Monday Update: Week of February 6th

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News

I took a different approach this week, trying to track the stories that crossed my desk throughout the week in a Google Doc – which makes this much easier.

Sally Yates, who was the acting Attorney General spoke out against 45’s Immigration Ban – stating that she was not convinced that it was lawful. She spoke out Monday morning, by Monday evening she had been fired, for “betraying the Department of Justice.

The Supreme Court Nominee was announced, and there have been some commentary from Trump that is troubling.

Some of the hearings for appointments took place.  The Democrats tried to boycott a few of them, but the republican’s changed the rules and pushed a few through committee.

Tillerson was confirmed as Secretary of State and DeVos was moved out of committee.  Jerry Falwell Jr. was asked to lead Trump’s education Task Force… which is troubling as well.

Trump’s Black History Month talk was… something. And his talk at the National Prayer Breakfast also was eye-brow-raise worthy.

He also had conversations with world leaders that did not seem to present the United States in a terrible good light. His conversations with Mexico and Australia were not stellar.

There has been talk about restructuring the Counter-Terrorism program to be exclusively focused on “Radical Islamic Terrorists.”

Easing sanctions with Russia, removing Coal Regulations, loosening financial regulations on corporations because his friends can’t get loans… there’s a lot happening.

NPR has put together a recap of what’s happened in the first two weeks, and there is a great site that is doing daily summaries of the news.

Good News

A Federal Judge suspended the Immigration Ban, which is allowing travel back into the country as it had existed before the sudden ban went into place.  Trump’s administration is battling this ruling – through the courts, but Trump has also tweeted some worrisome statements.

However, there are many people who are being allowed back into the country, including an infant who is heading to life-saving surgery in Oregon.

The ban has also produced ongoing protests, which had brought people together in some spectacularly beautiful ways.  It’s sad that this is coming in response to such a horrible event, but seeing the Yemeni bodega owners come together in protest (and prayer), and watching the live-stream of an interfaith prayer protest at JFK airport were both amazingly powerful things to see.

The world has taken to having some fun at Trump’s expense – which is somewhat heartwarming. At least, it helps me to feel like we’re not alone in this.

Action

Keep up the work you are doing.  The phone calls to Senators encouraging them to vote no on DeVos and Sessions are important.

Trump has also been trying to re-structure the National Security Council, and appointing Bannon to it. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security needs to hear from you about this! Call them at 202-224-4751.  You can also email.

Additionally there’s been a list floating around of “things to keep in mind.”  I’ve altered it somewhat.

  1. Use the name you feel appropriate.  Some avoid using his name to limit his mentions, to not give him status, etc. Others feel that not using his name will give him undue power (like not using Voldemort’s name – being the example I have heard put to use).
  2. Remember that this is a regime and he is not acting alone.  Often we use “Trump” to stand for an entire group of people – there are a lot of people who have a hand in what is happening. We need to watch them all.
  3. Do not argue with those who support him – they will not change their minds.  This is a hard one. I know some who will engage in conversations with them to try and understand where they’re coming from – but if you are approaching with an attempt to change their minds your chances aren’t great. Too often they are trying to “argue” using a complete lack of any actual reasoning, and unwillingness to actually listen to facts.
  4. Focus on his policies, not his mental state.  Don’t armchair diagnose him.  Don’t equate his behavior to any sort of mental health. Comments about personal appearance, sartorial choices, and family are mean and unnecessary.
  5. Keep your message positive; they want the country to be angry and fearful because this is the soil from which their darkest policies will grow. Be angry, certainly, but try to find ways to channel it into something productive, into something you can do to work towards change and to keep up the fight.
  6. Be careful with your helpless/hopeless talk. If you are feeling these things reach out, vent them to friends (or professionals). Don’t sit with it, but try to also not keep putting out hopeless messages.  Again, that is something that helps the regime win.
  7. Support artists and the arts. The arts are important, and all the artists I know right now are struggling. It can be hard to justify doing your art in times like this, and yet – it’s very important that we do so. Art is power.
  8. Be careful not to spread fake news. Check it twice. Check it multiple times. Get to know your surfaces.
  9. Take Care of yourselves. Be there for others. And,
  10. Resist.

 

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2 thoughts on “Monday Update: Week of February 6th”

  1. Yes yes! 5, 6, 7, and 8 are especially important. I can’t stand how many people I’ve seen armchair diagnosing him… ugh. Like, bigotry isn’t a mental illness and many members of the marginalized communities he and his administration are targeting suffer from high rates of mental illness BECAUSE of ill treatment – it’s easy to get down on yourself and feel depressed when you face this much prejudice.

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