March On! Texas

Category: Elections

A Year After Trump We Scream Why…not?

A Year After Trump We Scream Why…not?

There is an event planned for this evening, across 9 major cities, to scream into the sky helplessly ‘WHY!?!’ to commemorate the anniversary of Donald Trump upsetting politics (and sanity) winning the presidential election a year ago today.

The concept is ridiculously silly and funny, and might be a fun thing to do over cocktails bitching about Trump’s latest tweets.  Yelling ‘why’ is cathartic, like reading Shattered or the damning excerpt of Donna Brazile’s new book in Politico.  Sometimes it’s good to take stock and figure out what went wrong.

But if yesterday’s election in Virginia told us anything, it’s that it’s time for Progressives to ask a new question: Why not?  As in, “Why not run?”

Many women (and men) choose not to run for election because they think they lack the typical qualifications: years in politics, a law degree, a spotless background.  Donald Trump, bless his heart, proved that none of that really mattered.  What mattered was connecting with your base and getting them to show up on election day, the one day that matters most.  In terms of competence, Trump has set the bar so low that many novices now have the confidence to say, “Well, I might not know the elected job yet, but I know I’ll do a better job than him!”

A more likely scenario though is that women who are incredibly smart, capable and qualified have become motivated to get in the game.  They have been affected viscerally by Trump’s sexism, racism, xenophobia and bad policies and no longer feel that they can remain on the sidelines.  They answered the call:  You marched; now run.

Lou Leon Guerrero, left, and Monica Chinchilla, center, were among 41 women from 12 states who participated in a bootcamp on Oct. 21 in Washington, D.C., held by Emerge America to help train them as candidates for 2018 and 2020. Guerrero is running for governor of Guam, while Chinchilla plans to run for the San Francisco Board of Education. Kristian Hernández/Center for Public Integrity

Since January there has been a surge of women signing up to campaign for positions big and small and the new feminist activism has been record breaking.    Last night in Virginia 15 seats flipped from Republican to Democrat, and 11 of those were by women.

The transgender community also asked, “Why not?” and made history.  Danica Roem became the first transgender woman to win a House of Delegates seat in Virginia.  What made that even sweeter was that she defeated Del. Bob Marshall, the Republican incumbent who refers to himself as the state’s, “chief homophobe” and has consistently promoted anti-LGBT legislation, including a bathroom bill.

Trans woman Andrea Jenkins was the first transgender person elected to a major city’s governing body (Minneapolis) and the first trans person of color elected any office in the U.S. Charlotte elected its first female African-American mayor, Sheila Oliver became the first woman of color elected lieutenant governor of New Jersey, Ravi Bhalla became the first Sikh mayor in Hoboken history, and in Georgia’s House of Representative two seats that were so Republican they went uncontested in 2016 just flipped to Dems, because Why not?

Here at home, March On! Texas was following 15 local races across the state and guess what?  Progressives won 10 of them!

It was the kind of progress for women, minorities of all stripes and progressive ideals we hoped and allowed ourselves to dream would happen last year.  Last year that dream was shattered.  Last year we screamed at the sky helplessly, ‘Why!?!’

Today we ask ourselves a better question.  Why not?  The answer is worth shouting for joy.

March on, ya’ll

 

 

Why Doing Something Matters

Friday night I started watching my Twitter, on edge that these young, college kids that were still at UVA for the summer were not equipped for what they may face. I watched Twitter until my eyes were scratchy and I couldn’t keep them open any longer.

Waking up Saturday I immediately opened my Twitter and didn’t take my eyes off of it. I sat, teeth unbrushed, still in pajamas, on the floor next to the wall where my phone was charging looking back and forth from my phone to my laptop. My chest started getting tight, I cried on and off, I didn’t eat, I called my mom yelling into the phone, not at her but at the world. After hanging up and feeling guilty that my mom was now worrying about me thousands of miles away and that crying wasn’t doing anything, I decided, enough.

So I refocused my attention to the great work we do here at March On. While it didn’t stop the car, or any of the poles and punches that crashed into incredibly brave counter-protestors, it channeled the anxious energy to action that will result in change locally here in Texas.

Not all of you would have seen our School Board campaign that started in the 12 districts with open seats this weekend, but some of you did.  And some of you may file to run for the School Board because of it. And because of that some good has been set into motion; the books that are read and the way Texas children are educated may soon change because we have more progressives in these seats. And this may give critical thinking skills to know when to question or to research what’s fake or not, and give hope and less hate to children to create a better future. What I did wasn’t direct activism, but it was “proactivsm” and that’s what we focus on here at March On! Texas (while still getting our butts out to marches and supporting other great groups in Texas!). We feel that getting progressives in the position to make decisions is incredibly important.

If you’d like to consider running for School Board the 12 districts with open seats are: Houston ISD, Klein ISD, Leander ISD, Los Fresnos ISD, New Caney ISD, Schertz-Cibolo ISD, Spring ISD, College Station ISD, Aldine ISD, Alief ISD, Bryan ISD, and Cypress-Fairbanks ISD. The last day to file candidacy is August 21st.

If you’d like to learn more or sign up to volunteer, check out our website or email me – jenn@marchontexas.com.

March on y’all!

The Importance of Schools and Tolerance

The Importance of Schools and Tolerance

This week (every week?) has been filled with distractions from the Executive branch.  I heard a comedian once liken Donald Trump to a monkey in a theatre flinging feces at the audience so no one would pay attention to the actual play going on.

His divisive remarks about Charlottesville, saying that somehow the “alt-left” was partly to blame for Neo-Nazis and the KKK causing chaos leaving three people dead, is dangerous but unsurprising from him.  We all knew what he really thought about diversity.

Once again, we must look to ourselves for leadership.  One of the most eye-popping articles I read was about a father repudiating his 30 year-old son in his local newspaper for joining the alt-right/white supremacists rally:  He didn’t learn this at home.

Another article that connected with me was an interview with the former high school teacher of James Alex Fields Jr., the man who used his car to strike counter protesters killing one and injuring 19.  The teacher said that Fields was bright but misguided and handed in a paper basically glorifying Nazi views.  The teacher felt like he failed because he wasn’t able to counter this young man’s skewed views.

Sierra PTO

These two articles resonated with me because it brings back the importance of making sure our students are educated with facts and not revisionist history distorted from the dark corners of the alt-right internet.  The information that young men and women fill their brain with matters.

While no one has control over the world wide web, we do have a say in the text books they read. That’s why there was such an uproar in 2015 when the Texas Board of Education approved textbooks that said Moses was a Founding Father and slaves were “workers” from Africa.  Now, more then ever, it is important that we teach tolerance and truth from a very young age.

After this weekend’s events many were left asking, “How can I get involved?  What can I do?”  Let’s think local.

There are 12 school districts that have seats open on their school boards.  These districts include: Houston, Klein, Leander, Los Fresnos, New Caney, Schertz-Cibolo, Spring, College Station, Aldine, Alief, Bryan and Cypress-Fairbanks.

Wouldn’t it be great if these school boards had some progressive candidates elected to them?  The deadline to file candidacy is Monday, August 21.

Know someone that lives in a district that would be great candidate? Share this post with them or tag them in it!

We must do what we can at the local level to ensure that tolerance is taught to the greatest assets we have, our children.

March on y’all

P.S. – If you do know a progressive running, please email lisa@marchontexas.com.  We’d love to hear and help!

 

Discrimination Sunday

Discrimination Sunday

Every mother since the dawn of time has had to navigate society to prepare her children for what they will face in the world.  Each generation has their own cross to bear, but as a mom of two I kind of wish they were growing up when I did in the 80’s and not today’s crazy environment.

The world constantly reminds us that it is dangerous and there are those who wish us harm.  The other night at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester a suicide bomber blew himself up along with 22 others, mostly young girls.  It makes me sick and scared and want to pull my children closer to me.

Nationally, Trump’s proposed federal budget released today outlines his priorities, namely increasing the military, cutting taxes for the richest and services like Medicare and food stamps for the poorest.

Locally, over the weekend Texas was in the news for passing some of the most discriminating legislation in modern times.  Heck, it even started being called “Discrimination Sunday” on social media!

SB6 says high school transgender students have to use the bathroom of their gender at birth.  Another bill allows child adoption and foster care agencies to refuse to place children with non-Christian, unmarried or gay parents due to religious objections.  SB8 cuts off access to abortion after 14 weeks and forces mothers to pay burial costs for the fetus.

Photo: equalitytexas.org

How do I explain to my children that there are real threats (terrorists) and imagined ones (i.e. – gay and transgender people can’t be trusted around children) and that a small group of very conservative men in government who run things can’t seem to tell the difference between the two?  How can I explain why they want to punish people for being poor and take away the rights of women to have control over their own bodies?

The honest answer is that I can’t explain it, because the ultra conservative populist reasoning makes no sense to me and isn’t based on facts, just their own personal beliefs and biases.

But what I can explain is that the only way to change this is to stand up, speak up, and vote in progressives who envision a world that is inclusive.

Globally, progressives believe in keeping our country safe in a smart way, not by building some ten foot chain link wall or enacting a Muslim Ban against countries where none of the terrorists were even born, but by properly and selectively vetting people who mean to do us harm.

Progressives respect intelligence agencies like the CIA and FBI and facts versus conspiracy theories.  Progressives believe in alliances with our NATO partners and when a country like Israel puts their people on the line to share intelligence with us about ISIS, our president would never share that code-word classified information with the Russians!

Nationally progressives can be pro-life without being anti-choice.  The world isn’t black or white; it’s many shades of gray and the decision to become a mother (or not) is one of the most impactful choices a woman can make.  We believe that only she knows what’s best for her own specific situation and her own body, not a panel of middle-aged men pretending to be holier-than-thou and passing blanket judgments that impact all women, but especially poor ones.

Let’s be frank.  If you are a woman of means and decide after the 14 week mark that you want to have an abortion, you have the option to take a bus or plane ride to a different state.  But if you’re poor?  Where are you going to go?

Locally, the Texas legislature has been railing about defunding Planned Parenthood and changing laws to make “choice” effectively a non-choice for many women who can’t afford the travel costs to an out-of-state clinic.  The government wants to effectively punish low-income women for having sex and not wanting to be a mother.

These same politicians, so concerned about the unborn, seemingly care even less should the baby actually be born.  The new healthcare bill that passed the House delivers massive tax cuts to the wealthiest and cuts Medicaid from the poorest.  The CBO estimated that 24 million people (including babies) will lose their health care coverage.

The Republican congress wants to eliminate essential benefits, such as maternity care.  And if your baby is born with a heart condition, like Jimmy Kimmel’s was, well that’s a pre-existing condition.  Good luck paying the bill.

Progressives believe in a woman’s right to choose, and if she chooses to become a mother progressives want her and her baby to have proper medical care, and food stamps too if they’re needed.  Because progressives wouldn’t let a mother and her babies go hungry so the richest 1% can get an extra tax cut that they don’t even need.

But wishing for progressives to run things isn’t going to change anything, talking about it on Facebook doesn’t do anything, but if you actually contact your representatives at town halls, in their office, on the phone, by mail or online, now you are making your voice heard.

The Texas legislature ends on May 29th.  Want to tell your reps what you think?  Click here to find out contact information for your rep.

And if your representatives don’t listen to you, then it’s time to do absolutely everything that you can to get them out of power and get progressives in their place.

thelillithfund

Let’s start at the local level.  Of the progressive candidates identified by Marchers, 16 of them have runoff elections!  Help them get the vote out.  Knock on doors, donate to their cause, remind your friends and family to vote.  Click here for more information: Support the June 10th runoff elections!

When our children are hurting, a kiss from mom makes everything better.  Our nation is hurting now and it’s up to all of us to take action.  The only way things will get better is if we put sane, competent people in power.

 

 

 

Trump’s Taxes Make Me Furious!

Trump’s Taxes Make Me Furious!

Every year around April 15th I start to get very patriotic.  Because that’s when my taxes are do and if I didn’t think about how great America is I’d be really ticked off I had to pay so much.

Usually, I’d say nice calming things like:  libraries, social security for grandma, Medicaid, food stamps, public schools for all, and then I’d gladly write the check to the IRS.  (OK, I wasn’t glad but I wasn’t angry about it either.)

But this year?  Holy Tax Evasion Bat Man!  Why do I have to kill myself to fill out all this paperwork when Donald Trump bragged during a debate that not paying taxes makes him smart!?!

Any why won’t he release his taxes?  Even Richard-I’m-Not-A-Crook-Nixon released his taxes!  The Republican rubber-stamping congress could order him to release his taxes as part of the inquiry into Russian business relationships, but they don’t seem interested at all.

Clearly his refusal to release his tax returns got a lot of people angry. Thousands of people in over 200 cities attended the Tax March yesterday.

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Turn Texas Blue? It Begins with You!

Turn Texas Blue? It Begins with You!

November 6, 2016. Two days before the presidential election. Hillary Clinton is a shoo in to be the first female President of the United States. Yeah! Chill the champagne, it’s about time!

Flash forward to election day. Hillary is…wait, what?? Donald Trump is President of the United States? But, what happened? Some stayed home (remember the shoo in?), some voted for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein as a protest vote, and some voted for Trump to make a change.

Now, six months later, America really is a different place! I don’t even need to list the ways. You know. We have marched, we have protested, we have cried. But now it is time to look forward and effect some real change. Some positive change. May 6. Six months into this new reality. It’s election time again.

Change can start in Texas. With you. And dozens of progressive candidates who have stepped forward to say “I will fight for you.” And we must fight for them. For change begins at home; and school board members run for Governor one day. And maybe even President. One. Day.

Here’s how…

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Run Beto Run!

Run Beto Run!

In the midst of his tour around Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke announced that he is running for Ted Cruz’s spot in the U.S. Senate. He kicked off his campaign on April 1st in Austin. We went to his meet and greet at Scholz Garten with the same question everyone had, can he do it?

The outdoor beer garten at Scholz was absolutely packed on Saturday afternoon with energetic  Texans, still fired up from the Women’s March and eager to hear what Beto had to offer for the future of our state and our country. I personally left with three take aways about Beto:

  1. He will make immigration a priority.
  2. He could be a uniting force in a very divided political climate.
  3. He is listening to the people.

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I Can See Russia From My President’s House

I Can See Russia From My President’s House

Back in the 1980s, when many of us were kids, it was easy to know who the good guys and bad guys were.  Americans?  Good.  Russia?  Bad.  Or to coin the phrase of Ronald Reagan, Russia was “The Evil Empire”.

Today, it seems we have woken up in an alternative universe.  Republicans (Republicans!?!) are saying that Russian interference into the election wasn’t that big a deal.  The “real” issue is that people are leaking information about all the alleged relationships between Moscow and Trump associates.

Don’t get us wrong, leaking confidential information isn’t right and should be dealt with, but isn’t that kind of like shooting the messenger?  Let’s first find out what, if anything, is going on between Team Trump and Vladimir Putin.

March On Texas strongly believes we really need an independent investigation to a) figure out if the Russians worked with anyone from Trump’s team to meddle with our election and b) if it did happen, make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Because this isn’t about Hillary Clinton losing the presidency.  This is about our long-time enemy messing with our democracy and possibly American citizens helping them!  This is something that should absolutely horrify all Americans.

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