Friday, January 27, 2017

An Exercise in Futility

Now renegades are the people with their own philosophies
They change the course of history
Everyday people like you and me
We're the renegades we're the people

~~ “Renegades of Funk” by Rage Against The Machine

Tonight we went downtown to the county Democratic HQ for a meeting with the state Dem chair, John Zody.

The invitation said that it was designed to be a session in which to exchange ideas about how to proceed. I expected maybe a couple of dozen people and a chance to sit around and discuss ideas and strategies about how to strengthen the party and elect more Democrats locally, statewide, and nationally.

Instead, it was a packed house in the small DNC HQ building, bad enough that Ken and I had to ask people to not block the walkway to the door (we were standing against the wall) and try to get people to move through and find a place towards the back or wherever. I didn’t care, just don’t block the only point of egress, says Fire Marshall Beth!

Ostensibly, such a big turnout is not a bad thing. I was happy to see how many people cared enough to come out on a slightly snowy January evening. Unfortunately, it devolved into an airing of the grievances.

There was the young guy next to me who was pissed off that our Senator Joe Donnelly voted against the bill that would allow drugs from Canada to be sold here. I said it’s because we have the FDA and stringent regulations for a reason. (Did you hear about the miracle Hep C drug that is now causing liver damage? Yeah. That kind of thing.) There was the young woman who claimed that “young people” did all the work in the county in this last election. I think there were plenty of white-hairs in the audience who would dispute that claim.

There were a couple of people who said that everyone perceives us as “elitists” and that we have to be better about getting our message out there. Like we haven’t tried to do that! When right-wingers are getting all their news from ClusterFox, they are going to believe that we are “elitists.” We have to counter that with clear messaging. We do not have that yet.

There were Sanders supporters who were still pissed off about how they were treated. There were people who said that we need to forget social media and focus on meeting people face-to-face. There were people (like me—yes, I actually spoke up, and I don’t do that often in large gatherings!) who felt that social media is crucial, especially with what we are seeing with the gag rules and the “alt” government agency Twitter feeds that have cropped up in the past day. (Actually, I feel that we need both. It’s not an either/or proposition.) It got so bad that Ken finally said, “It is this kind of divisiveness that is hurting us.”

I realize that the majority of people were there because they are longtime Democrats and want to work to elect Democrats up and down the line. However, this was not a productive meeting. It reminded me of a lot of our lab meetings, where there was little focus and no one reining people in. It used to drive me NUTS when people would just be allowed to ramble and bitch about every damn thing that was bugging them. There is a time for such discussion, and that time is with your friends, or one-on-one with your supervisor. When you get a meeting together, the focus needs to be on identifying the problem(s) and coming up with ideas for the solution(s). To quote Sean Spicer, “PERIOD!”

It is not just our party that is facing an existential crisis. It is our COUNTRY, and our values as Americans and as human beings. The Yam is that crisis. I don’t want to hear whining about how your candidate didn’t get a fair shake. I don’t want to hear you bitch about how your Senator didn’t vote exactly the way you wanted him or her to vote. Grow the fuck up. No candidate is perfect and there will always be situations and votes on which we disagree. I have sent letters to both Democratic and Republican legislators about such things. You can’t always get what you want, but sometimes, you get what you need. And YES, sometimes you have to compromise!

It is time to put all these petty grievances aside and realize that we have a major threat to our country, our people, and to the world, and that threat is the current president. Get on board, dammit, or you are going to drown with the rest of the planet. No one is talking about blind allegiance to anyone or even to any party but for fuck’s sake, look at what is going on and realize that we need to unify behind the party that isn’t going to fuck over as many people as possible! Oh, you’re a Democratic Socialist? Well, fucking YAY FOR YOU. How is that working for you as we try to stop the Yam from doing damage to everyone who isn’t a white dude—and to the entire planet, for that matter? If he’s president for eight years, you probably won’t have to worry about your feelings, because you’ll be gasping for air on a dying planet.


We left a half an hour early.

As frustrating as this was, I can say that it left both me and Ken thinking about how we can get more involved. If nothing else, I’d love the opportunity to tell people to just stop all the nonsense and FOCUS.

Yes, there is a reason I wasn’t always popular in our lab meetings!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

More Like Badasslands

I am a human being capable of doing terrible things
You people are mistaken if you think that I’m awake
And celebrating anything that I’ve become

~~ “Run” by AWOLNATION

We are four days into the Yamocracy and the level of bullshit is already becoming untenable.

We went from the Resident’s little temper tantrum about how the media is so unfair to him and misrepresented the size of his, you know...CROWD, at the inauguration, to the new press secretary standing in front of the press and all the universe flat-out LYING about said crowd, to the soulless, unrepentant Kellyanne saying that Spicer’s LIES were merely “alternative facts.”

If all that weren’t bad enough (and I’m not even mentioning the executive orders we’ve seen so far), the Yam also imposed radio silence on, of all agencies, the National Park Service. Why? Because of his ongoing tantrum about their photo showing the size of Obama’s inauguration crowd in comparison to the size of the Yam’s (not even close). I’m sure the vast crowds in DC and all around the world for the Women’s March, which also dwarfed the inauguration crowd, did nothing to alleviate his fit of pique.

Someone at one Twitter account, that of Badlands National Park, was having none of it and tweeted out several facts about climate change, something they have done often.

What happened? Those tweets (seen above) were removed from the Twitter account.

You know something the Yam really does not seem capable of comprehending? Stuff on the Internet doesn’t just magically go away if you delete it. These things get screen captured and are widely available to share far and wide. (He also doesn’t seem to understand that videotape exists. We all saw you mock a disabled reporter, Yam. WE SAW YOU.)

Thank you, Badlands, for this small act of subversion. (We are proud, long-time supporters of the National Parks Conservation Association.) Small acts can add up to big results, and these things that might seem simple can cumulatively have a large impact. This is the kind of thing that we all need to be doing. We cannot sit idly by as we watch our precious planet be pussy-grabbed by the orange oaf.

Speak out. Stand up. Do not let yourself be silenced!