subversive shit I did last week (Mother’s Day edition)

I meant to actually publish this on mother’s day but let’s call this mother’s week.

Who I supported

Who I contacted

  • I contacted my Indiana House rep Todd Rokita (aka fuckface) and asked him to do the right thing and vote against the ACA repeal bill. (Here’s how every rep voted so you can praise/chastise yours accordingly.) The ACLU had a crazy easy tool where you plug in your phone number, your phone rings and prompts you to enter you zip code, and then it connects you to your rep! EASY. And it was after-hours so I didn’t even have to talk to anyone. I just left an awkward voicemail saying that the repeal will hurt women, people with disabilities and people with preexisting conditions.
  • I wrote the White House and asked the president not to sign the religious freedom executive order, which I figured would be a waste of time, but the order turned out to be a pretty watered-down version of the one we feared (though still not great) so maybe they actually remembered what happened in Indiana and decided not to do that again? Conservatives were kinda pissed, actually. 🙂
  • I wrote and faxed all three of my members of Congress using the Resistbot to ask them to speak up about appointing a special prosecutor to investigate the Russia-Trump ties.
  • I have placed repeated calls and emails to my two senators to oppose the latest “healthcare” bill AKA tax cut for the wealthy.

 What I did

  • Nothing, really? I guess what I’m “doing” right now is trying to focus on changes and impacts I can make locally. I think I’ve had a tendency to concentrate on too many broad, national issues while ignoring things that are going on right in my backyard, so to speak. I’m not gonna run for mayor or anything, but I’m trying to be more involved in my own community.
  • Something I’ve been meaning to do is go back through all my subversive shit posts and do an update on any issues that have since been decided. We’ve had a couple of small victories in Indiana, but not many.

What I read

Some good things

Image source
Read all my “subversive shit” posts

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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.

angela-peoples

Source

the discomfort of thought

So I wasn’t really going to write anything else about yesterday’s Angry Runner guest post but I feel like 30,000+ page views (which is like, 29,900 more page views than I normally get) warrants some kind of follow-up.

To start off, I want to say I’ve never been one for moderating comments. In the past, I’ve taken delight in approving the comments from people telling me I’m a cunt and an idiot and my blog sucks and I’ve gleefully told them all to eat shit. But I understand an exchange about racial injustice can get quite a bit uglier than an exchange about my grammar and punctuation. So I did trash three comments that I found particularly useless and distasteful. I don’t want this blog to turn into the comment section of a YouTube video.

Y1EbFxg

Since I possibly still have the attention of a few thousand of you (compared to the few dozen I had two days ago) I want to reiterate that I still agree 100% with the perspective AR offered and I want to thank her for writing it. I also wanna say thanks to those of you who took the time to offer your considerate and thoughtful commentary. There are a lot of people who are smarter and more articulate than I am and I’m always thrilled to surround myself (both online and in person) by those people.

With that in mind, I’m certainly not going to try to explain Black Lives Matter. There’s this whole big web site that already does that and you should totally read it. I do want to respond to a few comments left on this blog.

First of all, for those concerned about the safety of runners, protesters say they do not plan to interfere with the marathon or prevent runners from finishing.

Second, people have mentioned that this chapter in St. Paul (or that chapter in Seattle) is not recognized by the national organization, so they’re not the REALLY REAL Black Lives Matter movement, and I think pointing that out is sort of just another way to diminish and marginalize the efforts of people who are desperate for change. Are they not allowed to use the hashtag or carry the sign unless the national organization has recognized them? Are they not allowed to fight for racial justice unless they’re carrying an official #BLM member card?

Third, a lot of people seem to be saying they are all for social justice and racial equality…as long as it isn’t too disruptive or uncomfortable. (Because being deprived of your basic human rights and dignity is not at all uncomfortable.)

Several suggested activism of a more orderly fashion such as a booth at the state fair and to that my response is: the fuck?

the fuck

The media does not come out to cover booths at the state fair. Nobody pays attention to people handing out pamphlets and wearing arm bands. Nobody gives a shit about civil obedience. If people were already listening, the BLM movement would not be necessary.

I think the point of this protest is to leverage the visibility and publicity of the event and to cause a disruption that is going to be seen and felt by everyone there. A nice cozy sit-in may might make you feel good about your activism, but it’s the discomfort associated with a loud, disruptive demonstration that will effect the greatest change. You don’t have to agree with the strategy, but you have to admit it makes an impact. Look at how much we’re already talking about it, and it hasn’t even happened yet.

Read this remark by Martha Tesema from a piece in The Atlantic about the interruption by Marissa Janae Johnson and Mara Jacqueline Willaford of the August 8 Bernie Sanders rally in Seattle:

No matter how down people say they are with the cause, when they act like being slightly inconvenienced is more important than the lives of people of color, that suggests they probably never truly supported the movement. Marissa, Mara, and allies were not invited. They forced themselves on stage, so the reaction of the crowd was instinctive and understandable, to a certain degree. But if we look deeper at why they chose this provocative way of approaching this Seattle crowd, it says a lot about the urgency of Black Lives Matter and the lack of awareness among this progressive, liberal audience.

And continuing, she says of the hypothetical Bernie Sanders supporter who was inconvenienced by the disruption:

Ultimately, it’s not a life or death issue for her. Of course, inconveniences are annoying. But what is the worst that is going to happen to this Sanders supporter? I’m more concerned with what is going to happen to young women of color who are silent.

The stakes are higher for women of color.

And this may be an inappropriate parallel (anyone who reads inspirational motherrunner blogs knows we LOVE to compare EVERYTHING to running), but when you’re training for a marathon, you don’t just go out and do nice, comfortable 3 mile runs every day and expect your body to comply when you try to make it run 26 miles. You have to get uncomfortable. You have to disrupt the routine to bring about the tremendous changes required to finish a marathon. Otherwise, you will fail.

H7TlO9F

There are just a few more remarks I want to point out that I found especially powerful.

From nathanmichaelblack:

Ya know what would be a real miracle? If at some point in the race, EVERYONE joined the die-in. Imagine the runners, watchers, vendors, police, everyone, all stopping for a few minutes of silent protest. THAT would be powerful.

From positiveblackwoman:

This post proves that you don’t have to be a certain race to “get it.” If you still don’t get it there are books out there. Some people like me try to live our lives in peace bringing unity between Black people and cops and then last weekend in Rochester, MN 4 educated Black women were stopped and harassed by the police as we were walking back from downtown in front of our hotel. We were so upset we were shaking. All the cop kept saying was “cops lives matter.” I guess she assumed we were apart of the Black Lives Matter movement and had resentment towards us. The racist rants that come about when the threat of disruption comes to something that matters to you is why BLM must exist.

And from Angela, who posted this quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.:

First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action;” who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a “more convenient season.”

And here a few other quotes I found on the internets that I think reinforce this theme of upheaval and discomfort as a force for change:

Too often we hold fast to the cliches of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. – John F. Kennedy

Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change. – Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

And just for fun, let’s watch Are All Cops Racist? from a recent episode of the Daily Show.

Tomorrow I’ll be back with our regularly scheduled programming of running and bullshit. 😉

Guest post: What NOT to do when Black Lives Matter stages a protest at your goal marathon

You’re in for a real treat today. Angry Runner found herself (rightfully) horrified by some online commentary and she felt compelled to write up a proper tirade about it. Since she shut down her own blog, I offered her this venue. I could say some bullshit disclaimer about how her remarks do not necessarily reflect the opinions and viewpoints of this blog, but nah. I agree 100% with every word. You’ll see.

Thirty years ago, I ran my first race. I was wearing middle-aged gym teacher shorts and Velcro shoes. It started with a whistle on a miserably hot stretch of pavement in the middle of a military base. When I finished, a volunteer handed me an index card where I wrote my name and time. (Though in fairness, pretty sure my mom helped me with this part because I was like 6.)

Over the next 10 years or so, I ran a lot of races like this. Low key. Low budget. McDonald’s cups of orange Gatorade that would burn your throat. No (or cheap) awards. Just you and someone’s actual stop watch.

grandpa

Not surprisingly, things started evolving in the early 2000s. Automatic timing and breathable fabrics became requirements. Once hard to find, running shorts for women began popping up all over the place. And suddenly all those assholes who mocked me for running in high school were now posting pictures on Facebook of “OMG MY FIRST 5K.” Soon “MY FIRST 5K” became “MY FIRST MARATHON!” And then…marathons started selling out, despite their suddenly much higher price.

Wonder why I’m telling you this? It’s not because I wore an onion on my belt (which was the style at the time). It’s because what was once a simple, cheap, and low key sport is now…A THING. Color runs. Foam runs. Bubble runs. All sorts of bullshit. Running and marketing have become entwined.

Shit evolves. I get that. Remember, I once refused to use a smart phone. (Oops.)

But the sad reality of road racing is that is has become something really only enjoyed by the privileged.

So, that brings me to the Black Lives Matter scheduled Twin Cities Marathon protest. If you don’t know about it, you can read about it right here.

Now, if I were running Twin Cities I’d certainly be wondering if I’d be able to finish. But quite frankly, I’d be more frightened by the behavior of some of those I see commenting on this planned protest.

So without further ado, let me tell you how NOT to react when BLM plans to protest your goal marathon.

  1. Don’t threaten violence.

this is shitty and racist

this sucks

So you’ve spent a lot of money. Maybe you’re going for a PR. Maybe you’re trying to hit your 50th state. I’d be worried too. However, stating that you’re planning to assault someone really just validates why BLM is doing this to begin with: you’re saying that finishing a race matters more than someone’s life. I’m not speaking broadly. These people are talking about carrying guns and breaking necks. This is pretty blatant.

  1. Don’t say racist shit.

this is fucking racist

You’re angry. And you’ll defend yourself by saying, “BUT I’M ANGRY.” But here is the thing: if your first reaction is to say something racist, you’re racist. In the case above this person FIRST breaks rule #1, THEN makes a racist comment.

But it gets worse, and there’s some homophobia thrown in there too.

homophobia and racism make you extra shitty

Interesting how homophobia seems like a non sequitur here. And I must say that I’m shocked that angry white man rage results in both casual racism and homophobia. SHOCKED!

im_shocked

  1. Don’t make this about runners.

this guy is definitely an asshole

According to this fellow, Black Lives Matter could get their message across more effectively by cheering for the runners.

nope

When I saw that I stared at my computer screen for a good minute or so because this person is actually suggesting that people would support the message of Black Lives Matter if demonstrators just stood there doing…what the majority of people will be out there doing.

Yeah, okay. If you don’t get why this is offensive, read this and get back to me.

  1. Don’t say “runners’ lives matter!”

fuck this guyOr really, any variation of “all lives matter.” But somehow “runners lives” strikes me as an even stupider false equivalency. While “all lives matter” is thrown out as a fake cry for unity, “runners lives matter” is thrown out as a reason to assert privilege.

privilege

Yep.

Because like it or not, you are privileged to run a marathon. You’re privileged to pay for it. You’re privileged to have the time to train for it. You’re probably privileged to be able to train in a neighborhood where people don’t assume you are running from the cops. You may not see it that way. But the thing is, this isn’t back in the old days where people would start with a whistle and write their names on an index card and be happy with shitty Gatorade. Marathons are major events. Expensive events. Expensive events that some of you are privileged enough to do every weekend. And hell, you have entire clubs dedicated to trying to run a goddamn marathon in all 50 states…that’s pretty much the epitome of privilege.

Before you ask “why would BLM target us runners???”…you need to think about that.

And don’t tell me that “BUT PEOPLE OF ALL RACES RUN MARATHONS!” Because that’s not the point.

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The point is to draw attention to a serious issue by peacefully interrupting a gathering of people who are in some way privileged. And while I hope everyone running can still find a way to finish, I can’t help but read over the reactions to Black Lives Matter and understand exactly why they’re targeting the Twin Cities Marathon.

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Currently based in the Pacific Northwest, you can hire Angry Runner for parties, funerals, and bar mitzvahs.