Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Post Election

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.
~ John Adams

I started to write this blog on November 10, 2016. I ranted, I raged. I read what I wrote and then highlighted all of it and hit delete. I was depressed and angry.

More than two months have passed and the anger, outrage and hair-pulling disbelief are still there. But I think I’m ready to form a coherent thought or two.

A good chunk of my anger is not directed at the guy who actually did not win the popular vote.(1)  Sorry, still cannot call him “president,” and saying his name leaves a bad taste in my mouth.(2)

I am first and foremost holding those who did not vote accountable. Is this new, people not voting? Sadly, no.

In this country, this republic, where we have the right and responsibility to elect the people who will best serve us—local, state and federal—we, the people, suck at voting. (3)

I have heard many reasons why people who could have voted didn’t, and none of them are convincing. If you didn’t like either the Republican or Democrat running for the presidency, there were a bunch of other people on most ballots. Here in Minnesota, we had candidates from the Constitution, the Socialist Workers, the Green, Libertarian, Independence, American Delta and the Legalize Marijuana Now Parties. (4) (Believe me, I had a moment immediately following the election of wishing the Legalize Marijuana Now Party had won.)

In most elections, you are not only voting for the president. You are also electing officials like state representatives, school board, park board. There are usually amendments and ballot measures to be decided. And these affect you, your children, your neighbors, your community, city, county and state.
Here’s the other thing: you are a citizen of this country. And this country asks that you pay your taxes, that men register for Selective Service (women, you’re next), and that you obey the law. No one forces you to vote. It is your right and privilege. It’s Citizenship 101.

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
~ Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Now we are faced with an administration that just makes stuff up.

But you know what? Facts exist. Instead of “Alt Facts,” let’s encourage Kellyanne Conway to use the term we oldsters used to have for that: “fiction.”

I am left with the question: how will I get through the coming onslaught of daily attacks on the rights of the citizenry?

I’m going to keep singing, writing and engaging in art. When despair takes over, I will gather and renew my soul with my friends.

I will show up.
I have 500 blank postcards.(5) Every week, I will sit and write to not only my representatives, but also to Senator McConnell and Representative Ryan. I will send postcards to Democrats who are not standing up to these bullies, as well as finding the Republicans who might just feel that their party has been taken over by a bunch of thugs.

I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.
~ Abraham Lincoln

I will continue to believe in the power of the people.
We do not have businesses large and small paying attention to sustainability and products that are better for the Earth because they were forced by Congress to do so. They do it because the people demand it. Some of my postcards will go to tell businesses I appreciate what they are doing in the cause of social justice. Other cards will go to tell the owners and board members why I will not be using their products or services.

Standing on the stage at the capitol building in St. Paul on January 21, 2017, and seeing a sea of people, dotted with pink, marching down the boulevard, my heart was lifted. The images of marchers from around the world brought tears to my eyes. We are powerful.

There is a midterm election in 2018. For the future of our fragile planet, and every person on it, let’s all show up.

1 http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/hillary-clinton-officially-wins-popular-vote-29-million/story?id=44354341
2 It's the truth. My dentist can find no other problem.
3 http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/08/02/u-s-voter-turnout-trails-most-developed-countries/
4 https://ballotpedia.org/Presidential_election_in_Minnesota,_2016
5 I really do. Colored pencils too. This will require art.