Friday, April 26, 2019

Weekend Reading: Another Grim Set of Links on Another Beautiful Day

It is another beautiful, sunny day here. Wonderful rollerblading weather! It was the sort of rollerblade outing that makes me feel really lucky to live here - a sunny day, a cool ocean breeze, the spring break crowds have gone home, the summer crowds aren't here yet... Just wonderful.

In other good news: Our Tesla arrived yesterday, so I got to drive to the rollerblade in style. It is too early to write up my impressions of it, other than to say it is a really pretty color of blue. I promise to write more once I've driven it a bit more.

Unfortunately, the links I have to share with you aren't so sunny. We're in a really difficult period. It is not at all clear how best to fight back against the anti-democratic (small d) forces at work. I still think there is time to fix this mess through at least somewhat normal means, but I don't think we can be complacent at all. 

My book club read Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me this month. One part that has really stuck with me and made me think was what he wrote about struggle. Early on, he writes:

"And still you are called to struggle, not because it assures you victory but because it assures you an honorable and sane life."

Then, at the end, writing about the struggle his son will need to make, and about how that relates to those of us who get to live in the American dream ("the Dreamers"), he writes:

"Struggle for your grandmother and grandfather, for your name. But do not struggle for the Dreamers. Hope for them. Pray for them, if you are so moved. But do not pin your struggle on their conversion. The Dreamers will have to learn to struggle for themselves, to understand that the field for their Dream, the stage where they have painted themselves white, is the deathbed of us all."

Coates has a specific meaning of struggle, and of "the Dream" - but I will not try to summarize that here. I'll just say "struggle" doesn't mean to struggle economically. He's talking about a deeper struggle than that. I think of it as in part the struggle to free yourself from the constraints of an unfair society, and the struggle to make a better society. But I think it is more than that and encourage you to read the book for yourself. It is not a long book.

Early on after Trump was elected, I was in a conversation about what would protect us from the threat he poses, and I said something to the effect of "Congress will not save us. We have to do it ourselves, and I'm not sure we're up to it."

I still think that. Mueller couldn't save us. The Democrats in Congress can't save us. Mueller had his part, and the Democrats have their part. Either could certainly have sunk us. But we, the people, will need to save us.

In short, those of us for whom this country has largely worked well need to learn how to struggle. It was our failure to struggle that left us open to the catastrophe of the 2016 election. Russia meddled, sure, but their meddling just exploited the existing fault lines in our society. We were complacent and did not work hard enough to heal them. It is our failure to struggle that is putting our world at grave risk from climate change. We need to take up the struggle if we are to get back on a sustainable course, let alone one that leads to a better society. And I am no more convinced that we are up to it than I was in 2016.

With that preamble, here are my links for the week:

Josh Marshall on the misleading spin that's been put on the Mueller report, and the fact that it does, in fact, show that the Trump campaign conspired and coordinated with Russia.

I don't think we'll learn the full truth of what happened without a real Congressional investigation. It looks to me that Trump agrees, because he's fighting hard to keep a real investigation from happening. Here's Marshall again, this time on the need for Congress to stop treating Trump's obstruction of their valid oversight requests as politics as usual.

Of course, the rot isn't just in the White House. Here is a depressing look at how Republicans are responding to losses at the ballot box by fighting against democracy.

David Roberts at Vox has a rather depressing summary of a new report about the viability of the Climate Right.

That's all the reading links I have this week. I know they are a bit grim, so I will also reiterate that I have found taking action helps me feel less helpless and overwhelmed by it all. I'm going to start posting my weekly actions again. I suspect I'll mostly post on Fridays at lunch time.

My actions aren't big, and I don't know if they are "right"  or the "best" thing to be doing - they are just what I'm doing right now. I posted my actions for this week already, but in case those tweets have scrolled off the sidebar, here are the two things I did: I donated to Swing Left, because I think their state-based strategy for preparing for the 2020 election is a good one; and I requested some more addresses for Marc Friedenberg in a special election in PA. This is a bit of a long shot of a race, but I think it is worth fighting as hard as we can everywhere. Also, voting is a habit, and it seems like encouraging Democratic voters in PA to strengthen that habit is a good use of my time.

I do have some recommended listening this week: I really like the Flash Forward podcast, and the Desert Creep episode is a reminder that climate change is just about rising sea levels.

In happier things, I have some tweets:

I love this:
And also this - bunny art!

Cute sleeping bunny!

Have a good weekend!

1 comment:

  1. In a week, I promise I will be rejoining the fight rejuvenated (though my post on the topic will be delayed another week...).

    (I haven't gone completely silent... I've been averaging a couple actions per week, but this semester has been really draining and when the newsletter I used to use for actions stopped after the election...)

    Thank you for everything you do! I hope other folks exhausted by the election and everything else are starting to feel like they can do actions again like I am.


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