Viva Escritora

Reporting from the bleacher seats …

The General Election is scheduled for November 3, 2020.

Your superpower is your vote! Use it on a ballot – early voting or election day. Be a hero.

Results of the election not be decided on November 3, 2020.

I. Coup. Coup. Coup.

Thursday, October 28, 2020 – Merriam-Webster’s dictionary word of the day, was ‘Cassandra, “one that predicts misfortune or disaster.” And if the Cassandras of our time — “endowed with the gift of prophecy but fated never to be believedare to be believed, we should maybe prepare for a coup?

In my lifetime the peaceful transfer of power between Presidential Administrations has been a given. A coup d’ etat which is full French for coup has not seemed such a strong possibility or something that we even considered in the struggle for a more perfect union.

In answer to the question, “what do we need to know to stop a coup?,” read this article — Waging Nonviolence: People Powered News & Analysis10 things you need to know to stop a coup“, by Daniel Hunter, September 18, 2020.

Point 2. Do call it a coup.

The second point made in the article addresses how to recognize a coup.

“We know it’s a coup if the government:

  • Stops counting votes;
  • Declares someone a winner who didn’t get the most votes; or
  • Allows someone to stay in power who didn’t win the election.”

There are actions we can take. We are not consigned to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale scenario: “There wasn’t even any rioting in the streets. People stayed home at night, watching television, looking for some direction. There wasn’t even an enemy you could put your finger on.” Again, the article is recommended required reading. It is filled with wonderful rabbit holes and background on coup history from other countries. It offers comfort we do not sit passively when faced with an undemocratic power grab.

There is action to take good citizen!

Tossing around the likelihood of a coup with Mr. Viva, he reassured me that “to be successful, a coup would require the military.” So last evening l relaxed into that thought.

Fine. Everything’s fine.

II. Cue coup. Cue coup. Cue coup.

Sedition. Definition: Conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch.

A subversive twist in the definition of sedition is that a wannabe dictator or monarch can incite his followers or cult to rebel against the authority of the state. In this moment, we have a blatant wannabe despotic potentate role-playing as POTUS who for months has shot his mouth off about election security — election rigging, absentee voting, ballot issues — inciting his parishioners, his cult, to rebel against the authority of the state. Sedition’s call is coming from inside the house. The White House.

And then on cue this morning:

Screen shot. Trump is calling to his army. I do not want the Teflon Cheeto’s website to get any traffic from this blog.


For tRump. He wants his own “army” and though the words say one thing, the dog whistle is the call of the wild to the Proud Boys, the Boogaloo Bois, the KKK, the “very fine people” #MAGA congregants of the locked and loaded white supremacist cult of Trump.


He will start a Civil-not-civil War.

Simulation: graffiti photoshopped on the Rock in a House, Fountain City, WI.
A rock fell from the bluffs into the house.
Rock in a house. 
It's along the Mississippi River.
Maxine and Dwight Anderson were watching TV in another room.
1995. Too soon for The Handmaid's Tale. Seinfeld maybe?
The Andersons survived.

The house?
Eh. Not so much. 

And is the Teflon Cheeto1TM organizing a militarized insurrection? or not? I would like to say not. But in my lifetime, there has not been a POTUS that undermines election integrity. His disregard for the country he leads is unparalleled. He is our first Prescedense.

III. Pollyanna. On the other hand …

She wore a glove.

Pollyanna is “an excessively cheerful or optimistic person.” In the chiaroscuro of personality types, Cassandra and Pollyanna are Yin and Yang and oh I love me mixed metaphor.

As a counterpoint to the ‘prepare for a coup‘ folks, there are legal scholars, professors and pundits with historical events and arcs in their knowledge arsenal that give current events perspective and context. Two experts I highly recommend:

I am beating the ‘I BELIEVE‘ button on this perspective piece in the Washington Post by Teri Kanefield on the daily: Trump can’t avoid a transfer of power. He just wants us to think he can.”

Stay tuned. Election outcomes and events will likely fall somewhere between Cassandra and Pollyanna. We had a rock fall in the house. The house needs repairs.

Citizens will argue how to fix the house but we struggle a more perfect union.

IV. Veiled attempt at humor: Word Scramble

My cousin sent word that she’s decided to cut back on political posts for a bit. Instead she shared some word scrambles:

  • erango tish nibbog
  • k*cf *mrtp
  • neflon oheetc

General Election is Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Your superpower is your vote and your pen is mightier.

Use it on a ballot!

Wear a mask. Maintain physical distance. Be kind. We are human.

1Teflon CheetoTM: In an effort to honor and preserve a familial relationship, earlier this year I dropped referring to the current POTUS as the Teflon CheetoTM. Relationships fail. Teflon Cheeto is a name fits and for me, sticks. Teflon be damned.

General Election is Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Your superpower is your vote and your pen is mightier.

Use it on a ballot!

  1. tl;dr!? I haven’t written a ‘Sundry Assortment’ with all its glorious redundancy since September 27, 2019 which is so last year and maybe that is at the crux of our funk and how quickly we digress. We do love our sundries. This post is about voting, available voter resources, and a site to report voter suppression, intimidation, or malfeasance encountered while exercising one of your civic superpowers — your right to vote in a free and fair election.
  2. tl;dr;you already voted!? Great! We are in standing ovation formation. Now engage, encourage, and assist others in their civic participation. Maybe all it takes is a nudge and one of the web links below and you can tic off another superpower! You are an influencer. And we continue to stand in ovation.
  3. tl;dr;voter resource summary!?: 1) I will vote, 2) VOTE411, 3) Ballotpedia, 4) seesay2020. <— these are links that don’t appear as links in an accordion because WordPress, why? <gaellic shrug>
  4. tl;dr;memory lane!? Viva’s post documenting poll work in November 2018.

Voter Resources

The brew that we’re swimming through for this General Election includes COVID, upheaval and uncertainty at the USPS, a POTUS who makes not sideways comments but full-frontal verbal assaults on election processes, democratic norms, political rivals, private citizens and well, it’s a long list.

Write your plan to vote.

Write a contingency plan.

Mark your calendar and make your plan happen!

If you are able to, vote early or vote absentee.

If you need assistance with the voting process, the websites ‘I will vote’ and ‘Vote 411’ navigate to state specific sites. Both sites have a voter hotline for questions. And ‘I will vote’ has a front page link for those voting abroad (‘Voting While Living Abroad’).

I will vote.

Hotline: 833.336.8683

Democratic National Committee

Vote 411 Org

Hotline: 866.687.8683

League of Women Voters


Be an informed voter. If you have questions about the candidates on your ballot, check out Ballotpedia. This is the full Who We Are text from the Ballotpedia About‘ page (pulled 2020.10.13):

Ballotpedia is the digital encyclopedia of American politics and elections. Our goal is to inform people about politics by providing accurate and objective information about politics at all levels of government. We are firmly committed to neutrality in our content; here’s why.

As a nonprofit, our mission is to educate. We’re here for you when:

  • You’re considering a run for office.
  • You’re making decisions about how you’ll vote in an election.
  • You need the latest political news and analysis from a reliable, nonpartisan source.

Ballotpedia’s articles are 100 percent written by our professional staff of more than 50 writers and researchers. Although we have an office in Middleton, Wisconsin, the majority of our staff work from home offices across the United States. Geoff Pallay serves as the Editor-in-Chief of Ballotpedia. See a full list of Ballotpedia’s employees.

See Something, Say Something

If you see something – say it’s voter suppression in action, say something – report it. Crowd-sourced and new for 2020, is an online site to report issues encountered while exercising your right to vote or to check if issues have been reported in your state or area. – Reporting Form

Voter Suppression – Map of Incidents

I followed the link ‘Map of Incidents’ on, zoomed in on a dot in South Carolina and this is what a voter there encountered and reported. (Screenshot taken 2020.10.12.)

Map of reported voter suppression and election irregularities, zoom into an issue reported in South Carolina (pulled from the web: 2020.10.12)
Full Disclosure statement (pulled from the web 2020.10.13, Viva bold):

DISCLOSURE: By submitting a report, you acknowledge and agree that Democracy Labs may store your report and contact information (name, phone number, email), and may make your report and contact information accessible to our partner organizations, which include news media outlets and voting rights advocates. You also acknowledge that your report and name may be shared with members of the public, and grant permission for our partners to contact you. We will not use your report or contact information for marketing or commercial purposes. Your report may be used to help generate a map of potential incidents at; this map may display details regarding your report (including description, location, time, and photographs or other documents), but will not display your name or contact information. Submitting a report does not guarantee that you will receive a response from our partners. See Say 2020 is a free app powered by Democracy Labs, a project of Tides Advocacy. Thank you for helping keep our elections free and fair.

Viva voted!

In a previous post I published my voting plan in Wisconsin.

And check! My completed absentee ballot was received by the municipal clerk.

Now to be counted.


A Sundry Assortment of Politickles

While looking through 2018 election-related posts, I tripped across the post ‘A Sundry Assortment of Politickles‘ which documented my experience working the polls in November 2018. Voting is serious business, every vote counts – I went to bed thinking Walker was going to remain Governor, my early (D) preferred presidential ticket was Harris-Klobuchar, and we struggle a more perfect union. Enjoy!

Or not.

Wear a mask.

Maintain physical distance.

Be kind.

Exercise your superpower and vote! You count.

Monday, October 12, 2020 – To honor the tone, timbre, and tenor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day and celebrate voices which have been marginalized, I recommend When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry.”

The best protest

At a low point last month, I tripped across the tidbit that Joy Harjo is the first Native American United States Poet Laureate and I wondered “how can we NOT know this?”

And for once the story arc of 2020 is improved.

Joy Harjo edited a collection of poetry from more than 160 Native Nations poets organized by geography into the book “When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through.” And here we are, 2020. The light of the world is subdued. The COVID pandemic, the daily political s*its*ow, extrajudicial police violence, and on and on, this title struck me as a strong, sustainable protest for all time, any time.

I am a whiff of a waft in this moment. A dandelion seed. Dust in the wind. A data point on an orange crate bull-horning away in my little internet corner. By way of comparison, Columbus landed and thereafter the whole of indigenous people have been wronged and wronged and wronged mightily and all ways from Sunday but their voices persist and dissent and continue in darkness. And when we stop to consider our grievances and puny little sorrows, we are put to shame.

This book is for the ages. It is a timeless hymnal.

Interview with Joy Harjo on All Things Considered, NPR

This is a 7-minute interview with Joy Harjo discussing the anthology and reading a couple of poems: “Anthology of Native Nations Poetry Is a ‘Doorway,’ Says Editor Joy Harjo

And when Ms. Harjo said they read all the poetry out loud, I thought, “Yass!” I want to hear all that too.

Here’s hoping. Hear’s hoping.

Purchase from an Independent Bookstore

If you purchase a copy of this anthology, buy from an independent bookstore. They ship. I used Birchbark Books in Minneapolis, Minnesota owned by Louise Erdrich, an enrolled Turtle Mountain Chippewa. (Source:

When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry, by Joy Harjo (Editor)

Birchbark Books: Check out their Native Titles while you’re there. Viva has future goal to improve her understanding and knowledge of Native Nations.

Wear a mask.

Be kind.


General Election Tuesday, November 3, 2020.

Your pen is mightier and your superpower is your vote.

Use it on a ballot. 

Make a plan. Be counted. VOTE!!!

RIP Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg (March 15, 1933 – September 18, 2020)

Voter Resources

This is a link to the I will vote website which links to voter resources in every state. Repeat after me, I will vote.

The Viva E.1 voting plan in Wisconsin looks like:

  1. Verify voter registration. (Check! I voted in the primary earlier this year. Every month, yes, this is Wisconsin, every month, I check my registration.)
  2. Request an absentee ballot. (Check!)
  3. The absentee ballots were mailed and I received mine. (Check!)
  4. I will use my mightiest pen and vote! Mr. Viva will witness, sign, and fill in his home address on the ballot envelope. (Pending)
  5. My ballot will be signed, sealed, and delivered to my municipal clerk before the end of October. (Pending)

General Election Tuesday, November 3, 2020.

For historical reference, throwback reading from election season 2018:

I lied. VOTE!! (October 29, 2018)

A Poetry PSA: Vote! (October 9, 2018)

Vote like you can’t! (September 27, 2018)

Chop wood. Carry water. VOTE! (September 21, 2018)

RIP Justice Ginsberg

1 Not my real name.

TL;DR?! Mostly observations made from the bleacher seat tossed with a mid-year review of 2020 New Years resolutions.


June 29, 2020 Well, looks like mid-year scrolling through the ‘drafts’ folder the correct choice for making 2020 New Years Resolutions was ‘not’. But we tried.

As is customary to mark the passage of “annual” as we roll the calendar into a new year, we make up lists of changes to make in the coming year in an effort to make them “better.”

I started off the year with the resolve that I’d push ‘publish’ on a post no matter how bleak the subject matter, no matter how often I grind the same dead ax over and over, no matter what high horse or rickety orange crate I find myself shouting from, I would fearlessly push ‘publish’. My bold resolve dissolved in the tide of events we now swim in — the COVID-19 pandemic, the re-energization of social justice movements (Black Lives Matter, voting rights, policing and incarceration), ascendant economic downheaval, the treasonous blowout sale on military personnel by the Bone Commander in Chief Spurs and today I see that a plague of locusts is rolling into New Delhi, India. Another one to add to a long list.

The summer solstice passed us by a week ago so this is as a good a time as any to revisit the good intentions we had in January.


Or not.

2019 Sculpture Milwaukee
Magical Thinking, Gail Simpson/Aris Georgiadis



Across the street, Bix is my neighbor’s dog named for Bix Beiderbecke the American jazz cornetist I’d never heard of until I met Bix the big black beautiful dog.

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