Sunday, November 20, 2016

Holiday Giving

I have been going back and forth as to whether or not to share this with the world.  Here goes nothing.  I hope I won't have to disable comments.  I post this not to offend anyone, or to initiate any arguments, political or otherwise.  I'm sharing because this is what my family decided as a group to do this year, and I believe it may be of use to others.

This year we sent out variations on the following message, and I'd like to share it publicly now:

"Dear Family and Friends,

"Megan, Olivia and I want to try something different this holiday season.  To say that the election this year was a disappointment would be a huge understatement.  We honestly believe that this is a dark time in our lives, politically speaking.  So we are asking all of our friends and family members that might be sympathetic to the mess that our country is in to please do this for us:  instead of giving us stuff for the holidays, we would like you to take every penny that you would have spent on us and instead donate it to one of the causes that are going to be under siege with a Trump presidency.

"I know we have tried to do this in the past, to unplug the "Christmas Machine," but it somehow always got away from us.  But this year we are going to ask you all to please forego ANY holiday giving to us.  No little tokens. No “just a little something to open.”  No stocking stuffers.  Nothing.  Take every cent you might have spent on gifts of stuff and instead give that money to something truly worthy.  (Kids are, of course, exempt; we are happy to get something for the kids!)

"Last Week Tonight, John Oliver’s show on HBO, had some excellent suggestions and we are sharing them with you below.  This is the complete list of John Oliver’s recommended charities, but feel free to find your own.  You know what the issues are.  And if you have a preference on a charity to which you would like us to donate in your name, please let us know.  We'd love donations to the Trevor Project or the Trans Lifeline.

"An article on John Oliver can be found at

"The Trevor Project, for LGBTQ youth:

"The Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund, for immigrant rights:

"Planned Parenthood, for women’s reproductive health:;jsessionid=FA6641A45265C5F542940F5929F82A7B.app259b?df_id=12913&12913.donation=form1&s_src=Evergreen_c3_PPNonDirected_shorturl

"The Center for Reproductive Rights, also for women’s reproductive health:

"Natural Resources Defense Council, if you care about climate change:

"The International Refugee Assistance Project, for refugees from ISIS and other world tragedies:

"The NAACP Legal Defense Fund, to fight racism:

"The Trans Lifeline, a suicide and help line for trans youth:

"We all believe that is truly one of those times when like-minded people need to band together, walk the walk, and put our money not only where our mouths are, but where it will do the very most good for the most people.  It’s up to us to shine as much light as we can in these dark times.

"To better days (and holidays) in the future.  And know that we love you all.

"Always, Megan, Tom and Olivia"

So that's it.  If nothing else, I hope the links are useful for any charitable giving you might want to do.  And have the happiest of holidays, from my family to yours.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


So it's the morning after the 2016 US election.  Trump won.  Dear God in Heaven, Trump won.  We can look forward to four years minimum of misogyny, homophobia, isolationism, racism and God only knows what else.

The main reason voters are citing is that they wanted "change."  They wanted an outsider who would come in and "shake things up."

To which I say, be careful what you wish for.

After the mess he inherited when he assumed office in January 2009, President Obama has been steadily, quietly and determinedly reducing the national debt and rebuilding the economy.  Unemployment is at an historic low.  And he has not gotten one iota of credit for it from the people who voted Trump last night.

I remember reading some years ago about something that I thought was the most peculiar thing I'd ever heard of.  Apparently there is a segment of the Japanese population, usually the older folks, who are literally incapable of hearing Japanese if it's being spoken by a Westerner.  The idea that only Japanese people can speak this beautiful, complex language is so deeply ingrained that even the most fluent of Western speakers is heard as gibberish.  They just can't get their minds around the idea.

I wonder if the same thing isn't going on here.

I wonder if there isn't so much white anger and fear bubbling below the surface that some people simply cannot accept the idea of a black leader making things better.  Which Obama has done, in the face of hatred, obstructionism and deep, deep partisanship.  My sister, who testified before Congress in Obama's first year in 2009, overheard two Congressmen saying to one another that "this guy gets NOTHING."  Anecdotal, but certainly arguable in the light of ensuing events, what with unfilled appointments, executive action having to be taken over legislation, and all the other political crap we've had to deal with for eight years.  I think that some people have their heads so deeply in the sand that they simply cannot see how much better things are than they were eight years ago.  There is a whole cycle of memes to be found that start, "if Obama were white...."  I think there is a lot of truth to be found there.

Which is why we find ourselves as Americans witnessing our first black President turning over the keys to the White House to the first candidate endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan.

My heart is broken today, and I don't know if it will ever be mended.  I'm nearing the end of my days, but I fear for the world my daughter now will have to live in, in an America divided by hate; an America that seems to say it's OK to treat women and minorities badly; an America that turns a blind eye to global warming until it's too late to reverse it; an America that I truly believe will find itself feared and shunned by the rest of the world.