Tuesday, November 12, 2019

#RemoveTrump, Save Democracy! Reflections on March to Remove the President #FireDrillFriday

a cacophony of voices 
wonders Laurie Arbeiter.
                              Washington, DC in the halls of Congress outside the Impeachment Hearings.
Trump has been a danger to us all for 1,027 Days 1 Hour 33 Minutes and 33 Seconds too long.
Will we take action to
Remove Trump? The time is now. Imagine if we actually would show up by the thousands in the Capitol, in front of the Whitehouse and demand what we as a democracy must do to actually be a democracy. We only have power if we exercise our power.

Strongmen are tyrants until their power is arrested."
Lisa in force.  Honk for Removal.  
Go Jane !!!! — at The White House.
Climate Civil disobedience at the white house. Trump is a danger to us all! — at The White House.
              Carrying the Constitution to the White House to remind them! No one is above the law!

Diane Greene Lent. 
"Rise and Resist do Washington. Remove Trump and Fire Drill Fridays March from the Capitol to the White House." With L.A. Kauffman, Karin Schall and Benjamin Heim Shepard.

Jackie Rudin
"POST #1 "Rise and Resist Goes To Washington" joining forces with Remove Trump + Jane Fonda's Fire Drill Fridays for the March to Remove Trump, from the Capitol to the White House demanding the removal of trump and his evil administration who are killing democracy, our country and our planet. 🔥🔥 Happily, upon arrival, the demonstration already unfolding, was a sight for sore eyes, making the 6 hour bus ride worth every minute - and we jumped right in.#OnTheBus is the fist of several posts to document this glorious day, with Rise Up to Remove Trump, a 2 week convergence - still going on at The White House. Join us! Details at: remove45.org. Remove Trump #FireDrillFridays"
Join us November 12 on the Steps of the Supreme Court!
With the fate of DACA now in the hands of the Supreme Court, hundreds of thousands of people could lose their homes, their livelihoods, and their families. It’s time to put an end to this fear and uncertainty and show the Supreme Court that DACA recipients and immigrant families aren't going anywhere — because their #HomeIsHere.
Join us on the steps of the Supreme Court November 12 and demand the Court protect DACA recipients and all immigrants. Help us keep families together."
Below school kids in a school bus last Friday chant, "Impeach Trump."

People elect in a democracy.
In a representative democracy, a few people elect someone.
But is that what we have, a few  of us wonder on the bus.
Or is plutocracy a better word?
Two out of five the last five presidential election cycles, the candidate with the least popular votes, has won, with support of the electoral college. 
We’re in a gerrymandered majority.
Imagine the feeling.
We all need to get to DC.
Millions of us,
Circling  the White House.
How do we get the people back into our democracy.
Invite them to speak out about issues that matter to them.
Remove Trump.
Impeach Trump, save democracy.
People to the people, not to the corporations.
Human needs not corporate greed.
Not without power. 
Can we get  it back?
“What he’s doing is unacceptable,” notes photographer Ken Schles last Friday morning on a bus ride to Washington DC.
We’d been texting all morning. 
Woke at 4 AM, grabbing  an A train in Brooklyn,  with a 19 minute delay, before making it to the Port Authority, by 519 AM for our 530 AM Bus.
Jamie, our bus captain, there to greet us, standing outside the bus at 41st and Eighth Ave.
Just as I had been at a Union meeting ending eight hours before here, Kate Barnhart had been at work in the neighborhood just a few hours prior. 
“When the cats saw me put out the extra water an food, they seemed to say not DC again,” laments Kate.
We all seemed to feel that way.
“But its important that we keep the pressure up,” notes Barnhart.
“Its hard to maintain.
But all of our collective actions are building.
We’re  going to have to keep it going if we are going to get out of this.
If we are  going  to maintain hope.”
Getting out of this is turning out to be a tall order.
“Why  get on the bus?” I ask Hucklefaery Ken and John Kelly.
“Its easier than walking,” he jokes before a more earnest reply.
It feels nostalgic, like the Freedom fighters going South.
Its hope.
People rejoice in a shared activism,
 a visibility in our communities, be them queer or environmental.”
We’re not free till everyone is free was the slogan of the queer liberation march, he helped organize this summer.
The message continues.
In  between  naps, conversation takes countless turns on the bus,  as we get closer to DC.
“I’m a saturated pinata,” says John Kelly.
“But I’m loving  the solidarity.
“I’m  going to  Jane” says Jackie with the grin.
Kate pulls out a picture of herself on a trip here in 1992 when she was still in college and AIDS activists spread ashes of their lost colleagues on the White House lawn.  We’ve been up to  DC together over a dozen times since  the Trump era began.
Our  last trip to DC for the civil  disobedience at the Supreme Court a  month prior.
Others in the group have been at it even longer.
“I was in the Motherfuckers in the late 1960’s when we hitchhiked to Canada with the Diggers,” notes Len, passing out sleeping pills, tracing a countercultural narrative of squatting and liberating property that took her from  New York to Canada, down to Mexico, West to join the San Francisco Mime Troop and back to New York.
Arriving in DC, LA Kauffman and Lisa Fithian are standing in front of a large banner, with the words from the Constitution, Article Two, Section Four, detailing what happen when a president is found guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors.
“Its Rise and  Resist,” some activists declare, during  the climate rally.
We’re  here to remind the world of this.
But is anyone listening?
Are  enough of us participating, I wonder.
Irreverent, certainly.
“We like dick,
We like taters.
What  I don’t like are dictators!” scream Betsy and Ken,  as we start marching  with our 600 foot impeachment clause banner.
“Four word chant, Three words are better,” I retort, feeling the futility of a Washington DC protest grasp me.
“Liar, Liar, you conspire.  That’s why you are fired.!”
“Trump is a chump, Its time he gets dumped!”
“Emoluments, Emoluments, Emoluments,” screams a man to my right, as we carry the Constitution from Capital to the White House,
Referring to the emoluments clause of the constitution,
Article I, Section 9, Clause 8, prohibiting the federal government from titles of nobility or receiving gifts, emoluments.
It doesn’t appear the president has read  this clause. 
“Impeach Trump now, the constitution matters!” we scream.
“MAGA is a legacy of tyranny and lies!”
“Get off the streets,” the police order us,
walking with the Constitution.
“We’re  going,” we reply moving slowly.
“Wouldn’t it be nice if they put as much energy into protecting the constitution,” vents Laurie, whose signs many of us were carrying. 
“We will not be silent!”
George mic checks article II, section 4 several times, all of us repeating:
“The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
We need thousands and thousands of people, millions of people out making the same point.
We need more. 
And we’re only starting to get there.
Walking, we pass a group of DACA students arriving in DC, to a huge roar, our marches intersecting. Solidarity expanding. “Home is here,” we chant.
As I write this, November  12, those same kids are rallying in front of the  Supreme Court.
Walking  through DC,
kids on a school trip screamed, “Impeach Trump”, many from their school bus.
Someone mentions the image looks like the old Robert  Frank photo.
But its still a dwindling energy.
Our clash doesn’t  feel like its resolving itself.
Screaming about the president, opposition is a tough energy, a dark energy.
Its hard to build something with that.
Even a few celebrities, Jane Fonda, who confesses her tired bones cannot endure another night in jail, wasn’t getting us there.
Lisa Fithian  notes that powers that be are starting  to escalate repression, putting more and more activists through the system, discouraging civil disobedience.
We go to DC to speak our truth.
To say what needs to be said.
But I’m never sure anyone is hearing us.
Or we are not making enough noise,
Sniping at each  other instead.
On the bus home, I read David Rieff’s memoir of his mother, Susan Sontag’s last days.
“I feel my body  has let me down,” she wrote in  her diary. I concur. “And  my mind, too.  For,  somewhere, I believe the Reichian verdict.  I’m responsible for  my cancer. I lived as a coward,  repressing my desire, my rage.”
When this era is over with, I hope our movement does not feel similarly.
But sometimes  we do. 
We’ve disobeyed; been arrested; we’ve marched.  But have we “repressed [our] desire,  [our] rage?”
Do we believe in our own power?
I  hope we  are getting there.
We need a mass movement.

It starts with us.  

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