Outcome of the 2018 US midterms

Abagond

Ayanna-Pressley Ayanna Pressley becomes the first Black Congresswoman from Massachusetts. (Via GQ)

The 2018 US midterm elections (November 6th 2018) took place two weeks ago but only now has most of the dust settled. There are still three races too close to call and one that is headed for a run-off. No matter how they turn out, though, the Republicans will hold onto the Senate, the upper house of Congress, but lose the House of Representatives, the lower house.

The election in blue, pink, black, orange, and white:

Blue: The Blue Wave was not as big as Democrats had hoped or as apocalyptic as Republicans feared, but in the House it was the biggest Blue Wave since Watergate. Democrats will now control the House for the first time since their crushing defeat to Tea Party Republicans in 2010. It means that starting in 2019 President Trump and his Republican…

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Columbus Day

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Columbus Day (1892- ) is a US holiday that celebrates October 12th 1492, the day Columbus landed in the Americas.

In the late 1700s, Columbus became a hero in the US when it won its independence from Britain. That was when it became common to name streets and towns after him. It was part of feeling American instead of British or English.

In 1892, it was first observed by US schoolchildren, on the 400th anniversary. That was the very same day they first said the Pledge of Allegiance to the US flag.

In 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt made it a US government holiday from coast to coast. Columbus was a huge hero to Italian Americans, part of his voter base.

In the late 1900s, when I went to US public schools, the three great heroes were Abraham Lincoln, who freed the slaves, George Washington, who freed the…

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Christine Blasey Ford

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Christine Blasey Ford (c. 1967- ) is a professor of psychology at Palo Alto University in California. She says that Brett Kavanaugh tried to rape her back in high school. President Trump wants to put Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, making him one of the nine highest judges in the land.

She could become the Anita Hill of the 2010s – only this time we have the Internet and the #MeToo movement. In 1991 Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. They spoke before the Senate on live television. Thomas needed to be confirmed by the Senate to get on the Supreme Court. He barely made it.

He says, she says:

  • He says: Kavanaugh, known to lie under oath, says her claim is “completely false”.
  • She says that in 1982 they were at a party when she was 15 and he was 17. He and a friend of his…

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The midterms

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A midterm election in the US are those that take place halfway through a president’s four-year term. The president himself (so far always a him) is not up for re-election, but most of Congress is: a third of the Senate and all of the House. So are many governors and state lawmakers.

The 2010 midterms saw the rise of the Tea Party and the takeover of many states by Republicans. That allowed them to gerrymander the voting map and prevent President Obama from getting much done for six years (2011-17).

The 2018 midterms, on November 6th, is the first nationwide election since the rise of Donald Trump in 2016. Both Barack Obama (former president, centre-left) and Sean Hannity (cable news blowhard, far-right) agree that this is the most important US election of our lifetime. It will determine what becomes of Trump.

Blue Wave: If enough Democrats come out to vote…

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Aretha Franklin

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Aretha Franklin, 1967.

Aretha Franklin (1942-2018), the Queen of Soul, is easily one of the best singers in living memory in the US, if not the best.

She has 20 number-one hit songs on the US R&B chart:

  • 1967: I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)
  • 1967: Respect
  • 1967: Baby I Love You
  • 1968: Chain of Fools
  • 1968: (Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone
  • 1968: Think
  • 1969: Share Your Love with Me
  • 1970: Call Me
  • 1970: Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)
  • 1971: Bridge Over Troubled Water
  • 1971: Spanish Harlem
  • 1972: Day Dreaming
  • 1973: Angel
  • 1974: Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)
  • 1974: I’m in Love
  • 1976: Something He Can Feel
  • 1977: Break It To Me Gently
  • 1982: Jump to It
  • 1983:…

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Pose

Abagond

Disclaimer: This post is based on episodes 2, 5, and 6, half of those shown so far.

“Pose” (2018- ) is a US television show on FX centred on five transgender women of colour – played by five transgender women of colour. Radical, I know. It is pretty much “Paris Is Burning” (1991) made into a television show, with some straight White characters added. It takes place in New York of the late 1980s: greed is good, AIDS, the ballroom scene, Patrick Nagel paintings, etc. “Pose” was created by Ryan Murphy, a White gay man who gave us the hit show “Glee” (2009-15).

“Pose” made history last Sunday (July 8th 2018): its sixth episode, “Love Is the Message”, was the first episode of US television ever written and directed by a trans woman of colour – Janet Mock.

It is the first show on US television I have seen…

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Patricia Okoumou

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Therese Patricia Okoumou (c. 1973- ) is the woman who climbed up on the Statue of Liberty in New York on July 4th 2018. She was protesting President Trump’s immigration policies:

“Michelle Obama, our beloved First Lady, that I care so much about, said, ‘When they go low, we go high.’ And I went as high as I could.

“Trump has ripped this country apart. It is depressing. It is outrageous. I can say a lot of things about this monster, but I will stop at this: His draconian zero-tolerance policy on immigration has to go. In a democracy we do not rip children, we do not put children in cages. Period. There is no debating it. Nothing you can say to me can justify putting children in cages. Only a stupid, unintelligent coward and insecure – I will add, a maniac – will rip a tender-age child from its…

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zero tolerance immigration policy

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The zero tolerance immigration policy (2018- ) was rolled out in the US in April 2018 by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Over this past Father’s Day weekend it has become infamous for separating children from parents who cross the south-western border, putting the children in cages.

An Ipsos poll on June 14th and 15th asked 1,000 people in the US age 18 or over if they agreed with this:

“It is appropriate to separate undocumented immigrant parents from their children when they cross the border in order to discourage others from crossing the border illegally.”

Overall:

  • 27% agreed,
  • 56% disagreed,
  • 17% unsure.

By party:

  • 46% Republicans agreed,
  • 29% Independents,
  • 14% Democrats.

Only 32% of Republicans disagreed!

The policy is opposed by the United Nations, the American Academy of Pediatrics, 300 US Catholic bishops, First Lady Laura Bush, the Southern Baptist Convention, and even Franklin Graham.

President Trump blames the Democrats

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separating children from parents

U.S. depravity has led us to mass incarceration, then prisons for profit (private prisons), now we are incarcerating innocent children for PROFIT in private prisons. Disgusting

Abagond

“Immigrant Children” by Rob Rogers, June 1st 2018. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette refused to print this political cartoon. It fired Rogers two weeks later.

Separating children from parents has a history:

1855: Frederick Douglass, who was Black:

“The practice of separating children from their mother, and hiring the latter out at distances too great to admit of their meeting, except at long intervals, is a marked feature of the cruelty and barbarity of the slave system. But it is in harmony with the grand aim of slavery, which, always and everywhere, is to reduce man to a level with the brute. It is a successful method of obliterating from the mind and heart of the slave, all just ideas of the sacredness of the family, as an institution.”

1943: Anne Frank, who was Jewish:

“Dearest Kitty,

“…

“Terrible things are happening outside. At any time of night and day…

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William Barber

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Rev. Barber in 2016.

Reverend William J. Barber II (1963- ), a US civil rights leader, is a Disciples of Christ pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, North Carolina. He is best known for the Moral Monday protests in his state (2013-17). Now in 2018 he is going nationwide, picking up where Martin Luther King Jr left off in 1968, helping to lead a new Poor People’s Campaign.

Influences:

  • political: Martin Luther King, Ella Baker, Robert F. Williams, the populist movement of the 1890s.
  • theological: Reinhold Niebuhr, Paul Tillich, James Cone.

Endorsements:

  • Cornel West: “That brother is the real thing.”
  • Bernie Sanders: “[Barber] is doing some of the most important work in the country.”

Barber’s view of US history is much like mine, informed by Howard Zinn, Nell Painter, and the Black counter-frame: a call-and-response between Black Reconstruction and White backlash. In its finer moments…

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