View from the Left – The Upside of a Trump Presidency

I’m up early because it’s hard to sleep these days.

Work is fantastic and home life is good, but I’m constantly thinking about what’s happening to our country. As I lay awake, I realized, there has been something good that’s happened within our family and it extends to several of my friendships. We’re talking again. In a meaningful, purposeful way.

News of the day.

Growing up, Katie and I had this routine of coming together and I would always say, “Okay, news of the day,” and that would trigger her sharing highlights from her day and me mine. It was like our own little BuzzFeed. Headlines, stories, gossip, me sharing works stories, she’d share school stories, it didn’t matter it was how we connected. Then she got older and got a phone, then a car and honestly, finding time to talk became harder.

And then Trump decided to run for President.

We started connecting again. It started slowly because surely this was comedy and there he said funny things and made little sense. But when he won, it changed everything. It was time to talk and talk we did. I’ve spent the last month (is it a month yet?) talking with her every night explaining what’s been happening, how government works and what we can do to effect change. At the same time, she’s become (for her age) a voracious consumer of information, attenuating to headlines and going deep to really understand what’s true and what’s hyperbole or propaganda (the real words for fake news).

Oh yeah, I suppose we qualify as “the liberal elite”.

As a liberal elite family – I believe we qualify because we live in California, I have a master’s degree and she’s already in college – we are fiercely American. We believe in human rights, civil rights, democracy, freedom and a global economy. Katie’s traveled to more countries than I have and she’s interested in a career in journalism (I couldn’t be more proud, I think The Fourth Estate may well save us in the end).

While I fear what might happen to us based on the actions of the Trump Administration, I couldn’t be more grateful for the unintended consequence: we’ve put down our phones, come out of our homes, come together with our families, friends and community to stand up for what truly does make America great.

Mr. Trump, I fear your slogan, “Make America Great Again” is going to be your epitaph. It’s what we’ll all say after you and Bannon and anyone who rules by fear and intimidation are gone from office. Thank God it’s over, let’s make America great again.

Workshop at the Santa Cruz Resource Center for Nonviolence

Last Monday Katie started a week of Crunchy Camp – that was her nickname for the workshop she was attending at the Resource Center for Nonviolence called Exploring Your Social Justice Community.

She really enjoyed herself. It turns out it wasn’t a youth workshop (that’s on me, I misread the description) so she was with adults and college students. There was only one other high school student there. But that was okay. She said the other participants were great people; really interesting and different from the folks she runs into every day.

At the end of the week, there was an exhibit at the Santa Cruz Museum of Modern Art (the MAH) featuring the collaboration projects they worked on during the week. The photos from the event are below. I was kind of surprised and a little impressed. They covered a range of topics and it was fun seeing photos of Katie and crew throughout the week’s events.

A pic of the gang during the workshop.

The good news is the workshop absolutely pushed her thinking. I got a kick out of hearing about her days and the things that happened that she didn’t expect or understand. Unbeknownst to her, I kept a little diary of her comments and observations and thought I would turn them into a quick list of things I learned by sending her to the workshop. I hope you enjoy!


Consensus can lead to missed opportunity.

Katie was stymied by how many times the group had to reach consensus to decide something. The one that really chapped her was the discussion about whether or not they should break early for lunch. As Katie noted, the joke was on them because after trying to reach consensus, the opportunity had passed.

Corollary: Pacifists need hierarchy.
Decisions need to be made, someone needs to be in charge and things need to get moving. Katie’s way more patient than I am about these things, so for her to notice and be bothered by it means it was “noticeable”. One thing about those fascists, I doubt there’s a lot of time wasted on who’s telling whom what to do!

Don’t ever tell your grandmother something shocking while at Whole Foods.
I really wish this was on video. While getting dinner at Whole Foods, with my mom, Katie says rather loudly, “I think I’m a Republican.” To which my mom gasps, then screams “WHAT?!” and nearly falls over. Right there in front of the pizza guy. It. Was. Priceless.

How can gender be unclear?
Katie is super close friends with a transgender boy (I even help them with their blog). They’ve been friends through their childhood and she was with him through transition. But on gender day, when the discussion turned to individuals who don’t identify with one gender or another, this stopped her in her tracks. “I get someone identifies male or female, but how can it be both?,” she asked. Clearly there’s more to be explored here.

Lettuce leaves aren’t salad.
The workshop provided lunch every day. Katie can do vegetarian pretty well (hey – way better than I can) but she ran into some more exotic foods than she’s ever seen around here (or on her travels for that matter). But the thing that really slayed her was the bowl of lettuce leaves at the Life Lab Garden at UCSC that was marketed as salad. “Leaves are not salad,” she stated emphatically. Duly noted.

 

Free first Friday at the Museum.
Things we can do as humans to create change.
Pic of Katie hanging from the tree.
Some thinking tree.
The pic and the pictured!
One of my soapbox issues: rape culture.
Assembled art piece.
Front of her collage.
Back of her collage.
I think this is from the gender discussion.
Slide show with more photos.
Not sure if I like this – she already questions authority.
Yep, that’s the group sign! Outside the exhibit room at MAH.