The Only Way for us to Survive Climate Change is Stroopwafel…or Something

A bunch of years ago I’m driving down that Manchsexy section of 128 at dusk and inside my skull my brain yells, “Ostrich!”

Looking down the road I see the unmistakable shape of that large, flightless bird in the middle of the highway. “Meatpuppet, be aware, the object obstructing the road is an ostrich!” (my most distinct internal voice obnoxiously refers to the rest of me as “meatpuppet” and I wish it wouldn’t).

What happened next stuck in my memory, because it defined the way I and I think a lot of us deal with issues and threats considered “out of the norm”. From differing corners of my mind other opinions, not the “observation and reaction” part I consider my “brain”, but  a disparate chorus of doubts sparked up. It was like a busy channel on maritime radio, with different vessels reacting to the same scenario from unique perspectives. “Memory” reminded me I’ve never seen any similar thing on the highway before, insisting I look again. “Logic” recited Occam’s Razor, which states that if I see an ostrich in New England it’s statistically more likely to be a turkey and a trick of the light. “Guilt” reminded me of the time I did mushrooms in college, how it totally knew this would happen, hallucinating weird shit all over the place, even decades later, you stupid, stupid man.

“Meatpuppet, ignore these fools!” My actual “Brain” yelled, trying to override the cacophony. “That is an ostrich! I have searched memory, judged size against distance accounting for our forward velocity and I know what a fucking turkey looks like and this is not one. There is an ostrich in the road! Avoid collision and alert the authorities!”

“Maybe it’s, like…weird trees…” said “Imagination”.

Bob Ross lives in my head, apparently

For the record, it’s loud inside my head, pretty much all the time. But, also for the record, it turns out there was indeed an actual fucking ostrich (or a close cousin) in the road.  Somebody had been keeping emus over in West Gloucester, one got out and wandered onto the highway. In retrospect, this seems simple. But it was an impossible conclusion to resolve at the time. This is how most of us, myself included, deal with life. It’s a massive mental lift to face a new and unexpected set of facts, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. 

After Bomb Cyclone Grayson (alert aspiring DJs for solid potential name) we are having what social/economic/historical theorists call a Black Swan Event and which I call an “Ostrich Somewhere in the Vicinity of Exit 16 Event”. A Black Swan Event is something that should have been predictable, but no one accounted for and denied right up to the point it eventually changed history. Personal computers, the fall of the Soviet Union, the housing bubble crash and most notably 9/11 are all things that were, in hindsight, predictable but no one did anything appreciable about at the time in terms of preperation. Humans suck at acting on predictions, even good ones. We extrapolate the future from past experience because it used to serve as a pretty good guide when change was at a normal pace. But change now, including the climate, is not happening at a “normal” pace. Technology, income disparity and the climate are all hitting the metaphorical meth pipe and we’re going to have to learn to deal. Ostriches are on the road, my friends. EMUS ON METH! (alert aspiring speed metal bands…)

You go from this

To running down the street naked being chased by the cops

(from Wikipedia)

Black Swan events all share the same characteristics:

  1. The event is a surprise (to the observer)
  2. The event has a major effect
  3. After the first recorded instance of the event, it is rationalized by hindsight, as if it could have been expected; that is, the relevant data were available but unaccounted for in risk mitigation programs. The same is true for the personal perception by individuals.

Cars taken out by global warming. Ironic, no? But also transport to work, trips to the doctor, etc. We have to help these folks AND do better about sea level rise.

The worst thing about global climate change as Black Swan is an added 1a, which states: “A bunch of douchebags got Fox News to convince people it won’t happen, even while it’s happening all over the place.”

So here we are. Post Black Swan/Ostrich/Emu

What the fuck do we do now? (This has become a somewhat classic Clamquestion)

On Facebook, seeing all the pics I posted of the floods around Gloucester, an old friend of mine from the Netherlands messaged me:

Her: You need stormvloedkering

Me: ?

Her: Like weirs

Me: ??

Her: Barriers against the sea. We have them in Zeeland in our country. We also have decriminalized cannabis, pervasive cycling infrastructure and nationalized health care.

Me: But we had to save your butts in World War II.

Her: Yes. But you still need stormvloedkering. I’m sure someone here will show you the plans, in thanks for World War II.

The little tram is because Dutch people go to see it on holiday. When I went to Holland all my guidebook mentioned was weed and hookers.

So the Dutch are sassy, in a chill sort of way. But they also know how to hold back an angry sea. And that’s what this is, folks. The sea is pissed. For the first few centuries of our history Gloucesterites have been going out to face it, and now it’s coming to meet us at home.

And nobody is out ahead of this. Not the federal government, which as of this writing is too busy taking on the essential task of tweeting insults at itself to mitigate the potential destruction of a major population, cultural and economic center. Not our underfunded local government which is trying to manage a dozen full-blown crises at any given time on shoestring budgets. And not most of us citizens who are just trying to go about our lives, decidedly not thinking “how will global climate change be affecting my choice of parking spot/lunch meetup/pet shampoo?”

And that’s gotta change. On all levels. It’s up to us, folks. Running for city council Jen Holmgren said climate change was one of her top priorities, and I of all people counseled her to talk about issues closer to home. Three days into her term, Newell Stadium and Rocky Neck go under. Also the Mayor made climate change a key piece of her inauguration speech. As she was reciting it, on the stage, I noticed a few of the councilors rolling their eyes when she started talking dealing with climate challenges facing Gloucester. Roll them at your peril now, everyone is on blast for this issue after Grayson, me included. Clear?

Jen now, probably

We live by the sea. We’re going to have to get used to the fact that the very same sea is rising and getting more violent. It’s tempting to point fingers (see Black Swan rule 3), like blaming people for parking in a lot which hasn’t seen that kind of flooding in a century. This is not useful. In the same way as blaming the city for not knowing the lot would flood. The city is made up of people (shocker), they have access to the same prediction tools as the rest of us. Back to the classic Black Swan example: Someone in the government clearly should have insisted, “assholes with box cutters and Microsoft Flight Simulator could destroy the World Trade Center and damage the Pentagon”, but obviously no one was convincing enough in that prediction. And, to be honest, even if they were doing full body searches and spending tons of money on air marshals before that event, most of us air travelers would have been total dicks about the “unreasonable preparations for a highly unlikely circumstance” and complaining to our representatives and the media and probably writing snarky blog posts about it.  

So, I’m considering this the “wake up call”. There aren’t “we didn’t know” excuses from now on. We know. It’s happening. And this is not the kind of thing where we’re going to really get much wiggle room for divisiveness around. You are either on the stormvloedkering or off the stormvloedkering.

I think I got that right. Holy crap we are so behind on this.

2017 Was Saved By Women

I think we can all agree 2017 was a wombat-fucker of a year. Everyone who was supposed to be in charge seemed to lack any coherent idea on how to hold the obvious villains and grifters accountable for their gleeful dismantling of our society. Every fucking day the news was essentially some version of: “The president is lying to everyone all the time, he and his bad-80’s movie collection of traitors are trying to set up a the world’s tackiest dictatorship, also all the dudes in the media are all grabby creeps INCLUDING AL FRANKEN AND GARRISON KEILLOR and not only are there Nazis all over the place but there are Nazi FUCKING FURRIES, so, you know, bummer and stuff ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.”

2017, this is you

I, for one, would have spent the entire year under my basement workbench seeking the blessed solace of inhaled industrial solvents but for one thing:

 

Women.

Women fucking saved our asses this year. I want you to think about what 2017 would have been like without the women’s marches, without the women standing up to the predators, the black women who sent Roy Moore back to hopefully not the mall. What would 2017 have been without the women who said, “no”, “no more (Moore)”, and “nopers, nopety nope nope noperoo, nopebro nopenstein NOOOOOO!”?

In case you didn’t click, the scene posted above is “No Man’s Land,” from this summer’s Wonder Woman. You should watch it, even if you saw the movie. In it our heroine, played by Gal Gadot, is in disguise with her small company of handlers (all men) in a trench somewhere in WW I. A refugee begs for help as her village, situated across the killing field between the Allied and German trenches, has been enslaved. Wonder Woman insists that they divert their mission to help, but her guide rationalizes all the reasons accomplishing that basic task of human decency is impossible. He tells her that “This is not what we’re here to do,” and that “we can’t save everyone in this war.” And she basically tells him to go fuck himself by dialing the awesome up to 11. This one scene transcends the entire movie. The entire summer full of movies. Feel free to watch it over and over. I do.  

The brilliance of the filmmaking here is, as she’s striding across the greatest stalemate in modern military history, you get the sense here she’s learning the depth of her power. She starts at a walk, which becomes a run which becomes a supernatural leap. The men, realizing things have changed, finally get their shit together and follow. It’s surprisingly three dimensional for an action movie. It was like a breath of air after being under water for too long. 

And, all bullshit considered, this is how I felt at key moments over the past 13 months. For a long time I’ve been mired in the muck of “how things are.” As the sexual scandals exploded I thought of all the places where, because of a job or a sense I was doing the best thing in a bad situation, I didn’t take a stand. And suddenly, in 2017, women jumped over me, started taking fire and smashing shit. Now I’m scrambling to catch up.

Think about it, the inauguration was followed one day later by the Women’s March, dwarfing it in size. In groups large and small, we started to take stands. People pushed back. I know it was dark a lot of the time and a lot has been lost (Paris Accords, Net Neutrality, Health Care, Merrick Garland…I could go on and on and on but the paint thinner begins to call my name). However, I saw a lot of righteous rage this year, and I saw the good side start to win, a lot of times in places I didn’t expect. For instance, who knew the resistance would be led by the National Park Service, Teen Vogue and Juggalos? Not me, but what-fucking-ever. Lead on, you clown-face-painted, hiking-boot-wearing, epic-prom-look-seeking heroes. “I’ve got you, fam,” or whatever one is supposed to say in these situations. 

Related image

In 2017 it’s bravery that’s in, cowardice is so last year.

In fact, I found myself growing increasingly furious with rationalized chicken-shittery. After the Citrinellanacht assholes killed a woman in Charlottesville and a similar rally was gearing up to take place on Boston Common, The Internet was suddenly flooded with people explaining why going to protest Nazis helps them because…reasons. I remember replying: “I’m really glad no one came out to protest the Nazis because it just empowered them,” said no concentration camp inmate, ever.” People got super-mad at that, which I’m fine with.

Because we were fucking right. Forty thousand of us were right that day in July. The only thing I saw that was better than the No Man’s Land scene in 2017 was a real-life army of taking-no-more-shit humans marching down Tremont, shaking the ground as they came. Meanwhile the Boston Police hustled the sad little band of Velco-sneakered rumpled brownshirts into vans to get them the fuck out of there. There’s a good chance that was the high-water mark of the alt right. If so, we have organized women and BLM to thank, not the NPR think-piece crowd. 

I know It’s messy. It’s hard, peeps. We’re in uncharted territory here. There’s going to be overreach, trampled feelings and it’s not always going to feel fair and let’s face it, this ain’t a movie. We don’t get to write the ending and it’s not always going to make sense at the time (Are we living in an Alain Resnais film? Discussion for a later time.).

And let’s not sugar coat it, 2018 could be worse. Hell, there’s still the rest of 2017 that could easily devolve into unbridled crapitude making the rest of the year seem like a an ice cream social (but with Nazis). In the Wonder Woman model, we’re still on the ladder here, we’re not even out of the trench yet in terms of the potential shitnami (shitticane? I think shitnmai is better) ahead. But dammit, loyal and-no-doubt-exhausted members of the Clamistance, climbing out and charging head on is what we’re going to do. And keep doing. When given the opportunity to reconnect with some portion of your humanity, take it. It probably won’t get offered again.

See you out there.

Voting for our Better (S)Elves

I amar prestar aen, han mathon ne nen, han mathon ne chae a han noston ned ‘wilith.

Fun fact: she’s also from an island that was racked by unexpected change.

For the four or five of you non-ubernerds we need to translate this for, above is the opening voiceover in Elvish (Sindiran) from the first Lord of the Rings film. It’s spoken by the Elvish Queen Galadriel, and it translates thusly:

“The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air.”

We feel ya, Lady of the Golden Wood. We’re all feeling it these days, since everything seems sort of…how to put it..out of control? Or, in Clamspeak, “Awash with flying shitmonkeys”? Responding to change is never easy. For instance we’re avoiding upgrading to the Google Pixel from our old Samsung because simply the addition of a new charger cable into the mix will cast our life and work into an abyss abject chaos. But beyond just evolving electronics, absolutely nothing seems recognizable right now, not our government, not our economy, not the ways we work, communicate, learn, treat the sick or care for the vulnerable. Every day feels like waking up in a freshly off-kilter world, with a new set of rules and potential outcomes.

But, friends, as uncomfortable as they are (and they really are), times of change are times of opportunity. Change is when you get to rewrite rules, take stands, redefine and reestablish. Think about all the instances you’ve ever moved, started a new relationship (or ended an old one), changed jobs or got a really awesome haircut. You’re like a new person. That’s where we are today in our world, in our country and, despite best efforts, Gloucester.

So now is the time to choose the Gloucester we want for the future. The City Council Vote for the Tuesday, November 7 election is the first official voice we’ve had since everything left the fucking rails last Fall. Let us begin here.  

Pro tip: red carpet hides both blood and ceremonial wine stains

We at Clam Global headquarters, in our secret lair miles below the Earth’s surface, gathered in the candelabra-lit star chamber and decided the people we’re voting for are going to represent what we want to see for the future: Caring for Gloucester’s vulnerable, our kids and the environment. People with an actual sense of what a realistic future is, not just one that’s expensive homes and service jobs, but a real mixed economy that is neither a fantasy of the past nor a bunch of empty platitudes about “innovation” or “the arts.”  We’re demanding a sensible and thoughtful analysis of what we can and want to be, with the understanding it’s not going to be easy. Also we’re taking a hard line against against those who’ve linked themselves and our city to the ugliest forces of our national politics. We used to have the luxury to say, “I separate national politics from local” but choices were made, which we’ve outlined previously, making that stance impossible now.

This city is unique, it possesses something almost unheard of in the 21st century, a definite character, a sense of self. The truth is, this is why folks from the outside are eager to attack us, why they’re so eager to come up here with their TV trucks and do a “Isn’t Gloucester Wacky!” story for the nightly news at any whiff of something that, had it occurred in Fitchburg or Dunwich [note: check if actual town] wouldn’t rate a line in the “regional notes” section. It’s because those assholes live in somewhere like Acton or Bridgewater or Belmont, somewhere  bland. Our very own teenage daughter at a track meet was confronted by another team’s derisive chants of, “Stinky Gloucester fishtown!” to which she replied, index finger outstretched as if she were uttering an ancient curse, “YOU’LL ALWAYS BE FROM DANVERS!“

They wilted.

Image result for route 114, danvers

Is that really Danvers? How would you know?

Being more than not-Danvers, but the Gloucester of the 21st century is going to take work, some pain and juggling a lot of different needs and outlooks. The people you choose to steer that course, their motivations and skillsets, are incredibly important. Make your tough choices, set us on the path. If there aren’t sufficient choices in the roles you want to see, then write someone in. Send a message.

There is another Elvish line from the film, which I’m sure I don’t have to translate but I will again for the couple of you readers unfamiliar with the fair tonge. After being stabbed with the Morgol blade, Frodo is passing into the shadows to be among the soulless servants of the Dark Lord. Arwen, the Elvish princess, cries to him:

Lasto beth nîn, tolo dan nan galad

It’s what I chant every morning now when I pick up my phone to check the news:

“Hear my voice, come back to the light”

Clam Voter Guide, Tombstone Edition

TLDR: On Tuesday, November 7 vote for Paul Lundberg and Jen Holmgren and Melissa Cox for the At-Large seats on the City Council. If you feel the need to add a fourth, go with Joe Ciolino.  

We think Joe Giacalone is the better choice for Ward 2.

Just vote the incumbents on the school council. The one other guy running, Scotadam J. Chernov, we’re told hasn’t been to a single meeting and that’s just…no.

There’s a whole lot of “no” in this piece, btw. It’s sort of a theme. 

For those of you who feel the pressing need to read another 1,300 odd   more words on this feel free to keep going, but you’re busy people, we know that.  

As is traditional, we begin by reminding everyone we are not journalists even though we get quoted in the fucking Washington Post for some reason. This whole blog, started on a literal dare, in its infancy was dedicated mostly to coming up with amusing names for non-existent gay strip clubs on Cape Ann. Remember “Man-Chest by the Sea?” Of course you don’t.

So the local races are coming up in November. We’re a little more than a week out.

“Hey The Clam, tell us who we should vote for because I have no idea about any of these people and I live in a literal cave and wear clothes made out of moss and spend my days making teeny tiny little top hats for the pillbugs I keep in an old Altoids tin.” This is a thing we are hearing now. Ok, fine. Here’s our take. Oh, and remember we sort of don’t care if you don’t agree with us. Feel free to go have your own angry freak out about how horrible and wrong we are on your corner of the Internet.

Mayor:

This is easy. Sefatia, Sefatia, Sefatia. (If you say her name three times fast, she shows up at your house with sugo, I’ve been told).

The other guy is bats. Sefatia will beat him in the saddest landslide that Stevie Nicks hasn’t sang.

We hate to be pedants, but when a snow covered hill cuts loose, it’s not a landslide, it’s an avalanche. Oh, who are we kidding, we love being pedants.

City Council, At Large:

Clamsplainer: What the eff is that? The City Council is like the Congress: they vote on stuff like the ban on polystyrene cups, dog ordinances, and most importantly, the budget. They have committees and this is where a lot of the local laws affecting our day-to-day lives in Gloucester come from. The At-Large Councilors are not from any particular “ward” or section of the city (helpful map), but serve the whole city and have to be elected by voters from the entire city, rather than just that district. There are four slots on the City Council for At Large councilors.

At Large is where the real game is this year. Currently the seats are held by Paul Lundberg, Joe Ciolino, Jamie Ohara (sic) and Joe Orlando Jr., all of whom are running for reelection. New folks running: Jen Holmgren, Melissa Cox (Ward 2 Councilor going for At-Large), and Robert D. Whynott Sr.  So, in the TLDR (Too Long Didn’t Read) at the top of this piece, we’re suggesting you ditch two of the existing councilors who are running again and replace them. “Why, The Clam? Why should we make such a bold move?” you ask, rattling your tin at us menacingly. Shall we solve in listiclce? Yes, let’s shall!

Reasons you should do what the Clam Says for the At Large Race:

THESE PEEPS SHOULD GET YOUR VOTE:

  1. Paul Lundberg and Joe Ciolino: Two dudes who’ve been doing this pretty effectively for a long time. Paul is a retired operations guy for a major railroad and Joe is a successful Gloucester small businessman. Full disclosure we hear Joe is hard to work with and honestly, particularly the way he speaks to people, particularly a few of our female readers have mentioned this, needs work. STOP TALKING TO WOMEN LIKE THEY ARE PETS/CHILDREN AMERICA/WORLD. But that’s still our recommendation, based on the choices at hand.
  2. OUR BIG CLAMDORSEMENT THIS YEAR: Jen Holmgren: Jen is a nurse and young person who’s involved in, like, everything. She goes to all the meetings (reports say she’s been to more sub- committee meetings and full council meetings than most councilors), talks to folks in that way good nurses do to find out what the addressable parts of the problem are, and comes up with working solutions based on the resources at hand. She went to the High School and has a kid at West Parish and was supportive to other parents and community members during that ongoing nightmare, so she has major cred. To be honest, The Clam has disagreed with her on several important issues, like Sanctuary Cities which she claims may do more harm than good for everyone. But, even further full disclosure, The Clam is somewhat radical on most fronts and is pretty much in favor of establishing a post-scarcity, technology-driven utopian anarchy in Gloucester, which may be beyond the immediate reach of the City Council (until the Singularity, that is). She’s our big endorsement this time around. We need someone like her, bad.  YOU ARE CLAMANDED TO VOTE JEN. 
  3. Melissa Cox: Another person with whom we sometimes disagree, but critically (unlike ourselves) she is not an ideologue. She’s pragmatic and budget-minded. The most important thing to know about Melissa is that she takes on every issue and thinks about it objectively, and fights for what’s right. You can talk to Melissa, and she does respond – quickly. She singlehandedly saved KT’s wedding earlier this summer by helping unlock the city hall on Saturday because KT AND JOEY FORGOT TO PICK UP THEIR MARRIAGE LICENSE.  She’s a good choice. We’re not going to wax on about Melissa because she’s the kind of person you don’t really need to explain that hard… she just gets shit done. Worth your vote.

Gender: key note, electing these two means the gender balance of the Council goes from its current 2/9 (Cox and Gillman from Ward 4) to 3/9. Progress, folks.

THESE PEEPS, NO:

  1. Joe Orlando Jr: Positions himself as the “young” and a “fiscally responsible, pro-business” voice for for Gloucester. After the past two weeks, just no. His family are unabashedly pro-Trump. His campaign chair single-handedly caused the West Parish debacle and now the principal has to be escorted around for her safety because his campaign unapologetically brought the attention of ultra-right-wing paranoid lunatics to our town over a tiny matter that was being handled internally. They are, in our opinion, truly responsible for thousands of dollars in direct costs like police details and time spent opening angry emails and letters and interviews and who knows how much in indirect costs due to hits on our reputation. THIS IS VERY BAD AND WRONG. Also, for a young voice, he voted in favor of keeping polystyrene cups around, which to us is just… odd. Most young people are hipper to the increasingly threatened environment as they are going to be living in it longer.
  2. Jamie OHARA or Ohara or O’hara or O’Hara or OHaha (we’re not clear): He’s your “police and fire” candidate who supports all things public safety. The main reason we don’t support him is when he was knocking on doors during his successful run last round, we mentioned to him his stump speech was somewhat heavy on… how do we say it… fear mongering? Yes, public safety is important. But you have to have stuff to defend, like schools and roads and a community and so on. We respect and fully support the necessary and often risky work of public safety, but are squicked out by “cop groupies” and Ohara pushed that button hard for us during that meeting. So no to him.
  3. Bob Whynott Sr.: For real? The world’s crankiest candidate is running on the issue of keeping all plastic bags and styrofoam cups, and reopening the morass that is the Fuller School deal on which we’ve finally made some progress (though obviously there are still issues to be worked out). Great. A throwback candidate. Fuller again? FFS. I think I’d rather have a candidate focused on “Reading into the public record the poetry produced by Jim Dowd in the week immediately following his painful sophomore-year breakup with Molly Brackman”, than a reopening of the Fuller debate. Bob feels like he’s running to win a campaign in the 80’s, but due to current constraints in physics and engineering, campaigns cannot run to win elections in the past. So nopey nope nope on Bob. Also, last time he was on the council, he voted to keep the dangerous parking on lower Prospect across from the DES club because… drumroll… he uses that to park for church. When the public safety aspect was brought up by our men in uniform (you can’t get an ambulance through with a car coming the other way when there’s parking on both sides), he helpfully pointed out “isn’t that what your lights and sirens are for?” So much no.

    Onboard the Trump Truck

Ward 2: Joe Giacalone v. Ken Hecht. This is actually a place where we know and like both candidates. But Joe here is the better choice, in our opinion, simply because we’ve known him for years and he grew up in 2, knows everyone there, and every issue down to the bricks in the sidewalk. That’s the kind of representation we want to see there, because in our opinion it’s the tightest ward in town both by density and community, is in a lot of ways the most vulnerable, and definitely the one most under threat from gentrification and Ken is a developer which we’re not sure we’re super cool with having on the council. Developers are necessary and we get it (we also really like his latest project of artist spaces above Jalapenos), but should they be in government? It’s… a grey line for us. Lots of conflicts.  So we think Joe has a grip on this and the ward will benefit from his representation. 

Ok, that’s it. Commence freaking out and unfriending us or whatever. We’re used to it. Also, let those pillbugs go, they’ll die in there, you freak.

Clam, out.

 

Respect is Earned, Not Given. Trump Hasn’t Earned It.

So our local GOP chairwoman Amanda Orlando Kesterson, as well as her brother Joe, who is running for re-election to the council, caught wind of a gravestone at the West Parish halloween party that said “Don Trump.” (UPDATE: It apparently according to a few local parents, was part of a game that first appeared at a Boy Scouts party – Kesterson is heavily involved in the local Boy Scouts, for what it’s worth.) And then they ran to the media with it, immediately bypassing the school’s principal and superintendent. I was told becoming massively offended about a tiny thing was what “liberal snowflakes” do, but I guess it’s more bipartisan than they’d care to admit. Was it in bad taste? Probably not the best taste, but there’s some serious melodrama about how terrible and disgusting it was from the same people who “hate PC culture” and whose predecessor in her chairwoman job, Angela Hudak, posted photos of Obama as Osama Bin Laden IN FRONT OF THEIR RESIDENCE. Take a look. 

 

No,  Amanda, you’re wrong. We shouldn’t teach our children that the office of the President always deserves respect. It’s sad, but until November I did not imagine I would need to type that sentence. We should teach our children to think critically about what a person worthy of high respect and honor looks like and does, so that they grow into people of high respect and honor.

Each previous president, even the ones against my particular political views, were worthy of respect. They spoke with honor, chose their words carefully (even if written by another person), understood the gravity of their office and the job they sought out. I was not a fan of George W Bush, as it just cemented the idea of “failing upward,” but I respected him just as much. Perhaps begrudgingly at the time, but in hindsight, I now respect him more than I did then. It was only the most respected of men that sought the highest office, to represent us as a people, a nation united.

And along came Trump to garbage up the Oval Office. A man who left in his wake of a career bankruptcies, racist policies that kept people of color out of his rental apartments, broken contracts ruining small businessmen, serious allegations of sexual assault,  cheap steaks, and lies. The fact that the man ascended to presidency is an anomaly. He chews respect up and spits it out, daily.  So, here’s a list of things our president has said that the local GOP wants our children to show respect for:

“Marlee, is she retarded??” (about deaf actress Marlee Matlin).

“If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS’s ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the Pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been President because this would not have happened.”

“I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier.” (Rally in Virginia, August 2, 2016, upon receiving a Purple Heart medal from a supporter.)

“She [Alicia Machado] was the winner and she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem.”

“Part of the problem and part of the reason it takes so long [to kick out protesters] is nobody wants to hurt each other anymore.”

“He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, OK?”

“Jeb Bush has to like the Mexican Illegals because of his wife.”

“You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”

“Heidi Klum. Sadly, she’s no longer a 10.”

“Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!”

“I’ve done it [filed bankruptcy] four times out of hundreds, and I’m glad I did it. I used the laws of the country to my benefit.”

“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”

“Wow! Just think—in a couple of years, I’ll be dating you.” (To two 14 year old girls)

‘Laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is, I believe that.” (so awful I had to include the source)

“You have to treat ’em [women] like shit.”

“[Arianna Huffington]  is unattractive both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man- he made a good decision.”

“Bad (or sick) guy!” (a tweet about Obama)

I could go on, but you get the picture.

Maybe Amanda wants her kids to grow up thinking this is an appropriate way to gain respect and act in your daily life, but I will never teach my children that a man who has said these things is to be respected just because he was voted into office. I respect people who fight for our country. I respect people who run into a burning building. I respect people who give up everything they’ve ever known just to get to our country for the smallest possible chance to build a life here. But until Donald Trump does something that commands respect – literally, ANYTHING – no one should teach our children that this is what a leader who commands respect sounds like.