Sunday, January 22, 2017

Dissident Journal
January 20-22, 2017

1)    A person who opposes official policy, especially that of an authoritarian state.
2)    In opposition to official policy.

Worked - like most of us - and did my best to stay away from the media. Sent an email to a prospective Gubernatorial candidate who would like to have coffee soon – looking for a candidate for 2018.

Went to the Rally-4-Justice held at my church – First Parish Unitarian Universalist. Our event was to take place after the women’s march, which streamed past the front doors of the church for about 1.5 hours. They say it was more than 10K. We held our “Black Lives Matter” banner and periodically rang the church bell – that was very cool.
The rally was good and a number of speakers talked about what was going on and what we could do to participate. But I must say, I thought it rang hollow. How do we really harness the energy that has been generated by the election of Donald Trump?
I am frustrated with the Democratic party in Maine. During the election, I volunteered one night to work the phones. I did not realize that they wanted me to call people and ask them for money. I lasted about an hour – wrote them a check for $100 – and left. Since that time, the Maine Dems, who didn’t know me from Adam, have become my BFF and send me an email about twice a week asking for money. I have come to believe, based on the Trump election, as well as the Sanders campaign, the Dean campaign and the Obama election in 2008, that money and consultants are just not as important as previously believed. What we need is a Tea party structure. I remember in 2009, the man married to Jane’s mother would go to monthly meetings of the Tea Party, where they would study the Constitution. This built community and a shared set of beliefs (repeal Obamacare, which they are about to do). Going forward, I want to meet and become close friends with like-minded folks who gather for the expressed purpose of discussing our political views, talking about what actions we are taking now, and strategize about what we can do to have larger voice in the government on the local, state and national level.   
Saturday night, Jane and I went to the “Other Inaugural Ball” over at the Charitable Mechanics Hall (of which we are members). This was sponsored by Creative Portland. We experienced poetry readings, musical numbers, dance and a key note speech by a Somali refugee about her experience in America since 2002. The speech was too long, but the rest was enjoyable. The dancing started and we quickly decided that we are just too old. When I dance, I want Motown and the Rolling Stones. What we got was house music, which feels to this old guy like something that could be achieved with one guy who has decent rhythm and a drum. Boom, boom, boom…   

Went to church, like I do most Sundays, and lit my two candles of gratitude. One for my lover and life companion and one for my ability to have meaningful work that provides for our wellbeing. This Sunday was a service run by the junior high school kids. They wrote and preached on their concept of God and their place in the cosmos. Ideas about Atheism, Buddhism, science and mysticism were presented – from junior high kids. This gives me hope.

So as I sit and read the NY Times and the Portland Press Herald and read about the worldwide protests of yesterday, I also have hope. But I must find a way to harness this energy…and not let it dissipate. The events of this weekend have solidified my belief that Trump is the last gasp of an old order and not the beginning of anything that will last. Marx may have been right when he said that “history repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce”. We may be in the Age of Farce. May if be a short one.

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