Monday, January 23, 2017

Women tackle Trump

Although living in Mexico we're about six hundred miles away from the nearest handful of American soil, distance didn't diminish the shock here of Donald Trump's election: A vulgar, vile and dishonest man had become president of our country, defying opinion polls and predictions. Just before the election, over dinner at the local Firenze Restaurant, a journalist friend from New York had warned me to remember how the Brexit vote in Britain had confounded experts and pollsters. Same thing could happen in the U.S., he said. I should have paid attention.

After the initial shock, most of the San Miguel expat community, a largely liberal bunch, sank into despair followed by dread. Two friends talked about applying for Mexican citizenship: The American most hated by Mexicans had become president of the country Mexicans fear most, and that could complicate expats' lives.

A few days after the election, at another restaurant, a visiting minister at the church we attend occasionally, was visibly shaken as he talked about the implications of Trump's election for immigrants and civil rights.

Off to the barricades: Our neighbor Grace Lovelace protesting in
 San Miguel's main square a few days after the election of Donald Trump. 
Indeed, despair and dread fused into one, as folks speculated about the fate of hard-won advances in environmental policies, women's rights and a myriad other liberal policies, with Trump reigning with few if any constraints by Congress.

A friend said he was teary-eyed watching Obama's farewell speech.

Stew and I had a tortoise-like reaction and retreated into a news-free carapace that we thought would protect us from more bad news, depression and a sense of powerlessness.

Only a woman neighbor, Grace Lovelace, refused to cower in silence. She kept sending irate emails and shortly after the election joined a small group of people at San Miguel's central square to protest Trump's election. Grace, a former archeologist, and her husband George, a former epidemiologist, run a permaculture ranch where they raise goats and produce cheese, along with soaps and weaving such as scarves, and organic produce. They wear identical eyeglasses, braid their long gray hair and lead a generally unconventional lifestyle.

Vickie Behm, a gifted artist who publishes
a weekly illustration in her Sunday Evening Post, created this one
after attending the Women's March in Washington.
(vickiebehm@aol.com)
I admit my first reaction to her flurry of emails was to roll my eyes. I warned her that her head might explode with all her anti-Trump fury. You need to settle down, I counseled, maybe try meditation. Instead she continued preaching to me against doing nothing. At the minimum I should sign online petitions and donate to environmental and women's rights groups.

Vickie, an old friend from New York, was similarly irate about the election and vowed to attend the Women's March in Washington the day after the inauguration. She even gave me a preview of a poster she was going to bring, describing in unflattering terms the size and prowess of Trump's male endowment.

These women, and over a million others who marched to protest Trump in the U.S. and abroad, were right to protest and agitate. There was even a Women's March in San Miguel's Juarez Park that attracted about a thousand demonstrators, both Mexican and expats.

While many of us men bitched and fretted, women took to the streets. Indeed twice as many protesters flooded the streets or Washington as did celebrants at Trump's inauguration the day before. Good for those courageous women.

The media seemed to find its cojones too in its coverage of Trump. Sunday's headline in the online edition of the New York Times read: "Trump Falsely Hits Media on Turnout and Intelligence Rift," while other vehicles, including some conservative organs, condemned Trump and his press secretary for a flurry of lies about the size of the crowds at Trump's versus Obama's inaugurations. Forget "misrepresentations," "misstatements" or "disputed narratives." The Washington Post used the old-fashioned term "lies" and it awarded the Trump team Four Pinocchios or the "Pants on Fire" designation for its statements. Trump's spokesperson Kellyanne Conway instead described them as "alternative facts."

Three days after inauguration I don't feel quite so glum about the future of the U.S. thanks to Saturday's Women's March.  That demonstration should inspire similar protests by other aggrieved groups. Newspapers and broadcasters might  designate truth squads, similar to the Washington Post's Pinocchio team, to call out Trumps lies and distortions. That plus a series of scandals and disclosures about our new president still brewing—where are his tax returns?—might shorten his time in office. Just two days after moving to the White House, the Trump era now seems like a bumpy but not interminable ride.










13 comments:

  1. Lordy, Lordy, Lordy! Do SMA pharmacies sell Vicks Inhalers? I hope so. For all your sakes.

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    1. Let me think about this. This sounds snarky, but I don't understand it.

      al

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    2. I could not help myself. Yes, it was snarky. Do forgive. I was impressed that you passed it along to public view. Kudos.

      Let me explain: The Trump presidency seems to be giving so many of you a case of the vapors that I thought you might all just faint away. Some would recommend smelling salts, but that sounds old-fashioned. Perhaps they aren't even available any longer. I think Vicks Inhalers would be a good substitute.

      But to the matter at hand. I am confident that in time all you folks will see that the world has not come to an end. It's just that the anti-Obama now sits in the White House. It's democracy. The American way. You'll have your chance in another four years, perhaps.

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    3. No, it is NOT democracy. The person who won the most votes did not win the election.

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    4. Felipe: I think it's been twenty years at least since I've seen Vicks inhalers, so they may have gone the way of smelling salts too.

      In principle I agree with you. An election was held and Trump won. The problem is, though, that the guy is unprincipled and unhinged in his behavior. George W. won twice, once with an assist from SCOTUS and the second time from Karl Rove's smear of John Kerry, but people resigned themselves to the results and the show went on. I really think that Trump is dangerous, if nothing else because of his instability and lack of political/philosophical moorings. Even Republicans should be spooked by Trump's economic policies by fiat of protectionism, import penalties etc. which contradict the GOP's traditional free-market positions. But you may be right, time to take a deep breath, stand back and see what happens.

      Anyway, send me the name and address of your blog, so I can keep in touch.

      al

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    5. I have a Vicks Inhaler in my medicine cabinet. Bought it recently. They are quite available at your friendly neighborhood pharmacy. Maybe not. Check Walmart.

      I think what one believes about Trump, or Obama for that matter, depends a lot on one's news sources. You read, say, Breitbart, and you'll get one worldview. You read Huffpost, which you likely do, and you get an entirely different one. Funny, huh?

      unseenmoon.wordpress.com

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    6. One's choice of "news" sources is often caused by an ailment called "confirmation bias." We seek what we want to see. Though, c'mon, comparing Breitbart to the NYT or even the Huffington Post, is a little extreme.

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    7. I did not mention the NYT, which is calmer than both Huffpost and Breitbart. But those two latter are comparable, I submit to you. Feel free to differ due to ... confirmation bias, which does exist.

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  2. Thank you very nice and the march is a fine morale booster!
    We took Eleanor's 3 year old to the march her first..

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    1. Never too early to get young un's started. Wish I had known in advance about the march at the Parque Juarez so I could have attended.

      al

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  3. Trump won because he offered hope. Being retired and living abroad, I suspect you do not comprehend the gravity of our nation's unemployment problem.
    Obama doubled the national debt keeping the nation alive with food stamps and extended unemployment benefits. This bought him time, but eventually this will fail.
    The government said we were in a recovery, but the line at the DES office just got longer. There is a wide spread feeling that the government lies about the nature of the economy.
    We need to re industrialize our nation. We need to put our people back to work on productive jobs, not make work projects.
    They need to stop fiddling with the money supply. Interest rates should be set by the market, not some ditzy old lady.
    The government should not be paying its debts by inflating the currency. China and Japan will no longer buy our debt, so the government sells bonds to the Fed, and the Fed gives the government cash. More inflation is the result. This will eventually ruin the member banks.
    The Democrats lost because they have embraced the weird and strange. It is just too much for normal people.
    Hillary offered free college, just like they previously offered free health care. That is a program that works only for the social parasites. Most working people cannot afford the premiums and the high deductibles. By the time one satisfies those deductibles, they are either well or dead.
    It was just another flim flam. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

    Robert Gill
    Phoenix, AZ

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  4. To me, it seems highly ironic (to put it politely) that those who spent so much time demonizing Donald Trump over his supposed objectification of women then want to turn the conversation to the size of his penis. Or the size of his hands. Or some other thing, which if flipped, would cause yet more outrage on their part.

    But such irony seems to be completely lost on the various and sundry protesters. Like the people smashing windows in Berkeley to prevent free speech.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Redding, CA
    Where we would have loved to see millions march against Obama's continual murder of innocents via drones.

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    1. I agree that comments about Trump's anatomical shortcomings, so to speak, are in bad taste and beside the point. Far more interesting is how one individual woman, I think from Hawaii, started this thing with a posting on Facebook that turned into a public demonstration twice or three times larger than Trump's inauguration crowds.

      On drones, I half agree with you again. There should have protests, but fourteen or fifteen years ago when Bush, Cheney et al, with HRC‘s yea vote, started a war that has turned into a regional debacle-without-end. Obama was trying to clean up after the elephants and didn't quite succeed.

      Thanks for your thoughts.

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