Letter to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand about the inauguration of Donald Trump

Dear Senator Gillibrand

I’m writing to ask you to stand together with the Representatives of our state who have chosen to stay away from the inauguration next Friday.

Donald Trump won this office through a campaign of hatred toward half of America.  Since his election he has not wavered from a message of hatred toward half the country.  He will be the constitutionally legitimate President of the United States and I have always believed that if you cannot feel respect for the individual you show respect for the office. However, the inauguration celebrations, apart from constitutionally mandated taking of the oath, are fundamentally a celebration of the individual. As long as he displays contempt and hatred toward half the country and makes no effort to heal the wounds he has created there is no obligation of any of us to celebrate this person.

Going back to the constitutionally mandated part of the proceedings, the taking of the oath: This person will take an oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”. No one has ever doubted the intent of a previous President at the time of their inauguration to faithfully exercise the requirements of that oath, even if we have different views of how we interpret the Constitution. Donald Trump however has made it abundantly clear that he has no knowledge of or any interest in the contents of the Constitution and when he has spoken on topics germain to it he has made it absolutely clear that he is contemptuous of its principles. The taking of this oath on Friday will be a travesty. No one is under any obligation to celebrate this farce and unless between now and Friday he shows that he has acquired some level respect for the Constitution staying away from this farce is a display of love of country. Trump is not normal, and until he takes steps to normalize himself refusing to normalize him in any way is the patriotic thing to do.

I am very proud of your record as our Senator in the United States Senate.  I appreciate that the Senate is a different place from the House.  I will however be prouder of you still if you choose to stand together with our representatives and stay away from this travesty this Friday.

Thank you

Letter to Representative Nydia Velazquez about the inauguration of Donald Trump

Dear Representative Velazquez

I’m writing to thank you very much for your decision to stay away from the inauguration next Friday.  I am very grateful for the stand that you have taken.

Donald Trump won this office through a campaign of hatred toward half of America.  Since his election he has not wavered from a message of hatred toward half the country.  He will be the constitutionally legitimate President of the United States and I have always believed that if you cannot feel respect for the individual you show respect for the office. However, the inauguration celebrations, apart from constitutionally mandated taking of the oath, are fundamentally a celebration of the individual. As long as he displays contempt and hatred toward half the country and makes no effort to heal the wounds he has created there is no obligation of any of us to celebrate this person.

Going back to the constitutionally mandated part of the proceedings, the taking of the oath: This person will take an oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”. No one has ever doubted the intent of a previous President at the time of their inauguration to faithfully exercise the requirements of that oath, even if we have different views of how we interpret the Constitution. Donald Trump however has made it abundantly clear that he has no knowledge of or any interest in the contents of the Constitution and when he has spoken on topics germain to it he has made it absolutely clear that he is contemptuous of its principles. The taking of this oath on Friday will be a travesty. No one is under any obligation to celebrate this farce and unless between now and Friday he shows that he has acquired some level respect for the Constitution staying away from this farce is a display of love of country. Trump is not normal, and until he takes steps to normalize himself refusing to normalize him in any way is the patriotic thing to do.

I am therefore very, very grateful for the stand that you have taken and am very proud of you as my Congresswoman.

Thank you

North Carolina is no longer classified as a democracy

Andrew Reynolds

“Indeed, North Carolina does so poorly on the measures of legal framework and voter registration, that on those indicators we rank alongside Iran and Venezuela. When it comes to the integrity of the voting district boundaries no country has ever received as low a score as the 7/100 North Carolina received. North Carolina is not only the worst state in the USA for unfair districting but the worst entity in the world ever analyzed by the Electoral Integrity Project.

That North Carolina can no longer call its elections democratic is shocking enough, but our democratic decline goes beyond what happens at election time. The most respected measures of democracy — Freedom House, POLITY and the Varieties of Democracy project — all assess the degree to which the exercise of power depends on the will of the people: That is, governance is not arbitrary, it follows established rules and is based on popular legitimacy.

The extent to which North Carolina now breaches these principles means our state government can no longer be classified as a full democracy.”

Trump is just the latest obstacle on the zigzagging course of racial progress

Margaret Burnham

“Clearly this will not be redemption redux, and one would hope that the rule of law would hold, but it is also true that, notwithstanding the horrors of the 20th century, we don’t really understand what persuades ordinary people to butcher their neighbours and co-citizens. Americans are just as human as Rwandans, Germans and Serbians; no more, no less.

The first reconstruction opened, for an exhilarating moment, a window through which former slave communities could envision a new political life. The post-reconstruction counter-revolutions suggest that such instants of transformation can be quickly subverted, and that the challenge of recapturing what was lost is arduous and protracted.

The myth that racism is dead has been variously styled “separate but equal”, “colourblindness” and “post-racialism”. Whatever the term, it is the duty of all of us who fear for the US to remember that though racial attitudes are not unalterable or homogeneous, race will always register and resistance will always resurface. Revolutionaries holding alternative understandings of what ails America as a nation – “it’s the ‘class struggle’, stupid” – who want to win elections, or transform power relations more fundamentally, would do well to examine the politics of the redemption – and that 95-year gap in North Carolina.”

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/dec/19/trump-zigzagging-course-racial-progress-american-civil-war-civil-rights

The March for Immigrant NY, Sunday Dec 18th 2016

The March for Immigrant NY, Sunday Dec 18th 2016

On Sunday, December 18th, withstanding rain, thousands of New Yorkers came out on globally recognized International Migrants Day to attend The March for Immigrant NY – International Migrants Day March. Organized by The New York Immigration Coalition and sponsored by 85 organizations representing immigrant rights and advocacy, legal services, labor, faith, civil rights, LGBTQI, women’s rights, and anti-violence groups, today’s march brought together New Yorkers to send a clear message to President-elect Trump and his administration that immigrant communities are here to stay. Rally participants pledged to help protect and defend immigrant New Yorkers, and help fight back against hate and anti-immigrant policies.

“Prepare For Regime Change, Not Policy Change”

N. Turkuler Isiksel ▪ November 13, 2016

Don’t count on the elaborate system of checks and balances instituted by the founders. James Madison’s ingenious machine was designed to withstand the mundane incompetence, greed, and short-sightedness of politicians, but it cannot weather the onslaught of an aspiring tyrant hell-bent on destroying it. Consider that the separation of powers, the primary mechanism Madison envisaged for holding tyranny at bay, is all but irrelevant while Republicans control the House, the Senate, and the presidency—particularly once they get their hands on key federal judicial appointments. All autocrats set about dismantling countervailing power structures, but with the inauspicious ideological alignment of all three branches of government, Trump won’t even have to try.

https://www.dissentmagazine.org/blog/trump-victory-regime-change-lessons-autocrats-erdogan-putin

Messages of Hope

Messages of Hope

New Yorkers leaving messages of hope in Union Square Station, November 20th 2016