We Need to Talk about Jared Kushner

We Need to Talk about Jared Kushner | Comic Wisdom

 

Can we talk for a second about Jared Kushner, aka Kush-Dog, aka The Frat Boy from Hell, aka The Guy Hillary Duff Likes at First in the Disney Channel Original Movie Before Realizing He’s a Douche and She Should Be With the Sweet Guy Who’s Been Her Best Friend All Along?

Because homeboy’s straight awful, and his terribleness is not given enough attention what with his dad in-law being a mega-monster and appointing a whole cabinet full of other mega-monsters and such.

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Ain’t Nobody Got Time for #TrumpRussia

Ain't Nobody Got Time for #TrumpRussia | Comic Wisdom

 

Okay, before 90% of my readership punches me square in the gut for even daring to suggest we stop focusing on Trump’s Russian connections, let me just say I DO think there’s sufficient evidence of collusion to warrant an independent investigation, and I don’t think it’s all just bullshit or anything.

Please bear with me here, because my argument is not so bold as to say the Russia thing deserves zero attention.  I think it deserves some attention.  But, like, maybe 10% of what it’s been getting.  And I will explain why.

 

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Letter to an Excellent Senator

Letter to an Excellent Senator | Comic Wisdom

I am lucky at this moment in history to live in a state that is decently represented.  Oregon’s senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley have both been vocal and courageous in opposing the Trump administrations appalling actions, orders and cabinet picks.

I feel that positive reinforcement and support are just as important as criticism and urgency when it comes to encouraging our elected representatives to listen to what their constituents have to say.  Good people can be prompted to do even better when they feel supported and appreciated.

So I wrote a letter to Senator Wyden and Senator Merkley (I sent them separately, but they’re the same letter).  I thought I’d share them here as well.  Feel free to swipe this if you want to do the same thing for an elected official in your area who is doing good things.

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Silence is Complicity: Speak the Fuck Out, My Friends

Silence is Complicity: Speak the Fuck Out, My Friends | Comic Wisdom

Most Germans were completely aware of what was happening during the Holocaust.  They knew Jewish, gypsy/Romani, LGBTQ, disabled, communist, and trade unionist folks, along with dissenters and criminals and more, were systematically imprisoned, tortured, slaughtered, and entirely dehumanized.

Most Germans also allowed themselves to be desensitized to this; allowed it to be normalized; allowed their ingrained biases and hatred of others to be taken advantage of for this to happen.

Most Germans lived relatively normal lives during the war.  They had jobs, families, parties, birthdays, school, homes, and so on.  They could ignore what was happening to their fellow humans, and ignore they did.

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Do We Still Hold That Spirit?

Do We Still Hold That Spirit? | Comic Wisdom

I have never sung a patriotic song with more heart than I did last night.

Unfortunately, it was not because I shared in the joy and triumph inherent in those songs, but because of the tragic fear of losing what they stand for. It was because it was the evening before our next President was sworn in: Donald Trump, a racist, sexist, xenophobic sexual abuser with strong and deeply suspicious ties to a hostile foreign government, nepotistic tendencies, and financial conflicts of interest out the ears.  A man with a dangerous idea of militaristic power, of nationalism, and of war.  A man who sees no reason to be diplomatic with foreign powers if he doesn’t feel like it that day.  A man who could ruin us all, and in a thousand different ways.

Last night, drunk and alone, I sang “America the Beautiful” and “The Star-Spangled Banner” with all the heart I had. I sang them to no one and to everyone, loud and strong, choking on my tears.  I sang them for what has been, and what could be, and what may be lost.  I sang them for those who died to give it to us.  I sang them for those who may never know what came before.  And I sang them for myself, to remember.  I sang them to cement them in my heart and memory, and I swore never to forget the words.

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Is Protesting a Civic Duty?

Is Protesting a Civic Duty? | Comic Wisdom

I’ve never been much of a protester myself. I’ve attended a small handful of them, but only in a journalistic capacity: I showed up to take some pictures and show support by posting them online, using my small amount of social media influence to help draw attention to those I saw as the real heroes—the people out marching.

 

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Tough Times for Comedians

Tough Times for Comedians | Comic Wisdom

I can’t be the only comedian out there who is having, like, a really hard time being funny lately, right?

The thing about funny people is we tend to make jokes to deal with awful things, not because our lives are going swimmingly or anything.  I mean I’m assuming most of you know someone who is a comic or at least tells a lot of jokes and I’m guessing they tend to tell jokes even during hard times.  Probably to the point of being inappropriate, just statistically speaking (comedians are assholes, is what I’m saying).

And if you don’t know anyone like that, just think of, say, Chandler Bing.  “Oh, my best friend is going through a divorce?  Better crack a joke instead of consoling him.”

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My Path to Dissent

My Path to Dissent | Comic Wisdom

How I Realized What We Were Up Against in Donald Trump

 

June 16, 2015: Donald Trump announced his candidacy for President of the United States.  While I was shocked at his rhetoric as he called Mexicans rapists and called for a literal wall along the southern border, I, like the rest of the nation, laughed and rolled my eyes.  None of us thought he had a chance; we thought he was an extremist buffoon who’d drop out in the first couple of months.

August 6, 2015: During the first round of Republican debates, Donald Trump was asked to defend his ugly history of misogynist language by FOX reporter Megyn Kelly.  Afterward, he stated in an interview that he thought she was “bleeding out of her wherever.”  I watched this debate at a coffee shop, gritting my teeth to keep from shouting at the screen every time he spoke.  That was the last time I watched the debates in public.

October 1, 2015: Adam Tod Brown’s article on Cracked, 5 Ways Donald Trump Perfectly Mirrors Hitler’s Rise to Power, was published.  This was the day I began taking Trump seriously–both as a candidate and as a national threat.

November 13, 2015: 130 people were killed in a series of terrorist attacks in Paris, France.  In response, Donald Trump called for surveillance of US mosques and a national Muslim registry.  When asked to clarify the difference between a legally required Muslim registry and similar registration for Jews in Nazi Germany, his only response was “you tell me.” Read more

To Everyone Who Just Had Their Heart Broken For the First Time

To Everyone Who Just Had Their Heart Broken For the First Time | Comic Wisdom

I’m so sorry.

I’m sorry, because I know what this feels like.  The moment you realize the world isn’t really on your side.  The moment you’ve been devastated to find that every value you hold is fragile, and that your rights and freedoms cannot be taken for granted.  The first time you feel truly afraid–afraid you or someone you love might come to harm, or that you might lose something precious.

I know what that feels like, and for as frustrating as it can be sometimes that others don’t–that they exist in such a privileged bubble that they can’t understand what I and others go through–I would never wish something like this upon them.  I don’t wish privilege away from people, I only wish more upon those who don’t have it.  So I extend my hand to you, you who are now realizing the pain of being on the ass end of the system, and I say: I’m sorry, and please take comfort with those of us who have been here.

 

Some things you should know:

 

First: Know that there are other people who have been hurt like this over and over again; betrayed by their country, their fellow Americans, their entire lives. We have had varying degrees of hardship, and have already recognized our places in the spectrum of privilege. It is your turn. You will be welcome in this fight for all of our rights, but know that in joining us–we who have been fighting for decades for what few freedoms we do have–you must have an open mind. You need to hone your skills for compassion, to learn to swallow defensiveness, and to take your own initiative–do your own work–to educate yourself.

Not everyone will be as nice as me, nor should they be expected to be. I’m not sure even I will be able to be so nice in the future. This is your responsibility, and it is also your great honor, to be humble, thoughtful, loving, and open-minded.  If you get corrected, it is important you take it in and keep on going.  Learn from your mistakes, and be willing to be wrong.

It has never in your life been so important for you to be on the right side of history.

 

Second: There will be people you respect who are wrong about things, or who do things you can’t understand.  That is okay, but it is also important to be watchful.  Normalization is dangerous–call out what you see.  You may have to take some risks.  It’s okay…you won’t be alone.

Especially if you’re a person of privilege (which I imagine you are if this article is applicable to you, but if not, congrats on making it this far before having your heart broken), your voice calling out others with privilege matters.  Everyone else has been shouting about this shit for all of time, and so few people listen to us.  But your friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, and even media and government officials might actually listen to you, so speak up, and highlight the overlooked words of others.  Be brave.  Your unique positions, talents and connections are more important than ever.

 

Third: Learn how to exist in fight mode.  Believe it or not, it is possible to expect danger around every corner, be on the lookout for it, fight for that atmosphere to change, and still live a live full of love and joy and beauty.  Ask a woman.  Ask a person of color.  Ask a Muslim.  Some of us will probably be willing to teach you how, but to be honest with you, most of us learned naturally.  And we’ll probably all be learning how to deal with anything new that gets thrown our way.

 

Fourth: Hold your friends close.  You’ll probably learn who the real ones are now; cherish them.  Note that “real friends” doesn’t necessarily mean someone you agree with on everything, but it probably does mean people who aren’t hateful, who are willing to change for the better, people who don’t take the pain of others lightly.

 

Fifth: Hold onto your ability to feel shocked, appalled, horrified, furious, devastated, and heartbroken.  It’s so easy to get exhausted, and to stop being shocked.  When you feel that exhaustion start to sink in, take a break.  Take a bath, take a nap, listen to some music–whatever you need to do to care for your soul.  And then get back up and keep going.  Hold those human emotions dear–they’re one of the things they will try to take from you.  And it will be easier than you think.

 

Sixth: Take heart, and hold to your courage.  Listen to music and read poetry for inspiration.  Don’t be shamed out of doing the right thing.  Remember this won’t be easy–if it were easy, more people would have helped the Jews, or the Armenians, or the slaves.  But there will be a place for you, if you’re willing to take it.

 

Seventh: Listen, absorb, help, and learn.  There is so much being put out there for you to better understand what we’re dealing with and how you can help.  Seek it out.  Follow people with different perspectives on social media, and retweet or share them.  Read articles and blogs and books and poetry and newspapers, listen to podcasts and music, learn your history, hear people talk.  Go to rallies, protests, strikes and vigils, if you can.  Form a union at your workplace, if there isn’t one already.  Talk to your friends, family and coworkers about politics (politeness will just screw us all over; it’s time to ditch it and actually engage).  Donate to organizations that will need it, if you have the means.  Volunteer your time, your hands, your home, your belongings, and your heart if you are able to.  Talk to your peers.  Vote, if you still have any confidence left in it, especially if you can vote for third parties and really help build the left.  You really can make a difference.

 

If you want to talk about anything, my comments are open to you and so is my email address: samanthaclarke@comicwisdom.com.  Please share what’s important to you, how you’re feeling, what you want to do to help, or any suggestions for me or other people as well!  We shall overcome!