Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Weekend Open Thread

“What I say to them is that people are complicated,” Obama told me. “Societies and cultures are really complicated … This is not mathematics; this is biology and chemistry. These are living organisms, and it’s messy. And your job as a citizen and as a decent human being is to constantly affirm and lift up and fight for treating people with kindness and respect and understanding. And you should anticipate that at any given moment there’s going to be flare-ups of bigotry that you may have to confront, or may be inside you and you have to vanquish. And it doesn’t stop … You don’t get into a fetal position about it. You don’t start worrying about apocalypse. You say, O.K., where are the places where I can push to keep it moving forward.”

President Obama on how he discussed Trump’s win with his daughters

Where are the places you can and are pushing to move it forward? How are you fighting against the storm of bigotry and hate and white supremacy happening at national, global, and local levels? What are you doing to create ripples of positivity in the world?

I’ve been calling my representatives, signing petitions, donating money to causes I respect, and continuing to volunteer in my community. I’ve been in touch with several teachers about what will be our fifth (!) annual DW Holiday Book Drive and am looking forward to publishing their book registries right after Thanksgiving. I made pumpkin muffins for Jackson’s class today, we’re going to a school fundraiser tomorrow night, and we plan to be as generous as we can at that. (Jackson’s school is about 65-70% non-white, so supporting it and its families feels like a step in the right direction for unity, even if we also directly benefit.) And I may go to a protest march in Manhattan over the weekend. What about you? How you are pushing forward?

28 comments… add one
  • VelvetPaws November 18, 2016, 8:06 pm

    I’ve been donating much more than usual, to both national and local groups. Spending time with friends and family who are feeling threatened or unsettled. Trying to be kinder to people in general. There’s a lot of poverty in my area and it feels hopeless sometimes just giving money or a sweater…I do it, but I’m pondering over how we address issues like income inequality. I guess it’ll mean getting more active in the Democratic party…if it can re-imagine itself into something more Bernie-esque.

    And trying not to get too freaked out by what’s going on. The daily announcements of craziness (and some of my friends’ reactions to them) are just too much. I feel like being in observation mode for the next few weeks, but also being 100% on the alert for the need to be active. Because we are all in this for the long haul. And it’s going to be long.

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    • keyblade November 18, 2016, 8:33 pm

      I’ve been trying to calm down and keep perspective. I’ve had some personal negative encounters this week and I’m trying to stay both mentally and physically well. I’ve been spending more time on an outward focus, too, but I’m feeling more healthy and active when I’m off the internet these days. One thing which has been helpful for me is talking to people in far more precarious circumstances than myself.

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  • Redhead_chicago November 18, 2016, 9:41 pm

    I joined the planning committee for an interfaith peace service to be held in the new year. My church also has an outreach group to work on better ties with the Muslim community here, so I’m joining that too. I’m a designer, so I’m trying to find volunteer opportunities for marketing events and organizations that help new Americans and refugees.

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  • Firestar November 19, 2016, 7:42 am

    I really am going to miss the 44th first family.

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    • Portia November 19, 2016, 1:34 pm

      Me too. One of my usual running paths is around the ellipse south of the White House. I’ve been so proud to run by there since I moved there a few years ago (even saw Marine One taking off a few times!), but I’m starting to train to make my normal run a little longer, in part so that I don’t have to run by there starting in January.

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  • Kate November 19, 2016, 9:56 am

    Omg. I guess my parents joined every organization they could join and gave away all their money because now they’re making a website about New England joining Canada. I jokingly sent some pics of PEI from Anne of Green Gables and they’re using them. As someone born in 1975 and raised in a bubble of Free to Be You and Me, I’ve already lost my mind.

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  • Portia November 19, 2016, 10:49 am

    I’ve been donating to quite a few charities and I’m going to sit down with Bassanio this weekend and decide on more to donate to. And I’m joining a protest in a few hours. I don’t know if I’ve ever been to a real protest before (not sure the Rally for Sanity counts) but it’s time to start.

    I do feel a lot better about my workplace after they sent an agency-wide email yesterday emphasizing its commitment to a diverse workplace, including race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, and gender identity. It gives me hope for the federal government (with the caveat that it’s not an executive agency and the head of the agency has almost 10 years left in his role).

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  • Miss MJ November 19, 2016, 11:29 am

    I’ve set up recurring donations to causes I think need protecting/furthering. I am throwing support behind the Campbell Foster, potentially another democratic Senator if he wins the Dec. 10 runoff. I encourage others to support him as well, either by voting or donating time or money. It’s my understanding that you can volunteer to make phone calls even if you’re out of state. It’s a long shot (LA is a pretty red state), but we have to try! I’m also looking at ways to donate time and legal services to groups looking to oppose Trump’s policies, through the legal system and otherwise.

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  • Kate November 19, 2016, 11:38 am

    Did everyone see the thing that happened at the Hamilton show last night where the cast had a message for Mike Pence? I thought Hamilton was a TV show, haha. My mom had to explain it to me. We are descendants of Aaron Burr and she was always embarrassed about it but now she thinks it’s cool because the Aaron Burr actor talked to Pence.

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    • Portia November 19, 2016, 12:32 pm

      It was great, absolutely great and totally on the mark.

      “We, sir — we — are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights. We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.”

      And of course Trump responds by tweeting at them to apologize for “harrassing” Pence, ::headdesk::

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      • Kate November 19, 2016, 12:43 pm

        “Very rude.”

      • anonymousse November 19, 2016, 1:40 pm

        Yet, still no outright condemnation of all the acts of hate and prejudice done in his name. Ugh, it’s going to be a long four years.

    • Kate November 19, 2016, 2:10 pm

      Right, so grossly ironic.

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  • anonymousse November 19, 2016, 1:45 pm

    I’ve called all my people, signed all the petitions, emailed the electoral college. There is a peaceful protest tonight at Greenlake.
    I’m so sad, guys. I still can’t believe this is really happening.
    I’m mostly trying to be the same positive kick-ass mom teaching my kids kindness. And trying to sway people’s minds. Stupid, stupid, minds. There’s been more and more harassment where I live, too. It’s really freaking sad. I’m now sure more than ever that David Bowie was holding it all together for us. Fuck. Fuck 2016.

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  • Dear Wendy November 19, 2016, 3:31 pm

    Swastikas and “Go Trump” graffiti at a Brooklyn playground, just a couple miles from us.

    “Trump took time to condemn the thoughtful plea of the @HamiltonMusical cast. But not the swastikas in his name in a Brooklyn playground,” says city councilman of the district where the vandalization happened.


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    • anonymousse November 19, 2016, 4:23 pm

      Ugh, I hate him so much.

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    • RedRoverRedRover November 19, 2016, 5:19 pm

      There were swastikas in Ottawa Canada too. On a synagogue, a mosque, and a united church that has a black pastor.

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      • Kate November 19, 2016, 5:21 pm

        On Adam Youch’s memorial too (Beastie Boy). What even is this?!??

      • Kate November 19, 2016, 5:22 pm


      • Kate November 19, 2016, 5:37 pm

        Oh, Wendy posted that already.

    • Miss MJ November 19, 2016, 8:11 pm

      Wendy, that’s awful! And so scary! I know that there are more of us than them, but I honestly feel like I don’t even recognize this country anymore.

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  • Kate November 19, 2016, 6:38 pm

    I just had a normal, fine conversation with a Trump supporter. I thought we were safe in Cambridge where 90% of the vote went to HRC, but the bartender (who we know) apparently was one of the 10%. He said nothing negative about the other candidate. He just assured me very positively that “Trump’s got this.” He said he would never stick his neck out like this and fail. He said there will be money in my pocket. He said he’s fine with people coming here legally, but not illegally, and like taking a spot at the ER or free college tuition that could go to his future kid. Hey, I disagree with all of it, but at least he was able to articulate something.

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  • Portia November 19, 2016, 10:42 pm

    I just spent some time reading about the potential not just for conflicts of interest but for systemic corruption to take hold. Back when Obama took office, the potential HHS nominee withdrew because someone loaned him a car and driver and he didn’t report it. That, among other harrowing possibilities for corruption, is in this article, which primarily focuses on appointments made in the first 100 days:


    Want to learn about some much more important news items didn’t get the same airtime as the Hamilton incident:


    …like diplomats staying at Trump hotels in an effort to curry favor?


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    • Portia November 19, 2016, 10:44 pm

      If that all sounds as terrifying to you as it did to me, a friend posted this, which I may be planning to do on my lunch break Monday (when there are staffers in the office):
      ‘Please call the House Oversight Committee at (202) 225-5074 and leave the following message: “My name is _____. I am a U.S. citizen and resident of , and I support the call for a bipartisan review of Donald Trump’s financials and conflicts of interest.”‘

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      • Dear Wendy November 19, 2016, 11:46 pm

        Yes, I did this yesterday. All these calls — I’ve made about ten or so — take no more than 2 minutes each. You could do one or two o a lunch break.

  • kare November 20, 2016, 11:09 am

    I’m just keeping on keeping on – still volunteering every week, which is the most refreshing thing in the world. The library I volunteer at has a diverse group of patrons, and it’s wonderful seeing how people come together for their kids. I’m just trying to be kind to everyone, including people that voted for Trump. Because pretty much everyone I know voted for Trump – my Mexican family members, my Jewish/Muslim friend, my friends that immigrated here, etc. I’m just not going to argue with people because I don’t want to spread more anger into the world.

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    • Ron November 20, 2016, 12:15 pm

      Your friends voted out of anger. The sad thing is they probably don’t even know what they are really angry about or at. Trump ran this free-floating anger campaign, where he just vented anger on just about everyone except white Christian males, although he picked individual white Christian males, like the Bush family and McCain to vent his anger on. So whether somebody’s particular hate is directed at illegal immigrant, legal immigrants, Hispanics in general, blacks, Asians, bankers, over-paid CEOs who send factories and jobs overseas, liberal environmentalists, women, Jews, losers who aren’t strong enough, the media… he had it covered in such a generalized anger vomit, that even groups he had just puked all over could vote for him, because he had dumped a torrent of anger upon the other people and things whom that victim of anger hated. I think the key to his success was continuously changing the focus of his anger.

      People were scared, they don’t like to feel scared, so that made them just generally, continuously angry. Whether you see your job/industry dying, your demographic group losing its extreme privilege, the U.S. basically losing wars to third world powers, the economic growth slowing, the Earth starting to boil, water becoming short, the entitlement programs upon which your happy retirement depends running out of $, China looking about to surpass us, the increasing income disparity, dishonest politicians who are unwilling to take any career risk to actually address our problems, social changes, student debt, terrorists… whether left or right there were plenty of reasons for close to everyone to feel insecure and say the country is moving in the wrong direction… such a high percentage that it is probably the majority of both the left, center, and right. No surprise we got both Bernie and Trump the same year.

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      • keyblade November 20, 2016, 7:46 pm

        Ron, you articulate things really well. I find your words validating and reassuring because I relate so much to your point of view of the election. Thank you.


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