Honor Those Who Made The Ultimate Sacrifice By Building A Better America … And A Better World!

Memorial Day. It’s a time for honoring those who paid for our freedoms with their lives. They deserve our respect for their sacrifice. But we owe them more than speeches, parades and flags on graves. We owe it to them to continue building on the promise of America to ensure that all Americans should enjoy their inalienable rights and that we should live in one nation with liberty and justice for all.

It is important to recognize the fact that many of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for this country paid a high price for freedoms they did not necessarily have. Consider African-Americans who served and died in the military when they faced blatant discrimination in housing, education, employment and protection under the law at home and in the military. Or the Native Americans who were treated just as badly. Or Japanese-Americans in World War II who died in Europe while others were imprisoned in internment camps in California. Or Muslims, who are vilified for their religion. Or women, who were treated like second class citizens. LGBTQ service members who had to hide their true nature lest they be killed by Americans. Or …

The fact is that they all answered the call and gave their lives that someday all Americans would  be treated fairly, equally and justly. It is a sacrifice that deserves more than lip service. It demands action. It demands that we not take our rights and responsibilities lightly. It demands that we work together to make America and the world a better place so that one day maybe no one will have to die for their country.

So what can we do? Vote! Not voting, because you don’t like the candidates or you’re too busy or some other lame excuse, is the same as spitting on the graves of those who died to preserve that right. When you don’t vote, you end up with Tea Party nut jobs in Congress and state legislatures as well as a treasonous crook in the White House!

Get involved in a local political party or a group that shares your beliefs. All politics begin at the local level. Go to council meetings, school board meetings and other forums. Make your views known. Activists make things happen.

Call, write and email your local, state and national elected representatives! Express your opinions. It can make a difference.

Protest to support groups and causes you believe in and to express your opposition to groups and policies you find objectionable.

Stand up for your beliefs and the rights of others. When we can do that, we will make this the kind of country our service members died for.

Honor their sacrifice by continuing to fight for a better America for everyone!

The Divine Miss Bri

 

 

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Our Country Is Being Stolen: It’s Time To Take Back The Real America

There comes a time in every person’s life when they look around and start to wonder what the hell is going on? Well, for those of us brought up to believe in the promise of America and what it could be, we have reached that point as Trump and conservative Republicans are hard at work trying to steer us into becoming something far more sinister and repulsive.

Today’s House vote that rushed through an even worse version of the AHCA, now Trumpcare 2.0, is symptomatic of what has become a persistent march toward an America that is defined by equality only for the wealthy, white males and the religious right. It is extreme capitalism, nationalism, racism and religious extremism all rolled up into one unholy movement that rejects our basic rights as being un-American. They believe America must be purified under the auspices of far right conservatism. All we need is a swastika across the Stars and Stripes or just adopt the Confederate battle flag, and call ourselves Amerika!

Again, I point to the latest iteration of the ACHA, or a I call it, the Anti-Health Care Act. Without CBO estimates, because it was rushed through without complete details, there’s no way to know for sure just how many millions of Americans will lose coverage or go bankrupt because lifetime caps may be reinstated. What we do know is that the wealthy will get big tax breaks and older Americas, poorer Americans and Americans with pre-existing conditions will get royally screwed. Plus, Congress exempted itself from being covered by the new act’s provisions. That smacks of the way the pigs changed the rules in Orwell’s Animal Farm from “All animals are created equal” to “All animals are created equal, but some are created more equal than others.”

Add in the steady stream of bills and executive orders that favor corporations and businesses over workers and consumers, from overtime rules changes to loss of internet privacy to ripping up regulations to protect the environment, everyday Americans keep losing ground and our rights. And, just yesterday, activist Desiree Fairooz was convicted in U.S. Court for apparently laughing at a controversial (and it was laughable) remark made by a Republican panelist during Jeff Sessions’ hearing on his nomination for Attorney General.  (Read Story Here.)

Today, Trump also signed an executive order giving churches and religious  institutions more leeway to endorse political candidates without losing their tax exempt status. It stopped short of allowing what the fundamentalists really wanted — the ability to discriminate against LGBTQ citizens without fear of sanctions. It’s a bad step on the slippery slope toward ignoring our long-standing principle of “separation of church and state.”

Frankly, I’ve had enough of this whole ugly state of affairs. Lord knows America has its share of problems, but the key to solving them is to move forward as a more egalitarian society that works for the collective good while respecting individual liberties. Certainly free enterprise is a key component, but it has to have boundaries because “greed is not good!” The wealthy should pay their fair share because they benefit the most from the system. And the system should help lift up those who need help.

Unlike conservative perceptions, the poor and the sick are generally not responsible for their situations, nobody’s race or religion makes them eminently superior, and all of us are entitled to the same rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Finally, the most egregious sin committed by the GOP has been their not-so-subtle attempts to limit voting rights in order to create and maintain their electoral advantages. That’s an attack on our very foundation of democracy. It is time NOW for all true Americans to stand our ground and say NO MORE, NOT HERE!

Petition! March! Protest! Rally! Blog! Tweet! Contribute to candidates if you can! Get active in local politics! Run for office! Call your representatives! Make your voice heard until it deafens those who would trample our rights and makes them quake in fear of what comes next! We should not fear our government! Our government should fear us!

LET’S TAKE OUR AMERICA BACK!

The Divine Miss Bri

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An Uncivil War: Reclaiming Our Rights From The Red Menace

During my early years in the 1950’s and 60’s, the Red Menace was communism, a totalitarian form of government, primarily promoted by the Soviet Union and Red China, that allowed no dissent and placed ultimate power in the hands of corrupt men of low morals and and non-existent ethics. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall, we thought, with the exception of Red China (and the hemorrhoid known as North Korea), the Red Menace was pretty much defeated. Little did we know that it had just moved to America and found rebirth in the Republican party.

I am quite sure that Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, two of our most important presidents, would be appalled at what their Republican party has become — a tool of the wealthy and corporations dedicated to trampling out individual rights and maintaining dictatorial power. It is beyond shameful. It is treasonous and un-American.

Sour grapes? Partisanship, you say? Not anymore. With today’s vote in the Senate by the GOP to change Senate rules, the last protection against the blatant misuse of power by the Republicans has been eliminated. However, the so-called nuclear  option has one thing in common with real nukes — you can’t escape the fallout.

Perhaps the most telling commentary on today’s situation is a Facebook post by a dear friend that I found both tragic and very much on point. My friend Heather posted, “What is the point of pretending we live in a democracy?” When I saw that today, it ripped my heart out and fueled a burning rage inside. How dare the right wing destroy everything we’d been taught to believe in!

Now, lest you think that I am just mad ’cause we lost in 2016, I should point out a couple of very disturbing things. Key among them are irregularities in the election process, such as Russian hacking and dissemination of Democratic party emails with the intent of influencing voters to elect Donald Trump, and a sophisticated, but illegal gerrymandering process initiated by the GOP designed to establish and perpetuate minority rule in this country. How, un-American can you get?!

Earlier this week at my local Drinking Liberally meeting in Windsor, CT, I got to hear author David Daley discuss the Republican Party’s audacious and un-democratic moves that he articulates in his book “Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy” (Liveright). It is both compelling and freakin’ scary. As Daley emphasized every so often in his presentation, “You may want to order another drink!”

Simply from his synopsis, I would highly recommend buying and reading his book. At the same time, I would also hide any firearms because you might be tempted to pick them up and start a war all on your own. But don’t, yet. We still have options and we can always hope Mitch McConnell dies a horrible, painful death. No, I’m not advocating that anyone attack him, but I sure as hell won’t refrain from celebrating anything bad that happens to him.

Sorry, I digressed, but I feel much better. Anyway, Daley’s book describes how the GOP used lots of outside, dark money (thanks to the Citizens United Supreme Court decision) to gain control of select state legislatures in order to gerrymander redistricting to create perpetual Republican districts. As a result, while total votes favor Democrats, districts are set up to guarantee a Republican victory. It essentially dilutes and even negates non-Republican votes on a scale that reeks of dictatorship.

An article on Daley’s book in The New Yorker highlights this even better with a quote from “Turd Blossom” as he was called by George W. Bush.

“People call us a vast right-wing conspiracy,” Karl Rove told potential donors to the project at an early fund-raiser in Dallas. “But we’re really a half-assed right-wing conspiracy. Now it’s time to get serious.”

Using this “conspiracy,” Mitch McConnell and the whole Red Menace of GOP stalwarts stole the Supreme Court position they just elevated Neil Gorsuch to fill. Here’s hoping he has a fatal accident on the way to take his post. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving right-wing hack!

So what do we do? First, buy all the assault weapons and ammo you can. Then bury them somewhere safe. (I am not advocating violence, but if they think we’re as well armed as their right wing militias, they’ll think twice about starting anything.) Next, stand united with your fellow protestors. This is a communal effort.We are in this together! (Never forget that!) Then, rally to hold the governorships because they can veto any further GOP gerrymandering!!!! Plus, hang on to all state and local seats!!! We have to stop the GOP locally!! Then, we can move up the chain. It’s like the FBI taking out the Mob underlings to get at the bosses!

Our democracy may be on life support at the moment, but it’s not dead! And it’s up to true “blue” patriots to bring it back from the brink! It’s about activism, being united and never surrendering!

DEFEAT THE REPUBLICAN RED MENACE!!!!!

The Divine Miss Bri

 

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Exercising Our Rights: This Is What Democracy Looks Like

“Use it or lose it!”

We use that line to talk about a number of things, but it is most appropriate when referring to our rights in a democracy. While it’s most frequently applied to voting, which is critically important, it also applies to demonstrations, marches, holding your elected representatives accountable and other forms of active, participatory democracy.

Although I grew up in the era of the Civil Rights protests and the Vietnam War protests, I was mostly too young to participate, plus I lived in a conservative area where protests of any kind were pretty much non-existent. However, at the still young age of 62 (survival tip: it’s safer to agree with me here than to argue), I was inspired by the Women’s Marches right after the inauguration. Since then, as regular readers of this blog know, I have joined the ranks of activists locally to take action in trying to defend the rights of all against the imminent threats from Trump and the far right since the election.

Today, I took another step by participating in my first protest march, an Equality March in Hartford, CT. It may not have been a huge affair compared to the Women’s Marches, but it was important for those of us who took part. Among the salient points that I took from today’s event:

First, we were a very diverse group of people supporting equality and rights over a broad spectrum of groups: Trans Rights, LGBTQ Rights, Civil Rights, Animal Rights, Workers’ Rights, Immigrant Rights and more. Within this diversity, there was a definite sense of camaraderie and fellowship because we recognize that we are all in this together. There can be no equality until we  achieve equality for all! So, we marched and chanted together for each other.

Second, we were all on the same page about making it a peaceful march. We can all be passionate without being violent about it. And there was no reason for even a cross word. Several people waved and gave us a Thumbs Up in support. We also had a police escort to help us get across intersections as a group, so we weren’t worried about anyone bothering us.

Third, the Hartford P.D. officers were very nice and respectful of us and we were respectful of them. Every situation is different, but mutual respect goes a long way in  minimizing “incidents.”  Can’t always guarantee it on either side, but it helps to try at every opportunity.

Fourth, while rarely will a single action / march / protest result in change by itself, the effects are cumulative so we need to keep it up. The only way to get the other side to understand that we are serious is to outlast them. This is not a sprint, but rather a marathon. And the race has just begun. However, we all have to pace ourselves. When we were talking amongst ourselves before the march started, we all realized there are so many events going on that it’s hard to keep track of them all. That’s good, because there’s always something going on that you can be a part of somewhere. We all need to do what we can, while still taking care of things like work, family and life.

For those of you in CT:

Saturday April 1, from 2:30 – 4 PM, the CT Rally to Support Trans Youth will take place on the steps of the CT Supreme Court building (231 Capitol Ave. Hartford) For more details, visit www.GLSEN.org .

Tuesday April 4th there will be a Teach-In: The Immorality of Inequality starting at 6 PM at the Shiloh Baptist Church (350 Albany Ave., Hartford). For more details visit www.FightFor15.org

There’s so much still to be done, so the keep the faith and stay active, my friends.

And remember to chant: We need a leader, not a creepy tweeter!

Victory will be ours!!!

Equality Through Peace and Unity

The Divine Miss Bri

 

 

 

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