Author Archives: mrswhatsit9

A Goddamn Tape Won’t Change a Thing

To Do List: Win Win Again Win Some More

Despite the fact that it is now 81 days until the most important midterm elections of our lifetimes and there are approximately 5,624,278 stories that are vastly more important right now, it’s been #OmarosaWeek all damn week. The entire commentariat class has been all a-Twitter (pun intended) about the purported existence of a recording of TrumPutin using the n-word.

Leaving aside the fact that recording anything in a SCIF is STRICTLY forbidden (speaking of people who should have their clearances yanked…), THIS DOES NOT MATTER ONE WAY OR THE OTHER.

We ALREADY HAVE recordings of TrumPutin calling Mexicans rapists, mocking people with disabilities, and bragging about sexually assaulting women. It didn’t change a goddamn thing.

If it walks like a bigot, and quacks like a bigot, it’s a bigot.

(Oh, and to black folks who are like, “In an era of gaslighting, we are being gaslit squared here!” what will all the white folks demanding YET MORE PROOF that TrumPutin is a horrible bigoted dumpster fire of an excuse for a human, let me just take a moment to validate your experience: You’re right.)

TrumPutin could call a press conference in the Rose Garden and do nothing but scream every single racist, sexist, homophobic epithet of Jason Kessler and the neo-Nazi trolls of 4chan, 8 chan, and Reddit’s most fevered imaginings, and it wouldn’t make a goddamn difference.

38% of the overall electorate would still support him. 80+% of Republicans would still think he’s doing a bang up job.

These people are the very definition of lost causes. TrumPutin was right – he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and they wouldn’t care, as long as that someone was female, brown, LGBT, or all of the above.

You know what DOES matter?

  • The 53% of my fellow idiot white women who voted for this monster in 2016 who now are like, “DURRR DURRR DURRR Maybe that was a bad idea.” You think so, you dumb fucking bitch? Get it right this time.
  • The 7% of African-Americans who turned out in 2012 and stayed home in 2016. Where y’all at?
  • The 65% of Democrats who routinely ignore any election that isn’t a presidential one, and who even then only bother to show up for a “HE’S DREAMY” candidate they can LUUUUUURVE (“HE” intentional). WHERE ARE Y’ALL AT?!?!?
  • The roughly 8 million Americans who’ve turned 18 since November 9, 2016 and are now eligible to vote for the first time.
  • The nearly 8 million jackasses who voted third party in 2016. Yo, dumbasses: The GOP is funding third party candidates, including your beloved Green Party candidates. Way to play yourselves while fucking the rest of us.

Screw Omarosa and her stupid tapes. If there were any justice, her 15 minutes would have been up years ago. She’s a deplorable human being, as is every single person who ever has worked, currently works, or ever will work for TrumPutin. Ignore her.

What have you done to support Democratic candidates at the local, state, and national level today? What have you done to register new voters today? What have you done to GOTV today? What will you do tomorrow?

Keep your eyes on the prize.

Image found here.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.

What’s Your Harvest?

Daughters of the Moon tarot Appraisal card - 7 of pentacles

We’ve just passed Lughnasadh (or Lammas, for easier spelling), the pagan holiday of the first harvest.

The first harvest, of course, is not the final harvest. At this stage in the growing season, you have a good sense of what you’re going to reap, but you won’t have the final tally until later in the fall – or even the early winter, for cold-season or root crops (harvested before the ground freezes), or for the crafty and clever who use cold frames.

At this point in the year, with only three months to go until Samhain, you also have a good sense of what you’re going to reap in your life this year, but the final tally will come later (and for many of us, gets toted up in the period of reflection we try to carve out of the busy secular and christian holiday season as the light declines from Samhain to Yule).

To me, that’s what the Daughters of the Moon tarot Appraisal card (pictured above) is all about: Taking a moment, while your harvest is still unfinished, still being reaped, to assess your situation.

How are things looking? Are you reaping what you expected?

Will you have enough to get you through the dark and cold times ahead? If not, what do you plan to do about that?

Where are you on the goals you set for yourself this year? Have they changed? Do they need to change?

Where have you exceeded your own expectations? Where have you fallen behind? What do you need to do, in the next three months, to get back on track?

What do you need to give thanks for?

Image of the Appraisal Card in the Daughters of the Moon tarot by the author.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.

I Will Go To My Grave Angry

poy-2017-cover_vert-f1543ad0e414ef2a31d9b0e95c3d100a62eeee91-s800-c85

And given my current age and my genetic inheritance of likely longevity, that’s going to be a LONG FUCKING TIME.

As I’ve been saying consistently for the past nearly two years, men have NO IDEA how angry women are at this point. We are enraged. And it seems like the culture at large – and pop culture – are finally catching up.

A few disparate threads:

The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, begun respectively by Tarana Burke in 1997 and a group of celebrities at the beginning of the year responding to Harvey Weinstein’s assaults coming to light, continue unabated. You may have stopped paying attention to the hastags, but revelations continue to come to light daily in fields as disparate as classical music, creative writing, and herpetology (and by the way, it wasn’t just about the inappropriate photos in Vogt’s presentation – do better, media).

Activist, writer, and media critic Soraya Chemaly was recently interviewed on Kate Harding and Samhita Mukhopadhyay’s outstanding Feminasty podcast about her forthcoming book Rage Becomes Her, due out in September (and if you don’t know that I already have it on pre-order, you don’t know me AT ALL 🙂 You should absolutely listen to the whole thing (45 minutes total), but a few highlights of the conversation include:

  • Anger is the ONE emotion women (who are purportedly the only ones who ARE “emotional” or “irrational”) are prohibited from expressing – and the ONLY emotion men are permitted to express.
  • The one exception is that women are allowed to use anger in political ways related to maternity (MADD, Moms Demand Sense) – so while we can’t use it for ourselves to fight back against injustice against women qua women, we can use it for others as long as it doesn’t challenge the basic power structure of the patriarchy.
  • The only expression of anger women ARE allowed on a regular basis is crying, because it’s not threatening, and, in fact, renders us ridiculous or pitiful (which, since our rage has historically been impotent in a patriarchal society, we are).
  • Culturally, angry men = revolution; angry women = lunacy, hysteria.
  • A fascinating deconstruction of the trope of the “angry black woman,” specifically framed by the bullshit Michelle Obama had to put up with and navigate.
  • Women are taught EARLY not only to police our own anger, but to police other girls and women as well (although the regulatory mechanism varies by race and class).
  • MANY white women are complicit in our own oppression, because we’ve bought into the patriarchy in an attempt to preserve our white privilege. But you already knew that – hello, 53% of white women who voted for TrumPutin.
  • A fascinating deconstruction of how religion impacts all of this. (Short version: it’s not good. Patriarchal religion of ANY stripe is NOT YOUR FRIEND, ladies.)

Thirdly, how are we not having a MUCH bigger cultural conversation about Dietland right now?

Let me say right off, I have not read the book, and in fact, I’m not even up to the current episode of the Marti Noxon (of Buffy fame, blessed be her name) series starring Joy Nash (Plum), Juliana Margulies (Kitty), Tamara Tunie (Julia), Robin Weigert (Verena), Rowena King (Cheryl), and Erin Darke (Leeta).

On its surface, the show is about Plum’s experiences in the world as a fat woman, and Verena’s attempts, thought Calliope House and the New Baptist Plan, to help Plum wake up to the fact that SHE’s not the one who’s wrong, SHE’s not the one with the problem, and get in touch with her righteous anger at her own oppression. Which is not a small thing.

However, there’s also the larger and more opaque story lines of what, exactly, is the purpose of Calliope House, and the mysterious vigilante Jennifer Collective. Of course, men are freaking out online (and in the show) about the idea of women taking highly targeted revenge on specific people who have done specific harm to women and not been punished by the patriarchy (and not to give away any spoilers, but notice I wrote specific PEOPLE, not specific MEN). Note: the Jennifer Collective is not indiscriminately shooting up schools, or churches, or concerts, or clubs, or the local Walmart. And isn’t it interesting that there can be an entire show with a male protagonist who does exactly that targeted vigilantism and he’s considered the hero (Dexter), but when women do it in righteous anger, they don’t get to be the heroes? Until now.

To quote the Maude Watts character from the movie Suffragette (another expression of women’s righteous rage that you should see if you haven’t already): “We break windows, we burn things. Cause war’s the only language men listen to! Cause you’ve beaten us and betrayed us and there’s nothing else left!”

Yeah, well, that’s where we are.

To return to Soraya Chemaly, one of the things she talks about on the podcast is that anger is the emotion of injustice, which is part of the prohibition on women expressing it – we’re not allowed to experience or fight back against our own oppression. My theory as to why? Women’s anger is terrifying to men. If Mommy gets angry, she won’t take care of you and you’ll die. One way that *could* go is that men would stop fucking pissing us off and, you know, treat us like equal human beings. But the way it *has* gone is to ignore our rage, or, when it breaks through, belittle it (“you’re so cute when you’re angry!”).

Storm’s about to break, fellas. Better get ready.

Image found at Time.com (of course)

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.

 

108 Days to Go

Not to tell tales out of school, but Hecate was recently out registering voters (highly successfully, I might add). More than one young woman asked her, “Will this save Roe?” To her eternal credit, she did not turn a SINGLE ONE OF THEM into a newt. My spouse’s response: “No. If you wanted to save Roe, you needed to vote in 2016. Now you’ll be playing defense for the rest of your life.”

I know Hecate JUST hit this topic yesterday, but these are the most consequential mid-terms of our lives. I truly do not believe that is an exaggeration. The fate of this 242-year old experiment in representative democracy is on the ballot. (Guess what, Rosebros? Roe was on the ballot in 2016. Fuckers.)

There are a number of concrete things you can do RIGHT NOW and over the next 3 1/2 months to help create a blue tidal wave that sweeps our country clean of the stench and slime of TrumPutin.

1. Make 1000% certain you are registered to vote. “I know I’m registered to vote! I just voted in my state’s primary that was LAST WEEK!” CHECK ANYWAY. Ever since the Supreme Court removed the full protections of the Voting Rights Act, Republicans have stepped up their efforts to disenfranchise anyone who’s not an angry old white dude who watches Fox “News” or his Stockholm Syndrome wife. Visit Vote.org to check your status (I just checked my own). Yes, NOW. I’ll wait.

2. Make sure you know the rules to vote in your state. See above, RE: Republican rat fucking. The rules about things like ID you have to bring, early voting, and voting by mail/absentee voting vary by state. Your polling place may have changed. Fortunately, the League of Women Voters has you covered. They have a list of a dozen voting-related topics that you can search by state. For instance, my city has VERY generous early voting – one city-wide location opens two weeks before the election, and eight additional early voting locations open 10 days before the election. They’re open 10+ hours a day every day including Sundays. But your location might not be as voter-friendly. Know before you go.

3. Talk to your friends and family about voting. Will your nephew turn 18 before November? He can register. Did your cousin remember to update her voter registration when she graduated from college and moved for her first job? Ask her. Does your grandma need a ride to the polls? There’s probably a group in her town that can help her out if she asks. Is your best friend an inconsistent voter? Tell her why voting is important to you, arrange to go with her to the polls, or to meet her for a coffee or a drink after. Take the I Will Vote pledge together. Remember: the family that votes together stops the US from turning into the Republic of Gilead together! (If they’re Republicans, go ahead and tell them that the election is on November 7 this year.)

Do you feel like you can do more? GREAT!

Many (but not all!) primaries have already taken place, so we know who many of our Democratic challengers are going to be.

You can definitely still fundraise and volunteer with Swing Left (mission: Take Back the House), EMILY’s List (mission: elect pro-choice Democratic women), Emerge America (also focused on electing Democratic women, with a bit of a more Millennial slant), or Run For Something (also about electing Democratic Millennials).

Or you can find a candidate you love and start working directly for her campaign. Don’t know where to start? EMILY’s List and Emerge America can tell you about the candidates, and then just find the big VOLUNTEER button on your chosen candidate’s website. Trust me, it’ll be front and center.

You can set up a table outside the subway station or the grocery store or at the farmer’s market and register people to vote. The American Association of University Women has a great voter registration drive guide to help you figure out what you need to know and do.

You can pledge to join us on The Last Weekend. Although in-person canvassing has not been proved to be all that effective changing people’s minds (and seriously, there is no reasoning with the #MAGA heads who still support TrumPutin – wastes your time and annoys the pig), canvassing has been proven effective at getting out the vote, something Dems are historically bad at in mid-terms. We’ll get into the whole “you need to get over your childish desire to fall in love with a presidential candidate every four years and ignore politics the other 1,459 days of every presidential election cycle, because that’s what’s gotten us into this mess in the first place” thing later. Canvassing, particularly close to home, lifts voter turnout. And given Republican gerrymandering and the general over-representation of rural white depopulating areas in Congress, we need a MASSIVE Democratic margin to have any HOPE of taking back at least ONE house of Congress.

Can you do even more? Work magic, Do Hecate’s Magical Battle for America workings. Pray to the Statue of Liberty – or Columbia. Make an offering to Wonder Woman (what, you don’t think she’s a representation of the Warrior archetype? GTFO). Choose the Goddess of justice from your favorite pantheon, and invoke her protection every day. Take five minutes every day to visualize masses of patriots turning out to the polls to defend our country, our Constitution, and our most important values on November 6.

Lily, I can’t believe we’re still fighting to protect basic human rights and the planet, either, yet here we are.

In short, ignore the Trumpers. They’re not coming around any time soon. Register new voters. Encourage occasional voters to turn out. Make sure you’re all set, and commit to vote NO MATTER WHAT.

I know it’s been a long, hard slog – hell, this week alone has felt like it’s been 1,457,647 years long. But do not grow weary! We can do this – but it will take everything we’ve got.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.

Art Is Also The Resistance

I’m on yet another business trip, only this time I was able to schedule a few extra days on the front end and bring my spouse with me, which I try to do when I’m going someplace good, particularly if it’s someplace out of the US (smell that Trump-free air!).

In the past two days, we’ve heard two terrific bands: an Afro-funk band headed by a woman with fantastic stage presence and killer pipes, and a local blues band that just released their second album. We’ve viewed outstanding exhibits on Picasso and African art, the art of the First Nations people of the country we’re in, the history of the Jewish community in the city we’re visiting, and a retrospective on haute couturier Cristobal Balenciaga. We’ve eaten at a French bistro set in an American diner-like space (including an amazingly eclectic soundtrack) and had a delicate and astonishing farm-to-table tasting menu dinner. We’ve viewed spectacular architecture and verdant city gardens and feasted our eyes on people watching on the streets and in the subway.

Why am I recounting all of this? It’s not to make you feel envious that you aren’t with me, or fortunate to be able to take such a trip.

It’s to remind you that art matters.

It’s tempting, when everything seems to have gone to shit (as it currently has in the US) to decide that we can’t afford art, or beauty, or the frivolity of the admiring the perfect lantern sleeve or enjoying the perfect bite of bagna cauda with fresh local vegetables and a sip of cold, dry rose wine.

Bullshit.

We fight for our rights, we fight for the most vulnerable among us, we fight for the health of our beautiful, blue-green, fragile planet, we fight for each other.

But we also fight for art and music and beauty and love and tenderness and the joy of that perfect bite.

So pour yourself your favorite beverage or make yourself your favorite, most delicious, only-in-the-height-of-summer snack and take 15 minutes and listen to the Duke Ellington Orchestra play one of the greatest live jazz recordings of all time.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.

 

The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro

FrederickDouglass

Excerpt from Frederick Douglass’s famous 1852 speech:

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy-a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.

Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.

“This is not America.”

Yes it is. But I pray we can change.

“We’re better than this.”

No, we’re not. But I have hope for the future.

Get the full text at History Is a Weapon.

Image found here.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.

 

Finding Light in the Darkness

lit white candle in darkness

If it feels like the dissolution of much of what we hold dear about the United States is accelerating, that’s because it is. This has been a particularly dire week: SCOTUS has decided that racial gerrymandering, lying to women about our reproductive choices and their consequences, undermining unions, and religious bigotry against Muslims are all A-OK, a series of 5-4 decisions that was apparently Justice Kennedy’s “fuck all y’all” swan song. Thousands of immigrant children are still separated from their parents, traumatized by the experience, and may never be re-united. Sarah Huckabee Sanders and so-called (for now) President Trump both blatantly violated the Hatch Act in using their official Twitter accounts to attempt to harm the business of a small Virginia restaurant that refused service to Aunt Lydia on the grounds that she’s an awful person (which, by the way, is NOT a protected class, and isn’t this what you all wanted, Republicans?). And then his idiot #MAGA supporters started attacking loads of other totally unrelated businesses that also happen to use a red hen in their logos or advertising. Fucking morons.

Anyway, this has been a particularly dire week in an unrelenting stream of dire weeks.

I’ve written a couple of times here about the importance of self-care in both combating hopelessness and ensuring we’re all strong enough to continue the fight.

Today, I want to talk about community care.

In the past two years, one of the best ways I’ve found to combat that feeling of powerlessness, that we’re all doomed, that we’re about to enter a horrific dark age with no possible end, is to become more fully engaged in my local community and in caring for the people around me – not just my friends and family, but the people I causally encounter day to day.

I’ve found it really helpful, and I hope you might as well.

Community care can mean lots of things:

  • Donating to a local organization that does good in your community ($100 isn’t even a drop in the bucket of the costs of Greenpeace’s next direct mail campaign, but if you give it to local non-profit community garden group, it makes a HUGE difference)
  • Volunteering for a local organization that does good in your community (a one-off is great, participating a local community-wide day of service, but what’s even better is finding an organization where you can help once a quarter, or once a month, or once a week)
  • Picking up trash on your street, or organizing a clean up of a local park or rec center
  • Running a food drive at your office for the local food bank (summer is usually a VERY slow donation time, but people still need food assistance in the summer, even more so than at other times of the year, because their kids aren’t in school)
  • Checking in on your elderly neighbors
  • Organizing a block party
  • Organizing a book drive for a local library or elementary school
  • Shopping locally – skip the big box store on  the edge of town or the Amazon Prime order this week, and find a local merchant you can patronize. Sure that gadget might cost a few extra bucks (or maybe not), but you can spare it just this once, right?
  • Registering people to vote outside the local supermarket, public transportation station, flea market, or library
  • Getting deeply involved in the campaign for a candidate for local office you really believe in (not that you shouldn’t donate to the DNC or phone bank for candidates in far off locations, but you can really dig into local races in a way that you can’t for someone running for office 1,500 miles away)
  • Picking a local issue to advocate for. It can be small – traffic calming measures, a five-cent plastic bag tax, more protected bike lanes – or big – becoming a sanctuary city, switching to housing-first policies for the local homeless people, protections for LGBT people, sensible gun safety protections. You, individually, can’t protect the undocumented children being taken from their parents at the border. But you CAN work to protect your undocumented neighbors in your own community.

We all still need to keep working on the big national issues, both in the magical and mundane realms. But for most of us, federal policy affects our daily lives not that much. Local policy affects our daily lives A LOT. The quality of life in our local communities affects our daily lives A LOT. Weak ties to the people in physical proximity to us affect our mental, emotional, and physical health A LOT. The impact one individual can have on big national issues is pretty small, but the impact one individual can have on local issues is HUGE.

Embed yourself deeply with the people around you. Work to make their lives better in concrete ways. It’s not going to solve everything, but it is going to solve some things, not the least of which is a tendency towards feeling hopeless or powerless.

Image found here.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.