I can only begin this post by stating I am aware of the privileges I have as a white middle class woman. I recognize my experience is different from that of a person of color. In fact, I recognize my experience is different from that of a person with a visible disability, instead of my invisible illness. In societal terms I am, within the boundaries set forth for women, acceptable, and to a large point, welcome.
So I can only begin to imagine the stress my less welcomed fellow Americans are undergoing right now. I can only extrapolate from my own sense of powerlessness the helplessness they must be feeling. I share in their anger and dismay but I cannot fully understand how they feel.
I can only hope there is something I can do to help put an end to this madness.
There’s an added complexity for me, one that is the underlying cause of this post. My invisible illnesses are made significantly worse by emotional stress. I am literally making myself sick reading about everything that is going on with my beloved country every day. So I need to strike a balance between knowing what is happening so that I can find ways to help and giving myself space to process so I don’t make myself sicker. (Again, I recognize that being able to give myself that space is – in and of itself – a privilege.)
This is a concern I have heard repeated in the SpoonieSphere. Many spoonies want to help, want to make a difference, but are experiencing this same drain on their already limited resources. Many can’t march with protests, most don’t have extra money to donate. What are the best ways to help while still “putting on our oxygen masks first”?
Let’s begin by choosing some reputable news sources that come out once or twice a week. For example, Code Switch by NPR has been recommended along with New York Times’ The Daily . These two podcasts provide fairly thorough reporting on what’s happening in the U.S. You can also give British papers a read through, I find the U.K.’s take on our happenings to be less biased one way or another.
Second, there are some things we can do at home to help support the fight against hate.
- You can stand against hate in social media. Confront those who spew hate, and loudly disavow it on your social platforms. Be one of the voices condemning it.
- You can support your local marches and vigils, even if you can’t attend. Perhaps you can make a few signs and give them to the organizers to hand out to people, or you can use your social network to enhance the message of the protest.
- Write to your representatives in the government. Let them know you stand against racism and you want them to stand against it to. Write to everyone who represents you. You can do it in email, through the post, or via petitions.
- Personally message the people you know who are targets of these attacks. Send them a loving and supportive text or email or card. Call them. Let them know you are a member of their community who loves them and wants them to be there.
There are things we spoonies can do without making ourselves sick and we should do them. I don’t know about you but sitting around doing nothing is untenable for me.
My high school choir Director, a brilliant artist and loving man, posted this on his Facebook page yesterday:
“Those who study authoritarian regimes suggest keeping a list of abnormal events after a demagogue is elected, as a way to remind yourself that this isn’t normal and to keep from being overwhelmed into acceptance by the onslaught of attacks on our rights.
Here is a list below. We are 4 days in. As one author says, “when you see all of this in one list, it is easy to get overwhelmed, at first– it is also easy to see a pattern and to finally, finally recognize that none of this is normal, nor is it ok.”
- On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the DOJ’s Violence Against Women programs.
- On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.
- On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities.
- On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
- On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Minority Business Development Agency.
- On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Economic Development Administration.
- On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the International Trade Administration.
- On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership.
- On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
- On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Legal Services Corporation.
- On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ.
- On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the DOJ.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
- On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
- On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Electricity Deliverability and Energy Reliability.
- On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
- On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Fossil Energy.
- On January 20th, 2017, DT ordered all regulatory powers of all federal agencies frozen.
- On January 20th, 2017, DT ordered the National Parks Service to stop using social media after RTing factual, side by side photos of the crowds for the 2009 and 2017 inaugurations.
- On January 20th, 2017, roughly 230 protestors were arrested in DC and face unprecedented felony riot charges. Among them were legal observers, journalists, and medics.
- On January 20th, 2017, a member of the International Workers of the World was shot in the stomach at an anti-fascist protest in Seattle. He remains in critical condition.
- On January 21st, 2017, DT brought a group of 40 cheerleaders to a meeting with the CIA to cheer for him during a speech that consisted almost entirely of framing himself as the victim of dishonest press.
- On January 21st, 2017, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer held a press conference largely to attack the press for accurately reporting the size of attendance at the inaugural festivities, saying that the inauguration had the largest audience of any in history, “period.”
- On January 22nd, 2017, White House advisor Kellyann Conway defended Spicer’s lies as “alternative facts” on national television news.
- On January 22nd, 2017, DT appeared to blow a kiss to director James Comey during a meeting with the FBI, and then opened his arms in a gesture of strange, paternal affection, before hugging him with a pat on the back.
- On January 23rd, 2017, DT reinstated the global gag order, which defunds international organizations that even mention abortion as a medical option.
- On January 23rd, 2017, Spicer said that the US will not tolerate China’s expansion onto islands in the South China Sea, essentially threatening war with China.
- On January 23rd, 2017, DT repeated the lie that 3-5 million people voted “illegally” thus costing him the popular vote.
- On January 23rd, 2017, it was announced that the man who shot the anti-fascist protester in Seattle was released without charges, despite turning himself in.
- On January 24th, 2017, Spicer reiterated the lie that 3-5 million people voted “illegally” thus costing DT the popular vote.
- On January 24th, 2017, DT tweeted a picture from his personal Twitter account of a photo he says depicts the crowd at his inauguration and will hang in the White House press room. The photo is of the 2009 inauguration of 44th President Barack Obama, and is curiously dated January 21st, 2017, the day AFTER the inauguration and the day of the Women’s March, the largest inauguration related protest in history.
- On January 24th, 2017, the EPA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to freeze all grants and contracts.
- On January 24th, 2017, the USDA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to stop publishing any papers or research. All communication with the press would also have to be authorized and vetted by the White House.
- On January 24th, 2017, HR7, a bill that would prohibit federal funding not only to abortion service providers, but to any insurance coverage, including Medicaid, that provides abortion coverage, went to the floor of the House for a vote.
- On January 24th, 2017, Director of the Department of Health and Human Service nominee Tom Price characterized federal guidelines on transgender equality as “absurd.”
- On January 24th, 2017, DT ordered the resumption of construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline, while the North Dakota state congress considers a bill that would legalize hitting and killing protestors with cars if they are on roadways.
- On January 24th, 2017, it was discovered that police officers had used confiscated cell phones to search the emails and messages of the 230 demonstrators now facing felony riot charges for protesting on January 20th, including lawyers and journalists whose email accounts contain privileged information of clients and sources.”
Thank you to Mr. Taylor for the information.
In further news, after various government agencies were asked to stop reporting scientific information about the environment numerous alternative twitter feeds for these agencies popped up. I never imagined the National Parks Service would lead the revolution but ladies and gentlemen it certainly has. Follow these alternative feeds for publications about science that the Trump administration cannot stem:
Finally, are you looking for something to do to improve your mind? How about a little light reading courtesy of the Freedom of Information Act? Take a gander on over to the FOIA.Gov site and read through how to make a FOIA request. Since the Trump Administration has put a gag order into place I suggest we help these agencies out.
FOIA requests can cost some research time and reprinting costs however, you may request a waiver of fees. “Under the FOIA, fee waivers are limited to situations in which a requester can show that the disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations and activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.”
I would argue that requesting the release of scientific information gathered by our government on the status of our environmental health during a time when the Executive branch has restricted the release of any information falls quite clearing under the requirements for fee waivers.
We are getting bees!!
It started like this:
Mom and I were driving home the other day when she asked me if that man in our alley was wearing a hazmat suit. I peered beyond her and declared it was a beekeeper!!
We immediately halted the car, rolled down the windows, and fairly mobbed him with questions. He is an Urban Farmer and beekeeper. He has a hive a few doors down from us and soon will put one in our yard!
He does all the maintenance and beekeeping while we get honey and bees!! My plants will have more bees and I can finally feel like I’m doing more for the vanishing bee population than just planting flowers.
Best of all my kids will get as-local-as-you-can-get honey for their allergies and they will get to learn about co-existing with these amazing time creatures that do so much for our food supply.
Oliver and I have already been setting out water for the neighborhood bees and we sit in the garden and watch them line up to drink. Their tiny furry bodies rest on the edge of the water pool as they delicately sip. Yum. He is super excited to have a hive of our own and has been telling me all about how to stay still when they land on you so they don’t feel threatened.
I plan to put up a page on the hive’s progress so keep your eyes out!
They are here!!
The Sooky Foo Honey Company brought our lovely little hive early this afternoon!
It’s so wonderful to see them out in the garden. Many of our neighbors have stopped by to see them and the dog has already been checking them out.
Squee!! We have bees!