Safety-Pins and Rubber Bullets

I threw a party Saturday night.

A lot of people showed up late, because they were at my city’s anti-Trump rally.

I did not attend, as much as I dislike Donald Trump.

I’m more of a proactive guy, rather than a reactive guy.

I had already spent the last 18 months of my life protesting Donald Trump by doing everything in my power to get Bernie Sanders elected, so I didn’t see the point in crying about it now.

Instead I threw a Thank God This Fucking Election Is Over party and we imbibed alcohol from various lands and talked about what we could do to make the world a better place, despite our recent catastrophic election.

One lady said that she had been creating care packages for the homeless and was just keeping them in her car and passing them out to people who needed them.

Another lady said that she was working on creating an activist website.

Another guest was convinced that the Green Party was the answer.

I passed out Bernie Sanders buttons along with the challenge that people wear the buttons everyday, as a reminder to people who might be afraid, that they had allies.

“Bernie Sanders has superseded politics and is now a symbol of love and equality” I reasoned aloud.

Everyone liked the idea or maybe they just liked the idea of getting free Bernie buttons.

Regardless, everyone took a bunch and everyone put one on.

Then the safety-pin people showed up.

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The safety-pin people had just come from protesting Donald Trump and told us that by wearing a safety-pin we could signal people who felt fear of violence and discrimination that we were a safe person.

“Oh, just like my Bernie button idea!” I said.

“No.” they said “This movement involves wearing safety pins.”

“Oh, like the paperclip resistance of Nazis during WW2!” I said.

They all looked at me like I was crazy.

No one had ever heard of that.

Someone produced a box of safety pins and soon everyone was wearing them, strutting around, feeling good about themselves for defending the downtrodden..

“So what happens when bad people wear safety-pins to trick people into letting their guards down and becoming victims?”, I asked.

“Oh Mike!!” one girl said “Don’t say things like that!!”

I had sucked the air out of the room.

They didn’t want to worry about things possible complications.

They wanted to wear their safety pins and feel good.

I could hear the sound of a thousand corporate think-tanks conspiring on ideas to make millions from this new trend.

“Don’t be outdone by your liberal suburban friends. Our fair-trade safety pins are all organic and help get clean water to aboriginal tribes in developing nations. These safety-pins are just $49.95 each and symbolize to the world that you are much more compassionate than the people who wear the competitor’s safety-pins.”

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As much as it smacks of the worst parts of white-guilt liberalism, I honestly don’t have a problem with the safety-pin.

Although I’m confident if we researched the origins of the safety-pins passed out at anti-Trump rallies across America, we would probably find they were ironically created in Chinese sweatshops by eight-year olds.

Still I know the wearer means well.

And it’s important to not underestimate the sacrifice these protesters are making.

After all, when a Hillary supporter pierces a safety-pin through their $250 Aeropostale sweater it’s a greater sacrifice than when I do it, in my ratty $2 thrift-store t-shirt.

Not to say that everyone who protested also voted for Hillary.

More than half of the protesters arrested at many anti-Trump rallies didn’t even bother to vote.

If only there had been something they could have done BEFORE the election to stop the government from falling under alt-right control.

If only there had been a candidate who actually beat Trump by 18-24% in head to head polls, that they could have rallied around when they had the chance.

If only there had been a candidate that could have kept Trump out of The White House, who had a longstanding record of defending the LBGT community and a perfect animal rights record.

If only there had been someone who had spent their entire life fighting for civil rights.

If only there had been some other option besides Hillary Clinton, then maybe all of these Trump protesters would have been getting drunk with me by my bonfire instead of waiting until AFTER THE FACT and then protesting A DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED PRESIDENT!!!

If only there had been someone like that, then all of this silliness could have been avoided.

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But I guess these protesters were probably pretty busy during the last 18 months, when there was a clear and present danger rising in our nation.

They probably didn’t have time to worry about such things as universal healthcare and ending mass incarceration and a for-profit prison industry that funds the wealthy elite.

Who can be troubled to vote when there are book clubs and youth “everybody wins” soccer games to attend.

Why volunteer for a crowd-funded candidate when it is “her time”.

Why bother working hard when your candidate is simply “more electable”?

Just be “with her” and ignore the “basement dwellers” screaming about the giant orange iceberg protruding through the fog.

After all, a safety-pin on your NPR tote bag just means so much to the 20 million people who will now lose their health insurance.

Everyone knows that a safety-pin clipped to a Whole Foods bag will be more than enough to offset the tens of thousands of elderly who will die as a result of the GOP gutting Social Security.

In the light of Trump’s alt-right Supreme Court justices and the threat they will pose to Roe v. Wade, perhaps we should all wear tiny coat-hangers instead.

Too soon?

Okay, we will stick to safety pins (get it? stick?!?).

I’ll take Symbolic Gestures That Don’t Mean Shit for $500, Alex.

In the event of a crash, your safety-pin can be used a flotation device.

You’ll still sink and die.

But at least you’ll feel extremely good about yourself while drowning.

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All kidding aside, I hold no grudge against the safety-pin movement.

There’s nothing wrong with feeling good about yourself, as long as you actually take action and really stand up for equality.

I don’t begrudge anyone grandstanding for minorities, as long as they are willing to actually engage in true activism.

It bothers me that people can show up and protest Trump’s DEMOCRATIC election over a candidate who needed $uper-delegates to “win”, when the people of Standing Rock are fighting for their basic human right to water.

Why don’t these protesters show up in North Dakota and stare down the armored police?

Perhaps it’s easier to complain and wear pins than it is to stare down rubber bullets and attack dogs.

Still, there is nothing saying that we can’t do both, so when I see my friends wearing safety-pins, I will congratulate them on their commitment to activism and ask them what they are working on at the time.

I will probably even help them with whatever initiative they are working for and hope the next time we have the chance to vote for an honest candidate who actually cares about the American people, we don’t bury our heads in the sand and support a corrupt corporatist who has taken money from for-profit prison lobbyists and stood on the broken backs of the very minorities we are suddenly so concerned for.

Because when you don’t vote or you support an inferior candidate based on gender, then your safety-pin becomes the liberal equivalent of Republican “thoughts and prayers”.

I choose to believe that my safety-pin friends are awake now and ready to fight against any and all oppression that may come our way.

I choose to believe that America is awake now.

And I really hope that we are.

I’d really hate to see a bunch of people running around in 2020 wearing staples on their clothes.

Or an actual stapler..

Or a three-hole punch..

Or any other office supplies, for that matter.

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When Michael isn’t dressing silly and attending Planned Parenthood rallies with his daughter, he is an independent writer. You can support his work by clicking HERE and donating $1!!

Trump or Clinton? Hell No!!

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Americans are angry.

But not angry enough.

They should be in the streets shutting down corporate profits.

I have visions of semi-trucks parked across interstates and major cities occupied.

I have visions of the American government trying to figure out how to stop a determined populace that responds to injustice by standing united.

I have visions of corrupt politicians and bankers fleeing America, fearing prison.

I see, in my mind’s eye, a million people marching in unison, demanding justice.

But these visions are ripening on the vine.

We aren’t there yet.

Multinational corporations rig a “Democratic” election to appoint Hillary Clinton, who is nothing more than a figurehead for corporate profits and never-ending war…

People gather around the water cooler to complain.

Racist, white police-officers, sworn to protect and serve, MURDER unarmed black men..

Maybe we take a knee at a sporting event.

Our government poisons the water supply and the food.

Innocent children die.

But hey, football is on.

Americans have been domesticated.

We are afraid.

We are spoiled.

We are pacified.

Injustice has become entertainment.

We are too busy.

We are distracted.

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As bad as all this is, when Donald Trump is President, things are going to get worse.

This is Germany 1933.

The police unions have endorsed Donald Trump.

We’ve seen what Trump thinks of protesters.

He encourages violence against them.

He touts the Second Amendment while oppressing the First.

In Trump’s America, protesters will be murdered and he will say..

“They’re disgusting. We’re trying to fix this country and these people hate it. They hate America. They got what was coming to them.”

His followers will cheer for blood in the streets.

Decades of America’s corporate greed and subsequent destruction of opportunity have led to a deep-seated desperation in our blue-collar workforce and Donald Trump has tapped into that.

Trump’s white supremacist supporters are stockpiling weapons, waiting for Martial Law, so they will have permission to kill blacks, gays, Hispanics and liberals.

They call themselves patriots.

Trump gives their movement license.

Trump fuels their fear.

Trump fills them with bravado.

“Make America Great Again” is the same code as “All Lives Matter”.

It is rhetoric that translates to “ban and bomb all Muslims.”

It is hyperbole that says “black people need to know their place.”

It is oration designed to stir the rage of people who were led to believe that it is their birthright to have superiority over others.

When Trump vomits forth hate-speech about deportation forces and punishing women who have abortions, he taps into an angry segment of our population and encourages it to creep out of the darkness.

When Trump makes fun of the handicapped, children on playgrounds follow suit.

When Trump points his tiny finger of blame, people are assaulted.

Trump is sounding the alarm to gather the forces and to round-up all those responsible for your pain and suffering.

He is the ruling-elite telling you to kill your neighbor, because they stole your crumbs.

He is fascism, come to America, wrapped in the flag.

He is paranoia personified.

Bernie Sanders was right when he said that we must do “everything in our power to stop Donald Trump.”

But you can’t ask us to vote for Hillary Clinton, Bernie.

That’s asking too much.

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This was the “Democrats” election to lose.

They had two strong candidates and the GOP could not produce a decent opponent.

A year ago most liberals would have agreed that Bernie was the better candidate, but that Hillary was still better than Donald Trump.

But Hillary lied to us.

She took us for granted and she mocked us.

She insulted us and she stripped away our voting rights.

And she cheated.

She cheated in an American election against a good man.

She cheated the American people out of $238,000,000 (the amount that we donated to Bernie Sanders).

She cheated us out of our literal blood, sweat and tears, that we shed while working tirelessly, in an “election” that we never had a chance of winning.

We sacrificed far too much to just forgive and forget.

I remember telling my kids that we couldn’t afford to do certain things, because “Bernie needs our help.”

My children volunteered with me.

We went broke, driving anywhere we could to help canvas.

Speeding tickets, gas, damage to vehicle, oil changes and lost wages.

We spent the last several months trying to recover from these excursions and millions of Americans made the same sacrifices.

The “Democratic” Party’s mistreatment of Bernie Sanders and his supporters painted us into a corner.

I am terrified by the looming specter of a Trump presidency, but still I cannot bring myself to support the embodiment of everything I have spent my life fighting against.

If you were just a casual Sanders supporter (was there any such thing?) then perhaps you could just pull your Sanders sign up and replace it with a Clinton sign.

But for those of us who gave our entire lives to this movement, it is not even a serious consideration.

Sorry Bernie, I cannot vote for Hillary Clinton.

She simply does not deserve my vote.

Hillary and the DNC burned the bridges.

It is unreasonable to expect us to rebuild them.

Maybe if the “Democrats” lose an election that they could have easily won, then they will learn to listen to the people next time.

But I wouldn’t hold my breath.

A supporter of former Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders wears tape across her mouth in protest on the floor at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia

Perhaps the protests I am looking for will not be held in the streets.

Perhaps the next great protest in the United States will be held in the voting booth, where millions of liberals, that Hillary Clinton took for granted, will stand up in the face of tyranny and choose to vote their conscience instead of caving into the fear that the “Democratic” Party is banking on.

Maybe there is finally enough anger on the left to motivate them to get off their asses and actually build a true third-party for the people.

Maybe liberals will finally start paying attention to down-ballot races and midterm elections and rejecting corporate candidates in favor of true Progressives.

Maybe people will finally learn that voting with their dollars is where the real power lies and they will abstain from buying from the corporations that destroyed our democracy.

When confronted with the “choice” between being shot in the face or poisoned to death, the intelligent choice is to choose neither.

When confronted with the “choice” between someone who threatens to use nuclear weapons or someone who claims to be so ignorant that they did not know that “C” stood for classified, the rational person chooses neither.

When confronted with the “choice” between someone who will appoint alt-right Supreme Court judges or someone who secretly supports TPP, a trade agreement that will put corporate tribunals in charge of our government, the compassionate person says “HELL NO!!!”

Enough lesser-evilism!!

Hillary Clinton is pulling a Band-Aid off slowly, whereas Donald Trump is ripping it off fast.

Either way, it’s going to hurt.

Vote for Jill Stein or write in Bernie Sanders.

In an insane election, these are the only sane choices.

Some will say that this is throwing your vote away.

Nonsense.

Throwing your vote away is when you vote for someone whom you don’t believe in.

Throwing your vote away is voting for Donald Trump, a hate-monger who’s been spending daddy’s money and filing bankruptcy and charging it to the American tax-payer, while telling the people who are footing his bill that their poverty is the fault of other poor people.

Throwing your vote away is voting for Hillary Clinton, a warmonger who rode her rapist husband’s coattails into politics by representing a state that she wasn’t even a resident of, while supporting fracking and taking millions from the fossil-fuel industry.

With either one of these fools, you are doing more than throwing your vote away.

You are throwing your planet away.

You are throwing your dignity away.

You are throwing innocent lives away.

Neither have any business stepping foot in the White House and I do not and will not recognize their authority.

If you are insulted by your corporate “choice” for President, I suggest you exercise your Constitutional right to open rebellion.

Join with me in pledging to fight whichever one of these criminals is unfortunate enough to take office.

Let’s commit to being real activists.

Let’s commit to taking back our government.

Let’s lose the battle and win the war.

Hillary or Trump?

I choose neither.

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If my voice is aligned with your voice, please consider donating $1 by clicking HERE. We are expanding our power by starting a YouTube show/Podcast that will be used to organize tremendous activism in line with the  Progressive philosophies of Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders. Any money donated goes directly to purchasing studio equipment to make that happen.