Saturday, June 24, 2017

Serving Beauty



So, I want to tell you that I have trouble with beauty. I was never beautiful, pretty maybe, but I used to have beautiful hair. It was brunette. It shown auburn in the sun. It was hair that put hairstylists into paroxysms of ecstasy.  It was so long my friends once used a yard stick to measure it. My hair was longer than a yardstick. It was silky. It was gorgeous. It made people reprimand me any time I cut an inch or two off of it. It had the perfect wave. It got apologies whenever it was caught in closing doors. My hair only needed a moderately presentable head to hang itself on and random people on the street would remark about its beauty. 

Then, it started to fall out. 

Over time, I spent thousands of dollars trying to get my hair back until one day, my husband had a heart attack, a mild one, but it was an eye-opener. I realized that having hair was not worth one more penny, not worth one more moment of my time. 

Well, I tried to realize that it wasn't not worth one more moment of my time.

I get up in the morning and my husband will hug me deeply and lean down so I can kiss his head. I know everything is okay when he leans down toward me that way. Throughout the day, I'll be going along fine, talking to my friends without thinking for one instant about how I look.

Then, I'll go into Costco or something and some bored employee will start talking to me without really looking at me. 

There's a chunky person standing in front of him, one with very short hair, someone who is balding even. He asks me a question.

"Sir, do you want your things in a box? Sir?"

I try to take a deep breath. I try to, but I can't. I try to make eye contact with him. I try to, but I can't. Sometimes, he will recognize his mistake and begin to spin backward and backward and backward and try to apologize. I usually nod then, and find a way to answer his question. He didn't intend to insult me so deeply. He's just a dork. Everybody is a dork sometimes. 

But there are other guys. When I finally manage to look them in the eye, I can see I have not passed muster, not even for a middle-aged housewife shopping for groceries. These kind of men aren't sorry about calling me 'sir.' They seem to expect that all of creation should manage its beauty in a way that is always about their own tastes and their own sensibilities. These men judge. They shouldn't even have to look at my ugliness in front of them.

These are the guys who hurt.

So, I've been reading about the whole bathroom thing. To listen to the news, you might think that people, the so-called Christian conservative, were going post sentries to deny entrance to each ladies room for anyone who doesn't pass muster. My church doesn't have sentries at the bathroom doors, but I wonder about their churches?

These people are so furious about the labels on bathroom doors. 

At a small-town festival I was enjoying last week, a woman interrupted a conversation I was having with a friend.

"Do you want to sign our petition to put proper labels back on bathroom doors?"

We both glared at her. We wanted to finish our conversation. She didn't get the hint.

"We need to get back to normal," she said.

"No," my friend said pointing to the petition in her hand. "That's just an excuse to harass the LGBT community."

The woman held the petition out to me. 

"No," was all I managed to say. I can not think on my feet.

And this woman kept talking about the labels on bathroom doors. She just went on and on and on, even though we both had said no and stood there glaring at her. She'd interrupted a perfectly nice conversation and she just kept talking about the labels on a fucking bathroom door.

"No, I will not sign it," I repeated.

She was not finished. In fact, she only got louder. Was this woman never going to leave us alone?

"How are you going to protect girls from sexual assault?" she yelled. 

Something snapped. I forgot where I was, in the thick of a family-friendly festival.

"Believe me," I yelled back, "no words on a bathroom door are going to keep a damned predator from being a damned predator. I'm sure of that. So now, I want to know. Because I look gender-questionable, are you going to force me to drop my pants at the door for a gender check every fucking time I need to pee?"

It was then, just at that moment, that I realized that there might have been some redeeming reason I lost my hair and any claim I might have had to serving beauty. It might have been a damned good reason. I realized that I don't want anyone at a restroom door or at Costco or anywhere else questioning my damned gender or anyone's gender before any of us can pass on through and live our lives in peace.

Thank you for listening, jules

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Republican's New Deathcare Plan

Last night, I watched police officers drag people out of their wheelchairs and carry them away to be arrested. That had to hurt. You know it had to hurt. Some of those people will be seeing their doctors today. Oh right, they could lose their doctors on July 4th. Happy Independence Day!

What the hell is happening in our country?

Does Mitch McConnell really want his name forever associated with dragging people out of their wheelchairs and with handcuffing disabled people? Seriously, dude, you have got to get a clue about being nice.

Your plan, the one you finally exposed to the light of day yesterday? It sucks. Everyone, even the orange guy with pink hair tweets that it sucks. 

This new 'healthcare' plan is more of a deathcare plan than anything. Mitch McConnell and his twelve disciples from hell sat in a locked room and talked about the ways to reduce climate change and this is their ultimate plan: Reduce the population by killing a few million expendable people and this will reduce the country's carbon footprint. Paul Ryan said that no one can live forever, right?

WTF?

Am I allowed to say it reminds me of the way Hitler got rid of anyone who was disabled along with a few million Jews? Mitch, are you going to round them up too?
 
Ghandi said that “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Our Senate can't even act humane toward vulnerable people, let alone animals.

Remember when John Kerry ran for President? His daughter told a story about how they were moving and somehow her hamster fell off a dock into the water and he jumped in after the poor thing and rescued it. I voted for that man in part because of the hamster story. 

I sure hope Mitch McConnell doesn't have a hamster.

Thank you for listening, jules



Monday, June 19, 2017

Behaving Like Children

It's been one of those weeks of news for which I felt like hiding under the covers and watching cat videos. It's rough to stick with the protesting I think is so necessary. Has it been rough for all of you?
 
Seriously people, do we have any decency left?

People died because a landlord was too fucking cheap to install a sprinkler system in his building. Babies were thrown out of windows in desperation. Poor people lived in that building, people who didn't have the resources to fight back and demand their rights.

Philando Castile, a beloved black man died because a police officer wasn't willing to run through proper procedures when making a police stop in Minneapolis. There was video of the police officer gunning Castile down, yet the officer got off scot-free.

Someone detonated a homemade bomb at a concert full of children in Manchester. (Maybe that was last week.)

There were stabbings in London today, a car that plowed into pedestrians near the Finsbury Park Mosque yesterday.

There were shootings at a baseball field in D.C. Seriously, shooting people at a baseball game?

In Portland, two men were killed defending girls who happened to be Muslim. When is it that any girls should be harassed? Oh, right. We're not done harassing girls either. Muslim girls have it extra hard.

Is the whole world going crazy? People, there are some very real limitations to our freedom of speech that includes not killing people. Why do some of us keep forgetting that?

The other day, someone on Facebook asked whether or not peaceful protest is working. I wrote that I wasn't sure. It's hard to feel any change when protesting peacefully. The opposition doesn't seem to pay much attention. Oh, I had one guy yell at the group I was in during a protest. It was the protest for truth. I guess the guy couldn't handle the truth. I even heard that millions of Muslims marched against ISIS last week and news in the U.S. didn't even cover it. The photos I saw were incredible, made the Women's March look like small potatoes. But did it accomplish anything?

Civil disobedience is hard to maintain, especially when the other side has money, guns, and power.

I was very young when Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. both protested for civil rights. My parents said that Malcolm X, who condoned violence, was the lesser of the two men. But it was so hard for me to watch the children marching for Martin Luther King, Jr. who were attacked with dogs and sprayed with fire hoses. Is that really what Martin Luther King, Jr. wanted, for children to take the brunt of the force?

The little girls wore pleated skirts and white shirts and the boys wore white shirts and ties. Many of them were my age. I never looked that clean. They were so well-behaved. I never behaved that well. I'm telling you that it was hard to watch those kids being assaulted when I was a kid. Now that I'm a mom, it is even harder to watch when children are assaulted or killed. Those newsreels held power.

Why can't we use vigorous and healthy debate instead of using violence?

Right. It is getting harder to see any tangible results of debate. I remember hearing Malcolm X say there wouldn't be change if the civil rights protests stayed peaceful. I remember thinking that he might be right.

But doesn't that make us as bad as them when we resort to violence?

So, I know it's hard to keep up the energy of protesting peacefully. There are so many areas to protest these days: the Russian assault on our democracy, the rights of people to 'drive while black,' truth and transparency in our government, protection of Muslims, the secret ACHA, the reduction in funding to the EPA and the National Parks, Black Lives Matter, supporting Syrian refugees, women's right not to be grabbed and to earn equal pay, and don't forget climate change. We might all lose if we ignore climate change.

The whole world is going to hell in a handbasket. The least we can do is behave like the black children who protested for their civil rights in the 1960s.

Thank you for listening, jules


 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Who Might Be Listening?

I was at the new bookstore in town today and I happened to be wearing my 'I'm with her' Tshirt with the picture of the Earth on it. The guy who had been helping me find a book for my friend looked at my shirt as I made some vague allusion to the Trump administration. I don't even remember what I said.

"I, uh, agree with you there," he whispered as he gestured vaguely at my shirt. He looked around the store. "But some people here might not be inclined that way."

And we whispered a brief conversation. It wasn't what we said, it was the method with which we said it. He leaned in and nodded his head in agreement. I leaned in and listened to his opinion. We both looked around multiple times as if afraid of something.

Oh, I get it. This man did not want to drive away business with his political views. Either he was an employee who could have been fired or he was a co-owner with even more at stake. I understand that.

But this hasn't been the first time my opinion has been hushed in public.

I've been informed that I shouldn't give my opinion at Boy Scout meetings. At a meeting a couple weeks ago, another man leaned in toward me and interrupted me, "We shouldn't probably talk about politics here where people have varied opinions." I was well aware that this man agreed with my opinions. I found myself looking with him around the room for people who just might disagree with me. I found myself whispering the end of my sentence. "We shouldn't talk about politics here," he repeated.

Why not?

Couldn't Scouts benefit from a vigorous debate about the function of our government? What should a government do? What should be their reach into peoples' lives? How should leaders best represent their constituents? What limitations should be put on a President? What should happen if a foreign country exerts control over our government?

Those are all very important questions. Open debate is good, right?

But I get it. We wouldn't want anyone with differing opinions to feel like they didn't belong in the Troop. So, I've gotten quieter at Scout meetings, not silent, but quieter. And people keep shushing me and looking around the room to see who may have overheard us talking.

The other day, I was at lunch with a couple of friends, friends whose political beliefs align with mine.

"No politics at lunch here," one of them announced. "I can't handle it." Then she looked around as if someone might be listening to us. Who would care?

Okay, so maybe she spent the last four months binge-watching the news like the rest of us had, but why couldn't we talk?

And it happened at the dog park. A man I'd talked to a number of times looked closely at my shirt, the 'I'm with her' Earth shirt.

"I wrote an editorial that everyone should shut up about a democratically elected President and get on with their lives. I signed it 'a Bernie Sanders supporter.'"

"But what about interference in the election?" I asked. He glared at me. It was just a question.

"There's no proof of that," he said and he stomped off across the field as if I'd said his dog was mean and should be put down.

"And Obama had people assassinated," another man said. "What about how illegal that was? There's nothing in the Geneva convention about assassinating people."

"Osama bin Laden?"

"Damn straight. Abuse of power. " 

I wasn't really prepared to discuss the legal implications of the past presidency. To be honest, I didn't know it was illegal for a leader to die when we were at war with him and his agency. I hadn't paid that much attention to the minutiae of the last presidency. During the last presidency, the executive branch mostly operated the way I expected the executive branch to behave. There was that government shut-down created by Congress and a tendency for our burgeoning economy to benefit only the rich, but the rest was pretty good.

All right. I liked President Obama quite a lot. I admit it. I thought he fought to represent the people. I thought he was fair and extraordinarily diplomatic considering people had created an effigy of him hanging from a rope and called his wife an ape. I felt he was even-handed with unbalanced leaders. I felt he accomplished a lot with an obstructionist Congress. Yes, I liked the Obama Presidency quite a lot.

"Completely illegal," the man said.

He glared at me and spat. I shut up. I was momentarily speechless. Why wasn't I allowed to discuss current events within our government that concerned me?

There's a common theme here. It makes me extraordinarily uncomfortable. In daily life, we're not supposed to say anything negative about the Trump administration in public? We can't complain? We can't express our opinions? We have to shut the fuck up? Is that it?

That's not how a free and democratic society works. I'm beginning to wonder what kind of society I live in. It feels more dangerous than it ever did. We have to whisper dissent? We have to look to see who's listening? Am I the only one this is happening to out there?

Thank you for listening, jules

 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Clearing the Room

It was reported on MSNBC's The Eleventh Hour that Republicans are worried that the 2018 election will dump their majority and Democrats will impeach the President. That's not what they should be worried about.

Republicans should be worried that the President allegedly obstructed justice and should pursue that investigation using bipartisan means.

They should be worried that Trump's administration and his campaign staff has deep alliances and may be under obligation to the Russian government and they should assign an independent bipartisan commission to pursue this invasion.

They should be worried about who to call to the stand next since James Comey appears to have given honest testimony that can be corroborated by witnesses.

They should be worried about an executive branch that seems disinterested in upholding the Constitution. The form of government that our country champions is neither Republican nor Democrat, but was designed to function despite abuses. That form of government is under attack.

It may be that Democrats are making the most noise here and that Democrats are in the minority in Congress, but Republicans in Washington, DC should recognize that our Constitution is compromised and might not recover if they fail to act using the checks and balances at hand. Are Republicans willing to give up our Constitution in order to maintain their sense of power over the Democrats?

And I'm sorry, Paul Ryan. Telling us that Trump is inexperienced is not an excuse. If I were to go into a courtroom and use that excuse for breaking the law, the judge might laugh at me.

If Trump cleared the room to apply pressure to James Comey, then he was surely aware that he shouldn't exert his influence in a public way.

Thank you for listening, jules


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Flight of the Amygdala

I've been thinking about my amygdala.

A couple weeks ago, when I read about our bipartisan impulse to throttle the guy on the other side, to be completely immune to their arguments, and to only view my own 'facts' as the truth, I protested, in my mind at least, that I would never be so unscientific about facts.

Then, I read another article that said something similar. It included the results of a study. I love studies. Oh, I'd dig up these articles for you, but I won't because I have to go tutor kids in forty-five minutes and I haven't showered yet.

The idea is that, similar to when we're cheering for our team, our amygdala gets involved. The descriptions say that an amygdala is that little reptile brain that responds to danger, fight or flight.

Aren't reptile brains, some of them, more complex than that? I hate to think that reptiles have only fight or flight and that they're all emotion and nothing else. That would be miserable. Frankly, I don't see them acting that way. Garter snakes seem quite calm if you approach them quietly. They let you look at them, take their pictures, and don't even freak out when the dog comes along and takes a good sniff along their sides. They just slither quietly into the grass.

But I digress.

Anyway, the amygdala, I am told, is responsible for our safety and when it gets going, we don't make 'rational' decisions. I'd argue that figuring out whether to run or kick a guy in the crotch is completely rational in a situation with a predator threatens to attack you on the street. I've seen it work.

But I digress again. Sorry.

So, all these bipartisan arguments are futile since we're all responding with our amygdalas and no one is seeing the truth.

Is that true? Can't I rely on my team to investigate wisely? Can't I trust the New York Times? What about the Washington Post? CNN? Rachel Maddow?

I can trust their journalism, right?

But then I just now got all emotional and could feel a change in my heartrate.

So, I've been thinking about it, rationally. Or trying.

For me, Donald Trump is the scary clown in the book, 'It' by Stephen King. You know the one I mean. He's everywhere, even in the bathroom with you. He whispers the vile things he's going to do to you. If you go outside, he's there. If you hide in a quiet place, he's there too. Stephen King can make a fucking car scary. He is solely responsible for ruining clowns for me. And fog. I was never scared of clowns or fog before those books. I wonder what he thinks of that whole scary clown thing that happened last fall?

But I digress, over and over and over. You'd better get used to it.

With Trump, there's always pussy grabbing. He said it on tape. I've watched that tape at least six times and it raises my adrenaline each time. Pussy grabbing is terrifying when you're the recipient and you're not with someone who loves you.

And Trump is everywhere. You can't get away from his orange face and pink comb-over. He's in the magazine rack in the bathroom. He's on the coffee table. He's on television. It's like having a fucking stalker.

And I had a stalker, a mild one, but a stalker just the same. Having a stalker grabs your amygdala too.

So, I admit that my reactions, opinions, and yes, even my 'facts' are influenced by my amygdala.

But couldn't this Trump threat just be real enough that fight or flight is appropriate?

Thank you for listening, jules


Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Middle-Aged Housewife's Guide to Fighting Tyranny


Folks, it's not over now that Mueller has been assigned to be special prosecutor, but it might be a good time for a recap episode. If you're one of those people who hates when a sitcom throws a bunch of clips into a shallow plot, this might be a good time for a bathroom break. But I think it's a good to celebrate our efforts.

Identify Issues
-Read New York Times, and Washington Post articles about the Russian Election in the United States, our Constitutional Crisis, gutting humane government agencies, ignoring science. These investigative journalists are our country's true patriots. Tried not to read fake news.

Check.

Get Help from Experts
-Read On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder, Havel, and Milosc. Have you noticed that library holds on these books are still backed up?

Check. Okay, I'll admit that I skimmed Havel.

Be Consistent and Persistent
-Wrote Paul Ryan, Dave Reichert, Suzan DelBene, Patty Murry, and Maria Cantwell.
-Marched in four protests. Did not get arrested but was photographed among millions of other protesters. Did you see me there?

Check.

Discipline with Love
-Tried not to troll Trump's orange face, extreme comb-over, and tiny hands.

This kindness thing is not really my forte.

 Use Your Own Experience

- Wrote about The Metaphor of Being Grabbed and how it was all too real for many of us who listened to the video of Trump saying he could 'grab them by the pussy.'

Check.

Be Okay With Your Anger

Check. I told you that compassion isn't my forte.
 
Realize that You Can't Make Everything Fair
- Wrote One PersonOne Vote but I managed to nod when Mike said the electoral college would never be changed in my lifetime.

Check.
 
Look for Allies
-Went to Indivisibles meetings and managed to laugh with people who felt as insignificant as I do.

Check.
Recognize Hypocrisy
-Wrote Tweeting Hypocrisy but I'm sure I'm not perfect either. Maybe I'm close, but don't test me on that.  

Check, sort of.
 
Show Gratitude
-Thanked DelBene, Murray, and Cantwell for their persistence. Thanked Obama for his service. -Called Sally Yates a national hero. Well, she is.

Check.

It Takes a Village
-Whoops. Wrong candidate.

Find the Humor

Check.

Schedule Breaks and Getaways
- Planned vacation. 
-Got passport updated. Might be useful when I go all Desiree Farooz and end up getting arrested for laughing.

Check.

Teach Kindness and Compassion
-Talked to my Republican friends. Told most of them I don't blame them for what happened. It was the Russians' fault. And Comey's.

Check.

Use Your Words
-Looked up how to pronounce emoluments? I had to practice. If you say it over and over seventeen times, it starts to sound funny.

Check.

Respect the Individual
-Didn't write anything that I wouldn't send to my mother, son, or boss. 
-Wasn't a troll. Right? Define troll.
           
I'm not sure if I could totally say that. Hey, I tried.

Create a United Front
-Commiserated with Mike, my husband, and many friends. One guy threatened to unfriend any of us who posted too much political shit on Facebook, but I still see his posts, so maybe I didn't go off the rails with him. I found solace with my new Indivisibles friends. My favorite moments happened when one woman asked us to sit and imagine the power of all the individuals in all the Indivisibles meetings across the country. 

Check.
 
Use Anger for Good
-Remembered that anger isn't a fault, but I tried to make sure I didn't destroy my message with my use of it.

Check.

Listen and Watch
-Watched Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell. I couldn't make myself watch Fox News. So sue me. 

Check, mostly.
 
Nag Like You Mean It
-Nagged daily. I have been trained by my son to keep repeating myself until things get done. It was the time to use that power.

Check.

Use Natural Consequences
-Wrote What is the Price of Treason?  I didn't really mean it about the hangings in that post. Not really.

Check.

Offer Choices 
Trump can either resign or get impeached. Has anyone told him that yet? The rest of his administration should check with their lawyers. Some members of  Congress should check with their lawyers as well.

I'll get right on that one. .

What did you do to help our country reach this level of success? Comment a list of your efforts. I'd love to know.

Thank you for listening, jules


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

You Could Be Heroes

To the Republican members of Congress:

You can still save face. You can become the heroes. You can restore our Constitution to its healthy bipartisan condition.

The current President is out of control. He is dangerous, impulsive, and cannot be trusted with sensitive material. He appears to be beholden to the Russian government, an antagonistic leadership.

So, if you pursue the investigation together with the Democrats, if you make sure facts come out on the collusion of the Trump administration with the Russian officials meddling in our election process, if you pursue impeachment because of obstruction of justice, you can still have a Republican President. Did you know that?

The two next people in line to the Presidency are Republicans. You don't lose if Trump goes down. You win. You might even pass some of those items on your agenda before the 2018 election. You might make Republicans in the United States happy.

And yet, many of you have dug in your heels in your attempt to stand behind the Trump administration. You seem determined to go down in flames with this narcissist whose sole focus seems to be his television ratings and tweet history. You align yourselves with racists, with misogynists, with people who lie so poorly that photos and documents easily correct them, with people who collude with a foreign government that wants to infiltrate and destroy our democracy.

Do you really want to be those kind of people, followers as our country falls into Constitutional crisis?

Or do you want to get to work, to let the investigations function properly, to remove the haywire administration from the White House? You can use emoluments, conflict of interest, obstruction of justice. It's all there. You could even say that Trump is unable to do his job because of his state of mind using the 25th Amendment.

If you investigate this Constitutional crisis to its nefarious end, you could be regarded as the true patriots of our country. Republicans and even those of us who vote down the center might re-elect you in 2018. You could be the big heroes of this story and still have a Republican in the executive office.

It's your choice.


Thank you for listening, jules

Monday, May 15, 2017

Shunning Any Dissent



I resist, protest, march. Indivisibles meetings, letters to the editor, opinions phoned, written on postcards, and faxed to my Congressmen and Congresswomen. Yet what have I done but whine and grouse to no effect?

Electorate protest?
Zip.

Women's march?

Nada. Not even an angry tweet.

Taxes parade?

Zilch.

Every time I sit down to write something astonishing, something that will change the world, it's as if the Universe interferes. My floor needs to be vacuumed. My refrigerator is empty. My phone beeps, rings, and buzzes notifications that are irrelevant to the functioning of the government. My dog asks repeatedly to be let in and out of the back door. And the worst? I succumb to binge watching Scrubs on Netflix and I end up getting sucked in for great swaths of time. Eventually, my husband calls a moratorium on the Scrubs coma and puts on the news. I wake up from my hypnosis, eyes bleary, and I realize I've only been using half of my lung and/or brain capacity in the name of free speech. The best parts of our government are still spiraling the drain. It's an hour past dinner and everyone has eaten Frito's, generic raisin bran, and all of the remaining chocolate eggs hidden in the back of the junk food bin on top of the refrigerator.

Within the first fifteen minutes of any time listening to the news, my heart seizes a bit and I realize that not a single thing has changed as a result of my resistance. More than one hundred days of the Trump administration have passed and no one has come and woken me from the nightmare that is our government. This administration ignores anything that sounds like dissent. They just pretend we don't exist. Did you ever watch middle school bullies play the game of ignoring a nerd? It's agonizing for the nerd. I know. From experience.

This is no different. Millions of us marched around the world in support of science and research, in support of the EPA and keeping our National Parks safe. What did it accomplish?

Zip.

Nada.

Zilch.

We were ignored. Shunned. Not even a tweet.

Trump administration ignores any voice of dissent, even millions of voices, and continues to liquidate the arms of the government that interfere with free reign of corporate interests. He started by gagging the employees of the EPA and the National Parks and has moved on from there.

Take note. HR861 calls to disband the Environmental Protection Agency completely. It's content is a single line, but our government has to take it seriously since it's an actual bill. And we can see that it's on the agenda, even if it doesn't pass this time. The Trump administration wants to eliminate laws that keep our air, water, and land clean. You would wonder what person would agree with that. That would be the corporations.

Remember, corporations have the rights of a person, so there are at least a Fortune 500 of them who would approve of dismantling existing regulations among the millions of us who would protest against it. Incidentally, did any corporation wonder that if people are dying from contaminated water, air, and earth, will we be able to buy its filthy products? Ever think of that, you corporations? No. You wouldn't wonder because not one of you has a brain.

Imagine giving the rights of a person to an entity without a brain.

Don't try to tell me a corporation consists of multitudes of brains. No. That doesn't count. Each person has his own right to be a person, to have his or her own free speech. Corporations are the only entities who are given the rights of a human but don't in fact have a brain, a pair of lungs, or even vocal chords with which to express its so-called right to free speech. In addition to that, those people who work for corporations do not agree in unison on that ideology requiring the protection of their free speech. So, no. Negative. Zip it.

Corporations shouldn't get more rights, the rights to eliminate regulations that are inconvenient to their ability to dispose of their toxic waste.

And look at H.J. Resolution 46. It eliminates National Park's rights to limit drilling due to environmental impact to the area. This could ruin the Everglades, already a delicate ecosystem, as well as Mammoth Cave. If you drill from the earth's surface over Mammoth Cave, how do you keep from drilling into the helmet of some spelunker deep in the caverns? Can you picture oil leaking into the river that runs through the deepest part of the cave, the one we float down on our way to the cafeteria? Will the drilling operators have to pay the entry fee and wend their way through Fat Man's Misery to get to the drilling site every day? I doubt it.

What part of 'national treasure' does the Trump administration not understand? Our National Parks are the jewels of our country. Our clean air, water, and earth are sacrosanct, a legacy we are supposed to hand down to our grandchildren.

I'm telling you with my tiny voice. We'd better pay attention. Trump is willing to leave his own grandchildren wearing gold lame hazmat suits with platinum oxygen tanks in their gilded towers. The rest of us will have to suffer or die trying to speak.

Thank you for listening, jules

Correcting Uncivilized Behavior

Here's the thing: When you get ordinary middle-aged mothers like me involved in politics, you know something is fucked up.

Generally, I'm just not that interested in politics. A year ago, I was focused on my own problems, driving Nick to driver's ed, getting estimates on a roof repair, walking the dog, and writing about the daily grind of life in a way that I hoped would resonate with people and make them laugh.

Don't get me wrong. I try to vote with knowledge of the issues and candidates. And I was pissed when the obstructionist Congress shut down the government but didn't lose a day of pay. In 2001, I overcame inertia when George W. invaded Iraq despite the fact that none of the terrorists who hijacked airplanes had come from Iraq.

Yet, my daily life was about daily life. Politics was like a bit of food that got stuck between my teeth. It was good for grousing with my friends. Mike paid more attention to politics than I did, telling me the latest news at night when we settled down together.

Now, I'm alert. I'm involved. That means something is wrong.

When Nick was young, I listened to the sound of him playing in the other room with his friends. Yes, it was loud. Sometimes, it was irritating. They went to the edge of rudeness, calling each other 'buttheads' or some other generic insult. But occasionally, there was a moment when it fell off the side of civilized and I would march into his room.

 "You will not shoot rockets at the cat," I said one time.

"You will not play kamikaze and trash each other's Lego castles," I said at another.

"You will not play murder games," I demanded.

It crossed the line of what is civilized when they pretended to murder each other, one lying on the bed and clutching until the poison took effect. They explored the edges. I showed them where the edges were. I was loud and firm when they crossed the line.

So now, Trump and his administration keep crossing the line.

Freedom of speech is on trial. A woman laughed at Jeff Sessions and he had her arrested. She laughed.

Sean Spicer tells lies to our faces over and over. He's lied about stuff we could see, crowd sizes, angry tweets, and the meaning of well-defined words.

And whenever someone gets close to the truth, someone gets fired. Just look at who's been fired so far: Preet Bharara, investigating money laundering; Sally Yates, warning of Michael's Flynn's inappropriate conduct; James Comey, investigating the Trump administration's ties to Russian influence on our election.

Doesn't it creep you out that Comey said he was asked to pledge an oath of loyalty to Trump? Doesn't it freak you out that Yates was the one fired one business day after warning the White House that Flynn had compromised his position and he was only fired three weeks later because it leaked to the press? Doesn't it piss you off that Bharara was fired before he could follow up on a money laundering investigation in Russia?

We should all be pissed off! Why isn't Congressman Dave Reichert, a man who used to be a Sheriff, more concerned about upholding the laws and Constitution of the United States than playing along with Trump?

Where are our checks and balances now? Have too many members of Congress already pledged loyalty to Trump? What are they receiving in return? Are we in Constitutional crisis right now? It sure feels like it.

I'm telling you, I am listening to what's going on in the other room and it has crossed the line. The President of the United States is supposed to be a public servant, not a king who spends his people's tax money on vacations to Florida every weekend. He's supposed to support his people, not divert their resources to his corporations and those of his rich cronies by eliminating existing regulations. The President of the United States is supposed to be outraged when  another country interferes with our democratic process. He is not supposed to encourage meddling in our elections or congratulate the interlopers. He is not supposed to invite them into the Oval Office.

And so I'm standing here, being loud and firm: The Trump administration has crossed the line of civilized behavior and they need to be forced to behave. Now!

Thank you for listening, jules

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Appoint An Independent Bipartisan Commission, Now!

We need an Independent Bipartisan Commission for Trump's involvement with Russian interference in our elections.

The New York Times noted that immediately after Trump said he'd already decided to fire James Comey, he leaped to a discussion about the FBI's Russian investigation. That's where his own mind went on its own without a teleprompter, from firing Comey straight to his alleged fake-news involvement in the Russian interference.

All the while, other staffers including the Vice President tried unsuccessfully to convince the world that Trump followed the recommendation of Rosenstein and that the timing had nothing to do with the FBI's investigation of Mike Flynn, Carter Page, Paul Manafort, and other unnamed individuals who were allegedly paid as foreign agents.

And Trump asked Comey for his loyalty at the dinner they had together.

We have to pledge loyalty now?

To a king? To a dictator?

We are not required to pledge loyalty to a President. That's not how it works.

What will we call Trump's position if the Department of Justice doesn't follow through with this Russian/election problem?

Checks and balances are in jeopardy of being broken. Constitutional crisis is on the horizon. Democracy could very well be on its way out the window. Without a fair investigation, we may have no confidence in the democratic process on which we depend.

The answer is an independent bipartisan commission.

Thank you for listening, jules

Monday, May 8, 2017

Sally Yates is Our National Hero

Sally Yates was fired the Monday after she gave warning to the White House that Michael Flynn lied to the Vice President, that he could be blackmailed by the Russian government, and that his "underlying conduct was problematic in and of itself."

I wish I were more like Sally Yates. In her Congressional hearings, she was straightforward. She refused to answer any questions that would compromise the FBI investigation or that were classified. She wasn't emotional about being fired. She spoke of the facts, she knew the Constitution and its details. I loved watching her spar with Republican senators over her response to the immigration ban. She knows her stuff.

"The efforts by a foreign adversary to interfere and undermine our democratic processes - and those of our allies - pose a serious threat to all Americans" Yates said

The Russian interference in our election and any continuing interference in the way our country is run should worry everyone. This is 21st century warfare. We need to investigate. We need to expose the truth. Thankfully, our investigative journalists at the New York Times, at the Washington Post, and and at MSNBC are doing that for us. We need to prosecute those Americans who made the Russian interference happen, even those who knowingly stood by and let it happen. And we should set up barriers to the kind of interference with the way our country carries out its democracy.

Sally Yates was involved in the first and second steps of this process. The Trump administration wants to cover up what she knows, blowing smoke about a renewed war with Afghanistan. Though we don't know what it is yet, there's a reason for them to blow smoke, to cry 'fake news.' The Trump administration didn't make it easy for Sally Yates to speak out, but she's there, still doing the right thing, speaking the truth, clearly and concisely, for everyone in the world to hear.

I just hope we listen to her.

Thank you for listening, jules



Tuesday, May 2, 2017

My Milk Carton Plug in the Belly of a Bird

There's a word for what I have: eco anxiety.

I just listened to a new podcast hosted by Ashley Ahearn that finally named it for me. Eco anxiety, the depression that happens when the problem of sustainability just seems so overwhelming, so paralyzing, so fucking oppressive.

Okay, you're right. It's only one of the things that's wrong with me. Thanks for that.

Still, have you ever heard me complain about all the plastic in the gyre? You know, that floating plastic island the size of Texas that exists in each of the oceans? It keeps coming back to me, this awful thing we're doing without even thinking.

A single human mind can't really think globally all that well. When I shop for food, it's hard to imagine where my food came from, how many gallons of gas were consumed to make it arrive at my hand, how much plastic from its packaging will remain for decades after I've finished eating it, or worse, letting it rot in the fridge and throwing it out unopened. It's a paralyzing thought, this gyre the size of Texas, something that is filled with the plastic packaging from food I buy every other day.

It is a killing thing, a plague on our sea mammals, on our fish, and on our sea birds. I think about the little plastic plug I pull out the first time I open a milk carton. Do I need that plug? Really? Do I need to eat from a plastic container of lettuce every single day? Do I need to grab a Ziploc bag when I could put my food into a reusable container instead? If I were to collect my daily plastic, would I kill a single albatross every night with what I throw away? I just might.

Chris Jordan is my new hero. He went to Midway and filmed the beauty and the agony of the albatrosses there and the plastic that ends up in their bodies. Watch. And that's just the trailer to the movie.

Don't you feel small? Don't you feel a little bit paralyzed to do anything about it? I do. Name it: eco anxiety.

And yet, I'm headed to the park with my dog and after that to the grocery store. If I can keep Chris Jordan's story in my head for just twenty-five minutes, I can think about how much plastic I buy when I bring home my food. I can choose food based on packaging. Do I continue to buy the lettuce in a thick plastic tub when I could get it loose or in a bag that contains much less plastic.

Less plastic.

Maybe we should have a plastic tax, a price we pay per ounce at the grocery store every time we buy something with plastic packaging. Wouldn't that go over well in the Trump administration? What a joke.

Still, we have to work toward solutions despite the fact that our federal government no longer believes in sustaining the planet. WE have to do the work.

Yet it's hard to keep moving forward. It's hard to write to companies that make our favorite food and tell them we can't buy it any more because of their plastic packaging. It's hard to look at the plastic we regularly throw away and wonder which ways we can cut back, even small steps. Products are moving toward using more plastic and not less. Have you looked at pet food lately? Big thick plastic bags instead of the heavy paper it used to come in. I know, if you dropped a forty pound bag on the floor before, the damn paper would split and you'd be on your knees picking up kibbles for an hour.

But at what cost do we switch to the heavy plastic bags for the convenience of handling them more roughly?

All those dead birds, and seals, and dolphins, and whales.

So, I know you're out there, struggling with your own eco anxiety. Do something beautiful. Do something energetic. Listen to loud music. But don't give up.

The albatross needs you.

Thank you for listening, jules




Sunday, April 30, 2017

What is the Price of Treason?

I came here the other day, intending to tell you any bad news I could think of, but I was interrupted immediately. Mike needed me to cook a five course meal for some Boy Scouts or something. I left without writing a single word.

And the blog system saved it. Really, I didn't write a word. Not one.

Still, when I got back here and looked at what I wrote most recently, there was an unfinished draft that illustrated nothing. Nada. Zilch. Insert Trump's brain here.

What a waste of space.

But you could say that about my whole blog, right? What have I done but grouse about things that result in absolutely no change? What impact has my grating voice had? Anything?

I'm tired of being nice. What will it take to get some response to the Russian connection?

Think about it: an antagonistic country is meddling with the highest office of our government, with the essence of our democracy. Investigative reporters have discovered connections between multiple individuals in the Trump administration including wads of moolah being paid out and yet Congress is still dragging its feet about appointing an independent bipartisan commission to pursue the problem.

What the hell?

So which members of Congress are in on it? An independent bipartisan commission to investigate the Russian connection is an obvious solution to the problem and yet so many people are putting up barriers. Can you say Nunes? There is a reason for that. It might involve more money, blackmail, and as yet unknown connections to Russia.

What is the price of treason?

In my opinion, the traitors deserve a fair trial, but we shouldn't eliminate the possibility of capital punishment for each and every one of the ones who are found guilty. There should be some hangings. Start with Flynn and Page, you know, after a fair trial. Then, move up through the ranks, all the way to the top as necessary.

A strong response to meddling with our country's checks and balances should be in order. We should be as mad as we were when the Twin Towers came tumbling down. Our country is being attacked. The attacks are affecting our government, our balance of power, and our very sense of security and freedom that we live by. If we don't demand a severe response to this invasion, our lives will change, right down to the schools our children attend and to the very air we breathe. 

I'm telling you with my tiny, whiny voice. We'd better pay attention. The fabric of our Constitution depends on it. 

Thank you for listening, jules


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Why You Should Watch '13 Reasons Why'

Have you binge-watched 13 Reasons Why on Netflix yet? Watch it, but only if you have teenagers, are a teenager, or have ever spoken to a teenager. It covers everything, bullying, shaming on social media, stalking, shunning, and doing the right thing when you made a big mistake. It even covers rape.

I wanted to write thirteen dumb reasons why I go crazy as a mom, but it wasn't funny, especially if you did watch the show, especially if any of those things ever happened to you.

Especially because some of those things happened to me when I was younger. I write circles around those stories. I'm sorry. I feel such a strong need to write, but I end up writing stupid things instead.

I am not brave. I never have been.

So my stories are fraught with holes. The truth, my truth will come out sometime. I will write it all eventually. I'm sure I will. Just wait with me for a while. When I get old, I hope I'll become more brave and I will tell all of my stories, even the difficult ones. Especially the difficult ones.

Even when things were truly horrifying in my life, when I was harassed, stalked, groped, peeped, and worse, I never quite got to the point of killing myself.

But if I do have a story I can tell right now without fear, it is this - if you've thought about going down that trail... if you suffered, if you have ever considered ending it because everything is just so deeply fucked, I can tell you that it doesn't stay that way forever. I came through. I eventually married a man I still can't believe I deserve, someone who loves me, damaged or not. I got out, escaped, found a job somewhere entirely new. I got stronger. Now, I live a charmed life, one that is opposite of the sad life I lived before. It's never perfect, but it glows in comparison to the black and gray future I thought I deserved and expected.

I once stood at the abyss. I considered the leap, but ultimately I decided to get angry instead, to fight back instead of collapsing.  Eventually, that anger will have to include telling my truth. I stood at the abyss for a long time before I walked away. I'm still amazed I didn't fall in, and maybe I did for a while, just got lost in the awful enormity of evil in this world.

But I'm here to tell you it doesn't stay awful forever. There is light. There are good people. There is help. My wish for you is that you find it. I did.

Thank you for listening, jules

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Finding the Courage to Tell

Last night, I missed a charity event that I really wanted to go to: People Eating and Giving. It was hosted by The Greater Seattle Bureau of Fearless Ideas, 'a community of devoted volunteers to write and read and study and connect, through programs ranging from writing workshops and publishing programs to on-site collaborations with local schools.' That's what their website says anyway.

I can get with that. I'd like to think I bring that kind of energy to my high school students when we work together on Wednesdays. I'd have liked to benefit fearless ideas and the kids that have them, except that I got the date wrong for the event.

I really wanted to go so I could meet Lindy West and Nancy Pearl. 

For years, I've been avidly listening to Nancy Pearl's book suggestions on Public Radio. Sometimes, I'd stop by the side of the road so I could write down the name of the next book I'd reserve at the library. I'm sure that if the King County Library were to run an analysis on their book lending trends at particular hours of the day, it would be seriously influenced by the moments when Nancy Pearl recommended a book on the radio. I know. I was one of the links in that chain. Nancy Pearl is one of my favorite librarians, and I can tell you that I love my librarians, Jane, Maria, Kristin, and so many others that I frequently ask, "What are you reading? What book have you loved lately?" Nancy Pearl always has an answer that I like.

And there's Lindy West. Do you know of Lindy West? 

Last week, I was clueless as to who she was. Oh, you do. I must be a little late coming to the table. Sorry about that. 

Last Tuesday, on my way out of the library, a title on the Choice Reads shelf leaped out at me: shrill.

What a great fucking title! Why hadn't I ever thought of that title? 

I'm a title maker from way back, way before I ever managed to write a single story. I'd list titles in my little blank book, titles that I would eventually write or not. Mormon Norman, Love in a Canoe, If there Were Leeches in the Sand A Mouse in a Duffle Bag, titles like that. 

Shrill was the very best title ever, I thought, so I picked up the book and added it to Mike's pile of movies at the self-checkout stand. 

In the car, I began to read Lindy West's book on feminism, misogyny, fat-shaming, and comedy. I couldn't read fast enough. I managed to drive home without reading. (I'm telling you - reading while driving is not advisable, ever.) While still holding her book in my hand, I rumbled up the stairs and looked her up on the Internet. The Stranger, The New York Times, GQ, and a blog! How had I missed this woman?

But she had a few appearances coming up and maybe I could catch up with what I'd missed. There were two in Seattle, Talk of the Town, a fundraiser cocktail party, and People Eating and Giving. I don't have the wardrobe or the endurance for cocktail parties, but People Eating and Giving felt like it was right down my alley. It was! I was going.

But no. Three days later, I looked it up again. I remembered the date wrong and by the time I realized it, the thing was already 51 minutes along and I'd be at least an hour and a half late and under-dressed even if I threw on real pants and jumped into my car to see if I could get them to open their doors to me.

An hour and a half is rude, beyond what I could carry off with my vague cheerfulness and ability to be a dupe.

I am the dupe, most of the time anyway but even I have my limits.

So, I stayed home and time crawled on tiny hands, reminding me often that the people I'd missed were probably gathering to be seated, then later, one of the speakers, Nancy Pearl or Lindy West would take the stage. Even later, I realized it was probably time for questions at which point I would have most certainly raised my hand with a question I had formed in the forty-five minutes drive in the car on my way there. I would have totally smoked the room with my question and the speaker would ask herself, "Who is this amazing questioner?"

Right. Sure she would.

Even after I was certain the event was over and the speakers were safely snuggled at home on their couches with their televisions on, my mind kept going back over how I could have missed this chance to meet such amazing people. The television droned on. Mike went to bed. I paced.

I was tired, but I couldn't stop thinking. 

Why did I so totally need to meet Lindy West? What would I have to add to her already full docket? Why should I matter to Lindy West one iota?

Then I realized it was all the misogyny I had experienced in my lifetime. 

Do you know how you tend to find books in seasons? There were groups of dystopia books I seemed to read one after another, another series of books on space exploration, mysteries, spy books, rape books, travel books, and apocalypses. They all came in groups of three or five or sometimes seven. I had to actively work to get out of the apocalypse books. They were getting me down. 

Right now, it seems as though every book I pick up talks about how women are still harassed, repressed, and outright assaulted. Remember, I was telling you about Girl in the Woods by Aspen Matis? Good book. Assault and repression. And Aspen Matis can hike like a motherfucker, thirty miles a day. Still, it brought up a lot of memories, being a young woman in a technical field, being on my own, and the ravages of dating. Ultimately, I thought I had escaped those treacherous years for good, but there they were, as fresh and as foul as the day they were pressed upon me.

Ultimately, I blame Trump when he said that he, and by extension any other white male, had a right to reach out and grab a woman by the pussy. I have been in a funk since that comment made it to the Oval Office. The reason I've been in a funk is that I have stories to tell about being harangued, repressed, assaulted, threatened, and I fucking don't want to tell them.

I've gotten past that part of my life. Right? I'm happy in my marriage. No opinion about my looks, my sexuality, or my place in this world matters to me beyond that of my family and friends and I don't have to work very hard to be relevant where I am right now. Right?

So why is Lindy West so stuck in my craw? Why all this incredible urge to connect with her regarding her book?

I paced. The television was a lame distraction. Images floated to the surface. I tried to flush them back down, but there they were, my horror stories, my unreported harassment issues, my dating traps, my unnamed-misogynist-asshole battles, some won, some lost. The sad thing is that, like Lindy West, I have had to deal with more than one misogynist asshole. I had a whole slew of them, though in my time, there were no buzzing text messages and Twitter notifications in the middle of the night. At least I had that. 

Eventually, I'll write all of these stories. I may publish them, if I'm brave like Lindy West. I may not. I may have told you before that I am not all that brave. I try, but I am not.

Maybe that's why I so desperately need to meet Lindy West. Maybe I need to see what courage looks like in person. Maybe I need to shake the hand of a courageous woman who has most certainly made our lives better, even if it's just to get women to write out our horror stories so that we can acknowledge them even if no one else ever does. For now. Thank you Lindy West.


Thank you for listening, jules







Friday, March 24, 2017

Rolling the Stone Up the Hill

So much has been going on. The U.S. government is in turmoil. There's a race between the patriots who are trying to find out about the Trump administration's involvement with Russia and the administration's need to eliminate regulations that protect our society against racism and corporate greed. Who will win? Every day, more honorable Republicans are joining Democrats and questioning the illegal actions of the Trump administration, but will the truth come to light soon enough?

It's nail-biting to watch the news these days. What a fucking drama. (You should know that I follow that fake news, MSNBC, The New York Times, CNN, and the Washington Post.) Can't these politicians lie any more convincingly than they do? Spicer and Nunes both look like they have bones stuck sideways in their throats when they talk. And none of the sentences any of the pressured politicians use are clear. Sometimes what they say doesn't actually have a meaning. What a fucking dance to always have to avoid saying anything that is true. It's like watching the little kid with a stain on his pants and a yellow puddle at his feet who looks off to the side and says defiantly that he didn't pee himself. But we can see what's happening. Why keep lying?

I suppose it worked so far for Sessions. He's still in his position even though he recused himself. They still need to fire him. The whole Trump administration is a quagmire of conspiracy and only a vague attempt at concealment.

Here at home, it's a mess too. Oh, I shouldn't make you think we're in a true turmoil like the one in D.C. Everyone is healthy, thank God. No one is leaving home and we're not screaming at each other, except once in a while when Nick is being intentionally obtuse and stubborn. Last night, he forgot to bring in groceries from the car he was driving. Today, he's eating the stuff that sat out all night. I hope he doesn't get sick. The temperature outside was in the mid-forties this morning, so he should be okay. I'm not entirely certain of that though.

Still, my mind is in turmoil this morning.

Nick has begun to prepare for the ACT and the SAT. He took a mock ACT and last night we got the results. He's horrible at taking tests. I'm sure he's a bright kid, but he hides most of his intelligence. He does well in math and science, but the boy refuses to read on his own, so it affects anything that requires much reading and writing, which is practically everything!

It's time someone else told him to turn off the damned TV. It's time someone else told him to read a damned book. So, I just finished writing a note to his Language Arts teacher.

I asked her to nag him. I did. Truly. I used the word 'nag.'

Nick is sixteen. There isn't very much that he will hear that comes out of my mouth. Oh, sometimes he listens, but that only happens when something shitty comes out of my mouth. Then, he's wide awake to my words. Gossip? Self-righteousness? Hypocrisy? Cursing? Oh, he's avid to hear stuff like that. But when I try to tell him how to prepare for life, he's in a soundproof room and I am in space where no one can hear me scream.

I just finished reading an amazing book, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth, by Col. Chris Hadfield. If I thought Nick would crack the spine, I'd buy him a copy. I'm tempted to buy copies for five of his best friends and hope some of the ideas will bleed back into Nick's sphere of awareness. I'm tempted to buy a copy for one of his teachers to give to him.

Col. Hadfield writes about attitude, preparation, and about making sure you choose a life you think is fun. He writes about achieving your goals and about how to manage when you don't. This guy started thinking about how to prepare to be an astronaut when he was nine! I'll bet he began saving for his retirement at about that age too. And as the book proceeds, Hadfield describes some of the most exhilarating experiences a person can have. Doing somersaults in zero gravity. Throwing a live snake out of an airplane window at 200 mph. Looking at the jewel of the earth from orbit. He's so enthusiastic, it's infectious.

In the meantime, I've given up trying to get Nick to read, even an amazing book like this.

So, I'm begging teachers to take over the job of pushing his stone up the hill.

I am Sisyphus.

As if teachers don't already have enough stones to roll uphill.

 Thank you for listening, jules

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Release Trump Taxes

Most nights, when I finally get to sit down for a minute, I watch MSNBC. I like watching Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell. I've never watched this much news before. It feels important, critical even. Every night, when I finally turn the television off, I feel as though I have something to say.

So, if you've read my blog for a while, you know by now that I am a ordinary person. Technically, I'm a stay-at-home mom, but I end up running all over the county in my 'free' time to give my hours away in great volumes. I work with Boy Scouts to earn their Citizenship in the Community merit badges and run any other errands their leaders might need me to run. I tutor students at the high school. When I'm home, I try to cook real food. I make good pie, brisket, and a calzone that makes my husband feel very well-loved. I read, walk my dog, talk too much to the cashier at the local market, and I spend too much money having coffee with my girlfriends, some of whom even voted for Trump because they believed him when he said he'd help ordinary people in this country. We have interesting conversations. We could solve the world's problems if the world would only listen to us. I've noticed that we are good indicators of what's trending for women our age. Well, you have to leave out jewelry and makeup trending for me. Sorry. Jewelry and makeup generally bore me.

So, when I watch the news and I hear Trump representatives saying that 'most people don't care if Donald Trump releases his taxes,' I want to stand up and yell at the TV.

"I want Donald Trump to release his taxes!"

I don't actually stand up, but Mike is used to me talking back to the TV by now.

I want you to know that I've nearly gone past caring what the Trump administration is doing. Every day, they indeed do something horrible, a new Muslim ban, a new lie about what Trump tweeted on his unsecured phone, a new controversial appointment with the intent to dismantle the EPA or the Department of Education. It's an endless stupid show. I no longer expect the Trump administration to act with decorum or integrity. I'm not surprised when they lie. I'm not even surprised when news is released that Trump's promises are repeatedly broken or that he intends to dismantle some of the very departments that make our country so beautiful and compassionate, like the EPA, the National Parks, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Education.

No. I don't think, despite the postcards that I'm sending to the White House tomorrow, that any of the protests, the activism, or even the reactions by experts is going to have one iota of impact on what the Executive Branch is currently doing. I have given it up. They don't care what happens to the people of this nation. My opinion is that they have their own agenda and it's all about how they can inflate their billion dollar bank accounts with my taxpayer money. Just look at the way Trump has traveled, spending eight times what Obama did in the same time period. No. I'm losing interest in that three-ring circus.

But I am very interested in what Congress is doing. There are very particular areas where I want to see action by Congress.

Congress needs to appoint an independent bipartisan commission to investigate the Trump administration's involvement with Vladimir Putin and the Russian government. 

Congress needs to investigate Trump's sources of income and his violation of the Constitution when he is taking money from foreign governments as gifts or payment. 

Congress needs to insist that Trump release his taxes.

I am not a paid protester. I am not a journalist. I'm an ordinary voting mom who sees the strong ties between the current members of the Executive Branch and the leaders of the Russian government.

So, why is our Congress ignoring the red flags that keep being thrown onto the field by our most reputable journalists? A few members of Congress are beginning to see that this new administration is not comprised of your standard Republicans with the honor that Republicans generally stand by. Senator John McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham have begun to make an effort to keep the Trump administration in line. These two brave men might just save our democracy.

While many Republicans are voting in lock-step with anything that the Trump administration wants, there are a few others who are beginning to call foul on the crazy edicts that come daily from the Oval Office.

Representative Walter Jones of North Carolina and Representative Mark Sanford of South Carolina both voted to request Trump's tax returns. That's what I'm talking about! These men are heroes. I may have stayed up too late watching Elizabeth Warren and the rest of the Democrats filibustering the poor choices for Cabinet members, but it's going to take strong Republicans to finally stand with a Democrat or two to demand that this administration stop violating our Constitution.

The Constitution is something that Republicans have stood behind for years. Republicans love it. Many of them have probably read the Federalist Papers.

Sorry. No. I haven't read them.

These brave Republicans need to get behind their beloved Constitution now to prevent it from crumbling into dust. They need to see the corruption in the Trump administration that is so obvious to me, an ordinary mom who lives hundreds of miles from the nation's capital.

Thank you for listening, jules