The Age ~ Stephanie Hiller

Stephanie Hiller

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Call them by their names

Posted on November 2, 2020 by Stephanie Hiller

I like to sit on my porch, on these beautiful fall days, and watch the ravens cavort in the crepe myrtle trees. People walk by, kids on bikes, a mom pulling a baby in one of those cute little bicycle carriages. The sky is almost as blue as the sky in New Mexico, and for some unknown reason the chemtrails have stopped. 

Yesterday I visited our farmers’ market to enjoy the bounty. The display at Oak Hill Farm was dazzling, tubs of golden flowers out in front of the booth, neatly piled vegetables glowing yellow and orange and red. The market was abundant, full of life.

Afterwards I stopped at the Sonoma Community Center to visit the display for the Day of the Dead, a beautiful outdoor gallery of photos portraying local figures who have left their imprint on our town. I know so little of Sonoma’s history. I think of the hands that assembled this display to honor our departed ones, and I thank them. 

We live in a beautiful place. In this dangerous moment, we are tucked away in nice homes, still eating fresh food and listening to zoominars, watching movies, and waiting for the most uncertain, most dangerous election in our history.

We are blessed, but we are not unaffected. It’s clear that the choice is between worse and worser – and worser could be very very bad. 

Trump who has been steadily dismantling programs and government agencies to say nothing of the ultimate target, the safety net, would be able, with his cronies, to tear the house down and devour the remains. 

Biden will be better, a “return to normal” if you will, but the opposition he will face will be enormous, and what about Kamala, already under slanderous attack on unsocial media, an easy target – a woman, and brown.

Surely the rage of white supremacists will intensify, and their aggression could be fierce. They are crazy, these fanatics, striving to bring down the entire edifice to invoke the Apocalypse when the gentle messiah will return – to save them?

Climate change, meanwhile, is racing on unabated. 

Progressive organizations are saying it’s up to “we the people” to rescue this sinking ship. But how? Activists are organizing to demand an accurate vote and respond in the event of violent outbreaks in the street; they are smart, dedicated to nonviolence, many of them young. I watched a training presented by Kehilla Synagogue and San Francisco’s 1000 Grandmothers for Future Generations. There was no hostility there, only pragmatic suggestions for how to organize in small affinity groups and be prepared. I think we should all be doing that, even if we do not plan to go out in the streets to protest and shout. We need each other; and even if only by text and zoom, we can stay connected, and offer some form of support to the fight to save our democracy so we can all get on with the work that urgently needs to be done.

We must overcome the limitations imposed by the government and the plague that have made meetings and gatherings so difficult. Small groups are permissible, up to ten. Some people already have pods, associations with a few families they feel they can trust to take precautions and “stay clean,” and help care for their kids.

We are unprepared for what may come, food shortages, legions of homeless, rising pandemic numbers, or a stock market crash. And while none of this may happen next week or in the weeks to come, we are definitely not out of the woods yet, regardless of the election results. The economy is tilted toward the very rich. The pandemic has shown us the holes in our food chain. Low income families have been hit hard. We have little or no protection against gangs with guns, or militias that might appear. We are not ready for a revolution; but revolution may come.

Bob Gardner, a veteran Republican strategist, wrote an interesting, rather optimistic letter to Trump published in the IT, urging him to celebrate his victory and immediately resign, assuring him that he will face repeated impeachment if he remains, and inevitable disgrace.

Trump has already disgraced himself and this country. There is no end to his disgrace; governments around the world are sneering. Widespread nonviolent ridicule would be well-deserved and perhaps the best weapon we possess. It’s time to call these devils out, to name them for what they are, a gang of thugs. They have to go. But they are not gone yet, and it’s unclear that Congress will take a stronger stand if Trump wins a second term.

In the end, they will meet their demise, these old white men with both hands in the till, these insane, destructive fiends. They will be vanquished, and something better will emerge, a new society, just, united in the great cause of stopping climate change, giving up warfare, ending racism, stopping the production of biochemical weapons like the coronavirus. (It may have been carried by bats, but bats didn’t make it.) But how long will it take?

We have made a toxic mess all over the planet, and there may be no way out for the moment, and a long struggle ahead.

We had best get prepared.

 



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