Heading in the Wrong Direction

Let me start by saying that I’m not being judgmental. Everyone has different challenges and faces different circumstances.

That said, any idiot can look at the COVID numbers and see that we are going the wrong way and we are going there very quickly. I place most of the blame on the Trump administration and various Republican governors, candidates, etc. Simple steps such as wearing masks and listening to doctors and scientists should never have been politicized. A good example from the top can make a huge difference. And my hope is that the Biden/Harris administration will be able to implement their plan and bring down the number of infections, followed shortly by a safe, free, and effective vaccine.

But those things aren’t going to happen for months.

So it falls to each of us to do all that we can to stop the spread of this infection. By now, we all know the drill. Stay home as much as humanly possible. (Again, we all face different challenges. Some people have to go out to work in order to feed their kids. Some people have to attend classes. Not everyone has computers and internet at home. But no one NEEDS to eat at a restaurant or drink at a bar. No one NEEDS to have family gatherings just now. No one NEEDS to get a pedicure.) When you are around other people, wear a mask and maintain social distance.

And, by the way, that mask has to cover your mouth AND your nose. And, by the way, six feet is the MINIMUM distance you should stand from other people. Being outside doesn’t mean you can stand closer or ignore your mask. Wearing a mask doesn’t mean you can ignore social distancing.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are going to have to be different this year. The virus doesn’t come with a holiday exception. If you can Zoom or telephone with family and friends, that may help some. But is one holiday now worth all the holidays you’ll miss if you infect grandma at dinner or if Aunt Joan gets COVID traveling to your house?

What things that you’ve been going out to buy could you get delivered? Have you checked recently? Between Amazon (evil, I know) and Instacart, I haven’t had to go to the store since early March and I live in a pretty rural area. What things that you’ve been doing should you cut back on? Exercise outside instead of in the gym. Zoom instead of seeing people in person. Put off appointments that you can safely put off.

Those of us who’ve been isolating and following all the other procedures for almost ten months now are pretty tired of it. I’m an introvert who likes to be alone and I’m sick to death of not seeing family and friends, not being able to go anywhere, missing out on G/Son’s graduation and Son’s birthday, helping my dear friends house hunt and move, etc., etc., etc. But, as Trump so eloquently said, it is what it is.

What it is is a global pandemic that America allowed to rage completely out of control. Let’s act like grownups here. Let’s act like Witches.

Picture found here.

Words for Wednesday

A flag-covered casket is taken to the burial site at the Arlington National Cemetery in March 2014. The cemetery has been filling up, despite expansions.

BY A. E. HOUSMAN

Soldier from the Wars Returning

Soldier from the wars returning,
Spoiler of the taken town,
Here is ease that asks not earning;
Turn you in and sit you down.

Peace is come and wars are over,
Welcome you and welcome all,
While the charger crops the clover
And his bridle hangs in stall.

Now no more of winters biting,
Filth in trench from fall to spring,
Summers full of sweat and fighting
For the Kesar or the King.

Rest you, charger, rust you, bridle;
Kings and kesars, keep your pay;
Soldier, sit you down and idle
At the inn of night for aye.

########

Picture found here.

Get Back to Work!

Democratic Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock – image credit Politico

It’s already time to get back to work, because control of the Senate hangs in the balance.

Dems did not do as well as we hoped in the Senate, picking up TWO seats (Mark Kelly in Arizona and John Hickenlooper in Colorado) while losing one (Doug Jones in Alabama). Counts are not finished yet in North Carolina and Alaska, but to be honest, it’s not looking great in either place.

That *would* leave the Senate at 52 R / 48 D, not a good outcome for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s agenda.

BUT WAIT!

BOTH Senate races in Georgia are going to run offs, thanks to the incredibly hard work of Stacey Abrams’s Fair Fight Action, and the organizers with the New Georgia Project, Advancing Justice Atlanta, GALEO, Black Voters Matter, and the Georgia Democratic Party.

We win both, it’s 50-50 with MADAM VICE PRESIDENT KAMALA HARRIS holding the tie-breaker.

Now it’s on us to help push both Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff over the finish line.

There’s lots you can do:

  1. Donate – https://secure.actblue.com/donate/gasenatebattleground (one link for both races, they split the money)
  2. Phone/text bank – Fair Fight Action weekend of action, November 14-15 – https://www.mobilize.us/fairfightaction/event/362669/
  3. Postcard – Reclaim Our Vote – https://docs.google.com/document/d/1k5pKB6cDRu9Q64nHgE5zUgrZrYvoigOrZddS1zEXBqA/edit – IMPORTANT NOTE: Reclaim Our Vote has SPECIFIC postcards they want everyone to use and SPECIFIC messaging for those postcards, so PLEASE follow their instructions carefully – everything is available at that link – and of course, you need to order your postcards ASAP because they need to drop in less than a month!

You can also sign up to be notified of volunteer opportunities directly with the campaigns:

All that great progressive stuff in the 2020 Democratic platform? It all comes down to the Georgia runoffs on January 5.

Let’s get it done, and help the folks on the ground in Georgia complete their transition to the “New South”! They’ve been busting their asses for years – it’s time for us reinforcements to show up!

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

What We’ve Learned

What it felt like, when it finally happened, was like tight steel bands around your chest slowly coming loose. You could breathe. Easily. Fully. Again and again.

Finally, we know he’ll be out of power. Finally, we can begin to undo the damage. Finally, we can scan Twitter or the news without the ever-present feeling of dread.

If you’ve ever lived with an abuser, you know that one thing they do is absorb ALL of your attention. They control you by keeping you on pins and needles even when they’re NOT being abusive. You’re not even aware of it until it stops. Until you can wake up in the morning not thinking about how you can try to keep things on an even keel. Until something goes wrong — the car won’t start, the dinner order is late, you can’t find something — and you just deal with the problem instead of having to deal with the abuse and THEN deal with the problem. At some point, you realize what a burden you’ve been living with all this time without even knowing you were doing it.

Let’s never forget the good lessons we’ve learned. Democracy requires our participation at all levels and at all times — local and national, every day. We are powerful and effective. Some efforts take years, but they’re still worth it. We can’t give up on any marginalized group.

I want to especially thank everyone who worked our Magical Battle for America. You kept at it during some terribly dark days. Bless you.

Picture found here.

Can I Exhale Yet?

As of 10 am ET (when I started writing this), the Biden/Harris ticket has taken narrow leads in both Georgia and Pennsylvania, adding to their 4+ million margin in the popular vote, and it looks like it’s all over for TrumPutin but the shouting – well, and the indictments (and, Goddess willing, lengthy prison terms).

This was very much a group effort.

Organizers in Virginia started the work more than a decade ago to turn the state from Reliably Red to Positively Purple to True Blue. Result? Even though it took a while to count all those mail ballots from the populous areas of the state, it was never in question that Virginia would go blue – again – this year.

Organizers in Pennsylvania did the work, in the past four years, to revive Black energy for and interest in voting in the cities AND to flip MULTIPLE suburban counties into the blue column.

Organizers in Michigan and Wisconsin did the work to re-build the blue wall in those rust-belt states.

Organizers in Georgia did the hard work of registering 800,000 new voters, moving the state into the purple New South, and providing a blueprint for organizers in other states to follow.

And you did this, by writing postcards and letters to voters, by phone and text banking, by donating and fundraising, by organizing in your own neighborhood or community, by working magic, by driving folks to the polls, by volunteering to be a poll worker, by never giving up hope or giving in to despair. You did this. So take a minute to pop some champagne (or the celebratory beverage of your choice) and FEEL that in your bones.

Was everything perfect?

Absolutely not.

The BEST case for the Senate is that the Dems take BOTH Georgia runoff seats (and more about that in a minute), and we get a 50/50 split.

(And an actual civil rights hero, Doug Jones, lost his race to a numbskull college football coach who’s as much of a goddamn Know-Nothing as TrumPutin. Which is fucking shameful.)

The Dems’ margin in the House has shrunk. They’ll still maintain the majority, but it gives Speaker Pelosi less room to maneuver. And many red-to-blue flips from 2018 BARELY hung on.

Dems got schnokered in Ohio and Florida, where the “socialist” label seems to have stuck like glue to Dems, regardless of their actual position on the left-right spectrum or the actual policies they espouse.

I’m just about as lefty as they come, but we do have to be a little more careful in our rhetoric about the policies we are proposing. FWIW “Defund the police” is bad framing for a good idea. (And, also FWIW, I live in a majority Black city, and the Black support for defunding the police is not nearly as ubiquitous as it appears among the Very Online Left.) Same with “Medicare for all” and the “Green New Deal.” Great ideas, bad framing.

As a party, we have to do some smarter branding, marketing, and communications for ideas that people can get behind: smarter, more compassionate policing combined with rebuilding safety net services like mental health supports, equitable schools and early educational interventions, affordable housing, and vocational/technical training; improving and building on the Affordable Care Act by creating a public option for health insurance and closing the Medicaid coverage gap; good paying new jobs in clean energy technologies that will make the US energy-independent.

We need to re-think our protest strategy. Protests for critical issues like racial justice that start out peaceful during the day are too often turning violent and destructive after dark, in large part because right-wing groups like the Proud Boys and Boogaloo Boys are using the protests as cover to start shit. Does that really serve our goals? Maybe there is a more effective way – I’m not saying there definitely is, or that I know what it is, I’m just saying it’s worth gathering smarter, more experienced minds than mine to consider it.

(And it would help if we could keep our disagreements OFF Twitter and IN the family.)

Meanwhile, there is still work to be done for THIS election:

Georgians have until TODAY to “cure” their mail-in ballots if there was a problem – get trained on demand at https://www.mobilize.us/dpgvoterprotection/event/329170/, and then sign up for a shift at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSck5GmL3OddtqE7DkszcwzPiOobX8-knNUm8wvOCd28dybHAw/viewform?gxids=7628 .

North Carolinians have a little longer to “cure” their ballots, until November 12. Sign up to help at https://www.mobilize.us/nc2020victory/event/314753/.

It looks like BOTH of the Georgia Senate races will go to a runoff. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff need our help. Right now, Warnock is looking for donations to fund his runoff campaign, and it’s likely that there will be additional volunteer opportunities with the campaign shortly. Same with Ossoff – looking for donations to fund his runoff campaign right now, and it’s likely that there will be additional volunteer opportunities with the campaign shortly.

Hecate and I spoke yesterday, and she’s already got more postcards and has started writing them to Georgia voters. She’s making the rest of us look like big slackers, of course, but also: GET BACK TO WORK. Because there is still work to be done.

Image found here.

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

Post Election Potpourri

Hopefully, you’ve had a chance to drink some water, do some gentle stretches, go for a walk outside, love on your pets, make some soup — do some things to take good care of yourself.

Elections never really end in Virginia. We’re still waiting to hear about the national races, but we’re also well into our 2021 race for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and some local positions. So I’m working on that and, assuming current numbers hold, I’m going to work like a dog on the Senate runoff (or runoffs) in Georgia.

But, yes, the cats and I have had a bit of a break. They still don’t like me Zooming (Pay Attention to Me!) but that really should slow down. I’ve done a lot of household and administrative things that needed doing. I’ve been for long walks and have gone for a quiet drive through the farmland and countryside. I’ve had phone calls with family and friends. I roasted a lamb shoulder and used up all the final hot peppers making cowboy candy.

In the morning, I’ve been doing Ivo Dominguez’ meditation to calm the inner storm. If you’ve gotten thrown off your daily practice (and, Goddess knows, between COVID, which has changed most of our routines, and the election, it’s easy to lose track of our spiritual practices), now’s a very good time to get back on track. Start gently. Light a candle, sit, breathe. Do it for 5 minutes today. Do it for 6 tomorrow. Here’s another lovely meditation.

The traditional thing to say is that most of us didn’t “become” Witches. We finally realized that a Witch was what we were. Over the years, there have been many different ways of coming to that realization. Once, you had to meet someone, put up with a half-created history of their family tradition or their “lineage.” Then, you had to find one book in a bookstore or library, read the bibliography, track down another book, and another . . . . I still remember the electric current that ran through my body when I stepped into the occult/feminist bookstore in Dupont Circle and picked up a copy of Sage Woman. With the creation of social media, everything has changed. Now, a new generation of Witches are finding their way into the craft. “And She will always carry on. Some things are lost. Some things are found.”

For so many of us, Starhawk‘s Spiral Dance was an introduction to Witchcraft. And she’s been putting on an actual spiral dance for decades. This year, it’s a bit different.

I’m thinking about splurging on a new book. What splurge are you considering?

Photo by the blogger. If you copy, please link back.

The Answer Is the Same

So, I specifically wanted to write this now, before Biden wins all 270 electoral votes, declares that he’s won the WH, and starts taking congratulatory calls from world leaders.

Win, lose, or draw, the struggle, as Walter Rodney said, goes on.

I do believe that Biden will win and, despite some chaos between now and January 20th, will be sworn in as President. We’ll have our first woman VP, our first person of color, and Donald Trump will be headed for jail or exile. That’s win enough.

However, there’s a meme I’ve been seeing on Facebook this morning that I love and I wanted to write about it here. The mother and little girl are talking and the daughter asks, “Mom, what if they win?” And her mother responds, “Well, then we’ll go on fighting for equal rights for everybody.” Then, the daughter asks, “And, Mom, what if we win?” And her mother responds, “Oh, my dear, the answer is the same.”

I feel good facing my ancestors and my G/Son after this election. I did everything I could do and a little bit more. And in a day or so, I’m going to start writing postcards for 2021, because, in Virginia, we have elections every year. Grieve our losses. Celebrate our wins. And, then, get up and start in all over again.

We’re Witches. We can do this.

Picture found here: https://www.brighthorizons.com/family-resources/parenting-style-four-types-of-parenting

I’m Not Standing Still; I Am Lying In Wait

This Is a Prayer for Samhein. This Is a Prayer for Resistance.

This is a prayer for Samhain; this is a prayer for Resistance.

This is the cry that rends the Veils; this is a prayer for Resistance.

Samhain is a dark festival, the feast of the dead, a crone’s picnic.  Samhain is a Sabbat of Resistance.

The bones beneath the Earth cry out, and, more than that, the colonizers fear that they will.  The hungry crowd the dumb supper table and, more than that, the greedy fear that they will.  The chains of slaves clank in the graveyard and, more than that, the slavers fear that they will.

This is the cry that rends the veils; this is a prayer for Resistance.

Samhain is a dark festival, the feast of the dead, a crone’s picnic.  Samhain is a Sabbat of Resistance.

The ancestors throb in our blood and  the merchants of Lethe try to distract.  Our raped grandmothers drag ragged nails across their cheeks and the armies wish that they wouldn’t.  Under the earth, dead children scream for their fathers and Wall Street distracts us with sex and beer.

This is a prayer for Samhain; this is a prayer for Resistance.

This is the cry that rends the Veils; this is a prayer for Resistance.

Samhain is a dark festival, the feast of the dead, a crone’s picnic.  Samhain is a Sabbat of Resistance.

Owls hoot in the darkness and the guilty fear that wisdom.  Bats flap against a dark Moon sky and the predators quiver in fear.  The innocent of Salem jerk at the end of the rope and the church collects the money.

This is a prayer for Samhain; this is a prayer for Resistance.

This is the cry that rends the Veils; this is a prayer for Resistance.

Samhain is a dark festival, the feast of the dead, a crone’s picnic.  Samhain is a Sabbat of Resistance.

Samhain is how our ancestors paid for the right to be part of the cycle.  Samhain is how they remembered the mighty dead, the miscarried child, the beloved ancestors.  Samhain is how they built a bridge to the Isle of Apples, how they ate both the flower and the seed, how they saw a Spring at the end of Winter.  May we have their courage.

Samhain is a dark festival, the feast of the dead, a crone’s picnic.  Samhain is a Sabbat of Resistance.

This is a prayer for Samhain; this is a prayer for Resistance.

This is the cry that rends the Veils; this is a prayer for Resistance.

We kneel at the bed, holding herbs to the womb of the miscarrying mother.  We bring in the meager crop against the late Autumn storm.  We punch the Nazis and write the briefs, we ring the alarm bells and place acorns on the graves.  We beat the drums and call forth the dead.

The cells of our bodies are a prayer for Resistance.

This is a prayer for Samhain; this is a prayer for Resistance.

This is the cry that rends the Veils; this is a prayer for Resistance.

Samhain is a dark festival, the feast of the dead, a crone’s picnic.  Samhain is a Sabbat of Resistance.

May it be so for you.

Picture found here: https://www.deviantart.com/jasonsfakename/art/Graveyard-in-the-Mist-2121133

Stop Tweeting and HELP

I know we’re all under a lot of stress right now, but I need to get something off my chest.

This week, there’s been an ongoing bitchfest in some branches of the left Twitter stream about how white women are going to fuck us all again.

OK, first of all, and for the MILLIONTH time, 48% of white women voted for TrumPutin in 2016, NOT 53%. That’s still way too fucking many, but can we at least start with correct data, please?

So anyway, the conversation’s been going something like this:

“White women are going to fuck us again, aren’t they?”

“Yep, I sure think so.”

“How much better do you think Biden will do?”

“1% if we’re lucky.”

“We’re all doomed.”

Counterpoint: 2018.

Here’s the thing. “Mexicans are rapists” and “grab ’em by the pussy” didn’t turn white women – or at least ENOUGH white women – against Trump in 2016.

The sad fact is that for many white women, racism isn’t a deal-breaker. Nor was an admission of sexual assault.

But suburban white women turned HARD against TrumPutin in 2018, and that only seems to have accelerated in the past two years.

Turns out, 545 undocumented kids that are still separated, possibly permanently, from their parents did the trick. Asking Grandma to die for the stock market did the trick.

“Wait, you mean white women couldn’t be persuaded to vote in their own interests? You had to wait until it was kids and Grandma at stake? What’s wrong with you all?”

White women have been forcibly and coercively socialized to, in fact, put the needs and interests of white men first. Pretending like internalized sexism doesn’t exist is highly disingenuous, and plenty of white women have an internal misogynist that enforces white patriarchy without anyone outside having to get his hands dirty.

But see, things have changed. Flipping those 41 seats in the House in 2018? Women did that. Women of color, absolutely, but also white women. We voted blue, yes, but we also wrote letters and postcards, donated and fundraised, phone and text banked, canvassed, drove people to the polls, volunteered at the polls – you name it. Women did the work. And we’re doing it again. (Some of us were doing it long before 2018 – or 2016 – but I digress.)

But a certain Very Online group on the left can’t – or won’t – see that.

If you’re wondering if it’s Mostly Male, you’d be correct – them, and a subset of white women who are VERY invested in getting pats on the head from Very Online male leftists. Interestingly, it’s not Black women, who have every right to be pissed at us. My guess? They’re too busy right now, you know, DOING THE WORK (as they do) to sit around on Twitter and whine.

And that’s the thing. (Well, that and the fact that all those dudes are CLEARLY projecting.)

Instead of sitting on your ass tweeting “We’re all doomed because white women,” why don’t you pick up your checkbook or your phone or your car keys and HELP US?

Five days. That’s it. That’s all we have.

Quit complaining and DO SOMETHING USEFUL.

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