Sunday, January 22, 2017

I Will Not Accept What I Cannot Change. I Will Change What I Cannot Accept.

A Series of Unfortunate Events in the United States

Since mid-2015 when the Election campaigning started accelerating, it’s been a roller coaster of adrenaline. We shouldn’t expect 2017 to be any calmer. We're not even done with January, and our collective adrenal functions are on fire.
  • Obama’s farewell speech, final press conference and all those good-bye videos. Comedians joked that it felt like our kind father figure was being replaced by a creepy molester stepfather. The moment when Mufasa died and Scar crowned himself king; we now understand how the lionesses felt.
  • Friday January 20th was a surreal spectacle. KellyAnne in her Revolutionary War uniform, Melania in baby blue holding blue Tiffany box, and Trump’s overly phallic red tie and clenched fist at the end of the carnage speech. And, Michelle needed a hug that day. I hope she and Barack had some champagne in the helicopter because I know they’ve got the popcorn ready.
  • Saturday January 21, 2017 was a day of empowerment. 
However, there are still a lot of people who don't understand our purpose. The primary reason we march is to have our voices heard. Here's my poem Why We March.

They call us cry babies because our candidate did not win. FYI Our candidate did win the popular vote by 2%, check the chart on the bottom for historical perspective.

People are saying we needed this enthusiasm in October. Where was everyone? True, there was a false sense of complacency; we thought we’d always have our rights and core freedoms. We never thought we’d see a swastika again or a hijab being pulled off on the streets of the US. There may be a reality of whole groups of residents being segregated and detained based on religion or color or culture or whatever it is that offends others.

The best part about the Women's March on January 21, 2017 was the global connection. My daughter and I marched in Doylestown, PA with friends. It's a small town near us with coffee shops and Saturday farmer's markets with artisan cheeses. The organizers put it together in 6 days and had over 1000 people attend. They had permissions to march on the sidewalks, but response was overwhelming that the police blocked the streets and redirected traffic to allow peaceful assembly.

We weren't alone in our enthusiasm. My sister and friends were checking in from the NYC march. Cousins were holding up signs in the Chicago march. I followed the journeys from my friends who traveled to DC from Minneapolis, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia on bus and planes. I followed online postings from London, Paris, Budapest, Nairobi, Tokyo and secret gatherings in countries that do not allow assemblies.

This was such a profound visual because it reminds us that what happens in the US has ripples around the world. They want to be heard as well even though they are not US citizens, they are global citizens.

Democracy can atrophy

Already I see more online activity to mobilize locally. If we can't look to the federal laws working in our favor, we can only seek our states and counties working for us.

I'm eager to do what I can now. Someone suggested to me to run for a local office, but I declined. I'm a fake extrovert and the real introvert in me does not want to talk to people! However, I can definitely use my talents behind the scenes. 

My friend said that she's been a registered Republican for years. Her call to action will be to contact the local Republican committees. If she jumps to the other side to be a Democrat, that does not eliminate the problems in the Republican party. Therefore, Republicans need to take their party back.

And, Republicans and Democrats need to work together.

I want to close this post with a link to beautiful words from Valerie Kaur's "A Sikh Prayer for America on November 9, 2016" 

What if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb?
What if our America is not dead but a country still waiting to be born? What if the story of America is one long labor?

Message to Republican Trump Supporters

Now is your hour of action.
  • Hold your candidate accountable to his promises.
  • Don’t chant “build this wall” like it’s a Queen lyric. Ask for the details and understand what this wall means to the local communities. Will it go through property lines? Highways? How was Mexico going to pay for it? They said they won’t.
  • Now that imports will be diminished and jobs returned to the US, I’m sure you’ll be eager to pay the higher costs for goods and services. You’ll be taking those jobs that the undocumented workers were doing. You’ll realize the blame is not on the migrant workers but the employers who preferred to pay them low wages or outsource to other countries. Your pizza will be made by a legal minimum wage employee. That is great! Prepare to pay 20-30% more now. 
  • Read up on NATO what would happen if US was apart from it. Would another country, like Russia, gain an advantage if US is out? Question this.
  • Speaking of which, you know deep down that Putin would hit on your wife if you left the room.
  • Pay attention to the Republicans in the House and Senate. Just because they’re all buddies now, they may try to get legislation through that is out of order. Just a reminder that the first act they tried to do in 2017 was to dispel the Ethics Committee.
  • Be concerned his family is so involved in policy and decision making. Would you have been comfortable if Barack announced that Michelle would be his special advisor, the role Trump's son in law Jared Kushner is taking? Michelle is a lawyer with lots of experience in different areas. She could've done that easily.
  • Final reminder that Trump is not an Emperor, and this is not a Trump Monarchy or Dynasty. He is now a government employee who must adhere to the same restrictions and expectations as his predecessors. Conflicts of interest and legal entanglements have not been cleared. Should we feel sorry for him that it's not fair for him to give up his global corporation? No, don't feel sorry. He knew this when he applied for the job that he would have to show his finances and cut any conflicts of interests. If he did not want to do this, he should not have gotten on that escalator.
Agree or disagree with my points. All, I can say it's your show now and he works for you for 4 years.

Why Not My President

 This is an extract from my other blog "Stronger Together after November 8, 2016". Republishing as its own post.

When George H. W. Bush won in 1988, we were sad our efforts to support Dukakis just dissolved. When George W. Bush won his "fake" election in 2000, we accepted it. Even though I didn't agree with him, he was our leader and representative to the world. When Obama became President, we were shocked to see the extreme right supporters denounce him at every turn. I remember Sarah Palin was bitching that Michelle Obama was telling everyone to eat healthy and government was too involved in everyone's lives. Ok sure.

During the debates, Trump spews out "your President" to Hillary. That was a jaw dropping moment. If Trump is an American, Obama is everyone’s president. The way that he’s disrespected Obama for the past 8 years should be liable for treason. The birther controversy makes Obama “an other” and throw in the implications he may be a Muslim and a radical Islamist terrorist supporter. Anyone remember how graciously John McCain stopped a woman from calling Obama an Arab terrorist during a townhall?Trump made this personal.

For 8 years I’ve been seeing the Fox News and comments on different online articles (I know, I know, don’t read the Comments.). Obama is blamed for everything and if he says the sky is blue, he’s just out there to be un-American. The type of stories out there were so one-sided it should’ve been illegal journalistically speaking. Obama said if he watched Fox News, he wouldn’t vote for himself either. So, the extreme right showed us this was an option to denounce the President as their own.

Mitch McConnell has already said that Hillary's administration would face obstructions as well. So, technically, the egos of these men would be much more stronger than the 240 year old history of this country and fundamental principles of checks and balances.
So I'm standing by "Not My President." It shocks me now that Trump is President Elect, the same people that abused Obama are calling for all of us to come together to support Trump. He needs to earn respect first. He needs to give respect first to others. In this country, we don’t give you respect automatically. He and Melania had more than a year to show themselves worthy of this role, and they didn't. They instead took the low road. I know "when they go low, we go high", but he's still not my president.

Why We March

They ask me why we march.
It’s over. Accept it. There’s nothing you can do.
So many presidencies, nothing changes.
life goes on.
                By the way, don’t wear black scarves on your head.
                Tell your brother to shave so he doesn’t look like a terrorist.
                Tell your husband not to create a fuss if his car is pulled over.

Why do we march?

We want our voices to be heard. We were 3 million plus votes
that were not counted
                because we were not part of that college.
We need our local representatives know we are here
and though we did not vote for them,
they are still our voice on the Hill.

That's one reason to march.
Medicare covers some of this,
but not all of it.
Pharma companies offer you discounts if you qualify
until you don’t.
No Pre-existing conditions for insurance mean you qualify
                until you don’t.
Do we spend our monthly checks on bills, pills or food?
That's a reason.

Must lives of women be controlled by
decisions made by men in suits
with special interest groups lining their pockets?
Must the 2nd amendment take precedence over the 1st amendment?
Will the press remain free?
Will our rights to our bodies or minds or gods be our own?
Will the whole Constitution be upheld?

Why do we march?

We need to find our people.
The ones that believe silence is acquiescence.
Apathy is acceptance.
Society atrophies.
Our people have it in our blood.
                Grandparents marched alongside Gandhi
Parents marched with MLK.
Living by a creed of purpose for causes
that endure for generations beyond our own.

And you’re right. Some things won’t change,
but other things will.
And that’s why we march.

Yeah, you ask why we march.
We ask, why aren’t you?

And you’re right. Some things won’t change,
but other things will.
Yeah, you ask why we march.
We ask why aren’t you?

- Ashini J. Desai January 20, 2017 #WhyIMarch

Sunday, December 4, 2016

"When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

I’m reminded every day of this quote by Maya Angelou. It makes us feel better to look for the good in another person. I am sure it’s a human survival maneuver. We can rationalize deceptive or negative behavior because it is too mentally or emotionally cumbersome to label it as such. Women with abusive partners will say “at least he puts food on the table,” trying to find one redeeming quality.

This man has a history of lying, cheating, ignorance of global events and government, and overall disrespect for people. He has lied and changed his stories within the same sentence. Why should we believe him to be “presidential” or “diplomatic”? 

I don’t understand the voters' motivation to disregard all morals and values when selecting this man. Assuming the Republican agenda is your preference, there were a great number of candidates lined up for this position before Trump derailed the debates. What was it in Trump’s past performance and behavior that has given you confidence in his capability to handle this role?

“Trump is an outsider. He’s a businessman” Fine. We can accept that an outsider from the private sector could be an interesting mix. Carly Fiorina tried. If they wanted a businessperson, pull in Jeff Bezos from Amazon or Elon Musk from Tesla or even Mark Zuckerberg. Bring in a visionary who has a record of success and lifting others. Everyone who has worked with him reports negative experiences.

From my understanding of his background, he views all relationships as transactional. His marriages are not solid relationships and wives serve a purpose to enhance his image. I understand he outsourced parenting to nannies, boarding school and grandparents. His relationships with his children became stronger as when they became adults and could help his business.

He is not interested in making friends or appealing to people on a human level. He is driving this through psychological games and media manipulation. When an average person speaks with someone, we are generally polite and do not look to hurt them. His brazen outspokenness is just incomprehensible. I remember in the Republican debates he would shush and interrupt other candidates. I was floored because that would not be tolerated in the work space or any forum. High school debate teams learn proper decorum in addressing their opponents. 

He looks to impress with his wealth. His name is emblazoned in gold and extreme garishness is his trademark. I remember going to the Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City in 1990 and being overwhelmed by the gold and sparkling chandeliers.  The Trump casino had the New Delhi Deli and the cocktail waitresses dressed like “I Dream of Jeannie” so they weren’t eager to be culturally authentic. On a side note, the real Taj Mahal in India is a mausoleum for the emperor and queen; it’s common error for people to assume it’s a palace due to the grandeur.

Coming together.

I feel like the country is married couple on the brink of divorce. Rather than working bring everyone together, Trump is having dinner with the gossipy neighbors, badmouthing everyone and looking for a match to light up the house, just because he can pocket something extra.

As Americans, we want the country to succeed. However, I don’t have faith this man will do it. In fact, I feel empathy for his supporters. They’ve felt they’ve ignored by the establishment. However, they voted against their own best interests. Giving money to rich people to “create jobs” does not usually work. They pocket it or try to avoid paying taxes. Increase the minimum wage. Get it into the hands of the common people. They’re not going to stash it in investments; they will be spending this money. It will be going back into the economy, almost like a stimulus.

Please don't ask us to "give him a chance" or succumb to blind acceptance.

This man has shown us he does not care. At the debates, Clinton called him out for rooting for the housing crisis, and he glibly replied “That’s called business.” 
Joe Biden had asked everyone to remember that this man’s trademark is “You’re fired.” 

Anyway, this is the situation. I still won’t accept him in this role that he does not deserve. However, my message is for the supporters who will eventually be betrayed by this man. It's only a matter of time that he will retract on all those promises.

Just know that the rest of us are here.