On Inauguration Day, Let the Band Play

I have no desire to see Donald Trump sworn in as president today.  Also, I have a job.  Also, this is probably the 11th inauguration in a row I have missed watching live.  I’m not sure that counts as a boycott.  Still, I will take a small satisfaction in refusing to bear witness to the installation of the country’s least popular incoming president.  It’s a day where I’ll take what I can get. But, my friends, some of you, in your enthusiasm for political action, are throwing some mighty shade at the Tupelo High School Marching Band and the Girl Scouts of the USA for their participation today in the festivities, and you should cut it out.

These kids are not going in support of Donald Trump.  If anything, they are going in support of democracy.  Mostly they are going because it is really cool to get to go somewhere and see something that happens only once every four years in the nation’s capital.  And most importantly, they have been invited to participate in the political process.  And that’s important. I’m not saying that if a Brownie or two got close enough and decided to spit on the incoming it wouldn’t make my day, but more likely they will develop a greater awareness of how politics affect their daily lives, and that’s a good thing.  As much as I hate it, I think we all need to take a moment to appreciate the peaceful transition of power here. This should not be taken for granted.  It’s really more the exception than the rule, globally speaking, so if it helps you, think of the inauguration as a celebration of that, not of Donald Trump.

I would have let my kids go, had they been presented with the opportunity.  And I wouldn’t need to sit them down first and explain to them my feelings about the incoming administration.  I’m pretty sure they know. But I hope there are band parents and Girl Scout parents who are doing that very thing today.  And I hope they are proud that their children are entrusted to behave appropriately in the absence of  adequate public bathrooms.

There is something to be said for activism as self expression.  Perhaps standing up for what you believe in, it of itself, is enough regardless of whether or not this affects public policy.  But lets not allow blind hatred of all things orange take over our lizard brains.  We are better than that.  If your idea of political activism is not buying Thin Mints this year, I am supremely not impressed.  Do better than that.

I know what you’re saying.  Every warm body feeds The Orange One’s ego.  Well, the sun rising in the morning feeds his ego.  This is not a political rally.  I don’t know how much effort you put in to not going to your local Trump rally before the election.  But if no one had shown up for those, we might not be in this predicament.  If no one shows up for the inauguration, he will come up with some reason that makes him special, and he will still be president.

If you are using your political power to yell at 15 year old trombone players and to boycott Girl Scout cookies, you really need to pull it together.  At this point, the best case scenario is that Trump turns out to be a mediocre president who pushes through some policies that we really hate.  But we all know that is it entirely possible that he is going to do something dangerous, illegal, or bathshit crazy.  If that happens, deflating his ego will not be our primary goal.  He’s not going anywhere voluntarily.  What we will need is the help of the congressional representatives we elected.  These women and men have your ear, and you should be calling them weekly to tell them you expect them to keep the president in line. Closing your eyes and humming through the inauguration is not going to do it.

And for God’s sake.  Buy some cookies.  It will help raise women to believe no one can grab their pussies.  Even if they witnessed the inauguration of a man who thinks he can.

We Need to Talk–About Science

One might argue that science is enjoying a bit of an upswing in terms of pop culture. Science fiction movies are in at the moment, documentaries about actual scientists are also box office hits, Bill Nye is a household name, and there’s The Big Bang Theory on television (Not a fan.  Don’t have cable.  Also it’s painful to watch other people think Asperger’s is funny.)

So maybe it’s cool to be a scientist- at least in some abstract, aren’t nerds cute kind of way.  But what about science itself?  I’m sorry to say science is not sexy.  The plodding work involved in the scientific method is not glamorous. Lab work is downright tedious.  And that whole thing about having to replicate scientific results—how boring.

But we don’t all have to be scientists to appreciate what science brings to us ordinary humans—a way of understanding the world around us.  A way of possibly even improving the world around us.  This is not new, right?  From the polio vaccine to Tang to solar panels, science brings us new technology that improves the life of everyone. But we also have to have the wisdom to use what we are given.

My own personal favorite celebrity scientist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, embraces pop science, saying it gives him a vehicle to communicate to a larger audience.  He urges scientists to learn to communicate better, to reach people who may have other things on their minds than the physics of Star Trek. “You testify to Congress and you say they don’t get it there’s something wrong with them. Noooooo. There’s something missing in your lexicon because everybody else is fluent here.”

Well, it’s past time for learning to talk about science. We have completely failed at imparting even a rudimentary standard of scientific knowledge on the general public.  I see no other possible conclusion when the incoming Trump administration is riddled with anti-science buffoons.  This goes well beyond a Republican tendency to prioritize short term economy building over long term environmental consequences.  We have an incoming administration of anti-vax climate change deniers, and I’m scared.

Let’s take global warming.  On record as rejecting the overwhelming scientific evidence for human-created temperature increases, we have, based on my 4 minutes of research, Pence, Pruitt, Perry, Carson, Mulvaney, and Sessions.  So much for the 97% scientific consensus.  We’re screwed.

I’m not really sure how we got here.  Was it Oprah?  Was it Oprah giving platforms to anti-vax hot bod turned concerned mom Jenny McCarthy and Dr. (there really is nothing behind the curtain but I’m pretty and I have an MD) Oz? Was it evangelical-fueled anti-intellectualism insisting God and Einstein couldn’t both be right? Was it the dumbing- down of America that began once we won the space race? Reagan-era materialism over knowledge?

Is it just our own self-centered natures, unwillingness to embrace unfortunate truths, the stubborn human trait of lack of foresight?  Are we all like Donald Trump who complained that those irritating scientists were threatening to take away his hairspray? “So if I take hairspray and I spray it in my apartment, which is all sealed, you’re telling me that affects the ozone layer?…I say no way, folks. No way. No way.” If only Donald Trump’s apartment were a closed system. I’d be the first to encourage him to use all the hair spray he wants.

But none of us live in a closed system.  We’re all in it together.  Well, you people who live in Miami are going first, but the rest of us could very well suffer real consequences if scientific policies backslide over the next four years.  I wish I had some sage advice as to how to temper the impending apocalypse, but all I can say is stay angry, and stay vigilant.  And help us, Neil deGrasse Tyson, you’re our only hope.

 

 

 

New Normal

As the inauguration looms ahead, I’ve been trying to ease into a new normal.  It should be said that the protections I enjoy as a white hetero cis American citizen may make this easier for me than for some of my friends who are wondering if they are about to be deported, if their marriage will still be valid, and if they will be able to afford medical treatment. The increase in gay weddings and IUD purchases illustrate the specific fears of groups who feel vulnerable, who feel like rights and privileges granted to them are no longer guaranteed.

Those who speak out are not only criticized by Trump supporters, but also have to deflect a possibly deserved rhetoric from the down-trodden for not doing enough.  If the backlash against Meryl Streep for her impassioned anti-Trump Golden Globe Speech doesn’t make you want to hide under your bed, you are made of stronger stuff than I am.

In a previous post, I called upon you to mobilize, to finish your grieving and to act.  Since then, I have….well…I’ve made a few phone calls.  That’s not really very impressive.  I keep waiting for something to happen.  I dreamed of a rogue electoral college, a stray New Year’s bullet, a miracle.

If you still hold out hope for divine intervention, today may be a good day.  The news is filled with unsubstantiated claims that the Russians have both financial and personal dirt on Trump.  This seems entirely plausible to me, but fake news has made me both wary and weary.  And I am left to wonder what Trump could possibly have done that would conceivably turn his voters against him.  I do not think paying hookers to urinate on him is enough, but what do I know?  I already think he has committed any number of more egregious acts than that in public, and here we are.  I am sadly not in the mood to enjoy the myriad of pee jokes already hitting social media. Still, we should be concerned. While our security is thankfully not dependent on the sexual proclivities of one man, it is dependent on having elected leaders who cannot be blackmailed.

Still, Donald Trump is very likely to be president 9 days from now.  What are we going to do?  It’s never fun to lose, but this particular loss has exposed the dark underbelly of the right-leaning disenfranchised, and sooner or later we are going to have come out of hiding and decide if those people are still our enemies.

We Need to Talk-About Science

One might argue that science is enjoying a bit of an upswing in terms of pop culture. Science fiction movies are in at the moment, documentaries about actual scientists are also box office hits, Bill Nye is a household name, and there’s The Big Bang Theory on television (Not a fan.  Don’t have cable.  Also it’s painful to watch other people think Asperger’s is funny.)

So maybe it’s cool to be a scientist- at least in some abstract, aren’t nerds cute kind of way.  But what about science itself?  I’m sorry to say science is not sexy.  The plodding work involved in the scientific method is not glamorous. Lab work is downright tedious.  And that whole thing about having to replicate scientific results—how boring.

But we don’t all have to be scientists to appreciate what science brings to us ordinary humans—a way of understanding the world around us.  A way of possibly even improving the world around us.  This is not new, right?  From the polio vaccine to Tang to solar panels, science brings us new technology that improves the life of everyone. But we also have to have the wisdom to use what we are given.

My own personal favorite celebrity scientist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, embraces pop science, saying it gives him a vehicle to communicate to a larger audience.  He urges scientists to learn to communicate better, to reach people who may have other things on their minds than the physics of Star Trek. “You testify to Congress and you say they don’t get it there’s something wrong with them. Noooooo. There’s something missing in your lexicon because everybody else is fluent here.”

Well, it’s past time for learning to talk about science. We have completely failed at imparting even a rudimentary standard of scientific knowledge on the general public.  I see no other possible conclusion when the incoming Trump administration is riddled with anti-science buffoons.  This goes well beyond a Republican tendency to prioritize short term economy building over long term environmental consequences.  We have an incoming administration of anti-vax climate change deniers, and I’m scared.

Let’s take global warming.  On record as rejecting the overwhelming scientific evidence for human-created temperature increases, we have, based on my 4 minutes of research, Pence, Pruitt, Perry, Carson, Mulvaney, and Sessions.  So much for the 97% scientific consensus.  We’re screwed.

I’m not really sure how we got here.  Was it Oprah?  Was it Oprah giving platforms to anti-vax hot bod turned concerned mom Jenny McCarthy and Dr. (there really is nothing behind the curtain but I’m pretty and I have an MD) Oz? Was it evangelical-fueled anti-intellectualism insisting God and Einstein couldn’t both be right? Was it the dumbing- down of America that began once we won the space race? Reagan-era materialism over knowledge?

Is it just our own self-centered natures, unwillingness to embrace unfortunate truths, the stubborn human trait of lack of foresight?  Are we all like Donald Trump who complained that those irritating scientists were threatening to take away his hairspray? “So if I take hairspray and I spray it in my apartment, which is all sealed, you’re telling me that affects the ozone layer?…I say no way, folks. No way. No way.” If only Donald Trump’s apartment were a closed system. I’d be the first to encourage him to use all the hair spray he wants.

But none of us live in a closed system.  We’re all in it together.  Well, you people who live in Miami are going first, but the rest of us could very well suffer real consequences if scientific policies backslide over the next four years.  I wish I had some sage advice as to how to temper the impending apocalypse, but all I can say is stay angry, and stay vigilant.  And help us, Neil deGrasse Tyson, you’re our only hope.

 

 

 

We Need to Talk-About Science

One might argue that science is enjoying a bit of an upswing in terms of pop culture. Science fiction movies are in at the moment, documentaries about actual scientists are also box office hits, Bill Nye is a household name, and there’s The Big Bang Theory on television (Not a fan.  Don’t have cable.  Also it’s painful to watch other people think Asperger’s is funny.)

So maybe it’s cool to be a scientist- at least in some abstract, aren’t nerds cute kind of way.  But what about science itself?  I’m sorry to say science is not sexy.  The plodding work involved in the scientific method is not glamorous. Lab work is downright tedious.  And that whole thing about having to replicate scientific results—how boring.

But we don’t all have to be scientists to appreciate what science brings to us ordinary humans—a way of understanding the world around us.  A way of possibly even improving the world around us.  This is not new, right?  From the polio vaccine to Tang to solar panels, science brings us new technology that improves the life of everyone. But we also have to have the wisdom to use what we are given.

My own personal favorite celebrity scientist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, embraces pop science, saying it gives him a vehicle to communicate to a larger audience.  He urges scientists to learn to communicate better, to reach people who may have other things on their minds than the physics of Star Trek. “You testify to Congress and you say they don’t get it there’s something wrong with them. Noooooo. There’s something missing in your lexicon because everybody else is fluent here.”

Well, it’s past time for learning to talk about science. We have completely failed at imparting even a rudimentary standard of scientific knowledge on the general public.  I see no other possible conclusion when the incoming Trump administration is riddled with anti-science buffoons.  This goes well beyond a Republican tendency to prioritize short term economy building over long term environmental consequences.  We have an incoming administration of anti-vax climate change deniers, and I’m scared.

Let’s take global warming.  On record as rejecting the overwhelming scientific evidence for human-created temperature increases, we have, based on my 4 minutes of research, Pence, Pruitt, Perry, Carson, Mulvaney, and Sessions.  So much for the 97% scientific consensus.  We’re screwed.

I’m not really sure how we got here.  Was it Oprah?  Was it Oprah giving platforms to anti-vax hot bod turned concerned mom Jenny McCarthy and Dr. (there really is nothing behind the curtain but I’m pretty and I have an MD) Oz? Was it evangelical-fueled anti-intellectualism insisting God and Einstein couldn’t both be right? Was it the dumbing- down of America that began once we won the space race? Reagan-era materialism over knowledge?

Is it just our own self-centered natures, unwillingness to embrace unfortunate truths, the stubborn human trait of lack of foresight?  Are we all like Donald Trump who complained that those irritating scientists were threatening to take away his hairspray? “So if I take hairspray and I spray it in my apartment, which is all sealed, you’re telling me that affects the ozone layer?…I say no way, folks. No way. No way.” If only Donald Trump’s apartment were a closed system. I’d be the first to encourage him to use all the hair spray he wants.

But none of us live in a closed system.  We’re all in it together.  Well, you people who live in Miami are going first, but the rest of us could very well suffer real consequences if scientific policies backslide over the next four years.  I wish I had some sage advice as to how to temper the impending apocalypse, but all I can say is stay angry, and stay vigilant.  And help us, Neil deGrasse Tyson, you’re our only hope.

 

 

 

We Need to Talk-About Science

One might argue that science is enjoying a bit of an upswing in terms of pop culture. Science fiction movies are in at the moment, documentaries about actual scientists are also box office hits, Bill Nye is a household name, and there’s The Big Bang Theory on television (Not a fan.  Don’t have cable.  Also it’s painful to watch other people think Asperger’s is funny.)

So maybe it’s cool to be a scientist- at least in some abstract, aren’t nerds cute kind of way.  But what about science itself?  I’m sorry to say science is not sexy.  The plodding work involved in the scientific method is not glamorous. Lab work is downright tedious.  And that whole thing about having to replicate scientific results—how boring.

But we don’t all have to be scientists to appreciate what science brings to us ordinary humans—a way of understanding the world around us.  A way of possibly even improving the world around us.  This is not new, right?  From the polio vaccine to Tang to solar panels, science brings us new technology that improves the life of everyone. But we also have to have the wisdom to use what we are given.

My own personal favorite celebrity scientist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, embraces pop science, saying it gives him a vehicle to communicate to a larger audience.  He urges scientists to learn to communicate better, to reach people who may have other things on their minds than the physics of Star Trek. “You testify to Congress and you say they don’t get it there’s something wrong with them. Noooooo. There’s something missing in your lexicon because everybody else is fluent here.”

Well, it’s past time for learning to talk about science. We have completely failed at imparting even a rudimentary standard of scientific knowledge on the general public.  I see no other possible conclusion when the incoming Trump administration is riddled with anti-science buffoons.  This goes well beyond a Republican tendency to prioritize short term economy building over long term environmental consequences.  We have an incoming administration of anti-vax climate change deniers, and I’m scared.

Let’s take global warming.  On record as rejecting the overwhelming scientific evidence for human-created temperature increases, we have, based on my 4 minutes of research, Pence, Pruitt, Perry, Carson, Mulvaney, and Sessions.  So much for the 97% scientific consensus.  We’re screwed.

I’m not really sure how we got here.  Was it Oprah?  Was it Oprah giving platforms to anti-vax hot bod turned concerned mom Jenny McCarthy and Dr. (there really is nothing behind the curtain but I’m pretty and I have an MD) Oz? Was it evangelical-fueled anti-intellectualism insisting God and Einstein couldn’t both be right? Was it the dumbing- down of America that began once we won the space race? Reagan-era materialism over knowledge?

Is it just our own self-centered natures, unwillingness to embrace unfortunate truths, the stubborn human trait of lack of foresight?  Are we all like Donald Trump who complained that those irritating scientists were threatening to take away his hairspray? “So if I take hairspray and I spray it in my apartment, which is all sealed, you’re telling me that affects the ozone layer?…I say no way, folks. No way. No way.” If only Donald Trump’s apartment were a closed system. I’d be the first to encourage him to use all the hair spray he wants.

But none of us live in a closed system.  We’re all in it together.  Well, you people who live in Miami are going first, but the rest of us could very well suffer real consequences if scientific policies backslide over the next four years.  I wish I had some sage advice as to how to temper the impending apocalypse, but all I can say is stay angry, and stay vigilant.  And help us, Neil deGrasse Tyson, you’re our only hope.

 

 

 

When Trump is Your President

Close elections are tough.  Close elections where the majority of people who voted actually lost are brutal.  If you are like me and in the majority, you’re upset right now.  I understand.  You feel personally betrayed by every neighbor, friend, colleague, and relative who voted Donald Trump. You blame the media.  You blame the DNC.  You blame the RNC.  You blame third party voters.  You blame Bernie Sanders.  You blame Hillary Clinton.  You blame your racist uncle.  I’m with you.  You are genuinely fearful of a new era of discrimination against people based on their gender, their race, their religion, who they love, or where they pee.  I think your fear is justified.  You lay awake thinking about the nuclear codes in the hands of a man with the emotional maturity of a four year old.  A period of mourning is appropriate.  But let’s not be paralyzed by the apocalypse before it happens.

Look, I’m not here to tell you that everything is going to be ok.  I’m not going to say it doesn’t matter who is president because that’s not true.  Besides it’s nihilistic.  The first order of the day is to fight back the existential dread of the dawn.  Some of us do this every day anyway, but if you’re new, I’ll give you a minute to catch up.  I’ll even wait until you finish that bottle of tequila.

I’m certainly not going to tell you it will be ok because you are a good person, and God is in control, and you are in his favor, and everything happens for a reason.  That’s nihilism too.  Dressed up like a big red poppy. If you are a person of faith, I hope your faith gives you enough strength to accept the hard truth that religion is, by design, the institutionalization of complacency.  If it guides you to action, great.  If you give away your personal responsibility to a higher power, then get out of my God Damn way.

It is perfectly ok to throw one hell of a tantrum.  Scream, curse, drink, smoke, run, cry.  You’ve got about 3 months to do it.

But you may not spend the next four years prostrate at the grave of your dreams.  I guarantee you Hillary Clinton won’t be.

You may not renounce your citizenship.  How dare you?  The democratic process is not over because you got an I VOTED sticker.   You don’t get to stop being an American because your candidate didn’t win.

And let’s just stop right here for a moment with the jokes about how we won’t need a wall because immigrants won’t come here under a Donald Trump presidency.  It’s not funny to imply that watching your children die of starvation due to US trade policy is somehow a worse fate than a Donald Trump Presidency.  It’s not.  It’s not worse than living in a dictatorship either.  The fact that you do live in a democracy is a privilege most people don’t have. So get a grip.  You have duties.

And don’t say Trump is not your president.  Because by doing that, you absolve him of accountability.  It is only because he is your president that you have the opportunity to hold him accountable.  And he must be held accountable for each and everything he does from here on out.  Held accountable by you.

You don’t have the luxury of saying there is nothing more you can do.  Do you know who your senators and congressional representatives are?  They are your allies, no matter who elected them.  They do represent you if you voted for them or not.  Do you know their email addresses?  Their phone numbers?  Do they know you by name?  If not, then you have plenty of work to do.  You must demand that they mitigate the Tump presidency.  That’s your job.

Everyone mourns at their own pace.  Take some time.  But then pick yourself up and pull yourself together.  Be an American.