we made our presence known, and we had plenty of traffic driving by and seeing us. On the way back to the car, we stopped off at Smith’s for a beer and a bite to eat and discussed things and had some laughs. It was a good day!

I feel reenergized. It is very easy to insulate ourselves against what is going on and to withdraw. That holds especially true for introverts like me. (I know that Shane is, too. Matt? Maybe a bit, but not to the extent that Shane and I are.) I think it is important to make an effort to get out every once in a while, connect with others, and affirm our commitment to resist and change the current administration, locally and nationally.

Being a part of this peaceful protest and talking with others who are committed to this cause really gave me a boost and made me want to continue to be involved to the extent that I can. I also enjoyed learning that I could confront others peacefully but forcefully. I didn’t flip the dude in the car off or call him names and I didn’t call his candidate names. I just affirmed my support for health care for all. And I’ll be damned if others didn’t join in and we got him to shut up. 
That is empowering as fuck.

I encourage others to get out as much as they can and check into local groups who are involved in protests and activism. Things are popping up everywhere and there are plenty of things you can do, big and small.

We are all in this together and we will help each other get through it!