Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Happy Holidays--Welcome to Trumpland!

Welcome to Trumpland!
by Cindy A. Matthews

"I thought I was living in the Midwest in 2016--not the Deep South in 1861."

This remark sums up the feeling of one individual waking up in "Trumpland, USA" recently, an area that covers a vast red political swatch in the middle of the country. A Confederate flag displayed alongside a US flag and several Trump/Pence signs fills a neighbor's front yard. The election has been over for weeks, and yet the visible reminder of this neighbor's jubilation remains, and no one has made him take the political display down. Further observations noted:

"Don't tell me he's just 'sticking it to the man,' either, with that rebel flag. He has a Deport All the Muslims bumper sticker beside the Make America Great sticker on his truck parked in the drive. It says to me he's a racist, plain and simple."

(Is hate crime on the rise since the election? Read: Trump's Election Sees More than 1000 Hate Crimes in a Month and
Tracking the Explosion of Hate in Trump's America)

Many Berners/progressives are finding the 2016 holiday season challenging. First, many experienced uncomfortable Thanksgiving dinners with family members of differing worldviews mere days after the election. Recently, there came the awful realization of just how horrible a Trump cabinet could be:

"Is he (Trump) deliberately picking people who are going to destroy the department they head or is that going to be a happy coincidence when they do? And why would you put Ben Carson in charge of anything--the guy's clearly insane."

(More info on Trump's cabinet and ambassador picks here and here and here.)

 With daily headache-provoking headlines about Trump's latest tweet, many of us long for a return to the days of last December when a Bernie Sanders' victory seemed to be within our grasp. 2016 was going to be the year we turned our country--and perhaps the entire world--around from the brink of disaster:

"I was excited every time I heard Bernie speak. We were going to fix health care and bail out students in debt and stop the endless wars for oil and start a green energy program and save our planet from the ravages of climate change and..." (Pause for breath.) "Wow. I'm excited all over again just to think about how strong a leader Bernie was going to be on all of these issues."

That's one thing to keep in mind--that no matter how "cold" Trumpland seems to be in 2017, we still have the "heat" generated by the excitement and direction Bernie Sanders first gave us in 2015-2016. Remember what Bernie said about the political revolution? "Not me us." We should stand confident and assume leadership positions to move forward. His words give us inspiration. (And several groups are doing their best to find and train these leaders: Our Revolution, Brand New Congress, and Politics Reborn just to name three.)

Perhaps, at the end of this year, the best gift won't be one we find wrapped in a box under our tree but in ourselves. We've been given the gift of hope. We've been given each other. Let's walk hand-in-hand into the future and together make it one we all can believe in. 

I think Bernie would like that, don't you?

(Names and other identifying details have been deleted at the quoted individuals' request.)


The gift of health care is one every American deserves this holiday season. The concept Bernie discussed on the campaign trail of Medicare for All isn't dead--it's still be debated in many government circles--so let's not ease up on this issue. Fix It: Healthcare at the Tipping Point is an excellent one hour documentary you should watch with your friends and family. It very clearly explains the issue, the propaganda being used by the private health insurance industry against the Medicare for All concept, and why even big business sees single-payer health care as the only way to go forward into a prosperous future.

You can read my review of Fix It at the Political Storm blog by clicking here. Watch the entire  documentary free online at http://fixithealthcare.com/watch-the-movie/    

Please share the video and review links with others. I hope Fix It will inspire you to help make the coming years better for all Americans.

Another gift I'd like to share with you is the gift of a victory. It's a very small
victory against a very big corporate machine, but it's a victory, nonetheless.  Read We the People Take Action -- and Win and see if you don't feel a tiny bit better. We won't shut down all the pipelines overnight, but if we stand together and stay strong, never wavering in our opposition to Big Oil, we'll eventually see them disappear.

May the coming year bring us a safer and healthier world--and to all a peaceful and love-filled holiday season!

And now some very wise words from Bern Notice...

Happy Holidays
by Bern Notice

Happy Holidays. Apparently, at this time of year, this greeting is more offensive to Christmas Crusaders than saying anything else. For some reason some people think that if you don't say the exact term Merry Christmas you are declaring war on their religion or their favorite holiday.

It seems as though they don't understand why some people simply say Happy Holidays instead. I thought this would be the perfect time to at least attempt to explain why to those who can't imagine a December greeting without the word Christmas in it.

Contrary to popular belief, Christmas is not the only holiday in December.

There is another important holiday during this month called Hanukkah, which starts on December 24th and concludes on January 1st. It too is a Biblical (Torah) based holiday celebrated by people of Jewish decent. 

"Chanukah  is the Jewish eight-day, wintertime 'festival of lights,' celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers and fried foods. The Hebrew word Chanukah means “dedication,” and is thus named because it celebrates the re-dedication of the Holy Temple."
Reference: http://www.chabad.org/holidays/chanukah/article_cdo/aid/102911/jewish/What-Is-Hanukkah.htm

Unless you think that Jewish people who celebrate this holiday as opposed to Christmas should have to center their religious practices around yours, how can you reasonably argue that "God's chosen people" are declaring war on Christianity or your holiday?

There is another lesser known celebrated holiday called Kwanzaa. It is a holiday that is celebrated by some people of African ancestry.

The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili. Each family celebrates Kwanzaa in its own way, but celebrations often include songs and dances, African drums, storytelling, poetry reading, and a large traditional meal. On each of the seven nights, the family gathers and a child lights one of the candles on the Kinara (candleholder), then one of the seven principles is discussed. Reference: http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/kwanzaa-history

Since it is a lesser known holiday, and not one typically celebrated by people of European ancestry, is there a war on Kwanzaa? Should people who celebrate Kwanzaa start protesting with the hashtag #BlackCandlesMatter?

Then there are those who are pagans; they celebrate Yule or the winter solstice. This year Yule falls on December 21st. Then there is Festivus (yes, it really is a thing) which falls on December 23rd. This is a holiday celebrated by secular people (agnostic, atheist, non-religious) who don't celebrate Christmas.

The point here really is that the War on Christmas crowd has it backwards. Christmas is the most recognized and celebrated winter holiday. It is rare to see a person come out and demand a ban on Christmas. On the other hand, you seldom see people demanding Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule or Festivus on cups. Nor do they demand that everyone celebrate it.

Saying Happy Holidays is just wishing you the best holiday wishes for whatever holiday you choose to celebrate. Unfortunately, the Christmas Crusaders want to ram their particular holiday in the faces of everyone, to exclude those who celebrate other holidays or no holiday at all.

The bottom line is there's no real war on Christmas. The Christmas crusade is simply a means of saying my belief--my holiday--matters while yours don't count. It's about marginalizing the beliefs and traditions of people who believe differently. It's a war on everything else. That's what the real war is.

By the way, Happy Holidays! :)

BIO: A political revolutionary with a heart, Bern Notice shares his insights on Google+


From Brand New Congress:

We need your help! We’ve been hard at work researching every single one of the 435 congressional districts in America, but we need real local expertise to truly understand how to win in every district. We know that local knowledge is something that gets built up over years, and you simply can’t hope to gain that kind of knowledge without living in a place.

Please tell us about your district by filling out this questionnaire.

Here is the kind of information we’re looking for from you:

  • We can tell from Ballotpedia that a district is majority Hispanic, but if you live there you may know that it is actually majority Puerto Rican and to win, you really need to understand the Puerto Rican community.
  • We can find out who the largest employers are in a community, but if you live there you may know important details about the relationship between those companies and the local economy.
  • We can tell from Wikipedia that your district is highly Christian, but if you live there you may know what the big denominations are.

The scale of our task here is huge: we need to understand and run in up to 435 congressional districts! We can do it if YOU lend us your expertise and local knowledge!

Yours for the revolution,
The BNC Working Group

PS: Your support has allowed 5 full-time staff and a team of volunteers to research and evaluate over 2,500 candidate nominations and narrow them down to 37 exceptional nominees that have gone through at least 3 rounds of thorough vetting. Please help us keep our small team of staff doing this important work by donating $3, $27 or whatever you can afford!

Remember, it's...

Happy Holidays to you and yours from your friends at 
the Our Revolution Continues blog!


  1. Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It's always exciting to read through articles from other authors and practice something from their websites.

    1. Thanks, Diane. You can always learn from others if you keep an open mind and your creativity at hand. Happy Holidays to you and yours!


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