Interesting little thing I heard about and then looked into myself. Thought I'd share, because … it's interesting, in a scary kind of way. At the official White House web site, there's a side menu (on my iPad anyway) that lists all the links to other sections. When you scroll down to see the bottom of it, you see the links to the branches of the U.S. Government. Only it appears that one branch has gone missing from the list of three. Yes, the Judicial Branch isn't on the list. Hmmm.
The biggest problem with trying to blog about the ridiculously idiotic and/or revoltingly evil doings of the current American regime is that just about the time I finish a post on the most recent idiotic or evil thing they have done, they go and do another one. It really just never stops. It's difficult keeping up with it all while also having a life. The local reaction to Trump's empowerment of the far right crazies though moves at a slightly slower pace. Recently, some serious shit hit the fan. Let me tell you about it …
Last week, Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez announced that unless an illegal immigrant had been charged or found guilty of a list of very serious crimes, she would not be honoring ICE's warrantless detainer requests demanding said immigrants be turned over for expulsion from the country or federal justice measures. Additionally, people in her department would not be asking anyone about their citizenship status whether they have been arrested of a crime or have come in to report being the victim of a crime. I'd say that she threw down the gauntlet, but really, it's more like lobbing a grenade. Good! She won her election by a very wide margin, the police departments in the area support her in her run for office, and she made no bones about who she was, what she believed, and what she would do as Travis County Sheriff. She has the support of the people and local elected officials, so I'm glad to see her following through with campaign promises.
Alas, her statement hasn't sat well with the far right regime running Texas, headed by Governor Gregg Abbott. He demanded she reverse her “misguided and dangerous” policy and announced he would be withholding funds from Travis County, to the tune of $1.8 million from the Criminal Justice System. Not content with that small amount, he has since set his budget director into action contacting state agencies and asking them to report on what other funds Travis County recieves that could be withheld as well. Governor Abbott has also been making mewling noises about working on some way to remove her and other elected officials like her from office using the Texas Legislature.
Meanwhile, Sheriff Hernandez is not backing down, and other elected officials such as pussy hat wearing Judge Sarah Eckhardt have stepped forward asking Governor Abbott to reconsider his actions (nope, he won't). Neither side will be backing down it seems, so it will be interesting to see what happens going forward, especially if the federal government gets involved. With Trump's recent declaration that he will “send in the Feds” to solve Chicago's problems, without defining if he meant police or soldiers (though there's very little differentiating the two these days), one has to wonder what sending in “the Feds” to Austin would look like.
A great many people forget, including far right wing Texans, that centrist Texans and liberal Texans are still very much Texans in the truest sense of the word. We're pig-headedly stubborn, loudly opinionated, quick to take action when offended, strong believers in the sanctity of property rights, lovers freedom, and dedicated fighters of authority figures trying to tell us what to do from on high. A large percentage of us are also firm supporters of the Second Amendment and neither fear nor loathe guns. If I were going to choose a liberal enclave to flex my right wing muscles in, let's just say that Austin, Texas wouldn't be my first choice. There's going to be pushback.
What follows is a post I started writing some weeks ago, on the day I decided that instead of returning to political blogging full on I would be stepping away from the Internet entirely deleting my Facebook and Twitter accounts, taking down the blog, axing the Livejournal, and just not interacting with the digital world at all. I don't even remember what day it was or what had happened on that day, but I'd lost hope. The fire was gone from my belly. I let fear win. I fully intended to lurk around quietly until Inauguration Day, and then make sure I had physical contact info for those people who mean the most to me before just quietly disappearing from the online world. I felt I didn't have the energy to deal with what being a public opinionated female voice on the Internet entails. It takes a deep well of passion to face death and rape threats and stupidity on a daily basis merely for speaking your mind, and my well felt very, very dry.
Then … Inauguration Day happened. I watched, because I felt it was important to bear witness, and I haven't missed one since I was a child and old enough to know what a president is. It's important to me to see history that happened during my life with my own eyes, so that in the future when people try to rewrite it, I can say “No! That's not what happened!” because people always try to rewrite history to suit their needs. Anyway, I found myself posting on Facebook and writing Tweets and getting angry, but I still intended to wake up Saturday and begin extracting myself from the online world.
But … Saturday happened. I watched the DC Women's March, and over the course of the day, the spark that ignited in my heart and mind became a conflagration. My well of passion began to refill. And then the lies and gaslighting and absolute bullshit being spewed by the current administration began rolling in, and I found my voice. I found my passion. I found maybe I do have the strength to be an opinionate woman on the Internet, and while I doubt I will be making daily posts, I can't be silent. None of us can afford to be silent. Silence lets the win, and we can't let them win.
So for posterity and completion of public record, I post the following which was to be the last thing I said on the this blog. So you know, and I don't forget … that we can all be beat down but we can't stay down. The only way to go when you find yourself at the bottom is up.
*******Unfinished Undated Post*******
I'd intended to hop back into political blogging full on. I mean, there's plenty to rant about right now, isn't there? And I have tried. I have no less than three lengthy blog posts I have been working on diligently for over a week, but a couple nights ago, while I was toiling away trying to find just the right words to express the idea that we are all so fucked right now in a more polite and less offensive way, I closed my blogging app, stared at one of my paintings hanging in the living room, and contemplated my existence on the Tree of Woe. As the afternoon turned to evening, my soul searching came to an end, and I had come to a few conclusions.
I popped out of my mother's womb into a family that was very political and a world that was full of problems, and my interest and desire to solve these problems and be a part of creating a better world for everyone started early in my life. For all the decades of my life, I have seen my country slowly plodding forward into a more progressive, inclusive, and equal society. Baby steps all the way, and the occasional back step as well, but always moving generally in the right direction, even though we've had to drag some portion of our populace along kicking and screaming. Along the way, I always held firm to the belief that humans are inherently good. I was an eternal optimist. Sure, things might be messed up and crazy right now, but it's all going to turnout okay in the end. Maybe even better than okay!
But also along the way, a small part of my heart began to harden and cynicism found a home there, and over the years, that small part has grown larger and harder as I have watched my fellow Americans (and just my fellow humans everywhere) growing once again more vocally hateful, bigoted, and willfully stupid about all manner of important issues. I have watched as all the decades of work fighting racism, sexism, homophobia, and all forms of bigotry, oppression, and discrimination began to roll backwards, and my inner cynic said, “I told you so! People are shit.” My inner optimist held firm though, insisting that most of humanity was good or at least redeemable.
That was all before the current U.S. election cycle kicked off and my household spent a year with zero income during which we lost a great deal of what we'd gained in our lives and nearly lost it all. Let me tell you, when you have no money and nowhere to be and nothing to do, it gives you plenty of time to contemplate things, and so I did. Over the course of my year long deep thoughts on life in planet earth, my inner cynic finally convinced my inner optimist that it's true … people are shit. Not all people obviously, but the vast majority of humanity is a lost cause with no hope of redemption. Oh sure, eventually everything will be okay, but it's not going to be okay this year, or next year, or maybe not even next decade. I very seriously doubt that the world will be okay again in my lifetime.