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 …

The view from my safety pin.

I started wearing a safety pin in the wake of the election of Donald Trump.  A trend started after the vote to Brexit in the UK, it is a small outward sign that one is a “safe” person. It is a sign of solidarity between the “to-the-privilege-born” and the not.

My safety pin. It is my advertisement that I am an accepting face, a safe space, a zone of comfort. And every day I pin up, I pray I do not need to step up to support my safety pin. Continue reading

Mistaken Identity

Early evening, dusky, we saw police lights rolling out our front windows, the blue and red of coming and going but in this case stopping.

And I thought I recognized the stopped car, but couldn’t be sure — my neighbor who is in high-school and, or his friends?

Certainly something is wrong, is not right when the police did not just stop the car but blocked the street from through traffic. Two black police SUVs and a cruiser. And something is wrong when the police have guns pointed at the car and its occupants.

And I watched as the driver exited the car, hands up, backing up, patted down and cuffed. And then a passenger, and a second passenger — hands up, backing up, patted down, cuffed, car emptied. Hood, trunk, doors opened. All clear.

My neighborhood is bird-chirping quiet. While the scene unfolded in the street, people walked their dogs to the corner and looked, I watched a cyclist stay the course and just pedal past the cruiser. Life goes on after all. And my husband took the dog out and while he did my neighbor came out of her house, her son’s home. What is going on? There had been no sirens, no sound of warning to get her out of the house any sooner.


Today, I wake to the thought of my own identity mistaken. I’ve seen my doppelganger in a photo. And so I do not fault the police. There are bad, evil people out there and we know that the job we ask the police to do — to protect and serve — contains all the right, all the wrong, and all the grays in between. It is not binary. The bad guys have doppelgangers. The good guys have doppelgangers. Based on photographic evidence, it appears I might have been at a Stockholm Motorcycle Fair. I wasn’t. It looks like me, but it wasn’t.

Being presented with a photo of a mirror image of oneself taken across the ocean does not register on the scale of the experience of a physical confrontation with real authority, real weapons, real and present danger while driving in your own neighborhood.

And as I put my little safety pin on today, it looks wretchedly pathetic, a minuscule token of what? Awareness? Insight? Empathy? No, it can’t be. After watching that drama with real police, real guns, real African-American teenagers backed into a wall — all that experience, all that fear, all so young. No, I don’t have nearly enough for anybody.

I’m too old to carry a security blanket and suck my thumb.

The safety pin will have to do for now.

A survivalist approach to safety pins.

An uncle of mine was a survivalist in the truest sense of the word. Not survival like a home bomb-shelter bunker filled with SPAM in the backyard, but the survivalist of the Jack London “To Build a Fire” variety.  A winter coat had to have buttons.  A coat could have a zipper AND buttons; a zipper is optional.  At -20 Fº, if a zipper breaks, there is no mechanical closure against the elements — the freezing temps, the rain, the snow, the wind chill.  However!  Buttons and buttonholes.  Now you have options.  If you lose a button, there are 1) other buttons, and 2) the vacated buttonhole provides a natural opening to McGyver up a working alternative fastener using a safety pin.

Metaphorically, the zipper on our democracy has always been stressed, but in the last presidential election, it may have finally separated.  And I’m grasping for any straw of hope, but maybe zipper failure is a good thing.  The bloated political partisanship has grown too big and is now bared for us to see.  Politics, politicians are in an on-going racket that isn’t about governing, justice, or holding our imperfect union together.  It is not about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  It’s about elections.  It’s about getting elected over and over. It’s about party allegiance regardless of policies either harmful or helpful.  It is fealty and obeisance to the political machine whichever machine you happen to be on.  It is sacrifice of the many to the few at the tower of power built with dollars.

It is not about us or even the U.S.  Zipper be damned.

Maybe our safety pins are the best armor we have for holding our remaining buttons together, holding us together, acknowledging that you have as much right to be here as I do. My safety pin is as vested in your survival as mine.

And it’s cold out there. We need all the safety pins.

Fearless Girl, Charging Bull

As a child raised in Wisconsin farm country, I tip-toed past the pasture of a working farm where a snorting bull complete with a ring in his nose, a short tether and fire in his belly would pound the ground if he caught wind of me. He was behind a barbed wire fence outlined around the top with an electric fence. I was absolutely terrified of him. I couldn’t get past him, get home, fast enough.

In commemoration of the International Women’s Day on March 08, 2017, a sculpture, Fearless Girl was put in opposition to the Charging Bull on Wall Street. The point being “There’s a dearth of women on the boards of the largest U.S. corporations.”

Sweet. The contrast, the juxtaposition is stark. A point is made. But like any good art, there are layers to unpack and as the day went on, I revisited the layer with the real life mis-en-scéne of a fearful little girl and an angry bull.

And so, the sculpture ‘Fearless Girl’ was a blast from the past. Like me, she doesn’t have much to fend off a riled bull.  I made it. Her? She is in front of an angry, raging bull that has no nose ring, has no tether, has no barbed wire and electric fence. And she is too close to that bull to have any chance of escape.

So my second reaction to the installation of Fearless Girl is “Get her out of there!”  Tout suite. Shoot the bull. Be quick. Save her!

But, maybe in another layer, Fearless Girl isn’t standing up for breaking the glass ceiling and more representation in the boardroom.  Maybe she is the stand-in for all of us. All.of.us. She is standing up for everything about the United States, about us, about our freedoms, about the functioning of our imperfect union, about our national treasures, about our ideas of what it means to be American, that is priceless.  She is facing down the altar of capitalism and the concept that a free market at all costs is worth it at all costs. She is staring down our very own Golden Calf in the form of the ‘Charging Bull’, taking a stand. When our politicians are not only excited, but energized by sacrificing health care, education, the environment, general welfare, and on and on at the altar of big business, privatization, granting the wealthy more wealth, we need her. Fearless Girl should remain right where she is.

She represents the future. And I hope she makes it but she needs help.

Ours.


Update:  Over the weekend photos were posted of ‘douchebag’, and ‘douchebag’ is a tad too polite, humping ‘Fearless Girl’. Who is raising these narcissistic entitled assholes?  What little switch in their little brains says this is acceptable behavior?