Friday, December 16, 2016

Excerpt from my 2016 Holiday Letter

I have been more preoccupied than I care to be with the horrific rise of the so-called “alt Right” movement and the implications for our country and more personally, for our family. I am still stunned that nearly half of voters hate Hillary Clinton more than they value the rule of law and the principles on which our democracy is based. That said, the best gift I received all year was the news that of my immediate family - my four parents, siblings, and siblings-in-law - most of them traditional Republicans, not one contributed to our national shame by voting for the Republican nominee.

I'll be starting the new year by joining the Women's March in Washington on the day after the inauguration and committing to working even more for human rights in 2017 and beyond.

Sending you and your family our love and best wishes for a peaceful and happy 2017.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Now what

Wow. Like 48% of the electorate, I'm in mourning. Morning for what could have been. Mourning for what should have been.

I'm also frightened. I'm frightened at the depth of the chasm that divides our country and that led 47% of the electorate to choose a man who made it clear throughout the election that he does not share the values on which this great country is based. He does not understand or believe in the rule of law. He believes he personally is above the law because he is rich and famous. Nothing he said in speeches or debates suggest even the most fundamental understanding of the constitution or the balance of powers.

I'm frightened because he openly incites hatred and violence against people like me and people I love: women, Muslims, Mexicans, LGBTQ, and anyone that challenges him, speaks their mind , and disagrees with him. I'm frightened that he is so easily provoked and lashes out, unable to engage in a rational discussion of differences.

I'm frightened because my country has just elected someone whose words and actions have more in common with Saddam Hussein and other dictators then they do with any of the leaders of the Free World.

I'm in mourning, but I'm also inspired by a few things that friends shared yesterday in the immediate aftermath of the election:

Jeff, quoting Gandhi: Whenever I despair, I remember that the way of truth and love has always won. There may be tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they may seem invincible, but in the end, they always fail. Think of it: always.

and Marjorie:
I know the election results are only reinforcing polarizations around race and to some extent gender. I think it's just really important to remember that Donald Drumpf does NOT represent the real interests of white working class men, blue collar workers, people in the Heartlands, or the everyday man or woman of any color. Nor do racism and sexism and hateful splittings of the national psyche offer any way for us to be "great," even if many people have been duped into believing that. Our education system and media system and human psyche have failed us. We have created a monster that is eating itself. 

But we have to find the openings. Go through the stages of grief, and then find a way forward, to something truly transformative. Not just a reaction, but something that truly takes us beyond to something that does not yet exist, but that could.

Thank you, Jeff and Marjorie, for giving me hope and helping me see the way forward.

I will not leave unless I'm driven out. I'll stand my ground and work for change.

We shall overcome.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

An Open Letter to Republican Family Members and Friends

Dear Republican Family Members and Friends,

I am quite frankly terrified of what I see happening this election year and I will not be able to relax unless and until Hillary Clinton is declared the winner in what I hope and pray will be a landslide victory on Tuesday, November 8th. Please bear with me and keep reading: I'm writing this as a blog post to give you an opportunity to comment at the end.

I worried about Donald Trump's candidacy long before most people I know took it seriously, indeed, long before most of the media took it for anything other than an opportunity to boost ratings.

Last December I posted this on Facebook:
I have family and friends that I love and respect that identify as Republicans. It's not Trump that scares me so much as the fact that he is still a serious candidate for the GOP nomination. Trump is a megalomaniac that will say anything for the spotlight. The rest of the GOP pool is not much better, except by comparison to this monster. The really terrifying thing is that so many Americans are inspired, motivated and energized by these views which are so fundamentally at odds with American values. Reasonable Republicans: where are you?! (emphasis added)

What concerned me then - and concerns me even more as I write this in August 2016, is the fact that he has started a national movement based on fear, ignorance and hate. His platform is not about making America "great"; it's about making America hate. And if you hate Hillary, that just feeds the movement.

Most of my extended family votes Republican most of the time. It's no secret that my politics are very far left of most of yours. And yet, I've always believed that our core values are fundamentally the same; we just have very different ideas about the way to achieve what we believe in. We have had heated discussions about everything under the sun but no matter how hot the topic, at no point have I ever questioned my love and respect for you or your love and respect for me.

The 2016 election for the president is not about traditional Democrats and Republicans or Liberals and Conservatives. This year it's not really about whatever any of us think is best for the economy, taxes, healthcare, immigration, the Middle East, Russia or any other issue.

The 2016 election is between preserving democracy and fascism. I am truly afraid that if Donald Trump is elected in November, the 2016 election will be the last democratic election this country will hold for a very, very long time.

Whatever you think about Hillary Clinton, the fact is that under a Clinton presidency, you will continue to have all of the rights that Americans from the far left to the far right take for granted: the right to peaceably assemble, the right to express your opinions, the right - or even the responsibility - to disagree, sometimes vehemently, with the government.

Candidate Trump has made it absolutely clear that he does not tolerate dissent and that violence is his go-to solution. He is ignorant of and indifferent to the Constitution, balance of powers, bill of rights, due process. He mocks it and his supporters eat it up. He has also made it abundantly clear that he is not interested in accommodating mainstream Republicans or taking input from advisers. Donald Trump is interested in one thing and one thing only: Donald Trump.

In other words, a Donald Trump presidency will look a lot like any other dictatorship, complete with pictures of "our leader" posted in every home to demonstrate fealty. Dissenters will face imprisonment, torture, or death.

When my father, a lifetime straight-ticket Republican voter, told me that he would never, ever vote for Trump, I burst into tears of relief. However, recently a member of the extended family said they were considering voting for him and I was stunned. It pains me and I can't stop thinking about it.

I know a lot of people "hate" Hillary but I'm not even going to try to address that. You don't have to love Hillary. You have to understand that if Hillary is president, you'll have an opportunity to rebuild the opposition, whether it's the GOP or something new. It really isn't about Hillary this year. It's life and death for American democracy.

First, do no harm. Then, start tackling the issues that have led to such enormous disaffection with the system.

With love and respect,