January 1, 2018

January 1, 2018

We made it through 2017. I remember thinking the same thing about 2016, for much the same reason. In 2016 the country elected the 45th President of the United States in an election that rocked the entire world. We all sat the morning after staring at each other and thinking, "What happened?!" (Hillary Clinton, who lost the election against everybody's expectations, wrote a book about the experience called "What Happened".) Now, it is the first day of 2018. Donald Trump was sworn into office on January 20, 2017 in the official inauguration. The next day millions of people (led by women, but with much support from men) took to the streets in a world-wide protest march the likes of which the world has never seen. And, we've endured the first year (almost) of this presidency.

I have been taking writing a lot more seriously and as such I have been following people who write about writing and promotion. One person in particular, Kristen Lamb, has been very influential for me - not because of her writing style, but her lectures, classes and books on writers promoting themselves in the digital age. One thing she said, as she spoke about Branding was "DO NOT WRITE ABOUT POLITICS". (Unless you're planning to be a political writer, that is.) Her argument makes sense. If people see your name on social media and you're ranting about politics, you're going to leave a bad impression for your budding Brand. When people see your name, they should have a good feeling – that you've made them laugh or that you've been very insightful. You don't want a twinge of hesitation because they associate your name with political arguing and drama. Of course, one can feasibly have a political discussion and it not be horrible, but good luck. Particularly now.

So, for the most part I have avoided politics on social media, which is probably a good thing. But, I'm always thinking about conservation and I want to remember what it was I was thinking as these events unfolded. I want to have something that I've written so that I can look back and remember. Was I right? Was I wrong? Was I in left field smelling a flower while a pop fly was heading my way? What were my thoughts at the beginning of Mueller's investigation? At the end?

To this end I have begun this page. I don't plan to promote it, but please feel free to leave (civil) comments. Somebody wrote (I forget who, probably Stephen King or J.K. Rowling) that writers cannot have the luxury of not writing about politics now. I tend to agree. After the most recent presidential election, and considering who our current president is, we cannot afford to be silent and protect our own brands.

I am mortified that we, as a nation, elected a man who bragged on tape that he kissed women against their will, that he grabbed them by the "pussy", and that he could get away with it because he was a celebrity. I am embarrassed that a man who campaigned on misogyny and racism was elected to represent our country to the world. He commented on Hillary's body more than her policies; he used intimidation tactics; during the nomination campaign he interrupted people and made a circus of himself to keep himself in the news. And, the people fell for it hook, line and sinker. Not just the voters; the media covered NOTHING but Donald Trump for two years straight. They are why this man is our president. But, they didn't vote him in, and they didn't do it alone at any rate. The media prints what people want to read, and people were CLAMORING to read about his latest antics. As a nation, we collectively took leave of our senses.

But, I'm not 100% in agreement with my Democrat friends. I don't, off the cuff, despise everything he says and does. A lot of what he said and did to get elected were just for that sole purpose. He's still a despicable man, don't get me wrong, but some of the things I've seen I rather agree with.

DACA, for example. I cannot say that I feel good about his announcement to terminate the program, but I do, in my heart, feel that it was for the best. NOT because I think these people should be deported, not by a long shot. I also, in my heart, believe that he does not want them deported either. He made a tough decision. And, if you followed his first few months, it was rather easy to see it coming. He used a pattern that goes something like this: He tweets out something – a hint that he might take an action, a stall, and then the action. In the case of the Iran Nuclear Deal, he actually signed it once, then announced later that he would not do it again. He gives Congress plenty of warning in this same fashion – a tweet or remark, a begrudging signature stating that it might be the last, then an end, which tends to happen in the near future. People saw – or should have seen – this decision on DACA coming. Furthermore, DACA should never have been an executive action to begin with. That is what's behind the whole thing – it should never have been his decision to make.

Picture it this way. My friend, the immigrant in school who was brought here illegally as a child, goes from day to day wondering if this is the last day. I don't mean since 45 was sworn in – it has ALWAYS been tenuous. There has always been the possibility that a president would be elected who would cancel the whole thing. It shouldn't have been an executive action; Congress should have made it into law. THEN my friend could rest easy.

But, it wasn't made into law; people just allowed Obama to do what they knew he would – take executive action to stop the deportation of Dreamers – young people who were brought here illegally as children, through no fault of their own, who have otherwise been upstanding citizens. 45 gave plenty of warning that it wouldn't last under him. He campaigned with the promise that he was going to deport every illegal immigrant. What needed to happen was for Congress to put partisanship aside and make DACA a law. It has genuine bipartisan support. 45 gave enough confirmation in his first few weeks in office that he would sign it; but still they didn't act. He knew they wouldn't, so he made the tough choice; he forced their hand. He let them know with plenty of notice that DACA would expire. Rather than allow all those thousands of people go from day to day in fear, he took action. It's a gamble and I don't know that I would have had the nerve, but somebody needed to. We need a Congress is that is not dysfunctional. We need a Senate that we can respect. They have been a laughing stock since way before 45 was elected. (Case in point, letting the federal government shut down in order to get rid of ACA, when they failed miserably to repeal it through legislation.) This and other things 45 has done have been, from my point of view, specifically to make Congress do their job. 

Does this mean I like him? No. But, I do very much appreciate that my Dreamer friends have a better opportunity now to have DACA made into law – that the reality of a pathway to citizenship is more likely now. I wouldn't write this if I did not firmly believe that this was best for this set of people. 

One thing that I have to do is look in the mirror. I need to ask myself how much attention I've paid to local politics – city, county and state. We as a nation need to look at ourselves in the mirror. Why did it take a despicable misogynist to come in and make this happen? What are our congressmen doing? If they're not doing their jobs, then we need to vote them out and vote in people who will. Every US citizen who has expressed outrage needs to think about this. A president does not govern alone. We all need to pay more attention to everybody else in the game. It has been a difficult lesson, but one that I take very seriously. 

Thank you for reading.