Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Chasing Windmills, Moving Mountains: #swarmthesenate #removetrump #impartialtrial #nowar

This blogger  and  LA Kauffman @ Hart Senate Office Building.
Remove45



A simple message for the Senate.
“The American people demand a fair impeachment trial.
Vote your conscience.
Stop his dangerous escalation, 
leading to war and suffering for millions of people.”

 Michael Brochstein photo of Swarm the Senate at Hart Senate Office Building.

@jooltman writes: "More of the Brooklyn contingent (Ken & Ben, Yours Truly) at #SwarmTheSenate. Will travel for democracy in peril! Our Leaders aren’t leading. Come to Hart Senate Building to insist #RemoveTrump at noon every day. (This means you.)"






Photo by Robin Kane







George De Castro Day photos and caption:  
"Early today, as people mobilized and motivated to Remove Trump arrived at the Hart building. A troll on the project's Facebook page, responding to a different post, wrote "that's right, liberals. Teach them to hate early." He -- a middle-aged white man, of course -- could not be more wrong. This group is an expression of diversity, inclusion, and love. Love of equality, justice, peace, and truth. Love of liberation. Hate of others? No. Fury at injustice, warmongering, inequality, bigotry, deceit, and simple-minded hate in and fostered by government.Join us, or step up, as and where you can. One person with a sign models agency and behavior insistent on liberation to others. When more of us lock arms, the people usurping power will be scared, as they should be scared. Let's fill up these spaces and send them a message: our patience has run out. This is supposed to be a democracy, and the people have the power. We Will Not Be Silent"
Ramon Leclerc  photo. 
Bye DC!! #swarmthesenate @wewillnotbesilent @ Hart Senate Office Building.
Ken, this blogger,  Margo,  and Zack  ready to go. 
Ken Schles photo. 

It ain’t easy participating in  a democracy. 
Yet, participation is perhaps the only thing that will save us.
Juno Diaz points out, as many have, that in a dictatorship,
only one person is allowed to speak.
In a democracy, we’re all allowed to.
Well, we’re supposed to be allowed to.
I guess that is what we are fighting for.

The state of our democracy is the subject of conversation all weekend long.
in Judson Church, walking over the Brooklyn Bridge,
praying for peace, condemning bigotry and war, hoping.  

Snow flurries cover the ground when I leave my home in Brooklyn to make my way to Ken’s to catch a ride to DC.

My old friend Margo is joining Zack, Ken and I.

I know Margo  from environmental – cycling, gardening, and sustainability - activism.

Yet, she is on her way to DC.

“I’m here because we need to take impeachment seriously,” says Margo.
“I see Trump as a direct afront to my personal liberty and the rights of my neighbors and communities.”

“I’m here because  Trump is a danger to us all,” Zack follows.
“To remind the senate to uphold its constitutional duties.”

“I’m going because I’m plowing fully forward into the future,” Ken elaborates. “I don’t  want to be taken into the undertow of history.  I want to be on the front lines.”

And the front lines DC is,
chalk full interests positioning themselves, judging others by their proximity to power.
Those in power have little interest in talking with those without power (or cash).
Those on the outside want in. 

Our job is to find a way to make them listen.
That’s the challenge.
Its hard to get someone to hear you when they have earphones on.
So what will we do in DC to get their attention?
Congress is just getting back to work as we make our way.
It’s a cold day.
And everyone is a little worried about where the dominos may fall.
Trump has seeded Syria to Russia,
Iraq to Iran,
And power to the corporations.
In order to distract from his political troubles, he’s kicked the proverbial hornet’s nest,
Unleashing literally millions of anti-American protestors in Iran, who are out in the streets as we drive.  It’s a chess match in which he may not quite extricate himself.
On  Sunday night, 1917, a film depicting a conflict unfold as an assassination compelled countries to take sides, won best picture at the Golden Globes.

“Its all appearances,” notes Ken, referring to the images of the democracy in which we are seeking to have an influence.

We have a president who understands the spectacle perhaps better than Guy Dubord.

“... just as early industrial capitalism moved the focus of existence from being to having, post-industrial culture has moved that focus from having to appearing,” writes Dubord.

Still, we are on our way, even if Zack is not optimistic.

Appearances matter. 

So does the substance.

So do our desires.

“Like lost children we live our unfinished adventures,” Dubord.follows in Society of the Spectacle.

We all have dreams of democracy.
Perhaps leftover from childhood,
to be dispelled as  we grow older?
But not quite yet.
Not today.

I carry my copy of Don Quixote with me, astonished how good it is.
Even  if democracy in  America is but an appearance, it is one worth chasing,
even if the giants we seek to vanquish, are but windmills. 
Those things that seem to be their arms are sails which, when they are whirled around by the wind, turn the millstone."

I love driving with these characters, our own ferry band.

We stop at the Biden welcoming center in Delaware, chuckling, refueling, and grabbing some coffee.

“We should have taken a picture of ourselves” chuckles Margo, Delaware behind, DC in front.  

In DC, we snap a few more  photos on our way into the Hart Senate office building.

Inside, we greet friends.
LAK and Lisa and Laurie are conspiring.

“We are here to remove the president,” notes Laurie, leading us in an apt mic check of Article II, section Four of the US Constitution.

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.”

The plan is to greet senators, to swarm the senate with our presence.

“Be like water,” advises Lisa.
“We are here because we are acting on our conscience, to stop this Senate  trial from being a  sham.”

Self organize, she implores everyone.

A few of us start to walk around the Alexander Calder statue,
Mountains and Clouds, in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building.
We’re here to move mountains or at least that’s what it feels like to get these guys pay attention or wake up.

The appearances of democracy are everywhere.
We can say anything.
We can mull about.
We can petition the government for redress of grievances.
But look closer and you see police watching, cameras.
We move in a circle.
And the  police move in.

“You cannot cross,” says a policeman to me.
“Huh,” I look about, there are three police across the room.
Two dozen of us are milling about.

“It’s a police line, you can’t cross,” says a policeman.

“Just a minute ago I crossed no problem.”

“Now this is a police line,” says the cop.

I walk around the other way, the policeman says its no longer a police line.
I walk back around the statue.
They stop me telling me now  I can’t walk.
“The police line is up” says the other cop. “You can’t cross.”
“But your buddy on the other side said its not a police line. 
Can I just  go back and see my friends.”

After conferring with a supervisor, he nods.

“No walking together, but random mulling about is fine,” LAK chuckles.

The police find lots and lots of ways to defend and define ways to arrest us.
Lots and lots of restrictions.

Some  take flyers to visit senate offices.

We take a banner to the capital.
A capital policeman walks up to us and say we have to move.
Why we ask.
They go check with their supervisors.
A few minutes later, he returns.
You can’t be here.
But you can go over there, he says,
pointing to grassy spot a hundred feet away.

Feels like twilight zone for democracy, I think.

Its our organizing, our participation, only that will save it.
But we need more people involved, more ideas, more bodies,
more art, more inclusion.
More dialogue.
But where is everyone?
When people felt excluded from the Obama coalition,
the occupiers, the disgruntled, many turned to Trump, enough to turn the election.
Can we get them  back?
The Senators are just getting back.
Will they listen?
We hit a few of their offices, asking them for a full trial with witnesses.
Otherwise, this is a sham. 
Receptionists look bored, listening to us.
We are a country of laws.
No one is above  the law.

“The American people demand a fair impeachment trial.
Vote your  conscience.
Stop his dangerous escalation, 
leading to war and suffering for millions of people.”

Will they listen?

As I write this, activists are busy swarming the senate.
We need to join them.
Afterall,
We have reason to worry, reads Laurie’s T shirt.
We have reason to worry.

“Just remember,” Junot Diaz advises,
“in dictatorships, only one person is really allowed to speak.”
In a democracy, we  all can.
While we have that right, lets use it.  
Every day at noon, activists will be at the Hart Senate office building.










































LAK, Lisa and company, getting ready to swarm. 



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