‘Ides of Trump’ Action Aims to Send More Mail Than White House Can Ignore

Published on Monday, March 13, 2017 by Common Dreams

We “will overwhelm Washington…and we will bury the White House post office in pink slips, all informing the president that he’s fired!”

“So sharpen your wit, unsheathe your writing implements, and write from the heart,” the organizers say. (Photo: Ides of Trump)

A new movement is aiming to mail at least 1 million postcards to President Donald Trump on Wednesday, March 15—historically dubbed “the Ides of March” and known as the day Julius Caesar was assassinated—to show “the man, the media, and the politicians how vast our numbers are…to make it irrefutable that the president’s claim of wide support is a farce.”

“He may draw a big crowd with empty promises, but the crowd of those that oppose his agenda is exponentially larger. And we will show up to protest, to vote, and to be heard. Again and again and again,” the group, which calls itself the Ides of Trump, explained on its website and Facebook page.

The group outlines five steps to participate:

  1. Write one postcard. Write a dozen! Create your own cards, buy them, share them, it doesn’t matter as long as you write #TheIdes or #TheIdesOfTrump on them somewhere.
  2.  Take a picture of your cards and post them on social media (tagged with #TheIdesOfTrump or #TheIdes, please). This will help us verify our numbers.
  3. Spread the word! Everyone on Earth can let Washington know their opinion of the President. They can’t build a wall high enough to stop the mail.
  4. Then, on March 15th, mail your cards to:
    The President (for now) 
    The White House
    1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
    NW Washington, DC 20500
  5. Get ready for the NEXT postcard campaign, and the next, and the next—because we’re not going away. We will make ourselves heard by joining together. And together, we will wield the kind of political clout that can’t be ignored.

As Leslie Evans, an artist and printmaker who produced about 900 postcards for the event last week in Watertown, Massachusetts, told the Boston Globe on Monday, “Obviously, numbers matter a lot to [Trump.]” Her postcards feature slogans that paraphrase chants commonly heard at anti-Trump protests, such as “Compassion, not fear, immigrants are welcome here,” and “Hear our voice, you are not the majority choice.”

The Ides of Trump also makes clear that while the basis is comical, the impetus is not.

“So sharpen your wit, unsheathe your writing implements, and write from the heart,” they write. “All of our issues—DAPL [the Dakota Access Pipeline], women’s rights, racial discrimination, religious freedom, immigration, economic security, education, the environment, conflicts of interest, the existence of facts—can and should find common cause. That cause is to make it irrefutable that the president’s claim of wide support is a farce.”

“[W]e, in vast numbers, from all corners of the world, will overwhelm Washington,” the organizers write, “and we will bury the White House post office in pink slips, all informing the president that he’s fired!”

Posted in Democracy, Donald Trump, Media, politics, Protest, resistance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Media and Gun Violence: Allies or Combatants?

The Non-Violence sculpture at the United Nations headquarters in New York City This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. Photo by Didier Moïse.

by Sarah Mensch

The Columbine High School Massacre in 1999 resulted in the deaths of twelve students, a teacher, and two shooters. Most recall that April day and feel sorrow, grief, fear. Such is not the case for the 74 people who planned their own shootings inspired by the Columbine massacre in 30 different states since the 1999 shooting . Twenty-one of those planners were successful in their plots, killing 89 more people, and injuring 16 others; nine of the perpetrators themselves died in the attacks.

These post-Colombine attacks reflect a phenomenon dubbed “copycat crimes,” in which prospective perpetrators are so in awe of a homicidal crime (usually a shooting) that they aim to honor it or out-do it by carrying out their own attack on the anniversary of the event that inspired them or planning to kill more victims than the attackers they mimic.

The media appear to play an enormous role in supplying the details  and perhaps enhancing the motivations for copycat crimes.

Movies, TV shows, and social media platforms provide  stories that contribute to glamorizing the criminals. After a shooting, the perpetrator’s face is plastered all over cyberspace and the news. His tactics are revealed in detail, and speculations are made about what kind of person the shooter was, what drove him to act as he did. Debates proliferate and are rehashed.

The shooter is generally portrayed as a loner, and this makes him an antihero. The antihero image and bombardment of information and imagery may provide a fertile seedbed  for copycat crimes to take root.

What we have learned about copycat crimes should serve as a powerful impetus for a change in media rhetoric. News media have an obligation to report truthful news, but how about shifting the focus of the shooting stories from the perpetrators to the victims?

Why not emphasize the victims’ stories, the grief to their families and friends? How about information on the role of the media in the impact that gun crimes have on various audiences?  Giving media power to victims of shootings might counteract the glamorized antihero status that often seems to be given to the shooter.

Isn’t it time to share widely the research on the media role in supporting gun violence and stimulate public efforts to curb the role of the media in copycat crimes?

Sarah Mensch is a psychology major at Boston University. She is thrilled to be working on a Directed Study focusing on the effect of the media on gun violence under the supervision of Dr. Malley Morrison. When Sarah graduates, she aims to go on to graduate school to earn an MSW and become a therapist. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys pursuing her minor in Deaf Studies, photography, and exploring Boston.

 

 

 

Posted in culture of violence, Human rights, Media, Understanding violence, Weaponry | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Just for a change: Messages to live by

Let Us Beat Swords Into Plowshares statue at the United Nations Headquarters, New York City.Photograph credit: Rodsan18. In the public domain.

by Kathie MM

As currently envisioned, the U.S. Peace Memorial  will consist of twelve walls, or facets, containing engraved peace quotes from famous Americans (including, for example, Noam Chomsky, Martin Luther King Jr., Jeanette Rankin, Margaret Mead, Albert Einstein) as well as lesser-known figures.

Today, for your continuing inspiration, we share some of the quotations under consideration. Embrace them.

“We must devise a system in which Peace is more rewarding than War.”

Margaret Mead (1901-1978).

 

 

“I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.”

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969).

 

“It is not enough to say we must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968).

 

The real and lasting victories are those of peace, and not of war.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882).

 

“Strike against war, for without you no battles can be fought.”

Helen Keller (1880-1968).

 

No, I am not going 10,000 miles to help murder kill and burn other people to simply help continue the domination of white slavemasters over dark people …

Muhammad Ali (1942-2016).

 

“[t]here was never a good War, or a bad Peace.”

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790).

 

“I believe that the killing of human beings in a war is no better than common murder.”

Albert Einstein (1879-1955).

 

“I am an anti-imperialist.  I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land.”

Mark Twain, pseudonym for Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910).

 

“We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other’s children.”

Jimmy Carter (1924-  ).

 

“I’m fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in.”

George S. McGovern (1922-2012).

 

“How can you make a war on terror, if war itself is terrorism?”

Howard Zinn (1922-2010).

 

“… all war is a symptom of man’s failure as a thinking animal, …”

John Steinbeck (1902-1968).

 

“… he who is the author of a war, lets loose the whole contagion of hell, and opens a vein that bleeds a nation to death.”

Thomas Paine (1737-1809).

Posted in Champions of peace, Commemorating peace, imperialism, Nonviolence, Pacifism, Protest, racism, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The 1970 Women’s Strike: A Bit of History

Published on Wednesday, March 08, 2017
by

Fifty years after the 19th (the Suffrage) Amendment had passed, tens of thousands of American women abandoned their husbands, their desks, their typewriters and their waitress stations to march down the avenues in a number of cities to press for a new set of issues.

At the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 53nd Street, a large group of women hold a banner that reads ‘Women of the World’ at the Women Strike for Equality demonstration, New York, New York, August 26, 1970. Tens of thousands of women (and men) marched along Fifth Avenue towards Bryant Park to demand equal opportuntity in employment and social equality. (Photo: Michael Abramson/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

Time was, you didn’t need a strike to create “A Day Without a Woman.” That’s just how things were. If you walked into any voting booth on Election Day, or watched any Supreme Court hearing, or tuned in at dinnertime to any television newscast, or found yourself on a rocket ship headed for the Moon, that’s what you’d see: no women, nowhere. Not in the United States, not in most of the world.

That much has changed, thanks in part to women’s strikes, like the one being organized around the globe for Wednesday. The premise is simple: Stay home from work – paid or unpaid – and demonstrate your value by your absence. Make your voice heard by distancing it from the microphone. Whatever you normally do, don’t.

Make it clear what it’s like when women exclude themselves.

As the ancient Greeks saw it, abstinence makes the heart grow fonder.

The prototype was “Lysistrata,” Aristophanes’ bawdy tale of fifth-century BC Athenian women who denied sex to their men to put an end to the Peloponnesian War. Played more for laughs than liberation, it nonetheless paved the way for centuries of similar tactics, some of which – depending on what talents women withheld – actually worked.

A few millennia later in America, the currency was cooking or charity work, both of which were executed almost exclusively by women. On a summer speaking trip through Kansas in 1895, suffrage leader Susan B. Anthony was asked what women should do to speed up the process of getting the right to vote. “They ought to withdraw from all their charitable work and let the men run things for a while,” she said merrily in Topeka. “[T]he women of Kansas should sit by and fold their hands. If they would stop their helping the men for six months, we would have equal suffrage granted us.” The concept so amused Anthony, she later joked about “the men’s howling over the idea that the women might possibly take our advice and sit down with folded hands refusing to do another thing to help them until the right of self government was accorded.” She teased a reporter in Chicago about men’s fears that “all women should cease even to cook dinner.”

It would take another 25 years, but women’s constant agitation won the right to vote in 1920. Our power is scary when you realize what it can accomplish. Over the years, women would also strike for peace, for improved working conditions, for whatever they were denied. Sometimes they struck out. Sometimes they struck a blow for history. The victories started to accrue.

By the late 1960s, despite half a century of suffrage and the doubling of women in the workforce over two decades, women were still undervalued, underpaid and underrepresented in leading professions. Never mind looking for a woman switching telephone lines, flying a commercial airliner, or rising to the level of U.S. Army general.

At the same time, poverty remained high in female-headed families. Politics was still mostly a boys’ club. There were no female governors or big city mayors, no women in the US cabinet, only 10 in the House of Representatives and one in the Senate. As for the Oval Office, it remained an impossible dream in a nation where managers tended to look at a potential staffer’s body before her resume.

The second wave of feminism revived the art form of the strike in the face of surprisingly glum statistics.

I’m talking about 1970 and the Women’s Strike for Equality.

Enthusiastic and resolute women (and men) in large parade down Fifth Avenue on the 50th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted the women the right to vote, as they march for further women's rights. (Photo by John Olson/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)Enthusiastic and resolute women (and men) in large parade down Fifth Avenue on the 50th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted the women the right to vote, as they march for further women’s rights. (Photo by John Olson/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

ghts  commanded strike organizer Betty Friedan, echoing Anthony’s earlier marching orders to the nation’s homemakers. “Sisterhood is Powerful!”

And how. On August 26, 50 years to the day after the 19th (the Suffrage) Amendment had passed, tens of thousands of American women abandoned their husbands, their desks, their typewriters and their waitress stations to march down the avenues in a number of cities to press for a new set of issues.

As a young reporter for the Associated Press (there were pockets of sanity in American society), I chronicled the journey of a self-described housewife and mom, 28, who lived in a conservative Republican section of Queens, New York. When the alarm sounded that morning, she bucked tradition and decided not to nudge her husband awake. “I thought, to heck with it. I’m on strike,” she told me. Four hours later, she was cheering at a demonstration for childcare centers. And then, trailed by my notebook and me, she marched down Fifth Avenue clutching one-fifth of a banner urging the Senate to pass the Equal Rights Amendment.

Protesting women led by the Bread and Roses group march along Beacon Street in Boston demanding rights to abortion and equality in work opportunities and conditions, March 8, 1970. (Photo by Don Preston/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)Protesting women led by the Bread and Roses group march along Beacon Street in Boston demanding rights to abortion and equality in work opportunities and conditions, March 8, 1970. (Photo by Don Preston/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

The women’s movement had gone mainstream.

The strike itself was described, at a time when police estimates actually mattered, as the largest demonstration ever held for women’s rights. It led to the enormous advances so many of us enjoy today. So many, that for a time many of us believed the Revolution we’d just begun was actually over.

The 2016 election proved just how wrong we were.

The coarse misogyny of the campaign and the victorious candidate, along with new threats to women’s health and bodies and rights and sanity, inspired the January 21 Women’s March, an exhilarating day of purpose and uncommon wit. My thirteen-year-old granddaughter is still wearing the pink pussy hat she helped knit. A friend from Vermont giggled over a photo she took of two women carrying brass instruments and the hand-lettered sign, “Fallopian Tubas.”

And when someone asked – pre-empting my own concern – what had really been accomplished, or was it just a feel-good event, someone else pointed out the rise of political activism, the rush to run for office, the numerous lists of Things You Can Do Every Day being emailed around cyberspace. As a result, the power and scope of the January 21 march has galvanized women for the next show of strength – today’s women’s strike.

Organizers understand that many women simply cannot stay off the job; that many more don’t want to leave desperate clients without resources. No problem: Wear red as a show of solidarity; do something – anything – to support the cause. Just maintain the momentum.

“Life hands all of us setbacks,” Hillary Clinton told a thousand cheering supporters at a New York luncheon Tuesday, accepting an award from Girls Inc. for her lifetime of inspiring girls and women. “Everyone gets knocked down. What matters is that you get up and keep going.”

Shaun Robinson, the former TV anchor, now full-time social advocate, was more explicit. Advising a prizewinning Girls Inc. overachiever now headed for college, she said, “You fall down seven times, sister, you get up eight!”

Or, as the woman from Vermont put it, “Why am I taking part in the strike? It’s simple: I’ll keep going because I have to.”

We all do. Because no day should ever be without a woman – unless it’s our choice.

Lynn Sherr

Lynn Sherr is an award-winning journalist and has been covering politics and women’s issues for more than 40 years, mostly at ABC News, where she was a correspondent for World News Tonight and 20/20. Her best-selling books include Swim: Why We Love the Water; Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space and Failure is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words. Sherr currently freelances on a variety of platforms, and can be found on Twitter: @LynnSherr.

Posted in Democracy, Donald Trump, Human rights, Nonviolence, politics, Protest, resistance, Stories of engagement | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment