Little Red Riding Hood and Mr. Wolf


A Trumped-up Tale

By Kit-Bacon Gressitt

 

little-red-and-bb-wolfeOnce upon a time, a girl child who appeared older than her years in her eponymous red and hooded cloak sashayed into the autumn forest to bring cake and wine to her Crooked Granny. And it was the granny’s bad liberal judgment that had put Little Red Riding Hood on the road alone, with a basket of booze.

Skipping along the trail, Little Red noticed Mr. Wolf expounding his many virtues and heaping promise upon promise onto a gathering of lowly forest dwellers. Although she couldn’t put her finger on it, he had a certain je ne sais quoi. Maybe it was his commoditized tan, the classy platinum and diamond cufflinks, his audacious howl imparting words she’d never dared whisper in public. She was uncertain, but the sight of him left her both wanting some of that and well entertained.

Mr. Wolf, meanwhile, having espied Little Red and her skin so fair, noted the symbolism and slicked down his fur. He grabbed her elbow and spoke cooing words, offering her an insider’s detour from her appointed path to the hugest flowers of the forest, on land he owned and had recently cleared of tree-huggers.

Although a bit trampled during the ecogeeks’ ejection, the flowers were of much greater appeal to Little Red than Crooked Granny, whom Little Red never much cared for, anyway. And she felt entitled to the blossoms. So it was that she happily abandoned her responsibility to pursue the pleasures of ephemeral gratification, with nary a thought of the consequences.

Little Red’s distraction allowed Mr. Wolf to arrive at Crooked Granny’s first, determined to sever the ugly old lady’s influence on Red’s lily-white, PC-battered family, even if he had to say something extremely rough to convince her. He was, of course, totally the only one capable of stopping her.

Crooked Granny, lacking keen sight, saw only a buffoon, assumed hers was the predominant perception across the land, and responded to Mr. Wolf’s entrance into her refined-yet-understated cottage with an eye roll.

Offended by her mean dismissal, Mr. Wolf did what any millionaire revenge artist and member of the lucky sperm club would do: He forsook negotiation and took the consumptive route, gobbling down the crooked crone—because he was certainly no schmuck, because it felt good, and because it was smart to be shallow. Then he bundled into Crooked Granny’s bed and sniffed at her sleepwear. The linens’ thread count was deplorable, but he knew he’d be sleeping in his own gilded forest canopy soon enough, so he settled in and awaited the naif’s arrival, eager to continue reciting the glib promises of greatness he would deliver upon her and her family.

Little Red skipped in as the sun was setting and the sky hinted of a hoary frost, but her cheeks were as rosy as her hood, inflamed with the joy of claiming the forest’s flowers.

Mr. Wolf looked at her, imagined a 10 beneath the red riding hood, and invited her to warm up under the comforter.

Although Little Red was curious about what had befallen Crooked Granny, she was more concerned for herself. In the forest, she’d seen other creatures receive countless special considerations—wings to fly, claws to climb, tongues to slurp termites from tree stumps, not that she’d ever eat termites—but she needed to think of herself first. She could not worry about others. So Little Red climbed into bed with Mr. Wolf and laid her head on his chest, confident that he would keep her warm.

Mr. Wolf, however, was still stinging from Crooked Granny’s nasty rebuke and he was a bit hungry. He contemplated making Little Red his unfortunate dessert or maybe just homing in for a grab, but his considerations were interrupted by Heroic Huntsman. He was yodeling by the cottage with his mighty sword in hand and satellite dish on his back. Mr. Wolf called to the huntsman to come in, invited him to sit in Crooked Granny’s rocker by the fire, and let loose an audacious howling, rich with sound bites and swagger.

Calculating the remunerative facts of the scene, Heroic Huntsman did sit. He put down his sword and took out pen and paper. And he wrote “The Ballad of Mr. Wolf,” which, come morning, he carried forth, following Mr. Wolf’s paw prints to all points of the compass, helping entice a huge minority of the populace to lend their ears to Mr. Wolf’s howls and applaud them, every one.

And Mr. Wolf lived happily ever after.

Little Red and Heroic Huntsman, it turned out, not so much.

Love,
K-B

With apologies to Charles Perrault and Brothers Grimm

…………………..

About Kit-Bacon Gressitt

Spawned by a Southern Baptist creationist and a liberal social worker, K-B inherited the requisite sense of humor to survive family dinner-table debates and the imagination to avoid them. Now represented by Trident Media Group, she has an MFA in Creative Writing, with an emphasis on narrative nonfiction, and has taught Women’s Studies in the Cal State University system. Her political fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry have been published by The Missing SlateTrivia: Feminist VoicesMs. Magazine blogSan Diego Poetry Annual, New Moon Girl Media, San Diego Uptown NewsSan Diego Gay and Lesbian News, American University’s iVory Towerz, Chiron Review, and others. She is a prose editor at www.WritersResist.com.

 

White Privilege, This Is America


Through African-American Eyes

By Conney D. Williams

 

conneyjacketI didn’t sit down to write all of this, but here I am. The election seems like a dream, but I’m not one of those caught off guard. I don’t see it as such a surprise. As an African American, this is the normal America I’ve seen my entire life. Although the mindset the election reflects had been underground, more covert, this segment of society no longer wants to hold it all in or swallow the medicine of “change” or “inclusiveness.”

I don’t see the country any differently now than I have for the sixty years I’ve been alive. Those of us who have been fighting this fight can’t be caught unaware, can’t be blindsided by a national election.

Donald Trump has tapped into the colonial spirit of America, the manifest destiny that decimated complete tribes of Native Americans. We are about to celebrate a holiday in a few days that is the epitome of America’s character and heart. When the Native Americans were trying to find ways to assist struggling colonists, the colonists were planning how they could take their land and crops. As the Native Americans were offering food and thanks, the colonists were offering infected blankets.

Donald Trump’s promises are the same.

Tell me when America was ever great. America loves the idea of looking great, but this is only done through smoke and mirrors, through imposing its will upon others who have less might. When has America kept her promise to be one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all? When have the marginalized segments of society not known a life of marginalization or murder or systematic policies designed to keep individuals at bay and real liberty out of reach? How about a time when those who have been marginalized have been able to walk up to Washington and cash the check called Freedom?

I am not surprised Donald Trump is the president-elect of this country. Didn’t the births of Black Lives Matter and other significant groups of historically disenfranchised peoples happen during Barack Obama’s presidency? Didn’t we see the repeated revelation that Black people are still the target of state-sponsored lynchings and incarceration/slavery during the Obama presidency? What really changed because there was an African-American family occupying the White House?

All I’ve known my entire life has been to fight vehemently for my inalienable rights as a citizen of the United States, yet everywhere in America, I have been denied access to what is mine from birth. What has been promised to all remains reserved for those whose skin color is fairer than mine, for those who feel their rights have been diminished by those whose skin color is closer to mine. How fucking ridiculous is that? How has white privilege been diminished in America? When has white privilege not assumed all the resources of this country as its own?

Whenever the disenfranchised want more than crumbs that fall from the table of white privilege, it’s called “reverse discrimination” or we must “make America great again”—and we all know what that entails.

The “core values” of the America I know don’t serve those who have been disenfranchised their entire human existence; they serve white privilege.

And white privilege doesn’t want to be uncomfortable in any way. But inclusiveness and change require that white privilege be discomforted. And, We the Disenfranchised, know that that is not something white privilege is ready to embrace.

……………………………………………………….

About Conney D. Williams

Conney D. Williams is a poet, actor and performance artist, originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, where he worked as a radio personality.

Conney’s first collection of poetry, Leaves of Spilled Spirit from an Untamed Poet, was published in 2002. His poetry has also been published in various journals and anthologies including Voices from Leimert Park; America: At the End of the Day; and The Drumming Between Us. His collection Blues Red Soul Falsetto was published in December 2012, and he has released two new poetry CDs, Unsettled Water and River&Moan, available on his website.

We went to the polls on November 8


And then it was the day after

By Kit-Bacon Gressitt


Election Day

7 a.m.

I’m working the public library polling place in my little Republican-majority town, nestled amid the gray-green groves of North San Diego County. Our poll inspector, la jefa, stands in the doorway and declares to the waiting line, “Here ye, here ye, the polls are now open!”

I offer ballots in three languages to those who rush in, eager to vote and get to their jobs, to save the nation from the other party. Some voters bellyache that ballots are available in anything other than English. I try to quiet their amplified xenophobia by noting the beauty of Tagalog, its Spanish influence, by making mitigating quips they don’t care to hear. I also lead cheers for first-time voters, deflect others who assume the right to challenge the suffrage of one brown person or another, and think of my Latina daughter at home.

10:30 a.m.

It’s time for my first of two forty-five minute breaks, and I hurry out, followed by a male voter in business attire. He catches up, tosses a grimaced smile and says, “How does it feel, your vote being wiped out by the Democrats?”

What I feel is that he’s making too many assumptions—perhaps because I’ve dressed up a bit for the day, because I’m white, because nearly all the pollsters project Hillary Clinton will win. But I say none of this, because today I represent the County, because we’re still within one hundred feet of the polling place and no electioneering is allowed here, because I have a gnawingly bad feeling.

So I return his smile, say “It’s been an interesting campaign season, eh?” and figure if I’d worn flip-flops, let my tattoos show, he’d have left me alone.

3:20 p.m.

The line of voters reaches across the room. My phone is dinging. I wait for a rare lull to sneak a peek. My daughter writes:

After Trump Was Elected

I try not to think about it, just hand out ballots as the line lengthens again, do a verbal two-step around the white supremacists, encourage the voters who’ve become stooped tending the region’s crops, who leave their children at home to go clean the toilets of the privileged, and I thank the young Hispanics and African Americans and Middle Easterners and Asians and LGBTQs and white kids for voting.

My phone dings again. And again. At last I’m able to check, and my daughter writes:

After Trump Was Elected

I try to be hopeful, but I have this bad feeling.

8:00 p.m.

The polls close. The last voter leaves fifteen minutes later, having struggled to figure out California’s seventeen ballot propositions. We check our phones for any results, scrolling for an encouraging trend.

Another ding, and my daughter writes:

After Trump Was Elected

Stop watching, I text her.

We are packing up equipment, supplies and hundreds more mail and provisional ballots than usual. They’ll take days to verify and count, but are there enough of them across the nation to make a difference? Only one of our team is working with a smile now—after scowling most of the day.

2:30 a.m.

My daughter and I have surfed from website to website for hours in fruitless search of a miracle, in tears. Now we give up.

Sorrowful, not surprised, I sigh into bed.

The day after Trump was elected

3:30 a.m., 4, 5, 6:30

Unable to sleep, I finally rise and scroll through hundreds of messages and texts—of dismay, fear, outrage, of blame—blaming Trump’s win on the uneducated, on white women, white men, racists and Islamaphobes, misogynists, xenophobes, rightwing Christians, anti-abortion activists, the under- and unemployed working class. I read the occasional call for unity, the refusals to unite with racists and bigots.

Coffee calls me. Toddling into sunlight with a mug, I find the Mexican-American landscaper preparing to plant fruit trees with his crew.

exitpoll

CNN Exit Poll 09 N0v 2016

We chat about the work, which tree will go where, about his family.

“What do you think about the election?” He nods toward the propaganda side of my front gate. “I saw your Hillary Clinton sticker up there.”

“We cried a lot, my daughter and I,” I say. “It’s hard not to feel targeted by all the white people who voted for Trump, right?”

He manages a chuckle. “This might be my last year working here. Maybe we will go back to Mexico.

“You can come with us,” he says.

Love,
K-B

 

PS: If you’re opposed to a racist, misogynist, homophobic, Islamophobic, xenophobic president, consider attending the Women’s March on Washington, on Saturday, January 21, 2017.

In the meantime, watch Hillary Clinton sing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” via SNL.

……………………………….
About Kit-Bacon Gressitt

Spawned by a Southern Baptist creationist and a liberal social worker, K-B inherited the requisite sense of humor to survive family dinner-table debates and the imagination to avoid them. Now represented by Trident Media Group, she has an MFA in Creative Writing, with an emphasis on narrative nonfiction, and has taught Women’s Studies in the Cal State University system. Her political fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry have been published by The Missing SlateTrivia: Feminist Voices, Ms. Magazine blog, San Diego Poetry AnnualNew Moon Girl Media, San Diego Uptown NewsSan Diego Gay and Lesbian News, American University’s iVory TowerzSan Diego Free Press, Chiron Review, and others, including on her website www.ExcuseMeImWriting.com.

The complete CNN exit poll is available here.

Trump Wins, Liberty Weeps


trump wins liberty weeps

 

Trump wins, and Liberty weeps—for Mexicans, for women, for LGBTQ folks, for peace, for those who are differently abled, to people of color, for health, for people of other religions, for people living in poverty, for immigrants, for civility, for the republic, for liberty and equality and justice for all.

Surrender


By Conney D. Williams

 

confettihe has painted himself tender
like the confetti of
the runner-up
to the champion, stale,
fearful and misquoted
you know the look
underbelly of your ego
severed from safety
of self-adulation
the applause was never
really for him
it was about him
a single note extracted
from the lack,
loss of tone
of another wave
crashing, truly
this is the everyday
no circling the stadium
no Nixon exit
signaling triumph
he must wear this shade
it’s the most becoming
resignation and resoluteness
simultaneously
the clock figures
no longer count time
he’s the most fragile blue
and swallows all his contrition
but can’t digest
an apologetic diet
his eyes, yawning
remind him the sunrise
is always more delicate
more forgiving
than the purple and orange
nonchalance of sunset
self-pity misuses the soul
as much as overacting
so he releases the confetti
and eulogizes himself
realizing that he
may never be recognized
as he sees
his own reflection

……………………………………………..

About Conney D. Williams

ConneyConney D. Williams is a Los Angeles based poet, actor and performance artist, originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, where he worked as a radio personality.

Conney’s first collection of poetry, Leaves of Spilled Spirit from an Untamed Poet, was published in 2002. His poetry has also been published in various journals and anthologies including Voices from Leimert Park; America: At the End of the Day; and The Drumming Between Us. His collection Blues Red Soul Falsetto was published in December 2012, and he has released two new poetry CDs, Unsettled Water and River&Moan, available on his website.

Conney has performed his poetry on television, radio, galleries, universities, grade schools, coffeehouses, and stages around Southern California and across the country, including the Black Arts Festival. He is a talented public speaker with more than thirty years of experience.

Read more about Conney at conneywilliams.com.

Image credit: Kaitlin via a Creative Commons license.

The Donald Trump Apology, Annotated by Donald Trump


Because he does it better than anyone

By Kit-Bacon Gressitt

 

My campaign advisors said I gotta apologize for my pussy comments in that leaked Access Hollywood video, and for trying to boink a married woman—loser turned me down, even after I took her shopping. So, yeah.

I’ve never said I’m a perfect person, nor pretended to be someone that I’m not.

I was just showing Billy Bush what it means to be a man in America—and married pussy, safest there is. But it was years ago. Doesn’t matter what I said. Doesn’t matter if I said it yesterday. The people love me. I can get away with anything. But, yeah.

I’ve said and done things I regret, and the words released today on this more than a decade-old video are one of them.

Sorry I got caught, but it’s an aberration. I usually keep a lid on the sex stuff when mics are around.

Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am.

Not when I want something—that’s when I turn on my better temperament, and its huge. But my advisors are being mean to me, so I gotta do it.

I said it, I was wrong and I apologize.

So, yeah. And here’s where I usurp this fake apology and kick into my stump speech, because those morons can’t tell me what to do, and I gotta couple good “in the trenches with the little people” lines here. This’ll grab voters and squeeze ’em hard.

I have traveled the country talking about change for America, but my travels have also changed me. I’ve spent time with grieving mothers who’ve lost their children, laid-off workers whose jobs have gone to other countries and people from all walks of life who just want a better future.

Damn I’m good! And here’s where I pander to those church people—just toss in the ‘f’ word here and there, a little God-bless-America crap, keeps ’em happy.

I have gotten to know the great people of our country and I’ve been humbled by the faith they’ve placed in me. I pledge to be a better man tomorrow, and will never, ever let you down.

And voters can take that to the bank, right along with this apology. They’re scared so they’re sucking up to a tough guy, not a weak politician. I could shoot somebody and I still wouldn’t lose voters—even their daughters, I could grab ’em all by the pussy and they’d still love me.

Let’s be honest, we’re living in the real world. This is nothing more than a distraction from the important issues we’re facing today.

Like getting me elected. And boy this campaign stuff is amazing! So damn easy. When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything, say anything, and they’ll believe it—and that makes me smart.

We are losing our jobs, we are less safe than we were eight years ago and Washington is totally broken. Hillary Clinton and her kind have run our country into the ground.

Gotta give credit where credit is due, though. The voters are so stupid, they don’t know history, they don’t know how Washington works. I know Washington better than anyone. I can blame everything on Hillary, the Democrats—even on Marla Maples and they’d believe me, and that one sure had blood coming out of her wherever. But Hillary’s in my sites now. I’d like to punch her in the face. At least I can do it with words, and I have the best words. I’m going nuclear.

I’ve said some foolish things, but there’s a big difference between the words and actions of other people. Bill Clinton has actually abused women, and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims. We will discuss this more in the coming days.

Bottom line, people, I’m not quitting this race. It’s Hillary Clinton’s fault I like to grab a little pussy.

See you at the debate on Sunday.

Love,
K-B
…………………………………………..
About Kit-Bacon Gressitt

Spawned by a Southern Baptist creationist and a liberal social worker, K-B inherited the requisite sense of humor to survive family dinner-table debates and the imagination to avoid them. Now represented by Trident Media Group, she has an MFA in Creative Writing, with an emphasis on narrative nonfiction, and has taught Women’s Studies in the Cal State University system. Her political fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry have been published by The Missing SlateTrivia: Feminist Voices, Ms. Magazine blog, San Diego Poetry AnnualNew Moon Girl Media, San Diego Uptown NewsSan Diego Gay and Lesbian News, American University’s iVory TowerzSan Diego Free Press, and others, including on her website www.ExcuseMeImWriting.com.

Pantsuit Power for Hillary


Official Pantsuit Power Flash Mob for Hillary

from Celia & Mia for Hillary Clinton 

On Sunday Oct 2, 2016 over 200 pantsuit wearing Hillary supporters gathered together to perform a dance founded in unity, love, and inclusivity. Join them in celebrating Pantsuit Power for Hillary.

Event Organized and Video Directed by Celia Rowlson-Hall and Mia Lidofsky. Co-choreographed by Celia and Crishon Landers. Produced by Jillian Schlesinger and Liz Sargent.

History Today? “The White Race and the Negroes”


White supremacy isn’t just for anti-government loonies


By Kit-Bacon Gressitt

 

Political polling suggests the worst could come to pass in the November presidential election; another gunman goes on a mall rampage; refugees and rapes, police shootings and racism; horror dominates the news.

white race and negroes

Lt. Gen. John Brown Gordon

Weenie that I am, I escape to my womb of an office to read old newspapers, mostly local weeklies. They’re filled with mid-nineteenth century sarcasm and benign gossip—who planted crops too soon or too late, who paid whom a visit the weekend last, whose chickens got loose, who had one too many pints at the tavern. Like much of today’s so-called newscasts, these papers offered more opinion than fact, but the distance of time renders them quaintly entertaining.

Until I find an article that is not quaint or entertaining.

It’s a transcription of a speech given by John Brown Gordon to a political gathering in front of the Charleston Hotel, South Carolina, on September 11, 1868.

Gordon was a businessman and investor, a Confederate Army war hero, an avid opponent of Reconstruction, and a presumed leader of the Georgia Ku Klux Klan. Full of bluster and bravado, he was “tall and slender … his face marked with a deep scar, and he carrie[d] himself erect.” So honored for his military service—it was said he inspired the troops to believe they could “storm hell”—and so beloved by his followers, he was eventually elected a U.S. senator, then governor of Georgia, and then again to the Senate.

In 1868, however, Gordon, like many Southern leaders after the Civil War, was struggling to maintain some identity and blaming the struggle on the Radical party* in Congress. The Radicals, according to many Southerners, intended to subjugate the “White Race under the heel of the Negro.” They would accomplish said subjugation by granting freedmen civil rights, including full suffrage, jury duty and public education.

Not enough civil rights to go around, I suppose.

After exhorting his white audience to join the political fight against the Radicals and thus preserve the Union he had recently rejoined, Gordon addressed the African Americans with the following:

white race and negroes

So ignorant, so privileged and self-absorbed, so patronizing, so racist, and so unaware of his racism, Gordon and his speech remind me of Donald Trump.

Thus ends my escape.

Love,
K-B

* The Radical Party was a Republican faction in Congress; how dramatic and sad it is, the party’s shift toward racism today.

…………………………………………..
About Kit-Bacon Gressitt

Spawned by a Southern Baptist creationist and a liberal social worker, K-B inherited the requisite sense of humor to survive family dinner-table debates and the imagination to avoid them. Now represented by Trident Media Group, she has an MFA in Creative Writing, with an emphasis on narrative nonfiction, and has taught Women’s Studies in the Cal State University system. Her political fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry have been published by The Missing SlateTrivia: Feminist Voices, Ms. Magazine blog, San Diego Poetry AnnualNew Moon Girl Media, San Diego Uptown NewsSan Diego Gay and Lesbian News, American University’s iVory TowerzSan Diego Free Press, and others, including on her website www.ExcuseMeImWriting.com.

Sources:
“The White Race and the Negroes.” The Staunton Spectator. Staunton, Virginia. September 29, 1868.
“The City Democracy: Brilliant Speech by General John B. Gordon of Georgia.” The Charleston Daily. Charleston, South Carolina. September 12, 1868
“The White Race and the Negroes.” The Hickman Courier. Hickman, Kentucky. September 26, 1868.
Lee and His Lieutenants by Edward Alfred Pollard. E. B. Treat and Company 1868.|

Share this video: Save the Day Vote by Josh Whedon


Josh Whedon’s new PSA video culls some favorite entertainers from popular shows* to joke to the rooftops: Save the Day – Vote!

If you haven’t yet registered to vote in the presidential election, on Tuesday, November 8, do it now—before your state’s deadline. Visit Save the Day – Vote! today to determine your deadline and learn the easiest way to register.

Drag a friend, some offspring, a neighbor or two with you—but only those who understand that Donald Trump is a dangerous troglodyte.

* Actors include: Yvette Nicole Brown, Don Cheadle, Robert Downey Jr., Nathan Fillion, James Franco, Clark Gregg, Scarlett Johansson, Ashley Johnson, Keegan-Michael Key, Taran Killam, Tom Lenk, Matt McGorry, Julianne Moore, Leslie Odom Jr., Randall Park, Neil Patrick Harris, Mark Ruffalo, Martin Sheen, Cobie Smulders, Stanley Tucci, Bradley Whitford, and Jesse Williams.

Trump: I Love War


New anti-Trump advertisement from Priorities USA


About Priorities USA

Priorities USA Action was founded in 2011 to educate and engage Americans to speak out and stand strong against the outdated views of the far right that threaten our democracy and undermine the middle class.

Between now and Election Day we will share stories of middle-class Americans across the country and educate voters about why Hillary Clinton is the clear choice for President. We can and must stop Donald Trump.

Do Your Part:
– Follow us on Social + Share our videos
– Follow Priorities on Twitter: https://twitter.com/prioritiesUSA
– Follow Priorities on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/prioritiesusa/
– Like Priorities on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PrioritiesUSA

PAID FOR BY PRIORITIES USA ACTION
NOT AUTHORIZED BY ANY CANDIDATE OR CANDIDATES COMMITTEE
WWW.PRIORITIESUSAACTION.ORG

You have no idea what your words mean


Trump responds to accusations of racism, calls Clinton a bigot; journalist calls man who would be emperor clearly unclad

By Kit-Bacon Gressitt

 

On Friday, after watching a CNN video clip of Donald Trump insisting Hillary Clinton is a bigot, Mika Brzezinski—journalist, author and “Morning Joe” co-host—looked into the camera with a solemn face and said, “Donald Trump, you have no idea what your words mean. You have no idea. You have no idea what your words mean.” She shook her head in seeming disapproval and continued in a steady tone, “I can’t pretend and sort of try and cover this fairly and put it in the veil of objectivity. This is wrong. You have no idea what your words mean and what you’re doing to this country.”

Brzezinski’s comments garnered a modicum of attention, surprisingly superficial coverage, given her thoughtful, dry-eyed honesty.

The Hill had a short blurb.

Ad Week’s TVNewser ran another.

The Daily Mail demonstrated its inclination to sensationalize the news by describing Brzezinski as “becoming incensed,” followed by an attempt to link the journalist’s comments to Trump’s previous vague suggestion of a liaison between Brzezinski and her co-host, Joe Scarborough, both unmarried.

The U.S. edition of The Week relied on more proper British fare, categorizing the comments as a “sober condemnation.”

Politico, like many other sources, stuck with the facts: “Mika Brzezinski to Trump: ‘You have no idea what your words mean.’”

But it is the Salon rendition by Brendan Gauthier that first caught my attention. It started with the headline, which Gauthier might or might not have written: “Watch Mika Brzezinski completely lose it over Donald Trump.” It continued with the subhead: “After back-to-back segments about Trump threatening and then calling Hillary a bigot, Brzezinski blew a fuse,” again, author uncertain (emphases all mine). Then Gauthier added the finishing touch with his description of Brzezinski as having “reached her breaking point.”

Brzezinski appeared quite intact to me, intact, nonflammable, location known, situation aware and articulately honest. Consequently, I’m moved to question if such derogatory descriptions would have been leveled against a male journalist, had one opted to similarly dispense with the pretense of covering Trump as a rational, honorable candidate.

The Salon coverage left me wondering if the writers involved in this piece have any idea of what their words mean—and why the compelling foundation of Brzezinski’s response is not being discussed.

Love,
K-B

…………………………………
About Kit-Bacon Gressitt

Spawned by a Southern Baptist creationist and a liberal social worker, Kit-Bacon inherited the requisite sense of humor to survive family dinner-table debates and the imagination to avoid them. Now represented by Trident Media Group, she has an MFA in Creative Writing, with an emphasis on narrative nonfiction, and has taught Women’s Studies in the Cal State University system. Her political fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry have been published by The Missing SlateTrivia: Feminist Voices, Ms. Magazine blog, San Diego Poetry AnnualNew Moon Girl Media, San Diego Gay and Lesbian News, American University’s iVory TowerzSan Diego Free Press, and others, including her website, www.ExcuseMeImWriting.com.

Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 8.14.21 AM

The week that was


Zika funding bill, Olympic victory, Harvey Milk and more


By Kit-Bacon Gressitt

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 1.40.33 PMLast week started on a low note. Sunday morning’s inbox contained notification that I received a D on a course assignment, the first ever that I, an annoying perfectionist, can recall. I had a champagne cocktail to acknowledge the moment and aid in my recovery.

 

zika funding billWhile U.S. senators and representatives began the third week of a seven-week recess from their taxpayer-funded jobs, women’s wombs and worries remained under the congressional scrum of the Zika virus funding bill, which lingers unresolved. Meanwhile, the incidence of Zika cases in the U.S. is increasing and the CDC is recommending contraception to avoid Zika infection and to prevent pregnancy while at risk of infection. Perhaps the CDC’s enthusiasm for contraception will reinvigorate Republican efforts to pass the bill. An aspirin between the knees will not ward off infected mosquitoes.

 

Donald Trump recognized hump day by declaring himself regret-free for twitter bombing the parents of a U.S. Army officer slain in Iraq. To deflect criticism, he attempted to correlate the grieving parents of the Muslim-American war hero with terrorism. “Get smart”? Apparently not.

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 2.07.12 PMThis might be contributing to Sec. Hillary Clinton’s post-convention bounce that just keeps bouncing. Hewlett-Packard CEO and former California Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg “Mama Techbucks” Whitman has endorsed Clinton and pledged to lead other major donors to Clintonland.

 

Harvey Milk

Ensign Harvey Milk

As word spread that the U.S. Navy plans to name a new ship after Harvey Milk, a murdered gay rights activist, politician and Korean War-era veteran, bigoted organizations American Family Association and Family Research Council have mounted campaigns to “stop this insanity.” Among various complaints, they find fault with Milk’s having served in the military while it was illegal for homosexuals to do so.

Next up: misogynists and racists complaining that the Navy also intends to name ships after women’s rights activist Lucy Stone and African-American abolitionist and activist Sojourner Truth?

 

rio2016For those who dance to the rhythm of the NRA’s rapid gunfire: The U.S. 2016 Olympic Team in Rio de Janiero won its first gold medal yesterday—in shooting.

On the feel-good hand, 18-year-old Syrian Yusra Mardini, a member of the Olympic Refugee Team, won her 100-meter butterfly heat. Better yet, now that the competitions have begun, reportage is focussing on the athletes instead of Rio’s failures.

 

And that was the week that was. Looking forward, consider something other than deet.

……………………………………..
About Kit-Bacon Gressitt

KBGSpawned by a Southern Baptist creationist and a liberal social worker, Kit-Bacon inherited the requisite sense of humor to survive family dinner-table debates and the imagination to avoid them. Now represented by Trident Media Group, she has an MFA in Creative Writing, with an emphasis on narrative nonfiction, and has taught Women’s Studies in the Cal State University system. Her political fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry have been published by The Missing SlateTrivia: Feminist Voices, Ms. Magazine blog, San Diego Poetry AnnualNew Moon Girl Media, San Diego Gay and Lesbian News, American University’s iVory TowerzSan Diego Free Press, and others, including her website, www.ExcuseMeImWriting.com. K-B has taught writing workshops for seven years, most recently for the San Diego County Library system’s Fallbrook Branch, and she teaches writing as a volunteer at Vallecitos School, in Rainbow, CA.

Our Fight Song for Hillary Clinton


Thank you, Secretary Hillary Clinton, for becoming our presidential nominee!

U.S. women, at long, long last, will see one of us become our nation’s leader, our commander in chief, an icon of aspirations for our sex, a symbol of hope for equality for our daughters and sons.

I’m grateful to Hillary Clinton for tolerating misogynistic idiocy for so many years, for persisting, for honoring her strength, for running for president.

It’s a shitty, thankless job—women are used to that.

Published on July 26, 2016

“Fight Song,” produced by Elizabeth Banks, Bruce Cohen and Mike Thompkins, features actors, musicians and supporters singing their support for Hillary Clinton to Rachel Platten’s Fight Song. The a cappella video is inspired by the Pitch Perfect films, which are produced by Banks.

Reprieve from sorrow: Playing the Woman Card


Have you played your woman card today?

By K-B

It’s been some sorrowful days since the attack on Pulse Orlando, but I was comforted by the wee bit of lightness in this morning’s mail. My Official Hillary for American Woman Cards arrived—I bought ten so I can keep some up my sleeve—with a whole deck of Woman playing Cards, because, as we know from previous weeks’ sorrowful news about the Stanford sexual assault injustice, it’s a real gamble for women out there.

So, have a chuckle, then demand rational gun control laws, share a hug, and walk in the next Pride Parade—16 July in San Diego.

Love,
K-B

woman card

The Official Hillary for America Woman Card

P.S. You can buy your official Woman Cards here.

My Brief Life as a Poll Worker


The California Presidential Primary: An Imperfect Process

By Kit-Bacon Gressitt

 

1909 election day

1909 Women’s Suffrage cartoon

The scent of potential disaster wafted in the wake of our letter carrier’s truck as he scooted away, having delivered a Registrar of Voters Official Appointment Notice letter.

“Congratulations!” the letter began, and it continued with confirmation of my appointment as a touch screen inspector for last Tuesday’s Presidential Primary Election in California. “Touch screen,” I read again, as in technology.

“Are you nuts?” I bellowed through my office window to the hummingbirds, who were sucking down nectar as fast as my fanny was puckering up to my earlobes. Anything to do with computer stuff is a “thingy” in my world, and I promptly doubted both my fantasy that it would be fun to volunteer at the polls this year (an historic year with a presumptive female presidential nominee) and the process for assigning volunteers. Had I volunteered for that? Better I should be looking up voters’ names and confirming their addresses or putting completed ballots in the ballot box and cheerily handing out “I Voted” stickers (meant to entice those who’ve not yet voted, to race to their polling places and get their own).

The letter concluded with the suggestion that if I had any concerns about my ability to complete my assignment, I should feel free to call Poll Worker Recruitment. I did, and spoke with a very nice gal, soft of voice and able to laugh in the right places. She assured me my role required no technological expertise, that the classroom training I was to receive would allay my concerns.

She did have a nice voice, and so it was, with the training completed and Election Day arrived, I landed at the poll location five minutes before the designated set-up time of 5:30 a.m. I was armed with bottled water, two PB&J sandwiches and hope that I wouldn’t screw up the touch screen thingy.

At 5:30, another volunteer arrived, we commiserated over the early hour and continued waiting in the parking lot.

At 5:40 a.m., the lead inspector of our polling place called to say his assistant had suffered an alarm malfunction and, because they were driving together, they were late but would be there by 6.

I caught that scent of doom again, wafting through my car vents this time, and tried focusing my breathing on the location of my stress.

At 6:05 our fearless leaders unlocked the doors, and I raced in with my three containers of touch screen equipment, accessories and directions, desperate to get the thing up and running by 7:00 a.m., when the California polls opened. I was so focused on my task that I didn’t have time to entertain resentful thoughts of those who’d stolen thirty-five of the ninety minutes on which I was depending. But, at 6:50 a.m., I proudly declared the touch screen ready for the first special needs voter.

By then, the two lead inspectors having bickered over proper protocols for setting up the polling place and the distribution of responsibilities, my pronouncement was met with an irritable “Where’s the report you were supposed to print—the one that documents the machine is starting with zero votes?”

In lieu of barfing, I re-read the manual, found no such directive, read it again—and a third time—with the same result, and shared that with my accuser, who insisted I was still wrong. Disaster oozed from the touch screen tablet like the sharp smell of ozone from a sparking outlet, and there was nothing I could do. The only vote count report I’d produced was tidily rolled up and locked in the touch screen printer’s paper spool, per the manual, and voters were lining up at the door. Then we were distracted by other challenges.

The person responsible for looking up names and addresses on the voter lists was a self-described dyslexic and had the wrong glasses. Folks racing in to vote between other responsibilities languished in line, while the poll worker struggled to find their names, lose them, and find them again.

1957 Voters and poll worker

1957 Voters and poll worker

Next, a gentleman strolled into the church office in which we were set up, shared his affinity with the religious paintings on the walls and snarked that there were surely some who wouldn’t appreciate them as he did. He was right. I could imagine feeling uncomfortable with the unrealistically white Jesus peering over my shoulder as I cast my vote.

One gal thought is was darn un-American that the State didn’t require voters to produce ID cards at the polls—no matter that they had when they registered. And she seemed to think the State’s benevolence was our fault, personally, the four of us volunteers.

Another person wanted to vote for both Democratic and Republican candidates, including the presidency—an impossibility in the primary. When I voiced sympathy for her disappointment, she shot me a drop-dead look that rivaled any my siblings ever produced—better even than my daughter’s in her teens.

Far too many folks learned they had unintentionally registered to vote as members of the American Independent Party (AIP), a right-wing, anti-marriage equality, faith-based party with a history of separatism. They’d thought the word “Independent” denoted independent of any party. “No Party Preference” is how they should have registered. They were distraught that they couldn’t vote for the presidential candidate of their choice, and I wanted to yank them into the hallway and train them to read the registration form or force the AIP to brand itself for the bigoted platform it espouses—both perhaps hopeless causes.

Some who did register as No Party Preference (NPP) wanted Republican NPP ballots, but the Republican Party refused voters that option—only the Democratic, Libertarian and American Independent Parties offered primary ballots to NPP voters.

And there were scads of issues that resulted in people having to cast provisional ballots, those ballots wrapped in pink envelopes that seem to scream, “Your vote doesn’t count!”

I feared we did not handle all such cases properly—I was just about certain we didn’t, whether missing a name on the voter list or handing out the wrong ballot, and by the end of the night, our count was off. I was not impressed with myself, my peers or the process, and while I stewed in disappointment and guilt, watching inspectors counting and recounting until after 10:00 p.m., I determined I would never again be a poll worker.

1944 First time voter with poll worker

1944 First time voter with poll worker

Tossing in bed later that night, imagining the multitude of ways I’d probably screwed up, rendering my fellow citizens’ votes invalid, I tried to recall each voter I’d matched to a ballot, and I remembered the dirty look one man shot at a young woman who requested a Spanish ballot for her mother. Then I remembered their pride in bringing back their completed ballots and receiving their stickers. And then I remembered other moments during the day, moments that made my left-wing heart sing patriotic songs I hadn’t voiced since elementary school.

We had ten or twelve brand new voters in a variety of ages, ethnicities and races—and body modifications. We cheered and applauded them, tossing “I Voted” stickers like confetti. We had old men who brought their even older mothers to vote—“She hasn’t missed an election in sixty-six years,” said one. We had families whose children watched solemnly as their parents cast their votes, daughters helping first-time voting parents, plenty of people saying, “What about my sticker?” when we forgot to offer them up.

I focused my breathing on the location of my stress and realized this: Like our democracy, voting here is an imperfect process, powered by well-intended, if slightly inept, volunteers, but it isn’t a total disaster. It’s certainly better than not being able to vote at all. I can live with it and hope it improves … and I still will never again be a poll worker.

Love,
K-B

I Voted

My sticker

P.S. If you want to vote in the November 8, 2016 General Election, be sure you are registered—you can check that with your county’s registrar of voters. San Diego County residents can check here.

If you’re not registered—or you blew it and joined the loonies at the American Independent Party by mistake—you can register or update your registration online here.

The deadline is October 24, 2016, but don’t wait!

Photos credit: U.S. Library of Congress