Amy Selwyn is a storyteller, writer, and dog mom. The views and opinions expressed in this article are hers and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Our Site.
Last Tuesday morning, I cast my vote for the first female president of the United States. At 57 years of age, I was alive to bear witness to the night we voted to shatter that glass ceiling by electing Hillary Clinton as our next leader. I voted for Hillary because I believed in her, I believed in her agenda for social progress and I believed in continuing the work of the Obama mandate.
Leaving the polls, I felt euphoric. And so, so hopeful and excited.
By 10:30 pm on election night (8 November, 2016), my world foundation was destroyed.
Everything I believed about America — how we behave, how we shelter the vulnerable, how we hold as self-evident the truth that says all men and women are created equal — was in tatters. I was desperate, panicked and shaken.
That was five days ago.
Today, I am sad. I am disgusted. I am furious. I am outraged. I am shocked.
I am also wide awake.
This may be the hidden “gift” in what feels to me as the darkest moment in my country’s history. Namely, that a loud, clanging, horrid alarm bell has gone off and, in its unceasing insistence, is going to get me up and into active participation with democracy. I’m gonna work day and night to save it and preserve it.
(Let’s just say the craziest thing happens. Let’s say Trump and Pence turn out to be really progressive leaders who effect positive and radical change. Well, then I’ll rejoice and still be glad I woke up. For the record, I harbor little hope on that one…)
It’s early days. I’ve come up with five things I am committing to right now to help me — and possibly others — get through the next four years. And let me just say what I mean by “get through”. It goes way beyond survival. It means actively working to thwart every single friggin’ attempt to curb our civil liberties, to institutionalize racism, to resist turning inward and isolationist when the world is so obviously interconnected (and, let’s face it, where we’ve left huge messes around the planet). To stand up and speak out and not take bigotry and demagoguery lying down.
Here’s my opening list. Please, I welcome thoughts from others. It has taken on a sad meaning in the last six days, but let’s be what Barack Obama told us to be. Fired Up. Ready to Go.
There will be many arguments, many discussions. Tweets, posts on Facebook. I will not devolve into Fox News-style screaming matches. I will call people, including my friends and people whose beliefs and opinions mirror my own, on it when they show disrespect. I will not ridicule another’s opinion; that is Trump-like. That is base. Instead, I’m going to say, “I disagree because…”. Social media allows and even encourages us to behave like bullies and a**holes. I will reject it.
When they go low, we go high.
Here’s mine: educated, liberal, white, middle class, Jewish, Northeast, Ivy League, socially progressive, multilingual, well-traveled.
And just about everyone in my social media networks and friends/family group can be described in many if not all of the same terms. I know very few people who voted for Trump. I commit to finding some and listening. Speaking, too, but listening, most of all.
I also commit to reading views from “the other side”. There is much written and much available on why people feel Trump is the answer. I will read some pieces like this. And try to understand the deeper story, the human story beneath the facts and figures and use/abuse of statistics.
Get friends talking. Get us discussing — arguing, yes, but with respect and civility — and get us listening. Work hard (and it will be hard, no doubt) to explore “the other side”. Not to reach consensus. We’re not going to and we don’t need to. That’s the whole point. This isn’t about uniformity. This is about learning to tolerate difference. To appreciate it. To see its value.
Understanding is the goal, not persuasion, conversion or agreement.
I am going to take whatever I gave last year (because writing a check was my primary form of involvement) and I will double that figure. I’ll aim to triple it, in truth. It will mean giving up something else, because the budget is already stretched. Supporting the groups that protect the vulnerable — African Americans, Muslims, Latinos, gay people, the disabled, Jews, religious minorities, women and refugees, plus our wildlife, our wilderness, the air we breathe, climate research, and on and on.
I used to wonder why people would “bother” with protests when all they could only muster were 10 or 12 locals picketing in front of the town hall. I defined protest as huge, vast and newsworthy. Millions on the mall in DC.
I don’t see it that way anymore. Because the truth is, I remember driving past those 10 or 12 locals. Their signs and their chants made an impression.
I’m going to do more than write a check. I’m going to speak up and speak out against every liberty threatened, every vulnerable person placed at risk, every assault on and affront to this Union and our beloved, precious Constitution and Bill of Rights.
These are my starting points. I welcome other ideas, respectfully expressed. How can we come together as a people — right and left, conservative and liberal, man and woman, black and white, you name it — and fight for what many of us, myself included, took for granted and always assumed would be preserved?
We can — and must — get fired up. And be 100% ready to go.
This story first appeared on Medium and is republished here with permission.
Tiffany Ringler, Staff Writer
December 2, 2016
For liberals and democrats Donald Trump was the last person wanted in office. The goal of this article is not to poke fun at either party, but rather how to survive a presidency that could potentially incorporate cause disunity.
Let’s face it, many are still heated over the results of the election and fear what our country will be like during these next four years. One major tip I would give as a liberal myself is to not lash out in violence. Just a week or two ago I saw an article about the beating and torture of a man with special needs. He happened to be a Trump supporter and was violently beaten and tortured for hours. It turned my stomach. We must not lash out in violence because it just hurts our cause and portrays a negative image of democratic ideals. I would advice peaceful protests instead.
If we can do these things during the presidency of Donald Trump we will accomplish a lot. We must stand up for what is right and still treat others with kindness.
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Speier got her start in politics working as an aide for Rep. Leo Ryan (D-Calif.), her political mentor who represented much of the same parts of northern California that Speier’s district encompasses today. In 1978, Speier accompanied Ryan on a trip to Jonestown, a settlement in Guyana to investigate claims of human rights abuses by cult leader Jim Jones and his followers, many of whom had roots in the San Francisco area. When Ryan’s party attempted to leave Guyana with Jonestown defectors, gunmen ambushed the group, killing Ryan and wounding Speier, who survived by playing dead. That evening, more than 900 residents of Jonestown—including Jones himself—died by mass murder-suicide.
I heard someone say, grief isn’t a life sentence, it’s a life passage. It’s the one common human experience we all have at one time or another. But, we didn’t expect it to be the death of a child, did we? If you’re reading this, it’s likely you’ve lost a child or been affected by the loss of a child. You’re now discovering grieving this loss is the hardest thing you’ve ever done.
I know, because suddenly, without warning, my life changed. My beautiful 16-year old son came home from school complaining of a headache and a fever. The doctor diagnosed him with the flu. But it wasn’t. Sometime during the night, my boy was taken from me forever. I found him the next morning in his bed, lifeless. The misdiagnosis was actually a swift and deadly form of bacterial meningitis.
Have you ever felt such incredible emotion as losing your child? It’s feared by all parents and an unimaginable loss. Unimaginable, until it happens to you. People refer to it as “the worst that can happen,” and that’s exactly what it feels like.
“In the years following my son’s death, I discovered, no matter how great my loss, or how deep my grief, the world does not stop.”
In the years following my son’s death, I discovered, no matter how great my loss, or how deep my grief, the world does not stop. In fact, it intensifies.
I remember thinking… how can I ever be happy again? I felt as though my pain was visible to others, and I would forever be wearing grief as a mask and a tagline…”I’m Sandy Peckinpah and I’ve lost a child.”
Then a friend gave me a journal and said, “Write. Just write.” The first blank page was so difficult. I could only put down one sentence, “My son died and my life will never be the same.” The next day, I wrote a paragraph, and each day after that I found words came more easily. My journal became my safe haven to empty the well of my sorrow, pouring tears of ink onto paper. And for a little while, I could let my emotions rest.
I had to survive this. I had three living children who needed a whole mother. I was not willing to sacrifice my role in their lives by succumbing to paralyzing grief. I kept writing. Words pulled me and pushed me. As weeks went on, I’d read back over the journal entries. I began to see something remarkable. I’d survived another day, another week, another month, and I was growing stronger. I’d see words of hope illuminating my way.
There’s no magic secret to the journal. Just pick up a pen and begin with one word or sentence. Keep writing. Healing is not on a timetable. In fact, time doesn’t fix this kind of loss. Healing comes from actively pursuing life again. After awhile, you’ll look back on your words and not recognize the person you once were. You’ll see how strong you really are.
“Healing is not on a timetable. In fact, time doesn’t fix this kind of loss.”
I used to believe the cliché “everything happens for a reason,” but with this kind of tragedy, it seems to be reversed. When a tragedy like this happens, it can be the starting place to give it reason and relevance. When you recognize this, it’s the moment your grieving will shift.
Imagine that. What would it feel like? I used to fantasize and picture my life without the pain by writing out that very question, What would it be like to feel peace around Garrett’s death? I would visualize myself without the veil of sorrow and allow the comfort of happiness to flow in. And for a brief moment, I could feel it. As time went on, I was able to reach that peaceful feeling more frequently. I had the power within the pages of my journal to compartmentalize my sorrow. Once you’re aware of what it feels like, you’ll be able to access it more easily.
It’s been decades since my beautiful son left this earth and sometimes tears still surprise me. But the work of healing has brought me a harmonious blend of resolution and comfort as my heart joyfully connects with the sweet ballad of his memories. Healing doesn’t mean you’ll never feel the sadness. It means you’ll be able to have memories without attaching intense despair.
“My child’s loss taught me to love harder and appreciate every single day.”
Use your journal as your safe place, and you’ll begin to form a new relationship with your child, telling stories, and feeling the joy you once had when they were alive.
I now look at the life of my son and marvel at his 16 years, 3 months, and 10 days. He was the first to call me mom. His death was the birth of my new life. learning how to live with his loss, and recognizing who I am because of it. I chose resilience and my journal was a big part of helping me rise up.
My child’s loss taught me to love harder and appreciate every single day. It taught me to reach out to others and begin sharing my story in hopes it could reassure other wounded parents there is life after loss.
As the years go by, I’ve learned a mother’s love never diminishes, in fact, my love for my son has grown, just as it would have if he was still alive. I am still his mother. No child dies without a legacy and a purpose for those that are left behind. It’s up to you, his mother, his father. Honor your child by healing. They wouldn’t want it any other way.
Donald Trump likens avoiding contracting STDs during his single years to Vietnam in Howard Stern interview
In an unearthed interview from 1997, Donald Trump claimed he was a “brave soldier” for avoiding STDs during his single years in the late ’90s.
“It’s amazing, I can’t even believe it. I’ve been so lucky in terms of that whole world, it is a dangerous world out there. It’s like Vietnam, sort of. It is my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave solider,” Trump said in the interview when Howard Stern asked how he handled making sure he wasn’t contracting STDs from the women he was sleeping with.
The business-mogul-turned-politician elaborated on the fact in the interview, calling women’s vaginas “potential landmines” and saying “there’s some real danger there.”
Also appearing on Stern’s show in 1993, Trump bragged about his promiscuous lifestyle while single and stated that men who didn’t go to Vietnam didn’t need to feel guilty because dating during the AIDS epidemic in the ’80s was also dangerous.
“You know, if you’re young, and in this era, and if you have any guilt about not having gone to Vietnam, we have our own Vietnam — it’s called the dating game,” Trump said to Stern in a 1993 interview. “Dating is like being in Vietnam. You’re the equivalent of a soldier going over to Vietnam.”
The presidential candidate seems to have changed his mind, however, as he stated in a New Hampshire rally in late 2015 that he “always felt a little guilty” for not being drafted due to an existing foot problem.
Trump’s many appearances on Stern’s show have come under scrutiny ever since the beginning of his campaign. Often lewd and inappropriate, especially when it comes to women, the interviews seem to exhibit more of the crass talk seen in the 2005 leaked Access Hollywood video where Trump is heard bragging about grabbing women “by the p——” and that he can “do whatever” he wants to them because he’s a “star.”
The Republican candidate has dismissed these statements as “just words” and called them “locker-room talk” during the town hall presidential debate on Oct. 9 and denied ever sexually assaulting a woman.
However, since the release of the tapes, Trump has been accused of sexual assault by a number of women — including a former PEOPLE magazine reporter.