subversive shit I did last week (3/5)

Hi again. It was another week of mostly goddamnitwhatthefuck, but I’m plugging away. I read some good stuff on International Women’s Day and planned to write a whole blog post about it but since I suck at blogging, I never got around to it. I included some links in this post though.

Who I supported

Who I contacted

  • I contacted my reps to oppose The REINS Act. This is the one that has the potential to bring the regulatory process to a screeching halt. It “radically repositions Congress, the most political branch of government, as the place to make the ultimate decisions that involve detailed technical matters.”
  • Locally, this Crown Hill deforestation shit came to a head. Construction had started and things appeared pretty bleak, but a 25th hour letter from Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett seemed promising. I contacted the VA director, David Shulkin and asked him to listen to the mayor and consider an alternative location that would not require destroying the inner city’s last virgin forest, and I contacted Indiana’s (D) senator and asked him to do as the mayor has done and speak up on behalf on Crown Hill Forest. THEN, civil disobedience success! People put their bodies in front of the trees! I wish I had been there. I know we shouldn’t get too excited, but it appears the VA is at least open to a dialogue with the public. It’s a relief to feel my actions perhaps made an impact.
  • I contacted my Indiana reps to oppose a state pre-k funding bill. What? I’ll explain. This legislation proposes expansion of a pre-k pilot program, which sounds great and I would be a huge supporter of free, public preschool, but there’s some voucher language tied into it that I don’t like. From an article in one of our weekly papers: “Indiana needs to expand pre-school but not with an expensive link to guarantee K-12 private school vouchers,” Smith [Rep. Vernon Smith, D-Gary] said. “Any pre-K student, including public pre-K students, get a voucher for life. This would be the biggest expansion of voucher eligibility since 2013.” And that sets off all kinds of red flags in my head.
  • I contacted my reps to oppose the AHCA, because obviously. If you’re on Obamacare, consider telling the White House about your experiences. They’re looking for negative stories, so let’s make sure they also hear from all the people the ACA has helped.

What I read

And some special stuff for International Women’s Day

What I did

I was sick last week so I mostly sat around the house feeling sorry for myself.

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Read all of my subversive shit posts.

running week of 3/6 (spoiler: 0 miles!)

Well, this won’t take long: I ran 0 miles and did 0 workouts last week. I was sick for the better part of the week and then decided to go ahead and blow off the weekend too.

So I picked the worst possible day to get my shit together and start up again. I had the time change, the previous week off AND my period working against me; a trifecta of fuckery. I’d pay so much money (if I had any) to be able to crawl back in bed right now.

subversive shit I did last week (2/12-2/24)

I may space these posts out a bit more, for my own well-being. They require a lot more thought –and thoughtfulness– than my weekly running posts and there’s just no way I’m gonna be able to keep up consistent blog posting for any meaningful period of time. I’ll try for every 1.5 to two weeks and see how that goes.

Who I supported

  • I made a small donation to #IllGoWithYou, a movement offering allyship and assistance to people who are transgender or gender-nonconforming. The IGWY button is intended to advertise allyship in public places. When asked, allies go into bathrooms and other spaces with people who may be afraid or concerned about their safety– and not just transgender individuals, but also a variety of people whose presentation of their gender may not fit the narrow archetypes of binary gender. You can order buttons for yourself, or you can make a donation for buttons to be passed along to an organization at no cost to them. I have a button on my bag and a couple extras so I can offer them to people who ask. Also, my friend is the button-maker. 🙂
  • My local breweries.

Who I contacted

  • I called my reps again to oppose Pruitt for the EPA and we all know how that turned out. This one hurts. When I think about the world my kids are going to inherit, I want to cry.
  • I learned from Teen Vogue that the White House has a comment line again! So I called it and used the script provided in the weekly action checklist to ask for an environmental study on the impact of the DAPL pipeline under Lake Oahe. Our latest atrocity against native people ended with the water protectors setting fire to the Oceti Sakowin camp. I think it’s sort of fitting and poetic that they set it aflame to avoid watching it be destroyed.
  • I also signed the White House petition demanding DJT release his tax returns. (Not that I think it’ll do any good.)
  • I made repeated calls and emails to the DOJ, DOE and the White House and asked them to continue to enforce Title IX protections for transgender students, again to no avail. This is another really fucked up loss, you guys. It’s a really shitty, spiteful move that will allow states and schools to decide whether or not they want to enforce (or ignore) measures designed to protect vulnerable students. Trans kids will be harmed because of this and it makes me unspeakably sad and angry.

What I read

  • When Things Go Missing. Mostly unrelated to the Resistance, but it’s a really breathtaking piece about grief and loss.
  • If your anti-Trump movement is not anti-colonial, you’re wasting your time and ours. “Many of you take issue with Trump, but are absolutely fine with the white supremacist settler colonial system that you and your ancestors have profited from for centuries. You have no real qualms about racism or misogyny, you just don’t want to be reminded of your investments by a loud and overt bastard. Your rallying cry is “make America subtly racist again”. You would give anything in the world to trade Trump for Hillary Clinton or Obama. When the Obama administration’s drone strikes and bombings have caused the very war-torn conditions that refugees are fleeing from. You couple discontent with the Trump administration with a strange nationalist pride. You hold signs that say “this is not us” or “we are better than this”. But Trump is as American as it gets and everyone knows it.”
  • Justin Trudeau is not your friend.
  • The leakers who exposed Gen. Flynn’s lie committed serious–and wholly justified– felonies. “It’s hard to put into words how strange it is to watch the very same people — from both parties, across the ideological spectrum — who called for the heads of Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Tom Drake, and so many other Obama-era leakers today heap praise on those who leaked the highly sensitive, classified SIGINT information that brought down Gen. Flynn.”
  • What we’ll tolerate, and what we won’t. Don’t get me wrong, Milo Y is a human shit stain, and an opportunistic one at that. But it’s interesting and revealing how the right turned on him after probably the only authentic and insightful thing he’s ever said (that queer relationships often involve age and power disparities). I’d be tickled at the idea of Milo experiencing even a fraction of the abuse he’s dealt out to others over the years, except that it came at too high a cost. The right used him to reinforce their position that gay men are perverts, which will only serve to further marginalize and abuse LGBTQ people.
  • And a fun one: I couldn’t stop drunk dialing my senator
  • And I watched The Talk: Race In America on PBS. I want to try as much as I can to help amplify the voices of the families who have experienced tragedy at the hands of those sworn to protect them.

What I did

Well, I was really excited about going to an angry town hall meeting, but I…totally forgot to go. It was yesterday evening at 6, and I thought about it as recently as yesterday afternoon but it wasn’t until after dinner when we were putting the kids in the bath that it occurred to me I’d forgotten to go. Ah, well. It was rumored that our district’s rep had not even responded to the invite so it might have just been a bunch of angry people (or worse, rabid trump supporters) showing up to yell at each other.

Self-care 

This week I finally remembered I should also be keeping track of the good things and the small victories instead of just the colossally depressing things and the crushing defeats. Here are some of them.

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Read all of my subversive shit posts.

subversive shit I did last week (2/6)

Hell of a week, huh guys? I was trying to get this out on Sunday or Monday and I let it get away from me. It just wasn’t that fun to write. It’s discouraging when there’s a new disaster seemingly every few days and then get a dozen canned responses from your Republican Senator basically saying nah.

Nevertheless.

Who I supported

I kinda hit my limit on donations this month (see my other subversive posts) so I’m taking some time off from donating money and I’m trying to focus more on the other action areas. I’m still loosely following the weekly action checklist.

Who I contacted

  • My reps, to oppose Betsy DeVos (strike one), Jeff Sessions (strike two) and Neil Gorsuch (strike three). What a downer.
  • My reps, regarding Steve Bannon’s role on the National Security Council. I really don’t know if this will do any good but I couldn’t not do something
  • I wrote Mitch McConnell and I told him I was disappointed by his treatment of Elizabeth Warren and that it was not too late for him to start doing the right thing (and a whole bunch of other shit I know he won’t even read).
  • I also wrote Elizabeth Warren a long, weepy email and maybe told her I loved her.

What I did

  • I read The Lorax with my kids and we made post cards about climate change to send to the White House. I knoooooow DJT and the Republicans will not change their position on climate change just because they get a bunch of postcards from children, but I do think it’s a very good way to include my kids in subversive shit in a way that’s age-appropriate and fun. We talked about leaving things in good shape so that other people can use them too. And I try to talk about conservation and environmentalism in a way that doesn’t terrify them.
  • Across the country, there were rallies in support of Planned Parenthood and I’d planned to attend the one in Indy but honestly, it was a gorgeous day and my kids wanted to go to the park and I decided it was more important to go to the park.
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I know I made the right call.

What I read

Self-care. A new section I’d like to include in my weekly posts (refer to the piece on wellness linked above!). As I’ve said before, I don’t want to let myself be consumed by all the bad news, so I’m including a few special things I did for me (and my family) each week.

  • I had coffee with some friends.
  • I went running. (I know I know, I always go running, but I went on a bonus run Sunday with a friend and it felt like a luxury so I’m calling it self-care.)
  • I went for a long walk with my family and we played in the sunshine.

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Read all of my “subversive shit” posts.

subversive shit I did last week

Early this morning I read that very disturbing New York Times piece that said, among other things, that DJT didn’t know he was putting Bannon on the National Security Council. HE SIGNED AN EXECUTIVE ORDER AND HE DIDN’T KNOW WHAT IT SAID. Also apparently his staff has been literally working in the dark because they couldn’t figure out how to turn on the lights in the cabinet room.

We’ve got our work cut out for us, you guys.

Last week I wanted to give more attention to some issues impacting Indiana as well as that OTHER complete disaster of an executive order, the president’s Muslim travel ban.

Who I supported

  • Indiana Youth Group – creates safe spaces, provides wellness programming,and educates LGBTQ youth and the community.
  • The ACLU.

Who I contacted

  • Indiana’s attorney general. He’s appealing a ruling that allowed same-sex parents to be listed on their child’s birth certificate. Seriously, who comes up with this shit? So I wrote his office and asked them to quit their foolishness (politely, of course).
  • So one of the really cool things Indiana is trying to do right now is bulldoze the inner city’s last old-growth forest. Neat, right? It’s gotten a fair amount of attention and there was even a march over the summer. (Although right now, it’s not looking good.) Currently, SB420 would protect Indiana forests by requiring that a portion of forest lands be restricted from logging. I wrote my state representatives in support of the bill and I wrote the authors of the bill to thank them.
  • SB 285 is attempting to restrict protests, so I wrote to my state senators and asked them to oppose it.
  • I called Senator Todd Young, who supported the president’s EO on immigration. (I also made a thank you call to Senator Donnelly for opposing the ban and for showing up at the protest held at our airport. Man…thank you calls are so much easier to make!)

What I read

What I did

I decluttered. Filing this one under self-care. I cleaned and organized my closet and sorted a bunch of stuff to either sell or donate. I had clothes in my closet that – let’s face it – will never, ever fit me again and were just taking up space. It felt therapeutic to get rid of shit.

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Read my other “subversive shit” posts.

Subversive shit I did last week

So I thought in addition to my not-ever-weekly running progress reports, it’d also be nice to start blogging about the actions I’ve been taking to try to save us from the trumpocracy. Like a lot of you, I’ve been really angry/sad/disturbed/nauseated by pretty much every headline I read and it’s driven me to be more active.

And please understand I do this not to brag, but to share ideas and to let people out there who think like I do know they’re not alone. I really appreciate friends and other bloggers who are doing this because it lets us all know who our allies are. I’m also not trying to come across as if I have any idea what I’m doing. I still get the feeling my actions are all largely superficial and meaningless. A lot of screaming into the void. My privilege has allowed me to be largely complacent until now so I welcome any guidance you have to offer.

So.

Who I supported
I don’t have a lot of money, so when you see me mentioning donations, assume I’m talking around 10 bucks. Sometimes five. I wish I could give more but that’s where we’re at right now. (But it’s okay because the other areas are important too.)

Laura’s chimp rescue – “This fundraiser is to support and expand a highly successful pilot program in Uganda implemented by the Bulindi Chimpanzee & Community Project (BCCP). Sponsored by the US-based nonprofit, Friends of Chimps, this fundraiser will allow us to expand a community-based project working with farmers to reduce deforestation, plant trees, send children to school and ultimately, save small populations of wild chimpanzees struggling to survive mounting human population pressure.”

ACS Relay For Life – My friend is running a local campaign for the American Cancer Society’s signature 24-hour relay event. She lost both her dad and father-in-law to cancer and she’s one of the kindest best people ever so this one was a no-brainer for me.

Help Theo’s Transition! Theo Vanore is a trans activist who spoke at our Indianapolis rally last week (see below) and I found his Go Fund Me page when I was googling the speakers. I noticed the last donation to the fund was about a year ago, so like a total creeper, I messaged him and asked if he was still raising money. The answer was an enthusiastic yes! Crowd funding campaigns can be so fickle, you guys. Unless it happens by chance to get picked up by the media and go viral, the momentum slows and the campaign can fizzle. Especially when you’re a high school kid and your friends can’t throw in hundreds of dollars. Theo has done some great work in Indianapolis and it’d be cool if we could give a little back.

Who I contacted
I called my senators regarding education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos (earlier this week Donnelly announced he will oppose DeVos, so that one was a thank you call) and to oppose AG nominee Jeff Sessions and I also called the Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley to oppose Sessions. And that probably amounts to more calls to reps than I’ve ever made in my life.

Based on information from a Facebook post, I emailed the Government Accountability Office in support of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s request for an audit of Trump’s finances, but later found on snopes that they are not tracking responses for this as the FB post suggested. However, maybe the flood of messages will still influence their action on this matter? I’ll be vetting sources a little better from now on.

I sent a email to my senators to oppose defunding Planned Parenthood. I know I know, it’s just an email. I’ve often been guilty of sending email via web forms and I think I’m going to stop doing this (or do it, but make a phone call too) because I’ve read that email and snail mail are virtually useless and should only be used as a last resort when phone lines are jammed or voicemail boxes full. (Looking at you, Paul Ryan…get your shit together.)

What I read
After finishing House of Leaves, I needed a break from foot notes and appendices and tiny upside-down type scattered all over the page. I did read one book, Orphan Train, and I just started American Gods but I’ve mostly been reading stuff on the ‘net. Here are some of the noteworthy things I read this week:

What I did
I have been volunteering with FIDO since about 2006 or 2007. We help low-income dog owners with dog houses, fencing, crates for house-training and other supplies. We run a pet food pantry and we have grant money to cover free spay/neuter and vaccinations for those who qualify. I do FIDO’s social media and blog and some other web stuff, and I just took on some additional housekeeping/data-entry duties.

I bought some items to donate to a local Black Lives Matter homeless outreach. For those of you who think Black Lives Matter activists just block traffic on your commute, well first of all you’re an asshole, and second of all nope. Indy’s local organizers have been leading a homeless outreach this winter and in this round they are collecting socks, shoes, underwear and hygiene items to offer people living outside. Here’s the event for anyone who’s local and wants to get involved. They are accepting donations until February 4.

I marched. Well, we didn’t actually march in Indy, but there was an enormous rally in front of the state house with some great speakers including Theo Vanore and local leaders from the Indiana chapter of NOW, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, the Indy chapter of the NAACP, Immigrant Welcome Center, and the Muslim Alliance. Crowd estimates were at 4000 on the low end and 10,000 on the high end, which is not too shabby for a small blue city in a big red state. We got there early and still had some room to move around and play on the grass with the kids but by 11 a.m. things were getting pretty snug and people were still arriving in droves. It was pretty incredible. I cried behind my sunglasses a couple of times as I listened to the speakers and stared out at the sea of people. The event was well-organized. The atmosphere was incredibly positive and I left feeling hopeful instead of dejected.

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My sister got to go to a birthday party and I had to attend this stupid rally for women’s rights.

I did feel that a lot of the imagery and messaging around the uterus and vulva and vagina detracted from the overall theme and was kinda TERFy, to be honest. I mean, what is more gender essentialist than a pink pussy? When we reduce feminism to physical anatomy, we’re doing ourselves and our trans siblings a huge disservice. And I KNOW the pussyhat people said both cis and trans women are mistreated and we’re standing up for the rights of all women and the “sea of pink” demonstrates how we’re all united and we’re reclaiming the term as a means of empowerment. But it sort of comes across as ‘all lives mattering’ trans people. I have trans and nonbinary friends who have been kind enough to share their thoughts with me on this so it was at the front of my mind all day. The last thing I want to do is make people feel excluded.

Postscript: I started writing this post before Trump’s immigration order and before he appointed that horror garbage fire of a person Steve Bannon to the National Security Council (and dropped the joint chiefs…WTFWTFWTFWTF), so I’d like for some of my actions this week to focus on that. Each executive action feels more insidious than the last, so I’m trying to focus on just a few issues each week so I don’t get overwhelmed and spiral into paralysis. There is also some local legislation I don’t want to let slip through the cracks, namely SB 285, which would effectively restrict peaceful protests.

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Source

Non-running commentary: why I hate the ‘white lady journey’

So the other day there was a story in the New York Times about a woman who traveled to Newfoundland in order to recover from her “first adult crisis.” I obnoxiously commented, “Eat Pray Love II: a white lady’s journey of soul-searching, self-discovery and cod.”

Now, maybe I’m missing something, but it seems like if you can afford to just take off on a road trip, things aren’t all that desperate (terminal illnesses notwithstanding).

The NYT piece also made me realize that in all these years of blogging, I’ve never written a blog post about how much I despise Eat Pray Love. Incredible.

Okay, so I did not actually read the book or see the movie, but the whole concept of traveling as a means of coping with your problems is a privilege afforded to almost nobody. Many of us have problems. Many of us would love to escape them. Many of us have never been to Provence. Many of us would be homeless if we quit our jobs to go there.

I call this the “white lady journey,” but there are men who do it too.

We treat these people as if they’re so brave and courageous for “leaving their comfort zones” to “follow their dreams” but it’s actually only people with serious reserves (or wealthy parents, or a ton of job flexibility) who are able to do these things. For the rest of us pathetic losers living paycheck to paycheck, it seems patronizing and cruel to recommend to us that we not settle for anything less than our ~*wildest dreams*~

The woman in the Newfoundland story says says she spent the “dredges” of her money on “ferry passage and a rental car; a driving atlas of Atlantic Canada; bread, tomatoes and tins of anchovies,” yet somehow she comes up with the funds for sea scallops and beer. And a place to come home to.

“Sometimes you just have to leap and the net will appear,” said this dreadful woman in a humblebrag-laden Cosmopolitan essay about how she quit her $95,000 writing job to move to an island. Except for most people, it won’t. (Did she mention she went to Yale? And was making $95,000? Yes, yes she did.)

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You too can be an inspirational white lady doing handstands on a beach. Photo cred: cosmopolitan.com

A lot of bloggers have also tried the whole permanent tourist gig and I was pleased to learn that some of them end up scrubbing toilets (an activity suspiciously omitted from their instagram feeds until their blog profits inevitably dwindled and they needed another boost in page view$).

And let’s not forget about those wholesome YouTube couples! Turns out internet stardom is also not an attainable goal. Not everyone gets a reality show.

I think you get my point already, but just to hammer it home one more time: if you quit your job on a whim but you have a bank account, a home, light skin, a college education, rich family members, you are not brave (DID SHE MENTION HER SALARY THO?).

You’re just lucky.