the only way out is through #15

January 31, 2017… Day 12

5:00. Though I’ve been enjoying watching things live on C-Span, when I get a nudge from the Washington Post on my phone to watch the Supreme Court nominee announcement live, I think “No thank you! I’ll have none of your folderol, DONALD.” And I became intensely interested in the hue and firmness of the bananas in the produce section of the grocery store. Because I don’t need to be a fucking reality television audience for him.

Supreme Court nominee is Neil Gorsuch. Democrats reiterate vow to filibuster Supreme Court nominee.

Over on C-Span: “We were told during the campaign not to take President Bannon literally. I’m sorry, I mean President Trump.” That’s what Congressman Joseph Crowley said today to a handful of reporters. He passed it off as a slip until about 10 minutes later, when he said, “I don’t think Donald Trump has the bandwidth to do this himself. That’s why I made a reference to President Bannon.” Being relatively new to C-Span, I don’t know whether congresspeople are just more balls to the wall than senators always, or whether this sort of talk is unusual. Crowley said that 24 Republicans had spoken out against the Muslim ban, but the vast majority had stayed silent. He said “President Trump is a coward… and anyone who stays silent joins the ranks of cowards.” Standing next to him, at about half his height, was Congresswoman Linda Sanchez. She said, “the only words that come to mind are ‘dumpster fire.’” She referred to Trump’s “dangerous and dictatorial missives” and said the world was watching and waiting for Congress to act.

GQ headline: In Case It Wasn’t Clear Yet, Steve Bannon Is Our President

USA TODAY runs story on dozens of hours of audio recordings from Bannon’s Breitbart News Daily radio show in 2015 and 2016, when Bannon said the U.S. was in  a “global existential war,” and suggested Islamist sympathizers had infiltrated the U.S. government and news media.

Donald Trump tweets “Nancy Pelosi and Fake Tears Chuck Schumer held a rally at the steps of The Supreme Court and mic did not work ( a mess)-just like Dem party!”

Two Republican senators–Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski–signaled that they may not vote for Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. It would take one more Republican to prevent her nomination from being successful.

Democrats boycotted committee votes on nominations of Tom Price (HHS) and Steve Mnuchin (Treasury). This stalled the process.

Sean Spicer refers to Mar-a-lago as “The Winter Whitehouse,” as if that’s a thing.

White House press corps shows signs of being angry and sticking up for each other. One reporter asks Sean Spicer how Trump plans to bring the country together, if he’s using words like “betray” (reference to Sally Yates firing memo). Sean Spicer said “Well that’s a very one-sided way to look at it.” Reporter visibly snorts. This was follow up to a reporter who asked whether using words like “betray” might have a chilling effect on federal employees. After Sean Spicer ducked similar questions from two other reporters, a third reporter mentioned the predecessor questioners by name, and then said “Is the president willing to kill and target American citizens, even minors, if they’re related to a terrorist?” Sean Spicer dodges. There have been a lot of headlines about things going wrong on the recent mission (a Navy SEAL, an 8-year old American citizen, and several other civilians were killed).

Reporters try to get the story straight on who knew what when with the Muslim ban. Sean Spicer says at one point, scoffingly, “Well I’m sorry that NBC News is based on false New York Times reporting.” And a reporter from neither of those organizations yelled “That was good reporting!!” from somewhere in the room.

Sean Spicer snits about use of “ban” to describe the Muslim ban. Reporters ask why Trump used the word “ban” himself in a tweet,  if he didn’t want people to use that word. Spicer said huffily that Trump used it because the media used it, but that’s not what it was. Another reporter asked about it. Finally after he said goodnight, a third reporter said, “The President called it ‘a very strict ban’ on Saturday. He called it a very strict ban–was the President wrong?” Sean Spicer just keeps walking out of the room. Another reporter says “LOUDER!” and the reporter who asked the question says just as the sound cuts out, “I mean–” and it sounds like he is about to say “What. The. Fuck.”

I saw a tweet tonight that White House staff won’t be appearing on CNN until future notice; Trump called it fake news. I wonder if that is related to Jake Tapper sardonically trolling Sean Spicer with clips of him (Sean) from just last night and the night before, repeatedly calling the executive order a ban.

I just read a long Twitter thread with links to a Trumpist blog, and it reminded me again that we are The Enemy. Not even Muslims or Mexicans or refugees. Liberals. They will hurt more marginalized targets to make us cry. Later, they will hurt us directly if they can get at us more easily. They don’t care about Donald Trump. They are bludgeoning us with Donald Trump. They want us to suffer because they hate us. More specifically, they hate me. They hate me because they are fucked in the head. It’s not fucking personal. So DON’T SHOW THEM ANY UNDERBELLY. Be ferociously cheerful, be righteous but flinty, be merciless, be this machine kills fascists.

Much is made of taking back the night, but I’m just trying to reclaim the late afternoon and early evening. These are day parts when things can be done! Like exercise, gardening, going places, or writing! For months now, I get home from work, close the apartment door behind me, breathe a sigh of relief, and climb into bed with my a) laptop, b) phone, c) a legal pad and pen, d) a book or two, and e) probably something kind of junky to eat. And then I’m there in bed, and it’s not all bad — there’s blogging, talking to my mom, educating myself, doing logistical online daily living crap, texting friends, reading, writing handwritten letters to nieces and aunts, listening to podcasts. It’s quite cozy. Also depressing!! Today I noticed tulip spears are coming up by my doorstep, and there are little leaf buds on my hydrangea bush. I tried to do a few things, like removing my mustache from my upper lip, hauling my recycling out to the dumpster, and corralling my dirty clothes into the actual hamper for future laundering (not doing laundry tonight — let’s not get TOO crazy.) It’s light just a little bit longer. If I put in a little effort, I might be able to shake off this low-grade hiding condition. Someone tell Marco Rubio there’s hope.

Everything is going to shit. Throw a blanket over the bird cage of your angst and try to sleep.

Questions for Spicer at the WH Daily Briefing (1/31/2017):

Continue reading the only way out is through #15

the only way out is through #14

January 30, 2017…. Day 11

Sally Yates, acting Attorney General, ordered the Department of Justice not to defend Trump’s executive order on immigration and refugees.

Sally Yates was fired.

Joe Manchin, most conservative Democrat as far as the eye can see, spoke out against the executive order.

Politico says Congressional staffers worked secretly with White House staff to draft the executive order, without their bosses on the Hill knowing.

Rex Tillerson reportedly baffled that he was not consulted about the executive order.

Over one thousand Democratic protesters outside Chuck Schumer’s apartment building in Park Slope today, demanding that he fight back harder, with more conviction, and stop voting for Trump’s cabinet nominees.

Someone says that Trump’s Supreme Court nominee will be filibustered, but I can’t remember who said that.

Sean Spicer said a bunch of shitty stuff in his White House press briefing. He compared the experience of the people stopped at airports, to the ordinary inconvenience of travelers having to pass through security on an ordinary day. He also said over and over that it was commons sense measures, and he said over and over that all Trump cares about is the safety of the American people.

Sean Spicer was huffy about criticism regarding  leaving any reference to Jews out of Trump’s Holocaust statement (which Priebus said yesterday was an intentional decision). Spicer suggested that Jews ought to be grateful that Trump went out of his way to mention the Holocaust at all. This is recognizable soft Holocaust denial.

No one in my workplace is talking about Trump. There are not even mumblings and grumblings. The markets fell today.

I overheard the women talking about protesters and traffic. They did not say, as they did right after the election, that the protesters were “a bunch of crybabies.”

A lot more happened. It’s getting hard to remember in one day what happened. Every day feels like ten days. That is today as well as I can remember it. Today is still happening. Waves of horror crashing in via Twitter as we go to press. The only way out of this situation might be to dose myself with NyQuil for the night.

P.S. Oh yeah, the State of Washington is suing Trump over the Muslim ban (I’m just going to go ahead and call it that).

Questions asked at the WH Daily Briefing (1/30/2018):

Continue reading the only way out is through #14

the only way out is through #13

January 29, 2017… Day 10

Angela Merkel said she explained the Geneva Convention on the phone to Trump this morning.

On Meet the Press, Reince Priebus said he didn’t regret leaving Jews out of statement on Holocaust. He said “Everyone suffered during the Holocaust, including the Jews.”

Confusion—celebration, continued fear, uncertainty over what is happening, vowing to fight on — as there are more court rulings against the Muslim ban — deportation and/or deportation and detention. Whether or not it affects people with green cards or dual citizens. It is all unclear. Cries of alarm that an elderly Iranian couple was facing deportation from San Francisco at noon.

The Pope said yesterday “You cannot be a Christian without practicing the Beatitudes. You cannot be a Christian without doing what Jesus teaches us in Matthew 25.”

Trump tweets “Christians in the Middle East have been executed in large numbers. We cannot allow this horror to continue!”

Four different judges in New York, Virginia, Boston, & Seattle have now deemed Trump’s Executive order unlawful & unconstitutional.

On Fox News, Kellyanne Conway says judge’s order “really doesn’t affect the Executive Order at all.” Department of Homeland Security seems to be ignoring court orders in places.

Trump doubles down in morning tweet, saying “Our country needs extreme vetting and strong borders now”

As of last night, four Republicans have spoken out against the Muslim ban, Most have been silent. Some tweeted about sports. By the end of this day, there would be 20 speaking out, including McCain and Graham.

John McCain spoke out today against Steve Bannon on the National Security Council. The hashtag #StopPresidentBannon begins to crop up on Twitter. Susan Rice tweeted that the national security decision was “stone cold crazy after a week of crazy.” And she’s not one for loose talk.

Lunch with my step-dad and aunt and uncle. My aunt says that one of her friends nearly had a heart attack from Trump-related stress, so she decided she needed to back away. She then said some things about how the courts are countering Trump, and he can’t do that much in two years to erode democracy, and the Democrats will do well in the 2018 midterms and everything will be fine. It was about the opposite of my own assessment, but I didn’t say anything.

Giuliani said Trump told him he wanted a Muslim ban and asked him to find a legal way to do it.

By the time the rally in Westlake Center starts, the Facebook Invite has swelled to 12,000 going, 19,000 more “interested.”

Never Again is Now

At the protest, an ethnically ambiguous man in a high-visibility jacket yells raggedly that Democrats are worthless, Democrats are as bad as fascists, Democrats will do nothing to help the working man. He is standing on a trash can. A woman near him asks him to be  quiet so she can hear the speaker. Up on stage, a Jordanian-American woman is trying to tell her story. The man jabs a finger at the woman who asked him to be quiet so she can listen. He says, “I’ve never seen YOU at a fucking protest before!” The woman’s sign says “No ban, No wall, Fuck Your White Supremacy.” She bobs it at him. He yells, “DO YOU ONLY SHUSH PEOPLE OF COLOR??” The woman herself is ethnically ambiguous. The man yells that he’s a member of a Carpenters’ Union. A woman next to me mutters, “He says he’s a socialist, but everything is just about him, him, him.” A cluster of men near him decide to take one for the team by giving this man a knot of disciples.


They crowd around his trash-can stage and give him all of their attention. They bend in and listen to his words and he talks at more of a normal speaking volume. The rest of us can now hear the Jordanian-American woman addressing us. As I pass by awhile later, they are still having a courteous discussion about capitalism’s ills. (I hear him say the phrase “petty bourgeois” as a noun and think to myself “I think you mean petite bourgeoisie… yeah I am the petty bourgeoisie, get it straight boy-o”). But seriously, anyone who has a trade and a trade union in Seattle is probably doing ok and petite bourgeoisie just means lower middle class. Before I pass out of earshot, I hear one of his new disciples saying politely, “You say all that, but you know, I do need to find a job.

the only way out is through #12

January 28, 2017…. Day 9

In the morning there were already protesters at Terminal 4 at JFK. Then there were protesters at Terminal D in Dallas. Then there were protesters a dozen different places, including Sea-Tac. Lawyers everywhere, cross-legged on the floor with laptops, volunteering their time. People streamed to the airports. The Facebook invite page sprang up for the Seattle protest–there were 22 people going when I first saw it. It ballooned past 1,000. People dropped everything. They came over on the Bainbridge Island ferry. They drove up from Olympia. They carpooled. By 6:15 pm, buses and trains had stopped serving Sea-Tac because traffic and swarms of people. Lawmakers showed up at airports around the country, following the lead of spontaneous citizen organizers. John Lewis, Elizabeth Warren, Terry McAuliffe, Pramila Jayapal, Kshama Sawant. Anthony Romero, head of the ACLU, outside a courthouse with news that a federal judge had granted a nationwide, temporary stay. News trickled out that the Whitehouse overruled input from some agencies when they wrote the executive order, and denied other agencies the chance to have any feedback at all–including Homeland Security! Detainees were released and said that the officials detaining them seemed to have no idea what they were doing.

It was a temporary victory in a chilling time. Steve Bannon is calling the shots.  And now he’s on the National Security Council–according to various sources on Twitter that seem reliable. And that the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the National Director of Intelligence are not on the Security Council anymore. Can this even be true? A former CIA staffer tweeted that the news had made her physically ill. Every day things get so much worse. This is all worse than I even expected.

Two friends texting me at once in a panic, terrified. I don’t know what to say to them. I say “We go down together, and we go down swinging. Do the task in front of you, and then the one after that, and then the one after that.”

Some people say they hate the phone so much they can’t call their representatives. If your child’s life depended on it, you would figure it out. So figure it out.

I went to the first meeting of a newly formed grassroots organization. There were maybe 120 people there at a big picnic shelter at a park. It was chilly. We separated into neighborhoods and were supposed to have discussions. There were eight women and two men in my group. The women were a variety of races and the two men were white. The men dominated the conversation from the very beginning. They became the de facto leaders and spokespeople. They turned out to be socialists. They handed out fliers for their socialist stuff. They were not part of the original organizers for the group, they had just showed up in response to the Facebook invite like I had. I was really not thrilled by the dynamic. I introduced myself to some of the other group leaders at the end when people were milling around, and I introduced myself to the leaders who had started the whole thing–just two sisters who weren’t big time activists. One had a baby on her hip. They were just two more people trying to do something.

I met up with my step-dad who is in town right now. We walked from downtown up to Capital Hill, and I told him about the meeting. First I vented about it, but then when he sympathized about the meeting being a “waste” I said it hadn’t been a waste. That grassroots organizing will be messy and awkward at first. People are just getting the ball rolling. I met some interesting people. At least I tried. Something might come out of it. And so on. For everything I said, he said something back somewhat negative and defeatist about how people won’t be motivated, everyone just wants instant gratification, the messaging is too dilute, everything is just going to shit. It was frustrating to me, because I am trying. Then when we were sitting in our booth at the restaurant he said, “I called Lisa Murkowski to thank her for standing up for abortion rights. I told the staffer that my sisters were raped before there were any options, and what wound up happening to them was too terrible to even talk about.” I had to struggle not to cry right then and there in front of him. The idea of him, a bit of a scattershot old rural Democrat who is none too PC, calling his representative for a women’s issue like that–and then also telling me that about his sisters. After dinner we went to the bookstore next door and he said, “it gives me some hope that there are all these people here at the bookstore.”

On the bus after dinner, I was just tuning back in to the internet and to Seattle’s airport protests heating up. My bus was heading in the wrong direction. Even though I was wiped out from a long day, I thought about getting off my bus and making my way to the light rail to get out to Sea-Tac. Then the dispatcher’s voice came through the bus speakers, talking to our driver–light rail had stopped serving the Sea-Tac stop because of “the situation on the platform” and the protesters. All buses going anywhere near the airport were affected by traffic and congestion too. I saw around that time the stay came out from the federal judge, too. So I figured I would go home and rest up before the big immigration protest tomorrow at Westlake.

I am not hopeful tonight, but I’m willing to keep trying.

Update: at 8:31 pm, The Stranger reports that 10,000 people are occupying Sea-Tac.

Update: 8:41 pm. Forgot to mention this earlier. There’s a creepy ad running on TV asking people to pledge to defend Trump from protesters and detractors.


the only way out is through #11

January 27, 2017…. Day 8

Buck up, snowflakes! There’ll be no points given out for sadness!

I’m just kidding. Be sad. Weep. Because Trump defiled America today by signing a Muslim ban and creating chaos in airports, when returning travelers with green cards were kept away from their friends, families, and homes in the U.S.

But then also, there’ll be no points for sadness.

Emergency refugee & immigration march and rally this weekend here in Seattle.

It’s Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Tonight the homeless people in King County are being counted. The number last year was 4500.

The Wall Street Journal calls Trump’s treatment of Mexico “amateur hour. Trump and Pena Nieto decide not to feud publicly but jus talk privately. Mexicans launch boycotts of U.S. companies.

Washington Post says leaked audio of the Philadelphia Republican retreat shows that they have no idea what they’re doing or how to do it when it comes to repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

Maybe I’ve buried the lead: First the Daily Telegraph and the New York Times tonight ran a story about that Russian spy that Rachel Maddow told us was yanked out of a meeting in early December with a bag thrown over his head. Tonight the Telegraph headline: “Mystery death of ex-KGB chief linked to M16 spy’s dossier on Donald Trump.”

Putin/Trump phone call tomorrow. They’re likely to talk about sanctions. Today Teresa May and Mitch McConnell both spoke out against rolling back sanctions. Pence will be in the room during the phone conversation tomorrow.

Several new big marches kick into organizational mode. Marching for Trump’s taxes. Marching for climate change. Those look like the the big ones.


the only way out is through #10

January 26, 2017… day 7

On Twitter Trump says to the Mexican president that he shouldn’t bother coming if he’s not going to pay for the wall. Pena Nieto cancels his trip to meet with Trump.

Later Trump says there will be a 20% tax on imported goods from Mexico. Then he tries to walk it back.

The doomsday clock was moved thirty seconds closer to midnight, so now it’s 2 and a half minutes to midnight. I have some memory of this from years ago, but I don’t know what it means.

State department senior staff resigned. While Tillerson was there? Story is murky, about resignation, retirement, and firing. Some framed it as a strike. It doesn’t seem to be usual.

Overheard conservative coworker conversation:

CCW1: He’s building a wall.

CCW2: I know, and we’re paying for it.

CCW1: Did you see that the Mexican president canceled their meeting?

CCW2: God, it’s been one week.

CCW1: ONE WEEK, and heads of states are already refusing to meet with him.

Steve Bannon attacked the media as “the opposition” and said it should “keep its mouth shut.” Jake Tapper (CNN) tweeted “No.”

Sanctuary cities: Boston mayor (from yesterday) said to a crowd, “If necessary, we will use City Hall itself to shelter you.”

Good headline from The Verge: On the Internet, Nobody Knows if You’re a National Park.

the only way out is through #9

January 25, 2017…. Day 6

Radio alarm: chipper voices, something-something Apple TV. People still care about that shit?

Getting dressed: throw on some subfusc layers that pass for business casual.  People still care about that shit too?

Small action idea: with your kids, make and send Valentines to mosques in your area. They don’t have to be fancy, just genuine. Pen some kind, neighborly words. Mail them off. Teach your kids about what’s going on and give them a chance to do something loving. That’s my two cents.

Never mind, I scuttled that idea: even though I myself am a Hallmark Atheist, I remembered that Valentines is still considered a Christian holiday and Muslims don’t celebrate it. So, I don’t know, I think it might be culturally insensitive to flood them with Valentines. I just imagined a grade school Valentines Day party was all.

EPA–Trump orders scientific papers be reviewed by political staff. There’s a document “floating around” because that’s how word seems to get out now. In the WH press briefing, Sean Spicer said the President hadn’t seen what they were talking about and that nobody anywhere had been ordered to do anything.

People at the press briefing wanted to know what Trump meant, when he said he’d send Feds to Chicago? The Feds in what form?

I heard on Twitter that the gag rule at the USDA had been walked back, but I don’t know if that’s true.

A reporter at the press briefing prefaced his question by saying that Trump’s own attorneys, representing him during the recount, had emphatically stated that there was no evidence of voter fraud.

And again the question is asked, “Isn’t the president questioning the legitimacy of his own election?

David Muir at ABC gave Trump the business in an interview about voter fraud claims. Thank you ABC.

Greenpeace hoisted a huge RESIST sign on a crane that was behind and above the Whitehouse. Some great pictures were taken of the huge bold sign and the Whitehouse, before it was taken down (I assume it was taken down!)

NASA and National Park Service employees set up rogue, winking, catch-me-if-you-can, quasi-official Twitter accounts to keep putting objective scientific facts out for the people.

The official Twitter account of Death Valley National Park was seen tweeting about Japanese internment camps earlier today–I haven’t followed up to see what became of those tweets.

The Dow surges above 20,000 in a stomach-churning Trump euphoria rally. Assholes celebrate.

Sanctuary cities are sanctuaries for more than just illegal immigrants. Seattle mayor Ed Murray says “this city will not be bullied into abandoning its core values.”

AP news: Mexican president says he regrets and rejects the idea of a border wall.

People rallying last night and tonight in New York City. Against the pipeline yesterday, I think. In solidarity with Muslim and other immigrants and refugees tonight. These are emergency rallies–these are spontaneous gatherings. People are standing shoulder to shoulder.

As Christopher Hayes tweeted, “Every day feels like 10 days.”

the only way out is through #8

January 24, 2017… Day 5

Radio alarm: coal miners will have a hard time getting treated for black lung when the ACA is repealed.

Facebook: commercial fishermen upset at news that Trump wants to push through the Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay.

Huckabee, Ryan, and Graham all say that there’s no reason to think that Donald Trump’s voter fraud claims are true.Bernie Sanders says “regarding Mr. Trump’s delusional statement… he is sending a message to every Republican governor in the country to go ahead with voter suppression.”Then he suggested to Trump that he bring his three overseas manufacturing plants back to the U.S.

New York Post headline: Trump Brings Up Bogus Voter Fraud claims–Again. The New York Post is a Trump-friendly publication and were given the first question at Sean Spicer’s “first” press conference yesterday.

White house briefing: Reporters in the Whitehouse Press Corp today ask Sean Spicer why Trump wouldn’t want to investigate 3-5 million fraudulent votes. “That would be a scandal of huge proportions” said one. Eventually, after much dodging, Spicer said maybe it would be investigated in the future. One reporter said, “What do you think that means for democracy?” and Spicer said, “It means I already answered your question.”

At another point in the press conference Spicer said, “He has NO conflicts. By law he CAN’T have conflicts.”

NBC headline: What Happens When a President Can’t Handle Bad News?

On the highways and byways: A man walking across the U.S. barefoot to spread awareness of climate change, was killed on his 101st day of walking. An SUV swerved on to the shoulder and took him out.

Twitter: The twitter handle of the Badlands (part of the National Park Service) briefly went rogue, tweeting facts about climate change. Hailed as a hero. The tweets were deleted soon afterward

Many agencies, including the EPA and USDA, were silenced by the Trump administration, forbidden to make any blog posts or tweets or communicate with the public over social media at all. The administration calls it a “temporary media blackout”

The Guardian reports that four journalists were charged with felony incitement of riots because they were caught up by police while covering unrest on inauguration day. Usually reporters that are caught up with rioters are not charged once things are sorted out.

I policed myself once today–not wanting to sign a petition on the Whitehouse website because I didn’t want to give my name to a sinister organization. Never mind that this URL is my name and they have plenty of ways to know I’m not a supporter. It wasn’t rational. Just a really bad feeling.

Trump signed an executive order to get construction on the Dakota Access pipeline underway again. I felt sad and defeated over Standing Rock and DAPL. I am afraid those people are just going to break themselves against the rocks of the Trump administration. It is wrong to be defeatist at this point, and wrong not to rally to their side as this may be an important test case. But if it was so bad against Obama, I am afraid they will break themselves now under Trump.

Trump to sign an executive order targeting sanctuary cities.

Governor Jerry Brown says “California is not turning back. Not now, not ever.”

Subjective assessment: This is worse and going faster than I expected.

Questions reporters asked at the WH press briefing (1/24/2017):

Continue reading the only way out is through #8

the only way out is through #7

January 23, 2017… Day Four … Flackery and the Zeitgeist

Well damn, I forgot all my scribbled notes at the office, so I’ll just have to do the best I can for today and update tomorrow. A lot happens in a day in the life of a blossoming dictatorship.

I woke up at 12 am and lay awake for 90 minutes gnawing on the problem of white feminism, the importance of intersectional feminism, and the distrust that black and brown women feel toward white women. The tendency of white women to act as privileged flibbertigibbets in ways they can’t seem to figure out that they’re doing. The fact that they mean well, have core competencies, and we need their (our) bodies, bulk, voices, and skills in an all hands on deck situation. And we need the leadership, experience, wisdom and moral fiber of women of color who have been living this fight. So, I couldn’t get back to sleep for awhile, just lying there with jangled, stabby feelings. These themes have now flooded my Facebook timeline as the “crowd buzz” has worn off and people have come down to earth and reflected. So it’s circulating.

NPR on the radio alarm, going on about Sean Spicer‘s falsehoods and Kellyanne Conway‘s “alternative facts.” Glad to hear this still being  harped on. Thank you CNN. They still aren’t using the words lie, lying, liar.

Overheard at work (worried voice): “I hope he doesn’t start a trade war. It looks like he might start a trade war.”

A formerly non-political friend texted me this early in the morning:


At a holiday party a few weeks ago, her step-dad said, “You should just give Trump a chance.” She snapped back authoritatively “That guy? No. I don’t have to give that guy a chance.”

I haven’t unfollowed all my Republicans FB friends, though a lot of them have unfollowed me. A lot of them aren’t very political, so stuff doesn’t come up. A lot of them are Native American, and veterans and/or working as first responders. I have respect for them, partly because they aren’t like my white Lord of the Manor college-educated Republican acquaintances, who voted for Hillary because Trump was clownish and crude. Now that Trump’s in, they are perfectly happy to ride it out and get a tax break. A Republican who is a 90-year old retired nurse and clambers around on her own roof taking care of her own gutters, or a Republican who is a single mom who taught her middleschool-aged kids to shoot, clean, and cook squirrels and birds (!!). Well, I admire them a lot.

Anyway, that’s how I get memes like this one in my timeline this morning. Presented without irony.

If this isn’t unintentionally dark, I don’t know what is.

OK, I’m basically just screwing around now and I need to cook dinner. I’ll be back tomorrow with more details for posterity.

I watched Sean Spicer‘s whole press conference and scribbled notes down.

I nabbed some great headlines.

And I read a piece from Venezuelan smart guy Andrés Miguel Rondón: “How to Culture Jam a Populist in Four Easy Steps. He says we (coastal liberal elites like me, who literally cannot stop saying vaguely snooty things) are the enemy of the Trumpists and NOTHING we do or say matters because we are necessary in our role as enemy, and that’s right where they’ll keep us. Overcome tribalism or perish. It did vindicate my sense that every time someone starts reeling off The List: homophobia, xenophobia, misogyny, racism… it is like a block signal for people on the other side to stop paying attention to what we’re saying. The words stop being words, they become just The List now. I am not for cordoning this stuff off as “identity politics” and minimizing it to woo the white working class. No, no, no. I’m just talking about new word formats and speech patterns. Rule one in politics and life: Don’t be litanous. I imagine how I glaze over every time someone says the word “neoliberal” because to me it is a meaningless insult that correlates to a certain purist leftwing worldview that I find deeply exasperating and yet find myself having to partner with because I believe a broad coalition is necessary. Still don’t want to pay close attention after they drop the “N——–L” word though.

Today was also the day of heartbreaking Melania gifs.

And Trump naming the day of his inauguration, a National Day of Patriotic Devotion.

Everything is terrifying.

**evening update**

New York Times headline: Trump Repeats Lie About Popular Vote in Meeting with Lawmakers. 

Trump team shutting down agency social media.

By the way, the Smithsonian winkingly replied to a tweet I made about Donald Trump \ today. They replied with a smiley face and a photograph of a marine worm.

(This next part I am typing from the future, 4/4/2018) Today was the first official White House Press Briefing, if you don’t count Sean Spicer yelling at the press about crowd size and then refusing to ask questions. Nobody seems to have transcribed this briefing anywhere. Here are a list of the reporters’ questions at the briefing (after more then 10 tortured, garbled minutes of Spicer reading a prepared statement):

Question they asked Sean Spicer at the first briefing (1/23/2018):

Continue reading the only way out is through #7

the only way out is through #6

January 22, 2017… Day Three

Radio alarm: storms in the Southeast have killed several people. I hear eleven people, I hear tornadoes, I hear hurricanes–I’m not sure, I was having a hard time waking up.

Dan Rather on Facebook : “Call a lie a lie a lie.”

Marchers from yesterday: Organizing already, encouraging and nudging each other to get on it right away.

Nazi punching: The internet keeps finding new songs to set the Richard Spencer punch to. Other parts of the internet debate whether or not it is ok to punch nazis.

On TV: Kelly Ann Conway tells Chuck Todd that the White House presented “alternative facts” about crowd size. Chuck Todd says “alternative facts” are falsehoods, and questions why the White House would blow its credibility on something like lying about crowd size.

On Twitter: The Merriam-Webster dictionary tweets out the definition of “fact.”

Congress: has re-introduced a bill to withdraw from the United Nations. Everyone thinks that’s too crazy to happen, but since everything has been so crazy so far — we’ll call our representatives just in case.

The Onion headline: “You would do the same thing if an old witch had your father’s soul trapped in a lantern” (written from the viewpoint of Kelly Ann Conway)

NPR reports that ProPublica said that no steps have been taken to actually sever business ties with the Trump business.

A lot of talk about Orwell going around through the inter webs.

I start reading Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.

the only way out is through #5

January 21, 2017… Day 2. We march.

A Facebook friend said it best when he wrote “I woke up feeling like a pile of broken dishes, but I got myself up and moving in the direction of the march.”

I woke up with that feeling like I just remembered a good friend died. But after rolling myself over and looking at my phone, there was this text from a friend: “I’m getting my whole family to the march. This is too important.”

She lives way out in the suburbs, she has really little kids, she’s historically apolitical, she’s never even heard terms like “neoliberal” or “intersectional.” She didn’t know that there was a vacant Supreme Court seat. Her husband until recently considered himself a Republican but was also mostly apolitical. She was upset about Trump, but 24 hours earlier she’d bailed on marching with me–she apologized, said too many logistics, just can’t do it. A whole day and evening of inaugural pomp later, she was galvanized to go after all.

Her text energized me. So did the flood of photos from around the country and the world. The D.C. march was already underway. I had to force myself to settle down and eat breakfast, in the midst of worldwide protest tidbits, last minute preparations, logistics, and communications.

Met a bunch of people at the bus stop. We all had to start talking to each other when we realized no bus was going to stop. They just kept passing by, packed. This is like the seed crystal of organizing. People had various ideas, knowledge, needs, and preferences. We split up in groups and dispersed to find our ways to the march. When my group finally got on a bus that was going in the right general direction, we immediately started talking to everyone else who was already on the bus about their plans to make it to the march since the bus could only get us a couple miles away from the starting point.

I bus-befriended a couple about my age (Late 30s? 40-ish?) named Derek and Corinne. They were married, had kids at home. They didn’t have bus cards and seemed unfamiliar with the transit system. They seemed very squeaky clean and square. They were wearing matching official sweatshirts from the march website. They had painfully clean and unfashionable blue jeans in exactly the same shade. They had bright new sneakers. They didn’t seem like activists. Later as we were walking up Jackson with streams of crowds to meet the march, Corinne said “We’re teachers. This is our fourth protest this week.”

The huge marches have been well-covered everywhere that attempts to report news honestly. It took me so long to get home, and I was so cold and stiff and tired, that I’m writing this the next morning, a little removed now from the glow that the marches generated. But it felt good to see tidings pouring in from all over the world–some of them through the conduit of my mom: “They’re marching in Bergen, Norway!!!” she texted me. Everyone everywhere was marching and basking in a new feeling of empowerment. And I think we knew it was a temporary feeling–but any relief from the horror of watching Trumpism take over was so welcome. And there was the hope that we could revive and use the feeling we found together marching.

Well, not everyone was feeling the glow. Near the end of the march, after a couple friends had splintered off, I sat down on a curb to rest and look at the news of other marches. I saw a Facebook post from Ijeoma Oluo that made me sad. She said she was crying because all these white women weren’t there for Black Lives Matter. Several hundred people emphatically agreed with her and expressed their own raw feelings in the comments. After several minutes I had to distance myself from the pain, had to tell myself we’d look forward and try to do better in the future. Because I can’t help anyone by falling down a shame spiral. Self-reflection is my best subject in school, so you know, I’ve BEEN feeling bad already. I had only this one afternoon to feel this togetherness and possibility, and that was what I wanted to feel.

Met up with the writer Ma’Chell Duma outside Key Arena and we sat cross-legged on the wide steps and had a laughing, sometimes gruesome conversation about our personal lives, writing, goals, feminism in Seattle, hope for the future, what Hillary’s up to — it was an unexpected meeting of the minds separate from the march, even as tired marchers still floated past  us with their signs. This too felt subversive. It reminded me that every time two women even have coffee and talk for half an hour, there’s a spark of resistance. Like they say, God is in the space between two people.

Getting home was even harder than getting to the march. On the bus home, I saw the news of Sean Spicer’s press conference — the first press conference — used to harangue the press about their reporting on crowd size. He lied. And he was obviously sent up there to lie. And then he took no questions from the press. It was absurd but also chilling. I was reminded of a sign I’d seen earlier in the day: “If they can get us to BELIEVE ABSURDITIES, they can get us to COMMIT ATROCITIES.” 

And when I got home, and staggered into bed, I just sleepily looked at pink-hued aerial crowd photos and nodded off knowing that I’d fight like hell in the morning and drag as many of my sisters along with me as I could.

the only way out is through #4

January 20, 2017… Day One

On the bus on the way to work, I feel fine — completely fine! I think, election night was the really bad night. We’re ok now. We’re emotionally stable.

At work, I’m ok. A woman I don’t really work with passes by my cubicle and says “OH HAPPY DAY.” Very flat, very sardonic. We make eye contact and nod at each other a little.

The men–the ones around me, anyway, are barely tolerable with their unconcerned bantering about the possibilities of a Trump presidency–like this is all such a lark!

I’m not even trying to do a media blackout. I’m on Facebook.

an exchange between two people that used to be married.

There’s a TV near my desk, and I can’t avoid hearing snippets of the ceremony. I hear snatches of Sousa and it’s like someone twisted the knife.

I go in and watch, because half-hearing it is worse. I feel like throwing up. This feeling continues throughout the rest of the workday, along with agitation.

We leave work early. I meant for the day to somehow be defiantly joyful but I feel like garbage and I go down a terrible Twitter rabbit hole. Michelle Obama gives us life. But as word trickles in of Trump signing orders and the new White House website scrubbing things, it starts to feel too weird and scary. I have sensations like my face is caked in dirt and my stomach hurts.

I feel you, Karen Rose

I turn off all news coverage and commentary. I put on reruns of an old TV show for background noise and company. I make dinner. I start work on a sign. I start to feel a lot better. I go back online and have a rambling discourse with my sister about which political podcasts we like. She’s going to the march in her city tomorrow too. Our mom is going to the liberal coffee klatch in our tiny, mostly-conservative home town.

not TOO scrunched over there on the right

News coming in now of a shooting at the UW campus protest against Milo Yiannopoulis. The news is just breaking and it’s unclear what happened. It is clear that King 5 is giving lots of air time to Milo Y. fanboys about their views and how the left is misguided because Milo is GAY and he’s attracted to BLACK men, so obviously he’s not a Nazi. The crowd is still there, milling around. It’s a mile away from me. I hear helicopters as I’m typing this.

It’s getting late now. This was Day One.


the only way out is through #3

January 19, 2017… Day T-minus-1

Radio alarm brought me tidings or Andrew Puzder, Department of Labor appointee. I also heard snippets of one of his “bikinis and burger” ads for Carl’s Jr. It’s a dull, sludgy morning, but I am not in touch with any particular existential dread or worry. Just dull and sludgy. It’s the last day before Trump’s inauguration. The fact bounces off me and falls to the floor.

I listen to a bunch of podcasts at work. I like a certain mirth, a certain dark sobriety beneath the mirth, a certain sense of genuine friendship between co-hosts. I like occasional wild laughter, but I don’t like it to be laugh-a-minute. I like understated sincerity. I don’t want anyone to try too hard. They’ve gotta be smart people who have ZERO need to *seem* smart. That’s what I look for as much as subject matter.

The podcast I made myself listen to today, which I did not enjoy at all, was Ezra Klein alone, talking to guest Elizabeth Kolbert about how screwed we all already are about climate change. It was depressing. I didn’t want to listen. It gave me a flashback to something I’ve thought of several times since the election. Last lecture before going home for Christmas, December 1996, when I was an 18 year old freshman. Our ecology professor explained step by step how there was no point in fighting it, climate change was on track to get us all. We should just enjoy civilization while it lasted because we were all doomed. I was so stricken, a quietness descended that lasted almost 24 hours, on my whole lonely plane trip home. I thought, “should I even go back to school?” All I could think of was holing up in a cabin in the woods. So anyway, that was no way to talk to the youth.

A schoolmate from home, Janine Gibbons, painted this portrait of her daughter and posted it on Facebook today. She encouraged us to share it, print it, put it out in the world for the marches on Saturday. The marches, plural. Something like 600 of them, around the world. I admire this friend. She didn’t grow up in a liberal, literary, comfy haven like I did. She came to her positions the roundabout way, on her own. She is also a fearless artist and entrepreneur, and I covet the earrings she designs.

Artist: Janine Gibbons

Today was saying goodbye to Obama day, and the love hit me in the early afternoon. We’re so busy armoring ourselves emotionally for tomorrow, we can forget to feel our feelings. Well, I don’t forget to feel my feelings–I don’t want to feel them. The Obamas are uncomfortable to think about.

Three different mom friends told me they thought the logistics of the women’s march was just going to be too much for them this weekend.

In the afternoon, I call the office of a Republican State Senator Mark Schoesler. He was on video telling a reporter “None of your business” when he was asked when the Republicans would bring forth a plan to fund education. I tell him that I noticed, and that I consider the free press as an important part of a functioning democracy. That what the reporter was asking was, in fact, the business of all of us.

When I got home after work, I got a piece of actual mail today, a letter from my aunt. She will be marching in her town. She turned 70 recently. The card was written in the smooth, confident writing of a former school teacher. She said she’d knitted pussy hats for herself, all her sisters, and her mom. She didn’t think her mom could march, but they were seeing about parking her somewhere in her pussy hat. My aunt said she realized the hats were ridiculous, but she hadn’t been able to stop knitting. She said she knew the march probably wouldn’t do any good but all the same, she felt “fierce delight” at the prospect of marching in protest. Her name for Trump is “Tweety.”

Reading my aunt’s letter, I feel fierce solidarity with her, fierce gratitude. Once again, love cracks through the protective dullness. Once again, I have the sensation that we are all holding hands as we sweep toward a terrible fall. I feel the sweep toward danger, but I also feel the hands I’m holding, the hands holding me.

the only way out is through #2

January 18, 2017 …. Day T-minus-2

Woke up to NPR on the radio alarm clock: News of Betsy DeVos not quite saying whether or not she wants to privatize education. I get out of bed fairly easily. Not hating life much, not yet. I’ve had worse wake-ups. Next news story is Joe Biden telling Davos that Russia wants to destroy the liberal world order. He probably shouldn’t use the word “liberal.” Trump voters won’t get that it’s a bad thing to destroy the liberal world order. It probably just sounds like bombing Whole Foods. Putin says people who gather kompromat are worse than prostitutes. This is delivered with a straight face by both Putin and the newsreader. Time to go to the bus.

On Facebook, people admiring Tim Kaine in his grilling of cabinet nominees. Someone says questioning Betsy DeVos was like trying to put an oyster in a coin slot. But when another person said Kaine nailed her to the wall, I didn’t like that word choice. Mary Englebreit angered some of her fans with a pro-choice piece of protest art.

Overheard conservative co-workers (CCWs):

CCW1: “I mean, who’s going to be president Saturday and Sunday? It’s not the first day of college. You don’t pick up your syllabus on Friday, then just party all weekend till classes start on Monday!!”

CCW2: “I’m not saying I’m negative on Trump, but it’s 3 days to go and I still don’t understand his long-term policies–and now he’s taking the weekend off? I don’t know. Maybe he just says crazy stuff. God, he’s said some dumb stuff though.”

CCW1: “Trump will get re-elected.”

CCW2: “I knoooooow.”

Relevant headline from Reuters: “Business euphoria over Trump gives way to caution, confusion.”

Podcast revisited: listened to Girl Friday episode 3. I was wrong about them. There was just a guest co-host I didn’t like in the first episode I heard. Episode 3, which comes a few days before Thanksgiving, makes me laugh so much. It hits the right tone. Especially when they talk about their comfort eating. Franchesca Ramsey is really good on it as a guest, too.

Obama’s last press conference. Mother, sister, a few much-appreciated female co-workers. We watch this and feel this and commiserate by text and instant message. Later on Twitter I see the writer Stacia L. Brown‘s take:

The optimism Obama is doggedly clutching right now is how he got through his 8 years. He’s trying to prepare/instruct us, in his way.

At lunch, I am seated next to a middle-aged white man eating a hot dog from 7-Eleven. He is under-employed, working a temporary gig for $12.50 an hour. On his lunch break he was hustling on the phone for something better. Calling contacts, putting a good face on things.

Bus ride home: Text from female acquaintance who was formerly completely apolitical–if anything she would just go along with her moderate Republican husband. She writes me more about logistics for the pussy march on Saturday. She says “I’m going down the rabbit hole on Facebook again. I’m so angry.” She is Vietnamese, the child of immigrants.

Also bus ride home: I see my first completed pussy hat in the wild. It looks surprisingly cute. The woman says her friend made it, has made over 100 and they’ve all been snatched up. I resist a pun (“snatch”). The woman said, “I’ve been wearing this around all week, but today is the first day I got a rush of compliments!” She seems pleased. At first I typed that sentence as “She seems white.” She did seem white. White women are waking up but they are  often problematic. They’ve been doing other things, thinking about other things, they don’t know the right terminology, and they will absolutely say and do the wrong things. Vast swaths of them will make clumsy, entitled, frustrating comrades. I hope women of color will see these white women sort of how I see Evan Mcmullen‘s anti-Trumpism. Useful in a time of war. Oh, and P.S. sometimes I will be that clueless white woman.

the only way out is through

January 17,2017… Day T-minus-3

I’ve read that we should be logging changes we see around us. Some people are already doing a really good job with the headlines and current events. I figure that the rest of us can pitch in, like citizen scientists. It’s not so different from bird sightings, or logging barometric pressure, or sticking a microphone in the water in front of your house to record passing whales. Together, we’ll use all of our disparate data points to stitch reality back together as it unravels.

I listened to podcasts today: Rachel Maddow’s audio from last night, the 451 mini-update (they’re just getting that podcast off the ground), and Pod Save America (new home of the Keeping it 1600 guys–who unlike the Politically Reactive Jill-Stein-voting guys, are sticking with us for the duration), and a Republican podcast called Party People. I recommend listening to conservative podcasts, or at least this one. The hosts are calm, wonky, media types who don’t really try to hide that they think Donald Trump is awful–even if they don’t have the same all-encompassing dismay that the left-leaning podcasters have. They are a little more… cautiously curious. On the other hand, this latest episode focused back on the campaign and the use of advertisements and marketing. That felt bizarre with everything that’s been going on. They may not really be serious about shining a light on the Trump administration. At any rate, I figure these guys are like canaries in the coal mine for a Republican tide turning against Trump. If it happens, I think the Party People will let me know. Also, they are likable people with likable voices.

I tried listening to Girl Friday, but I hated the first episode I listened to (Episode 2). I went back to the first episode following the election. I don’t mind going back that far with podcasts. I just hate anything before the election. The first podcast after the election is the right place to start; it is the beginning of the rest of our lives. Anyway, the Girl Friday women (or at least one of them) were a little over-blown about their sadness and then segued suspiciously quickly to giddy self-promotion. People who could be giddy about their personal projects on November 11 — I am suspicious of those people.

I went to see Hidden Figures. Besides the fact that I heard it was a good movie, I went to vote–once for black women in science, and once for the telling of their stories. But I was unexpectedly affected just by the portrayal of science itself. We aren’t going to be able to solve (survive) climate change if we are operating in different realities and facts don’t matter. Also, timely nod to John Lewis–there he is on the TV screen they’re watching, sitting next to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

As I walked down the aisle to my seat, there were three older white women knitting hats out of pink yarn. The one in the middle heaved a huge sigh and said, “Well, I’m glad there’s going to be SOMEBODY staying on top of this stuff. I’m not sure I have it in me.” One of her friends said, “You’re doing the best you can.”

Obama commuted Chelsea Mannings‘s sentence. Obama is like the man walking down the beach throwing starfish back in the water. Betsy DeVos had her hearing for education secretary. Apparently it was embarrassing, but she’s expected to be whooshed into the job anyway.

Over on Facebook, a white liberal man calmly explaining to people of color and women, why Milo Yiannapoulos (sp?) should just be allowed to speak at the University of Washington unhindered, because we will be able to meet his racist ideas with better ideas. White man acting like he’s strolling along a river, sport coat thrown over his shoulder, pontificating on interesting times, gesturing with a pipe, breeze ruffling his hair. People of color and women on the thread acting like they are gearing up for a fight for survival, hunkering down into an athletic stance. And some white men too, to be fair.

Overheard at Starbucks: Two clean cut white guys in expensive, tailored business clothes, bantering easily back and forth about the market as it relates to Trump. They touch on various sectors. They’re casual, curious, unconcerned, breezy. Republicans or I’ll eat my hat. The younger one says to the older one, “So would you stay long oil?” The older one pauses and then says–still in a relaxed tone of voice–“I don’t know, I think everyone is about to find out that Trump is… brutally awful.”