Sunday, January 15, 2017

A Cough In, Trumpsomnia, and a Few Golden Moments Crossing the River Jordan #LouderTogether

This writer at Writers Resist: #Louder Togerher 
 C.S. Muncy

On January 15, 2017; hundreds of activists and allies from the newly-formed anti-Trump group Rise & Resist staged a peaceful protest at Trump International Hotel and Tower in New York City, to fight against the radical changes to the American healthcare system proposed by the Trump Administration and Republicans. Bottom Photo and caption by Erik McGregor 
This is not the first time I have written about nausea related to lingering thoughts about the election.
Over the last two months, I’ve continued to wake up early worrying about the supreme court.
"Its Trumpsomnia," noted a friend.
The times are so odd, the feelings so strange.
Its earie to know a tidal wave is coming your way.
So we’ve been organizing, seeing my friends in the mix, people I have not seen in the streets for ages.
We’ve had meetings what feels like every night, salons in the afternoons.
We’ve been in the streets, planning for DC, at rallies and salons talking about what to do.
The main point over and over again is to stay involved. 
Despair ain’t going to help; organizing and connecting will.
At Judson, I wrote some notes in my journal about the dreaded week none of us have been wanting to see, with Trump’s ascent. Sure, its been odd.  Its been good to laugh about things. I thought about the intelligence reports suggesting Russia had some blackmailable information about Trump.
Earlier in the week, I noted:
I am going on record as saying i have no problem with the president taking part in a piss party. What i don't like is it looks like the Trumps conspired with the Russians to alter the election. And the family values loving republicans who impeached Bill Clinton and fanned the flames of the cold war seem to have no problem with either of these dynamics.
We watched Obama say goodbye. I love what he did for social discourse. I love his work to beat back darkness, bringing light where there had been darkness, helping redeem American democracy for just a moment.  John Lewis and Pete Seegar and countless others considered his election a high point of their long careers. Yet, from the moment he was elected, he faced a backlash. 
But he didn’t fight hard enough, didn’t embrace Occupy when he needed a movement in his sails, didn’t study his Machiavelli and left us in a mess.
As we speak, the Republicans are working to take away the Affordable Care Act. 
Its getting serious, my friend Mark Milano noted on facebook earlier in the week.
So we wandered through the woods and made signs and plans for DC.
History gives and takes. We have so much to fight that sometimes I feel sick about it.
But there’s also so much beauty:
The snow that filled the New York landscape.
The golden festival of Balkan music on Saturday teemed with music and dancing bodies, my friends shaking, so much joy and celebration.
There is MLK.
There are heros.
There are lingering pains, wounds of past losses.
History is hard.  It steals, ebbs, flows.  We bounce back. But can nature?
At Judson, Donna Schaper delivered a sermon. No one is above the law, she began.
As she spoke, my mind trailed back to the earlier song.
“Sing Low, Sweet Chariot.”
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home,
Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home.
I looked over Jordan, and what did I see
Coming for to carry me home?
A band of angels coming after me,
Coming for to carry me home.
Sometimes I'm up, and sometimes I'm down,
(Coming for to carry me home)
But still my soul feels heavenly bound.
(Coming for to carry me home)
Thinking about the song, I found myself remembering Sylvia Rivera, who used to talk about crossing the River Jordan. She’s no longer with us.  She saw the Hudson River as her own River Jordan, knowing we could all one day make it to our own version of our own promised land.

The Israelites crossed to this promised land, liberated from slavery.
But its not easy to cross from Slavery to the Promised Land. Doing so, we have to fight stick it out together.
Still, many of us find our hearts aching, watching what is happening.
Schaper talked about Hope in the Dark, Rebecca Solnit’s tome to optimism in dark times.  I read it during the days after the Iraq invasion.
Solnit is tired of the self indulgence of despair, Schaper preached.
There’s so much beauty out there.
The real problem is our self-importance, she continued, pointing to Cotton Mather.
In the US, we all struggle with self-righteousness.
So love your neighbor.
And live well.
“I have wasted time and now time has waisted me,” she concluded quoting Shakespeare from Richard II.  So live well.
The full quote is better.

“I wasted time, and now doth time waste me; 
For now hath time made me his numbering clock: 
My thoughts are minutes; and with sighs they jar 
Their watches on unto mine eyes, the outward watch, 
Whereto my finger, like a dial's point, 
Is pointing still, in cleansing them from tears. 
Now sir, the sound that tells what hour it is 
Are clamorous groans, which strike upon my heart, 
Which is the bell: so sighs and tears and groans 
Show minutes, times, and hours.”

Times ticking.
So enjoy it. And make the most of it.

Charles King posted a note on facebook: "When you encounter difficulties, you need to be optimistic. The pessimists tend to die." Zhou Yuang, the father of Pinyin, describing the philosophy that sustained him through his time in labor camps during the Cultural Revolution. Just saying...
And that’s what we did all week.
The room roared with applause and support at Rise and Resist on Tuesday.
“When America coughs, the whole world gets sick,” the facilitator explained.
And she was right. We are all interconnected.
Leaving Judson, activists with ACT UP and Rise and Resist were staging a cough-inn at the Trump Hotel at Columbus Circle.
Terry Roethlein  described the scene:
"20 activists from Rise & Resist made reservations for today at Jean-Georges and Nougatine restaurants at Trump Hotel and Tower. At 12:20 we coughed our addled brains out, then pulled out our signs declaring "We need ObamaCare. TrumpCare makes us sick" and shouted those slogans over and over at top volume as we were escorted out. As you can see, the upscale diners took notice. A massive crowd of about 700 showed up outside as we took the sidewalk, and eventually one lane of Central Park West, everyone chanting "Healthcare is a right!!!" Stay tuned for more disruptions in TrumpLand.
#TrumpCare #ACA #JeanGeorges #Resist #RiseAndResist"

We need Obama Care, Trumpcare Makes Us Sick!” we chanted over and over again at the
Trump Care Makes Us Sick rally. 
Donald Trump and his Congressional cronies want to change the way you pay for health care. And if they succeed, you’ll end up paying more for less. Speaker of the House @Paul Ryan and Rep. Tom Price (Trump’s nominee for the Dept. of Health and Human Services) want to privatize Medicare, drastically cut funding for Medicaid and the Child Health Insurance Program, end funding for reproductive health services, and gut the Affordable Care Act. 

Rise & Resist at 1 Central Park West on the park side of the hotel for a protest to tell Trump, Ryan and Price to not destroy our healthcare! 

Bring your healthcare-related signs and your passion!
Bring a friend!

We saw friends from all over New York there.
            Several of us left the event and went to WRITERS RESIST together.


Sunday, January, 15, 2017 | 2:00 pm EST – 4:00 pm EST
New York Public Library, 476 Fifth Avenue (42nd St and Fifth Ave), New York, NY, 10018
PEN America hosts the flagship New York City event of a national rallying effort under the banner of WRITERS RESIST. This literary protest will bring together hundreds of writers and their fellow New Yorkers on the steps of the New York Public Library in a collective stand to defend free expression, reject hatred, and uphold truth in the face of lies and misinformation.
Coinciding with the birthday of Civil Rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr., this family-friendly event will feature readings and performances by some of the biggest names in arts and literature. Award-winning authors Andrew Solomon, Masha Gessen, Laurie Anderson, Rosanne Cash, Jeff Eugenides, Amy Goodman, Jacqueline Woodson, Monica Youn, A.M. Homes, Moustapha Bayoumi, Alexander Chee, Michael Cunningham, and others will read from a curated set of diverse writings and seminal texts that embody the ideals of democracy and free expression including excerpts from the Constitution, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s sermons, George Orwell’s 1984, the Federalist Papers, and other prose and poetry selections. Broadway Kids Against Bullying will perform the new single ‘I Have a Voice.’
As the rally comes to a close, participants and audience members will deliver PEN America’s pledge to defend the First Amendment—signed by more than 150,000 individuals, including all past U.S. Poets Laureate—to the transition team of President-elect Donald J. Trump, who will take office just five days later on January 20.
There, Jerry Nadler read:
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday celebrates the life and legacy of a man who brought hope and healing to America. We commemorate as well the timeless values he taught us through his example — the values of courage, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, humility and service that so radiantly defined Dr. King’s character and empowered his leadership. On this holiday, we commemorate the universal, unconditional love, forgiveness and nonviolence that empowered his revolutionary spirit.
We commemorate Dr. King’s inspiring words, because his voice and his vision filled a great void in our nation, and answered our collective longing to become a country that truly lived by its noblest principles. Yet, Dr. King knew that it wasn’t enough just to talk the talk, that he had to walk the walk for his words to be credible. And so we commemorate on this holiday the man of action, who put his life on the line for freedom and justice every day, the man who braved threats and jail and beatings and who ultimately paid the highest price to make democracy a reality for all Americans.
The King Holiday honors the life and contributions of America’s greatest champion of racial justice and equality, the leader who not only dreamed of a color-blind society, but who also lead a movement that achieved historic reforms to help make it a reality.
On this day we commemorate Dr. King’s great dream of a vibrant, multiracial nation united in justice, peace and reconciliation; a nation that has a place at the table for children of every race and room at the inn for every needy child. We are called on this holiday, not merely to honor, but to celebrate the values of equality, tolerance and interracial sister and brotherhood he so compellingly expressed in his great dream for America.
It is a day of interracial and intercultural cooperation and sharing. No other day of the year brings so many peoples from different cultural backgrounds together in such a vibrant spirit of brother and sisterhood. Whether you are African-American, Hispanic or Native American, whether you are Caucasian or Asian-American, you are part of the great dream Martin Luther King, Jr. had for America. This is not a black holiday; it is a peoples’ holiday. And it is the young people of all races and religions who hold the keys to the fulfillment of his dream.
We commemorate on this holiday the ecumenical leader and visionary who embraced the unity of all faiths in love and truth. And though we take patriotic pride that Dr. King was an American, on this holiday we must also commemorate the global leader who inspired nonviolent liberation movements around the world. Indeed, on this day, programs commemorating my husband’s birthday are being observed in more than 100 nations.
The King Holiday celebrates Dr. King’s global vision of the world house, a world whose people and nations had triumphed over poverty, racism, war and violence. The holiday celebrates his vision of ecumenical solidarity, his insistence that all faiths had something meaningful to contribute to building the beloved community.
The Holiday commemorates America’s pre-eminent advocate of nonviolence — the man who taught by his example that nonviolent action is the most powerful, revolutionary force for social change available to oppressed people in their struggles for liberation.
This holiday honors the courage of a man who endured harassment, threats and beatings, and even bombings. We commemorate the man who went to jail 29 times to achieve freedom for others, and who knew he would pay the ultimate price for his leadership, but kept on marching and protesting and organizing anyway.
Every King Holiday has been a national “teach-in” on the values of nonviolence, including unconditional love, tolerance, forgiveness and reconciliation, which are so desperately-needed to unify America. It is a day of intensive education and training in Martin’s philosophy and methods of nonviolent social change and conflict-reconciliation. The Holiday provides a unique opportunity to teach young people to fight evil, not people, to get in the habit of asking themselves, “what is the most loving way I can resolve this conflict?”
On the King Holiday, young people learn about the power of unconditional love even for one’s adversaries as a way to fight injustice and defuse violent disputes. It is a time to show them the power of forgiveness in the healing process at the interpersonal as well as international levels.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is not only for celebration and remembrance, education and tribute, but above all a day of service. All across America on the Holiday, his followers perform service in hospitals and shelters and prisons and wherever people need some help. It is a day of volunteering to feed the hungry, rehabilitate housing, tutoring those who can’t read, mentoring at-risk youngsters, consoling the broken-hearted and a thousand other projects for building the beloved community of his dream.
Dr. King once said that we all have to decide whether we “will walk in the light of creative altruism or the darkness of destructive selfishness. Life’s most persistent and nagging question, he said, is `what are you doing for others?’” he would quote Mark 9:35, the scripture in which Jesus of Nazareth tells James and John “…whosoever will be great among you shall be your servant; and whosoever among you will be the first shall be the servant of all.” And when Martin talked about the end of his mortal life in one of his last sermons, on February 4, 1968 in the pulpit of Ebenezer Baptist Church, even then he lifted up the value of service as the hallmark of a full life. “I’d like somebody to mention on that day Martin Luther King, Jr. tried to give his life serving others,” he said. “I want you to say on that day, that I did try in my life…to love and serve humanity.
We call you to commemorate this Holiday by making your personal commitment to serve humanity with the vibrant spirit of unconditional love that was his greatest strength, and which empowered all of the great victories of his leadership. And with our hearts open to this spirit of unconditional love, we can indeed achieve the Beloved Community of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream.
May we who follow Martin now pledge to serve humanity, promote his teachings and carry forward his legacy into the 21st Century.

This is not a week any of us look forward to, but as we do, we’ll remember we are louder together in this beloved community. As MLK explained, "We've got some tough days ahead...but i don't mind."


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