A dumpster fire of (R)eprehensibles.

Wisconsin Primary Election tomorrow, August 14, 2018. Vote. Vote. Vote.

Information at MyVote Wisconsin.


In September 2016, Hillary Clinton put half of Trump’s supporters in a basket and then described that basket of deplorables as “… racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it …” behaviors.¹

And ‘deplorables’ became a noun and much hullabaloo ensued. Clinton lost the electoral college. Donald Trump is the President.  And 23 months after her “deplorable” comment, I  propose the whole of the Grand Ol’ Party, all the Republicans, the Trumpublicans, the racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — the lot of them — it’s a long list, the all of them are a veritable dumpster fire of reprehensibles.

To support my argument, I point to prime exhibit, Scott Walker:

“Walker’s earlier focus was that spending was out of control but now, in many ways, it’s now going to be making sure that you have institutions that are going to work.“² I confess I’m confused that this statement comes from an early Wisconsin Trump supporter because it contains a couple nuggets of sunshine.

Let’s unpack:

Point one.Walker’s earlier focus was that spending was out of control …

Well, hi-dee-ho! If spending was out of control during the Obama administration, look at the US now! The party that touts fiscal responsibility as a value, isn’t. Not fiscally responsible.at.all. In April 2018, Bloomberg projected the deficit would surpass $1×10¹² USD or $1 trillion by 2020. And let’s face it, April was a lifetime four months ago and the Prescedense has pumped even more future dollars to jack the deficit up.

And so Walker of “spending is out of control” lip-service blather is knee-capped by the demonstrated lack of restraint by his party shown at the Federal level — House, Senate, and Prescedensy. Government spending is out of control. But it’s your own party, Governor Walker.

You got nothing.

Point two.… it’s now going to be making sure that you have institutions that are going to work.”

Institutions that are going to work. Hmmm. I’d like to see a list of the institutions Governor Walker supports because from what I’ve seen it doesn’t include education, healthcare, public works.² Oh, but wait. Boom there it is. “Walker attacked the Democratic candidates over calls to reduce the incarceration rate.“²

Walker jumps to warning that thousands of violent offenders would be released like I jump to the worst diagnosis of any symptom I have on WebMd. Please.

You got nothing.

Hoisted on his own petard. Bit in the butt by hypocrisy. It is hard to hold a platform standing in a dumpster with all the other racist, sexist, homophobic, ad nauseum (R)eprehensibles.


Tomorrow Wisconsin is holding a primary election. Vote.

Of the Democratic contenders for Governor (in no particular order), these are the three I’m considering:

And I’ll be behind whoever takes the nomination.


Today I’m a footnoting fool with many references to cite number two.² In my opinion, the entire article is worth a read. But touting Foxconn as a win piqued my interest calculator. Foxconn:

  • received $3,000,000,000 in subsidies from the state of Wisconsin.
  • will create 13,000 jobs

which is a cost of $230,769/job to Wisconsin!!!

But, but, but. If each job hire returns $10,000/year in taxes to Wisconsin — income, property, sales — it will take only 23 years for the state to clear a return on the subsidy. Whoa!

Meanwhile, Foxconn is a technology company and technology changes at the speed of … well, just in the time since I started this post — Foxconn posts an unexpected drop in profit.

So in 23 years? Well, benefit of the doubt, it could pay off. Who knows? Apple is the first trillion dollar or $1×10¹² USD company and Foxconn gets 54% of its business from Apple.

Or it could be a Fauxcon. Oh, boom! Glorious redundancy! A good faux is a con.


¹ Reilly, Katie. “Read Hillary Clinton’s ‘Basket of Deplorables’ Remarks About Donald Trump Supporters.” Time. http://time.com/4486502/hillary-clinton-basket-of-deplorables-transcript/ (retrieved 13 August 2018).

² Craig, Tim. “Once a rising star, Scott Walker is still looking for his path in Trump’s Republican Party.” The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/once-a-rising-star-scott-walker-is-still-looking-for-his-path-in-trumps-republican-party/2018/08/12/09d02496-9c99-11e8-8d5e-c6c594024954_story.html?utm_term=.f1629bc359f2 (retrieved 13 August 2018).

PSA: 2018 Wisconsin Primary Election

This post assumes the reader lives in the geographic region of the United States of America labeled and organized as ‘Wisconsin.’ 

The 2018 Wisconsin Primary Election day is Tuesday, August 14, 2018.

If you live in Wisconsin, mark your calendar and Tuesday, August 14, 2018

VOTE!!!

The Wisconsin state government online resource to check all things related to Wisconsin voters is MyVote Wisconsin — find your polling place, what’s on your ballot, update your voter information, register, vote absentee. It’s there. And Wisconsin is one of the 19 states that allow you to register on election day!

The Wisconsin Primary is a partisan primary meaning that when you show up to vote you will be given a ballot with candidates from only one party. Registered parties:

  • Republican
  • Democratic
  • Libertarian (2 candidates): Governor and Lieutenant Governor
  • Wisconsin Green (2 candidates): Governor and Lieutenant Governor
  • Constitution (2 candidates): Attorney General and State Treasurer

A sample ballot is available at MyVote Wisconsin>What’s On My Ballot (tab). Enter your address, click ‘Search‘. (Note, you won’t have to enter your state! It is Wisconsin!)


And August 15? Buckle up. There will be 83 days of heavy campaigning by the primary winners against their opposition. The Koch brothers are big spenders in the state but as far as I know, it is still illegal to buy your vote.

Why I will not vote for any (R) GOPee-er since August 5, 2011 or ever: “S&P lowers the U.S.’s credit rating because the GOP says it might not let the government pay its bills.”¹ During the Obama Administration, the racist GOP was willing to sacrifice the credit rating OF THE COUNTRY, full stop, OF THE COUNTRY. Morally bankrupt. Party over country.

And 2018? Eh, <insert Gallic shrug here>. No problem. A $1,300,000,000,000 or $1.3X10¹² spending package. White bloated POTUS. Sure, why not?

They will bankrupt us all.


¹ The New Hampshire Gazette, Volume 262, No. 23, August 3, 2018 – back page “Admiral Fowle’s Piscataqua River Tidal Guide (Not for Navigational Purposes)”.

Dear Diary, Vermilion Pastoral.

TL;DR? And this is l-o-n-g … I am on vacation.


Lake Vermilion. One ‘l’ not two. Vermilion, not Vermillion. Lake Vermilion, Minnesota is not a place, not a zip code. It is a lake. One of the five largest lakes in Minnesota, where I’m convinced they count ponds as lakes to get to a total of 10,000.

But then Vermilion confuses this belief.

On the west half of Lake Vermilion the bays separated by rock and island geologic formations seem large enough to warrant being their own lake – Lake Wakemup, Lake Norwegian, Lake Black, Lake Niles, Lake Frasier, Lake Head of Lakes — but instead they are bays. Wakemup Bay, Norwegian Bay, Black Bay, Niles Bay, Frasier Bay, and Head of Lakes Bay.  What defines a lake versus a bay? And when is a lake just a pond? For that matter what defines a lake when a river runs through it? And I’m looking at you Lake Pepin. The Mississippi River runs through it. Why isn’t Lake Pepin just a feature called the widening of the Mississippi River at Pepin?  (Note to self: investigate.)

Maybe Minnesota would have more lakes if the Lake called Vermilion was split up into more lakes. Bays become lakes.

Pluto was demoted from planet to dwarf planet. Lake Vermilion could be promoted to a waterway with contiguous lakes. The Vermilion Chain of Lakes. Expand the galaxy of Minnesota’s lakes by reclassifying bays.


Frood and I take a boat ride with Mr. Viva on Lake Vermilion, a lake so big it has one island for every day of the year and one of those islands is so big it has its own lake.

Skipping across the lake at boat speed taking it all in — wildness, wilderness in chaos, an endless shoreline outcropping of rock; and a better writer would describe the shoreline differently because it is not an outcropping of rock, there is nothing ‘out’ about it. ‘Outcropping’ implies a sticking out, a formation out of the ordinary. The formation on the shoreline is without end. A continuous installation of rock. Normal.

So, I’ll state it again, the entire shoreline is an outcropping of rock. The edge of rough grade sandpaper that has roughed up and raised not just wood but living woods — scrubby and dense with the occasional patches of bare rock still cold and hard, still fresh with the memory of the glacier scrape of millions of years ago. This sandpaper gives no quarter, these rocks have not cracked or broken to give shelter to the roots of a tree.

They’re warming up to moss though. It’s a start.


And the island on the lake big enough to have its own lake? I wonder if anyone lives on the island. And do they face outward toward the big lake or do they introvert to the little lake? Is the property taxed for lake frontage in and out? Coming or going? A lake with an island on a lake sounds so romantic. The island is a moat.

There is not much conversation on the boat. I miss when Frood points to a white spot on the water. From the motor end of the boat, Mr. Viva tells me, “A dead fish.” I pass the information along to Frood. “Fish.” And I point. She already knows.

We circle in to get a better look. A muskie, 45-46″ long. According to Mr. Muskie-hunter-Viva who would know, the magnificent white belly up is the result of improper catch-and-release. White belly to the sky, laid out, motionless but for the waves. In its former life, this was a predator, a killer, a big fish in a big lake.


Near Merry-Go-Round Reef at the mouth of Norwegian Bay is ‘Square Rock Island,’ a small island with a cubic rock pointing up. Someone in glacier-scrape-sandpaper quality control left before shift end and so this cube sticks out like a die stuck en pointe. A singular true outcropping. And again with the names. ‘Square’ implies two-dimensions. ‘Cubic Rock Island’ would be more apt. ‘Dice Island’ more poetic. (‘Die Island’ more exacting but who would want to go there?) Note to self: have a word with the Minnesota Department of naming things.

The rock on Square Rock Island is very Claes Oldenburg-esque and it was here long before and will be here long after us or Claes. Nature demonstrates. If it was a Rubik’s Cube, the colors have faded to gray.  Or maybe it is the dots on a die that have worn away — no more craps games and we never made the second die for a set of dice anyway.  Or maybe the glacier scraper had something more practical in mind, we’ll never know. This odd rock on an island on a lake that has an island with a lake. Art. Nature validates even though we puzzle as to why and what for.

I would like to see something like a ‘Dice Island’ sculpture on a Wisconsin Avenue street corner as a Sculpture Milwaukee installation. The sounds of wind and water and motorboat would be replaced with street sounds but that could only add to the puzzlement and wonder. A glacier scraper installation on Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI.

I’m here for it.


One of the Sculpture Milwaukee sculptures last year was not the sculpture but the instructions for construction. This seems like a writerly way to create art. Describe, specify, handoff to manufacturing and see what this way comes. Handoff to many manufacturers resulting in a family of sculptures with a shared DNA but each one unique.

I am reminded of the scene in This is Spinal Tap where the artist played by Angelica Huston hands a commissioned replica of Stone Henge to the band’s manager. When the manager inquires as to the delivery of the full-size stage prop, she pulls out the paper napkin spec and points to 11″ — eleven inches. This is it. I’ve finished. The difference a tic makes — 11″ – inches when it should be feet — 11′.

In describing the Lake Vermilion shoreline for hand-off to manufacturing, I would overuse ‘outcrop’ and ‘outcropping.’ The glacier scraper would read “outline the shore with rock outcroppings like glitter only use rock, lots of rock, so much outcrop rock, outcroppings of rock under the water, outcroppings over the water, big outcroppings of rock as islands” and then in protest of all this misuse of ‘outcrop’ and its tiresome variations and to make a very bold, very Claes statement, manufacturing would drop a “Square Rock Island” into the final product. Screw you. Screw your instructions. We know it’s a cube, but this, this is an outcropping rock. Bah with your shoreline “glitter” of 11″. We know it is 11′. We make mistakes made to scale.


American Pastoral by Philip Roth is a sweeping saga of a novel. Oh, glorious redundancy! “Sweeping saga of a novel.” He writes deliciously, delicately, boldly and delivers paragraphs that span pages. A paragraph so long it contains sentences with embedded paragraphs — no twitchy returns or hesitations; a paragraph that spans years of military service and pages followed by another paragraph a few pages later that a lesser writer demanding less of a reader would mercifully call a complete chapter.¹ Gloriously tamped down, packed, and fully formed novels within sentences within paragraphs within a novel.

And in keeping with pastoral, there is not much dialog, but when there is, it is exact. Innocuous. Simple. But loaded.

“Fish.” Dead fish. I wonder at the life of the muskie. Territorial, predatory, making its way through years of unchecked behavior becoming of a master of a pond or a large lake or Lake Norwegian Bay. Caught up by the lure, the appeal of a Lindy line, hook, and sinker. Caught. Photographed in shame by a proud fisherman — he had to have been, a muskie this huge. The muskie was stunned by too much fresh air, thrown back without enough catch-and-release care to reacclimate, belly to the sun, dead to the end. No more the big fish.


Pastoral. The definition:

  1. used for or related to the keeping or grazing of sheep or cattle.
  2. (in the Christian church) concerning or appropriate to the giving of spiritual guidance.

Early in the saga of Swede, the protagonist, the narrator claims he was completely wrong, completely wrong about his understanding of the Swede. Wrong about the Swede. Pastoral, both definitions apply. But wrong. The writer, the narrator’s brain. Roth nails it. Meet someone once and nail their character, their personality, their imagined experience to a wall. Crucify them on your storyboard with a glance. And then Roth nails us. Pins himself up for examination and scrutiny.

“I was wrong.”

And me too! I always am.

Dig under the veneer, lift-up the corners, look at the underbelly. “If you knew your neighbor’s problems, you’d keep your own.” – anonymous

That’s where the story starts and as the tale is told, I shift my scrutiny of Swede and his story to the narrator as look through his prose, his descriptions, his glass, darkly. The real story is the subtext of what’s onstage.


There is a breeze on the lake and by breeze, I mean a cool sometimes stiff wind. We’re in a small boat, there is a healthy chop. And then a speedboat towing a floaty ring with a couple of kids on it zips by and they must be freezing. The water may be 60°F. Small human ice cubes in the making.

But then kids burn hot.

Back in the early ‘70’s of flowers and large bell-bottoms, my Aunt made us – we were kids — swim, get in that water on that Lake Vermilion public beach. The ambient temperature hadn’t risen to above 70°F until after the 4th of July and the ice may have broken just the week before, but you are going in that water. Looking back, we were an offering, her sign to the universe that this was summer; in this land of 10,000 lakes and some ponds and a lake with an island with its own lake, it is warm enough to call it summer, hot enough to order a sacrifice of small warm human bodies into a cold lake.

Shepherd the children into the lake to show the universe what you’re willing to sacrifice and maybe summer will follow. Kids burn hot. I only remember the fun of the beach.


I’m currently taken with the time-lapse function on my camera. Pointed at the seemingly unmoving landscape of trees, water, sky, the camera picks up the micro movements in the macro frame.

My bleacher seat today is on the deck of a porch looking at a lake with an island that is big enough to have a lake.

From the porch across the road, I must look like a woman intent on a notebook, enjoying too much coffee, glancing away occasionally. Or I am just a woman in a pink sweatshirt feeling the breeze. Whatever. Their frame doesn’t show what is written, doesn’t show micro movement. They don’t know that I’m writing that their beach towels and lawn chairs are thrown about and it looks like a mess of a vacation.

Micro-movements.

When I’m plugged into the news, into the micromovements of macroas*holery, I realize the frame I’m looking at isn’t large enough. In the sweeping glacial movement of time, daily news is a scratch.


Here’s a picture of coffee.

Coffee in repose.

Still life.


In Ankle Biting Black Fly Cove I kill a couple getting drunk on the sweet elixir I call my precious lifeblood. A check of the Lake Vermilion map doesn’t show a bay named Ankle Biting Black Fly Cove but it should. I must have a word with the namers of places. People should be warned.


Pastoral. While reading American Pastoral on a Lake Vermilion beach, I wonder if there is a word to describe in one fell swoop inland waterways and large swaths of freshwater lake and rock and scrub. A single word that could stand in and replace hundreds of words in this post, but the words I trip across seem salt-water based. Maritime. Aquatic. Seafaring. Oceanic. So far removed from here.

Either there is an obscure word that is not coming to mind (mine), or there is an opportunity to create a new word. ‘Lakquatic’ as a mash-up but it doesn’t contain the hardness, the coldness, the glacial scrape of life in the north woods. I need a word that encompasses the blue-red vermilion water, the scrubby trees, the rock underlying and overlaying, the mosquitos that sound like small helicopters, the loons that mate for life, the expensive rod and reel sunk to the bottom, the large predator floating belly up, the all of it.

This is Vermilion Pastoral.

-Viva E., Lake Vermilion

July, 2018


¹ Epic paragraphs in American Pastoral by Philip Roth are on pages 211-213 and 220-224 if you’re still reading along, Ann.

A Vivacation Sundry Assortment!

Well!  A check of the blog tells me that a year ago, I threw out for your consideration Google’s development of Loon balloons and remote internet. And here I am once again in the land of large blood-sucking mosquitos in contemplation of how much has changed in a year, and how naive it was of me to think that by Vivacation this year, the train wreck of the Trump prescedensy would be disappearing in the rear-view mirror of history.

Well, it’s not.

Buckle up. Here we go.


Early in July, Londoners floated their own Loon balloon in protest of Trump’s visit. A baby blimp in the image of Trump complete with diaper and safety pin.

And that diaper safety pin on the Trump-loon-buffoon-balloon looks too much like my safety pin.

But maybe therein lies the unspoken message of my safety pin.

“Keep your vile poopy diaper contained. Keep your racist, misogynistic, religious, etc. hateful fear-mongering s*it to yourself. Don’t make me use my pin … “

And while I have not had to invoke my safety pin’s superpower, it continues to amaze me that questions on the meaning, symbolism, and purpose come from women in my own demographic — white, middle-age, middle-class. I don’t know that they were in the 53% of women voting for Trump, but I don’t know that they weren’t.


As I skimmed news headlines, from The Hill: “Tramp rumpsup scrutiny of illegal immigrants” gave me pause and made me smile and then I reread. “Trump rampsup scrutiny of illegal immigrants.” Oh. Of course.

Tramp rumps up.


And speaking of Tramp rumps up. One of my favorite I-follows on Twitter had this comment in response to the Prescedense Tweet message to Iran:Ragnarok Lobster - Tang the Conqueror.JPG:

And if this were fiction, this would be funny. But we’re living it. Non-fiction history being written in 280-character chunks.

Many on Twitter are calling out @Jack (Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO) on this violation of Twitter’s terms of service.

Suspend

Wouldn’t that be rich?

POTUS in a Twitter timeout. A safety pin moment for us all.


Paul Manafort’s trial was moved and starts July 31, 2018.  In the meantime, watch for more gaslighting POTUS Tweets … although he shifts our attention elsewhere, he is not a magician. We can see the smoke and mirrors and fluster bluster.


And the POTUS is pulling security clearances of former .

Republicans:

  • Former CIA Director John Brennan
  • Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper
  • Former FBI Director James Comey
  • Former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe
  • Former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden

And one Democrat:

  • Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice

And this is not about security. Hayden has already stated he doesn’t need the clearance.

It is the act of making the list, making it public, singling out and stifling dissent.¹


Finally, since I am on Vivacation, here is a mini-mental health break:


¹ Many political observers and pundits have made this observation:

  • Sarah Kendzior
  • Leah McElrath
  • And others …

PSA: Wisconsin — Power to the Polls!

A Viva Public Service Announcement:

Power to the Polls is coming to Milwaukee, WI on July 28!

When:

Saturday, July 28,  2018

12:00 PM – 5:00 PM CDT

Where:

Bradley Tech High School

700 S 4th Street

Milwaukee, WI 53204

This is an opportunity to encourage others to participate and represent in our democracy. If you’re in the Milwaukee metro area and available, please:

  1. Register for this event.
  2. Mark your calendar.
  3. Show up.
  4. Actively participate with others in grassroots political engagement, and please …
  5. Be heard by being seen and have fun!

From the Power To The Polls website:

“The day will include speakers, performances, canvassing, phone and text banking, postcard writing, food trucks, fellowship and more. Additional details will be posted to the Facebook event.

“Wisconsin’s marginalized and progressive communities have been attacked by voter suppression efforts which also impacted the 2016 election results. There’s too much at stake in this election to sit on the sidelines. We have a real chance to turn things around and build a progressive majority. This year, we won special elections in Wisconsin Senate Districts 1 and 10, and we elected Rebecca Dalletto the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Voters are saying to the racist, sexist, xenophobic, ableist, and transphobic policies of the Trump administration and majority in Congress.

We can win by working to amplify the women’s narrative in the electoral space, support local grassroots leaders and elect more women and people of color to public office. The P2P tour is only going to 10 priority states and Wisconsin is one of them, be a part of the movement for victory by registering today!”


Full disclosure: I will be out-of-town during this event but I will be looking for future similar events and will post them here.

Feet in the street: #KeepFamiliesTogether Milwaukee, June 30, 2018

There is no federal law mandating children and parents be separated at the border.

On June 30, 2018 in about 750 locations across all 50 states, people marched in the streets in protest of the Trump Administration’s Regime’s “zero tolerance” approach anyone entering the US illegally. Anyone crossing the border without documentation is assumed criminal, and the Regime exercises the right to separate criminals parents from their children.

And in protest of separation of families seeking sanctuary, Viva & Friends hit the street at 1 PM, June 30 at 517 E. Wisconsin Street, Milwaukee, WI.

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June 30, 2018 – Milwaukee, WI Feet in the street.

Speak up and speak out for the vulnerable parents and children seeking sanctuary here.


And oh, the irony! In this country of separation of church and state, the very white, very right Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III quotes the Bible to justify the separation of criminals parents from their children.

Wash his mouth out with some very white, so very-right-it-floats Ivory soap.

Piling on, Regime lying bullhorn Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders followed up with “It is very biblical to enforce the law.”

Pass the bar. Wash her mouth out too. And Romans 13? Please. Just. Full stop. Stop.

The best statement I’ve tripped across on the separation of church and state:

Dear people citing The Bible: It’s a cool book with some wonderful passages but it also has ghost sex & giants & super babies & demons. It’s why we don’t make laws based on Game of Thrones, My Little Pony or Legend of Zelda.

15 June 2018 2:02 AM. Tweet. @pattonoswalt


ICE has been active since 2003. During the Obama Administration, undocumented immigrants who were also documented criminals were targeted for deportation. Currently, non-criminal deportations are up and children are left to fend for themselves.


Always be prepared. A small portable all-purpose protest sign:

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Small all-purpose Trump protest sign, (human hand shown for scale).

In this current environment, you never know when an impromptu protest opportunity might present itself.


During the 1.5 hours we were perched on the sidewalk across Wisconsin Avenue looking at the Federal Building (Senator Ron Johnson’s local office), we saw people offering water bottles, bags of ice cubes — Mr Viva, when offered some said, “no ICE.”  And the best share for me? A woman spritzed my neck with cool tap water on request. Thank you forward-thinker with a spray water bottle in 90+F° weather.


img_6016

Goals: sunglasses that reclaim the red, white, and blue and continue to make a ruckus!


And the Whaddabouters.

What about the 89,000 children separated from their immigrant parents at the US border during the Obama administration? Why didn’t anyone protest then?

I knew of, but did not protest issues during the Obama administration. The GOP obstruction seemed enough. But fact-checking at Snopes.com:

“In other words, the figure of 89,000 refers specifically to the number of children who arrived in the United States alone between October 2013 and January 2016 and were placed with sponsors through the country. It does not refer to children whom United States border agencies separated from their families, which is the case with Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy.  


And in 2014 when faced with an influx of unaccompanied children from Central America:

“The Obama administration faced a surge of unaccompanied children from Central America trying to cross the border in 2014, Cecilia Muñoz, director of the Obama administration’s Domestic Policy Council, told the New York Times this month that a multi-agency team was considering “every possible idea” at the time, including separating families. “I do remember looking at each other like, ‘We’re not going to do this, are we?’ We spend five minutes thinking it through and concluded that it was a bad idea,” the Times quoted Muñoz saying. “The morality of it was clear — that’s not who we are.”

My bold, I: … that’s not who we are.

My bold, II … spend five minutes thinking it through …

I miss the Obama administration.


The language we use to describe others is important in how we frame situations. Lately it seems “immigrant” is synonymous with “criminal.” If we are to believe Prescedense Cheeto, anyone crossing into the US at the southern border is an MS-13 gang member, a criminal, a bad hombre. They’ve only come to defraud, commit crimes, terrorize.

It is easier to take the children away from those we typecast as criminals than it is to separate a child from a parent desperate for a better way of life. But if we change the story and look on those at our borders as human beings in need of sanctuary, look at them as persons wanting to join us and wanting to contribute to this great melting pot, the words we use change.

Immigrants are future citizens.

img_5966

Keep Families Together – My protest t-shirt back.


For the second year, Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Milwaukee is home to Sculpture Milwaukee (and there’s an app for that) — a free, outdoor sculpture tour. It is fabulous!

And so it was that near our position of protest was Sanford Biggers “Bam”:

img_6002

Foreground: Sandford Biggers “Bam;” Background: Keep Families Together, June 30, 2018 Milwaukee, WI

Protest through the ages. Protesting so many ways.  The beat goes on.

Bam! There it is.

Life is rich.


Taking one’s feet to the street means hitting the water in a deep-dive on issues and reading enough to know who’s who. Read beyond the catchy, incendiary, click-bait titles. An example? At about 1:45 PM an organized group chanted their way down Wisconsin Avenue from the West toward the location of the Keep Families Together rally at 517 E. Wisconsin.

What!? Who are these people? Friend? Foe? For a moment I thought a rumble¹ might be afoot. But they came in peace. Allies.

SEIU Local 1 (Service Employees International Union).


Here is a boss mom who carried the peachy masterpiece her daughter created. (Her daughter was unable to attend.)

Proving once again, Moms represent!

img_5980

June 30, 2018 – Keep Families Together Rally, Milwaukee, WI — Impeach hate!’

I love this poster.  Bright, clever, simple, to the point.

The hate must go.


If you spend too much time reading the news, the world is falling apart and Jehovah’s Witnesses continue to ring the doorbell and remind me of that more than they really should. And so I was delighted to learn of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ primary win Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Confessions. I knew squat.point.naught.nothing about Ocasio-Cortez until she won in a HUGE upset against I wasn’t aware of him before either Joe Crowley in New York’s 14th Congressional District. And then Sean Hannity advertising her platform sealed the deal!  I can get behind all that and as an early adopter, I figure if Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is 28, in 12 years she’ll have enough experience to run for President. And so, you saw it here. This was my little plug in the protest for the future:

img_5964

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 2032!


And this should give you good cheer, Ann! Here is another little political factoid I stumbled across:

If Democrats take the House back in November, their current ranking member of the Financial Services Committee becomes the chair of the committee, and has the power to subpoena Trump’s bank records.

That member is Maxine Waters. Vote.

30 June 2018 7:47 PM. Tweet. @MrFilmkritik

My bold. Be still my soul.

Vote.


¹ Rumble (verb, informal): take part in a street fight between gangs or large groups

And as I typed ‘rumble,’ a passing thought was  ” … don’t let me be so old that this is an archaic term …” Whew! not yet.

Word smatter.

Or words matter. The Prescedense:

We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country. When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came. Our system is a mockery to good immigration policy and Law and Order. Most children come without parents…

24 June 2018 8:02 AM. Tweet. @realDonaldTrump

From Brian Klaas, author of How to Rig an Election & The Despot’s Apprentice:Donald Trump’s Attack on Democracy:

“Infest.” “Breed” “Invade.” This dehumanizing language cannot stand. Nazis referred to Jews as “rats.” Hutu leaders called Tutsis in Rwanda “cockroaches.” Slaves were referred to as “stock.” Dehumanizing language lays the groundwork for mass atrocities. The words are no accident

24 June 2018 8:26 AM. Tweet. @brianklaas


Words are no accident and I’ll cast the net a little wider. The origin of ‘slave’ is Slavic. During the Middle Ages, Slavs were forced into … slavery.

The confidential book with the lyrics to the Milwaukee Residential Security Maps emphasized the actual color coding of the maps with verbiage like¹:

  • infiltration of a lower grade population”
  • detrimental influences
  • undesirable population or infiltration of it”
  • “Polish infiltration
  • infiltration of Mexican”
  • “besides the colored people, a large number of lower-type Jewish population”

My bold. “Infiltration,” detrimental influences,” “undesirable population,” “lower-type,” add all that to “infest,” “breed,” “invade.” At various points in US history, groups of people have been ostracized, cast in the role of “the other” and definitely not one of “us.”  Dehumanizing. The other. If not an enemy, definitely a threat. They must be stopped. They must be contained.

And if you’re the one stopped?  Separated from your children? Your family? Detained? Contained? Hmmm. Well. Then. You must not be human.


Words matter.

From Hassan Ahmad, Esq. (specialty immigration law, my bold) Twitter thread²:

“No, we must not only fight back, but create an alternative. So I have a few more concrete suggestions.

1. Scream it from the rooftops. Seeking asylum is a human right.

2. Stop criminalizing brown and black bodies, or the exercise of human rights by brown and black bodies.

3. Don’t be afraid to call out white nationalism. Learn to recognize it. Calling out bigotry never gets old: don’t let them tell you any different.

4. Associate the word “immigrant” with “future citizen,” or “aspiring American” whenever possible, and repeatedly.

5. Not they. Us.

6. Let’s start talking about citizenship law, not just immigration law. And let’s not conflate immigration law with deportation law.

7. Let’s raise the term prosperous border, not “border security.” Let’s not conflate border security with border militarization.

8. Let’s put some blame where it belongs: the government renders people “undocumented” by actively dedocumenting them. “Document” is a verb.

9. Immigration is the cure for cultural stagnation. America is not a pie that needs dividing. It’s a whole kitchen.

10. Our country is defined by its people, not its borders.
Don’t just resist.
Build.”
19 June 2018 9:12 PM. Tweet. @HMAesq
(Full text in footnote 2 below in event link above doesn’t work.)

And to “our country is defined by its people, not its borders,” I would add “and currently not its Prescedense.”


¹ Redlining, Reggie Jackson, head griot at America’s Black Holocaust Museum.

Bullet points were sourced from my furiously scribbled notes taken at the Redlining presentation given by Reggie Jackson at the Jewish Museum Milwaukee 13 February 2018. Redlining was the first in the series ‘Allied in the Fight: Jews, Blacks & the Struggle for Civil Rights.‘ Errors are all my own.

² 19 June 2018 9:12 PM. Tweet. @HMAesq – unrolled using the Threadreaderapp. Text is included here in the event above links don’t work. READ, it is important: 

On separating families: Between fielding inquiries, helping clients, and trying to contextualize this latest act in the ongoing clown show that is this administration, I’ve also felt the ongoing nauseating mix of despair and disgust.

But maybe not for the same reasons.

Sure, I feel despair at not being able to just end family separation. And disgust at the administration that first celebrated it, and now (like clockwork) tries to deny it.

But I despair for another reason: that there is no unified alternative narrative. I am disgusted at the hate movements that successfully created their narrative.

(I’m talking about, among others, the Federation for American Immigration Reform.)

I despair that we are once again pulling out our water pistols to put out yet another fire, instead of taking out their flamethrower. I am disgusted at the complacency of people who legitimize that narrative by trying to find a half-baked common ground with it.

And I despair at the enormity of the task at hand, disgusted that this is where we are.

Here are some unvarnished truths:

1. The laws permitting these atrocities have been on the books for years.

2. There is a lot of money in the business of human detention. I mean, incarceration.

3. At least on the immigration side, the haters have a 40 year headstart. (FAIR dates back to 1979)

4. If you think this is bad, wait and see what happens when the laws themselves are rewritten instead of just being interpreted as cruelly as possible.

Wait and see what Jeff Sessions & Co. have in store.

I’m matter-of-factly glad that there is attention being paid to the due process free zone known as our southern border. I’m glad there is so much outrage. But it’s as useless as a bunch of water pistols if not properly channeled.
The thing about fires is they have to be put out. But if we’re not working toward a common goal, we’ll never take out the flamethrower.

So to put out fires, I recommend donating to @RAICESTEXAS , @cliniclegal , @AlOtroLado_Org, the @immcouncil, and the Texas Civil Rights Project. These folks have been on the ground since before #FamiliesBelongTogether started trending.

But all this advocacy can be focused. We can no longer accept the prevailing framing of the issues. No, we must not only fight back, but create an alternative. So I have a few more concrete suggestions.

1. Scream it from the rooftops. Seeking asylum is a human right.

2. Stop criminalizing brown and black bodies, or the exercise of human rights by brown and black bodies.

3. Don’t be afraid to call out white nationalism. Learn to recognize it. Calling out bigotry never gets old: don’t let them tell you any different.

4. Associate the word “immigrant” with “future citizen,” or “aspiring American” whenever possible, and repeatedly.

5. Not they. Us.

6. Let’s start talking about citizenship law, not just immigration law. And let’s not conflate immigration law with deportation law.

7. Let’s raise the term prosperous border, not “border security.” Let’s not conflate border security with border militarization.

8. Let’s put some blame where it belongs: the government renders people “undocumented” by actively dedocumenting them. “Document” is a verb.

9. Immigration is the cure for cultural stagnation. America is not a pie that needs dividing. It’s a whole kitchen.

10. Our country is defined by its people, not its borders.

Don’t just resist.

Build.