Counterbalance – New Feature

I have decided that, on the last Wednesday of each month, I am going to write about people/movements/ideas that are making changes for the better in our world.  I think it’s a good way to keep our spirits up in these terrible, reactionary times.

Last night was the State of the Union address.  I didn’t watch it.  I can no longer stand to see or hear this dictator anymore, not for 90 minutes or 90 seconds.  Plus, everything he says is bullshit, hateful, and self-aggrandizing, so it’s a waste of my time.

I did, however, watch Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) speak.  His words were uplifting instead of fear-mongering, unifying instead of divisive, and hopeful instead of threatening.  Here is a highlight:

We are bombarded with one false choice after another: coal miners or single moms, rural communities or inner cities, the coast or the heartland. As if the mechanic in Pittsburgh, a teacher in Tulsa, and a daycare worker in Birmingham are bitter rivals rather than mutual casualties of a system forcefully rigged towards those at the top.

So here is the answer that Democrats offer tonight: We choose both.

We fight — we fight for both. Because the greatest, strongest, richest nation in the world shouldn’t have to leave anyone behind.

We choose — we choose a better deal for all who call our country home. We choose a living wage, and paid leave, and affordable child care your family needs to survive. We choose pensions that are solvent, trade pacts that are fair, roads and bridges that won’t rust away, a good education that you can afford.

We choose a health care system that offers you mercy, whether you suffer from cancer or depression or addiction. We choose an economy strong enough to boast record stock prices and brave enough to admit that top CEOs making 300 times their average worker is not right. – “Read Joe Kennedy’s Response to President Trump’s State of the Union Address”, Eli Meixler, Time Magazine website, 1/31/18.

It was short and to the point.  This is a great example of how Democrats should continue to get their message out to the American people.  Remind everyone what this country stands for, and reinforce the best ideals we have to offer.

Bernie Sanders delivered a response on social media.  Here is an excerpt:

The American people do not want a president who is compulsively dishonest, who is a bully, who actively represents the interests of the billionaire class, who is anti-science, and who is trying to divide us up based on the color of our skin, our nation of origin, our religion, our gender, or our sexual orientation.

That is not what the American people want. And that reality is the bad news that we have to deal with.

But the truth is that there is a lot of good news out there as well. It’s not just that so many of our people disagree with Trump’s policies, temperament, and behavior. It is that the vast majority of our people have a very different vision for the future of our country than what Trump and the Republican leadership are giving us.

In an unprecedented way, we are witnessing a revitalization of American democracy with more and more people standing up and fighting back. A little more than a year ago we saw millions of people take to the streets for the women’s marches and a few weeks ago, in hundreds of cities and towns around the world, people once again took to the streets in the fight for social, economic, racial and environmental justice. – “Read: Bernie Sanders Panned Trump’s Broken Promises in His Response to the State of the Union”. Ella Nilsen, Vox website, 1/30/18.

This was the last part of Bernie’s speech.  The beginning and middle were criticisms of 45 and the Republicans.  Those are things with which the readers of this blog are familiar, so I don’t see the need to catalogue them here.

Aside: I was hoping to cite Maxine Waters here, too, but she doesn’t deliver her rebuttal until tonight.  I will feature her speech next week.

It’s so easy to watch-react-expound on the negative, disgusting rhetoric and actions we deal with on a daily basis now.  I get it – heck, it’s half the reason for this blog.

Where democracy is concerned, it is necessary to sound the alarm when things and people threaten it, so we the people can take action.

And it’s also easy, for some, to retreat into a kind of “stop and smell the roses/rise about it all” Zen-like attitude, point out how it’s not productive to “be negative”, or somehow believe that their god is in control and it will all be ok in the end – whatever “the end” might be.

That approach is ok when you are feeling overwhelmed.  Hey, whatever works for you.  But I would caution you about posting this kind of stuff on social media right now, as it tends to come off as preachy, smug, and uncaring about the world around you.

Attacking people for “being negative” is not at all helpful.  It is dismissive and smarmy.

My purpose today is to remind people that, yes, the majority of Americans do not subscribe to hate and greed.  Kennedy’s and Sanders’ responses do not just apply to Democrats; when they say “we”, they mean “Americans”.

For every one of you who notices the changes, sneaky or outright, that this administration is trying to push on an unwilling populace, there are others who see these things, too.  You are not the lone voice in the wilderness.

Your outrage is echoed many times over.  Your dismay is channeled into action by demonstrators, citizens at town hall meetings, and young people running for office.  Even if you can’t join them, for whatever reason, your concerns are being addressed.

That doesn’t mean you sit back and do nothing.  No, you do what you can.  Write emails, sign petitions, post on FB and other social media, talk to others, even just wear a tshirt that expresses your opinion.

Just remember, there are so many more of us than there are of them.  We’ll get our country back.  And I am pretty sure we’ll remember to never let this happen again.

Weird news of the week:  Man collects blotter acid art!  I know my friends will appreciate this.  He said the fact that it’s on the wall as art has kept him from eating it, though the article notes that blotter acid degrades with time and he probably wouldn’t be able to trip off it.  “The San Francisco House Filled with 33,000 Tabs of LSD”, Colton, website, 1/30/18.

Recommendation of the week:  Another Randy Rainbow video!  Sure to bring a smile:


Be good.  Be kind.  Keep on truckin’.





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