Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The United Revolution of the States

By Anthony Servante

OK, let's talk. Trump is president but Bannon is in charge. Yes, that is scary. But the nonprofits, the legal aid groups, and lots of grassroots organizations are mobilizing to take the edge off the illegalities coming from the White House. You need to understand the Constitution. No, don't turn away from a boring lecture. You do need to understand this document. This is the Constitution: There are three levels and three branches: Federal executive (president), fed legislative (Congress--House of Representatives & U.S. Senate), and fed judicial (supreme court); State executive (governor), state legislative (legislature--assembly & state senate), and state judicial (state supreme court); and local 1. County executive (board of supervisors), County legislative (Board of Supervisors), County judicial (superior courts); local 2. City executive (mayor), city legislative (city council), and city judicial (municipal courts). They are all separate!! Feds control the feds, states control the states, locals control the locals. 17 states have mobilized against threats by the white house to cut fed funds.

Every ten years, based on the census, the feds determine how much fed money to give to each state; each state then distributes the money down to the counties and the cities in their state. So the states have already received their fed money till 2020 (the next census); they already cashed the checks. They have enough money to last till 2020 and beyond (17 states as far as I know--it was 14 over the weekend, but that Muslim ban woke up 3 more states). We are okay at the state and local levels. All we have to do is worry about Trump's threats of sending troops to cities, a move that the states will fight by requesting the "state national guard" to be send rather than fed military. National Guard consists of state residents. Better state than fed troops in our cities.

To help in this fight, firstly, if you are in a state where there is no mobilization to safeguard infrastructure funding (cops, fire dept, education, hospitals, etc), call your state senator and state assembly person and let them know your concern (their numbers are available online at your state website); also call your county supervisors and city council members; in other words, help with the mobilization to keep the feds, states and locals SEPARATE!! This way, we minimize Trump's shenanigans in our states and counties and cities. Secondly, in 2018, all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be up for re-election. During 2017 and 2018, we need to gather voters to vote for as many Democratic congressional seats as possible (US Senate has 52 Republicans, 46 Democrats, and two Independents). We need at least three more Democrats in the Senate (ideally, four or five); in the House of Representatives, the Republicans have 240 members, the Democrats have 193; the House will be harder to win, but you still have to fight for the votes to win as many House seats as possible for the Democrats, even if it's a losing battle. And who knows, maybe you can take the House of Reps beck. But even if the Democrats just win the Senate, then that will change the whole game.

We can't win today at the federal level; the Republicans are solidifying their stand by securing a majority in the Supreme Court; they already have the Congress and White House locked up for two years. All we can do to fight is continue the protests and prepare for the 2018 Congressional elections, two things we can do NOW and everyday for two years. Work in shifts if you have to. Don't fight alone. Join a protest organization or voting advocacy group already in action. Don't wallow!! You're scaring the children. Look, I'm Republican, but I've already seen the illegalities of Trump. Sure, go after the "illegals" just as every president has done before this administration, but don't go after the temporary residents, permanent residents, visa holders for work, study, or extended stay, and don't go after citizens. They're legally in the US and legally out of the US. Trump has not gone after illegals at all yet. He's only gone after legal residents and citizens of the USA. Democrats and Republicans ought to be worried about this illegal action. 

To summarize: Trump can enforce the law, but Congress makes the law; Trump cannot control immigration policy; that's Congress's job (according to the Constitution). So do something about it and stop scaring the children with your "chicken little" posts on Facebook and Twitter. Go get your hands dirty tomorrow: join the protesters or join the voting advocates. 2018 is just around the corner. We just have to weather a few tough rounds to fight for that chance to even up the political game. We can only do it together.

P.S. If you are writers, artists, musicians, help out by creatively helping the cause of the protests and advocacy--write a poem, a satire (see below), draw a politically charged cartoon, a folk song of protest. You don't have to march or go door-to-door. Find a way to help. And good luck.

A Phable of Fonies for Our Times 

The Queen of Promises

Wedee Peepol

There was once a little girl named Prema Donna Tramp. She smiled upside down and loved to make promises. And one day she made so many promises that forty percent of the kingdom made her Queen. But before she could keep any of her promises, she wanted to know why the other sixty percent of the kingdom didn't want her. When they said that they just didn't like her, she took her magic wand and cried, "Tisaintso!" And magically one hundred percent of the kingdom wanted her to be Queen. And it was so, for she says so. 

Then she turned her attention to keeping her first promise, and that was to rid the kingdom of loitering Orcs. She ordered the Queen's guards to surround the kingdom with a dense forest to keep the Orcs out. One of her advisers said, "But that will lock the people in." And the wise old counselor was never seen again, for the Queen did not like wisdom. It confused her so.

Then she turned to her second promise, and that was to remove the people who looked like Orcs. "But we live in the kingdom," they cried. But the Queen asked, "Then why do you look like Orcs?" And the guards rounded up the lookalikes. The people of the kingdom wept and shouted and called for Wise Men to step up and help their families and friends. As chaos replaced order in the kingdom, the Queen announced to the people, "The kingdom was free of Orcs." She smiled upside down as the people started fires. 

Before the Queen could turn her attention to the third promise, the kingdom burned to the ground. The Queen said, "My job here is done."  And the Queen lived happily ever after.


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