Resist- II

Since about October, I have struggled a little with balancing our new ‘reality’ with some of my Buddhist way of thinking. “Things are happening as they should and I need not interfere” is kind of the gist I came away with during my studies.  In fact I spend quite a bit of time with my therapist discussing that balance between life, and a fulfilling life.  You know, the whole Buddhist “root of all my trouble is wanting” idea.  Yet I want things to change.  So much.  So much more every day.

I want Trump–No.  Not impeached.  No, poor man is sick.  I’d like him put in a small hospital room for the rest of his life.  A soft room with bars and bullet-proof glass on the windows, the gentle light of a tv as it plays The Apprentice on endless loops.  I’m all for hiring the handicapped, but the man is absolutely certifiably delusional.

I know a little about delusional from personal experience.  I know he truly believes what he says.  I know he doesn’t think we’re stupid.  He doesn’t think of us at all.   He truly believes he is entitled to anything or anyone any time he wants.  He believes it when he says he thinks he’s doing a swell job, and accomplished so much in so little time.  His claims of being prosecuted.  The ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’ fit in perfectly in the life and mind of the delusional.  You must buy into his delusion, or you are the enemy.

His brief press conference of yesterday has only hardened my resolve to be involved.  He thinks he’s a 5 year old and can stomp all over your sand castle if he wants, just because it was better than his.  He is still that spoiled, confused child.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a lot of sympathy, but just thinking about him that way makes me a little less angry, but a lot more scared.

I want us to get rid of Trump (and the rest of his swamp creatures if at all possible) as soon as possible.  It becomes obviously more urgent every day.  You did see at least some of his so-called press conference?  And still, there is this niggling feeling that I maybe shouldn’t interfere.  Shouldn’t be involved.  Maybe I’m just trying to find an excuse to stay in my own corner, complain and pass along worrisome memes.  It’s much easier not be involved.

Then today I read this article out of the Huffington Post:  They posed this question:

What can Zen Buddhism teach us about the art of effective activism in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidency?

to  Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Zen master who has been a social and environmental activist for since his early days protesting the Vietnamese War.    This article addresses the issue of balancing Buddhist thinking with activism.

The article quotes from his book At Home in the World where he says:

“Mindfulness must be engaged.  Once we see that something needs to be done, we must take action. Seeing and action go together. Otherwise, what is the point in seeing?”

“Nonviolence is not a set of techniques that you can learn with your intellect,” he goes on to say. “Nonviolent action arises from the compassion, lucidity and understanding you have within.”

 

This article finally set to rest my qualms over my level of involvement.  And I hope I can bring his teachings of non-violent protests with me.  I hope we all can.  So teachers, parents, and concerned citizens, arm yourselves with the knowledge of peaceful protest and let’s get to work!

 

Calling All Protesters

I copied this from Facebook.

The Ides of Trump.

Mark it down!

On March 15th, each of us will mail Donald Trump a postcard that publicly expresses our opposition to him. And we, in vast numbers, from all corners of the world, will overwhelm the man with his unpopularity and failure. We will show the media and the politicians what standing with him — and against us — means. And most importantly, we will bury the White House post office in pink slips, all informing Donnie that he’s fired.

Each of us — every protester from every march, each congress-calling citizen, every boycotter, volunteer, donor, and petition signer — if each of us writes even a single postcard and we put them all in the mail on the same day, March 15th, well: you do the math…

No alternative fact or Russian translation will explain away our record-breaking, officially-verifiable, warehouse-filling flood of fury. Hank Aaron currently holds the record for fan mail, having received 900,000 pieces in a year. We’ll set a new record: over a million pieces in a day, with not a single nice thing to say.

So sharpen your wit, unsheathe your writing implements, and see if your sincerest ill-wishes can pierce Donald’s famously thin skin.

Prepare for March 15th, 2017, a day hereafter to be known as #TheIdesOfTrump

Write one postcard. Write a dozen! Take a picture and post it on social media tagged with #TheIdesOfTrump ! Spread the word! Everyone on Earth should let Donnie know how he’s doing. They can’t build a wall high enough to stop the mail.

Then, on March 15th, mail your messages to:

President (for now) Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Not my original idea, but I think it’s a great one, and has energized me somewhat. Personally, I will address my cards to “Donald J Trump.”  No way am I calling that person President.

Remember: MARCH 15!  Maybe have a postcard-writing party?

 

I’m Getting Angry, Then Sad

I am angry, sad, confused, and just plain put out.  Common sense has disappeared from Congress.  Our protests gain a lot of press time and piss off Dump and Pres. Bannon, and yet, they seem to be ineffectual.  How do you keep up the heat?  I have only been actively involved a short time, and yet I already feel utterly defeated.

Here is a link to an article about how senators have voted on each Dump cabinet pick.  This list did not make me happy.

 

Sure, we should hang in there, wait until 2018 with the mid-term votes.  But both my reps seem to vote (mostly) how I want.  But I can’t vote for other states’ reps.  I can’t make the people in Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin, etc. see it my way.

We can keep up the heat on declaring Dump incompetent due to mental illness, but we’re still stuck with all the other swamp creatures!  How do we clean up that mess?

Yes, I know, one step at a time.  But patience and persistence are not going to be enough.  I can’t sit here and hope the people in Blue States start calling their senators.

I feel like Dorothy, caught in a black & white tornado, and suddenly dumped (pun intended) in the middle of a bright orange swamp!

 

 

That’s About all I can Take

I’ve been limiting my time on FB, WP, and various news sites to about 2 hours a day.  Even that’s too long.  I am so frustrated and fried.  There’s just so much wrong with our new administration (I will not call him “President.”  Ever.) it’s nearly impossible to keep up.  It feels like we’re pissing on a grass fire.  We’re the Dutch boy with his finger in the dyke.  We’re scattered and self-absorbed.

And we know the risks of being complacent.  That’s what got the US here in the first place.  Too much of the same old same old.  Too great a distance between the haves and the Have Nones.

I know we need to work on the GOP, not the Democrats on Dump.  The Dems are already appalled and frightened, and scrambling to do something, anything, to stop the flood of stupidity and immorality being spewed from the mouth of our (EC-) elected POS.  So, I keep asking myself, how do we do this?  How do you convert a Christian to Islam?  Can you rehabilitate a KKK member?  I know these things have been done.  Maybe not often, but it is not unheard of.  But what I can’t figure out is the “how” of it.

I’ve joined the Indivisible movement.  I’m also involved with the Resist movement.  Just two of probably thousands of little pockets of resistance.   We all have the same goal: impeachment.  Easy fix: take Dump out.  Sniper style.  But I don’t want anyone going to prison.  And really, it’s not a complete answer, because of, well, you know.  Pence.  And Bannon, Priebus, Ryan and McConnell, to name the most egregious members of our political heads.

I ponder these problems every night and wake up wondering what new horror Dump and his crew have devised.  I sign the petitions going around.  I’m writing to my reps.  I can see the Resistance is growing, but how long can we sustain it?  We all know about burn out.  I’ve only been moderately active and I need a script for Xanax, just to keep me from biting the heads off the people near me.

Am I just impatient?  Just hoping for a quick fix?  I know that quick is not how things change.  Just like dieting.  You want to lose 30 pounds so you join Jenny Craig or some such.  Spend your money and buy their food.  After you lose the 30 pounds and feel great, you go back to eating just the way you did before.  Soon you need to lose 40 pounds.

You have to change your way of thinking to become successful in controlling your weight. We must change people’s thinking, and that, my friends, will take a very long time.  Do we have the stamina?  The anti-Trump faction seems much larger than the pro side.  It would seem, then, that we have the numbers to sustain a movement.  Our leadership is increasing: a few Senators and Congressmen are growing balls.  Robert Reich is a leader, and Elizabeth Warren as well.  Bernie Sanders is still relevant.

I’m committed for the long-haul, provided I don’t burn out.  Join me?

Here are some links for additional information on the movements and how they will accomplish their goals.

Can we sustain the anti-Trump movement?

Emily’s List

Change will require more than protests

 

I’ve Been Thinking

I met with a number of anti-Trump people last week.  So nice to meet everyone and discuss rationally how we can work together toward a common goal.  We talked about phone calls, email and letters to our local Democratic reps.  One woman mentioned maybe we should call and write to the Opposition.  I thought it was a great idea. One way to change something is by force, which we are attempting by large protests.  We put enough pressure on our ‘own’ reps and they in turn put pressure on Congress.  That was the strategy in the ’60s and it worked then, but took a long time.

But we don’t really need to convince the convinced, do we?  Why are protesters not confronting the Opposition.  That is who we must convince.  Now.  I’m assuming this is the harder course, since it would involve far more diplomatic skill than most of us have, and we see just how long that might take.  But we need to invest that time and effort to convince our elected representatives on both sides that ALL of America is not fine with the new administration our elected representatives put into office.

My husband had the idea that we might petition the Supreme Court to intervene in their capacity as the holders of the Constitution.  Do they have that kind of power?  Can they arrest Dump?  Can they charge him with crimes against the Constitution and the US?   I did find the short answer which was essentially yes, but it would be difficult and messy. If anyone has information on whether this can be, or should be, done, please let me know.

 

An Open Letter to Trump supporters

Dear Trump Fan

You must understand that the anti-Trump group is not simply upset that there are questions as to foreign manipulation in our election process.  It’s not simply that my preferred candidate did not win.  It’s not because most Trump supporters are Obama haters.  It’s because the man is simply UNFIT.

He lacks the knowledge of how to govern.  You might say, yeah, it’s one of the things you like about it.  But knowing how to govern involves understanding others’ points of view.  If I read a book, or several books, about government and how to be effective doesn’t mean I know how to govern.  But I would have a leg up on Trump.

He lacks the diplomacy that is required when dealing with foreign dignitaries.  Sure, you say, he knows plenty of foreign big wigs.  Yes, but those big wigs only deal with Trump on business.  They may respect that, they may not.  It could be they just put up with his lack of grace and humility because he is making them money.  Well, the government is NOT a business, and probably shouldn’t be run like one.  Businesses look at the bottom line, profit and loss.  A country doesn’t profit from its people, but is supported by them via taxes.

To be an effective leader, one must have empathy for the other guys.  Something Trump certainly appears to lack.  In fact, I’m not even sure Trump can define ’empathy’.  Nor can many of his supporters.

One must have compassion for ALL citizens, not just those who agree with you.  Belittling other groups is counterproductive, and makes one look small and childish.  Very un-Presidential.  Disrespectful.  Something Trump seems not to understand.  Respect is earned, and treating others disrespectfully diminishes one’s chance at being respected.

I don’t believe our President should be tweeting criticisms about TV shows, or people who disagree with him.  My President has more important things to do.  My President barely sleeps, has no time to watch TV, let alone have twitter wars.  It diminishes respect for My President in the eyes of other countries, which reflects badly on me.

For a democracy to work, it cannot be run like a dictatorship.  The American people will not yield their rights to a dictator.  Perhaps Trump and his supporters don’t know what a dictator is.  Well, it is exactly what Trump proposes with his refusal to meet with certain members of the press.  The elected leader of this country is bound by the Constitution to allow Freedom of the Press.  There are plenty of Trump supporters who know the Second Amendment very well, but many seem to be ignorant of the rest.

I won’t even go into the lies.  I don’t expect politicians to tell the truth, but I do expect them to own up to their ‘misstatements’ and offer a clarification, or an apology.  And an apology is not “I’m sorry you got mad at me when I called you stupid.”  It is “I’m sorry I called you stupid.  That was untrue and unkind.”

Yeah, your candidate won.  And since no charges are forthcoming from those who claim voter fraud or foreign influence, etc., I’ll go so far as to say he won legitimately.  That still does NOT mean he is a suitable representative of me, or people who think like me.  He can’t legislate people away.  He can’t ignore the majority, not for long, anyway.  One group of people does not have more privileges than another.  At least they shouldn’t.  Trump and his supporters seem to think it’s ok to ignore the rest of us.  The British didn’t take the resistance seriously either.  You do know how that ended, right?

Cynicism

The state of mental health care in the US is atrocious.  Not as bad as when it was thought the ill were possessed by demons, and people were kept chained and naked in dank cells.  It hasn’t improved enough. People still treat mental illness as a personality flaw, something we could change if we only tried.  It is something many medical doctors, and ER staff do not recognize.

Most public hospitals prior to 1900 were operated by religious orders, and evolved from Almshouses.  As so many other things, hospitals were often as squalid as the Almshouse.   With time, hospitals became less of a place where paupers died and more of a place of improving one’s condition.  As more of those with funds chose to go to hospital, more changes were made.  Eventually public hospitals were cleaned up and money for improvements and new buildings became available.  Now, the people who would like to donate don’t have the money, and those with money don’t care.

When psychoactive drugs were introduced in the US in 1955, their use lead to increased discharges from mental hospi­tals. Over the next 50 years there was a dramatic decline in hospital beds from 560,000 in 315 hospitals to 53,000 beds in 230 hospitals.  Certainly doesn’t sound like much.  Currently, according to the Mental Health America, the prevalence of untreated adults with mental illness ranges from 43.1% in Vermont to 67.5% in Nevada.  That’s awful!  Mental illness can be as deadly as cancer.  Those with AMI (A Mental Illness) deserve better.

I discovered that the largest mental health facility in the country is in Los Angeles and is part of the county jail.  The article: Inside The Nation’s Largest Mental Institution (heard on Morning Edition, on NPR August 13, 20083:09 PM ET, by ) wrote, in part:

           The largest mental institution in the country is actually a wing of a county jail. Known as Twin Towers, because of the design, the facility houses 1,400 mentally ill patients in one of its two identical hulking structures in downtown Los Angeles.

The End Of Public Mental Hospitals

Until the 1970s, the mentally ill were usually treated in public psychiatric hospitals, more commonly known as insane asylums.

Then, a social movement aimed at freeing patients from big, overcrowded and often squalid state hospitals succeeded. Rather than leading to quality treatment in small, community settings, however, it often resulted in no treatment at all.

As a consequence, thousands of mentally ill ended up on the streets, where they became involved in criminal activity. Their crimes, though frequently minor, led them in droves to jails such as Twin Towers, says Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca.

 

 

And yet, we do incarcerate the mentally ill.  All the time.  Because there seems to be no where else to place them.  It’s awful when the police become involved.  At a minimum the person with AMI will be dragged to the ground and handcuffed as if they had committed a crime before they are dropped in some overcrowded, understaffed county hospital.  There they will receive minimal care and a quick discharge.  In the worst case scenario someone with AMI can end up dead simply because they do not understand what the police are telling him to do.  Like drop a weapon, or to lie on the ground.  Just google “mentally ill man killed by police” and you will find hundreds of incidents.

Most insurance plans do not provide adequate coverage for mental health, as if it is less important than someone’s physical health.  There are limits to the number of doctor visits, hospital stays are too short.  How does the insurance company know if you are healthy enough to leave after just 2 weeks?  It must be up to the doctors to determine when a patient is well enough to leave.  And what about someone who will spend their life institutionalized?  I’m sure most insurance plans do not have that covered.  There are not enough doctors and nurses.  There is just not enough.

My cynical side tells me that the only way we can make changes is with money.   Sure, there’s legislation, but that does not help people who cannot find a facility that will admit them.  There just aren’t enough beds.  That must change!  More mental health facilities need to be built.  MDs and hospital staff need to be made aware of symptoms of a mental health emergency.  Mental Health America is important to the improvement in mental health care and education.  Please support their #b4stage4 campaign on Facebook and Twitter, and take the pledge now to help make mental illness stigma free.

 

Sometimes You Shouldn’t Call 911

I’ve decided, after this most recent, for lack of a better word, psychotic episode it is not always best to call 911 or go to the ER.  But then what do you do?

The last time we had to call 911 and the cops came, they treated son with no respect, as if he had robbed a bank or deserved what was happening to him.  That time they took his (full rx) meds and his (brand new) shoes with them.  The meds and shoes did not return with Son.

This time I called 911 both the paramedics and the cops showed up.  The medics came, looked Son over and left.  Three 6′ cops surround Son, agitating him further.  They told us we were agitating him and pushed husband and I from the room.  They practically searched his room, picking things up, reading mail.  And once the cops are there: you have no control over the situation.

I felt a twinge of how it must feel to be a person of color when they interact with the police.  Only a tiny taste, but it struck me how the police do that.  Push everyone out, take control and then haul your son away like a criminal, leaving bruises on his arms, scraped skin around his wrists and a badly pulled tendon in  his shoulder.  Which is almost no injury at all, but they don’t care that they injure you this mildly, let alone shoot you.

The cops DO NOT know how to handle people with anything nearing empathy or compassion.  It appears that they are not trained in diffusing or de-escalating a situation, especially in the case of an addict or mental health patient.  In our particular situation I now know that Son needed to calm down, instead we ended up working him into a frenzy of frustration and anger.  By the time the cops arrived, he looked positively crazed.  I’ll never forget the look he gave me when the police took him away.  I’ll never forgive myself for causing him that kind of pain.

So I ask you, why would I call 911 the next time?  I mean, fool me twice, but then who should I call?  I discovered, too late, that my county has a service that will send out a social worker team that will come to your home and assess the situation, and work with the family to alleviate the crisis.  Many times avoiding police involvement or trips to the hospital.  This is a fabulous service, and one I did not know existed. Their number is in my phone now, on speed-dial.  I urge everyone to see if they have this type of service where you live.

I make one suggestion to the 911 system, add another question; “Police, Fire department or mental health emergency.”  I think that would be a huge huge help to people who find themselves in similar situations.  The service could even pair up a social worker with a police officer, specially trained where his first impulse is NOT to shoot.

Rather than make this post too long, I won’t write about ER staff and their treatment of mental health patients.  Suffice to say they are not much better than the cops.  Again, having a psychiatrist on staff at all times and the staff trained to at least recognize someone who is obviously in a crazed state would go far in alleviating the problem.  Those of us with mental health issues , when in crisis, should be treated with as much urgency as a heart attack.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services: (SAMHSA), a federal source of information and help for those in need of mental health or addiction issues.

National Association for Mental Illness: (NAMI)

 

The Dump Years

That’s how I have begun to define the next four years.  The Dump Years, when the US turned to shit.  My only hope is all that shit will somehow fertilize things.  Maybe after the debris settles and the Muslim Americans have been released, and the illegal immigrants are put on a path to legality, we will have a better America.

The shocking thing to me is how singularly idiotic the Trump supporters are.  How clueless.  Do the folks in the Red States really believe he will bring better employment opportunities?  The only way that will happen is if they try to put a pipeline through Ohio and Pennsylvania. There will be jobs, but the land and water will be poisoned.  How can they not see that? Surely, some Trumpsters must be intelligent?  Some must have a college education, or are well read?  Hopefully some recognize the serious error of buying into Trump’s rhetoric.  I hope some of those who voted for him are having second thoughts.

The majority of Trumpsters seem fueled by hatred: of Muslims, immigrants, any non-whites.  They hate our government, our laws, our Constitution.  These otherwise probably normal and pleasant people are easy prey for a guy like Trump who spouts lies as easily as he combs his hair.  No.  Lying surely comes easier to him.  I doubt he even combs his hair, but has someone do it for him every day for $1000 an hour.

His cabinet nominees grows more awful by the day. Here is his latest list as posted by The New York Times (updated Dec. 5, 2016).   Most of these positions require Senate confirmation, but with a Republican dominated Senate, I don’t see a lot of opposition.  I most afraid of the three that do not require Senate confirmation:

Warning!

As many intelligent people, I have been scared shitless that the idiot commonly known as Trump would actually win the election.  Now that it has come to pass I’m even more terrified.  Just watching the people he is putting into key positions, and heading every major department.  I’m fucking horrified.  Every day is worse!

Supreme Court Nominee

National Security Advisor

Attorney General

 

Here is what you can do that might make you feel a tiny bit better.

Call the House Oversight Committee :  Call to demand that Donald Trumps financials be released and investigate any conflicts of interest.  We must make this call NOW!  We only have a few days left to make an impact.

 

Or if you prefer, donate to one of these charities in the name of your favorite asshole. They will receive a thank-you letter for each donation.

Human Rights Campaign (LGBTQ rights)

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

American Civil Liberties Union

Protect the Environment

Anti-Bullying (which will need more support as adults and children learn to bully by watching our “President”.

I am scared and angry and worried for the future.  I’ve started a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/LSJRevolution/ where I will post on ways to help ensure the safety and well being of the citizens of the US.  I hope to put up information on when, where and how to protest.  Join me in fighting against Trump, his growing circle of incompetents, his followers, and other haters.  Please!