A Yale history professor’s 20-point guide to defending democracy under a Trump presidency — Quartz

I came across this article today and thought it should be further shared. Defending Democracy under a Trump Presidency. I am posting the intro and the 20 points from the article, but you should really go to the article and read the text corresponding to each point.

Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so. Here are twenty lessons from the twentieth century, adapted to the circumstances of today:

1. Do not obey in advance.
2. Defend an institution.
3. Recall professional ethics.
4. When listening to politicians, distinguish certain words.
5. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives.
6. Be kind to our language.
7. Stand out.
8. Believe in truth.
9. Investigate.
10. Practice corporeal politics.
11. Make eye contact and small talk.
12. Take responsibility for the face of the world.
13. Hinder the one-party state.
14. Give regularly to good causes, if you can.
15. Establish a private life.
16. Learn from others in other countries.
17. Watch out for the paramilitaries.
18. Be reflective if you must be armed.
19. Be as courageous as you can.
20. Be a patriot.

Source: A Yale history professor’s 20-point guide to defending democracy under a Trump presidency — Quartz

The Movie “Miracle” And President Carter’s Confidence Speech

So I was watching the movie Miracle (the story of the 1980 US Olympic hockey team) right after the election, because I like hockey and I like that movie. And maybe I needed a little something to help me feel slightly better about my country.

But this scene in the movie with a scene of the guys having fun at a team Christmas party, overlaid with the “Crisis of Confidence” speech President Carter gave in 1979 really struck me.

Here is but a small excerpt from Crisis of Confidence:

What you see too often in Washington and elsewhere around the country is a system of government that seems incapable of action. You see a Congress twisted and pulled in every direction by hundreds of well-financed and powerful special interests. You see every extreme position defended to the last vote, almost to the last breath by one unyielding group or another. You often see a balanced and a fair approach that demands sacrifice, a little sacrifice from everyone, abandoned like an orphan without support and without friends.

Often you see paralysis and stagnation and drift. You don’t like it, and neither do I. What can we do?

First of all, we must face the truth, and then we can change our course. We simply must have faith in each other, faith in our ability to govern ourselves, and faith in the future of this nation. Restoring that faith and that confidence to America is now the most important task we face. It is a true challenge of this generation of Americans.

One of the visitors to Camp David last week put it this way: “We’ve got to stop crying and start sweating, stop talking and start walking, stop cursing and start praying. The strength we need will not come from the White House, but from every house in America.”

We know the strength of America. We are strong. We can regain our unity. We can regain our confidence. We are the heirs of generations who survived threats much more powerful and awesome than those that challenge us now. Our fathers and mothers were strong men and women who shaped a new society during the Great Depression, who fought world wars, and who carved out a new charter of peace for the world.

We ourselves are the same Americans who just ten years ago put a man on the Moon. We are the generation that dedicated our society to the pursuit of human rights and equality. And we are the generation that will win the war on the energy problem and in that process rebuild the unity and confidence of America.

We are at a turning point in our history. There are two paths to choose. One is a path I’ve warned about tonight, the path that leads to fragmentation and self-interest. Down that road lies a mistaken idea of freedom, the right to grasp for ourselves some advantage over others. That path would be one of constant conflict between narrow interests ending in chaos and immobility. It is a certain route to failure.

Seems like much of this can be applied to today. And yeah, the special interests won. Reagan won. Trump won. America lost but hopefully isn’t lost.

Dave Chapelle’s SNL Monologue

“I’m going to give Trump a chance. And we the historically disenfranchised… demand that he give us one too.”

Everything still sucks, right? Yes it does. And so I’ve found myself watching Dave Chapelle’s stand-up from Saturday Night Live on Saturday over and over again. Because it feels good to laugh.

Kurt Vonnegut, via Breakfast of Champions, on Veteran’s Day

It’s fine, obviously, to celebrate Veteran’s Day. However, it is a shame that the day that used to be Armistice Day that celebrated the end of conflict in World War I has been mostly forgotten in this country.

“I will come to a time in my backwards trip when November eleventh, accidentally my birthday, was a sacred day called Armistice Day. When I was a boy, and when Dwayne Hoover was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.

Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not.

So I will throw Veterans’ Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don’t want to throw away any sacred things.” –Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions

The Darkest Timeline

the_darkest_timeline_by_joogz-d6a6pcu
So yeah, the election. We are officially in the darkest timeline.

I’d like to tell the world that not all of us are okay with this and in fact, more of us voted for Hillary than we did Drumpf. But that is letting the United States as a society off the hook. The fact of the matter is we as a nation elected the candidate LITERALLY endorsed by the KKK.

I got perhaps 3 hours of sleep last night. To be honest, I was worried about telling my kids the results. Because they could see how much of a bully Trump is. To them, it is obvious. And I hated to tell them that hate had won. That the biggest bully had won. But you know what, I told them what had happened and they were okay. And I told them we would be okay (even if I don’t know how much I believe this myself).

And to my fellow Christians. You are not bringing people closer to God with this stuff, aligning yourself with one political party that would produce Donald Trump. The man who brags about killing the families of terrorists. The man who treats women the way he treats them. The man who started his campaign with this:

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems to us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

The Christ I know would stand up for the poorest among us. He would welcome those into the country that are fleeing war, without question. Without some test. Jesus was for piece. He was for the meek inheriting the Earth. Jesus was for being humble.

When asked what the most important of the Commandments to follow, Jesus said nothing of abortion. But he did say this:

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” [Matthew 22:37-40 KJV]

This is the antithesis of Trump.

Finally, I have finally given up Facebook. I’ll miss seeing people’s pictures they post and telling them happy birthday. I won’t miss much else. And I’m fine with that. I probably spent too much time there anyhow. I’d delete my profile completely, but I have some photos there I’d like to save.

In conclusion, we are indeed in the darkest timeline. Hate has been unequivocally rewarded. Maybe we are better than this, but more than likely we were always this bad and it’s just know the final veil has been removed.

Article on NPR: Kids On Bikes: The Sci-Fi Nostalgia Of ‘Stranger Things’, ‘Paper Girls’ & ‘Super 8’

First of all, can you all tell I’m obsessed with this show, Stranger Things?

I came across this article today on NPR and it seemed written for me specifically. I adore ‘Stranger Things’, ‘Paper Girls’ & ‘Super 8’. In fact, I still consider ‘Super 8’ to be 2/3 of a really really good movie.

Anyhow, NPR explains in this article some of the similar themes in these three things.

Autumn 1979. Ohio. Five kids on bikes tool around their suburban development and stumble into an adventure involving monsters and sinister authority figures.

Autumn 1983. Indiana. Four kids on bikes tool around their suburban development and stumble into an adventure involving monsters and sinister authority figures.

Autumn 1988. Ohio. Four kids on bikes tool around their suburban development and stumble into an adventure involving monsters and sinister authority figures.

These are the setups of three recent pop culture offerings: respectively, the 2011 filmSuper 8, the new Netflix series Stranger Things, and the Image Comics series Paper Girls, which launched last year.

The article goes on to list the core tenets of what they call the “kids on bikes” genre: The Bikes, The Time, The Place, The Adults, The Authority Figures, and The Monster.

This interests me greatly as I look for patterns in entertainment that I like in the hopes of recreating it with my own spin in my own stories.

Stranger Things Opening Credits

This show, man. I’m only 5 episodes in, but I am loving it. I had to take a couple days break, though, because I was so enthralled with the story that I could not sleep afterward.

I love the 80s aesthetic and settings. The  child protagonists, ala movies like Goonies (I can still at my age feel that longing for adventure in my bones) are great. Winona Ryder and the other adults do a really good job as well. This is one of those shows that you finish and immediately go looking for something like it, and are both disappointed that there isn’t much like it and also reassured because one of the main reasons your like it is because it is so unique.

The band behind the theme song, by the way, is called S U R V I V E. You can pre-order their upcoming album on bandcamp.