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    • Maya Stiles Parsons Spier

      Columnist, Editor-in-Chief
    • December 20, 2016 in Columnists

    How to survive the monster in the White House — and all his minions, too

    There is absolutely no greater high than challenging the power structure as a nobody, giving it your all, and winning!
    Abbie Hoffman

    I won’t lie. I’m desolated. I’m furious. I’m hurt and I am grieving hard. I am also trying and failing to reconcile myself to the idea that anybody could have voted that vile, orange lamprey into the highest office in the land. I know at least two Trump voters pretty well — and I still don’t get it. These people absolutely believe they are good, Christian folk, but they were able to vote for that miscreant, which made it clear that they not only condoned everything he stands for, but also that they Just Don’t Care About Anybody.

    Here’s the deal, Trump voters — I sure hope you have an industrial strength barrel of lube because you’re the first people he’s going to screw.  Unemployment benefits? Expect those to be gutted right along with the Social Security and Medicare I paid into for my entire working life (which started in 1972) and now am unlikely to ever see (retirement? What retirement?). Food stamps? Nah. Get a job, ya lazy bum. Oh,  you already have three and you’re desperately trying to keep up with them? You’re still a fucking leech. And if you’re a veteran? I’m so sorry because you can pretty much expect them to gut any benefits you’d hoped to see.  They’re rich, they’re Republican and they absolutely do not give one single fuck about you. They care less about you than they do about toilet paper. In fact, they care a lot more about toilet paper than they ever will about you.

    Why do I say this? Because I’ve seen them do this since 1969, when I became politically aware during the Vietnam Era, which was a clusterfuck if ever there was one — and they were actually nicer then.

    But we know all that now and in most ways it simply does not matter. The monsters are lurching their way into the undrained swamp and all hell is very likely to break loose.

    The question now becomes — what do we do? How do we resist? How do we even survive?

    I think we take a lesson from the past. We do what got our parents and grandparents and even great-grandparents through some of the toughest times this country has seen.

    In the 1930s, it wasn’t uncommon for housewives to stretch the soup a bit to give a bowl to a hobo, traveling in search of work. We can do that, too. We can share our own bounty — even if it takes the form of the old folk tale “Stone Soup.”  (Wikipedia about the fairy tale “Stone Soup”).

    It was also common for people to let travelers rest in their barns and other shelters. We can do that, too — if you know someone who has just lost a job and there are no benefits for them anymore, take them in.  Work out a trade for labor around the place — childcare, even — lighten both your loads.

    In the 1940s, everybody banded together for the War Effort. It was, in some ways, our most magnificent hour. Kids gathered scrap metal to recycle. Women went to work in the factories while the men were at war. There was rationing, but people became ingenious at making do.  We can do that, too. We can have community drives to meet community needs. We can take care of our own when our government, once of the people, by the people and for the people transforms itself from a flawed but well-intended system into a governing body of the rich, by the rich and for the rich. They don’t care. They don’t have to. But we can.

    In the 1960s, hippies of all sorts and people of color began to organize alternative systems for care. Free clinics were common. The Black Panthers were very focused on social programs as well (Wikipedia about the Black Panther Party). We can do that, too. We will need to call on health care and even legal professionals to work pro bono, accept a sliding scale or take nonmonetary remuneration (couple dozen eggs do ya, doc?). We can grow community gardens to feed ourselves and share with folks who aren’t up to that much activity. We can take our elders out of mothballs and tap into their wealth of knowledge and experience rather than let it all waste away in loneliness and isolation.

    During all these times, good people networked. They checked on frail or elderly neighbors. If there was a need, people lent a hand. You did as you could, you asked as you needed and lifelong bonds were created. Particularly in the 60s and 70s, they had potlucks and dances and had a blessed good time while they were at it, all the while never forgetting that they were subverting a system that had nobody’s best interests at heart but its own.

    We can do that, too. We can create a people’s social system, a people’s support system — even a people’s economy using cryptocurrencies like bitcoin (Wikipedia about the cryptocurrency, bitcoin). In the old hippy days, we called that “going underground,” and it’s something we can all do — it isn’t dependent on age, gender, race, orientation, origin, social or financial status. It’s more about an intent to subvert a system that means us harm.

    We can survive this future nightmare, but only if we refuse to be divided and conquered. Creating a people’s society and a people’s economy is one way to do it. Constant and intransigent refusal to be coopted into normalizing any of what these beasts intend is another.

    And if we marry those two strategies together, we might just not only survive, we could actually thrive despite their best efforts to bring us down.

    Any more ideas? Please leave a comment!

    • Well said, and let’s start gathering ideas!!!
      Refusing to normalize is Step One!

        • Maya Spier Stiles North

        • December 23, 2016 at 12:01 am
        • Reply

        Thank you! Us old hippies have done this before and we can do it again — counter culture, resistance and subculture survival. I truly would love to see what I envisioned. Not a pack of rampaging children marching. Oh, no. They’re used to that. No, I see people all over the country, dressed in gray or black, standing silently, staring at the White House, the Congressional buildings, federal buildings all over the country. No violence. No movement. No sound. First of all, it will clearly show that We Are Watching. Secondly, it’ll spook the shit out of them because it’s like nothing they’ve seen before. What do you think?

      • Terri Connett

      • December 23, 2016 at 10:57 am
      • Reply

      Really good column, Maya! Volunteerism over capitalism. The rewards are so much greater.

        • Maya Spier Stiles North

        • December 23, 2016 at 1:12 pm
        • Reply

        And if we simply refuse to participate in the system, it founders even as we do fine without it. Sad that nukes are in the picture, though. That we cannot circumvent. 🙁

    • Thank you for suggesting something we can do. I have been feeling hopeless. We can’t let them do this to us. Hippies Forever!

        • Maya Spier Stiles North

        • December 23, 2016 at 11:01 pm
        • Reply

        I wrote this column for that very reason — because I was feeling so desolated and powerless — and then I realized, no. We aren’t powerless. We can literally create a people’s underground, which is resistance at its finest. And yes, we old hippies totally have mad skillz and can teach them to the young ‘uns. As long as that damned orange lamprey doesn’t nuke us all, we can and will survive. <3

      • Eva Balga

      • December 27, 2016 at 9:40 am
      • Reply

      Wonderful Maya. Gives me new hope in the feeling of emptiness and despair.

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