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Posts Tagged ‘this means war’

Lives in the Balance

I’ll keep this short and to the point.

The intended replacement for the Affordable Care Act is going to kill people.

It sounds melodramatic — but it’s true. It will leave an estimated 24 million Americans without insurance (compared to the ACA), which will make it extremely difficult for them to afford healthcare. It cripples Medicaid, because poor people don’t deserve to be healthy, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, because children only matter while they’re fetuses — oh wait, insurers wouldn’t be required to cover maternity care, either. Nor birth control. Nor gynecological exams. And we all know what the right wing wants to do to Roe v. Wade. So you’re having that baby whether you like it or not, but don’t expect any support from conception until after your kid has graduated. Guess you should have kept your legs closed, bitch.

Call your elected officials. Call them until you get through, because their lines are swamped, and it may take you a while. Especially if you’re represented by a Republican in either chamber, for the love of god, call them. A number of them are already wavering; they know this is bad. But this isn’t the kind of bad where it’s okay to let it happen and let them reap the consequences later, because for them, the consequences will be that maybe they get voted out of office two or four years down the road. For other people, the consequences will literally be death. They need to hear voices telling them not to do it, before we get that far.

For the sake of the millions of people who will be hurt by this, speak up. Make your voice heard. Make a difference.

Taking part

My dojo’s New Year’s party was today*, conflicting with the Women’s March up in San Francisco. So instead I went to the Answer Coalition protest last night.

(*Japanese New Year’s parties happen in the new year. I’m told that as long as you get it done before the end of, oh, February, it still counts.)

I don’t think I’ve ever really been to that kind of event before. I can’t recall anything like it, anyway. It was grey and raining and rather cold when I arrived at UN Plaza, but I worked my way slowly to the front-ish part of the crowd and listened to people give speeches, including one delivered in both Spanish and English. Every so often the sky decided to drool on us for a bit; people were good about opening their umbrellas safely above head height, and indiscriminately sheltering not only themselves but whoever happened to be standing nearby. I couldn’t help but see a metaphor in that. Out of an abundance of caution I’d taken a Sharpie to my arm and written out an emergency contact, drug allergies, and the fact that my ophthalmologist had dilated my eyes a couple of hours earlier (so any hypothetical EMT would know why my pupils were blown), but it wasn’t at all necessary; everything was good, all the energy channeled in the right directions.

I hadn’t looked very closely at the details of the protest. Answer Coalition, okay, 5-7 p.m. in UN Plaza. I missed the part where it said there was going to be a march. When they said we were heading to the Castro (nearly two miles away), I thought about returning to BART and calling it an evening. But hey, it won’t hurt to go at least a little way, right?

Next thing I know, I’m in the Castro.

I thought about splitting after a few blocks. But there was a cadre of six or seven people who had brought side-slung marching drums, a guy with a snare, somebody with a cowbell, and one brave guy with a trumpet (I’ve played brass in cold weather before; it sucks). Everything is better with drums. There’s a reason armies use them, and it isn’t just to keep everybody in step. I went along with those people for a while, enjoying the beat, but eventually outpaced them and caught up with another group that was doing lots of chants: anti-Trump things, “Black Lives Matter/Native Lives Matter/Trans Lives Matter,” socialist worker chants, chants in Spanish. Somewhere in there I noticed that our progress down the westbound lanes of Market was being facilitated by cops, and I started thanking them as I passed. One of them grinned and said that if he hadn’t been on duty, he probably would have been there anyway. Another said it was easy with a group like ours. Cars headed eastbound on Market, or waiting at the cross-streets, honked in support as we went by. And then I could see the giant rainbow flag up ahead, and, well, who could quit before reaching it?

Only we weren’t done there. We hung a left down Castro Street itself, then hooked back east on 18th. Where was our stopping point? I began to form a suspicion that we didn’t really have one. I asked one of the cops, and he just shrugged: he didn’t know, either. I checked my phone and discovered that if I got ahead of the march, I could hit Borderlands before it closed; we were headed that direction, but not fast enough. So I peeled off at last, stopped by to sign some things and stuff a pastry in my face, got back on the nearest bit of BART, and went home utterly exhausted.

But very, very glad I went. I wish I could have joined the Women’s March today, but that one was good, too. And today I get to see the pictures, which made me just a touch verklempt. I knew there were marches in a lot of major U.S. cities, but I had no idea there would be marches in so many not major cities, too. And in other countries. And on other continents. (I wondered out loud if that’s every woman in Antarctica right now, and possibly every human in Antarctica. Turns out that the staff of McMurdo Station is much larger than that, plus there are other stations down there, so no — but still. Every. Single. Continent.)

Donald Trump has insulted and threatened well over half the population of this country. (Women alone make up 50.8%. Add in all the black, Latino, Muslim, Jewish, queer, or otherwise targeted men, not to mention all the men who don’t see those groups as the enemy, and who knows what the number really is.) We have mobilized, in our hundreds of thousands, to show what we think of that.

It’s a beginning. Now let’s keep going.

I Do Not Accept

Yes, by the laws of this country Donald Trump is legitimately our president.

By any measure other than the letter of the law, I do not accept him.

He did not receive a majority of the votes, and is not supported by a majority of the American people. He benefited from some unknown quantity of illegal foreign interference. He is supposed to defend the Constitution of the United States; he has shown repeatedly that he has no understanding of that document, much less concern for what it says. He has demonstrated a degree of cronyism and corruption unprecedented in my lifetime, before he even took office. He makes the United States less safe. He represents everything that is worst about this country, from bigotry to crass materialism, and none of what is best.

I do not accept him as my leader in any sense other than that forced upon me by law. And I will work by any legal means available to oppose the damage he is going to inflict on my nation.